Still. A poem.

I think of you still

And wonder whether you’re still you
Wandering through routine and habit and ritual
Each picture perfect rainy day in May
A pallet mix of awkward reds and blues

I should know better

Because hindsight is clearer in the rear view
Because everything that leaves us bitter
Must have happened for a reason, too
Or so it seems to someone looking back on me and you

But I still wax lyrically

Ponder what went wrong and how it came to be
And think just how good it was and how it could have been
If I hadn’t chosen the multiple choices that I did
Hadn’t opened our window and let the rain in

I think of you still

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Crash Course. A poem.

This is a crash course
In crash courses

(Life is funny
Like a cartoon
Slapstick, yet profound
And breaking your heart)

This is a crash course
And this train wreck
Is just about to start

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 6-7

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 6

The party was released from the prison cage in Dungrunglung by the Grung Tribe’s Shaman, so they could kill crazy King Groak. Steve K’s Rogue climbed over the vine-covered roof of the temple and leapt down on the good king to assassinate him while Daniel’s Bard and Dan’s Paladin performed a musical number for the various Grungs present. Unfortunately, Steve K’s Rogue’s dice rolls turned out to be pretty bad, so the fight was on!

During an extended battle in which Dan’s Paladin utilized Mark’s Cleric as a mount (because Dan likes to ride into battle and William’s beast shape-changing Druid was absent), Steve K’s Rogue’s dice rolls went from worse to worse, Davor’s Ranger underwent a CHA/CON crossover/sex change and Daniel’s Bard was knocked unconscious four times, being revived each time by Mark’s cleric.

Finally, King Groak and his loyal elite guards were dispatched. Mark’s Cleric recovered the king’s golden circlet. Outside the temple, the Tribal Shaman announced the good king was dead, to the cheering of many Grungs gathered outside. Rhoark went inside to find the circlet while the party hightailed it out of there. Discovering it gone, he commanded the Grungs go after the party. Mark’s Cleric, realizing it was the circlet they wanted, threw it into the crowd, who swarmed to get it. The party made their way out of the magical maze, avoiding a Grung patrol and pit traps, then made their way back to the ruin from the other day where they took a much needed long rest. Phew!

Faced with a choice of heading to Firefinger or going back to Yellyark, the party decided to go back to the goblins to show them they had dispatched King Groak as required. On the way to Yellyark they fought some Zombie Girallons and some immature Assassin Vines.

Next week: Yellyark! And off to Orolunga, home of the Guardian Naga! And maybe Camp Vengeance

Week 7

The party finally arrived back at Yellyark, where Queen Grabstab provided them with a Goblin guide to help find the lost city of Orolunga.

Battling through the jungle against Tri-flower fronds, Giant Crocodiles, Kamadan and Pterafolk, the party arrived at the overgrown ziggurat that was all that was left of Orolunga.

Ascending the ziggurat proved challenging, and required them to mimic the actions of some tiny Chwingas and hold orchids, a parrot feather and swallow a snake (Mark’s Cleric wasn’t very good at that!). Upstairs, the Guardian Naga Saja N’Baza informed them that the lost city they sought was Omu, that the evil Ras Nsi (remember him? He was the one responsible for the undead masses overrunning the land) was in the city and in league with Yuan Ti and that he must be destroyed. She also told them they should seek out the red dragon Tzindelor in the Wyrmheart Mine, who might be able to fly them there. Saja then gave everyone some temporary charms to help them on their quest, and conveniently teleported them a good 10 days travel south (ah, a convenient “let’s avoid some XP grinding” solution).

A battle with Giant Snapping Turtles later and the party was off for further adventures in the wet, humid and ever dangerous jungles of Chult.

Next Week: The Valley of Lost Honor! Fabled Nangalore! Death! Destruction! Dysentery!  

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

I Do. A poem.

I long for a reprieve
From life and death
Misery and regret

All the hooks
A chorus of fools
Making me sing along
As if I had a choice to

Oh, wait
I do

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Face to Face. A haiku.

Face to face, again.
Faced with reality, we
Shrink back in our shells.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Free Map: Behir Caves

Time for a free, hand drawn map! This one has no grid, perfect for Roll20 / Fantasy Grounds!

Behir Caves

I originally made this map quickly for a side-mission for my Phandelver’s Pact ongoing D&D 5e campaign (if you want, you can follow that group’s adventures on Twitter). At one point they lost their treasure to a Green Dragon in the ruins of Thundertree, which they later tracked and killed. Meanwhile, the maze-like underground lair the dragon adopted was taken over by two Behirs. When the party finally located the lair, they were quite surprised when they confronted the first Behir only to have the second turn up and attack them from behind! Oh, how they screamed in terror – I mean laughed – about that one.

Of course, I’m sure you have your own plans for this map…

For my game, those tunnels were about 20 feet wide, but as there’s no grid you can make them as wide or as narrow as 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.

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Purge. A poem.

Purge yourself
Of every eloquent dream
And existential monument
To what was and could be

Purge yourself
So your bulimic brain
Can watch those thoughts
Cascade down the drain

Purge yourself
For all the bad and good
It will and won’t do for you
So you can stand renewed

Purge

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Vacant. A poem.

Vacant look,
vacant head

If only I had dreams instead

To fill my airy,
vacant head

And put this emptiness to bed.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

F$&@ed Me Over. A poem.

You F$&@ed me over

And under
And in between

Just a waste paper memory
Consigned to a basket
Of inconsequence

And suddenly

I’m not there
And never was

I was just your forbidden fruit
Turned too ripe and rotten
For consumption

And suddenly

You F$&@ed me over

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

NEW Shotglass Rounds Adventures available on DrivethruRPG!

Need a One-shot Adventure for your next D&D 5e session?

SHOTGLASS ROUNDS are one-and-done, no fuss, no prep adventures for the busy DM. Lights, camera, maps, ACTION!

From Laidback DM, winner of the 2019 and 2020 One Page Dungeon Contests.

And for more Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg by clicking the link: https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989

Laidback DM Products on DrivethruRPG

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 4-5

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. Some of the summaries may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 4

Travelling to Dungrunglung took several days, in which Dwarvish NPC guide Hew Hackalot explained that the centre of Chult is filled with the remnants of the evil Ras Nsi’s undead army, which was disbanded after the aforementioned bad guy was soundly defeated after failing to capture the city of Mezro. “Good,” cried Mark’s Cleric. “We won’t have to worry about him, then!” Um—undead army?

The party came across a number of bodies staked out as warnings for anyone entering Grung territory, and a pack of nasty, carnivorous Ghouls feasting on the festering carcass of a stegosaurus. Steve K’s Rogue and Dan’s Halfling Paladin sneaked up on them, but Dan was discovered, attacked and knocked unconscious. Thinking he was about to die, Dan tore up his character sheet in a fit of pique (also known as a tantrum for adults), only to find out the rest of the party caught up and saved him. Time to write out that character sheet again… 

The party discovered an improvised ruin (just because), where several characters were overcome with an enticing Yellow Musk Creeper’s scent, and battled the plant and a number of Yellow Musk Zombies. Steve K’s Rogue made the worst series of saving throws in gaming history, leading to him standing around for most of the battle… Downstairs, in the murky darkness of the natural tunnels where jungle roots grew through the ceiling and provided nice monster hiding places, the party was attacked from above by several albino Su Monsters. Afterwards, theyalmost fell in quicksand and found a room where gravity reversed every few rounds. Across the room: a plinth with a mysterious, darkness-enshrouded crystal. Eventually, William’s Lizardborn Druid changed into a Giant Wolf Spider and traversed the walls with Dan’s Halfling Paladin roped to his back. The crystal was taken as Indiana Jones theme music played in the background.   

Week 5

This week Courtney (remember her from a couple of weeks in Curse of Strahd?) returned to the party as a Tiefling Warlock. After her party was wiped out in the steaming jungles of Chult, she stumbled upon the ruin where the party were camping. Having just lost Aron, the Wizard (his wife changed shifts and called him home, so he was teleported out…), they gladly accepted the Warlock replacement, no questions asked (as you do in the steamy jungles of Chult). Davor’s Ranger returned from a long kip, ready for action and experience points.

The mysterious crystal rock was a Reversal Stone from the plane of homebrew, which could be thrown 30 feet to create an area of reverse gravity. But how many times could it be used? “Bwah ha ha,” cackled the DM.

The party set off the next morning for Dungrunglunglunglunglung. On the edge of a valley overlooking the village, they discovered it was surrounded by an everchanging maze. They decided to wait for a hunting party to ambush. Unfortunately, Dan’s halfling paladin proved to be a hopeless shot with the reversal stone, only capturing five of the Grung hunting party in the reverse gravity field. The rest of the party fought another five Grungs, while Daniel’s Bard showed her true colours as a serial killer, eater and destroyer of all things remotely human or unhuman, by eviscerating most of the floating Grungs with several cloud of daggers spells, while performing The First Cut is The Deepest for them (they clapped as they died).  

In the meantime, the commotion attracted a number of Zombies, which the party also dispatched. The rest of the Grungs, seeing the gruesome handiwork of the Bard, decided to hightail it to the village, despite the valiant efforts of Mark’s Cleric to attempt to capture the leader using an illusion through which he could cast charm person (fail x 2!).

The party managed to capture one Grung, who revealed good old King Groak was a bit crazy and wanted to get it on with Nang Nang, the Grung’s goddess. There was another Grung called Rhoark who might help them overthrow the king. Meanwhile the Grung’s expletive-filled pleading for his life revealed a tower in the jungle called Firefinger, where a magic item resided that might help the party.

Back to the ruin for a long rest, then back to the overlook at Dungrunglung. The party were attacked by twelve Pteradons, then a huge swarm of Grungs with more trained pteradons. The party surrendered, chatted to Rhoark and persuaded him to help overthrow mad king Groak. The party were taken through the maze into the village, kept in the prisoner’s cage, and then released by the village’s Cleric so they can take on the king and his five bodyguards…

Next week: Role reversal, or floor reversal? I have a feeling the new magic item will be used again…  

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Recycle Me. A poem.

I, the scrap,
On a detritus field
Of tumbledown moments.
I, the waste,
Along with the stains
And bitter reprieves.
I, the torn,
Of paper cut truths
And angst-worthy solemnity.

I, the scrap
Rusted, bent, broken
And, finally, discarded.

Recycle me,
But without
The endless drama,
Bad decisions
And bitter irony.

So, I may
Be of use

Finally.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Salt Mine. A poem.

My salt mine
Is mine and mine alone
I’ll mine this salt
For all its worth
For it’s mine and mine alone
If I am worth my salt
If it’s all mine and mine alone
I’ll mine this salt
Until I’m done
With my salt mine

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Slip. A haiku.

Slip the knife in there,
Just between my ribs and soul.
Makes you feel good, eh?

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Black Dog Abyss. A poem.

When hope is lost –
Flushed, like paradise
Down a whirlpool
Of hyperbole

I embrace the coming
Riptide, let it drown me
In consequence
And swallow me whole.

