Monday, April 27, 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Mysterious Map!

This is a missing map for some perilous adventure which may or may not have happened. I discovered this precious wedged into an ancient tome. Maybe you can use it as a spring board for adventure. It is in glorious color pencil as well!

Each Hex = 5 mile
Smuggler's Walk
Demon Spirit Cave
Stacked Stones
Cavern Cave
Unnamed Road
Unnamed River


Here is a blank medivel ship deck plan for your enjoyment. So, set sail upon the high seas of adventure.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Long ago in the primordial mist old rpg adventure modules use to include a glossary. This was a useful tool not only for vocabulary but for imparting the flavor and tone of the setting. So I plan to resurrect this as a feature on my blog.

"Arise! Glossary! Walk among the living! Arise!"


Austringer - A falconer.
Bodkin - A dagger, hair-pin, or ornament.
Codpiece - A bag-shaped flap on breeches covering the genitals. They tie with laces and are embroidered and padded.
Doxy - A begger's wench.
Eyas - A young hawk.
Fap - A very drunk person.
Gauntlet - Armour gloves to defend the hands.
Hackney - A common work or riding horse that was common and had no special training. Also sometimes called a rouncy.
Itinerant Judges - These judges moved about the countryside, carrying the power of the king's justice far beyond the king's immediate presence.
Jerkin - A jerkin is essentially the medieval form of a modern vest.
Kettle-hat - A domed helmet, made in three or more pieces, with a wide brow around the outside.
Labyrinth - A confusing maze, usually of tunnels underground.
March - A frontier territory often entrusted to a vice-regent with special military responsibilities. Laws appropriate to a mixed population and unsettled conditions prevailed in these areas. Marches could also be areas of land bordering two neighboring countries that both countries contest.

Notion - understanding, or the mind.
Obliged -pledged.
Pennon - Similar to a banner, but with the addition of a triangular point, charged with arms, and borne before knight bachelors. It is often flown from the tip of a lance.
Quatch - A word of unknown meaning. (It means what ever you want it to.)
Rag-tag - rabble
Sword Knot - A loop of leather thong or silk cord attached to the grip of the sword and slipped on the wrist.
Tofore - previously or prior to.

Umbrage - shadow
Vellium - A very strong cream-colored paper.
Wattle-and-Daub - A type of building (especially a peasant cottage) constructed of wattle and daub.
X - Ten or X marks the spot.
Yonker - A fine young man, novice, or greenhorn.
Zagbnal - A steel pike or beaked axe.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Wilderness Encounters

'So Maltag, which way to Zartin the Elder's hidden tower?' Sverna said. 'Well I do believe its that way, as the mole burrows.' the dwarf pointed down to the valley below. 'I wonder what trouble awaits us there.' Sverna pondered. 'Don't be worrying about that we have company, Werebadgers!' Maltag spat. Snaring ill tempered werebagers charged out from behind the rocks.

Wilderness travel can be both perilous and wondrous. What is just over the hill could be either or even both. Exploration of the wilderness is an arduous take both for the player and the game master. There is less control for the game master being outside the dungeon. The players may wonder anywhere, even off the map.

The most basic tool is a map. Before the adventure have a map of the region and a variety of terrain features. Start the adventures near the center of the map or near an area they have been too before. Have two copies. One for the game master and on for the player. The player map has the areas they have traveled through to get where they are now and the game master has one with all the detail. Up date the players map as they go along. Either by telling them what type terrain or just drawing on the players map.

Wither it is grid, hex, or plain free form map it is up to you. A good rule of thumb is to have at least three different terrain types on the map.

Terrain Types

Then add some sub-terrain types as well to give the map some depth.

Sub-Terrain Types
Rolling Hills
Fen Grassland
Alpine Forest
Shrub land

Create at least three encounters for each terrain type. One major, one intermediary, and one minor. Don't assign them to the map but when the players are in the terrain type either roll randomly for an encounter or decide when it is the right time. Remember not all encounters are hostile.

Also have some pre-made 'wilderness window dressing'. These are objects, sites, and oddities that the players encounter.

Wilderness Window Dressing
A large stone covered in carved spirals.
A pool which reflects the players trues selves.
A large burnt oak with a twisted face.
A glyph of a dragon carved into a hill.
A set of bone wind chimes hanging from a tree.
A abandoned gypsy wagon covered in moss.

Also a traditional random encounter table based on the region may be helpful as well to flesh out the area. So when traveling trough the Fang Hills there may be a lot of werebadgers.

'Sverna are you wounded?' Maltag questioned eyeing her weary. 'Nope not a one got with claw raking distance.' Sverna said relieved. 'Lets put as much distance from the werebadgers and us as possible. By the Forger's Braded Beard! That hill in the distant it has a outline of a dragon and its glowing!' Maltag exclaimed. 'I'm still sharp if you are greybeard' Sverna smiled. The two trudged out of the Fang Hills. In the distance the moonlight illuminated the outlining of a dragon and dancers upon the hill.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Magical Items

"A Magical Axe +1 so what I'm 9th level dwarven fighter, who needs it!" - a player

Power and Usefulness
A simple magical item may prove useful in the beginning but slowly its importance fades as the hero gains powers and abilities each level. The magic becomes less wondrous and less useful. I present a few humble alternatives to this dilemma. Remember not to let the player know what the magic item's true power is until they research it with sages and wizards or test the item out.

Progressive Power
Progressive power magical items become stronger the longer the hero wields them during their careers. They improve in hit probability and damage dealt. An alternative would be to make it either hit probability or damage bonus increase. They could alternate between the two every two levels. Adding special effects can be a cool way to highlight this. For example: A +2 sword may shed brighter light than a +1 sword

Example table:
Hero Level Hit Probability Damage Bonus
1-2 +1 +1
3-4 +2 +2
5-6 +3 +3
7-8 +4 +4
And so on ...

Sword of Resolve
Description: This long sword is simple and well crafted. The blade has the word 'Resolve' engraved on it. It is said that the powers of the sword increase with the warriors resolve. It sheds white sparks when wielded in combat.Powers: Progressive PowersHero Level Hit Probability Damage Bonus
1-2 +1 +1
3-4 +2 +2
5-6 +3 +3
7-8 +4 +4
And so on ...

Unlockable Powers
These are conditioned upon the hero accomplishing a task or discovering the powers by chance. Then these events take place a ability of the item is unlocked. The item's power is unlocked when the item is used successfully in combat. Another power is unlocked when the item uses it to save another life.

Shield of Assurance
Description: This sturdy medium sized round metal shield is emblazoned with a heraldic beast. It glow with purple light when a blow hits it.
Powers: Unlockable Powers
+1 increase to AC (When used first used in battle.)
+2 increase to AC (Defeat a foe in single combat.)
+3 increase to AC (When used to defend another.)
+4 increase to AC (When used in defending against magical weapons.)

Purposed Powers
These powers are useful when accomplishing a specific purpose. When the purpose is not being done the powers are dormant. While on the quest to complete the purpose the powers are active. The simplest way to think of making up a wand's purpose is to think of an adjective and noun. Examples: Destroy Wands, Save Halflings, Find the Lost, Protect Others.

Axe of Wand Woe
Description: This sturdy dwarven throwing axe is well balanced and rings when thrown.
Powers: When the wielder of the axe uses it to destroy a wand or accomplish the task of destroying a wand the axe gains a magical bonus.
+1 increase to hit prob and damage (traveling to wand wielders lair)
+1 increase to hit prob and damage (defeat a wand wielders henchmen)
+1 increase to hit prob and damage (in the lair of wand wielders)
+1 increase to hit prob and damage (in combat with wand wielders)
* Note: The bonus are accumulative while on the purpose of destroying a wand. The effect ends once a wand is destroyed until another it started.

Take two or more of the magic item modifications and combine to make the item both memorable and useful. These makes the item much more wondrous and interesting.

'I vow by my Axe of Wand Woe to the lord of the forge, to chop the Wand of Wickedness in two!' said Maltag the Dwarf. With that the axe hummed with the need to clever wands and be came razor sharp. Maltag marched towards the wizards tower.

Popular Posts