Thursday, May 31, 2012

Dollar Trees

Not the stores, the miniature wargaming product that you can find in the diorama section of hobby and craft stores.  Ten sturdy plastic trees for around twelve dollars ain't a bad price. Check out this little gem:

Safari LTD Trees Toob
Toob Trees - 10 hard plastic trees for ten bucks.
The scale on these things is great.  Here's a shot with some previously showcased figures:

Thumbs up in my book, but I might have to give them an ink wash to add in some shading.  Those fall foliage trees look too cartoonish.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

One Ring to Bind Him

Taking another day off to thank the wife for marrying me on this date 14 all too short years ago.  Back with a cheap and easy forest tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

D&D w/Porn Stars Challenge: Complete!

Zak S over at D&D With Porn Stars unilaterally designated today International Anklebiter Illustrator Day.  In honor of this fine day I commissioned the illustrious and illustratory Lenore (age 7) to produce two pieces of illustration, one a scene from our current Rules Compendium Campaign, and the other the requisite displacer beast.
Two characters (Pierce the fighter and Annie the Cleric) in an action
packed battle against two skeletons in a cave.  One of them is a
skeleton king wielding a magic scepter.

A displacer beast.  With a grape on its back.  That
wasn't in the original specs, but I didn't tell her
NOT to include a grape on its back, so what
can you do?
In the grand old tradition of editors everywhere, I forgot to pay her.  Then I tried to delay payment until the date of publishing, but she wouldn't have it.  I explained the cash flow problem inherent in small press publishing and in low readership blogging, but she wasn't swayed.  When I finally threatened to withhold payment until she issued an invoice on her corporate letterhead she called in her legal representation: that would be the firm of Mother, Mom, and Wife LLP.  The cost of fighting that legal battle was more than I could justify, so I grudgingly paid her, thanked her, and asked if she could do a few more pieces for me pro bono - while I'm out of money, I explained that I could get her a lot of free exposure.

She wasn't interested.  What a prima donna.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Anklebiter Sneak Peak

You haven't forgotten about International Anklebiter Illustrator Day, right?  It's tomorrow.  Zak S is hosting it, and I'm participating by submitting a couple of illustrations crayoned by my seven year old daughter.  She submitted the artwork on time, but it won't be published until tomorrow.  In the meantime, I've got an example of her work - she asked to paint up a figure for me, and here's the result:

From Pendraken'sARL18 - Arthurian Personalities

That's her first ever work in this medium.  She probably had half as much fun painting it as I had watching and helping her.  I'm tossing her all of the odd lots that I can spare, so now she's got her own collection started.  As I type this, she's busy working on a minotaur shaman.  It's getting hard to see the screen because my eyes are sweating...

Sunday, May 27, 2012

More Monsters

More Pendraken:
DN60 - Frost Troll
Didn't think I'd paint these guys blue - figured that shaggy trolls could be any color at all.  But I wanted to test a few figures with straight drybrushing instead of that dark wash.  They look a lot cleaner and brighter.  Still love the wash, but it's not the tool for every job as these results show. Love this sculpt, and not just because these guys look like Muppets to me.

DN4 - Rockmen
The two different color schemes don't really show up so hot in the smaller picture.  The guy on the left has bright yellow and red 'lava' in the cracks with black stones.  The guy on the right is made up of random colored rocks.  Click on the image to see closeup what I'm talking about.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Dungeon: Level 9 - Forge of the Fire Giants

The Pool of Fire has been commandeered by a larger than usual Fire Giant, named whatever you need him to be named, and his three young apprentices.  These black stone caverns have high vaulted ceilings that allow the giants and their phoenix pet plenty of room to stretch.  The floors are black cinders and ash lit by passing orange and blue curtains of flame.  The heat of this place does 1 hp damage per round to everyone unprotected by magic.  (A draught of water from the Pool of Water will negate this effect for one day.)
The Dungeon: Level 9 - Forge of the Fire Giants
The giant smith brought a pack of hellhounds with them from the pit of fire, and use them as sentries near the only entrances.  The giants have also built a retractable iron staircase that they can pull up behind them to keep out unwanted intruders.

The Pit of Fire itself is a low obsidian wall of black glass surrounding a roiling and boiling flaming pit filled with black burning pitch.  Things that crawl out of the pitch are generally crushed by the giants, who are easily irritated when the work of their forge is interrupted.  The walls of the Pit Room are covered by the various tools of a smith, and an enormous anvil rests on a stone slab in the center of the room.

The Fire Giants use their troll slaves to prepare food and generally keep the area tidy.  The trolls, protected by simple charmed rings dare not try to escape from the living hell that is Level 9.  They may beg adventurers for mercy, but won't keep their word - once out of this part of the dungeon they go back to their thieving, backbiting ways.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Let's take a look at Pendraken's Troll offerings.  I finally remembered to include a coin for scale - my apologies to those of you who don't use American currency as a point of reference.  I've also included one of Copplestone's not-Lord of the Rings human characters for scale as well - my apologies to those of you who don't use Copplestone as a point of reference.

FT1 - Trolls with clubs
So in this shot, you've got a couple of painted figures along with some that are just primed.  I did that to show the difference and not because I painted these after a long hard day and completely forgot about the other three clubbers.  Honest.

Closeup of painted clubber trolls.
With all that open flesh, I couldn't resist having fun with the blue waddle warpaint.  Hence the Pict in the Pictrolls name.

FT2 - Trolls with rocks.

Lookit those fat bellies and howler monkey mouths.  Two models, but you can really put a lot of character into each one by varying the hair and rocks.

FT3 - Leader
Forget covered in manure, you can tell he's a leader, because he's got the most clothes on.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Happy Brithday D&D

Today is the day WotC releases the open playtest for the first iteration of the fifth edition of D&D.  In my experience, Dungeons and Dragons follows the inverse Star Trek movie rule - skip the even numbered ones, because the odd numbered ones are much more fun.  I've only vaguely followed the development logs and blogs as they just wound like a bunch of corporate doublespeak and hearsay at this point. 

With little clue as to what to expect, I'm looking forward to sitting down and seeing what they have to offer.  I plan on running a playtest game this coming Monday at the local gamestore gamenight.  It's been a couple of years since I've gamed with adults, and it's not clear how much local interest there is in the new D&D.  We'll see how well that goes over.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Birthday Off

Today is my wife's birthday.  That means it's time for a day off from the blog.  You'll get more megadungeon goodness tomorrow, though.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More Bash for Your Cash

Every time a new package comes in the mail, it reminds me of why I love love love working in 10mm.  This load of guys right here cost me about twenty bucks:

Twenty-seven figures.  Or I could have had five GW
figures.  Good luck stocking a dungeon at those prices.
This shot doesn't even include the 2 troll figures that are too big for my bases or the five lizardmen banner carriers that weren't what I expected.  You'd think that a blister of 'command' would include leader types and maybe a wizard, but not in this case.  They got chucked in the scrap box - the skulls on the banner tops may come in handy someday.

Those of you who have been following The MegaDungeon posts will recognize this horde of figures as residents of Level 6 - The Brutes - the minotaurs and their ogre slaves.  The trolls waving their hands can show up anywhere, and the little guys there are the human sized heroes.  The colorful one on the right was painted by my 7 year old daughter - start 'em young!  She's also the graphic designer I hired for International Anklebiter Illustration Day.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Borderwilds: DM Map

As promised, here's the full map of the Borderwilds.

This one is for clarity.
All of the major land forms are represented on this map, grassland, swamp, forest, mountain, desert, broken hills, rivers and coastline.  This lets us throw anything we want at the players.

Risk management is a big part of the philosophy of sandbox games.  Players need to know when to exercise caution and when to retreat.  You can take that idea too far, though, by dumping a purple worm nest an hour's march from base camp for example.

This map helps the players out a bit in that regard - the three monster habitats closest to base will be stocked with low level monsters like goblins, lizardmen, and basic undead.  The troll tribes, giants, and big monsters live north in the hills and across the mountains in the wastelands.

This is for inspiration.
While not hard and fast barriers, the northern river and the mountains help constrain the players until they are ready for the heavy hitters. A determined party will find a way into the wastes without having to fight the demon guarding demon pass, which has that name for a reason.  They'd be fools to do so, and in that respect, they'd be ignoring all the warning signs and would deserve to be eaten by the wyverns and sphinxes to the west.  Likewise with that one old stone bridge that crosses the northern river.

Is that meta-gaming?  It is in a design sense, but not in a 'playing the game' sense.  No more so than listening to the rumors of great winged beasts sometimes seen in the skies past the mountain tops.  Which brings us to another 'design' way of steering players - rumors.

But we'll talk more about that tomorrow some other time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Dungeon: Level 8 - Spider Warrens

These caves and cold, dank, and unfriendly.  The halls of this level are only 6 feet high, but the cavern roofs vault high above.  The rough and uneven floor is covered by a thin layer of hard scrabble that makes finding your footing tricky.  Not so for the eight legged beasts that roam the walls and roofs of this part of The Dungeon.  Their webs stretch across the narrow halls, hard to spot by the flickering light of torches or lanterns, and harder to spot by the steady light of magic sources.

This part of The Dungeon is ruled by the Spiderking, an intelligent planar spider who settled here to raise a large clutch of eggs safe from his rivals.  He prefers to talk to his meals before sucking them dry; a character trapped in the spider's den may find his wits his last hope for freedom.  A freedom that comes with a price - the Spiderking does not forgo his meals lightly.  He will demand a high price for freedom.

The spiders who followed their king to this cavern love to scuttle about above the light and drop onto unsuspecting prey below.  They scurry and dash about above the blocking webs, attacking from unseen corners whenever possible.  They work in tandem to flank invaders and lure them into their webs.

The Dungeon: Level 8 - Spider Warrens This is the most accessible of the deeper and more dangerous levels in The Dungeon. The only thing separating lowly adventurers from the giant spiders is a wade through hip deep water.  The ledge between this area and Level 4 is covered by thick sticky ropes of webbing, and the Man-spiders will investigate anyone hacking their way through.  The site of these giant beasts and their long spears (which can attack through the webbing long before a path is cleared)_ should be enough to scare off all but the strongest and/or most foolhardy adventurers.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Borderwilds: Building a Better Sandbox

As things stand I've got the megadungeonone page goblin caves, and the revised Crypt of Laun Phien.  That's two big and one little dungeon.  Not a bad start, but the players are badgering me about what's going on between these dungeons.  Luckily, they grew up on a steady diet of video games, so once I explained the nomenclature, they8 dove right into the merits of a narrative campaign versus a sandbox campaign.  They chose the latter.  

Which is fine, because Ben Robbin's West Marches style-hex-crawl-slash sandbox campaign has snared another convert in me.  After days of letting ideas fester deep in the recesses of my lizard brain, I've put graphite to paper and started filling in the hexes of a wilderness.  This series of posts will detail my progress and hopefully provide some insight into the process.

Right from the start I knew that I wanted to keep this thing manageable.  So I set a limit of 144 hexes, or an area 12 by 12.  That's plenty big enough for a wide variety of wilderness types, but small enough for a single group to really make a dent in exploration wise.  There should be one region of each of the major terrain types.  The dungeons should vary as wildly as possible.

So here's the background:  Cornerstone Keep used to be the central fort on the frontier between the Empire and the barbarian hordes to the north.  Over the course of centuries, the grass on the plains north of the keep was watered with the blood of countless men.  Eventually the barbarian numbers dwindled and the wars faded and the Keep fell into disuse.  Then the wilderness took over   Monsters of all stripes filtered into the areas north of the Keep and the frontier was restored.  Now the  Keep stands as a bulwark against monsters that have mostly learned better than to cross the Brillig River.  As such, it's really more of a dumping ground for politically connected incompetents and ne're do wells.

