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Laidback DM Social Media Links

Hi all,

If you’re looking for me on social media, you can find me at these links:

Website: https://stevestillstanding.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LaidbackDM

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stevestillstanding/

Mastodon: https://dice.camp/web/@laidbackdm

Twitter: https://twitter.com/stevestillstand

DrivethruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/

Onward!

Steve, Laidback DM

Free OSR Map: Serpent Tombs

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 Old School B&W map I drew a few years back comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry!

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.

Out of the Abyss 2020: Sessions 12-13

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017, and the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign from 2018. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another campaign – 2020’s ‘Out of the Abyss’. Each session was approximately 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing, but 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 🙂

Session 12 – The Lost Tomb

The party delivered Droki to the Stone Guards, got to replace their Drow armour and weapons with regular ones and everyone headed off to see the Stone Giants. Hgraam met them and gave the party a summary of all the information he had given before (Stone Giants must be like elephants) and added that the party should speak to Dorbo and Senni Diggermattock, leaders of Blingdenstone, the Deep Gnome colony. “They will have contacts in Mantol Derith, a trading outpost in the deep dark. Perhaps from there you will be able to find your way to Archmage Vizeran and the Library of GrayvenHollow to find a way to defeat this demonic incursion.” Hgraam gave everyone a…rock…and said it would serve them in their time of need.

Leaving the city after a long rest, the party had a choice of going to Neverlight Grove or Blingdenstone. They chose Neverlight Grove to drop off Stool and Rumperdump, who wanted to return to their home. The party travelled for three days through the Underdark tunnels, encountering Duergar traders and some Derro and Deep Gnomes from Blingdenstone, who provided a map showing a route to Blingdenstone.

The Glabrezu demon with the warpstone in its chest pursued the party briefly, but they escaped through a tiny side passage using pygmywort mushrooms.

A female voice called to them from a ravine. The party abseiled down, Mission Impossible-style, and found the entrance to a lost tomb. In they went, defeating several Spectres and a Wraith. They found lots of treasure and magic items, including Dawnbringer, a sentient sunblade which was the voice that telepathically called to them (Peter’s Rogue got that).

AND everyone advanced to 5th level – yay!

Next Week: Neverlight Grove…

Session 13 – Neverlight Grove

The party bought a pack lizard from some Svirfneblin (Deep Gnome) Merchants, which Jeremy’s Monk christened ‘Fifi’. They travelled to Neverlight Grove to take Stool and Rumpadump home.

At Neverlight Grove they fought a Shambling Mound and were introduced to Phylo and Basidia, dual Myconid Sovereigns of the colony (unusual, as Myconids usually only have one Sovereign per colony). Phylo seemed a bit strange, raving on about the “wondrous and glorious surprise” brought by the “Great Seeder”.

Basidia took the party aside and told them they were unsure of the strange behaviours and spores in the grove. They recommended the party not linger as other ‘softers’ similar to them came a few weeks ago and had not been seen since visiting the Garden of Welcome on the hill. Basidia asked for assistance to find out what was going on and took the party members to meet the leaders of the various Myconid Circles. Basidia explained that the Myconids usually all rapported together at the end of the working day, however Phylo had decreed that circles do so amongst themselves, and that only the circle leaders now rapported together (and strangely, Yestabrod, from the Circle of Masters, sent a representative in his place to rapport). This was bizarre behaviour as the Myconids shared a group mind/familial bond when they all rapported together.

The party killed 3 Grick Alphas to help out the Circle of Hunters. After meeting each of the circle leaders (some of which were a bit crazy, others not), they made their way up to the Garden of Welcome where they found a garden of Underdark races, including Drow, swallowed up by the earth and covered in fungal mushroom growths. One of the Drow declared that Zuggtmoy, demon goddess of fungi, was here!

Sudddenly, the mutated fungal creature known as Yestabrod appeared with 2 Drow Spore Servants and 2 Myconid Adults, declaring that “the Great Seeder would embrace them as one of the chosen!” 

Roll initiative…

Next Week: Showdown in Neverlight Grove and the Wedding Rehearsal…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Maps for Fantasy RPGs 6 is Available on DrivethruRPG!

Available at DrivethruRPG: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/

DMs 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.  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.

The solution: MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGs 6: a Digital Maps Package containing hand drawn, full color maps – 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: dark dungeons, spelljammed ships, ruined castles, temples, city boss lairs, cavernous caves, cutthroat-filled smuggler’s lairs and more!

Free Map: Lakeside Fort 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!

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.

Out of the Abyss: Sessions 10-11

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017, and the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign from 2018. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another campaign – 2020’s ‘Out of the Abyss’. Each session was approximately 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing, but 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 🙂

Session 10 – The Spectator & the Obelisk

The party awoke refreshed after a long rest in the dire den and decided to explore the areas left to them. Heading north, they found a vast and brightly lit cavern with a black metal obelisk and a dragon egg on a fire.

A Derro Savant, a bunch of Derros and a Spectator provided a good match for the party, with the Spectator’s eye powers paralyzing and frightening party members left, right and centre. Jeremy’s Goblin Monk bore the brunt of many attacks as he raced to the top of the mesa and was knocked unconscious twice. Josh’s Wizard had a long and determined fight with a wall and was so determined he (eventually) managed to climb it. It was down to Matt’s Cleric to finally kill the Spectator and the Derro Savant after the rest of the party softened them up (including a big crit hit by Peter’s Rogue on the Spectator).

Investigating the Obelisk, Josh’s Wizard decided to activate it with his magic and teleported Belinda’s Bard, Jeremy’s Monk and himself outside of Gracklstugh (luckily, they were in walking distance as they were pretty banged up from the battle). Meanwhile the others saw them disappear with only a wisp of smoke and assumed the worst. “So, let’s loot the dead,” said Matt’s Cleric in mourning. Rhyse’s Rogue, obviously grief-stricken over the loss of his party, desperately searched for the poisoned crossbow bolt he used (and missed with). “It’s the only Drow poison I’ve got!” he declared. At least he found it!

The teleported party members finally arrived at the gates of Garacklstugh and encountered a corrupt Gate Captain, who they immediately dobbed in to Stone Guard Leader Erde Blackskull (who was interested in incidents of corruption in the city). She asked them to find the Gate Captain’s contact on the Darklake Docks.

The three remaining party members rested, grabbed the dragon egg and made their way back to the city via the secret tunnel they discovered earlier, hired a cart and were all set to take the egg to the Keepers of the Flame when they ran into the missing party members. One quick reunion later and they all decided to long rest in their hotel under the Blades Bazaar.

Next Week: To find a Droki and the fate of the egg…

Session 11 – The Droki(n) Egg

After an interminably long discussion about what to do with the dragon egg, Belinda’s Bard and Peter’s Rogue went to see Themberchaud the Red Dragon and the Keepers of the Flame to find out who would offer the best deal. Themberchaud promised some potions (and not to burn them alive – he was quite persuasive in this regard) if they brought the egg to him. The Keepers were more interested in the location of the Obelisk in the Whorlestone Tunnels.

Meanwhile, Jeremy’s Monk and Rhyse’s Rogue were approached by some Drow in the bazaar, who questioned them about who they were (seems not all Drow run together, though; definitely a bit of rivalry going on there between Drow families) and then took off once the boys called for the Stone Guards.

The egg was delivered to Themberchaud, who promptly smoked it (not in a good way) and gave the party three potions and some garnets for their trouble.

While intercepting the corrupt gate captain’s contact at the Darklake Docks, two invisible assassins appeared and stabbed him to death while the party watched. So sad. The party followed the invisible dudes’ tracks down to the Whorlestone Tunnels, to an area they hadn’t been to before.

Discovering a cursed and demonic ritual taking place, the party did a lot of sneaking and, eventually, a lot of bloodletting (watch out for the green slime in that pit, Peter). Peter’s dog-loving Rogue tried killing a Death Dog, and eventually karma gave him a lightning bolt up the ass for being cruel to animals. Jeremy’s Monk knocked out Droki and Rhyse’s Rogue killed a big Ettin (split from crotch to neck – gross). Belinda’s Bard healed lots of people and discovered shatter was a really cool spell.   

The party worked out the ritual was to curse the stone giants – to drive them crazy by growing second heads (because, why not) – and by taking the second stone head from a statue used in the ritual back to Hgraam, the Stone Giant Speaker, they could stop the curse. They also found lots of treasure and potentially magic books for Josh’s Wizard and Matt’s Cleric to read.

Next Week: Book reading! Delivering Droki! The open road! (Well, as open as it gets in the Underdark…)     

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Cavern Dock

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’s perfectly sized at 1750 x 1750 (25 x 25 squares) for Roll20!

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.

The Goblin Jarl is Available on DrivethruRPG!

THE GOBLIN JARL is the 12th adventure in the SHOTGLASS ROUNDS series! This 66-page PDF adventure is compatible with both 5e, Old School Essentials (OSE) and OSR retro-clones based on Basic/Expert and includes 5e and full OSE monster stats!

THE GOBLIN JARL is for 2nd-Level characters and can be played as a One-Shot or as the second adventure in the DUNGEON DUUMHAVEN series.

THE GOBLIN JARL includes:

  • 11 new monsters, including new Goblin and Hobgoblin types!
  • 4 new magic items, including the ancient dwarvish machinera armor
  • Bonus lore for Verona Province and the lost city of Shun-Zin!
  • Full color DM and Player maps!
  • Full OSE/OSR monster stats!
  • Full OSE/OSR and 5e rulings!
  • OSR rules for incorporating 5e rules into your favorite OSR system! 

So many different ways for your players to mold the story: all-out assault; quiet and sneaky infiltration; playing off one side against the other; pure exploration; raising their own goblin horde to take on the Jarl. And more!

Check it out now at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/413267/SHOTGLASS-ROUNDS12-The-Goblin-Jarl

Free Map: Desert 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, is perfectly sized for Roll20 (1750 x 1750 pixels, 25 x 25 squares) and can be used for face-to-face games or VTTs like 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.

Onward!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Out of the Abyss: Sessions 8-9

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017, and the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign from 2018. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another campaign – 2020’s ‘Out of the Abyss’. Each session was approximately 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing, but 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 🙂

Side Note: These sessions were the first time we ever played online as a group – all previous sessions were face-to-face. But, you know, Covid had just hit. I used Discord for audio and screen-shared maps and tokens in Photoshop, which I moved around manually on screen (tedious lol). I moved to Roll20 not long after we finished the Whorlestone Tunnels section of the adventure…

Session 8 – Whirling and Wending Their Way through the Winding Tunnels of Whorlestone

After a long rest in which Belinda’s Bard successfully shook off Grackle Lung, the party continued into the caves, dispatching two Carrion Crawlers and claiming a magical shield for Matt’s Cleric.

In the next cavern they met up with a bunch of dancing Myconids who offered them “the Lady’s Gift”, which the party declined. The head Myconid also told the PCs about the special mushrooms that grew in these caves that helped the user grow (Bigwig) or shrink in size (Pygmywort). One of Stool’s friends, Rumpadump, joined the party, advising he could guide them to Neverlight Grove, Stool’s home.

The next cavern was full of fungi trees and hard to move through, so the party backtracked to the original intersection, found some footprints leading north to clumps of fungi next to a narrow crack in the wall. The footprints led beyond, so the party consumed pygmyworts and newly tiny Rhyse’s Ratfolk Rogue scouted ahead. Eventually the party made its way through the fungi forest, finding the pygmywort ran out after an hour.

They discovered a cave with a strange mesa, where whispers of conversations from the city above filtered down. Matt’s Cleric picked up Droki’s crazed murmuring and discovered he was in the caverns north of them.

Shrinking down to go through another crack in the wall, the party found a corridor with big double doors, which Peter’s Rogue and Rhyse’s Rogue opened. Inside, a fungi garden tended by three Duergar. Sneaking north, the party found an alchemist’s lab, confronted the Duergar alchemist and Belinda’s Bard put him to sleep. They dispatched the three Duergar who responded to the alchemist’s calls. Looting the room, they found several magical potions, acid vials and alchemist’s fire flasks, as well as various kits, including a poisoners’ kit for Rhyse’s Rogue.

Waking the alchemist, the party discovered the Duergar were Grey Ghosts (the ones the Keepers of the Flame wanted to know about), that Droki delivered strange bits of black metal to them and that the Grey Ghosts were repairing a strange black obelisk in another section of the caves using the material. Belinda’s Bard was set on fire and beaten up by the alchemist, so Peter’s Rogue finished him off.

The party leveled up – 4th level!

Session 9 – The endless trails of the Whorlestone Tunnels

In the alchemist’s cave and fungi garden, Rhyse’s Rogue recovered some Assassin’s Blood ingested poison from some plants, then Jeremy’s Monk sprayed him with fertilizer leaving him a retching mess. The party found a tunnel that led to the Darklake Docks, then went back into the Whorlestone Tunnels to continue the search for Droki.

Trekking through the darkness, they came upon a swirling pool next to two paths. Taking the lower trail, Rhyse’s Rogue threw in a rock and disturbed the Water Weird there. Peter’s Rogue daintily tested the water before entering it to attack, for the first time Belinda’s Bard was tongue-tied while viciously mocking the beast (or as DM Steve said: “mockering”), and Josh’s Warlock/Wizard (who slept through last week) got to use his Eldritch Blast again.

Onto a cavern with locked up cave bears, a spiraling path used for some sort of ritual, and several Derro. The party once again efficiently disposed of the crazy little guys, but the cave bears went crazy and one broke out. Jeremy’s monk (or perhaps we should say Jeremy) was very upset that the bear he was feeding its derro master to (who had warped its brain with magic) should be enraged and try to attack him – go figure. The bears were all killed off and the party spent a long rest eating the first fresh meat they’d had since the lizards from the Duergar Wagon Train about a week ago. Mushroom lunches and dinners each day only go so far.

Further along, a cavern reeking of death and filled with faezress mist, where the PCs subdued a lone Derro, interrogated him and then threw him into the misty cavern below, where murky things were moving about below the haze. “Hands! Handsy, handsy, oof!” cried Handsy the Derro. 

Through the tunnels to a fungus-covered set of double doors, with a rusted lock that was apparently barred from the other side. No attempt to open it as everyone was in a rush to go somewhere else.

Onwards the intrepid adventurers travelled, determined to explore every nook and cranny. Into a dire den of Giant Spiders, where the king spider had two heads. Jeremy’s monk attempted to kill himself but survived, and Rhyse’s Rogue almost died attempting to harvest the spiders’ poison. His last roll was a 20, and he got one dose of giant spider venom! Yeehah!

A long rest and the party would be ready for the next gruelling session…

Next Week: More bumping and grinding in the Whorlestone Tunnels…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Slam 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 slammed-together dungeon map was an experiment with pen and pencil shading. It’s 1750 x 1750 pixels (perfect size for Roll20) comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or your fave VTT, such as 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.

Onward!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Tunnels and Lights. A poem.

Some short and some long,
A storied trail between stops.
The intransigent path
Remains dim as you plod.
Repudiated by walls
That batter your pride
As you wallow in thought
Through your long, lonely night.

Of hope and return,
Towards a beacon, twilight;
A promise eternal
At the end of the line.
The end to the tunnel
And the path that you’re on.
An end to your weary,
Inconsolable song.

Free Map: Beach Dock

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.

I drew this Beach Dock map for a home game a few weeks back. It’s grid-less and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry! At 1750 x 1750 pixels, it’s perfectly sized for Roll20‘s grid.

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.

DUUMHAVEN now available on DrivethruRPG!

DUUMHAVEN is the 11th adventure in the SHOTGLASS ROUNDS series! This adventure is compatible with both 5e, Old School Essentials (OSE) and OSR retro-clones based on Basic/Expert. It is the first SHOTGLASS ROUNDS adventure to include full OSE monster stats!

DUUMHAVEN is a 70-page PDF that includes Duumhaven Valley and Village, a fully detailed wilderness and town setting, complete with NPCs, new monsters and side-missions, plus an adventure for 1st-Level Characters – ALWAYS ON MY MINED – which can be played as a One-Shot or as the first adventure in the upcoming DUNGEON DUUMHAVEN series.

And all for $10 US! Unbeatable value! You can buy it now at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/408464/SHOTGLASS-ROUNDS11-Duumhaven

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Out of the Abyss: Sessions 6-7

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017, and the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign from 2018. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another campaign – 2020’s ‘Out of the Abyss’. Each session was approximately 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing, but 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 🙂

Session 6 – Coughing up phlegm in good old Gracklestugh sounds like my idea of a good time

After a long rest on the shore with dreams filled with giant two-headed demons and tidal waves, the party continued on to Sloopoopoododooo. On their way they ran into a boat of friendly Kua-Toa, who explained there was a religious schism in their home town and they needed the PCs to pretend to be sacrifices to fix it (as you do).

In Slooppoodododoppop, the PCs did some shopping at a convenient convenience store (dang – no toilet paper!) then pretended to be sacrifices as the head priest of Blipdoolpipdoolpoo took out the head priest of leeemooogooogon who just happened to be his daughter – small world. As the PCs fought the arch-nemesis priest (who was really just misunderstood teen going through a rebellious phase – how do you feel now?), a huge two-headed demon rose from the waters and started crushing Kua-Toa with its big tentacles. Well that was unexpected.

The party ran off after rescuing another potential sacrifice, a Duergar named G’an who turned out to be Mathew’s Duergar Cleric’s childhood friend, whom he left for dead in a mine many years ago. It didn’t help that Mat’s Cleric couldn’t remember his old friend’s name. A suitably strained reunion followed.

G’an guided the party to the dour and ash-filled air of the Duergar city of Gracklstugh by boat, arriving at Darklake Docks. The party made their way to the Grohlborn’s Lair, the only inn that accepts visitors (seems the hard working Duergar don’t really like anyone who isn’t them – yet another example of the Underdark’s rampant isolationism). Two terrible performances by Belinda’s Half-Sireen Bard and Jeremy’s Goblin Monk later and the party ended up paying for the night (“no soup for you!”). Overnight, Rhyse’s Ratfolk Rogue, Josh’s Tiefling Warlock/Wizard and Jeremy’s Monk contracted Grackle-lung, an insidious disease the Duergar are immune to – cough!

Off to the Blades Bizarre to shop and a crazed Stone Giant with two heads crashed through the gate. Once the giant was put down another Stone Giant appeared, explaining the giant went mad and was in two minds (not just a metaphor). He invited the PCs to visit Cairngorm Cavern where the other Stone Giants lived (they worked alongside the Duergar). Perhaps there the party could gain some info about the demonic incursion that seemed to be happening.

Duergar stone guards interviewed the party as some Drow from House Mizzrymrymblestein asked for the PCs to be turned over. The Duergar told the Drow where to go and took the party to Overlake Hold, where Captain Errde Blackskull (I hear she’s a barrel of laughs at parties) recruited them to track a Derro – an insane gnomish race – named Droki and find out how he had been evading the guards. She also wanted the party to report incidences of corruption and craziness in town, to which they provided a few examples. The PCs were given badges to access the south of the city and Laduguer’s Furrow where all the Derro lived.

Next Week: Why light your fires using a tinder box when you can use a red dragon? So, this is the Cleft, eh? Is that a Stone Giant in your pocket or are you just happy to see me?

Session 7 – Having a Whorl of a time in the Whorlestone Tunnels, wish you were here

After a long rest the party rose to find Jeremy’s Monk and Josh’s Wizard had recovered from Grackle-lung, with Belinda’s Bard now coughing up buckets of black phlegm. A brief shopping sojourn in the Blade Bazaar and then off through the gates to the Southfurrow district, where only Duergar were allowed to go (luckily the party had official badges they could flash). The now popular party was stopped on the bridge by the Keepers of the Flame and recruited as mercenaries.

Through to Cairngorm Cavern where the stone giant Stonespeaker Hgraam listened to their stories of woe and pronounced that the demon they encountered in Slooppoerfuporupeman was Demogorgon, demon prince of the Abyss – if he was in the Underdark it did not bode well. The faezress was playing up and the demonic influence might well be driving creatures insane. Hgraam advised the party to seek out the Archmage Vizeran, who knew how to deal with demons. His tower lay beyond the Drow city of Menzoberranzan. Hgraam mentioned there was something special about this party, but didn’t say what. “Go to Blingdenstone. There you will find Yoda, the jedi master who trained me…”              

Hgraam pointed out Josh’s Wizard and mentioned he was looking for something – aside from more spells for his meagre spell book, that is. The Stone Library of Gravenhollow, which lay beyond Mantol-Derith – “You aren’tready for its secrets yet, but in time…”

Off to see the Keepers of the Flame and a run in with Themberchaud, the overweight Red Dragon who stoked the Gracklestugh furnaces. He asked the party to be his agents and do what the Keepers asked them to do, but to report to him first. The party met Peter’s swashbuckling Rogue, who immediately joined a bunch of complete strangers on their quest (because that’s what you do in D&D world).

The Keepers of the Flame asked the party to investigate the Gray Ghosts, who stole a precious dragon egg from them that they were planning to raise as a replacement for Themberchaud. Also, the head of the Keepers believed the Gray Ghosts were responsible for all the craziness in the Underdark and for the party to find the source of that power. Droki was apparently a contact for them (I guess Droki did everything in this town ‘cause everyone was after him…)

Off to the West Cleft District, where the city’s strange Derro population lived in squalor. Through the gates, asking questions, fighting the Moon Beamers – ass-crack flashing hoodlums – a quick interrogation using Jeremy’s Monk’s “barracuda” and the party arrived at the entrance of the Whorlestone Tunnels, where Droki was seen previously.

Never ones to hang around and wait, into the tunnel with Rhys’s Rogue paranoid about stalactites. A side cave turned up G’an (who went missing earlier that day), who confessed he was now a serial killer with his own little shrine (all Matt’s Cleric’s fault, of course). Six skeletons arose and the fight was on. Matt’s Cleric managed to turn half of them and the rest of the party managed to take out G’an, but not before Peter’s Rogue was knocked unconscious.

The ghost of Pelek rose from the floor and asked the party to return his missing crawling hand (recognisable by its obsidian ring, NOT by the fact it was crawling around) to Blingdenstone. “There you will find Yoda, the jedi master who ALSO trained me…”

Peter’s Rogue managed to raise his hand: “Guys? Bleeding to death here…”

Next Week: Deeper into the Whorlestone Tunnels. Will Jeremy get to show his barracuda again? Will the party recognise Pelek’s hand (because there are sooooooo many crawling hands out there)?    

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Small Fort

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, measures 1750×1750 pixels (perfectly sized for Roll20) and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry! Use it for the local baron, a lair, the heroes’ home or anything you want!

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.

Out of the Abyss: Sessions 4-5

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017, and the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign from 2018. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another campaign – 2020’s ‘Out of the Abyss’. Each session was approximately 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing, but 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 🙂

Session 4 – A Horde of Shannon Gnolls…

A bunch of Gnolls in pursuit of two Hook Horrors ran past the party. More Gnolls came up behind them and the fight was on! Josh’s Wizard/Warlock hit something other than a wall for the first time and was well pleased. After the party dispatched the first group, another two hordes appeared. The party decided discretion was the better part of valor and ran for it.

Meanwhile, the Glabrezu Demon with the glowing crystal in his chest, whom the party had spotted ripping into a Duergar caravan entrée (let’s call him Guy Sebastion, for good measure) appeared and made mincement of one of the Gnoll groups (he obviously thought they were Shannon Gnolls). Then Guy spotted Jeremy’s Goblin Monk and started to chase – shame the tunnels got too small and too tight for him. “Next time, my sweets!” Guy cried, shaking his fist. Or something like that.  

Meanwhile, the party worked their way through some tunnels, skillfully avoiding a corridor with the two dead Gnolls, melting away because of some gloop that dropped on them. The other tunnel had a few Piercers – one took out Belinda’s Bard and the other KO’d Rhyse’s Rogue. Luckily Matt’s Cleric and Jeremy’s Monk were on hand to revive them (Jeremy’s Monk skillfully dodged falling green slime to get to them).

Out of the rabbit warren and onto a new tunnel, which collapsed on both sides of the party! Out of the dust and smoke frying pan and into a side corridor…also known as the fire.   

Next Week: The Oozing Temple… and maybe Slooopooobudoopdpapppapuupooo. So, it’s all well and good when explorers want to escape the Underdark, but what happens when everyone is from the Underdark?

Session 5 – Suck it up, princess! And a watery end…

The party rested briefly in a cave off the side of the tunnel – above, a chimney rose up a hundred feet or so. Mat’s Duergar Cleric did the (stone-cunningly powered) climbing honors, getting up to halfway and finding an offshoot tunnel filled with Stirges! Jeremy’s Goblin Monk got up there with him and both got unpleasantly sucked. Meanwhile Josh’s Tiefling Wizard/Warlock, Belinda’s Half-Sireen Bard and Rhyse’s Ratfolk Rogue picked off the Stirges at range (with Rhyse bravely hiding behind Belinda and Josh heroically standing in front of everyone, just in case).

Everyone climbed up the chimney and into the tunnel. Jeremy’s Monk found a glowing magic shortsword in a pile of stirge-guano. Meanwhile, water was starting to flow down the tunnel. Rhyse’s Rogue had a chat with some Giant Rats running away from the water and telling him the obvious: “water coming!” Further up the corridor after checking out some leaky cave ceilings, the party fought an Ochre Jelly which conveniently split into three before it was dispatched. A final climb up another chimney as the water reached 5 feet deep. Rhyse’s Rogue made climbing that chimney his personal vendetta after falling 5 or 6 times. Up top and Shushaar the Kua-Toa guide realized they were at the Darklake, a vast network of underground tunnels and unfathomable depths (really? In the Underdark? what a surprise) except this time they’re full of – you guessed it – water.  

After a long rest on the shore, filled with nightmares of creeping tentacles and horror-filled landscapes (or maybe someone just farted in the night), the party found a stand of zurkhwood mushrooms to make into a raft. Jeremy’s Monk and Rhyse’s Rogue (“We ain’t building no raft!”)  killed a couple of Giant Spiders a mile down the beach. Meanwhile, back at the raft-building BBQ, a bunch of Kua-Toa on a boat (who must have smelled the snags) approached the beach reeeeeaaaalllly slowly. They fiiiiiinnnnnaaaaaally arrived and (gasp!) weren’t friendly, taking out Belinda’s Bard and Matt’s Cleric with pointy spears and poorly thrown nets. Okay, maybe not the nets. Josh’s previously heroic Wizard had already decided discretion was the better part of valor and ran away before the Kua-Toa got to shore. He met up with the boys down the beach and came back to take their new raft to the water and chase the dastardly kidnappers. Lots of spears and bites later, Josh’s Wizard, Jeremy’s Monk and Rhyse’s Rogue saved their wayward and unconscious fellow party members, and got a free and better keelboat in the process. Hmmm – wonder why those Kua-Toa said they wanted sacrifices in the name of Leemoogooogoon?

A long rest later and the party was fighting fit and off to Slubooopoobppoppoooop, Shusar’s home town, for some flavorsome home cooking and fervent religious confusion….

Next Week: Slooopooobudoopadupadooo. Home cooking and fervent religious confusion – Underdark-style! Guess who’s coming to dinner… 

Out of the Abyss: Session 2-3

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017, and the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign from 2018. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another campaign – 2020’s ‘Out of the Abyss’. Each session was approximately 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing, but 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 🙂

Session 2 (week 3) – Too Many Tunnels & Demons (T&D)…

Sean’s Warlock drowned in the pool. Larissa’s Elven Druid joined in his place, crawling from the pool with the rest of the party. The battle was still raging up above in Velkynvelve, so the party high-tailed it after Shuushar, the Kua-Toa pacifist, who seemed to know where he was going – and his town of Sluublopdopoulous was ONLY 8 days away. As they left the great chamber and entered the tunnels, they could just make out a Drow voice in the distance: “Vere have all der prisoners gone?” (a very poor and stereotypical German accent).     

Into the Underdark, an unimaginably vast network of labyrinthine tunnels and caverns, including faezress, the magical aura found in pockets throughout the caves and a primary ingredient of warpstones, the rocks treasured by Rhyse’s Ratfolk people. As the party made their way:

  • They discovered there’s not much food and water in the Underdark, but edible fungi are almost awesome. That ‘almost’ is actually a huge disclaimer.
  • A boneyard, where three skeletons were defeated. Belinda’s Half-Sireen Druid’s vicious mockery – “you’re not getting enough calcium” – unfortunately went astray, but would have cut to the bone (pun intended). Jeremy’s Goblin Monk salvaged enough bone for…bone gruel. Yummo!
  • Ascending a cliff, where Alex’s Paladin, the party’s best climber, almost made it to the top (but not quite). Ouch!
  • A split party, with Jeremy’s Monk and Rhyse’s Rogue wandering off to chase down a weird smell and possible warpstone, only to run all the way back when the smell turned out to be demonic
  • Running from Drow guards, with Matt’s Duergar Cleric using his “oh-I-can-use-this-for-almost-anything-in-the-Underdark” stone cunning ability to identify a weak spot in the tunnel and Larissa’s Druid and Josh’s Tiefling Wizard collapsing it in the nick of time.
  • Watching the slaughter of a Duergar trading convoy by a Glabrezu demon with a glowing warpstone in its chest, then descending from their vantage point and looting all the supplies. All weaponed up and ready to face the unknown. Yay! (That’s a lot of demons in two days…)
  • Meeting Yuk Yuk and Spiderbait, two Goblin guides who the party decided to double-cross after they showed them how to get across the Silken Paths, a 2000-foot wide chasm covered with spiderwebs.
  • Just 60 feet into the paths and giant spiders are on their way to say hello…

Meanwhile, the Drow are only 3 hours behind the party…

Next Week: More running in the Underdark! Spiders and more spiders! Will the Drow catch the party? Will everyone vomit after eating bone gruel?

Session 3 (week 4) – Websinging and Chasm Breakdancing…

On the Silken Paths, Belinda’s Half-Sireen Bard used speak with animals to sing and persuade the giant wolf spiders to chase after Spiderbait, the Goblin guide who lived up to his name…

The party took out three Darkmantles, fighting in darkness while trying to retain their balance on the web path. Rhyse’s Ratfolk Rogue was choked by one but successfully sliced it off and kept some for dinner.

More spiders – Belinda’s bard managed to persuade two to crawl away after Spiderbait and put one to sleep, but the remaining five fought the party and came out second best. Jeremy’s Monk saved a spider leg (it’s the best bit of the chicken – um, spider). Vicious Mockery became the bard’s preferred weapon.

A chest wrapped up in the webs – “I bet that’s a Mimic,” said Alex’s Paladin. So off he went to grab it, got stuck to it, and lo and behold – it was a Mimic. Lots of shooting and blasting later and more food for thought (and for the party).

At the end of the Silken Paths, the party very graciously let Yuk Yuk and Spiderbait live, paid them for their troubles and even topped up the payment with a little bribe not to tell the Drow where they were headed.

A well-earned long rest on a secluded ledge, some fungus and Darkmantle for dinner (yum!) and then into the Underdark tunnels again.

Into a cavern with a chasm down the middle and very narrow ledges on both sides. As the party edged their way down one side, a section of their ledge collapsed and Alex’s Paladin fell almost 30 feet before grabbing on to a handhold (his bad experiences with cliff faces might develop into PTSD). Drow scouts appeared on the other side of the chasm and started shooting crossbow bolts! Belinda’s Bard was knocked unconscious by Drow poison. Alex’s Paladin climbed up to the ledge the other side of the break, and Jeremy’s Monk fell off as he scooted quickly around and through the rest of the party – he had some trouble climbing back up, but eventually got there. Rhyse’s Rogue sniped the Drow from his prone position. Josh’s Wizard withstood Drow poison and peppered the opposite wall, hoping to collapse it, but it was Matt’s Cleric’s guiding bolts that took out the other ledge (obviously channeling his stone cunning ability there) and sent most of the Drow falling into the abyss below. But more were coming, and the party had to get Belinda’s unconscious bard across the 10 ft. wide break in their ledge. Lots of rope and PCs bemoaning they weren’t strong enough later and Belinda’s bruised and battered bard was pulled up over the ledge side by Alex’s Paladin and Jeremy’s Monk. “Why am I so bruised and beaten,” thought Belinda’s bard. The party got away in time, but the Drow were obviously fast-moving and still on their trail…   

Later, the PCs saw two Hook Horrors running across an intersection, pursued by Gnolls. “We don’t need that hassle,” said Jeremy’s Monk, but as the party crossed the intersection to move forward, more Gnolls appeared from the side entrance…       

Next Week: Gnolls! More high-tailing it in the Underdark! Drow! More fungus for dinner! And somewhere along the way, the semblance of a relevant plotline…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Out of the Abyss: Session 0-1

Hi all,

I previously posted some warts-and-all email summaries of the ‘Curse of Strahd’ campaign I ran in 2017, and the ‘Tomb of Annihilation’ campaign from 2018. CoS was the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Here’s another campaign – 2020’s ‘Out of the Abyss’. Each session was approximately 4 hours long. Some of the summaries may be amusing, but 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 🙂

Out of the Abyss – Session Zero

Most of the PCs didn’t know each other, but all were brought together by a common experience: captured by Drow while venturing through the Underdark (or as I prefer to call it, the Underdaks). Taken to an outpost called Velkenvelve (gotta love those Drow names) to await transfer to the Drow city of Menzzomenzawhatsadrin (yeah, sounds legit), the PCs are forced to undergo…menial chores and laboring (gasp!). And there are other prisoners here, lurking in the darkness at the back of the prison cave…

The evil (or just somewhat misunderstood) Mistress Ilvara, high priestess and commandant of this outpost, is not only hot but loves whips and chains. Unfortunately, she loathes prisoners. Shoor, her right-hand Drow, seems a bit sycophantic, but maybe he just has mummy issues. Scarred Jorlan, her former lieutenant, seems to snarl and look mysterious a lot.

During their time here, most of the PCs have acquired a little something to help them while away their days. Or escape. Or just stay put, if they prefer. A rusty crowbar, a spider, a gold piece (yep, that’ll work as a bribe), a crossbow bolt with Drow poison on it, a set of Underdark Encyclopedia Britannicas…okay, maybe not that last one.

Next Week: The adventure officially begins! Who will escape Velkenvelve? Who will be taken to Menzomatsowhatsamacallit? Will Jeremy spend that single gold piece? All these questions will be answered, and more…or less…

Session 1 (week 2) – A Bridge Too Far

Welcome to the dim and dark Drow outpost of Velkenvelve, where Drow watch, Quaggoths work, giant spiders crawl and slave prisoners empty chamber pots. The PCs found themselves in an endless cycle of Drow chores as they sought a way to escape. They got to know each other, with the party expanding to include Belinda’s halfSireen Bard – like a siren from the sea, but with an extra ‘e’, combined with a human – and Matt’s Duergar Cleric, whose pet rock was also his god, but had been taken by the Drow.

A couple of other prisoners were present in the prison cave: Shuushar, a pacifist Kua-Toa; Stool, a childish Myconid with telepathic spores; and Derendil, a polymorphed Quaggoth who used to be an Elvish prince.

While Jeremy’s Monk was beaten by Drow guards as a distraction and Matt’s Cleric looked on sheepishly (wishing he had his rock back – the voices, the voices…), Belinda’s Bard enthralled a guard and gained access to the Shrine of Lolth. Underneath was Mistress Ilvara’s chamber, with a huge chest that looked like it might hold all of the PCs’ gear. Well of course it will.

Meanwhile, cleaning floors in the barracks afforded an opportunity for Rhyse’s Rogue to steal a set of keys. Back in the prison cave, a plan was forming. Using a scale map the party had drawn on the wall using their own excrement, the PCs created an elaborate plan. And then decided to use the keys to open their manacles, the gate and then storm the guard tower. Quietly, of course.

After murdering some poor Drow in their sleep (they’re people, dammit! People!), they found themselves in battle with some more Drow, whose exciting game of the immensely popular Underdark card game Drowdydoo was rudely interrupted by the sounds of the not-so-silent deaths of their sleeping comrades. Sean’s Warlock, moving at spell-induced superspeed, made it upstairs to the armory where he grabbed lots of gear. Matt’s Cleric’s job to cut the rope bridge once the party were over didn’t go to plan as he realized he was actually a terrible (spell) shot.

Then came the darkness, cast by a Drow over the bridge. With no one able to see inside the room, people fumbled about – Josh’s Warlock-but-soon-to-be-wizard-without-a-spellbook, after testing his eldritch blast abilities on bridges and wood and failing epicly, went up to the armory to grab some gear, then fell down the stairs. It just wasn’t his night. To top it off Sean’s Warlock fell on top of him. Is that a sword or are you just happy to (not) see me?

Alex’s Dragonborn Paladin showed up Matt’s Cleric by frosting the bridge with his White Dragon breath. Matt’s Cleric, rather miffed that someone else could do his job, gave the bridge a huge blast and almost took it out. Rhyse’s Rogue finished the job and down it went, with the Drow and Quaggoths on the other side cursing the party’s unknown names. A great team effort against a worthy foe – a rope bridge, which turned out to be the big bad of this particular adventure…

Meanwhile, Drow were coming from the other direction and life was looking shorter by the minute. Suddenly, some crazy (maybe drunk) demons flew in, fighting amongst themselves. The Drow were a bit surprised by this and, like any good nightclub bouncers, responded to remove the unruly patrons. Several of the party grabbed some weapons and armor, then everyone (including Shuushar and Stool) threw themselves over the waterfall into the pool below…

Next Week: On the run in the Underdark! Will the party face more evil bridges? Will the game of Drowdydoo become more popular than Drokemon? All these questions answered, or not…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

We Fly. A poem.

We fly in dreams
Conjoined and collected
At heights that might
Call lesser souls
To vertigo

Against winds
Of time and tide
Churn and change
We soar and swoop
Like angels on the wing

And grasp and grope
In the vainest of hopes
That we not lose
Ourselves to eternity

(A deprivation endured:
Unbearable, yet bearable
Evinced and convincing)

Let us fly free
Until this mortal dream
Sheds its final solemn tear
And then, is finally closed

For more poetry, click here.

Again. A poem.

And just as quickly
As we fanned the sparks
And the flames licked
And careened across
Our forms unsubtle
The light expired
As we doused the wick

And thoughts heavy
With hyperbole
Angst and fear
And honesty
Fell on deafened ears
Once dear to me

I turned away
I shouldered blame
And dreamed of you
Just one more time
Again

For more poetry, click here.

MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGs 4 & 5 Available at DrivethruRPG!

Hi all,

Maps for Fantasy RPGs 4 & 5 Digital Maps Packages are now available on DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/Laidback-DM/subcategory/31533_39605/Digital-Maps

DMs 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.  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.

The solution: MAPS FOR FANTASY RPGs 4 & 5: 2 Digital Maps Packages, one containing hand drawn, OSR-style B&W maps and another containing hand drawn, full color maps – 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: dark dungeons, unexplored wilderness, frozen tundra, ruined fortresses, temples, haunted mines, massive tombs, cavernous caves, lava-filled caverns, cuthroat-filled river boats, dangerous lairs, underdark ruins and more!

Maps for Fantasy RPGs 4 & 5 Digital Maps Packages are now available on DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/Laidback-DM/subcategory/31533_39605/Digital-Maps

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Free Map: Deep 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 Deep Caves map is to thank everyone who has supported my Duumhaven Kickstarter so far! You can find out more at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-11-duumhaven!

The 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.

Onward!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Free Map: Steve’s First Old School Isometric Map!

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. And guess what? This is the FIRST EVER isometric map I’ve made, and I’m a bit proud of it.

This map comes with a grid and can be used for face-to-face games or Roll20, Fantasy Grounds, or Foundry (you might have to fiddle with your VTT options to set up isometric grids).

Laidback Mine

The old mine has been sealed up for a few years…um, centuries… and while no one was looking, strange critters crawled up from below after an earthquake. Now, they’re everywhere, and only YOU can get them out…

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: Underdark Side-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, perfectly sized for Roll20 and can be used for face-to-face games and Fantasy Grounds or Foundry!

Underdark Side-Temple

While traveling through the vast and forbidding Underdark, your party comes across a mysterious temple, hewn from the cavern rock with a giant demonic statue at its heart. Do you dare enter? What secrets does it keep? Is it still used as a temple, or has it been abandoned? And if it is still used, where are the statue’s worshipers?

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.

Kal-Zar’s Bane 4: Bane’s Requiem Available in Print and PDF!

SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane 4: BANE’S REQUIEM is the sequel to the successful Shotglass Adventures: TITANOTHAE RISING Kickstarter and the final book in the Kal-Zar’s Bane Quadrilogy!

Published under the OGL, compatible with 5e and easily-convertible to many OSR fantasy role playing games, SHOTGLASS ADVENTURES – Kal-Zar’s Bane 4: BANE’S REQUIEM is 154 pages of adventures that can be played as One-Shots or as the last module in a four-part campaign.

What’s in the Book?

  •  7 full-length, lavishly illustrated adventures for characters from 11th – 14th level, the adventures include an inter-planar rescue, dungeon crawls, puzzles, mini-games to be completed to gain an audience with the King of Thunar-Zin, a battle to save the city of Gravis Town and a final showdown with the Big Bad! Designed for flexible delivery, each can be run as part of the Kal-Zar’s Bane campaign, or as a One-Shot. Every adventure has both Campaign-specific and One-Shot-specific hooks. The One-Shot hooks ignore the campaign sub-plots so you can run each adventure as a one-off for your players – slot them into your existing campaign or run them as separate side quests!
  •  New rules for the Battle for Gravis Town – for playing the the allied armies versus the Bane Army Horde! 
  •  Puzzles and Mini-Games, including increasing attendance at the S’und Day Festival and the mad entry puzzles to Sha-Din’s Tomb!
  •  Campaign Wrap Up – finishing up the Kal-Zar’s Bane campaign, with suggestions for the future of the campaign and world and new adventure seeds based on multiple outcomes! 
  •  Loads of hand-drawn, full-color maps – caverns, dungeons, tombs, inter-planar space, city streets, sewers, a desert plain and a Dwarven city! 
  •  33 new monsters & NPCs, including the frightening, level-draining N’etherwyrm, the horrifying Bane Lord, the fog-like Effluvium, inertia-draining Spirit Golem, super-skilled Kalzarist Special Ops teams, the lightning-fast Ozagu and voice-mimicking Unseen Ooze! 
  •  19 new magic items, including ancient artifact, the Axe of Thunar-Dal, paralysis-inducing Demon’s Breath, explosive Ice GrenadesThe Vostok  (a flying longship) and the mammoth Titanothae! 
  •  Towns, villages and region settings, including Gravis Town, the Dwarven Shield City of Thunar-Zin & the Sha-Din Plain! 
  •  Expanded Lore + Map of Verona Province (including the Frozen North) – expanded lore for the world of the Invician Empire  and Verona Province, the frontier setting for  Shotglass Adventures! PLUS every single Laidback DM adventure listed and mapped for your convenience!
  •  Guide for running the adventures with OSR systems!

You can buy it now in PDF or softcover on DrivethruRPG at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/399888/SHOTGLASS-ADVENTURES-BANES-REQUIEM

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Beacon. A poem.

Here I lie
Across the miles
from your ordered life
Formally informal thoughts
And elegant surprise

Beauteous and wise
Fettered ofttimes
By perspective and abstraction
But sharp, never dulled
A knife keen and true

And like you
I find myself longing
To be held and revealed
In such a forgiving light

Whose longing and fire
A gleaming beacon
Shining from on high

Desire to be matched
By nothing less
Than mine

For more poetry, click here.

Life in a Faded Moment Available in Print!

Hi all,

My fourth book of poetry, Life in a Faded Moment, is now available in hardcover and PDF at Drivethrufiction! Life in a Faded Moment is a collection of poems for all your fated and faded moments – poems about Love, Sorrow, Anger, Death and Life.

You can buy it at https://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/396390/Life-in-a-Faded-Moment

Cheers

Steve 🙂

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 37-40 (Campaign’s End)

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 37

The party was separated from each other. Davor’s Ranger met up with Dan’s old Halfling Paladin, who we last saw petrified in the gardens of Nangalore (a friendly party came by and restored him, and he made his way with them to Omu and the tomb. As expected, they were all killed and he was the lone survivor…), who met up with Daniel’s Bard and Clinton’s Fighter (still underwater). Dan’s Paladin cured the Fighter (and would cure Morgan’s Druid as soon as he had his next long rest).

Off to the long sloping corridor where they found a three-armed gargoyle statue and a crawlspace leading to a secret room with a giant rolling Stone Juggernaut. Dan’s Paladin and William’s Goblin Monk decided to climb all over it, activating it and causing it to roll over several party members in the corridor beyond. Eventually Dan’s Paladin recovered a 5000gp gem and the party escaped to die another day. 

Off to fight the Shambling Mounds in the hexagonal entry room, then to the next room where the party found five wardrobes, each of which had to be opened and the inhabitants fought in order to progress. Battles with Orcs, Mezzaloths, Will-O’-Wisps ensued. And they met a friendly Modron Monodrone, as well, who wasn’t much help but was cute. 

Next, one more cupboard to open…

Week 38

The party finished off the last wardrobe, battling a Bone Devil. Through the portcullis to a long corridor, where a magic ring in a devil’s head caused all clothing and metal to dissolve. Mark’s Barbarian ditched his weapons and claimed the ring to switch off the trap.

Beyond the arch was a huge Mechanus Chain, flowing between two interplanar vortexes. Realising jumping into a vortex might hurt a bit, the party went down the stairs into the den of the Sewn Sisters, a coven of night hags (who weren’t home). They encountered a feeble clone of Mark’s Barbarian, three dolls created from children’s souls that granted charms to the owners. After battling the Sewn Sisters (with Davor’s Ranger popping off to the ethereal plane twice to do so), the party moved onto the five doors, using the heads from the skeletons they collected.

Solving a puzzle in each of the rooms (including gaining some boons by eating magical food, destroying a Scarecrow servant and Davor’s Ranger using up his final etherealness to pull a ghostly lever), the party opened the skeleton gate and walked down the stairs into the room containing the Atropal and the Soulmonger!

Next week: SHOWDOWN! Don’t miss it!

Week 39

The party confronted the Atropal, a huge, gurgling and quivering mass of creature linked to the Soul Monger via an umbilical cord. Dan’s Paladin tried talking to it using his comprehend languages charm, but it wasn’t in much of a mood to chat. While Daniel’s Bard used her wand of wonder to cast a stinking cloud around the Atropal, Mark’s Barbarian broke the ice by literally breaking the Soul Monger’s shell. Dan’s Paladin used his smites to do massive radiant damage and Daniel’s Bard finished the crystal cylinder off with a cloud of daggers spell. The Soul Monger was destroyed, the death curse lifted from the world! 

Meanwhile, Clinton’s Fighter and Davor’s Ranger fought a wraith summoned by the Atropal, Morgan’s Druid successfully polymorphed the Atropal into a cat (meow!), but it changed back when it was hit by shards of the breaking Soul Monger. Fighting in a poisonous cloud ain’t fun, as Morgan’s Druid found out when he beast-changed into a giant eagle and flew into it. Mark’s Barbarian and Dan’s Paladin, along with Davor’s Ranger, finally took the Atropal down. Then the troubles began…

Acererak appeared, straight outta’ Compton! He showed what a 20th-level Necromancer Lich can do, spells-wise, zipping his sphere of annihilation around the room and using power word kill on Daniel’s Bard (yay for possessing spirit I’jinn’s temp hit points!), blasting the party with chain lightning, other nasty things and using counterspells. Mark’s Barbarian bravely confronted Acererak face to face, but was taken down, revived and then taken down again. Morgan’s Druid and Davor’s Ranger were taken out. Dan’s Paladin fled through the magic gate to another part of the dungeon, where he stabbed Artus Cimber (who was tied up in a bag on an altar, so naturally you’d stab him) and freed a Nothic he ended up fighting. Daniel’s Bard was frightened off but came back to revive Davor’s Ranger. Meanwhile, Acererak followed Dan’s Paladin, who made a run for a corridor and head butted a few walls before finding a way through to another room, where Artus Cimber was getting his gear on!

Phew! So much tension!

Next week: Will Dan’s Paladin survive? Will Artus get dressed in time? Will Mark’s Barbarian and Morgan’s Druid wake up? Will Acererak destroy the party and have his revenge for them killing the Atropal, his baby god, perhaps making a dreary monologue at the same time? The very final instalment of Tomb of Annihilation is next week! Same bat time, same bat channel!!!

Week 40

Dan’s paladin ran into Artus Cimber in Acererak’s library, which they promptly hightailed from via a secret passage and returned through the portal to the Atropal lava room. Acererak followed, raised some dead minotaurs and faced off against Mark’s Barbarian, who bravely sacrificed himself to leap with Acererak into the lava below!

Thinking it was all over, the party decided to go home, but Acererak, looking a bit lava-worn, dragged himself up and then had to face off against Clinton’s Fighter, Morgan’s Druid and Dan’s Paladin, who delivered the killing blow, pushing Acererak’s body over the edge into the lava (“And I would have gotten away with it, too, if not for you dang kids…” Acererak was last heard saying). I’jinn said goodbye to Dan’s Bard, dissolving his wonderful wand of wonder.

As in all B-grade movie endings, the place started falling apart, so the party ran heroically back to the portal to the temple and through a secret door to a black ooze pool that transported them to the obelisk outside the front of the tomb. Then the whole cliffside collapsed.   

After an uneventful return to Port Nyanzeru, the party were rewarded with magic items and the thanks of a grateful world. Or at least, a few bawdy ballads in the local inns. Mark’s barbarian received a statue in his honor, where his son eventually journeyed to pay his respects, only to be eaten by a Spinosaurus (Doh!). The rest of the party hopped a boat through the Bay of Chult, encountered the dragon turtle, escaped with very little dignity and eventually made their way back to the Sword Coast on another ship, pretending that incident never happened.

All’s well that ends well!

The END

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