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MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 3: The WILD Kickstarter is LIVE on Kickstarter!

Visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/maps-your-party-will-die-for-3-the-wild-book-and-maps to join in!

Pledges start as low as $7.50 US! Now that’s value for money!

As a DM, I like to have wilderness and village maps on hand just in case my players like to…wander. Come on, you know they do. One minute they’re traveling overland to the next adventure you meticulously planned and wrote and the next they’re checking out the ruined fort on that low lying ridge you just happened to mentioned as flavor text!

MYPWDF3 is the sequel to MYPWDF2: MEGA-DUNGEON and is made up of the MYPWDF3: The WILD Digital Maps Package and the MYPWDF3: The WILD DM’s Workbook!

The Digital Maps Package contains:

  •  43+ hand drawn, full color inter-connectable wilderness and village geomorphs  that you can print out for live play or drop into your favorite online virtual tabletop (Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Foundry, etc.) that connect any way you want! Every map is sized 1750 x 1750 px and comes in both grid and grid-less versions (86+ JPEGs) – they fit perfectly onto Roll20 – no more fiddling to match grid sizes! PLUS more maps have been added via Stretch Goals! 
  • A Royalty Free License to use the maps in your own commercial and non-commercial projects (note: you can’t sell the maps individually or as part of a separate digital maps package).

The DM’s Workbook contains:

  •  43+ gridded maps in a 120+ page softcover print/PDF book you can use to stock your wilderness or take notes as your players explore during live play. With multiple double-page awesome art spreads by Tithi Luadthong, PLUS more pages have been added via Stretch Goals! 

YOU decide on the scale of your wilderness and the orientation of the map.

YOU decide what your players find and fight.

YOU create the wilderness of your dreams – as big as you like, or as small as one map.

AND there’s Ruin Maps as well! PLUS more maps have been added via Stretch Goals!

But rather than me tell you about it, take a look:

Join in now at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/maps-your-party-will-die-for-3-the-wild-book-and-maps

Game on!

Steve 🙂

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

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/steve.stillstanding

Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/stevestillstanding/

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.

Tomb of Annihilation: Week 15

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 15

The Wyrmheart Mine!

Tinder, a huge Adult Red Dragon, confronted the party. Mark’s Kenku Monk protected Jake’s unconscious Aasimar Warlock (who fell from a great height last week) while attempting to tell Tinder that Jake wasn’t wholly responsible for killing all of her Kobold minions. And then he offered Hew Hackysack up as a sacrifice!

Hew HackandGo, riding a Giant Strider, decided it was time to show the Dragon who was boss. Daniel’s Human Bard and Dan’s Halfing Warlock decided to stop him by pushing Hew off the tracks, but the Giant Strider was too strong. Hew faced the dragon: “Geronimo!! And thanks for all the fish!” he cried lustily, then was slaughtered and eaten. Thus ended the brief, but world-weary tale of Hew HanksfortheMemories. A tale of sweaty, odour-filled nights, lots of standing around yelling support and deckchair reclining by rivers. His Scottish brogue would be sorely missed. By someone, I’m sure.

The fawning party then decided to give Tinder all their Giant Strider mounts to eat. Now sated, Tinder the dating Dragon, asked the party to clear the Fire Newts out the Dwarven forge of Hrakhamar, which lay 40 miles north along an abandoned cart track. If they succeeded she would consider flying them to the lost city of Omu. And set them up with some online dates who would look nothing like their photos.

A very cool roller coaster mining cart ride later (including jumping a gap in the tracks – Gavin’s Druid and Jake’s Warlock assisted with Thornwhip and Lightning Lure), and stopping before an underground river, where Ghasts and Ghouls lurked. Most were turned by Chloe’s Drow Cleric, but then a huge Krake Spawn decided to cream Jake’s Warlock and Chloe’s Cleric (but not before Dan’s Warlock decided to show his true colours and run away). The Krake Spawn formed a huge Wall of Ice which Morgan’s Barbarian scaled and leaped to the rescue, hurling Japanese anime epithets left and right (apparently the Japanese know how to get the most out of conversations about trains) but unfortunately missed completely. Leave it to Mark’s Kenku Monk to save the day and bash and kick that nasty beastie into the sushi Morgan’s Barbarian originally intended. Davor’s Ranger had an opportunity to attack the monster with his sword, but declined. “I’m a long range kinda guy,” he said, checking his nails.  

