Where’s Judd?

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These are the places you can regularly hear and/or see me talking about gaming or doing the thing and streaming some play. Links are both in the pictures and in the text beneath.

Here’s the link where I store my links.


Daydreaming about Dragons Podcast

The logo for my podcast, Daydreaming about Dragons

In which I have a conversation with you about techniques that are shaking out at the tables where I sit and inspirational media.


The Sixth Ring, a Trophy Podcast

In which Jason and I discuss the Trophy RPG and in doing so end up talking about game culture and techniques that link up to all kinds of tabletop RPG’s.


I’m often gaming on the Actual Play twitchstream channel.

World of Dungeons, Twitch.com/ACTUALPLAY

Municipal Dungeon Delving in the fantasy city of Jaquays (pronounced Jake-Ways) in the wake of the Sorcerer-Kings, who have abandoned this world and have left their toxic labs, wyrd towers and feral pets all over the city-scape. More about the making of this game here.


I’ve been honored to play so much on the Actual Play channel, a place where I’ve made wonderful friends and played wondrous games.

Norther Death Pantheon, cold fairy tale edition

Northern Death Pantheon is our take on Godbound among the Witch-Queens of the Ulstang Skerries. The pitch and the characters are in this blog post.


What am I regularly playing off-stream?

The Sigil 6: Outlands Expedition Team

On Thursday evenings we play D&D. Here are the characters and the links to the related blog posts (houserules, AP posts, etc.).

Roots of Old Kladuhr

On Fridays we’re just starting a Trophy Gold game, more on that here.


I have a Threadless shop, all artists’ proceeds go to amazing causes. My hope is that my nerdery will make the world a better place somehow. Design examples below:

Sigil 6 Questions

Sigil 6 Questions

On the Indie RPG Reading Club community, a friend private messaged me a few questions about the Thursday night Sigil 6 game and I thought the questions were so interesting I asked if I could post them here along with my answers.

Sigil 6: Outlands Expedition Team title card

Did you intend every expedition to end up at a gate town? How did you envision “keeping balance” as the core mandate?

I didn’t intend every expedition to end up in a gate town. I figured it would be all over the Outlands and beyond. I envisioned that keeping balance would be largely determined by the players making decisions through their characters and that would be problematic, which is fun. They are serving a mysterious entity called the Lady of Pain. They probably know that, while they aren’t the baddies, this is a strange way to make a living.

I also wanted to be able to turn things I was using that use D&D I.P. into DM’s Guild products when I wanted to. I thought I’d have a support PDF for the adventures I’ve played but it didn’t work out that way.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

How much time did you spend in Sigil? Was it just the denouement when factions argued over their actions?

We haven’t spent much time in Sigil – a few tweener adventures, especially as we’ve jumped into a few larger adventures through the big hardcovers (Tomb of Annihilation and Curse of Strahd). I’m probably the only one but I never liked the philosophical factions in Sigil. There is a philosophical vibe but I never mentioned the Sigil factions and the players never brought them up.

Despite that, when the characters got back to Sigil after months of in-game and out-of-game time away, it still kinda felt like home in a strange way.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

If you had to do it again, what system would you choose?

Great question. 5e is the okay-est system. My indie RPG friends who play it often sigh and say things like, “Yeah, 5e, its fine,” so often it feels like the game’s official tagline. Tell me what other system I can run with 6 enthusiastic players who show up to EVERY session every Thursday night. Librarians (public and academic), unemployed folk looking for a mid-life career change, government employee/single parents, a pharmaceutical engineer who has several bee hives for his own honey and they make time every Thursday to play this silly/amazing game. We could’ve maybe done Old School Essentials but then I wonder if I would’ve had an easy time using the mainstream adventures…maybe I would’ve pivoted to OSE adventures instead. OSE is the only other system I can think of. The Bingo XP makes it a viable game for me.

6 gamers over Zoom…I reckon I’m sticking to 5e. I also like that recently a few friends have gotten 5e gigs, so it is nice to be able to play in Ravenloft and it will be nice to see the Sigil 6 deal with the worlds in the Radiant Citadel. On one hand, I would rather support indie RPG’s than make Hasbro’s shareholders more rich. On the other hand, I don’t owe anyone shit and will play whatever my friends and I decide to play.

tl;dr I think I’d stick with 5e.

