Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Megadungeon Best Practices XVIII

It's been a while since I put up some megadungeon "best practices." I've discovered a few more in the process of designing, running, and maintaining my megadungeon, Felltower.

Avoid Useless Choices

Providing alternative ways to get around a dungeon is great.

Providing distractions and false paths adds to the dungeon experience.

But, in general, avoid too many useless choices. That is, a choice between A and B when A and B end up the same way. Two hallways leading to the same area is generally okay, but two doors to the same room, from the same other room? Useless. It just kills the most valuable resource - real world playing time. Provide alternatives without providing an excess of choices that don't actually make a real difference.

Avoiding this is as simple as asking yourself - is this an alternative, or a choice that won't matter in actual play?

Understand the Space Between Your Places

Players are resourceful, and some game systems - GURPS is one of them - provide them with a lot of resources for making their own passages in a dungeon - Shape Earth - or determining where to go - Pathfinder, Seek Earth. The depth between levels, the relative angle of passages, the nearest source of X from area Y - you'll need to know these. It's worthwhile to note this on your GM master maps so you don't get stuck when the PCs need to know how far down stairs go, the depth of a shaft, the thickness of a floor, etc.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Starter Traveller - Free

This is the version of Traveller I started with:

It's available for free, right now (and that's Tenjar's affiliate link, because Tenkar pointed this out today.)

I had some issues with the set, mostly because the expansions assumed you had the three-book Deluxe Traveller boxed set. I paid $12 for the Starter set because $20 was crazy expensive for me. Even $12 was pocketbook breaking at the time, and cost me a lot of allowance. So I felt really burned when I'd get later books and they'd reference different books . . .

Still, it's a nice little set and it did get me going on Traveller. While it's free, just grab it.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Felltower status

We're going to play one more game in Felltower on 12/30, to end out the old year with one of three probable outcomes:

- a partial TPK

- a dead dragon

- or both!

Me, I'm hoping for both a successful and fun delve.

One thing about such a delve, though, is that the PCs still don't entirely know how to handle dragons.

They've heard about needing dragon-slaying swords, or an arrow to a vulnerable spot (but not just any arrow, one particular arrow) but don't know if that's true.

They've heard you can capture dragons and sell them . . . but don't know if that is true.

They do know that a plethora of spells seem useful against dragons:

Resist Poison
Resist Fire
Resist Acid
Walk on Air

and more.

They are stockpiling spellstones with such spells, plus healing, plus mundane tools to carve up a dead dragon, plus potions, plus anything else they can think of.

They've making their lists and checking them twice, as the season requires.

Me, I've long ago made up that dragon . . . and I can't wait to see how it all turns out.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Lost Hall of Tyr, 2nd edition

Douglas Cole is running a Kickstarter to fund a new, revised, expanded version of his Lost Hall of Tyr adventure:

I will admit this right out - I am out on this one. I have the original version, and I really don't need an expanded version . . . nevermind something I can't just use directly with GURPS. I'm saving my funds for the Dragon Heresy full set hardcopy. But if you like Vikings, and run either D&D 5th edition or Swords & Wizardry, take a look - Doug produces high-quality gaming supplements.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Gaming Toys for Tots?

A couple years back I bought some game sets to drop off for Toys for Tots.

If you're interested in doing the same, here are some low-cost but potentially good introductory options:

Munchkin Christmas Lite - starter set

D&D Starter Sets - around $12 on Amazon.com


Any other good potential gaming options to give away?

Thursday, December 6, 2018

New Release: GURPS Monster Hunters 6

I just received my copy of GURPS Monster Hunters 6:

I was a peer reviewer for it, so I received a complimentary copy. It came out pretty neat based on my first glance-through. It seems like I should have a bit to potentially plunder for another game since MH isn't really my type of game to run.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Plastic Golems

A session or so back, the PCs were menaced by some golems.

Here's one of them, with a weapon head swap (since the original broke off long ago):

These guys are actually some plastic knights from some random bag of plastic men - knights in this case - that I had when I was a kid. Few survived, but those that did have become golems. All I did was spray-prime them, cover them with metallic paint, and then either just magic wash them or give them a rust-orange wash and then magic wash them. Simple, cheap, fun, and just the right size to be SM +1 menaces.

That guy also got a carpet staple in his chest, somehow, which I pried out. It just makes him look battle-damaged. Aim for the hole at -8, you can see how well that worked out for the delver who put that hole there!

Monday, December 3, 2018

So you want to follow the jokes at the gaming table . . .

The understand the humor at our game table, it's critically important to be familiar with the following source material (particularly common references are quoted in parenthesis.)


Gauntlet ("Wizard is about to die!" and "Warrior needs food, badly!")

Yellowbeard ("Killing plants!" and the general attitude of the whole game.)

The Three Amigos ("Are you the singing bush?" and "You don't want to die with a sissy gun like that, you want to die with a man's gun." And a dozen others. "Paco, hold out your hat!")

Futurama ("Murder isn't working and it's all we're good at!" and any comments about "damned Neutrals!")


If you want to understand the rest of the humor, it's worth being closely familiar with:

Strange Brew ("You came to me with a mouse in the bottle. Now you are the mouse." "Perhaps one of these will change your mind, eh?" And too, too many others to count, eh?)

Kelly's Heroes ("Make a deal" and "I've been thinking nothing but positive thoughts about that goddamned bridge!")

The Blues Brothers (full version, for "I'm going to be a priest!")

Samurai Cat (for "not even the glyphs."

Passingly Useful

It's sometimes helpful to be familiar with:

The Princess Bridge (only for "Fezzik, tear his arms off" and the inventory scene)

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (just because.)

You'd think those would come up more often, but they really don't. Something like half of the stupid stuff we say at the table is The Three Amigos . . .

How about you guys?

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Shades of Grey, Pure Good/Pure Evil, and Felltower

I was listening to Joe the Lawyer's podcast this morning, and he talks about two things I really like:

- the PCs are the ones who solve problems


- there is no pure good and pure evil, but lots of shades of grey.

That's how I generally run my games.

But not Felltower.

Pure Good

There is absolutely pure good in Felltower. Not just good-hearted people who do good things, but there is the Good God. The Good God is pure good. He might smite things, but generally smites things of Evil or which will lead to Evil.

There are artifacts of Good. There are places of Good, too, that cause harm to those of evil and discomfort to those who stray too close to Evil.

PCs can push heavily towards Good, but won't necessarily reach pure good. They can try, and they can be an instrument of pure good.

Good is heavily tied towards order, sacrifice, and civilized behavior, and bravery. Nature has much to do with Good, too.

Pure Good is generally outnumbered by evil, but, contrary to the belief of most, it's more powerful than evil. Partly this is because of the raw power of good, and the powers of good, but also because Evil's power largely comes from deceit, giving in to temptations and weaknesses, and fear. Good can rely on trust, friendship, and redemption.

Pure Evil

There is absolutely pure Evil in Felltower, too. Demonic/diabolical beings, The Enemy, and folks who perpetrate deeply evil behavior are Evil.

Evil is heavily tied towards chaos, selfishness, uncivilized behavior, and atrocity. It's not necessarily cowardly, but fear (both causing and feeling it) are core values of Evil. Evil's inherent weakness is that while Good can cooperate, Evil ultimately can't trust other Evil. Evil talks a good game about rewards, but you can't trust Evil to come through on anything that isn't self-serving to the being or force making the offer. It's a shortcut to power, and like all such shortcuts, contains the seeds of its own corruption.

Some beings, like Elder Things, may not be evil, but for all intents and purposes are Chaos personified. And Chaos is tied to Evil by behavior, no matter what its inscrutable purpose really is.

Everything Else

Between are those neither Good nor Evil. There are many of them. They mostly are shades of grey. But they are bracketed either side by Good and Evil. Chaos is a close cousin to Evil, as noted above. Nature is a close cousin to Good, as well. There isn't really a "True

It's that kind of game.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Advanced Labyrinth Lord PDF

So backers got the Advanced Labyrinth Lord PDF today. Well, maybe before today, but I got it today.

For the hardback, I went with this cover:

I felt that was the most clearly awesome one.

It's nice to have LL and the Advanced Edition Companion in one volume. I am not sure I will ever run the game, but I do like it and I like browsing it.
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