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Shotglass Rounds#11: Duumhaven Kickstarter is LIVE!

DUUMHAVEN (pronounced ‘Doom-Haven’) is the eleventh 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!

This quickstarter is in its FINAL 24 HOURS, so get in fast and don’t miss out!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-11-duumhaven

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 $5 AU (about $3.50 US)! Unbeatable value!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laidbackdm/shotglass-rounds-11-duumhaven

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

Vindication. A poem.

Post-overwrought ballet,
Pervasive humidity and a
Creased mountain range
Reveal a satisfied canvass:
Spent libertines draped
‘Cross plural landscapes.

Confident and confidential,
An oblique sculpture
Of hearts and minds
And loneliness forfeited
In dual vindication.

For more poetry, click here.

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 34-36

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 34

With the party temporarily weakened by the loss of two members to holidays (holidays?! No rest for the wicked in the tomb of annihilation…) they faced the next few challenges with aplomb. And a fair bit of death.

The party worked out the golem puzzle pretty quickly, killed the clay golem, used the key around its neck to open the chest, and recovered the final crystal eyeballs to open the mirror door. And then everything went to hell…

A big room with a veil-draped ball hanging 20 feet in the air, niches filled with treasure, a magically slick floor and an invisible Beholder (excellent guess, Dan). William’s Druid—dead. Mark’s Cleric—disintegrated. Clinton’s Fighter—asleep. Dan’s Warlock dragged Clinton’s fighter out and high-tailed it to the dungeon safe room to rest, posting an “Explorers Wanted” ad on LinkedIn at the same time.

Conveniently, Mark’s dilettante Dwarven Barbarian and William’s Goblin Monk (who believed he was the reincarnation of a red dragon) responded to bolster the ranks. Giving the mirror room a pass, they headed down to dungeon level 4, exiting into a throne room where they killed some mute and blind wall-painting zombies and fought a Tyrannosaur Zombie. Then William’s Monk tried on the Minotaur skull and went a bit crazy, so the party had to put him down (unconscious, not dead—what kind of party do you think they are?!)

A door needed blood (what a drawn-out solution that was…) and a bunch of ghasts were fought. Some clues from the sign on the central stairway, a bunch of Four-armed Gargoyle statues and a stairway to a chest and another mysterious room…  

Week 35

With two members on holidays, the intrepid Party of Five (sans Neve Campbell, who has gone on to co-star in the upcoming Skyscraper, with Dwayne Johnson) made their way through a series of trap laden rooms…

First up: big ball on the stairs, a pit of acid and an interplanar maze mural with some crystal keys. William’s Goblin Monk showed he can be a real ass by stealing the key Mark’s Dwarvish Barbarian found and opening the sarcophagus, to claim a robe of scintillating colours, a charm of nine lives AND be inhabited by the spirit of Unkh for extra high CON! Oh, and doesn’t he love those shell bracelets… Then a big fight with ten Minotaur Skeletons that had the party worried for a bit.

A long rest later, then off to a stone door with a picture on it that almost made the party give up trying to get in. Copious hints later, and the party faced off against two death-dealing Bodaks and Mark’s Barbarian recovered a fabled crown worth 5000GP. “That’s enough to kill a fellow party member for,” said Davor’s Ranger, with a wink. Unable to escape the maze, Mark’s barbarian sacrificed an arm to get out, then grew it back with the charm of the maimed.

Then Davor’s Ranger decided to stick an arrow into the mouth of a big demon skull, killing the talking lizard who resided there. “I only had two weeks left until retirement,” gasped the lizard. “Potentially a smart lizard that could have helped guide us through the tomb?” said Mark’s Barbarian.

Onto the bottom of the staircase, where the giant, four-armed Gargoyles needed payment in one of every coin. Unfortunately, the party didn’t have any coppers or platinum. DOH! Big, worrying fight, where the Gargoyles trounced the party (five attacks per round each – ouch!), knocking Davor’s Ranger, Mark’s Barbarian and William’s Monk unconscious (well, William’s Monk has the charm of nine lives, so he came back with 1 HP…), to be saved by Dan’s cowardly—I mean brave—halfling Warlock.

Another big day out in the dungeon!

Week 36

Morgan was back from hols this week, rolling up a new Druid. Welcome back!

After a well-needed long rest (they just had a big fight with Four-armed Gargoyles, after all), the party decided to check out the pit in the centre of the room. Down on a rope went Mark’s Dwarven Barbarian, who found a hexagonal iron room filled with lots of sickly plants and compost. The party joined him and then decided exploring a new level probably wasn’t the thing to do right now, so climbed back up the rope to level 4 and went to the last unexplored room on their map.

The room contained a mirror of life trapping that sucked in Davor’s Ranger, Clinton’s Fighter and Dan’s Halfling Warlock. Mark’s Barbarian broke the mirror, releasing all sorts of trapped beasties into the cramped 15-foot by 15-foot space, leading to a very squashed and messy fight between a Troll, a Minotaur, a Stirge, some humans and the party.

The party decided to use the alternate hidden spiral staircase to get back down to level 5. At the bottom of the stairs a door and a corridor. Taking the door, they found themselves in a huge cavern with a lake and three giant pentagonal rooms on massive gears. The door closed and a magic mouth appeared on it wanting to be fed. Mark dived into the water to recover a phosphorescent crab from the bottom, attracted the lake’s Aboleth and the battle was on! The Aboleth was finally defeated when Morgan’s Druid polymorphed it into a cat and Mark’s Barbarian threw it into the door’s mouth, where it was eaten (changing back into its true form when it died). Meanwhile, Clinton’s Fighter and Morgan’s Druid succumbed to the nasty Aboleth disease and can now only breath underwater. Doh!

Another long rest, more exploring (that’s one big cave, but with no secret doors). Davor’s Ranger decided to climb all the way up a waterfall to Level 1, then climbed back down and almost fell to his death. Thank the Lord for all those inspiration dice handed around by other players…

Through the garden hex room to an acid hex room, where the trap wasn’t working (use-by date expired, obviously), into a control room, used to make the hex rooms turn and change configuration. Davor’s Ranger took off to the garden room to test the hypothesis, while Mark’s Barbarian fiddled with the controls and Dan’s Warlock conveyed what was happening from the corridor. The hex rooms turned, poison gas flowed into the garden from a side room, three Shambling Mounds grew from the compost and Davor’s Ranger scrambled up the rope and out of harm’s way. Mark’s Barbarian, clutching at straws, hit the button that closed the iron door, and Dan’s poor Warlock, after a number of really bad saving throws (including a few inspiration dice from himself and other players) was crushed under the door and eventually died. Mark’s Barbarian, feeling really bad about that, had also released Aboleth slime into the room and tried all sorts of stuff to stop it. Eventually he had to dive in and try to open the door, and after many checks and many lost hit points, eventually lifted it. Unfortunately, by this time Dan’s Warlock was a smear.

Next Week: More dungeon crawling and nasty death traps! Yes, it’s the Tomb of Annihilation, and it’s nasty.

Southward. A poem.

On the black tar veld,
Surrounded by beasts
And wavering heat.
We travel the path:
Forever southward,
Across lost lands,
‘Neath forgotten stars.

Here, Hand-in-hand,
Ear to the wind,
Avoiding pitfalls
And predators
That might bring us low,
Wary yet unawares,
Forever on, we go.

Because we are lost
In each other’s tales
And each other’s minds
And each other’s souls;
And from here on in,
We will always
Share this road.

For more poetry, click here.

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 31-33

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 31

The Tomb of the Nine Gods – Level 3!

The wet corridor, a crawlspace leading to a dead end, a magic curtain of water that exploded like a tidal wave if you walked through without a trident, and two more eyeball things on pedestals.

Another crawlspace to a dusty room and then a huge area with floating platforms, a skeleton with a pentagonal head (William’s Druid recovered that one), a demonic statue clutching two more eyeballs, a lever that made huge winds and drove William’s druid and Daniel’s bard temporarily crazy (although the bard managed to swipe the eyes and get away, while William’s druid fell off the balcony – doh!)

