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hairylarry
Inspired Unreality Tonight! Our opening topic is inspired by Follow Me And Die, how gaming has helped us get through the pandemic.

Inspired Unreality open game chat is held every Monday night at 9:00 Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. If you are new to Tenkar's Tavern we have an invite for you here.

https://gamerplus.org/index

Follow Me And Die posted his year in review blog post. He starts with the stats and the business but then segues into a moving and personal piece of writing. This is your recommended read for the day.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/3206

Relatedtogeeks posted a link to the new Save Or Die podcast, Start! Thief!, wherein their guest, Darrold Wagner, discusses the origins of the thief class.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/3207

I wrote up the latest session notes for our Archive Of The White Master campaign. We are putting the Archive in our past (kind of like 2020) and pressing on with the issue of animals being trapped in the forest. Led by Leaf the elf we discover the problem is more than hungry goblins and we rescue Boffin the halfling.

https://gamerplus.org/blogs/post/494

Head on over to Gamer+ for more and to update us on your latest adventures.

Thanks,
Hairy Larry
https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry
hairylarry@curators.mixremix.cc (on my Friendica)
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com


hairylarry
Session notes for December 19, 2020

After we finished at the Archive Of The White Mage the blacksmith and his sons take the road back to town, their cart heavy laden with the metal they had salvaged from the animated statue of Moloch. We take off through the forest worried about goblins trapping animals. We were all well horsed and the raccoon and bear dog ran alongside.

Although we see no new tracks we do find the old tracks fairly well preserved and endeavor to follow them. We see a large pit some ways ahead and the tracks seem to lead right to it. We approach cautiously and smell a terrible scent.

We see some unhealthy trees around the pit in fact the whole area looks nothing like the vibrant forest we just left. One of the trees, about 20 feet from the pit, looks like it has a door in it. Caper says, "Let's check out that tree with a door." Leaf and Caper approach the tree.




The tree has a lot of knotholes and what appears to be an inset door, fit tight with no handle. Caper tries opening the door by twisting and pushing on the knots. No luck. The door remains stuck fast. Leaf reaches up and tries the knots above the door. Still no luck.

Caper looks at the ground and sees several roots. Pulling on the third root opens the door which slides sideways into the tree. We see steep steps going down towards the pit.

Leaf decides to check things out before we head down the stairs. He silently crosses the 20 feet to the edge of the pit and peeks over the edge. The pit is about 90 feet deep. 30 feet down Leaf can see a bridge made of wood and ropes that goes from our side of the pit all the way across to the other side. At the bottom of the pit is a blue shining portal constantly moving and shining as if lit from behind.




Caper calls the rest of the party over and we proceed down the stairs. About 20 feet down we see a large empty chamber. Listening carefully Ari and Leaf can hear music from below. In the corner of the room is a hole going down. Caper listens and looks down at the hole.

Caper recognizes the song called "The Redcaps Caper". Redcaps are evil faeries, not as powerful as some faeries. Their caps are dyed red with human blood and if a Redcap's cap dries out he dies.

We descend the second set of stairs following the music.

At the bottom of the stairs we see a big room with a row of pillars. At the end of the pillars is an open mouth in a monstrous face. The music is coming out through the mouth.



Ari looks through the mouth into the next chamber. Two goblinoid creatures are dancing and tormenting a halfling who is playing the music on his flute.

Nobody can stand for this so we attack the goblins with arrows and thrown daggers. Both arrows hit and one dagger hits. One of the goblins drops. Soon the other joins him, both dead.

We rescue Boffin the halfling who insists we leave immediately. Prudence dictates and we agree to accompany Boffin back to town. On the way back Boffin tells us that the goblinoids had been dropping dead animals into the portal at the bottom of the pit. He has no idea why and he was afraid they were going to drop him off the bridge too so he kept playing his flute while they danced. Fortunately we came along to rescue him before he was too tired to play.

hairylarry
Inspired Unreality open game chat tonight at 9:00 Central in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkars Tavern on Discord. Our opening topic will be the difference between writing stories and writing quests. As always, bring your own topic. All gaming is on topic.

