Tuesday, April 29, 2014

One Page Dungeon Contest

So I made a dungeon for the One Page Dungeon contest over here: One Page Dungeon Contest. The dungeon is system-agnostic and revolves around the idea of helping a cat with infinite lives navigate a dungeon full of traps intending to kill said cat. Help a demi-god cheat in a game with another demi-god. Get money and fancy magic stuff. This is meant to be a small side adventure that can be dropped in anywhere that can have a crack or cave open up into an old tomb.

Link to the pdf

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Recreational poisons by Race (Part I)

Coming up with flavor for drinks I enjoy really at the table (and in general) got me thinking about what those drinks say about me and by extension what the drink choice of the various races would say about them. So here's a list of the recreations that each race might find as an enjoyable way to introduce poisons into their bodies.

Elves

Elves are in general pretty fancy and snooty, at times. They like to keep with nature, fruit, and sweet things. They will enjoy a fine wine, which pairs nicely with their long, patient lifespans. For more exotic tastes, and for the more reckless among the youths, are the wild, mind altering mushrooms of the forests that "help you connect with nature and your ancestors".


Wild Elves

Wild-Elves are the elves that struck away from the civilized nature of their cousins, or simply never developed it and as such draw their recreational intoxicants directly from the nature around them. Wild elves in the forests marshes will enjoy a good psychotropic shroom. Those near the plains will grow, smoke, and use hemp. In more exotic local, wild-elves even traditionally lick poison frogs, eat hallucinatory cacti, or chew on trippy mosses.


Dwarves

Being the rough and tumble people they are, Dwarves look down on the weaker poisons of other races. If it doesn't burn, kick, or stink, it ain't worth it ta drink. They brew strong, bitter beers, and treat them like water. For times when they want to get tipsy, vodkas are fermented from the root vegetables that share the earth with the Dwarves. Although they won't admit it, Dwarves will enjoy a good psychotropic cave mushroom, just like their skinny forest friends from above. Diplomats between the two races are often well versed in both kinds of shrooms, for diplomacy of course.

Halflings

Halflings are a simple, carefree race that take pleasure in both the journey and the destination of their intoxicants. Honey mead, tobacco pipes, and sweet tequila are enjoyed as a pastime from harvesting to processing, to imbibing. Halflings have something to share with just about everyone, and often save their best stuff to share with new friends.

Gnomes

Never just content with what works, especially not when it comes to two of their loves, alchemy and mind-altering, Gnomes have come up with a mind-boggling variety of intoxicants. Any given Gnomish home will have many alcohols, fruits, tonics, and tools to whip up a whole manner of their own invention. As a whole, they tend towards a good whiskey or rum, but love to mix in that energetic little bean, coffee. Take care when accepting a drink from a Gnome, you might get the most delicious drink you've ever tasted, or you might get a drink of almost pure alcohol with cayenne pepper mixed in.

Finished in part II.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Drunkards & Flagons

I sometimes enjoy a good drink when I am gaming with a group of compadres, so here's a list of some of my current favorites. PC's, NPC's, and DM's are encouraged to drink responsibly.

Marsh-root Mead

[Sprecher's Oak Barrel RB]
-A delicious beverage concocted by marsh witches and swamp-folk that has found a reasonable market in the towns outside of the marshes and swamps it originated from. Some trouble was found in bringing the sweet, alcoholic beverage out of the swamps until it was found that swampy oak trees made useful barrels that imparted a delicious flavor into the brew. 
-Enjoyable just as any other root-beer but with a kick. Sprecher's does a fine job just as with their other sodas and beers.

Dwarven Forge-Starter

[Fireball Whiskey]
-A tough brew formulated by Dwarves, presumably on a dare combining a favoring for whiskey with an exotic spice brought from distant jungles. Large Dwarven cities may even be found with underground farms growing this spicy tree-bark just to brew this drink. Known to light a fire in your gut and your heart, it has even been used to start forges in a pinch. Lesser races find the taste interesting, but overpowering and often mix it with the pulp of apple fruits and sugars.
-Good for sipping over the rocks for those who love cinnamon, or as a mixer in a number of fruit juices or mixed drinks. 

Ork Cider

 [1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part butterscotch schnapps, 4 parts apple juice, 1 part vodka. Bonus points of delicious if you heat up the apple juice first]
-Orks have been trying to brew for as long as they've wandered around the world and pillaged their first drink. They are usually unsuccessful, as it requires knowledge, equipment, and worst of all, patience. They finally found something when they would mash up water-skins of crab-apples, and mealy apples too distasteful for even their mouths. After waiting some time, or more likely forgetting about the apples, Orks found a bitter-sweet brew. Human traders found and improved the drink, leading to a minorly popular drink among apple-laden regions.
-A nice fall type drink reminiscent of a hard cider that is open to modifying to your preferences. I like to up the amount of cider vinegar to get a nice and bitter drink.

