Adventure Shorts #0: Survived!

There, I've survived the September Challenge. Barely. ;-)

Here's a link to (almost) all the adventures as compiled by Asshat. Thanx Matt!

And here's a link to my own twentyfive shorts.

Cheers to all who joined, and cheers especially to those who actually wrote shorts - or even made the challenge. H-H-HURRAAAH!!!!

And now for a beer.

PS As an addendum to the early surveys: Gamemasters corner also seems to have joined the challenge, but I'm not sure why or when - there's no adventure shorts there!

Update: You can find all shorts of my series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow

Adventure Shorts #21: The Rotting Mill

No It's not skipped! It was just pending! Here's the final part of the september challenge series.

Near the edge of town, in the fields, there stands a dark, ruinous, rotting wooden windmill. It was not there the night before. And neither were the leaping, whispering, ravenous bodies with their yellow eyes.

What may occur next:
  • The rotting, dark windmill appeared overnight through a mirrorlike portal with a missing shard. It is no doubt part of the same portal as the shard where the stirges came from. The mill comes from an evil dimension.
  • The ravenous bodies are ghouls that eat not only the dead but also the living. They will swarm out next night and attack villagers and heroes alike.
  • The mill is actually a travelling device itself. Inside is a set of wheels within wheels, full of runic symbols that can be set to direct it to a new destination. Perhaps it can even travel through time, within limits. There will be fuel for 1d6 transportations. And it may attract new ghouls between dimensions with every trip.

The ghoul is a foul, undead creature, naked, gibbering, licking, leaping, clawing, gnawing. Sometimes covered with rotting poisonous slime which causes paralysis if it touches the skin of living creatures. They are often found near graveyards, and other dry deserted areas where carcasses can be found.

OSR: AC 6, HD 2* need magic or silver to harm, Dam 1d6, paralysis on hit, Move 90', Save: F2, #app 1d6
DD2: dex 4, leap attack 3, claw and bite 4 (weapon class 1), cause fearful paralysis 3, resistance to non-silver weapons (selective armour class 3, may be undone by a blessing)

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #25: Mede's Microcrystal Monster

Mede the Micromancer once again invites the heroes to admire his newest magick finds. He leads them to a grotto where a ten foot high statue of a demon has been crafted from the stalagmites. “It's a present for the duke” Mede explains, “and I want you to help protect and transport it to him”

What may occur next:
  • The crystal statue is rather big and heavy to carry, and although the reward Mede promises is good, it will be a challenge to move the crystal demon idol anywhere.
  • Forgetful Mede may provide the heroes with a special mycrocrystal spell scroll that can shrink the statue to a nice transportable size and weight. But the transformation will not last, and might wear off too early if the transport is delayed. And then there are all sorts of officials who hinder the heroes on their way to the king.
  • The crystal demon is not just a lifeless statue. It will come alive and move to attack once it is delivered to the king. Mede may or may not have been aware of this fact.

Crystal Demon Statue
Crystaline life forms are very rare, but most of them may be found in the Castellan deserts. There something in the soil gives the sands and minerals a life of their own. Most crystal life forms resemble animals, human statues or demons. But in theory they may take any form. Most crystalines are peaceful, and may even remain unmoving for weeks on end. Others may seem animated by malevolent demons.

OSR: AC 3, HD 4, Dam 2d6, Move 90', Save: F3, #app 1d6-3
DD2: heavy crystal skin (armour class 3), crystal fist 6 (weapon class 3), may appear inanimate

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #24: Evil Dead

In a cabin in the woods is said,
lies an ancient book blood red.
't Is a tome craving to be read.
But guarding it are the Evil Dead.

What may occur next:
  • The heroes find themselves travelling through the woods, and find an excellent but deserted cabin in the woods. Night falls and scary figures move through the woods outside.
  • The figures outside are undead, attracted by the human flesh inside. And by a magic tome of darkness, that also lies in the cabin.
  • The book of darkness wants to be read. In it are spells to control the living dead outside. But it may also attract even more evil when the words in it are wrongly uttered. And unwary heroes themselves may end up slain, and then turn into zombies too.

The evil dead, those that hunt and devour the living while they decay and rot away themselves were first encountered in the poisoned valleys. But after the use of the weapons of destruction, and the subsequent black rains, their numbers appeared in many places. Those who die because of the evil dead often turn into one of them, which led scholars to believe that it is a disease, or a parasite that animates dead bodies. No matter, whenever encountered they are relentless, carnivorous, with an excellent sense of smell, and although usually slow and with bad hearing, they may attack from ambush and must be considered deadly. Priests may be able to turn them by blessing and protection.

OSR: AC 8, HD 2, Dam 1d6+1, Move 120', Save: F1, #app 1d10
DD2: claw and bite 4 (weapon class 2), will not stop until critically wounded

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #23: The Apes

Visiting a deep valley in the far wildernis, the heroes encounter a young acolyte lady. She is wounded and alone, but conscious. When a hero lifts her, her voice is weak: “I must find my sisters of the temple, before it is too late.”

What may occur next:
  • The priestess is on her way to a nearby hidden temple, where her lost sisters guard an ancient bone relic of her order. She was knocked down by a thief who wants the relic.
  • No mortal man, but only women are allowed to see the relic, or else they be slain by apelike monsters.
  • The apelike monsters have slain not only the thief, but also the priestesses who guarded the relic. The relic bone has now fallen down a crack in the crags, from whence only a female hero – or the acolyte lady may recover it safely.

Rock Baboon
These strong apes usually live in peaceful groups led by a few stronger male and female specimens. They are seldom aggressive, except when cornered or swept up by evil magick.

OSR: AC 6, HD 2, Dam 1d6+1, Move 120', Save: F2, #app 2d6
DD2: con 3, str 3, dex 3, bite or strangle 4 (weapon class 1)

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #22: The Slaver Party

A night on the town seemed such a good idea at the time. But when one of the heroes picks a fight with a hooded giant with a nasty lisp and temper, the entire game changes. The giant and his friends turn out to be alien lizard men, foraging for strong slaves.