In the magma-spawned heat of Hrakhamar, the party split up (as usual), with Jake’s Warlock and Chloe’s Cleric wandering off one way, Mark’s Monk, Steve’s Rogue and William’s Lizardfolk Druid sneaking off on a scouting mission, and the rest just hanging around. Mark’s Monk, sneaky little fellow that he was, got to the armoury only to be trounced by a bunch of Flying Swords. “Run away, run away!” he cried, Monti Python-style.

A number of Fire Newts pursued and in a Giant Strider-packed corridor, everyone caused enough ruckus with spells (including Gavin’s Druidconjured Dire Wolves), to set the Giant Striders stampeding (ouch!).

Next week: Hrakhamar! And maybe a dragon ride…  

Cheers

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Perilous. A poem.

Perilous
Dark clouds above
In churning
Storm-painted skies

And here I am, in between

Black depths below
In churning,
Storm-blown seas
Perilous

For more poetry, click here.

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

Fractured. A poem.

A fractured existence
Broken bones/broken heart
Enduring, crawling
Striving to forget
On splintered limbs
Forged in pain and regret

Time heals all
But feel the filigree lines
All cracks and calcified
Where movement grinds
And creaks and groans
To melancholy rhyme

Reminded constantly
To heal, one has to hurt
Breaks and sprains, a legacy
That never truly mends
And never truly dies
Nostalgically

Shattered bones
And shattered dreams
Obtuse perspectives
Regrown but never straight
Every missing jigsaw piece
Of your fractured existence

For more poetry, click here.

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

MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 2: MEGA-DUNGEON in Digital and Print!

As a DM, I like to have dungeon and cavern system maps on hand just in case my players like to…wander. Come on, you know they do. One minute they’re traveling overland to the next adventure you meticulously planned and wrote and the next they’re checking out the caves on the low lying ridge you just happened to mentioned as flavor text!

Fret no more, my friends. The MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 2: MEGA-DUNGEON Digital Bundle for any fantasy tabletop role playing game is here! So what is MYPWDF2 (let’s call it that for short – my typing fingers grow weary just thinking of the whole title lol)?

The MYPWDF2  Digital Bundle includes:

  •  52 hand drawn, full color, inter-connectable dungeon geomorphs that you can print out for live play or drop into your favorite online virtual tabletop (Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, Foundry, etc.). Every map is sized 1750 x 1750 and comes in both grid and grid-less versions – they fit perfectly onto Roll20 – no more fiddling to match grid sizes! 
  • A Royalty Free License to use the maps in your own commercial and non-commercial projects (note: you can’t sell the maps individually or as part of a separate digital maps package). 
  • The MYPWDF2 DM’s Workbook – a 130 page PDF book you can use to stock your dungeons or take notes as your players explore during live play. With four double-page awesome art spreads by Daniel Comerci! 

The MYPDF2: MEGA-DUNGEONDigital Bundle is on sale on DrivethruRPG at Maps Your Party Will Die For 2: Mega-Dungeon Bundle [BUNDLE] – Laidback DM | DriveThruRPG.com

PLUS If you want a hard copy of the MYPWDF2 DM’s Workbook you can write in, you can also purchase the book separately in print!  

The MYPDF2: MEGA-DUNGEON DM’s Workbook in PRINT is on sale on DrivethruRPG at MAPS YOUR PARTY WILL DIE FOR 2: Mega-Dungeon – Laidback DM | DriveThruRPG.com

YOU decide on the scale of your dungeon and the orientation of the map. 

YOU decide what your players find and fight. 

YOU create the Mega-Dungeon of your dreams – as big as you like, or as small as one map. 

AND there’s End Game Boss Maps as well! 

Tomb of Annihilation: Week 14

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 14

Into the Wyrmheart Mine, while Hew Hackandsleep rested up and watched the Giant Strider mounts. “I’ll have my day in the sun,” said Hew. “After I catch a little shuteye.”

