Archive for the ‘Campaign Ideas’ Category

Orc Manor

Orc Manor

A roving warband of vicious orcs has slaughtered the inhabitants of a fortified Manor, and are reaping a harvest of plunder and occupation while they terrorize the surrounding lands.

This encounter area continues a series called Ancient Encounters, culled from ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief,” “vague,” and “improvisational encounters as building blocks for great games.

Breaking from tradition, this adventure idea heralds from the future rather than the past. Experimenting with the incredibly awesome Dwarven Forge Game Tiles (obligatory eternal thanks to Dave for acquiring them) I was trying to combine them with my other game-board building goods to make an ultimate dungeon. Multiple levels was a key element of this design, and it has four elevation changes, which is more than I hoped for when setting out to build this manor house. The map begins in the dungeon, goes to the main floor with surrounding outside area, then the upper floor with attached portico, and finally to the tower.

Zero level adventuring was also on my mind
. When the new 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons releases in the fall, our group will most likely wrap up our AD&D romp through the original Dragonlance series of adventures, and start over in a new campaign. A zero level adventure is a great way to start a new campaign, and what better than to be naked and chained to a wall? Last time, during the playtesting phase of the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons, the players started in the sewers beneath a ghost town, having been captured by orcs.This adventure is a variation of that theme, with the characters captured and chained up in the cellar beneath a pillaged Manor house, and must escape before being tortured, killed, and ultimately eaten by the vile humanoids.

For groups who prefer to have their starting equipment and/or levels, the alternative flips the adventure on its head, as the characters seek to rescue the town princess (or etc.) from the depths of the Manor House before it is too late.

Root Cellar and Furniture Storage

Root Cellar and Furniture Storage

1. Root Cellar/Jail Cell

The room is dark and dank. A pile of moldy sugar beets, overlooked by the orcs, provides sustenance for those trapped behind the locked heavy oaken door, banded in bronze.

Have every player begin with one mundane item, such as a candlestick or iron pick. For added challenge all prisoners are chained, hand and foot, to iron spikes hammered into the stone walls and floor.

2. Furniture Storage/Guard Room

Cupboards, armoires, settees, tables and other antique pieces of furniture are stacked against the walls of this chamber. In the center a large oak table sits covered in food and drink, coins, and blood stained gore.

There are always 1d4 orcs in this room, and 1d4 of them are usually passed out. The coins amount to 1-10 gold piece value in copper and silver coins. 1d4 items of furniture are worth up to 100 gold apiece due to the antique value and craftsmanship, but they are delicate and must be moved carefully to retain their full worth.

Defiled Subterranean Chapel

Defiled Subterranean Chapel

3. Subterranean Chapel/Defiled

This chamber reeks of the stench of corruption. What was once an ornately carved chapel with a steeply arched ceiling and marble plinth to a deity unknown, is covered in filth from the wretched sacrifices of the orcs who worship their sick deities through acts of pain, death, and decay.

Hiding behind the lecturn, an orcish witchdoctor is intently carving hateful runes into a golden holy symbol. The orc has a Wand of Purple Lightning Bolt (1d6 damage per charge spent to all within 30 ft line including rebound, 10 charges) and it can summon 1d4 skeletons from the grisly remains in the chamber as an action. The witch doctor can also raise any slain character as a zombie as an action. Two statues in the back of the room are coated in filth. If they are cleaned, they will grant a boon to any who assist. The statue on the left is of Garl Glittergold, god of gnomes, merchants, and beggars and it will grant a permanent +1 specialty bonus to a single tool or weapon the character possesses. The other statue is of The Unknown Majus and will grant a free cantrip to any spellcasters who pay obeisance to the might of the Unknown Majus.(Create Water for divine casters, Create Fire for arcane.)

Basement Wine Cellar and Natural Spring

Basement Wine Cellar and Natural Spring

4. Natural Spring/Cavern Expansion

The sound of picks can be heard. Prisoners break rock and drop them into a natural spring pool. A trio of big black orc brutes, wielding metal studded whips and tridents keep half a dozen slaves toiling until they are dead.

The slaves are villagers from nearby. Their mayor was eaten and they offer vassalage to any who will defend them from further travesty. The orcs are savage, and wear chain or banded armor, and have short swords and daggers in their belts. They each carry 2d6 gold coins.

5. Basement Wine Cellar

The chamber has racks along two walls and a gurgling fountain in the north wall. Rickety wooden stairs ascend to a door at the top.

Nothing of interest here but a few bottles of wine and fresh water from the fountain.

Orc Manor Main Floor

Orc Manor Main Floor

Orc Manor main floor, which includes the storage chamber, the barracks, the guarded entrance, and the front yard.

Orc Manor Upper Floors

Orc Manor Upper Floors

The upper floors include the pillared treasure chamber, the orc chieftains dining hall, the open air porch, and the un-defiled astrological observatory tower.

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A group of brave young souls traveled towards the edge of civilizations in hopes of gaining fame and fortune. Then they got captured by orcs.

The rules of the game are very simple: roll the six ability scores (4d6 drop the lowest) three times, do not bother putting them into the attributes — right now they are just three nebulous sets of numbers. The characters are literal blank slates, with no class, nor even race or sex (all virgins). Imagine them as hooded figures of questionable lineage. Each character has 2 hit points and an armor class of 10. That’s it.

Each character should be allowed one mundane non-weapon item worth no more than a single gold piece, such as a rock, nail, or ice pick, as well as a loin cloth and moth-eaten cloak. This can be altered for other adventures than the one presented here: Slave Pens Under Ghost City.

The player chooses one of the three sets to begin playing that single character unless and until another is needed. The others are considered “hovering in the background” until needed. The fact that each player rolls up three sets of scores means they will not be as worried about losing a character. In fact, some of the characters might have terrible scores and be purposefully put into perilous positions. The zero level adventure can be very deadly in order to winnow out the excess characters.

During play the characters will want to do things, like attack, break something, try to read a scroll, or search for traps, whatever. At that point the player puts one of their numbers into the applicable attribute, and makes the necessary roll. If it is successful they make a note of their deeds done. Eventually the characters end up with most of their ability scores filled in, and a set of deeds that will point to a character concept.

This method allows players the time to choose which score went where as they are needed, and the dynamic of needing a good roll at the moment, countered by the optimal ability score placement for any future character concepts, creates a great spread of the numbers, not always optimized towards the future class, but gives a character real character.

This can also be used for deciding racial factors, by asking if anyone has the ability to detect sloping passages, for example, a dwarf might be revealed. Uncovering themes, backgrounds and other specialties, depending on the length of the zero level adventure are also possible. Even class abilities can be discovered through play, such as a character making a wisdom check to pray to her deity for divine aid, or a sagacious character making an intelligence check to detect the presence of magic.
Whoever survives the adventure becomes a first level character. They can keep the two extra hit points as a reward.

Under Ghost City

Under Ghost City

1. Slave Pens
The room is dark.
The large dank room has been divided into a number of small cells by the iron bars stretching from floor to ceiling. A stone table and a rancid pool of water occupy one corner, near a heavy oaken door as the only exit.

A ring of keys hangs on a hook by the door, which will open all the cell doors, but not the door to the chamber, which is also locked (DC 10 to unlock). There is a well concealed secret door 10 feet above floor level in the west wall.

2. River run-off
The sound of rushing water becomes overwhelming as the door opens, revealing a splashing river flowing through the mist-filled chamber from iron-barred openings in the north and south walls.

The river is fast flowing and deep. The ground is pebbly, with a number of larger sharp rocks, and the iron bars require super-human effort (DC 21) to bend. Once through a person has a 25% chance to survive the roiling, airless passage before being dumped into a reedy pond on the outskirts of the ruined town where reside a gaggle of 10 goblins. (HD ½, HP 5, AC 12, Atk 1, Dam 1d6, 50% chance of 2 HD leader)

3. Guard room
The hallway has a trip-wire set to ring a bell if anyone approaches from area 1.

The room contains a table and stools in the center and piles of filth in the corners.

4 orcs (Orc (HD 1, HP 8,8,5,5, AC 14, +2 Atk 1, Dam 1d8) Two orcs are big and bulbous and grant an extra +2 with their battle axes, while the other are tall and skinny and grant +2 damage with their compound short bows. One of each duty is always on duty while the others sleep in their trash piles.

The room contains 4 sets soiled studded leather, 2 battle axes, 2 short bows, 20 arrows, 2 daggers, a lantern, 2 flasks oil, 2 sets manacles, skeleton key to open any door in dungeon, and a cask of really terrible beer.

4. Blutus the ogre
The stench should have warned you away. A huge hulking form squats in this small chamber, snoozing with his chin resting on the spike of his club. It Is an ogre.

The ogre (HD 4, HP 24, AC 14, +4 Att 1, Dam 1d10) is automatically surprised and sits there grinning if the characters attack. He then commences to pound each of them into paste. He is also willing to barter and trade, loving things that are shiny most, and tasty, second most. His treasure consists of 45 gold, 2 roasted chickens, a large bag, 1 short sword (toothpick), and a large tangled coil of rope – 50’.

5. Pool room
This chamber looks to be natural, but overlaid long ago with tile murals depicting joyous bathers enjoying the steaming warmth of the natural spring. Now the tiles are decaying and falling away, but the pool looks as inviting as ever.

Anyone who swims in the pool is invigorated and earns 1 permanent boost to hit points and forever afterward has a distinctive healthy glow.

There is also a purple worm randomly passing by who will eat the first person to get in the pool, and then disappear forever.

6. Supply room
The door opens to reveal a room stacked with a jumble of farming equipment, animal handling, and other implements of the rural life. The room smells of rust and abandonment.

This room is a supply chamber for the farming and animal handling of the slaves. All sorts of tools are kept here, mostly in bad, rusted conditioned, after the orcs swept through the town and collected the abandoned relics.

7. Treasure vault
This chamber appears to be the main storage vault of the occupying orcs. Suits of studded leather, a suit of chain, and battle axes, bows, 200 arrows, 2 long swords, back packs, bags,etc.

… and a small locked and trapped chest (poison gas DC 12 or death 10 ft radius) which contains 150 gold, and a scroll Fireball. In one corner stand is a banged up suit of Heavy Plate with a symbol of a rising full moon on the breast plate. (-1 AC, -25% value until repaired). The secret door is hidden behind the armor (DC 12) the sound of running water be faintly heard from that corner of the room.

8. Mausoleum

This shadowy vault contains three alcoves on either side of the chamber. The floor is tiled in a mosaic pattern depicting the grim reaper.

Six skeletons rise from the caskets in the alcoves to attack. If the characters survive, the doors (locked DC 13) leads to the surface. Each skeleton wears a sigil ring worth 50 gold due to the historical significance of the noble families.

9. Waterfall cavern
The sound of a waterfall becomes ever louder until the hallway, dripping wet, enters a natural cavern with a waterfall splashing through a hole in the ceiling. Daylight!

If the characters defeat the giant crayfish (HD 4, HP 21, AC 15, +4 Att 2, Dam 1-12) that calls this pool home, they can escape.

10. The church
From the doorway the open sky becomes visible. The stairs lead to the same deserted shrine last seen when entering the foul pit.

11. Captains Room
This chamber reeks of blood and smoke. The room contains a pile of rotting furs against one wall, food and drink heaped on a table, and a few disfigured corpses in pools of their own spreading blood.

This is the room of the orc chieftain (HD 3, HP 17, AC 15, +3 Atk 1, Dam 1d8). He wears chain, wields a battle axe, and has a lockbox under his furs with 50 gold, and a silver necklace worth 75 gold.

12. House slave room
A dozen house slaves live and til in this smoky chamber. Cooking the questionable foods, washing the clothes, and generally aiding the orcs in whatever way they can, even being occasionally eaten themselves.

The humans (HD 1, HP 1, AC 10, Dam 1-2) will try to talk the party into turning back, and if that fails they will attempt to stop them while calling for aid on the captain or the guard chamber. There are a few knives, food, and some pots and pans about, as well as wineskins and flasks of oil.

perytonOnce the “heroes” have pulled themselves out of the mire and are back on the road to freedom, it might be time to harry their journey towards civilization with a Peryton.

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Minotaur maze

Minotaur maze

To get past this level of the dungeon, one must confront the mighty minotaur.

This mini-adventure continues a series called Ancient Encounters, culled from ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief,” “vague,” and “improvisational encounters as building blocks for great games.

This dungeon level originally took place in a multi-dungeon tomb of a long forgotten king. Many of the ancient king’s advisors continued to serve him long after the entombment, and one such is the bailiff, transformed into a mighty minotaur, who guards the coin vaults of the king. The notable features of the dungeon are air fire and water traps. The water trap was a room whose doors locked when a counter-weight was achieve din the middle of the room. The room then filled with water in 3-6 rounds. Also a water weird was released into the room, intent on tripping and drowning anyone caught in the chamber.

The secret doors are difficult to detect can only be passed by waving a hand in front of them at the nine foot level, other wise they are are considered solid rock. They slide open and closed silently by magic when the hand wave is given. The minotaur uses the secret doors strategically in order to catch his prey off guard for and do drive by stampede and gore attacks.

The coin vaults are presided over by a ghostly accountant, unable to interact with the world except to count and stack coins, and who knows where every coin of the hoard is at all times, intent on keeping them together. The bailiff aids him in this endeavor. Treasure value 8,000 gold coins.

The minotaur’s lair is a veritable bachelor pad of evil delight, complete with demoness concubine. Could be a succubus, or maybe Type V…

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Monastery of St Cuthbert

Monastery of St Cuthbert

This mini-adventure continues a series called Ancient Encounters, culled from ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief,” “vague,” and “improvisational encounters as building blocks for great games.

The Monastery of St Cuthbert History

The monastery is located in the forests surrounding a sparsely populated countryside. The monks are part of an order devoted to protecting the good folk in their domain by patrolling and watching over the inhabitants of the forest. Being monks of St. Cuthbert, the monks are not averse to using shows of strength and bouts of violence to ensure that lawful goodness prevails.

The walls are built of strong logs, the grounds are well tended and well defended at all times by at least half the monks. The daily tasks of the monks focuses on growing crops and keeping farm animals. The monks use the fruits of these labors to support themselves and to help those in need. Acquiring wealth is forbidden to the monks, but they keep a small stash buried in the woods outside the monastery for emergencies.

This edifice made its appearance in an adventure called “The forgotten King” (not to be confused with the published adventure of the same name. I just liked the name.) It was the opening adventure of a campaign I call “The undead wars” that saw a battle for the material realm between Orcus and Demogorgon, with the heroes (and the world) caught in the crossfire. In the adventure, the good people of King’s Gate were invaded by an undead army while the characters were staying at the inn. They have to escape, then find the clues to bring back the legendary “Forgotten King” who saved the people millenia before, and would return to do it again when most needed.

The Monastery of St Cuthbert was in a forest that the characters needed to explore for clues to the wherabouts of the king. Having stormed an orc hideout, they needed to find a place to rest, and came upon the sanctuary. It so happened that due to cancellations, only a couple players were able to make the next session, and so the monks had a special mission for those characters in attendance.

A gypsy woman was hiding with a half-elven child in the undead-occupied village of Kings Gate. The elven mage and human druid agreed to go on a rescue mission with an elf monk as guide. They entered the village and had to fight two ogres before arriving at the tent. They miraculously slew the ogres but in the process the elf wizard was knocked unconscious and fell into a cart of fish (which saved the characters life.) The woman was gone but they found the child, just as a patrol of skeletons began marching along the street. The elf monk escaped with the child while the druid held off the skeletons in a suicidal sacrifice.

He slew many of the skeletons before being cut down and left to bleed to death in the street. Thus began the most intense survival I have ever witnessed in a game. In 3e, the rules for below zero involve rolling dice and seeing if you lose another hitpoint or stabilize,once per hour. The druid was mortally wounded, and all night long he rolled to see if he slipped closer to death, which he did until he was at -9 hp. -10 hp was death. At that point he somehow stabilized, and dawn was breaking, so I ruled his dog came back, licked his face until he was conscious enough to pull himself up, fish the wizard out of the cart, and limp home to the monastery. Their reward for a successful mission was a hand woven head band that allowed +1 spell memorization per day.

There is an error in the map. If you look closely you will notice that there is no way to use the staircase to go between floors.

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Orc Hillside Encampment

Orc Hillside Encampment

This mini-adventure kicks off a new series called Ancient Encounters, culled from my ancient notebooks of campaigns past. The idea came after writing about re-using an old adventure, and I realized these great encounters deserve a little more attention. Hopefully others can be inspired by this series to make their own adventures, or to use elements of these admittedly “brief” encounters as building blocks for great games.

Orc Hillside Encampment History

Around 2008 I decided to get the band back together after a hiatus of… well, since the late 80’s. Our first adventure was called Zagyg the Fogroggen King, and this little dungeon was one of the encounters possible in the outdoor forest exploration adventure.

The dungeon is the plundered tomb of one of the forgotten king’s lieutenants, the Dwarf lord Konnag. Clues to the adventure are hidden, but the characters must defeat the orcs who have made the tomb their forward raiding camp.

In the stony cliffside of a hill deep in the dark forests surrounding King’s Gate, two rock-arched entrances lead into the tomb of the Dwarf Lord Konnag and his companions. One is high up the steep hillside, and a narrow pathway leads up to it. The other arch is at the base of the cliff. Two Orcs stood at guard outside each cave entracne as the characters approached. They were spotted and charged forward in a desparate head-on clash that almost wiped the party out before they had even begun.

The druid and hisdog charged up the hill and engaged the upper orcs, while the fighter and the rest fought the two orcs at the lower doorway, and then even more as they had to contend with the orcs that came pouring out of their barracks. The battle was desparate to the point where the elven wizard had torush up the hill to try and save the fighter by making a long sword attack. It succeeded and the tide of battle was turned.

At this point the adventurers were low on resources and injured, but the pushed on, checking outthe upper chamber first. It lead to a bone filled room. The gnome illusionis was riding the druid’s war-dog, and nearly tumbled head first into the concealed pit. They picked the lock into the next hamber and searched the sundered tombs of the dwarven paladins. In one skull they find a ring rattling around in the skull of a dward and the cleric puts it on. It is cursed and he has a chance of going berzerk in battle ever after.

They opt out of opening the double doors, and go check out the now emptied barracks inside the lower door. The room is full of shabby mats of fur, straw, and cloth. At one end it a stout wooden chest, and it is trapped. The thief pops the trap and is pricked by a needle. A wave of nausea passes through her, but she shakes it off.

The adventurers realize they cannot go on without any healing or magic left, so they retreat to a nearby monestery (see next ancient encounter entry) and come back refreshed the next morning. The orcs have set up a barricade around the entrance to their lair, and the party must use subterfuge to try an gain surprise. They defeat the orcs a second time, and re-enter the barracks. They pick the lock on the same chest a second time, avoiding the trap, and finding it empty. Six of the orcs carry Short swords +1 plundered from Konnag’s companions.

They move into the hall ,but must first disable a crossbow trap set up to fire at anyone who attempts to open the inner door. Once in the hallway, tiny poisonous lizards drop from the ceiling onto them, and they bust through the next chamber to fight the orc priest and his acolytes. The shaman is cut down before he ever gets an action, and the last acolyte escapes up the ladder, and is chased through the store room and towards the shaman’s chamber. The party sets up a flaming oil trap of their own in the store room, and soon defeat the remaining orcs as they counter-attack.

The final chamber in the adventure is the unplundered tomb of Konnag. The door is trapped with electricity. The orcs have not managed to break in. Once the players get through (using create water, mage hand, and something else I forget) they enter the room with Konnag’s corpse. Above his sarcophagus his phantom rises and says something about gotta fight ya for breakin in and corruptin the tomb. Beside him are two large urns, full of holy water, and they are the only thing that can damage the phantom, so hilarity ensues as they all pass around the one cup they have, to dip and splash it in the phantom until he is ‘purified’

Their prize is one of the artifacts of the forgotten king, Flamering +2 Flaming Bastard Sword.

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dragonlance clanA new campaign kicks off as soon as the latest, greatest, and last public playtest hits the servers. While we have been playing (if you can call it that) a mega-dungeon crawling campaign of my own design, I want to try something new. A dragonlance dalliance.

The Dragonlance saga begins around level 4, so there will need to be an introductory adventure. In this case I have chosen, because it is new and shiny, the newly released adventure Murder in Baldur’s Gate. This adventure is the first new product released by D&D publisher Wizards of the Coast in a long time, and it is playable in any edition of D&D, with specific rules covering editions III, IV, and V. Great concept and I hope they stick with it. The adventure is also the same one being played at Encounters, the weekly public play event semi-sponsored by the publisher. I say semi-sponsored, because dm’s now have to purchase the adventure themselves, rather than receiving it as a reward for their time and effort to provide new and returning players a great fun time week after week.


Furthermore, the adventure is co-written by Ed Greenwood, legendary creator of the Forgotten Realms, and is set in one of the Realms iconic cities. Baldur’s Gate is one of the three major cities in that most popular of Game Worlds, and countless, books, games, and other tie-ins have been based in Baldur’s Gate, including a wildly popular computer game series from the very late 90’s, fittingly titled Baldur’s Gate.

The adventure is a complete mini-campaign setting, and includes a book detailing the city itself. There is a fold-out screen with a beautiful map on one side and pertinent information about the city on the other. This product is truly a sight to behold, and I have high hopes for the adventure, which is a non-linear mystery focusing on exploration, interaction, and problem solving, as well as the usual busting of heads and the emptying of pockets of the recently deceased. The campaign setting also details a Forgotten Realms “re-boot” for the new edition of D&D. I have not completely read up on what exactly the “Sundering” entails, but I hope to find a way to mesh the “Sundering” with the “Cataclysm” of Dragonlance 300 years prior to the start of the campaign which led to the abandonment of the world by the gods. Somehow I will also have to transport the party from the pre-cataclysm normal times of Baldur’s Gate into the post-cataclysm of the Dragonlance saga.

Baldur’s Gate is a big, important fantasy city. So I am going to rip it, whole cloth, out of the Forgotten Realms and plunk it down somewhere in my own campaign world D’Erte. I do this because I have never been a fan of published game worlds, mostly because I do not like worry about breaking ‘canon.’ My games get crazy and I do not like to have to rein them in to keep them within the bounds of a normal published setting.This is also why I generally do not run store-bought adventures. I have no hesitation about building my game out of the components of published works. This campaign will be a testament to that. Really, my own world D’Erte, is purposefully pretty vague so that it is easier to graft build into it whatever I need. There is a fine place for Baldur’s Gate along one of the coasts of D’Erte and it looks like a 300 year cataclysm is about to sweep my game world as well.


After Baldur’s Gate, the real campaign will begin. There are 16 adventures in the original saga, though I think we will somewhere between 9 and 11, the climax of the epic tale. The later adventures contain wargames, campaign guides, alternate time-lines and other weird stuff. Who knows! Dragonlance originally released in the mid 1980’s as a line of adventures with a tie in trilogy of novels. The novels are great reads, I highly recommend them, and they are written by the creators of the Dragonlance game world and adventure saga. Tracy and Laura Hickman and Margaret Weiss have become legends of world and game design themselves, and this is the vehicle which launched their fame.


When I first started playing dungeons and dragons, this is one of the first “campaigns” we played. I was not the DM when I played this series, my good friend Roge was the DM, and he did a bang up job. The memories of those games are faded into the mists of time, but I am excited to replay them, this time from the other side of the screen, not least because it will give me a chance to relive some of those halcyon days of yore.


This campaign will feature characters that the players create. This will cause a bit of trouble during the Saga, due to the intricate, intertwining personalities and backgrounds of the original heroes of the saga. (The game is meant to be played with pre-generated characters, with a very doubtful guideline for creating one’s own,if they feel they must.) In order to combat this I plan on giving the players some background and personality cues that map to specific characters from original storyline. This should help with continuity as well as role playing opportunities.

Considering of role playing opportunities, this campaign is designed to be more “immersive” than past games. Our best gaming experiences have been with campaigns that have lasted for over a year, yet the past couple years have seen nothing but short games. It has been fun, trying out everything from modern zombie apocalypse, to Temple of Elemental Evil with Pathfinder Beginner Box. But at some point I wanted to get back into an epic campaign. Epic stories are one of the reasons I play this game.


So all this epicness and immersion, and role playing will come at a price. My goal is to have as many people in our group as possible commit to renewing our efforts to be here week after week, on time and ready to play. The recent Friday Game Nights have become erratic with wildly varying levels of interest and participation, and this includes me.

Friday Game Nights, however, are too important to see them slide into decline like this. For many of us (me at least) it is the only time to socialize in an otherwise busy, work-filled week. It is a chance to be creative, to flex our imaginations; to interact and try to solve problems in unique ways; to make each other laugh, to entertain and be entertained; and finally we have really great food and drink. Some people go to clubs, some people have dinner parties, some people just crash in front of the monitor. We make up stories and roll dice and have fun in the comfort of my home, and I hope it continues like that forever


That is the course plotted for the next year or so of gaming around my table, starting next Friday night. Starting with character creation using the final playtest packet for 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons, we will play the newest published adventure as an introduction to the epic saga of Dragonlance, using the original adventure modules published back in the glorious hey-day of dungeons and dragons, when church pastors were foaming at the mouth over the demon worshipping role players, and Tom Hanks was telling us that make-belive leads to madness.

Dragonlance 6 is my favorite of the set, not least because of the incredibly cool artwork and because of my love of white dragons. (Oops, did I give away too much?) It is also the one I remember most as a 7th grader, when my duelist Alec LeFont met his end on the deck of an ice-runner. Damn you Roge! I had a grappling hook!


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The Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord

The Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord

This has been my project since the beginning of the new year and it is finally starting to spread its wings and fly. The concept is simple: a huge dungeon complex (of up to 99 levels) that can be plopped anywhere or used as a stand-alone campaign. The booklets contain one or more levels apiece, and can be used in conjunction, with plot hooks and other links between levels, or they can be used alone and placed practically anywhere.

The goal with these adventure modules is to create a lovingly hand-crafted printed product with usefulness at the gaming table being the paramount concern. To that end, the booklets are crafted using the finest paper with a thick detachable cover that contains the main maps (other maps will be included as a middle spread) and designed with a “generic d&d” ruleset intended to easily translate into most fantasy game systems. All dungeoneers should be able to find use for the Ruined Fortress of the Evil Overlord series, regardless of which edition or game system they use.

Just look at that hand drawn map!

Just look at that hand drawn map!

I hope to offer these booklets for sale once I perfect the printing and publishing, and get a few more levels done. Pricing is still up in the air but with the time, effort, and high cost of quality paper, it is settling into the 5-8 dollar range, printed and shipped. I do not foresee making these available as pdf, since my main goal is to produce a hand crafted booklet for table use. (I also need to learn how to set up a storefront on worpress which might be the biggest hurdle.)

Check out the snazzy interior design, with custom artwork, text boxes, and all the extras.

Snazzy interior design, with custom artwork, text boxes, and all the extras.

The first booklet weighs in at 28 pages, and is designed to be an introductory level for new or inexperienced characters. The booklet features new monsters and new magic items, wandering monster tables, and a complete dungeon with plot and story hooks, bosses both mini and mega, traps, hazards, and tons of opportunity for exploration, discovery, interaction, and epic battles in iconic locations. My philosophy is to remove the boring, and keep the awesome. The dungeons follow what some call Gygaxian naturalism, and are an attempt to make a funhouse gonzo dungeon that makes sense and could exist in a fantasy realm.

I am looking for volunteers who would like to playtest and review the product on their blog, message board, or website. If anyone is interested in doing that, I will be happy to send a complimentary copy for your perusal. Please drop me a line or make a comment. The next couple of weeks will be spent turning the prototype into a final draft, organizing the next three modules: level 0, level 1a, and 1b, and playtesting.

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