Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Armory Character Record Sheet

Over at Dragonsfoot, someone had asked about an older set of Armory Character Record Sheets. Back in the day I had used these in my campaign, so I went through and edited a set and created a pdf of them.

You can find them below, and in the Archive.
Armory Character Record Sheet


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Planemorph: Fire revisited

After comparing the last couple sets of Elemental tiles side by side it became apparent to me that the fire collection didn't match - mainly due to how the pathways were defined. So I decided to alter them to a deeper magma/smoke/brimstone feel, and in doing so they now fit the general feel I'm going for.

Fire tile up close:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Planemorph: Smoke

Next we turn to The Paraelemental Plane of Smoke. From the Planescape Campaign Set we have the following snippet:

Little traveled and less known, the paraplane of Smoke lies between the planes of Air and Fire. It is groundless like Air and hot like Fire, though it doesn’t scorch. The air is filled with rolling clouds of choking smoke, foul with brimstone and gases, so it’s impossible to breath safely without aid. Toward the plane of Air the poisons clear a little (a successful saving throw vs. poison every round results in only 1d1O points of damage; failure indicates immediate suffocation).

So I decided to create a smoke base that had some slightly visible regions of cracked lava, and then dropped in some pathways that would be considered "cooler regions when compared to the brimstone". Naturally moving through (or even visiting) this plane is not advisable to the air breathing player, but sometimes you open the wrong door or a Smoke Mephit offers to take you on a guided tour of his home - in either case, bad tidings await!

First is the SmokeDemo 9 tile set:
 Followed by a closeup of one of the Smoke tiles:


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Planemorph: Water

Next up is the Water Plane. I went with a swirling hodgepodge of ooze for the "walkway/swim-way", and added a slight alteration to the background swirling color. I think it presents a nice counterbalance to the other PlaneMorphs in this series.

From Planescape's campaign Boxed set comes the strongest support for this ooze:

There’s more than just water out here, too. There’s elemental pockets, though few hold their form long. Chunks of Earth hover in the stream, bubbles of Air drift aimlessly, Ooze worms through the endless ocean, Magma hardens to stone, and bitter brine marks a pocket of Salt. Only pockets of Fire are truly rare, most of them suffocating the instant they appear.

First up is a WaterDemo with the 9 tiles pulled together:
Then a closer look at one of the tiles:


Monday, March 12, 2012

"Butter helps every burn mm-hmm"

...when last we left our intrepid band of brave (foolish) adventures, they had just left The Dark Chateau and had just entered one of the Mouths of Madness and climbed up to a pillared region wherein they were confronted with a massive golden runic covered door.

After many attempts to open said runic covered door (lockpicking attempts all failed) they decided to search the area and one industrious monk took a nunchaku and began tapping on each pillar in turn. A fortuitous roll uncovered a hollow spot, and shattering of said pillar commenced. Inside were two items; 1) an ancient scroll, and 2) a small golden coin.

The druid it was determined could decipher the language on the coin, so as he began to read the ancient Centaurian, the coin melded to his hand and he was overtaken by a contact poison. Meanwhile, afraid the scroll had the same issues, a silken cord was offered by the elf and the monk looped it around the scroll and pulled it from it's shelf. Asked if he would catch it a hurried "no!" ensued and it was determined the ancient scroll shattered as it hit the stone floor.

Meanwhile, the Druid deciphered the text and realized the coin might well open the door. While this was happening, the monk decided he wanted to scale a pillar and used the rope to lumberjack his way up to the domed (arched) ceiling. While there he touched the smooth surface, then heard the unmistakable sound of something fast approaching - as he yelled for help a bony appendage smashed him across the back and he fell unconscious some 30 feet to the stone floor below - taking 17 points of damage in the process.

Black webbing anchored a bone spider as it rapidly descended to claim its prize, swaying its bony legs menacingly. It quickly began wrapping up the juicy monk when the party began nailing it with projectiles, maces and spears. A fortuitous turn for the thief, over checking out the door, for he was able to back attack the spider as it began its accent with it's prized dinner.

Party 1, Monster 0

Minor Bone Spider of Set
HD 4+1 HP 28
# Attacks: 2 + Special
Damage: 1d6+1 X 2, 1d4 (Bite after webbed, Save versus poison -2, fail = paralyzed)
Black webbing makes excellent rope once creating spider is destroyed
EXP 455

The ruins of the scroll revealed a spell of opening, and thus the party encountered the DM's first tribute to E. Gary Gygax - a scroll laying inside a hidden compartment that would, if read, open said compartment.

The coin it turned out could be used to open the door, since the outer edge of the coin turned independently from the rest. The thief, having seen similar coins in his journeys in his home city of Haven, quickly opened the massive doors.

The passage beyond extended downward to a simple stone door, which didn't open but pivoted on its axis, and thus the party spend some time deciding that the door might well lead to 2 different areas when opened. After deciding, they pushed right and a room beyond appeared - not fully happy with this result they turned the door the other way and suddenly a rumbling was heard from behind. The massive golden doors had closed, trapping them within. The thief quickly surmised "We can only exit by going forward".

Four dwarves and six gnomes lived within the massive cathedral like room, and the party quickly was invited to dinner. The elf proffered a single gp into the burning brazier when asked to do so, but the heavy mutton-loving human fighter quickly started a short brawl when he offered only to eat the food for free, or kill them all. A single dwarvish axe descended and the first critical was felt on the human's right arm. His brother, not too bright himself, quickly stuck his spear point into the fire and applied the red-hot tip to his brother's arm, Saxon fainted from the excruciating pain.

Gandallfon, Dwarven God of Gold and Gems, arrived on his great throned seat, glittering armor and crown appearing in place. The Elf, always trying to do the right thing, quickly tossed his magical labradorite gem into the brazier (the DM, it should be noted was shocked that a gem of this magnitude was hurled into the fire). A save versus fire resulted in the worst of possible results, and the Elf, standing three feet from the brazier was hurled some 12 feet distant onto the food-laden table as the gem exploded in a fiery ball.

The dull-witted fighter Angelo, once again thinking quickly - applied butter to the burned Elf - muttering something to the effect of "Butter helps every burn mm-hmm". The Elf was treated by the Dwarven Clerics, and once everyone settled down, a doorway heading North became the parties focus. A bard mysteriously appeared to join the party, and thus they sat out to explore the Storeroom level of Castle Zagyg properly.

A long winding hallway led them out and around, and down to their first choice - East or continue South. As they were deciding their direction, a spider dropped from the ceiling onto the Druid, biting and paralyzing him in the process. Caught in the middle of the marching order, the fighting brothers decided to do a dash-and-smash shield attack, squishing the spider/druid in between. An arrow fired from the Elf missed badly and struck one of the druids, but order was quickly returned when the spider took a powerful whack from a shield bash.

Party 2, Monster 0

Medium Spider
HD 2 HP 14
# Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6+1 (Save versus poison -2, fail = paralyzed)
EXP 80

After the spider was rendered dead, the party continued South, Druid stiff as a plank. When they reached the T intersection and started East, a Gelatinous Cube was discerned heading their way. They retreated back from whence they came and waited to see what the cube would do. When it headed straight past them, oil was quickly gathered and torches proffered, and one meaty cube was quickly reduced to a nasty pile of ooze. Inside the remains was a lovely dagger, and a skull with two platinum teeth.

Party 3, Monster 0

Gelatinous Cube
HD 4 HP 25
# Attacks: 1
Damage: 2-8 (Paralyzation)
EXP 615

The thief grabbed the dagger, and the Elf began to extract the teeth when the skull floated to life. Chants of Demi-Lich exploded from the this point, much ado was made of the absolute safest place for a Demi-Lich to live, i.e., inside of a Gelatinous Cube. The thief attempted to strike the skull with the dagger still in his hand and as he did, both he and the skull disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Down inside a pit the thief faced off against the floating skull unaware what he was about to face.

Meanwhile, a group of bats flitted towards the party from behind and to the East and when bolts/arrows were released, the illusion was both busted and the trap released. The floor gave way, and 5 members fell, including the still-plank stiff Druid.

The thief dodged quickly and was able to avoid all but the heaviest fighter. After destroying the reset plate inside the pit, the party was extracted leaving the skull eerily floating, looking up at the thief with that platinum-toothed grin.

