1920’s Call of Cthulhu – in the UK

While I wait for my Kickstarter “Witcher” board-game to arrive and give me some more figures to paint I’ve been distracted by a plan I had for a UK based Call of Cthulhu campaign.

The campaign is meant to be less SAN draining and more exploration and investigation. (Think “The X-Files” and “Warehouse 13” in 1920’s UK.) It’s based in the UK rather than America, because I know a lot more about British history and legends from decades of reading, and I’ve been there; I own physical maps, books, etc. My only time in the USA was 2 hours each in San Francisco and LA airport, changing planes. [If it came down to it, I’ve spend slightly more time in Mexico than I have in the UK, and that could be an interesting CoC setting too.] An Australia 1920’s campaign sounds a bit boring.

In addition to refining my notes on character creation for the campaign (like boosting HP’s for PC’s and defining how I will use sanity and SAN checks, etc) I’ve been researching for the intro adventure for the campaign. One great thing about games set in the real world, especially with the internet, is how easy it is to get hold of history, maps, statistics, and nearly anything else you might want to know to flesh out a your adventure and GM notes.

…why are “loose boxes” important?

The introductory adventure begins in “The George”, a hotel in Amesbury, very close to Stonehenge. In addition to pictures of the hotel, I was delighted to find census data for the hotel. I know everyone who worked for the hotel and all the guests who were there on the 2nd April 1911. I’ve had to delete some of the guests (there were 16 “boarders” during the census), and modify two or three to suit NPC’s I need for the adventure. Knowing their ages, occupations and place of birth has inspired me to invent backgrounds suitable to the area and reasons for why they might have been there. This all works into the mystery at the centre of my adventure. (It includes Stonehenge, a murder and a piece of jewellery… no more detail since 3 of my usual players read my blog.) I’ve aged the hotel proprietor, his wife and son by 11 years, to work with my starting time in May 1922.

While making notes on character creation, I realised there’s something I haven’t seen in the UK source-books that I have for Call of Cthulhu. For any game set in 1920’s UK, that is, straight after the Great War, nearly any male PC’s between the ages of say 21 and 45 would have been conscripted and served 2-4 years in the British military. There were exceptions. For example: being Irish, unfit (low CON or SIZE?), clergymen, teachers and certain industrial workers or some conscientious objectors. Admittedly, this could also be a factor to consider in terms of an American campaign, but with their much higher population I think you would have more characters that didn’t see service.

In game terms, most male characters should get a small increase in their rifle skill, but is probably balanced out by the fact that UK citizens were less likely to be skilled with firearms than their American equivalents. For my game I’ve decided that most players will need to decide if they served in the Army or Navy (or Air-force if they put skill points in Pilot) and if they have a high Credit Rating (or Lifestyle from Occupation) may have been an Officer or NCO. It certainly adds to a PC’s background.

Writing an adventure set in the real world? The computer is your friend! (Yes, I’ve also been wanting to run a Paranoia adventure.)

One-shot games (or “What to do when players aren’t free?”)

Long gone are the days when my gaming group played some sort of game multiple times a week. Work, partners and/or family, and life in general means my group now averages a gaming day/night twice a month. My main D&D game has six players, and I generally don’t feel like running it if two people can’t make it. The Pathfinder game I play in came about in part for this reason – so that we could still role-play when the two busier people in our larger group weren’t free.

Sometimes a player can drop out at last minute, or you may have a few people who still want to get together. Occasionally, we’ll still play and one player runs two PC’s. We have also ended up playing board games (like Dungeon Quest, Talisman, Minion Hunter), card games (Munchkin, Flux, Unexploded Cow) or I’ve run a one session RPG. In the past we have played two Call of Cthulhu games (I’ve got “Blood Brothers” – designed with this in mind) and last year we did three separate one-shot (/playtest) Gamma World games. I’ve still got another CoC adventure ready to run if required.