Highlights included:

  • How to split the party multiple times – that always works out well…
  • The party was joined by Dylan, whose Firbolg Barbarian fell right into the hack and slash of things.
  • Most of the party took a mine cart ride, only to stop around the corner and climb up a rise to meet some Kobolds. Mark’s Kenku Monk and Steve’s Human Rogue got up the 15-foot slope and commenced the dialogue. Gareth’s Druid and Morgan’s Dwarvish Barbarian couldn’t get up the first time, falling on their asses (how embarrassing). Davor’s Human Ranger tried twice before giving up.   
  • Jake’s Aasimar Warlock decided that there was no point talking anymore, so he turned murder hobo and killed everything he saw. Negotiators, hostages, you name it (he was obviously still smarting from talking to that Medusa…). His warlock climbed to a bridge crossing the cavern where he started sniping the Kobolds while they were talking to the monk and rogue. They exploded into lots of entrails. The other kobolds took off down a side passage. “My work here is done,” the Warlock cackled. He then went on to vape some Kobold Inventors and then a bunch of kobolds in the egg chamber.
  • Daniel’s Human Bard, obviously unhappy at being usurped as the serial killer of the party, decided to head down a cave by herself and ran into some Specters. DOH! Luckily Jake’s Warlock and Mark’s Monk turned up to help.
  • Into the cart again, riding it down, hit by a giant boulder trap, derailed. The party fought some Urds (winged kobolds) and Morgan’s Barbarian took one hostage after slicing off its wings. (I guess the stoning at the medusa’s house REALLY traumatized these guys!)   
  • Thirty Kobolds streamed down the tracks, confronting Dylan’s Barbarian and Steve’s Rogue head on, many of them getting burnt by Gareth’s Druid after stepping on his spell-heated rail (DOH!) and getting a mining cart hitting them from behind thanks to quick thinking from Daniel’s Bard.
  • Jake’s warlock killed Morgan’s Barbarian’s hostage, so the barbarian got upset and attacked him. Jake responded by leaping off a 150-foot drop, intending to lightning lure the barbarian off the edge and then blink back to safety. Unfortunately, both failed, so he fell to the bottom of the mine, a bloody mess. After the warlock failed his first death save, Mark’s Monk leapt down and stabilized him. The moral to this story: if another party member is planning to torture a hostage, don’t take that away from them? Something like that. Or maybe: look before you leap?

Next Week: The Main Event – Tinder, The RED DRAGON!!

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Tomb of Annihilation: Week 13

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 13

After failing to persuade the Medusa of Nangalore to allow them to take their statuesque friends with them, the diminished party slunk back to its camp site in the jungle. “Where did everybody go? Got bored and went home?” guffawed one-armed Hew Hackabogan, underpaid and underworked guide.

Miraculously, at that very moment, three new adventurers were making their way through the humid, sweaty and rain-soaked jungle. They arrived (again, miraculously) at the camp site and the party, immediately suspicious, eyed them warily.

“How about something to eat, and maybe some mosquito repellent?” said Hew HackaLugie. And so, Mark’s Kenku Monk, Jake’s Aasimar Warlock and Dan’s Halfling Warlock (two at once – what are the odds?!), and Gareth (a newbie!) with a human Druid, joined Davor’s Ranger, Daniel’s Bard, Steve’s Rogue (No Chloe Cleric this week—must be sleeping it off somewhere) and Morgan’s Tabaxi Ranger—hold it! After a sudden race and class change, the ranger was now Morgan’s Dwarven Barbarian. Possibly due to some magical Chultan jungle virus – I think it’s called the ‘wishful thinking’ disease. But was it due to a disease, or was it the fact that his archer/ranger was down to six arrows…

Hew HacksaGob delightfully declared it would take seven days of grinding—um, walking—to get to the next stop, the Akaaz Wykhsljsdfatfdihjtfnsbusatyti, the fabled entrance to the Valley of Lost Honour. “You don’t mean the ‘Valley of Lost Arm’,” said one card, pointing to Hew’s missing appendage.

“That’s incredibly insensitive,” replied Hew HacksComputersRegularly. “But ‘armless’!” After rolling around the ‘Chultan jungle amongst ancient ruins and deadly monsters’ floor laughing (that’s the fantasy version of ROFL), the party was on its way.

A few days in, two undead Tyrannosaurs vomiting zombies. Yawn, said the party. One zombie, Grom the magnificent (third of his line) showed you can’t keep a good zombie down by making his undead fortitude save FIVE times! Keep on keeping on, Grom.

After fighting some mantrap plants and lots of giant spiders (ho-hum), the party arrived at the black basalt canyon of Akaaz Wyklkijuihfrbeygedijwwdij. Davor’s Ranger elected to chat with the Fire Newt warriors camped there, revealing himself as a Dragon Slayer supreme, on the lookout for Tzindelore, the red dragon occupying these parts. Dan’s Bard played a merry tune and helped out. The Fire Newts revealed they hated the dragon, and would assist the party to defeat it.

