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

Monday, December 26, 2016

1991 Mystery Map

Some of the joy I've been having re-running my home game through the Lands of Krull once again is having an opportunity to flesh out or re-develop ideas and scenarios that were incomplete or poorly thought out.

A major thorn is what in heck I was trying to run for our first camping trip up Mount Diablo one weekend in August, 1991. I do know I was wasted after drinking beer for about 4 hours straight before we even started the game. Also, I was winging it most of that night - very ill-prepared compounded by intoxication. But I do have clear in my mind what the huge Dwarven stronghold was supposed to look like with 3 tiers of walls, each built upwards from the wall in front of it, and the large, domed keep on top with no visible doors or windows.

There was something to do with a mace or maces and dragons. However, the most interesting thing I discovered when I edited the raw video from this session is that I had an OVERLAND MAP!

None of my hand-drawn maps that I can find show that island off the south coast (I know it's the south coast because my place names run west to east across my maps). I can tell from the video that the map is incomplete, maybe a third at most. The cool thing is that it should show the location of the Dwarven stronghold.

Now, it doesn't appear that this map aligns with my two Krull maps. I have a vague recollection charting an adjoining map to my personal interpretation of the Lands of Arduin, but this section does not seem to attach up to the east side of that map. The map is definitely my style of cartography.

Anyhow, it's a mystery. I will continue searching through my game stuff. There is a possibility I used the other side for a different map, or gave the map to another DM from our Blipping Game to draw their map. Grrrrrr...

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Cyberhell at DunDraCon

My submission for this year's DunDraCon is a re-imagination of Sick Rick and Dingul's old "Cyberhell" over Geoffrey O. Dale's new "Journey to Malebolge" based on the hell of Dale's 1980 "Inferno" and the source Dante version.

Malebolge is a huge, high-level sandbox. The Cyberhell "skin" focuses this sandbox down to a manageable series of deadly encounters. I am still including elements that demonstrate to vast terrain of Malebolge, but the party's mission should provide a pull in a certain direction.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

1st Episode of an Original Campaign Video from 1991

Mic'ed D&D. Ha, there is so much going on at these games that is left on the cutting room floor for a variety of reasons. Just let it be said that this particular game at Sick Rick's in Santa Rosa was EPIC in the annals of our band of heroes.

As per usual, the system is 1st edition AD&D. J.A.S. typically runs his game tournament-style requiring spell details to be written down rather than looked up in books when cast. You might notice our Barbarian-Techno, Grady, is being run by someone new. Grady was basically our traveling NPC who pretty much was turned over to anyone who wanted to join up and didn't have a character. We actually still use Grady today in our game, one of the last remnants of this bygone age...

Sunday, December 11, 2016

9th and Final Episode from 1990 Game Session

We conclude after about a 10-hour game session. Looks like Spacin' Jason crashed shortly after midnight (it was his apartment and visiting girlfriend); Dr. John departed after the 2am beer run (was sober enough to drive home and on beer run); Matrox and Postman Bob both slept during the game's latter moments. Other than that our DMs Sick Rick and Dingul, and players J.A.S., Summerled, Greg, and Shade Structure were all up for the duration.

The adventure created by Sick Rick and Dingul was actually very interesting. Ha, even the parrot. I really enjoyed what was done with the desert and Glass Sea, and had completely forgot about the Thri-Kreen. Of course, by the wee wee hours of the morning there is not a lot of deep thought, but our DMs seemed well-prepared.

Note that this recorded session was not the concluding session for Sick Rick's and Dingul's adventure. Our DM rotation was 2 sessions for a single DM or 3 sessions for two co-DMs, so this game had one more night to go which occurred the following late spring or early summer (alas, no video).

Now I want to see if I can clear up some holes the video left in the scenario. Mainly, what happened with Orcus?

Saturday, December 10, 2016

8th Episode from 1990 Game Session

Moving to the conclusion, a final beer run takes place (off-screen) during this episode so the hour is after 2:00am - approaching 4:00am toward the end of this excerpt.

While the adventuring party does not seem to have found time and/or a place to rest, players (myself included) are dropping out for naps here and there. Ha, we woke folks (especially those who played clerics) when we needed them.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

7th Episode from 1990 Game Session

We are closing in on the witching hour from this game night.

This particular segment is mostly a combat, the "roll" playing, which is interesting for 1-minute melee rounds and our Arduin Grimoire standard critical hits occurring after 2 natural 20s. And, yes, during this portion of the video we are indeed listening to the proverbial Led Zeppelin (their live "Song Remains the Same" album).

6th Episode from 1990 Game Session

My my my, I found out there is actually a link between this campaign from 1990 and my current game. Sick Rick and Dingul who DMed this ancient session actual gave a shout out in their scenario to my old "Krull" campaign, mentioning Orcus imprisoned in a sword and smashed "at the Gates of Hell!" (A prime material gate to the Abyss, actually) My current campaign had found the smashed sword, re-forged through the machinations of an Orcus-cult seeking to free Orcus. This is exactly what was going on in Sick Rick's and Dingul's scenario.

Did their Orcus-cult succeed?

That could throw an interesting timeline, or some alternative reality stream, into my current campaign...

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

5th Episode from 1990 Game Session

Ahhh, the night is running on and the pizza has not arrived yet... (I edited out the pizza money collection even though it was riveting drama!) I learned that my current home gaming group is going to meet a human-headed giant worm librarian. Sand Navigators too.

I actually spend a bit of effort to run in events from past campaigns to overlap here and there, mostly from some of the major campaign threads. These gaming interludes on video are super intriguing because no one has ever intricately studied what happened in the years since these games were played, and if I mine some of the stuff probably only the two DMs would recognize it. Heh, heh, heh...

Saturday, December 3, 2016

4th Episode from 1990 Game Session

Not bad, I am beginning to have vague recollections of this game. We had a session a couple years ago where we threw on all these videos in the background, but I didn't follow the story closely. I'm personally interested to see what happens next...

Also, while there are rolls for certain class skills, there are no general "skill checks" that all characters can possess. So a lot of time was spent with DMs explaining to players what their characters see and the players having to figure out on their own how to bypass some mechanical or magical obstacle. That is why a lot of what was being a good, experienced gamer was knowing what different spells and class skills could be used to determine whether the operation of a thing was mechanical or magical, and depending on the operation how to overcome different things.

Monday, November 28, 2016

3rd Episode from 1990 Game Session

Ha, it should be apparent our games move pretty fast.

Thus far we have entered a city, trained, left by boat over a Glass Sea, had a pitched battle between 3 boats, and are now flying overland to some castle.

It will be interesting to see how the evening progresses as alcohol begins to have more of an effect...

(*** Note: At 55 seconds spotted DM has a copy of "Terrible Trouble at Tragidore" that came free with the 2nd Ed. DM's Screen. Purported to be one of the worst dungeon modules ever. Thankfully, I suppose, it doesn't appear our DMs are using material from "Tragidore.")

Monday, November 21, 2016

2nd Campaign Video from 1990

Here is the 2nd episode from video taken of our gaming sessions back in March, 1990.

Ha, I can get at least the first three episodes of this session up pretty rapidly because I had already edited this footage. Just needed to add comments from my peanut gallery.

One thing interesting about this particular game session is how well we navigated the battles without using miniatures. We pretty much kept the scene in our head, knowing how far we could move per round plus our ranges and such. Also, I had forgotten or never realized at the time that our DMs are using a "Dark Sun" setting. (Desert, Glass Sea, Thri-Kreen...)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Original Blipping Campaign Video from 1990

My local gaming group in 1989, at the time a bunch of later twenty-somethings, began a campaign that lasted until 2005 running purely our home-ruled version of AD&D 1st Edition. During the 1990s we decided for whatever reason (I mean, we did have a camera so there's that) to record several portions of our game sessions.

I have wanted for a long time to scrub out the distracting bits (e.g. rules arguments, non-gaming stuff) and see if a running film of the actual gaming parts would bring back some sense of the campaign's atmosphere, what events occurred, and how our characters progressed. Unfortunately, viewing more than 5 minutes at a time of this stuff is pretty unbearable, and anyway I absolutely do not have time to edit large amounts raw footage and add my little comments pointing out various aspects of what's going on during the scenes.

Thus here is the first of what I hope to be a series of 5-minute segments of actual old school before it was OSR. Our rules set included the AD&D 1st ed. core books, Arduin Trilogy, Judges Guild Ready Ref Sheets, and various AD&D supplements. Some of our players utilized 2nd edition AD&D spells which we incorporated in a pretty loose fashion.

P.S. I have setup a page for the Blipping campaign here where I'll archive the individual videos and copies of other game remnants.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

D&D and How I Broke America

(Game session recap with meta...)

Orcus, Demon Prince of the Undead

You'd have thought I learned not to tinker with talismans and sorcery.

Many moons ago in that most wondrous mystical land, "Reality," several of me buds and I were employed at a small cafe which was part of a complex of interconnected shops chiefly known in North America as a Suburban Shopping Mall. It was our nature to get along infamously with the precinct's rent-a-gendarmes, and after closing one day it occurred I should craft a play-dough image of said gendarme which we proceeded to fry in our establishment's microwave oven.

Mere moments later The Rimmer left a back door ajar and gendarmes raided us smoking hash oil in the women's rest room. (Why the women's? Something to do with a hatch to the overhead rafters in the ceiling, or a drainage grate in the floor usable as an ashtray???) Anyhow, because he was holding the pipe, Dingul was trumped up on a charge of illegal possession of concentrated cannabis (now perfectly legal thank you, Prop 64) and several folks lost their jobs.

Fast forward to October 2016 and I am planning our impending gaming session, Anton the Paladin in possession of Bob the Demon-Slaying Bastard Sword that, unbeknownst to Anton, actually slays a demon on the material plain while acting as a gate dimensionally-anchoring demon to a pocket plane completely surrounded by Prime Material imprisoning said demon since, in addition to the dimensional anchor, demon is prohibited from returning to the Prime Material for 100 years - but the pocket plane can only hold one demon at a time. Therefore, if the 100 years have expired any strike on a NEW demon breaks the dimensional anchor and swaps the new demon for the original demon inside the pocket plane.

Now, as Judge, I know that Bob the Demon-Slaying Bastard Sword 100 years ago (game time) was used to imprison Orcus and then smashed against the Prime Material Gate to the Abyss located deep in the dungeons beneath the pirate town of Underport. Unbeknownst to mortals and PCs, Abyssal Demons through devious machinations collected and had reassembled pieces of Bob, over time percolating into the dungeon's Orcus Cult reigned by Natrix, Kobold cleric-lich.

Once the party obtained Bob the Sword last session I knew it was only a matter of time before before Anton either by Bob's ego or Anton's own volition would use the demon slaying sword against another demon, especially since the party could hear a certain Glabrezu demon standing just outside the secret treasure room door where the party was situated. One hit on a demon and Orcus would be freed!

I wanted a new miniature to commemorate the occasion, and decided to go with a very hideous Reaper unpainted resin mini, scaled to be 15' tall as Orcus is described from the 1st Ed. Monster Manual. Initially I painted the Orcus mini in reds, however, the resulting figure appeared too much like a Balor or Pit Fiend. Here is where things went bad...

Recalling our original lead miniature Orcus from back in the day was painted in various fleshes and browns, and believing to myself there must have been some canon for painting Orcus that way since I always tried to paint things according to description, I decided to follow that scheme and paint a more humanly fat goatish demon lord. Ha, I thought, wouldn't it be funny if I made all the tufts of hair yellowish such that Orcus would be some fashion of Donald Trump! Hahahahahahahaha, how humorous and topical of me!!! Even remember my second thoughts, do NOT jinx the presidential election...

Self-control not being one of my strong points, I finished painting my Orcusish-Trump effigy, had a grand reveal and hearty laugh at our game November 5th, then November 8th Donald Trump was elected our 45th President of these United States. Don't mess with voodoo magic, kids...

***  ***  ***  ***

Thus it is so, shortly after befriending a lost snake-mystic and her companion dog-naga, the adventurers burst through the secret treasure-room door to attack. Anton Paladin immediately destructing Glabrezu in a whirl of slate smoke, when appearing in the darkness a bellowing obese bat winged and goatlike giant - Orcus! Once Paladin struck his second blow, realizing there were no demon slaying ability, man-with-no-name opens a Shadowalk and our heroes cling along the border between Prime and Shadow at 50 mile per hour straight up and out of the dungeon. Orcus's dissonant braying laughter fading into distance.

Above ground, the party spies adjacent northward a large bay or estuary, on the opposite shore a distant five miles or more away stand what appears gigantic humanoid statues hundreds of feet tall carved into very cliffs miles in either direction, broken easterly by two immense waterfalls.

Decision made to venture west through the forest few hundred feet south of bay coast and hopes to find some land leading northwards, adventurers make their way trudging eight miles by midday when they are hit with pain-inducing sonic boom. Flying in through trees while fading in and out of physicality are three large, bat-like spiders known by man-with-no-name as phase wings. (Essentially large flying phase spiders that also emit battish sonic beams for damage)

Phase Wing attack!

After blistering attacks and taking some injuries, the band elects to make camp. Sends barbarian orc up one of the 100' tall trees to get bearings and look out for more of the shifting Phase Wings. Alas, barbarian visions something southwest far more unworldly, hovering top-like structures that seem to be probing the forest with a beam of light - and headed in the party's direction!

Hover Ship
As the hover ships approach orc-barbarian descends his tree, then spotting bands of Drow elves moving up through the forest ahead of the hover ship some few hundred yards distant. While the majority of the adventuring crew hides within the elven thief-mage's rope trick, the snake-mystic conceals herself in the underbrush in the form of a serpent and commands her dog-naga to climb a tree. The drow posse immediately halt at the party's position, thirty or more of the dark elves armed with whipblades and strange knobby pistols and bathed in the colorless light from now overhead hover ship. Striding confidently through the score of soldiers arrives an armored woman who is certainly the drow priestess in command.

Drow Priestess of Hover Ship

The priestess chanting rhythmic spell casts gaze in a purposeful pattern around the small clearing where the party had intended to camp. Her gaze stops at the underbrush where snake-mystic is and the snake-mystic's form is returned to human. The drow priestess barks a phrase in undercommon and three of the drow soldiers fire great globs of a glue substance at the snake-mystic, trapping her in the place she stands. The snake-mystic senses poison from the glue, but to harm her it cannot. Still the snake-mystic cannot break free. Snake-mystic calls up liturgy for Baaloloth - shapeshifting into a titanic avatar of her diety, enlarging and breaking free from the insignificant glue that had bound her...

The price? A geas into Chasm of the Drow!

Snake-Mystic's Avatar of Baaloloth
***  ***  ***  ***

Food for thought, because all my stories operate in the same Multiverse I have some very tricky time concepts to deal with from my last campaign to this one.

1. Orcus aided Wilderlands of High Fantasy adventurers in their fight versus the forces of Lolth, which must have taken place after the present in the Blipping 2 campaign (because Orcus was only just freed after 100+ years going back to one of our earliest gaming parties).

2. When the Blipping 2 folks released the 10,000 zombies into the Wilderlands, that event occurred before Orcus was released. Thus, in the "past" of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy troupe.

3. This all means Loth has not "yet" been imprisoned on the tower, nor Vecna led the zombie horde siege of Veridistan. It is possible Vecna's zombie horde was not raised by the drow high priestess at all, perhaps being in fact the zombies released by the adventurers of Blipping 2.

Of course, the Blipping 2 game now being in the lands of Krull means that what eventually might happen in The Wilderlands has little meaning to this party. Unless those mauve-skinned humanoid creatures with tentacle faces have some plan up their sleeves...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New Stuff at Hypertext d20 SRD!


Dang! It looks like The Hypertext d20 SRD has been rolled into some company called BoLS Interactive, LLC. And at first glance, that appears to be awesome!

I had long-used Hypertext d20 as a reference for our long-running Wilderlands of High Fantasy v.3.5 campaign (2004-2011) and my home brew 1st Ed/v.3.5 hybrid game

I'm looking up Sanctuary spell (I'm like, vis a vis my little movie clip, "Can an character really move around covered by a Sanctuary spell?") when this flippin' COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENT pops up on screen. Splitters! Anyhow, I'm like, whutev, and backing out to the page where I started.


Fantasy Name Generator NEW!
Fantasy World Generator NEW!
Fantasy Adventure Generator NEW!
Fantasy Inn Generator NEW!
d20 NPCs/Items/Traps Generator NEW!
d20 Demographics Calculator NEW!
d20 Dungeon Generator NEW!
d20 Random Encounter Generator NEW!
d20 Magic Shop Generator NEW!
d20 Treasure Generator NEW!

 The "Fantasy World Generator" creates a hex map with over 19,000 hexes!!! You set amount of land/ice, whether rivers, cities and castles and VOOOM!

The "Dungeon Generator" is INSANE!!! It creates an entire dungeon, monster-traps-treasure-etc, with map of 30+ rooms!

I expect that there are some playability quirks that won't become apparent unless gamed live, but at first glance I may never run out of material during a gaming session ever again!

Back when I was but a wee lad and good computers had RAM measured in kilobytes rather than gigabytes, I actually created a program in BASIC that used random encounter tables in City State of the Invincible Overlord, and a buddy of mine, J.A.S., once ran a gaming scenario straight from the random dungeon tables in the 1st Ed. DM's Guide,. This is like that process on steroids!!!

I know, I am a purist too who spends a godawful chuck of time spent on this planet creating scenarios to confound and amaze my gaming friends. However, there are times, often late at night when the brain is tepidish, when the party runs up against limit of what has been prepared or heads off map.

These new Hypertext d20 tools are, at minimum, a fine backstop against running out of material.

******* Ha, well didn't take long to expose the limitations inherent in the system. Generated a 20th level, colossal, abyssal dungeon and the only moster types over all the rooms were ropers and aboleth mages...

Monday, September 19, 2016

Blipping Campaign, The Motion Picture

Here is an intro to a 90's D&D documentary I hope to edit through before I die. Basically, all our gaming film (not arguments, just the actual gaming) taken during the Blipping Campaign which ran from 1989 through 2005, however our last video was recorded in 1996...

Saturday, June 18, 2016

When Evil is Good

"Kneel before Orcus," plasma dragon toyed, cat-like, barbarian backs away and into radiant beast then rages with axe.

To join paladin, reptile priest and man-with-no-name - archer mage thief, staff-bearing wizard, and humble cleric appear. Treasure troves to left & rights of Orcus statue piques adventures' interestedness.

Party diffuses about the temple to avoid gargantuan dragon's impending breath. Hacks, and hacks again. Arrows, magic bolts, and ceiling caused crashing down all wound radiating lizard. Demons now teleport too, to avenge their forfeit at nalfenshee court.

Archer-mage-thief surrounded by impenetrable darkness as dry, yappy dog-voice exhorts blasphemous phrases devised to paralyze the goodly elf. Surprise! Goodly archer mage thief no longer so, after magic deck metamorphosed elf to evil.

Scaly reptile falls, demons flee or are dispatched, kobold lich-cleric recalls into hiding, treasure looted. Paladin grasps simple, mithril sword displayed before Orcus statue on alter of bison-like bones draped golden fur pelt of ki-rin. "I am Bob," thinks sword within paladin's mind, the scent of demons now strong and attracting.

Tired band of heroes begin their careful ascent to the surface.

110' up now in secret treasure room of kobold lich-cleric, thieves pause previous to opening secret door. Then, yappy dog-voice... also, Abyssal in tone a familiar glabrezu. Ram's head amulet of archer mage thief begins heavy throb, and in paladin's hand Bob crackles with static energy leans in toward Abyssal discussion...

Friday, April 8, 2016

2016 One-Page Dungeon Contest!

One-Page Dungeon Contest began in 2009, this year is #8!

