Saturday, December 15, 2018

Duergar Part 2

The Duergar or gray dwarves were physically separated from their people around 4,000 years ago, when Pel Thorin, the greatest underground fortress in dwarven history fell to an illithid incursion. 

Queen Nori Ironhearth had just fallen and her sons, Dwaren and Dueren were arguing about how to proceed. Dwaren thought they should lead the survivors away, to retreat from Pel Thorin. Dueren, calling his brother a coward, felt they should live or die there in the great fortress. Finally, their uncle, Nagar Stonefist separated the two and chastised them for in-fighting.

It was then the brothers said their farewells as Dwaren led his followers to safety and Dueren led a final charge against the mind flayers. A doomed and desperate act that saw most of Duren's followers die and the rest wished they had.

The illithid experimented on the survivors and used them as slave stock. For decades they toiled, were bred, and were experimented upon. However, the duergar, as they came to call themselves, had a talent for psionic abilities and soon, two gifts were bred into them. The ability to grow to double their size and invisibility. Within three generations this trait bred true and it proved to be the key to their freedom. For whatever reason, the illithid underestimated the tenacity of the duergar and they rose up and fled from the ruins of Pel Thorin, now known as Illithome.

They were led by Anga Smokestone and she talked to her kin about finding their departed brethren and reuniting the with the children of Dwaren.

However, there was still too much resentment there. Too much pain had endured and they viewed their cousins as cowards. Plus, their people had changed with the breeding programs. They were gray of skin and hair and many among them had psychic talents now.

They decided that the Underdark was their home now, that they would live with their decision to stay in the deep and they would rule it one day. And then, maybe they would return to their cousins to conquor them too.

Soon, they found and took a small drow outpost. From there they trained physically and mentally and began an annexation of the Underdark. The only areas they avoided moving toward was Illithome, they were not ready to face their former masters or their past.

Eventually, they came upon New Thorin, a new fortress that was home to the Dwarves as they began to expand their territory after the humiliation by the illithids. 

When the Duergar came upon it, a blood madness overtook them and they made siege upon it, slaughtering every male, female, and child within its halls. They even sent an envoy to deliver the news and a warning. The Dwarves had forfeited their rights to the Underdark when they fled Pel Thorin and the Duergar would always remind them of their cowardice and make them pay for it. To this day they uphold that vow.

In the last 50 years, a smallish cult of devil worshippers has sprung up. Their cult, known as the Hellfire Path, teaches that now is time for the Duergar to explore the surface and seek out allies so that the can commit full time to the genocide of the hated Dwarves. Many who have joined the cult have willingly left their places in the Underdark and found ancient and sometimes abandoned places to begin reaching out to new allies. While the Duergar have little respect for gnolls or orcs, they have found kinship amongst hobgoblins and those walk the Path are willing to set aside their natural dislike for such lesser races in exchange for the end of the Dwarves.

In the Hells, Mephistopholes laughs as his plans unfold. He knows in this old bones that the Duergar have not yet realized that they have simply found a new master to replace the illithid and he yearns for the day that those that have damned themselves will look upon him with fear, knowing that he tricked and ruined them. He wonders if on that day, the gray dwarves will cast a tear as they stand upon the skulls of the Dwarven race that fell to them.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Duergar Part 1

I recently used a One Page Dungeon for my DnD campaign and for whatever reason populated it with duergar.

I'd never really used the gray dwarves before and I liked them as an alternative to say, drow.

I won't lie that I don't know much about their back story or the cosmology they might worship.

In my game, they happened to serve Mephistopholes and guarded a huge gem that housed an ancient and horrible aberration.

One thing I found amusing is that underground dwellers can grow. It seems a bit odd, but it and invisibility was a nice way to terrorize my players, so I went with it.

I like that 5E presents several different options for antagonists and I used as many as a I could.

My hope is to showcase the gray dwarves farther down the line of my campaign.

Some questions I'll be asking is wether devil worship is peculiar for duergar?

Have duergar learned to use psionics due to their encounters with illithid?

Why are the duergar separated and angry at the other dwarves?

When did that schism occur?

How do they feel about other surface dwellers?

Part 2 will explore those subjects.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition: Biting Cold, a Magic Shortsword

Magic weapon (shortsword), rare (requires attunement)

• You gain a +1 on attack and damage rolls with this weapon.

• When you hit with an attack wielding Biting Cold and roll a natural 15 or better, the target loses its reaction until the beginning of your next turn.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Coming Soon: SURVIVE THIS!! The Cryptid Manual

Here is something heading our way that I simply can't wait for!

On January 15th, 2019 Bloat Games will launch their 5th RPG Kickstarter for SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons: The Cryptid Manual. 

This will be the 3rd Kickstarter from the SURVIVE THIS!! line, created by Bloat Games founder, Eric Bloat, in 2015 and the 2nd in the Dark Places & Demogorgons series (Created by Eric Bloat and Josh Palmer). All of Bloat Games previous Kickstarters have funded, including their most recent Kickstarter, SURVIVE THIS!! Vigilante City, which funded at nearly $13,000.

Bloat Games will be using Drivethrurpg for both digital and physical fulfillment.

The Cryptid Manual is Bloat Games first exclusively Bestiary/Monster Manual type of product. However, instead of using the same monsters that find their ways into most Bestiaries, for the Cryptid Manual, Bloat Games focused on highlighting the creatures of Cryptozoology from all around the world. If you’ve ever wanted to run your players against a Big Foot, a Lake Monster, The Mothman or Jersey Devil, then this supplement will be a must have. While the Cryptid Manual was created for Dark Places & Demogorgon it can easily be used with any OSR game, with very little conversion needed by the DM.

The physical book will be approximately 90 pages, full color, digest size (6x9) and available in hard cover and softcover.

I'm a HUGE cryptid fan and I CANNOT wait to get my hands on this. Bloat Games makes some awesome books, so don't miss it.

B/X Essentials: Manaconda

Alvaro Nebot


AC 5 (14)HD 3 (13hp), Att 1 × weapon (1d6 or by weapon), THAC0 17 (+3), MV 120’ (40’), SV D12 W13 P114 B15 S16 (F3), ML 10AL Neutral, XP 35, NA 1d6 (3d6), TT Q

• Stalker: Move Silently at 30%.
• Natural Camouflage: Hide in Shadows at 55%.

Manacondas are hunters who cannot be seen if they remain motionless in cover. 

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Sunday, December 9, 2018

1,000 Faces: Homer the Talking Pig

Male Pig

Ability Scores:
Str 6      Dex 6      Con 8
Int 12    Wis 12     Cha 16 



Role: Homer is the familiar to a wizard named Ianna Klump. Klump is away on business on another plane and Homer wasn't feeling up to going. However, Klump had been in a relationship with Nigel Bent, who makes and sells drugs. Even though they broke up, Ianna didn't change her wards and Bent was able to sneak in and steal magical ingredients and Homer.

Bent's plan was to sell Homer, but talking pigs aren't easy to move. He finally dumped the pig on a farmer name Egar Brown. However, Homer noticed and commented that Egar was abusive to his wife Piper and daughter, Lora. This led to Homer being muzzled and Egar being willing take nearly anything to rid himself of the pig. Homer convinced Egar that eating him would cause an infection, which angered Egar further.

Homer can easily join the party after they stay the night in the Brown's barn seeking shelter from a storm.  Egar insists on trading nearly anything for the pig to be rid of him.

Homer is versed in history, local politics, and gossip (Ianna is a notorious gossip). Returning Ianna to him would make her both a capable contact and potent ally. Keeping Homer would essentially give the party a sage.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Dungeon Mastering 101: Laughter is the Best Medicine

As a gamer and as a DM, I've gone through several distinct phases as a role player. The phase I'm in now is all about everyone at the table having fun, rolling dice, and zero drama.

To that end, laughter, for me as a DM, is the confirmation that things are going well.

That's not to say that we don't have tense moments in the game or that danger and death aren't real consequences in the story. It just means that, in the end, we're all taking a night away from our commitments to hang out and have fun for 2-3 hours. And if we can laugh, truly, heartily laugh, then I think we are doing things right for us.

Understand, I don't think there is any right way to play DnD. I know what I seek as a DM and what I feel like the players at my table share those goals.

One of the things we always go over at the beginning of the session is how are weeks have gone. What I've come to enjoy about these moments is that, for all of us, our session is a haven from the challenges the week brings. That makes me feel like we've built something special. Something that adds to our lives, which isn't something gaming has always done for me.

Duergar Part 2

The Duergar or gray dwarves were physically separated from their people around 4,000 years ago, when Pel Thorin, the greatest undergr...