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

Planescape is something I’ve tried to come back to A LOT. But it’s hard because few people I play with care for it like I do. I think this OET concept could be a way to drip out the lore. All they need to know is Sigil, and we start there, spreading out to the outlands (tame) to some place like Limbo (way less tame) even to a quasi-elemental plane or something.

I also really love the concept of coming home and basically defending your actions. Feels like a mission debrief in a police procedural, except I’m envisioning green demons in togas next to gnomes, each arguing different points. In my head I want to tie THIS part to xp and advancement somehow.

https://githyankidiaspora.com/2021/05/25/outlands-expedition-team/

I’ve always been fascinated by Planescape but thought that the game promised in the boxed set is never the one I hear people talking about. I almost never hear folks talking about the Portal-Towns around the rim of the Outlands or the Outlands themselves or the way the characters’ actions rippled out through the planes. The Outlands Expedition Team is my attempt to get to that game with a strange premise.

What you are imaging, concerning the mission debrief is exactly how it goes. It has become a really fun way to celebrate other players and think about the adventures. The characters are coming up on 10th level and it feels appropriate that they are becoming adventuring rock stars now. They killed Strahd and thwarted Acererak.

At this point, I really hope we take it to 20th level. I’d love to be able to get that Gamer Merit Badge. More than 30 years playing these games and I’ve never taken a D&D game from 1st to 20th. I think we’ve go the momentum to do it and hope the scheduling holds up and we get there together. That’d be a fun landmark to hit and I think the premise has room to evolve and mutate to get us there. I can’t wait to find out what the game looks like at that level. I am excited for every session.

Or…as some folks say, “Is it Thursday yet?”

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/designs/thursday-night-delving-club

Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated, Session 0 – All the Pieces Matter

Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated, Session 0 – All the Pieces Matter

Skull and bones header
Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated

A new thrilling crime tale
from the casefiles of
Talis and Viktor!

the Arcane
side by side w/
the alchemical!

On the cold, learnèd streets of Ludendorf

from the team that brought you Sons of Kryos!

Witness
the most
modern
applications
of


Arcane Science!
Mythography!
Alchemy!
Criminology!
Sociology!
Forensic Science!


as used
by the 
finest
Private 
Investigators

Getting together with Jeff and Storn to catch up last week was lovely. The conversation turned to gaming. Storn has been gaming regularly (Stonetop and a project he’s playtesting) and Jeff hasn’t gamed in a few years. I pitched a idea that I’ve been sitting on for a while – pair of investigators in an Investigative Guild in Ravenloft – Gothic Fantasy Horror Crime buddy-action-flick and they were in. A week later we got together to make characters and talk Session 0 stuff.

Kranev Investigative Guild

Jeff said something about being mad science-y and Storn spiked that volleyball set with an idea about one being mad science and the other being arcane magic. It was quickly apparent that Lamordia was the domain There’s 2, maybe 3 pages of material about Lamordia in Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft and there’s a sweet map. That is about perfect for us.

I talked about keeping my trap shut about grand theories and ideas concerning Ravenloft’s true nature, thinking that we’d get plenty of mileage out of Lamordia before we started looking into those kinds of greater mysteries of the nature of the world around them. I tossed out the idea that maybe their first case was a murder at Strahd’s supper party but they want Strahd to be a myth to be met (or not) later. Thank goodness; I like what we ended up with much better.

Was the chapterhouse of their investigative guild a bustling and established branch or a haunted closet above a pub or a worn down mess? We went with a worn down mess; they are the only investigators and there is a House Chamberlain, Artem Aviet, missing an arm from a wound taken on the job as an investigator. On the drive home it occurred to me that Artem rides a bicycliopede to work.

Victorian bicycle from pixabay.

Starting at third level for a few reasons – it allows me to not fret about killing the characters. Also, it means they had a case or two already. Discussed options and took it a step farther, going full hit points at every level so I can really lean into the monsters and not worry much about an awkward total-party-kill.

Immediately started discussing the past cases.