What may occur next:
  • The lizard men are looking for gladiators in their arena far away, and they believe the heroes make fine specimens.
  • The lizard men use a special magical net to capture prospective slaves, and they are a particularly strong group to deal with. Running away may be a better option than fighting.
  • If the heroes manage to get away, they learn that the lizard men slavers hold an important princess (or prince) on their exotic ship that lies in the harbour.

Lizard Man
The lizard people believe that they travelled from their dry star of origin, to the luscious sea waters of this world, where their god made them masters. Where they live under water or on the sea is a matter of conjecture, but they themselves say that they are with millions. Fortunately man only rarely meets their raiding parties, and if they are encountered they are usually in small groups of traders – relatively peaceful. The lizard people stand between five and seven feet tall, and have a greenish blue scaley skin. To avoid authorities they may sometimes pose as cloaked humans.

OSR: AC 5, HD 2+1, Dam 1d6+2, Move 90', 120' swimming, Save: F2, #app 1d6+1
DD2: scaley skin (armour class 1), but may also wear chain armour (armour class 2), str 3, con 3, spear or trident 4

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #20: The Mother Wolf

“Romulus and Remus were raised by a mother wolf”, the old man said. “But who has ever heard of speaking wolves that raise men, do they exist? I think so, and I know where you can find one for me.”

What may occur next:
  • The scholar who knows where to find the mother wolf has captured two human children who walk on all fours like wolves, but who also speak a simple human like language. He says he found them in the neglected forest behind the broken bridge.
  • The children were in fact abandoned years ago and were raised by a speaking mother wolf. She will be looking for her human children and may be angry. She may also be reasoned with.
  • A bounty hunter and his helpers are also looking for the mother wolf, intent to sell her for the highest price.

Speaking Wolf (lost race)
The speaking wolves once were the companion of man, according to the oldest legends. They came with us when we travelled between the stars, and they raised those of us who lost their mothers and fathers. Some say, that these were the creatures that eventually evolved into our domesticated dogs.

OSR: AC 7, HD 2+2, Dam 1d6, Move 180', Save: F1, #app 2d6
DD2: dex 4, bite 4 (weapon class 1 or 2), run 4
The speaking mother wolf speaks in a howling and growling simple dialect of the common language. It can charm any attackers to leave her unharmed and go away (OSR: limited charm person, DD2: limited charm 3)

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #19: Night at the Ravine

At the end of winter, when the heroes travel with a group of traders along a ravine they find that the road has crumbled down. The company is stuck for nightfall, so they camp on the road just beside a 1000' drop. That night several people wake up screaming: “ghosts, dead people!”

What may occur next:
  • The ghosts are evil spirits that want to scare the traders to let them fall down the ravine in fear. They are not able to harm or touch anyone phisically, not directly.
  • The ghosts are ghosts of traders who had fallen down here, but they actually protect the traders and heroes by waking them. Another part of the road is about to collapse, and only because the heroes are awake one of them will notice. With luck all can move safely back down the road before the rock slides down.
  • The ghosts are traders who died here, and a shrine that is built for them on the other end of the broken road lights up in a magic glamer. Then a bridge forms out of thin air, allowing those who dare to pass to the other side. If at least the bridge is real, and not a ghostly trrap, the heroes and traders may be at their destination next day after all.

Caravan traders are common on all routes between civilized areas, and among them are often adventurous types. Some of them might have a somewhat dishonest streak, but most of them are good folk, who prefer to talk their way out or into any situation rather than using force.

OSR: AC 7, HD 1, Dam 1d6, Move 120', Save: F1, #app 1d8
DD2: leather jacket (armour class 1), long knife 3 (weapon class 1), trading 3

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #18: Blood Sucker from a Mirror

A present arrives by mail, from Mede the Micromancer, a known trickster. When the heroes carefully open the package, it contains a shard of glass. A humming shard of glass, with an image in the reflection which is growing, and growing, and growing...

What may occur next:
  • The shard is from a mirror portal to another dimension. It now opens up to a space where blood sucking kolibris live in swarms. Fortunately, they come out one by one through the shard. But they come out fast.
  • The shard was packed in a lead lined box, which protects against the portal magick. It will stop the swarm coming out.
  • Not only the Stirges are on the other end of the mirror shard, but so is Mede, who fouled up one of his experiments. A letter accompanying the package explains how the heroes may rescue him. Only question is, how did he write the letter and send the shard in the mail?

As an experiment from the southern armies, the giant, two foot wingspan, blood sucking kolibris were first intended to take on the wolf spider threats. Unfortunately, the beasts soon evolved into a species that attacked easier prey too, like humans.

OSR: AC 7, HD 1, Dam 1d3, Move 180', Save: F2, #app 1d10
DD2: flight 5, blood sucking beak 3 (weapon class 0), dex 5

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #17: The Dead Grove

Where once were beautiful farms, there now was a vast tangle of thorns and weeds. Where once played children, there now were graves. Where once there were butterflies, there now were tiny flying creatures with sharp teeth and voracious magick.

What may occur next:
  • Deep in the overgrown wilderness, where once was a fairy tale kingdom, there is now a dark, stinking grove with evil, flesh eating sprites.
  • The sprites are twisted because of the poisonous silver ores under the wilderness. These ores may seem like a treasure to those who do not know.
  • Behind the grove, a true princess sleeps due to a curse. And she will only wake once a prince kisses her. Then again, she might be the human sized, flesh eating sprite queen.

Undead Sprites

In poisoned groves the undead sprites may be found, half a foot tall, buzzing and humming, flying and biting, casting malevolent cursed magick. Their teeth are razorsharp, their eyes glowing red, their smell of rotting flesh.

OSR: AC 5, HD 1/2, 1d3, 5 sprites together may cast curse, Move 180', Save: M1, #app 3d6
DD2: dex 4, armour class -1 due to size, flight/evade 4, bite/knife 2 (weapon class 0)

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #16: The Caravan through Mirkwood

The girl's clothes are haggard and torn, her face full of grime and fear. She screams when she sees a hero: “The spiders bound them all up! You have to come and rescue them!”

What may occur next:
  • The girl is from a caravan that took a fatal shortcut through a dark, overgrown forest. The group encountered a nest of giant spiders who spun their webs over the road, and now many of the traders ended up as neat spider food packages.
  • Most of the merchants may already be dead. Including the father of the girl. If so, she will go into a frenzy and attack the spiders without regarding her own safety.
  • The girl may also be a shapeshifting spider in disguise, who just lured the heroes into a huge trap. More spider food!

Giant Wolf Spider
The man sized wolf spiders are the most common weapon left from the wars of destruction. They were first used by the northern attackers, but soon they took to their own and hid in every crack of not occupied by civilisation.

OSR: AC 7, HD 2, Dam 1d8, poisonous bite, Move 120', Save: F1, #app 1d6-1
DD2: chitinous armour (armour class 1), stealth 3, bite 4 (weapon class 2, poison class 2, paralysis and damage to chest)

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #000: A Little Survey of the Entries So far, Pt II

About a week ago, I surveyed the first twelve participants in Asshat Paladins Blog Challenge for september: to write up 25 (twenty-five) short adventures and publish them this september. This post I'll deal with the other twelve - at least for what's on their blogs for the challenge so far.

Tower of the Archmage is kinda on schedule, and posts fantasy adventures seeds to "bring characters from levels 1 to 25 in 25 adventures". I wouldn't want to go that fast, but it's a good way to string adventures together. The seeds are short and scetchy. Somewhat too scetchy to my tastes in some cases. In general however these are nice, funny and original story lines.

Blood & Iron's shorts are more like combat encounters in a continuing story, written up in film script style. Stats are for an as of yet unfinished system, which means that you will have to make up for yourself how you implement them.

...and the sky full of dust took up the challenge describing a special room in a dungeon for each short. The rooms are connected. Very basic.

The Armchair General has 3.5 d20 adventure shorts that are really short. So short in fact that they are often too scetchy for me, but there is also some evocative imagery in them, setting off your imagination. The 3.5 system mention is actually moot, because there are no stats. You can implement for any system.

There's a Bugbear in My Kitchen just had to join, he says. But he's only at five now, and we're past half of the month. The shorts are nice, short and original and for several settings and systems. Keep it up Jeff!

For a Fistful of Coppers likes criminals and weird westerns, it seems. Three heists and three strange western tales so far. Nicely original and not too long.

Places to Go, People to Be seems to have forgotten about the challenge. Or someone else posted the linky for Herb.

Dreams in the Lich House is proliferous, and offers almost complete campaign ideas in each nugget. They have a high fantasy feel and should be easily implemented in any fantasy system, including OSR style games. You'll have to do some homework to use some of them, but all in all it's very good stuff!

Wombat's Gaming Den of Iniquity features a connected Traveller series of adventure shorts, with a high mobster content. All are set on the same world.

The Dwarven Stronghold has hammered out and thoroughly built "Get Ready! Get Set! Go!"- adventures, with a dwarven flavour. Boric works hard, confronts writers block, and even publishes some full fledged NPC sheets on the side. Nice.

Ramblings of a Great Khan also seems to have forgotten about the challenge. Where are they, Jagatai?

Dark Dungeon 2nd Edition is my own set of creations. That's pretty hard to judge by myself, naturally, but I'll have a go. Compared to some of the others the fantasy seeds are short and scetchy, sometimes a bit too scetchy. But, this series is the only one with original artworks for each and every short. Also - again unique - each short has more than one possible outcome, making the seed useable even if your players have also read them.

Have fun looking around! My favorites this time around are Tower of the Archmage, The Dwarven Stronghold, my own Dark Dungeon 2nd Edition - and my absolute favorite of all twentyfour so far is Dreams in the Lich House. Cheers!

As a PS on sept 18th: The Lost Papers of Tsojcant are still lost - if it's about the challenge. It's kind of silent there. Everything okay? Crazy GM obviously was not okay, as he went into hospital while I was doing my former part of the survey. This might explain why Cthulhu has not bee willing for seeds to appear on his blog yet. All the best to you both, Crazy GM and Lost Papers!

And Servitor Ludi - you keep amazing me...

Adventure Shorts #15: Slithering Death

A new town is being built in the old ruins of what once was a castle, and the heroes pass by. A young boy offers to sell them soft leathery eggs the size of a football. “These are snake eggs” the cleric whispers, “I wonder where their mother is”.

What may occur next:
  • The giant snake that laid the eggs, and perhaps a few more, are below the ruins in the old dungeon, where they made their nest. They might sleep for the winter. But they will attack angrily when disturbed.
  • The old castle is the new settlement for almost a hundred people who are building their houses between the walls. They have no other home, as they are fleeing from a local war. They and their leaders refuse to leave.
  • Some of the eggs have already hatched, and little venomous giant snakes are making their way through the new village. Villagers scream for help, or others might be bitten.
Giant Cobra
This giant species of snake is rarely seen, but on the edges of civilisation they may sometimes be found dormant in ruins or wild jungle groves. Unless attacked they are seldom hostile, except when they are hungry. They eat only once every few months. Full grown animals may be up to fifty feet long, and they can swim in muddy waters.

OSR: AC 7, HD 3 (HD 1 for hatchlings), Dam 1d6 (1d3 for hatchlings), poisonous bite, Move 90', Save: F1, #app 1d6-3, hatchlings 2d6
DD2: mother animal: stealth 3, bite 5 (weapon class 2, poison class 2 to chest)
DD2: hatchling: stealth 5, bite 3, (weapon class 0, poison class 1 to chest)

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #14: That Haunted Night

“We should never have come up here”, she panted. The attic of the old house moaned on all sides. And there they came up the stairs, crawling with their twisted nails, an evil glow in their hollow eyesockets: these were the wicked dead.

What may occur next:
  • When exploring an old manor away from civilisation, perhaps to stay the night, perhaps to reclaim it, perhaps to look for left treasure, the heroes get trapped in a hell hole full of undead. Dark colored skeletons come to unlife and attack from all sides.
  • The heroes have to fight, or run for their lives, as there are far to many of the undead at once. And maybe some cannot be harmed except by magickal weaponry.
  • The heroes receive help from a lone hero priest, who can also throw magic missiles against undead while loudly reciting prayers.

Animated Skeleton
Generally it is believed that undead, animated skeletons were created by foul necromancy during the Third Celestial War. But these wicked dead are also often found near mining areas and ancient temples, as if come alive due to a curse on the soil itself. Their bones are sometimes brittle, sometimes almost of hard stone. Their want to kill is without mercy or semblance of fear. They will not stop until destroyed.

OSR: AC 7, HD 1, Dam 1d6, Move 60', Save: F1, #app 2d6+1, undead, will not flee unless turned
DD2: tough bone (armour class 1), claw and bite 3 (weapon class 1), cause fear 3, undead

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #13: The Horror in the Sewers

“It's just that I cannot sleep at night because of the noise they make”, the innkeeper complained ”So I hope you not like them last exterminators. Them no goods just went down and didn't come back!”

What may occur next:
  • There is a giant rodent, or a giant shrew, in the sewer under the inn, and it ate the last exterminator party.
  • The animal was changed by Mede the Micromancer, and the artefact that turned the shrew into a giant shrew is still lying somewhere in the sewer. It can reverse the effect if another charge is applied. Or make someone else giant on the first applied charge. There are 1d6 charges left in the little staff.
  • The shrew is protecting a nest of little giant shrews. The mother shrew just protects her nest. Maybe someone like Mede the Micromancer might want to buy the little ones – for experiments. Moral dilemma or commercial opportunity?

Giant Shrew
Sometimes encountered in the lost valleys, but more often near mining areas, the twisted giant shrews prefer to live underground in damp tunnels and caves. Full grown animals may be up to eight feet from head to tail, but in general they eschew humans who travel in larger groups.

OSR: AC 4, HD 2 (mother HD 3, children HD 1), Dam 1d6, Move 180', Save: F1, #app 1d10
DD2: Dex 5, bite 4 (weapon class 1, or 2 for a mother animal)

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #12: Orc Quest

The request was not uncommon: recover a lost talisman of some ancient tribe. But the requester was uncommon: a lean and mean orc tribe chief. And the side requests was even more unique: the orcs wanted to join in this quest themselves, using our heroes as guides.

What may occur next:
  • The orc war group is quite large, and would be a tough challenge to the heroes if they had to fight them. But they seem peaceful enough. They also say they never harmed no men, and never will. But they do fight another tribe of orcs who have taken their tribe talisman. And they will reward the heroes well, if they are brave enough to join them.
  • He other orcs guard the talisman, a gruesome necklace of shrunk heads, as if their existence depended on it. So the heroes will either have to use guile, or excellent combat tactics with their own company of orcs to help them.
  • When the heroes have secured the talisman, and have taken their reward, the orc chief thankfully takes the talisman. Then he begins to laugh “thank you, measly humans, with the heads of invincibility we can finally defeat you! ATTAAAAACK!!!” And the company of orcs who had just become their friends now charges the heroes.

Orcs are a foul species of humanoid. According to legend they were a twisted creation kin to the elves, but now they have degenerated even further. Usually the type humans encounter are those that travel around in war bands, plundering and killing on their way. However, between the two first wars of destruction, their peoples proved to be able to live peacefully among humans as well.

OSR: AC 7, HD 1, Dam 1d6+1, Move 90', Save: F1, #app 2d6-1
DD2: reinforced leather (armour class 2), heavy club or long knife 3 (weapon class 2), STR 3

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #11: Down the Mountain Stream

All the heroes have to do is raft down the mountain stream in the uncharted territory. And then see if it ends up in the main river below near the colony settlements. Piece of cake, if the stream is navigable... and no mishaps occur.

What may occur next:
  • The mountain stream is hard to navigate, but after a few rapids it does end up in the river near the settlement. It will not be of use as a shortcut.
  • The mountain stream goes underground, and the heroes will have a hard time working their way back up again through the rock and streaming water.
  • Not only does the stream go into a cave, the cave is also inhabited by giant lizards. And the lizards may not be amused with the new company. Or they might see them as a snack.

Giant Geckos are some six foot in length, and they are typical creatures of the lost valleys. Due to their size, they may be unusually aggressive against typically smaller humans.

OSR: AC 5, HD 3+1, Dam 1d8, Move 120', Save: F2, #app 1d6-2
DD2: thick leathery skin (armour class 1+1 for size), bite or tail whip 5 (weapon class 2), stealth 3

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #10: The Dog People under the Stairs

-->“Under the stairs of the castle, there is a small door. And this small door leads to a small corridor, which leads to a twisted small maze. It is the maze of the dog people, and it is these people that have stolen the burghermasters childe.”

What may occur next:
  • The burghermaster of a local town ask the heroes to recover his lost toddler. His son was playing in the old borough castle, when the au pair lost him, and heard him cry under the stairs. When she tried to recover him, she could not. He was gone, and there was only a small door, less than two foot high.
  • Behind the door is a maze under the stairs, of tunnels big and small. Deep below there live the dog people, a foot high, whispering, afraid of the light. They have kidnapped the child, perhaps to eat it in a ritual.
  • The dog kobold people actually took the Burghermaster's son because they believe he is their future king. They intend to crown him and raise him until he can speak their language well. The toddler himself was just playing with his new friends, but perhaps now he is afraid. It might take some convincing, and a dog kobold translator, to get the child back.

Dog Kobold
Dog kobolds are small, doglike men, just a foot tall. They speak a whispering, barking language of their own, and are quite intelligent. However, they are very secretive, distrustful of men, afraid of the light, and frightening to behold. They wield little weapons, and when forced, they may gang up on larger foes.

OSR: AC 7, HD 1/2, Dam 1d4, Move 120', Save: F0, #app 2d6+3
DD2: leather armour (armour class 1-1 for size = 0), little spear 2 (weapon 1), stealth 3

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #9: Micronaut Heroes

Visiting the laboratory of Mede the Micromancer was a frightening experience. Monsters bottled up inside small bowls, people diminished and locked up in canary cages. And then, startled, one of the heroes stumbled and fell through that shimmering doorway in the back of the room.

What may occur next:
  • Whether Mede is a good fellow or not, is unsure. He is a trickster and experimenter though, so there may be all sorts of strange devices and objects in his working rooms. Mede may hire or experiment with the heroes all the same, depending on his whim. And he is immensely powerful.
  • The shimmering doorway is a magical portal leading into a world with huge insects, some of which may regard the heroes as prey, food, or plain intruders. The way back is through a shimmering doorway further away on the edge of a giant beehive.
  • The insects in the strange world are not huge, but the heroes have become tiny. The portal diminished them and dropped them in Mede's garden, where also stands a beehive. The diminishing spell will wear off in a few hours, during which the heroes need to survive. Any undiminished heroes may spot their fellows as tiny people in the garden.

Killer Bee
Giant killer bees are just one kind of primeval insect, of which sort many can be found in the lost valleys. Killer bees may be aggressive, especially when one is close to their hive. Their wing span may vary from one to two feet.

OSR: AC 7, HD 1/2, Dam 1d3, poison sting, Move 120', Save: F1, #app 1d10
DD2: chitinous skin (armour class 1), bite 2 (weapon class 0), poison sting (weapon class 1, poison class 3 to chest), flight 4

Mede the Micromancer
Originally this very old, leathery skinned, tanned, short and bald man came from the Castellan desert. He is generally friendly and sometimes even helpful, but he can be merciless toward his enemies, and indifferent to others in need. He is an absolute expert at all magicks pertaining to the shrinking of objects an living things, and a powerful spell user.

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Pick #66: Hard Streets... they Rock

Okay, it's not a role playing game. It's not even part of a role playing game.
But it's rather funny. And maybe you get inspired to do some live action role play in those mean hard streets with them mobsters and youknow... like slug out hard, and kick em down and...

Have a look here. This is the first part of the (rather probably spoofed) 70-ies movie "Hard Streets". Some of the funniest worst action acting around. Find the other parts on your own ;-)


Adventure Shorts #8: Half Sized Rescue Team

“All you have to do, is help us find our thief companion and help him escape from his cell” the leader said. “But we must all join in the adventure”, he added. The leader and his ten one meter tall fellows eyeballed the heroes from below.

What may occur next:
  • The heroes are stuck with eleven halflings who want to rescue their wrongfully impisoned fellow from a local prison, to complete their dirty dozen. It is a quest they are fulfilling, they say, and have to travel on – perhaps to some distant vulcano. They will help with a plan and physically will join in the rescue and any diversions.
  • The halflings do offer some reward, but they are mostly nagging, comical and bumbling company. And if they cause extra troubles for the heroes, they typically hide and escape for themselves.
  • The fellow halfling is imprisoned by the imperial guard. And it was not wrongful. He did steal the crownjewels of the Empress. And freeing him will make the heroes accomplices.

Halflings are a race of humanlike men, just three feet tall. They have hairy feet, stealthy walk, a keen sense of smell, a lust for good food, and sometimes a sense of adventure. Most however are somewhat lazy, and see more enjoyment in gardening and pipe smoking.

OSR: AC 7, HD 1-1, Dam 1d6-1, Move 90', Save: F3, #app 3d6
DD2: plain clothes (armour class 0), dex 3, stealth 3, dagger or short sword 3 (weapon class 1)

Gammy Zevsky
Gammy is only half size, wearing unassuming glasses on his nose, and he is always nagging about something. But his deeds are of reknown. He is one of the finest thieves and adventurers of the empire, with some exploits others can only dream about. His most famous mission was to locate the fabled Dwimmermount, and actually descend down into its deepest depths. There he recovered the third part of the legendary ring of Ahwasar. Whether he still holds it, or whether it changed owners during a typical halfling bickering and gambling session is a well kept secret.

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #00: A Little Survey of the Entries so Far, Part I...

So I may be up to date with my posts on the adventure challenge, but how are others doing? And what kind of adventure nuggets are you writing out there? While Asshat is working on his deck, I thought I'd have a preliminary look myself. Here's a little impression of the first 12 challenge participants.

Asshat Paladins himself is well on to schedule, and has some easy to read fantasy role playing and problem solving encounters. Most involve a single twist, and all have a photograph to get you in the mood. Yes, you set the good example.

Netherwerks seems to have a taste for more violent encounters, if possible with a Mutant Future monster and a nagging non player character.

Mutants & Magic is somewhat slower in producing material. Times for the adventurers seem to be tough here - short on dough and food. Simple encounters with a nice twist.

Weekend Wizardry likes to build plots around magic items or magic situations. I liked these simple not neccesarily violent mysteries.

Chronicles of Ganth runs a maze with a Labyrinth Lord, with each implementation of the series being a room, or set of rooms. Usually with a demonic entity in them. Very much old style, almost like Judges Guild stuff from days of yore.

Porky's Expanse hurts my mind. But it also tickles it. The shorts are not exactly short, and they're more like connected encounter situations. Both for fantasy and sci-fi.

Servitor Ludi presents some really nice brainstorms. I liked this one most in this sample. Each short is more of a starting situation for a complete adventure, with some nice twists built in. Rakshahshas having taken over a casino, cool...

Lost Papers of Tsojcanth. Maybe my feed is awry, but to me any adventure shorts were just as lost as the papers themselves. Looking forward to #1.

Lunching on Lamias also has a few starting up problems. When I looked, there was just one very simple seed, albeit a very poetic one.

Mithril & Mages presents a few Boot Hill situations - also usably in fantasy in my opinion by the way. And there's a military streak here. I wonder why.

Crazy GM. Well, here again my powers of observation may be lacking. But I could only find a template for whats to come. Still waiting for #1 here too.

The Secret GM also produces a bit less fast. But these adventure shorts are again not really short. They are pretty good though, with some extra suggestions on how to role play and use the ideas. I especially favor the John Carpenter's "The Thing"-like Border Collie scenario.

That's the first week of the first half! More impressions to come. My favorites this round are Weekend Wizardry, Servitor Ludi and The Secret GM. But actually there is a lot of good stuff out there. Nice! Keep up the writing :-)

As a PS on sept 18th: The Lost Papers of Tsojcant are still lost - if it's about the challenge. It's kind of silent there. Everything okay? Crazy GM obviously was not okay, as he went into hospital while I was doing my former part of the survey. This might explain why Cthulhu has not bee willing for seeds to appear on his blog yet. All the best to you both, Crazy GM and Lost Papers!

Adventure Shorts #7: Green Count to Zero

The bandits had forced them down the dark chute, and now they were lying here on the damp ground. “Give us a light” he groaned to the magic user. A bright flame lit up the room, and they saw how the gurgling, greenish ooze surrounded them from all sides.

What may occur next:
  • The heroes are stuck in an underground complex filled with slow moving, corrosive, flesh eating green ooze.
  • There is a way out, but it requires skill and ingenuity to avoid the ooze, as (some of) it appears to be resistant to fire.
  • When the heroes find a negotiable tunnel which may lead out, some of the ooze can move fast and lash out after all.

Green Ooze
This dark green, oozing substance is carniverous, and magickal. It was first used as a weapon in the second war of destruction, and it proved so dangerous that the northern attackers saw their own troops devoured by it. Subsequently it was never used again, but an amount of the ooze managed to escape. It now dwells in deep subterranean places, half dormant waiting for prey.

OSR: AC NA, HD 2, Dam 1d4 every round once hit and until removed; once -2 hits are reached the victim transforms into green ooze too, Move 10', Save: F1, #app 1d6-2
DD2: stealth 4, green ooze can only be harmed by fire, and sometimes only by magickal fire or lightning, the bigger the ooze, the higher its CON. Average CON is 3. Usually it is too slow to attack more than once, from an ambush (at skill 3) – else it will try to lock in its victims. Green ooze that latches on to its victim burns like acid with a weapon class 1 potency. If a victim dies of the ooze, it will turn to ooze itself within hours.

Wildfire Grenade
During the wars of destruction many sorts of burning grenades and projectiles were used against the oozing weapons. One of the most reliable ones was the Hellenic or Wildfire Grenade. A small jar, filled with tar and oil, and a residue mix of poisonous ore. It is lighted with a torch, or other flame and then thrown and shattered as close to the enemy as possible. It will burn for many minutes in a very hot fire with magickal properties. Wildfire grenades are rare and expensive, but they can still be found or bought in illegal markets.

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #6: Quest for a Skull

One of the heroes falls severely ill after being scratched by a goblin spear. Lying on the ground, he sees an old goblin woman, a shaman, who tells him that he will die... unless he fulfils a quest. He must find the lost skull of the goblin chiefs before next nightfall.

What may occur next:
  • To complicate matters the shamaness says she will not undo the curse if even a single goblin is killed or maimed by the heroes during the quest.
  • After a number of confusing and vexing confrontations with goblins the goblin chief skull is found as a trophy hanging in an inn. To undo the curse the shamaness says, the hero must now drink a most putrid liquid – goblin pee? - from the skull.
  • The whole poisoning is a prank. No matter if quest fails, or if the hero succeeds and does drink the liquid, he will drop down unconscious. And wake up with a headache next morning. No more no less.
Goblins are a smaller kind of orc according to some. Whether this is true, is not clear, but they surely are similar in temper and use of language. They stand about three to four foot tall, and often raid and plunder human settlements with smaller warbands. Others manage to more or less peacefully mingle with city folk, but then they tend to be boisterous, bothersome, drunk, and full of pranks.

OSR: AC 6, HD 1-1, Dam 1d6, Move 90', Save: F1, #app 1d10
DD2: leather or hide (armour 1), light club or spear 3 (weapon 1), dex 2 or shield 2 (+2 **)

Skull Brew
A favorite drink among goblins is “Skag Drag” or “Skekdrek”, which is most commonly translated as skull brew. It is indeed often drunk from a skull, but the words probable mean “shit and piss”. The drink is at least as obnoxious as excrement, but unless a goblin is pranking you, it's really a very strong kind of beer with a mix of rotting herbs in it. Often these herbs are hallucinogenic or otherwise mind-influencing. Once you get the hang of the drink, it is said, you can actually get a fondness for it.

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #5: The Golden Gnome

Legend tells of a priceless jewel hidden in the heart of the old capital of the Gnome Empire, an empire which is long lost. But now, between ancient ruins, the heroes have stumbled upon stones with old gnomish inscriptions. An old scroll that translates the runes explains that this means they stand where once was the heart of the Gnome capital.

What may occur next:
  • The shrine is still present, and so may be the golden gnome statuette, buried fifty feet below where the heroes stand.
  • The shrine is not only protected by traps, but also by an ancient guard of gnomes, who are kept alive by the magick of the golden gnome jewel.
  • The magic of the idol keeps the entire structure of the lower ruins in place. Once it is removed, the structures will start to collapse as in an earthquake. Thieving heroes will have to run for their lives.

Undercity Gnome
The gnomes of the undercity were once proud and creative rulers of the land. But an unforeseen disaster, a storm of magick, wiped them out in numbers and caused the remaining ones to go underground. Their once golden hair and skin now has turned to a lighter shade of pale. Now these little men and women three feet tall hide and guard the remains of their once great kingdom.

OSR: AC 5, HD 1, Dam 1d6-1, Move 90', Save: F3, #app 1d6
DD2: heavy leather (armour 1), pickaxe (weapon 2), dex 2

Golden Gnome of Legend
“... and there the gnome king was touched by the evil king of Midas, and he was turned to gold. Pain and fear struck the gnomish peoples, gold now being a thing of evil and not of wealth. But the gnome queen took pity, and she weakened the curse. The spirit of the king would now protect the people as long as they kept his image safe, together with all other wicked gold and money...”

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #4: The Black Dwarf

When the Augsburgers started to mine more silver from one of the deeper mines in Goslar, they struck on a deep, dark underground complex. A horrible stench rose, and in the weeks that followed many of the workers in the area had terrifying nightmares and they died. All of the victims were cut to pieces with a mighty axe.

What may occur next:
  • The heroes are asked to solve the riddle and clear the mine – at their price.
  • The stinking mineshaft is occupied by dark dwarves, half undead, twisted guardians of the silver. They come out at night and ravage the surrounding area.
  • The mine itself contains poisonous ore, which eventually turns those that die there into the dark guardian dwarves. The silver mined there may thus be useless – or worse, deadly.

Black Dwarf
Legend tells that black dwarves were once normal dwarves of the bravest kind. When they descended into the darkest and deepest mines however, they met something horrible and poisonous that turned them into creatures of twisted evil. Malign, cruel, murderous, lusting for death they come out of their holes at night to maim and kill.

OSR: AC 4, HD 1+1, Dam 1d6+1, Move 60', Save: F3, #app 1d6+1
DD2: chain mail (armour 2+1 for CON), axe 4 (weapon 2), shield 3, or twohanded axe 4 (weapon class 3), stealth 4

Poisonous Ore
Poisonous ore comes in many kinds, the most notorious being Doomstone. Anyone in prolonged contact with the ores containing the poisonous metals and substances typically falls ill, with heavy coughing, throwing up of blood, weakness, and eventually death. Some ores however affect the demeanor, and turn the poisoned miners or adventurers into evil madness. The worst kind kills, and then turns the victim undead.

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #3: The Clearing

A befriended farmer lord calls in the help of the heroes to do a small thing for him. He wants an old patch of forest and hill cleared so that he may build his new abode there. But once the heroes have a look, jets of fire spray from the trees nearly setting them ablaze.

What may occur next:
  • The fire starters are man sized warrior beetles from a rather huge nest of flaming beetles that settled under the hill.
  • The farmer lord wants the hill cleared so badly that he promises an uncommon prize for the job. He speaks of a lost magick sword of ice, which he wants to recover.
  • The beetles are intelligent, and guard the old magick artefact, for it is an evil thing.

Flame Beetle
Flame beetles are unusually large insects, sometimes two foot long. Possibly they are from primeval times. Their rear bodies contain an oily liquid, and they can squirt and ignite this liquid to produce jets of flame up to ten yards. Normally these creatures hide in bramblewoods and they are not aggressive unless disturbed.

OSR: AC 4, HD 1+2, Dam 2d4, Move 120', Save: F1, #app 1d6+1
DD2: chitinous armour (armour 2), jet of flame from tail end 3 (weapon 3, burns), bite 3 (weapon 2)

Blade of Ice
This milky white, cold steel short sword was fashioned by the Northern elves against creatures with powers of fire. Most of these blades have splintered by now, but once every while one can be found in good state. It delivers double damage to any creature with a fiery breath weapon or flaming form. Some of these short swords are cursed and slowly turn the heart of the wielder cold, tempting him or her to kill or stab any who hurts them, either by deed or word.

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Random RPG Thoughts #1: The Long Tail

Seeing the plethora of OSR products, role playing zines, role playing games and both forae and blogs I wondered. Many products are free, a good number are good, a nice amount of them is inspiring, and there may even be nuggets in the less appealing product lines. There is enough to use in play for at least twelve lifetimes. I'm not going to play all this stuff. And who is? A few people for each supplement?

Is that worth all the hard work writing game stuff? Apart from that it might be fun to do?

There aren't many professionals out there who can make a living writing stuff for games. There is Pathfinder allright, but personally I think that's not the market I belong to. To play Pathfinder to me it seems you must be a human calculator with little else to do than amassing Paizo products. Sorry. There's a lot of good Pathfinder stuff I'm sure. But I'm past that sort of game - I just envy their very good artwork.

Theatrix or Amber? I never played them, but was always intrigued by the idea that you could go for story without dice or dungeon. Traveller I loved as an idea, Call of Cthulhu I play with my own ruleset now and then. And yes I play my own Dark Dungeon 2nd ed, for about twenty years now.

I'm also not yearning to play Hackmaster, for example, which is way to voluminous to me, like an Encyclopedia. There's many games like that. OSR? Yes, I appreciate the movement. Much so. But I'm not intending to get back to the mindless dungeon. Doodling maps, okay. Grinning at new monsters, yes. But playing a search and loot straight out? It has become like playing World of Warcraft without computer.

Which brings me back to my point. D&D sure hit a nerve when it first came out. But eventually the computer took over for this kind of game. With EQ, WoW, and so on. No live game master necessary. These computer games have the market now, once belonging to TSR.

But... there are other types of game. Ones you cannot play on computer. Ones you do need face to face vibes for. Ones with intelligent storylines. Ones with personal creativity and imagination - instead of just mindless blasting and marveling at impressive CGI. Ones closer to acting perhaps, or historic simulation. Or just games to play in your own head.

My question is, is there any real market for these games to be found? Apart from the dwindling number of gamers who once knew what it was like to play D&D? Is there a way to entice the huge group of Harry Potter fans to enjoy what we are enjoying?

Or are we forever confined to producing a plethora of products for a group of nostalgic men (and a few women) who live far away and apart? A group we can only reach through the long tail of the internet?

PS Because I'm doing the september short adventure challenge, I decided to postpone Ammersfurt adventures for a month. So you'll see the rest of the Ammersfurt series resuming in october, probably running until december.

PPS I decided that Saturday would be my day of for the september challenge. Next adventure will be tomorrow.


Adventure Shorts #2: The Bandit Outpost

One of the heroes has been hired to investigate possible new attack routes of a nearby enemy city. Travelling as merchants, the heroes are slowed down in their travels, and finally reach a coach house halfway on their way. Deciding to spend the night there, they notice an uncommonly great number of armed men are also present.

What may occur next:
  • The armed men belong to a forward army of hired bandits working for the enemy city. The coach house is used as a base of operations.
  • One of the bandits, a young pretty woman but a ferocious fighter, recognizes one of the heroes and challenges them. She wants to know why the heroes are there.
  • The heroes overhear how the bandits plan an attack on a caravan passing the next day.

Bandit Mercenary
Bandit mercenaries once served in standing armies or wandering war bands. Now they sell their skills to the highest bidders, or wander the land plundering and stealing.

OSR: AC 7, HD 1, Dam 1d6, Move 120', Save: T1, #app 2d6
DD2: leather armour (armour 1), short sword 3 (weapon 2), dex 2

Tassha Nildapa
Tassha is a half orc young woman, but despite what is said about orcish looks, she is quite pretty. In fact, you wouldn't even recognize her as a half-orc at all, unless you have a nose for such thing. Tassha joined the bandit mercenaries because her family (orcs) were hunted and killed by the human troops, even though they lived peacefully as farmers at the time.

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow


Adventure Shorts #1: The Secret Priesthood

The heroes travel into a formerly inaccessible valley along a caravan route. To their surprise there are traces of civilisation, a simple road, worked fields, and something resembling an old temple complex. When the heroes approach, they suddenly find themselves surrounded... by armed women.

What may occur next:

  • The women are priestesses, or more specific, acolytes of a long lost order. They have hidden in the valley for over a decade, away from civilisation, until now.
  • The priestesses find the secrecy of their order is in jeopardy, and they capture the heroes, contemplating to sacrifice them to keep their secret.
  • Some of the priestesses believe one of the heroes may be a messiah, one who gives the sign to break their secrecy according to an old prophecy

Acolyte of the Moon Valley
The armed sisters of the Moon Valley carry long maces and are clad in heavy metal armour. They train to protect their unarmed sisters and brothers, and the temple against intruders. The sisters of the Moon Valley believe that their valley is the place where humans first came to earth, and that it is also the place from whence they will leave again.

OSR: AC 2, HD 1, Dam 1d6, Move 60', Save: C1, #app 1d10
DD2: chain and plate (armour 3), heavy mace 4 (weapon 2), shield 3 (medium +2 on defense)

Mace of the Moon
The mace of the moon is kept at the lost temple in the Moon Valley, safe from mankind. Its head is made of moonstone, enchanted by its stellar journey many ages ago. If the mace strikes any undead creature, it may produce a flash of moonlight (1 in 6) which is so strong that it destroys the lesser undead, and stuns the stronger kind. Unfortunately it may also blind an unprepared attacker.

Update: You can find all shorts of this series and more in Unpleasant Encounters at RPGNow.

Adventure Shorts #0: Challenge Accepted

On extremely short notice I decided to join the crazy challenge to write up twenty five short adventure seeds in one month, tossed up by Asshat Paladins. But as there will be many more around I decided that the ideas should be useful not as complete adventures, but as parts you can insert into any session. A sort of mini-adventures that could play out in between one and four hours, depending upon what you make of it. With some luck, you should be able to actually use them!

Each short consists of a three sentence primer, to wet your appetite and give a situation scetch. Then there are three possible outcomes (“what may happen next”), which you can combine or choose from at will. And finishing the format is a monster block, with a short description of the featured creature, with both OSR* and Dark Dungeon 2nd Edition statistics.

To make the challenge a bit easier for me, or perhaps harder as you will, I decided to use the random monster tables from Moldvay Basic D&D as a guide. And the ten different adventure types mentioned in the same book. Ik took the tables, combined, and thus arrived at the following list.

Acolyte Explore Unknown
Bandit Investigate Chaos
Fire Beetle Recover Ruins
Dwarf Destroy Ancient Evil
Gnome Visit Lost Shrine
Goblin Fulfil Quest
Green Slime Escape from Enemy
Halfling Rescue Prisoner
Killer Bee Use Magic Portal
Kobold Find Lost Race
Gecko Explore Unknown
Orc Fulfil Quest
Giant Shrew Investigate Chaos
Skeleton Escape Enemies
Cobra Recover Ruins
Spider Rescue Prisoners
Sprite Destroy Ancient Evil
Stirge Use Portal
Trader Visit Lost Shrine
Wolf Find Lost Race
Ghoul Use Portal
Lizard Man Escape Enemies
Rock Baboon Visit Shrine
Zombie Destroy Evil
Crystal Statue Investigate Chaos

Now all I have to do is fill in the blanks... have fun with the series! 

*OSR statistics should be useful for Labyrinth Lord, or any other OSR game, even if these may differ on many points. Change stats as you need and see fit.