Bittersweet. A poem.

You were there
You were gone
We had sung
Our last swan song

Now a whisper
Just a pall
Just an echo
Heard in the halls

I did wrong
So did you
Two separate paths
Two lonely fools

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Just a poem
Just a memory
Of bygone days
Of bittersweet whimsy

Shotglass Adventures Kickstarter: 5th Stretch Goal Unlocked!

Hi all!

The 5TH Stretch Goal has been unlocked and it’s a bonus full color map now included in the book PLUS 2 x JPEGs included in the Digital Maps Package (1 x full size + 1 x virtual tabletop map for Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc. PLUS limited royalty free license for those purchasers of the Digital Maps Package.

This map features several generic fantasy town/city blocks,useful for any town adventure you plan on running. I guess there might be some street fighting on the cards in Gravis Town Blues lol!

STRETCH GOAL SAGTB 5th Unlocked

Now that everyone supporting the project is getting the Connectable Dungeons 2: Vaults print-and-play tile package, I’m putting everything into the book now, with additional artwork to be included and layout changes to be made.

Now’s the time to jump aboard! Let the river run red!

Game On!

Steve 🙂

Support the SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES Kickstarter at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-adventures-gravis-town-blues-for-5e-and-osr-rpgs
img_2838

Shotglass Adventures: 4th Stretch Goal Unlocked!

Hi all!

The 4th Stretch Goal has been unlocked and it’s a bonus full color battlemap (with 1-inch squares for 25mm miniatures) now included in the book PLUS 2 x JPEGs included in the Digital Maps Package (1 x full size + 1 x virtual tabletop map for Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, etc. PLUS limited royalty free license for those purchasers of the Digital Maps Package.

STRETCH GOAL SAGTB 4th Unlocked

This map is a Gravis Town bar taproom – just right for a quiet drink in the city. Ah, what are we talking about, it’s fisticuffs all round lol! Nothing like a barroom brawl to liven things up…

A Change of Direction

In all of my previous Kickstarters I’ve devoted a lot of time to creating stretch goals and posting regular updates. This time around my little project is up against some rip-roaring projects, so I have to do a little more promotion up front to even get noticed lol. As a result I’ve completed the Connectable Dungeons 2: Vaults dungeon tiles and I’m offering them up front FREE to anyone who pledges to this project at PARTY DIED FOR, DIGITAL ONLY, ILLUSTRIOUS, EXCELSIOR, SCION and ULTIMATE levels.

Connectable Dungeons 2 Ad

What is Connectable Dungeons 2 – Vaults?

59 print-and-play dungeon tiles with 1-inch squares for 25mm miniatures, designed to be connected any way you like to make huge, sprawling dungeons, temples and tombs! Need a dungeon on the fly? Problem solved! Big dungeon vaults, complete with underground rivers or LAVA rivers (gotta love lava). Keep your players on their toes…

Fully compatible with Connectable Dungeons 1, Connectable Caves 1 and Connectable Caves 2, all currently available on DrivethruRPG.

PLUS: these tiles come with a limited royalty free license so you can use them in your own commercial or non-commercial projects (you can’t on-sell them as part of a separate package, however).

Jump aboard and Game On!

Steve 🙂

Support the SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES Kickstarter at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-adventures-gravis-town-blues-for-5e-and-osr-rpgs
img_2838

Worst Enemy. A poem.

All the hells that we conceive
Nurture in our heads and breed
Far worse than any promises
That the end could throw at us.
My greatest and worst enemy
You are mine and whole in me.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Shotglass Adventures: 3rd Stretch Goal Unlocked!

Hi all,

The 3rd Stretch goal is unlocked – 3 x Print-and-Play Connectable Dungeons Tiles + Royalty Free License! These tiles are designed to be used on your gaming table and have 1 inch squares for 25 mm miniatures. Connect them up to make huge dungeon vaults and chambers! They’re fully compatible with the previously released Connectable Dungeons 1 (which featured corridors and smaller rooms) and Connectable Caves 1 and Connectable Caves 2 sets.

“But Steve,” I hear you say, “I’m only playing on virtual tabletops because of Covid-19.” That’s okay, because they can also be used on Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Astral Tabletop, etc. Heck, they also come with a royalty free limited license so you can use them in your own commercial and non-commercial projects.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Support the SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES Kickstarter at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-adventures-gravis-town-blues-for-5e-and-osr-rpgs
img_2838

 

Shotglass Adventures Kickstarter – 2nd Stretch Goal Unlocked!

Hi all,

Okay, so the second stretch goal has tumbled – a bonus full size, hand drawn, unkeyed full color map added to the book PLUS 2 x Digital JPEGs added to the Digital Maps Package – full Size and a version sized for virtual tabletops. This time it’s a town house battlemap with 1-inch squares for 25mm miniatures. Why a town house for an adventure that’s mainly on a river? Well, there’s also a virus-infected, locked down town the players get to explore… (Hmmm, a shade of familiarity for those of us in  similar situations? Maybe not the exploring part.)

I’ve also been working on dungeon tiles for additional stretch goals.

What are Connectable Dungeons 2 – Vaults?

Dungeon tiles with 1-inch squares for 25mm miniatures, designed to be connected any way you like to make huge, sprawling dungeons, temples and tombs! And underground rivers and LAVA rivers – let’s not forget those (Gotta love lava)! Fully connectable and compatible with Connectable Dungeons 1, Connectable Caves 1 and Connectable Caves 2 (all of which you can check out here). PLUS – the digital versions of these tiles come with a limited royalty free license so you can use them in your own commercial or non-commercial projects.

Here are some combinations below (I know you’ll be able to come up with better ones):

Laidback DM - Connectable Dungeons 2 Ad

And there are LOTS of tiles to give away!

The next stretch goal is now:

$2500 – 3 x Connectable Dungeons 2 Tiles + Royalty Free License – Connect these tiles to make huge dungeon vaults and chambers! Fully compatible with Connectable Dungeons 1 and Connectable Caves 1 and Connectable Caves 2 sets.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Support the SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES Kickstarter at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-adventures-gravis-town-blues-for-5e-and-osr-rpgs
img_2838

 

Vexed. A poem.

Why do you continually
vex me so?
And how much further
Must we go?

You want my ear
And the rest of me
Yet all I ask
Is some interest

In the things I do
And say and need
And yet that’s too much
To ask, it seems

Far too much
For you to do
When it seems that I’m
Just there for you

It vexes me
And I cannot say
How long injustice
Will have its way

Before the sun sets forth
The world turns again
And I repeat the dance
That we all must play

Why do you continually
vex me so?
And how much longer
Until you finally

Know

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Shotglass Adventures: Gravis Town Blues – 1st Stretch Goal Unlocked

Hi all!

The first stretch goal is unlocked – ‘Riverbank Cave’ ; a bonus full size, hand drawn, unkeyed full color map added to the book PLUS 2 x Digital JPEGs added to the Digital Maps Package – full size and a version sized for virtual tabletops. 

Much of Gravis Town Blues takes place on the twisting Orin River in the heart of the mighty Orinwood, so it only makes sense you may have some characters going off the beaten path and exploring some riverbank caves!

Game On!

Steve 🙂

Support the SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES Kickstarter at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-adventures-gravis-town-blues-for-5e-and-osr-rpgs
img_2838

 

Shotglass Adventures: Gravis Town Blues Kickstarter is Live!

SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES is the sequel to the successful Shotglass Adventures 3 Kickstarter and the 6TH book from Laidback DM!

Published under the OGL and compatible with 5e and OSR fantasy role playing games, SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES is series of adventures for characters of 1st-4th level, that can be played as One-Shots or as the first module in a four-part campaign (1st– 13th level).

Gravis Town Blurb

So, what’s in SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES?

· 6 adventures, complete with full color maps! Varied adventures – investigation, assault, river raid, rescue, dungeon crawl, escape – ranging from 1st -4th level, designed for minimal preparation and flexible delivery. Each adventure can be run as part of the Kal-Zar’s Bane campaign, or a One-Shot. Every adventure has both Campaign-specific and One-Shot-specific hooks. The One-Shot hooks ignore all the sub-plots and provide you with exactly what you need to run each adventure as a one-off for your players – you can either slot them into your existing campaign or run them as separate, individual side quests.

· Hand-drawn, full-color maps – old school style with new school flair!

· New Monsters – 10 new monsters and NPCs, including an additional one from Kobold’s Creature Codex!

· New Magic Items – 10 new magic items and a new spell!

· Fully detailed city and region setting – Gravis Town is a rich frontier town, fueled by sapphire mining. It’s based in the vast and wild Orinwood on the northern periphery of Verona Province, just south of the Daggershield Mountains that form the border with Skandara. The setting includes maps, gazetteer, NPCs, rumors, adventure seeds, short forest encounters and more!

· Expanded map of Verona Province – including the Jarldoms of Skandara – a new, expanded map and brief gazetteer of the Invician Empire and Verona Province! New and expanded lore for the Shotglass Adventures campaign setting!

· Full guide for OSR conversions!

Support the SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane: GRAVIS TOWN BLUES Kickstarter at
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-adventures-gravis-town-blues-for-5e-and-osr-rpgs
img_2838

 

Laidback DM: Curse of Strahd 2017 – Week 14

Hi all,

Over the last few weeks I’ve been posting some warts-and-all email summaries of the Curse of Strahd campaign I ran in 2017. This is the first campaign I started sending summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that).

Some of the summaries may be dull, some may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – 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, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 14

This week, it was unexpectedly foggy in Barovia.

In further exciting news, the party, still recovering from the Revenant fever of last week, spoke to wounded Dusk Elf Savid, who was resting after being attacked by needle blights  while looking for the daughter of the Vistani chief. Savid explained that he was part of a colony of Dusk Elves located in the Vistani camp outside of Vallaki. They were a lovely elvish community, but a long time ago Strahd decided to punish them by wiping out all the females and kids. The Dusk Elves are now “overseen” by the Vistani. Savid noted that a carnival performer matching the description of Van Richten had been captured by the Vistani recently, and was due to be delivered  to Strahd any day now.

The party was joined by Pablo, new player Jame’s crazy Half Orc Fighter/Wizard with low intelligence and a penchant for mending stuff (hey, he spent two hours magically mending sheets. First time that’s happened…). Pablo decided to make his mark by stirring up the revenants upstairs and getting the bard and monk injured in the process. Nice use of that magical fog cloud to prevent everyone from seeing, but hey, nobody’s perfect. We look forward to Pablo’s high jinks next week (or should that be high jinx? Time will tell…)

Eventually the party made nice with the Revenants, having a good old chin wag with Sir Godfrey Gilfrim and the mightily depressed Vladimir Horngaard, leader and mightiest warrior of the Knights of the Silver Dragon (lucky you didn’t fight him, eh?)

Lots of history uncovered this week:

  • Argynvost was a silver dragon who liked to pose as human who fought and was killed by Strahd and his armies, before Strahd became a vampire.
  • Argynvost’s spirit appealed to the characters to save his fallen knights, who had fallen into darkness. Isn’t that everyone in Barovia, really?
  • The revenants were originally good human knights, part of the Order of the Silver Dragon. They fought Strahd’s armies to a standstill, and were originally in Barovia to prevent anyone from getting into the evil Amber Temple down south.
  • Argynvost’s body was cut up and shipped back to Ravenloft as trophies. If the bones are returned to the mausoleum at Argynvhostholt, and the beacon relit, then the knights will be saved and sent to their rest.
  • When Strahd became a vampire, Horngaard and his knights marched on Ravenloft, but were confronted by Madame Eva (remember her – not such a spring chicken after all) who told them that Strahd was now a prisoner in his own land as a result of his pact with the evil forces that made him a vampire (bummer). The knights did not go to their rest, and over time have become consumed by hatred. Obviously, they’re all in need of a good hug.

So, a few things to do now:

  • Recover the green stone for the Wizard of Vines vineyard and the thing alluded to in the card reading, from the ruins of Berez.
  • Rescue Van Richten from the Vistani camp outside of Vallaki, before he becomes vampire stew.
  • Talk to the leader of the Dusk Elves that Savid informed might be able to help.
  • Visit the Amber Temple and see just what all the fuss is about.
  • Traipse on over to Ravenloft and collect some dusty old dragon bones (I’m sure it will be a bit more complicated than that…).

Oh, and Ezmerelda’s body disappeared (no one thought to do anything about a decent burial. The party was more interested in stringing up revenants from the rafters just in case they came back to life…).

Next Week: Get the feeling that everything is coming to a head? No? Must be just me, then.

 

For more Laidback DM, click here.

All Laidback DM products are now on sale at DrivethruRPG.

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These Tears. A poem.

These tears are not for you

Not for the moments shared and lost
Not for the conversation, trust
Not for the heat and aftermath
Not for a future that’s now dashed
Not for the glass I raise to you
Not for the player, now the fool
Not for the one who got away
Not for dreams of yesterday

These tears are not for you

Of course they’re not

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Spoke Too Soon. A poem.

Perhaps I misconstrued
The intention of content
Perhaps I spoke too soon

Perhaps I failed to see
The disappointment in your eyes
Perhaps it will always be

Perhaps the fear inside
Amplified the angry tide

Perhaps it’s best
Not to reason why

Perhaps I spoke to soon

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Together. A poem.

How can you be?

In a universe of complex biorhythmic uncertainty,
Where chaotic tides dance
And random polarities flicker
Like afterthoughts,
Where silken geometries
Defy natural orders
And ebb and flow and dance
To fundamental and existential
microcosmic transmissions

You are the one thing
That makes sense

Part of the subtle weave
That binds both of us

Together.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

The Wait Outside. A poem.

The wait outside
With city lights and vacant looks
Of passers by and wannabes
Perhaps the tune we’ll sing tonight
Will change the course of mediocrity
And reverse this season of discord
With discourse so ebullient
That fire and ice could not compare
And could not even try

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Laugh. A poem.

