Thursday, March 14, 2019

Return to Chimney Rock

A few weeks ago, something -- I don't remember what -- reminded me of those old Choose Your Own Adventure books. With that, I immediately thought of The Mystery of Chimney Rock. I used to love this one when I was a kid. In a sudden fit of nostalgia, I looked up a copy and bought it. I don't know what happened to my original one. Boxed up in an attic somewhere, probably.

I played it through a few times and then discovered that several pages were missing at the end. Could be worse; at least I got to finish a few threads before I hit the wall. After that, I spent a little more time just seeing what else there was buried in the pages. There was a lot going on that I didn't remember, so even though it was disappointing to not be able to explore correctly, I had fun.

The other thing is, I started thinking that this would be a cool scenario to run as a real RPG adventure. I've always wanted to do a good haunted house scenario. I've tried a couple of times, but it never really felt like what I wanted. This book gives me some new ideas. Several of the threads seem to contradict each other continuity-wise, but I don't think reconciling them will be very hard. I was toying with the idea of running with the bit where it gets bulldozed at the end for condos, but I'll probably keep the house intact. I also thought of a way to merge the two that might be fun. We'll see. For the system, I'll probably use Vortex (the system behind the Doctor Who RPG) because I use it a lot and am very comfortable with it. Crawlspace is a possibility, though.

I won't be running this at Gen Con because I'm already signed up for my stuff there and I don't want to have to think about any new scenarios this summer. Maybe Carnage if I go. Or maybe I'll just run it for my friends.

Thursday, March 07, 2019


I have this thing I do to relax sometimes. I imagine myself floating on my back in the ocean, but only for a moment. Then I start to sink. As I watch the sun sparkle on the surface above, I sink right out of my skin. It's not scary or painful. It's kind of like when you peel off the dead skin after healing from a sunburn. I'm done with this ugly thing; let it float away. The light on the surface gets fainter and bluer and farther away, and I shed all the muscle and cartilage and tendons and vessels and all that gunk as I continue to sink. The same with the viscera, nerves, brain, everything soft, until I can't see the light above at all and I'm only a pure, white skeleton sinking through black water. But even my skeleton is worn away as I sink through the sand, and it's only my naked Mind that seeps into the rock below. And I'm free. I'm far away from everything that lives. None of the nattering voices, the obligations, the rules, the noble fucking causes, none of that can reach me. I'm free from all the aches and pains and itches and urges of the body I've left behind. Finally, in that dark, silent shelter, I can think for myself.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

BASHCons and Wobbles and Facebooks!

"... oh my!"

BASHCon was this weekend in Toledo. I had fun hanging with the usual group. The organization was kind of a mess, but you know... BASHCon. I helped run part of Jerry's giant Keep on the Borderlands event and had a great time playing in Tom's Stay Alive game. Tom provides a bit more detail about the trip in his blog.

I helped Tom put Wobble together. I'm still helping actually, because the print version needed one more update to get it ready for distribution. Hopefully it'll go live soon. The PDF has been doing well.

I deactivated my personal account on Facebook. I'm calling it Operation: Faceblock. I just kinda started to think that Facebook was not the best thing for my mental health. I have some ideas why that might be. For one thing, there's the constant barrage of political and advice memes. I'll listen to anything any of my friends has to say, and I keep up on the news for the most part, but these regurgitated slogan pics don't help anybody. I had gotten to where I was even hiding the ones I agreed with, but it was a losing battle, because that's exactly the shit Facebook wants you to look at (and react to, and re-share). And then there's all the stupid little things it's constantly nagging me about. I'll miss being able to easily keep up with my friends, but I don't think it's worth it.

Anyway, what matters is that I'm taking a break to see if I'm right. I'm still on MeWe and Twitter. They don't seem to be as destructive, but we'll see. I'm feeling pretty good about it, so far.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Die Troglodytes Die

This follows last week's Greyhawk write-up.

Tuckras woke up while they were recovering,‭ ‬and they worked out a plan to take on the troglodytes.‭ ‬He was also really excited about the chance to see the fish priest,‭ ‬which he suspected was a kuo toa.‭ ‬Back in the smaller chamber,‭ ‬they found that a couple of troglodytes had moved ahead and camouflaged themselves for another ambush.‭ ‬Despite this,‭ ‬however,‭ ‬they went down fairly quickly.

To keep from being surrounded again,‭ ‬they had Jinso go out to pick a fight while they waited in the tunnel.‭ ‬In the narrow hallway,‭ ‬the troglodytes had to fight one at a time.‭ ‬The troglodytes were sitting around the priest while it chanted in some fishy language which no one could understand.‭ ‬Apart from Jinso's momentary temptation to abandon the plan and run off into the cavern,‭ ‬it went as planned.‭

Advancing again into the now troglodyte-free cavern,‭ ‬they found the kuo toa standing alone.‭ ‬Undaunted by their numerical advantage,‭ ‬it proceeded to lecture them in fish-speak,‭ ‬gesticulating emphatically as it did so,‭ ‬and occasionally throwing in a random thunderclap by waving its staff.‭ ‬Violence eventually broke out,‭ ‬at which point the priest called up its pet,‭ ‬a giant crayfish,‭ ‬from the pool.‭ ‬They still killed the kuo toa and wounded the crayfish enough that it fled into the underground stream.‭ ‬The kuo toa‭ ‬had‭ ‬some goodies.‭ ‬There were lots of tunnels branching away.

