DCC Catacomb of the Wolf Lord 1-5: The Long Hallway.

After the first 40′ it becomes apparent they are no longer in the dungeon they entered, but have walked through a portal into a densely forested realm. The sun is perpetually dimmed by cloud cover and there is some patchy fog around the trees in every direction. From behind, it just looks like the group kept going down the hallway. After the last PC steps in, a kodama spirit appears.

So far, it hasn’t been so bad.

The group will have to put in some effort to find these doors, but they aren’t as difficult because of their size. They are still covered in mud, but if the group takes a little time to excavate, these doors are gorgeous and telling.

Read aloud:

It took some effort, but you’ve uncovered two large, ornately carved, bronze bound doors. They are heavy and rounded at the top, probably to match the hallway beyond. You feel a slight chill go up your spine when you touch the door, as if touching the lid to an occupied coffin. The doors themselves give off a somber energy, as though one were taking their final walk after a life well lived. The two old, bronze rings are heavy with age and mud.

If the players clean the doors off, the left door has an ornate, lovingly carved picture of a wolf, standing on a cliff, howling. On the right door is a moon over a forest. The moon is faintly glowing. The doors are magically locked.

This was the Wolf Lord’s one last chance to howl at the moon. If the players read through the journal, it chronicles the Wolf Lord’s final journey to his resting place. The coven gave him one last chance to howl.

Unless the characters have a way to magically unlock the doors, they may howl at the moon and the doors will magically unlock. They are extremely heavy and require a DC 15 Strength Check to open.
Read aloud:

Your mighty howls seem to activate the magic in the lock and you pull the doors open with a stout heave. What lies beyond may not have been for mortal eyes. You see a painstakingly carved round stone hallway. There is a faint glow of magic in the doorway. The hall is round and tall, except for the floor, which is squeaky clean and flat. Magic globes faintly light the wall.

The Hallway seems normal for the first 20′ or so.

After the first 40′ it becomes apparent they are no longer in the dungeon they entered, but have walked through a portal into a densely forested realm. The sun is perpetually dimmed by cloud cover and there is some patchy fog around the trees in every direction. From behind, it just looks like the group kept going down the hallway. After the last PC steps in, a kodama spirit appears.

The diminutive creature rattles its head to sort of communicate. It walks among the PCs and checks them over. It stops and waves its arm. Suddenly 36 kodama appear and begin wandering through the party. They appear to be looking everyone over, but are harmless. If the group attempts to harm them, remind them that the little spirits are ethereal and mean no harm. They’re just studying the group for what comes next.

They will climb onto the PCs, inspect their gear, maybe even try to interact a little. The little spirits are trying to determine alignment. Check their alignments. This will determine which wolves they will face.

IF the group tries to turn around, all they see is forest and fog.
MAP:
Since the encounter takes place on the spiritual plane of The Happy Hunting Grounds, the Judge is free to produce any large forested area desired or throw down trees randomly. There should rarely be unbroken line of sight for more than 20′-30′ aside from the 20′ wide path the characters are travelling along.

The kodama scamper off after a few minutes except the first one. It motions them forward. As the group walks forward into the dense forest, wisps of fog surround them. It becomes readily apparent that they are not alone in the forest. Wolves are moving among the trees, yipping and growling.

There are three wolves per PC. The wolves are all the same pack, but each PC will be “tested” by the wolves matching their alignment.

The Lawful Spirit Wolves:
Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d6+2); AC 14; HD 3d6 (18hp ea); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL L.

The Neutral Wolves:
Init +3; Atk bite +2 melee (1d4); AC 12; HD 2d6 (12 hp ea.); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +1; AL N.

The Chaotic Dire Wolves:
Init +5; Atk bite +6 melee (1d6+2); AC 14; HD 3d6 (18 hp); MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +3; AL C.

Tests:
The Lawful Wolves will approach and insist the characters follow. They will ask telepathically why the characters wish to see him. As long as the Lawful characters are pure of motive, no one will be attacked and they will be permitted to move on. It will be a pleasant conversation.