Earlier this year, one of the blogs I read – Dungeon Fantastic – detailed two sessions where he ran S2 “White Plume Mountain” (AD&D) as a change from his normal GURPS Dungeon Fantasy. It sounded like a lot of fun, both as an alternative from normal gaming and a chance to play a few adventures from early D&D versions without converting them to d20/PF (which is what I mostly do now) and/or having to make changes to suit my player’s character levels. It inspired me to look at the rule books on my gaming shelves and produce a couple of single-session adventures to have ready for one of those days when someone can’t make a game or we just feel like something different.

Over the last two months I started working on two One-Shot adventures – one for Star Wars and another for Middle Earth. This gave me a theme – Movie/TV – that I’ve been expanding to nearly every RPG I own. Generally I’m taking a part of a movie (or the general idea from the film/TV program) and building something for 4-5 players. I enjoy coming up with adventure ideas and I love making characters, so two ideas have grown into six – so far!

Here’s the adventures I’m working on; titles are subject to change.

Star Wars (d6 W.E.G.) – “The Pit of Carkoon”

Middle Earth Role Playing – “Dol Guldar: The Necromancer”

Gamma World (d20 Pathfinder) – “We’re not in Kansas anymore”

Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay – “Inconceivable!” (Or “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya…”)

Shadowrun (3rd Edition) – “Asgard has fallen.”

Oriental Adventures (D&D 3.5) – “Gandhara/Journey to the West”

Now, it’s possible that the titles don’t mean anything to you, or only sound a little familiar. If so, here’s some more detail:

  1. The “Pit of Carkoon” is the resting place of the Sarlaac from “Return of the Jedi”. Six minutes in the movie makes a great set-up for a major combat on two skiffs and Jabba’s Sail Barge. For five PC’s, with an optional sixth being Boba Fett, fighting against the rest of the players. The session could be expanded with something in Mos Eisley where the players have to get back to the Millennium Falcon.
  2. Dol Guldar is a fortress in southern Mirkwood forest, where the White Council drive out Sauron – “the Necromancer”. There’s a scene that interprets the events from “The Lord of the Rings” in the movie “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies”. The LotR book lists the “White Council” as being “the Wizards, Elrond, Cirdan, Galadriel, and other lords of the Eldar” so I’ve made nine characters that can be chosen from by Players, and I’ll modify Dol Guldar from the MERP sourcebook “Mirkwood”.
  3. The classic movie “The Wizard of Oz” converted to Gamma World. Five PC’s (including Toto) are sent by the “Tech Wizard from Oz” to remove the threat of the “Wicked Witch” (an Esper) and her flying monkeys.
  4. Another classic movie – “The Princess Bride”. Westley, Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Fezzik and Miracle Max have to defeat Prince Humperdink, Count Rugen and maybe Vizzini. This adventure will draw on the characters more than the actual story in the movie.
  5. I’ve done little work on this so far. The idea is to have a Shadowrun session where the PC’s are all off-duty military/security named after characters (or actors?) from the “Olympus has fallen” movies who have to rescue the President and his son from terrorists. My big change is to relocate this to Parliament House in Canberra, Australia. Downloading basic maps/floor-plans was easy. I mostly need to make-up the PC’s and NPC’s.
  6. The novel “Journey to the West” is the fictional story of an actual Chinese monk who traveled to India to bring back Buddhist scriptures. Most people are more familiar with the 1978 Japanese TV series “Monkey”. The five main characters (including Horse) recreated in d20 and doing something similar to an episode of the series.

For most of these I’ve completed the PC’s and thought about NPC’s and creatures. Specific adventure detail comes next. Once finished, I’ll probably add the adventures to the blog.


A tree, a cactus and an android walk into a bar…

No, it’s not a joke – this is my new Gamma World campaign. Not only did I finish writing my conversion to Pathfinder rules, but also my gaming group rolled up characters and we’ve played about six sessions.

Three play test sessions (mostly last year) had helped me to establish what skills I wanted, and tweak my races, classes and feats. My mutation system seems fine, but the mutations themselves have had small adjustments, even into our first two gaming sessions, as both my players and I realised what wasn’t defined or could be refined – especially things like range for powers and whether something needed an attack roll or saving throw.

My full GM Rulebook is 90 pages long (so far) and I’m now converting GW creatures to the Pathfinder system. I’ve even built the basics of the system in Hero Lab – Races, Classes, Skills, Talents, Feats, basic weapons and all armour working properly. I still have to code the mutations and artefact equipment/weapons.

So this is what I have now:

5 Genotypes (Races, with 15 Animal subtypes, and 6 plant subtypes)
10 Classes
30 base Skills (8 Crafts, and 8 Knowledge expanding those)
78 Talents (Class abilities)
101 Feats
120 Positive Mutations
25 Mutation Defects
A heap of armour, weapons and misc equipment
7 Prestige Classes
1 NPC Class
32 Creatures

An abridged PDF of my rules is available on my Resources page.


The Campaign so far has been converted 2nd edition adventures. We started with GW2 “Famine at Far-Go”, then the mini-adventure “The Albuquerque Starport”. The group is currently halfway through GW1 “The Legion of Gold”. They have reached second level and have an assortment of the ancients equipment – mostly “Pre-war” stuff, but a couple of “advanced” items. Most of them can’t wait to level up to 3rd so that they can get a Tech Familiarity feat (so they don’t use things like guns and lasers with penalties), or to get a new mutation! I have a theme that I introduced in the first adventure (“Have you heard the words of the Electron Prophet?”) that will reveal itself again soon, and steadily build up to something I’ll have to write myself later. My next blog post should be about this group and gameplay.

Gamma World is a weird blend of crazy, humorous role-play that can suddenly turn deadly serious. Our last session has good examples. A huge bright orange lion flew down out of the sky yelling at the group. It landed and looked the group’s main warrior up and down. “It’s awesome, I’ve got to have it. It looks just like the one I ate last week – what do you want for it?” Tense concern melted into laughter when they realised that Yexil’s eat cloth, especially synthetics and it wanted Hack’s pre-war armour, less the ceramic plates. They managed to trade some fabric they recovered from a clothing store (on a space station!) for two photon grenades. The very happy Yexil flew off looking for Elvis – it had seen an image and wanted his jacket. A few hours later the players were fleeing in a panic because the four screaming mutants they’d just encountered in a bunker all had life-leech – a mutation power that drains hit points from living things within 30 feet and heals the mutant. The android in the party keeps proving a valuable choice.


Apart from Gamma World – I haven’t done much this year (more reading and playing computer games than usual). I’m determined to finish painting my Zombicide abominations over the next week or two. I also have plans for a new painting project. I undercoated 20 Star Wars figures from Ral Partha this morning – with the expectation to use many of them for GW. More detail on that as it comes.

A Brave New World…

…complete with people like a four-eyed flying monkey, a three-armed cat-man, an ambulatory vine that throws exploding seeds, a dark-skinned female human with gills who stands over eight feet tall, a normal looking man who levitates and controls the actions of those he touches, and a small rusty-looking cyborg who enjoys taunting computers and lesser robots. Maybe they need to recover healing fruit from an ancient building with an overgrown arboretum, or maybe they are helping a farmer learn what’s killing his six-legged blue sheep.


This is the Gamma World – a futuristic RPG set on earth after the ravages of nuclear and biological war. Mutants (creatures changed by radiation, genetic modification or biological effects) are common, as are the artefacts of the pre-war society – some undamaged and functional, others ruined, broken or decayed. Humans are either the descendants of those who lived through the worst in bunkers, were frozen embryos or clones (Pure Strain), or “altered” – those who survived, but aren’t entirely human any more. Larger, sentient animals exist, many with mutations or defects. Robots and AI’s, some functional, others with damaged programming and memory loss can be encountered, along with mobile intelligent plants.

Gamma World, first produced by TSR in 1978 is now into its seventh edition. I was first entranced by the idea of this game from three pages in my 1979 Advanced D&D Dungeon Master’s Guide which described converting D&D characters to and from the “Boot Hill” and “Gamma World” game systems. I didn’t get to play until the late 1980’s, when at University I started a short 1st edition game. One of the guys in my gaming group ran a short 3rd edition campaign in that time too. I bought the 4th edition when it came out (TSR 1992) – loved it, but never played it. (It’s mostly based on 2nd edition D&D rules, but looking back it’s obviously a precursor to 3rd edition, with defined class skills, DC’s, three saving throws, etc.) A friend gave me a copy of the Player’s Handbook for the sixth edition of Gamma World (2003) and this got me interested again. This is a d20 version produced by ‘Sword & Sorcery’ with three hardback rulebooks and three supplements, mostly based on d20 Modern and requiring that rulebook. It’s very good at defining the world and background, but has a lot less mutations and equipment than earlier versions.

The “people” of the Gamma World mentioned at the beginning are sample characters I created with my new system for play testing with my gaming group. Both sessions have been a lot of fun, and helped my tweak my rules and tidy up skills and abilities. I’m nearly at the stage where players could create their own characters with the rules.

I’ve considered merging the rules presented in both the 4th and 6th editions for a long, long time… this year I actually started doing it. The fourth edition allows plants as character races, has 102 mutations and 18 defects, and about 40 pages of equipment, weapons and artefacts. The sixth edition has no plants, but allows “synthetics” – robot player characters, 45 mutations (about half are defects), about 20 Cybernetic/Psionic powers, and only 18 pages of equipment. My system – I’m calling it 4.5 – is based mostly on the 4th edition material converted to d20 (3.5 D&D), drawing from Pathfinder, d20 Modern and of course the parts I like from GW 6th edition.

One thing I never liked about early GW versions was the randomness of mutations. You could have one character who was really powerful (laser eyes, immunities, regeneration) and another with bad eyesight, three legs and ability to levitate small rocks. No balance. Unless it was a campaign where you expected to die quickly and make up another character, it could be really annoying. My system gives most genotypes a number of points to buy mutations. Each mutation costs one to three points. You roll on a table, if you can afford the mutation you take it, or you roll again. If you choose to take a 1 or 2-point defect, you get extra points for good mutations. During game-play, radiation exposure may randomly grant 1 or 2 points of good or bad mutations. At character creation, it’s a choice.

I have five Genotypes – Pure Strain Humans, Altered Humans, New Animals (15 subtypes), Green Folk (6 plant subtypes) and Live Metal. There are ten base classes: six from d20 Modern (Strong, Fast, Tough, Smart, Dedicated, Charismatic) and four from 4th/6th edition – Enforcer, Esper, Examiner and Scout. All of these have been adjusted to balance out more evenly than their d20 originals. My skills list is mostly based on Pathfinder with some GW/d20 Modern additions, with revised or new descriptions when required. I have 30 fully detailed skill descriptions, 78 Class Abilities, and 100 Feats.

I’m currently converting all the 4th edition mutations to my d20 version, and then I’ll add in some of the powers from 6th edition. Equipment will be predominantly from the 4th edition and I mostly need to make range adjustments (from metres to feet), and “monsters” from the 6th edition almost as is.

Once it gets a bit further along, I’ll put detail up on my Resources page.

Have you ever played Gamma World?   What edition did you play and would you play again?


D&D Resources – Condition and Spell Cards

I’m involved in two high level D&D campaigns. In the one where I’m a player it’s not unusual to be in the middle of an major battle and have all of the party (5 Players and 3 NPC’s) affected by our Bard’s Inspire Courage, Haste, Bless, Prayer, etc. If someone fails a save and is dazzled/shaken/sickened, etc – how do you keep track of all the bonuses and penalties that apply to a character? What bonuses stack with each other?

I looked around at “Condition” cards available and wasn’t satisfied with what was available. I found that, regardless of price or quality, it seemed that either not all the conditions or buffs that most players would want were part of the set, or you only got one of each card. In the end I made my own – then I did a second set that covered the main spells that were being cast in our campaigns.



My cards are 55 x 85mm, just a little smaller than standard card size. I print them out on an A4 sheet, laminate them and cut them out. I’ve also used different colour paper to distinguish the two sets.
I generally have two of each of the conditions and about four each of anything that could affect all the party. Not everyone needs to have their own card – but each player should be able to see them. [Note: The cards in the image above are from an early set and bonuses to “Attack” now read “Attack rolls” to be clearer.]

I’m making them available to anyone else who wants to use them, in two formats. The PDF’s are great to print as is; the Word files are good if you want to print extra copies of individual cards, or want to use mine as a template to create your own cards. These work with both 3.5 and Pathfinder – if there is a difference in rules, then there’s a separate card for each system.

The “Condition” set contains one each of: Ability Damaged, Ability Drained, Baleful Polymorph, Blinded, Confused, Cowering, Dazed, Dazzled, Deafened, Disabled, Dying, Energy Drained, Enlarged, Entangled, Exhausted, Fascinated, Fatigued, Frightened, Grappled, Helpless, Incorporeal, Invisible, Nauseated, Panicked, Paralysed, Prone, Reduced, Shaken, Sickened, Slowed, Staggered, & Stunned.
The “Spell” set contains one each of: Aid, Bless, Detect Evil, Detect Magic, Divine Favour, Divine Protection, Fireshield, Good Hope, Hasted, Mage Armor, Mirror Image, Prayer, Righteous Wrath, Shield, & Shield of Faith (+2 to +4). It also includes Bard performances: Inspire Courage (+1 to +4), Inspire Greatness, Countersong, Dirge of Doom, Fascinate, Frightening Tune, & Soothing Performance. Not all of these spells have “bonuses” to a character, but they are handy reminders that you have that spell active and what it does.

Download them from my RPG Resources page!

MERP Campaign & Resources

My MERP Campaign work is pretty much finished. I’ve customised the 2nd edition MERP rules to suit the way I’d like the game to run, and completed my tables for character creation and campaign play. I’m now in the process of converting ICE’s LOR (Lord of the Rings Adventure Game) adventures into MERP adventures. My aim would be to use the first two LOR modules as the start of my MERP Campaign.

Here’s my campaign adventure plan so far – leading from Bree to Rivendell, then around most of Rhudaur:

LR-0 Dawn Comes Early, LR-1 Darker Than Darkness, <Rivendell>, The Loons of Long Fell (1st level), Hillmen of the Trollshaws – The Trolls Watch-Tower (Low level), Trolls of the Misty Mountains – The Dwarves of Duildin Hill (1st – 2nd), Trolls of the Misty Mountains – The Village of Garkash Hill (2nd – 3rd), Phantom of the Northern Marshes – The Phantom of the Woods (1st – 2nd), Phantom of the Northern Marshes – The Riddle of Ridorthu (2nd – 3rd), Dark Mage of Rhudaur – Before the Snow Falls & Beseiged, Hillmen of the Trollshaws – The Tale of Mong-Finn & Miffli (Mdm level), Hillmen of the Trollshaws – The Rescue of Alquawen (Mdm level).

The LOR system is like a simpler version of MERP – it uses a smaller set of skills than MERP (LOR skills are like the MERP skill categories), a simpler set of races/classes and rolls are all using 2d6. Most MERP products come with a guide for converting LOR Characters to MERP, but it’s mostly along the lines of “work out what level your character would be and assign DP’s for each level to the skill categories determined by the LOR bonuses”. What I really like about the LOR modules is the way they are written – lots of detail about what the characters see, or can learn/interact with through skill rolls. The first adventure is designed for players who haven’t played LOR (or many RPGs) before and is great for the GM to lead them through the basics of skill use, combat and general role-playing.

