NaNoWriMo Thoughts

It's been some time sense I last posted anything real here (2009/06/01 as a matter of fact). So many things I have missed commenting on:
Mega Dungeons
RPGBloggers Controversy

However I am not goning to comment on any of those today.

Today I am thinking about NaNoWriMo and what I might do during November.
I am Tempted to use that time to actually do a write up of "My Campaign World" which I call "The Living Lands": A world suffering from a plague of Immortals into which the Players, or Heroes, are born.

The world is, save for an excel spreadsheet and a map, existing largely in my head and I do believe that it is time to commit it to "Paper". A Friend of mine did something similar last year for his world and I am rather pleased at the result.

I plan to use the very nice "How to Make a Fantasy Sandbox" guide from Bat in the Attic as a road map for the development of the document.

Places of Intrest in the Living Lands that should be covered in the Gazetteer:
  • MoonFell
  • Libraries of the Ancients
  • City of Glass
  • Tilted Tower
  • Sky Thread
  • Shattered Dome

The Races of the world that will be covered are:
  • E'tenal - a mixed population of standard PC races (elves, humans, Dragonborn etc) that were rendered childless but functionally immortal.
  • FeralKin - which includes Clawfoots, Wigs, Bigtooths, Dog-Faces and many other of the non-immortal, "Uncivilized" humanoids.
  • GreyKin - a race of Undead once noted as the greatest of Healers.
  • Plauge Dreamers - Rarely encountered diabolical undead.
The premmis of the game is that very rarely, an E'tnal will give birth to a child, who is mortal (or "Hero" as they are know) and has no normal role in society. So the Heroes are trained and set out into the world to "Make a Difference". Three major hero quests are:
  • Return the memories that were lost 691 years ago.
  • Cure the Infertility of the E'tnal
  • Remove the curse of Immortality from the E'tnal.
With much effort I do believe that I can get 50K words in 30 days (but I am not certain enough to actually sign up for it). Maybe, after some review and editing I will post a PDF of the world.

As for this blog, I want to post snippits and progress on the project. After it is done I will get back into a regular posting schedule of NPCs for Pathfinder, 4E, Traveller and Call of Cthulthu (4th edition and possibly Trail of Cthulthu).

Note: this post is a result of me committing to my self that I would spend an hour writing and this was the easiest place to start. I am also attempting to see what pace I write at and after 43 minutes I now have 519 words. Given that I need to write 1666 words a day that means that I will need to write for 2.3 hours (or improve my writing speed by 130%).



TerrainlinX: Himmelveil Streets

It is amazing how far paper diorama's have come:

(This is not a paid placement. Nor do I own this product (Yet)).
Found at RPGNow.


Adventure Tools: Monster Maker

Ok Monster Maker, especially once it's out of beta and has an html/cut-paste option, has me won over.

Admittedly, it's a bit of an 800 lb gorilla especially when compared to Asmor's Monster Maker but the ability to look up powers/other monsters is pretty huge.

Hey, what-da-ya-know: I posted an NPC.


Intresting Video: Civilization

Civilization by Marco Brambilla from CRUSH on Vimeo.

I don't know what the music is but it reminds me of the Star Trek "Fight Music".


Asmor's Instant Dungeon: 10th level Time of War, Part 2

The Encampment.
In this adventure the PC's need to Make their way through a very old arcane stronghold to the sanctum of the Cowled Figure.
  1. [Level 14 Magic Item]: Battle Harness +3 (Dragon 368, page 64 [We Who Are About to Die...]) (DDI)
  2. [Level 13 Magic Item]: Luckblade +3 (Adventurer's Vault, page 71 [Weapons]) (DDI)
  3. [Level 12 Magic Item]: Staff of Expansion +3 (Dragon 365, page 58 [Bazaar of the Bizarre]) (DDI)
  4. [Level 11 Magic Item]: Magic Wand +3 (Player's Handbook, page 242 [Wands]) (DDI)
  5. [2800 gp]: 797 gp, 23 sp, 70 cp + 2 emerald gems (1000 gp each)
  6. [2500 gp]: 1496 gp, 31 sp, 90 cp + 1 sapphire (1000 gp)
  7. [1700 gp]: 1692 gp, 71 sp, 90 cp
  8. [1700 gp]: 693 gp, 62 sp, 80 cp + 1 sapphire (1000 gp)
  9. [800 gp]: 791 gp, 88 sp, 20 cp
  10. [600 gp]: 91 gp, 85 sp, 50 cp + 1 black pearl (500 gp)
Encounter 1: 9th Level, 2100xp; A Flaw in the Defenses.
1Flesh Golem (DDI)Level 12 Elite Brute 1400Monster Manual, page 142 (Golem)
1Redspawn Firebelcher (DDI)Level 12 Artillery 700Monster Manual, page 88 (Dragonspawn)
Tips: The Golem is charged with "Walking" the Firebelcher.
These two creatures act independently though the Firebelcher will take steps to protect the Golem when it can. The Golem will double slam and rampage it's way through the mass of attackers while the Firebelcher stays at range Bleching and blasting Fire at groups of targets.
Treasure: None

Encounter 2: 10th Level, 2700xp; The Backdoor
3Marching Hammer (DDI)Level 10 Brute 500Dungeon 161, page 76 (The Temple Between)
6Horde Ghoul (DDI)Level 13 Minion 200Monster Manual, page 118 (Ghoul)
Tips: The Hammers are protecting A lesser entrance to the compound while the Ghouls feast upon the corpses of the fallen. The Two groups act independently and with out regard for each other. The Ghouls are fond of Scaling up the near by walls and leaping upon victims. While the Hammers will charge anyone coming within 10 squares of the entrance.
Treasure: Lot 10 is mixed amongst the near by stack of corpses.

Encounter 3: 10th Level, 2700xp Security Checkpoint
1Skull Lord (DDI)Level 10 Artillery (Leader)500Monster Manual, page 236 (Skull Lord)
1Feygrove Choker (DDI)Level 12 Lurker 700Monster Manual, page 42 (Choker)
2Foulspawn Berserker (DDI)Level 9 Soldier 400Monster Manual, page 112 (Foulspawn)
2Mummy Guardian (DDI)Level 8 Brute 350Monster Manual, page 192 (Mummy)
Tips: The Lord, Berserkers and Guardians are on patrol of this area together, The Choker is acting as a spy for the Cloaked Figure. The Lord will remain at range while the Guardians and Berserkers close with the opposition. The Choker will attempt to grab and Choke or Fetter Targets that separate them selves from the larger group (specifically Artillery and Lurkers).
Treasure: Lot #2 is in a fine wooden case with the Lord.

Encounter 4: 10th Level, 2650xp Recrute Pre-Proccessing.
3Warped Ghoul (DDI)Level 10 Brute 500Dungeon 161, page 94 (Touch of Madness)
2Trap Haunt (DDI)Level 8 Lurker 350Monster Manual, page 116 (Ghost)
3Legion Devil Hellguard (DDI)Level 11 Minion 150Monster Manual, page 64 (Devil)
Tips: This vile smelling, nauseating chamber is filled with bodies of the fallen awaiting "Recruitment" in to the Cloaked Figure's Army. The Ghouls and Devils are sorting bodies into seemingly arbitrary piles. The Trap Haunts are seen drifting about looking for Living targets to Possess (Once successful one will assault the Devils until they are dead, the Other will start rummaging through the corpse piles looking for a lost possession).
Treasure: Lot #9

Encounter 5: 11th Level, 3250xp
1Swarmtongue Hydra (DDI)Level 13 Elite Skirmisher 1600Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons, page 213 (Draconic Parasite)
1Troll (DDI)Level 9 Brute 400Monster Manual, page 254 (Troll)
10Vampire Spawn Bloodhunter (DDI)Level 10 Minion 125Monster Manual, page 259 (Vampire)
Tips: The Troll is Preening the Hydra under the harsh eyes of the mob of Bloodhunters. When combat breaks out the Spawn will mob targets farthest from the Hydra while the troll attemps to heard the group tward the Hydra.
Treasure: Lots #7 & #8

Encounter 6: 11th Level, 3150xp; Outer Chamber of the Fiend
18Snaketongue Zealot (DDI)Level 12 Minion 175Monster Manual, page 272 (Yuan-Ti)
Tips: The Zealots are guarding the dark shrine of the Master and will fight to the death for her.
Treasure: None

Encounter 7: 11th Level, 3150xp; Sanctum of the Fallen
4Bugbear Bloodghost Hunter (DDI)Level 8 Skirmisher 350Dragon 366, page 69 (Bloodghost Syndicate)
10Twisted One Minion (DDI)Level 12 Minion 175Dungeon 157, page 78 (In the Depths of Avarice)
Tips: The Hunters lurk in hiding amongst the elaborate and debased tapestries allowing the Twisted Ones to act as bait. Once attackers are engaged with the Twisted Ones the Hunters will Use Blur of Movement and Slayers Assault to ambush the party from the rear.
Treasure: Lots #1 & #6

Encounter 8: 13th Level, 4000xp; The Cloaked Figure
Fomorian Dark Initiate (DDI)Level 13 Solo Controller 4000P1: King of the Trollhaunt Warrens, page 16 (Fomorian)
Tips: She is ready for the Party and will Lead with Double Spell to blanket the attackers with pain and confusion. She will target Artillery with an Evil Eye. Blasing away with Black Flame or Mind Wrack until either she is hit by a melee attack OR her Double Spell recharges. While batting Away close attackers with her staff. Bloodied Inivisbilty and Shadow Gaze are used against close attackers.
Given the Choice she will Take a Dark Step to close with softer targets that have seperated from the melee group, preferably exchanging places with a martial defender so that she might have some time with a divine or archane artillery figure.
Treasure: #3, #4, #5 , #6

Major Quest 10th Level: 2,700 xp


Village of Potshearth: Overview

A tiny industrial village on the coast known for its pottery.

Population: 550 with another 230 in the country side. The people of Potshearth are humans, dwarves, dragonborn (in the highland desert), and a few halflings. A family of Eldran dwell in the castle.
Government: Mercantile Democracy, over seen by Lady Netha the regional representative for the government and leader of the towns guards. All matters of importance to the town are voted upon by those who are interested in the issue. Each person receives 1 vote. Those with a greater stake can purchase additional votes by paying 1 gp to the town for each additional vote desired. The revenue generated by purchased votes goes into the towns coffers with 10% being skimmed off to the lady and the land.
Defense: there are only 20 standing guards housed in the blue keep at any one time. Though the lady can call up to 200 militia in time of need as every able bodied person is trained in basic combat during the winter seasons.
Industry: The Kilnmasters Clan run a successful ceramics business, which is, along with some high grade olive oil from the Grovekin's orchards, are the major exports of the town. Internally the town is more than sufficient in food production with vegatables, saltrice and fish being the primary staples.Traders comming from the highland mines and further up the coast often pass through the town. Frequently small ships beach here during low tide to take on freight and an occasional passenger or two
Taverns: Blue Crock Inn; Bouncing Cup; The Blue Crock Inn Services road travelers, merchants and plays comunity center during voting times; It has a common sleeping room plus a small number of private rooms. The Bouncing cup is located on the shore and is only open when a ship has beached, and offers little more than cheep beer and a kind of warm spot to sleep it off.
Supplies: Mith acts as a coordinator between buyers and sellers. She occupies a table at the Blue Crock, though is more often seen ridding about town on her painted horse. The Blue keep is home to the only smith in town who can craft weapons or armor to order but is allowed to sell older items from the armory.
Temples: The Allshine is home to a number of priests of the various, more popular gods.

Note: map created with Campaign Cartorgapher with City Designer
Released under the creative commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license


Social Rituals: River Master

Level: 8Component Cost: 1350
Category: SocialMarket Price: 6800 gp
Time: 20 minutesKey Skill: Nature/Religion
Duration: 1 season

When begining this ritual any number of participants may assist in the casting by chanting along with the primary ritual caster: they do not need to know the ritual or be skilled in any way other than being able to speak and understand caster's instructions. For every 10 untrained participants there is a +1 accumulative modifier to the skill check.

By calling on ancient spirits/deities/primordial powers a mass of participants can ward a length of river bank against flooding. During the duration of this ritual a warded river will not cross the boundries that it had at the time of the ritual's casting, with the river's flow increasing speed to make for any extra volumn of water during times of flood.

This ritual has no effect upon Elemental water creatures. This ritual will not prevent storm surges and has no effect upon ocean water; Nor will the ritual prevent water from other sources (flash floods) from inundating the affected area, or affect water entering the area from an unwarded stretch father upstream; It must be cast upon running water in the form of a stream or river.

Check ResultRiver Area Protected
9 or lower1 square
10-1910 squares
20-29100 squares
30-391000 squares
40 or higher10,000 squares

Many Towns and City's make the ritual a part of spring time celebrations to prevent disastrous floods with in the comunities' confines.
It should be noted that by casting this ritual during the dry season it is possible to keep seasonal streams from flowing, though the water will go elsewhere.
(Edit: fixed typos pointed out by SpiralBound)


Social Rituals: Indulgence of the Fire God

Level: 1Component Cost: 5 gp
Category: SocialMarket Price: 25 gp
Time: 1 minuteKey Skill: Nature/Arcana
Duration: 1 year

This ritual only has an effect if cast in an area warded by the ritual "Blessing of the Fire God": It will create a 1 square area that is unaffected by the "Blessing" and fires can be started as normal in that area; Elemental Fire creatures take no damage from the blessing; Magic fires are unaffected. 
This ritual is normally cast upon wealthy town people's hearths and in their kitchens to allow for a more comfortable life style. 


Social Rituals: Blessing of the Fire God

Level: 6Component Cost: 1400
Category: SocialMarket Price: 3600 gp
Time: 20 minutesKey Skill: Nature/Arcana
Duration: 1 year

When begining this ritual any number of participants may assist in the casting by chanting along with the primary ritual caster: they do not need to know the ritual or be skilled in any way other than being able to speak and understand caster's instructions. For every 10 untrained participants there is a +1 accumulative modifier to the skill check.

By calling on ancient spirits/deities/primordial powers a mass of participants can ward dwellings in the affected area against normal fires. During the duration of the ritual normal fires difficult to start within dwellings and are quickly extinguished if they are started. 1 square of normal fires will be extinguished every round by the affects of this ritual. Further more the ritual imposes a -5 ritual penalty to Nature skill checks for the purposes of starting a normal fire.

Magical fires suffer a -1 ritual penalty to damage. Elemental fire creatures will also take 1 point of cold damage at the end of their turn (no save) while in the area of effect.

Check ResultRadius Protected
9 or lower1 square
10-1910 squares
20-29100 squares
30-391000 squares
40 or higher10,000 squares

Many Towns and City's make the ritual a part of spring time celebrations to prevent disastrous fires with in the confines, though it can make day to day living a bit more difficult. (See tomorrow's Indulgence of the Fire God).


My Top 10 Favorite Monsers

Several other blogs that I read have been doing the their top ten favorite monsters (here, here, here, and here). Not being one to miss a meme I present to you mine. (Though most are OD&D).

  1. Medusa: A nicely proportion gal with looks that can kill.
  2. Beholder: It's smart, it's evil, and it can Nerf casters with a glance.
  3. Gas spore: a worthless monster other than psyching out those players who memorized the Monster Manual.
  4. Crypt Thing: It' looks like a lich, but more chatty. Once you honk it off it will "disintegrates" a party member by teleporting them a thousand miles away (or paralyzing them and making them invisible).
  5. Rust Monster: I love seeing the Fighter types scream and move to the back of the party when this cute little beast shows up.
  6. Lich:Undead arch mages or high priests, great behind the scenes villains, and hard core combatants when prepared.
  7. Shuggoth/Gibbering Mouther: I was privileged to have the First Edition Deities and Demigods that contained the Cthulthu Mythos. The Gibbering Mouther is an obvious nod to the truly frightening Shuggoth: 10 tons of Jello sprinkled with eyes, mouths and limbs that just want to give you a full body hug.
  8. Drow: A late addition to the OD&D school, but very capable opponents with no real weaknesses. I also enjoyed the "take back" effect that their equipment had. The DM could hand out tons of +5 magic items only to have them become worthless in the surface world.
  9. Xorn: Treasure eating, trilateral symmetric, intelligent rock. Aside from the Gibbering Mouther it's the most alien of the OD&D creatures.
  10. Flesh Golem: Frankenstein's Monster in D&D form. Strong, largely invulnerable, but can get a little crazy every now and then.


My Game Prep

I am blessed to be a part of a consistent gaming group that has a bounty of GM's (no less than 4), so we frequently alternated between two different games: Currently we are going between a GURPS adaptation of Mass Effect and my 4E intro; Previously it was 3.5 D&D using classic modules ; Everquest; A home brewed 3.5 setting (soon to be published) ; Starwars and so on. 

Regardless, this alternation allows me some luxury in terms of prep time: On the odd weeks when I don't run, I get to explore, experiment, and play with ideas. On the weeks that I do run, I knuckle down and generate content.  All the while I turn ideas over in my head. 

When prepping I try to keep 3 rules in mind: 
  1. Keep it fun
  2. Don't over prep
  3. If the players don't see it (or it's effects), it might as well not have happened. 

So learning CC3, Dungjinni and The Gimp are fun. But I am only creating what I need to run and only what the players will "See". 

When I set up encounters I only create 3-4 of them (that is about all the group will get through in the 2-3 hours of productive play that we have).  Though I do keep in mind what might be coming. 

For "Grand Plots" I will make notes, but no plot is set in stone until I bring them to the table. 
I do this because I am a firm believer in the dual edged quantum nature of plots: If players don't observe a plot it doesn't exist. However, until the players observe the plot it can be anything I want it to be, thus I can change it as I see fit.  This allows me the luxury of not having to figure out everything in advance and the adaptability to match step with the players interest. 

I have learned the joys of "Filing off the serial numbers" on creatures, especially in 4E where no-one has memorized the Monster Manual. So an Orc, goblin or Hobgoblin becomes a "Wig", Or a Kobold becomes a "Claw Foot". I have grabbed stat blocks off of DDI and renamed as I see fit. So what was a Thuggish Cultist now be came a Wig Devote. 

On the previous off week:
I produced some Photo Comps of the Temple and a near by village
Gave thought to the social implications of a Glyph based language, and Mechanically affected Immortality on a small, elite, yet diverse population.
Worked on local maps in CC3 (still trying to get good at that).   

During the on week I:
Generated some encounters with Asmor, only 4 of them. 
threw together some battle maps in Dunginni.
Made scant notes about how I though things may play out. 
Printed chits and maps. 

Enough rambling, I need to find a Magic item suitable for a bard...


Playing with Campaign Cartographer

Here is what I've done while following this set of video tutorials for the second time.

They were instructive and reasonably easy, it helps that I had done 
some playing on my own.


Quick Memorable Names

As a good GM I try to have list of NPC names handy when I run. I've used imdb, looking up genera relevant movies and mixing Actor and Character names (Though Mark Skywalker didn't work so well, but Luke Hamel did); I've used census data and name generators to modest success; I jumbled sounds/letters together with less success. 

I recently hit upon a naming scheme that seems to work so far:
Take the name of anyone you know (co-workers, classmates, relatives) and remove the first letter so that Smith becomes Mith; Carter becomes Arter; Tim becomes Im and so on. 

The nice part is that I can remember them latter when I write up my notes. 



Asmor's Instant Dungeon: 9th level Time of War, Part 1

The premise with this adventure is that the Players are assigned to protect a Defensible position outdoors such as a mountain pass or a bridge. The waves will come one after another with a little control by the players. Minions abound in this one so I made heavy use of the generator's advanced options to force the settings.

  1. [Level 13 Magic Item]: Orb of Drastic Resolutions +3 (Player's Handbook, page 238 [Orbs]) (DDI)
  2. [Level 12 Magic Item]: Thornwalker Slippers (Adventurer's Vault, page 130 [Feet Slot Items]) (DDI)
  3. [Level 11 Magic Item]: Survivor's Belt (Adventurer's Vault, page 167 [Waist Slot Items]) (DDI)
  4. [Level 10 Magic Item]: Lens of Discernment (Adventurer's Vault, page 174 [Wondrous Items]) (DDI)
  5. [2352 gp]: 1343 gp, 81 sp, 90 cp + 1 fire opal (1000 gp)
  6. [2100 gp]: 19 pp, 196 gp, 34 sp, 60 cp
  7. [1428 gp]: 1424 gp, 30 sp, 100 cp
  8. [1428 gp]: 420 gp, 70 sp, 100 cp + 1 emerald (1000 gp)
  9. [672 gp]: 669 gp, 28 sp, 20 cp
  10. [504 gp]: 38 sp, 20 cp + 1 aquamarine (500 gp)
Encounter 1: 8th Level, 1925xp: The First Wave.
1Chain Devil (Kyton) (DDI)Level 11 Skirmisher 600Monster Manual, page 62 (Devil)
7Unattached Soulrider Devil (DDI)Level 10 Minion 125Dragon 370, page 8 (Dangers of the Demonweb)
3Legion Devil Hellguard (DDI)Level 11 Minion 150Monster Manual, page 64 (Devil)
Development: After the battle a successful hard Perception check will allow the successful players to see the "Observer" a non-distinct humanoid figure watching the battle just out of missile range.

Give the Players a short Rest and then continue with:
Encounter 2: 9th Level, 2100xp: Second Wave
8Legion Devil Hellguard (DDI)Level 11 Minion 150Monster Manual, page 64 (Devil)
6Warped Grimlock Zombie (DDI)Level 11 Minion 150Dungeon 161, page 94 (Touch of Madness)
Tips:The Hellguard will move in phalanx formation with a rabble of Zombies around them. When close enough the Hellguard will attempt to bypass defenses by teleporting into flanking positions and will bull rush targets so that they fall into the Zombie mass.
Development: The observer moves to the edge of vision and opens a firery gate.

Encounter 3: 9th Level, 2200xp: The Probing Feint
4Kalaka (DDI)Level 9 Soldier 400Dragon 369, page 31 (Demonomicon of Iggwilv)
4Warped Grimlock Zombie (DDI)Level 11 Minion 150Dungeon 161, page 94 (Touch of Madness)
Tips: The Kalaka race forward (followed by some additional Zombie stragllers), when within range 5 they will use their "Unexpected Reneforcements" to teleport past the immediate defences or to flank targets. They full well expect to use their Spewing Death abliltiy and will manuver to maximize the effect.

Encounter 4: 9th Level, 2100xp: The Wall Breakers
2Fire Archon Emberguard (DDI)Level 12 Brute 700Monster Manual, page 18 (Archon)
1Viscera Devourer (DDI)Level 12 Controller 700Monster Manual, page 68 (Devourer)
Tips:As the Archon close the horrid Devourer will arise from the pulpy mess of the Zombie Corpses. The Archon's have been charged to distroy enough of the barrier to allow passage, ignoring any harm to them selves. The Viscera Devourer will plauge the heros untill distroyed trying to grab any who have fallen.

Encounter 5: 10th Level, 2675xp
3Loremaster Accordant (DDI)Level 11 Artillery 600Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide, page 265 (Order of Blue Fire)
1Greater Ghoul (DDI)Level 10 Soldier 500Dungeon 156, page 63 (The Haunting of Kincep Mansion)
3Vampire Spawn Bloodhunter (DDI)Level 10 Minion 125Monster Manual, page 259 (Vampire)
Tips:Loremasters close to range 20 and unleash Acordant Vision on three targets and then move to range 10 and bombard with Changing Ray. When a majoritity of the defenders are affected the Ghoul and Vampire spawn scale up the wall and rend at the defenders. Once the Ghoul and Spawn are in place the Loremasters will close to Range 4 and release Changing Wave to effect the maximum number of defenders.

Development: The Observer closes the gate and appears to retreate.

The long rest that follows should end when the defenders hear a horrid cackling comming down the pass tward them precced by a thick mist (concelement).

Encounter 6: 10th Level, 2600xp: The Terror Squad
1Displacer Beast (DDI)Level 9 Skirmisher 400Monster Manual, page 70 (Displacer Beast)
1Destrachan Farspeaker (DDI)Level 11 Controller 600Dungeon 161, page 103 (Touch of Madness)
2Gibbering Mouther (DDI)Level 10 Controller 500Monster Manual, page 126 (Gibbering Beast)
1Rotclaw (DDI)Level 11 Brute 600Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons, page 205 (Undead Dragons, Draconic Zombie)
Tips: The Displacer Beast will arrive first and will try to grab targets with it's tenticles. The Rot Claw charges in on the next round and scales the fortification to harm the defenders in the most savage way possible; The Gibbering Mouthers slime to either side of the fortification (and attack it directly); With the Farspeaker trying to break the barrier down the middle.

Encounter 7: 10th Level, 2600xp
2Fithrichen (DDI)Level 12 Controller 700P2: Demon Queen's Enclave, page 18 (Shunned)
2Firelasher (DDI)Level 11 Skirmisher 600Monster Manual, page 104 (Elemental)
Tips: The Firelashers will use whirlwind dash to close with the defenders as the Fithrichen scale the fortifications. Once on the wall the Fithrichen's will drop darkness and disgorge spiders before joining in melee.

Development: When the last of the observers attackers fall, over the rise comes 2 Boneclaw Guardians 2 Korned King's Knights on one. The observer throws back her cloak and joins another horned knight on the back of the other Boneclaw.

Encounter 8: 12th Level, 3800xp: Last Chance for Defeat
4Knight of the Horned King (DDI)Level 11 Soldier 600Dragon 369, page 30 (Demonomicon of Iggwilv)
2Boneclaw Guardian (DDI)Level 12 Soldier 700Dungeon 157, page 76 (In the Depths of Avarice)
Tips: The Horned Knights will charge with lances drop them after an inital attack and join melee. If two targets dare "double up" on a knight a "Mark of the Beast" will be set upon them (once for each knight).

Major Quest 9th Level: 2,000xp

Notes: The exact defenseive position is left up to the DM but additional skill chanllenges should be allowed to repair damage to the structure in a "quick and hasty manner".
The Treasure parcels should be front loaded for the most part with additional healing made availible.


Playing With Gimp: part 2

Over the last few weeks I have improved my Gimp'in skill to the point that I am producing Photo Illistrations for my game.
Here are a couple examples:
This first example is a view to the south looking at the Thread (or Great Tower as the locals know it.) (this image was built from my photos from Ireland)

The second one is of the Temple:
Tree back ground from: Axel-D
Field from: CatDancing
Path From: Ana Carol Mendes
Temple from: Koshyk
Clouds by: Kevindoley

Both Images are released under the Creative Commons 2.0



Playing with Gimp

So I have been playing some more with gimp:
Today I followed this toutorial (which wouldn't be bad for world creation in Traveler and other world games). 
Part 1 Part 2  
Here is the result.


Gimp Mapping-Fu

Using the photo I posted yesterday I have been practicing my l33t mapping skills in gimp following RobA's tutorial Using GIMP to Create an Artistic Regional RPG Map at Cartographers Guild.com I thought I would post the result of too many hours of practice. (click the thumbnail for a larger 1.4 Meg version.)

It is still not where I want it to be, but it is getting much closer.
Though the mountains and forests look pretty good, the grass/land needs improvement; I still haven't added the city and forest of glass on the southwest Continent on the river delta; I need more labels for things; The islands need help and the sea texture is a bit too coarse; I also need to add a compass rose, scale and other eye candy.

Snorkey: all I see are masks, bump maps and textures.


World Building on a Battle Mat

My group has been conducting a world building exercise for my new 4E game (which starts Jan 29) using the Dawn of Worlds rule system. When we started we were using a 81/2 x 11 graph paper, however, after creating a different world on a battle map I decided to transfer the small map onto something a little larger.

On the whole it took about 3 hours to do.


Asmor's Instant Dungeon: 8th level Garden of The Ghoul Lord

The Ghoul Lord, a resurrected foul soul that not even Hell could contain, has been given dominion over a garden of torment here in the world.

  1. [Level 12 Magic Item]: Gem of Colloquy (Adventurer's Vault, page 141 [Head Slot Items]) (DDI)
  2. [Level 11 Magic Item]: Blacksmelt Weapon +3 (Adventurer's Vault, page 64 [Weapons]) (DDI)
  3. [Level 10 Magic Item]: Shared Suffering Armor +2 (Adventurer's Vault, page 51 [Armor]) (DDI)
  4. [Level 9 Magic Item]: Lifetapper Rod +2 (Adventurer's Vault, page 99 [Rods]) (DDI)
  5. [1904 gp]: 1903 gp, 100 cp
  6. [1700 gp]: 1699 gp, 100 cp
  7. [1156 gp]: 1149 gp, 61 sp, 90 cp
  8. [1156 gp]: 154 gp, 15 sp, 50 cp + 1 emerald (1000 gp)
  9. [544 gp]: 537 gp, 63 sp, 70 cp
  10. [408 gp]: 202 gp, 55 sp, 50 cp + 2 garnet gems (100 gp each)
Encounter 1: 7th Level, 1400xp
1Inferno Abishai (DDI)Level 8 Elite Soldier 700Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons, page 211 (Abishai)
2Galeb Duhr Earthbreaker (DDI)Level 8 Artillery 350Monster Manual, page 114 (Galeb Duhr)
Tips:The Abishai will fly and sting, close and Claw Fury or Claw the next round. It will use Blinding Flames when an enemy shifts. The Galeb Duhr will Hurl Stones and set off a shock wave when targets close with it.
Treasure:Lot #9

Encounter 2: 8th Level, 1750xp
2Cultist Thug (DDI)Level 8 Skirmisher 350Dungeon 157, page 75 (In the Depths of Avarice)
2Bladeling Razorguard (DDI)Level 8 Artillery 350Manual of the Planes, page 116 (Bladeling)
1Dragonborn Elementalist (DDI)Level 8 Artillery 350Dragon 365, page 34 (Ecology of the Dragonborn)
Tips:The Cultists and Razorguards, followers of the Ghoul Lord, will take the front line pelting the party with shortbows/longbows until the party gets to melee range OR one of them have fallen, then they switch to Shortwords/longswords and Deft Strikes. The Razorguards will use Razor Storm ath their first opportunity. The Elemenalist with start with Acid Rain and then Lighting Until she can use her Icicle Spray and Dragon Breath (Fire) combo. She will use Winging Wind to escape the first melee hit against her, especially if she can push the attacker into the Cultists or Bladelings.
Treasure: Lot #4

Encounter 3: 8th Level, 1700xp
1Squamous Maw (DDI)Level 10 Elite Soldier 1000Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons, page 231 (Squamous Thing)
2Elephant (DDI)Level 8 Brute 350Adventurer's Vault, page 12 (Mounts)
Tips: The Maw is hunting the Elephants, but easily distracted by smaller, shinier prey. The Elephants are trapped here and are in a panic. Assume that the Maw's Breath weapon needs to be recharged before it can be used upon the party.
Treasure: (Note the Elephants may be calmed using a Level 8, complexity 2 (6 successes before 3 failures) skill challenge in place of combat (though the Maw may be less than accommodating); otherwise none.

Encounter 4: 8th Level,1750
1Bladeling Ironmage (DDI)Level 10 Elite 1000Manual of the Planes, page 116 (Bladeling)
3Dire Boar (DDI)Level 6 Brute 250Monster Manual, page 35 (Boar)
Tips: Much like the previous encounter, the Bladeling is hunting Boar. The Boar have been reduced to bloodied status and are in a pannic. They could be calmed with a level 6 Complexity 3 (8 success before 3 failures) Skill challenge, but the Ironmage will not stand for its sport being taken away. In combat it will use it's shrapnel burst on the tightest cluster of targets in range. It will then close with the softest looking targets, Daring them to hit (which will then release the Improved Razor Storm.) The Ironmage prefers to make melee attacks will use the Short Sword in preference to the Razor Dart ranged attacks. If the Shrapnel burst recharges OR it is confronted by an opponent with some stamina it will spend it's action point to move away (and preferably tward softer targets).

Encounter 5: 9th Level,2100xp
2Dragonborn Exemplar of Tiamat (DDI)Level 7 Elite Soldier 600Draconomicon: Chromatic Dragons, page 214 (Dragonborn)
3Troglodyte Impaler (DDI)Level 7 Artillery 300Monster Manual, page 252 (Trogolodyte)
Tips:The Dragonborn are followers of the Ghoul Lord and will punish the transgresses with Battle Surge and an occasional Vile Strike/Dragon Breath Combo. The Trogs are behind partial cover and will make Javelin/Impaling Shots as possible. They are reluctant to enter actual melee combat.
Treasure:Lot #3 and #8

Encounter 6: 9th Level(hard), 1950xp
1Ogre Savage (DDI)Level 8 Brute 350Monster Manual, page 199 (Ogre)
1Two-Headed Troll (DDI)Level 10 Elite Brute 1000Dungeon 161, page 78 (The Temple Between)
1Corroded Helmed Horror (DDI)Level 11 Soldier 600Dungeon 161, page 109 (Touch of Madness)
Tips:The Troll is in command of the other two and will instruct them to impede the balance of the party as it goes toe-to-toe with the most heavily armored or armed PC, before moving on to the next strongest looking PC. If a second PC moves to flank the Troll it will use it's Smackdown on the flanker and growl "I'll get to you later", or "Wait your turn, back stabber". The heads are in a friendly competition for who does the most damage to the hero's.
Treasure:Lot #7

Encounter 7: 9th Level (hard), 2100xp
1Briar Hag (DDI)Level 12 Controller 700P1: King of the Trollhaunt Warrens, page 18 (Hag)
3Cambion Hellsword (DDI)Level 8 Brute 350Monster Manual, page 39 (Cambion)
1Lost One Underboss (DDI)Level 8 Controller 350Dungeon 160, page 29 (Den of the Destroyer)
Tips:The Underboss will help the Cambion's get into position and shuffle them into flanking configurations from it's perch atop a dead tree (throwing daggers as needed). The Briar hag disguised as a young human woman, will cut off escape or approach with Call Briar. Dancing (and singing) amongst blinding scattered PC's with her Rake the Eyes attack. The Hellswords live for the fight and will charge (Whirlwind Charge) any cluster of PCs.
Treasure:Lot #6 and #2

Encounter 8: 11th Level, 3240xp
1Abyssal Ghoul Pack Leader (DDI)Level 12 Elite Skirmisher (Leader)1400Dungeon 156, page 64 (The Haunting of Kincep Mansion)
1Bone Naga Guardian (DDI)Level 12 Elite Controller 1400Dungeon 157, page 74 (In the Depths of Avarice)
5Wicked Fang Recruit (DDI)Level 8 Minion 88Dungeon 160, page 53 (Den of the Destroyer)
Tips:The Ghoul Lord is more than willing to "Chat" with the PC's as the Fang Body guards eye them hungrily. The Bone Naga is curled around it's lord's feet. When negotiations break down, all but the Naga will boldly approach the party and dive into melee. The Naga will close the gap enough to catch PC's in it's Death Sway, which it will repeat until forced to do otherwise.
Treausre:Lot #1, #5 and #10.

Major Quest: 8th Level, 1,750xp