Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 21-22

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017. It was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s the follow up campaign – 2018’s ‘Tomb of Annihilation’. We used experience points rather than milestones/level-based progression, which led to some ‘xp grinding’ along the way. Each session was 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing; don’t forget these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 21

OMU! And the gang’s all here (well, most of ‘em—the rain was pretty bad in the real world…)

First up: Nang Nang’s shrine, where the rescued Grung was reunited with his dad, who happened to be Chief of the local Grung tribe. The party members, unaccustomed to not killing everything, were a little out of their element, but after some fancy persuasion by Daniel’s surprisingly less-than-psychopathic Bard, Dan’s laid back Warlock/Sorcerer and Jake’s unusually non-violent Warlock, the party got access to the shrine and finally worked out how to get the inner doors open. And there was the puzzle cube, ripe for the taking. Which they did. A long rest and lots of treasure later (which became worthless when they left the shrine—no wonder the chief was so blasé), the party traveled to the next shrine, on a column over a lake of lava.

Jake’s Warlock flew over, almost fell prey to some Jaculi (or “ejakuli”, as the party preferred to refer to them), and took a rubbing (get your mind out of the gutter!) of the saying conveniently carved into the door so that Orvex Ogglebutt, local translator for hire, could read it. Then William’s Druid accompanied Jake’s Warlock as a portable velociraptor and they looked in some arrow slits. After working out the dumb puzzle (yeah, it was pretty simple), another cube was claimed!

Next up, some wandering Kobolds. Morgan’s Rogue decided to sit out the combat (how unusual), and chat with Orvex Scratchyabutt, instead.  A reasonably quick fight and some vicious interrogation later (ah, there’s the party we know and love) and the Kobold leader spilled the beans about Acererak (who used to be bullied at school a lot because of his name), the dude who built the big tomb that everyone is trying to get into. Apparently, the Kobolds are a work crew who repair the shrines once stupid adventurers set off the traps. 

Week 22

OMU! Come on down to Shrine’s Galore – we have so many shrines, we’re giving them away!

Obo’Laka’s Shrine – just around the corner, through the dark corridor, teleport through the sun pool to the moon pool, Jake’s Aasimar Warlock gets stoned (and Daniel’s Bard gives his statue makeup to help him look nice in retirement), lots of faffing about with lit torches going out in water, a battle with six cuddly Zorbos (Dan’s Warlock intends to stuff one for later…), Mark’s Kenku Monk turns to stone (“DOH!” could have been his last word), the party finally finds the secret passage to transport the lit torches through (yep, the building’s shaped that way for a reason…), and another puzzle cube comes their way. Everyone’s happy! Except for Jake and Mark.   

Wongo’s Shrine – just down the road, check out the wall masks, big monkey statue, sh&*-easy puzzle, fight the Su Monsters, get the puzzle cube!

Long Rest! Along comes Mark’s Human War Cleric, who just happens to be brother of Mark’s petrified character at Nangalore. Nice!

Papazotl’s Shrine – through the flooded city, make friends with the Giant Crocodile at the door (thanks, Daniel’s Bard’s Mask of Beasts!), find a riddle, use all sorts of lighting tricks to discover the secret crawl space, rope up Dan’s Warlock as he gets to the secret room and discovers the grid on the wall, eventually work out that the riddle needs to be applied to the grid to reveal the secret, another puzzle cube

The party now has seven puzzle cubes! Two to go!

Next week: Two more cubes! Or not!

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Ramp Dungeon

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy TTRPG adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

This map is grid-less and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry! It is 1750 x 1750 pixels in size, which means you can drop it straight into a standard Roll20 grid and it will fit perfectly.

Ramp Dungeon

I noticed I use a LOT of stairs in many of my dungeons, so this one has NONE! Not only is it a nice change of pace, but it’s nicely wheelchair accessible, too.

And don’t start any sh&* in the comments about not wanting anything to do with combat wheelchairs. I think they’re cool – if my players want to play a character in a wheelchair, then they can.

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Overgrown Ruin

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons and other fantasy TTRPG adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

This map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

Overgrown Ruin

An old temple? A stone cottage? A burial cairn? Who knows what this old, overgrown ruin used to be, but more importantly: what is it now? Is that a confluence of magical energies from some old altar? What lurks down that rift? I guess that’s entirely up to you…

: On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: River Caverns

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

This map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

River Caverns

This is an old map I’ve had lying around for ages, which I’m sure you can find some good use for lol! I picture a mutated insect adventure, with the side caves accessed via the various holes along the cave river’s edges. People have been going missing from a nearby village, and the trail leads back to these caverns. When the PCs enter all is silent, but the deeper they go,the louder the sound of clicking pincers and tapping chitinous legs…

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Old School Cavern

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

This map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

If you like old school maps, why not check out Maps for Fantasy RPGs: Old School45 old school maps (90 grid and grid-less JPEG files) which come with a royalty free licnese to use them in your own printed/digital/streaming products! Available now at DrivethruRPG – just click on the image below:

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 19-20

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017. It was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s the follow up campaign – 2018’s ‘Tomb of Annihilation’. We used experience points rather than milestones/level-based progression, which led to some ‘xp grinding’ along the way. Each session was 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing; don’t forget these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.

Game on!

Steve 

Week 19

OMU! (Exclamation mark is mandatory.) City of vines, ruins, trickster gods, Yuan Ti, feathered dinosaurs and eerie trapped shrines!

The party stopped off at a smoking compound, where Mark’s Kenku Monk discovered Orvex Occramas, convenient translating dude and plot device—I mean, guide— under some rubble. He was saved just in time to tell the party they needed nine trickster god puzzle cubes to access the mysterious tomb (possibly of annihilation, but the local real estate agents really dislike that name as it puts potential buyers off…).

After being ambushed at night by Yuan Ti (in which Davor’s Ranger realized he had yet another class feature he’d forgotten about that he could use in melee – these things keep popping up), the party backtracked to the YT’s cliffside cave, which turned out to be less interesting than they thought. Meanwhile, Jake’s Aasimar Warlock and Daniel’s Human Bard decided to investigate a nearby shrine by themselves (so, what’s new), where they encountered a dreaded Frogemoth. The party eventually caught up, and helped the huge beastie bite the dust.

Into the shrine, Morgan’s Halfling Rogue spectacularly fell after two crit fails in a row (so much for halfling luck); Dan’s Halfling Warlock decided to finish the job and recover the first puzzle cube. A really bad forgery attempt by Mark’s Monk to create a fake puzzle cube (which looked more like a ball with makeup on it—”WILSON!!”), later…

Onto another shrine, where the party headed downstairs into a gladiatorial pit to face off against some animated clay statues (looks worse than it sounds…)!

Week 20

OMU! (Use that exclamation mark, baby!) City of dead stuff! And snakes. And green stuff.

A vicious fight with a bunch of animated clay statues in the gladiator pit in Shagambi’s shrine was going pretty badly for the party, until Davor’s Ranger and Morgan’s Rogue both woke up (read: arrived late at the store where we play our games) and helped save the day with archery. Taking the leftover spears and placing them in the statues’ hands up top—voila! Shagambi’s puzzle cube. Two down, seven to go (did that sound as tedious as it read? Possibly).

After a much-needed long rest, the party investigated a bridge to a plateau in the lava rift, where a number of tiny Vegepygmies were about to sacrifice a little Grung! In stepped the Reservoir Dogs and slaughtered them (the vegies, not the grung, although you’d be forgiven for assuming so). Unfortunately, the Grung couldn’t speak Common, but he seemed to indicate a home and a possible new shrine across the city. So, off the party went on escort duty.

While crossing an innocent looking tree, collapsed over an innocent looking river – an arrow from nowhere! Mark’s Kenku monk responded and confronted an old Tabaxi native (“whose name was Bag of Nails,” said DM Steve, pre-empting) who surrendered. Jake’s Aasimar Warlock sneakily followed…

Suddenly, the King of Feathers, a humongous Misty Stepping Tyrannosaurus Rex decided to duel with the party in the street (“This town ain’t big enough for the eight of us, pardners,” roared the King). While Mark’s Monk leapt to the attack, pecking ferociously, Jake’s Warlock, channeling a certain petrified Aarokocra Sorcerer, decided to Hold Person and kill the Tabaxi. So much for his life story. It seems Jake was still upset about losing his Aarokocra—no more negotiating with non-terrorists.

Meanwhile, the party made short shrift of the King, proving that safety in numbers is always a good strategy.

Next week: Nang Nang’s shrine! More puzzle cubes! More killing! Probably very little negotiating!

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGS 2: New Kickstarter on NOW!

My new Kickstarter is on NOW at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/maps-for-fantasy-rpgs-2-royalty-free-maps

MAPS are a bit like dice. As a DM, I can never have enough – I like to have them on hand for improvising game sessions or design work. And fantasy TTRPG designers always need maps, but they’re not always easy for people to make, especially if you want a particular hand drawn aesthetic that you can’t get with digital map making applications. Of course, maps can be expensive to commission, and when you’re a small indie TTRPG game or product designer, your profit margin can be tight on every product. I have a solution. 

MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGs 2 – a Digital Map Package containing hand drawn, full color maps in grid and grid-less versions – royalty free and ready to use in your next private or commercial print/digital/streaming project! Plus MORE maps to be unlocked via stretch goals…

The Kickstarter is on NOW at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/maps-for-fantasy-rpgs-2-royalty-free-maps

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Scurry Review

Scurry: A Game that Gathers Speed is an appealing, minimalist tabletop role playing game (TTRPG) by Brian Tyrrell, published by Dungeons on a Dime Press. In Scurry, players take on the roles of small animals in a post-titan (the animals’ name for humans) future world. Nature has taken back an environment previously ravaged by humanity and beasts have evolved to form civilized societies, while retaining their cute animal characteristics (i.e they don’t stand erect or wear clothes – this isn’t meant to be Planet of the Apes). The beasts go on ‘scurries’, short and urgent adventures to achieve specific goals. Scurry has beautiful art and layouts that spectacularly evoke the natural, cartoon-inspired setting and it’s lots of fun to play.

Scurry is simple to learn, fast paced, emphasizes narrative and team work. One player takes on the role of the Scurry Master (SM) who describes the environment, telegraphs dangers, presents conflicts and builds suspense. The game is very easy to pick up and play – so much so that it’s ideal for younger players or those new to TTRPGs – and you can run an adventure in about 1-2 hours.

One of my favorite aspects of the game is the unique progress system – a clock with 4 segments, reminiscent of a progress clock in Blades in the Dark but used differently, that ticks down during the adventure. Each time the clock fills the size of the polyhedral die used to resolve conflicts reduces one step i.e. the highest die – a D12 – becomes D10, reducing each time all the way down to D4. This makes conflict resolution more difficult as the adventure goes on, with the urgency growing as the clock fills and the die reduces. And yes, you read that correctly – everyone uses the same die to resolve their conflicts. Simple, isn’t it?

There are no character stats in Scurry. That’s right – you don’t ‘roll up’ a character. Instead, players use their beast’s Tags to help resolve conflicts. Tags are narrative constructions the player can implement in the game to give them advantage on a roll (for the non-D&D gamers among us – you roll two dice instead of one to determine success). Note that rolling is only needed if success is considered unlikely. Tags can be changed between scurries as needed and while there are often no explanations as to what each does, this provides more freedom for players to describe how they apply them in conflicts.

Each beast’s Tags include membership in a guild, skills, tools, talents and traits. Guilds are like unions, providing a skill e.g. ‘Fairwinders’ are a guild for migratory birds, who can barter effectively to get deals on items. Tools can be almost anything that might help a beast on a scurry – a fine toothed comb could be used as a gift or a glowworm to see by. Talents are specific areas of expertise – ‘Being Small’, ‘Moving Like the Wind’. Traits are distinct physical characteristics – a mouse has ‘grabby hands’, ‘poison-wary senses’ and ‘soft fur’. Any of these tags might be used descriptively during the scurry to provide advantage on a dice roll, depending on the situation.

The scurry ends when the players grow too tired and become exhausted – basically, when the clock is almost at an end after 24 segments. There’s a little more to it than that, but you can find out for yourself when you experience the game.

Scurry includes a charming forest setting – Bristley Woods in Scotland – however the SM could place this setting anywhere or easily make their own if they prefer. Three linked scurries are included in the book, forming a mini-campaign. These scurries make interesting uses of ancient technologies and ecological themes, further reinforcing the differences between beast society and the titans.   

Summary

There is much to love about Scurry, especially if you enjoy narrative-driven games that emphasize role playing. It has wonderful layouts and evocative, cartoon-influenced art, uses simple rules that are easy to learn, is fast paced and supports positive environmental themes. It’s ideal for players young and old, whether they are experienced with TTRPGs or not.

Do yourself a favor and check it out.

You can find Scurry at Dungeon on a Dime Press’s website: https://doad.co.uk and on YouTube at https://youtube.com/c/DungeonsOnADime.

In the interests of transparency, I was provided with a free copy of Scurry for review purposes.  

 

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 3: THE WILD bundle now available!

You can get the MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 3: The Wild combined PDF/Digital Maps Mackage Bundle on SALE at DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/371501/MAPS-YOUR-PARTY-WILL-DIE-FOR-3-The-WILD-Bundle-BUNDLE

The PDF:

The 136-page DM’s Workbook PDF, designed to be used with or without the MYPWDF3 Digital Maps Package, contains 52 full color, hand drawn, interconnecting maps plus random tables to help stock them. Every wilderness map includes a planning page you can print out to record notes, either before or during play!

YOU decide what’s in your wilderness. Every page is YOUR adventure.

The Digital Maps Package:

Laidback DM’s Maps Your Party Will Die 3: The Wild Digital Maps Package is a collection of 104 hand-drawn, grid and grid-less 1750 x 1750 pixel JPEG maps designed to be used with virtual tabletop platforms or to be printed and displayed/connected on your IRL tabletop. The maps also come with a limited commercial license allowing you, the purchaser, to use them royalty-free in your own commercial or private publication projects. These maps are system-neutral and can be used with any fantasy game.

You can get the MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 3: The Wild combined PDF/Digital Maps Mackage Bundle on SALE at DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/371501/MAPS-YOUR-PARTY-WILL-DIE-FOR-3-The-WILD-Bundle-BUNDLE

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Sanguine Fire. A poem.

To burn again
In consequence
And revery
Of shared intent

Your funeral pyre
Of dark delight
Your flaming heart
Of sanguine fire

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 3: THE WILD – now in print and digital!

MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 3: The Wild is the direct sequel to MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 2: Mega Dungeon! You can get the book and digital maps package now at DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/

The Book:

The 136 page DM’s Workbook, designed to be used with or without the MYPWDF3 Digital Maps Package, contains 52 full color, hand drawn, interconnecting maps plus random tables to help stock them.

Every wilderness map includes a planning page for you to record notes, either before or during play! It serves as a permanent record of your ultimate wild, which saves you storing endless loose sheets.

YOU decide what’s in your wilderness.

Every page is YOUR adventure.

The Digital Maps Package:

Laidback DM’s Maps Your Party Will Die 3: The Wild Digital Maps Package is a collection of 104 hand-drawn, grid and grid-less 1750 x 1750 pixel JPEG maps designed to be used with virtual tabletop platforms or to be printed and displayed/connected on your IRL tabletop. The maps also come with a limited commercial license allowing you, the purchaser, to use them royalty-free in your own commercial or private publication projects.

These maps are system-neutral and can be used with any fantasy game.

This package can be used by itself or with the MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 3: The WILD DM’s Workbook, which is a print book with all the maps contained in this package, random tables and pages to stock or record notes about your wilderness. 

You can get them now at DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Change for Change’s Sake. A poem.

Change for change’s sake?
In but a moment:

Diaphanous currents
Surging in synapses
Alive with chaotic order

And artful whimsy

Physical stimuli
And mental conduits
Forming hypotheses
And convolutions


Tactical geometries
Measured blindly with
Witheringly disturbing
Accuracy and grace

Proclivities and practicalities
Proactively balanced
With erstwhile aesthetics
And perfected symmetries

And in a moment (or few):
Change for change’s sake.

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

FiveE Magazine is Out Now in PRINT & PDF and it’s FREE!

Hi all,

FiveE Magazine is available NOW in PRINT & PDF on DrivethruRPG – you can download a PDF copy for FREE or order a Print copy at cost + postage*!

FiveE Magazine is a new semi-regular periodical dedicated to content for the World’s Most Popular Fantasy Role Playing Game! 56 pages of amazing content, gorgeous art, free maps, new monsters, new magic items, new sub-classes, hints for new DMs, a full adventure and loads more! And it’s FREE

FiveE includes articles by a host of contributors, including Dungeon Baker, Milosz Gawecki, Bea DnD, Jarrad Blackburn, Grace Edinger, me(!) and others.

  • Advice for the Young at Heart – You’re a new DM, just starting out – here’s some basic advice to get you started
  • Classic Inspiration – Some of the best inspiration comes from the classics – 3 books to inspire your games
  • Run for Cover – All about the Gorgaren, featured on our cover – it’s not the dragon you think it is…
  • The Right Way to Play – What is the right way to play? Finding the right table/group for your playing style
  • Five Swords – The secrets of the ancient sword Ke’Le’Ra, also called the Eye of the Needle
  • The Dowager Countess: Games Etiquette – A powerful new NPC outlines her code of gaming behavior
  • Fire Forge Caves – Do you dare enter these lava-filled caverns? A free map and mini-adventure
  • A More Than Typical Day – Everyone has a story of how they got into 5e. A relative newcomer explains why she loves the game
  • Warriors of Knowledge – New knowledge-based subclasses for the Monk, Paladin and Wizard classes
  • Brazen Bay – Need a starting base for your campaign? Here’s a coastal village mini-setting with adventure seeds
  • Improving the Not So Critical Hit – Critical Hits in 5e are a bit…meh. How about inspiration from critical hits in other games?
  • City Seeds – Life in the city can be tough. Here’s 4 city-based adventure seeds for levels 1st-4th
  • The Art of Wartography – Building the ideal battlemap, plus a free battlemap
  • Hermann Von Graunburger – The Dungeon Ecologist battles a lost cult in this tale of adventure
  • Cold as Ize – Sea beasts, ancient magic and duplicity in the Frozen North. A complete adventure for 5th level characters, including new monsters and magic items. (This is a new version of the Shotglass Rounds adventure of the same name, with a brand new map and extended encounters)

You can download or order your FREE copy at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/367470/FiveE-Magazine–August-2021

(* You don’t pay for the production of the magazine – the writing and content are free – you only pay for the cost of paper, ink and postage. I make NO profit from this magazine. It’s a free gift to you)

Game On!

Steve 🙂

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One day. A poem.

One day, your face 
Appeared to me
Among the crowd
And I was lost
As I always am
In sight and sound
And misery

And just as soon
As it was found
Your face was lost
And once again
I was alone and
Drowned, downed
Among the mass
Of ghosts around

Just one day
Repeatedly
Wound, unwound
And lost again

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

Redundant Sea. A poem.

I awake, afloat
On an ink black
redundant sea
Of redundancy
And think, to sink
Would make a rock
Of me, a mockery

To sleep, you see
Would be ideal
But it elusively
Exclusively
Evades me
All fever dreams
And inner screams

The weight that sinks
Me, obscures me
I lie awake, afloat
On an ink black
Redundant sea
And dream of
Being anywhere

But here

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

Free Map: Old School Port Town

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

This map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

Old School Port Town

This old school sepia-tone port town has 10 ft. squares (but you can change that depending on how big you want the town to be). Ideal for small port-side baronies, smuggling ops, town heists, invasion stories, etc. Go for it!

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Map: Townhouse Manor

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

This map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

Town Manor

So the big bad in town needs a lair to run his evil operation from? Or your PC’s need to visit their patron’s residence for their next mission brief? Or defend their patron from an assassination? Or a deserted townhouse after the residents mysteriously disappear? Got you covered.

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Map: Dockside Warehouse

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

This map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

Dockside Warehouse

This two-story dockside warehouse can be the site of all sorts of city trouble – smuggling rings, pirates, cultists, spies – you name it, they can all use this warehouse as a base. And I’m sure there’s lots of traps to dissuade nosy adventurers. And maybe even a monster or two on the prowl…

: On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Alleys. A poem.

Wandered the back alleys of my mind
To this dead end, I arrived
Mystified how I lost my way
And wondering how I’d get out again

Labyrinths are vast and ill-defined
Bewildering, confusing, by design
And none provide a straight road home
Just when you know you need it most

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

The Well. A Haiku.

A 5-7-5 syllable tribute to the Japanese poetic art form.

Return to the well
Its water stoppers your loss  
And quenches the soul

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

Free Map: Noir Town Block

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

This map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

Noir Town Block

This dark and dirty area lies just under one of the city walls. Who knows what nefarious deeds have been plotted and committed in these cramped alleyways and mean streets – only YOU can decide!

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Maps: Clearing & River

Time for some free maps! I love drawing maps by hand for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, so I like to give away my maps whenever I can.

These maps are grid-less and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.
On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

These maps are free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use them commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Map – Old School Barrow Tombs

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can.

This old school map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

Old School Barrow Maps

This old school b&w map is an ancient, weather-worn barrow, full of tombs and the stone sarcophagi of ancient chieftains. There are many ledges, perhaps designed to deliberately hamper would-be grave robbers or maybe the result of curiously specific seismic activity. Here’s hoping all the undead chiefs don’t all wake up at once – I wonder what might trigger that…

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Space Marines. A poem.

And we descend
Upon the patchwork scene below
Backpack thrusters filling the air
With poetic fire
While the gibbous hordes
Mock and tease and gesture
Punctuating the dark with
Erstwhile curses and lamentations
And unholy gunfire

For when we arrive
We will cleanse this clotted land
Until this dark born heresy is no more
Bolters and flamers to purify
In the name of our emperor
Reclining in lifeless repose
Upon his exuberant throne
He who sees all and yet nothing

For our story will go unspoken
In the long and arduous annals
As we mark time here
Amongst the fallen and those yet to
Marines until the end
Of our wretched lives and lies

If you’ve heard of Warhammer 40k, which my son loves, you’ll guess what this poem is about. I’m no expert on the game’s lore, but I think this suits the feel of that world.

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

Free Map: Cliffside Castle Ruin

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can.

This map has a grid, and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

Cliffside Castle Ruin

This cliffside castle/mansion has been abandoned for decades – or has it? Has a demon worshiping cult been using it for pernicious purposes? Or perhaps they’re simply making cookies to sell in the local village? Hmmm, maybe the first one…

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Map: Ruined Tomb

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can.

This map is 1750 x 1750 pixels, so it fits perfectly on Roll20, but can also be used on Fantasy Grounds or Foundry. It can also be printed and used in IRL games!

Ruined Tomb

What more is there to say? A dark and ruinous tomb, no doubt filled with undead and other nasty greeblies. Perfect for a short one-shot adventure! I’m sure you can come up with something for it…

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Splinter. A poem.

Time moved on and so did I
But every fleeting moment
I feel the splinter

A vestige of you
Burrowing to my head and heart
Slicing as it goes
As tenderly as a razor
And as comforting as a vice

If I had a needle
I’d thread a camel through it
And gouge that splinter out
To leave all thoughts of you
Behind for good

Or maybe I’ll just let it bleed
Just so I remember how to feel

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

Free Map: Star Temple

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can.

This map is perfect for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds or Foundry!

Star Temple

A crazy cult and a crazy temple in the side of a mountain! How can your players resist? And what exactly does that crazy cult worship? I’m pretty sure your players will stumble across the summoning ceremony. That big starfish-shaped hole in the floor isn’t there for nothing…

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Map: Surly Sewers

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can.

This map comes is grid-less, perfect for Roll20, Fantasy Grounds or Foundry!

Surly Sewers

There’s always a sewer under every major fantasy city where dodgy stuff goes on – it’s surprising just how many monsters seem to sneak in under the maintenance corp’s and city guard’s noses! And inevitably the Thieves’ Guild or some random smugglers always set up shop down there. Must be something in the water lol…

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Circuitous. A poem.

Circles and circumstance
Winding upon themselves
These constant continuities
Into which we dive and delve

All roads lead to Rome it seems
Which brings us back to here
The point of origin within
And source of all our tears

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

Free Map: Onyx Tower of Hasekan

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can. This map is suitable for any desert or wasteland area and is thoughtfully labelled for you lol.

The Onyx Tower of Hasekan

The Warlock Hasekan built his tower to gather energy to summon his patron to this plane of existence. Gathering the necessary energy to create the portal required lots of sacrifices, of course. The tower is oddly shaped with a narrow base that extends outwards as it rises (like a cone, with the narrowest point at the bottom), defying physics (as many BBEG lairs seem to do lol). I’m sure your PCs will have fun making their way to the top through his fiendish hordes (Hasekan also has lots of flying demon cronies to combat those PCs attempting to fly up there).

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Shotglass Adventures: Kal-Zar’s Bane 3: Titanothae Rising in Print!

My new book Titanothae Rising is out now in print and PDF on DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/359699/SHOTGLASS-ADVENTURES-TITANOTHAE-RISING .

Titanothae Rising is 124 pages long and contains 7 DnD 5e/OSR adventures for character levels 8th – 10th. It’s the third book in the Kal-Zar’s Bane campaign path, however you can play each of the adventures as One-Shots, as each has a One-Shot hook provided!

SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane 3: TITANOTHAE RISING contains loads of hand-drawn, full-color maps, 28 new monsters & NPCs, 17 new magic items, new towns, villages and region settings, expanded lore + map of Verona Province (the frontier setting for  Shotglass Adventures)!

Available now in print and PDF on DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/359699/SHOTGLASS-ADVENTURES-TITANOTHAE-RISING .

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Social Media:

TWITTERhttps://twitter.com/stevestillstand

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For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

The Merciless Tide. A poem.

The merciless tide 
Pulls you deep
You may curse
Its indomitable grip
But to no avail

The ancient current
The rip that drags
And fetters you
Casts you onto
Unknown shores

Where every soul’s
Journey ends

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 17-18

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017. It was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s the follow up campaign – 2018’s ‘Tomb of Annihilation’. We used experience points rather than milestones/level-based progression, which led to some ‘xp grinding’ along the way. Each session was 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing; don’t forget these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 17 (missed a week due to work commitments)

Meanwhile, in Hrakhamar, the Dwarven Forge:

After the Giant Strider stampede, the party finished off the Firenewts in the corridor then headed off to the armoury to get rid of those pesky Flying Swords. All except for Morgan’s Dwarvish Barbarian, who decided to pursue his entrepreneurial dream of having a signwriting business and commenced making a large sign, claiming the mine as his own.

Meanwhile, Jake’s Aasimar Warlock blinked into the next room and confronted the Firenewt Warriors and a Firenewt Sorcerer there; the rest of the party were caught off guard and rushed after him via the door. After wiping the floor with the monsters, Mark’s Kenku Monk decided if the Aasimar could go into a room, then so could he.

“You know what would be good right now?” moaned the Aasimar. “A short rest!”

“Rests are for wimps,” mimicked the silent Kenku, gesticulating with his middle finger.

In the next room, more Firenewt Warriors and a Firenewt Sorcerer (surprise – well, they did take over the forge, y’know). More hacking, slashing and arrow shooting. Davor’s Ranger decided to (accidentally) shoot Jake’s Warlock with a trick shot that bounced of the wall. “Just be glad I didn’t Hunter’s Mark you,” said the Ranger. Yes, the party was getting a little ticked off with the Aasimar’s lack of teamwork.

Just when everyone thought they would get a rest, the Firenewts from the rest of the complex decided to come through the door. The Firenewt Sorcerer accompanying them threw a glowing globe to the ground and commanded his servants to rise. Outside, Dwarvish Animated Armors broke free from the walls and went for Morgan’s Barbarian, who was putting the finishing touches to his sign. “GASP! I was only two weeks from retirement…” That was one dead Dwarf (okay, Daniel’s Bard managed to heal him from a distance, but all good things come to an end…).

By this time the party was feeling a little stressed (or crotchety, because of lack of rest), realising that all good things (like spell slots, Ki points, etc.) really must come to an end (and not just Dwarvish Barbarians). William’s Druid saved the day by conjuring a few Dire Wolves and eventually the Animated Armors were destroyed.

Phew! Time for a well-earned, long rest.

Week 18

Morgan’s new character, a Halfling Rogue, premiered this week (after the death of his Dwarven Barbarian last week).

After a nice rest, the party crossed a metal bridge to what was obviously a treasure room sealed with two locks. Along the way: a run in with a Fire Elemental, conjuring lots of giant owls, spectacular attempts at lock picking, a box shaped like a book with moulds for keys, a bridge sinking into magma, and giant owls saving party members (LOTR-style, ’cause that’s how the party rolls).

Eventually, the party created new keys using molten metal from the vats, opened the door and found lots of ingots of adamantine and iron. One summoned zombie later (to carry the load – the zombie union will be registering a demarcation complaint) and the party faced off against a refreshed Fire Elemental (hey, monsters can rest too, y’know). Lots of burning (ouch!), but victory to the…well, victors.

A mining cart ride back to the Wyrmheart Mine (gotta love fantasy world physics) and Tinder, the Adult Red Dating Dragon, agreed to honour the deal and take the party to the lost city of Omu! (the exclamation mark is mandatory.)

The dragon flew the party across Chult and over the lost city, landing at the south entrance. There the intrepid adventurers investigated an abandoned guard post. There was lots of interesting graffiti, signs other parties had been through recently. Or maybe just be local kids tagging. Suddenly, a dastardly rooftop ambush by Ambush Vines (well, it’s all in the name, isn’t it).

Next week: OMU! City of…stuff. ‘Cause we still have no idea how to find what we’re looking for. If only we had a guide…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Map – The Red Temple

Time for a free map! I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures. I have far too many, though, so I like to give away my hand-drawn maps when I can. This map is conveniently sized for virtual tabletops.

The Red Temple

Why’s it called the Red Temple? Because the entire place is tiled with cuprite (a real gem stone that is normally found in the lower weathered zone of copper ore deposits – don’t say you never learn anything when you visit my website lol). This temple is old, and subsidence has caused the wall between the nearby cave tunnels and the temple to break open. And what do you think came through? Well, I’ll leave that up to you…

On PC, just right click and save. On mobile, just hold your finger on the image and save.

This map is free to use for non-commercial purposes, as long as you acknowledge me and my website stevestillstanding.com. If you want to use it commercially, please send me an email and we can talk terms.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Obtuse Glory. A poem.

Lying here
In obtuse glory
The morning blushes
And burnished motes
Dance across the room

Wondering
Wherefore art thou
Wandering in tinctures
Of blue or red or green
When we both should be

Lying here
In obtuse glory

For more poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding
To find out more about my poetry books, click here.
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