Case #1: The Inspector General of the Ludendorf Constablery, Mathias Vimmer, went missing and the case is not closed.

Suspects

His Second-in-Command, now acting Inspector General Leopold Kandel, who doesn’t like them (also the brother of…more on this later)

His Ex-Husband, Lukas Kronecker, professor of biology

His daughter, Robin Vimmer – ??? who is she?

His Nemesis, unnamed as of yet, who was on a prison hulk when Mathias went missing.

Case #2: High-end burglary, using science and arcane skillsets. They got the suspects, the Shallows Gang, off. Jeff rocked out with the name and details about the gang being named for the street they prowl, where the city’s first cemetery had been but flooding kept washing away bodies. Sometimes today, floods still unearth bodies that were missed and not moved. Recent thought, the cemetery was moved so it could be better fortified against corpse-thieving anatomy professors at the local university.

Standing Stone

TEXT:
Saint Ezra in the mists. 
Standing stones like this one from a farmer's field outside of Ludendorf can 
be found all over Greater Ravenloft, depicting Saint Ezra in tasks from his 
gospels or more obscure and even heretical depictions.

The Bluetspuri War – there is a war in a faraway land. When soldiers return they have uniform scars on their heads because there is a disease in that foreign land and the medicine has to be administered through the brain cavity for some reason. The Bluetspuri War, in the craggy, surreal lands of Bluetspur, where mountains are said to be as large as gods and no one can quite agree on what the Bluetspuri are like or what makes them seem inhuman.

Why Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated? Because Storn always draws while we game (see below). Today he was taking notes but I can’t wait to see him rock out again. CLICK HERE to hire him to create art that embodies your character(s) or hire him to stuff your book with amazing art.

Talis Arsalan is Storn’s character, whose dad remarried into a Vistani Clan and runs a merchant caravan. He’s an immigrant to Lamordia and his ladyfriend, Larissa Kandel, is 8 months pregnant. She was in the war, from a military family, 95th Infantry (Ranger). Her all military family is not a fan of him about now.

We agreed Talis has a good relationship with his step-mom.

Viktor Aubrecker is Jeff’s character, is a cousin to the ruling family of Lamordia but he’s far away from any throne, 17th in line. Maybe he’ll go Rogue; maybe Artificer or some blend. His family is not happy that he let his scoundrel friends con his betrothed out of money, soiling a profitable match for the family. Rich kid turned rogue scientist – thinking about Perdido Street Station‘s Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin and his fringe-science-buddies in their warehouse apartment. Viktor’s nose is still crooked from when his father broke it. His sister is in university and they get along.

A beloved auntie knows Celia Kranev and put a word in for him. Celia hired him to get the Ludendorf Chapter House running again as a branch of her Investigative Guild.

I’m going to read up on Insight, Investigate, Perception and Persuasion – so when/if I make some changes it will be from an informed place. Discussed this and some options, confident that we’ll find houserules that work for us. Can’t wait to show them Bingo XP.

I’ve got a few half-written tables for creating cases and a few ideas on some strange jobs related to the Investigative Guild. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on audiobook is ready to roll after I’m done with War of the Worlds.

I have been daydreaming about what kind of case to write up for the first game and I think I’m going to go with classic noir trope mixed with betrothal contracts among Lamordian noblity, “I believe my husband is cheating on me and will pay you to prove it…”

Writing notes now, can’t wait.

The End, with human/bat skeleton, wings fanned out.

Does my threadless shop have a Goth Collection? Yes.

Victory of Strahd, a mini-campaign for hire

Victory of Strahd, a mini-campaign for hire

Curse (with Curse Crossed out) VICTORY of Strahd
https://startplaying.games/adventure/6272025693b276b43c044e9d

You tried to kill Strahd and you failed. Now he has broken his prison and is free. Chase him across the Shadowfell, where the adventure might lead us into Gloomwrought, Sigil into the Hells or the Far Realms. We will venture beyond the Curse of Strahd and together we will find out if you can prevent the curse from becoming a plague.

Expect a player-driven fast paced chase through the planes.

Human/Bat Skeleton Subject Divider

How Will Character Creation Happen?

Characters will be 10th level, made before the game and we will link the party together during our Session Zero in which we will outline what happened during our fictional run through Curse of Strahd. 

