Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tomb of the Rocketmen! Give me Maps!

By Saint Gagarin, the Blessed Valentina, and his Holiness the Armstrong!  I want more maps!

On midnight April 1, 2013 I will accept no more maps of the "Tomb of the Rocketmen", but until then, add to the considerable pile I have already amassed! 

I didn't draw this - but it fits.
That's right this weekend represents the last chance to send in a map for Dungeon of Sign's first contest.  Why do it? 1) It's easy - a 10 - 20 room map of a gonzo tomb for Rocketmen.  2) The prizes are good(ish) - win a copy of ASE 1 (or 2 if you have 1) and my efforts at keying your map and turning it into a Land of a Thousand Towers (ASE)/Gonzo Science Fantasy/Sword & Planet adventure for characters levels 4-6.  There are drawings of rocket zombies already produced and 1/2 written tables of "What is resting within the pastel ceramicrete capsule" to facilitate science fantasy grave robbing.  All that's needed is your dungeon design and graphic skills so that these items can find a home and be enjoyed by thousands, well hundreds, ok - more likely tens, of Dungeon of Signs' adoring fans...

How can I play you ask?  Simple, send be a reasonably unblurry image of a map you made (however you make dungeon maps) of a new and ideally exciting location inspired by the following hook:

"Screened by thicket, swamp and forest, a necropolis of the ancients sinks slowly into the earth.  Its existence rumored by foresters and vaguely referenced in some of the Temple of Science's oldest logs, the tombs and monuments have remained slumbering and undisturbed for ages.  Ancient construction materials provide protection against the elements, but in the glorious times, when man traveled beyond the sky, tombs were not considered sport for plunder and the treasures of the ancient sky-farers should be unguarded, untrapped and ready for any hand that has the audacity to reach for them!  Hack through the brigand haunted forest and seize the wealth of the very stars, amongst the TOMBS OF THE ROCKET MEN!"

Send something in - even if you don't win, at least you'll have drawn a cool map for your own use!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Varities of Magical and Enhanced Weapons and Armor

As a follow up to the last post on HMS Apollyon magic weapons, here's a table of magic weapons with mechanical effects and potential ways to discover them.  I enjoy these posts as they allow a hint or two of setting detail with providing much more than disparate imagery and a few odd facts.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Magic Weapons of the HMS Apollyon

The Following Classes of Strange Weapon and Armor Materials are used on the Apollyon.  Most are the product of a specific culture or time period, but all have their advantages over regular steel or bronze.

Shameless Self Promotion

Tempus Geldium
Recently Bryce, over at the blog Ten Foot Pole reviewed a couple of by free PDFs.  I'm happy and honored that this well known reviewer generally enjoyed and recommends my adventure locales, so I figured I'd post a link here to both of them and some thoughts on the importance of community response to a blog publishing hobby writer like myself.

First, Here is Tempus Gelidum (a name that undoubtedly butchers the Latin).
Second, Red Demon (The giant tank one).
Third, Prison of the Hated Pretender (Mentions scabrous yokels)

Now Ten Foot Pole, whose incisive reviews I respect as he generally likes the same things I do in a module: creativity, avoiding or subverting cliches and ease of use, had the following criticisms of these adventures in a pair of surprisingly (at least to me) positive reviews for my amateur maundering.  First - Length, Second - Brevity and Clarity of Writing, Third - Minor Corrections

Sunday, March 24, 2013

HMS APOLLYON - More Magical Items

In a recent game aboard the Apollyon, a party of adventurers managed to trade some scavenged items of considerable value for various magical boons from both the Marines and Malchris the Bug Eyed Devil Baron.  Below is the list they may choose from.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Tombs of the Rocket Men! Contest!

There's one week - 7 days left in Dungeon of Signs contest.  A map, nothing more nothing less, of the TOMBS OF THE ROCKET MEN is all I ask.  Delivered to me in a form I can use to key and write it up by April 1, 2013 midnight. Win prizes of sorts.