The Neutral Wolves will surround the group. They will circle cautiously and sniff out an alpha to challenge. Then, a Large wolf with a scar over its left eye will approach. It has AC 16 and 4d6 HD (24hp) and will only fight until significantly injured or the group’s alpha is injured.

The Chaotic Wolves will single out the Chaotic characters and fight to the near-death. They may even drag the weakest looking character off into the woods until the battle is decided.

The character who rescued the large tooth from Room 1-3 may show it, if he remembers and be automatically chosen as alpha/party leader/representative of the whole group as an emissary.

IF the group becomes frightened and attack anything but the Chaotic Wolves, ALL of the wolves in the encounter will work together to fight the group. They will surround, pull, and double team the group as much as they reasonably can. They will attack weak-looking characters, spellcasters, and Halflings first.

However, the wolves will not intentionally kill any of the party. The goal is to test the group’s resolve and pure intentions for wanting to see the Wolf Lord. If accidents happen the slain party member will discover they are already in the heavenly realm of The Happy Hunting Grounds. They may choose an afterlife destination or remain has ghosts where they are.

After the encounter, the group will be led, escorted, or dragged out into the long, sloping hallway that leads to Room 2-1.

Looking Out for the Players a Bit.

All of the above are just recommendations. I’m sure there are plenty of games/systems I’ve missed. There’s just something about having your own book.

As GMs/DMs, we’re regularly faced with the challenge of picking the game system we want to run.

I love Basic D&D. Ya know, the one from back in the day? The original? The Rules Cyclopedia? Many good times were had with that game.

Would I run a campaign out of it tomorrow? Probably not. The books aren’t what you’d call, “regularly available” to most players. That’s the first thing I look at.

If I have the only copy at the table, there’s a problem.

D&D editions 3-5 have a common problem. There are tons upon tons of books out for these games. Third and Fourth editions have been out of print for ages. DMSGuild and Half Price books still have most of the stuff still available if players are willing to shell out for whatever character options they want to invest in.

Fifth Edition is what some of us call, “bloated.” Third suffered from this problem as well. There are so many options for players to choose from. Where do you even begin? And what is the DM going to do?

Sure, the PHB is cool. You’re going to want one for the basic rules, anyway. But then what’s next? Tasha’s? Xanathar’s? DMSGuild guide to X class/race variant? The amount of source material out there is staggering.

Some DMs ban homebrew or third party material outright. Others say PHB only. Still others stick to PHB and anything officially printed by WotC. But some players always want that extra edge, the unique advantage or something completely different than what we’d consider canon.

I want the players to have access to everything the game has to offer without having to take out a second mortgage.

I have gone so far as to buy table copies of rulebooks for some games. I have extra copies of a lot of 4th Ed D&D books for my players. Unfortunately, I haven’t run 4E for a long time, but it was there when I needed it. Werewolf the Apocalypse was another game where I kept a spare core book for the table. It was just easier and cheaper back then for my group.

Nowadays, I really appreciate my players having their own physical copy of the rules handy because my copy is bookmarked to hell and gone. Many times I have both the physical book and at least one digital copy open at any given time for monster stats on one and rules lookup on the other.

If my copies are tied up and I’m going to ask the players to acquire their own, I don’t want a system that will break the bank. In most cases, I don’t think a pdf copy or even a single, physical copy per player is too much to ask for an ongoing campaign. I know there are plenty of games that are expanded to the nines and practically require a winning lottery ticket to keep up with.

One thing to avoid.

Okay, let’s be honest. How many of us frequented a certain website that offered free download pdf copies of all of our favorite games? Most of these sites eventually get shut down and for good reason. Those sites aren’t just socking it to the corporations, but hurting smaller creators as well.

Tempting though it might be, printing or copying pdfs for players is really something to steer clear-of except in the most dire of circumstances because it tends to rob creators of their money. I might print off just enough for someone to play their character or get by for a few weeks until they can acquire their own copy. I’ve found on many occasions a little taste of the book is enough to sell a full copy to a lot of players.

I am loathe to admit there are still free pdf copies of some things out there. I won’t ever link any of them. IF you acquire a book this way, I strongly urge you to track down and pay for an official copy. Be kind to designers. They have to eat, too.