“Back again,” I think,
As the undercurrent
Draws me down
Into my circuitous
Black dog abyss.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 2-3

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. Some of the summaries may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 2

The party was joined this week by Aron, playing a human wizard with a penchant for charm and magic missile spells.

Underneath the dark, humid streets of Port Nyanzaru, the party faced off against the deinonychus that sliced up their companion last week, and killed it. They then charmed two thieves, who led them straight to their den and boss. After some amazing performances by Daniel’s female Bard and Dan’s halfling Paladin from an improvised stage above crates of stolen goods, the thieves were dispatched (Steve K’s Rogue decided to burn the head of one in a brazier, just because). All the goody two shoes decided to return the stolen goods (but got some rations and a discount at the markets for their trouble). Taking the thieves’ leader to the local coppers didn’t help as they were apparently corrupt, releasing the leader not long afterwards. Doh!

The next day, the party slept in until 11:00, and was up just in time for the weekly dinosaur races. Dan’s Paladin rode an immature Tyrannosaurus to victory (for piddling returns – it was the favourite), and Mark’s Cleric managed to gamble all of his GPs away (very much in character). Stocking up on supplies, the party headed off into the jungle the next day with their guide Hew Hackinstone in the lead.

Rain is a regular thing in Chult, as was diarrhoea and vomiting for Davor’s Ranger, who had gone swimming in sewer crap a few days before. He slowed the party down to a crawl for two days as he recovered. On the way the party escaped a herd of fleeing hadrosaurs and fought pursuing velociraptors, and later came across two plesiosaurs which caused much angst as PCs were knocked unconscious left and right. No fear, dried plesiosaur jerky all round!

Week 3

The party was captured by Batiri Goblins during the night, and marched for several days to Yellyark, their camp, which was hooked up to a big net and a bent tree so that it could be flung away from the site in times of trouble. Davor’s Ranger, who hated Goblins but bit his tongue while translating, spoke to the Queen of the tribe. Queen Grabstab made them an offer they couldn’t refuse: travel to the Grung village of Dunggrunglunglunglunglunglunglung and assassinate the Grung King Groak, and she would provide guides to lost Orolunga, where a Guardian Naga would “help you find what you seek”.

Hew Hackinstone knew where the Grung village was located and led the party back across the river, where the party battled Jaculi (jumping snakes), Mantraps (large venus flytrap-like plants) and some hungry Allosaurs, before arriving at Camp Righteous, a deserted Order of the Gauntlet camp near a temple called the House of Man and Crocodile. Hew explained the legend of the man and the crocodile, which might impart some clues as to how to deal with the death traps within. The party promptly ignored this, of course.

Inside the temple, Steve K’s Rogue decided to do his Rogue thing of checking for traps, then almost fell into a pit trap. Further inside: deadly swinging blades. Daniel’s Bard went out by herself, ripped up massive supporting tent poles and brought them back to chock up some of the blades, while the rest of the part stood around watching. William’s Lizardman Druid shape-changed into a giant owl and flew past the top of the blades, over a magically trapped floor, got zapped by a magically-trapped door, found his way in, flew to the top of a column with magically trapped stairs, grabbed the jug of alchemy resting there, dodged the falling roof and flew out. Meanwhile Dan’s halfling Paladin made it through the blades to the edge of the trapped floor, just in time for the giant owl to grab him and return to the party.

Next Week: (And, yes, later on I realized William’s Druid should not have been able to change to a flying beast at that level – I guess the gods smiled on him. Doh!). The rest of the trip to Dungrunglung-lung-lunglung-lung-lung, deep in the territory of the undead…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Stretch Goal Map – Mesa Bridges

Stretch Goal down! Stretch Goal down! And here’s another map to celebrate. This comes in grid and grid-less versions ideal for tabletop or Roll20/Fantasy Grounds!

Mesa Bridges

A valley between mountains and within: a number of high mesas connected by rope bridges. Someone lives on one of the mesas at the center, high above a number of deep, chasm-like tunnels below. What lurks on the valley floor and below it? And what does the lone hermit have to do it? Are they mind-controlling purple worms? Or protecting the world from the threat that lies beneath them? That’s up to you…

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

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 posts,click here.

The SHOTGLASS ROUNDS: ROUND 2 Kickstarter is now live at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-round-2-more-pdf-adventures-for-5e

Memories Lost. A poem.

Thoughts desiccating,
Like snow on afternoon tarmac;
Turning elegant meridians
Into mist.

An inelegant design,
Fractured by uncertainty
And regret
And all left to chance.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Free Stretch Goal Map – Field Hospital

And another stretch goal down on my current Kickstarter means another free map! You can use this cool map for your tabletop or Roll20/Fantasy Grounds.

Field Hospital

War is hell! But you need to patch your troops up somewhere and this ramshackle M.A.S.H-style Field Hospital includes trenches, tents and an underground bunker. Maybe the bunker has been sealed off because the officers there were killed in a magical assault. Now their spirits prevent anyone accessing the documents in the Colonel’s chest in the back of the bunker. Sounds like you might need a party to recover it…

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

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

Game On!

Steve 😊

For more Laidback DM posts,click here.

The SHOTGLASS ROUNDS: ROUND 2 Kickstarter is now live at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-round-2-more-pdf-adventures-for-5e

Escape Book. A poem.

Texture and scent;
Wafting, consoling.
Old friend on empty nights,
When time and tide have made
A joke of sudden pretence.

When every tiny sliver of doubt
Is a tear working
The stone of your heart –
Slow and condescending
Erosion of the subtle kind.

