Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Realms: Foulwater Goblin Tribe

Recently, the Foulwater goblin tribe has been terrorizing the 

farmlands north and west of Phlan and making incursions into the Quivering forest.

While the Rangers stationed at Fort Buckler did their best to protect the citizens of the area, the Fort has now fallen and most of the Green Stride are presumed dead.  Shoggoth allowed those who sought refuge there to leave, as long they warned the rulers of Phlan that his domain around them was strictly off limits.

While it appears uncertain that the city will offer any aid, the news about the Tribe has simply made things worse there.  Citizens already unhappy with Lord Regent Brahms and his martial law now have to worry about invasion.  Rumors have spread that an oni named Shoggoth has taken charge of Foulwater and seems to have hired hobgoblins from the nearby Doombringer Legion and has fortified their ranks with at least two hill giants.

Even worse, the Welcomers fear that the nefarious Cult of the Dragon that has plagued Faerun for many months now is supplying Shoggoth with the gold needed to sow chaos in the area.

Phlan is facing truly dire times.

DnDClassics.com New Releases for 3/31/15

This week's new releases on DnDClassics.com are:
(A shout out to this great thread on RPG.Net).

Player's Handbook Races: Dragonborn (4e)
Dragons of Krynn (3.5)

Dragon #376 (4E)
Dungeon #179 (4E)
Dungeon #180 (4E)

A to Z Theme Reveal--Better Late than Never!

No, you haven't travelled into the past, I'm running a bit late with this.

So, this will be the Fourth Year I participate in the A to Z Blogging Challenge (where does the time go?!).

This year I'm exploring How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Dungeons and Dragons, which also happens to be the subtitle of my blog.

I hope you find the time to follow my journey of being introduced to DnD and then learning to love it to the exclusion of all other games (my friends may well be surprised that I'm only hooked on one game, these days--I earned the nickname of "Nolan Ryan" because I was always "pitching" some new game to them).

The first entry begins to tomorrow, I hope you find the time to stop by.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Masters of the Universe Monday: Fisto for D&D 5th Edition

Malcom is the older brother of Duncan, Randor's first Man-At-Arms.  Malcom surved under King Miro during the Great Unrest but was wounded in battle and stricken with magical amnesia.  

Wandering through Eternia he settled in the Mystic Mountains in a mining settlement unable to piece together how he lost his battalion.  His life changed when the Snake Men attacked his town and he helped save the Masters of the Universe from their trap.  But in doing so, Malcom shattered his right hand.  In gratitude Duncan replaced it with a robotic strong arm.  Now known as Fisto, he has made up with his brother and fights as a heroic member of the Masters of the Universe smashing weevil with his giant knuckles!

Medium humanoid, Good                                        ________________________________________________

Armor Class 13 (studded leather)
Hit Points 65 (10d8+20) 
Speed 30 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
17 (+3)     11 (+0)     15 (+2)     12 (+1)    13 (+1)     12 (+1)

Skills Athletics +6, Intimidation +3
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages Common
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)


Robotic Arm.  Fisto has advantage on any Strength checks with his right arm.




Multiattack. Fist makes two attacks.

Iron Fist. Melee Weapon Attack+6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature
Hit: 13 (2d8+4) bludgeoning damage.

Longsword. Melee Weapon Attack+5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creatureHit:  8 (1d8+3) slashing damage.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sasquatch Sightings!

I'm pleased to announce that in last several days I've received all of my Kickstarter books for Primeval Thule AND my copy of Princes of the Apocalypse from Sasquatch Games.

I'm very happy with the work they're doing and I hope at some point they will be able to do a conversion of Thule to DnD 5E, however until that happens I've done quite a bit of work on that settings takes on backgrounds and races.

Lankhmar for Dungeon Crawl Classics!

 GaryCon, Goodman Games has announced that they will produce a Lankhmar supplement for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG.

I've always been a fan of Lankhmar, it was one of my favorite parts of ADnD 2E and it was a huge inspiration for Jarlsburg.