A Flagon Card was used to call forth a Deck of Many Things, and a few members of the party drew cards. One of the monks drew first, and instantly his body slacked, soul gone trapped on some other plane. Other cards were drawn, and a few players needed to face the next creature in single combat to gain a level, while one player (an alchemist) had to face a minor death and win - or be destroyed forever.

Party 3, Deck of Many Things 1, Monster 0

A secondary Flagon Card was used by the alchemist Azcalaban, forcing the Elf to face the same sort of combat as retribution for asking for the Deck of Many Things to begin. The Elf didn't survive, but the Alchemist used a alembic that contained a massive fireball to defeat his opponent.

Party 3, Deck of Many Things 2, Monster 0

The paralyzed Druid regained himself, and the party headed East, but when they came to a 20 foot hallway heading North, the Druid took off at break neck speed towards a well some 120 feet distant. Other party members pulled back a curtain revealing all sorts of spears blocking the passage - but through them they could make out a couple orcs sitting as guards. They gently closed the curtain and moved Northward.

Meanwhile, the Druid proffered a nice treasure when he tossed a gp into the well, but the exuberance was short lived when a massive wolverine came charging Southward intent on claiming the nature lover as his next meal. The brothers set spears in place, and yelled to the Druid to prepare. A quick spell of animal friendship failed and a Flagon Card (whimsy style card) was used to force a change in the game. The wolverine was tasked to destroy the orcs, but that plan was forgotten when a second card gave a Monk the chance to face the wolverine in single combat - if he won he would gain a level due to drawing a card from the Deck of Many Things. The card altered the game again and the wolverine died quickly. Last rites were given to the massive beast by the bard, whom played an opal crystalline flute.

The party went East again, and the Bard stepped into a room that had a partly illusionary floor. He fell some 10 feet into a pit that contained festered, maggot covered rats pouring out of the wall, and while he was rescued fairly quickly - the statement "knowing when to run is always a wise tactic" was proven to be true.

Northward led to a spider infested room/alcove that the players were hesitant to explore, and they finally found some valued treasure when a box was opened to reveal five potions. (2 healing, 1 longevity, 2 unknown).

The party holed up in a room with a single entrance and that's where the session ended.

Herein is a map with the path the players took marked in red:


NOTES: I had installed Syrinscape on my laptop, and created my own sound and effects folder, which was played throughout the session as background/mood. I had installed both the Icewind Dale and Baldur's Gate soundtracks, so I had approximately 100 songs that the program played in a random, non-repeating order. As a bonus, the program allows you to create various effects channels - such as E1, E2, and E3. Plop in sounds, and the program randomly mixes and plays them underneath the E4 music channel. lastly, the right side of the program interface allows for what it calls "one off sounds" - here I dropped in rolling stone, sprung traps, and other sounds to use for special circumstances.

Many a player was freaked out by the ambiance, and many times jumped from the sounds. If your interested in the free outstanding program (registration is free and you can then download all of their sound sets like "Battle, Forest Daytime, Forest Nighttime, Dripping Cavern etc.) , please check it out:

Included is an image of Syrinscape with a new custom background I created specifically for our gaming group:



While I've added in some special encounter types of my own, as well as creating a multitude of player handouts in the form of custom doors to aid with the visual, Castle Zagyg The Storeroom level is proving to be a blast for the players and I.

More to come..

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Planemorph: Air - revisited

In a previous post, Planemorph: Air, a comment was left about my take on the Elemental Plane of Air. John said: "Why would you need geomorphs for the Plane of Air? Wouldn't it be all open?"

This is a valid point, and I overlooked one source that gives examples of what each plane looks like - in much greater detail than The Manual of The Planes (no matter the edition). Planescape.

This Blog's focus is 1E gaming. While I could simply ignore Planescape justifying that 2E will not be mentioned here, I'd be doing you the reader a disservice. See, I use the 2E Monstrous Compendium and like everyone in our gaming group, The Foaming Flagons, the Compendium is universally adored and revered. This I know not to be the consensus amongst most people that are familiar with that collection.

So, considering this forgotten source, I need to re-examine the Air node.