“Actually, we want to ride it to Omu,” said Hew HackandCough.

“What was that?” said Fire Newt Warrior Number Three.

“I said ‘send it back to the fires of Hell’.”

Morgan’s Barbarian decided to check out a forty-foot basalt pillar. On top, a rock. “I’m gonna kick me that rock,” said the barbarian. Suddenly, a trapdoor opened and a voracious Sand Spider dragged him down thirty feet into the spider’s tight-fitting lair, where the barbarian was knocked unconscious. Meanwhile, Mark’s Kenku came to the rescue.

“Mind if I drop in,” said the Kenku in blinkety-blink-this-is-the-closest-I-get-to-speech.

Soon, everyone was helping out, with the warlocks blowing a hole in the basalt column to expose the battle raging within and Gareth’s druid summoning two giant eagles to get in everyone’s way. Steve’s Rogue did some very nasty damage as he leapt down to backstab the beast.

After the battle, negotiations for food and mounts were on, ending with the purchase of Giant Striders. After a nice long rest, the party departed for Wyrmheart Mine, which they got to in a day (saving lots of time). That night, Mark’s Kenku did some scouting, revealing an old office, supply hut and mine cart in need of repair at the entrance. Very exciting.

The party agreed to rest for the night, so they might assault the mine in the daylight.

Next Week: Wyrmheart Mine! But wait, there’s more!

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Vacant Block. A poem.

Here lay a vacant block,
Strewn with the detritus
Of travellers, neighbours,
And vagrant necessity.
Overgrown and empty,
Awash in a sea of cynical
Disregard and circumstance.

You found it there,
A fine purchase, almost lost
In the crowd of lots
And auctioned showpieces.
You bought the block and built
It up, like Rome in a day,
Or perhaps Pompeii.

A vacant block, reborn,
Renewed and reconciled
And brought to life
Like Frankenstein
To stand tall again,
A furtive flower among trees,
A coal among diamonds.

And once you’d had your way
You left it as you found,
No patents on this concourse,
No reprieve or shallow grave.
Just a vacant block,
Overgrown and dreaming
Of more permanent renewal.

For more poetry, click here.

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

Another Day. A poem.

Another day and dollar down
In the exhibition of years
Trials and tribulations
Meted out like punishments
Confined and minimised
Resigned and popularised

And every walk alone
Is a walk nearer the edge
That threatens to topple
Mansions to the ground
And make mountains
From molehills

So I persevere
Resilience found and lost
An erstwhile friend
In a heart-shaped box
Time and time and time again
I wander through

Another day

For more poetry, click here.

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Advice for the Young at Heart…Stuff for Beginner DMs

I see a lot of Tweets asking about advice for new Dungeon Masters (DMs) or Games Masters (GMs) – which I will henceforth refer to as DMs. Rather than answer the plethora of questions there, I thought I’d do one consolidated response here. A caveat before I begin: even though I am what you would call a very experienced DM, I am NOT proclaiming to be an expert by any means. There are far more exemplary, qualified and professional people around who can claim that. I do okay lol.

Laidback DM - Stuff for Beginner DMs

Here are some of important things I think beginner DMs need to know (these are not in order of importance and I may have forgotten some stuff. So, sue me).

  • Know Your Rules: When playing or running any game, whether it be a Tabletop Role Playing Game (TTRPG), board game, sports, or the stock market, you need to know the rules. Read them thoroughly and have a good understanding of how the mechanics work. This is important because you will be making decisions about what the players can do based on your knowledge of the rules. This is especially important if you are teaching a bunch of brand new players who have never played before – they are having their first experience and learning how to play from you. If you have more experienced players in your group then they can assist in the learning process. In the end you are the final arbiter of the rules, so make sure you have a pretty good idea how the systems work.
  • ...But Don’t Be Too Concerned if You Forget The Rules: And yes, you’re going to forget stuff. I still do, even now. That’s fine, don’t get too anxious or worry about not knowing a rule. Unless you have an eidetic memory then it’s expected you’re going to forget something. Looking up rules can slow the game, so make a decision based on what you know and check up the answer later. In the next session explain what you did wrong and what you will do next time, and your players will be fine. And if you decide to house rule stuff (i.e. replace official rules with your own), discuss it with your players first so that everyone is in agreement.
  • Don’t Over-Prepare: Preparing for a first session may become a bit nerve wracking. Do I have enough stuff for the players to do in my first session? (Yes, you will. Even if you don’t, the players will fill in the gaps with their shenanigans.) Am I a good enough DM? (More than likely, and even if you aren’t at first, you will become one in time.) What happens if they don’t like the adventure? (You’ll pick up cues as things go along – if players look bored, are checking their phones, are chatting among themselves about non-game content – if so you can throw in something to bring them back. Provide that clue they didn’t know about. Introduce an NPC to pull them back into the story. Ambush them with some monsters, which have a map or information that will get them engaged again). You will NEVER be able to prepare for everything the players decide to do in a session. Learn to prepare just enough – the basic adventure, a few maps as needed, a few NPCs, a few rumours, etc. – then improvise the rest depending on decisions the party makes (see further below).
  • Listen to Your Players: Your players are there to have fun and they want to be engaged. Some want the cool backstories they spent hours laboring on to become part of the story. Some want to impress others with their knowledge of the game. All want to shine. It’s your job as a DM to give your players the opportunity to do all this and more, but it’s also your job to keep it together and not crack under the pressure (real or perceived). Listen to your players and incorporate their ideas – remember – you don’t have to do all the creative work.
  • Learn to Improvise: Some DMs have a problem with making stuff up on the spot in response to player actions. That may not be you, but if it is, learn to improvise. Say “Yes, and…” more often. It’s an improv strategy designed to allow improvisation in a situation comedy/story context. That doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everything your players do. But learn to run your adventures in a freer and less structured way. To see an earlier article of mine on flying by the seat of your pants in games, click here.
  • Take Notes: Come up with an organisational system to keep track of both short term events (in the gaming session) and long term (campaign) story points and player subplots. This can be something as simple as an exercise book you update during the game or a spreadsheet on a laptop. Or a post-it note. Although post-it notes are not the best system (trust me on this – I’m a post-it man from way back lol).
  • Keep Worldbuilding to a Minimum: In your first and early sessions, keep the world limited to a small area – a keep on the borderlands, a small village and its surrounds, a single dungeon. Let your world expand as you play, and let your players help to expand it. Why so small to start with? I know you want to create an entire fleshed out world from day one, but time is always an issue and much of the work you do on creating a fully-fleshed world will never be seen or experienced by your players. Feel free to build an entire world before the first session if that is your thing, but I’d suggest you focus on that session first. Just saying. For more on world building, click here.
  • Don’t Try to Be Matt Mercer: I love Matt Mercer, but he is a professional actor and is (now) paid to DM on Critical Role. That means he has a heck of a lot more time to prep for his games then you do, and he is a master of improv and voices. You are not Matt Mercer. No one expects you to be. Be you. Every game is different, and your game will have its own strengths. Want to read more about not being Matt? Click here.
  • Have Fun: This is the number one rule! You and your players are there to have fun. If it’s not fun, ask everyone at the end what you can do to make your game better. But remember: you will always be your own worst critic – things are often not as bad as you think they are when you’re a DM. Accept criticism and advice, but make sure you don’t take it too much to heart. When you’re starting out, remember that this is just the beginning. You will get better. And soon you will take on the world.

I’m pretty sure I’ve forgotten a few things lol. But it’s a start.

My absolute best advice is: Don’t be afraid. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Before you know it you’ll be DMing your favorite TTRPG like a champ.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

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Primal. A poem.

I rise to the occasion

Dragged forth from
Primordial ooze
Fashioned from mud
And precocious instinct

Who are you to say
Who I am or who I should be 
Just because I’m not
The way you envisioned me

I am primal 
Forged in fire and fission
And I will 
Rise to the occasion

For more poetry, click here.

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Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 11-12

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 11

This week Chloe joined the group with her Drow Cleric! Welcome, Chloe!

On their way to the ruins of the Palace of Nangalore, the party encountered and made short work of three Allosauruses. Steaks all round! “Why did we ever bother buying rations?” said Davor’s Ranger.

At Nangalore, the river had broken its banks and flooded the entrance to the ruins. “Right!” said Dan’s Paladin. “I’ll just get across that river and scale the wall!” Giant Crocodile. “Right!” said Steve K’s Rogue. “I’ll just get across that river and scale the wall!” Giant Crocodiles. “Ouch,” cried Steve K as he lapsed into unconsciousness, painting the river red for good measure. A flurry of fighting in which Davor’s Ranger was knocked unconscious from the tree he was in by a Giant Croc. Guide Hew Hackindumbledore came to the rescue and saved him from lunch. And not the good type of lunch, where someone else pays.

Morgan’s Tabaxi Ranger/Archer proved he knew how to shoot arrows. Chloe’s Cleric was all about saving the cheerleader (Steve K’s Rogue) and the crocs were all about taking names. Dan’s Paladin had the final say there. He shall now be known as ‘giant croc head-splitting headache’.

“Hey everyone, let’s forget about resting and rush into the next encounter,” said Dan’s Paladin and Steve K’s Rogue (they’re almost twins—not), obviously having learned nothing from the last 11 weeks.

Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer decided to make friends with the Eblis natives, who liked the fact he could speak Auran—they just didn’t like him. “Here’s two lightning bolts up your ass for your troubles,” said Jake. The Giant Spider harassing Dan’s Paladin didn’t like electricity either. His new name is Smokey the Spider.

Steve K’s Rogue discovered you can’t fight Yellow Musk Zombies when you have no hit points, and realised he was safer hiding behind Chloe’s Cleric. Davor’s Ranger showed Morgan’s Ranger who was archer first by helping to take out some zombies with his arrows. “So how do I go about getting some more arrows?” said Morgan. “I’ll sell them to you for 10 gp each,” said Davor. “Supply and demand, baby…” Then everyone took out the Yellow Musk Creeper, which they all realized is a pretty hopeless plant monster once you resist its musky allure.

“Wow, I’m glad you decided to sneak into this place. Who knows how it would have gone if you’d assaulted it directly,” said guide Hew Hackinwatsit, as he cracked a tinny and reclined in his beach chair, safe on the river’s shore.

Week 12

The party took a much-needed long rest, then headed back to Steve’s beautifully rendered (in texta), three-colour map of Nangalore, defeating a zombie-vomiting undead Tyrannosaur on the way!

At Nangalore, Daniel’s Bard tried the old ‘pull down the tree and use it like a catapult to send me flying into the ruins’ trick—she plunged straight into the river next to the tree. DOH!

Furious fights between the party, Yellow Musk Zombies, Eblis, and Assassin Vines ensued.

The big dome at the back of the palace contained a mad Medusa, who used to be an Omuan queen and who continually spoke to her long dead lover as if he was still alive (“Who cares,” cried the ever lore-conscious party). Several saving throws were failed – badly. Jake’s Sorcerer was petrified! Mark’s Cleric was petrified! Here was a chance to negotiate. “NEVER!” cried brave and foolhardy Davor’s Ranger (who had finally worked out how to calculate his arrow damage correctly ). Dan’s Paladin was petrified (in Dan’s most vocal and demonstrative tantrum yet – and that’s saying something, considering he once tore up his character sheet after being knocked unconscious)!

“Okay, let’s negotiate,” said Daniel’s Bard very persuasively as Steve K’s Rogue hid behind her (that’s becoming a habit, Steve). Chloe’s Cleric agreed. Daniel’s Bard convinced the Medusa that finding the Soul Monger would raise her long-lost love. She decided to keep the petrified adventurers as hostages, just in case. She refused to offer any further assistance like teleports, food or magic items (nice try, Daniel). Davor’s Ranger was still chomping at the bit to kill her. Party – nil, Medusa – three.     

Meanwhile, guide Hew Hackinstab waited patiently for the party in his deckchair by the river, sipping a margarita and blissfully unaware of what had happened.

Next Week: More grand designs with statuary? Post-Nangalorian whatsits and thingies.

  

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Wounded Heart. A Poem.

Alas my wounded heart
Limped homeward from the war
The bayonets dug deep
Revealing every jaded flaw
My long recovery
Many memories to store
A traumatic state of mind
Infected deep within my core

Alas my wounded heart
One day you’ll rise again
To walk the fields of No Man’s Land
Every thicket, every fen
While the bed holds you immobile
Dreams filled with there and then
Chin up, poor wounded heart
For soon this heart will mend

For more poetry, click here.

Weightless. A poem.


The core of being
Scooped out
Like ice cream
Left to melt it seems
On the kitchen side
Sugary, sticky residue
The uncomfortable remains
Of purpose and memory
Just a smear
Weightless

A hollow shell
A phantom
Walking halls
Sandwiched covers on
A pageless memoir
A fiction without meaning
Without character
Revealing all and nothing
Left in between
Weightless

For more poetry, click here.