While I do like the DCC RPG, I'll probably pick this up to use with my 2E sourcebook and either merge it into Jarlsburg or run a game set in Lankhmar sometime in the future.

I'm happy a quality company like Goodman Games will be working on this.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Elemental Evil: Windshear, a magic battle axe for D&D 5th Edition


Weapon (battle axe), rare (requires attunement)

You gain a +1 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon and it deals force damage. Additionally, it has a reach of 15 feet as it turns the very air around it into a deadly weapon.

In addition, while attuned to the battle axe you gain +1 to your armor class and +15 feet to your Speed.  

Not all of the Balpope's Harbingers succeed at their missions, and when they fail, her punishment is swift and decisive...and cruel.
As the previous Harbinger of Storms found out after her essence was distilled into this battle axe. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Elemental Evil: Omegalith for D&D 5th Edition

Ogremoch, jealous that Cryonax's Cold Ones could turn the Apocalypse too much in his favor, hatched a plan to bolster his own presence on the fields of Armageddon.  The Prince of Elemental Earth enlisted the medusa Stonecaller, Zhwaa Lo'Sel, to use her dark gifts to transform his enemies into faithful agents of Elemental Earth--and the omegalith were wrought.

OMEGALITH                                                                                   Medium elemental, neutral evil                                        ________________________________________________

Armor Class 16 (natural armor)
Hit Points 20 (3d8+6) 
Speed 25 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
14 (+2)     10 (+0)     16 (+3)     11 (+0)    10 (+0)     10 (+0)

Condition Immunities petrified
Senses darkvision 60 ft., tremorsense 30 ft; 
passive Perception 10
Languages Primordial, Terran
Challenge 1/2 (100 XP)


EnduringThe omegalith has advantage on Constitution saving throws.




Spear. Melee or Ranged Weapon Attack+4 to hit, reach 10 ft. or 30/120 ft., one target.  Hit: (1d10 + 2) piercing damage. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Masters of the Universe Monday: Extendar for D&D 5th Edition

Doodon, is an Etherian athlete of great renown, he was tricked by Hordak into entering his Experimentation Matrix, where he was transformed and grafted with cybernetic parts allowing him to extend his limbs and body to great proportions. 

Dubbed Extendar, he escaped The Evil Horde before the foul effects had fully taken hold. But to his great regret, his best friend was also transformed and unlike Extendar, Dragstor was unable to escape from Hordak’s clutches. Extendar eventually traveled with She-Ra to Eternia and joined the renegade Masters of the Universe. Confronted by his enemies, Extendar reaches new heights, transforming into a superstrong warrior!

Medium humanoid, Good                                        ________________________________________________

Armor Class 20 (plate and shield)
Hit Points 75 (10d8+30) 
Speed 40 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
21 (+5)     13 (+1)     16 (+3)     12 (+1)    15 (+2)     10 (+0)

Skills Athletics +7

Senses passive Perception 14
Languages Common
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)




Multiattack. Extender makes two lance attacks or 1 shield attack.

Lance. Melee Weapon Attack+7 to hit, reach 30 ft., one creature
Hit: 12 (1d12+5) piercing damage.

Shield. Melee Weapon Attack+3 to hit, reach 30 ft., one creatureHit:  Creature loses it's bonus action.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

My Realms: Leviathan

Phlan has been destroyed and rebuilt dozens of times in its long history, which created haphazard catacombs below it.  However, when Abeir Returned over a century ago, those tunnels were replaced by the dragonborn city of Zolgotha.  Weirdly though, when Abeir and Toril were finally freed of each other during the Sundering, Zolgotha did not retreat from the Realms.

Today, those catacombs below Phlan are known as Leviathan.  Those aware of the network of tunnels just below the city's streets wisely avoid them. They warn that only the truly foolish would brave those darkened hallways of peril and pain.  Leviathan is filled with monstrous creatures and wicked defenses that have protected most of it's secrets for over a century.

However, in the last year, the catacombs has been invaded by the Cult of the Dragon, hoping to find treasure and weapons in their newfound goal of freeing the Mother of Dragons, Tiamat.

There are even rumors that the Harpers have have lost agents in the bowels of Leviathan.

The monstrosity that resides below Phlan is a lasting and deadly menace, indeed.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Masters of the Universe Monday: Ram-Man for D&D 5th Edition

 Krass grew up just outside the Vine Jungle, Krass’ village was always under threat from the savage Beastmen.  During a particularly brutal attack, he donned his family’s ancient mystical armor that magically absorbs raw force. Using it to ram into his enemies and drive off their attack earned Krass the nickname “Ram Man”. 

These actions were quickly detected by Skeletor who recruited him in a scheme to ram through the Jaw Bridge of Castle Grayskull. Realizing the error of his ways after seeing Skeletor attack He-Man, Ram Man switched sides, helping to defeat the Evil Lord of Destruction and save the Castle. He soon became a core member of the Masters of the Universe using his iron-like body as a battering ram against evil!

Medium humanoid, Good                                        ________________________________________________

Armor Class 16 (chain mail)
Hit Points 60 (8d8+24) 
Speed 60 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
18 (+4)     10 (+0)     17 (+3)     9 (-1)    13 (+1)     10 (+0)

Skills Athletics +6

Damage Resistance Bludgeoning

Condition Immunities Stunned
Senses passive Perception 11
Languages Common
Challenge 4 (1,100 XP)




Multiattack. Ram-Man makes two attacks or one ram attack.

Unarmed. Melee Weapon Attack: +6 to hitreach ft., one creature.  Hit(1d4 + 4bludgeoning damage.

Axe. Melee Weapon Attack+6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creature
Hit: 9 (1d8+4) slashing damage.

Ram (Recharge 4-6). Melee Weapon Attack+6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one creatureHit: 15 (3d6+4) bludgeoning damage.

Elemental Evil: A New Campaign Begins

Tonight, my Monday group will make characters for our Elemental Evil/Princes of the Apocalypse game.  My original intention was to run Temple of Elemental Evil, but since Princes of the Apocalypse is near release (at least for my store as a WotC Premiere Retailer), I think at the very least it will be mash-up of old and new.

While I am a fan of Greyhawk, I've really grown excited about the Forgotten Realms again (as the My Realms articles show).  I've really enjoyed what WotC has done with the Moonsea Region in the Expeditions adventures and if I'm really lucky my Friday game (set in Phlan) and my Monday game (set in Mulmaster) might even crossover!

I have one character already made (from a player who can't make it tonight), Branson Stout, a fighter who owns a tavern.

I also have three new players interested in joining and need to talk it over with my current players (its the only game I run with only 4 people and part of me wants to protect that).

I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Back This: Shadow of the Demon Lord Kickstarter

Back in the fall, I saw the blurb about Robert J. Schwalb's new RPG Shadow of the Demon Lord and then I saw his offerings to come to stores and demo it.

Then I signed Comic Book World up for it and Rob ran us through an awesome adventure and introduced us to the rules.

And because he's an exceptionally swell guy, he let my group playtest the game.  Let me expound on that a bit too, Rob, is the type of guy that you meet and your fast friends, he's great to talk to and an awesome gamemaster and top notch game designer.

My Hard Times in Jarlsburg posts have been about that game (which we just finished this past monday).  I ran an entire campaign, beginning to end--level 1 to 10 in just about 14 weeks.  And it was awesome.

One of the key tenants of Shadow of the Demon Lords is that at the end of every session, you level, so you finish a campaign.  AND ITS AWESOME.  My players were super excited to see what came next for their characters and narratively, well, it was as if as the mystery of the story began to reveal itself, that the player's characters weren't just a level higher, but because they understood the threat before them better, they were more effective.  Narratively, their increase in power plugged into and enhanced the story I was telling.  The more they knew, they more effective they were.  That's BRILLIANT, man.

I've already backed this game.  Its like a beautiful fusion of DnD and Warhammer Fantasy Role Play 1 or 2E, but only the best parts and carefully cultivated to let the good times roll.  The rules are fully fleshed out and supremely functional, but they fade into the background when they aren't needed.

I can't recommend this game enough.


You have been warned...

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Elemental Evil: Cthonic Circuit for D&D 5th Edition


Ring, legendary  (requires attunement)

You gain a +3 bonus to armor class.

In addition, while attuned to this ring, twice per day you may automatically succeed on a saving throw.  

Finally, you may ignore one level of exhaustion each day.

This was presented by the Pitchsmyth to the Balpope as a gift for deigning to meet with him.  A simple ring that captured the very essence of earth, its sublime craftsmanship has paved the way for the terrible weapons born from his forge.

Monday, March 9, 2015

My Realms: Flider

Lolth's desire to claim the silky strands of the Weave from the reborn Mystra has led her to make darkness and war in the Silver Marches. She has proven time and again that there is no horror to demoniac to unleash upon her enemies, especially the rogue Drizzt Do'Urdern!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Hard Times in Jarlsburg: In Cold Blood

The Hard Times is Jarlsburg's premier source of news (not necessarily truth) and routinely outsells it's competitor, The Cryer.

The march to Fort Kemp was long and arduous, we aren't really an army, merely men and women of the City Watch and Bronze Legionaires.  The cold seemed to aggressively attack us each step closer, but there were real Heroes amongst us, so we carried on.

I'd like to recount more of it, but marching, eating and sleeping (if you were lucky) was all I really remember.  And fear.  Fear that we would be attacked, fear that we wouldn't make it, fear that we would.  Marching and fear.  That's what I remember most.

Evan as the soldiers lined up on the battlefield and the drummers played and the commanders shouted.  Fear was my companion.  My lover.

Until the white dragon flew high above us and wiped out legions in a single attack.  Fear then became terror and then nothing.

Yes, I saw the Heroes attack the dragon.  I saw them fight and die and then I saw the Blizzard King.  I literally shite myself.  He loomed huge and powerful, a god striding amongst ants.  I witnessed him tear the heart of the dragon from its corpse and consume it in one terrible bite.  And then the white out occurred as I swear I saw him, it, Him grow to immense proportions.

I'm still not sure how we were saved.  One of the Heroes is a pyromancer and his quick thinking enough to protect us from the storm and eventually hurd us into what was left of the Fort's main building.

I pray for my beloved city, for Jarlsburg, but I can't shake the feeling that we are all doomed.

Pathos Gibraltar, Council Reporter
Morning Edition on the 25th Day of Fray in the Second Hundred and Twenty Second Year of Thronehold

Saturday, March 7, 2015

RPG Cover Art Appreciation Day

This is how it ALL began for me, George Perez's fantastic pencils welcomed me to roleplaying from comic book collecting, reassuring me that everything was going to be okay.

And THIS is how where I began with DnD a few months later.

FINALLY, this is the culmination of all of my RPG hopes and dreams.  
I honestly feel like I can play this game for the rest of my life!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Elemental Evil: Barrage, Harbinger of Stone for D&D 5th Edition [UPDATED]

Inexorable is the best word to describe the Harbinger of Stone.  He is accustomed to the weight of entire worlds and intimately understands the power that binds them together...and tears them apart.

BARRAGE, HARBINER OF STONE                                                                                     Large monstrosity (human), neutral evil                                        ________________________________________________

Armor Class 18 (natural armor)
Hit Points 310 (20d10 + 90) 
Speed 40 ft., burrow 40 ft.
   Str            Dex         Con           Int         Wis         Cha
22 (+6)     10 (+0)     21 (+4)     12 (+1)    14 (+2)     11 (+0)

Damage Resistances bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from
nonmagical weapons
Damage Immunities poison
Condition Immunities exhaustion, paralyzed, petrified, poisoned, unconscious
Senses darkvision 60ft., tremorsense 60ft., passive Perception 12 Languages Terran
Challenge 13 (10,000 XP)


Earth Glide. The harbinger can burrow through nonmagical, unworked earth and stone. While doing so, the harbinger doesn't disturb the material it moves through.

Siege Monstrosity. The harbinger deals triple damage to objects and structures.




Multiattack. The harbinger makes two melee attacks.

Rock. Ranged Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, range 60/240 ft., one target. Hit: 32 (4d12 + 6) bludgeoning damage. If the target is a creature, it must succeed on a DC 15 Strength saving throw or be knocked prone.

Greatsword. Melee Weapon Attack: +10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 33 (5d10 + 6slashing damage. 

Slam. Melee Weapon Attack+10 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 19 (3d8 + 6bludgeoning damage. 

Temblor (Recharge 5-6). The harbinger shakes the very foundations of the earth it stands upon. Each creature within a 30 foot radius of the harbinger must make a DC 14 Dexterity saving throw, taking 54 (12d8) bludgeoning damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Prime Materials: Righteousness, a magic long sword for D&D 5th Editiont


Weapon (long sword), legendary (requires attunement)

You gain a +2 bonus to attack and damage rolls made with this magic weapon and it deals radiant damage.

In addition, while attuned to the long sword you gain advantage on Charisma (Persuasion) and Dexterity (Initiative) rolls, but you gain disadvantage on Wisdom (Insight) rolls.  

Righteousness was named by Kurtus of Daggerford, a paladin of Tyr.  Kurtus claimed that as he faced certain doom at the hands of the vampire, Xeera Nyl, Tyr gifted his blade with an enchantment that turned the tide of the battle and allowed him to destroy the Blood Queen of Illefarn.  While the blade was buried with the paladin, his tomb was soon robbed and Righteousness again stalked the Realms.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

On Being a Gamemaster: GM's Day and Remembering Gary

I wish I was enjoying today more, but a nasty sinus infection came upon me yesterday and I'm lucky to still have my voice.

If I was feeling better, I'd consider setting up a one-shot for my kids tonight, but we'll probably just watch Survivor.

While I've grown to appreciate Mr. Gygax's genius, it was a few years into my gaming career that I really was exposed to his work.  When  I started we were playing ADnD 2E and most of the Gygaxianisms had been washed away.  In fact, the vast majority of our group hadn't played ADnD 1E and Todd, our DM, wasn't even keen on us looking at those books.

So, my first real introduction to him was, unfortunately, Dangerous Journeys.

I can't say too much about DJ, we only tried playing it once and I'm sure a longer attempt would have been more enjoyable.  But, overall it didn't shine well enough for me to pick it up (though I was a college student with little money) and that one attempt left a huge bad taste in the group's mouth.

Mythus, however, was a different story.  For me, a setting based on Earth with fantastic elements was pretty new and I loved that its "underdark" was a reflection of the Earth's exterior.  I truly lament never picking up that setting or the Necropolis book Necromancer Games published for 3.X.

I was, thankfully, smart enough to pick up the Castle Zagyg book the Trolls published, and while I haven't looked at it in a few years, it rests with a place on honor on my shelf.

Recently, I've been picking up many of the classic modules Gary wrote and have a much better appreciation for them than I would have a few years ago.  Thank you DnDClassics.com

Cheers to you Gary!

And Cheers to all Game Masters out there!!

My Realms: Fort Buckler

On the western edge of the Quivering Forest stands Fort Buckler, founded just over fifteen years ago as a home base and training ground for rangers of the Green Stride.

The Fort was a reward to Ranger Captain Eva Montcleef and her apprentice Sienna Rose Himler after aiding the wood elves of Green Hall in defeating K'takla the Demon Bear.

Eva eschewed traditional ranger training techniques and envisioned a larger scale training ground to swell the ranks of the Green Stride and to supersede the typical master and apprentice system that was well established.

In fact, her first recruit for the Fort is current Ranger Captain Jonas Hector, who took the mantle following Eva's death at the claws of the black dragon, Glamdroomechas.  While Hector strongly felt that Sienna Rose deserved the role, she decided it was time to move on from the Quivering Forest and joined an adventuring company with her lover, Arin Redwolf.

Hector is a gifted instructor and under his watch the ranks of the Fort grew to seventeen rangers and for the last several years, residents gladly claimed the forests and farms surrounding Phlan have never been safer.

However, over the last three months, the goblins of the Foulwater tribe have moved into Glamdroomechas' lair and began coordinated strikes throughout the area, going so far as to captures slaves to sell in the Underdark.

The Green Stride has lost seven of its rangers in that same period and is currently down to the Captain, three veterans and six novices.  With the help of some adventurers from Phlan they've discovered than an oni named Shoggoth has taken control of the Foulwater tribe and is responsible for the vicious attacks in the area and they are formulating a strike to shatter the tribe.

The Fort itself was built to house, comfortably, thirty people, but could hold double that for a short time.  Its walls and building are built from stout redwoods and the Forts name comes from Eva's explanation of the outpost as a "small but versatile shield for the people outside of Phlan's walls."
One interesting feature of the Fort is the Covenant, essentially a shed where any unidentified scrolls, books, or items are stored.  The Covenant is maintained by the bard, Esme L'Braun, who splits her time between the Fort and Melvaunt.

Monday, March 2, 2015

My A to Z Them Reveal...

And this year it will be the A to Z of How I Learned to Love Dungeons and Dragons.  An alphabetical look at how DnD entered my life and left a lasting impression.

The OSR and a Bad Rap

So Stacy Dellorfano and the RPGPundit have been discussing "Why does the OSR have a bad reputation among women?" and I thought I'd weigh in.

Before we proceed, a few things about me, I'm not into the OSR much these days, DnD 5th Edition is my game of choice, but I still mine all eras of DnD for inspiration.  Also, I don't know many people who are into the OSR in the first place and in the second place, none of them are women.

I have been a gamer since Fall 1991, my first group was comprised of Barry, Kurt, Todd, Richard and I, all guys.  Eventually it would grow to include Mark M., Bob, Mike, Jonathan, and Aaron, more dudes.  Now back in those days, it was hard for us to find girls who were into gaming.  And we looked.  Sure, Richard was that guy who you were unsure you wanted around a girl because he could be a disrespectful ass, but we would have gladly welcomed ladies into the group.  And yeah, we joked and were rude, but none of us would have put up with harassment.

My second major gaming group which could be as large at 18 people, had 2 women, my future wife and a co-worker's wife.  Again, we didn't have an opportunity to recruit many women, and we tried with two wives of our married friends, but it wasn't right for either.  Again, harassment would have been unwelcome.

My third major gaming...experience (I run events as a store manager and I'm in charge of about 7 groups and run or play in 3 of them), thankfully has more women.  Out of 50 players, we now have about 7.  Now none of these groups are OSR, all our DnD 5th Edition.  Harassment of any kind is unwelcome and has not been an issue.

Now, my only experience with the OSR is really online and for months I quietly hung out at Dragonsfoot.  When I started this blog, I saw someone else promote their blog on that site and followed suit, doing so for a few weeks, even getting several positive comments.  Eventually, I decided to promote the blog on there again and was chided publicly for it after many months.  What put me off though were the hangers-on who chimed in to...kind of...swim around the big fish who was upset with me.  It was shocking and I felt like I was in elementary school again.  I didn't like it.  I walked away from Dragonsfoot and began moving away from the OSR.

Now, realistically, I was moving away from the OSR anyway.  I was looking for my perfect DnD, not capturing some nostalgic play style.  I don't know that there is a bad way to play, simply bad ways for me to play.

But my point is that I don't think the bad eggs in the OSR are merely targeting women.  Their bad eggs, who are grumpy or exclusive or just plain ass hats, just like any group has amongst their ranks.  The guys we all know, in one way or another, and we dread when they enter the conversation.  No good will come from them.

I'm not disputing anyone's experiences and am sympathetic to anyone who feels excluded for any reason, my experience just shows me that some in the OSR are more inclusive than others.

Thundarr the Movie

As a life-long comics fan and a retailer with a quarter century of experience, I was today years old when I discovered that Buzz Dixon and ...