Here are five alternatives to D&D and Pathfinder that are easy on the wallet.

I love Dungeon Crawl Classics from Goodman Games for this exact reason. My core rulebook cost me $25.00 at my FLGS and the pdf was free. I’ve rarely seen a better deal.

Another example is Runehammer’s Index Card Roleplaying Game Master Edition which just recently went on DriveThruRPG in Print on Demand with pdf for almost half what the hardcover cost. Heck yeah! Thanks Hankerin!

ICRPG is easy to learn, affordable, and fun! A lot of time and effort went into this game. It’s easy to GM and rules lite for the players. Plus it has tons of homebrew potential. More on that some other time.

FUDGE is good, as I have said before. The FATE dice are easily substituted or faked using regular d6s. FATE is another good recommendation for a single book as the Condensed version retails for around $8.00. I tend to lump these two rulesets together as they are similar.

I’ll also give another shout out to Open Legends RPG for being rules lite and all in one book for the most part. If I had to steer a first time gamer to something other than D&D, this would be close to the top of the list. Free is good last I checked and the whole group can have access to the book on their various mobile devices or GM printouts if they wish.

Another thing I look at is Open Licensing.

OGL games have become a mainstay in my book collection. My overall goal in life is to get something published on DriveThruRPG. I find that OGL games with only a few core books are far easier to work with because there isn’t as much competition and it’s easier for players to get behind. If I can put out one $4.99 sourcebook with quality material to go with a mostly free or inexpensive core book, is it worth the investment?

I’m starting to think it’s the best way to go in terms of publishing. True, it’s harder to find an audience for than D&D 5E. Many of the games I really get behind are fairly obscure in comparison. But sometimes a dedicated niche audience is more willing to invest a little to help the game grow.

All of the above are just recommendations. I’m sure there are plenty of games/systems I’ve missed. There’s just something about having your own book.

Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate you. Stay hydrated. Stay safe. Have fun!

It’s Friday the 13th!

What happens if Buffy Summers and her crew runs into a guy wearing a hockey mask and carrying a machete?

I think we all know what that means.
Monster of the Week RPG!

Monster of the Week by Michael Sands, Evil Hat Studios.

MotW Cover.

What? No, I promise I’ll behave this time and not get all gory and violent. My new trigger warning graphic is posted at the end of the article. I’ve tried to make the warning as obvious and broad-reaching as possible, but I’m still not 200% sure about the wording.

How much is too much in Monster of the Week? I think serious Session Zero conversations need to be had and the players most assuredly need to know where the Keeper stands on certain topics. Obviously it’s best to make sure things aren’t too gory, too many jump scares, or too disturbing for sensitive players. I’ve seen plenty of horror games fall apart because it just plain got too dark for one or more players. Nobody wants to show up every week just to get more depressed or creeped-out. Most of us can probably relate.

I think MotW is more geared for the high-flyin’, butt-kickin’ Buffy the Vampire Slayer style game. At least, that’s sort of what I imagine running as opposed to the dreary World of Darkness style game. No, not all Storytellers run a dreary game, but WoD has that tone sorta built into it IMO.

Knocking down “scary” vampires and kicking monster butt is great, but what happens if they run into that one guy?

I think we all know which guy I’m talking about. Yeah… Michael Meyers. Ha! No, Freddy Krueger. Wait, Chucky? Leatherface? Hannibal Lecter? No…

How was this guy not going to come up?

Most of us get the idea of the iconic Urban Legend serial stalker. That guy with the kitchen knife, machete or weed eater that literally tries to go after the whole cheerleading squad. I think it makes for awesomesauce bad guy material in MotW. Others may not. As a player I might be a bit unnerved by getting chased by our favorite hockey mask wearing psycho.

Guys like Michael Meyers and Jason Vorhees just keep coming in the standard issue slasher flick. There’s no stake through the heart or tranq dart that’s going to stop them for long. Some are far worse than others, having their own dimension to hide in when things get rough (Freddy, Pinhead.)

Buffy Summers- Jason Voorhees. Jason- Buffy. There, now we’re all introduced.

The heck with Freddy vs Jason. I want to see Buffy vs Jason. Some guy that’s short of needing locked and chained in a locker and drowned. In game terms, hes seemingly unkillable. Or at least permanently unkillable. MotW even mentions letting baddies come back if the group fails to use the monster’s weakness.

Personally, I think it’s frustrating for players to get their butts handed to them every week by the same bad guy. On the other hand, most Keepers love having a recurring villain that literally everyone dreads. The Keeper starts hinting that we might be dealing with a situation similar to one we’ve seen several episodes back.
Jack: It- it can’t be. We killed him. We literally watched him burn.
Keeper: What if he wasn’t human?
Serena: Copycat crime, maybe?
Keeper: Maybe. Some supernatural beings can come back, though.
Bob: He did eat three bullets, a shotgun blast, a sickle, two tranq darts, a katana, and got pushed off a cliff before the fire. Maybe he survived? Somehow?
Keeper: Bwah ha-ha. Did anyone actually find his body?
Group: <gulp!> Uh-oh. (In unison.)

Sometimes the best way to get rid of it is to change campaigns before the next session.

I hope it never comes to that. Jason is a villain that has survived any number of atrocities that should have killed a regular human being a few dozen times over. The MotW doesn’t have to be quite so durable. What if it’s a demon that can be cleansed? What if he actually has some sort of wolfsbane, cold wrought iron, garlic, or some other substance that can kill it. Has anyone tried a simple circle of salt? What about legit magic?

The point is, just because something seems unkillable, doesn’t mean it is unkillable. Personally, I like villains that have more lives than a Batman villain. But the players have to have a chance to come out ahead or break even. MotW villains mean business and not putting one down could spell disaster for the characters and innocents alike.

So, here’s to treading that fine line between safe and unsafe, sane and insane, here in the Twilight Zone…

Thanks for stopping by. Have a great weekend! Stay safe. Be back soon.

Too much or not enough?

Anime 5E Review.

Anime 5E is here! Due to hit the shelves of your FLGS sometime around June 1. I backed it on Kickstarter and it’s brilliant!

As JJ Walker would say, this book is, “Dyn-O-Mite!”

Anime 5E is here!

Back before my employment status changed, I invested in several Kickstarters. This one in particular was very worth the money. Tired of regular 5E D&D? Dyskami fixes that and then some with Anime 5E.
Here’s the link for DriveThruRPG

Here’s the link for Dyskami’s website

Just a brief rundown of some of the things you’ll find:

My oldest is going to freak when he finds out he can play a cat person in my game.
  • New character race options: Neko, Kodama, and even Greys!
  • New character class options: Ninja, Samurai, Magical Girl, Pet Monster Trainer and more!
  • New character size options. Play it small or huge. Either way, it’s covered.
  • So many new character options in and out of combat, I can’t list them all.
  • New magical and non-magical gear. What book would be complete without it?
  • New monsters. That’s what sold me along with some other concepts.
  • High-Flying, kick-butt anime/manga action from the minds that brought us the original Big Eyes, Small Mouth.
  • A solid mix of classic Tolkien-esque fantasy action combined with crazy anime fantasy action. Run a game in the style of Record of the Lodoss Wars, Naruto, Ninja Scroll, Afro Samurai, Samurai Champloo, Inu Yasha, Sailor Moon, Ranma, Pokemon and so many more.

I was a fan of this project way before it came about.

I’m a long, long time BESM fan. I’ve followed it since First Edition, no less. Third Ed was hard to get a hold of, but I finally did. I’ll write a broader BESM review in the future. I have a lot of wonderful memories and fond moments with BESM and it’s one of my favorite games to work with.

The same can be said of good old D20 BESM. Anime 5E took the raw Rules As Written and turned them into something phenomenal as only the creators of BESM could. I understand anime is as much styles as rules sets, but they added to D&D 5E in new and intriguing ways.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention this from early in the book.
This is pretty cool.

I love the attitude. The look of the product throughout is phenomenal. Really, I don’t know much else they could have added.

Old fans of my previous blog know I don’t use the term “alien” because it is offensive to many beings. I’m a friend to any being from another world who wishes to visit Earth. Now, if you’re wondering why I mention it in the gaming review of Anime 5E, it’s because one of the player races included is the Greys.