Adrian Villar Rojas - Look him up - It'll give you inspiration
More details here .... CONTEST

Paper & Pencils - Produced this lovely map for me ... which is to say don't feel like because this is mostly an OSR blog I will hold it against Pathfinder players or any other variety of map drawer.  The contest is wide open, victory is not yet in anyone's grasp (I haven't really examined the entries in detail yet to keep everything fresh).

I've been mapping out a big chunk of the Starboard side of The Apollyon's Deck 9 and keying it in preparation for a game tomorrow.  I like where it's going.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Magic Items Recovered from the Haldicar Mansion

As a practical matter, I think a lot of magic items handed out in flailsnails and games in general are way too powerful, and more importantly lack any sense of setting.  In the past I haven't been as careful as I should have been, given out a couple of very powerful items including a ghost pistol and a pump action double barreled shotgun.  Yet both these items have serious limitations (shotgun is not magical and can't easily be loaded with anything that will hurt more powerful undead and ghost pistol runs out of bullets for the session on the first fumble),  Other than that I really have been fairly scantly with magic.  That all changed last session I ran, but then, the long term PCs are 5th - 7th level and have been scavenging boring +2 this and that from all over the flailsnailiverse, so I might as well send a few more items that aren't firearms back out.  I am quite happy with the following items as they are evocative and limited in power, without being weak.

A recent expedition into the abandoned and demon Haldicar Manison by several adventurers including Semm the Voice of Lyris, Quartle the Gunmage and Annar the Northman returned with the following items of power.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Did Someone Call for a Copper Hoarding Rat God?

While I had a hankering to submit my own Rat god, the Mother of Thousands to the DYI attempt to resurrect Petty Gods,  Tenkar of Tenkar's tavern has done one better.  I am not sure where the idea for this patron of giant rat cabals came from, but I went a doodled up Ratacus Gant for him. 

Here's the quick snap version, as I am too lazy to scan a good 300 dpi one right now.
Ratacus Gant - Coin Collector

Monday, March 18, 2013

Science Fantasy Dragons

Dragons are pretty iconic to table top roll playing games – what with the whole “Dungeons &” thing.  They’re also a key element to most of the myths that created the basis for tabletop fantasy games.  It seems a shame not to include the creatures in a game settling, out of nostalgia if nothing else, but they are also such artifacts of high-fantasy that it’s hard to place them in another variety of setting.  I personally often play or run science fantasy settings, and while I think it’s possible to include a dragon in some place like The Land of 1,000 Towers, or the HMS APOLLYON, I think it's hard to do well.  My solution is a slight adjustment to what dragons are - not a race of ancient lizard creatures, but the embodiment of apocalyptic tragedy.  Below are the basic chromatic dragons reskinned as nightmare beasts generated by the psychic reverberations of thousands of dying souls during the ancient cataclysmic fall.  The type of tragedy that created the dragon would determine its color, powers and appearance rather than the nature of the environment it lives in.

I envision these monstrous beasts each inhabiting a “devastation” or "desolation" around the location of the tragedy that created them eons before.  The only thing living in these devastations would be the dragon itself and its numerous, smaller, offspring.  I can’t conceive of the actual dragon as an easily killed 8-12 HD creature, but suspect that it’s offspring would vary in size with statistics similar to a normal D&D style dragon, while the actual overlord of the devastation would be something huge and almost godlike in power.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Expensive Henchman - HMS APOLLYON

The Madam’s Special Friends:

Below are three henchman that the party might hire from Madam Introuvibibi of the HMS Apollyon.  These individuals will not work for less than 5,000 GP a mission and only for those who have Bibi's special favor.  The party in a recent game hired Brickbat, though they discovered that a Cleric's find Traps spell makes a skilled safe cracker redundant.
Brickbat Moldoon
 Brickbat Moldoon (Magsman)
A gentleman thief, suave and wry, Brickbat is his trade name and there are rumors that he’s actually the black sheep of a high caste Steward family.  Brickbat dresses well, lives lavishly and spends freely.  He’s completely in love with Madam Bibi, despite having broken the hearts of numerous Uptown debutants, and hangs around the Gilded Exile between jobs.  Brickbat is no thug, and will freely suggest that any time one gets in a fight it’s a botched job.
Brickbat is a lithe dark man in his early thirties, whose most distinguishing features are his eyepatch (he lost an eye once but recently paid the merrowmen for a new one that can see in the dark), and his long beautiful fingers, but he’s a generally attractive in a vague, unmemorable and unthreatening way.  He is most often found wearing a tasteful black dinner suit with his slightly thinning hair shaved clean. If seen shirtless, Brickbat’s Vory connections will be clear due to the large of tattoos, principally simple wave designs.  

Quite useful at climbing, hiding and breaking into things Brickbat also has a good understanding uptown etiquette, families and procedures (May roll under Intelligence if faced with a situation involving these to have savvy advice or quick talk uptown functionaries). Brickbat is also a well-respected freelance Vory, and keeps to the code.  

Foible – Mobbed Up: Besides his adherence to the Vory code (which may limit his behavior in some ways) Brickbat is a bit paranoid of hiring on with adventurers, he’s contracted with the Brown Jenkins gang (Bibi’s greatest rival) for “death insurance”.  If anything happens those who were with Brickbat last will receive a visit from several skilled assassin while they sleep.  Brickbat will reveal this fact is he distrusts the party in any way.

MAP CONTEST - Tomb of the Rocket Men!

Dungeon of Signs will be hosting its FIRST CONTEST! There will be prizes, there will be glory, there will be maps!

WHAT? WHEN? While I do spend a large majority of my time guzzling cheap Scotch and shouting about cat memes on the internet, I think it's time to leverage this blog (approaching a year old) into getting other people to generate my game content, so that I have more time for the above mentioned Scotch and cat .gifs. Starting March 15, 2013 and running until April 1, 2013 I will be accepting maps for a CONTEST!.  Stop cheering, it's not a big contest and I won't be asking a lot of you contestants.

FABULOUS PRIZE! The fabulous prize is a hardcopy of ASE 1 or 2 as selected by the winner, which I will have mailed anywhere you want by Lulu.  If you already own ASE, well maybe I'll send you a drawing of a scientist and a moktar arm wrestling - but you'll still get another copy of ASE.

It doesn't sound like much, but ASE is still the best mega-dungeon in the OSR today (by my estimation) and I'm not asking much.  As an additional prize you will also get is me turning your map into an adventure locale PDF with at least two pieces of art (this may take a few months).  You'll also receive the right to ask me to map anything you want of a similar size.

WHAT DO I DO? You draw a map.  That's it, all I want is a .jpeg, .png or .bmp of a map.  Not even a big map, somewhere under 20 keyed areas. However you do maps, however you draw them or otherwise prepare them, that's what I want.  I don't even want your original art.

WHAT'S THE CATCH? The map is of the locale described below.  I've left a lot to the imagination, but you can't just send me a crudely redrawn version of the caves of chaos.

WHAT IF I CAN'T DRAW?  It's a map, on graph paper. They're really not that hard.  Additionally, I'm not just looking for a pretty bit of cartography, I'm looking for something I can hang a richly described environment on that is also a playable adventure.  The greatest isometric beauty will not win if it's a linear snooze-fest.  I am promising to write this thing up after all.

OK YOU'VE CONVINCED ME, I WANT ALL THE FAME AND FORTUNE DUNGEON OF SIGNS CAN BRING ME! (Warning: It's not much fame and blogger carries only $5.00 in change).

oldmanlaru (at) gmail (dot) com

ARE YOU STEALING MY MAP? No, you can do whatever you want with your map besides sending it to me.  Put it on your blog (mention this contest though perhaps), key it and turn it into a PDF of your own, roll it up in a bottle and cast it out to sea, sell it to WOTC - I just want the darn thing for my contest.  All I ask is that you don't steal anyone else's map or use one that you've generated in the past - that could be embarrassing.

