Thursday, March 31, 2011

30 Odd Random Inns, Taverns and Sundry Establishments

(roll a d30 for the name of an establishment. May be used for urban settings, towns or wayside stops, etc. as the Gamemaster wishes.)

01 – Center of the Multiverse
02 – Drunken Paladin
03 – Last Place to Be Inn
04 – Laughing Lich
05 – Inn of the Bastard Princes
06 - Basilisk’s Gaze
07 – Gallant Goblin
08 – Axes & Ale
09 – Sunken Ship
10 – The Gregarious Hermit
11 – Sword Sisters
12 – Three-Legged Unicorn
13 – Last One Standing
14 – Delver’s Repose
15 – Golden Skull Inn
16 – Fey Spirits
17 – Angry Toad Tavern
18 – Prismatic Tankard
19 – Iron Gut Grog & Grub
20 – Legion of the Unlucky
21 – Cutthroat Gentleman’s Club
22 – The Silent Banshee
23 – Minstrels Not Allowed Inn
24 – The Tavern Time Forgot
25 – Dwarven Comedy Club
26 – The Underground
27 – Two Sheets to the Wind
28 – Troll’s Trove Tavern
29 – Inn of the Moon Beast
30 – Dead Sages’ Society



Monday, March 28, 2011

I am a big Electronica fan. Here is an oldie from Kraftwerk for your Retro enjoyment.

The only RPG danger to this tune is if your security 'Droids start rebelling against you while you are in Jump Space during a Traveller session ;)

I had a Scout character that eventually had enough credits to get some robots for his ship.
 These were created according to the system in an article that is found in Dragon magazine #64. They never made me feel more secure as a player or character, because I figured 
the Referee would have them go whacky on me or something (which never happened). They did chase off a Revenue Agent once, so they paid for themselves :D

The Scout had a great career as a Deep Space Explorer and got into lots of trouble 
with the Imperium and with a few new alien races he discovered. Somehow, the Scout always managed to get out of trouble (if even just barely!). 
His high jinx ways probably cost him more Credits than they were worth, what with all
 of the crashed ships, fines and lost cargo, etc., but he was fun to play... and that is what 
Retro is all about!

Check out How To Survive a Robot Uprising if you need tips and dealing with unruly machines that want mechanical rights.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="262" caption="Click image for book info"][/caption]


Sunday, March 27, 2011


Jeff Rients & Sir Larkin's Order of the d30 idea is both humorous and useful!
It makes me keep thinking of tables that a d30 would come in handy for. So, here is another one I have made. May this table inspire some interesting animal-based Roleplaying experiences ;)


30 Odd Animal Types
(for Random Encounters, Wizard Familiars, Druid Companions, NPCs or People That Like Critters

01 - Raven / Crow
02 - Hawk / Falcon
03 - Owl (Standard/Giant)
04 - Lizard / Snake
05 - Horse / Pegasus / Unicorn
06 - Wolf / Coyote / Fox
07 - Bear (Black/Brown/Grizzly)
08 - Dog (Domestic/Wild)
09 - Parrot / Peacock / other exotic bird
10 - Monkey / Ape
11 - Lion / Tiger
12 - Cougar / Leopard / Cheetah
13 - Weasel / Ferret / Mink
14 - Mole / Shrew
15 - Bat (Standard/Vampire)
16 - Fairy Dragon
17 - Crab (Small/Giant)
18 - Boar (Standard/Mount)
19 - Spider (Small/Giant)
20 - Rat / Mouse / Squirrel
21 - Jackal / Hyena
22 - Toad / Frog / Salamander
23 - Cat (domestic) / Bobcat / Lynx
24 - Deer / Moose / Reindeer
25 - Sloth (Standard/Giant)
26 - Badger (Standard/Giant)
27 - Armadillo (Standard/Giant)
28 - Hare / Rabbit
29 - Skunk / Porcupine
30 - Possum / Raccoon

(Roll a d30. GM can choose from the alternate types of the result, if any. Using the d30 as an Odd-Even or Jumbo d3 is also possible.)