The book takes you away
From blithe thoughts of bitterness,
The feel and the pulse,
An escape from all
You would despise.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Tomb of Annihilation: Week 1

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. Some of the summaries may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them. And maybe even if you aren’t.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 1

The PCs

The new party is all 1st level and consists of D&D Wednesday regulars:

  • Mark – with a rotund and boisterous Human Cleric (“Ho ho ho!”)
  • Steve – with a devilishly evil Human Rogue (“Come to the dark side, Luke…”)
  • William – with a quiet and well-spoken Lizardman Druid with local knowledge of Port Nyanzaru (“That’s Lizard Folk. We’re not sexist or racist here,” I said.)
  • Dan – with a good looking, performing, Halfling Paladin (who goes out of his way to try to chat up the ladies. Okay, maybe Dan’s sexist.)
  • James – with a vigilante Tiefling Warlock (whose partner was killed only 2 weeks from retirement.)

Plus newcomers:

  • Davor – with an outspoken Human Ranger (“I choose the guide that looks like Zoe Saldana!”)
  • Daniel – with a female Half-Elven Bard (who prefers females and who’s performance roll beat the halfling paladin at open-mike night at the inn)
  • Morgan – with a Dwarven Ranger who mysteriously knows all about jungle terrain (even though he’s never been to Chult before…)

The Story

Summoned to the home of archmage Syndra Silvane, the PCs learned that souls are being stolen by a magical device called the Soul Monger, based somewhere in the steaming jungles of Chult. People who had been raised from the dead were dying, and no one who died recently could be revived.

The PCs were teleported to Port Nyanzaru, where they got a taste of the local culture and made some purchases at one of the local bazaars. Dinosaurs were used as pack animals, there were regular weekly Dinosaur races (one due the next day) and the city was a melting pot for trading races from around the world.

The party met a bunch of guides at the inn they were staying at, and after much discussion voted to employ one-armed Dwarven guide Hew Hackinstone. Hew claimed to be the greatest guide ever, so hopefully they would get where they were supposed to go (he was a bit sparing on the details, though…).

That night, as everyone slept at one of the local inn, William’s Druid awoke to find a thief scarpering with Davor’s Ranger’s haversack. The race was on, except for Dan’s halfling, who stayed at the more expensive hotel across the road. He played soothing chase music out the window… Mark’s Cleric decided to stay behind to look after the baggage in the room. Then the door opened, another thief entered, and Mark’s Cleric charmed him.

After a line up at a manhole round the corner, Daniel’s Bard jumped down the 20 feet to land on Steve’s Rogue, still climbing down the ladder. They both fell, with Daniel’s Bard deciding to return to the inn as she was too wounded to continue. Davor’s Ranger leapt into the sewer water to overtake the PCs’ line-up (the perils of a large party in confined spaces) and was immediately swamped with a swarm of rats.

Meanwhile, Mark’s Cleric has been happily chatting with the charmed thief. Daniel’s Bard returned and promptly skewered the thief. Dan’s halfling came across to see what the commotion was all about. Daniel’s Bard realized she had cure light wounds all along, healed herself and everyone headed to the sewers. 

Meanwhile, in the sewers, James’ Tiefling scared the crap out of Steve’s rogue (who was pretending to get friendly with the runaway thief so they could take him to their leader. Morgan’s Ranger and Davor’s Ranger finished off the rats, then continued on by jumping the perilous two feet of rat-filled water and running ahead. James’ Warlock faced off against the thieves’ pet Deinonychus and was promptly torn limb from limb (sorry, dude – Raise Dead doesn’t work any more). Davor’s and Morgan’s Rangers peppered the dino with arrows from the other side of the channel, but it headed for Steve’s Rogue who hid around the corner so he could backstab it. Davor’s Ranger fought another thief, the one controlling the dinosaur…

The moral to this story? Don’t split your 1st level party up so soon…

Next: Does Davor’s Ranger get his backpack back? Does Mark’s Cleric chastise Daniel’s Bard for killing his conversational partner in cold blood?

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Stretch Goal Map – Multi-Level Caves

Stretch Goal fallen – time for a free hand-drawn map! There’s two versions of this one – one with a grid and the other without (perfect for online platforms like Roll20/Fantasy Grounds).

Multi-Level Caves

This cave has four levels, with connecting chimneys accessing each level (I’ve included labels as it might get a bit confusing as to what connects to where). It’s designed to be narrow and cramped. I love PCs getting jammed up in small spaces – claustrophobia anyone? And take that, AOE spells! The monsters will have to be small to take advantage of the small tunnels – perhaps a huge swarm of critters!

And the reason why the PCs need to get to the bottom-most cave? Maybe the lowest level was used by a wizard to store a powerful magic item, or perhaps the queen of the swarm has all the treasure her critters collected along the way? Maybe the party tracked the swarm here because they attacked a nearby village and took a bunch of people to eat… Go wild, my friends.

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

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 posts,click here.

The SHOTGLASS ROUNDS: ROUND 2 Kickstarter is now live at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-round-2-more-pdf-adventures-for-5e

Free Stretch Goal Map: Fettered Tomb

Yeah! Another stretch goal reached on my Shotglass Rounds Kickstarter and another free map! This one is grid-less for use with Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds, but the tiles are conveniently 5 ft. squares, so you can use it for face-to-face games as well.

Fettered Tomb

The Fettered Tomb is bound by ancient magics, trapped and haunted by the fettered souls within. It’s very small, but the cramped spaces within make it tricky for PCs to maneuver, and the dastardly traps make it deadly!

