Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Adventure Paths - huh?

Every good adventure begins on a path.... no, a tavern. Maybe a path to a tavern. Who knows. Wrecked ships, prison escapes, village raid, etc. There are many ways in which to begin an adventure. My preferred method is just before a fight. I don't really care where it starts, but zero day always, always has a fight. But that is not what I am here to ruminate on. I am thinking about adventure paths for role playing games. The reason is because we have taken our 'A' series and turned it into an adventure path setting/game for 5e and titled it the Undying War.

Adventure paths have been around for a long time - a very long time, but were never really given a name. The old 'G' series is an adventure path (G1 to G2 to G3 and thence to D1 to D2 to D3). Six adventures in a row is an adventure path. The newer adventure paths(I think Paizo really pioneered this concept) stretch over a series of interconnected adventures that take a player character from 1st level to 15th or 20th level, or some level - its not important.

What is important is that the adventure takes a character on a series of interconnected (thematically as well as technically) adventures that should take the player character from 1st to high level. What makes this possible, or playayble as one adventure, are milestones. Milestones are a reward system that, once a task or set of tasks are completed, allows the player character(s) to advance a level. This allows the players to go on to the next module or chapter in the adventure.


I think its a cool concept. The obvious advantage over the traditional and typical method of experience point acquisition, which can be slow, is that it allows players to complete an epic adventure in a shorter amount of real time than previously. For example, the Undying War, played traditionally, might require years of investment and many adventures outside the ones presented in the series to complete. With a milestone system, one should be able to complete the Undying War in a year or less (depending on play-style, length of play, number of sessions etc.).  

There are some technical issues with the milestone system, but I think those are easily circumvented. The only real critique that I find with the system is that of player experience. I do not mean the player's character's experience points. I mean the actual experience of role-playing, figuring out puzzles, circumventing problems, etc. The actual experience that comes with years of role-playing can't be overcome with simple reward and game master fiat, that has to be earned and learned. Another issue might be with the development of the character in a direction the player wants rather than one the adventure dictates.

All that aside though, I think the adventure path with milestone presents advantages that some gamemasters and players might like. Well, some certainly do. If that is your cup of tea, so to speak, then dive into the Undying War. I wonder if we should do an adventure path for Castle and Crusades, with milestones that is?

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Kickstarter Launching today - The Undying war - Early Bird Special

Ok so today we are launching the Undying War on Kickstarter. This is a conversion of the "A" series of modules to 5e. Early pledges receive the Player's Guide to Airdhe. So pledge early.

The Undying War


Yes we are trying to bring some troll goodness to the 5e community. As with everything we do, this one has been a long time in the making. We got some new art, new maps, and stuff. I do not think we have new content but everything has been converted to 5e as an adventure path.

Steve and I will be doing a morning show every day (maybe) during the run of this kickstarter. So please join us on the morning show for questions or comments.

 join us for morning discussions

Early bird gets the worm. Early bird pledges will receive a Player's Guide to Airdhe.

Friday, April 22, 2022

Pieces of Twelve (Inzae)

The Morning Show yesterday brought up a discussion of trolls and how they work in Airdhe. I opined about trolls in Inzae. So I thought this morning I would elaborate a bit. In Inzae, trolls are called shtoompf in the west, vard in the east, and gloozj by the various goblinoids. I refer to them as shtumpf, the Low Inzaen word for trolls.   

When the world was still young, the Dragon came upon a lake of molten gold. The mother of worlds lapped up the gold as if it were water, consuming as much as was her want. In the process, the tips of her claws touched the edge of the lake and became encased in gold. As she left, a bit of gold dripped from her mouth, transformed and transfigured. This drop of golden spittle fell to the ground as a gluttonous bowel of consumption that ambled and crawled away from the Dragon unnoticed. The gold on inzae's claws could not hold, so hot is the Dragon's being. Searing droplets fell from claws onto the ground as twelve pieces of gold, perfectly round with a whole in the middle of each piece. 

The beast which fell forth from the Dragon's mouth saw the gold discs and quickly gathered them and tried consuming them as the Dragon drank the molten gold. But the gold seared its skin and the inside of his mouth. It spat the gold out coughed out blood and charred flesh. From this came the twelve offspring and first of the shtumpf. All scattered, unable to pick up the twelve pieces of gold nor drink from the lake of gold. Some time after they scattered, they all began to gather gold into great hordes and each gave rise to offspring.

The fist beast that formed is named Shtroomsh in Low Inzaen though it has no real name. The Dragon, being unaware of it, never named the beast and from that day to this day and unto the end of days, it shall have no name. Nor do any of its kindred, the shtumpf. None have names or any discernible identity outside of their moment and their desire to consume gold. This is an insatiable desire, for no shtumpf can consume gold, but they all yearn to do so. They all fight amongst one another for gold and will, given the chance, fight anything to acquire more gold. If a shtumpf should lose its gold, after some many years, it falls asleep. They can sleep for centuries and are only awakened by the smell of gold. 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Weapons and weapons and weapons

The weapons book is underway. So as I mentioned, not only will we be adding weapons to the book, I will be adding monstrous weapons as well.To wit, my first monstrous weapon. Its not anything terribly unique mechanically, but this is how it shall begin. 

My first monstrous weapon! Now, as I move into more unusual monsters, the weapon shapes and functions will change. If anyone has ideas or anything please let me know - on anything (except taxes).

Centaur Weapons (3)

Tsorin: This is a nine-foot-long spear or lance. Centaurs and similar creatures use these. The tsorin is made of a smooth, light, pliable wood to reduce its weight and allow the tsorin to glide up and down the hand of the user. The tip of the spear is long and leaf shaped at the base with a very sharp elongated triangular tip. The interior sections of the leaf of the blade is often hollowed out for ceremonial tsorin. The foot of the tsorin has a small metal ball and double hook attached to it which ideally weighs as much as the spear head. This ball acts as a counterbalance to the head giving tsorin’s center of balance in its middle. The tsorin functions allows reach to engage those attacking the haunches and is used primarily as a thrusting weapon gliding up and down the hand to extend reach as much as possible. The ball and hooks at the foot of the tsorin are used to hook and trip opponents.

Weight 9 pounds

Length: 9 feet

Damage: Simple 1d6 / Spear 1d6 or Ball 1d4

Special attack: Trip

Strength to wield: 14


Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Fantasy still the most popular setting!

A brief look online and a fantasy setting is still the most popular for tabletop role playing games. By brief, I really mean brief so have no stats to back anything up. (This is my preferred method of research.) However, I do not doubt that this is the case. All other settings carry baggage and limitations that stymie play and/or are not attractive to players. I want to think this is not the case, but off course it is. A fantasy setting is just more, in short, I believe, psychologically open. Oh, and just to be clear, by fantasy setting I refer to the dragons, knights, and evil beasts of the premodern (?) world. 

Yeah, this came up on my youtube feed. So... yeah.

TTRPGs serve the purpose, in my opinion, the same purpose as does any form of myth making through its variety of mediums, whether story telling or theater. However, as befits the metamodern world, this myth  making is atomized and more individualized or local, decentralized if you will. Actually this just got more interesting to me. Welcome to stream of consciousness beginning in 3, 2, and 1.

So fantasy settings are the choice because they are unhindered by and unbound to the real world. These are places that only exist in the mind and though there may be some striking similarities to the real world, these are but nonce and serve only to anchor the fantasy in place and have no relation to the events (for the most part) of the game. Myth making, or the processes of giving life meaning/order/context outside of eating, procreating, and dying, occurs in the unreal dream state of our subconscious.


I mean, where else could it occur. The real world is simple - minus taxes.

The closer one comes to the real world, the process of myth making becomes increasingly more.... restricted. I think restricted might be the right word. In any respect, the myth making becomes ever more grounded in the reality we experience in everyday life. This limits and restricts the power of the imagination and agency of the player. 

Think of the vampire. Why is it the vampire is now a highly sexualized/asexual semi-predatory good/bad guy with a conscious and teenage angst yet Dracula or tradition vampires (from the old world) are not. This is because the modern vampire (by that I mean vampires in a modern setting) are more attached to a real world and in the real world, Dracula has less 'space to exist' so to speak. Yet in the past, Dracula gets more space. This is because the past is a wide open space upon which anyone can place anything and the further back one goes, the more space for the imagination exists. 

Ever wonder why most fantasy setting are in the past and are often set in a prepast? This is because, like our subconscious, it is infinite in space and literally anything can be imprinted on it. The great heroes of myth are always somewhere in the past and the further away in the past myth pinpoints its existence, the ore powerful it can become.   

An in the past, there are no guns and cars and computers, there are only chthonian forces pit against humankind with the barest of human inventions - at least compared to the modern world. One can literally make everything up from scratch if one goes far back enough. And that's what gamers do.

Why? Well, those who play ttrpgs (specifically ttrpgs), whether they like it or not, are involved in myth making. It is a decentralized myth making. A bottom-up rather than top down creation of stories that help to define both themselves and their world. Ever wonder why gamers talk about their favorite characters or gaming events so excitedly and with such deep engagement? This is because those characters or events are defining myths. 

So, uh, i need some coffee and better get to work.  




Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Cry 'Havoc!', and let slip the dogs of war. A sojourn into 5e and Coffee with Steve and Davis

Havoc is a cool word. Tim should really do a word of the day on that Havoc. Basically it means to wreak destruction as in the roads in New England make havoc of any timelines for expected times of arrival. Yes I just got back from new England so soured a little on the roads there. For those of you in New England and find the roads to be fairly organized, they are not. Just wander out west for some trips and you will find that those are fairly well organized roads. I can not wait for a linear city. 

As you all may or may not know, TLG converteed the A series to 5e and will shortly be releasing it on Kickstarter. I think it will be one large hardbound book. Maybe two, but I think its one. Do not be dismayed by this nor worried that TLG is moving to 5E. That is not the case. We are doing this to spread the word. A crusade, if you will, to spread the word of Castles and Crusades. We will carry the light into the darkness and illuminate the way to the true treasure.

The Castles and Crusades version is tugging along. I think Steve is into the next round of dungeons levels for Aufstrag. I have no idea the timeline on that as he keeps coming up with other projects to work on while doing the dungeon levels. One might think Steve is avoiding finishing it. Sorta the same way I avoid doing my taxes. Same timeline as well.

So, interestingly, as a result of this upcoming release, Steve and I have been jabbering about the A series a lot and that has spilled over to our new 'jabber fest' on twitter, Coffee and Dr Pepper with Davis and Steve" - or whatever syllabic mess the title of the program is now called. So, if any of you have any questions regarding the A series - or anything else for that matter - please watch the program and join in for fun. It starts every Wednesday morning about 8:30. We are going to try and do two a week with a Monday morning chat fest and a Wednesday morning chat fest.  

And literally, ask us anything because there is not a subject under the sun we do not have a theory for or an idea about. And if we don't, we will make one up on the fly, because that's how we roll. eventually it will come up a 20.


To the Gates of Hell

Long ago Unklar, the Horned God, ruled the world of Aihrde from the dread towers of Aufstrag. For a thousand years, called the Long Centuries, he sat upon the Mirrored Throne and lorded over man, dwarf and elf. But at last heroes arose and overthrew his tyranny, such that they banished him to the Everlasting Void. His servants, scattered, dead and likewise banished faded into the background. Those that lived fought amongst themselves. Of those, one stood out. Clever, malicious and vile of temperament. In his youth Coburg betrayed his rightful lord, slaying him in the service of Unklar, and was thus cursed with everlasting life. 

Called the Undying he rose slowly through the ranks of Unklar's armies, until the Horned God awarded him the Captaincy of the Guard over the lower gates of Aufstrag. The wars found him there, commanding a body of troops. So that in the end when Unkar fell, driven from Aihrde and Aufstrag, Coburg rose in arms to seize the throne and styled himself Lord of Aufstrag . . . fearful as always, he would not call himself by any title that might offend his grave lord.

So he sits near the Mirrored Throne, ruling a few levels of Aufstrag, always at war with the devil lords and undead entities that dwell in the tall towers of that place. It occurred to him that he could end the strife in Aufstrag by extending his hand across the plains of men and reclaiming the Empire and to this end he has sent agents out into the surrounding kingdoms, even to the borders of New Aenoch, all this to wage what men will call, the Undying War.

The Undying War begins with a group of 1st level characters on the road to adventure. They meander through the wilds of The Rising Knight and to the Blacktooth Ridge, where they encounter trolls, kobolds and other monsters commonly found in the ruins of the forgotten lands. But eventually their adventure takes them across the Blighted Screed to the swamps of the Gausumland where they become enmeshed with agents of Coburg the Undying and drawn into the war that the Undying Lord of Aufstrag seeks to bring to the world. 

By now, 5th or 6th level, they take up the road to high adventure, where they must fight increasingly difficult enemies to bring them at last, to the gates of hell and Coburg's domain!

Monday, April 18, 2022

Word of the Day -- Redux

For my first word of the day in quite a while (even words need a vacation) this word seemed appropriate to me:

redux:  brought back used postpositively

In Latin, redux (from the verb reducere, meaning "to lead back") can mean "brought back" or "bringing back." The Romans used redux as an epithet for the goddess Fortuna with its "bringing back" meaning; Fortuna Redux was trusted to bring those far from home back safely. It was the "brought back" meaning that made its way into English. Redux belongs to a small class of English adjectives that are always used postpositively—that is, they always follow the words they modify. Redux has a history of showing up in titles of English works, such as John Dryden's Astraea Redux (a 17th-century poem on the happy restoration and return of the majestic Charles the Second), Anthony Trollope's 19th-century Phineas Redux, and John Updike's 20th-century Rabbit Redux


Songs from the Drowned Lands ~ Kernaghan

Recently I took a trip to New York (the city) and needed something to read that I could easily carry on the plane. I don't really buy pa...