Maze of Nuromen, Breaking the Speed of Light, and 2020 Advertisements

Maze of Nuromen at Arkansas RPG Con

Over the weekend, I ran the Blueholme introductory module, Maze of Nuromen. It’s called The Necropolis of Nuromen now, but I’m Old SchoolTM.

Michael Thomas of Dreamscape Design was kind enough to not only send us some player guides, he also sent a copy of the updated module [which turned out to be a lot of help]. I made sure to let everyone there know that DD had sponsored the game and gave out the Prentice rulebooks as gifts to my players.

We ran the module DCC style, with each player having 3 characters. I gave everyone a Fighting Man and let them pick two other classes; these two other classes were where their “goals” came from:

  • Elves and Dwarves looking to retrieve the Elven Crown
  • Magic Users looking to find the Book of Power
  • Thieves looking to find the chest of the Master Thief
  • Halflings looking for the body of a long-ago halfling adventurer [which I made Yolo Swaggins from my B/X B4 game]
  • Clerics looking to find and destroy an unholy bible of the ape god

Fighters were hired muscles to act as the “front row”.

This is the first time I haven’t used minis for a Basic game, but this setup made it easy to do things Final Fantasy style–unless there was a “boss” or unique circumstances, fighters get hit, then folks in back as characters go down. Worked out nicely, actually.

My players made surprisingly good progress on it for a con module that lasted roughly 3 and a half hours. If I didn’t have to go run some errands and could’ve stuck around another hour, they might have even finished it.

So quick rundown:

They got into the Maze without any real problems; for some reason, I always forget about the goblins in the first room, so I just handwaived that they’d hidden behind rocks when they heard nearly two-dozen adventurers gathering around the tower entrance. The party crossed the stream and wisely ignored the bottomless pit. Surprisingly, the character they sent to secure the rope across the stream only had dex 7 but he made the check.

Some elves in the main hall told them that they’d seen a boatload of goblins in the dungeon, so they’d been hiding and waiting for a moment to make a run for it.

The party got hit pretty hard with the Harpies’ charm person in the dining hall–the PCs that made their saves managed to pull everyone out, but at least one MU got nabbed and torn to shreds.

They explored the prison corner to little avail [it’s a trolly dead-end with almost no loot and just some encounter bait].

The barracks proved a bit more of a challenge, but some lucky rolls and good choices helped them survive it. A shrieker attracted a gelatinous cube, but they wisely didn’t mess with it–unless you’re determined to get yourself killed by a jelly cube, they’re pretty easy to avoid. The skelies didn’t prove much of a problem, either.

While the party was pretty uninterested in the pantry and kitchen, they smartly guessed that they could use the wax for the candles to plug their ears so they wouldn’t be affected by the harpies’ song. Sated on mageflesh and fairly outnumbered, the harpies were content to leave them be as they skulked out of the dining hall.

A fighter got green slimed near the savage garden, but since he was wearing plate and helmet and it was a VERY SMALL green slime [ended up like 1hp], the fighter took more damage from having it burned off his armor than from the slime itself. The party didn’t poke around the vegetation, and the dwarf kept everyone from tripping up the water features, so fire beetles kept to themselves.

The party raided Nuromen’s apartment, found the keyword to open the door to his lab and made their way there. They messed with EVERYTHING.

At least two characters got blown up by the alchemy lab trap, someone got hurt by the frog, they found Yolo’s stuff, and the trap doors.

With all the magic users dead, no one achieved a “goal” from the Tome of Power, but an elf got permanently infused with Detect Magic. One of the clerics thought the Tome of Power was the evil book they were trying to destroy. It wasn’t, but it unleashed a chain reaction that permanently enchanted their mace with light. If any MUs had been alive, they would’ve lost their mind over it, but elf didn’t really care.

Party dropped down the trapdoor to the temple of the ape god and found the back-way into Nuromen’s ancestral tomb. While the party made pretty short work of the three zombies, Nuromen himself killed 3 party members with Magic Missile and level drains. They managed to drive him off by, of all things, hitting him repeatedly by throwing the silver puppet at him and then dousing him with holy water.

That’s where we called things.

Funny thing, for how many goblins were crawling around the Maze, they never actually encountered any because they never found the room where they were camping out and goblins never came up on the Random Encounter table.

Great part was DMing for old school guys [including Shane Stacks from Shane Plays] who were demanding more blood and more PC death, even saying that it would be great for things to end in a TPK [because Con Game]. It was a blast.

Wild Stars: Breaking the Speed of Light 

This comes via Wild Stars author, Michael Tierney:

When I wrote my first Wild Stars novels back in the 1970s, three of concepts that drive the mechanics the Wild Stars universe challenged the accepted views of our reality. One was that mankind made our first migration into space and colonized planets circling the brightest stars in the night sky some 75,000 years ago. Then, around the year 2000, geneticists cracked the human genome and discovered that the human population crashed to only a few thousand people alive on Earth around 75,000 years ago (the Wild Stars explains where the rest went). The other two were the often mocked concepts of time travel and starships that can travel faster than the speed of light. A couple of weeks ago, this story was released:

https://www.thescienceandspace.com/2019/10/breaking-researchers-at-cern-break.html?fbclid=IwAR1kOX72AAKnHrp_U6wdY86MNRGAOkpMMFSSrRlEjnA9KLKz_sYQcwYT_aQ

Also, Michael’s shared the following tidbit about author sales rankings:

For anyone who ever wondered how the rankings work on Amazon, here is today’s snapshot of my sales in Science Fiction, superimposed with new works released at the time. Amazon recalculates hourly, who what might be an upwards spike in the morning could end up as a rankings dip by the end of the day.

michael's sales rank

2020 Advertising

We’re opening up advertising for 2020 a little bit early so we’ll have enough money to buy stories for next year. John E. Boyle has already claimed the back cover slot for the Spring Issue [#3], but there is plenty of interior space.

Details on ads are here: https://cirsova.wordpress.com/cirsova-magazine/advertising/

Why are we trying to get our hands on as much capital as quickly as possible?

I need at least another $3k monies to buy all of the stuff that we’re wanting buy for 2020 and still be able to replace the ductwork in my house. I’d rather not have to take out a loan; I mean, I’m probably going to have to take out a loan anyway, but I’d rather it only be for a few thou than

ductwork quote.png

 

Free to Use B/X D&D Character Sheet

There are a lot of good character sheets out there for B/X, and a lot of them are free for private use. But I needed something for potential commercial use, and I didn’t feel like digging through the internet for one that had a commercial use license. So I made one of my own. It’s not all purpose [it’s for fighter/thief only right now], but my gift to the OSR is that it is free for commercial use without permission.

[Character Sheet Template]

Character Sheet Template.png

More AD&D Gaming Thoughts from Daniel J. Davis

The episode of Geek Gab that Jeffro Johnson and I were on talking about the implied setting of AD&D has sparked some incredibly thought-provoking posts from author Daniel J. Davis on his Brain Leakage blog.

http://www.brainleakage.com/home/between-appendix-n-and-pink-slime

http://www.brainleakage.com/home/the-implied-apocalypse-of-dungeons-dragons

This is seriously good stuff, and you ought to start paying attention to this guy.

Also, don’t forget, there’s only 5 days left to back Wild Stars, which is also being adapted into a setting for Amazing Adventures 5e!

Last Day For the Wild Stars IGG! + On Geek Gab with Jeffro Johnson

Update: John Trent’s interview with Michael Tierney at Bounding Into Comics has gone live!

Today is the last day for the Wild Stars IndieGoGo. And while I don’t expect a miracle that would land us $5500 in backers on the last day, it would be nice to get some numbers up. [It’s a flexible campaign, and all backers will have their perks fulfilled.]

We got all of the cover art in from Mark Wheatley, so we should be able to start getting the softcover proofs very soon.

Back Covers

I did another Wild Stars Noise Stream. This time, actually live. But because it was my first time, and I am a pleb, you can hear the “how does i obs?” vid I was checking to make sure I could hear my own streaming audio in the first couple seconds of the stream.

 

In a non-Wild Stars related note, I was on Geek Gab with Jeffro Johnson to talk about AD&D. This was really cool, especially since this is the first time Jeffro and I have actually talked, not just via email and blog comments. So it was kind of a big deal to me!

Wild Stars: B/X D&D Stats for Griefs

Wild Stars is great adventure fodder for your tabletop RPG. So much so that there may be an Amazing Adventure 5e supplement created for it by Troll Lord Games in the not so distant future.

But you guys know me. I’m a B/X person, myself, and so are a lot of our readers. So to whet your appetite for the new 35th Anniversary Edition of Michael Tierney’s Wild Stars, I’ve statted up the three species of Griefs for use in your Moldvay/Cook or [God help your players] your Holmes Basic D&D game!

For when regular dinosaurs aren’t bad enough and you want space dinosaurs, including ones that can use magic items…

[Boxed text is from The Wild Stars Navigational Chart: the Multiversal Guide appendix included in Wild Stars IV: Wild Star Rising.]

Wild Stars 3 Cover Tim Lim Version

Left: One-Eye, the Red Grief about to eat the Space Pirate Queen, Mark Wheatley. Right: Bully Bravo and Tall Trees Wolf attacked by a pack of Saurocats, Timothy Lim

Brown Grief: The largest of the three tyrannosaurid species native to Miri/Magus IV/Akara’s World. Mostly a scavenger because of their hulking size and slow movement, ugly is the word most often used to describe their appearance.
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 20
Move: 60′ (20′)
Attacks: 1 bite
Damage: 6d6
No. Appearing: 1d2
Save As: Fighter: 10
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral

 

Red Grief: A pack predator, red griefs are one of the three tyrannosaurid species on Miri/Magus IV/Akara’s World. Standing at the shoulder twice the height of a man, they look like a cross between a tyrannosaurus and a raptor and are only half the size of a brown grief. With a large, rounded blunt horn on the tip of their snout, the heads of red griefs are longer than a brown grief, and they have spinal armor plates all along their backs, tipped with long red needles that from a distance look like a crest of blood red feathers. They employ a pack strategy of noisy interaction amongst themselves, which is intended to make the herds they prey on accustomed to their presence and lower their guard.

Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 10
Move: 150’ (50’)
Attacks: 1 bite
Damage: 3-18
No. Appearing: 1-7 (2d4-1)
Save As: Fighter: 7
Morale: 9
Treasure Type: Nil
Alignment: Neutral

Red Grief packs of 4 or more will have a “leader”, usually a female. These “queens” are 10HD + 4. When present, the Red Griefs will have Morale 10. If the queen is eliminated, the rest of the pack will have Morale 8.

DireGriefFace

Dire Grief, by Armando Gil from Wild Stars II: Force Majeure

Dire Griefs: These are the smallest of the three types of tyrannosaurid griefs native to Miri/Magus IV/Akara’s World, but by far the most dangerous. Usually solitary, ambush predators, they are unique from the other griefs because of their telepathic skills that are responsible for their other name, Vampire Dragons. They also have the ability of optical camouflage and can hide in plain sight if they wish. After they gained possession of a Marzanti trident, dire griefs also became known as Dragon Kings.

Armor Class: 3
Hit Dice: 7***
Move: 150’ (50’)
Attacks: 1 bite
Damage: 3-18
No. Appearing: 1
Save As: Fighter: 7
Morale: 8
Treasure Type: Special*
Alignment: Neutral

Special Abilities: May use Clairvoyance, ESP, Invisibility as at-will abilities.

Dire Griefs surprise on a roll of 1-5 on 1d6.

*:Sometimes Dire Griefs may come into possession of magic items, particularly staffs. If a Dire Grief is in a populated or trafficked area [lair is not all-wilderness adjacent or roads pass through hex], there is 25% chance of the Dire Grief having 1d4 magical items in their lair [at least one will be a staff-type item]. There is an additional 10% chance that the Dire Grief will have the staff in its possession. Dire Griefs are intelligent and able to use magic items with an 80% chance of success.

[These stat entries are unofficial and not directly affiliated with Troll Lord Games, their upcoming Amazing Adventures 5e system, or their upcoming Wild Stars RPG setting supplement for said system.]

Wild Stars Launches Tomorrow + Wild Stars RPG

Tomorrow, we begin taking pre-orders for the Wild Stars IV: Wild Star Rising and the rest of the 35th Anniversary goodies, but I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to this other crowdfund from Chenault & Grey / Troll Lord Games.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/676918054/amazing-adventures-5e-rpg?ref=nav_search&result=project&term=amazing%20adventures

C&G / Troll Lord is a local Little Rock-based publisher, best known for Castles & Crusades. Last year, they also published Michael Tierney’s Edgar Rice Burroughs 100 Year Art Chronology.

The Amazing Adventures RPG crowdfund on Kickstarter includes a $50,000 stretch goal for a Wild Stars RPG supplement.

While admittedly, 5e does not feel very D&D-like to me, I’ve noted frequently in the past that it would be a good system for super-hero teams. And Wild Stars features all sorts of crazy aliens and monsters and immortal space warriors, so a system like Amazing Adventures could be perfect for it! If you want to see a Wild Stars RPG setting, you have 5 days to back and put them over that $50k stretch-goal.

Also, I’d be remiss if I didn’t note that our upcoming edition of Wild Stars IV: Wild Star Rising contains an extensive bio-glossary appendix, Wild Stars Navigational Chart: The Multiversal Guide, effectively making this fall release one of the first supplements, valuable to old fans and new.

We’ll be launching our own crowdfund tomorrow morning around 9-10 CST.

Finally, on top of everything else, tomorrow our illustrated edition of Leigh Brackett’s Black Amazon of Mars drops! So if you haven’t pre-ordered it, be sure to do so!

Black Amazon of Mars Front Only

70th Anniversary Illustrated Edition of Leigh Brackett’s Enchantress of Venus Out Today!

Dark Secrets of an Inhuman Race Lie Hidden Beneath the Seas of Venus!

Eric John Stark travels the shores of Venus’ gaseous red seas seeking the whereabouts of a missing comrade. Pursuing this mystery puts him in the hands of the Lhari, a cruel and power-hungry family that rules over the pirate enclave of Shuruun!

Beneath the waves, the Lhari’s doomed slaves live and toil among ancient ruins, seeking out the lost super-weapon of the precursors. And Stark must join them or die!

If Varra, a vain and petty Lhari princess, can control both Stark and this lost weapon, all of Venus may be within her grasp!

An all new edition of Leigh Brackett’s classic planetary romance, fully illustrated by StarTwo and with a foreword by Jeffro Johnson, author of Appendix N: A Literary History of Dungeons & Dragons!

Enchantress Cover for ebook