Session Play Report for Manhattan Minicon Beneath the Fallen Tower using 75pt GURPS Dungeon Fantasy

I cut down on startup time by assembling a stack of illustrated pregens using my stock art. We had seven players, one of whom was in the InfiWorlds game I participated in earlier this summer. He built an elf using my template (I will be eventually attaching a pdf of the pregens and his character) and there were a couple of people with prior DF experience.

Noah Green, who had played a cleric of Nodens for the prior playtest using Swords and Wizardry Continual Light, did so again, using a custom character; igave him the off-template characteristics of Weirdness Magnet and the perk Weird Dreams from DF14, and Dreaming Skill as his patron deity is the god of the Dreamlands. I outfitted him with an Errol Otus grade horned helmet, a shield emblazoned with a Nightgaunt, and an Elder sign as a holy symbol. The others played a brigandine clad halberdier, who was excellent in the few combats we had, an apprentice wizard who served as a powerhouse with both Mass Sleep and Diplomacy. Our oversize barbarian woman managed to avoid going berserk, and employed her size enhanced intimidation more than her gigantic greataxe. We rounded out with a knife weilding thief, who did a fair amount of climbing, an adventurer character who used her double dose of luck to shoot up goblins with her crossbow, and sadly, the low strength of the elf made some of his attacks less than effective.

Their primary opponents, wolves and SM-2 goblins were largely cut down by the halberdier (who took out the wolves and a giant centipede) and by the use of Mass Sleep boosted in frequency of use by paut and Lend Strength from the cleric.

Along the way, they encountered the tinker, and glommed some information about the woods from him. they met the patrol, and directed them towards a purported campsite of the bandits, met the Death Vision addled bandit who had run afoul of the necromantrix, and hastened him on toward his envisioned death at the hands of Mama ogre. They actively sought her out after finding her lost son, and reunited the family, much as the first group had, although they did that before getting to the ruins, instead of taking him along to bash wolves with. They ran into the elves, had a neutral engagement with them, and almost headed to the lost shrine in search of pilgrims, but were working on rescuing Wyatt for the reward money.

After knocking out goblins and slaying wolves, they negotiated for the release of Wyatt and the other prisoners, offering a trade of the only treasure they had found, magic arrows and a silver knife.

Like the previous group, they frequently showed people the wanted pister, while covering up the part about the reward.

They also found the bugbear’s well entrance, but instead of coming in the back way, they used Magelock on it and went in the front door. (Someone must have played Rappan Athuk). They saw the skeletons, and like the goblins, did not engage them.

Lost of scrounging, search, some cartography, diplomacy and intimidation used.

Spells used: detect magic, detect illusion, mass sleep, magelock, lend energy, and lend health.

Not a bad run for four hours. If we had had six, they might have gotten to the south end of the map.

The alchemy room has a no mana area, as demonstrated by the “broken” continual light object, and can be used to open the magelocked chest.

The lab has an assortment if potions, and books (primers) typically worth $50 on Alchemy, Thaumatology, and Thanatology. The actual spellbooks are wieth several times that amount.

The skeletons are programmed to ignore those wearing amulets, which all have Melchiir’s mystic mark.

 

Get Beneath the Fallen Tower Here for 2.99

Get the DF lite templates

Get the conversion notes, and the actual pregens Used and prepared here

Like any of this? Support my Patreon!

I had originally intended to run a second session, using leveled up 125 pt versions of the pregens – get that here

 

 

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Crypts of Doom and recent play of low level GURPS DF

I just got these (minus the paint, and the Crypt of the Sorcerer box. These Heritage Dungeon Dwellers Paint ‘n’Play sets were where I started back in 1979, although I only had the Crypt of tne Sorcerer and the Level 2 Monsters and Treasures assortment. Due to lead content and small children in my house, and a fifteen year hiatus from D&D, and a lack of ability to keep up my storage unit, all of my minis and 1e books went to a friend, and I fear they were all lost forever when he and his wife divorced. Things happen, and my midlife gaming is nostalgic driven for the abe of wonder when I was reading Lieber and Moorcock and painting minis without an actual gaming group. These were my grail to acquire, and I will be paying for it for some time to come (Nostalgic ain’t cheap). Some unboxing/ painting pists should be forthcoming in the months ahead.

I also got to run Beneath the Fallen Tower using 75pt GURPS Dungeon Fantasy characters as originally intended. No casualties, lots of scrounging, search, diplomacy, and lore rolls! Slaughter of centipedes and wolves, some goblins, and effective double teaming of Mass Sleep and lend energy. More to follow!

Disasters with Lidocaine and an upcoming Con

So, earlier this spring, I developed a pinched nerve in my shoulder, which caused me to have shooting pains and numbness in my left arm. I had about six weeks of physical therapy, and was pretty well cured… until last Saturday evening, when a sudden Spasm in my shoulder set it off again, only worse. This led to an urgicare visit, where they shot me full of Toradol and sent me home with a hit of Valium, and a script for lidocaine cream.  I was working on something for one of my patrons, Tim Shorts of Gothridge Manor. (join my patreon too and I might do the same for you!). So I was preparing to scan it, and went to erase some pencil lines.  Who knew that the lidocaine I had just applied to my arm would make the gel pen run like that?  I was able to scan the image in, but got it a little canted,  which I did not realize until I was halfway through my usual Photoshop and MS paint cleaning combo,so I rescanned it. I then went to do this again, and accidentally opened up the tilted image, and worked on it for about an hour before I caught on.  After a good long break, I went in and did the same edits on the non tilted image.  My methods for drawing are particular; Pencil, followed by G2 0.38 and 1.0 gels, usually on copy paper. I will try to avoid making contact  to my art with analgesics from this point.

Coming up this August 25, at the Same Con where I ran my adventure for SWCL, I will be running my adventure Beneath the Fallen Tower using my  Low Level Dungeon Fantasy rules, which I am going to build some pregens from.  I discuss the development of this adventure on a number of posts, just click on the tags below.

My art strives to be inclusive in representation, and as I had planned on including my character art on the pregen characters, I realized I needed to step it up, so I am working on more. This will probably be in a bundle soon…

Beneath the Fallen Tower now in print

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Because I don’t know how to embed fonts, this is built out of screenshots. Here’s hoping it does well! I may have to drop the price a bit, but there is a limit as to how low they will let me sell it for. Grab it here.

You can get the pdf on Drivethru

Since I can’t bundle accross platforms, I can get my publisher to send you a coupon for the pdf if you buy the print version. I will have to work out a deal for those who already bought it.

 

I am planning to run this adventure using my rules for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy level 0  (using 75pt pregens, and maybe following up with a 125pt adventure after) at an upcoming gaming con, provided I can clear it at work.

If you like my work, and want to get my art earlier than my publishing schedule, check out my Patreon!

My first review

Ten foot pole just reviewed Beneath the Fallen Tower on their blog.

There are some harsh criticisms, but not unmerited. I am an amateur and my product shows it. I can read my handwritten notes, but it doesn’t mean anyone else can.  I will very likely upgrade the maps and bump up some of the room descriptions  There is also the problem of my placement of the entrances, and their lack of labeling in the pertinent text.

I had planned another entrance, and then forgot to remove the reference to it. Sorry to create confusion. Hopefully, I will be a little clearer and better developed with any further releases.

Session Recap of Beneath the Fallen Tower Playtest at Manhattan Minicon 3

The Swords & Wizardry Continual Light game I just released, Beneath the Fallen Tower had a warm reception when I ran it two weeks ago at the Manhattan Gamer’s Guild event. Players included Erik Tenkar and his wife Rachel, Noah Green, Miguel and Patrick. Miguel rolled a spectacularly average halfling thief, even though we were playing with all three suggested house rules (max hp at first level, bonus clerical spell for high wisdom, and humans swap their lowest stat for 15). Because there aren’t really ability checks, or ability based skills like GURPS, and no penalties for low stats, the character, a ratcatcher working for Keela at the Wayside Inn, was very successful.

Patrick played a swashbuckler. Swashbucklers are usually a prestige class, with an extra cost for experience, but are no different in ability from thieves at first level, as everyone has the same basic hit bonus of 0 when starting. Nevertheless, his play style made the Dashing Swordsman very effective. We opted in a quick ruling from SW Complete for dual weapon use of giving the attack +1, and he made full use of it.

Rachel played an elf ranger with 15 Strength, and stacked her anti goblin bonuses effectively.  Her character was our tank, but unfortunately was cut down by the goblin chief.  I allowed a save vs death, and her character lived but was out of commission until magically healed on the way out of the dungeon.

Noah, having read the blurb about a necromancer, played a cleric of Nodens. The route they took did not end up giving him an opportunity to use his turn undead ability. A few more hours of play certainly would have done so, and his one cure wounds spell gained from a high wisdom score was very important.

Erik played a magic user, armed with the “Death spell”, sleep. He also rolled the highest stats, and being human snared an additional 15, which left him a combat monster with 15 Strength, 15 Dexterity, and 14 Intelligence. pretty much everyone took Charisma as a dump stat. When I used to play AD&D, I used Len Lakofka’s 5% tables from The Dragon, that disadvantaged sedentary types at low levels, and made fighters more effective, and the DF lite stats I worked up pretty much echoed that frame of mind. Erik’s character would not be a 75 pointer, but something closer to 150 points, and far more effective in combat because of the flatly even attack rolls everyone had.

I was calling the group the Champion Wiffle Ball Team because of the sheer amount of low die rolls going on. Erik disarmed himself at least twice during the game, and the only advantage was that their opponents were largely in the same boat.

Due to low charisma, very few rumors of use surfaced, and the group was focused on rescuing Wyatt.Wyatt0001.png Wyatt Ferris is a gamer who left us far too soon, and in this game, he was a merchant and 1st level bard, who attempted to take his four retainers and 3 mules laden with goods through the long abandoned north road through the forest, instead of taking the long way around. The group had a lot of fun flashing his wanted poster while holding their hands over the part that spelled out a reward.

Their trip up the road led them to encounter the Duke’s men, who were only satisfied that they weren’t bandits when they partially displayed the poster. They ran into the deer being chased by the wolves, and lost a mule to them. Then they encountered the pilgrims, who were going to “hasten the arrival of the god who comes” but avoided hostilities with them, even though they suspected them of being evil cultists, partly because they also ran into the fleeing peasants and some elves who gave them elven rations. both groups had suspicions about the shrine, and a little interaction between Noah’s character and the pilgrims confirmed the bias.

One thing about SWCL that I really liked, is that there is no alignment. While this certainly promotes conflict free murder hobo behavior, it also promotes a lot more parlaying, and makes things like wholesale slaughter more morally ambiguous.

They also encountered the young ogre, who they fed and added to their party.  He proved himself useful punching out wolves in the dungeon, and successfully returned him to mama on the way back.

The route by which they entered the dungeon proved very fortuitous; out of the three possible entrances, they took the covered well used by the bugbears. Now there were multiple ways in and out, but I had them all drawn fairly close to each other, so I cannot say that the dungeon was well Jacquayed. Janelle Jacquays does a lot in her designs to avoid railroading and creating quantum ogres, and my dungeon pretty much led directly to the goblins no matter which way you entered, but there was a certain advantage to sneaking in the back way; it put them two doors away from the prisoners and let them achieve their objective with minimal combat.  On the other hand, they used their one sleep spell to get rid of the Bugbears who were attacking them in the secret tunnels and their one healing spell immediately afterward, and had to rely on their wits from that point.

Naturally, there was an immediate plan to use a keg of oil to attack the goblins, but they used it to block their pursuers instead of risking catching the ogre in the flames.

They suspected Wyatt of having colluded with the goblins, until they realized he had just charmed the jailor in order to hold out until the ransom was paid.  I had included other prisoners Keep of the Borderlands style as potential replacement characters, but with only one near fatality, and a short time to play, they weren’t needed.

On the way back, they met with Mama ogre, the tinker, and a bunch of bandits wearing the soldier’s gear, who they promptly Slept, and took back to town as prisoners for a reward. All totaled their main loot came from the reward money, with only a few coins pocketed along the way; a good thing I wasn’t calculating out experience based on GP.

This adventure was set up with 4 different boss level fights, but the group only dealt with one, the bugbears, and avoided conflict with the ogress by returning her son safely. As to Aurelia and Melchior, they never met them.

As an added note, I really have to thank Mike Badolato for helping me with the vast amount of editing that had to be done after my initial passes through spellcheck. the late stages of the manuscript for the adventure had oodles of GURPS references in them ( like 1d-1 instead of 1d6-1) and all kinds of formatting issues that came about because I had used google docs on phone, tablet, chromebook and Word on PC to edit. I don’t recommend that to anyone. There were some issues I could not repair, like the unfortunate placement of a 2d6 table in location 12, that made location 13 conform to the formatting from that section… Word whatever are we going to do with you?

Grab the game, and enjoy it!

A New Year and a Round Number

One BookShelf isn’t showing it right now, but I have 50 titles that contain my work.

The problem has to do with the most recent product featuring my stock art, the RPG Pundit’s Lion & Dragon

Despite not currently having an artist’s listing due to OBS `accidentally ` deleting the listing for this entry and then reinstating it incompletely, you can see that the book has quite a bit of my art.

There is some other lovely stock art as well, some by Jack Badashi, and several nice pieces by Henry Justice Ford. Production quality is as good as found in Dark Albion and Chaos Cults.

The system itself is very OSR, although the magic system is supposed to conform to magical traditions of the fourteenth century. There is a serious nod to DCC in the startup at 0 level with extra characters.

I was approached last year to do some work on this project, but either my rates were too high or my politics too far to the left for the Pundit’s taste, and he settled on buying a few stock bundles instead.

My family set me up with some excellent gaming and drawing things for Yule, from a light board and steel ruler, and a microphone for Discord, to a stack of gaming books for 5E, GURPS and SWCL. I love my Family!

I am looking to run a tabletop game at a minicon this month, using SWCL and Beneath the Fallen Tower. I have to get writing it…

And I have some commissions for John Stater’s monster book 2 for Blood & Treasure.