Twin Stone Golems in the first vault grab PCs and throw them into a 100 ft. deep pit. These Golems root themselves to the ground so they can’t be pushed in themselves. The columns beyond generate a harmless mist, but anyone who walks around behind them is struck by bolts of lightning. The eldritch well contains a liquid that must be drunk to access the final room, but the liquid causes bizarre hallucinations that cause insanity. The final room contains another Stone Golem and two golden sarcophagi, protected by powerful life-draining hellsworn spirits.

And the treasure? The caskets themselves are solid gold…

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 posts, click here.

The SHOTGLASS ROUNDS: ROUND 2 Kickstarter is now live at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-round-2-more-pdf-adventures-for-5e

Curse of Strahd: Weeks 30-31

Hi all,

Over the last few months I’ve been posting some warts-and-all email summaries of the Curse of Strahd campaign I ran in 2017. This is the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Some of the summaries may be dull, some may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 30

The party destroyed the Heart of Sorrow (“Don’t go breaking my heart,” sang Strahd), and fought off an assault by animated halberds and vampire spawn, only to face the big dude, Strahd himself!

Poor old Steve K’s wizard was made into mincemeat by Mark’s Goliath Barbarian after Mark was mind-controlled by Strahd (“Kill the wizard next to you!”). Steve realised the gravity of his mistake after he decided to take shelter from the melee by sitting next to the Barbarian. Doh.

Everyone tried to knock Mark back to his senses, but in the end they had to put him down (knock him unconscious) to stop him trying to kill William’s Dragonborn Paladin.

I was very impressed by everyone’s tactics and witty repartee:

  • “New boss says I have to kill you, old boss,” cried Mark to William, as he threw a javelin at the spider-climbing paladin, hitting him. “Great shot, Rock,” replied William, encouragingly.
  • Dan’s halfling Monk used some skilful manoeuvres to make sure as many of the vampire spawn were caught in the light of his sun sword as possible, and scowled like the devil when the DM sent more vampire spawn into the fight (Cheer up, Dan, it was an epic battle!).
  • James’ used his summoned elemental Xorn to turn his enemies into chowder.
  • Steve K used his Fireball spells very effectively to whittle down the vampire spawn’s resistance and take out the Heart
  • Dan’s monk fell 160 feet to the bottom of the tower and came out all good! Thumbs up, monky monk!

The session-long battle ended with Strahd ducking his tale between his legs and nicking off to recover!

Next week – quite possibly the final chapter in this long campaign! Due to his lack of a living character, I’m letting Steve K play Strahd and he won’t be holding back. Prepare for doom or gloom. Or something better.

Week 31

After much discussion and a short rest the party decided to take the fight to Strahd before he had a chance to recover too much from the last battle.

Mark’s Goliath Barbarian recovered from being mind-controlled, William’s Dragonborn Paladin lead the charge (quietly, but with his armour giving everyone away), Dan’s deformed Halfling Monk was keen to stun and the NPC Kasimir/Lashnikov wanted to get on with it (“I just want to raise my sister!” he bemoaned constantly).

Down to the catacombs they rushed, down into the tomb of Strahd’s parents, where they used a portable pit from the Paladin’s Robe of Useful Items to get past a wall of blue light. There, they found and confronted Strahd. After a huge battle (actually, a bit of a fizzer since they had him in sunlight from the Sunsword all the time), Strahd was dispatched in 3 rounds. Damn it, Steve K – Strahd has more than just fireballs, y’know!!  

The heroes watched as Strahd dissolved into dust, then saw the spirits of Sergei (Strahd’s slain brother) and his long lost love Tatyana reunited, the mists over Barovia clear and the sun shine for the first time in centuries.

Mark’s Barbarian promptly announced he was the new king of Barovia and that he would be a kind and benevolent leader, with the ‘law of the rock’ to replace all current legalities.

Kasimir raised his dead sister, who turned out to be a right cow.

Dan’s Monk and William’s Paladin headed home through the mists.

—The End

And so ended the Curse of Strahd, a very enjoyable face-to-face campaign run in a games shop with a variety of people ranging in numbers every week from 4-9 players. I’ll no doubt run it very differently if I ever do it again (especially the ending – from that point on I made sure I ran all of my endgame boss battles. Delegation is cool, but sometimes it’s not lol). But that’s the fun of D&D – every campaign is different, and as long as it’s fun, that’s all that matters.

So, what’s next? How about Tomb of Annihilation?

Game on!

Steve 🙂

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Free Stretch Goal Map: Overgrown Castle Ruins

Well, the Shotglass Rounds Kickstarter just cracked 200%, so here’s a free map to celebrate! (See below for more about the campaign.) This map is grid-less, perfect for Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds!

Overgrown Ruined Castle

The party stumbles across an overgrown ruin in a forest clearing: the remains of a castle, crumbling and dilapidated. Of the inner keep and walls, there is nothing but weed-infested rubble; only the atrophied remnants of a gatehouse and two outbuildings remain. As the party approaches, something stirs within. Crossbows and bows are brought to bear, and grimy faces with reddened, bloodshot eyes peer over decaying crenelations…

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.

The SHOTGLASS ROUNDS: ROUND 2 Kickstarter is now live at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-round-2-more-pdf-adventures-for-5e

For the Better. A poem.

