Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Bonsai Pets and Bottled Poltergeists for Sale

I run a weekly RPG session for some young people after school -- and we're now towards the end of our second year. We started with Holmes D&D because one of the players wanted to play D&D specifically (her big brother wouldn't let her play in his D&D game). So I wrote a few dungeons for them that went great, then introduced them to Keep on the Borderlands, which they walked away from after getting bored with fighting one goblinoid race after another. I can't say I blame them, it really did seem like an awful bore after a while. Today I grabbed the free Dungeonteller adventure Welcome to the Plunderdome (download the adventure and maps here and here). I'm running it as a basic D&D game, because I didn't want to re-stat their characters to Dungeonteller, and so far it's been a hoot. We spent most of the session hanging out at the Tides Inn ("Wait, is that a bad pun, Mr. Anderson?") buying odd trinkets from the list of goods for sale included in the adventure notes. I repost the list here:

Sellers dealing in odd artifacts and curiosities from the four corners of the world, ready to spread out their wares on the table and consider any offers. Their stock might include coral, pearls, other exotic gemstones; costume jewelry of copper, silver, and glass beads; silk scarves; fighting crickets, mantises, and scorpions in tiny cages; live songbirds, monkeys, snakes, and various cute furry rodents; truly odd items like carved talismans, amulets, and figures, the teeth and claws of rare monsters, potions of unknown provenance and power; perfumes; elaborate dwarf windup toys; novelty gadgets that combine innocent-looking gear with concealed knives or dart-throwers; candied fruits and other sweets; gloves and belts made from unusual materials, like dragon-scale or basilisk hide; rings and brooches with hidden compartments; hard-to-pick padlocks; haunted dice that rattle when danger is near; a mirror that flatters you when you look into it; a bonsai tree with tiny live birds in its branches; an assortment of thumb-sized bonsai cats, dogs, and other pets; a pocket handkerchief that can vanish a small item then be shaken to make it reappear; a wand that produces harmless clouds of phantom butterflies, flowers, or stars; a bottle that can catch a person’s words and repeat them when uncorked; a rope that can only be cut by superior or masterwork weapons; an assortment of ghosts and poltergeists in sealed flasks; a stylus that writes out extemporaneous odes to any subject of the owner’s choosing… 

Some curiosity seller names: Wink Haggler, Auntie Deadpan, Wheedle Armtwist.

One character pitted his pet garden gnome, Timbukten, in a cage match against a fighting mantis only to see the mantis behead the gnome. The curiosity sellers unloaded a bonsai tree and some bonsai dogs, two of the pocket handkerchiefs of holding, the repeating bottle, and a couple of poltergeists in flasks. I can't wait to see how those all come into play later.

Feel free to use this list for your own games, or just download the whole thing at the link above. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Rock Opera '79 -- Character Sheet

Rock Opera '79 continues apace. The dice-stacking mechanics are sound, the character classes are perfect, and I'm just writing up a gazetteer for Disctopia/Rock City. Who will YOU be in the distant future world of 1979? As one of the last rock bands standing, can you and your bandmates overthrow the evil Discocracy and bring down the rock?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Stars & Crosses

I just finished a non-RPG side project called Stars & Crosses. You can see the entry on Wargame Vault here. Briefly, it's a rule book for doing WW2 battles with teensy 6mm scale miniature soldiers and tanks. I love painting miniatures and creating terrain in this scale, and you can run a pretty large scenario on a small rug or table top. As is the case for so many of my RPG books, it started as a house rules set and became something I wanted to share with other gamers.