Without further hedging - here's the subject of the contest.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Armor Rules - HMS APOLLYON

HMS APOLLYON – Revised Armor Rules

Normal "Body" Armor comes in three basic varieties: Light, Medium and Heavy.  Armor is determined by variety and maximum AC, rather than material.  Frogling beaded cord armor is just as good as ringmail (Light AC 7) and Steward Segmentata is as effective as a merrow-crafted coat of teeth. (Heavy AC 4).  While Armor has a listed AC, this is the best AC that the armor will provide for a trained user. All classes except magic users receive some armor training as part of their basic package of skills, and selecting certain proficiencies can both provide training previously untrained types of armor and expertise in the use of armor that grants additional bonuses.

Better AC (to 0) can be provided by powered armor, or boiler mail, which also grants (often considerable) damage reduction.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

'Flailsnails' Player's Introduction - HMS APOLLON

Strange and artificial environments await

Thrashing in the dark waters, the taste of salt overpowering, burning the nose and eyes as the light recedes above. A straining pain in the lungs and the sounds of the surface world blotted out.   It seemed endless, struggling against sinking, struggling to reach air and light again, and finally you burst forth head above calm dark water, gulping in the air with explosive breaths and weak with exhaustion.  All around a miasma of fog, tinged with purple and reeking of the rotten sea.  Something nibbles at your feet tugging momentarily, as you scan the mist for a sign of something to swim for.
It’s hours, or maybe only minutes as time is without meaning in the numbing waters, but staying afloat seems easier than before all the same, when you hear a bell in the fog.  Soon accented voices and harsh croaking can be heard coming closer.  A long boat, seemingly cobbled together from parts of other vessels, looms from the left and aboard it you hear a familiar sailor’s shanty, as the rowers push the strange fishing boat closer to you.  

The hands that pull you aboard the fishing vessel are strong, and the sailors aboard mostly pallid, hairy and clearly human.  A few however appear amphibian, with wide frog mouths, bulging eyes and dangling limbs with slick green and brown skin.  Both man and frog are dressed in ragged clothing of a clearly nautical cut.  Pea coats, striped jerseys, cabled sweaters and seaman’s boots abound.  Your rescuers say little to you, but taking advantage of your weakened state exchange your of weapons and armor for a large mug of a black salty broth and a block of bread that tastes of iron and the ocean.
Few see the deck aboard the Apollyon

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Mysterious Map of Writing Desk Themed Location

Very hush hush, very on the sneak sneak.

Haven't been writing or playing much lately due to the intrusion of real life upon the fantastical.  I've been drawing a lot though - this one is for a project though.

This one isn't, it's a furred snake - one of the infamous predators
 of Pahvelorn's Crystal Forest. 

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Cult of the Ravenous - HMS APOLLYON

Not all of the HMS Apollyon's human residents live within Sterntown, though however oppressed its masses are they are arguably the luckiest of the vessel's fully human residents.  Only the stretched albino giants of the Black Gang supposedly live better deep in the hull amongst their forges, fortresses, furnaces, and soot stained temples to the blood quenched spirits of ash, ember and steel.  Of course it is hard to believe that they are human at all, as the Black Gang has dwelt without light or fresh air for so long that they have been changed, if not for the evil, then certainly for the strange.  Likewise the thralls of the Fishmen, while once human are now something very different.

Other people live within the hull however, small tribes of primitives, exiles, and inbred clans all eking out frightened existences hiding from the horrors of the hull.  It is no surprise that some of these groups seek the protection of otherworldly patrons, or that the they are far less picky about which patrons they will serve and how they serve them.  The worst of the cults that has recently come to some prominence, and may even represent a threat to Sterntown's expansion is the Cult Ravenous, worshipers of Yeenoghu Gnawer at the Root of the World.  No gnolls exist to praise Yeenoghu with butchery and gluttony aboard the Apollyon, so he aids his human followers with many boons.
Cult Ravenous Blessed One