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

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Chasm of the Drow!

I've been intending for the past couple of years to do a write-up of a similar scenario that J.A.S. rans us through, oh, about 30 years ago - "The Chasm of the Drow!" - as a submission for The One-Page Dungeon Contest.

J.A.S. ran his through a world without magic, but rather "mag-tec" - technology that was just about the same thing as magic. (Something to do with his now-ex-wife and The 700 Club, ha, don't ask...)

Anyhow, I figured the Drow Chasm would be a good candidate because it was basically just shit-loads of drow doing what drow do until we snuck and fought our way to wherever we needed to be. Chasm also had some unique elements such as the setting, caverns set into the walls of a vast crevase, and also these floating top-looking things that would shoot out damaging rays at us.

So what happens is I discover this year's One-Page Dungeon submissions are due at 6 pm Pacific Time today! No worries, I get my work done for the morning and set out to craft my one-pager of Chasm of the Drow. I'm all ready to submit, with about a minute to spare, and I discover you must have http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0 printed somewhere on the page. So's I scramble getting this thing on there and I'm a minute late with the submission.

Oh well, so anyway, here is the submission for anyone who's interested - Credit to J.A.S. for running us through the original. (This one doesn't have Creative Commons because it hosed my format.)

P.S. Also, thanks to Sick Rick for the Zippo Knights, just thought I'd throw them in for something wicked at the bottom.

P.P.S. Yes, I know, it always pays to read instructions!

P.P.P.S. AND I miscalculated the UTC calculation and missed the deadline by an hour!!! Well, I have a keen head start for next year.  :~) 

P.P.P.P.S. Shenanigans! Ha, well it looks like my submission made it in after all. Unfortunately it's the version without the drow warriors having blasters and glue guns. Wah!

(click to link and download PDF version.) 

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Ok, I want to award parties treasure after encounters. I really do. However, I must confess I have a lot more fun working on the encounter itself i.e. maps, monsters, the occasional trap (enough to make them think about it, but not so much that looking for traps doesn't seem to become... necessary, until. Oops.).

The end result is that sometimes I put in treasure how and when I feel like it, or when I remember.

Therein lies a problem. Say I have a horde of 40 some-odd critters, all of a certain treasure type. Not only do I have to roll on all these tables to figure out what's there, but often some stuff is dorky so I end up picking things just because they look cool to me.

I should have thought of this earlier, the interweb knows all eh?, but this person over at donjon has developed applications for all these tasks! You just put in the details of what you're looking for and voila!!! Not only that, he has adapted table from AD&D through 5e plus Pathfinder and other games like Microlite.

Any how, this site relieves a HUGE amount of the boring part of dungeon crafting, yet still provides a framework for me to think, "Yeah, the gold and gems and stuff are cool, but what this horde really needs is a pair of magical dancing dwarf boots with were-fairy ability!"

(The only time I want to roll dice is for attacks & damage!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Monster Lead Miniatures!

Well. One of these days (I'm going to cut you into little pieces... whut?!) I'm going to have to figure out how to properly organize a bunch of photos in a blogspot post. Anyhow, here are several of our beloved monster lead minis. All painted by hand using Testors model paints, which is probably why the paint rubbed-a-dubbed off so easily over time.

If you click on one of the photos you'll be able to scroll through them at a larger view. Sorry that some are out of focus!

We had masses of orcs, really like 50, that stood in for just about any type of army against the characters. Also goblins, the little yellow bastards!

As for the painting schemes, we used the colors indicated from the Monster Manual descriptions, which is how I learned what mauve and ochre look like.

The beholder below is one of my favorites, with his pretty blue eye!

Ha, we have representations of all the giant types, but had to use them all for whatever giant-type we fought at the time.

Cave Bear. Important tip I learned recently. If you need some monster on the fly, start with Cave Bear stats and work out from there with whatever else you need.

This troll is another favorite. I have a cool ogre with his testicles hanging down, but I don't see the picture here. It may not have came out good enough to save.
We essentially bulked up our set of minis during the great hobby store bust of 1984 or so. Our local store went out of business and the prices kept dropping until everything was sold.

Too bad, Pleasanton Hobbies was our place for many years.

Lead Minis!

Hand-painted metal miniatures were a big part of our game for a couple decades. For my part until I was able to establish a large enough collection of the pre-painted plastic ones that proved to be less time consuming to get in play (no need to spend a week painting) and above all, and this surprised me although it should not have, so much physically lighter in weight to move around.

I literally have about a 2'x2'x3' chest that weighs less than the two 18"x12"x8" wine crates I used for lead miniatures. (Yes, I still always call them lead minis, although I'm unsure how many are actually lead.)

The cool thing about selecting and painting your own character mini was the ability to select a good character fit in terms of armor, weapons, equipment, etc. then paint to match personal and racial characteristics.

Hear are a number of favorite character minis... (I'll follow up with a monster minis post)

Nicodemus, long-played
Grey Elven Fighter-thief.

Please No Name, J.A.S.'s strange fighter
with glowing orbs under his hood.
Sumerled, my brother's barbarian
from before there were barbarians.
Warmanjg, Deangul's long-suffering,
one-eyed dwarf.
Just about every 1st level mage...
Just about every high-level mage.