The One-Page Dungeon Contest for 2016 is happening now! Entries are due by May 1st at 23:59 UTC (That's 4:59 PM here in the Pacific Time Zone). The concept is simple: design a dungeon that fits on one side of a standard 8 1/2" x 11" piece of paper. YOU decide how much map or art versus verbiage, whether or how much to include game mechanic stats, what font size (below 8 point is too small), etc. There are a number of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners who receive prizes!

Last year I submitted at the last minute, which was a bummer because there are a few technicalities like each submission must have "http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0" somewhere on the page. Doh! So I was scrambling around at the last minute.

The good news is that if you make a submission early, you can replace or revise your submission up until the deadline. All submissions are made available for free after the contest is over. Here are last year's submissions. So get yer game on and create something for the DIY community. :~)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Downward into Insanity!

Demon Hole...
Lurking in the secret treasury of the Kobold-Lich, the party was rejoined by the strange dwarf in crystal armor and fiery elfin hybrid. The pit extended down 100' where it opened into a chamber, then extended downward over two hundred more feet unto molten magma.

Following impetus from wandering, huge, gelatinous cube, adventurers braved (some knowingly, one not so much) symbol of insanity warding the opened chamber to discover an a demonic court run by a 20' tall nalfenshee served by seven alastor demons wielding murderous scythes.

Nalfenshee Court
Following ferocious battle, several of the demons fled by teleport, alas also many adventurers in this unstable prime material realm, leaving only paladin, barbarian, and reptile priest.

Searching through this bizarre set of caverns all seemed a trap, or worse. Joined by the Man With No Name, the party worked their way jumping rocks over pools of sinister mist, barbarian moving ahead of the others. The heroes survived an energy blast of unholy fire to reach the barbarian, finding the sinuous half-orc warrior shaken in a temple-like hall with walls of ebony bricks. An immense statue of a ram-headed, bat-winged demon holding a skull-tipped mace; a gargantuan, wingless creature glowing in a violet hue that seems to seep from between the creature's craggy scales raises its toothy maw...

The Man With No Name uttered a long forgotten two word phrase, "Plasma dragon."

Plasma Dragon

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Eye of Incongruous Elocution (or Tsolya'ni Poorly Pronounced)

End of Night Visage
Had an entertaining night running essentially "out of the box" 1975 Empire of the Petal Throne game for a half-dozen kind folks at DunDraCon #40. Not two minutes out the gate for first combat and had to make a rules adjustment (damage appeared to be too bizarre, deadly, and weighted against player characters. Unless Phil Barker was showing "Do not fight!").

My brief oversea sojourn vignette set to introduce players to the rules actually turned out to be the most entertaining part of the evening. By the time the PC's arrived at my planned introductory EPT scenario, The Tomb Complex of Nereshánbo, the hour was approaching 11pm which only permited time for excursion through approximately one fifth of the Tomb Complex scenario.

Lesson for next time: Should a brief random set of encounters be proceeding most entertainingly, go with the flow rather than shoe-horning in the original pre-made scenario.

Nonetheless a pleasant visit with some brilliant (not kidding, who figures out the density of lime stone on the fly for an RPG game?) gamers. Thank you very much Chris, Basil, Mel, Ken(?), Saul, and "youngest player at the table." (damn, I should have wrote this closer in time to the event!)

Saturday, January 9, 2016

DunDraCon XL!

DunDraCon, the west coast's longest running gaming convention, is celebrating it's 40th anniversary this approaching 2016 Presidents' Day weekend February 12th to 15th.

The convention started in 1976, but missed a year in 1981 as a result of the hotel venue changing ownership and no longer hosting conventions. (The DDC organizers did hold "DunDraClone" Labor Day weekend in 1981, which was my 2nd ever D&D convention)

Since 1992 DunDraCon has been held at the Marriott Hotel in San Ramon, California. Our gaming group has ran our games there at every convention except 2014, and I attended every one in San Ramon to different degrees except 2005.

Dooo It!

(A brief history of DunDraCon)