Pathfinder 2e Review: Bestiary 2 Battle Cards and NPC Battle Cards

I know I say this all the time, to the point where I’m probably a bit like a droning LP (“What’s an LP?,” say Millenials almost everywhere), but Paizo continually puts out great products, and on such a regular basis they really put WOTC’s D&D schedule to shame. I am, I’m sad to say, somewhat hooked on their products, and so buy almost everything that comes out. My bank account has seen better days.

The recent releases of the Pathfinder 2e (P2e) Bestiary 2 Battle Cards and NPC Battle Cards contain all the monsters and NPCs listed in the Bestiary 2 and Gamemastery Guide books. I’m a fan of using cards for monster stats – they are convenient and I don’t have to refer to hefty books or screens for information during games. In my live games (oh, how long it’s been since I’ve played a game face-to-face! Don’t worry, Roll20 – I still love you) I find it’s easier to use a few cards than refer to a bunch of books, and in battles featuring multiple opponents it saves me paging around between beasts. I made my own cards for D&D 5e, but Paizo conveniently releases Battle Cards to save me the hassle.

BUT (and that’s a big but) it still infuriates me that Paizo STILL doesn’t always list all the special ability information on their Battle Cards. This was a problem I identified with the first Bestiary Battle Cards set (click here for more about that).When a monster has lots or lengthy special abilities, Paizo uses more than one card. That’s fine, but some special abilities STILL refer me back to the Bestiary 2 book! As always, my question to Paizo is: if I wanted to refer to the Bestiary 2 book, why would I have purchased these Battle Cards (at great expense, I might add). Example: Ancient Cloud Dragon Cloud Form – “see Pathfinder Bestiary 2 page 90”. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

I know what you’re gonna say. Stop complaining, Steve – the cards are beautifully presented with great art, a handy size and have most of the stats you need at a glance. Yes, I agree, but isn’t the point of monster cards to save you time as a GM? To make the stats more convenient so that you can run the game without having to refer back to the books during play? As a designer, I believe that convenience and ease of use for DMs/GMs is a primary factor. Pathfinder 2e has a lot of rules – there’s a lot to remember and a lot of admin during combat. (Don’t think so? Check out the conditions and ongoing condition levels you need to keep track of each round.) I love Pathfinder 2e’s attention to detail but I believe if you’re going to design a product to make a GM’s job easier then you ACTUALLY have to make it easier for them.

By now, you’re probably thinking I really hate these cards. Nope. I really do like them. But I think I have a valid gripe.

In the end, the decision about buying these cards is up to you. The problem I’ve highlighted only impacts on a small percentage of cards – maybe 5-10%. The rest are good to go. I would have liked it if Paizo just spent that little bit of extra time to summarise the text a little more so they could squeeze on more information without having to refer GMs back to their manuals. That said, the NPC Battle Cards are simple and straightforward, and thus don’t have the same problem as some of the Bestiary 2 Battle Cards.

So should you buy them? I guess that comes down to your level of Paizo addiction and whether or not you feel Battle Cards are really going to save you time in a game. If you don’t mind occasionally looking up a manual when you have a card in front of you, then this is the product for you. But if you feel you’re doing fine using the manuals, forget about investing in Battle Cards.

I like Battle Cards, and these ones are very nice. I know Paizo probably won’t fix the issue of making sure all the info is on the cards for bigger monsters, but since I’ve bought them I guess I’ll put up with it. Time for me to buy some more P2e stuff to feed my ongoing addiction. Big sigh…

Ratings:

Bestiary 2 Battle Cards – 7/10

NPC Battle Cards – 9/10

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Juxtaposed. A poem.

How can one’s surrounds
Be such aching bliss
Where all the light and shade
Should meld as one, sublime?

Yet inside, the cloying dark;
The whispers and the thorns
That tear a soul apart
And leave the shell to die?

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.

The Riddle. A poem.

This riddle:

This trial of decay
Has shaken me from my
Wide-eyed stupor
And recruited me
To a war of consequence
Where life and limb
And bold indecision
Bear me back
To suffering and pain
Until the riddle’s solved

I play and lose the game

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.

and again

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 8-10

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 8

For literally the first time in years, we didn’t have enough players to play (only three plus me, the DM, turned up). I was concerned there might be some…unnecessary fatalities…if we ran a session, so, we played some cool fantasy card games (whose names escape me) and had a fun time anyway. Yeah, I could have run a little one-shot but the card games looked geeky cool. And it turns out they were!

Week 9

The party travelled from their convenient teleportation spot to discover a broken airship in the branches high above them. Some sailors were yelling for assistance, so Dan’s plucky halfling Paladin climbed to the rescue. The crew had seen better days, as they’d been starving in the trees for some time. Just then a Zombie Girallon attacked, which the halfling had to fight up top by himself, as the ground crew were attacked by ghouls. Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer flew in, zapping beasties left and right.

A few more Zombie Girallons and lots of experience points later, all the noise attracted a lumbering Tyrannosaurus Rex, which ended up being main course for dinner that night. 

The party rested in the humidity, flies and the cacophony of the jungle all around them. In the distance, a high rock tower extended phallically into the sky, a wisp of smoke curling from its summit. “That’s one of the Firefinger towers,” said Hew Hackyabutt, the redoubtable one-armed Scottish Dwarven guide. “There was once a network of those old towers across the Omuan kingdom, hundreds of years ago. Some of them still exist. They were used for signalling and messaging.”

“Experience points!” cried the meta-gaming party.

Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer bravely decided to lead the local Pterafolk away so the party could approach the tower undetected. Climbing up the tower ladder to the first cave opening, Mark’s Cleric successfully broke some rungs and ate the ground. Eventually the party got to the cave, which was infested with Giant Wolf Spiders. Dan’s halfling decided he just had to have one, and decided to wrestle and tame it to make it his mount. Steve’s Rogue decided to kill it (harsh words were spoken) and Dan ran off to grapple another. Dan’s halfling realised it’s not that easy to train a dragon, I mean wolf spider, but eventually it all came good. Meanwhile, Daniel’s Bard and Mark’s Cleric decided to leap/fall (badly) down a ten-foot hole. Steve’s Rogue decided to join them.

Jake’s Sorcerer very coolly led one of the Pterafolk to its doom, straight into the side of the tower.

The party fought with the Pterafolk on the ledge in a pretty rough battle, then decided to climb down the tower to rest. That’s alright, I’m sure no one noticed all that stuff happening or all the noise from spells and the like…

Week 10

After resting the party headed back to Firefinger. Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer flew up to the top to draw a few Pterafolk away, only to find that they had disappeared. Meanwhile, Dan’s halfling Paladin used his wolf spider mount to climb the walls easily to the first level, and Daniel’s Bard and Steve’s Rogue followed up the first ladder. Climbing up the chimney to the second level, Dan’s halfling was swarmed by Stirges, which also took a liking to the rogue and bard. Jake’s Sorcerer managed to kill all of the Stirges using a few well-placed Shatter spells. Unfortunately, Dan’s mount was shattered as well.

Climbing up to the next level, the party encountered more Pterafolk. After zapping one, Jake’s Aarokocra Sorcerer experienced a wild magic surge and he lost all his feathers. Plunging to the ground, he grabbed the ladder which then started pulling off the wall. Meanwhile, Dan’s Paladin crit failed and cut open the bag containing his reversal stone, which reversed gravity and sent everyone up to hit the roof, except for Daniel’s Bard who flew up in the air and out of potential combat. Jake’s Sorcerer managed to climb down to the first level and then sat naked and humiliated for a long time.

Dan’s paladin and Steve’s Rogue fought more Pterafolk, and found Morgan’s Tabaxi Fighter, a prisoner who freed himself and then recovered his weapons to fight the last Pterafolk on that level. He had been held captive by the Pterafolk after his party were killed exploring Chult for the very same Soul Monger that this party was after. Nice segue, new player!

Climbing up to the top level of Firefinger, the party (sans Jake’s Sorcerer) confronted the last three Pterafolk (Daniel’s Bard creating a giant nightclub bouncer from his phantasmal force spell to prevent one of the Pterafolk from leaving). Soon the pterafolk were no more – treasure was gained, including a magical mask of the beasts, which Dan’s paladin initially didn’t want, but then found out that it makes animals your friends (DOH!). Daniel’s Bard ended up with the mask. From the top of Firefinger, they could see the ruins of Nangalore. A good choice for their next experience point-accruing destination.  

A long rest, then off to the Monkey Bridge, where the party defeated a Stone Golem, which turned out to be their biggest challenge yet!   

Next time: The ruins of Nangalore!

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Winged but Won’t. A haiku.

See them spread their wings;
The implicit irony
Is they never fly.

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.

Essence. A poem.

The essence of your smile
Wrought with heavy heart
And tempered word
Would smite me where I stand
And deliver me to chaos
Where misdirected logic floats
Wildly on a sea of chance

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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