Thursday, January 19, 2017

We Played! And...

...the dragon scared her off...

Seriously, I tried to set up the whole Greenest (Newtown in the world of Daen Ral) dragon attack so that her characters would help defend the town.  They rode out like the devil himself was chasing them. So... I put a troop of goblins in their way to see if that might steer them back... but they engaged the goblins - outnumbered 3 to 1 (though, in fairness, they are all 3rd level)... aaaaand the goblins fell.

So they rode off wildly "West".


Gonna try The Lost Mine of Phandelver (somewhat modified, of course) - if they keep heading West... maybe they finally get home, who knows?

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Just a quick note...

My daughter and I haven't played in far too long.  The plan is to set these events in motion as the party was just rescued (they think captured) by a group of Firbolgs. Their goal was just to get home - the giants will send them with a Blood Priest to Newtown, intending to pick up a caravan south to their home...

We'll see how that plays out. But I've got the beginning pretty well planned - or, rather, sandboxed - part of the east I've put together as a sandbox of its own (not done, but getting there).

I'm blogging about it here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Playing with Weather

I doubt this is at all realistic, and it's probalby too fiddly for most people, but here's a draft of a general weather chart that I'm considering using for the campaign.

Table: Random Weather
Wind Table
Cold Climate
Temperate Climate
Normal weather
Cold, calm
Normal for season
Hot, calm
Abnormal weather
Heat wave (01-30) or
cold snap (31-100),
1d8+12 on Temperature Table
Heat wave (01-50) or
cold snap (51-100)
1d8+12 on Temperature Table
Hot, windy
Inclement weather
Precipitation (snow)
Precipitation (normal for season)
Hot, windy
Thunderstorm, snowstorm
Powerful storm
Windstorm, blizzard, hurricane, tornado
* Roll d20 again if abnormal weather is indicated (14-19), the storm is a powerful storm as listed below, if a second 20 is rolled, the storm is a “storm of the century” table listed below.

Wind Table
Temperature Table***
Precipitation Table****
No Wind 0 mph
10 degree change
Very dry, cloudless
Light Wind 0-10 mph
5 degree change
Dry, clouds
Moderate Wind 11-20 mph
No change
Dry, very cloudy
Variable Winds**
5 degree change
Partly cloudy, brief drizzle
High Winds 20-50 mph
10 degree change
Rain, 2d4 hours, overcast
Severe Wind 50-70 mph
15 degree change
Heavy Rain, 3d4 hours
Dangerous Wind 70-90 mph
20 degree change
Soaking Rain, 2d6 hours, overcast
Deadly Wind 90-120 mph
25 degree change
Hard Rain, 3d8 hours, thick cloud cover
Hurricane Winds 120-150 mph
30 degree change
Hard Rain, 2d12 hours including 1 hour of hail, sun-blocking clouds
Tornado Winds 150-200 mph
40 degree change
Hard Rain, 6d4 hours, flooding, sun-blocking clouds
Unnatural Winds 200+ mph
50 degree change
Hard rain, 24 hours, flooding, extreme lightning, sun-blocking clouds
** Variable Winds: Winds blowing from 10-40 (1d4x10) mph with gusts 50-90 mph (1d4+4x10). Check for gusts any time something is attempted that might be adversely affected by winds
*** Temperature changes are based on the previous day’s temperatures. Unless otherwise directed, a 50% chance of raising and 50% chance of lowering temperatures.
**** In temperate climates, use the table as is. In cold climates, consider rain to be snow unless a heatwave is indicated. In desert climates, use cloud cover only unless 20, powerful storm has been rolled on the weather table, then include the rain as well.

