Monday, November 4, 2019

New AD&D Greyhawk Campaign Notes

I recently launched a new AD&D campaign on Fantasy Grounds.  Although we're using the 2e ruleset FG released earlier this year, my only books for reference are 1e so anything that has to be looked up is getting ruled that way.  In keeping with the old school system, I decided I wanted to set the campaign in Greyhawk, which is a setting I've never actually used.  I am not, however, using any of the TSR published adventures, classics though they are.  Actually, my motivation for starting this campaign was that I had a growing collection of dungeons I haven't run that could fit into any setting, so why not fit them together in Greyhawk?

For the setting, I'm using the TSR's 1980 folio The World of Greyhawk.  This is a slim 32 page book (not including maps) that provides a brief history, a gazetteer of political divisions, and descriptions of some of the major geographical features, and a couple pages on noble titles, knightly orders, and common runes and glyphs of the realm.  In addition, I believe this book was the first appearance of the famed Darlene map of Greyhawk.

I wanted to start things out in a bit of a different situation from most conquer the borderlands games.  So from the outset, the humanoid tribes would have the upper hand, the borderlands having been pillaged and sacked, and the player characters would be among a caravan of refugees fleeing those ravaged lands.  During their journey, the caravan is attacked by goblin raiders lead by a great orc wearing fantastical armor.  Other rumors speak of more of these powerful orcs and it seems they are the driving force behind the increased aggressions.

After perusing the gazetteer and talking to a couple people much more familiar with Greyhawk, I settled on the Barony of Ratik.  This small country shares a hilly border with the Bone March, a war-torn land overrun with humanoid tribes.  Ratik's eastern border is ocean and northern is the Frost Barbarian tribes, adding further inhospitable forces weighing in on the Barony.  The western border is a mountain range called the Rakers.  The Rakers run from the Flinty Hills, bordering the Bone March, north alongside Ratik before connecting to the Griff Mountains in the north.  The mountains are both a natural defense for Ratik's western flank and a source of danger and adventure themselves, untamed and pocketed with many dungeons.  It is in these mountains that I will find space for most of the dungeons I hope to run.

The first few modules I'm running, with mild spoilers, are:

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Fiction in Airhde

On a whim this weekend, I picked up some fiction off the TLG store. A Houseless God & Other Tales and The Mirrored Soul & Other Tales, both by the Troll Lord Stephen Chenault. They contain a total of eight short stories that follow the adventures of the knight Eurich Gunshoff and a group of companions that grows as the stories progress.

Mr. Chenault is a very engaging writer. I read a lot of old Appendix N literature and Eurich's adventures would fit in well with that tradition. The action is frequent and varied, seeing Eurich trade blows with a nice variety of interesting fantasy monsters. He definitely has a code of honor befitting a knight, but he is equally driven by a wanderlust that Conan or Elric would find relatable.

The thing that most impressed me about the stories though is how well he develops the Airhde setting while rarely indulging in overblown exposition. There is talk of the gods and philosophies on the end of the world and the afterlife are important to the characters, but the world feels like it has a rich history. As Eurich travels through the Darkenfold and later into the realm of Kayomar and further north into the Gottland, these places feel alive and storied and full of possibility.

I look forward to reading more of Steven Chenault's writing, and I'm definitely inspired to explore Airhde further. While I've read the Codex and the Player's Guide and about half of the A series, running A0 and a bit of A1 is my only experience running the setting.

Friday, March 15, 2019

Gary Con XI

Another Gary Con is in the books.  Sticking to tradition, I roomed with the same guys as last year (Judge Jeff of Spellburn and Appendix N, weird illustrator David Hoskins), and this time we were joined by David's friend Harry, who was attending Gary Con for the first time.  This year I decided to run games as well and signed up for three games.  A bit naively I chose to run three different systems, so I lugging way too many books into the Con.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

DCC: Doom of the Savage Kings

Here we go.  The band continues with an adventure that is second only to the ultimate funnel and quintessential DCC adventure Sailors on the Starless SeaDCC #66.5 - Doom of the Savage Kings is the perfect follow-up to whatever funnel produced your adventurers.  In an desolate land, a mythical beast torments the people and the local jarl has taken to human sacrifices to placate its awesome appetite.  The adventure is a heavy metal infused sandbox mystery with a supernatural threat looming over every nightfall.  Spoilers after the break!

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

DCC: The Queen of Elfland's Son

The band continued their adventures with DCC #97 - The Queen of Elfland's Son.  After surviving the horrors of Brandolyn Red, the peasant adventurers leveled up to proper DCC classes and sought further opportunities for glory.  My usual spoilery review/play impressions follow the break.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

DCC: They Served Brandolyn Red

Kicked off a new DCC campaign on Roll20 this week with the Goodman Games' 2015 Halloween module - They Served Brandolyn Red.  This is the second time I've ran this module, the first being at a game store in Kansas City.  I've had a great time with it both times, so my spoilery review and some play notes after the break.