Monthly Archives: July 2017

Barrowmound Campaign- The Set Up, House-rules, etc.

Dungeon Art

The other day I posted that I was switching my Barbarians of the Ruined Earth and Hubris games to a megadungeon.  I have started to develop my own megadungeon that I will want to run them through (and possibly publish), but it’s still a bit off and NOT switching was not going to alleviate the issues that were arising from attendance, etc.

I also have a rule for myself when I’m writing something (for running or publishing).  I don’t run it until it gets to a certain point (and after a certain point).

I decided to run my two groups through Barrowmaze!  It’s a great book, easy to read/run.  The price is a bit high, but I definitely think the PDF is worth it.

I’m using my house-ruled Black Hack rules (married with some Swords and Wizardry).

The House-Rules

  • Taken from my Barbarians of the Ruined Earth game- Armor absorbs a certain amount of damage (i.e., leather= 1 armor, chainmail 2, and plate 3).  Armor has a number of “ticks” equal to the absorption score.  This is reduced by one each time the character is knocked unconscious or subject to a critical hit.  Once dropped to zero ticks the armor is broken and provides no protection.  The player makes a Luck roll (rolling 1-3 on a d6) to see if the “tick” is repairable (roughly 10% of the cost of new armor).
    • Shields provide an extra “tick” that the player can determine take the brunt of the damage and sacrifice that tick instead of their armor.  Shields cannot be repaired.
  • All classes start with max HP for class +4.
  • All classes deal 1d6/1d4 damage, including mages.
    • Only Warriors and Paladins deal 1d8/1d6 damage.
  • Characters can rest once per day for an hour to regain 1 HD of HP.  8 hours gives another 1 HD.
  • Usage Die has been reduced greatly.  Torches, waterskins, rations, ammo is all back to actual numbers for resource management.
  • Characters gain experience similar to standard ratio in Pathfinder/Fighter in S&W.
  • Monsters can make Saving Throws against spells, abilities, and effects.
    • Enemy HD Damage Savings Throw
      1-2 1d6 6
      3-4 2d6 8
      5-6 3d6 10
      7-8 4d6 12
      9-10 5d6 14
      11+ 6d6 15
  • There are races and classes
    • Races: Human, Elf, Dwarf, Gnome, Halfling, Half-orc, Half-elf, and Half-demon.
    • Classes: Warrior, Thief, Cleric, Wizard, Ranger, Paladin, Druid, and Warlock.
    • There are occupations- I’m using DCC until I write my own.
  • Death- When a target falls to 0 HP, they are “unknown.”  A healing potion or spell during combat will revive them.  At the end of combat, the player rolls a Luck roll.  If it favors them, they are still alive and roll Out of Action.  If it doesn’t favor them, they are dead.
    • Out of Action
      1-2 KO’d: Just knocked out.
      3-4 Fat Head: Disadvantage on all tests for the next hour.
      5 Cracked Bones: STR, DEX and CON are temp -2 for the next day.
      6 Cracked Skull: INT and WIS are temp -2 for the next day.
      7 Crippled – STR or DEX is

      permanently reduced by 2.

      8 Brain Damage: INT or WIS permanently reduced by 2.
      9 Disfigured: CHA reduced by 1d6.
      10 Limb Lost: Need a prosthetic.

The Premise

First session- start on the Barrowmoor.  The players know the location of the immediate entrance to Barrowmaze and can either go right for it or hunt through the burial mounds.

Each session after starts in Helix (local town in Barrowmaze) and can carouse (per Jeff and Zak).  The group then deals with ramifications from this.

Buy supplies and sell goods from previous session, go to tavern for hooks and rumors (if so desired) and find hirelings (again- if so desired).

Go to dungeon and dive.

In the dungeon, it’s a slow crawl of encounters, fear, and death.  If they crash in the dungeon- there’s a chance for an encounter.  If they decided to head back to town to resupply, heal, more hirelings, etc. there is a chance for a random encounter, traps, etc.

At the end of the session the group gets back to Helix without any encounters or hassle.  Loot is divvied up, magical items are identified (for a cost), scrolls are copied, spells are learned (possibly), experience is given.  Then leveling up if applicable.

Next session takes place a week (or more) later in game time than the previous.  All characters start with full HP, spells, etc.

All sessions will be numbered according to sequential order and not group (although that will be indicated in notes).

Sessions and format inspired by the awesome Jeff Rients and his Vaults of Vyzor.

As far as restocking the dungeon goes, each week after a room is cleared, I roll 1d100 to see if something moves in.  The base chance is 25% and it increases by 10% until something has moved in and begun taken over.  This could be a new horde of treasure, a monster, a new trap, etc.

Wash, rinse, repeat.

The World

Barrowmaze takes place on a soggy, rainy moor.  Nearby is the small town of Helix, the castle Ironguard, and Bogtown.

Far far to the North is Vornheim with its decadence, rusty spires, and sprawl.  Nearby is the Maze of the Blue Medusa.  This will be open for my players should they want to try that megadungeon out as well.  Further north is Death Frost Doom.  Further South is Scenic Dunnsmouth in the Bogwood Swamp (of Hubris).  This gives me everything my group will need (especially if they need to stretch their legs) for an expansive world (without becoming too convoluted).  I still will run all these areas in a similar megadungeon fashion as I mentioned above.

The Plan

Both groups will be running through Barrowmaze- their decisions and actions affecting the other.  After I take each group through a few spins (and my life slows down a little with RL work, writing, etc.), I plan on doing some flailsnails runs with it!







Death is the New Pink Update- Character Sheet- and Quick Reviews!

So the Death is the New Pink POD is still coming.  I got the proof, but for some reason two of the pictures backgrounds were screwy and the color on two other pictures came out red instead of pink… sooooo those need to be fixed.  Angie needs to fiddle with her pieces, but she’s out visiting family back in MT.

Hopefully by the end of July, I’ll have a new POD proof in my hands that’ll be gorgeous and right- then I’ll put it up for sale.

Character Sheet

Death is the New Pink Character SheetsHere is a picture of the character sheet- here’s the PDF- Death is the New Pink Character Sheets.

Feel free to use em for some DitNP action.

Lastly here are two reviews of DitNP!

Based on the Into the Odd rules system, Death is the New Pink is a rules-light RPG that focuses on playing the game and creating the atmosphere rather than complex mechanics and convoluted background fluff. I’m always looking for a game that is good for getting a one-shot to the table that is immediately fun for the players – Death is the New Pink fulfills that desire with fully flavored character creation in minutes and rules that are grokked by everyone just as quickly. The book sites a number of pop culture post-apocalypse influences, but I think the most apt reference is Tank Girl. It paints a wasteland background, but throws out the oppressive/depressing feel and instead opts for a campy fun environment of violent abandon. The artwork and the tone is excellent throughout the book as well. Highly recommended!




A fun and colorful post-apocalyptic game, based on the elegant Into The Odd rules. Character generation is fast and throws you a few curveballs, getting you ready to play within minutes.

I hope to have a printed version some day, as the art really deserves it.


A Megadungeon Storm is Brewing and Hubris is up for an ENnie!

So first off, very excited to say that Hubris has been nominated for a Best Electronic Book ENnie!  Thanks to everyone for the support and love towards Hubris!  It is greatly appreciated!

Anyways on to the megadungeon…

Challenges on the Game Front

For nearly a year I’ve been running a Hubris game for my RL group here in Rochester, NY and Barbarians of the Ruined Earth for my online group (many of them I’ve been playing with for about 15 years).

However, challenges are coming up that are causing me to reevaluate the current campaigns and how I run the sessions.  My players in both groups, and myself, have busy lives.  Jobs, drinking, school, drinking, hiking, drinking, significant others that aren’t gamers, drinking, concerts, and drinking are all reasons that make it a challenge for us to get together.

So needless-to-say that people making the sessions is a challenge.  While I don’t hold anyone at fault for not being able to attend, having too few players can be problematic, making fights super hard, etc. but by and large not TOO HORRIBLE.

The issue that I’ve been noticing the most (in both games) with the attendance piece is in the sandbox-style play I’ve been running is the constant hand-waiving away the people who can’t make it, or when they are following a chosen plot hook (i.e., let’s rescue the winged-monkey people of the Shattered Sun from Megarobotron 3000) only to have one (or all) of the original people who decided for that mission to not be present.

I then have to explain the WHOLE plot over again to the new people so there is some understanding as to what is going on…  While it’s good to refresh even the regular players, this takes time away from the game.

The constant bouncing of players makes story lines, major plot hooks, etc. extremely difficult to keep consistent or to have any emotional depth.

The other challenge is time; my Rochester group meets once a month.  We are supposed to start at 6, but usually don’t start until 6:30pm (and if peeps are really late, 7ish).  We finish around 8 to 9 (maybe 9:30), depending on people’s schedules.  My online group meets (hopefully) every two weeks and starts at 4 (but we usually don’t get going until 5) and we play until between 8 to 9ish.

So time is really short on both games (again- problems of busy life styles).  This makes it difficult for a languid session or two- things need to happen as to maximize our time together.

I’ve noticed that with the length of time between sessions and the roaming rotation of players, it’s hard for them to remember the various NPCs, actions taken in previous sessions, etc. and where to move forward…  Then with floundering in trying to figure it out, mixed with short time to play, can equal feeling like not much gets done during a session, etc.

Anyways- this got me thinking about how to handle this for both groups and what can be done…  And it hit me… especially since Jeff Rients is running an awesome dungeon dive!

The megadungeon would be an ideal style of play for both my groups.  The goals are clear cut, player driven, and easily identifiable.  There is still exploration and player agency, and the rotating cast of characters is more easily mitigated in a dungeon with hirelings and etc.  Recapping is easier, “You’re still in a dungeon.  You remember that torch boy we hired last session…?  Yeah he done got eaten…  Now we’ve hired two more!”  Move on!

The other benefit is I could run Flailsnail games in it as well!

The Megadungeon


Not actually my megadugeon, but a cool map. 


I’ve never run a megadungeon (so I’m excited to learn how to run one and try it out).  Barrowmaze comes highly recommended, so I bought it to give it a read through and see what it’s about.  As I’ve gotten older my desire to run gonzo/weird fantasy style shit is ever present (hence Hubris, Barbarians of the Ruined Earth, and Death is the New Pink), so I also nabbed Anomalous Subsurface Environment (my copy should arrive in the mail today- very excited to read this one) to draw inspiration from.

I’ve also been scoping the Rusty Battle Axe’s posts (and helpful collection of links) about megadungeons- part 1 here and part 2 here.  One post I liked in particular was about building the dungeon as needed.  With my busy schedule and constant writing, etc. for DIY RPG Production and RL stuff, this greatly appeals to me.


The Premise and System

My idea is that the dungeon is a living creature (inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy and David Lewis Johnson’s Gathox Vertical Slum).  It stretches across multiverses, snatching creatures, people, objects, etc. that come across its every wiggling tendrils.  In the center of the maze is a huge city, akin to Vornheim, Gathox, or Sigil.  It will be a weird, eccentric place that I can put whatever the hell I want in there (including Dubstep Wizards).  Another boon of having a big city is that I can do an urban crawl if the players want a break from the dungeon- so the ability is there.

I plan to kick off the campaign in a similar vein as the Dungeons and Dragons Animated Series with the players taking on four level 0 humans from Earth that are transported to the dungeon.  I created a occupation list for it.

Each session will be a romp through the dungeon with roughly a week or so taking place since the last one.  All characters will be at full health and ready to go.  When we reach the end of our time together we end with the group “just getting back to the city with no trouble.”  They’ll get XP, level up if need be, divide treasure, carouse if they so desire, and wrap up.  This makes sessions manageable and avoid the aforementioned problems I listed above.

System-wise I’m thinking of mixing a blend of Death is the New Pink/Into the Odd with The Black Hack so that it’s rules-light, quick to roll up a character (oh there will be lots of death) and will allow me to easily roll some flailsnails games.

I’ll post more as I develop everything.

The Dubstep Wizard Class

This idea came to me while shopping…  I tried to keep it as system neutral as possible.  Feel free to have fun with this.

Oh and if you haven’t seen the Key and Peele Dubstep skit (above), I HIGHLY recommend it!

Dubstep Wizard


Dubstep Wizard art by Angie G.

The Dubstep Wizard channels the high energies, pounding bass, and piercing shrieks of Dubstep music to fuel their spells.  Each round the Dubstep Wizard calls upon the power of the bass, causing strange effects to occur and warp the very reality around them.


Dubstep Wizards do not dress in flowing robes like their wizard counterparts, but instead wear skinny jeans, a flannel with some decorative t-shirt underneath, high top shoes, large headphones, and a stylish hat of some sort.


Dubstep Wizards love showmanship, performance, and gathering a crowd.  They are usually very gregarious and love having a good time.  Not one to be stuck up in a dark tower, studying musty old tomes, a Dubstep Wizard is the life of the party!

HP: As Wizard

Saves: As Wizard

Armor and Weapon Proficiency: As Wizard

Attack Bonuses: As Wizard

Damage (Optional Rule): As Wizard

Skills (If applicable): As Wizard, but add performance


Spell Progression: As Wizard.  A Dubstep Wizard learns spells by studying a scroll while listening to their awesome Dubstep beats.  Resolve learning spells in same manner as Wizard studying scrolls/learning from mentor.


Wizard’s Converting to Dubstep Wizards: The awesome bass is addicting and who can blame a wizard for wanting to drop their must old tomes in exchange for some kicking beats.  A wizard can turn their character into a Dubstep Wizard, but are now two levels lower (i.e., a 3rd level Wizard would become a 1st level Dubstep Wizard, etc.).


Dupstep Casting

First round the Dubstep Wizard begins chanting and dancing, they mimic the sound effects of dubstep music with their mouths.  It is off-putting and sounds strange, but the effect is felt by those in the indicated area.  If the Dubstep Wizard continues their Dubstep Casting a second round, the sound of true dubstep begins to overlay with their chanting, filling the ears of those in a 120’ area.  If the Dubstep Wizard continues their Dubstep Casting for a third round, dubstep overpowers the area, its intense beats and synthetic sounds filling everyone’s ears.


To cast any spell the Dubstep Wizard must at least channel the power of dubstep for one round.  They can continue to channel each round, building on the debilitating effects of dubstep.  When a Dubstep Wizard begins Dubstep Casting, they roll a d8 and consult the chart below.  Each round the casting effect builds (up to three).  The Dubstep Wizard can switch to a different effect each round by rolling 1d8 should they desire.  If the Dubstep Wizard channels all three rounds on a single effect, but wishes to using Dubstep Casting, they roll 1d8 again.


When the Dubstep Wizard desires to finally release the energies of their Dubstep Casting and cast the spell, this is called The Drop. When the Dubstep Wizard brings on the Drop another effect happens (consult the chart below).



Dubstep Casting Effects
Roll 1d8 Name Effect
1 Time Jostled Reality shifts slightly, causing all in a 30’ radius to be effected.  Everyone rerolls initiative at the start of the round.  One the second round, the last action prior to the Dubstep Wizard’s reoccurs.  Movement resets to where it began at in the previous action (but only for those involved in that action).  If there was any rolling (i.e., to attack and damage, to see if a spell works, disable a trap, etc.) it is redone.  Damage sustained in the previous action (i.e., from an attack) does not disappear when the reoccurrence happens (that means a person could potentially be attacked twice, healed twice, gain two buffs from a spell, etc.).  On the third round, the last two actions prior to the Dubstep Wizard’s reoccur.


When the Dubstep Wizard does The Drop, time returns to normal.

2 Dizzy Those in a 10’ radius of the Dubstep Wizard must make a Wisdom based save or become loopy form the sonic beats blasting in their eardrums, suffering -2 to all rolls.  On the second round, the sonic vibrations reach targets up to 15’ away become too much.  Targets must succeed a Wisdom based save or suffers-4 (or Disadvantage) to all rolls and stumbles around (movement reduced by half).  On the third round, the epic pulsing beat reaches targets 20’ away.  The pounding bass is too much.  Target’s must make a Wisdom based save (-2 to the roll) or ears bleed and they suffer 1d4+1 damage and suffer -4 (or Disadvantage) to rolls and stumbles around (movement reduced by half).


This effect lasts for 1d4 rounds after the Dubstep Wizard performs The Drop.

3 Mimicry The undulations and hypnotic beats of the Dubstep Wizard are intoxicating.  Targets that are in a 15’ radius of the Dubstep Wizard must succeed a Wisdom based save or begin dancing and chanting identically to the Dubstep Wizard.  On the second round, the radius is increased to 20’ and all suffer -2 to their Wisdom based save.  On the third round, the radius is increased to 30’ and targets become fatigued after the Dubstep Wizard performs The Drop.


This effect ends when the Dubstep Wizard performs The Drop.

4 Gravity Reversal The Dubstep Wizard’s hypnotic dance, gyrating, and rhythmic beats cause the very gravitational forces around them to alter.  Gravitational forces in a 30’ sphere around the Dubstep Wizard becomes less strong, causing targets to half to hop around (like on the moon).  Movement is reduced by half.  On the second round, the sphere is increased to 40’ and things float roughly 10’ above the ground.  Spells function normally, but ranged attacks have a 75% chance of missing and melee attacks have a 50% chance of missing.  To move must have a surface to push off from.  On the third round, the sphere is increased to 60’ and things turn upside down and all targets float to the “top” of the sphere and land and can move and fight as normal (but suffer -2 for being disorientated).


There is no saving throw to avoid this effect.  The Dubstep Wizard is immune to the gravity changes.  This effect lasts until the Dubstep Wizard Drops the Base. If the third result has occurred when the Dubstep Wizard performs The Drop, targets fall from 60’ and suffer falling damage (5d6).

5 Shuffling Feet The Dubstep Wizard gets caught in the flow of the beat and they begin to dance around in circles, their feet moving as if they are being repulsed by magnets.  As the Dubstep Wizard moves, they start to pop and lock, making it harder to hit (granting +2 to AC).  On the second round, the movement becomes faster and even more fluid and unpredictable.  The Dubstep Wizard gains +2 to AC and even if an attack successfully lands, melee attacks have a 20% chance to miss and ranged attacks have a 35% chance to miss.  On the third round, percentage is increased to 35% for melee attacks and 50% for ranged attacks.


This effect lasts for 1d4 rounds after the Dubstep Wizard performs The Drop.

6 Doing the Robot The Dubstep Wizard begins making strange almost computerized sounding noises and begins to pop and lock.  Their skin takes on a metallic sheen and they ignore 1 point of damage from physical attacks.  On the second round, the Dubstep Wizard’s skin becomes metal and they ignore 2 points of damage from all sources.  On the third round, the Dubstep Wizard gains Resistance (half damage) from all sources.


This lasts for a number of rounds equal to the Dubstep Wizard’s level after they perform The Drop.

7 Sonic Harm The intensity and fury of Dubstep permeates the beats of the Dubstep Wizard.  They channel that energy into one target.  The chosen target is blasted by the sonic energy, being thrown to the ground (prone) and suffering 1d6 damage (Constitution based save for half damage).  On the second round, the chosen target is lifted from the ground and torn up by sonic vibrations, suffering 1d6 damage per round for 1d4 rounds (Constitution based save for half damage).  On the third round, the Dubstep Wizard can choose a second target to be effected by Sonic Harm at the second round effect (Constitution based save for half damage).  If there are no other targets, the first target is blasted with an additional 1d6 damage (Constitution based save for half damage).


When the Dubstep Wizard performs The Drop, affected targets suffer an additional 1d6 damage.

8 Physical Warping The powers of Dubstep physically alter those who listen.  Targets in a 30’ radius must succeed a Constitution based save to avoid these effects (this is each round of chanting).  On the first round the fingers of the effected begin to stretch in time with the pulsing beat, making it difficult to hold items or perform delicate tasks.  Attacks suffer -2 and doing things like pick pocketing or picking a lock are impossible.  On the second round the eyes of the affected begin shifting up and down, side to side, and blinking alternatively with the beat.  This is very distracting, causing all targets to suffer -4 (or Disadvantage) to all notice or spot checks and -4 to attacks.  On the third round the skin covers the eyes and mouth of the affected targets.  Attacks are hindered (with -4 or Disadvantage) and they cannot shout warnings or cast spells.


This effect lasts 1d4 rounds after the Dubstep Wizard performs The Drop.


The Drop

The energies of Dubstep are not to be trifled with… their very intensity ensnares the senses, hiccups time, and warps the physical world.  When a Dubstep Wizard releases the energies of Dubstep to cast their spell, this is called The Drop.


When the Dubstep Wizard performs The Drop, a deep baseline fills the ears of all in the affected area, the spell goes off per normal rules and the Dubstep Wizard rolls on the chart below.



The Drop Table
Roll 1d6 Name Effect
1 Ground Break The ground underneath the Dubstep Wizard in a 30’ becomes superheated and cracks, breaks, and becomes rumble.  Dust flies all around, covering all in the area.  Movement in the area is reduced by half.
2 Sonic Scream The Dubstep Wizard lets out a reverberating, high pitched shriek, their eyes turn black and blood leaks from their nose.  Targets in a 30’ radius must make a Constitution based save or be deafened for 1d4 rounds.
3 Reality Splinter The Dubstep Wizard moves their hands around in time with the beat.  The moment The Drop occurs the Dubstep Wizard opens their hands in time with the base, as though they are dropping a microphone.  Reality shatters as though it is made of glass.  All in a 60’ area are absorbed in darkness and have visions of falling through nothingness.  The effect lasts for 1 round (these figures disappear from combat).  On the next round all return, but are in different locations than when they started.  All must roll a Wisdom based save or be disorientated, suffering -2 to all rolls until they make a successful save.
4 Epicness The Dubstep Wizard is not to be trifled with.  They impress all those around them, in spite of themselves.  The Dubstep Wizard gains +4 (or Advantage) to one roll in the next 24 hours.  The Dubstep Wizard can only have one level of epicness saved.  If they have not used the roll and this effect is rolled again, it does not stack.
5 Aweness The Dubstep Wizard glows with a bright electric halo, inspiring awe in all those around him.  The Dubstep Wizard gains +4 to Charisma and enemies must make a Wisdom based save to attack them (a GM can rule that powerful/epic enemies are immune to this effect).  This effect lasts for 1 hour.
6 Dance-o-matic Like Mimicry, the fevered intensity of Dubstep is too much for those in a 60’ area.  When the Dubstep Wizard performs the Drop, a flash mob is created.  All targets begin to dance (-2 Wisdom based save to resist) and move about in epic, crazed unison (including the Dubstep Wizard as the lead- they must participate).


This lasts for 1d4 minutes.  At the end targets in the area must succeed a Constitution based save or become fatigued.

7 Energize The Dubstep Wizard invigorates all allies in the affected Dubstep Casting radius with vigor.  Allies in the area regain 1d4/every odd Dubstep Wizard level in Hit Points.  Additionally, allies roll a 1d6.  If the result is even, they gain +4 (Advantage) on their next roll.
8 Mutation The crazy beats of Dubstep have taken a toll on the Dubstep Wizard.  They must succeed on a Constitution based save or gain a mutation (choose from favorite source).  If the save succeeds the Dubstep Wizard is fatigued.