Storm of the Century
Cold Climate*****
Temperate Climate
Temp drop 30 degrees, 6d8 inches of snow lasting 1d4+3 days
Hurricane/Tornado cluster (2d4 tornadoes touch down)3d6+12 inches of rain over 24 hour period, massive flooding
Snow on the Sand an impossible combination of events occurs, causing 1d4 inches of snow per hour to fall in the region, temperature drops to 30 degrees during the day and -5 degrees at night. Snow falls for 1d4+3 hours and melts at a rate of 1” per hour once the snow stops. Unprotected creatures take 1d4 hp damage per turn.
Temp drop 30 degrees, 2d12+12 inches of snow lasting 1d6 days
1d8+4 inches of rain falls for 1d12+12 hours, flooding, cluster lightning
Downpour 1d4+4 inches of rain falls in a 6 hour period causing massive flooding.
Temp drop 40 degrees, 4d6 inches of snow lasting 1d4 days
Hail the size of grapefruits falls for 10d6 minutes (each does 1d6 damage), +1d4+8 inches of rain over 12 hour period, flooding
Duststorm and rain 100+ mph winds drive a massive dust storm for 1d4 hours ahead of a huge storm front, which will bring 1d4 inches of rain in 2 hours.
Temp drop 40 degrees, 2d6+24 inches of snow lasting 1d6+5 days
Golf ball sized hail for 10d4 minutes (1 point of damage each), +12d6 inches of rain over 20 hour period, cluster lightning
Black Blizzard dust storm so thick that it blocks out the sun for 2d12 hours, any living creature caught in a Black Blizzard has a 1d10% cumulative chance per hour of dying due to exposure
***** In a cold climate storm of the century, creatures left exposed to the elements will take 1-4hp damage per hour (creatures born/bred in cold climate get a save, half damage if failed, no damage on successful save)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Journey to Newtown: Events

Events vs. Encounters
I know that events sometimes get knocked for being "railroady" or whatever. I disagree - mostly because I believe that you need a little story in your sandbox - or a lot of sandbox in your story - or...well, whatever. I play how I enjoy playing.

All that being said, Events are things that the DM places before the party regardless of where they are. Some - like changes in the weather - really don't matter all that much (wouldn't be that much different from rolling it randomly, really) but some are just encounters I want to make sure the PCs have - NPCs I want to make sure they meet (even if they turn down the offer of the NPC) or some other encounter I want to make sure is something more than just random (the Dragonmen below). 

Below are 7 events - three of them could just be background stuff - the wind, the clouds, the army marching - the other four can be put into the Random Encounter list if the DM so chooses - for me, they're encounters I want to place when I think the time is right - which players in my campaigns have been fine with (knowing that's something I do). Three of them are "story" introductions (the staff, the disks, the dragonmen), three are kind of atmospheric events (two literally so) and the raven encounter is for color - and a possible clue for the PCs if they are patient...

Journey to Newtown

Event 1: Search for the Staff
The underbrush rustles and a dozen or so dark figures push out onto the path before you. Green and black goblin faces glare at you. A grossly fat figure on a far-to-small pony rides behind the humanoids.

The rider looks at you and yells: “For the queen, get the staff!” and rides off as the goblins close in on the party…

Fewmaster Tenede (Goblin Lord). AL LE; MV 12.; hp 16; HD 3; #AT 1; Dmg 1- 6; can leap up to 30.

13 Goblins AL LE; MV 9.; hp 2, 3x3, 5, 3x6, 7,9; AC 5; HD 1+1; #AT 1; Dmg 1-8

Tenede has no interest in engaging the party. He expects his troops to overwhelm the party – but he also won’t take any chances. He gallops off to the Dragon raider camp.

The Goblins fight fiercely until they lose 5 or more members after which they check morale at a -2 penalty. Any Goblins captured only know that the Fewmaster is searching for a staff with a blue gem head.

(NOTE - I've always loved the title "Fewmaster" - I'll be using it more...)

Event 2: Meeting the Seer of Tirathan
Ahead the party hears chanting in a strange language (an archaic version of the language of the Holy Empire of the West). If anyone can translate they hear:

“The Light of Heaven shines in the darkness
And the darkness flees
And the darkness cannot rise.
The Light of Heaven reveals the truth
To all who will listen
To all who will hear
Come, Lightbringer, Come Lightbearer,
Come and shine upon the world
That all might see
And all believe.”

The chanter is a Grey Monk named Cadifar, who is accompanied by a stoic and watchful Paladin of the Rose Temple named Gadron. Cadifar is called the Seer of Tirathan. Cadifar has had a vision of darkness spreading all across the land and has been praying and questing for He Who Is All Radiance to reveal a way to stop the spread of darkness and evil. Cadifar, bearing a staff with a blue crystal head, feels led to find the Disks of the Prophetess. He has no idea where they might be, though his prayers and meditations have led him to this region (the last temple where the Prophetess was an oracle was a place called Zatarath, but the city seems to have disappeared from the world – Cadifar seeks the ruins).

Cadifar will gladly join the party, if they will aid him in his quest. Gadron will be reluctant to trust these strangers, but will eventually concede that there is strength in numbers. If Cadifar joins the party, but they are unwilling (or unable) to help him in his quest, he will not hesitate to leave them and search for the Discs of the Prophetess himself.

Event 3: Cold North Winds
One morning, chosen at random, the north wind turns very cold. Rangers, druids and anyone with a special sense of the weather will note that storms are coming soon.

Event 4: Thurnderclouds
The two days after the wind turns cold, black and roiling thunderclouds roll in from the west, covering the whole land.

Event 5: The Dragonmen
About 300 feet ahead, dark forms crowd the road or path or clearing.  They wear heavy cloaks which hide their faces and forms. One of the figures points in the direction of the PCs and the troop of hooded figures moves quickly toward the party.

These are 8 Dragonmen who are unaware of the party (unless the party has made themselves obvious), but are moving in their direction nevertheless. They will fight the PCs to the death if engaged.

1 Champion Ba’al Dragonman

10 Ba’al Dragonmen

Event 6: Raven
The party encounters a raven who eyes them warily for just a moment and then begins cawing loudly, watching the party intently. If the party does not shoo away the raven, there is a 50% chance per PC that the cawing will begin to sound like words. Someone will hear “seek” then someone else “dark one” then the word “bright” and finally the word “cave.” The raven will then fly off toward the Crystalline Cave

Event 7: The Invasion of the Dragonarmies
This event begins when Newtown is attacked and continues throughout the campaign. The dragonarmies are centered on the Dragoncamp (see area). Every hour, an adjoining hex is occupied by the dragonarmy. If the hex is an encounter area which might resist the occupation, roll d12, re-rolling and adding to any 12s rolled – thus, if a twelve is rolled, roll again and add that number, if that is also a twelve, re-roll and add that number – if a 12 and 6 are rolled, the number is 18, if a 12 then a 12 then a 4 is rolled, the number is 28. The number rolled is the number of hours it takes for the Dragonarmy to subdue the hex (assuming no counter action by the PCs). Cities and larger towns will roll 3d12 for their resistance time, with the same technique used (except Newtown, which is the focus of the initial invasion). Use logic in the direction of the dragonarmies, as well as which encounter areas might or might not resist.

Generally, the dragonarmy will be pushing toward Briarwood and the Great Elk Swamp, but will also kind of push the party (as general divination magic will reveal to the Dragonarmy leadership what general direction the Blue Crystal Staff is found, though not its exact location).

Any time the party is in an already captured/occupied area, they will see the Dragonarmy moving through the area and witness firsthand the depredations of the Draconians, Goblins and Mercenaries employed by the Cult of the Dragon.

A few areas will not be invaded: Briarwood is extremely treacherous so the dragonarmy will choose to go around this region for the time being. In addition, the Heartwood is slowly being corrupted by an agent of the Cult of the Dragon, so the armies will not enter that region, either.

When the Dragonarmies reach the borders of the Petty Kingdoms of the Highlands, they will stop (for the time being), claiming victory.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


Found this image online (ebay auction, I think)
I have all of these (the first 50+, actually) that
I'll draw from...
I've got 20 Dungeon Magazine adventures formatted and partially edited for the Highlands.... I have to finish editing them and co-ordinate things now - so that I can sandbox them.

Dungeon Magazine provides a pretty decent opportunity to piece together mini dungeons, villages, npcs... Lots of chaff, of course, but there's enough raw material there to build out an interesting setting by "filing the serial numbers off."

I've got tons of classic and non-classic modules that I can find some locations for as well... Filling out a whole world (or several corners of a world...)

The first "episodes" of what might be the Tyranny of Dragonlance Campaign is 60 pages including the maps of Newtown and the raider camp. Most of those pages are filled with events and random encounters beginning with the party's entrance to the city ("The Festival of Lucor") to the attack on the city - with the missions from Hoard available over the first 12 hours or so of the attack and fire - with "Hot Day at L'Trel" events and encounters used in the day or two after the attack (and during, as appropriate).

One of the options for the party is joining the Newtown Militia. If they do so, they can more readily be sent on missions but I won't force it. If they want to derail the "story" so be it. There's plenty to do...

The dragonarmies (adapted from the DL series) will be marching on the Highlands, so the party will have plenty of opportunities to interact with the Cult of the Dragon and uncover their plans.  They might not care about what the Cult is up to... but their machinations are going on in the background.

Sketch out a timeline for the Cult's activities if the party doesn't intervene - this will allow some intersection points as the party decides what they want to do... Obviously, the actions of the party will change things (as it should be) but this will give me a general timeline...

Friday, February 5, 2016

Greenest In Flames and the Inn of the Last Home and...

Because of the nature of the campaign, the PCs begin in the small city of Newtown. Grennest in Flames from the Hoard of the Dragon Queen is combined with the Dungeon Magazine adventure "A Hot Day in L'Trel".

The map for Newtown is L'Trel, changed to in inland city on a river, rather than a coastal city.

Keep much of the background of L'Trel, but twist it to fit the new scenario.The wizard with the alchemical liquid in a storage tank explodes when the attacking dragonarmy ignites it, creating an explosion of far greater magnitude than the invaders expected - but still contributing to the chaos of the attack which is designed to gain treasure for the queen and to kidnap Leosin Erlanthar (this kidnapping may or may not happen off stage).

Finally, I added the three families from Specularum in "The Veiled Society" (B6), the Radu family and the Veiled Society being members of the Dragon Cult.

From Hoard:
Keep the first section pretty much intact - add the keep to the L'Trel Map - governor Nighthill - change to Petty King Drummond ard Gallien (called "The False King" by his detractors).
Missions: the "keep oriented" missions (Old Tunnel, Sally Port, Dragon Attack, Prisoners) can be more or less used as is. The "Save the Mill" motivation needs to be changed (since the whole city is on fire at this point) - maybe a peek at a Draconian and they are sent to investigate what this new creature is... or prisoners are being tormented or executed in a square in front of the mill - regardless, the desire is to lure the PCs to the mill - and the location must be close to the Keep.
 "Sanctuary" can be at any of the temples (which are changed in this campaign to temples which venerate saints).

From L'Trel:
Use the events in "Confusion and Catastrophe" as random encounters, keep most of the locations. Add locations from Hoard. Add "Inn of the Last Home" from DL1.

Newtown - modified map of  L'Trel
From DL1:
Begin with the events (up to the march of the dragonarmies, perahps). Introduce Goldmoon (name change) as an NPC. Side quest to the ruins of Xak Tsaroth to retrieve the Discs of Mishakal, a "book" that gives information about dragons and immortals in the realms. Use some of the locations to fill out the wilderness area. Don't introduce Draconians until after they are sprung on the PCs in the city somehow - though the Fewmaster Toede encounter can be inserted even on the PCs journey toward Newtown.

Dwarven mine/outpost which is the source of the oily substance (Dwarves of Warka, Dungeon #16 - remove the electrum dragons and replace with a pool of earthsblood - a tie in with I12, Egg of the Phoenix if desired- I'll be placing Empyrea - with a different name - to the West of the Highlands - there's a potential link to the slavers in I12, too - though it's more of a red herring).

Long Term Possibilities:
Slavers begin plying their trade in Newtown within days. Can tie in a thread to the Slavers series (A0-4), with the slavers kindapping people to deliver to the dragonarmies.

One of the possible results from the attack and fire is plague. Could adapt "Goblin Fever" from Dungeon 46 for this.

Random Encounters:
In Newtown - merge Hoard and L'Trel
Wilderness - merge Hoard and DL1 and B10, Night's Dark Terror

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


The Cult of the Dragon has been around for centuries, proclaiming that one day the Dragons would return to Daen Ral. For much of this time, the Cult has focused on gathering what dragon bones they could find, using necromantic magic, fabricating undead dragons. Mephista, dean of the School of Nekros (Dungeon #27), is a Red Cult member working in this region.  Recently, the Cult has changed their tactics from raising up undead dragons to bringing the dragons back from their millenium long exile.

The Immortal being, the great five-headed dragon known in Daen Ral as Asharath, has been communicating through dreams with the head of the Cult, an Adabi Warrior Sorcerer named Severus Sufjan. Sufjan has been recording his dreams for years, divining out the mysteries of the dragon exile. As such, he believes he has pinpointed the locations of the Five Masks of Asharath. Each of these masks is a different color, each color representative of the five elements (dragons in Daen Ral are tied to elements, and their color designations indicate which element: earth, green; fire, red; air, blue; water, white, darkness, black - dragons tied to such elements have shades of the colors in their scales, but the primary link is in their breath weapons). Individually, the masks will allow the wearer to communicate with dragons of each element and, if a will check is successful, control one or more dragons of said color (though this is a dangerous proposition, see descripton of the Masks of Asharath for more information). When all five masks are brought together, they form the Helm of Asharath or the Helm of Dragons. Asharath has been subtling hinting that the Helm will give Sufjan control over all dragons. And that is an extent (again, fully described in the item section).

Sufjan has acquired the Red Mask of Asharath and has become the first of the Dragonspeakers. He has not used the mask to more than communicate (through the veil of the exile) with red dragons. Asharath has revealed another secret to Sufjan: some great stones found in the Endless Mountains are Draconic Cysts - eggs, of a type, which, if hatched properly, bring forth Dragonmen (Draconians). Sufjan has had agents scouring the mountains for more than a decade, and has been hatching a dragonarmy, which he will put on the march soon.

Through the power of the mask, and by virtue of his position within the Cult, Sufjan has forged a number of alliances and is beginning to put the Cult on the offensive, gathering resources (treasure, slaves, etc) for Her Majesty, the Great Queen, Asharath. As such, besides the cult (with such members as Mephista of the School of Nekros), Sufjan has forged an alliance with the King Under the Water (one of the Goblin Kings in the region) and a heritcal splinter group from the Holy Empire of the West known as the Red Monks. The Cult employs many mercenaries to act out its plans.

The Cult is organized in cells, ranging from a few members to very large groups, each with their own agendas and plans. Leaders in the Cult are known as the Indigo Brotherhood fot the shade of purple they are known to wear. While Cult members may wear special regalia denoting their position when enacting ceremonies and rituals, generally they are indistinguishable from the general public (though leaders are still likely to wear some item of indigo colored clothing).

Dragons are the Children of the Firstfallen, powerful, nearly immortal creatures who were used as weapons in the Famine Wars, to the great devastation of the Midlands. After the Wars, the dragons were sent into exile - the "good" dragons went voluntarily, to the Veil Lands, the "evil" dragons were forced into exile in the Outer Darkness. In addition, the instigators of the Famine Wars, Asharath, the Wrath Queen and Alhamuen, the Light King, have been exiled as well. The Light King rests in eternal slumber in the Veil Lands while Asharath seethes in rage in the Outer Darkness, scheming a way to gain her revenge. All that is known to the peoples of Daen Ral is that dragons may have once existed, but they are no longer to be found.