Direbane is an abode to share artifacts, simulacra, histories, and other items of note related to ongoing years adventuring.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Escape to/from Fort Plague

The adventurers appeared in a relatively barren scrub waste, the afternoon sky approximately what would have been in Blackmoor, albeit colder.

Nearby was a half-eaten horse corpse and somewhat further away a smallish manor-fort flying a flag indicating plague.

The party spied what appeared to be zombies, but they moved faster and were unsusceptible to clerical turning - juju zombies!

Although the juju zombies could not attack the party thanks to the paladin's protection from evil, there was a movement in the wooded hilltops and a colossal, grey, slug-like creature moved through the hills towards the heroes who then retreated inside the fort.

Inside the fort looked abandoned in haste except for an insane person who kept warning about going into the basement. Two bodies were discovered of men who committed suicide, one of which was horribly mutated.

Going into the basement adventurers discovered the mutant denizens of the fort and defeated them, but not before Anu'Barak was infected (and struck deaf and blind trying to affect a cure). The party retreated down a long, narrow tunnel heading south as the probing tendrils of the grey slug reached into the basement vault...

Monday, October 27, 2014

DunDraCon XXXIX "Borshak's Lair"!


I put in to run a 5th Edition game using the Basic Rules at DunDraCon, "The West Coast's Premier Game Convention," next February. It should be quite fun with this short, interesting scenario...


A goblin bandit leader converts a hero's tomb into a hide-out. Still some things are best left alone. What was old is new again as a classic scenario from the OD&D era receives 5th edition treatment. This small dungeon was perpetrated on the unsuspecting by Jennell (Paul) Jaquays, J. Mark Hendricks, Randy Cox & Dave Marbry, and published December 1976 in The Dungeoneer #3 (a Dungeons and Dragons fanzine that later merged with Judges Guild Journal). Create a new band of adventurers to see how they fare against a first level or thereabouts adventure from the really-old school era. Can 5e unite the editions? You be the judge!

*** UPDATE *** It's on! My game has been pre-scheduled for 8 pm Friday, February 13th (?!). That is day one of DunDraCon, buttercups! 5 players, and we'll be rolling new cha's for the whole 5e intro experience.  :~)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

D&D 5e Starter Set Trial Preview

A-ha, so Tuesday I duly received my D&D 5e Starter Set via Amazon and after the standard* passionate unveiling of the shrink-wrap set down to digest the material.

Now, next week we are taking the kids (ha, all in their twenties) up to the Sierra Mountains for a couple nights, so I figure I can finagle a couple or more to join in a game with the new edition.

My plan is to use just what came in the box (which means sharing dice), and I realized the lack of miniatures/tokens/tactical maps is actually pretty old school.

We video-taped to varying degrees 26 sessions of our D&D gaming group from 1990 through 1996. I've been going through the process of transferring the decaying (& decedent) tapes to digital. At least through early '93 tapes I was amazed to see that we rarely used miniatures! We had a decent collection of lead minis since probably the early 80s which grew exponentially when our FLGS (Pleasanton Hobbies in Mission Plaza) went out of business in 1986 and sold their supplies at liquidation rates. But even though we had the miniatures available, we tended to combat based on verbal descriptions and the occasional hastily-scrawled map.

In the days of Holmes Basic and the earliest iterations of our AD&D we played exactly the same way.

My brain was all pickled from '95 up to '04, so I had this epiphany that perhaps we really didn't use miniatures all that much until I got sober and started the v.3.5 Wilderlands campaign in November 2005. I had been away from my friends and the game for about two years and in the lead up to Wilderlands I kind of reconstructed what I "thought" was the style we played, picking up oodles of the pre-painted plastic D&D brand miniatures (mostly by using 30%-40%-50% off Borders coupons multiple times which I don't think the company intended, but they worked and I probably wasn't the only one re-printing them ergo didn't help their bottom line any...).