Surprise was in your eyes
Overwhelming every petulant
And irrational thought
Because this was unexpected
And positively rejected
All that you believed

Know now

Some things are meant to be
Bad ties you’re meant to sever
Trust in how you feel
And make a change

For the better

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Free Stretch Goal Map: Cult Temple

I woke up this morning and my Kickstarter achieved a stretch goal, so here’s a free map! As you may or may not know, I love drawing maps for Dungeons & Dragons adventures, and it just so happens this map is 1750 x 1750 (24 squares), perfect for Roll20 / Fantasy Grounds! AND the temple’s floor tiles are conveniently 5 ft. squares…

Cult Temple

There’s a pesky little cult that has taken over the local temple fortress. What are they really up to and what are the strange lights that flash from the arrow slits each night? Perhaps a massive summoned beastie is guarding the north reception, or maybe it has overrun the place…only YOU know for sure, intrepid DMs – it’s for the story you’ll craft with your players, after all.

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 😊

The SHOTGLASS ROUNDS: ROUND 2 Kickstarter is now live at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-round-2-more-pdf-adventures-for-5e

Free Map: Dragon Cave

My latest Kickstarter (see below) achieved its funding goal, so in celebration of that, here’s a free map! This hand-drawn map comes in grid or grid-less versions, perfect for face-to-face games or Roll20 / Fantasy Grounds!

Who doesn’t love a big old cave for a big old dragon? And what’s more, if you’re using the online grid-less version you can make the cave any size and the dragon any size so you can scale your dragon encounter to any level party. And why not use this cave for any other monster – don’t stop at dragons. Versatility is what it’s all about.

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

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.

The SHOTGLASS ROUNDS: ROUND 2 Kickstarter is now live at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-round-2-more-pdf-adventures-for-5e

Reevaluate. A Haiku.

It is time I took
The time to look and, again,
Reevaluate.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Curse of Strahd: Weeks 28-29

Hi all,

Over the last few months I’ve been posting some warts-and-all email summaries of the Curse of Strahd campaign I ran in 2017. This is the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Some of the summaries may be dull, some may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 28

At Tsolenka Pass, the party’s wagons had mysteriously disappeared (well that’s what you get for leaving things unattended), but Strahd’s carriage was waiting for them. After a much needed long rest to recuperate from the demon battle, the party jumped in. Steve’s evil Wizard’s two pet hell hounds came along for the ride, smoking up the carriage with their infernal breath, Mark’s Barbarian drank all the courtesy Brandy, Kazimir complained as usual and Dan’s evil Monk whinged about wanting to get back to Vallaki to recover his wagon.

Vallaki turned out to be a deserted ghost town. The party picked up two old NPCs at the ruined church, who had been hiding in the hallowed undercroft – Ismarck and Ireena! They joined them in the already-cramped carriage and headed off to Ravenloft.

Along the way the party jumped ship and headed into the village of Barovia, where many of the refugees from Vallaki had re-located. Mark’s Barbarian bought a climber’s kit at horrendously overinflated prices. Dan’s Monk decided she’d had enough of the pricing structures in this valley, broke into the provisioner at night, killed the poor bodyguard/assistant and owner and stole all their money (she was evil, after all).

Back to the carriage, patiently waiting at the crossroads. Off to Ravenloft, where (of course) it was dark, raining and with lightning flashing everywhere. Across the drawbridge only to have green slime drop on them, in the front door (after lots of discussion about other approaches), then a face-off with Rahadin, Strahd’s Chamberlain, who also happened to be the guy who killed half of Kasimir’s people and sliced off his ears (ouch!). Kasimir initiated the fight and the party ended Rahadin. As Mark’s Barbarian took Kazimir’s sword to throw off the drawbridge (just in case, you know how things come back in this game…), he awakened four red dragon wyrmlings transformed into statues in the foyer. After a gruesome battle (in which the party was burned a lot and Ireena was toasted – AGAIN), the PCs elected to return to the village and lick their wounds.   

Week 29

After recovering at the Old Bonegrinder Windmill (it was closer than Barovia village), the party returned to Castle Ravenloft.  

Going back in through the front door (as you do after deciding not to scale the building or use any of the other entry points available), they moved to a corridor of statues, where James’ Fighter/Wizard conjured up a number of minor elementals (ice mephits) to battle a bunch of animated swords. After the mephits were summarily eliminated, the party finished off the swords.

The party found a chapel and a cool magic item (The Icon of Ravenloft). Mark’s Goliath Barbarian and William’s Dragonborn Paladin, who had become very close over the last few weeks, decided to spoon on the altar (it being the safest place in Ravenloft for a short rest). Dan’s crazy halfling Monk decided to sit around and wait.

James’ Fighter/Wizard summoned more mephits (dust mephits, this time) and decided to split the party and go upstairs – solo – to the balcony 50 feet above and fight two Strahd Zombies there. After whipping their butts, James’ Fighter/Wizard moved on to explore, discovering corridors (and fighting a vampire dummy), an empty throne room and a secret corridor. He then headed up to the battlements where he ran into Strahd’s animated armour, which had fun with his mephits and sent James’ Fighter/Wizard finally running back to the party.

The party, now rested, decided to climb the tower stairs to find the Heart of Sorrow. “There it is, up above! Let’s get it…”

To be continued…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Time is. A poem.

Time is short

It stands in line, dwarfed by all the other narcissistic concepts
All wanting a piece of our mind
Another piece of the pie
A little bit more of our

Time is

Wondering when it will have its
Time in the sun
And yet

Time flies
When you’re having fun
And there’s never enough

Time is

Needed to do all the things
Needed to be done
My time is so important
But not as much as yours

Time is

Something we all want more of
But even when we have it
We just fritter it away
As if it were an endless resource
As it it would always stay

I’d take the time
But instead time takes me
And suddenly
I’m all out of time
Because

Time is

And

Time was

I wish I had so much more

Time

Because soon we’ll reach
The end of the line

And then

Time’s up

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Free Map: Super-Fortress

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

Super-Fortress!