The players start the game with the map shown above.  It shows the end of the road (literally) and all that is known at the outset.  You can walk across three road hexes in a day or two off-road hexes, but you've only got a 1 in 6 chance of stumbling onto a point of interest walking across a hex.  To really explore a hex, you need to park there and spend a full day covering the ground.  This raises your chances to 5 in 6.  Still no guarantee, but at least you gave it the old Unseen University try.

Next time we'll look at the rest of the map and how things start to fit together.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dungeon Plunder: True Strike Arrow

This old relic of an arrow is imbued with a powerful and permanent sorcery.  It appears as a stone age arrow with a flint tip and a crooked shaft.  The brilliant red fletching may be attractive, and that an arrow this old should still see use suggests something special.  But seeing just how special this lone arrow truly is requires the aid of magic vision.  So long as line of sight exists between its user and its target, this arrow will simply never miss.  On the other hand, the dull arrowhead and light weight means that this arrow does little in the way of damage.

In game terms, this arrow is +20 to hit every time it is used, but it only ever does 1 point of damage.  That one point may be enough to turn the tide of battle, if it is put in the right place, though.  Blinding an enemy, breaking the right rope, disrupting a spell caster - these are just a few of the many uses creative players should find for this accurate, but weak arrow.  And they won't want to lose an arrow this powerful - watch them hesitate before chancing a shot where they may never see this item again.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Stock These Caves

Need a natural cavern map?  Here's one you can use:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Dungeon: Level 7 - The Dead Wizard's Lab

This portion of The Dungeon is a once-opulent hermitage gone to rot.  The magnificent rugs and furnishings are dusty, moldering, and falling apart.  Only the shelves and books in the library, protected by powerful spells of preservation and protection, still contains polished wood and many curious volumes of quaint and forgotten lore.  Even these are covered by a thick layer of dust.
The Dungeon: Level 7 - Dead Wizards Lab
The dead wizard once went by the name Garinginax was powerful wizard who learned of the Mad Lich’s Tomb deep on Level 10 of The Dungeon.  He was strong enough to carve out a portion of The Dungeon for his own private workshop, and cunning enough to use his neighbors to keep unwanted guests at bay.  Despite friendly relations with the Fire Giants on Level 9, he was not brave enough to break the seals binding the Mad Lich to his prison.  He was powerful enough to beat back a demon that escaped his control, but not powerful enough to stave off the effects of the poison barb shoved into his heart by said demon.  Distracted by the pain, his teleportation to the safety of his lab failed spectacularly - he missed his anchor sigil by just enough to place him half inside the room and half encased in the walls of his lab.

Now, decades later, his hidden lab is a sealed dusty tomb.  The wards against detection and intrusion still function, but most of the sigils of a more brutish defensive style have waned in power.  The whole region reeks of barely constrained arcane power, but aside from a few remaining guardians and traps, this once mighty fortress is no longer the potent death trap it once was.
The Dead Wizard's once incompetent apprentice is a strong mage in his own right these days, though he has yet to discover the secret to breaking the geas that commands him slay any who intrude on his master’s former lab.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

AAR: Borderwilds

In which the author recounts his experience running 5-7 thirteen year old kids through an OSR D&D campaign:

When last we met, our intrepid heroes successfully foiled the evil wizard Bargle's plan to discredit the king by retrieving the king's Sword of Authority from a dungeon of Bargle's design.  The wizard, tired of fancy footing around, murdered the king, assumed the throne, and ordered the arrest of the heroes who ruined his first plan.  Getting wind of the threat, the heroes fled to the farthest corner of the tottering empire, there to lay low while they lay their plans.

Borderwilds - DM Map
Cornerstone Keep is the empire's trash heap - the place where the Emperor exiles all the screw-ups and misfits who are too politically connected to be shot from a catapult.  This is the last place Bargle would think to look for them.  The keep lies on the far border of the empire in a quiet, out of the way hole that hasn't seen any trouble in decades - not since the wildmen of the north stopped raiding civilized lands.

Borderwilds - Player Map
That's the keep at the bottom of the map.  North of this map are the barbarian tribes who once warred with the empire for generations.  A few hundred years ago, their numbers dwindled, and the frontier fell quiet.  No one really knows what lies north of the Brillig River any more.  Used to be the Battle Plains stretched farther north, but time and nature have changed things.  At the start of the campaign this is all they have to go on.

Two roads diverge before them.  Do they explore the Borderwilds to find treasure and powerful artifacts with an eye towards returning to civilized lands and stabbing Bargle in the face repeatedly, or do they carve out a kingdom of their own from the Borderwilds, attract followers and henchmen, and then march on the empire to overthrow Bargle and stab him in the face repeatedly.  Either way, they are going to need a lot of gold.  And that means finding holes in the ground to plunder.

Not the final disposition.
Their first encounter at the Keep was with the Castellan, who bade them investigate rumors of foul creatures in the mining town of Ogrefell.  After meeting with the locals, they assaulted a small cave and got their asses handed to them by the tribe of rat creatures that lived there.  After some retreating of the expeditious kind, they planned out an elaborate ambush at the mouth of the cave.

The wizard and two halfling henchmen stand above the cave, ready to roll rocks down on the heads of the the stupid rat creatures.  Archers stand behind trees, with the dwarf ready to flank.  In the end, they laid out bait for the stupid rat creatures, and pulled off a big win.  Thinking they'd dealt with all but the ring-leader and his shaman side-kick, the evening ended with the plucky adventurers once more delving into the dark.

Monday, May 14, 2012

De Nile Ain't Just a River in Egypt...'s also a river in Sudan.  Just sayin'.
FU12 - Mummies

FEY3 - Pharoah's Undead Tomb Guards
DN20 - Treasure Pile
This post wraps up the undead portion of our show.  Stay tuned for the big brutes, coming soon; rock monsters, ogres, and trolls, I'll spare you the 'oh my'.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Dungeon: Sublevel 6A - The Air Temple

Back into the Dungeon we go.  The Air Temple centers on the Pool of Air, a bottomless pit which emits a steady stream of clean fresh air.  This could be a portal to the Elemental Plane of Air, but that would be a literal leap of faith.  More likely, it's a conduit to the alien mind forcing its way into this reality in the physical form of The Dungeon.  The other side of this well might contain nothing more than sanity crumbling dreams of chaos.
The Dungeon: Sublevel 6A - Air Temple The Temple of Air has two obvious entrances, but the big locked double doors are the easiest to open. A constant stream of air whistles out through the seams around the heavy oaken doors. These doors are intreicately carved with all manner of cloudy faces, mouths puckered and emitting swirling clouds of wind.

The smaller side entrance is an obvious door that is just as obviously sealed up by the surrounding rock.  It can only be opened if you blow on it. Good luck sussing that out unless you see one of the monsters inside the Temple inadvertently blow on its sister door. Then it serves as an easy back door or escape route from pursuing monsters.

The walls and floor of this temple are carved out of massive tan sandstone bluffs. The sandstone is very friable, meaning that brushing against it rubs sand off. This results in a dungeon level where find grit swirls around the floors, gets into your clothing, and is a continual irritant - especially when combined with the breeze that constantly wafts through the level. These winds rise out of the Pool of Air and grated foyer floor, drying everything in the level, snatching at loose scrolls, and threatening to put out even the tightest sealed lanterns. The ceilings of the rooms are high vaulted affairs, stretching up more than 30 feet and providing dark cover for the flying creatures that call this level home. Even the ceilings in the hallways rise 20 feet above the floor. The only area seemingly built to human proportions are the back rooms behind the altar. Though barren, they lack the continuous breeze and blowing sand that marks this entire level. The feeling of normalcy in these rooms keeps wandering monsters at bay - none will disturb those who rest and recover here.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Dungeon Plunder: Cursebreaker

This otherwise non-descript steel sword is marked by the blue runic letters engraved along the blade as shown.  Any character who speaks the language of the northern barbarians will recognize the words from an ancient dialect that can be loosely translated as "the breaker of curses".  

In game terms, this is a +1 shortsword that also renders its wielder immune to curses of all stripes.  It cannot cure a curse that has already taken effect; all it can do is deflect the curse from a spell, trap, or anything short of a god's whim.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Dog Faced Boys

Pendraken calls these dog faces Anubis guards.  They've got a great fantasy Egyptian feel to them.
FEY1 - Anubis with sword

FEY2 - Anubis with spear
And for a little bonus, here's a close shot of the bat swarm.  You can see the scale in the group shot posted a few days ago.  I cut the stands for these in half so they wouldn't tower over the rest of the figures.
AC12 - Swarm of bats

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It's a Trap Marker

One of these days you'll see how we use these figures in the game.  For the most part, you can fit a couple of rooms of dungeon hastily scrawled on a letter sized piece of paper.  That means drawing furnishings right on the page, but once in a while it's nice to give the players something 3D to look at, and to let them know that something is up. These remains figures work great for giving the players a clue to the presence of a trap. Throw one of these down in the middle of an unremarkable room and they may rush to loot it once, but the second time they see these, they'll know to tread with caution.

The dragon skeleton will most likely be a red herring - something to give the players pause, but not something that will have any direct effect on them.  That giant snake, though, that'll effect them good and hard.  The red black and gold coloring is that of a coral snake, one of the deadliest in the world, but the pattern of colors is all fantasy.  Biologists and herpetologists may roll their eyes at the pattern and scoff at the idea of coral snakes in the desert, but not using the bog standard green-with-maybe-some-yellow-highlights coloring helps this snake stand out.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shameless Ripoff: The Crypt of Laun Phien

It's no secret that Djekspek is pretty a damn impressive designer.  Check out a few of his one page dungeons over on Devian Tart and you'll see.  Look at this thing - it's beautiful.  Or this one - that just begs to be stocked and run.  Even with nothing in them, his dungeons have more character than most network sitcoms.

While poking through past winners of the One Page Dungeon contest, I stumbled on to his brilliant little dungeon called the Temple of Laun Phien.  It incorporates clever rotating floorplans in a way that makes sense but should baffle players just long enough.

As usual click it to big it.  Because me no am smart, me build
physical map with card stock so me can rotate dungeon
as game is played.
It's brilliant idea, but flawed.  You see how that middle drum rotates opposite the two outer drums?  That means you get an effective 90-degree rotation and you limit the number of permutations the dungeon can have. It also means the hallway in the central drum will never line up with the hallways in the middle circle.  Much as I love this dungeon, it also misses out on a couple of other features that I think should be important.  To remedy these concerns, I've shamelessly stolen the basic concept and built my own Temple of Laun Phien.

Also remember that I'm a big fan of real time clocks to up tension in games, so my Crypt rotates every 10 minutes in real time.  The clock provides a big clue for the players that something hinky is going on here.

First big difference here is that the inner ring is locked in place.  The inner ring rotates one way and the outer ring another.  That fixes the problem of inaccessible areas.  It also keeps the the three labelled rooms, the ones that most vary from Djekspek's original version, locked in place.  This also means that clever players can escape if they find that straight hallway and just wait up to 80 minutes for it to swing around.  That's okay - that's clever play and should be encouraged.

A - Entrance and Warning
Players have to fully commit every time they enter the Crypt.  The first room in a bare room with a single lever in the back wall and a warning carved into the wall to 'abandon hope' effect.  This forces the players to take action and pull that lever for a trip around the fun house. That's kind of important because it means that the dungeon is always open when they get there, and it gives everyone a concrete start time for the countdown to rotation.

B - Control Room
Once they realize what's going on, the characters should have at least a little control over the rotation.  This room does just that.  It contains two levers.  Pulling one rotates the drums and resets the timer to 10 minutes.        The other lever controls which way the rings rotate.  You could use these levers to pick which hallway you want to exit, but since this room only faces the outer ring that doesn't get you much closer to the central crypt.  This might seem like it gives them power, but it really just complicates things by giving them one more variable to have to deal with.

C - Power Supply
This might be the most dangerous room in the dungeon.  It houses the clacking and wheezing and buzzing machine of brass and copper and glass that taps into the aethaer to power the whole dungeon.  Break this and you're stuck here...possibly forever.  Hope you've got a dwarf or a tinker with you then.

Anywho, that's my take on the Temple of Laun Phien.  Can't wait to inflict it on my players.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sneak Peek: The Pharoah's Tomb

Pendraken Dungeon Pack DNP4, The Pharoah's Tomb, contains 4 Anubis troops with sword, 4 Anubis troops with spear, 4 Pharoah's guard, 4 mummies, 2 bat swarms, 1 giant snake, 1 remains and bones, and a pile of treasure.  Here's a sneak peak of the full monty haul with a few bonus remains figures thrown in for good measure.  More detailed photos with commentary to follow in the coming days.

Monday, May 7, 2012

The Dungeon: Level 6 - The Brutes

These may look like natural stone caverns, but they were called forth from the twisted imagination of the DungeonGod the same as any other level in this madhouse.  One indication of this is that even though the walls are rough stone, with stalactites hanging from above, the floor is a fine level sand.  It provides excellent traction for cloven hooved creatures with enormous horns to build up a full head of steam in order to gore their foes.

And the minotaurs who dominate this area love nothing more than to do just that.  The key to making this level challenging is the speed of its denizens (the ogres are the slowest) and the combined arms style of fighting.  This map shows the main resting areas for each type of monster, but they move throughout the whole cave system.  Each room may contain any combination of the three inhabitants, and a fight in one area will draw additional brutes within a few rounds.
The Dungeon: Level 6 - The Brutes

[Updated May 18, 2012:  Fixed the link between this map and Level 7 for consistency.]

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lady's First, First Lady

Finally added a female to the collection.  This is Pendraken's hero, Kiera.  My daughter has been ready to jump into the game, but wanted to wait until she had a female figure to call her own.  This is it - Annie, the elven friend to the wolves and slayer of spiderscleric of Saint Orandis, Patron Saint of Animals (after a last minute substitution).

The two sewer entrances from Pendraken's dungeon pack had been languishing in my bits box.  I don't do the third dimension so much, but wanted to use them.  Instead of putting them upright, I glued them to a washer and voila!  Instant mysterious pool of glowing green goo.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dem Bones Reinforced

As if the ten skellies and their champion weren't enough, now my players are going to have to deal with some long range undead threats, too.  Not a whole lot of ways to personalize these monsters, especially when the bows are the only splash of color on the figure.
These skeletons are part of a larger faux-Egyptian tomb-defense force that we'll be seeing in future installments.  That's the rationale behind the rather plain yellow-brown bases.  They are desert bases.
 Giant wolves, now.  Those need some grass on the field.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Dungeon Plunder: The Thunderstaff

If you decide to use this in a game,
feel free to print and give to your players.
The Thunder Staff is a powerful artifact; the secrets of it's construction are literally lost in the mists of time.  Literally - the wizard who created and used it for a century lost his way on the elemental plane of mist.

The staff is a six foot length of whitebark pine carved with whorls and swirls that resemble clouds.  The staff emits a faint vapor mist over its entire length at all times.

When found, this staff has d100-1 charges.  The holder of the staff is immune to electric damage. The following  cost one charge each:

  • Predict weather
  • Magic missile (2d4 sonic damage, no effect on deaf creatures)
  • Call lightning (only usable outdoors in the middle of a storm)
  • Striking (a hit by the staff deals 1d6 normal damage plus 1d6 sonic damage)
The following uses cost three charges:
  • Thunder (As lightning spell - but does 3d6 sonic damage, save for half)
  • Fly (30 to 60 minutes)
  • Control Winds
The following uses cost five charges each:
  • Weather Control
  • Power Word Stun
The staff can be recharged by casting lightning spells into it.  Every level of spell cast into the staff increases the number of charges by 3.  Natural lightning is drawn to the staff as well - an hour of time inside a natural storm will replenish 1 charge.  If the number of charges replenished ever exceeds 99, then the staff detonates in a terrific explosion that does 20d6 electric damage to anyone within 100 feet of it.  The damage is an even split between sonic and electric damage.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Dem Bones - The Front Rank

Ten sword wielding skellies, ready for their close-up Mr. Harryhausen.

Remember the insignia on the shoulder of the hero -
here's his loyal mindless command.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

D&D w/Porn Stars Challenge: Accepted!

Zak S over at D&D With Porn Stars unilaterally designated May 29 to be International Anklebiter Illustrator Day.  To whit:
1. Locate a child.
2. Locate two one-dollar bills or the local equivalent.
3. Explain patiently to the child that you--a dungeon master or otherwise appointed administrator of a substantial swath of fictional space--are desirous of illustrations.
4. Explain to the child that you are contracting him or her to provide such imagery at a page rate of 1 dollar per page.
6. After acquiring their informed consent, give them the specific assignments:The first drawing can be anything you, the GM, want--you can take a crappy town you drew and ask the child to redraw it better, you can describe a treasure the child needs to create and detail, you can have the child make a dungeon map of their own design. It is none of my concern so long as it fulfills a need in your campaign. The second drawing, however, must be a displacer beast.
8. Upload such work as is produced onto the internet on May 29th.
11. You have my permission to republish this message on your own blog. In fact, if you intend to participate or would like others to do so, I encourage it.
I actually had the two bucks squirreled away and was able to cajole the anklebiter  that runs my house (Lenore, age 7) into spending an evening as a member of the productive class.  I'm now sitting on two illustrations scheduled to be posted on May 29.  In the spirit of the thing, I'm doing everything I can think of to delay paying as long as possible.  She threatened to sic her legal team (Mom and De Boss LLP) involved.  This could get ugly.

Feel free to jump in - the water's fine.

More 3-D: Just Can't Help Myself

I feel like Lenny from Mice and Men.  I've found something new and shiny and now I just can't let go of it.  I have to love it and pet it and squeeze it and hold it and design it to death.  The good news is that you get to take advantage of my dilettante-esque largess.  Two more sets of three dimensional dungeon graph paper are available.  The best part is that you can use both of these two different ways; if you flip the paper over the design works just as well. Damn, that's spiffy.  Here are the two blanks:

And just to demonstrate a little proof of concept, here's a little number I banged out in about 30 minutes using the second template.  It's not going to win any awards, but this is a dungeon that isn't constrained to any two dimensions.  Just mapping this sucker is going to present a nice challenge for the players.


No, literally, today I've got some loot to show you, complete with arcane spellbooks, bags of gems, and magic swords:
That oughta be enough to lure some dumb adventurer to his death.

And a Pendraken skeletal champion (FU26 - Hero).  You can tell this guy is a hero because he has a full, luscious head of hair.

Also, flaming red eyes.
I've got a whole lot of undead on the workbench right now.  The skeletons don't really paint any faster than the rest of the figures, despite the fact that my white base coat means that I don't have to paint the bulk of the figure.  You have to do a second drybrush of white after the brown wash to bring out the details.
His shoulder insignia matches that on the shields
of the rest of the skellies.  You'll see them tomorrow.