Most of my conversion requires converting the LOR skill roll results to MERP Static Maneuver results. When it comes to creatures/NPCs, I’m just making my own NPC’s using MERP rules, or adding the relevant MERP creature stats. The adventures also have a lot of maps and visual aids and I’ve been able to use a lot of them to make floor-plans or game play maps. (I recently learned that one of my graphics programs can overlay a grid on an image, and I found another program that takes large images and break them up into A4 sheets for printing!) I made up four new characters using my rules and I’m play-testing my conversions – going nicely so far!

I also decided that with all these things that I’ve developed, it would be worth adding a new page to my blog that lists internet resources that I’ve found helpful and also made some of my RPG files available to others who may find them useful. So far it’s mostly MERP materials – character sheets, tables, etc – but I’ll add Greyhawk material (D&D and Hero Lab) as I find it or finish it.


Middle-Earth Role Playing – Returning to an old favourite


What I read, and the movies I watch, often influence what game system I pay attention to. For example, last year over a weekend my wife and I watched all three Hobbit films. Since then I’ve been wanting to go back to my M.E.R.P. (Middle-Earth Role Playing) material. At that time I did little more than collecting some more RPG material and sketching out a basic outline for a new campaign.

Over the last few weeks I’ve actually sat down and fleshed out my ideas, building a folder with some well developed information for starting characters and GM reference material to guide the campaign the way I want. I’m not actually expecting to run a game any time soon (the last MERP campaign I ran was 20 years ago), but my version of OCD means that I enjoy the planning and preparation; even if there’s no sign I’m going to use it. (I’m playing in a Pathfinder D&D campaign currently that shows no sign of ending, but I’ve already detailed what would be my next character up to 15th level – race, class, feats, etc.)

If you aren’t familiar with MERP, then here are the basics of the RPG:

ICE (Iron Crown Enterprises) released the game in 1984, as simplified version of their Rolemaster RPG. Players choose from Dwarves, Elves (Noldor, Sindar, Silvan), Half-Elves, Humans (15 ethnicities) and Hobbits, as races, with six base professions – Warrior, Scout, Ranger, Mage, Animist, Bard. It’s a skill-based 1-100 (or percentile) system. Your race gives you a number of points in specific skills, and each level in your profession gives points in skill categories. Each player chooses how to assign their skill points, and can transfer them to other categories under certain restrictions, which allows for considerable customisation. Most classes have access to spells. Actions are made as a d% roll, adding the appropriate skill bonus, subtracting any penalty for difficulty (if say, picking locks or moving stealthily) or deducting an opponents DB (defensive bonus) in combat. The final result is checked against the relevant table and damage, or the measure of success/failure is determined. Most actions (especially combat) have critical success and fumble tables – well detailed and lots of fun to use. Creatures and other campaign detail is based on the wealth of J.J.R. Tolkien’s works, and there are dozens of source books, campaign guides, and adventure modules to cover the length and breadth of Middle Earth. The material references different time periods, allowing games to be run in pretty much any part of the Third Age.

Most of a MERP Character Sheet (1st level Dunedain Ranger)

It’s also very easy to use the Rolemaster material to expand or enhance the game. For example – MERP has nine combat tables – for weapon types, spell and creature attacks. My Rolemaster “Arms Law” book has forty-two tables for individual weapons/attacks, as well as expanded critical and fumble tables.

My new “campaign guide” is 18 pages long (so far) – mostly giving the required info for the races and professions I’ll use. I’ve decided to restrict player races to a subset; only using six of the human ethnicities (Beorning, Dunedain, Dunlending, Eriadoran, Gondorian, Rohirrim), but all of the non-human. They will begin as 0-level adolescents or apprentices – only gaining the skills that their race assigns and no profession level skills (for 1st level) until the end of the first adventure. I’m allowing all six base classes, and also six of the optional classes (Burglar, Conjurer, Explorer, Rogue, Shape-changer, Wizard) – I’d love to see someone run a character that turns into a bear! I’ve created my own tables for starting ages, and height/weight for each race. (Based on the d20 tables, customised with the detail given in MERP.) I’ve tweaked Ability/Stat bonuses, the experience/level table and how characters gained XP. The MERP way of characters individually gaining experience from taking damage, casting spells, succeeding in manoeuvres, dealing criticals and defeating opponents gets quite messy to track and I greatly simplified things. I’ve got longer and more detailed equipment/goods & services tables – expanded using some Rolemaster material. I drew on both the Core Rulebook and “Creatures of Middle Earth” to make a two-page creature table with all the detail that I would require for combats, focussing on lower level creatures/monsters, and using the rules to detail a large variety of 1st to 5th level Orc opponents. (Building Orcs and Trolls in MERP is similar to adding Class levels to monsters in d20, so I’m much more comfortable mucking around with NPC’s/creatures than 20 years ago!)

My campaign will start in Bree, probably about 3015 Third Age. This is after the events of the Hobbit (2941 TA), and Bilbo’s 111th birthday party (3001 TA), when Gandalf has been regularly checking on Frodo, and he and Aragorn are searching for Gollum. If you have only seen the LotR movies, you won’t know that 17 years pass between Bilbo’s famous birthday party and when Frodo leaves the Shire with the Ring (3018 TA). The characters will meet Gandalf, and go to Rivendell early in the campaign. I plan to have them spend most of their early levels in Arnor (Rhudaur and Arthedain), and then probably bring them across the Misty Mountains. I’d like to get them involved indirectly with the happenings from LotR – following events in the background rather than the main story – eventually bringing them south to Rohan and Gondor to fight against Sauron’s forces.

I’ve still got some playing around to do with this – detailing encounters and creature stats for the initial Bree adventure (a player Scout character, or a friendly NPC, has been wrongfully accused of theft and jailed). Then I plan to list a number of published adventures I have in a suitable order to get the campaign progressing. After that… I should go back to some painting, convert some more 2nd ed Greyhawk monsters to PF Hero Lab, and I have a Gamma World RPG to do some work on. There’s always another project and not enough time!


D&D Campaign Diary updated…

Hooray – I finally spent some time to transfer most of my “diary” onto my blog. (D&D, 3rd edition)

Nearly everything, from the first adventure my group has played (June 2003) up to the “war” against the Giants (2011-2014), has been added to the Campaign page. The giants saga was a conversion to 3rd edition that I did – the original modules are 1st edition – mostly based on the Silver Anniversary edition of “Against the Giants“, with material from “GDQ Queen of the Spiders“.

Mid last year, we started on “Expedition to the Demonweb Pits” and I’ve yet to add that into the diary online. We haven’t played this year, but its time to get together again and they can have their first foray into the demonweb itself.

A good day to die…

Every few weeks I get together with friends and we continue in one of the two D&D Campaigns that we have running. Last night was a session that a friend is running (I DM the other campaign) and so I was playing!

We use the Pathfinder d20 system, but draw heavily from 3rd and 3.5 editions because that’s the main material we own and are used to. We also use miniatures for nearly everything on home-made floor-plans. If I keep blogging about our sessions, I’ll start taking regular photo’s. Here’s an old image:

D&D Home-04

Low level adventurers on some of my better quality floor-plans.

I use Hero Lab* to keep track of character detail and make sure we don’t miss anything when levelling. (* NOTE: This program is the BEST gaming resource I have ever owned & used! If you are a GM/DM/Ref for any of the games it supports you should at least download and trial it.)