Splitting the party is always such fun! A fight with a Tomb Guardian, a plaque with hints about the current level (it’s so nice when nasty wizardy bad guys leave hints lying around), another crawlspace with a steel trapdoor, a revolving room that ended up killing Clinton’s Fighter/Rogue, with Dan’s Warlock and Morgan’s Rogue (cool wall running, man!) escaping to the next room.

A big pit with a statue, a treasure chest and a silver key in the bottom, shielded by a wall of force, two statues up top and an empty plinth. No one could work out what to do with this one (more party member heads required). A corridor leading to a mirrored disco door that gradually turns your reflection undead when you load eyeballs in the slots.

Daniel’s bard saved William’s druid by skewering him with roped crossbow bolts and dragging his sore carcass out of the crazy, windy room. William’s druid drank his healing potion and found out it was poison – aghhhh! The party joined up again and are now facing two tomb guardians previously attached at the neck by a chain (no longer, thanks to Daniel’s Bard’s judicious use of a heat metal spell at 4th level).

Next week: Finishing that battle! Finding five more eyes! What lies beyond the mirror door?

Week 32

The Tomb of the Nine Gods – Level 3!

The party finished off the Tomb Guardians in the corridor. Clinton’s new fighter appeared, keen for a fight and genuinely Lawful Evil. Welcome back Clinton!

Into the tomb of spirit guardian Kubazan, where Daniel’s Bard (possessed by I’Jin), tucked one of the special masks into her pack, lit the candle on the shrine and raised four Wraiths. One big fight later, Mark’s Cleric and William’s Druid turned into frogs. Mark’s frog decided to eat the ceremonial cockroaches and four wraiths appeared again. Everybody had to change their pants, the big Dao the party befriended previously decided to intervene and the wraiths were eventually vanquished, but not before a few party members almost died. “That’s two times I’ve assisted you,” the Dao said to Mark’s Cleric. “One left.” During the battle, Dan’s Warlock decided to Thunderstep, which teleported her to the refuse room and an Otyugh! Just escaping with the Otyugh in tow, Dan’s warlock leapt through a grate into the river below, swam to safety and long rested on a ledge.

A long rest for the rest of the party later, they returned to the tomb, worked out the correct sequence and Mark’s Cleric got himself some nice Bracers of Archery (and held off a possession by Kubazan).

William’s druid found a secret door, picked up a hitchhiking golden skull called Yaka who used to be the court fool to the royal family of Omu and is now cursed to follow and insult William’s druid (and everyone around him). Another tomb guardian killed by Daniel’s bard and Dan’s warlock (who found the party again) was lost in a crawlspace.

A spiral staircase and the party headed up to level 2, where they found a room full of ghoulish equipment and a bunch of Tomb Dwarves in the process of creating something. Yaka lived up to his name—it looks like surprise is forever off the table. That’s one loud skull. “Hey,” said Yaka. “I’ve had no one to talk to for hundreds of years, gimme a break.”

Next week: The secrets of the tomb revealed!! Or not.

Week 33

At the tomb lab, the party defeated a bunch of tomb dwarves and a hot-off-the-presses just-created tomb guardian. Mark’s Cleric turned some of the tomb dwarves and ended up getting a ghost lantern. Dan’s Warlock pursued the tomb dwarves up the staircase and through the secret door to level 1, where he ran into the lovely Otyugh he let lose from the waste room. Then the tomb dwarves showed up, and the fight was on in a tight corridor. Davor’s ranger proved he could do the splits Jean-Claude Van Damme style, Morgan’s rogue got killed (much to Morgan’s delight as he can now use a new character) and Clinton’s fighter got mashed by the Otyugh but also managed to kill it when it ran in fear from Daniel’s bard’s fear spell.

While they were resting Daniel’s bard went to the alternate tomb in search of easy experience points and ended up (just) besting a wraith, with a good use of the curse spell and some decent rolls!

Down to Withers’ office, where the party fought some wraiths and crawling claws, but Withers escaped (gasp!). William’s druid got his hands on the manual of golems (“thanks bard, for loaning me that, it’s mine now—bwah ha ha!”) and Davor’s ranger received the bracers of archery (and fended off the spirit).

Off to the leftover rooms to find more eye keys. A room of yucky veils and a big nasty, chomping boar head. Dan’s warlock got scared and ran away. Mark’s cleric almost lost a few fingers…

Off to the rotating corridor, where another eye was recovered from the body of a dead adventurer.

Then back to the room with the golem in the pit!

Next week: The golem in the pit! More eyes! The big room with the mirror ball disco door!

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Bond. A poem.

Here we are
Two souls enshrouded
Caught between dunes
Of desert seas
Twin oases in bloom
Beckoning between mirages
And unsubtle forays
Into dated wilderness
To join as one
And cast aside doubts
In nascent fires
Of pleasure and pain

For more poetry, click here.

Tomb of Annihilation: Weeks 29-30

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 29

The Tomb of the Nine Gods – Level 2!

Meanwhile, in the secret corridor, Mark’s Cleric opened the Genie bottle there and now has a Dao who will help him three times (or will she…). She doesn’t like Acererak, either. That Lich really knows how to make friends and influence people. 

In the next chamber, a shield that threw magic spears and six glass cauldrons full of bones that spouted skeletons, a chariot with treasure and a sarcophagus. Dan’s Halfling Warlock took to the cart to swipe some treasure and activated the trap! One big battle later, and Daniel’s Bard was taken over by the spirit of Papzotl after handling an amulet. What is that mysterious amulet? Only time (or a long rest attuning to it) will tell…

While the party was short resting, Daniel’s Bard wandered off to the mirror tomb and set off the trap in the wine tomb. Why not, I guess?

William’s Druid found a secret door in the corridor and a scrying pool, where he could see through the eyes of some wandering monster. Suddenly, a tomb guardian erupted from the pool and another battle ensued.

Week 30

The Tomb of the Nine Gods – Level 2!

The party decided to go around the circular dimensional corridor to the alternate tomb and check out the pentagram room again (the one they did earlier, but a different one). The invisible Grey Slaad fireballed their asses – twice! Then they creamed it. Nothing in the sarcophagus (gasp!), so they decided against revisiting the skeleton room and headed back to the actual tomb, over to the devil’s head floor hole and down to the next level through the magical darkness

The Tomb of the Nine Gods – Level 3!

Down to I’Jinn’s tomb, where they couldn’t touch the floor. Daniel’s Bard (with the spirit of Papazotl in him, protecting him from falling damage), decided to dive head first into the darkness and hit a floor tile, activating the trap and being shredded by locusts! Clinton’s Fighter/Rogue also got eaten by locusts. Chloe’s Sorcerer ingeniously used lightning lure to save both Daniel’s Bard and Clinton’s Fighter/Rogue and they were healed by Mark’s Cleric.

After a lot of tile testing (and lots of locust swarms), William’s Druid changed into a tiny spider, crawled through a peep hole in the door, discovered a disc with symbols on it on the other side, found another peephole which allowed him to see the symbols in the right order and telepathically tell the dudes and dudettes in the other room which tiles to press in order, and so the sarcophagus was opened. Daniel’s Bard got the Almiraj horn before anyone else, and I’jinn displaced Papazotl. She also got a cool wand of wonder

Next room: a shadow thingie (a version of the character who entered) and a font of green soup! Chloe’s Sorcerer controlled the shadow to drink the soup and find an orange eyeball (strange…) – thank you Davor’s Ranger, for the drinking suggestion. William’s Druid and Morgan’s Rogue both got scared sh%@less by the shadow’s front end.

Daniel’s Bard and Dan’s warlock found an uneventful crawlspace. Or was it…

William’s Druid located a new room with wet floors and a water curtain…

Next week: Watery room! Other rooms! Some nice corridors. Furniture. Perhaps a kitchen suite or bedroom ensemble.

For more Laidback DM, click here.

For Laidback DM products, visit Drivethrurpg.

Upstart Photographer – Sunset Screened

I love to take photographs and write poetry.

And show them to you right here.

Steve 🙂

Photo by Steve Still Standing
Sunset Screened. A poem.

Light peeks gingerly
From behind feathered lines
Burnished in the Autumn light
From whence the night
Seeks the gentle touch
Of its spurned lover
Hidden, yet revealed
For all the world to see

Dragon Warriors Resources – Free Map, Roll20 Rules & Casket of Fays

About a year back (has it been that long?) I played a few games of Dragon Warriors, a cool OSR game by Dave Morris and Oliver Johnson, which features some annoyingly inconsistent systems lol. Despite that, the combat was fast moving and the atmosphere was great! For a full review of Dragon Warriors, click here.

Free Maps

I play all my games on Roll20 at the moment, and for one of the adventures I decided to make a bigger map (because the tiny B&W one just wasn’t doing it for me lol). The map below is a slightly revamped version of The Tomb of Vallandar from The King Under The Forest in Sleeping Gods (I did it pretty quickly so please excuse the mistakes).

This map is based on the original by Andrew Law, published in Sleeping Gods, Serpent King Games edition.

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

Below is an old school map of the village square in Maiden’s Vale, from The Darkness Before the Dawn, the introductory adventure in the rule book. It’s perfectly sized for Roll20 (1750×1750), so it can just be dropped straight in (and yes, this was a rush job, too lol).

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

I also made up a couple of other maps, one of which is The First Ambush from The Darkness Before the Dawn – I posted in on this site about a year ago. You can find it here.

Here is Queen Fhionn’s House from that same adventure. It’s perfectly sized for Roll20 (1750×1750) so it can be dropped straight in. Yes, it was a rush job. Hey, I was playing a lot of games online during lockdown and didn’t have a lot of time to prep lol.

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

Of course, you don’t have to use these maps for Dragon Warriors – they will work perfectly well with any other fantasy Table Top Role Playing Game (TTRPG).

Roll20 Rules

The interesting thing about playing an old school TTRPG written before the miniatures craze and the advent of the Virtual Table Top (VTT), is that you need to interpret some rules in a different way when you play via VTT. It’s fine if you’re playing ‘theater of the mind’, but VTT requires a bit extra, like dynamic lighting and movement. Luckily, I’ve done the hard work for you. Here are the VTT rules I made for Dragon Warriors on Roll20. By the way, I used hexes in place of the standard squares on Roll20 with a distance of 1 meter per square and they worked really well.

Combat Range

  • Each Hex = 1 meter (about 3.1 feet for the American readers).
  • Every character controls the hex they occupy and 1 hex around them (their ‘personal space’). Their token occupies 1 hex.
  • You must be in a character’s personal space to attack them, unless you have a spear/polearm or a missile weapon, then you can attack them from 2 m away.
  • For Missile Weapons, DEFENCE is taken into account if the missile user is within 2 m, but split between that attack and another if the target is in melee.

Movement

  • A character can normally walk 10 m (10 hexes) per turn.
  • A character may close – move 3 m (3 hexes) and attack in the same round, if their weapon is drawn.
  • A character who surprises another may close – move 5 m (5 hexes) and attack in the same round, if their weapon is drawn.
  • A character can run 20 m (20 hexes) per turn. A character who runs this round must either run, move normally or do nothing the next round. 
  • Difficult terrain halves movement (5 m).
  • Very Difficult Terrain halves movement again (2 m). 
  • RETREAT: defend normally and move 3 m (3 hexes).
  • ROUT: Turn and run 20 m (20 hexes) – opponent gets opportunity attack with defence zero and no shield.

Light Sources

  • Lantern: 8 m bright, 7 m dim, lasts 2 hrs on one flask of oil.
  • Torch: 5 m bright, 5 m dim, 20% chance will go out if dropped, lasts 1 hour, someone must hold the torch during combat. 

Casket of Fays

While I was playing the game I was recommended some Dragon Warriors zines that were available for free on DrivethruRPG (cheers, Simon!). I did, and they’re great! Heaps of ancillary materials, mini-adventures, fleshed out NPCs. They are ideal for anyone getting into the game, and can be found here.

I hope you like this Dragon Warriors stuff! I may eventually play a few more games in the future, as we all had a great time playing (and interpreting the spell rules lol).

Onwards!

Steve 🙂

FiveE Magazine Issue 2 is Out Now in PDF and PRINT and it’s FREE!

Hi all,

FiveE Magazine is available NOW in PDF on DrivethruRPG – you can download a PDF copy for FREE! Or you can get a PRINT copy for FREE (all you pay for is the base print cost + postage – I don’t make any profit from the magazine). https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/391814/FiveE-Magazine–April-2022

FiveE Magazine is a semi-regular periodical dedicated to content for the World’s Most Popular Fantasy Role Playing Game! 78 pages of amazing content, gorgeous art, free maps, new monsters, new magic items, new class, full adventure and village setting, new stories, articles and hints for new DMs, plus loads more! And it’s FREE

With articles by a host of contributors, including Laidback DM, Chloe the Cartographer, Milosz Gawecki, F.H Stevens, W.M Deluca and others.

  • A Session Zero for Every Table
  • Five Swords – Part 2: Be’Su’Ok
  • Dead – When a Character Dies
  • In the Maelstrom of Creative Chaos
  • Free Map: Eye of the Storm
  • Run for Cover: Olthug Giant
  • Magic Feature:
  • Making Magic
  • Runeforged Spellcaster
  • Counterpoints to Counterspell
  • The Stuff of Magic
  • Don’t Make a Scene
  • Beautiful Barbarians
  • Free Map: Orc Tribe Camp
  • Brutal Damage
  • A Bone, A Stone
  • Adventure: Show Your Metal
  • Free Map: Ambush Canyon
  • Village Setting: Tervissa
  • Story: Tail of the Goat
Above: The Print Version!

You can download or order your FREE PDF or PRINT copy (all you pay for is the base print cost + postage – I don’t make any profit from the magazine) at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/391814/FiveE-Magazine–April-2022

Game on!

Steve 🙂

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SHOTGLASS ROUNDS VOL.1 HARDCOVER on sale now at DrivethruRPG!

What are Shotglass Rounds?

SHOTGLASS ROUNDS One-Shots for 5e & OSR are flexible, convenient, super-charged adventures that won’t have you sitting up for hours doing prep for your next game session! Run them as a One-Shot, or pop them into your ongoing campaign as an exciting side mission! Each adventure is designed for 1-2 x 4-5 hour game sessions, with DM’s map and key,  new monsters & new magic items, a full-size player’s map with grid & a full-size grid-less player’s map, plus lots of cool art!

The Hardcover

Previously released in PDF, all 10 adventures in the SHOTGLASS ROUNDS series are now available in an awesome hardcover edition, available in print and PDF! In the book:

  • 10 exciting One-Shot adventures!
  • 21 new monsters! 
  • 22 new magic items!
  • New art!
  •  Verona Province Lore (the frontier setting for Shotglass Adventures) and maps showing the location of every adventure in the Shotglass Adventures series so far! 
A look at some actual pages! It looks great for use in your game or on the shelf!

Plus, for the first time:

  •  A full Digital Maps Package, containing 14 unique, hand drawn, full size, full color maps in grid and gridless versions, plus VTT-sized gridless maps – 42 JPEGs total – with a Royalty Free License for you to use them in your own commercial projects (note: You can’t on-sell the maps individually or as part of a larger maps package i.e. claim they’re your own)  

Get it now at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/browse/pub/13989/

Onward!

Steve 🙂

Fathomless. A poem.

And all at once,
That special someone
Will keep you
Hanging on their every word
As if they were the last branch
On the last tree
On the very last island
In the very last sea

And your hopes and dreams
Will be fathomless



Then you’ll f$&@ it up

For more poetry, click here.

Dating Abyss. A poem.

I cheer you on into the abyss
From whence we come and go
Always waiting for our turn
To be shot down in mid-flight
Target practice for the aimless
And the weary, worn out souls
Who capitulate to inevitability

And take their place
On the merry-go-round
Circling like vultures
For whatever scraps remain
Until the ride comes to an end
And each is deposited
(With all the rest)

Into a sea of islands,
Too remote and too far
Awaiting one last shipwreck
To rescue us from ourselves
(As long as we can endure
The inevitable weight
of each other’s baggage)

I cheer you on into the abyss
From whence we come and go

For more poetry, click here.

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