Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Buystarter: Down in Yon Forest

Hello everyone,

The holiday season is here and I am overwhelmed with one of the spirits of the seasons:  crass commercialization of traditions.  It is time for another buystarter campaign:

 Ho Ho Ho!

Up this time is "Down in Yon Forest" , a holiday adventure about a town dealing with the overbearing threat of Krampus stealing all of their children due to a freak wassail related accident.  Unlike previous month long buystarters this project will only be available for 12 days (until the 25th) at which point I will take it down until next year.  Much like Egg Nog, its glory is too much for the world to handle year round.   The price goes up by $0.50 a day so buy early.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

That's a wrap! (The Expedition to Xan Than Du)

After almost a year and a half with two different groups of players running competing expeditions,  the campaign has ended with the home group victorious over the online group in a narrow finish (the online group found the Eye of Set first but was repulsed in their attempts to secure it for two games).

The massive hex-crawl had lots of notable moments and adventures.  I created the campaign by using a randomly generated map and trying to stock with home grown things from the source material, but also specifically content from other authors tailored to fit the game.

Here are some things I noted:

1.) Multiple competing groups really added to the excitement and planning of both groups, knowing that another group of actual humans was actively racing them really changed the dynamic.  I had tested this previously with a sci-fi dungeoncrawl  and it was even more pronounced this time.

2.) Seed tables are indeed great even with massively sustained play and when built correctly add a deep flavour to regions.

3.) Time Limits on the game session (like physical real person time) add a very different mindset to encounters,  the need to "win" every encounter is drastically lowered as players quickly identify time spent dealing with things as a lost resource.  This really added to the feeling of a harried expedition and made it feel much less like a murder-crawl. Unless the party got actually infuriated they were more than willing to let enemies who took a few pot shots just escape, it also meant they were way more likely to pay bridge tolls from bandits. They COULD easily win any fight and cross for free, but that would take like 20 to 30 minutes of real time and paying a toll is like 1 minute in real time.  Haggling over prices was also reduced for anything but truly major purchases.   It made adventure pacing a player problem and they self solved it.

4.) Analysis Paralysis becomes huge with a big expedition.  I ended up "solving" this by randomly rolling one player each week to be the expedition leader if the group hadn't decided in 15 minutes. They set course and direction and goals for the week and that seemed to work out well.

5.) Setting a campaign goal as the GM made the campaign much easier run.  Players could still have whatever sub-goals they wanted, but putting the up front caveat that the campaign was about characters trying to get into an explorer's society back in London by retrieving the Eye of Set meant that every character started with at least one goal in unison.  As an expedition game where players would have a stable of characters (as characters could take weeks or months to recover from some ailments) this meant I could be very clear that if a character's primary motivation stopped being to help the party retrieve the eye of set they stopped being a PC,  use a different character from your stable and/or make a new one.  That wouldn't be ideal for every game, but if it is used it really does cement a party identify quickly.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

The dog people in elven courts

In the early days when elves first began to write their history, forge silver and summon forth magics to construct their first towers and cities they also began to domesticate wild creatures that wandered out of the mountains.

At first these creatures simply lurked outside the Elven hearths to steal scraps and root through the garbage,  but over generations through happenstance and random chance, the Elves began taking in their babies and domesticating them.  They kept them first for work, but then more and more as companions.

The bloodline of these offshoots diverged greatly from their elf-avoiding kin. Neoteny gave these people lifelong juvenile features compared to their wild counterparts.  They also evolved to be naturally empathetic to Elven emotions and display vastly reduced aggression.  That isn't to say they were not capable of violence.  The Elves frequently bred stocks to act as guards, or even for helping hunt down their wild cousins.  As time went on, more and more were bred simply for companions.  Their comparatively rapid breeding and life-cycle meant most were spayed or neutered.

Despite the occasional cross-breeding with wild stock, they had become a separate species over roughly two dozen millennia.  As the technology of their still undomesticated wild cousins has advanced,   many have become feral with the destruction of their Elven master's cities.  Their wild human counterparts refer to them as "Half-Elves" due to their comparatively juvenile and lithe appearance, but their Elven masters refer to them as "Dog People", compared to the "Wolf People" of  the Empires of Mankind. 

"He's only been around 10 passes of the mystic comet, but that is like 70 passes in Human years"

Friday, October 6, 2017

The Roots of Bitterness - A very limited window of opportunity

Just a heads up that The Lamentations Bundle of Holding now has "The Roots of Bitterness" available in it.  If you missed it as a Kickstarter reward this will be your last and only chance to buy an electronic copy legally.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Foreign Legion Encampment

The Quartermaster at the Foreign Legion Encampment has the following surplus items available:

Combat Gear

Inline image 1

80 silver
large, armour piercing, long range, complicated, loud*, accurate**


5 silver for 100 charges in a flask

Rifle Bullets

1 copper a bullet


15 silver 
medium, slashing, versatile, defensive


3 silver 
large, pole, piercing

Image result for foreign legion kepi 19th century
1 silver
counts as leather cap

Exploration Gear


2 silver for 1 days water

Image result for 19th century compass
75 silver

Light Tools (Spade, Machete, Hatchet etc)
Image result for 19th century military spade

2 silver


Sack of Rice
Image result for sack of rice

15 copper for 14 days.
Requires extra unit of water.
4 dots.



200 silver

Pack Mule

30 silver

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Big Game Hunter's Estate

The following provisions can be procured at the big game hunter's estate.

Combat Gear


350 silver
large, minor, burst, loud, accurate

Elephant Gun

400 silver, special order (?d2 weeks)
medium (size modifier 2), devastating, loud


5 copper a shell

4 Bore Bullets

2 copper a bullet


1 silver for a flask with 100 charges

Exploratory Gear


Cost: 10 silver.
Availability:  Constant
Capacity: 200 dots

Dutch Oven

5 silver


2 silver



20 copper for 14 days (requires extra unit of water per meal and cooking)
4 dots

Marsh Mallows

4 silver for 1 day
1 dot


10 silver
1 dot

Monday, September 18, 2017

Lamentations Bundle of Holding +2

Bundle of holding is running a second lamentations bundle and this one includes "Lamentations of the Gingerbread Princess" by yours truly.   It also supports The Electronic Frontier Foundation which fights to protect digital civil liberties.

Give it a look:

 Bundle of Holding - Lamentations +2

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Riders of A Thousand Names

One of the expeditions in the land of Xan Than Du managed to track down the riders of a thousand names to their secret fortress.  The riders of the divine storm, the winds of destruction, protectors of the path,  horsemen of the emperor's will.  They have thousands of names for themselves and go into great lengths to know and boast of as many as possible. They follow no official chain of command to the Emperor of Xan Than Du and often act as bandits against even his forces,  but they see themselves as staunch defenders of the Xan Than Du culture and the religion of the Southern Path especially.  They are honour obsessed seek reknown and fame. To this end they raid the great northern desert, but are especially hostile to French forces.

Combat Equipment

Leather Poncho

2 silver
Light, Partial Armour,  (Ornamental is optional)


40 silver
Leather Cap,  Ornamental

Twin Katanas

100 silver (always sold as a pair), ?d2 weeks
Medium, Slashing, Hand and a Half, Defensive


2 silver
Throwing, Exotic, Entangling, Blunt

Repeating Crossbow

5 silver
Medium, piercing, repeating, ineffective

Exploratory Gear

Dowsing Rod

10 silver

Medallion of the Southern Path

45 silver

Sacred Oils

10 silver


Skin of Pomegranate Wine

6 copper, 1 dot

Tiger Meat

20 silver, ?d8 weeks
1 dot

Herbal Salve

3 silver

Cheap Horse Feed

1 copper for 1 day (for a horse)
2 dots

Sorghum Bread

8 copper for 3 days
2 dots



150 silver


200 silver, ?d4 weeks

Friday, August 4, 2017

Villages of the Jungle Cannibals

One of the British expeditions in the land of Xan Than Du decided to try to traverse the inner jungle by river with one of their fishing boats portaged to the new French settlement.   They soon became involved in a feud between the two diminutive tribes who guard the jungle,   the Tcho Loompa who celebrate the hedonistic sweetness of life through cannibalism and the Tcho Oompa who give sombre respect the bitter taste of death through cannibalism.   Despite being nearly boiled alive in a re-purposed Cathedral bell that seem to have been left behind by an Andorran conquistador their fearless professor was able to learn their tongue and negotiate safe passage in their lands.

Below are the goods one can buy from both the Tcho Oompa and Tcho Loompa.  If an expedition only has safe access to one tribe, goods from the other tribe are five times as much as they are only available as war looting.

Combat Equipment


2 silver
Medium (for size half),  Long Range, Minor, Ineffective, Ranged


3 cp each,  1sp for quiver

Copper Javelin

20 silver
Medium (for size half),  reach, throwing, piercing

Exploratory Gear


5cp for 50ft
1 dot


1 silver
1 dot

Magic Charm

50 silver, ?d4 weeks
1 dot



1 cp a day
1 dot

Assorted Nuts

1 sp for 2 days  (Tcho Oompa)
1 dot

Fresh Fruit

1cp for 1 day (Tcho Loompa)
2 dots

Cocoa Beans

10 sp (Tcho Oompa)

Fruit Syrup

5 sp (Tcho Loompa)

Sacrificial Meat

5 sp for 1 day  (?d4 weeks)
1 dot


Tiny Frog

30sp  (?d6 weeks)