Pre-gens will be available.

Human/Bat Skeleton Subject Divider

What Will the Players Need?

Web-cam and mic are necessary. A good understanding of D&D rules and mythology is preferred. Players can roll dice online or use their own dice at home. 

A burning desire to destroy Strahd is needed.

Human/Bat Skeleton Subject Divider

What Will I Bring?

I will bring a map of the Shadowfell, factions for Gloomwrought and Sigil and a vision of Strahd as a driven villain with his own nefarious goals.  

Human/Bat Skeleton Subject Divider

* * * Link to Game-for-Hire * * *

https://shopofjudd.threadless.com/designs/freelance-necromancer
Human/Bat Skeleton The End

Captain: OR IS IT!?!? Join Me.
OR IS IT!?!?
Join me.

Questions to ask each D&D Class

Questions to ask each D&D Class

As Apocalypse World made plain – ask provocative questions and use the answers, my friends.

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Barbarian

What piece of your homeland do you carry with you?

What do you miss most from your homeland?

What would others first notice when you Rage? What were you taught about this state by your elders?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Bard

What was the first song you can remember performing?

When did you realize the power in art, poetry and music?

When was the first time you used your art to manipulate someone?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Cleric

When did you first hear the Call from your deity?

What lessons are there to be learned from a rival deity?

When you heal someone, what do they feel when your holy power prolongs their life?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Druid

What was the first species you learned something valuable from other than your own?

What shape are you most comfortable in?

What do you fear in nature?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Fighter

Who was the first person you killed?

Who was the first person to defeat you in combat?

What childhood games were you taught that you learned were tools for teaching war later? Did that change how you felt about the game?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Monk

Who was the first shmuck you punched in the mouth?

What do you miss about monastic life?

What earthly attachment do you fear you will never be able to set aside in order to become ascend this mortal flesh?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Paladin

What line of scripture is written on your soul?

When did you have a moment of doubt about your faith?

Do you feel closer to your calling when you are healing those who are harmed or when you are shedding the blood of tyrants? What do you think that says about your own spiritual growth?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Ranger

Where were you first lost in the wilds and how did you find your way back?

What part of the natural world fills you with awe and a bit of fear?

What was the most beautiful natural phenomenon that you have ever seen?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Rogue

What was the first time you were caught stealing?

When did you sneak into a place and regret it?

Who was the first person you killed by stabbing them when they weren’t looking? How did you feel about the deed as their blood coated your blade, hands and legs?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Sorcerer

When did you first know you had arcane power in your very blood?

What part of yourself is in every spell you cast?

How did you learn to control this power?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Warlock

What powerful figure ruled your life before you swore oaths of soul and spell to your Patron?

If you were a Patron, what kind of Warlocks would you gather around you?

If you could set aside all tradition and consequences in order to offer your Patron one bit of advice, what would it be?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Wizard

When did you first realize the power and glory to be found in tomes and scrolls?

If you ascend to Arch-Magery and leave a tome of your own for future generations to learn from, what do you hope the title will be? What do you fear the title will be?

Who taught you magic and what do you remember most of their methods?

Spears Subject Divider 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1916.1789

Now with handy-dandy PDF under the images.

Barbarian

What piece of your homeland do you carry with you?


What do you miss most from your homeland?


What would others first notice when you Rage? What were you taught about this state by your elders?

Bard

What was the first song you can remember performing?


When did you realize the power in art, poetry and music?


When was the first time you used your art to manipulate someone?

Cleric

When did you first hear the Call from your deity?


What lessons are there to be learned from a rival deity?


When you heal someone, what do they feel when your holy power prolongs their life?

Druid

What was the first species you learned something valuable from other than your own?


What shape are you most comfortable in?


What do you fear in nature?

Fighter

Who was the first person you killed?


Who was the first person to defeat you in combat?


What childhood games were you taught that you learned were tools for teaching war later? Did that change how you felt about the game?

Monk

Who was the first shmuck you punched in the mouth?


What do you miss about monastic life?


What earthly attachment do you fear you will never be able to set aside in order to become ascend this mortal flesh?
Paladin

What line of scripture is written on your soul?


When did you have a moment of doubt about your faith?


Do you feel closer to your calling when you are healing those who are harmed or when you are shedding the blood of tyrants? What do you think that says about your own spiritual growth?

Ranger

Where were you first lost in the wilds and how did you find your way back?


What part of the natural world fills you with awe and a bit of fear?


What was the most beautiful natural phenomenon that you have ever seen?

Rogue

What was the first time you were caught stealing?


When did you sneak into a place and regret it?


Who was the first person you killed by stabbing them when they weren’t looking? How did you feel about the deed as their blood coated your blade, hands and legs?

Sorcerer

When did you first know you had arcane power in your very blood?


What part of yourself is in every spell you cast?


How did you learn to control this power?

Warlock

What powerful figure ruled your life before you swore oaths of soul and spell to your Patron?


If you were a Patron, what kind of Warlocks would you gather around you?


If you could set aside all tradition and consequences in order to offer your Patron one bit of advice, what would it be?

Wizard

When did you first realize the power and glory to be found in tomes and scrolls?


If you ascend to Arch-Magery and leave a tome of your own for future generations to learn from, what do you hope the title will be? What do you fear the title will be?


Who taught you magic and what do you remember most of their methods?

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

Hunt Rolls in Trophy Gold – part perception roll, part random encounter roll

Hunt Rolls in Trophy Gold – part perception roll, part random encounter roll

3 gold coins, a stag with a fire between its antlers and a hunting dagger - how I think of Trophy Gold....

I was explaining what Hunt rolls did in Trophy Gold and described them as part perception roll, part random encounter roll but they offer a little more than that. On rolls of 1-5 the result is the character encounters something terrible. Lots of wiggle room there. The situation at hand guides what it means and offers space for the GM to find out through play.

Old Sword Subject Divider
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1942.552

Character, who is fae-born, is searching through a sarcophagus in the ancient king’s barrow. They’ve used their skill with spirits to speak to the ghost of the ancient king who is buried there and know that the king’s corpse is under a false bottom. The king was legit and the placement of the treasure is actually in the adventure description.

But still, the character describes searching through the treasure and I ask for a Hunt roll. This isn’t to decide if the treasure is there; we already know it is there. This isn’t to see if the ghoul is hiding there; the ghoul is already slain (probably could’ve tossed in an extra ghoul but that feels off to me). The roll says the player gets a Hunt Token and encounters something terrible. Hm.

I realize something about the king, who had asked that the treasure-hunters leave him his crown so that future folk know that he is a mighty king buried here. The king hunted fae-born and their skulls and masks adorn his coffin. That is the terrible thing encountered, something upsetting and unsettling to the character. I had described the king’s crown as being iron adored with jewels – the iron crown was a symbol of fae-hunters, I now realize.

The character takes the crown and takes the fae-born skulls and masks to bury in the forest. “Leave the body here, crownless, so folk will think this barrow belonging to a commoner.”

This detail about the king is just white-space on the map that I got to fill in through dice results and play.

If the player had rolled a 6, maybe they’d want to use that Hunt token for an extra treasure. “The king was holding out on you and didn’t tell you about the signet ring in his boot.” Maybe not. Either way, I use the Hunt roll to learn new details to put on the bones of the adventure as I know it. The bones don’t change but the details do.

Old Sword Subject Divider
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1942.552

I’m enjoying the Hunt roll as a tool for getting dice to the table whenever a player uses their character to show curiosity. I often ask what that search looks like before rolling and move from there. As the dice say, in Trophy Gold, you’ll offer encounter something terrible – be it a ghoul in a barrow or the skulls of lost ancestors, that is up to the logic of the table.

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

4 – Buzz, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

4 – Buzz, Trophy Gold: Roots of Old Kalduhr

I had read an incursion that had themes that fit this group all too well. I decided to pitch it to them in-game to see if they were interested in doing some work for the Governor of Ft. Durhin.

Roots of Old Kalduhr title pic

Beams of light streak down on subterranean stone with a climber in front of a faceless statue of a Lost Sister in a cyclopean alcove.
https://trophyrpg.com/

The group got back from their first foray into the Roots of Old Kalduhr, set up a household and took a side-job.

Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a
Moments
Ancient and worn gold coin with Trophy Gold written above it.

Their established household is a tree-house, taken from the Old Kalduhr and planted where an old shack used to stand. Jim’s idea and I dig it, bringing the creepy forest to them.

Ancient and worn gold coin

Aaron described Kel’s ruin as having more to do with his headspace than with wounds, so he sparred with Delinia Alger, the head of the Governor’s Kingsguard to clear his head. She asked if they wanted to do a scouting mission for the Governor, looking into what was driving refugees from Wellslode. They said yes and so the incursion, A Heart Hums in Darkness by Michael Van Vleet began.

Ancient and worn gold coin

The Governor offered them 3 Coin when they returned and would pay for the burden of any extra Hirelings they wanted to take on. They hired reliable Aksil once again, reassuring him that Baso was leaving Tortoise, the Dollem construct from the Orphan Villa, in the household to guard it while they were gone. “They bees follow the Queen of Millions, some kind of queen bee-thing.”

The Governor offered to double the money if they could kill the bees’ queen and 4 Coin total if they could get the bees to agree to move.

Ancient and worn gold coin

Aksil had mentioned that he had heard some adventurer-types had burned down the Humming Woods, leading to the bees invading Wellslode. Baso followed up and asked the governor some questions about it and ended with, “Any idea where we can find those adventurers?” I asked for a Hunt Roll and he got a good ole “encounter something terrible.”

“Yeah, Stefan, was a part of that posse that lit fire to the Humming Wood and he’s been camping by the wells for a while now.” Knowing something terrible was waiting out there for them, Kel and Pela wanted nothing to do with that but Baso grabbed Tortoise and headed over.

Yeah, Stefan was a beeswax construct, taken right out of the Incursion. It seemed the obvious thing. They talked to the Stefan Construct, who parroted shit back to them. Baso wanted to bring the construct with them but no one else was having it. They left with the beeswax construct standing guard outside the door, Tortoise inside, arms folded. Was Tortoise glaring at the beeswax construct? Surely that is your imagination…

Ancient and worn gold coin

At the edge of Wellslode, three constructs in militia livery were outside of a cheese shop. Kel immediately wanted to see if they were constructs and got an “encounter something terrible,” so the three constructs looked exactly like the characters.

Ancient and worn gold coin

Another encounter-something-terrible led to an elderly refugee leaning against the tree, holding his belongings in a blanket, to be crying honey, complaining of hearing the Hum in his head. Kel lost his composure a bit and demanded to know if the beeswax trio had something to do with the old man’s condition. They pleaded ignorance. Did Pela say last rites over the man? I’ll ask next game.

We ended with the constructs agreeing to take the treasure-hunters to the Queen of Millions as long as they left the torches that Baso was making from the cheese shop’s cheese-cloth behind. Baso went into the shop, put the torches in his bag and claimed he left them inside. Off they went…

Devil's Bargain with a scary black and white stag with a flame above its head between its horns.

Devil’s Bargains from this session:

I think it was all Hunt rolls this session, no Risk Rolls yet.

What is a Devil’s Bargain, you ask? From the book:

Treasure-hunters laugh at danger, fueled by the folly of their pride. But failure nips at their heels, waiting
for the perfect moment to strike. When you gather dice to make a Risk Roll, the gm or any other player
can offer you a bonus light die if you accept a Devil’s Bargain from them. Common Devil’s Bargains include:

Causing collateral damage or unintended harm 

Getting lost or separated from your companions

Sacrificing an item or piece of treasure

Betraying a fellow treasure-hunter
Attracting unwanted attention

The Devil’s Bargain occurs regardless of the outcome of the roll. You make the deal, pay the price, and get the bonus die. The Devil’s Bargain is always a free choice. If you don’t like one, just reject it (or suggest how to alter it so you might consider taking it).

Anyone may veto or suggest alterations to a proposed Devil’s Bargain, especially if it would also impact their treasure-hunter. You may only offer and accept Devil’s Bargains when making a Risk Roll.
https://trophyrpg.com/
Bestiary with Trophy Gold and Trophy Dark symbols embossed on the worn leather of an ancient looking tome.

Bestiary

We do need to name the Beeswax constructs…

Spears Subject Divider Image 
From: https://www.clevelandart.org/art/1922.26.a

Takeaways: Baso is leaning into the folk horror creepiness – having Tortoise do dances while he tells stories to the children about the glory of violence. Pela

Ready for Next Week: I’ve got the rest of this adventure ready but I’ll look it over one more time.

More?

These designs and more in my Threadless shop – t-shirts of all kinds, mugs, stickers and even shower curtains…

Blog of Judd Karlman from Daydreaming about Dragons

This session was played via Zoom on 5/6/2022

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought, Session 12, Back in Sigil

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought, Session 12, Back in Sigil

All Shadows Lead to Gloomwrought / Session 1s: Back in Sigil

In which the Sigil 6 get Kuru back, make a Wish and get back to Sigil.

Who are the Sigil 6 – Trundle, Helewynn, Bugwump, Kuru, Jusko and Failed Soldier and what have they been up to?

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  • Kuru was mind-controlled by an aboleth, The Dweller in the Lightless Abyss. The Halfling Arcane Trickster failed EVERY roll to escape the control. He told the ancient cthonic beast that his friends had killed Strahd, so the Dweller sent him back, still mind-controlled, “Tell them you broke free and I will send instructions soon.”

  • Meanwhile the rest of the Sigil 6 cut a deal with the Drow Inquisitor, which is to say, she’d walk them out of the city and they wouldn’t kill her. They found Kuru and got to getting the Shadowfell-stranded villagers through the Old Githyanki Gate to Sigil.

  • They quickly realized something was up with Kuru. Trundle wrestled his Luck Blade away from him, so the aboleth wouldn’t have the Wish. Kuru went all Gollum on them and ran away. Trundle used the wish to free his friend. The Luck Blade is now just a blade but they are going to keep it as a trophy.

    When Kuru got free of the mind-control, his player described him falling over in relief. He had a brief, strange interaction with the Lady of Pain, who I always narrate without words, just gestures that communicate plenty.

  • The team journeyed with the villagers to Jusko’s abandoned ancestral home and handed it off to them, “You will owe me rent after 20 years but if I die, the land goes to all of you.” Bugwump sent the apprentices he was teaching the Fire Bolt cantrip to Wizard College on his own dime. Fun.

  • Post adventure community tribunals are a fun way to go over the adventure. Killing Strahd was a big one and so, rather than meet in a plaza, they gathered in a public amphitheater. Bugwump lost his composure, raising his voice and turning an aggressive shade of purple when folks tried out some moral relativism concerning, “Was it right to kill Strahd?” The wizard is now on a committee to help discern when exactly someone is a monster.

    It was fun to get everyone’s take on the past months of gaming. It felt like returning after a long mission away. Jusko took Tefnek, their ranger-friend from Chult and Quarace, their Drider city-agent, aside and offered them coin, letting them know that their efforts saved the lives of the Sigil 6 and they were members of the group now. After Jusko’s disdain for their previous agent it is an interesting change of pace.

  • For the record, Helewynn spent her time in Sigil eating delicious food, which we had decided was tasteless in the Shadowfell. We all agree Sigil cuisine would be exquisite. Helewynn’s player is going away on an exciting trip for a time, so we’re going to take on a different mission before heading to Gloomwrought to deal with Rahadin.

DM’s Notes: Felt like we put lots of threads to rest in satisfying ways. In a way this was the session when Curse of Strahd really felt over.

Next Game: ???

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Hirelings 2: The Creepy Lot

Hirelings 2: The Creepy Lot

“I don’t trust them, though. They court danger. And they’re quite unscrupulous graverobbers for the most part. Anything for gold and experience.”

Perdido Street Station, China Miéville

More folk for your Treasure-hunters, Barrow-delvers and Tomb-thieves to hire when they need more hands on deck. In case this first lot wasn’t enough.

I’ll likely compile these into a zine. If so, there will be a running commentary from Chatwyn and Sprunt on each hireling.

Gaf the Grab

	Graf the Blade was a debt collector in Ambaret. When he is drunk, he will tell those who will listen of his days hunting those with debts everywhere from the Rose District to the Salt District until he cries from guilt and begs the listener for forgiveness.
	Graf will always suggest that his comrades venture to one more destination to grab just a little more treasure. None know who holds Graf's debt that pressures him to take on work as a Hireling but he fears them more than any beast in the Old Kalduhr. 

Ambush
Persistance
	Chest-Plate  
	Old Rusted War Cutlass

Burden: 2
     Depending on who you ask, they could be a young Fae-born who found an ancient mask and is acting in a tradition linking back to the Kalduhri Empire's fall or an ancient power ready to rise again. the Gudfeljou has been called a charm against the forest's hunger and has been accused of being the forest's own agent. Is the he a recent immigrant to Fort Durhin or is she an ancient creature who watched with hate in their eyes as the governor arrived with half a dozen kingsguard and a few dozen indentured servants?  
	They smell of autumn - apples, sweat and burning leaves. When they do choose to speak, the Gudfeljou's hands move along with the words like deft puppets acting out a fable.

					RITUAL: Summon
					RITUAL: Bolt
						Heirloom Compass 														Skinning Knife	
						Burden: 2
	The Herd is a masked beast-cult that offers its members for hire to Treasure-Hunters venturing into the forest. Their  uncanny masks depict herd animals, sometimes domesticated beasts and they never willingly take them off in view of others. While a cheap hire, they are half a step away from becoming a Beast of some kind, frolicking into the Kalduhr's fell embrace.
	Their skills are often a mix of their pre-cult backgrounds and a trait taken in from their mask (or do they choose masks because they already had those traits?). They revere Beast-bitten and will listen to them before anyone else who isn't in the cult's hierarchy.
	Herdsfolk are hired in groups of 3 and answer to whatever the Treasure-Hunters choose to call them.
Choose or roll 2 Skills
	Mask (counts as armor)
	Farm Implement of some kind

Burden: 1
Terhain

	The Durhin Dozen left Ft. Durhin as Treasure-Hunter legends, heading to Ambaret to delve sites that they had learned were untouched beneath the city. The city's opulence was too much for them. Under intense social pressure the famous adventuring posse splintered in a series of infamous brawls and feuds.
	Terhain was born in Ft. Durhin to a family of laborers and has returned to her home in the wake of the Dozen's breaking. She is covered in Kalduhri artifacts and full of swagger. Rumors say that she is close to being able to retire and wants to engage in a handful of delves as a well paid Hireling so that she can found her own borderlands village with her extensive family behind high walls.
Lore
Tactics						
				Kalduhri Shield Generator (armor)
				Serpent Folk Psi-Crown (weapon)

Burden: 3

And more Hirelings are wandering the streets of Fort Durhin, looking for coin…

Great stuff, Gregory!

My threadless shop has cool stuff with the designs below and more; please check it out. 100% of artists’ proceeds go to amazing organizations doing important work.

This Week’s Pay Games

For as long as I’m giving this pay-to-play thing a go, I’ll be posting what I’m running in the coming week Sunday night/Monday morning. These will be clearly labelled, so if this kind of thing vexes you, it is easily ignorable.

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For my first two pay-to-play games I chose two games right in my wheelhouse and also not too far from what folks are used to on the site but also a little different from other games being offered. Links to the games are below the pics.

Tuesday, May 3rd, 4PM EST Cancelled.

You are an ambulance crew in the crumbling cyberpunk slow apocalypse, toiling in the shadows of chrome towers and orbital palaces where the rich live out their lives in lavish luxury while the world slowly ends. We will be using Apocalypse World to play a cyberpunk game about an ambulance crew doing its best to save folks in an uncaring world. Can your team make the world a better place one call at a time?

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https://startplaying.games/adventure/626dd6f9418458bf80d84d35

Wednesday, May 4th, 4PM EST & Sunday May 8th, 8AM EST

From the bordertown of Fort Durhin the treasure-hunters will enter the fell and demon-haunted forest and see what fortune they can dig up from the remnants of the long dead Kalduhri Empire. This game will be using the fantasy-horror RPG, Trophy Gold, an indie RPG that is light and quick to learn but with surprising mechanical depth.

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If pay-to-play appeals to you, feel free to click on the links and join me.