It builds, it shudders
Creeping its way up
From gut and soul
Slicing through proximities
Of weariness and ennui

Now

Surging up so easily
No Marathon or Thermopylae
Stretching wings of fearsome resolve
And filling our worlds
With promiscuous promise.

I laugh with you
Like no other.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Hanging on a Message. A poem.

Hanging on a message
And a welcoming tone
So distinct it’s almost surreal
And blistered ears and eyes
With next to no regrets
Should seek its welcoming crèche
As a baby seeks a bottled breast
And the fulfilment
Of a cherished goal

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

A Letter.

Hi SS,

I know you’re not going to read this.

I know these words are simply an elegy sent out into the wires, read by strangers and not the intended.

I had never before connected with anyone the way we did. We saw the best and, ultimately, the worst of each other. The ending, like so many convoluted stories, was hopelessly misconstrued. Two uncommunicative communicators and a texted aftermath swathed in hurt and regret.

(Such irony: knowing what we know now, we would sync even better than we did.)

I tried to persuade myself it didn’t matter. Just another stopover on life’s insistent highway. Time to move on, move forward – the urgency of age demands continuity.

I didn’t know until today, but I’m in mourning. And trying to lose myself in other pursuits provided no catharsis. Not even writing this.

I find myself wondering what you might be going through, whether you might feel the same. Purely projection and wish fulfillment on my part.

I know you’re not going to read this.

But I miss you.

More than you will ever know.

Sincerely,

SSS

To the Ground. A poem.

Reap the whirlwind of your faith
The circuitous tirades and malcontent
Of a tyrant fettered in disbelief
Hyperbole and untruth
May it shake you to your core
And tear your existential mockery of existence
To the ground
.

#BlackLivesMatter

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Night Conversation. A poem.

The ebon flame burns
Long and fulsome
Requited and requisite
Melding two minds into one

The art of conversation
Once lost, now unearthed
We discover the profound
While digging for treasures
Our holy grounds desecrated
In only the best of ways

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

All Apologies. A poem.

What did I see? Mirage or destiny?
Outstretched hand, grasping for life 
And failing so miserably

Seems you weren’t the one for me
We misread the contours of the land
Now what’s left is all apologies 

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

 

Laidback DM: Curse of Strahd 2017 – Week 13

Hi all,

Over the last few weeks I’ve been posting some warts-and-all email summaries of the Curse of Strahd campaign I ran in 2017. This is the first campaign I started sending summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that).

Some of the summaries may be dull, some may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – 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, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 13

Sunny Barovia just keeps getting foggier, if that’s at all possible…

This week, the party (reduced in number with a few away) were about to be attacked by werewolves and wolves, so they retreated into Van Richten’s tower and let the tower defenses take care of the wolves. Unfortunately, Isaac’s Tiefling Warlock was on the roof, and got electrocuted as the defenses kicked in. After jumping through the ceiling to save herself, the Tiefling joined the others who watched as the wolves all ran away. Exiting the building to get on the road, they were very lucky as once they got out the entire tower collapsed, destroying Ezmerelda’s caravan in the process (“…but that caravan was a gift from my dearly departed grandmother” – okay, she didn’t say that, but she wasn’t happy).

William’s Dragonborn Paladin persuaded the party to try a location they didn’t know anything about, in preference to one they did, to save themselves from certain slaughter. So, off to the mansion of Argynvoshtolt they went.

In the courtyard they discovered a huge silver dragon statue that failed to freeze them at the front door (a bit old, you see), a grand reception, a nifty dining room with carved dragon chairs and a bunch of revenants hanging out in the chapel, who attacked them. The fight that followed was one of the hardest and most exciting the party has experienced yet, as the revenants proved harder to beat than expected. During the fight, Natasha’s Gnome Druid used Moonbeam to great effect, Dan’s annoying Halfling monk had her wings clipped a bit (seems he was using too many bonus actions in the past for his character’s additional attacks), and Ezmerelda bit the big one as Isaac’s Tiefling decided to assassinate her in the midst of the battle.

The party was surprisingly nice about the death of the major NPC that the Taroka cards had predicted they would need to defeat Strahd. “If you do it again,” said Natasha. “We’ll have to leave you behind.” Suitably admonished, Isaac promised to be a good Tiefling.

No he didn’t, I just put that bit in for effect.

William changed into a wereraven (remember, he picked that little curse up last session) and flew around outside the building, scouting out the premises, spotting an old dude on a throne and lots more revenants. Natasha changed into a spider and crawled under several doors and scouted internal rooms. In the store room next to the kitchen, she spotted a wounded elf (and here we thought there were no elves in Barovia, racist nation that it is…)

Next week: Who is the wounded elf? Who is the old dude on the throne? Will those revenants make mincemeat out of the party? Why is the Tiefling being so nice? Where does the druid store all her gear when she transforms? How many more questions will Steve ask before he finishes typing?

For more Laidback DM, click here.

All Laidback DM products are now on sale at DrivethruRPG.

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The Last Word. A poem.

The last word
Is a flail across my back
Stripping flesh bare to bone
A blood eagle worthy of Vikings
Exposing heart and soul
And ready for the killing thrust

Your pain mingles with my own
As you strike again, again
And I’m drawn and quartered
On the yoke
Hung out to dry
A pendulum in the wind

Blithely embracing my only friend
His scythe scratching my cheek
He who lingers, unblinking and unmoving
And always waiting in the wings

The black dog growls and snaps
In the background
And I’m underground
My coffin little comfort in this repose

Today I die a little more
Today I take one more step
Towards the door
Where Death beckons to me greedily
“Perhaps today,” I say
“Why not?” He replies

He offers the silvered razor
So many have admired and aspired to
His gift in memoriam
An everlasting metaphor
Of our misbegotten friendship

And I reach with greedy, outstretched fingers
And lonely, fettered veins

For more Poetry, click here.

So Many Ghosts. A poem.

So many ghosts
Pleading from the past
Negotiating with the future
Throwing off chains
And screaming from rooftops
For attention in a sea
Of ignorance

Don’t shut your eyes and ears
For these many ghosts
Are deserving of respect
And hope and love

Or do you prefer
Not to learn at all
Like so many before you

#BlackLivesMatter

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

March. A poem.

Your clubs and fists
Your horses and mace
Cannot quell or diminish
Voices united as one

To drown out despots
And desperate hypocrites
Who would hold us down
With guile and inequity

We march and pray
We cry for justice
And will not be overcome
Because

Black
Lives
Matter

#BlackLivesMatter

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Laidback DM: Curse of Strahd 2017 – Weeks 6-12

Hi all,

Over the next few weeks (months, years, who knows) I’ll be posting some warts-and-all summaries of several campaigns I’ve run in the past. This is one from 2017 – The Curse of Strahd. Some of it will be dull, some of it may be amusing; some of it is written in present tense, some of it in past tense. These are the unedited email summaries I sent the players each week, so you’ll have to forgive their somewhat chaotic nature.

If you’re a D&D fan you might enjoy them, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 6-7:

After returning from the Old Bonegrinder windmill, fighting scarecrows and dire wolves on the road and facing Strahd for the first time in battle in the Vallaki Town Square last week, this week saw the party headed to the village of Krezk (“To the left,” said direction-accurate Steve), where they were told they couldn’t come in unless they could bring them some wine…how convenient.

Off to the Wizard of Vines vineyard this week, where the party met old Davian Martikov and his family. Davian has been making wines for the valley of Barovia for many years, providing his services for free to keep up the spirits (see what I did there?) of all Barovians. Unfortunately, his evil druid neighbours and their blight servants had taken over the vineyard (as they do).

After a huge battle, in which the John and Dan’s Monks proved they were better than any fighters, Nigel’s Barbarian took more damage from friendly fire than he did from blights, Mark’s Bard was the damager via multiple thunderwave spells, Isaac’s Warlock enjoyed blasting blights back 10 feet, William’s Paladin rushed in where fools fear to tread (“I run toward death, not away from it”, should be his catchphrase) and Courtney’s Dwarf saved the day several times with mass Healing Word (without it the party would have been creamed, to put it bluntly).

Weeks 8-12:

Yep, we’ve been campaigning in sunny, effervescent Barovia for 12 weeks now. And don’t the kids just love it! Sunshine every day, mountain fresh air, gallons of ice cream, and such friendly, helpful people! Who would want to leave?

 But seriously, I’ve been a bit lax the last few weeks and have forgotten to send out summary emails…

In week 8, you all (mostly) fought a giant tree blight called Wintersplinter, that had been sent by the evil next door neighbours of the vineyard to destroy it! Being the heroes you are, without any need for financial recompense, you promptly slaughtered the poor tree, took its green crystal and then made Davian Martikov pay you all 250 gp each to have it back. You were told that the third crystal may have been taken by a witch who operates out of the ruins of Berez, just across the valley there. Because you are all caring, sharing souls, you promptly decided to take the remaining wine and head off to Krezk, so you can gain entry and drop Ireena off at the Abbey of St Markovia, on the hill overlooking the town. 

Escorting three big casks of wine to Krezk, you came dangerously close to being slaughtered by masses of dire wolves…

In week 9, arriving back in Krezk, delivering the wine and visiting a lovely sacred pond on the far side of the town, you prevented Ireena from merging with the spirit of her long lost lover from the past, and then everyone was zapped by a lightning bolt from the clouds above. Unfortunately, Ireena was barbequed. Ismark had heard that the Abbot could perform miracles, so the party traipsed up the hill and entered the abbey. After encountering lots of Mongrelmen, all locked up by the Abbott as they are all a bit crazy, you spoke to the man himself who revealed he made a flesh golem woman for Strahd to marry, but needed a wedding dress. Obviously the mongrelmen weren’t the only crazy ones.

Mark’s Halfling bard got into a feud with a spidery mongrelman down a well, who ended up eating Mark’s beloved toad. Exploring one of the other abbey buildings, the party fought another flesh golem, battled loads of shadows (where Dan’s annoying, I mean, heroic monk was KILLED (gasp!)), and located Ezmerelda D’Avenir, who was foretold in the card reading of Madame Eva as being a person of note who could help the party defeat Strahd. She joined the party, but not before Mark tortured a poor raven…The Abbott promised to grant the party three raise dead’s if they get the dress. The Monk was raised (doh!), and the party decided to head back to Vallaki to see if they could get a wedding dress from the Baron’s wife, who, conveniently, had one lying around. 

Arriving in Vallaki, the party found that Rudolf van Richten, famous vampire hunter, had left town with his wagon and sabre tooth tiger and nobody knew where he was. Everyone’s favourite (read: annoying) Halfling monk decided he wanted to burn down the Baron’s house. He was attacked by vampire spawn, who had started ransacking the town. The rest of the party were at the inn when the major vampire spawn assault started…

In week 10, Natasha’s gnome Druid and Isaac’s Tiefling Warlock went undercover via an invisibility spell, to find the wedding dress in the baron’s mansion. Luckily the town was in turmoil, so after a tension filled search of the upper levels, they found the dress and headed out the back window to the inn.

The wereravens running the inn persuaded the party to escape from the vampire spawn attack through an escape tunnel under the fireplace. The party sent a number of villlagers through the tunnel, who then ran off into the woods and were promptly killed by nasty night creatures.   

Meanwhile, Dan’s annoying Halfling Monk made his way upstairs and started searching for the dress himself, as he didn’t know that the others had found it already. Ending up in the Baron’s bedroom, resting at the window and surveying the chaos, he saw William’s Holy Symbol of Ravenkind casting light from outside the north wall, and decided to head through town over the wall to join the rest of the party.

The party hid in a cave, and then headed back to the abbey, giving the Abbott his dress. He raised Ireena from the dead. Ismark and Ireena decided to head back to the church at Vallaki where they couldn’t get blown up.

In week 11, the party headed to Yester Hill to deal with the nosy druidic neighbours. They discovered a huge wicker statue of Strahd, which didn’t burn. They fought lots of druids and berserkers. They then went to a huge Gulthias tree on the property, fought loads of twig, vine and needle blights.

Week 12, and William’s Dragonborn Paladin got the magic axe from the tree, and he and Isaac toppled the tree. Twiggy blights continued to grow from the roots, but by that time the party couldn’t be bothered doing anything more and headed back to the vineyard for shelter before night.

At the vineyard, the party found out Davian and his family were wereravens and related to the Martikovs who own the inn in Vallaki (small world…er, valley). William promptly got them to bight him, so he could fulfil his life time dream to fly. Naked. Without any equipment. Oh well, nothing’s perfect.

The next morning the PCs had to battle a large number of scarecrows sent from the witch in Berez (no one seems to like this vineyard, despite the fact they give their wine away for free). Steven’s elvish wizard (back after a long stint away) used his fireballs to perfection, but still managed to get knocked unconscious. The party decided to head to Van Richten’s tower to see if they could find him. On the way, they fought more dire wolves, and Steven’s wizard was knocked out again! A lesson learned – remember to protect the spell caster…

At the tower, both Mark and Steven touched the door and got electrocuted. Dan’s annoying Halfling did the fancy dance to bypass the trap and then they all got in. After spending the night on the roof, because she didn’t want to offend Van Richten (who wasn’t there and couldn’t have known), Isaac’s Tiefling got pneumonia and had to suffer a level of exhaustion for a day…

 Exiting the tower to head to Berez, the party is about to be attacked by werewolves and…yes, you guessed it, more dire wolves…

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Protest. A poem.

Why march, you say. Why raise their fists in protest?

If you have to ask, you haven’t been paying attention.

Look outside and see the injustice. Look outside and see the fear, and the loss, and the indescribable pain so many have felt that you have not.

No one is saying they are more important than you. No one is denying your issues.

They are saying justice, equality and fairness do not exist in a system that is so hopelessly shaped by class, privilege and the color of a person’s skin.  

Why march, you say? Why raise their fists in protest?

Because if they don’t, who will?

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

 

Laidback DM: Curse of Strahd 2017 (Weeks 4-5)

Hi all,

Over the next few weeks (months, years, who knows) I’ll be posting some warts-and-all summaries of several campaigns I’ve run in the past. This is one from 2017 – The Curse of Strahd. Some of it will be dull, some of it may be amusing; some of it is written in present tense, some of it in past tense. These are the unedited email summaries I sent the players each week, so you’ll have to forgive their somewhat chaotic nature.

If you’re a D&D fan you might enjoy them, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 4:

Last Wednesday night in Vallaki, the intrepid adventurers faced death by vampire spawn, long drawn out discussions and wine shortages, not necessarily in that order.

The team achieved some great gains:

– Discovered Rictavio, the carnival half-elf bard, is actually Rudolf van Richten, famous vampire hunter, who has pledged to assist when they finally face Strahd
– Found out there is a big Vistani camp outside of town
– Returned the bones of St Andral to the Vallaki church and foiled a plot by vampire spawn to destroy the church
– Moved Ireena to the church as she is on protected, hallowed ground
– Made friends with the burgomaster (no thanks to Dan’s Halfling Monk, luckily all good now) and promised to return some missing children, who appear to have been kidnapped by an old hag with a cart selling dream pastries (William’s Dragonborn Paladin’s ears pricked up: “Pastries? Did someone say pastries?” Cue Homer Simpson gurgling sounds)
– Have taken possession of a very powerful artifact, the Holy Symbol of Ravenkind, which helped them defeat 6 vampire spawn in no time (big thanks to Natasha’s Gnome Druid’s web spell) – Gone in 60 Seconds
– Have been asked by the local innkeeper to get some wine from the Wizard of Wines, in return for free board and food
– Are considering taking Ireena to the Abbey of St Markovia, in the village of Krezk, to get her farther away from Strahd
– The party is now off to visit Old Bonegrinder, the windmill they passed a few days back…
Week 5:

Last week, the intrepid adventurers ventured from the safety of the walls of Vallaki to find the missing children. While en route to the Old Bonegrinder Windmill, they encountered a few dire wolves and despatched them without even raising a sweat (much to DM Steve’s chagrin).

Proceeding to the windmill, the party then engaged in a massive 3 hour battle with the 3 Green Hags who called the windmill home. Highlights included:

– William’s Dragonborn Paladin waiting for the dream pastries to cook

– Mark’s Halfling Bard taking out the stairs and then riding the dragonborn (in a good way, that is) on his back. And then taking the magic items for himself and pretending he hadn’t found any…

– Dan’s Halfling monk being thrashed and cowering outside with a caltrop trap set up at the door (“So, I guess the party won’t be coming out then?” asked DM Steve)

– Natasha’s Gnomish Druid saving the day with a Moonbeam spell that frazzled the hags but good

– Isaac’s Tiefling Warlock scaling the windmill, leaping onto the vanes and then falling to the ground. And being knocked unconscious in battle – twice! That’s the first time Isaac’s character (in any D&D game) has been properly wounded lol

Next week: Taking the rescued kids back to Vallaki, the festival of the blazing sun is about to begin, more wine is needed for the town and Ireena needs to go to the village of Krezk… 

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The Sum of All. A poem.

I was indisposed
And exposed
And all my fears
And dreams
And insecurities
Came home to roost
Like a feast of crows
That consumed me
And spat me out
The sum of all
My many woes

For more Poetry, click here.

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For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

DUNGEONS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR available in print!

Hi all,

DUNGEONS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR is now available in print through DrivethruRPG!

Compatible with 5e and OSR fantasy role playing games, DUNGEONS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR is a 36 page book packed full of fantastic content at a low price. Inside you’ll find:

· 10 ‘adventure-on-a-page’ one-shot adventures of all varieties, complete with full color maps! Varied adventures ranging from 1st – 9th level, designed for minimal preparation and flexible delivery. Each mini-adventure can be run as a one-shot or as a side-quest, easily slotted into any campaign.

· Hand-drawn, full-color maps – old school style with new school flair!

· The rural region of Nothl’nd Central District containing the vast lakes and Wind’n Plains of Verona Province from Shotglass Adventures! Each adventure is tied to towns and villages throughout the area, and can be used in conjunction with any Shotglass Adventures campaign, or they can be run separately without the need for the setting. These adventures can easily be dropped into any campaign or run as a one-shot.

· Guide for OSR conversions!

You can purchase it now at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/315245/DUNGEONS-YOUR-PARTY-WILL-DIE-FOR

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Laidback DM - DYPWDF

 

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And while I’m at it – I’m sure you don’t need reminding, but I’m gonna do it anyway:

#BlackLivesMatter

Privilege. A poem.

White privilege
Is like the weight of a thousand jackboots
On our necks, on our backs
But we stand, we shout, we overcome

And by the time that coward leaves his baby bunker
And his gestapo have been brought low

We will make a world
Where privilege
Is not the domain of the few

But of the just

#BlackLivesMatter

#BlackLivesMatter

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

 

Laidback DM: Curse of Strahd 2017 (Week 1-2)

Hi all, 

Over the next few weeks (months, years, who knows) I’ll be posting some warts-and-all summaries of several campaigns I’ve run in the past. This is one from back in 2017 – The Curse of Strahd. Some of it will be dull, some of it may be amusing; some of it is written in present tense, some of it in past tense. These are the unedited email summaries I sent the players each week, so you’ll have to forgive their somewhat chaotic nature.

If you’re a D&D fan you might enjoy them, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.

Game on!

Steve 🙂 

Week 1-2 (March 2017):

After being mysteriously transported to the valley of Barovia by magic mists (or something), the PCs learned (slowly) that the Vampire Strahd lived in the Castle of Ravenloft overlooking the village of Barovia, and that he was cursed so could not escape the land. And neither could anyone else. Bummer.

The party played their way through the ‘Death House’ adventure, which took two weeks to finish, culminating in a battle with a nasty Gibbering Mouther. Mark’s Halfling Bard sacrificed his tweety bird mascot on an evil altar for the good of the party and William’s Dragonborn Paladin ate it afterwards (burp!). Isaac’s female Tiefling Warlock grabbed a very small centipede from a swarm, because she was feeling lonely…

Then a visit to the village provisioner (where everything was really expensive), meeting Ismark Kolyanovich (son of the burgomaster) at the pub, being invited back to his place and encountering Mad Mary in her house along the way, where they learned Mary’s daughter Gertrude had gone missing.  

Week 3:

* The party spent 30 minutes discussing the various ways they could transport the dead burgomaster’s coffin 200 yards up the road to the church. Options included whipping it magically, cremating it, and not taking it at all. They finally decided to carry it!

* William’s Dragonborn Paladin was stoned on the old hag’s dream pastries for 6 hours and had to be led around with a rope.

* Steve’s human Wizard’s magic missiles made short work of Father Donavich‘s Vampire Spawn son in the Church undercroft.

* Shame Father Donavich was asleep (thanks to Isaac’s Tiefling) when his son was brutally beheaded and teeth extracted for a souvenir. When he awoke, nobody knew how that happened…

* DM Steve accidentally sent the party to the Tser Falls to see Madame Eva. She’s actually at the Tser Pool. Luckily, he remembered. Eventually…

* Rolling for wandering monsters, everyone on edge as the encounter is revealed as…a lost trinket. Not even silver. Doh! 

* Dan’s halfling Monk changed name several times (it started with ‘Tiny Longbottom’ – not sure if that was a euphemism), missed lots of times (damn dice!), and made sure everyone knew she was of noble descent. And the darts that were shurikens, became darts again…”Are those shuriken darts in your hair or are you just happy to see me?”

* Natasha’s Gnome Druid nearly died in the wolf attack, but recovered to transform into a horse to carry the numerous wolf carcasses to Vallaki. Unfortunately, the PC ran out of time and transformed back into a Gnome, covered with wolf blood and guts. Where is the well?

* Isaac’s Tiefling Warlock attempted to scale the 1000 foot cliff walls at the Tser Falls, managed to get 300 feet (thank you, heaps of chalk – knew those ten pounds would come in handy), fell in love after Strahd visited her (and rejected her), and finally caught up with the party after all the wolves were dead. Take that, wolves! 

* NPC (Sink the) Ismarck proved himself handy with a blade, and may possibly become a long-term party member. Okay, probably not. Just wanted to get your hopes up.

* The little boy the party saved from the old hag selling dream pastries from her cart (everyone hated the fact she had a cart – oh, the injustice!) is living it up by himself in the Burgomaster’s mansion in Barovia Village. No doubt scoffing dream pastries…

 The party has now arrived in Vallaki, where the guards conveniently provided a map of the town’s local tourist attractions, and have just entered the local inn.

What dangers await the party next week? Spoiled wine? Gritty, undercooked wolf steaks? More sad Barovians? Squawking ravens? Another trinket encounter?

 

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The Real. A poem.

I awoke from my slumber
Waves lapped upon the beach
Gulls cawed and the ocean called
I walked upon sands pristine
And smelled the salt upon the air


But perhaps I still dreamed
And this was merely a holiday

From the real

I awoke from my slumber

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

For more of my poetry, check out Poetry for the Sad, Lonely and Hopelessly Endangered and The All or the Nothing, available in print.

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

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