What about the adorable side of the OSR?

Here are two OSR games that look adorable. Are those words I thought would go together?

Nope, and yet, here we are.

Click and check out the thread.
Jesse Ross has a B/X D&D that he made to play games with his daughter. Check out the thread.

Have a great weekend.

Check out my TTRPG Collection.

Imbalances in the Outlands, Session 1, Acorn Problem in Bytopia

Imbalances in the Outlands, Session 1, Acorn Problem in Bytopia

Imbalances in the Outlands with Sigil 6 heraldry and Planescape Boxed Set Colors
Imbalance in the Outlands / Session 1: The Golden Hills

In which the Sigil 6 help Garl Glittergold with a druidic cult that was stealing acorns from his oak trees in the Golden Hills of Bytopia.

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

Sigil 6 Subject Divider

    We took a week off and then I couldn’t game last week, so it was just lovely to see everyone’s faces tonight. Laughing on Thursday night with these friends is something I definitely look forward to in my week.

    We decided to do some good ole fashioned planar balancing, look the good ole days. The Sigil 6 was tasked with dealing with a situation in Bytopia (try to say Bytopia for hours to your friends without laughing; I dare you. Damned silly name) in which a druidic cult of some kind is stealing acorns from Garl Glittergold’s personal grove of angelic trees in the Golden Hills. They had a gate right to Tradergate the portal town that leads to Bytopia, Gnomish Heaven.

    When they asked their old Gnome friend, Dosk, about Garl Glittergold, I read Luke’s tweet as if she was remembering some bit of Gnomish scripture.

    Thank goodness for the Fantasy Name Generator, helping me come up with Gnomish names all night. Divast Snanjot, a Gnomish cleric leading a trusty goat-mount welcomed them at the entrance to Tradertown. The players didn’t come out with their realization that Divast was in fact, Garl Glittergold in illusory disguise until the last minutes of the game. When Helewynn offered him half a muffin, he called it, “an offering,” a slip that Jusko noticed. Failed Soldier had a piece of Gnome-tech from Dosk, allowing him to see the spirits of the dead. During one of Divast’s many (many) temper tantrums, he seemed to be talking to a spirit of the dead and throwing them away. Why would he be doing that?

    Failed Soldier has this cool habit, where he asks NPC’s what happens when they die. Divast said, “When I die, Garl Glittergold will come and ask me if I know the secret to the illusion of life and if I do not know, he will laugh and throw me into the Prime Material Planes, where I will haunt those lands forevermore. If I know, he will welcome me into the Golden Hills,” because I’ve been rewatching Conan the Barbarian scenes on youtube.

    Mental note: Kuru adored the goat steeds and there was talk of Kuru retiring as a shepherd of war-goat-steeds.

    There was a nice moment where they were setting up camp and I mentioned that this was not only a beautiful sunset over the Golden Hills but was also the first sunset they had seen in a long time. Trundle beckoning everyone to sit still for a moment and enjoy this moment was cool. Also cool, Divast giving respect to the Sigil 6 and to its most famous member, Helewynn, Slayer of Strahd.

    They tracked the druids to a battle-site, where they turned from a herd of local elk into a mammoth, bears and snakes. They killed Gaerdal Ironhand XXIII, son of Gaerdal Ironhand, Gnomish deity and general of the Gnomish armies.

    Failed Soldier’s Speak with Dead allowed them to talk to young Gaerdal XXIII, who asked if any knew what the secret of life’s illusion. Bugwump off-handedly said, “The illusion of life is that we can end suffering.”

    Holy shit, is that true? I asked Bugwump’s player to roll and he rolled well. Religion or Arcana? Could’ve been either one, we decided. The roll suggested to me that this answer was damned good but not the complete answer…perhaps, it is good enough?

    Bugwump and their Gnome escort did not get along. When Kuru asked what they were expected to do, the Cleric known as Divast Snanjot but was truly Garl Glittergold in illusory disguise, got snotty. “Well, isn’t that what the Sigil 6 are famous for? Won’t you bring us balance? Won’t you offer some of your famous outside-the-box thinking?” Bugwump lost his shit at him; it was cool to see Bugwump lose his temper but I checked in. Yeah, Garl Glittergold is an asshole and I played him as such but I don’t want the game to be an exhausting piece of an already exhausting world. I checked in and made sure everyone know they could tap out and ask me to scale this shit back.

    We ended with Jusko attempting to disbelieve Garl Glittergold’s illusion and failing to do so but Bugwump did it and the illusion faded. I half-regret asking for a roll to disbelieve. As soon as you get to that point and pick up on those little clues, maybe you should just disbelieve. Something to think on.

    DM’s Notes: Want to see my prep on twitter? Or maybe you see my prep on mastadon? Or perhaps reading about my prep on reddit is more your speed? NOTE: Players might want to avoid these links for a week or two.

    Question of the Week:

    What has your character heard about gnomes?

    or

    What experience has your character had interacting with gnomes?

    What rumors have you heard of the Blood War, in which Devils and Demons make war upon one another throughout the planes?

    Bugwump

    Gnomes are a particular delicacy on the Outer Planes. It is gnome, etc., known.

    Gnomes also have an irritating propensity to resist conquest, as Bugwump discovered in his past life.

    In fact, when Bugwump was first in the Labyrinth, he tried to ally with a gnome assassin in partial penance for his terrible treatment of the species. Sadly, the gnome remembered Bugwump all too well and tried to kill him for several months. Reluctantly, Bugwump eventually retailated and, with great regret, slew the gnome and then, with great relish, ate him.

    Bugwump knows the Blood Wars well, having tried to exploit them at one point in his grand plan to conquer the multiverse. Sadly, it just turned both factions against him.

    Jusko

    “Dziencujya, barkeep. Will have turnip stew and carrots. Feeling Gnomish today after feast last night.” Jusko thinks Gnomes and Halflings are the same, it’s just Gnomes have gone vegetarian. As soon as a Gnome eats bacon – poof – hairy feet. Magic is weird.

    “Blood war? Seems big name for thing that always is. Devils and demons exist to maim torture and violence-make, da? Don’t know why need big fancy name. Like waterfall called The Wettening. Bah!”

    Kuru

    Before Kuru joined the Sigil Six, even before he was in the labyrinth, Kuru stole the name ring of a demon lord on a job from a devil. He was paid by having his name removed from the Ledger of Acknowledgement.

    Gnomes have been largely extinct for as long as we can remember. There was a great war amongst the dwarves and the gnomes over territory long long ago and the dwarves won. Why the dwarves continue to bear grudges against a people they vanquished long ago is a mystery. It is rumored that certain races thought gnomes a great delicacy and helped the rate of their extinction.

    The Blood wars are just the machinations and playthings of great gods for their amusement. Kuru has heard rumors that the devils and demons are actually one and the same and are constantly being reborn to fight these endless pointless wars.

    Rumor has it that the devils have created a sword that can kill the demon lord and are just waiting to strike. Dimensional raids have been increasing and it said that the devils have been searching for a long lost gate. The God roads are filling with raiding parties and refugees.

    Rumor has it that a large, unidentified army is forcing the demons out of their homes. The demons are waging a desperate war to conquer the devils and try to settle there to escape.

    Another rumor is that a wedding is to take place between devils and demons to cement an alliance. The purpose is to unite them to attack Sigil where they will control the nexus of planes and replace the Lady of Pain as the true power. (DM’s Note: This one mentioned a few ideas I’ve had but in a totally different context, just a touch sideways from my own ideas. Fascinating!)

    Failed Soldier

    Gnomes? I lived in a gnome some time ago. Lots of head space, despite the smaller body. The other gnomes were polite, but I could tell they were more uncomfortable than most with my living situation. They have a certain respect for their comrades bodies that I was completely ignorant of until the elder lady got the courage to broach the subject. I shall avoid occupying a Gnome body in the future if at all possible.

    The Gnome, Dosk, on the other hand showed me that there is considerable tolerance for my kind. She knew what I was from the start, seeing my essence through her clever lenses. Even knowing my nature she jumped right to helping with that unique Gnomish curiosity and vigor.

    I have only the vaguest memories of my first homes, yet some remain clear. One of them that still creeps into my thoughts is when I took my current name. In a world torn apart by claw, hoof, and fire, my essence drifting from corpse to corpse, unable to enter the husks left behind by fallen fiends, I was nearly lost, dissipated to the void. Pushing with the last of my will over the edge of a cliff, I fell into the deepest and widest of pits, filled to overflowing with the last fallen soldiers of this dying world. Those who swore allegiance to one side of the Blood Wars or the other in grim hope of saving their homes, only to be slain to the final man, woman, and child by the fiends to feed their infernal energy. I took a body with only a moment to spare.

    Next Game: We’ll begin as they will ambush the druids at the portal from Bytopia to Tradertown with the Gnomish god’s illusion supporting their efforts.

    Sigil 6 Subject Divider

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

    Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated, Session 1 – Motives Were Mingled

    Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated, Session 1 – Motives Were Mingled

    Ludendorf is a port city built around 3 hills upon which are built the university, the baron’s vacated castle – now used by city bureaucrats and constables and the cemetery, a fortress to keep out grave-robbers with a police force all its own.

    PRELUDE: A whaling ship bringing in a strange haul, some kind of gargantuan humanoid with something almost squid-like for a head. “Seemed to just be waking up when our harpoons found it,” one sailor said. “Strange aeons, indeed,” another agrees, “Not sure if we are going to get much oil out of this chtonic beast.” Newspaper headlines in the Ludendorf Gazette note that the civil strife in Neufurchtenburg is escalating. The Anarchist Slayer has claimed another victim in Ludendorf.

    Link to Session 0

    Dread Domain Detectives Illustrated

With Art by Storn A. Cook

Dungeons & Dragons

Weird Science,

Crime,

& Gothic fantasy!

Ripped from the 
pages of
Van Richten’s Guide to
Ravenloft

Viktor von aubreker. 17th in line for the throne. Rogue & Artificer. 

Talis Arsalan. Bard. Newly arrived immigrant.

Ludendorf. Bastion of Weird Science. Frigid. Cruel. 

This is their third case with the Kranev Investigative Guild.



Their first two cases are unsolved  when the next case walks in. 



“I believe my husband is cheating on me,”
- Baroness Maja von aubreker.
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/ArtbyStorn?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

    Getting together with old gaming friends like Jeff and Storn is just lovely. Their partner banter was amazing.

    I’ve got vague ideas about how to use Perception and Investigation and Insight in ways that will make the rolls more meaningful. More on that as it marinates.

    Storn has an etsy shop that is well worth checking out and book-marking if you think you might like some character-art for yourself or as a gift to a friend.

    We described the office being a bit of a mess with diagrams on the walls from the other 2 unsolved cases – one concerning a theft of university property and another concerning their missing mentor. Storn suggested a bamboo screen to put over this evidence when visitors are in office.

    Private Eye but the eye is an eye.

    Case #0003L2 Baroness Maja von Aubrecker believes her husband, Killian Furchten, is carrying on an indiscretion. The client is hiring the Arkev Investigative Guild to find out the nature of this dalliance as the 5 year anniversary of the betrothal nears, the time when, according to Lamordian betrothal law, the couple’s holdings become fully entwined.

    The tension between Baroness Mara and her cousin, Inspector Viktor, was palpable but there was also some trust that family business would be dealt with in a discreet manner.

    The case’s contract was filed by Chapterhouse Ludendorf’s chamberlain, Arek Avakian.

    The guild’s Ludendorf Chapterhouse is located above a sailor’s bar on the docks, owned by sailor’s wife, Rosaly, with squid-tentacle tattoos of her husband’s rare prosperous voyages. One such voyage is crossed out.

    Lamordian Nobles have taken to slumming it in Ludendorf – the latest style is to done Dementlieu-style masks and stagger from one working class pub to another. This is called a Dementlieuax Pub Crawl.

    The Baroness’ manservant, interviewed by Inspector Talis, taken aside under false pretenses. Niklas, said servant, suggested they look deeper into betrothal laws and rites.

    Killian has been frequenting university science presentations. The moneyed classes often look to these presentations to find investment opportunities. Viktor’s social status was used to gain entry, as suggested by his sister, a university student.

    The investigators made their way to the university, looking at presentations. A list of past presentations was easy enough to find. Storn asked if he noticed anything strange about the list. Good question.

    If I’d had a list, I could’ve just unveiled it and left it to him but I didn’t and didn’t feel like creating one on the spot was a good use of our time or my effort. Roll Investigation. It was a solid roll. Yes, you notice that Valentia Doss is the only woman’s name on the list; she presented on Ambulatory Balance in Constructs. The university has some patriarchal bullshit at hand.

    Talis and Viktor attended a presentation about the science of where skills and attributes are stored in the body. A pair of corpse-arms, acquired legally through a flesh contract, was inspired to play a haunting violin tune through electric stimulation. Does this show the fiddle-skills of the arm’s former owner or the skill to inspire such a tune through electric manipulation?

    NOTE: This led to a productive discussion about the type of weird science tech that is common, getting us on the same page.

    Talis followed Killian leaving a presentation with a promising post-doctoral student, Valentia Doss, who has won the esteemed honor of serving as Viktra Mordenheim’s lab assistent last semester. A Tiefling with dark blue skin and black horns under a custom stove-pipe hat was also following the couple to an apartment in an expensive part of the city. Talis paid a young lad, Peter from Oil Street, to notify his partner of his whereabouts and his wife that he’d be home late. His wife was not notified. The horned man has not noticed Talis yet.

    That is where we begin next week – a cold Ludendorf street as the sun sets. A well-married noble in an apartment with a bright science academic and a devil-folk in a dark suit standing outside this apartment, staking it out as our investigators meet up down the block to discuss their next moves.

    The Dread lore gathered in this session concerns a distant Domain called Dementlieu, where masquerades are the fashion.

    “The circumstance on which my story rests was suggested in casual conversation. It was commenced partly as a source of amusement, and partly as an expedient for exercising any untried resources of mind. Other motives were mingled with these as the work proceeded.”
― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

    Shirt? Coffee mug? Shower curtain? Check out the Goth Collection or maybe the Tabletop-Role-Playing Game Collection.

    All artists’ proceeds go to amazing organizations.

    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

    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?

    Sigil 6 Subject Divider
    • 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: ???

    Sigil 6 Subject Divider

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

    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.

    DM’s Academy question about originality

    DM’s Academy question about originality

    I remain fascinated by the DM’s Academy subreddit and post there a few times a week. The following was popular:

    Question:
So I'm working on some history for my world and I get this great idea. My players are finding these objects of unidentifiable ancient magic, and I wasn't sure what they were for yet. Then I thought well they're solving these draconic riddles to reach the objects, maybe they're like seals placed a thousand years ago by a dragon cult to seal evil dragons away in the earth! Cool! Dammit, that's basically Skyrim. Still doing it.

What do you do when you realize your idea is too close to a book/movie/game? Roll with it? Scrap it?

My answer, with a shocking 100-something upvotes:

Fuck originality.

It will become original through the amazingly imaginative things your friends do in response to it all and the game and your decisions in the moment as the dice add their element.

Don't sweat it. Unleash your friends on it.
    https://www.reddit.com/r/DMAcademy/comments/uc08ao/comment/i67gwj0/?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3
    Executioner's Sword Subject Divider

    The trick is not being ashamed of unoriginality and twisting on it until it is, in fact, something quite fresh and new. It doesn’t take much. Let’s play with such an idea that I was daydreaming about in the car today. Let’s play with, daydream about and twist on the idea of the Dwarven Mining Company. I have a pinterest board dedicated to the premise; it has been in the back of my mind somewhere for years.

    Dwarven miners….not original at all. Okay, What organizes them? We’ll use the Burning Wheel dwarven lifepaths as inspiration – again, using others’ work – not original. We could futz with those in charge of the company but let’s drill down a bit, so to speak. Who are those dwarves who dig the tunnels, who have slate and mud in their beards?

    Yes, the game will be about the scouts who descend into untouched subterranean vistas and leave markers for the miners and tunnel-diggers. In a perfect world the scouts would leave markers for a good spot for the miners to make basecamp and organize the tunnellers, tunnels would get sunk and gems, gold and the occasional mithril would vomit forth. Let’s make the world less perfect. That is how we create Situation.

    The scouts are being forced into an area their grand-sires avoided for centuries; the mining company is hesitant but also greedy. Someone is putting pressure on them. Who? The Prince of the Holdfast is putting pressure on the company to attain riches. Why? Hm.

    The Prince is in debt…to necromantic bankers from the west. Cool. Let’s keep an eye on that, make sure that evil bankers don’t take the shape of any antisemitic tropes.

    What are scouts watching out for on a good day? They are making sure the tunnels don’t run afoul of any trolls. Maybe there are stories of dwarves who delved too greedily and too deep and awoke a demon (NOT original); the scouts are watching out for that.

    Me, being me, I want giant spiders to show up. I’d probably have the first session have the scouts run into troll refugees running from what they say is an army of giant spiders. They are desperate enough to head into tunnels that everyone knows has sleeping dragon or balrogs or something the grand-sires spoke of in fiery hushed tones.

    Maybe I don’t even start that dramatic. Maybe it is just competition with a rival mining company that wants these unclaimed tunnels for themselves, throw the trolls and the spiders in later after we’ve created some context and gotten a feel for the tunnels.

    Either way, it starts unoriginal and then you push on it and twist it and think about points of view you’ve never seen in fantasy novels or never seen in the way you wanted them to. By the time the players make characters and the dice hit the table, the idea will gain a fresh point of view. All we have to do is get over the shame of being unoriginal.

    Executioner's Sword Subject Divider

    Threadless shop with nerdy t-shirts, mugs, stickers, shower curtains, rugs, and more – all artists’ proceeds go to amazing organizations doing important work. Examples below: