Sunday, February 26, 2012

Session #7 of the Aeternal Realm of Sylvaeon

Well, it was a strange session for the characters in Sylvaeon today.
They succeeded in clearing the cliff cave of the hundreds of offspring of the giant phasing spiders that they slew last session. The baby spiders phased in and out and bit the PCs repeatedly for 1 point of damage every time, but they were finally burned out from the cave. The PCs also restored an ancient shrine that had been disturbed within the cave, with its elven metal statue and thousands of  silverish coins - of which only a few PCs dared take any (and a small amount at that!).

A new party member, Brynn (a Sword Sister) joined the party when she was sent to track down the other wardens to inquire about the status of Lydia, an elven Warden maiden that they had rescued last session. Brynn slew some of the creatures that appeared later, but did not avoid being hit by several arrows.

Oban the Ranger hunted to replenish the dwindling rations with some venison.

They encountered a shamanic goblinoid burial platform in the woods north of the riverside cliff cave. Evil juju magic struck the Sword Sister Airyka, but they were able to overcome it by destroying and burning the burial platform and its hideous humanoid and fur banner (complete with animal skull and a red crescent moon upon it). However, the black smoking fire alerted the nearby goblinoid tribe patrols who engaged the PCs with hit and run tactics. The party overran some of the retreating goblinoids and slew them viciously.

The bombs of the wizard, Kelvin the Curious, once more were used against him and he suffered other further humiliations at the hands of an old man that Smyranel, the female elven paladin of the White Lady "detected" as being non-existent. The old man was "rescued" from the goblinoids, but was really a manifestation of Corruption. The male paladin, Sir Parcifal, tried to heal the old man, but instead took a great amount of damage as the old man revealed his malice with black energy that struck the paladin as he laid on hands. The "old man" levitated was enveloped in a thing black swirling mist and began to cackle and taunt the PCs, telling them they were fool, that their path was only a dream and that everything they do only serves him. The old man was deal damage to all of the party by telekenetic-like slaps, black flames, etc. Nothing they did affected him, except Smyrynel's abjuration, which she accomplished by burning her point of Wyrd.

Smyrynel taunted the corruption manifestation, but he did not leave before telling Smyrynel that he would have the last laugh.

The moon pool situation has not yet been discovered by the PCs, who were sent to investigate an unbalance in it by the druid Mellion from his slumber in his ice block amidst a grove.

If the PCs survive the next session, perhaps they will discover what is infecting the Aeternal Realm of Sylvaeon.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Players Hex Crawl Map of Sylvaeon

This is the world as the players know it after six sessions in the Aeternal Realm of Sylvaeon

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Use of Real World Biomes in a Hex Crawl Campaign Setting

Because of its location and how it was formed from inland sea to a glaciated region to the place it is today, Minnesota is a unique place containing many lakes and is the meeting place of four biomes.

The starting point of my Sylvaeon campaign is partially based upon the land that I love  :)
I have populated the initial hex crawl with many of the native flora and fauna of Minnesota. The weather patterns mimic those occurring seasonally.

The flow and joining of the Drake's Wash & the Broken Arrow rivers in this starting area are based upon the real world confluence of the Minnesota & Mississippi rivers. The PCs have encountered these large rivers already. I used a riverside cliff cave in the last session based on those that are on the banks of these rivers. One encounter took place in a sink hole, like the ones that are present in various parts of the state.

Hex crawls and world building do not always entail reinventing the wheel. Using what is in the real world can ease the process greatly.

Remember the Giant Beaver in the Monster Manual? We had those things here.In fact, the most complete skeleton of a giant beaver was unearthed right here in Minnesota. The PDF linked below talks about some of the giant mamals of the past that roamed the state. I am itching to toss some megafauna at my players  ;)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Middenheim: City of Chaos

The 1st edition of Warhammer Fantasy Role Play is one of those systems that oozes with a dark and hopeless atmosphere. The characters are usually very ordinary people, sometimes powerful, but always fighting a war against Chaos that seemingly cannot be truly won.

The setting is an alternate, fantasy medieval Europe, like many D&D setting, but it is very different in tone. Humans, Elves and Dwarves do exist in Warhammer, as do Orcs and Goblins, but their roles are all diminished in comparison to the power of the horrific creatures of Chaos. The Middenheim : City of Chaos supplement is an example of just how deeply Chaos can warp a once lawful and pious society. It was originally entitled "Warhammer City", but it was revised to include more info and to fit in better for play with the last part trilogy of adventure modules, but it can be used as a stand alone item. Like any WFRP 1st edition items, it is a bit harder to track down, but not impossible.

Set near a woods infested with Beastmen and south of spawning grounds of mutated Chaos creatures, the city of Middenheim has held the line against the twisted forces Chaos, but now it has become slowly corrupted from within. The first section of the book, Power Behind the Throne details the convoluted conspiracy and infiltration of minions of Chaos inside the city Middenheim.

Middenheim is in some ways like a Warhammer version of the City State of the Invincible Overlord. Many organizations, shops, notable persons, places of interest, etc. are detailed in the gazetteer, which is most of the book. It does this similar to the CSIO by district. Puns are found throughout the book in name places and descriptions and such, which can be something a GM likes or dislikes, depending upon the flavor of their game - these can be easily changed if need be. The undercity is the most infested area of Middenheim and adventurers that journey down into it may never come back alive... or untainted.

The supplement comes with maps and the strange illustrations that all WFRP books have and encounter ideas an plenty of any other goodies to keep a Warhammer lover drooling like a Chaos mutant. If you ever find a copy, it is worth grabbing.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, Romance & Fantasy

Love, Romance & Fantasy
(I posted this on my old blog, but for Valentine's Day I thought it might be nice to repost it here)

There are lots of books and movies that combine romance and the fantasy genre. One could easily have chosen Labyrinth and gotten extra points for mentioning a movie that has an “L” name, but I had to “go with my heart” on this one. So, I chose to star this post with my favorite romantic fantasy/comedy: The Princess Bride.
Every time I watch it I want to engage in a Chatty Duel, storm the castle and do inconceivable things! I laugh, I cry (manly tears, of course!) and the tale never gets old. Other stories have hilarity, lovers’ spats, adventure and obstacles to overcome in pursuit of True Love, but none intertwines Fantasy in them quite as wonderfully! The tale feels like a romantic D&D adventure. :)
(Note: The videos – except the last one – have “embedding disabled by request”, like half of the things on YouTube these days, so double click on them if you wish to watch them in YT, sorry)

I could go into the characters in The Princess Bride, but the romance and tension between the main characters, Westley and Buttercup are really what makes the movie a Fantasy Love Story. I guess I am a romantic sap or something, because even though I know the “Real World” doesn’t always quite function this way, I still believe in the mushy ideals of The Princess Bride.
My first serious girlfriend was a Roleplayer. I introduced her to D&D when I was 17. I would play my gritty hack-n-slash character with The Boys. I am sure my character in that game wasn’t very romantic at all. However, my girlfriend I and would take time to have intimate 1-on-1 sessions, where either of us would be the GM. My character in “Our Game” was romantic, playful and Roguish… the perfect Gentleman Scoundrel! I think it was just my teenager-almost-a-man ways coming out in my alter Ego, but it was a lot of fun. Our roleplaying sessions remind me a lot of The Princess Bride, in retrospect, but the movie hadn’t even come out yet and I was unaware of the book at that time.

"As you wish."
There is a place for romance in fantasy, however not every fantasy roleplaying game is going to have it. Because of the nature of the group and/or GM, etc. it might not be an aspect at all of many campaigns, but some do incorporate it.
When I got older, I was in one long-term campaign that had the element of romance as one of the underlying aspects. The group was composed heavily of couples that gamed together. It was funny to see how we, as couples, gamed when things were not going so well at the time in our relationships. Little jabs and such might happen across the gaming table, but nothing severe. I still laugh to this day about some of the things that happened. The dynamics of real life romances at work in our game – even if it wasn’t always sunshine and roses – was sometimes just like in The Princess Bride.

A little laughter, a little tears, a little romance, a little fantasy is good for the soul.
As I end this post, I wish to bring to your attention Storming The Castle. I own it and enjoy it very much.

More Adventures in Castle Nicodemus

To the reverend Father General, the continuing travelogue of your most faithful and humble servant, Brother Damien Bernard.

Yet again I find myself in the strange land that resembles our own. Nodger, the novice you sent with me those many long days ago still accompanies me. He does me great service in recording many things of interest along our journey. I give you the happy news, should my missive reach you, that his spiritual formation seems to be progressing well.

Once more my young novice and I entered Castle Nicodemus. This time we were accompanied by another of the odd stunted men, a rather strange warrior and a very clever roguish-type of woman. The woman seemed to have the gift of tongues, for when we encountered a troupe of the goblins, creatures seemingly straight out of my childhood nightmares, she was able to converse with them in their monstrous, heathen speech. The initial encounter was at first hostile and I sent one in flames to the abyss. Several others were killed, but of four of the creatures, we spared their miserable lives. The woman who spoke their foul language apparently took them on as hired hands.

I still cannot locate an intact herald of the lord that ruled the once mighty castle, but I am amazed at the bas reliefs inside of Castle Nicodemus that still survive at least partially intact. The figures seem to be similar to the old Imperium's style. They certainly remind me of the cult of physicality that it had. They are beautiful, if a bit martial in nature. Some of these were defaced in a lewd manner by the goblin things. The acolyte Nodger and I removed the defacing marks as best we could. It is a pity to see ancient objects of art ruined so. How I wish I could arrange for some of these to be placed in the vaults of the mother Church for further study.

I was able to come away with some of the old bottles and other glassware we came upon. I feel these will be a good gift for the bishop's residence. They are of high quality and in various colors. The more I explore this ruin, the more I appreciate the aesthetic tastes that these people must have had.

Leaving Castle Nicodemus, I rejoin the caravan and pray that Providence will lead me this time back to the lands of my birth… and to the sanctuary of the Holy Church.

+ Faithfully set down in this, the Year of Our Lord Unknown, by Brother Damien Bernard

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Core of the Asian Fantasy Project

Recently I made a post to my RPG circle in GooglePlus:

"After talking with a few people and getting some possible co-Dungeon Masters, we are planning a shared world in a Fantasy Asia-like setting.

This would be a FLAILSNAILS game. I chose the faux China portion, others doing the ancient Japan part. Tentatively, I thought the Asian Fantasy Project would be a fair enough overall working tittle, with each DM having a game name for what they run. My section I was thinking of naming:The Legends of the Celestial Empire.

The rule set [Edit: that I will be using] would be based upon Swords & Wizardry or LotFP + Ruins & Ronin (with whatever home brew rules each DM wanted).

I have been working on some classes specific to the Celestial Empire. I also have the basis of just what the FLAILSNAILS characters would be exploring. Typical "Medieval Western" type characters will be welcome in my game, but some incentives for playing my classes will also be given.

Hopefully within a couple of weeks I will have a definite timetable for my section's launch. I am also hoping that much FLAILSNAILS madness will ensue! :)  "


I don't want this project to take away from the Aeternal Realm of Sylvaeon campaign, so it is slowly progressing, but Sylvaeon takes precedence. Still, I am happy to be working on this co-operative setting. 

There is a bit of nostalgia related to this, because I played a few AD&D 1e Oriental Adventures in a campaign that had over a dozen friends in it back in the late 80's to the mid-90's. One of them was a pacifist Shugenja (a Soto school Zen priest) and the other was a Ninja (who eventually became an incarnation of death).

Having had so much enjoyment playing those characters, I thought bringing some of that fun to the G+ Flailsnails peeps would be a fun idea.

Above and below are some pics of my much beloved and much used OA book (click for larger images)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Synopsis of Session #4 of the Aeternal Realm of Sylvaeon

it is a few days overdue, but here is the skinny on the continuing misadventures of my player's party:

After helping defend the Warden outpost from the goblinoid attack, the party set forth on New Years Day in the year 10,000. They decided to head to the southwest in order to find the missing Elf Warden, Lydia.

The rapid and rocky Broken Arrow River, which is impassable from any other direction that the PCs know, had to be forded. The ranger found the least dangerous place to cross it in the immediate area. Everyone made it across, but not before the mage and his horse were nearly swept down river! Continuing on, the party had to ford yet another river, the Drakes wash, which is a tributary that joins the Broken Arrow later on downstream. Thankfully the Drakes Wash is slower and more shallow, so it was not a difficult crossing.

Heading into the edge of the prairie lands, the party decided to camp for the night. They set up their six person tent and made a fire. Attracted by the fire was a wandering soul, Beldac the Mad Trapper, who explained that he had lost his mule recently to some trolls. Beldac sold a few skunk pelts and their scent glands to the party for some silver. Parcifal offered to share a meal with the trapper, who promptly ate the entire evening's rations. Setting in near the fire, Beldac slept and snored. This and the fire attracted something: the trolls!

Hunting the trapper down, the trolls finally had a clue as to his whereabouts and they approached the camp. Beldac ran off as the party gave combat. The mage was severely injured, but the PCs eventually slew the horrid towering creatures just as the trapper returned with a stick to help them fight the now dead trolls. Everyone was quite effective against them. Hard work does not go unrewarded! Inside pouches that the trolls carried was an uncut diamond, 2 dried bullfrogs and a few silver pieces! Parcifal also found a quivering green blob in one of the pouches, which Kelvin wanted to experiment upon, but Parcifal decide to keep to determine what it was and whether it was living or not. Some of the party affectionately named it the "troll booger".

in the morning, the mad trapper departed, heading towards the village of Arrowsmouth to procure another mule. The party broke camp and headed out on the trail of Lydia once more, eventually picking up a faint trail, because it had not snowed.

Following this disappearing then reappearing trail, the party reached the place where Lydia abruptly ended her journey to see Mellion the Druid - a sinkhole! Oban the ranger almost fell into it, too, as he came upon it. Leaving Parcifal and Oban to watch the horses, the rest of the party tied off a few ropes and defended into the sinkhole. It initially bottomed out at 60 feet, but had a slightly downward sloping part that continued from the floor of it. The carcass of the horse of the missing Warden was found at the bottom of the sinkhole.

As Airyka the sword sister, Kelvin the mage and Smyrynel the Paladin delved deeper into the darkness, a voice cried out. It demanded to know who and what the characters were, told them that nobody was here and to go away. Kelvin cried out a challenge in return and the voice from the shadows ceased.

Eventually the party came upon a creature dressed in patchwork rags, that one decried as a "dirty Gnome". In reality, unbeknownst to the party, this is a Brownie. The creature was seen in the light of the sword sister's lantern to be emptying a pouch into its hand. Not knowing what the diminutive being was doing, the party was fearful and attacked. What the thing was pouring out was Kelvin's pouch, which it had deftly stolen without being seen. I guess the Brownie was not impressed with Kelvin's unprovoked challenge ;)

There were some slapstick events:
 The mage grabbed it upon realizing just what it had in its hands. The Brownie placed the paladin in a stasis after she tried to continue past down the tunnel. It then blew sparks out of its mouth at Kelvin's eyes, so that the mage let go of the mischievous little thing. Running down the passage back into the darkness, the Brownie made a deal with the two mobile PCs in the sinkhole for the release of Smyrynel from its spell. Kelvin the Curious curiously decided to trade it one of his flash bombs for the release of the paladin! The being told them to back up and came and retrieved the bomb which was now in the darkness. The being emerged after a bit with the bomb in one hand and its dagger in the other! Keeping his word, the Brownie released Smyrynel from the enchantment, but she then launched upon the attack once more! Airyka also drew her sword, but hit the sinkhole wall, dropping her sword. The Brownie tossed the bomb at the mage, giving him a taste of his own medicine. The mage, recovering, tossed a net at the Brownie, but in the narrow passageway only managed to ensnare the sword sister. The Brownie, after doing a dance near the enraged Smyrynel, dodging her blows, finally ran off down the passage, which split into three other channels…

Monday, February 6, 2012

Another Castle Nicodemus Session Report

To the Father General, a report of my continued service to the Holy Church, from its humble servant, Brother Damien Bernard.

Returning with my former companions I once more entered the ruins of Castle Nicodemus We approached what appeared to be a guard tower. Even to my eyes, it was apparent that this structure was created to withstand a siege. The tower was adorned with a herald that I was unfamiliar with, but I had the Acolyte Nodger record it appearance in his ledger.

Gunter, a hireling of one of my companions was bitten by a poisonous snake inside the lower level. I was appalled that they were going to let him remain behind without aid - a very unChristian thing to do - so I cut open the wound, extracted the poison, and comforted the man as best I could. He regained his pallor somewhat. Nodger and I created a litter to bear him along as we further explored the castle.

The lower level was filled with the corroded armor of two armies that had fought inside of it. Their bones were so old that they had turned to dust. The party eradicated a nest of wasps of incredible size. I am finding that flaming oil is a useful protection for we clerics of our Lord to use from time to time. After ascending a staircase to the upper level, we found more such soldiers. 

Inside one of the rooms were even more flying creatures that resembled a cross between a bat and the wasps. They were blood-sucking creatures and hideous. Nodger defended Gunter from attack while I healed another  slightly injured hireling.

On the upper level I acquired what must have been a shield of a Templar or other holy warrior. I am convinced of this, because after leaving the castle and returning to the caravan the old woman who has a reputation for identifying things told me it was especially protective. The fact that it was the only piece of weapon or armor to appear in useable condition seems to confirm this. The old woman asked if she could tell my fortune. As we are taught in the Scriptures, divination is witchcraft and an abominable practice, so naturally I declined.

I must also report something of a delicate matter. Please know, Father General, that I think nothing of myself and do not seek mystical experiences. However, like the revered St. Francis, I have been afflicted on occasion by the sign of the Stigmata. I pray earnestly for the strength and wisdom to learn from this and I will not speak of it to anyone else. I try to conceal it from onlookers when it manifests and will by no means draw any attention to it.

May the blessings of the Almighty be with you and Mother Church. Please remember your servant in prayer.

+ In the Year of Our Lord Unknown,
Brother Damien

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Clerical Conundrums - a FLAILSNAILS alternative for Clerics to the Carousing Table

Clerical Conundrums:
1. Called upon to preside over a funeral, you trip and knock over the casket, dumping the body in front of a horrified congregation. (1 or 2) Fall in the open grave during a funeral service. (3-6)
2. Recruited into a cell of heretics corrupting the church from within. You are clueless as to their real intentions.
3. Unintentional political allegory in sermon angers local law enforcement. 1-2 You are banished from town. 3-6 Fined 200GP for the crime of Subversion. Failure or (inability to pay fine) indicates d6 days in the pokey.
4. Bungle conversion mission, natives begin worshiping your version of Satan.
5. Drop lit ceremonial candles, torch church.
6. Inconvenient miracles, i.e. weeping blood (pick something campaign appropriate). People outside the faith are freaked out, but members may begin following you around as a messiah figure.
7. Tasked by your church to perform exorcism. 1-4 successful 5-6 unsuccessful, lose 2 points of Wisdom temporarily for d6 weeks and watch over your shoulder for that time!
8. Accidentally insult bride at a wedding ceremony you officiate at. Offerings drop at the church for a time because of the incident. You must tithe d6x100 GP to make up for it.
9. Donate a cursed coin to the church.
10. The spirit of doing good works and giving runs away with you. Lose 50% of all possessions and money you have.
11. You drink too deeply in the ceremonial wine and become drunk during service. Your superiors are not impressed. Lose all XP from the previous adventure.
12. In an effort to help the poor, you were mugged. Start the next adventure minus d3 HP.
13. You unintentionally anger your deity – wear sackcloth and ashes for d6 days to atone.
14. Townsfolk are enamored by a younger, populist clerics message – make a successful Charisma check or lose any popularity you have with the people of this town.
15. You accidentally lose a sacred relic – you superiors are very distraught. You are sent on a pilgrimage for d4 weeks as penance.
16. Talked out of any spare cash you have on you by a sob-story-telling swindler. You have a big heart, but need to work on that Wisdom a bit more ;)
17. Accused of heresy. Make a Wisdom check to avoid the sanction of your Church against you.
18. Rival religion is jealous of your good works. You gain an enemy.
19. Accused of embezzlement of Church funds. Roll a Charisma check to clear your name.
20. You wore yourself out doing good deeds for the less fortunate. -2 to all To Hit Rolls and Saving Throws for the first day of your next adventure.

(This table was inspired by Jeff Rients' Carousing Table and input by: Jeremy Deram, John Johnson, Tim Knight, Michael Moscrip, Jeffrey Osthoff and Robert Parker)

A free PDF of this table can be downloaded here:

For the original Carousing in Wessex Table please go here:

For Evan Elkins Magical Mishaps Table for Magic Users please see: