Prisons Below

Prisons Below

A good Dungeon Master should always have a spare prison they can can pull out for when the PC’s get into trouble (which never happens, right?)

  • The north section of this map includes ten 10’x10′ cells along with multiple areas for guards to hang out and keep watch.
  • The southern section is a large room for what else? Torture and interrogation of course!
  • Connecting both arms is a defensible choke point with a large circular staircase to freedom.

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Map: Tower of the Black Sun

Tower of the Black Sun

First version of a map for an adventure I’m working on. I don’t want to give away too much, so just a simple map this time. Key points include multiple small rooms behind secret doors, stairs to upper and lower levels, and an astronomically aligned summoning circle.

 

 

Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook for Pay What You Want

This may be a limited thing, but I see the Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook up on RPGnow/DTRPG for “Pay What You Want”. This is normally $34.99.

Written by Matt Finch and Published by Frog God Games, I’ve really been meaning to read through this. I may be a bit wrong, but from my research, regarding retro-clones, S&W is to be based on the 1974 OD&D. And, this seems to have a lot of support.

S&W comes in three versions, an essential “White Box” version, an updated “Core” version with expanded rules, and this “Complete” rulebook which I gather combines all the above.

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Map & Plot Idea: Pools of Sacrifice

Map Pools of Sacrifice

How’s this for a first isometric map? I found a nice way to print isometric paper on iOS devices, will have to put up a how-to later.

So, for some ideas for this map:

The top level has an arcane circle. Maybe PC’s find a portal here? Or maybe they are unwittingly sent here by an evil cult in order for the PCs to unknowingly set off a blood summoning?

On the second levels are sacrificial blood pools. Populate these two levels with some big baddies. I mean big, as in at least large in size. The bigger the bloodier!

Then, the idea is that their blood channels down through the tunnel all the way to the bottom where it fills a sacrificial cult alter. And then what happens??? Nothing good, I’m sure…

Have fun!

Dungeon Crawl Classics #83: The Chained Coffin – Color Cover box set

Adult Swim Box Opening

Call of Cthulhu Metal Dice Set by Q-workshop & Chaosium

Best in the World in Dungeons & Dragons

Best in the World in D&D

For a period of time, your’s truly (going by the name of “Dungeon Master”) was “Best in the World” in something. Proudly, this ‘best’ was in D&D trivia in what used to be a pretty damn good trivia app called QuizUp.

Easily 100 hours of my life… poof but worth it for the above screenshot!

This was a little misleading, because they remove your stats if you don’t log in for a period of time. There was another user who was quite legendary; the user went by the name “Lord Soth”. He actually had double my score. But, he quit playing right when I started. So I would be #2 on a truly “all time” scoreboard, it just wasn’t posted that way. I had posted such in my bio in respect because that dude was a friggin stud. So, I mention him here too.

Map & Plot Idea: Fortress Under the Sun

Under the SunSuper busy night at work, but I found some downtime to unwind and draw another map. Listening to some music and a weird thing a patient told me gave me an idea..

In the immortal words of Ozzy Osbourne:

Well I don’t want no preacher
Telling me about the god in the sky
No I don’t want no one to tell me
Where I’m gonna go when I die

Sitting at the bar of yet another overpriced roadside inn. At least this one has a gorgeous innkeeper’s daughter serving large mugs of spiced ale along with a nice smile. A gruff old dwarf pulls a chair from the table next to the adventurers, and without asking for permission, he sits it right next to the party and begins to to tell them:

“I’m goin’ ta die tomorrow, so I may as well tell someone, and it may as fucking well be you all.”

He pulls out a large map and unrolls it onto the table, pushing your mugs to the side to make room.

He points to a long range of mountains and says, “Right there. You get up this ravine here, and head north, you’ll practically walk right in to the entrance of the Dwarven fortress, Solitude.”

“Our king betrayed us. Cursed all of us. All for the love of a girl. You probably can’no’longer save our king, but kill the witch. Kill ‘er dead. Then sack the place if you wish, but free his lustful soul and avenge us.”

  1. The Dwarven king is Boot Flagonslayer who broke faith with his God (insert name a of Dwarven God from your setting here) in order to gain favor with a girl whom he fell in love with. Then the new queen banished the entire dwarven clan.
  2. The girl, is actually a succubus. Ya, you probably saw that one coming….
  3. The name of the succubus is Amai’ha
  4. When the clan was banished, a curse was placed on each member. The curse kills each dwarf on their next birthday. The gates to the dwarven fortress are permanently sealed until the curse is fulfilled upon every dwarf affected. The dwarf who has approached the group is celebrating his birthday a day early, drinking his sorrows away at the inn. Of course, he is also the last dwarf alive from his clan.
  5. The map above, is for the second floor of this underground fortress.

  1. Feasthall. 1a is a royal sitting area; essentially the feast hall doubles as a dwarven court as well. Secret doors allow escape in a pinch.
  2. Treasure rooms
  3. Armories
  4. War rooms and administrative office areas
  5. Stone bridge across a large crevasse
  6. Wide staircases allow easier transportation of armaments from the workshops below to the armory here. Likewise, large staircases allow transportation to the upper levels where the market district is located.

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Review: Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D

Review of Rise of the Dungeon Master: Gary Gygax and the Creation of D&D

There are many stories floating around the internet regarding the rise and fall of D&D (or at least, TSR). This graphic novel provides a very comprehensive overview of that story and does a bang up job of telling it in one enjoyable sitting.

This 136 page, black & white graphic novel, is a quick and easy read. Illustrated by Koren Shadmi, he does a wonderful job of reproducing all the characters. He further beautifully reproduces a very stylized rendition of all appropriate scenes; from Gygax’s Hawaiian shirts to the D&D books and even a perfect recreation of the 80’s D&D animated cartoon. Although the entire book is B&W, the color front and back cover are gorgeous.

Rise of the Dungeon Master

Written by David Kushner, the book is broken down into 9 chapters and told from the perspective of the various figures in the D&D story. Of course, Gygax receives a considerable amount of this time and next off is Dave Arneson. Also included is a whole montage of the whole Satanic Panic from the 1980’s mostly told from the perspective of William Dear, the private investigator hired to find James Dallas Egbert III.

Rise of the Dungeon Master

I’ve read quite a bit about the creation of D&D, with the various accounts regarding the contributing influences other than Gygax. This story, I think, does a good job of succinctly telling the story as I’ve come to know it. One where Gygax was certainly the visionary, however, Arneson is probably under-recognized as an instrumental creative force in D&D’s initial inception. Furthermore, the differences in the two’s early personalities are still seen today as a split between “rules light” and “rules heavy” styles of D&D play (although the book makes mention of Gygax moving to the rules light side later in life).

We see various examples of how D&D influenced a wide swath of geek culture (which is now “pop culture” in many ways). Then the story gets bleak in chapter 7 with what I’ve best seen referenced to as “The Ambush at Sheridan Springs“. This story is brief in this graphic novel. If you are interested in these sorts of things, then give this a read. It is long, but is a fascinating account of just how badly the Blume brothers and Lorraine Williams fucked everyone over and sank TSR like the RMS Titanic.

The story eventually picks back up again on a positive note as it leads into essentially the reason why I’m posting this right now. That is, the intersection of older players getting back into the hobby, rise of geek culture, what is called OSR, and the release of D&D 5e.

Lastly, chapter 9 is legitimately a little sad as it covers the deaths of Gygax and Arneson. I didn’t know a couple of the things mentioned here. For instance, I actually didn’t know that Gygax was a born again Christian. That’s really awesome and I’ll have to research this further.

This is a beautiful book. Very well written, telling a very good version of the story. One that tells some of the hard truths without minimizing at all the great contributions to the modern of storytelling which these artists brought to life.

Rise of the Dungeon Master

Amazon Listing

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