Archive for January, 2012


Answering Ten Questions from the Barking Alien

31 January, 2012

A variety of GM playstyle questions.

1) What is the most common type of environment or terrain encountered thus far in your current or most recent campaign?

Not really been a consistent theme, but they keep returning to the Complex which has a bit of a classic weird dungeon vibe to it.

2) What is the most exotic or unusual environment or terrain encountered thus far in your current or most recent campaign?

Well, the Complex, it is a place of interlocking tunnels so large that none of the characters has explored more than half of it and it is being expanded by the army of insects that live inside it.  Everything serves the mysterious Pattern which has not been explained beyond its goal to bring order.

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Tuesday Magic Item – Dragonpoint

31 January, 2012

Our contact was furtive, more so that usual for a dealing in black market magical weapon, which said something.  One he was certain that we were unobserved and he had lit a ward candle.  “Let me see the money,” he hissed.

Mokmarly opened the small iron box, half full of gold coins.

The weapons dealer smiled and unrolled the cloth bundle showing a baker’s dozen of arrows, each with a brightly colored arrowhead.  “Here, as promised, six blue, four red, two silver and a gold,” he said nervously.  “Are we good?”

Some challenge the dragons

Arrows for dragons

Visian unstoppered a vial and careful ushered our a drop of red blood which he let fall onto the blue arrow head where it sparked and sizzled.  She nodded, “They are real.”

Mokmarley pressed the box into the dealers hand and Visian rolled the arrows back up.  “Let’s go.”


These weapon points, usually used on arrows or bolts and sometimes on javelins or throwing spears, are unusual for they are often a solid color or apparently of a precious metal but are in fact shaped from dragon scale.  The secret to making dragonpoints is a closely guarded secret held only by a few but they are manufactured in surprising numbers.

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Inspiration Viewing – A Bad Day at Black Rock

30 January, 2012

A Bad Day at Black Rock is fascinating movie set in 1946 in the small, isolated California town of Black Rock.  The train stops and a man gets off, a stranger to the town.  This is notable as this is the first time the train has stopped there in four years.

But Black Rock has a secret, and not one that it wants to share, the stranger’s arrival is notable enough but when he starts asking around the towns people get nervous or hostile.  I will not tell any more of the plot as it is a delight to watch unfold in this short (about 80 minutes) movie.

Spenser Tracy is the stranger who disrupts the tense fabric of Black Rock and the -very young- (The very young) Lee Marvin and Ernest Borgnine play the heavies of the villain of the piece.

Highly recommended.

More information, which may contain some spoilers, after the cut.

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Review – True Halflings

29 January, 2012

True Halflings is a resource for an alternate type of halflings, one perhaps more true to their original literary roots.  If more humble and homebody sort of halflings are welcome in your campaign, this is the supplement for you.

True Halflings
is a 12-page PDF (10-pages if you remove the cover and OGL page) for the Pathfinder RPG written by Chris A. Fields and published by Otherverse Games.

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Pattern Seekers – Episode 7: Gold, Gold, Gold (Part 2)

28 January, 2012

Our heroes are on their way out of the mines when Pho stops and bristles at somethingahead.  Thea calls on people to stop and Dr Martin see a trio of black circular stones on the ground ahead and rushes forward to bottle one . . . only to have them unfurl into giant scorpions!   Dr. Martin in caught in the scorpions claw and stung, leaving him badly wounded as the rest of the character rush forward to engage.

Like this, only larger.


The combat is furious, with a greased Dr. Martin wiggling free of the claw, Malik the monk grappling one of the scorpion’s tail and then ripping it off!  Zendrink the sorcerer getting caught by a scorpion and electrocuting it (and himself) with shocking grasp.  But soon enough the scorpions are slain, and the characters badly bloodied, just as the Solar troops and Bradley arrive to see what all the noise is.  The scorpions swirled back down into the black stones, now damaged, except for the scorpion tail (held by Malik) and some poison harvested by Dr Martin.

They are escorted back to the Sun Temple camp where their wounds are treated, somewhat, and they can rest.  They decide that the next thing to do is to try and solve the bandit problem that is bedeviling both sides as a step toward getting them to the negotiating table.  So, they decide to borrow a wagon, make it look like it is transporting gold (via props and simple illusions) and then surprise the bandits when they attacked the wagon.  A good plan, so naturally it did not work . . . Read the rest of this entry ?


New Monster – Deep Miner

27 January, 2012

A sickly green glow lights the corridor as an emaciated specter of a dwarven miner emerges from the wall.  The wreckage of a dwarven soul mutters to himself, his eyes unfocused until he sees the gold ring on your finger.  “Gold!” it cries, a spectral pick appearing in its hand as it charges towards you.

Deep Miner                                                  CR 5 (1,600 XP)
NE medium undead (incorporeal)
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Tuesday Magic Item – Venturer’s Friend at Court

24 January, 2012

First crafted by the bard Rufus Friend of the Commons for a delegation of simple villagers to the court of the King; a keen-eyed dwarven venturer sniffed out the magic behind the commoners’ excellent manners and commissioned one for himself and his companions, who often had trouble dealing with nobility.

Key to the Kingdom?

Etiquette is Key

Since then, the use of the these items have quickly spread throughout the venturing community.  They often change hands at the last moment before court for inflated prices for it is better to loose some coins than your head from accidentally insulting the prince royal.

Venturer’s Friend at Court

These innocuous pieces of jewellery, often earrings, headband or a necklace, are almost always made of silver and if set with gems, they are always just semiprecious stones (such as amethyst or jet) in subtle and tasteful amounts.  They are by their nature understated and well made.

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Review – Justice City Superpowered

22 January, 2012

Justice City is a setting for a superheroic world with recent emergent superheroes.  It provides a useful, if general, backdrop for a campaign or just for a place to visit.

Justice City Superpowered: A Superhero Setting Book and Campaign Installment is a 32-page PDF (27-pages if you remove the cover, OGL pages and ad) for the Mutants & Masterminds (3rd Edition) RPG written by Ethan Parker and published by Gamer’s Haven Publishing.  This is part of the Gamer’s Haven Superpowered Superhero Roleplaying line.

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Review – Threat Report: Doctor Shock

21 January, 2012

Doctor Shock, once a brilliant medical doctor, now an even more brilliant supervillain.  A steel age sort of character, willing to kill for his goals, which is to study how superpower work and as such he has a reputation as a cape killer.  Perhaps not a character that will fit in all campaigns, but an interesting one.

Threat Report: Doctor Shock is a 4-page PDF (2-pages if you remove the cover letter and OGL page) for the Mutants & Masterminds (3rd Edition) RPG written by Aaron Sullivan and published by Green Ronin Publishing.  This is issue 3 of Green Ronin’s Threat Report line for M&M (3rd).

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Pattern Seekers – Episode 6: Gold, Gold, Gold (Part 1)

20 January, 2012

Having achieved another part of their goal, the Orb of Air, our heroes are dispatched on a different task, the seeking of allies but hopefully negotiating a peaceful compromise over the control of a gold mine between the Diamond Clan Dwarves and one of the Sun Temple Sects.  Both of whom the Pattern would like to have as possible allies.

Root of all evil?

Gold Ore

Thus our heroes are dispatched on a mission of diplomacy, which they may be particularly ill-suited towards, and soon find themselves on a winding road through the mountains.  Defender, as usual, takes the lead and after turning a corner, narrowly avoids being impaled by a ballista bolt.  Defender charges the dwarven post, taking a hit from a crossbow bolt, while Bradley shouts for peace.  After a few tense moments, the situation stabilizes.

The dwarves take a letter of introduction from Bradley and escorts the group to the dwarven camp where they meet Emissary Sagaroth White and Warleader Arcantus Rockbiter.  The dwarves explain that there have been attacks by bandits which is why the guard post was so jumpy.  They then lay out the dwarven claim to the mine: it was established by the Diamond dwarves but abandoned and sealed during a time of contraction and then the location was lost.  Bradley and the others agree to present the dwarven case to the Sun Temple in the homes of finding common ground between the two groups.

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