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

Thursday, December 14, 2023

The Dragon's Throat Submitted for DunDraCon


I submitted my entry for this year's DunDraCon, those of you out here on the left-coast should check this con out. Located at the Santa Clara, CA Marriott Hotel the Friday through Monday of Presidents Day weekend February 16-19, 2024.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Fundraiser for Jennell Jaquays

Sad news about the health of Jennell Jaquays. Jennell's is a well known name to most old school gamers, a highly influential game designer and artist of the industry since the early days. 

Rebecca Heineman on GoFundMe wrote:

Jennell Jaquays has a long road back

I’m fundraising to help offset what is going to be heavy medical costs for Jennell’s treatment and recuperation from Guillain-Barré syndrome. On Sunday evening on October 15th, she fell ill and with 36 hours she was barely alive and hooked up to a respirator. After numerous X-rays, cat scans and blood work finding nothing, they determined she is suffering from a neurological disease.

She is responding to the blood treatments and has started regaining motion in her hands and feet, she is looking at a minimum of 2 weeks (more like 4) in the hospital and six to twelve months of rehabilitation.

We are still reeling from the suddenness of this and the mountain of bills that will be forthcoming.

If you’re a fan of her work, a friend, or just someone who wishes to help us out in our hour of need, please help us

At the minimum, keep Jennell in your thoughts and send good vibes for a speedy recovery.

Thank you
Rebecca Heineman and Jennell Jaquays

Jennell, creator of The Dark Tower and Caverns of Thracia

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Engine Consummate

So I am hacking the dénouement in Dawn of the Overmind, from the illithid Monstrous Arcana adventure trilogy. When the PCs in my game reach the Overmind the Multiverse will have collapsed and the stars winked out of existence.

The Tharzadu'unian Markabs - elder abyssal creatures who now gnaw their way through Empire starclusters - are only messengers of the great doom. What goads them onward at this time, 20,000 years from when our earliest adventuring parties explored the Wilderlands, is the fear of impending annihilation. Looming behind the Markabs is an expanding, starless rift in the Space/Time fabric grown so large that it consumes Past, Present, and Future. Time has run out.

Ha, I have options for the PCs (once hopefully at least some of them survive the Gyth invasion of Penumbra where Mind Flayers gather to board the Overmind). An old character last heard walking Narcosa remains attuned with the Codex of the Infinite Planes although presently he's stuck inside the Monolith Beyond Space and Time.

My D&D campaign (har because really they are all just one campaign in the Multiverse, thanks Arduin!) in earth-time probably got going in late 1978 or early 1979, when D&D was still marketed as an "Adult Fantasy Role-Playing Game," and there was something for me like a here I am on the left coast conceit that everything should fit together, Everything...!

And that's what I've endeavored to do over 40-some-odd years of running games, with characters spanning 50,000 years of existence from the earliest time a PC appeared in the time-line up to the current adventurers. (NO, ha I did not ref 50,000 years. We bounce around a lot.)

Presently in our real-life meatspace the Beforetimes are bumping up against the new weird and it has seriously fucked with our gaming group. 

When we began these current iterations we played semi-regular in-person games pretty much centered around San Francisco Bay as everyone had pretty much dispersed anywhere from 40 to a couple hundred miles around there. With the pandemic all of a sudden we are 100% online and what was once a gathering of the tribe became sort of like a D&D Zoom meeting. It hadn't helped because we were rotating refs on a regular schedule, so getting vested in an ongoing thematic arc was nigh impossible. 

With Covid restrictions having lifted, we have basically three camps: Only D&D in-person, Only D&D online (due to convenience, travel costs), and the hybrid D&Ders like myself (we enjoy the convenience of an online game but still prefer that roll of dice in the presence of friends).

Thus I'm postponing my session until DunDraCon 47 (Saturday February 17, 2024 7pm probably in the Open Gaming Room) to blow up the whole campaign setting to smithereens. Ha, THESE tentacle-faces are NOT going to make it back to re-enslave the Giths (really, the Giths are actually going to screw that up, or fix things from their perspective).

I've weighed running a PC versus refereeing a game and for now I just want a new campaign to run, a separate online (or primarily online) campaign to run as a straight DM i.e. not rotating and start with new characters. I think I can get most of our group to attend regular monthly online sessions. Basically I use 99% Discord voice and images with maybe a smidgen here and there of Roll20 where folks really desire a map (I am totally fine doing Theatre of the Mind crap so really the Roll20 is because players don't map much any more).

On the other in-person campaign we might remain to some sort of referee rotation, perhaps even continuing the same characters if somehow they survive, but we'll have nail down who wants to ref and who doesn't. Probably 5 out of our 8 regulars ref our games now. But this campaign would be less frequent, perhaps 4 times a year. Though even with the reduced number a couple of our really fun players won't (Sick Rick) or can't (Ikbard) travel. That kind of takes the vintage punch out of gathering in-person, but we'll lose 2 players who only will in-person (Sumerled and Random Addison).

My best idea, and it really depends if others still want to ref or run PCs, would be to run the online game monthly for 11 months of the year and meet in person at DunDraCon every February.

The gnarly reality is that I probably only have 1-3 decade long campaigns left (our average party runs about 12 years and in 36 years I'll be 95!). And there's several settings I'm vested in (although of course they'll be hacked into the ever-existing campaign). I just have to face the bloody reality of an aging group, dispersed to the winds, and utilize the modern tools to make a game fun and intense online.

Ha, at least we aren't still using speaker phones or Online Gametable chat games. (And maybe, just maybe I'll run a discrete original Wilderlands campaign for Sumerled and Addison, just because they're both local...)

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Pig Faced Ork Con 2023!


If you are down in So-Cal I highly recommend the Pig Faced Ork Old School Role Playing Game Convention set for Saturday October 21, 2023. This Fresno, CA area convention is a one-day gig in its 4th year and put on almost single-handedly by organizer and artist Tom Wendt. Tom dedicates this convention to introducing new players and sharing with the old ones original versions of classic table-top role playing games from the 70s and 80s.

The convention moves back to the Clovis Veterans Memorial District halls from the Fresno Woodward Park Public Library where it had been held in 2021 and 2022 (following a Covid hiatus in 2020).

I had a blast last year running an original-trilogy Arduin Grimoire ruled scenario based around "Sunken Ardwyr" with a kidnapped prince, stolen technology, thrall imposters, and outer-space aliens!

The convention is free (donations accepted) and Tom has in the past supplied doughnuts, pizza lunch, cupcakes, water, and a plethora of old-school raffle prizes.

Tom also personally creates evocative art for each game system to be ran. If you are interested in running a game or more info, you can contact Tom here: pigfacedorkosrpgcon@hotmail.com

(Kill Kitten Art Tom drew for my Arduin game)

Saturday, June 24, 2023

New Arduin Companion Ref Screen - Size Matters

So some of you may remember the OD&D Supplement IGreyhawk (ported into 1st edition) size small/medium and large damage charts for weapons. Often a weapon would do less damage or sometimes more damage depending on the size of the target creature.

Well, Dave Hargrave decided there should be more of that and developed his weapon damage tables versus creature size in hit dice ranging from 1/2 a hit die or less up to 30+1 hit dice or more with TWELVE COLUMNS of variable damage by weapon type.

I coupled this information into a reference screen along with the weapon attack adjustment charts by armor class (another OD&D Supplement I/1st edition adjustment where certain weapons had better or worse capabilities to hit various armor types).

A Dave Hargrave original table I included has weapon breakage charts when weapons (even magical ones) strike very dense material such as stone golems or dragons. Which, heh, since the table is there anyway has piqued my thoughts about what sort of Arduin scenario I should run next con game.

In 1988 I wrote up a completely non-canonical "Dragon’s Throat" in Dead Watch Mountain, listed in Arduin's Recorded Areas of Treasure and Doom as "a known dragon abode." I used mostly Arduin critters on encounters, except all the dragons are just regular D&D Monster Manual dragons.

I think if I remedied that with Hargrave's Arduin dragon types I just might have something suitable for gaming. Ha, except the "Dragon's Throat" is sort of Tolkien Hobbit-derived from the secret passage entrance to Smaug's lair. Another thing I'll need to tidy...

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Arduin at DunDraCon!

(Talismonde's Old Quarter looking east to Elric's Keep)

I am getting things ready for DunDraCon #46 running an Arduin version of "The Crypts of Arcadia" from Judges Guild The Book of Treasure Maps (1979) by Jennell Jaquays. The scenario runs with both random and some set encounters. I'm substituting in similish Arduin critters and little sci-fi twists.

The scenario will take place in Talismonde, Arduin's capital city. And I am super stoked with how my city map came out, just to get a grip of how the different sections of the city might be laid out.

There is more about the creation of a Talismonde map I'll have to post on later, right now it's plenty enough to broaden the sandbox as much as might be necessary. I learned running an Empire of the Petal Throne scenario years back, given a convention game's limited time letting the players roam is fine if they're having fun. (So dooo it.)

107 Talismonde Heist
Friday 6 PM in 146 for 8 hours
GM: Matt Morrison
Type: RPG
System: Arduin Grimoire
Edition: Original Trilogy
Players: 6
Provided: All characters provided by GM
Power Level: 5th-6th
Variations: Similar to and supplemented with OD&D and AD&D 1st Ed
Rules Knowledge: Useful
Game Content: Mainstream

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Hasbro, Please Take No Action Regarding the Open Gaming License v1​.​0a


The community has organized to fight changes to the Open Gaming License. One of those points of organization is a change.org petition drafted by Ryan Dancey (you can read Ryan's article on the OGL here). Please sign the petition here.