If you have never been to Tenkars Tavern we have an invitation for you here.

https://gamerplus.org/index

And don't forget. Rule 1 - don't whistle on Discord

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/3014

Those who are Related To Geeks discuss audio and video production for podcasts and vlogs.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/3012

Follow Me And Die has some thoughts about the illustrations of Dave Trampier.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/2998

Also... (See Inspired Reality above.) I posted a blog about Writing Quests. I compare writing quests to writing stories and I lay out my plan for quickly putting a quest idea on paper, ready to play. Or for the best quest ideas ready to add assets and make it publishable.

https://gamerplus.org/blogs/401

They say the best advertising is word of mouth which is a good thing because we can't afford any other kind. At the bottom of your profile page there is a section that says "Link to your Profile Page - Copy, Paste, Add username". Follow the instructions to link to your Gamer+ profile from your website or blog.

Thanks
Hairy Larry
https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry (my Gamer+ profile)
hairylarry@curators.mixremix.cc (on the fediverse)
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com (email)
hairylarry
Writing Quests
by Larry Heyl

A story is said to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. This is a simple and reliable guide for writers. Somewhere along the way, in the creative process, a light is switched on and the writer sees where the story is going. Once the end is discovered the middle falls into place. That is, the middle part is shaped by the end part providing the necessary bits that allow the story to end convincingly.

Sometimes a quest is well run and well played and produces a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end. But more often not. In fact producing such a story is not the purpose of the game. It is a possible side product but not the goal. I think the players immersion into the fantasy setting and their identification with their characters are far more important to enjoying the game than any derived story everyone becomes aware of after the fact.

I am not saying the story is unimportant. Without the story there is no fantasy world to become immersed in and no characters to identify with. It's just that the story is not like a written story with a beginning, middle, and end. Nor is it like a story written by an author.

That's why I avoid writing a story when writing a quest.

Instead I write the setup, seeds, and goals.

The setup defines the quest and lays out the goals for the party. It should be short. It should place the party geographically and introduce important NPCs. It can be read aloud at the beginning of the quest and can also be printed for the players to refer to. It is the beginning of the quest and is similar to the beginning of a story. Except shorter.

Within the setup I include seeds. These seeds indicate what might possibly or could probably happen. The literary parallel is foreshadowing. With foreshadowing the author indicates what might happen and then writes what does happen or perhaps inserts the foreshadowing knowing what will happen. The seeds are hidden in the setup to suggest to the characters what they might be able to do. Whether they follow up on the seeds or not is up to the players. If the players do follow up it's good to give the DM some options to choose from, possible seed resolutions. And it's good to have multiple options because nobody knows how the players will appproach the situation hinted at by the seeds.

The goals are what the quest is about: find the treasure, rescue the princess, kill the monsters. When the players are satisfied they have met the goals that signals the end of the quest. The goals can be mentioned explicitly in the setup or they also may be hidden in the narrative like a goal seed.

The setup, the goals, and the seeds are all text. The other part of writing the quest is preparing the assets. The assets are the pictures, the maps, the character sheets, the description of the treasure, the stat blocks for NPCs and monsters, etc. It is possible to run a quest without any assets but assets make the quest easier to run for the DM and assets make things flow smoothly for the players.

Once the quest writer has an idea writing the setup is quick and easy. You can then look for the seeds you have planted in the setup and write a few sentences about each one. The primary goals should be included in the setup. List them and then see if there are any hidden goals within the text the players might follow up on. Add them to the Goals section. Then list the assets, maps, pictures, stat blocks, and short descriptions.

This can all go quite quickly. The bulk of the work is in the assets, not in the writing. This does, however, give you a framework for a playable quest. Adding the assets will make the quest easier to run and more fun to play.

Not every quest idea is great. Some ideas, however, work better than you thought they would. Also when reading through old quest ideas sometimes something clicks and you can greatly improve the quest with a minor tweak.

Don't feel like you have to put every quest idea into a publishable format. Take the time to add assets to your best quests. They deserve the work. You still have all the other quest ideas which you might improve on later or add into a campaign as a side quest.


hairylarry
Tonight at 9:00 PM Central join the Inspired Unreality open game chat held in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. Our opening topic tonight will be maps. Professionally drawn, randomly generated, or just the DM drawing with pencil and paper during gameplay, maps are a part of almost every quest. Maps of the area, maps of the town, maps of the room where the treasure is hidden, multilevel maps of the dungeon or the tower. How does a DM use maps to communicate the ongoing quest to the players? How do the players use maps to plan strategy? How do you use maps in your quests?

If you have never been to Tenkar's Tavern we have an invitation for you here.

https://gamerplus.org/index

wilsonelisa430 posted a blog about How to Solve the Sunstones Puzzle in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla.

https://gamerplus.org/blogs/post/383

Follow Me And Die is on a quest. The goal of the quest is 1000 Youtube subscribers. He says, "I now have 951 subscribers on YouTube! 42 Days to reach my goal of 1,000 subscribers by year end...." If you are not already a subscriber link over and click the Subscribe button. He posts interesting videos including the Roll20 For Absolute Beginners series.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQzQrkQxGOjrRWOe0RGFPgw

Ivan Bilibin illustrated Russian Folk Tales in the early 20th century. Most of his drawings are now public domain. I posted some of my favorites in the Public Domain Fantasy Art gallery.

https://gamerplus.org/photo/view/666/latest

And in the Archive Of The White Mage we killed Marusan again. And then we killed him again. This time for good. (We think.) Here's the session summary.

https://gamerplus.org/blogs/post/386

Let me know about what's going on with you life in gaming. Message me on Gamer+, reach me on the fediverse, or send an email.

Thanks
Hairy Larry
https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry
hairylarry@curators.mixremix.cc
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com

hairylarry
Session notes for November 18, 2020

When we enter the temple Marusan is gone, The skylight has been replaced. Everything looks like it did the first time we saw it.

Leaf shoots the skylight with the rod of Pann-Severi. It emits a bright white light and everyone is blinded.

After a while we recover our sight. Leaf wants to try again. The rest of us leave the room. This time the rod shoots a fireball and explodes the skylight.

We check the statue of Moloch. The rope is gone. Marusan is not in it. The tubes are still cut.

The tombs in the side rooms are open and empty. No undead or weapons lie within.

We check Marusan's study. EVerything is like it was when we left it. The chests are open and empty.

We check the supply room. It's been cleared out. No supplies left in it.

In the secret room behind the temple Caper looks for a trap door and finds a loose flagstone. We lift the stone and find a tunnel with steep stairs leading down.

Leaf pokes his head through the hole in the floor and looks around with his dark vision. He sees a hall with a door at the end and light shining under it from the next room.

We go down into the hall and I check the door. We look under it and check through the keyhole. We see skeleton bones.

Caper checks for traps on the door but he can't tell if it's trapped. He tries to open the door wide. But it's locked. He tries the keys from the jailor and one of them opens the door. He opens the door wide. There are 5 skeletons and Marusan at his desk. He looks bad.

Leaf shoots a fireball into the room with the rod. Caper slams the door shut to protect the party.

When we open the door they are all dead in the room. Caper pours some of the jailor's potion on Marusan.

We smash the skeleton bones into small pieces and throw them into a nearby creek. We burn Marusan in a huge fire outside.

Leaf hits the metal statue with a beam from the rod. It gets 50% bigger and now it barely fits in the temple.

We go outside and look through the papers and books in our packs for information about the rod. Back inside we go through Marusan's library. We find nothing about the rod but we do discover that the potion was supposed to be drunk by Marusan before he died. So all we know is that the rod is chaotic and that Marusan is probably coming back.

We decide to camp instead of going back to town.

At midnight we hear scraping from inside the temple. We light torches and go in. The scraping is the skylight glass golem reassembling.

We hear noises from the tomb rooms. The bones are reforming and dropping out of the air onto the floor.

We throw the bones into the tombs putting the heads together, arms together, etc. so there is no complete skeleton in any tomb. We cover the tombs with the lids. Finch the raccoon hears something in Marusan's study. Leaf talks to Finch. The sound is snoring.

Opening the door we see Marusan sleeping on the bed.

Caper sneaks into the room and pours the potion into Marusan's mouth just as he wakes. He chokes on the potion. Leaf chops his head off. Marusan glows green and dissipates into the air. We're pretty sure that this time he is dead.

I mean really dead. (Not mostly dead.)



hairylarry
The Archive Of The White Master - basic D&D - Session 3
Session notes for October 21, 2020

After setting the evil statue on fire we climb back down off the roof and discuss our plans. Everything is up in the air because of seeing that guy in white who might be Marusan.

Caper has an idea on how to relieve Fighter the cleric of her cursed mace.

Leaf casts a sleep spell on her. Caper hooks the mace onto the end of his bow and Ari drips holy water on Fighter's hand. Caper gives a jerk and the mace comes out of her hand. Caper drags it over to the edge of the woods and then they wake Fighter up. She still wants the mace but she can't see it so she puts it out of her mind.

We read in the journal. Marusan was on a quest for eternal life. He made a deal with Moloch. We also find a map of the building folded in half in the book like a bookmark.




Caper looks through the book of magic items trying to find out about the Rod  Pann-Severi but he doesn't find anything about it. (yet) We don't have much time because we want to get after that dude in white.

We climb back up on the roof and back down the rope into the temple. The statue is not burned. There is water on it and a path of drips lead to the NW door.

Leaf gathers 12 needles from the room to the south with the needles.

Fighter the cleric goes into the back of the statue. It's real plush. She can see out of the statues eyes. She sees all kinds of levers and tubes with red fluid in them. She pulls on a lever and the statues arm lifts just a bit.

Fighter the cleric entertains the idea of sacrificing a lamb to Moloch so she may still be posessed. She has a plan the involves decapitation. Lots of decapitation.

We enter the room to the West. There are three open coffins. A skeleton stands in each. One of them has a sword.

Jennifer kills the statue with the sword with a single mighty blow of her sword. The skeleton falls apart into a pile of bones and the sword falls onto the floor. It looks real shiny and attractive. Everyone yells "Don't touch it."

Fighter the cleric kills one of the other skeletons with her mace. Ari throws a dagger and misses. Caper misses with his short sword.

The skeleton claws at Jennifer but does no damage. Then the skeleton claws at Fighter the cleric and hurts her badly.

Leaf throws needles and misses. Fighter the cleric hits the skeleton hard killing it with her dagger.

Caper rubs healing salve on Fighter the cleric. Then she casts cure wounds on herself. Back to full health. Yaaaay.

We go north through the door. It's a supply room with fresh supplies. Water and food. There is water on the floor and wet footprints. Looks like just the one dude.

Caper checks for a hidden door to the east. There is no door but it does seem hollow behind the wall.

We explore the other north room. There's a bed, a dresser, and a desk. There are loose pages on the desk written by Marusan. Caper steals the pages.

Jennifer checks under the bed. Nothing there.

Caper checks for a secret door to the east. No door but he's convinced there is a room there. He checks for a secret door behind the statue in the temple.

Caper finds the door. Leaf, Jennifer, and Fighter open the door.

We see a man in a white robe holding a rod. He launches a bolt of magic at Leaf and hurts him. Fighter hits Marusan with a nat 20. Ari hits him with a dagger. Caper applies the rest of the balm to Leaf. Jennifer hits Marusan and kills him.

EOS




hairylarry
Gamer+ News October 5, 2020

Join us tonight on Inspired Unreality open game chat at 9:00 PM Central. We will be in the gamerplus chatrooms at Tenkar's Tavern on Discord. If you've never been to Tenkar's Tavern there's an invite for you here.

https://gamerplus.org/index

We have moved If You Play You Win to 1:00 PM Wednesdays, Central Time. Actual play. I'm not sure what the game will be but I'm pretty sure it will be OSR.

https://gamerplus.org/groups/26

Follow Me And Die posted Episode 192 - Death of an Anti-Paladin. I guess they're getting revenge for the near TPK.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/2714

And he has a new video out too. Roll20 For The Absolute Beginner No. 19 - GM View A Map As A Player Without Other Players Seeing It

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/2716

I took a picture of some mushrooms in my back yard.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/2692

And also of three miniatures I printed and painted.

https://gamerplus.org/newsfeed/2694

Stay in touch!

Thanks,
Hairy Larry
https://gamerplus.org/user/hairylarry
hairylarry@curators.mixremix.cc
hairylarry@deltaboogie.com

hairylarry

Caper and Bones found a bench under an oak tree and sat down to rest while Ari and the witch made the squamish salve.


They ground the squamish mushrooms into a paste with wild cherries and sage to make the salve which is good for treating carbuncles and other skin ailments and can also cure light wounds. About 2/3 of the salve filled a jar the witch had set aside so she went and got a smaller jar which she filled and gave to Ari.


With that task done Ari and the witch walked over to Caper and Bones and the witch said, “The items are for the Ogre up in the foothills Northwest of Milyagon. He has been under pressure from orcs and hobgoblins moving in. The branch makes a magic quarterstaff to fend them off and the mushrooms are the important ingredient in a salve for his carbunkles. And the feather? That's for his hat. The Ogre has a magic hat and the owl's feather, willingly given, is a component of the spell. He is smart for an ogre because of the hat so it is very important that the feather in his cap does not become bedraggled.”


Enlightened but still very tired the party made their way back to the inn where they ate a hearty supper and turned in early for the night glad to be sleeping on beds under a roof instead of on the ground under the stars.

hairylarry

Prerelease text from the If You Play You Win game now on Inspired Unreality Monday nights. When this is published I will add the link here.


---


  Ari is a human wizard trained in healing and defense. Ari has a pet wildcat named Tude, she has raised from a kit. The cat is not a familiar but there is a very close bond and the cat is always alert for danger. Caper is a halfling bard with a storied past. Although designed for two player characters this quest could be played by any low level party.

    Kendrick uses a telecommunication spell to send Ari a message. (calls her on her cell phone) He says "Big things are astir so small things must be put in place. Contact the witch at Milyagon. She has a task that needs done."
    Ari and Caper travel to Milyagon and talk to the witch. She needs three things from Wilken Woods but she cannot go herself because her daily rounds helping the elderly keep her busy. She's been putting this off but evidently Kendrick thinks it's important enough to send help.
    The witch says:

    "You have to go to Wilkin Woods to get a feather from an owls tail, some squamish mushrooms, and a branch from the ancestor tree.

   "The feather cannot be stolen but must be given freely. If the owls
suspect foul play they will attack as fowls do. Do not let the feather touch the ground. If you find a feather on the ground it will not work.

"The squamish mushrooms grow  in leaf molds under large oak trees. Their magic concentrates under the moonlight and they are best picked with the moon shining directly on them. Here is  a small bag. It needs to be more than half full but not all the way full or the mushrooms will bruise.
    "The ancestor tree grows large in the heart of Wilken Woods. It's a giant oak. The legend is the ancestor tree was the first tree in Wilken Woods and the forest started from this one tree. The ancestor tree is big magic, the other oak trees less so. The magic dilutes with extended lineage those grown from ancestor tree acorns have half the magic of the ancestor tree. Those grown from their acorns, half again. You will know the ancestor tree because it shimmers with a fey glow in the moonlight.
    "Do not to cut, break, or chop any tree in Wilken Woods. The oak trees will defend the forest. It is safe to pick dead branches from the ground for firewood but fires should not be started under a tree. Never burn a branch from the ancestor tree.
    "Branches on the ground have no magic except for the branches fallen from the ancestor tree. So you can detect magic on branches around the ancestor tree to make sure that a  branch fell from the ancestor tree. A branch doesn't fall far from the tree so first find the ancestor tree and then find a branch. Get a big one.
   "The squamish mushrooms close  to the ancestor tree have the most magic. So after you get the branch search the area for the best mushrooms.
    "Wilken Way deliberately avoids the most magical areas of Wilken Woods. The ancestor tree is to the south of Wilken Way. Nobody knows Wilken Woods like the woodcutter. He lives at the north edge of the woods in the least magical area. Still, all of the woods are magical and you should be on your guard at all times."
    The witch points to the sky and says, "See the half moon up in the blue sky. You have come at a good time. The moon is full in a week and you will have strong moonlight over the next two weeks.

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