Friday, August 30, 2013

Beneath the Vale of Sorrow, The Monster Garden and Arena Cave

The Monster Garden:

A festering growth of vile magical plants, the roots of which stretch all the way down to hell. Every so often, the womb pods of the plants will vomit out a number of vile creatures. The creatures evolve and change in small ways over time, making every harvest different than the last. War is the only constant.

When they reach maturity ( a matter of hours) the garden monsters will set out in force to cross the lake in Arena cave, making war on the dwarfs and gear of the fortress there. Many battles are fought on the surface of the lake.



A force comprised of a lost dwarf clan and their magical robot soldiers (called gear), keeps vigil in this cave. They are sworn to keeping the spawn (their name for the creatures that come down the stairs at the far eastern side of the lake) in check and forever contained. They are unaware of the true nature of the garden and fight with a grim fatalism, accepting that some day they will be overcome by the spawn.


There is a courtyard deep within the keep where the dwarfs grow the souls of the gear on glorious magical ghost trees.


Adventure hook: explore/destroy the garden.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

If you have nothing nice to say...

Giving credit where credit is due.

Sometimes, I like to challenge my own bias. I feel that my opinions can be like an invisible cage I lock myself into; with this in mind, I like to feel around for a way past the bars every now and again.

Here is a thread primarily written by someone I do not get along with and don't expect too (He is not the OP). I was around for the early part, but stopped looking after a while. Anyway, it is a great thread on how to put together a megadungeon and if you haven't read it, you should. It is long, but completely bereft of forum drama and shit posts


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Under-Vale map revisited, dwarf history- executive summary.

Sometimes I start a-keyin' and things a- gotta change. In this case I added some train tunnels, blocked, open and partially blocked to the Under-vale map from this post. There is a nearly working engine somewhere in the deep and i love the idea of pcs spending a couple of sessions fucking with a train. The tracks, of course, lead off the map.

Here is the new version of the map, train stuff is at the bottom.




Dwarf Lore:

This is the sort of paragraph that should maybe be on the character sheet, because players in my experience, as a rule, do not read setting material. My hope is that a short paragraph explaining a bit about the world and the character's place in it, will lead to further interest and effort. At the very least they will know why everybody doesn't like dwarfs and why dwarfs don't like gnolls. The full article is a couple thousand words long and will see the light of day with the final pdf. This paragraph is more or less the abstract/summary of that.


After a long period of peace and prosperity, the dwarfs unknowingly raised a tyrannical necromancer to the throne. After a period of manipulating the prejudices of the population, King Wound the Last declared war on literally everyone; most of the dwarfs went along with it out of loyalty, but a sizable minority resisted.

The rebels were persecuted forced to flee the dwarf lands. Their descendents are all that remain of the dwarf people in the present era.

The dwarfs that stayed loyal to the evil necro-king morphed, over the centuries, into gnolls, which resemble the dwarf god of death, Kur. When the king was assasinated, at last, 500 years later, the gnolls fought amongst themselves or scattered; faced with the sudden resurgence of motivated and savage local resistance, the empire collapsed overnight.

So dwarfs are still around but everyone blames them for the Gnolls and the necro empire and the common cold.

Gnolls are still around, they occupy the former homelands of the dwarfs, but nobody knows how, or if they reproduce.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

[Map] Beneath the Valley of the Dwarfs

A couple of years ago I read the AD&D 1e Dungeon Survival guide. The book contained some neat content regarding underground worlds, but I could not see how to draw any of it out of it and make it useable at the table, really. More recently, WoTC put out a very readable underearth book for 4e. It really got me thinking about this stuff again, but, like the 1e book, it didn't have any real game ready content.

i want to make something along those lines that could actually be used.

This is a conceptual map and is not meant to be completely representational. Think of it as like the maps medieval explorers made.

This is not a dungeon, but a small portion of an underworld. Many dungeons could be (and are) linked to it and contained within it, as well. Many regions might contain more than one dungeon.

Time and space work differently beneath the world's surface- and do not necessarily maintain internal consistency. On one trip, It might take an hour to cross dinosaur cave, and one never sees where the light is coming from; another time, it might take a year, and a dull red sun hangs unmoving and undeniable in the heavens.

Magical protection is required to move through the underworld and maintain a consistent temporal connection with the world above.

The rift in the northern tundra on this MAP is the source of the waterfall at the top of the underworld. There are other points of entry accessible from the surface, like the cave in the south east. Try not to think to hard about how it all lines up, but if you get hung up-

Miles of tunnels- miles. I don't have to explain shit.


Also, you could plug this map into just about any fantasy/ science fantasy style game/world, all you need is a flight of stairs leading down.

I will almost certainly fool with this map again.

Come for the Monster Garden, stay for the Circus.

Larger version HERE





Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dwarf map in color with and without hexes

I'm unreasonable pleased with this.

Larger Version

With hex, Larger Version


[Map] the Vale of Sorrow, B&W


This is the first time I have laid the hex in after doing the drawing.

I may add hex numbers, I may not.

In regards to travel time, I think for the forest, a good rule of thumb will be 1=1 day's walk x4 for the mountains; x1/2 for roads and clear, flat areas.

I am really on the fence about whether of not I should color this one.





Friday, August 9, 2013

Dwarf cover art, maps in progress random thoughts

I have never drawn dwarfs before. The proportions fucked me up to the extent that I had to scrap like my first five tries, which were all just standing poses. I gave up on that shit and decided to try something with some action. I also decided that gnolls are cooler than orcs, and so they will be the chief adversary of the dwarfs in this setting. I'll post a larger, cleaned up and colored version later, anyway, I think that will be the cover of the pdf.

Here is the Vale of Sorrows, as it is called during the game era. A vestigial remnant of dwarfs holds the tower in the west, and fights a desperate never ending war with the gnolls and their Hex-king, who occupy Urux (the former center of Dwarf civilization) in the east. Most of this battle is played out in the forest on the valley floor. I love mini settings so this where the detail will go. I'll be creating a regional underworld too, which connects to the dungeons beneath Urux. This map, however, is currently deep in the WTF are you doing? Phase.

Here is color map, for the second part of the lead in adventure (two short dungeons, that lead into the mini campaign- which is the meat of the supplement. I'm going to cannabalize some old maps too, Murder Holes (look on the left) never got enough play for my tastes, so I'm going to reskin it as a level under Urux.

Anyway, that's all I got. Posted just in time for everyone's friday commute, just to be certain no one will look.


Monday, August 5, 2013

Kickstarter 3d virtual Table Top for tablets...

This is for tablets, including the Fire, which they give away with checking accounts now, no shit. If you have a tablet andriod or apple go HERE and get linked to a FREE DL of the current version (which is 100% bad ass) otherwise, go there anyway and watch the demo video. Then figure out how to get a tablet.
The Kickstarter starts tomorrow.
Right now the app has no network capabilites, but the kickstarter's intent is to make it usuable online. Which will take it beyond awesome, all the way to fuckawesome.
I will be throwing some money at this. If it comes to fruition, I think it will revolutionize online gaming... Again.
I cannot express hiw much I love this fucking thing. We used it yesterday to play B/X. I made my own maps, we googled images to make our own minis. It is unbelievably easy to use. Sometimes, I just goof with it for an hour or three. You can pass the the fucking battlemap around the table. You could play a tactical mini game in a fucking moving fucking car.
Anyway, with this app, a tablet, and some pdf's you can literally have everything you need for a game with you all the time. It kind of makes me want to play some (don't be offended, grogster) 4e, really, as all the barriers fade away.
Here are some pics, including my own maps and minis.

Dwarf Lore I


The Unified:
The Universal Myth, shared by all the folk of the Kalid-Idar as well as the dwarfs, holds that at one time dwarfs, humans, elves, and halflings were one people. The ruins that lay scattered throughout the world are thought to be the remnants of the unified culture, commonly referred to as the Forgotten Empire.

The Sundering
There are many theories, but no one is certain why the Sundering, as the segregation of the Unified into all the separate peoples of the world is called, came about or even exactly what form it took. What is known, however, is that it happened very abruptly, about ten thousand years prior to the current era. It is after this mysterious event that recorded history commenced, or rather recommenced. The Unified, did in fact, have a written language, many examples survive on monuments and there are even a few odd scrolls in the possession of wizards and kings. The script, however, remains undeciphered.

The World Above
In their own language, dwarfs name the the land above the earth and under the stars the Kalid-idar. Translated it, means, quite literally, "the scab."

The World Below
Kabaurud, the dwarf name for the world beneath the world's surface, down to the mantle, translates as either "heart" or "hollow" dependent upon dialect and context.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

[Maps/Crowdsource] name this setting

Following Jack Shear's lead I want to do something for the guys that Nystul hosed. To this end I am going to make a setting and some adventures. This is the setting map (Divine Right style. It is a cleaned up and colored version of a map I made last year. It is a classic fantasy setting, but draws more from the Hobbit, The Elfin Ship and Dark Crystal than LoTR. My name for it sucks, suggest another in the comments.

Larger Version

And as a bonus here is the adventure map. I have a rough key, but it is not ready to post.

Larger Version