Barrowmaze Session Recap Part 2

CAST
——–

Marcus, 1st level human ranger
Pyrrhic Aere Perennius, 1st level human fighter
Mortiganto Ruĝa, 1st level human fighter
Uto Keitel, 1st level human cleric of Wotan
Drendan Fallowbriar, 1st level halfling thief
Haldo, 1st level half-elf ranger
Hedric the Strange, 1st level human wizard
Gawain, 1st level elf fighter/magic-user

 The damned….those who refuse to die.

After surveying the room, the group quickly realized that this must be the entrance to the Barrowmaze itself. Uto was the first to climb down the rope, followed by Mortiganto. The room was partially collapsed along the western wall. Worn frescos of a burial procession leading to a barrow mound lined the walls. Booted footprints could be seen heading east. Along the southern wall, someone had carved “Beware the tentacle beast. It ate Galstaff.”

Once the remainder of the group had climbed down the rope, they peered out through the sole archway that left the dank room, a gloomy hallway leading off to the west. The torch light barely fought off the shadows that tried to engulf the hall in darkness once again. Squinting, they were barely able to make out two hallways branching off and heading north.

Dren led the way into the hall, the rest of the group following behind while Haldo remained in the chamber protecting their gear. Twenty feet from the arch, a hall branched off to the left and ended 20 feet away at a door. Ten feet past that branch was a door on the right side. Ten feet past that, another hall branched off to the left. And 10 feet beyond that, there were 2 doors, one on each side of the hall. The group proceeded further down the hall, seeing in the distance a pile of rubble on the left side where the wall had partially collapsed. It was there a pack of zombies shambled from out of the darkness drawn by the torchlight. 

At that time, the group was at the second branch of the hallway. Dren and Gawain moved into that branch so as to attack the zombies from behind should they advance too far. Pyrrhic and Mortiganto lined up as the first line of defense which Marcus and Uto behind them. Hedric covered the rear where he could cast his magic if the zombies started winning. But it was not needed. The fight barely lasted a minute. The first zombie was dispatched after leaving a nasty claw mark on Mortiganto. The other zombies fell one by one after the first.

Concerned about what lay before them, but worried about what they might have missed behind them, the group returned to the first door. Dren cleared the doorway and opened it to find a 20′ x 20′ room that was empty besides some litter left behind by previous adventurers. The room carried the look of a safe spot to rest and recover. as the remains of a fire and broken equipment was scattered across the floor. There was also another door leading out opposite the one the arrived by. Proceeding through that door, the group found themselves in a room roughly 30′ x 25′. A hallway broke out of the room along the north wall where they had just entered. The torchlight shined enough to show them two doors further down the hall along the north side and one door on the south side. Meanwhile in the room was yet another door on the south-west wall.

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Gains: none
Kills: 4 zombies
Losses: Haldo (who’s player dropped out)

Barrowmaze Session Recap Part 1

A couple of months ago, I started running a Barrowmaze game using the Labyrinth Lord / Advanced Edition Companion Rules (LL/AEG) over on the UnseenServant forum. Its a little difficult to do set recaps for the game as there is no definitive time period, but I figured the game has progressed enough that it might be time to post a recap for it here for those who are interested. I’ll be using the session recap template based off of Patrick Wetmore’s session recaps in Henchman Abuse.

CAST
——–

Marcus, 1st level human ranger
Pyrrhic Aere Perennius, 1st level human fighter
Mortiganto Ruĝa, 1st level human fighter
Uto Keitel, 1st level human cleric of Wotan
Drendan Fallowbriar, 1st level halfling thief
Haldo, 1st level half-elf ranger
Hedric the Strange, 1st level human wizard
Gawain, 1st level elf fighter/magic-user

It was a beautiful day on the moors of the Duchy of Valnwall. The sun was shining clear in the sky and was beginning to burn off the haze that creeped in off the moor. The group had come to the little village of Helix in the hope of a chance to enter the fabled Barrowmaze, a series of burial mounds and underground tombs constructed ages ago by an unknown people who had settled in this area. Some of these people were buried in simple alcoves, while others were entombed behind sealed doors and guarded by deadly traps. Time passed and the settlement grew – and the underground passages became maze-like in their complexity.

This continued for centuries until the cult of Nergal, God of the Underworld, appeared. The evil cultists drove the villagers off and occupied the Barrowmaze. Legend has it that Nergal was deposed by his two sons, Orcus and Set. This sparked a war for control of the Underworld. Now leaderless, the cult of Nergal fragmented and abandoned the maze.

In time, the village of Helix was established north of the moor. The locals are aware of the burial mounds and share folk tales of the dead walking in the mist and riches buried under the ground. The locals refer to the underground labyrinth as Barrowmaze.

One by one, the characters entered the village. It was a small village with two roads meeting at the town square. One road travels south from the square while the other travels to the east. Both the Brazen Strumpet Tavern and the Shrine to St. Ygg share the square with a couple of other buildings. Though the Barrowmaze is known far and wide in Valnwall, few are interested in plumbing its depths and so the village has not prospered from its location. Still, the moor provides for those who are willing to work hard and the villagers here have scraped out a meager existence.

Mortiganto sauntered into town and immediately made for the Brazen Strumpet Tavern, where he ordered the cheapest ale he could get. He downed it quickly before heading to the center of the room and boldly calling out,

Mortiganto: “Friends! I seek my fortune in the Barrowmaze! What brave souls will join me?”

This request was quickly answered by Pyrric who was in the middle of a brawl with a local whose sister’s honor and purity Pyrric had besmirched. Seconds later, Mortiganto was approached by Dren who was seeking coins to pay to have his teeth fixed. Before long they were joined by Haldo and Uto, both of whom where in the tavern, stood up and pledged themselves to the goal of exploring the Barrowmaze with the others.

The five of them left the tavern after one last round, running into Marcus who was also interested in exploring the Barrowmaze. With Marcus accepted into the newly formed group, they were about to head out when Mortiganto noticed a young man across the square staring intently at the group. Concerned, he approached the young man.

Mortiganto: “Good day, sir! You seem somewhat grumpy. Is there anything I can do to lighten your mood?”
Young Man: “Mmmm, not grumpy. Bemused. Another group of fortune seekers come to town. Another group of wishful tomb robbers intent on making their fortunes. But like all the others who have come before you, you will find yourself content to walk away with your lives. The maze holds more bodies than just the ones buried there.”
Mortiganto: “Whu… um. Well, now I’m just sad. “You’ve thrown a cloud over my good mood. I hope you’re happy. You know, though. You seem to be familiar with the Barrowmaze, in a morbid fashion, at least. Might you offer us some rumors or advice (besides not going) that could aid us in sticking a thumb in the eye of the Fates and avoiding our untimely deaths?”
Young Man:  “Not one of you is prepared. I don’t mean that in a harsh way. You are about to go poking and prodding in a place where the dead where interred. You know… in the ground or behind a wall. Not one of you has a sledge hammer or a spade. How do you think you are even going to get in there? And the maze is a half day’s walk from here. You staying out there or planning on returning here if you can? You’re going to need provisions for either one.”
Mortiganto: “Oh-ho! That’s my Grumpy! You know I can’t stay mad at you! Don’t worry, I’ll bring you back a skull or something. Grumpy says we need spades and sledgehammers and provisions, and I agree! To the market!”

Before the group could turn and head for the market, they were approached by a strange man who appeared to be nothing more than a beggar with an ornate staff. Introducing himself as Hedric the mage, he offered his abilities as assistance in their efforts to plumb the depths of Barrowmaze. Realizing that seven is a good omen, Uto lead the charge to include Hedric among their numbers.

With additional supplies procured, the group headed south to the barrow fields where the Barrowmaze proper was. Upon entering the fields, they found a number of small mounds. Making their way around the nearest mound, they found a stone door wedged into the frame of the entrance way. Attempts to budge the stone proved futile and the group resorted to using sledge hammers to knock it open. Luckily, the noise did not disturb the otherwise silent field and they were able to gain entry to the mound. Taking necessary precautions to detect evil, undead, and traps, the group investigated the contents of the tomb. Their search was brief but beneficial and they left the tomb with some gold in their pockets.

Scouting ahead, Dren was planning on checking the next two mounds when he spied an elf checking his gear. With Marcus as backup, Dren struck up a conversation with the elf. Dren learned that this was Gawain, an elf in search of fame and fortune, and a change from what he considered the monotony of life with the elves. He had arrived in the barrow fields earlier and had searched on of the tombs already however it appeared as though the tomb was emptied earlier so he moved on to the next mound. All together, they examined the mound but could not find an entry. With far more options available, they set out for another mound.

As the group moved to the next mound, they came in sight of a circle of standing stones. Intrigued, they moved about the circle of stones quickly realizing another mound lie in the center of the circle. Once they reached the southern portion of the field, they found a pathway entering the mound. Checking the path for traps, Dren and Gawain led the way towards the entrance.  A large stone door rest face down, broken in two, in the long grass of the entranceway. The area was littered with skulls and bones. A foul smell emitted from the interior of the mound and the darkness beyond was black as night.

There are both booted footprints and other tracks which you cannot make out. Bones litter the floor. Four huge square stone columns support the structure. Between the pillars there is an old, rusty 6’ high tripod with a block and tackle suspended over a hole in the floor. A rope descends down into the darkness. Braving the darkness, the group entered the mound to find a staircase descending a short way into the tomb. Bones littered the floor. Four huge square stone columns supported the structure. Between the pillars there was an old, rusty 6’ high tripod with a block and tackle suspended over a hole in the floor. A rope descends down into the darkness.

Gains: 50 g.p. and 2 amphora
Kills: none
Losses: none

Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes

So the website has gone through a number of changes these last couple of weeks. Originally, everything was run from a home web server. This was fine and easy for me, however the electric bill was horrendous over the winter and I’m sure running a computer 24/7 with an attached external hard drive for backups was not helping the bill out. I have worked with a specific free web host provider in the past, so I moved the site to their servers. Shortly thereafter, they went through a number of server hardware and software upgrades and the site was down frequently as a result. There were days with no database connections and there were some days where the server software didn’t meet WordPress requirements. Once again I moved the site. This time the site is on a paid host. There should be no problems with hardware or software moving forward.

I have also restore the forums for gaming. I wanted to approach it as a fresh start so I have removed all games from the forums except for the Pathfinder game as that one is the only semi-operational game at the moment. Should anyone want the older games restored, please let me know. I have the backups on my home drive and I can restore any piece necessary.

Baydragons PbP

For those who used to come to this site for the Play-by-Post (PbP) forum, I am sad to say it is down for the foreseeable future. The site had been running on my own personal web server since its creation (except for the couple of times when I had to rebuild the server itself); but since it has not been used since October 2013, I don’t see a point in keeping it running at this time due to the amount of electricity it draws without being fully used.

Kickstarter

I don’t always back Kickstarter projects;
most-interesting-man-in-the-world
but when I do, I back Frog God Games.
 
This morning, Frog God Games launched their latest Kickstarter project, The Lost Lands: The Lost City of Barakus. When Frog God Games created a Kickstarter for Rappan Athuk 2 years ago, I enthusiastically jumped on the train for the Pathfinder PDF. At the time, I was primarily interested in Pathfinder as opposed to Swords & Sorcery. And I have been kicking myself in the tuckus ever since for not supporting both. SO this time around, I went in for the Herald of the Lost Lands level and backed hard cover and PDF copies of both Pathfinder and Swords & Sorcery. Given Frog God Games’ track record (5 projects, 4 funded, 3 finished), its a sure bet that this one will be funded and they will have it out to the backers in the same timely manner as their previous projects.

Barrowmaze Character Sheet

Having recently purchased Barrowmaze II, I decided to embark on a Play-by-Post campaign using Labyrinth Lord/AEC. With Greg Gillespie being so kind as to provide a blank character sheet, I was able to extract it from the documnet and add form fields to it to make it a fillable character sheet.Barrowmaze CS

Click here for Barrowmaze character sheet.

The Known Lands of Labyrinth Lord

Since I haven’t been doing any face-to-face gaming at my FLGS these last couple of months, I have upped my play-by-post gaming. I’m not putting them down, but the fact of the matter is there are few, if any, OSR games going on at Giant in the Playground. And those that do get started never seem to last as it only takes the leaving of one player to derail the entire game. Luckily, I happened across Unseen Servant which host almost exclusively OSR games.

kellys_diceGaming at the Unseen Servant has increased my interest in the OSR and retro-clone games to the point that I have been looking over Labyrinth Lord (a B/X retro-clone) and Labyrinth Lord Advanced Companion (a 1st ed-B/X hybrid). I have even gotten my son (who till now was only interested in Pathfinder) reading the rules and thinking of characters. It certainly doesn’t hurt that I was able to convince my wife to give it a try so that she would understand what we were talking about.  (Course it doesn’t hurt to bribe with something interesting.)

In the interest of running a Labyrinth Lord campaign (and for anyone else who wants it), I used Hexographer to create a colorized version of the map found in the back of the Labyrinth Lord core rules. In keeping with the B/X theme, the map is entitled “Known Lands.

For those familiar with Hexographer, I set the three cave locations to “GM Only” so they will not appear on the player’s version of the map.LL-Known-World

After I created that map, I set about looking through my Labyrinth Lord material. As I have the supplement “Lesserton & Mor,” I started delving into additional material created by Faster Monkey Games. I learned they were working on a project entitled the Eastern Valnwall, an attempt to flesh out the eastern portion of the Known Lands. Using information I found on their website, I added on to the map to include items from their catalog.LL-FM-Known-World

Like my original map, the three caves are set to “GM Only,” but they are not the only items. The Hidden Serpent, Mount Rotten and Skull Mountain have been placed on the map per Faster Monkey Games’ placement as “GM Only” features. Renneton, from module FM002LL, Wheel of Evil and Eel Bight, from module FM004LL, Wrack & Rune have been included as well.

I hope to expand on this map as we use it to run our campaign. As I do, I will post updates here.

DIY Guide to Binding PDFs – Complete Handbook

So I am continuing my attempts to bind my own PDFs based on the tutorial of Greyharp found here and reprinted here. I have always been fascinated with using necromancers as villians in my campaigns. I feel there is something intrisic in using the undead as the hordes of bruts for fantasy heroes to combat and overcome. Thats why I recently purchased the Complete Book of Necromancers and it will be the next PDF I attempt to bind.

The picture below shows the printed book and the front cover. The interior of the book was printed on a duplex laser printer. The covers, as shown in the second picture below, were printed on glossy photo paper using an inkjet printer.photo-1photo-2

Once the covers were dry, I stapled the interior book using 5 staples evenly spaced on the left margin.

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With the interior of the book together, I measured width of the spine which came out to be 7mm. Given the interior margins, I was able to use 1cm widths for the hinges that would connect the covers to the book as well as the hinges on the spine. For the title, I used WORD to create a landscape document, entered the text, and then centered on the page.  To do this:

    1. Select the text that you want to center between the top and bottom margins.
  • On the Page Layout tab, click the Page Setup Dialog Box Launcher, and then click the Layout tab.
  • In the Vertical alignment box, click Center.
  • In the Apply to box, click Selected text, and then click OK.

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I then finished the book following Greyharp’s directions.photo-5photo

DIY Guide to Binding PDFs – Modules

If you have read my two previous posts (here and here), then you know I have been following Greyharp’s directions on printing and binding my PDF files into books. My last post showed the Complete Rules for Swords & Wizardry which was my first attempt and the Basic and Expert Dungeons & Dragons rules which I combined into one book.

Greyharp was planning on posting a tutorial on binding modules but never did. Playing around with his directions, I have come up with the following.

I have always enjoyed the 1st Edition Dungeons and Dragons module N1: Against the Cult of the Reptile God so I figured I would start with that. I first printed the pages that would constitute the interior of the module. I printed them out on a duplex laser printer and then stabled them into one booklet using three staples.

Next comes the cover. The first thing I tried was to delete all the pages except the first and last and then print them to a sheet of 11″x17″ paper using the Adobe Acrobat booklet printing function. This gave me one large sheet with both the front and back cover printed on it. I then did the same for the map of the village, booklet printing it to one sheet of 11″x17″ paper. Next, I glued the two sheets together with 2 pieces of stock paper (65lb) in-between to give it some strength. I then used a paper cutter to remove the right-most 1/8″ of paper from the interior so that when everything was put together there would be nothing sticking out.

I wasn’t happy with the result. The module “cover”, though strong, wasn’t the best design. The paper was slightly bubbled from the glue and crinkled when the cover was opened and closed.

My next attempt involved glossy photo paper for the exterior and matte-heavyweight for the interior. Below is an image of the exterior front cover with the glossy photo paper and the interior booklet. I could have accomplished the interior booklet by printing to 11″x17″ paper in booklet format but my paper is only 20lb weight which is not the best for inkjet. For duplex inkjet printing, I prefer 26lb weight paper.IMG_0889

Once the printouts were dried, I took the glossy paper and glued it back to back to the matte paper using Elmer’s Craft Bond glue stick. Once I aligned the two sheets together, I placed them under some books till they dried. This kept the papers from curling as the dried. The picture below shows the interior side of the front cover.IMG_0890

Below is a picture of the back cover prior to assembly. The back exterior was once again printed on glossy photo paper and the back interior printed on matte heavyweight paper. The two were glued together and placed under a heavy book for a couple hours to dry.IMG_0892

With the front and back covers assembled, it was time to join them together. In order to keep the contact paper I would use to cover the front face of the module from bubbling, I used a piece of contact paper 2cm wide to act as the interior hinge.IMG_0899

With the covers joined together, I used adhesive contact paper on the outside of the covers as Greyharp described. And that gives us the final product.IMG_0901IMG_0902IMG_0903

DIY Guide to Binding PDFs – My Attempts

Following the directions in GreyHarp’s post, I have been experimenting with binding my own PDF books. My first experiment was with a copy of the Complete Rules for Swords and Wizardry. On the whole, it turned out well IMHO. The contact paper bubbled in a few locations on the back cover because I was moving far too fast for my own good but it was a successful first attempt.imageimage1image5

 

The second one I did was both the Basic (Moldvay) and Expert (Cook) books together with a combined cover (found ) This one came out much better than the first as I took my time by flattening the piece of contact paper before use and then using a ruler to force the air out as I fixed the cover to the pages.

The second one I did was both the Basic (Moldvay) and Expert (Cook) books together with a combined cover (found here.) This one came out much better than the first as I took my time by flattening the piece of contact paper before use and then using a ruler to force the air out as I fixed the cover to the pages.image3image4image2