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MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGs 3 Digital Maps Package Kickstarter is Live!

My new Kickstarter is live!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/maps-for-fantasy-rpgs-3-royalty-free-maps

The MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGs 3 Digital Maps Package contains more hand drawn, full color, grid and grid-less maps, each in 5 digital formats, and all royalty-free and ready to use in your next private or commercial print/digital/streaming project!

Designed to inspire you creatively, these maps are ideal for any situation – design an entire adventure around one, use a map as a fill in or one-shot, or ad lib entirely as your players stumble across one.  There are maps of all kinds: abyssal dungeons, enchanting fey grove, freezing mountains, massive tombs, haunted mines, cavernous caves, lost jungle temples, lava-filled boss dungeons, dangerous lairs, underdark bridges, ruined fortresses – even town/village temples!

You can click on the link below to be notified on day one!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/maps-for-fantasy-rpgs-3-royalty-free-maps

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 23-25

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 23

OMU! The last shrines! (Thank the Lord, they were getting tiresome lol)

Off to the amphitheatre went the party. An impromptu performance by Daniel’s Bard, and a number of deinonychus were awakened (and then fireballed by Jake’s new Wizard, who just happened to be at the amphitheatre to join the party). Then a couple of Tyrannosaurs, who made mincemeat of Davor’s Ranger. Then Daniel’s Bard remembered he had the mask of beasts. One friended and the other killed. Williams’s Druid tried on his Allosaurus wildshape form.

I’Jinn’s Shrine

William’s Druid in Allosaurus form decided to eat the Almiraj – yum! How to cross a complex floor pattern without getting stuck with poisonous arrows: Davor’s ranger just ran across, William’s Druid just spider-shaped it, Daniel’s Bard tried a door on the floor and then worked out the pattern. At the end of a maze, a room with a puzzle cube. Mark’s Cleric searched for secret doors and got a hidden swinging blade for his troubles. Davor’s ranger grabbed the cube.

Unkh’s Shrine

A shed full of keys! An almost dead Wizard of Thay! A convenient plot-device story about the last puzzle cube being taken by the Yuan Ti! The puzzle solved, but not before the Wizard was zapped by the Unkh statue.

Off to the Fane of the Yuan Ti! Some basilisks protecting the back door! Chloe’s Cleric bit the big one (that’s petrification, in layman’s terms) and so she’ll need a new character for next week (that makes six characters stoned in this campaign, so far). The only good basilisk is a dead basilisk! Why am I using so many exclamation points!

Next week: The Fane of the Deathly Serpent of Devious and Deadly Means! Sounds very Potter-esque…  

Week 24

Into the back door of the Fane of the Serpent, secret hideaway of the Yuan Ti and Ras Nsi!

At first, the party successfully deceived several guards and slavers to get to a storeroom with a giant intelligent snake. William’s Druid, who squeezed through a number of large tunnels to retain his Allosaur beast shape, couldn’t fit into the smaller internal tunnels and so the party backtracked to discuss how they would sneak in.

Jake’s Wizard decided to upset the applecart (what’s new). Never much of a team player, he got fed up with the party discussion, headed back into the caves and fireballed the Broodguards.

The big battle raged on! The party fought Yuan Ti Broodguards, a Yuan Ti Mallison and a Hydra. Now, resting in the slaver’s cave, they heard the noise of more approaching guards. Mark’s Cleric locked the doors and broke the key in the lock.

Next week: Fight the coming guards or exit the lair and try the front door? Or something else involving boats? Who knows…   

Week 25

The party tried to sneak out the back door of the Fane of the Night Serpent and ran into Ras Nsi and his many Yuan Ti followers.

After a quick change of underwear, the party negotiated a truce after learning that Ras Nsi was affected by an unknown wasting disease. Deducing that it was the Soulmonger curse, they were ‘hired’ by Ras Nsi to go to the Tomb of the Nine Gods (which he’s been protecting for Acererak without realising what the arch-Lich was up to) and stop the Soulmonger.

Each party member was given a magic item and they received the final puzzle cube. They all achieved 7th level!

Off to the Tomb of the Nine Gods, where they found an obelisk with a strange message and two entrances. After solving a puzzle, they found an amulet that took them to a hidden entrance. They solved the puzzle door, got past the floor trap (nice work, Morgan’s Rogue), killed a shadow demon hiding in a dark devil’s mouth (some great shots there, Davor’s Ranger), explored, got through a tomb and found a ring of protection (in which Dan’s halfling successfully avoided being possessed by…something), Mark’s Cleric lost his armour (rusted to bits on a magical statue), Dan’s halfling drank some necrotic water, Daniel’s psychotic Bard finally went all the way and turned Chaotic Evil, Orvex decided he’d had enough and nicked off, everyone pursued him, fought a bunch of wights and finally poor old Orvex met his maker when the Bard decided to go even further and turn cannibal (didn’t see that coming!). Phew! A lot happened this week!

Next Week: Deeper into the Tomb…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Mixed Metaphors. A poem.

My senses crucified
My weary soul
Your goal
To tear me down
Like posts at
A football riot
To pierce my veins
And brain
And heart
And leave me
Wallowing
A fish without
A sea or coast
So I might
Lose all sight
The blind amongst
The blind
Wandering
Nonsensically
On a whim
Or on a breeze
Listing aimlessly
Into the bay
Where this boy
Will rest
At piers
Annoyed
And anxious
Another toy
For you to
Cast aside
Into the Wild
And stormy sea
Along with
All the other
Mixed metaphors

For more poetry, click here.

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

Never But Always. A poem.

Next to you
Far from you

Like parallel
Dimensions

Existing
In quantum flux

Beside and yet
Aside

And never but
Always Distant

For more poetry, click here.

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

Visitor. A poem.

You thought you’d drop round and visit me
Bringing clouds and misery
To rain upon my weary door
And highlight my bleak history

You thought you’d walk here by my side
And plum the depths, right here inside
To cast a shadow over me
To drown me in the deepening tide

A visitor, that comes and goes
That wracks my thoughts with heady blows
And burns me like a funeral pyre
And leaves me spent, from head to toe

You thought you’d get away with this
By stealing all my heartfelt bliss
A pseudonym for hurt and pain
A sorry state that won’t be missed

For more poetry, click here.

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

Shotglass Rounds #8-10 now Available on DrivethruRPG!

SHOTGLASS ROUNDS are PDF-only One-Shots for 5e – they’re flexible, convenient, exciting adventures in a compact package that won’t have DMs spending hours preparing for their next game session.

Each One-Shot is designed for a 4-5 hour game and includes cool art, two new monsters, two new magic items, and full-size grid and grid-less maps.

The latest Rounds include three quests with dastardly pirates, sickening undead, evil underworld monsters, immortal Orcs and feathery dragons!

Get them now at DrivethruRPG, either individually or as part of the huge 10 Shotglass Rounds Bundle!

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Aftertaste. A poem.

You were here, then gone
A muse for just a while
A bittersweet, infuriating

Aftertaste

That lingers on my tongue
And in my thoughts
And lines

A subtle conclusion
To remonstrate
And redefine

An acidic fingertip
Dipped in ink
Burning tattooed lines
In heart and skin
In remembrance

Bygones be bygones
A dear song, loved long

My bittersweet
Infuriating

Aftertaste

You linger on

For more poetry, click here.

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

How and When. A poem.

I wonder now, what I would say
If you appeared some sunny day
Gracious in defeat/success
Never worst and never best

Olive branch or olive oil
To smooth the wayward ground
Words succinct and biting tongue
To hold me to account

And as I watched you go away
Wistful thoughts of now and then
Churning heart and roiling brain
Then and now, how and when

For more poetry, click here.

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

The Promise of All. A poem.

The promise of all
Of who, wherefore art thou
A macrocosm
Of possibility
A smile to turn
And shake foundations

With discord and deceit
Thrown away
As if the promise
Were nothing
But an empty box

How I do wish
For you to grace
My world again

The promise of all
A glittering thing
To envy and need

For more poetry, click here.

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

Random Dream. A poem.

I dreamed
Of walking arm in arm
Down a busy street
The catchment
For conversation and courtesy
Conspicuously avoided in reality

Where admonition and excommunication
Were not memories
But impossibilities
Frayed threads torn away
To never see the light of day

And I was blessed
To see and feel
How it should be
If only for a moment
In a randomly remembered
Dream

For more poetry, click here.

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

Free Map: Chasm Caves

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

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

Chasm Caves

What was here before the fall? A Dwarven forge? An ancient prison? Feeding pits? Only you and your players know for sure…

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.

Onward!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Lava Tomb

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

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

Lava Tomb

What’s better than a tomb filled with undead? A tomb filled with undead…and lava! Yep, lots of hot places for PCs to burn their butts while they battle wights, wraiths,vampires…heck, whatever you can think of!

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.

Onward!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Cold Cult Lair

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

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

Cold Cult Lair

Nothing like a lair high on a frozen mountain to stir the blood. The cultists found this deserted monastery and decided to use it for their own nefarious ends. It’s up to the PCs to stop whatever nasty thing is being raised from the dark. If the beastie breaks out, this becomes a clifftop showdown!

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

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

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Two Caves

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

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

Two Caves

The inhabitants of these caves have lived opposite each other for many years, one on a high shelf to the east and the other down a pit in the western cave. They mind each other’s business and just get on with life. The party might be looking for a nice quiet cave to rest in while that huge storm passes. I guess the creatures here aren’t fond of sharing their cave, but they do like free meals…

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

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

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Deep Temple

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

This map is grid-less and 1750 x 1750 pixels – perfectly sized for Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

Deep Temple

Deep in the Underdark, the ruins of an ancient temple, lost and forgotten for eons. Or is it? Something stirs even deeper below, rising from great maws and cracks in the earth…

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.

Want a FREE Digital Maps Package?

Sign up to my Mailing List to be notified about my Kickstarter Projects, new products and free giveaways, and I’ll send you a FREE Maps Promotional Pack!

Click here to sign up at https://stevestillstanding.com and get your FREE Maps Package today!

Black Dog Rain. A poem.

Its arrival was
Prompted with expectation,
But, like new year’s resolutions,
Fraught and overwrought
With impossible destinations.

Almost expectedly, the skies
Clouded with ash
And the dogged rain
Turned black;
Every footstep became
A baptism of fire.

A great darkness now
Lingered on the land,
Where once great beasts
Strode with weary confidence,
And evolution
Was but a whisper,
Millenia away


From the Black Dog Rain.

For more poetry, click here.

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

MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGs 2 Royalty Free Digital Maps Package is on sale NOW!

Available NOW at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/376180/Maps-for-Fantasy-RPGs-2

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

MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGs 2 – a Digital Map Package containing 20 hand drawn, full color maps in grid and grid-less versions – 100 CMYK Color/RGB Color, Full size Grid & Grid-less and VTT-size Grid-less 600 DPI JPEGs – royalty free and ready to use in your private or commercial print/digital/streaming projects

Available NOW at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/376180/Maps-for-Fantasy-RPGs-2

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 21-22

Hi all,

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

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 21

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

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

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

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

Week 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

Next week: Two more cubes! Or not!

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Ramp Dungeon

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

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

Ramp Dungeon

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

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

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

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

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Overgrown Ruin

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

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

Overgrown Ruin

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

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

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

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: River Caverns

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

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

River Caverns

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

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

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

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Old School Cavern

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

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

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

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

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

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 19-20

Hi all,

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

Game on!

Steve 

Week 19

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

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

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

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

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

Week 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Scurry Review

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summary

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

Do yourself a favor and check it out.

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

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

 

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

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

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

The PDF:

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

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

The Digital Maps Package:

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

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

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Sanguine Fire. A poem.

To burn again
In consequence
And revery
Of shared intent

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

For more poetry, click here.

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

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

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

The Book:

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

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

YOU decide what’s in your wilderness.

Every page is YOUR adventure.

The Digital Maps Package:

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

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

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

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

Onward!

Steve 🙂

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