And that's the end of the notes. Next, they wandered through a portal to the Feywild, completely skipping the rest of the cave complex. After some poking around, they found their way to Castle Amber. They explored quite a bit of that before the campaign stalled out.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Ambush After Ambush

This follows last week's Greyhawk write-ups.

At the bottom of the stairs,‭ ‬they found a stinky rubble-strewn basement.‭ ‬Tuckras,‭ ‬the last one in,‭ ‬suddenly collapsed by the entrance.‭ ‬Vyph saw a shadowy figure dart up the stairs.‭ ‬Sakura checked on Tuckras while the others chased the shadow.‭ ‬Tuckras had a small wound like a bee sting on the back of his neck and wouldn't wake up,‭ ‬but seemed to‭ ‬be okay.‭ ‬Sakura stayed to make sure he didn't get eaten or something.

The shadowy figure ran out into the courtyard,‭ ‬pursued by the heroes.‭ ‬Jinso attacked him hand-to-hand while Vyph cast entangle on both of them.‭ ‬The assassin was a human with a big scar‭ ‬down the right side of his face.‭ ‬He had Anton in a big burlap sack for some reason.‭ ‬The fight dragged on,‭ ‬but eventually they bashed his skull in.‭ ‬They found vials of sleep poison and lethal poison,‭ ‬but‭ ‬no antidote.‭ ‬Tuckras seemed stable,‭ ‬but still refused to wake up.‭

In the course of searching the basement,‭ ‬they found some money and a three-foot high worked passageway.‭ ‬Dragging Tuckras along,‭ ‬they decided to investigate.‭ ‬The passage led to a vertical shaft of the same size.‭ ‬Anton cast light on a coin and dropped it to see how deep it was.‭ ‬Once they knew it was a manageable depth‭ (‬35‭')‬,‭ ‬they tied a‭ ‬rope to Tuckras‭' ‬bedpost staff and laid it across the shaft to anchor their rope.

At the bottom,‭ ‬they found a natural cavern.‭ ‬Sakura saw a threatening shadow‭ ‬with raised claws and blasted it with a thunderwave,‭ ‬revealing that it was actually a petrified troll.‭ ‬The arm broke off,‭ ‬so they kept that for Tuckras.‭ ‬A passageway with chiseled-out stairs led down past the troll.‭ ‬At the bottom was another natural cavern with several branching passages and a stream running through at the far end.‭ ‬There were lots of columns‭ & ‬other formations scattered about.‭

Once they all moved in,‭ ‬six camouflaged troglodytes popped out with spears and attacked.‭ ‬A fish-man with a weird‭ ‬eclectic staff kinda climbed out of the pool and commanded them to bow to the majesty of Demogorgon and‭ "‬Auntie Olga Pigtooth.‭" ‬While the troglodytes attacked,‭ ‬he made impressive thunderclap sounds and his eyes glowed.‭

The fight didn't go well.‭ ‬Both Jinso and Sakura went down,‭ ‬and the other two were wounded.‭ ‬Vyph cast darkness and,‭ ‬while the troglodytes stumbled around and picked fights with each other,‭ ‬he and Anton dragged the others out and retreated as fast as they could.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Silence of the Gnolls

I  found some notes I wrote down for the Greyhawk campaign but never shared, so here's another couple of sessions. This one wraps up Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and moves on to some spinoff adventures I added. More next week.

Silence of the Gnolls

They went back to town,‭ ‬sold some stuff,‭ ‬stashed some money at the Temple of Bralm,‭ ‬and decided to lure the smugglers in and...‭ ‬whatever.‭ ‬Stop them or something.‭ ‬They used a magical disguise and a less magical one made by skinning one of the gnoll heads.‭ ‬They managed to get aboard the Sea Ghost without incident and see the captain.‭ ‬After taking out both the captain and his wizard buddy,‭ ‬they said they were taking over the ship and offered the‭ ‬#2‭ ‬spot to the former bosun.‭ ‬Everybody went along.

The Rainbow Bridge

The party wanted to investigate the place where Sanbalet had been meeting other weevils,‭ ‬so they sailed off in the Sea Ghost to Dunwater,‭ ‬another coastal town between Saltmarsh and the Javan River.‭ ‬Anton wasn't feeling well,‭ ‬so he stuck around in Saltmarsh.‭ ‬Tuckras worked on his sailing skills and got to know the pirates better.‭ ‬It wasn't a long trip.

The trading camp at the mouth of the Dunwater River had been ransacked.‭ ‬There were dead weevils,‭ ‬dead lizard men,‭ ‬dead humans,‭ ‬and debris.‭ ‬There were tracks heading off to the north,‭ ‬into to Hool Marshes.‭ ‬The road ran along a narrow causeway.‭ ‬Eventually they came to a bridge along over a gap in the causeway.‭ ‬Blocking the bridge in an arch shape,‭ ‬they found a transparent gelatinous creature which attacked‭ ‬them when they got close.‭ ‬During the fight,‭ ‬it managed to‭ "‬swallow‭" ‬Jinso,‭ ‬but he survived.‭

The trail ended at a small castle,‭ ‬more a guardhouse,‭ ‬really with a sludgy moat around it.‭ ‬The building was in ruins except for‭ ‬a fortified tower in the back.‭ ‬They poked around the courtyard,‭ ‬then decided to investigate a crumbly tower by the entrance before moving on to the solid building.‭ ‬The ruined tower was full of creepy shadows and whispering voices,‭ ‬and a spider-like creature that could teleport through the‭ ‬shadows.

The next room had a couple of carrion crawlers that attacked them from the walls and ceiling.‭ ‬Beyond,‭ ‬they found an ominous stairway.