Creative Commons License
30 Odd Animal Types by Jeffrey Osthoff is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at



Doing this blog makes me think a lot about the past and present of the hobby... especially as it concerns my own personal experiences in the hobby and were I want to go with it in the future.

I got the urge to check out one of the hobby shops I used to frequent as a teen: The San Antonio Hobby Shop.
Sadly, I found out that this store is no longer , as it closed in '05   :(   It used to be in the San Antonio Shopping Center in Mountain View, CA, but hard times fell upon the outdoor mall complex in the 90's and most of it was demolished to give way to a WalMart (ARGH!!!)

I found a picture that was provided by the Mountain View Preservation Association of the old fountain at the mall in 1982 (a year after I moved back to Minnesota):

Those were fun days and my pals and I would bike the 9 miles from Cupertino to this shopping center to get the hardest to find RPG goodies. I think the story was a retired Air Force guy owned the shop then. The first floor had trains and remote control airplanes and all of the classic hobby stuff, but the upstairs was where all of the miniatures for wargaming and the RPG books were, in a darkened area that reminded me of some arcane alchemist's lab.

I purchased my first RPG treasures there, such as OD&D, Tunnels & Trolls, Judges Guild's City State of the Invincible Overlord and Dave Hargrave's original Arduin Grimoire trilogy. Good times and great gaming!

5th Ed T&T '79

When I moved back to the Twin Cities, I found lots of great hobby shops, because this is another area that has always had a strong gaming community. Some of those like Little Tin Soldier and Phoenix Games no longer exist either, but there are other FLGS (Friendly Local Game Stores) that are very good around the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. I may do some reviews of them sometime.

In some ways, the Retro Gaming Renaissance is reclaiming the past, but just as time marches on, so does gaming.  Although it is fun to reminisce,  I am not worried about reliving "glory days" as much as I am in spreading the continuing enjoyment of "The Game" in the present. This blog is for those who played D&D and other fantasy roleplaying games in the past, those who play in the present and for those who have never played before. I am thankful that the OSR exists, because it is as much a part of the future of the hobby as much as any other aspect of it. Indeed, I think there is much to be gleaned from the history of gaming that can be built upon and incorporated into current trends. Memory of the past and an eye to the future can only make RPGs better in the long run. Whatever your flavor of game, new or old, the hobby is one that has meaning and enjoyment. There is something for everyone.

.... so let's roll some dice and make new memories :)

"DM Retro"

P.S. I will be posting about the future of this blog and writing a bit about my own upcoming campaign ideas soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

~25th March is Tolkien Reading Day!

Tolkien Reading Day was set up to encourage people to get together and explore some of Tolkien’s stories at school, university, in reading groups, or as a family; the theme for 2011 is
“Tolkien’s Trees”.

...This year's theme, "Tolkien's Trees", is allied with the "International Year of Forests" and encourages families and library reading groups to enjoy exploring the dark confines of Tolkien's many forests as well as focussing on individual trees.

Readers might venture into Mirkwood in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; into the Old Forest on the borders of the Shire, and the Golden Wood of Lothlorien, or meet the Ents of Fangorn. Or why not read about and discuss the importance of trees and their meanings in “Leaf By Niggle”, or the 'Two Trees' beloved of the Elves in The Silmarillion, where there are more great forests and woods to discover….

I have been reading Tolkien's works over again recently. Like many, besides perhaps Grimm's fairytales, Tolkien's writings were the first fantasy stories I ever read. Last year, over several sessions, I read the entire text of The Hobbit to a friend of mine that had never enjoyed Tolkien before. I think I derived as much pleasure reading it aloud as my friend did in hearing the tale! :)

I am currently reading the SIlmarillion, so  here is my choice for Tolkien Reading Day.


[caption id="attachment_404" align="aligncenter" width="375" caption="The Two Trees"][/caption]

"The one had leaves of dark green that beneath were as shining silver, and from each of his countless flowers a dew of silver light was ever falling, and the earth beneath was dappled with the shadows of his fluttering leaves. The other bore leaves of a young green like the new-opened beech; their edges were of glittering gold. Flowers swung upon her branches in clusters of yellow flame, formed each to a glowing horn that spilled a golden rain upon the ground; and from the blossom of that tree there came forth warmth and a great light." The elder tree, the silver tree, was named Telperion, while the younger, golden tree was named Laurelin. In seven hours, each tree waxed to its full glory and waned again. Each came to life again an hour before the other, so twice a day in Valinor, a soft light emanated from the trees when both the faint silver and golden lights mingled. The first time Telperion bloomed to full stature, the Valar counted as the first hour of time, naming it the Opening hour. After the first waxing and waning of Telperion and Laurelin, the Days of the Bliss of Valinor began, and also the Count of Time."

(From The Silmarillion)

Tolkien Reading Day

"I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
"So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."
—J.R.R. Tolkien (The Fellowship of the Ring)

Have a wonderful Tolkien Reading Day :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


The Magic-User Sub-Class : Enchanter over at Dyson's  A character for every game blog reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft's The Music of Erich Zann.
Perhaps this class (or even a Bard) could be incorporated into a campaign with a Lovecraftian touch by certain character types.

The Enchanter Spells in the post after the Enchanter made me think it was not a bad idea at all!
I do not know if this spell does the Enchanter sub-class justice, but I present it here with appreciation to Dyson ... and of course, H.P. Lovecraft   :)

Hypnotic Music

Level: Enchanter 4
Duration: If hearer fails save vs charm as long as the Enchanter plays (see below)
Range: 120′

Those within the range of the Enchanter's music must save vs Charm or become mesmerized, unable to move, speak or take any action. The music evokes one singular, basic emotion in those that hear the music, such as fear, sorrow, joy, etc.

The Enchanter must state the number of turns they wish to play for, up to their Constitution rating in duration. The Enchanter is effectively mesmerized themselves as they play, because they are attempting to play an entire piece, whether composed or extemporaneous.

If the Enchanter is prevented from playing the Hypnotic Music, or the listeners are prevented from hearing the music, or when the piece is over, the Hypnotic effect discontinues. Note: Other noises are blocked from the hearing of mesmerized listeners for the duration of the Hypnotic Music spell.

(Hypnotic Music can be combined with a secondary Enchanter spell, such as Dream to cause waking vision of the caster's choosing if the LL/GM allows.)


"DM Retro"

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I was very much intrigued by the Save or Die! Podcast Adventure #27 that came out yesterday. I made a comment to the good folks at Save or Die!:

I have played mostly Rogues/Thieves and I was interested in your take on Thieves Guilds.

In some of the campaigns I have played in, in smaller cities and towns the "guild" is sometimes non-existent or just a few thugs that have loosely banded together for mutual protection. Sometimes they are associated with a larger overall Guild that spans many towns and cities.

Some of the best thieves have an alternate identity in "normal" society. They can even work for or have friendly contacts among the authorities.
In general, in games where I DM, those that try to take up the trade w/o being a member of the Guild are eventually visited and given "an offer they can't refuse" to join the Guild. If they purposely try to run afoul of the local guild, they will be turned in to the local law enforcement or end up in floating in the sewers or something ;)

Not every game needs a fleshed-out Rogues Guild, but whatever one exists, unless it is a slipshod operation, the Guilds are very concerned with keeping a low profile, no matter how powerful they are. An exception may be openly corrupt cities or places where the Guild has grown more powerful tha[n] the official law enforcement.

It is really up to the DM, but these are some ways I have played such Guilds in the past. Just my two cents worth (actually, yours, as I just picked your pocket!)

See ya! :D

"DM Retro"

Click here to access the Save or Die! Podcast Adventure #27 Cyclops Smash!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Weird encounter chart I made for The Order of the d30:

30 Odd Random City Encounters
(roll d30 for random encounter)

01 - An unsavory-looking person approaches a PC to return a pouch/item that they have dropped. If offered a reward, they decline.

02 - A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: "Good News! Evil Declining in the Realm"

03 - While passing by a seedy part of town, the PCs see people nailing planks to buildings or painting them. Nearby is a sign that says: "Urban Renewal Project".

04 - There is a disturbance in the streets and people are milling about loudly.  If the PCs ask what the problem is, someone happily tells them that they just got word that the local lord has announced a cut in taxes.

05 - The PCs see an old man sitting at the side of the street mumbling to himself. He has a tin cup with a few copper pieces in it and a sign that reads: Take One If You Need One".

06 - A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: "Good News! Peace Treaty and Trade Agreement With Neighboring Kingdom Signed"

07 - While walking through town a group of filthy urchins surround the PCs, tugging at them. They ask if the PCs could retrieve a ball which has gotten stuck on the roof of a small shop across the way.

08 - An very large Orc is pushing a cart with several small dogs in it while shouting "Free puppies!".

09 - A group of 3d6 bald, orange-robed cultists, chanting and dancing, come near. They hand each party member a flower and continue on.

10 - The party sees a tavern called "The Pink Dragon".

11 - A black-cloaked figure approaches the party, introducing themselves as "The Dark Assassin". They ask the PCs where the magistrate is so they can turn themselves in.

12 - A Dwarven vendor pushes around a cart with a large barrel and small wooden bowls in it, ringing a bell while yelling "Iced Cream! One Copper!"

13 - A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: "Good News! Local Monster Retires to Warmer Clime"

14 - A group of people are picking up liter from the streets. One carries a sign that says "Druids For A Clean City".

15 - In a square, a very large tent is being set up. Nearby is a sign that reads "Battle of the Minstrels Tonight!"

16 - A shabbily-dressed man quickly approaches the party, seemingly from nowhere. They speedily wash the armor/scabbard or shield of a party member and put out their hand as if expecting payment.

17 - A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: "Good News! Dragon Disaster Averted"

18 - The party see a sign which reads: "Meeting of the Secret Order of Necromancers Midnight Tonight".

19 - A Hobbit stands at the side of the road with a vending cart full of multi-colored candies on a stick selling for 1 copper each. A sign on the cart reads: "All proceeds go to support the Lollipop Guild".

20 - The PCs see a Goblin dressed as a clown, juggling and entertaining a group of young children.

21 - A man hands the PCs a broadsheet whose headline reads: "Good News! Local Pirates Turn to Fishing Instead"

22 - The party sees a tavern with a wooden sign that has a cattle head with a halo. The sign reads: " Holy Cow". (If the PCs investigate, they find out it serves only vegetarian meals)

23 - 3d6 meowing kittens begin following the PCs

24 - A group of 3d6 peasants approach one of the PCs and start yelling "Hail to the King (or Queen) and begin to bow to and faun upon the PC.

25 - Some interesting type of music that the PCs have never heard before is coming from inside of a cafe. If the PCs investigate they find that it sells bottled flavored water, flavored coffee, small snacks and pastries. The sign above the cafe reads: "The Jazz Gnome".

26 - An Elf slips a fish into one of the party members pockets/robe.

27 - There is a taxidermy shop called "The Rainbow Rat" that specializes in stuffed rats dyed all colors.

28 - 2d6 local guards come by with a cart full of weapons with a sign on it that reads: "Swords for Cash Program".

29 - A Troll is vending "Horse-on-a-Stick" snacks from a booth.

30 - Party sees a magic shop named "Crystal Balls".

released as OGL (OPEN GAME LICENSE Version 1.0a) content
"Because the Gaming Community Matters!" - DM Retro

(yeah, I know they are weird, but it is an odd reversal of the type of classic city encounter charts from the past)

("DM Retro")

click here for Order of the d30 info