Playing Aids


DCC RPG coverI already have my poster…and now, like many of you out there, I have my PDF copy of Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game (DCC RPG). I was fortunate enough to playtest it, with Harley Stroh as DM, at the North Texas RPG Con in 2010. It was a blast! Truly.

I look forward to spending this Easter holiday weekend reading through it. I’ll have further thoughts about it to share in the days and weeks to come.

And as soon as I can get my old group together, I’d love to run them through the included introductory adventures using my friend John’s EpicTable virtual tabletop!

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One Page Dungeon logoIt’s that time of year again — time to build a one page dungeon!

This contest is great for the hobby, as it gets a lot of really good free content into gamers’ hands. It’s also great for you as a creator, as it gives you the motivation to create something specifically intended to be shared with other gamers.

I’m hoping to crank out a pair of one pagers (so I can submit my favorite of the two), but we’ll see how much time I actually have over the next several weeks. Of course, my main concern is getting at least one finished. I’ll be sure to post progress updates here.

The Submission deadline is April 30. Winners will be announced June 1.

Good luck, gamers!

Foster Drew at Park Chess TableI’ve been away from this blog for awhile, busily raising an up-and-coming gamer. I haven’t played on either side of a DM screen for about 2 years. But that has recently come to an end, thanks to a very cool virtual tabletop.

I’m in the midst of not just one but TWO games, both of them being played online via EpicTable. I grew up with the developer of EpicTable (John), and we’ve gamed together on and off for about 25 years, so it’s nice to be gaming together again…even though I’m in Oregon and he’s in New Hampshire!EpicTable Quick Start Dialog Box

John’s running a Thursday night Pathfinder game, the Legacy of Fire adventure path. Plus, John is also running a Spirit of the Century game on Saturday nights, enticingly titled Temple of the Yeti.

In addition to both games being a total blast, we’re all able to help John fine-tune EpicTable’s usability, test new functionality and so forth. As a tech writer with some usability experience, this is both work and play for me!

Now that my son requires less constant attention, I’m finding a bit more time to devote to gaming, so I plan on adding more content here soon. I have ideas brewing for some one-shot scenarios optimized for virtual tabletops (mainly EpicTable, naturally).

Here’s another post that I allowed to languish. Shame on me for failing my Spot check. (The DC must’ve been like 40 or something!)

This is a continuation of my preview of WotC’s previews of their upcoming Dangerous Delves line of monster miniatures. In this post, I’ll cover previews 4-7. You can also check out my preview of Dangerous Delves 1-3.Dangerous Delves - Rust Monster

Dangerous Delves preview 4 brings us a couple of old favorites…namely the Frost Giant and the Rust Monster. As you can see in the image, the Rust Monster looks spot-on. Kudos! I can’t wait to get a couple of these to use in an old-school Labyrinth Lord game, where one touch completely ruins your arms or armor (depending upon who hits whom).

The Frost Giant is okay, but he’s nowhere near as cool or bad-ass as the previous incarnations. Check out the side-by-side comparison, with New Guy on the left:

I love WotC’s pre-painted plastic minis. Just love ’em. I have never played the actual miniatures skirmish rules; I just love to use these bad boys in lieu of (or in tandem with) painted metal figures for my tabletop gaming.

Even back in my early AD&D gaming days in the 80s, we loved finding just the right mini to represent our favorite character. We’d hang out on weekends in one another’s garages, listening to heavy metal, painting minis, and dreaming up new challenges for our campaigns.

These days, with job, family, real life, and other unsavory non-gaming-related things vying for my time, I can’t hang out in my garage painting minis like I used to. <sigh> And that’s where WotC comes in.

mi20090417a_cyclopsI’ve been salivating over the new monsters. Each pack has:

  • One visible figure, always Large
  • One rare figure, about half are Large
  • One medium or small uncommon miniature
  • Two common miniatures

Dangerous Delves Preview 1 includes a sweet Cyclops Crusher and some kick-ass Orcs. I’m not fond of where they’re going with the look of Gnolls in this pack, but that’s not a deal-breaker.

Dangerous Delves Preview 2 introduces us to a spotted Unicorn. Seriously. Nothing about this preview excites me much, other than some Yuan-ti and a snake swarm. I like swarms. But this batch kinda bores me…mi20090424a_abo

And then, just released today, Dangerous Delves Preview 3 comes along and slaps me in my happy face with a slimy tentacle and takes control of my very mind! ABOLETH!

I’ve always had a soft spot in my vile heart for these disgusting creatures. And this mini looks simply awesome! I love the leaping/flying pose. I love the sickly color scheme. And I love the cloud of slimy mucus at the base. Just add a couple of zombies or nondescript NPC minis for thralls, and you’re all set.

Man, I can’t wait to own this bugger!

click to view the app

click to view the app

If you haven’t discovered WotC’s Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures, then you owe it to yourself to check out the Facebook app. It’s a lot like an electronic Choose-Your-Own-Adventure novel merged with a Play-by-Post game.

You select a pre-made character, choose a short scenario, and start clicking through to adventure. You have wait times of around 10 minutes between each encounter, and each scenario has roughly half a dozen encounters. (I’ve only played through 1st and 2nd level encounters thus far, so those numbers may change at higher levels of play.) Edit: I just played a 2nd level scenario with a total of 12 encounters.

I find myself keeping this running in the background while I’m working on other projects. I just alt-tab to my browser, click on the Tiny Adventures tab, and then select Update Result (assuming the timer has expired), and my adventure continues!

And you can check out the progress of your Facebook friends who are playing, too. I’m hoping this can work as a “gateway drug” to lure my wife into some tabletop D&D…

Mini Encounters are stand-alone encounters using D&D pre-painted miniatures.
I’ve identified the minis I used and their set. The stats provided are for Labyrinth Lord.

Brigand Welcoming Committee

1st Level Encounter – Urban environment
This encounter is intended to give the PCs (quite possibly) their first taste of combat. There are opportunities for roleplaying, from the initial attempts to parley to surrendering or to accepting surrender. Low-level magic arms and armor have been distributed amongst the brigands, with something of value to nearly any PC.

Background: The PCs have arrived in town, looking to begin their adventuring careers. Barnabas the Bald, leader of a gang of local ruffians, decides the PCs look like easy marks. He and his men corner the PCs somewhere secluded (in a dark alleyway, near the docks at night, etc). Barnabas charges the PCs a “toll” to walk in his town. The price: 10 gp per PC plus one weapon. If any extravagant item is apparent (such as jewelry), Barnabas will demand that, as well. For sheer annoyance, Patch-Eye Pete will clang his hand axe against his shield whenever the PCs try to speak.

Barnabas the Bald

Human Thug - Harbinger set

Barnabas the Bald

1st Level Human Fighter

STR 15, CON 13, DEX 9, INT 13, WIS 14, CHA 12, AL Chaotic,
MOVE 90′ (30′), AC 5 (scale mail & shield), HP 9, ATT +2,
DAM 1d4+2 (Club +1), SAVE F1 (WIS: +1), MORALE 8
LOOT: 17 gp, 15 sp, Club +1, Potion of Healing, ring (50 gp)

XP: 30 if killed (60 if outsmarted)

Personality & Tactics: Opportunistic and egomaniacal, Barnabas takes what he wants by force. He often targets new arrivals to town, intimidating them and shaking them down for coin. However, he is not above fleeing or surrendering if doing so will guarantee his life. He will not risk himself for anyone on his crew. Barnabas speaks Common and Orc.

Patch-Eye Pete

Human Bandit - Harbinger set

Patch-Eye Pete

Human Brigand

AL Chaotic, MOVE 120′ (40′), AC 6 (Shield +1), HD 1,
HP 8, ATT +0, DAM 1d6 (hand axe), SAVE F1, MORALE 8
LOOT: 15 gp, 15 sp, Shield +1, ring (50 gp)

XP: 15 if killed (30 if outsmarted)

Personality & Tactics: Pete loves carnage and bloodshed. If Barnabas takes the PCs prisoner, Pete will gladly torture them. Unless Barnabas surrenders, Pete fights to the death, believing that his mighty strength and his magic shield will see him through to victory. If Patch-Eye Pete is slain, he dies with a surprised look of total disbelief on his one-eyed face.

Krawse Beaumann

Crossbowman - Dragoneye set

Krawse Beaumann

Human Brigand

AL Chaotic, MOVE 120′ (40′), AC 6 (Ring Prot. +1), HD 1,
HP 8, ATT +0, DAM 1d6 (crossbow), SAVE F1 (+1), MORALE 6
LOOT: 13 gp, 10 sp, Ring of Protection +1, necklace (25 gp)

XP: 15 if killed (30 if outsmarted)

Personality & Tactics: As his name implies, Krawse Beaumann skulks in the back during combat, staying as maneuverable as possible to avoid melee. If he fails a morale check while Barnabas still lives, he will plead (quite pitifully) with Barnabas to call off the fight and save their skins. If Krawse fails a morale check after the death of Barnabas, he flees. If captured, Krawse acts compliant, but will attempt escape as soon as possible.

Alix the Blade

Skullsplitter - Aberrations set

Alix the Blade

Human Berserker

AL Neutral, MOVE 120′ (40′), AC 7, HD 1+1 HP 9, ATT +0,
DAM 1d8+1 (Battle Axe +1), SAVE F1, MORALE N/A
LOOT: 13 gp, 30 sp, Battle Axe +1, bracelet (25 gp)

XP: 20 if killed (40 if outsmarted)

Personality & Tactics: Alix immediately goes into a reckless berserker rage. He gains a +2 attack bonus. He battles to the death without a morale check. If Barnabas orders him to calm himself, Alix gets to make a saving throw versus Death to end his rage. He may only make one such attempt per encounter.