The PCs are at war, invading a towering super-fortress to unseat the evil vampire lord…or whomever you come up with as an antagonist. Maybe the fortress is the last bastion of civilization before the dark lands. Maybe it was recently abandoned and the PCs need to find out why…

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 posts,  click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Curse of Strahd: Week 26-27

Hi all,

Over the last few months I’ve been posting some warts-and-all email summaries of the Curse of Strahd campaign I ran in 2017. This is the first campaign I sent summaries to players by email after each game (I was a bit lazy prior to that). Some of the summaries may be dull, some may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar. If you’re a D&D fan you may enjoy them, but I warn you: I’m not Mathew Mercer and this is not Twitch.

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 26

Things are kicking into overdrive! A bit more fighting in the Amber Temple, but the best thing to come out of it was a copy of the architectural plans for Strahd’s castle, Ravenloft! Now the party could plan the plan of their attack! Or just plan their attack. Either way.

Unfortunately, as the party exited the temple they were surrounded by magic mists (“Are these Barovian mists or homebrew mists?” joked Mark) and transported to a demonic plane! There they battled two Barlgura demons guarding the mystical portal, pinched some blue magic crystals from the pillars around the portal which translated the Abyssal language, pounded on loads of lowly Dretches and faced off against two Hezrou by a river of lava. But not before James’ Half Orc Fighter/Wizard sent his summoned elemental Azer for a bath in an acid lake (ouch!).

The party had just been yelled at by a depressed and irritable Glabrezu, who was searching for a mate and the only female in the area wanted nothing to do with him. If the party could persuade her to join him he would help them get out of there. Unfortunately, she was at the top of the 200 foot canyon walls and had a liking for diamonds (they are a girl’s best friend, after all…).

Dan’s Halfling Monk “done good” with lots of stunning and pushing monsters into lava, Steve’s Elvish Wizard was the master of magic missiles, Mark’s Goliath Barbarian missed his Paladin Compadre (who was in Sydney filming sports for work) and kicked ass as a result, and Kasimir the NPC Wizard continued to complain, wanting to get to Castle Ravenloft so he could bring his sister back from the dead toot suite.

Meanwhile, James’ Fighter/Wizard just realised Steve’s wizard is EVIL (Steve was trying to make a deal with a demon) and confronted him. In the sulphurous fumes of the Demon Canyon, there’s more fun to be had then you can shake a stick at. Or a great axe, in this case.

Until next week, intrepid adventurers!

Week 27

Taking a break from sunny Barovia, our intrepid party-goers holidayed in the sunny Abyss, which was just a misty and dreary as Barovia. No accounting for taste. 

Jame’s Half Orc Fighter/Wizard, having learned that Steve’s wizard was Chaotic Evil, took offense and decided to shadow the wizard for the rest of the game, just in case he tried something, well…evil. Meanwhile, Dan’s evil Halfling Monk acted innocent.

After negotiating with Norbert the Glabrezu, the party decided to recover some diamonds from a box canyon. The noise brought along 3 Hezrou and a lovely battle ensued, with Mark’s Goliath Barbarian stealing James’ Fighter/Wizard’s thunder by stealing his kill. DOH! The party copped a licking so decided to long rest in Norbert’s cave, where Mark’s Barbarian carved a lovely picture of the Glabrezu (and later, his prospective partner) for everyone to admire. Suitably recovered (Norbert was a nice demon – just goes to show, some demons will do anything for love), the party decided to cross the lava river and canyon using flight cast by Kasimir, the Dusk Elf NPC Wizard who resembled a zombie corpse.

They encountered 3 Chasme while flying, and it was almost a TPK if not for some amazing Kung Fu from Dan’s Halfling Monk while spider climbing halfway up the cliff face and some welcome back up from Norbert. James’ Fighter/Wizard decided to ignore his party’s dying screams and confront Norbert’s prospective better half, whom he insulted at length and then wondered why his Persuasion check failed. Dan’s Monk, for whom talking is not a strong point, saved the day, giving the Glabrezu female a gift of diamonds and some persuasive lovey-dovey words to get her into Norbert’s (many) waiting arms.  

It was a sobering encounter for the party, who long rested and then went with Norbert to the cavern over the river, where another portal waited. The big battle between the party, with Norbert the Glabrezu in support, against the Nalfashnee guardian and 2 Balgura demons went well, with the party getting back to Barovia through the portal and appearing on the other side of the magic gate house at Tsolenka Pass.

Next Week: Into Castle Ravenloft…

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Upstart Photographer – Fractured

I love to take photographs and write poetry. Sweet.

Steve 🙂

Laidback DM - Fractured

Fractured. A poem.

A filigree of cracks, wrinkles
Upon your desiccated face
Washed clean with weary salt
And wind and watery grace.

Your sad song that breaks
This familiar salt pan patina
Will last at least another age
Until your twelve-bar blues
Ends in surf and spume.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Plummet. A poem.

The descent begins:
That troublesome, quarrelsome,
Misbegotten feeling.
Vertigo in media res.

The whirlpool beckoning
A less than eager sailor
Of depths all too familiar.

Down you go again:
You wish the plummet
Was further out of reach.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Curse of Strahd: Week 25

Hi all,

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

Some of the summaries may be dull, some may be amusing; some are written in present tense, some in past tense – these are unedited emails, so please forgive their somewhat chaotic nature and poor sentence structure/grammar.

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

Game on!

Steve 🙂

Week 25

Barovians unite! Amber week is here and the specials never end. Free amber to anyone who buys more than 2 tonnes of amber (that’s the special the builders of the Amber Temple got when they were looking for building materials. It’s the reason why there are no bugs in Barovia. Remember, this was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…oh, sorry, different game/genre.

So here we are, AGAIN, in the Amber Temple. Even the DM is getting sick of this place. This week’s highlights:

– Lots of treasure! Behold, all the treasure in Barovia! So this is where it’s been hiding. Shame it didn’t pop up when it was really needed (inflation in Barovian shops is ridiculous). Dan’s Halfling monk decided to sort through it all and picked up a few choice titbits. James’ Half Orc fighter/wizard decided to cart out most of the treasure on a Tenser’s Floating Disk to the front door, where he summoned an Azer to dig him a big hole to bury it all in. Still the problem of how to get all that treasure back home again. Also, there are no banks in Barovia, y’know.

– Lots of sarcophagus touching. Having not learned the error of their ways, various party members decided to keep on accepting dark gifts. James’ Fighter/Wizard decided he wanted a share of crazy abilities, and now has some evasion and protection from divination – but only for 10 days (and unfortunately now can no longer give anyone a straight answer…). He didn’t turn evil, though. Steve’s Elven Wizard can control two Hell Hounds and speak infernal…but only once until they die, and in the meantime sulphurous fumes emit from his pores whenever he speaks the evil language. Oh, and he’s now Chaotic Evil, which makes him just as evil as Strahd (I can smell a sub-plot coming on…). Dan’s monk decided “why not, I’m already evil”, and now also has the hell hound ability. It’s going to make future battles interesting… Kasimir/Kalashnikov/Krakatoa, the dusk elf NPC Wizard, got the dark gift he wanted, but didn’t turn evil. Unfortunately, he now looks like a corpse. Anxious to bring his lost sister back to life, he’s keen to get out of the temple. “Come on, come on, when are we leaving? I’m so bored. No, I’m not going to cast that spell you want.” So, no different, really.

– Battles galore! The party ground their way through several fights:

   * 6 Vampire Spawn never knew what hit them. There they were, just minding their own business, sleeping an endless sleep in their rotting wooden crates, when before they knew it – boof! All dead.

   * 3 poor old Barovian Witches copped it sweet when the party, who wanted to talk with them, were interrupted by James’ Half Orc, who decided he hadn’t had a chance to fight and promptly swept in and attacked! The witches cast some ineffectual spells and then were finished off.

  * 4 Nothics decided to teach Jame’s Fighter/Wizard a lesson in courtesy, dispatching him and knocking Dan’s Monk out. Damn that rotting gaze!!

  * As usual, everyone worked well to achieve lots of successful outcomes (sounds like a corporate team-building session). Mark’s Goliath Barbarian raging, William’s Dragonborn Paladin smashing (although his spirit horse was strangely ineffective. Or incorporeal. One of the two). Natasha’s Gnome Druid moonbeamed away, Dan’s monk karate-chopped and kicked and Steve’s Evoker Wizard sculpted lots of fireballs.

– A library full of empty books. “Lets throw them everywhere,” said the Paladin to the Barbarian (okay, they were looking for secret doors…).

– Meeting an old skeletal guy with red glowing eyes. He seemed to not really know where, or who he was. But the party has a feeling he might be useful (maybe as cannon fodder), so they are waiting for Natasha’s Druid to memorise her greater restoration spell in an attempt to fix his ailing memory…unfortunately, Natasha is leaving us to play saxophone in the uni band, so won’t be available to cast that spell. DOH!!

By the way, has anyone thought about the fact that becoming evil is like being cursed? Maybe there’s some sort of spell to fix that. Now what was that called again? Not that I’m saying it will work, but might be worth a try…

Next Week: Do the intrepid heroes leave this dang temple?

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Boomerang. A haiku.

You left me fallen;
But always my boomerang,
Came back, brought me home.

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

Free Map – Forest Cliff

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

This map is 1750×1750 (25×25 squares), in grid and non-grid versions, perfect for Roll20 or Fantasy Grounds!

Forest Cliff

The party makes its way through the forest, arriving to the bottom of a tall cliff (the east of the map). Searching for another way around might mean a loss of several days travel. Up the heroes go, but when they reach the halfway point, an ambush from above – monsters dropping rocks they have to avoid with death-defying feats of acrobatics while trying not to fall…

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 posts,  click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

2020 One Page Dungeon Contest Winner!

Hi all,

I tied for first place in the 2020 One Page Dungeon Contest! Aside from winning some money and some nice RPG swag, I get to bask humbly in my own appreciation for a few days lol! This is the second time I’ve won – my 2019 entry was a joint winner.

Here’s my entry for you to download for free (note: as it’s system generic, all references to D&D are removed, but you can work them out easy enough). If you like this one, try out any of my Shotglass Adventures or Dungeons Your Party Will Die For books at Drivethrurpg!

Just right click and ‘save as’ on PC, or hold your finger on the image and ‘save to photos’ on mobile/cell phone

Game On!

Steve 🙂

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Laidback DM products at DrivethruRPG

Pariah’s Game. A poem.

Fire and ice;
divergent
tangents

Burning, steaming;
circumventing
logic

Interconnected;
beyond
precedents

We were one
and then

we lost

The game that made
pariahs of us both

For more Poetry, click here.

poetry books - stevestillstanding

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

Click here to find out how to get your copy.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: