Monday, April 24, 2023

Manitou Monday: Dobson Family SideQuest for Deadlands the Weird West & Savage Worlds

A PDF of this SideQuest is available here.

Outside the city of Denver is a small, family cemetery hidden amongst the woods of a blue spruce forest. No one remembers the Dobson family in the area if asked, but they will lose every ounce of friendliness if outsiders are foolish enough to inquire about the tomb or any other strange things in the area. Only, Bringham Polk, a drunk trapper who lives closest to the cemetery is willing to open up about the place and only if some booze is made readily available to him. 

After his third or fourth whiskey Brig, as his Ma called him, will tell you about the strange screeches that can be heard several nights a month around the boneyard, the death of livestock of all kinds throughout the year, and those nights when the Moon is nowhere to be seen and not quite human things that knock on his windows, rattle his locked doors, climb upon his roof, and try to crawl down his chimney. By the time Brig gets around to this last bit the man is terrified and heads over to the Sherif’s office to dry out in a cell. Coincidentally, there is no Moon that night.

When its found the vines, creepers,  and roots of the forest seem to shy away from the ominous stone building and here are several things about it that are off-putting. First, the doorway is just a tad to narrow and short for most people and no one can read the bone white letters of some strange language that spells out “VKTUURM circa 2241” etched above the door.

There is a single coffin on a stone slab within the tomb and it uncovered and empty with the lid missing completely. Covered in a heavy layer of dust is a golden necklace with a long attached. On a successful Common Knowledge check the observers believes it is a human tooth. 

Each corner of the interior features a gargoyle crouched and ready to strike and a successful Occult check reveals them to be examples of Ghuls from Middle-Eastern folklore.

A successful Notice check finds a narrow hidden door in the far left corner leading down. Posse members with the Brawny edge are too large to enter the door.

A worn set of hand holds takes the Posse down about 30’ before opening into a large chamber and utter darkness. Using a torch or other light source reveals a dirt floor and scattered bones of all kinds. A terrible stink pervades the whole area and is a mixture of a heavy musk and feces. A Notice check reveals 2 Dobson Family Ghuls almost completely buried in the walls of this chamber and breathing very shallowly. A roll of 1 on the Notice trait die awakens both Ghuls who attack and screech for the rest of their nest. If the Ghuls are not awakened then Posse members have The Drop on them.

Dobson Family Ghul

Parry 7 | Tough 7 | Pace 6 (d6)

Ag d10, Sm d4, Sp d6, St d8, Vi d10 | 

Athletics d10 | Fighting d10 (d8+d4)

Notice d8 | Stealth d8 | Survival d10 | 

Edges Arcane Resistance, Beast Bond, 

Calculating, Free Runner, Grit, 

Special Abilities Burrow, Fear (Those who see them must make a Fear Check), Low-Light Vision (No penalties for Dim and Dark Illumination), Weakness: Light (-2 to all Trait Rolls in light brighter than a torch)

A narrow tunnel opens up to the left and after about 30’ splits to the right and left.

Taking the right-hand tunnel leads to another chamber that is barely large enough to hold the entire Posse and has scattered piles of various items and includes 1 dagger, 1 Colt Peacemaker, 1 calvary saber, 4 children’s toys, and $40. Another Notice check reveals 2 adult Ghuls and 3 Ghoul children. Once again, a 1 on the Notice die awakens the creatures and sleeping Ghuls gives the Posse The Drop.

If the left-hand tunnel is selected it is 50’ long and opens into the smallest chamber yet. There is enough room for 2 Posse members at most and a woman with wild and long silver hair, naked and her belly swollen with child, lies in the center of the floor with her left arm buried in the dirt up to her elbow. Both Mother Dobson and her mate, whose hand she is holding and who is lying buried beneath her, Father Dobson can be awoken just like the other Ghuls and if they are asleep the Posse has The Drop on them.

Father Dobson Ghul

Parry 7 | Tough 7 | Pace 6 (d6)

Ag d10, Sm d4, Sp d8, St d10, Vi d10 | 

Athletics d10 | Fighting d10 (d10+d4)

Notice d8 | Stealth d8 | Survival d10 | 

Edges Arcane Resistance, Beast Bond, 

Calculating, Free Runner, Grit, 

Special Abilities Burrow, Fear (Those who see them must make a Fear Check), Low-Light Vision (No penalties for Dim and Dark Illumination), Weakness: Light (-2 to all Trait Rolls in light brighter than a torch)

Mother Dobson

Wild Card

Parry 6 | Tough 6 | Pace 6 (d6)

Ag d8, Sm d8, Sp d10, St d6, Vi d8 | 

Athletics d8 | Fighting d8 (d6+d4)

Notice d8 | Stealth d8 | Survival d10 | 

Edges Brawler, Command Presence, Ferver, Improved Beast Bond, Master Tactician

Special Abilities Burrow, Low-Light Vision (No penalties for Dim and Dark Illumination)

Within this chamber is the Dobson Family Bible with a letter from Lilith Whately congratulating her niece, Pandora, on her engagement to Ibraham Dobson. There is an old and weathered  copy of the dreaded Liber Des Goules which contains a cypher for the language used on the outside of the tomb known as Enoy and a written history of the Dobson clan here in the U.S.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Manitou Monday: Red Tiger Gang's Hideout, A 5 Room Dungeon


You can Download the PDF here.

The Red Tiger Gang is led by Tigress Hepburn, the daughter of Frances "Trapper" Hepburn who rode with several gangs in the 1870s. Tigress' Mother, Acorn, died in child birth and she was literally raised by gangs her father rode with. After her Dad got gunned down in Dodge City, she found herself working with her "Uncle", Frank Perth and Robert "Red" Dobbins who both think of her as their daughters. Due to the backward view of some bandits and hired guns Tigress posed as a young man and was known by strangers as "Tiger". Smart and surprisingly well-read most who rode with Tigress quickly found enough success to look past the fact that she was "the fairer sex" and those stupid enough to give her unwanted attention had to deal with first her and then Uncle Frank and Red. 

The Posse is tracking down the Red Tigers who are wanted for several murders in the area over the last 4 months. The Gang is working for the Bayou Vermillion rail company dealing with folks who won't accept the Baron's offer for their land. There is bounty of $200 each for all 8 members of the Gang.

The entrance to the caves the Tigers use as a hideout is guarded by Uncle Frank Perth and his gatling rifle, Birdie (she has been modified to carry double the amount of rounds). Frank uses a wooden crate as a seat, there are two sets of lanterns mounted to each side of the cave, and a small wooden table holds a cup of oily black coffee.

Uncle Frank Perth

Wild Card

Parry 7 | Tough 7 (1) | Pace 6 (d6)

Ag d8, Sm d8, Sp d6, St d10, Vi d8 | 

Athletics d8 | Fighting d10 

Notice d8 | Shooting d10 (2d8, 24/48/96,

AP 2, RoF 3, 60 Shots)  | Stealth d8 | 

Edges Improved Rapid Fire, Rock and Roll! 

Quirks Shaving cuts on face

The cave branches to the right and left.

Heading to the right leads to a chamber with four rough tables with a poker deck on the closest. Under one of the tables lies a woman who pleads for help when the Posse enter. Her arms and legs are bound with heavy rope. Her face is dirty, she has no shoes, and she is wearing a denim dress that is heavily scuffed. She quickly tells them , "A bunch of 'em are out hunting, hurry get free me before they make it back!"

She will identify herself as Diane Hope and claims the outlaws killed her husband and kidnapped her two days ago. In reality, she is the gang's leader, Tigress Hepburn, and she heard the scuffle with Uncle Frank and tied herself up and sent the other Tigers into the next chamber to ambush the intruders. She has a derringer and a knife on her.

Diane Hope AKA Tigress Hepburn

Wild Card

Parry 7 | Tough 7 (1) | Pace 8 (d8)

| Ag d12, Sm d10, Sp d6, St d6, Vi d10 | 

Athletics d8 | Fighting d6 (d6+d4) | 

Intimidation d10 | Notice d10 | 

Persuasion d10 | Shooting d10 (2d4, 

3/6/12, RoF 1, 2 Shots)  | Stealth d8 | Taunt d10 | 

Edges Command Presence, Level Headed,

Natural Leader 

Quirks Missing pinky on left hand.

The next chamber has a bear-skinned rug and 3 crates containing whiskey, a bag of mail, and several empty money bags. The two tables in this room are tipped over and being used as cover by 5 Red Tigers. "Drop your weapons and we'll talk about how you might make it out alive!", yells a man with flaming red hair and beard aiming 2 peacemakers at the Posse. 

"Diane" will make sure to stay behind the characters and in the previous the chamber they "rescued" her from. She won't act on the first round of combat but will attack the Posse on the second round. She is loyal to her gang but if things look bad for them before attacking she will continue her ruse until she can escape and then gain revenge. 

Shooting in the cave can be dangerous due to ricochets and if an attacker rolls a1 on their Shooting die and fails their attack roll, draw a card, if it is a Diamond draw a card for each person in the chamber and whoever has the lowest card is hit by the ricocheting bullet.

5 Red Tiger Bandits

Parry 7 | Tough 7 (1) | Pace 6 (d6)

| Ag d6, Sm d6, Sp d6, St d8, Vi d6 | 

Athletics d8 | Fighting d6

Shooting d8 (2d6+1, 12/24/48, AP 1, 

RoF 1, 0 Shots)  | Stealth d6 | 

The cave take a sharp turn to the left toward the largest chamber yet. There are 7 bed rolls in here and the last 1/4 of the chamber is separated by quilts hung on clothesline to give Tigress privacy from the rest of her gang. While the Posse searches this chamber she stay close to the entrance and will be looking for a chance to make a run for it if the Posse has killed the Uncle Frank and the other 5 Tigers. Once the Posse begins inspecting Tigress’ belongings a successful Common Knowledge roll will clue them into her lie and she will not surrender for any reason, she'd rather die then be hung or go to jail.

There is a deep niche in the wall near her bedroll where there is $100 in cash and 4 ounces of Ghost Rock. After searching the whole chamber the Posse also finds an additional $80 in cash, a ruby engagement ring, 1 stick of TNT, 3 dime novels, and a copy of Hoyle's Book of Games that is missing close to 20 pages. 

If the Posse takes a left instead of the right at the split after about 5 minutes they find dead end with numerous bones, animal, human, and…other critters scattered on the chamber floor. A successful Notice roll at -2 will reveal a carcajou, a wolverine-like creature that the Gang has chained up in here. The chain has 15' of slack and this chamber is 45' long and 30' wide.


Parry 9 | Tough 10 (1) | Pace 10 (d10)

Ag d10, Sm d4 (A), Sp d12, St d10, Vi d12 | 

Athletics d10 | Fighting d12+2 (d12+d6+2, AP 2 | Intimidation d10 | Notice d8 | Stealth d12 |

Survival d8 | Edges Improved Frenzy,

Quick, Rabble-Rouser | Special Abilities

Fearless, Hardy, Size -1

Quirks Missing left eye















Tuesday, April 11, 2023

B/X D&D x BRP Version 2

I've worked a Version 2 of my B/X D&D X Basic Roleplaying Mashup. It goes off on its own but I think it's more streamlined this way. As always, feedback is greatly appreciated.

PDF is here.

B/X Roleplaying: B/X D&D X Basic Roleplaying

I remember when I first encountered Chaosium's Basic Roleplaying system in Call of Cthulhu 4th Edition. I was amazed at how simple it was to make a character and how elegant and easy the system performed. Years later, I encountered RuneQuest 3rd Edition and was blown away at all the things BRP could do and how ingenious many of its designers were.

I've been trying to nail down an OSR game that used B/X DnD's "skills" as the basis for a BRP style game for a bit and this is my current rough draft.

I love many editions and clones of DnD but after working with a lot of first time players I've come to lean toward a skill-based solution with a percentile chance of success. Telling someone they have a Difficulty of 18 and a +6 to their d20 roll certainly isn't hard, but if you are new to RPGs and you are a bit scared of math I think having a 45% of success can ease some of that anxiety.

Leather armor has an AC of 60%; Chainmail has an AC of 70%; Plate has an AC of 80%; and a Shield adds 10% to that value.

When in combat the attacker rolls their weapons skill and the defender rolls their AC and if both succeed the highest roll wins.

Any feedback is great appreciated.

Here is a link to download BX RP Character Creation PDF.

Thursday, April 6, 2023

I saw Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves

On Sunday night my wife, son, his wife, two of my daughters, and I went and saw the new DnD movie and I thought it was a really fun movie. Everyone liked it (though my 9 year old daughter got a little bored) and my son, 21, said the flow of the story taught him ways to bring a party together and inspired him to run another game after a hiatus of about two years. I'm not sure you can get a much better review of a film based on an RPG than it "made me want to run DnD again".

Full disclosure: I found all of the recent trailers I'd seen very appealing and I went into the film with the hope that we could get at least a good movie and I wasn't let down. I think we got a good film and a fun action-adventure and the creators of the film understood enough about DnD and RPGs to give us some nice easter eggs. The DnD movie exceed my expectations and I'd like to see it a second time so I can look for more of those hidden gems.

I'm not usually a big Chris Pine fan but I found this to be his most compelling performance and I think he delivered a man with little left to lose but who cares about people and doing the right thing even when he messes up. 

I will say that I did guess that a certain situation would play out at the end of the film based on the McGuffin (not a hard leap at all) but was surprised who it happened too.

I like all of the actors and would have liked to get to know more about Dorric, though I understand there is a prequel novel featuring her and I might actually pick that up.

One thing that has surprised me this week is how few of my customers have seen the film. I've recommended it to all of them and maybe it will have some legs at the box office. I wouldn't mind seeing more of these characters and I think it is an easy way to expose non-players to the game. 

I couldn't really ask for a better DnD movie and I highly recommend seeing it to anyone. Its a good ambassador for the game and a fun time for a family and friends.

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 ...