Milk of the Dragon 

[Dragon's Milk]
-So named as apparently the original human brewers of New Holland used to purchase empty whiskey barrels off a particularly thirsty dragon as a way to cut costs. The dragon had an affinity for oak barrel whiskey, often trading with or stealing it from the Dwarves. The dragon turned out to be a big patron of the new brew, and a fine customer for the new brewery. The dragon passed on of liver failure but the brew continued on. 
-I enjoy this beer as a sweeter, dark beer that I can sip at during a longer game. It has some good staying power on the palate and I am a big fan of the oak barrel influence.

Pucker Beard

[Whiskey Sour]
-Legend has it, this drink has its origins in a Gnomish dare to try and bring some emotion the face of a Dwarf. After multiple attempts at jokes, taunts, and pranks, one Gnome had an idea to tug on the Dwarf's heart strings through his stomach. Combining sugars and the juices of bright citrus fruits from exotic lands, that Gnome sure did bring some emotion to that Dwarf's face. His face puckered up, grew red, and then the Gnome's face was quickly introduced to the Dwarf's fist. The Dwarf wouldn't admit to liking the concoction, Gnomes always have to be messing with a good thing, but the drink stayed on, albeit somewhat milder.
-A simple mixed drink that I can mix on the fly, or modify up with a little amaretto, and always enjoy. The whiskey really balances out the sour/sweet of the sugary aspects. 


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Some Games

Recently, I have been playing a good number of games and I thought I'd share them. I am always on the lookout for cool new games to add to the ever-growing stack, let me know if you have a good suggestion!

The Resistance: Avalon

If you've played a resistance game before, this one follows a similar set of rules, however it adds a new twist with the addition of some special characters from the lore of King Arthur. If you haven't played before, the game runs as a social game where a small number of traitors are working together to fail a majority of the five quests to retrieve the Holy Grail. The majority good players are trying to succeed a majority of the quests, however only the traitors know who each other are. The players take turns selecting a team to go on each quest, with the number of players increasing in successive quests, and then players voting to agree or disagree with that selection. The team that goes on a quest will secretly help the quest succeed or fail, with only one fail card causing the entire quest to fall apart. The special characters shake things up in that Merlin (good) knows the evil characters, the Assassin (evil) give evil a second chance for victory if he can successfully guess Merlin's identity, Morgana (evil) appears as Merlin, and Percival (good) gets to see who Merlin and Morgana are but does not know who is who. It is the job of the servants of Arthur to succeed in the quests and to discover who the Minions of Mordred are. Conversely, the Minions of Mordred should do their best to muddy the waters, sow confusion, and get sent on quests in order to secretly fail them.



The game usually lasts between twenty minutes and forty minutes, and the losing side almost always requests a rematch, leading to a very enjoyable series of matches. The game can have from 5 to 10 players, but is best in the middle of that range. If you are trying to fit in 10 people, pro-tip: you want a space where you can easily keep an eye on everyone else.

This is probably my favorite game and it is a pretty popular game to play with a wide range of group sizes. I have had many great moments where deception has won the day or where my risky tactics have back-fired catastrophically.The meta-game can get pretty fierce once you play often enough and patterns in people's behavior becomes apparent. Lying, bluffing, a good poker-face, and some political strategy are going to be your best friends in this game.

Firefly

Any fan of the tragically-cut-down-before-its-time TV series will have a great time with this game. Firefly puts up to four players in the seat of a captain of a Firefly class ship, where you are looking get a crew, get a job, and keep your ship in the air while always angling towards the main objective. Players compete with each other indirectly in vying for the best crew, equipment, and jobs. The game rules are a pretty long read but generally come down to flying around the 'verse, buying equipment, hiring crew, taking on jobs, misbehaving, evading the Alliance (Johnny Law), and avoiding the Reavers. Misfortune is constant, and many times you can be left on the brink of disaster. While the final objectives shift, they all center around being the first to complete a final, multi-part job or saving up the most cash and making a mad dash to retire with your money.


The events, missions, crew, captains, and even equipment make many references to the show, meaning avid fans will enjoy the Easter eggs, but knowledge of the show is not required for the game. Expect your first few plays of this game to go longer than the estimated 2-hours, or maybe that was just us being unintelligent. Once you get the hang of this game, each player's turn takes only a minute or two.

This game takes a little more time commitment than some other games so I don't get to play it as often as I would like. I really enjoy this game and the highs of pulling off a job by the skin of your teeth are well balanced by the lows when you might be looking at your last bit of cash, low fuel, and an unhappy crew. If you want a space spaghetti-western game about captaining your own spaceship of ne'er-do-well's, I couldn't recommend this game highly enough.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

DMScreen Examples (continued)

1. Treasure, Level 1, 4 players,  Indoors

[Location] Bloody shrine.
[Treasure]
             Decorative pile
                  -Chair (325.0)
             Bronze urn
                  -Wand of Enemy Detection (300.0)
                  -160.0 lbs of iron ingot (32.0)
             Painted wood coffer
                  -Hat of Disguise (200.0)
                  -Contemporary, in good gondition, god-awful quality, and supernatural painting gesso. (400.0)

Shoving the heavy wooden door aside, a loud 'SQUITCHUWK' greets your ears as a bloody corpse lodges itself underneath the swinging door. At the back of the room, behind a blood splattered shrine of skin and bone, sits a stacked pile of a bundle of spines tied to a bronze urn sitting atop a heavy wooden chair perching upon a heavy wooden coffer.
(My initial reaction to this encounter was that it was going to be a creepy room, and that it should be bloody in a way that will make the players wary and unnerved.)

2. Monster, Level 2, 4 players, Outdoors

[Location] Dried up stream.
[Monster] Level 10 golem {Morale: zealous  Purpose: food  Reaction: evaluate, defensively
[Junk] Fire Seeds  (250.0)
                  -Chest of drawers (68.0)

Trudging through the drought-plagued plains, your boots start to stick in the mud and it appears like the mud only gets thicker in the dried up stream-bed ahead, between the boulders and tumbleweeds. You might be able to move more quickly hopping on top of the rocks.
Any player that questions the source of the mud has a chance to discover that a powerful mud golem sleeps in what at first seems to be a stream-bed. Trudging through the mud will awaken this powerful creature, which has a great advantage in the thick mud, and will play with its food before going in for the kill. Staying on top of the boulders will let the players skirt by the golem without waking it. Examining the tumbleweeds in the area reveals a half sunk chest of drawers with fire seeds inside one of the drawers.
 (My initial reaction to this encounter roll was the movie Tremors, especially with the monster being so powerful with respect to the players.)

3. Trick, Level 8, 5 players, Outdoors

[Location] Spring.
[Trick]   1. Wall artwork
           A helpful trick based on a tool/machinery.
                     Success will increase physical abilities.
                     Failure will result in no help.
After miles of sand, a cool wind passes over your brows and a cloud shadow hides the glare of the sand enough to reveal a small oasis in the distance. 
If players approach the oasis:
A whirring and spinning machine of glass vials and arcane markings dumps crystal clear water onto the sand. A few plants opportunistically lap up this water and are currently in bloom. 
Players who investigate this machine:
The markings on this machine may be distantly related to Aquan, but seem to be highly stylized. The pictographs show deep blue waves, a humanoid figure standing tall, and palm trees. The device irregularly makes a grinding noise of metal on stone, and seems to sputter and stop randomly. 
If the players try to fix the machine, it will require someone with a knowledge of Aquan or arcana to even attempt such a feat. If they are successful, the oasis water will take on a faint white glow. This water will act as a potion of heroism, and there is enough water for 6 potions. Failing to fix the machine will cause it to break apart, ending the source of life-giving water for these plants.

4. Trap, Level 15, 4 players, Indoors

[Location] Bathroom
[Trap] 1. Tile-work 2.Dripping sound:
           Devastating burning oil spews forth
The simple wooden door opens up onto a dirty tiled room with many stall doors, with the poorly lit room hiding what sits behind them. There is a steady drip of a dirty black water from a sagging portion of the ceiling. 
When any player enters the room and steps on the floor tiling, the sagging ceiling will split open and release an ember, igniting the oily droplets to create a massive and deadly burning oil trap. The deadly nature of this rooms can be seen by players that take the time to examine the tile-work or look more closely at the oily substance dripping down. 

5. Special, Level 4, 6 players, Indoors

[Location] Conjuring room
[Special] Weird trash.
The heavy stone door to this room is locked with an ornate stone lock, and when unlocked, slides smoothly downward into the floor. The center of this room is adorned with a glowing semi-circle of runes, a hexagonal pattern of ash filled incense holders, and a pile of oily rags in the corner. Upon entering the room, the oily rags stand up into a vaguely humanoid shape, and offer mumbled apologies as it shuffles past the party in order to make it to an appointment. Anyone trying to stop the rag-man will risk contracting a number of diseases on contact.
The rag-man is a disembodied spirit accidentally attached to a pile of dirty rags. The spirit is that of a long deceased merchant that is unaware of its current predicament and has a very fogged mind. The players would do well to simply ignore the creature, but as with all special encounters it is supposed to be eerie and unusual.