Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet

I’m still kicking but I sure stink at this weekly blog thing. I will finish out the battle I started for Six Gun Sound, I’m just playing with different ways to visually represent it. I don’t know what is in store for the blog after that but let’s get it finished first. Watch for the conclusion on July 5th, 2024.

Be back next week

Be back next week

Sorry for not having a post this week, lots going on with family stuff. We are ok, I just haven’t had hobby time. We’ll play through the skirmish in the next post.

Jason

The Saga of Tombstone Tom: Part 1

The Saga of Tombstone Tom: Part 1

Last week I introduced the idea of doing a solo skirmish war-game campaign using Two Hour Wargames’ Six Gun Sound – Blaze of Glory rules and we generated our “Star”, Tombstone Tom. Tom is a gunfighter from Arizona who is currently cooling his heels at a trading post in Canada. It is the spring of 1875, time to see if there is any work for Tom here in the Great White North. 

I rolled a 4 on the Help Wanted table against my Rep and Pass 1d6, someone with Tom’s “talents” might prove useful. Let’s see what kind of job is being offered. Now we roll 1d6 plus 1 for the settlement level, on the Opportunity table. 2+1 gives us three so the job is for a Ranger. Tom has to make a choice. Take the Ranger job for the coming year, Drifting, or becoming an Outlaw. After spending the winter up here Tom is ready to get back down to the States so he will Drift. That means he moves one local (there is a point crawl type map of the west included with the game) and checks for an encounter. He will move to the Washington Territory which has a settlement level of 4. Now I roll one die to check for an encounter, if it is 4 or less there is one. 3! Rolling again on the Gunfighter Drifting Table we once again roll a 3 which is a Gunfight! Nothing like starting the game off with a bang!

Rolling a 4 than a 6 followed by a 5 we see that this is a gunfight with more than two characters involved spread out over two sides. We also know this will happen out of town on the trail. Our goal in a Gunfight is “to drive off the enemy whether through casualties or threat of force.” 

We need to see how many characters are on Tom’s side, I roll 1d6 and get a 5. Then we roll on the How Many of Them are There table, 2d6 for a 6 which tells us the forces are equal so 6 total opponents. Let’s roll on the Gunfight Opponents table to see what their forces consist of. Interesting, they have a Ranger, an Outlaw, and four Gunfighters. 

The book tells us the deployment for this type of Gunfight, GF-2, is for the characters to square off at a distance equal to the shortest effective range of all the character’s involved. After that I rolled for the disposition of our mounts and found that they are unsaddled and picketed at the center of the table edge furthest from the opposing faction. 

I think I’ll say this ambush is happening at the end of the day and Tom’s outfit is just sitting down for supper. The other side will ride in and as soon as they are close draw their weapons! 

The book tells us that the Washington Territory is Rough Terrain which is defined as: Countryside contains features that reduce movement such as gullies (1), washes (1-2), and small ridges (1-3). No more than 1/3 of the table is flat. Possibly a river (1) running from one edge to the opposite side. With one (1-4) or two (5) fords crossing river. In addition the book tells us that in Rough Terrain movement reduced to half speed through area. Visibility is also reduced when inside. To 12” in day and 6” at night. Provides both obscuring and bulletproof cover.

Before we set up the battlefield we better find out who Tom’s five companions are.

I’m going to say Tom just hooked up with a group that was traveling south so we’ll roll on the Just Passing Through table to determine who is in his outfit. 

1, 1 Bounty hunter

1, 2 Bounty hunter

3, 5 Greenhorn

5, 4 Prospector

5, 3 Mountain Man

So after rolling on some more tables we get the following:

Bounty Hunter 1 & 2 both have Reputations (Rep) 4 Toughness 4 Sand 4 a pistol and a repeating carbine. 1 is Slow subtract 2” from move and 2 is a Knife Fighter. We’ll call them Ed and Fred. 

The Greenhorn has Rep 3 Toughness 4 Sand 3 a pistol and a repeating carbine. Swimmer, we’ll call him Alexander.

The Prospector has Rep 2 Toughness 2 Sand 3 a shotgun. Touched in the Head roll 1d6 when active, roll Rep or less and behave normal otherwise remain in place, we’ll call him Bill.   

And finally the Mountain Man has Rep 4 Toughness 4 San 4 and Muzzleloading Rifle. Staggering Drunk -1d6” when moving and may only use 1d6 when testing to move fast,

we’ll call him Jeremiah. 

Fred and Bill are veterans but the rest are not.

Ed’s horse is Quality 3, Bills is Quality 5, the others are Quality 4.

Now let’s flesh out the opposition. 

Ranger Rep 5 Toughness 5 Sand 5 armed with a pistol and a trapdoor carbine. Sickly counts as 1 less Rep when making After the Battle Recovery Checks

Outlaw Rep 3 Toughness 3 Sand 3 armed with a pistol. Touched in the Head roll 1d6 when active, roll Rep or less and behave normal otherwise remain in place.

Gunfighter 1 Rep 4 Toughness 3 Sand 4 armed with a pistol. Gun Shy will only roll 1d6 when taking a Received Fire test.

Gunfighter 2 Rep 5 Toughness 4 Sand 5 armed with a pistol and repeating carbine. Swimmer.

Gunfighter 3 Rep 5 Toughness 4 Sand 4 armed with a pistol. Touched in the Head roll 1d6 when active, roll Rep or less and behave normal otherwise remain in place.

Gunfighter 4 Rep 4 Toughness 4 Sand 4 armed with a pistol. Knife Fighter. 

All but Gunfighter 3 & 4 are veterans. This matters for the Ranger as it let’s him use the longer effective range of the trapdoor carbine. 

All the opposing team’s mounts are Quality 4. 

This doesn’t look good for Tom and his outfit, I wonder why the Ranger is with these others? I wonder if Tom and his traveling companions will live long enough to find out? 

Now that we have both sides let’s build the map placing our forces 3” apart (the shortest effective of any of the characters involved.)

MAP

I think that is everything and the stage is set for the first encounter of this campaign. Join me next week as we play it out. Until then be excellent to each other!

The Saga of Tombstone Tom: Introduction

The Saga of Tombstone Tom: Introduction

Welcome back to the blog! I hope your week has been going well, mine certainly has. I know I am supposed to have some sample rooms from the first two levels of my Gygax75 Challenge this week but I have hit a wall there. I will eventually get in the mood to create those but for now I figure it is better to be productive so instead of spinning my wheels on that I am going to present you with the first post of a new solo campaign.

Today I am going to share a new campaign I have started in one of my favorite genres, the western, with one of my favorite skirmish rule systems, the Two Hour Wargames Chain Reaction system. We’ll be using the campaign rules from Six Gun Sound – Blaze of Glory. I hope you enjoy reading alone as much as I did playing.

The first thing I had to do is choose which sort of campaign to play, the opinions are Cowboy, Gunfighter, Marshal, Outlaw, Ranger, or Sheriff. Let’s go with a Gunfighter. The time frame of the campaign will be from the spring of 1875 through the winter of 1885. 

Now that we know what and when let’s find out who our gunfighter is! A player character in this system is called a “Star” because they are treated differently than the other characters who are called “Hands.” Stars have three important advantages, The “Larger Than Life” rule, the “Cheating Death” rule, and finally the “Free Will” rule. Some more important “Hands” may be able to use some of these. 

“Larger Than Life” means a character can’t be killed by anyone with a lower Reputation (or Rep) than theirs.  

“Cheating Death” means if a character with equal or higher Rep would kill a character they can invoke this to remove themselves from the scene without dying.

Invoking either of the above will cause mechanical penalties for the character. 

“Free Will” will not cause the character any mechanic repercussions and is the most powerful ability given to a “Star.” It allows the character to choose the result of a reaction test instead of rolling for it. The importance of this will become apparent as the game goes on. 

A character is defined by the following stats:

Profession: Their job
Veteran: If they served in the American Civil War

Reputation: A combination of training, skill and experience

Toughness: A combination of physical toughness and willpower or grit

Sand: Coolness under fire or ability to handle stress

Weapon: This is a miniature skirmish war-game after all

So let’s build our character for this campaign. There is a table to roll on to see what our starting stats are for a Gunfighter, first we roll to see if they are a veteran, 4 so no, not a veteran. Next we roll for the other stats, 5 so our character looks like this:

Profession: Gunfighter
Veteran: No

Reputation: 5

Toughness: 5

Sand: 5

Weapon: Pistol and Repeating Carbine but for scenarios that start in town just the pistol

Now we will determine their attributes and skills, they get one for each point of Rep at 3 or higher, so we will start with three of them. 

I am going to draw on randomly, you use a deck of playing cards for this, and choose the other two.

7 of Hearts, Tradesman – Townsfolk with expertise in chosen field. +1 to Rep for any occupation related Challenge. Apparently this was prior to the career as a gunfighter. 

Born Leader – Adds 1d6 to all Reaction tests except for the In Sight test. Any friendly character within 4” of him will react as he does.

Crack Shot – +1 to die score when firing.

Now we roll on the Life and Times on time for each point of Rep

1) Old family friend has hideout or “home”. No chance of being ambushed when a capture Encounter is generated in any one locale of choice. This is in addition to your own “home”.

2) Reputation as “Trail Boss”. Character will have one less Encounter during a Cattle Drive.

3) Have exceptional Quality 5 horse. 

4) Old family friend has hideout or “home”. This was rolled again but it stands to figure an experienced gunfighter might have multiple friends.

5) Have reputation for gunplay. When in any locale of your choice, and no Encounter is generated for his profession, test again. If an Encounter is called for it is automatically a Gunfight (GF-1). 

Because of the experience as a “Trail Boss” we will say his trade will have been with animals, perhaps as a teamster. 

Now we need to determine our character’s “home” or birthplace. There’s a table for that and we get:

Arizona

Time to come up with a name and see who our traveling companions are! I think we’ll call our gunfighter Tombstone Tom. I rolled a 6 (-3) for traveling companions so that gives Tom three brothers or good friends that he can depend on. Rolling we see that two are Gunfighters and one is a Marshal. Now I need to decide if any or all start with Tom or at different locations. If they don’t start with him they can be called for at the start any of season except for winter. The advantage of these three is that:

The last brother standing will not leave the table without his fallen brothers. At this point he is not subject to Runaway results and while in the act of moving to pick up a fallen brother is not subject to Duck Back results.

An Outlaw’s brothers will never challenge him for leadership of the gang.

If they are in the same location you could substitute one or more of them for one or more members of your outfit. 

I’m going to say that they are not with me. One, Tad, is Tom’s actual brother in Tombstone, Arizona. The other two are friends. Michael, the gunfighter, will currently be in Dodge City, Kansas, and Bob, the marshal, will be in Eureka, Nevada.


OK, last thing to do is randomly determine where we are going to start. At a trading post in Canada! Interesting. So in the Spring of 1875 we have:

Tombstone Tom, originally from Tombstone, Arizona currently at a trading post in Canada.

Profession: Gunfighter
Veteran: No

Reputation: 5

Toughness: 5

Sand: 5

Weapon: Pistol and Repeating Carbine, in town just the pistol

Tom has an exceptional Quality 5 horse

Former Teamster +1 to Rep for any occupation related Challenge.  

Born Leader – Adds 1d6 to all Reaction tests except for the In Sight test. Any friendly character within 4” of him will react as he does.

Crack Shot – +1 to die score when firing.

Tom’s brother Tad, another gunfighter, is still back home in Tombstone, Arizona.

Bob, his old marshal friend has a “home” in Eureka, Nevada. No chance of being ambushed when a capture Encounter is generated in Eureka. This is in addition to your own “home”.

Michael, a old gunfighter friend has hideout or “home” in Dodge City, Kansas. No chance of being ambushed when a capture Encounter is generated in Dodge City. This is in addition to your own “home”.

Tom has a reputation as “Trail Boss”. Character will have one less Encounter during a Cattle Drive.

Tom has reputation for gunplay. When in any locale of your choice, and no Encounter is generated for his profession, test again. If an Encounter is called for it is automatically a Gunfight (GF-1). 

Next week we’ll get started, until that time be excellent to each other!

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Five

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Five

This challenge, popularized by the amazing Ray Otis, is drawn from an article written for Europa, a wargaming newsletter, in April of 1975 by Gary Gygax. You can download Ray’s challenge which includes the text of the original article here: https://plundergrounds.itch.io/gygax75

Ray has put this up as pay what you want, I hope you can donate at least a dollar to him but even if you are not able to please download the PDF as I am not going to reproduce his work here. My weekly entries will make more sense if you read the pamphlet. 

Week Five: The Larger World

This week we are to round out the setting with some meaningful details. 

Ray provides a number of options to round out the setting, I will do the following three. 

1. Outline other worlds/planes the characters could visit. 

2. Develop a rival company of adventurers or mercenaries that will cross paths with the player characters.

3. Make a list of system tweaks or house rules your setting will require.

Other worlds/planes the characters could visit

1. Dagobah. In this world dinosaurs really were big reptiles and mammals never developed beyond mindless food. Evolution eventually lead to serpent people (that’s Reptilians to you and me, Russ.) There was a spilt between the sexes as the males embraced sorcery while the females were more analytical and developed what we would call super science. They have visited the player character’s dimension in the past and while they attempted to colonize they were wiped out by the natives. This has made them very resentful and if they win the tournament they place on enslaving all sentient mammals on the adventurer’s world and using them for either labor or as cattle (food.) They are not above sending raiding parties to tamper with the adventurers in the floating dungeon contest. Their world is a steamy jungle type swamp. 

2. Earth. This is pretty much our modern day world, current technology with maybe a little secret magic or psionics. It is the underdog in the competition but has some strong competitors and always places well in the contest. They don’t currently have the capability to travel to the other dimensions and will not try to interfere with the other teams.

3. Battle World. This is the location where the tournament of champions takes place. Once the tournament starts the teams must stay here until the competition is complete. The base atmosphere and environment will be survivable to all teams. The participants of each battle will take place in a random game of chance which will determine who picks the battlefield for the matches. There are as many different battlefields as their are biomes and all types of terrain and degrees of urbanization are available.   

A rival company.

Prince Barin who rules the castle in the mountains has assembled a company of champions to conquer the floating dungeon and win the wizard’s contest. This company will progress roughly at the rate the player character’s does and will be built and have all the abilities / perks of player characters in the rule system used. They will have the best equipment money can buy. Sir Lawrence will be one level above the highest player character and the rest of company will be one level below the average party member. (Add the PC’s levels together and divide by the number of PCs. Round up and subtract one to get the level of the rest of this company.)

Leader, Prince Barin’s son, Sir Lawrence. Will be the equivalent of a paladin. 

Two warriors. Sir Lawrence’s brother Darell and other brother Darell. Chaotic Good.

Two clerics. Sister Deloris Van Cartier and Brother Matthew Hopkins. Chaotic Good.  

Two thieves. Edward Hawkins and Veronica Mars. Think of them more as trap specialists, both are Neutral Good.  

Two magic users. Tristan Vukcevic and Tyus Jones. 

Possible system tweaks or house rules that will be needed. 

1. As the players explore they will find advanced technology and evidence of super science, both in the past of their world and in the other worlds they might visit. The system will have to be able to handle firearms, energy weapons, power armor, vehicle chases and psionic abilities as well as the standard D&D type technology, magic, classes, and monsters. 

2. If the system doesn’t have a robust unarmed combat system one should probably be tacked on as the final tournament will include fighters that will use martial arts and who should be able to hold their own against opponents with weapons.

That is all for this week and normally this would end the Gygax 75 Challenge. In this case I still owe some room examples for dungeon levels one and two from Week Three so I’ll post those next week. Until that time please be excellent to each other!

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Four

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Four

This challenge, popularized by the amazing Ray Otis, is drawn from an article written for Europa, a wargaming newsletter, in April of 1975 by Gary Gygax. You can download Ray’s challenge which includes the text of the original article here: https://plundergrounds.itch.io/gygax75

Ray has put this up as pay what you want, I hope you can donate at least a dollar to him but even if you are not able to please download the PDF as I am not going to reproduce his work here. My weekly entries will make more sense if you read the pamphlet. 

Week Four: The Town

This week we are to detail the town outside the dungeon. 

Our tasks this week:

1. Find or sketch out a city map.

2. Look at the equipment lists for your game.

3. Locate/describe at least five of the following in a short sentence. (Ray lists a number of things one would find in a town)

4. Create at least 5 NPCs each with a “DNA.” Ray explains DNA is a distinguishing trait, a need, and an agenda.

Extra Credit this week:

1. Create 4-5 hirelings or specialists

2. Generate 7-9 rumors that are going around the town

3. Describe stuff!

I am only going to detail one of the towns that the dungeon might appear at. 

For task one I’m going to use https://www.fantasytowngenerator.com/ to generate my coastal city map.

The other tasks and extra credit are encapsulated in the following descriptions.

Prominent locations in the town.

1. The Wooden Raven. A rowdy tavern that respectable people avoid. This is a full service establishment that not only serves food and drink but also has rooms available on the second story, think the bar in American Ninja 2. The owner is a tough looking, tattooed lady named Marion who boosts she can out drink any man. Her father had been an adventurer and she grew up around adventurers and other interesting people. She has her finger on the pulse of the seedier side of things and it is said for the right price you can find anything at the Mermaid. 

2. The Bell. This is a popular tavern that is a little more friendly than the Mermaid. The Bell stays busy and has reasonably priced food. While it also has rooms available they are not only on the pricier side but often reserved. Arlo Arevenese, the owner, is willing to “break” a reservation for someone desperate to book a room but he will explain that he has to charge double because they will have to reimburse the party that had it reserved. Arlo is a large, if plain looking man whose wife is a beautiful, if slightly older, woman. She is rumored to spend money as fast as The Bell brings it in. She sponsors the Seaside Theater Company and likes to host balls for important visitors to the town. Rumor has it that the theater company’s performances are cursed and a small number of audiences members have disappeared each year for the past decade. This is denied by the theater company and the town guard. 

3. Horse & Bull Armory. This is a well stocked warehouse that sells every type of non-magical weapon and armor imaginable. If it isn’t in stock the proprietor, Samuel Hawken, and his team will make it for the customer. Higher quality weapons and unusually sized armor is available on a custom order basis. Hawken has an interest in Rico’s Roughnecks, a mercenary company he helped found, that is for hire. Clients interested in hiring the Roughnecks should start by contacting Hawken. The Roughnecks are selective in the jobs they take and require detailed contracts which they will follow to the letter. 

4. Temple of Set. This is the temple of the snake god, a cult that has grown in recent years as the leadership has appealed to the disenchanted youth. They have temples in every major city and even in some smaller towns. Basically the same as seen in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian (What do you mean you haven’t seen it?! Choke yourself! Not with your hand, with my hand!) The temple is said to house great riches. They do have an public office staffed with priests to answer inquiries and to perform healing and cure curses, for a price. 

5. Dr. Marvel’s Tinctures, Herbs, and Leeches. Dr. Marvel’s is a large three story building with an attached stable that has a number of medically related businesses operating out of it. Dr. Marvel manages the storefront on the ground floor and rents the upper floors to the other occupants. The ground floor is a market for all types of medical supplies, mostly non-magical in nature. The second floor is occupied by Theodoric the Barber, and his understudy York, who will perform surgeries, amputate limbs, fit artificial limbs, and do light dentistry. For a substantially increased fee they will perform house calls. The stable is run by Edward Wilbur who is known to be very good with  sick and injured animals. The windows on the third floor are usually shuttered and it is not open to the public. On stormy nights activity can occasionally be seen on the roof amidst the lightning flashes and rumor has it that even on calm nights you can often see lights of unusual color flash behind the shutters. 

Hirelings / Specialists in the town.

1. Rico’s Roughnecks are on the pricer side for mercenaries, hired men at arms, and caravan guards but have a great reputation. If a patron meets their approval but either can’t afford them or requires more menial hirelings (torchbearers, treasure haulers, or perhaps teamsters to manage animals and wagons) the Roughnecks have connections that can provide those services.   

2. The Temple of Set will hire out the equivalent of AD&D 1E 4th level clerics and fighters to go with adventuring parties for a price. Notably they are happy to hire to parties that are lower level than would normally be able to hire NPCs of that level. That price is not only double the rate listed for someone of that class and level but also the requirement for the body to be brought back if the hired priest or warrior is killed. Parties that have tried to cheat the Temple have disappeared in the past. If hired the priest or warrior will bravely fulfill all the required duties, they have accepted death, and will not withhold magic or cheat the party in any way. When they get back they will tell their superiors at the Temple everything they observed while they were with the party and if a body is brought back the Temple will use that to talk to the deceased’s spirit to get the same information. 

3. The local branch of the thieves guild can be contacted through the Wooden Raven and will hire out ‘specialists’ for double the standard rate. They also can provide loans. Loans can be secured with for a ‘lean’ against just about anything of value the inquirer has to include property or family members. The thieves guild is not above selling family members into slavery if they are not reimbursed and the interest rates on any loans are quite astronomic.  

4. The Society of Galen, a guild of wizards, maintains a tower in the city but it is only open to member’s of the guild. Guild members can use the research library, purchase spell components, scrolls and the occasional magic item here. There is also the small chance an apprentice will be available to accompany a party but they will be 1st level and the expectation is that they will be brought back alive. There are repercussions for guild members that take apprentices along just to get them killed. 

Rumors.

1. Dr. Marvel’s will buy monster, and non-monster, bodies and body parts if approached discreetly.  

2. Some of the members of the Seaside Theatrical Company have been seen going to the Temple of Set

3. There is a tribe of man eating, shaggy haired, white apes that live in the northern forest. 

4. If you want a love spell, blessing, or curse cast on someone it is said the Temple of Set can provide those services discreetly although often the price is more than just coin. 

5. The man that runs that stable at Dr. Marvel’s is said to be a druid and have a special affinity for animals. While he will care for abused animals it is said the animals tell him everything and often those abusive owners fall on bad times once they cross his path. 

6. Between theatrical productions it is said that underground fights are held at the Seaside Theater, the purses are supplemented by the bets placed on the floor and they are split down the middle between the theater company and the winner. It is not usual for participants to be crippled or killed in these events. 

7. Prince Barin, the lord of the castle in the mountains, has calculated the pattern in which the floating dungeon moves and is determined that his champions will be the first to succeed in the wizard’s challenge. 

8. There is a secret tunnel between the caves on the coast and the caves on the haunted isle but the tunnel is treacherous and protected by the dead. 

That is all for this week, next week we’ll take a look at the larger world. Until that time please be excellent to each other!

Taking a Sick Day

Taking a Sick Day

Sorry everyone, I’m currently fighting the flu and while I have Week 4 of the Gygax Challenge half done instead of putting it up unfinished I will post it next week.

Remember to wash your hands and be excellent to each other!

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Three

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Three

This challenge, popularized by the amazing Ray Otis, is drawn from an article written for Europa, a wargaming newsletter, in April of 1975 by Gary Gygax. You can download Ray’s challenge which includes the text of the original article here: https://plundergrounds.itch.io/gygax75

Ray has put this up as pay what you want, I hope you can donate at least a dollar to him but even if you are not able to please download the PDF as I am not going to reproduce his work here. My weekly entries will make more sense if you read the pamphlet. 

Week Three: The Dungeon

This week is simple, “Draw and stock three levels of your dungeon.” Nothing to it! 

Ray tells us the tasks we should accomplish are:

1. Describe the entrance to the dungeon in 7-10 words. 

2. Create a point-to-point map. 

3. You will draw three levels. For each level, include at least d6+6 rooms/areas and connect them.

4. Include several (say d3+1) ways up and/or down per level.

5. Come up with 1 theme per level.

6. Make a list of about a dozen iconic monsters and place them in rooms/areas.

7. Spread d6 major features  throughout the dungeon.

8. For each room/area, note any treasure.

9. Name three wondrous items and locate them in the dungeon.

10. Spend any remaining theme budget adding detail. 

Extra Credit:

Map out all three levels on graph paper.

The Floating Dungeon

I have stacked the deck a bit in my favor here by using Gristlegrim as my template. You see Gristlegrim consists of six levels, nine 100’ cube shaped rooms to a level. Each level has over 100 rooms that can appear. This way the dungeon is different every time. 

My version won’t be quite as extensive, I’m thinking more of a ziggurat. Say nine rooms on the first floor, four on the second floor and only one on the third floor. Thanks to the special nature of the floating dungeon I have decided to use I’ll modify or even skip some of the tasks that would normally be completed this week. 

The Dungeon Map

The dungeon teleports every 24 hours at sunrise to a different seemingly random city, settlement, or town. The dungeon floats 100 yards (91.44 meters) above the ground. Of course the first challenge is getting to the dungeon!  

There is no need for a point-to-point map. Likewise with themes per level as each room will have a unique theme. No wandering monsters so no need for a list of them or the major features as they will be detailed in each room description. My plan, if this comes to the table, is to have at least three or four times as many rooms as are on each of the lower floors. That would be 27 to 36 rooms for the first floor and 12 to 16 rooms for the second floor. The third floor room will always be the same. 

What I’ll do here is just give the concept for some rooms on each of the lower two floors and for the third floor room.

Ground Level

When the dungeon appears a kiosk also appears on the ground beneath it. This kiosk is staffed by employees of the wizard who will provide transportation to the dungeon if the adventurers can pass certain tests. The adventurers will be able to chose the type of test they take, strength or wits. If the adventurers fail they cannot test again that day. If they pass they will be teleported to the dungeon entrance. Of course if the adventurers have their own way of reaching the dungeon that is also acceptable. 

Dungeon Entrance

This is a small stoop on one side of the dungeon with steps that lead to a pair of 15 foot high double doors. There are no other openings to the ziggurat. The doors are not locked but are heavy and will require a high amount of strength to open. For example if we were playing D&D only a character with an 18 strength or a combination of characters with a total of 18 would be able to move them. When the doors open the party will be met with what appears to be a waterfall, or at least a wall of running water although they cannot tell where the water goes after it reaches the floor. If they walk through the waterfall they will appear in a random level one dungeon room.

Dungeon Level One and Two

I didn’t get the rooms finished but I also didn’t want to be late again so I’ll put them in a separate blog post once I finish them. 

Dungeon Level Three

This is a 100’ square room completely made of what appears to be moon white granite, floor, walls and ceiling. The door the adventurers exit is in the center of one of the walls and will disappear once they come through. Directly across from where they appear near the opposite wall is a six panel Byōbu, a Japanese folding screen. It is covered with scenes of one on one hand to hand combat. If examined closely they will see it is depicting pairs of identical figures fighting. Along the other two walls are racks of weapons, every type of weapon the adventurers have seen, and many they haven’t, are on these racks. There are a number of three foot square granite blocks spread across the floor of the room. 30 seconds after the adventurers enter the room a group of figures come out from behind the Byōbu. These appear to be identical to the adventurers. Half of them exit from each side of the screen. They are mechanically identical to the adventures in every way and equipped exactly as the adventurers were when they entered the room. These doppelgängers will attack and fight to the death, given the chance they will not leave any of the adventurers alive. If the adventurers win as soon as the last doppelgänger is dispatched the surviving adventurers will be teleported on top of the roof of the ziggurat where they will meet the wizard that created the dungeon. The wizard will explain that they are now the champions for their world in the contest.

That is all for this week, next week it will be time to detail a town outside the dungeon. Until that time please be excellent to each other!

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Two

The Gygax 75 Challenge Week Two

This challenge, popularized by the amazing Ray Otis, is drawn from an article written for Europa, a wargaming newsletter, in April of 1975 by Gary Gygax. You can download Ray’s challenge which includes the text of the original article here: https://plundergrounds.itch.io/gygax75

Ray has put this up as pay what you want, I hope you can donate at least a dollar to him but even if you are not able to please download the PDF as I am not going to reproduce his work here. My weekly entries will make more sense if you read the pamphlet. 

Now, only a week late, it is time to do the second week of the challenge.

Week Two: Surrounding Area

The tasks Ray sets forth this week are:

“Get a sheet of hex paper. Draw the following items on it. Name anything worthy of a name. If you don’t feel comfortable drawing, lots of hex-mapping programs are available!

One large settlement (define large however you like)

Two other settlements (camps, larger or smaller towns, a keep, the home base of a fantasy race, etc.)

One major terrain feature (covering at least three hexes)

One mysterious site for exploration 

One dungeon entrance – at least!

Key your map. The easiest way to do this is probably to number the hex rows and letter the columns. This will give you coordinates to reference. Note down the names of places and terrain types using these coordinates or write them directly on the map. “

Gygax discusses hexes of one mile each and Ray tells us that we should keep the hexes no greater than six miles per hex. 

Extra Credit:

Make your map feel used, spill something on it, burn the ends, wrinkle it up.  

Create a random encounters table. Ray recommends a 2d6 table. 

Hex Map

Can I be honest? I do not consider myself a creative person. I love maps but not making them. I tend to just use existing maps in my games, often modified. So I really struggled with the assignment this week. Do I put up a juvenile looking map instead of my usual practice? This was quite the dilemma for me. In the end I spent a lot longer looking for maps to repurpose than it took me to draw the one below. Anyhow if you look at the map and feel a small child could have done better you are probably correct.

So we have a kingdom that butts against the sea, forest to the north and mountains to the east. There is a river that runs from the sea through the capital city and southward through the center of the map. There is also a haunted island off the coast. 

The floating dungeon moves between the ten settlements on the map (towns, cities, and castles to include the ruined city and castle on the island) once every 24 hours at sunrise.

Here are the major features of the map:

B 03 Seaside town

D 09 Forest edge town

E 30 entrance to northern mountain pass

G 20 Small City with wood mill

I 03 Capital City

K 33 Mountain lake 

S 29 Castle in the Mountains

U 03 Coastal City

Z 19 Small City on river

AD 31 entrance to southern mountain pass

AE 04 Ruins of Coastal City

AH 06 Ruined Castle

AI 07 Caves

AI 25 Castle on river

AJ 14 Caves

Random Encounter Table

2. 2-8 Werewolves on the hunt but what form are they in?

3. 1-13 Fairies looking to be entertained.

4. 1-11 Pilgrims led by a priest. Friendly? Looking for a sacrifice?

5. 3-14 Goblin Raiders on Wargs!

6. 2-9 Travelers. A family? A dignitary? Another adventuring party? 

7. 7-12 Armed Warriors. Bandits? King’s men looking to impress men into service? 

8. 2-5 Traders. May have information, may have goods, may be looking to trick & rob others.

9. 1-4 Trolls, grumpy and hungry.

10. An old man and his servant. Is he a wizard? A master of the martial arts? Easily offended? 

11. 1-6 Anhkhegs looking for dinner.

12. 3-9 Gnolls with prisoners from a raid.

Once the characters enter the dungeon for the first time some of the other team, see last week’s blog, will start to attack them and the random encounters table will get rewritten to include them. As the players continue to explore the dungeon the encounter table will continue to be updated so their new admirers show up with increasing frequency.

That is all for this week, next week it will be time to draw and stock the dungeon. Until that time please be excellent to each other!

The check is in the mail, the dog ate my homework, my Wi-Fi is out …

The check is in the mail, the dog ate my homework, my Wi-Fi is out …

I don’t know Christos P , the person that uploaded this clip, but I appreciate it as it as I make excuses to you, the reader.

Can I be honest? I do not consider myself a creative person. I love maps but not making them. I tend to just use existing maps in my games, often modified. So I really struggled with the assignment this week. Do I put up a juvenile looking map instead of my usual practice? This was quite the dilemma for me. In the end I spent a lot of time looking for maps to repurpose before I got around to just drawing one. Because of this the map isn’t ready yet. I hope to get it finished tomorrow and will publish the week two entry for the Gygax 75 Challenge once I have it done.