I searched through my Planescape books and was hoping to find a source that would describe the Elemental Plane of Air clearly, and lo and behold in the Planescape Campaign set we have the following:

Imagine being tens of thousands of feet up in the air - so high up the ground’s out of sight. That’s what the plane of Air’s like: nothing but air. It’s a world of brilliant blue, like the sky viewed from the highest mountaintop. It’s not featureless, though. Creatures fly through the great vault of endless sky, and other things - chunks of matter from other planes mostly - drift aimlessly about. Winds rise from gentle breezes to raging gales in mere seconds, and then die down as quickly as they came. Most fearsome of all are the storms blown in from other planes - fearsome lightning, giant hail, scorching heat, choking dust, and whirling maelstroms that are ringlike tornados, eating their own tails. 

Beings on the plane of Air divide into two classes. There are the natives - djinn and air elementals of all types - who stay to the sky, seldom or never setting foot on the pockets of other stuff that drift by. Then, because the plane’s not hostile (and is even beautiful to some), there’s a fair number of extraplanar sods here, too, visiting or setting up outposts. Those who ain’t natural flyers or elementals from other planes tend to cling to stony, floating islands in the endless sky. Djinn sometimes build palaces and cities on these, too. The greatest of these is the Citadel of Ice and Steel. Not far from it is a vortex called the Waterspout, which leads to the plane of Water. Other places of note include Borealis and Taifun, the Palace of Tempests.

It seems we have official Canon that helps support my concept, and helps to define it more than I realized with the lines:

chunks of matter from other planes mostly - drift aimlessly about.. and... cling to stony, floating islands in the endless sky covers my design vision.

I will need to go through and alter the material that defines the pathways for sure.

My thanks to John for reminding me about this Campaign Setting, I can breathe a little deeper knowing my vision of the Elemental Plane of Air isn't completely filled with hot air. 8)


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Project X: Part 15

Ice Mage's Treasure Hoard Generator
Version 1.0.0
Brett Paul
Status: Inactive
Found: The Ice Mage

The Treasure Hoard Generator, otherwise known as The Ice Mage Generator, remains one of the best because its based on the same treasure charts in the Dungeon Master's Guide, and for each monster in the Monster Manual I, MM II and Fiend Folio.

To begin, when your mouse hovers over a check box - say for Treasure Type A, you get a small hint at the bottom of the window that reminds you what values will be generated if that treasure is selected. This is a small thing, but in design and execution absolutely perfect.

NOTE: The check box at the bottom "Adhere strictly to DMG guidelines" is an excellent addition. Otherwise, normal items and coins will be distributed differently than by the rules.

Once you've chosen what types of treasure you need, click the "Create Hoard" button. You can double click any item to modify/customize for your own campaign, and you can add Coins and Items by clicking the appropriate buttons at the bottom the window. Shown below is the customize and Coins popup. Oh yeah, another feature? - You can convert coins with this interface!!:

Below is shown the Add Items interface. Two features worth noting are the DM's Choice and Detailed Spellbook buttons. Click DM's Choice and SOME - not all of the buttons will do this - but you can choose a specific item for your list. The Detailed Spellbook button is just that, choose it and you can choose class, and level of spells to add to it. BUT you can also use the DM's Choice button here and choose the exact spells you need for that hoard.

Overall, the Treasure Hoard generator is a bone-fade smash. All the features and the ability to print out both a DM and Players list separately is an added bonus - and makes this program an excellent addition to any DM's arsenal. Two thumbs way up!

NOTE: The link above is through The Wayback machine - but the links work as of this date - March 6, 2012. Grab the additional zip file created by THG user Greg for even more goodness


Project X: Part 14

Magic Shop / Treasure Generator
Version 1.0.0
Mick Wade, Tom McVicar
Status: Available at:

The Magic Shop / Treasure Generator does an excellent job of randomly creating items found in a shop, and rolling up an NPC (or even PC) spell book. For the shop, first choose the size of the town, and select which items you want to appear (default is all ON) then click generate list. You get a visual of each item, but also a text file can be created and saved for later use - or to copy into your notes.

Next the Scroll / Spell Generator Tab. Choose the class and level of spells needed, then click LIST. You get a quick and dirty listing broken down by spell level and again you can print the results to a text file for easy reference.

A sample text File from the results above:

Overall, while this is a niche product, what it does excel at is the quality that it produces. Taken directly from the table of the DM's Guide and Unearthed Arcana, this is an excellent design, with simple execution. Download, unzip to your desktop and double-click the executable - simple and no install needed.

Highly recommended because it is 1E compliant and because of size (92 kb) and content.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Planemorph: Earth

Next up is the Elemental Plane of Earth. I decided to go with a broken tile motif for the ground layer, while using a liquid lava/dirt combo for the background. I really like the way the tiling came out in this set, while the edge deterioration is an added touch. Included herein is a demo of the first nine tiles:
 Here is a full-size view of one to show the edge deterioration I spoke of and a tricky section for PC's fortunate (or unfortunate depending on your perspective ) enough to wind up here.


Planemorph: Air

This is the altered Air Base version. I added in more clouds and changed the walkway to have a wispy appearance. This is a 9 tile demo of Air, which includes areas that have more holes, open air regions and some small areas that might include leaps of faith etc.


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Planemorph: One idiot's take on the Dungeon Geomorph craze...

It's a festering thing.

You get an idea gnawing in the back of your cerebral cortex and that gnawing slowly but surely becomes a fully manifested psychotic episode. I've got this dwarf sitting inside my brain you see, smoking a fine stogie, drinking whiskey and looking at a Penthouse Magazine while keeping one eye on the controls. He's very apt at keeping me on the lookout for redheads in thongs, Kate Beckinsale sightings (thank the heavens for her), and the occasional fine cigar (on the off-chance you enjoy a fine smoke - look no further than the Acid Line by Drew Estates).

You see, for years I've oft-looked at the Manual of the Planes with some amount of awe and as much exasperation because let's face it, no single volume dealing with as massive a subject as the various planes of existence can possibly cover everything. The book had some neat ideas, but invariably it, and others that followed for the newer editions of AD&D always falls short in trying to explain what exactly the planes each look like. They instead choose a couple popular planes, then go into detail talking about who lives there, their ecology, their enemies, and even what their cities/fortress's of solitude look like.

In this and only this regard, I believe the Manual of the Planes is a rousing success.

I understand that it is impossible to describe the Plane of Dust, Shadow, Fire etc. fully, or even vaguely, but its even more difficult to map it - both as a DM and as the unfortunate player in the game.

With all that said, over the last few years I've seen a craze take over the RPG tabletop realm, all based on the simple concept of the Old-School Dungeon Geomorphs produced by the fine folks at TSR. You all know what I'm talking about, and Dyson Logos is to be credited for making these goodies more popular than they have ever been by creating a fantastic take on them. His blog: A Character for Every Game covers his designs in full detail.

Other artists have taken Dyson's idea and ran with it and in doing so many are now part of Online Generators that will randomly produce a map based on all the various tile sets. Heck, we even have a set of Dice, Cards and Font designed around the concept of Dungeon Geomorphs - you can view the goodness here.

In any case, back to the dwarf and that gnawing sensation...

I was sitting staring at the Manual of The Planes, when it suddenly hit me (well actually I admit it was the dwarf throwing his empty whiskey bottle against the back of my left eye) why not create a set of Dungeon Geomorphs based on the various Planes? So I rolled on a random table to determine which plane I would try and create as a set. It's only a base set of 9 tiles and right now consider this a demo because lets face it I'd go blind and crazy doing a hundred of these before seeing if anyone even likes them.  

The winner, The Elemental Plane of Fire, is shown below:

Overall, I'm extremely pleased with how they initially turned out. I realize as well they may be a bit bland, but I think that is the point. A DM can take these, throw them together randomly, and produce a section of the Elemental Plane of Fire that can be used for a special encounter that his players can explore, while also dropping in various points of interest - be they encounters, structures etc.

Each tile is 10 squares on a side (10X10), and each has two exits per side.

I'm planning to do other planes as well. Earth, Air and Water seem like a good place to focus, but I do have some ideas for those "other" planes. 

Is this the next logical step in the evolution of the simple Dungeon Geomorph?, I'm really not sure, but do me one favor whatever you decide. Don't let the dwarf hear about it, cause I'll never live it down.