Showing posts from February, 2018

Ref Tips for Running The Pale Lady

What should you do to quickly, effectively and dynamically run The Pale Lady ? It's an awesome adventure, but not easy to run straight from the book even though it's only 10 pages of text. By adding in a few touches and preparing beforehand, it can go from somewhat small-scale to epic. We got several sessions out of this little adventure, detailed here (sessions 1-5), and the players are still talking about it. Here are some steps I'd suggest based on my experience (read my review for more info). It goes without saying you should pre-read the adventure. Map of the abbey and a little bit of flavor Same for the town Highlight the hell out of a printed copy of the adventure for quick reference Prepare and flesh out the Pale Lady and her minions Make a timetable for the events of the night Personal touches 1. Map of the Abbey:  PCs may rest there, make permanent allies, or kill everybody and sack the place. This map by Dyson Logos, called the Temple of Marid

Session Report: The Horses Are Made Out of Bears

Campaign Date: July 15th, 1630 CE Location:  the Barrow of the Old King Cast: Arcturus Avenza (Arc's Fighter) Hernando de Pieza (Nic's Fighter), Roda (Ross's Halfling), Mystery (Bill's Specialist), Peter the True XXVII (Peter's Fighter), Carjek, "Mind of Light" (Anders's Magic-User), Bemuk (Brady's Dwarf), Ferdinand (Chance's Magic-User), and three redshirt hirelings. This is session 3 of the Barrow of the Old King  part 1   part 2 When last we left our murderhobo protagonists, they had witnessed a second member of their party die as a result of doing something they had previously witnessed killing a party member under the exact same circumstances. The body of   Brady's Dwarf, Thelgus, was hauled out of the vision-inducing bone castle and removed to the safety of the party's wagon in order to plan a wake for him as an opportunity for debaucherous carousal.  A new Dwarf, Bemuk, appeared rather c

Session Report: Uh, the Snow is Bleeding.

Campaign Date: July 15th, 1630 CE Location: The estate of Baronet John Hotham of Scarborough, the surrounding countryside, and the Barrow of the Old King Cast: Hernando de Pieza (Nic's Fighter), Roda (Ross's Halfling), Mystery (Bill's Specialist), Peter the True XXVII (Peter's Fighter), Carjek, "Mind of Light" (Anders's Magic-User), Thelgus (Brady's Dwarf), Ferdinand (Chance's Magic-User), and a few thus far nameless hirelings. This is part 2 of The Barrow of the Old King.  Part 1 Our heroes prepared to explore the mysterious barrow once again, heavy casualties be damned. Joined by a few more foolhardy murderhobo types, they visited Hotham again, and were given a stipend to buy supplies and hire personnel for their mission. This turned out to be what was necessary for them to finally take the Ref's suggestion that they might want some hirelings to carry torches and stuff like that. They hired a linkboy, an animal trainer/guide to pr

Spells That Are Fucking Metal: White Nights Of Murder

There's an excellent novella by Joe R. Lansdale called The Drive-In  which chronicles the descent of a normal night at the movies into chaos, dementia and mass murder as the result of an ominous meteor attracting the attention of strange beings. What ensues is the formation of tribes, mass insanity, mutation, and lots and lots of murder. I highly recommend it, and the sequel isn't bad either. Avoid the third one, though. Anyway, I've always thought it was pretty cool and worthy of adaptation of some kind. When I found the title White Nights of Murder  by one of my favorite bands, Uncle Acid & The Deadbeats, I knew I had an opportunity. So here it is, a mass-hysteria inducing chaos & murder spell that will change your campaign to a psychedelic slaughterfest for a couple of in-game nights. It also bears mentioning that Uncle Acid has an excellent concept album based on giallo murderer films, which you should check out above. One of my favorite albums of 2015.


Based on the incredible illustrations of Gennifer Bone. Check out her Patreon . Foundations Of Burden by Pallbearer Slow, mournful and meticulous doom perfect for pondering the ages in solitude Archaeomorph Old places, important places, hold memories. Not the people who lived there, but the place itself, which recalls a time when it held a purpose, when it was the center of many lives and important events. When the place is abandoned and forgotten, it takes on a life of its own. Archaeomorphs are the sentient forms of places. They take a form composed of its larger, inanimate body, synthesizing a semi-organic motile form with which to wander their own halls, or caverns, or fields, or forests. Their time is spent tending to the needs of the place, which is at once their body and their environment soaking in its geologic memories and perhaps building it into something even greater than it was before. Solitude has become a comfort, having witnessed so many lifetimes and momentou

Review: Rise of the Dungeon Master (w/ bonus cheesemaker NPC!)

How about that title, huh? I know nothing brings in the clicks like cheese.  <a href="">Critical Hits by Gygax</a> Obviously a band called Gygax is going to be pretty fucking cheesy, but check it out anyway. More cheese! Rise of the Dungeon Master is a biography of Gygax and a history of how Dungeons & Dragons was created in graphic novel form. Historical/biographical graphic novels are fairly rare, and so I found this kind of interesting. Also, I think it might have the potential to bring more casual folks into the hobby, which is always a good thing. And it has a bit about the Satanic Panic in there, too, so relevant to my interests. It's short, just under 140 pages, with good art. It's written in first person, in the style of an old text-based computer adventure or choose your own adventure novel, which is pretty awesome. Th

Session Report: Corpses for the Corpse Lion!

This is part 1 of The Barrow of the Old King, written by Daniel Sell and published in issue #1 of his zine The Undercroft . Part 2 Campaign Date:  July 12th, 1630 CE Location: The estate of Baronet John Hotham of Scarborough, the surrounding countryside, and the Barrow of the Old King Cast: Leif the Unbroken (Nic's Fighter), Raoul De Lorenzo (Ross's Magic-User), Mystery (Bill's Specialist), and Peter the True XXVII (Peter's Fighter). After the horrific events at the Tower of the Stargazer, Mystery made her way back to the town of Abingdon. How she had survived the explosion of the tower was, well, a mystery (Bill was absent during the session, and was given an opportunity to escape at the start of this one, which succeeded). Once there, she sent messages to the relatives of her dead comrades who, by multiple quirks of fate also happened to be adventurers, and joined her in Abingdon. Mystery took a Haven turn recovering from the trauma of the tower and despon

Mercurial Angel

Another monster based on one of Gennifer Bone's wonderful illustrations. She posts awesome monsters to her Patreon , and is generous enough to allow patrons to use them non-commercially with attribution. You should check her work out if you were not already aware of it, and consider becoming a patron for awesome stuff like this. <a href="">Weighing Souls With Sand by THE ANGELIC PROCESS</a> Epic, depressive post-metal. Bask in the fuzz and drone. Mercurial Angel Seven Mercurial Angels exist, inflicting death and tribulation upon the wicked. They are the result of an alchemical aberration, an element imbued with consciousness and will, created by a secret practitioner of the occult during the time of the Inquisition. Discovered in his hidden laboratory, he was tortured on the spot and forced to confess his sins and submit to the glory of God before he was allowed to


Under the rules of my Lore skill , Magic-Users gain unique mini-spells as they advance. Each time they gain a level of the skill, the Ref and the player collaborate to customize a cantrip that will be for that character only, reflecting their talents and discoveries of the occult. I gave several examples in the original post, but here are some more to help Referees flesh out NPC Magic-Users or roll on if a player would rather progress randomly. Details such as range, duration, and other variables have been intentionally omitted and are up to the Ref to determine based on any relevant factors such as distance, level, skill level, hit dice, or other circumstances. This table will be added to periodically, and readers are welcome to make their own suggestions as well. d20 Cantrips  1 Bond: Create a strong static bond between objects, causing them to resist gravity or attempts to separate them. A successful ability check can pull the objects apart, and the effect end on its o