Archive for October, 2013

TotalCon Events

OK, after much delay I finally figured out my events for this year.  I wasn’t sure how much if any of Thursday I would take off this year, and honestly, I’m still kind of hedging my bets by only running a Thursday night game.  Still, to get there in time to check in and run my game I’ll have to leave at least a little early, and it’s a short jump from there to just saying screw it and taking the whole day off.  Anyway, here are the events I’m hoping to run.  I’ve never had any event I submitted not go through, but you never know.

Treasure Map to the Red Cave
Thursday, 7-11 PM
After months of collecting copper bounties on goblin ears your crew has finally gotten a break. You had to pool your cash to afford the map that ranger had, but he assured you it was nothing compared to the wealth it would reveal. And rangers don’t lie, right? Though, they’re usually not that drunk either… Moldvay edition Basic D&D rules, characters provided.

Tunnel Rats
Friday, 1-5 PM
Life in the clan comes with responsibilities. You have been selected you for an important mission: infiltrate the newly discovered dwarven halls underneath the warren, bring back any valuable artifacts, and find out what happened to the last pack sent to explore the area. Sounds dangerous, but what’s a loyal were-rat to do? Moldvay edition Basic D&D rules, characters provided.

Gloomwood Falls
Saturday, 1-5 PM
It has been many days since the prince and his men left on their quest to locate the tree of life. How were they to know war would break out while they were gone? You must find the prince, deliver the news, and bring him back if possible. Moldvay edition Basic D&D rules, characters provided.

I seem to have inadvertently created a theme this year: “following in the footsteps”.  The first one is actually written by Dyson Logos, and is the game I just ran for my coworkers a couple weeks ago.  It’s a nice wilderness trek game and should be a nice variation from the other two that are more dungeon oriented.  And it went over well with the coworkers, so I expect it to be fun.  It’s also the one I feel like I can run with the least number of people, and if things go as they have in past years I expect Thursday to be pretty under-attended.

The other two are both adventures I wrote. Tunnel Rats was originally a WFRPG game written for HelgaCon that I since adapted to D&D.  Changing skaven to were-rats is kind of fun, it drives the game slightly away from comedic and more into sinister, which I’m fine with.  The last one was originally an adventure I wrote for my home campaign, but then my players decided not to follow that thread and go do something completely different, and it wasn’t used on them until quite a while later.  In between I ran it as a convention game at GenCon 2012 and I think it went over really well.  And yes, this is the one that was strangely missing.  I still can’t find the digital file for this, though I did unearth a hard copy, which I promptly photocopied just so at least there would be two hard copies floating around.  I have no idea how I lost this file, the printed version was clearly made on computer originally.  Oh well.

I’m glad to finally have that all scheduled out now, and am really looking forward to the convention.  I suppose I ought to make sure I have characters prepared for these games, but it’s a long ways out still.  Maybe I’ll at least scan Gloomwood Falls to PDF so I don’t go losing it again.

Getting Ready for TotalCon

This year I will not miss the TotalCon even registration deadline, I swear!  Actually, I have all the way until November 15th to get my games in, but since I completely failed to do this last year I’ve vowed to make sure it gets done early this time around.  But what to run?  I have no pressing ideas or desires, but I know I want to run three games, and that they should all be old school in nature.  I probably have time to write something new, but before going that route I thought I’d take a spin through existing material and see what can be re-used.

Between TotalCon, GenCon, and HelgaCon, I have accumulated a fair amount of convention material.  HelgaCon has especially spurned this on, as I run three games there every year, and as it’s generally the same group of people every year I constantly have to find new material for it.  The only problem is that with three conventions a year I do get a little hazy on which games I’ve run at which conventions.  Fortunately, I have this blog!  I just took a quick look through my posts in February of the past several years and was kind of surprised at what I found.

My first year at TotalCon was 2010, at which I was only a player.  In 2011 I ran two sessions of my One Page Dungeon Contest entry Four Corners, which I think I’ve run at just about every convention possible as well as for friends at home, so I’m pretty well done with that.  I also ran Into the Forgotten Realms, which while enjoyable turned out to be a little too new school and thus it’s no longer a contender.  In 2012 I was on my slavers kick, running serveral rounds of the A-series modules at TotalCon.  And then there’s 2013, when I was so ill prepared I ran nothing.

Huh, is this right?  Besides Four Corners it looks like I’ve never run any of my own material at TotalCon?  How bizarre.  Well, that’s good news actually, as that means I have a plethora of adventures to choose from this year.  Now it’s just a matter of sifting through them and picking which ones I think will be most fun.

Of course, the one I really want, the one I adapted from my home campaign and ran at GenCon 2012, but I can’t seem to find the files anywhere.  It was a great adventure, and I know I used Dyson’s geomorphs to build it, so it must exist digitally somewhere.  It’s not in my personal subversion repository, not in my home directory on my server, and not in my dropbox account.  Was I actually foolish enough to keep this only on my desktop’s hard drive and not copy it to one of these many backed-up locations?  That’ll be really bad if true, as that desktop has been reformatted many times since August of 2012.  My only hope now is that I have a hard copy of this in a filing cabinet at home somewhere.

So, I guess I must put off registering my events at least one more day so I can go root through the filing cabinet.  I really hope that adventure is in there somewhere.


Sorry for the lapse in posting everyone, I blame CardHunter.  If you haven’t seen it, do check it out, it’s a web-based game with a decidedly D&D theme.  In fact, all the visuals and shell of the game really emulate old school D&D hard.  You may recognize some of the thinly veiled names like the intro level “Raid on Ommlet” and the home base “Keep on the Hinterlands”.  Heck, check out the level artwork, made to look like old school D&D modules:

CardHunter Levels

Note the dice, soda, and Cheetos.  Yeah, this game is punching hard on the old school vibe.  It does stoop a little on some of the nerd jokes (sigh, yes, the nerdy DM character loses all confidence in the face of the pretty pizza delivery girl), but generally I find it rather endearing.  On the flip side, the actual gameplay feels pretty new-school.  The game itself is just combat between your three person party of characters and some group of enemies.  Each character has a deck of cards that are played for everything — movement, attacks, etc.  Ultimately though, this is just the format where I enjoy that kind of highly tactical combat.  That stuff bogs down real roleplaying games, but is perfect for a casual video game.

CardHunter Gameplay

The game is sold in freemium format.  For those not in the biz, that means the game is completely free to play but offers various in-game purchases to “enhance your experience”.  This is always a bit of a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, the developer can go too far and make the purchases really effective and/or required, thus turning it into a “pay to win” or “money game”.  On the other, if there’s no value in the purchases nobody will buy them at all and the developer has just given away all his work for free and it’s not long after that that the servers shut down and the game vanishes.

Personally, I did buy their “basic pack”, but mostly because as a fellow developer I feel like they should reap the rewards for creating something I’m clearly enjoying and spending a lot of time on.  That said, I’ve yet to feel like I got something really cool beyond the basic experience of the game for my money.  I think you could get a lot of enjoyment out of this game without paying a dime.  I hate to encourage people to do that, but perhaps you can go ahead and do what I did – play the game and if you really enjoy it, consider buying something in game even if you’re just going to ignore it.

But definitely play it, it’s really very fun.


Save Stonehell

Stonehell, by Michael Curtis, is an excellent mega-dungeon written as a huge collection of one-page-dungeons linked together along with extra notes, custom monsters, etc.  It’s a great dungeon, and one I personally transplanted into my own campaign world and ran some players through a few different parts.  And sadly, it’s only half done.  The linked publication above specifically calls out that it’s only part one of the dungeon.

Unfortunately, publishing part 2 has been a bit of a trial, and is now in jeopardy due to failed computer equipment.  Mr. Curtis has posted a humble request on his blog requesting help drumming up the cash to fix or replace the broken equipment.  But he’s not just begging for charity, he’s actually offered to send to anyone that donates any amount a pdf of a couple adventures he wrote for convention use.  I happened to be lucky enough to have played in one of those games run by Curtis last year at TotalCon, and I sincerely hope he makes the trip again this year as it was one of my favorite games of the convention.

I usually don’t pitch in to these kind of things, but this is definitely the exception.  First of all, I think he deserves a little extra from me for all the hours of enjoyment his first book has given me, not to mention the great time last TotalCon.  Second, I really do want to see the second half of this dungeon, even though I’ve already filled in some of the lower levels in my own campaign — there’s always room for more.  So I’m going the extra mile and posting here, asking anyone who reads this blog to consider helping a fellow DM out in his time of need.

Save Stonehell Fundraiser