Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Hoard of the Rings

4 donuts
Here's an idea that popped into my head and won't exit until I've written it down, so lucky for you.


So instead of a Cursed Shield, AC10, it's a Cursed Ring, AC10. Instead of a Sword +1/+2 vs Lycanthropes, it's a ring that provides the same bonus to all of the character's attacks.

You may want to keep some fun unique items, like the Deck of Horrible Things, as they are, as well as anything that really doesn't work as a ring. On the other hand -- ha ha -- it might be fun to have woefully inappropriate items shoved into a ring; a ring that is somehow a treasure map could be interesting. Perhaps the map is literally carved into the ring -- only visible in fire perhaps, what a clever idea I've just had -- or perhaps the map can be seen in the mind's eye of the wearer, like a cyberpunk HUD. Maybe potions are one-use rings, but I quite like potions, so probably not. I'd love to see what a Folding Boat would be like as a ring.

Most games have a limit of two rings per character, one per hand. When all magic items are rings, that puts a nice hard limit on magic item proliferation.

Saturday, May 20, 2023

"White Dwarf Is Just a Warhammer Catalogue"

This is from #114, published in 1989, well into the Warhammer era.

Genestealers on the cover, 40K and Space Hulk getting a big push inside, a competition to win one of 100 copies of the brand new Epic-scale Space Marine game, and...

AD&D2 for sale from Mail Order.

Yes, they are probably just selling off unsold inventory from before the big switchover, but still.

(And also, the PHB for £12? WFRP for £10? Bargain!)

Monday, May 15, 2023

Dungeon23: 104-134

On to level three of #Dungeon23 ! And almost on time!

104. - Nothing but a wooden stool carved in the shape of a cobra.

105. A single ARISEN PRIEST sits, dejected, on a wooden stool carved in the shape of a cobra. The ARISEN PRIEST has lost his faith in the serpent cult and is quite depressed; if the player-characters find some way to fill the emptiness in his soul, he will reward them with his jewelled necklace, worth 800sp. The stool is heavier than it should be and has a hidden compartment containing 500sp; the ARISEN PRIEST has no idea it is there.

106. This appears to have been some sort of library, but all the shelves are empty.

107. A huge statue of a coiled serpent, made of a polished white stone. Offerings of flowers are laid at the foot of the statue. Not its literal foot. Because it's a snake.

108. A pair of HOLY SERPENT WARRIORS sit, meditating. These are not as chatty as the one in 113 and attack interlopers on sight.

109. An UNDYING HOLY PYTHON lounges -- if a giant snake can do such a thing -- on a vast pile of fancy cushions.
UNDYING HOLY PYTHON, grumpy and hungry: Armour 12, Move 90', 5 Hit Dice, 18hp, bite 1d4 + constriction, Morale 8.
If the bite hits, the slithering saint wraps around the target and squeezes for 2d4 automatic damage that Round and every Round thereafter.

110. The doors are reinforced and locked, and each has a little mechanical keypad -- advanced serpent-person engineering! -- instead of a traditional lock. The keypad has 12 buttons, each a character from the script of the ancient serpent-person empire, and while something like Comprehend Languages will make the characters legible, the code remains obscure. The correct sequence is 11, 2, 9, 9, 3; all of the HOLY SERPENT WARRIORS know the code, as does the HUGE UNDYING HOLY PYTHON in room 130.
Inside is the treasure of the serpents™, 11 elaborate carved chests. Ten contain 1000sp each, while the last contains four gems worth 10sp each, three worth 50sp each, two worth 100sp each, and four worth 500sp each. All of the treasure chests are trapped to spray cobra venom when opened; save versus Poison or die in 1d6 Rounds. The HOLY SERPENT WARRIORS are immune, of course.

111. An empty but tidy room. A faint moaning can be heard from the top-right door.

112. A pair of ARISEN TEMPLE GUARDIANS -- 8 in total -- flank each exit from this room, waiting in silence. They attack anyone that steps off the stairs into the chamber, returning to their positions as soon as intruders are defeated or otherwise leave the room.

113. A single HOLY SERPENT WARRIOR sits, cross-legged, meditating, in the centre of the room. It will engage intruders in conversation, asking where the explorers have come from, what their plans are, and so on. If the player-characters say anything along the lines of looting the complex, the HOLY SERPENT WARRIOR will attack at the close of the conversation; otherwise it will attack on a 1d6 roll of 4+.

114. A mural on the wall shows a world map that is somewhat similar to the campaign world, although some of the features are "new", different, or missing. In the location of this very dungeon there is a hidden button that opens the secret door.

115. A single HOLY SERPENT WARRIOR lurks here.

116. A fist-sized amethyst worth 410sp is set in the floor. Any attempt to remove it triggers the ceiling to drop, causing 2d6 damage to anyone in the room that fails a save versus Paralysation. The ceiling then takes 30 seconds to retract and reset, during which time it may be possible to prise the gem from its socket. Maybe.

117. Another pair of belligerent HOLY SERPENT WARRIORS contemplate the mysteries of the cosmos/attack [delete as appropriate].

118. Yet another pair of HOLY SERPENT WARRIORS wait for enlightenment or murder, whichever comes first.

119. Ancient serpent-person graffiti says "Hiss woz 'ere".

120. Four statues, recognisable from 02 and 71, except these are much more snake than human, and only C, E, T, and X are present. The statues are also enchanted and spring to attack any non-serpent that enters the room, just like GARGOYLES would. C carries a halberd and E wields a spear. T is carrying a +1 khopesh, while X carries a bow and 10 +1 arrows. Player characters using the arrows or the sword must save versus Magical Device before they can attack any reptilian creature.

121. This stained glass window shows a city of towers, each topped with a serpent head, under a red sky.

122. A creature like an enormous python but with arms like those of a human woman is suspended, unconscious, in a shaft of pale green light. The light is solid and keeps the snake-woman in stasis until the Stars Are Right or something like that. The HOLY SERPENT WARRIORS on this level will be quite vigorous in their resistance to any attempts to dispel or otherwise interfere with the shaft or the snake-woman inside.

123. An UNDYING HOLY PYTHON nests here. It has gone a bit senile and can't tell the difference between serpent-people and ape-people.

124. A decorative pool about 5' deep and filled, not with water, but a writhing mass of snakes (11 PIT VIPERS, plus a tangle of harmless wiggly fellows). Once every two Turns, roll 1d6; on a 1, an ARISEN PRIEST enters to bless the pool or, once per day, with a copper bucket from which chunks of meat are tossed into the pit. The floor of the pit is laid with gold leaf, which is worth 370sp if recovered.

125. 9 ARISEN TEMPLE GUARDIANS kneel in this room, with a single ARISEN PRIEST standing before them in silent contemplation. It takes the GUARDIANS one Round to stand -- they have ancient, creaky knees -- and prepare themselves for battle.

126. The corpse of a DIMENSIONAL FISHER pokes through the ceiling here. DIMENSIONAL FISHERS are so still when alive that it's difficult to tell that this one is dead.

127. A glowing blue circle is a two-way teleport to a secret room in the cellar of a waterfront tavern -- the Dog and Bastard -- in a human settlement somewhere in the campaign world. This is where the ARISEN PRIEST in 124 gets the meat to feed the snakes.

128. This stained glass window shows a HOLY SERPENT WARRIOR standing atop a pile of dead ape-like humanoids.

129. An exact copy of the chapel at location 6, except in much better repair, with intact pews and a complete mosaic, this one worth 1000sp if removed. The carving on the south wall is almost identical too, except the figure's head and arms are snakes. The secret door operates in the same way, except that it sprays everyone within 5' with snake venom as it turns; save versus Breath Weapon to avoid the spray, and save versus Poison if splashed. A failed Poison save results in a horrible death in 1d6 Turns as the body is paralysed bit by bit, ending with the heart.

130. Murals depict a forest with snakes of many colours and sizes entwined in the tree branches. The pillars are carved and decorated to look like tree trunks. Curled around the pillars in the centre of the room is an EVEN MORE HUGE UNDYING HOLY PYTHON; it is hundreds of years old and never stopped growing. A gem sparkles in its forehead.
EVEN MORE HUGE UNDYING HOLY PYTHON, grumpy and hungry: Armour 16, Move 180', 8 Hit Dice, 56hp, bite 1d4 + constriction, Morale 8.
If the bite hits, the slithering saint wraps around the target and squeezes for 2d4 automatic damage that Round and every Round thereafter. The EMHUHP casts spells as a 5th level cleric. Zap!
The gem is a huge fire opal, worth 2902sp.

131. Each of the doorways is a large carved serpent head. There is a faint hissing in the room, but no source can be found.

132. Stained glass windows -- similar in design to the one in 128 -- let in natural daylight, which is a bit odd as we are deep underground at this point. The windows are enchanted and are teleporting actual light from the surface; each is worth 800sp, is an Oversized item, and is difficult to remove intact, requiring a successful Tinkering roll. On a failure, the window breaks, everyone in the room is blasted with direct sunlight -- save versus Breath Weapon or be blinded for a Turn -- and the character closest to the window is teleported to a random, sunlit, location in the game world, also taking 1d6 damage from broken glass.

133. On an altar is a 2' statue of a coiled serpent, worth 80sp, but priceless to the worshippers of the serpent cult. It counts as a holy symbol.

134. The mechanism from 43 passes through here on the way to XX. This seems to be some sort of maintenance room for the gubbins. A small box contains tools and vials of oil, all dusty with age and disuse.

Friday, May 12, 2023

Quids In

All Lamentations of the Flame Princess pdfs are being sold for the bargain price of One English Pound until the 16th!

That includes my books, so if you're reading this and you haven't bought my stuff yet, then now's a great time.

And thank you!

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Secrets of the Monolith

Oh dear.

I’ve been remiss in getting this up on the blog. We played back in January and it’s only because Stuart has written about the game that I remembered at all!

Cast your minds back to January 2023...

When pondering what our next Stargrave mission should be, Stuart mentioned that he had a Necron Monolith and that it would make for a good centrepiece for the Salvage Crew scenario. Salvage Crew is fine but it feels a bit underdeveloped and a waste of a model as impressive as the Monolith, so I went away and came up with something a bit punchier that used the original scenario as a kernel.

I dropped the crashed ship’s piddly blaster and replaced it with an unending stream of Necron warriors, themselves a simple adaptation of the Stargrave Sentrabot. I was a bit concerned that this would be too deadly a change, and in play the robots did prove to be quite dangerous, but overall the balance seemed about right.

Although the wandering Ryakan from the original mission did make an appearance in our playtest I didn’t implement wandering monsters, which would probably have made everything too unwieldy, with players spending more time maintaining the NPCs than their own crews!

I also beefed up the central treasure to offer an incentive to investigate the Monolith. I chose the Alien Artefact loot table to tie in with the theme of ancient alien secrets, and because the possible entries are different and more interesting than the standard loot, waving a further carrot in front of the loot-hungry crews.

It all worked quite well and I’ve used the notes we made to polish the scenario; you can get it here. Please have a go and let me know how you get on!

Monday, May 01, 2023

Cunning Linguists

If you can understand Polish and Spanish -- I can't -- you may find these two recent reviews of my books interesting:

If, after watching those, you want to buy the books, you can find them in print here (EU) and here (US; Magic Eater isn't there yet), and in pdf here.

Wednesday, April 19, 2023


These little gits infest level 2 of my #Dungeon23 and probably some of level 3 too.

Friday, April 14, 2023

Dungeon23: 083-103

#Dungeon23 rumbles on!

This part of the complex is the home of a clan of FERAL DWARFS. These are your standard fantasy dwarfs, except each carries a pair of serrated daggers instead of the traditional battle axe or warhammer, and they look and smell like they've been sleeping in a bin. Feral they may be but they retain their cousins' aptitude for architecture and are aware of all the secret doors in their area.

The FERAL DWARFS hate the *ROBES because the *ROBES keep abducting them and feeding them to the creature in location 13.

If your campaign has traditional fantasy dwarfs then they may know about their feral cousins, or the existence of the wretches may come as a complete surprise. Either way, your dwarfs are disgusted by them.

WURRLAN, the FERAL DWARF BOSS, roams between locations 87, 88, 92, and 95. He has a 25% chance of appearing in any one of those locations. Any FERAL DWARFS in the same location use his Morale score instead of their own.

WURRLAN, keeping the troops in order: Armour 14 (as leather), Move 60', 3 Hit Dice, 11hp, double daggers 1d4/1d4, Morale 10.
WURRLAN carries a glowing green potion; if he drinks it, he turns into a huge glowing muscular brute for 1d12 Turns. Use the statistics for a hill giant.

83. The entire north wall is taken up with elaborate abstract carvings, decorated with precious metals. The gilding is worth 500sp in raw materials but it is difficult to remove and the task is lengthy. Each 5' wall section takes 2d6 hours and provides a maximum of 100sp of foil; roll 1d100 to see how much is recovered.

84. Carvings similar to those in 83 once existed here, but not only has the gilding been removed but the carvings have been damaged by some sort of blade.

85. This was once a grand hall but the floor is uneven where a mosaic has been torn up and destroyed, and gruesome mobiles made out of bones hang from cords criss-crossing the room at a height of about 6'. The bones clack and tinkle gently in the breeze. Characters larger than a dwarf or halfling moving through the room at more than half speed disturb the mobiles, and the FERAL DWARFS in location 88 come to investigate.

86. It seems that the FERAL DWARFS have been using this room as a toilet.

87. Six FERAL DWARFS hang around in here, being disgusting. There are also a couple of empty chests; these are intended for the trap in 90.

88. A vaguely organised unit of eight FERAL DWARF warriors lives in this room, watching over both the Bluestone Door to the south, and the entrance hall to the north.

89. An altar, about 8' by 4' by 4', made of black stone, struck through with veins of some unknown mineral; the veins shift along the spectrum from red to violet and back again, taking about a minute for each pass. Playing music in the room causes the colours to shift in time with the tune, but the effect does not seem to be magical.

90. A chest sits against the eastern wall. There are faint brownish stains across the floor and a few splinters of wood scattered about. If the chest is opened, the ceiling falls, crushing the chest and anyone in the room that fails a save versus Breath Weapon. The ceiling then takes about a minute to retract, making a terrible grinding noise as it goes, then the FERAL DWARFS from room 88 come to replace the chest and reset the trigger mechanism.
Beneath the chest is a hidden floor panel concealing a genuine chest containing 1000sp. The FERAL DWARFS have no idea it is there.

91. The secret door is locked and the key is held by the FERAL DWARF LEADER in 100. Inside the room is an enormoous python, painted with strange symbols and with a blue gem set in its forehead. It is immortal and has been locked in the room for decades; the FERAL DWARFS have forgotten where it came from but do remember that it's dangerous.

UNDYING HOLY PYTHON, grumpy and hungry: Armour 12, Move 90', 5 Hit Dice, 18hp, bite 1d4 + constriction, Morale 8.
If the bite hits, the slithering saint wraps around the target and squeezes for 2d4 automatic damage that Round and every Round thereafter.
The gem is an aquamarine worth 50sp, and the snake has a Bluestone Key in its belly, if anyone cares to look.

92. Eight FERAL DWARFS occupy this stone landing, spitting -- and worse -- over the edge. The wooden stairs down to XX look flimsy and rickety but are in fact quite firm. The FERAL DWARFS from room 95 respond to any disturbances here.

93. The floor and walls are blotched with sooty marks as if a sequence of fireballs have gone off in here. Which is probably what happened.

94. Rough images of skulls have been daubed across the floor and walls -- although no higher than 5' -- in what seems to be a mixture of bodily excretions and fluids. Anyone looking for logic or a pattern will see none, but will notice that there is a greater concentration of skulls in the north-east corner.

95. Seven FERAL DWARFS marinade in their own stench here, ready to respond to disturbances in 92 or 100.

96. A fortified room with arrow slits looking out over the chasm.

97. Also a fortified room with arrow slits looking out over the chasm.

98. The spiral staircase down to XX is enclosed in a steel cage; the door is unlocked. The third step is trapped, turning the staircase into a slide; characters on the stairs should save versus Paralysation or tumble into location XX in a discombobulated state, automatically surprised by the denizens there. Anyone rolling a 1 also takes 1d6 damage.

99. ROBES stand guard here, watching the Bluestone Door to the north, although nothing has ever come from that direction in all their time guarding it.

100. The corpulent, pale, and worst of all, naked, FERAL DWARF LEADER lounges on a pile of coins -- 500sp and 600gp -- in the centre of the room, attended by 11 FERAL DWARFS. A faded tapestry conceals the secret door to 101.

YURK BLORG, the biggest beard, and the dirtiest: Armour 16 (thick folds of flab, as chain), Move 60', 7 Hit Dice, 25hp, double daggers 1d4+1/1d4+1, Morale 9.

If necessary, BLORG can call on more FERAL DWARFS from location 95.

101. The FERAL DWARF treasury. 4000pp and a locked metal box containing nine gems:
Heamatite, worth 500sp.
Shaped coral, worth 10sp.
A blue diamond, worth 500sp.
An emerald, worth 100sp.
A spectacular agate geode, worth 500sp.
A bloodstone, worth 10sp.
A black diamond, worth 500sp.
Shaped feldspar, worth 10sp.
A carnelian, worth 500sp.
This last is one of the jewels from the CROWN OF ETLUZ PEQZUS.

102. Also also a fortified room with arrow slits looking out over the chasm.

103. Also also also a fortified room, but with no arrow slits looking out over the chasm. A flagstone in the south-east corner conceals a bag containing 600sp; the FERAL DWARF BOSS hid it there and didn't tell anyone.

Sunday, April 02, 2023

Growing In Unexpected Places

Perhaps you read this article in The New Yorker, googled "Psychic Doomsday Cultists Semi-Accidentally Summoned an Alien Machine That Is Eating the World and Shitting Out a New One!", and were brought here.

Welcome! That's the tagline for my role-playing adventure The Seed, published in 2021 by Games Omnivorous. Alas, at the time of writing it is out of print, but you can get it in pdf here.

I have other rpg books you can buy in pdf here and in print here and here. None of those have been featured in The New Yorker. Yet.

Friday, March 24, 2023


DIMENSIONAL FISHER, fishing for condiments: Armour 14 (as leather), Move 0’ (at least in our reality), 6 Hit Dice, 27hp, spiky leg (1d8) x3 plus grab, Morale 7, Number Appearing 1. Only half there, good at surprising, almost-instant kill.

The DIMENSIONAL FISHER is something like a crab or spider; it’s not clear because people have only ever seen the legs. If they are legs. The DIMENSIONAL FISHER lives in lower dimensions but hunts in ours, grabbing prey and pulling it into Dimension F -- not the actual name -- where the local conditions turn the victim into a tasty nutrient jelly, ready for eating. It manifests as a set of three fuzzy, indistinct let’s-call-them-legs, emerging from overhead, sometimes from an object or surface, sometimes from thin air!

The DIMENSIONAL FISHER makes three leg attacks and if all three hit a single target, it is grabbed; the next Round the victim is dragged to Dimension F, where they are killed by the hostile conditions.

The DIMENSIONAL FISHER is only half-present in our reality, so surprises victims on 1-3 on 1d6, and odd attack rolls always miss as the strikes pass through the creature. If the DIMENSIONAL FISHER is forced to make a save, it is unaffected on an odd roll, even if the result would be a failure. Generous Referees may allow weapons with phasing qualities to hit as normal.

Opponents can target the DIMENSIONAL FISHER in general or can attack the individual legs. Each limb has a quarter -- round up -- of the DIMENSIONAL FISHER’s total Hit Points; it is presumed that the body has the remaining quarter, but no one has seen that and lived so (shrugs). If one of the legs is crippled or severed, the DIMENSIONAL FISHER must make a Morale roll or retreats to Dimension F. If it stays, it can only grab immobile or unresisting prey with its remaining limb(s). The DIMENSIONAL FISHER’s legs can heal and even grow back, at a rate of 2 Hit Points per day, and once all three are at least at 50% of their total, the DIMENSIONAL FISHER can hunt lively prey once more.

DIMENSIONAL FISHERS ignore constructs and other unfleshy beings, and have a particular taste for halfling meat.