If I make one character to play this game, it’s going to be one of these guys. I think they’re pretty cool. I mean, not Magical Cat Girl cool, maybe, but still pretty friggin sweet!

I may not put out any material for this game any time soon, being entangled in three solid projects and possibly adding a fourth. This book really takes the frustration out of 5E and makes it fast, loose, and playable again. Hiyah!

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you. I hope you’ll give Anime 5E a chance.

Monster of the Week 1d12 Tables

A couple of modern horror RPG tables just for fun.

Or any generic modern horror campaign.

Roll 1d12 on the table below:

Viral Internet videos and photos:

  1. Drone footage of a clown in a nearby field.
  2. UFO over the city within the last week.
  3. Large, hairy biped seen in the woods a few miles of town.
  4. Extraterrestrial caught on camera in a local driveway just passing through.
  5. Vague Cryptid seen walking through a convenience store parking lot in the early morning hours. Could be a dog? Or maybe a monkey?
  6. Gray alien caught on doorbell camera late at night.
  7. Local hunter sees ghost on trap camera.
  8. Kids conducting a seance at 3:00AM in a local cemetery get really freaked out and run away from unseen force.
  9. Local ghost hunters have multiple positive contacts in a downtown building recently scheduled for demolition.
  10. Child goes missing in the middle of the night only to be found the next day in a field 20 miles away bewildered and unharmed.
  11. Local police officer catches photos of a black dog with eerie red eyes crossing the street late at night.
  12. Local kids shoot video of objects moving around the house with them.

Bonus Table: Freaky Locations for strange happenings.

Roll 1d12. Randonautica, eat your heart out.

  1. A shed in a suburban backyard far older than the surrounding houses.
  2. A pair of grave markers in a well known town park.
  3. An abandoned car from the 1930’s in a field on the edge of town.
  4. The old veterans hospital near the center of town.
  5. A Freemason temple now a hospice.
  6. An old Native American burial ground underneath a residential district.
  7. A house in an old residential neighborhood abandoned for over a decade.
  8. A pauper’s graveyard covered by a high school football field.
  9. The WW1 exhibit at the local museum.
  10. Junkyard/Landfill built on top of a Civil War battlefield.
  11. Under an old bridge.
  12. An old well on the farm nearest town.

Power Rangers RPG Threat: Fishface.

Things are getting fishy with this villain for Power Rangers RPG.

Inspired by the Murlocs of WoW fame.

“Who would have thought when we woke up this morning we’d be fighting a walking, talking 300 pound mackerel with a herring for a sword?” –Rose, Pink Lightning Force Ranger.

I drew this. Please be kind.

Fishface (normal)
THREAT LEVEL: 4
SIZE: LARGE | HEALTH: 9
TOUGHNESS: 15 | EVASION: 14
WILLPOWER: 14 | CLEVERNESS: 12
GROUND MOVEMENT: 40 ft. | SWIM: 60 ft.
Fishface has been sent to Earth by General Gnarl of the Triumvirate to probe the oceans in search of the Ninja Steel encased Zeo crystal and/or the Rangers’ Base of Operations.
SKILLS:
Alertness +d4
Targeting +d4
Might (Melee weapons) +d6*
Perception +d4
Languages: Putty, English, Fishenese.
PERKS:
Amphibious: Fishface can breathe air and water.
Underwater Acuity: Gains an Edge on Perception and Alertness when underwater.
Immunity: Poison
ATTACKS:
Herring Blade (Sword): +d6, Reach (Toughness, 1 Sharp Damage)
Pufferfish Grenades (Bomb) +d4 Range: 20′-50′ (Evasion, Sharp 1, 10′ Radius.)
Glop Gun: +d4 Targeting. Range 20′-50′ (Evasion, Stun 1, Paralyzing.)
POWERS:
Summon 2d8 Fish Putties: Fishface can call upon amphibious Putty Patrollers that appear similar to him, complete with their own Fish “Swords.”

Coming Gigantified to an ocean fighting venue near you. Have fun.

DCC Catacomb of the Wolf Lord Room 1-4

This room may seem a little lackluster compared to the others once unearthed.

This room may seem a little lackluster compared to the others once unearthed.

Room 1-4: Much like the door to Room 1-3, this door is caked in mud and earth, taking considerable effort to find. However, once discovered, the door swings into Room 1-2 with considerable ease. It opens to a narrow hole in the packed mud about 3′ in diameter, about enough for one adventurer at a time.

Once a light is shone into the room, the walls and ceiling are caked with thick mud and packed earth. At least half of the room is completely filled in. The glint of gold can be seen a little over 10′ across from the opening on what remains of the stone floor. There is about 5′ of operable space from floor to ceiling within the dimensions indicated on the map. What is possibly a hilt of a weapon or the end of a staff covered in dirt can also be seen. There is also a mud covered goblet and a bowl of a brazier sticking out of the dirt farther into the room.

And then there was trouble!
Once an adventurer enters the room, they can see the corner of a chest buried in the mud next to the coins. If they try to extract the chest, the handle, the goblet or the brazier, or do anything that disturbs the room in any way (Yell, tap the walls floor or ceiling, swing a weapon, etc) a full collapse is triggered. DC 15 Ref Save to get clear in time. The room is filled with earth! Anyone in the room takes 1d8 damage and is buried in the dirt. Suffocation Fort DC 10+1 per round buried, 1d6 Sta damage per failed save. The characters not trapped in the dirt can be excavated from the wreckage. The GM can determine how difficult it will be to dig any given player out depending on how far into the room they are buried.

IF the group managed to befriend or play nice with the elementals, they can excavate trapped PCs with ease and will gladly do so. They won’t help with the treasure, but they will save the adventurers, who clearly don’t belong in their element.

Thanks for stopping in. Room 1-5 is on the horizon. I love old fashioned dungeon crawls.

Catacomb of the Wolf Lord: Room 1-3

Room 1-3 of Catacomb of the Wolf Lord. The group may have found treasure, but is it cursed?

The “Treasure” Room.

The entrance to the Treasure Room 1-3 is concealed under a thick layer of old mud and gravel. In the dim lighting and all of the mud, the door will be difficult to find. If the group “plays” with the elementals, more earth will be caked onto the old mud. Ask the players if/how they are searching.

If the group finds the door and excavates it, it opens into Room 1-2. Beyond the door, there is a 5’x5′ unlit hallway leading to another door. Across the way, is a wrought iron bound locked door. The lock is trapped and will drop a 1 ton granite block on the trap victim and blocking the hallway. (Detect Trap DC15.)
Pick Lock DC 18. 8d6 damage from the block + being pinned. Reflex Save for no damage.

If successful, the door opens into a magically lit 15′ x 15′ room, domed ceiling with a faint glowing light in it, with a magical circle drawn on the floor. Inside the circle are four items. The first is a dagger (athame) in an ornate wooden box. The second is a leather bound book with a lock and key. It looks to be very old. The third is a gray fur cloak with an ornate wolf’s head clasp. The fourth and final item is a wolf’s fang.

Once the first character fully enters the room, a ghostly wolf appears. It speaks clearly to the group. It points to each item with its nose and states, Cleric, the dagger; Wizard, the book; Thief, the cloak, and Fighter, the tooth. Read the following aloud:

The ghost stares at you, or possibly through you. It points to each item and states clearly a second time Cleric, the dagger; Wizard, the book; Thief, the cloak, and Fighter, the tooth. Choose wisely. You make only keep one. Bring it to my final resting place for your real reward if you are so worthy.The rest are cursed.

It sits and says, “I’m waiting for your answer. You may ask one question of each item if you wish. One I shed. One was my end. One was my life. One is my gift to you if you are worthy.”

The ghost, a spirit messenger of the Wolf Lord, will answer truthfully one question of each item within reason. Its answers will always be cryptic and vague. It won’t try to encourage or discourage the group from choosing any of the items. It might also answer a little more about itself.

The Wolf Lord wasn’t always a wolf. It lived for a while as a man to better understand men. He took an elven bride and had two children: Koga and Kei. Koga became feral and ran away at a young age to join a wolf pack. Kei grew up to be a refined elven lady. (Current whereabouts unknown.) The Wolf Lord eventually rejoined his spirit pack and left his mortal family behind.

After many centuries, the great animal lords were forgotten. In turn, each returned to a sacred place where a coven of followers put their bodies to rest and sealed them away from the mortal world.

*Note: If any of the cursed items have the curse removed, the item is rendered permanently inert.

A) The athame is a cursed dagger +1. It radiates strong magic. The wielder must feed it one hp per day or lose 1 Stamina each day the hp requirement is not met. The wielder may not give its own hp.

B) The Coven’s Spellbook: The Coven’s Spellbook is a cursed antithesis of all that is Lawful or Neutral. Any mage who opens it will automatically become Chaotic, and will turn more toward being un-dead with each page read. Any/all spells copied or cast from the book with automatically backfire. Any creatures summoned automatically turn on the caster. It was never meant for the world of the living.

C) The Cloak of the Gray Wolf: At first, this cloak appears to not be cursed. It offers a +1 Agility bonus to Stealth and +1 bonus to AC. Once per day it allows the wearer to shapeshift into a normal wolf. All items become part of the new form. Mental stats stay the same.

Wolf, common: Init +3; Atk bite +2 melee (1d4); AC 12; HD
as wearer; MV 40’; Act 1d20; SV Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +1;

The ability resets at sunrise.
But the cloak is cursed. At the first full moon after acquisition, the wearer transforms permanently into a wolf under the control of the GM until the curse can be lifted.

D) The tooth is a regular tooth. It is not cursed, nor is it terribly useful yet. However, it is the key to unlocking the real treasure in Room 2-2, the Wolf Lord’s burial chamber.

While the Wolf Lord is considered a demigod and will grant certain spells to his followers, this is clearly not the book to do it with. The Wolf Lord will be available as a Mage Patron and as a Demigod to be detailed elsewhere.

Once an item is chosen, the rest vanish along with the circle and the lights in the room. The eerie outline of the spirit can still be seen, but it will not interact after the choice is made.

That’s it for this room. It’s obvious the other party never made it to this room. The journal makes no reference to tests or treasure beyond a vague mention of some kind of treasure believed to be buried with the bones of the Wolf Lord himself.

Thanks for being here! I appreciate you. Can’t wait to see what happens in Room 1-4 and 1-5? Hang in there. They’re coming soon.

It Has Arrived!

So, briefly- ICRPG is simple, adaptable to any setting, brilliantly designed, and has revolutionized games outside of itself.

My copy of Index Card RPG Masters Edition finally arrived today!

Snoopy vulture.
c/o United Features Syndicate.

Probably not the most monumental thing to ever happen in the world. But it’s exciting for me! A short while back, Hankerin Ferinale announced that ICRPG Masters Edition was going to be available as Print On Demand from DriveThruRPG. This was awesome! Monumental!

No offense to the nice folks at Modiphius, but I really didn’t have the scratch to buy the $50 hardcover plus shipping. I’ve noticed our FLGS don’t readily carry it. (I checked stores in two states, sadly.) $50 is a lot of money for me these days.

So I ordered it online and the wait began. I perched on our mailbox day and night waiting for it to arrive. This happened with Mecha Hack as well because I love the Brandish Gilhelm (aka Hankerin) artwork. The artwork is only matched by the brilliant game design. ICRPG never disappoints.

I loved the last edition of ICRPG so much. I was overjoyed Runehammer (aka Hankerin, aka Brandish) had made this book available for almost a third of the hardcover price. Of course, I poured over the pdf like crazy, but I love a physical copy of any game, especially this one.

Full confession: I’m biased toward ICRPG and have been since I discovered the game years ago.

So, briefly- ICRPG is simple, adaptable to any setting, brilliantly designed, and has revolutionized games outside of itself. Masters comes with ICRPG Worlds built into it. This game gave us Old Grognards a new way to look at adventure, room, and combat design. Hankerin is clearly a veteran of many RPG campaigns in several genres and it shows in the way ICRPG is written.

The Index Card portion of the name is legit on several levels. It’s a good way to organize as a GM. The game literally encourages this. It’s a brilliant way to keep track of rooms, traps, monsters, spacecraft… You get the idea. Professor Dungeon Master of YouTube fame has latched onto this game and for good reason.

I’m so happy! It finally arrived!!! Worth the wait.

My own campaign settings will be getting dusted off soon.

The nice thing about Masters is that the actual mechanics haven’t changed too much. I’m looking to pull out my ICRPG samurai campaign and maybe putting it out soon. I’ve contemplated a few other games using these rules as well. My meager artistic skills are not as impressive as Brandish’s, though.

ICRPG is a dream to run and create more content for GMs. I really can’t say too many good things about it. Players can pick up these rules in less time than D&D 5E or faster if they’re familiar with any D20 game.

I rely on Bitmoji and stock art for a reason. LOL!

Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate you! Please try ICRPG if the opportunity presents. It really is worth a try.

Also, thank you Runehammer for putting out such an awesome game. I can’t tell you how much fun I have designing game worlds for this system. Your hard work makes a lot of joy possible. You rock!

Monster of the Week: Continuing the Conversation

I’m loving Monster of the Week more every day. This game is well-designed and has so much to offer new Keepers.

Monster of the Week by Evil Hat Productions.

MotW is a fascinating RPG.

I really dig this game, but it’s taking a little bit of getting used to. Specifically, the Keeper’s section. I’m probably going to have to run a couple of mysteries before I get the hang of the system.

I still feel like it’s a little stiff and rigid from the Keeper’s side of the table. Then again, I’ve always felt that PbtA in general is a push toward GM-less roleplaying. As I say often, if that’s what you’re into, go for it.MotW would be a tough run without a Keeper because someone has to come up with all the cool monster and plot stuff, right?

I keep coming back to Page 131.

I actually think MotW is great for new GMs (Keepers.) They give you a play-by-play how to way to run a game session. They give all kinds of really solid advice on running a #ttrpg. The core book gives two mysteries and walks the reader through how to run them.

How awesome is that if you’re brand new? I would have loved this back in ye olden days. I’m still wrestling with it mentally now. It’s like learning to run a game all over again.

Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? It’s the same thing I’m already used to doing, but I never referred to it as “using moves.” Up until this came up, I never had a strict list of principles to stick with in order to run the game.

My long standing way of setting up a campaign (*Oops! Not supposed to say, “campaign” any more. Now they’re “plot points.”) So, my long standing way of setting up plot points is episodic in format. I plan 24 sessions/games. At one episode per week that’s about half the year give or take. It rarely works that way, but that’s how I plan it.

My original planning for this game was to set up 24 episodes with pretty specific agenda. So, I hit rewind. It’s going to be more of a sandbox now, kinda like I planned Power Rangers RPG campaign. (Which is also still in the works, btw.)

I’m going to build a set of case files that the group can fall back on for clues and in-character advice. They’re following a group of three hunters that have vanished or moved off grid for mysterious reasons. Not really X-Files, but more like Giles’ school library in early Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The group’s mystery files won’t cover every mystery, though.

I already know who the first season BBEG looks like and what they’ve got going on. We’re going to touch on some real world conspiracies and paranormal events. I already know who most of my Bystanders, Minions, and Monsters are going to be. I have most of the behind-the-scenes stuff worked out. I think we’re still going to do episodes, but they’re going to be more like story arcs and done similarly to the way they’re described in the MotW core rules.

They have a very nice template worked out for writing mysteries. They walk the reader through all of the steps of mystery creation. It’s brilliant! Other game companies could learn from Michael Sands.

In short, with any game system, harvest what you like, pass on the rest. There is no one set way to run a game, as many, many of us have said. I’m personally just struggling to learn and adapt to the PbtA way of doing things.

I’m going to be dropping some of my mysteries on here, since I’m not expecting my players will read my blog. Bwah Ha Ha. I’ll put trigger warnings on the really gruesome stuff. I have an in-game calendar of events in my head, depending on which hooks get a bite. <“evil” Grognard Keeper noises.>

Thanks for being here all. I appreciate you! Have a great weekend!

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