I purchased a set of 12 Tact-Tiles in the original iteration which we used for the Wilderlands campaign (strangely enough, there is a current Kickstarter going on to produce dungeon "Tact-Tiles" again), the effect of being able to modularly expand forever the tactical/mini-scaled map meant that entire dungeons we progressed through via miniatures. I remember toward the end of that campaign going back to mapping on paper unless there was an encounter, and definitely that is my process for our current campaign.

Thus that brings me to the new 5e Starter Set lacking minis/tokens/tactical maps. I am not going to add them. I decided to just use pencil and paper (not even graph paper!) and run the module just as it is out of the box. Could be interesting! I will post a follow up after the game...

* This is in actuality only the second starter set I've purchased for myself at release. Holmes Basic Set ('78) we first gamed with was a birthday/X-mas gift to our DM, I skipped the Moldvay ('81), Mentzer ('83), and Denning/Brown ('91) versions altogether, purchased the Tweet ('04) version for my son, missed the simplified Tweet ('06), bought and ran the 4e Starter Set ('08, a banner year for me), and purchased the 4e Red Box ('10) for my niece - although technically that is mine because my brother forbade me to gift it to her so I eventually opened the box, but long after the release date.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The RIPON Band


Rgp'ing, jamming, & intoxicants pretty much summed up extra-familial (we were raising three kids) pursuits during my twenties.

Ripon was musically very good and occurred during an rpg & intoxicant ebb.

Go figure.

Friday, May 23, 2014

5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons

Over on EN World there is a nice ongoing compilation of news about the forthcoming 5th Edition of Dungeons & Dragons (formerly D&D Next). The rules will be released one product at a time beginning this summer with the D&D Starter Set.

I am very interested in how these rules play out, especially in the areas of cross edition dungeon module scenarios. Developing exciting and suspenseful campaigns typically can be the most time-consuming part of being a game judge. However, it is rare that I have come across something prepackaged that is uniformly satisfying.

The "OSR revival" stuff has usually been on track with products that seem to appeal to my gaming group. The new edition will likely draw back many fans who went all "old-school" in response to 4e, but with anemic, sluggish, or (at least in my opinion) over-balanced adventures then there still may be a market for chaotic gonzo home brew.

Never be able to match the big guy's artwork though, it's very nice.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Direbane Publishing on DriveThruRPG!

Terrific news! DriveThruRPG has accepted Direbane Publishing as an online vendor of gaming works! All the rules-related materials are either available or in the review queue at DriveThruRPG, and will be available in PDF format at a reasonable $3.00 each or less for the multi-booklet sets. I will investigate print-on-demand to make the booklets available in an A5 format if the end user's price is not too steep. I have the capability to produce physical booklets here, but I am not sure if the agreement to make DriveThruRPG the sole online provider of Direbane Publishing materials applies to both electronic and physical versions. Ha, plus I need a "real job" soon besides this fun!

My first setting dungeon is intended to be the mega-dungeon, Underport.
There is a cross-section of Underport on the "Krull" page to get an idea of its size.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

RIP Direbane.Com, Long Live Direbane.Blogspot.Com!

Direbane.com from 2010 to 2013
WordPress version of Direbane.com, 2013-14

Due to financial considerations I decided to let lapse direbane.com, my original website.

I originally started the website in 2008 with the idea of forming an interesting new campaign world for 4e. Ha, I had high hopes of selling supplements and scenarios. Then in 2009 I enrolled to attend law school which rapidly consumed my free time.

In 2010 I decided to reconfigure Direbane as our Wilderlands of High Fantasy game log and an online storehouse for my DIY gaming materials, "For fun and for free" being my new motto.

After the death of a good gaming buddy in 2011, our little long-time group went through some assessments over what style of The World's Most Popular Role Playing Game we wanted to play. Basically a conflict between our old 1e AD&D campaigns and the new version 3.5 edition.

The end result was a hybrid version documented through the All Mind booklets. As I branched out into the "old school" DIY community online, I found Blogspot to be a useful tool for hosting & sharing information.

So now my main challenge is finding the best way to store & make available my PDFs. More news on the way!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Monster & Treasure Assortment Score!

When I started D&D back in 1978 with Holmes Basic there wasn’t any module included (B1 & B2 came with later Basic Sets). Within my friend and DM’s Basic Set were Dungeon Geomorphs Set 1 and Monster & Treasure Assortment Levels One-Three. Geomorphs were the maps and the Monster & Treasure assortments populated them.

So I was at Endgame in Oakland, CA perusing their used goods and came across this 1980 compilation of the three sets of Monster & Treasure Assortments, levels one-nine.

Price: $2, score!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Secret Santicore 2013, Vol. 1….?!!!

 Secret Santicore 2013 PDF with Bookmarks
Secret Santicore 2013 VOLUME ONE(!) was just put out by Joey Lindsey over on Metal v. Skin.
Any average gaming grunt requests the Santicore to fulfill some RPG device such as a monster, item, table, art, brief scenario, etc. In return Santicore binds said grunt to complete another random request. Then the entire crazy mess is released as a free PDF. Bloody awesome!

Joey's work for 2013 is crazy huge, so the final tome is being completed in three parts. Volume 1: Advice, Character Generation, Spells, Rules, Deities is out. Volume 2: Treasure & Magic Items, NPCs, Places, Encounters is due the end of February and Volume 3: Adventures, Monsters & Illustrated Cover the end of March.

Take a peep...

(Here is a brief Secret Santicore history from Metal vs Skin … “+Zak Smith had a great idea to celebrate the lives of Gygax and Arneson back in 2010 with the Secret Arneson Gift Exchange. Then the next year +Jez Gordon renamed it and did it again for the holidays -and released it as an awesome PDF. In 2012, Jez nobly tried to do it again, first putting out a call for helpers, then submissions. Then, sadly, life did what it does and Jez had to bow out. Some rad folks stepped up, and most of the content made it on to one blog or another.”)

Monday, January 27, 2014


Part of the D&D cliche' is that "...the stereo is pumping Zepplin..."during  games, but if I had to pick a band whose music brought together the zeitgeist of our sessions it would have to be Blue Oyster Cult. I finally picked up a copy of Imaginos (1988) which had eluded me for many, many years. Here is an interesting article that includes Sandy Pearlman's ideas behind Imaginos ("A bedtime story for children of the damned"), certainly something for RPG magic: http://thequietus.com/articles/12881-blue-oyster-cult-imaginos-review-anniversary

Friday, January 24, 2014

Divine Providence?

Ok, now how many times does this scene have to play out before it is definitely a sign that beneficent mystical forces are at play???

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


If you are a gamer in northern California over President's weekend I heartily recommend visiting the longest continually running RPG convention on the west coast... DUNDRACON!
One of the single best marathon insane party/D&D games I ever experienced was in a purloined private gaming room at DunDraCon #16 in 1992, the first of the conventions to be held in San Ramon after being situated at the Oakland Hyatt for many years.
Unfortunately I have a major career challenge to face at the end of February which I have been preparing for non-stop since early December. This is only the second DDC I've missed in San Ramon (although for several my memory is... suspect).

Friday, January 17, 2014

Sinsemilla the Wizard

Sinsemilla (later Sinsemilla the Wizard) was a D&D-esque drug infused comic I wrote and drew during the fall-1981 semester of my senior year in high school. All the originals save one were lost to time's ravages. However, I recently came upon a cache of photo-copied versions I distributed. Out of 12 issues I discovered copies of #1, #4, #8, #9, #10, #11 and #12.
While the first issue was this grandiloquent Ode à la casserole, later issues settled into a somewhat rambling story with many little cultural references related to what was going on around me at the time. For whatever it's worth, when I have some free time in March I think I'll archive the remaining issues somewhere online...