The basis of our adventuring group is a human Fighter (Fulcrum), a human Paladin (Lightning), a dwarven Cleric/Wizard/Mystic theurge (Barak, my character), a human Bard (Jenisky) and a elven Scout/Warmage (Fayed). Due to a rush on “Leadership” feats over the last few levels, there are also 3 cohorts (player run NPC’s) – two Fighters & a Ranger. The main characters are all 13th level, so we can both take and deal out something nasty… at least until we break our usual pattern of exploration and something unexpected happens. Last night that was TWICE!

1st Mistake – We had finished a confusing conversation/encounter with a spirit of philosophy (one of the four we have to deal with in this dungeon) and had 2 Demons (12HD Glabrezu) break into the chamber and beat us up. [This is one demon we love to hate and also one of the few I don’t have a mini for.] We’d mostly healed and our scout looked into the next room and thought he saw dwarven writing (that he can’t read). The bard followed me as I went into the room to look at the writing and just as the two of us moved away from everyone else, about eight giant slugs dropped in around everyone.

These slugs are huge, have about 100hp’s, DR 10/slash&peirce and spit 10d6 acid as a ranged-touch attack. I think now that the DM was mistakenly allowing the slugs to both make a melee AND a ranged attack each turn and so we took a heap of damage. [Orez – this means you if you’re reading!] Barak went down unconcious after fumbling his warhammer (and throwing it behind a slug) and was healed by the bard back to conciousness. With only one slug threatening the two of us, I choose to blast it with a spell rather than heal myself. (Stupid move in hindsight) Of course, I didn’t kill the slug, so it thumped me again (2d10 +12 + 2d8 acid damage). This time I was DEAD… thankfully I carry a Raise Dead scroll which with good rolls the Bard was able to cast and then after some healing and Restoration (to cancel negative levels) I was back to normal.

2nd Mistake – Fayed walked into a new room and thought he saw something at the back. Instead of calling out, he wanted a better look and four of the seven Nabasu Demons hit him with enervation spells: 10 negative levels. (So he’s suddenly got -10 penalties on everything and low hp’s) In the next few rounds, he (and others) got death-gazed and so he died and became a ghoul. So we killed him as well as the demons. Two of the characters have a single negative level and I’ll need to rest and memorise another Raise Dead!

<The DM has since reminded me that we will need ressurection – which I can’t cast – not raise dead. At least we have a heap of money to spend! >

What is one of the most common phrases in any of our gaming sessions?

“Don’t split the party!”

End note: I realised while typing this that I think we didn’t look at the writing on the wall. I wonder if it really was dwarven?


What games do I play?

Currently – Dungeons and Dragons RPG (D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder), Kings of War (a Miniature battle war-game), World of Warcraft (online game, MMORPG), Neverwinter Nights 2 (PC), and a varied scattering of board, card and computer games.

I also write adventures (primarily for D&D), wrote (and run) a Play-by-email fantasy game, and I’m working on my own d20 version of a Gamma World RPG (combining elements from both 4th and 6th editions).

What have I played? (or still have the game/rulebooks, and expect to play again)

RPG’s – In particular I’ve played all versions of D&D (up to and including 3.5/Pathfinder), Star Wars, M.E.R.P. (Middle Earth Role-Playing), Call of Cthulhu, Champions, Warhammer Fantasy Role-Play, Shadowrun, and Gamma World.

Computer Games – Neverwinter Nights, Warcraft, WoW, Diablo, Portal, Age of Empires, Descent, Dawn of War, Civilization, Freelancer, Quake, Starcraft, Torchlight, Doom, Alone in the Dark, Nethack…

Board Games – Hero Quest, Warhammer Quest, Dungeon Quest, Talisman, Car Wars, The Lonely Mountain, Carcassonne, Sequence…

Card Games – Flux, Munchkin, Chez Geek, Unexploded Cow, Kill Dr Lucky, Mille Bornes, Frag, Spellfire, Illuminati, Magic (the gathering), Falling…

and the more traditional card games like 500, Crazy Whist, Canasta, Rummy… etc.