I’ve been talking about this for a while now, but it’s pretty much locked in: the Kickstarter for Lost Hall of Tyr: Dómstóllinn will launch in the middle of next week.
Lost Hall of Tyr: The GenCon Experience
Lost Hall started as a GenCon game called “The Grappling Smackdown.” It was my first GMing experience at a convention, and it was also a scenario designed to showcase monsters that grapple using the rules from my book Dungeon Grappling.
I ran it twice, and it was very successful. It also clearly had enough hooks in it to expand into a full adventure. So I did.
The module is set in a Norse-based culture and land, and uses the mythology and legends of the Asgardians, and the nordic/viking culture, as a basis. It include, of course, advice on how to drop it into any campaign and setting, so long as the journey and quest takes the party into the mountains and wilderness, in search of an object or goal that is valuable because of its history and contents, but not powerful by itself.
The book contains:
Preface. The preface introduces the adventure as having started life as a 2-hr demonstration scenario run at GenCon that introduced two groups to the alternate grappling rules in Dungeon Grappling. Fifteen players, two sessions, great fun. It was then expanded into the volume being kickstarted.
Introduction. The local geography and the events leading to the quest to rediscover the Dómstóllinn, the Hall of Judgment, are laid out with enough background to drive the adventure if running Lost Hall of Tyr as a stand-alone demonstration. The introduction also provides some inspiration to use the adventure in other campaigns, settings, locations, or even as part of a mega-dungeon!
Lost Hall of Tyr. The core scenario. It includes a flowchart so that the GM can see how the different encounter areas connect, and then 20 adventure segments – a journey, a riddle, a combat encounter, or a physical feat. Each encounter will include Challenges, telling the GM what must be overcome, Concealed information that the players don’t know initially, Alternatives that talk about ways to short-circuit, bypass, or otherwise not just Leroy Jenkins one’s way through a challenge, and Rewards, where appropriate. Ransom encounter tables, encounter map images, and evocative artwork paint the story of the challenges faced.
Wilderness Travel. Travelling overland, especially carrying an adventurer’s usual load of gear, is hard work. This short chapter discusses ways to make that work dramatic and fun, including guidance for food, water, hunting, preserving meat, and rules for cold weather and climate. Not all challenges have talons and teeth.
Bestiary. Each monster that is listed in the scenario is given statistics, including a quick-reference chart for grappling, as well as statistics compatible with the Dungeon Grappling rules.
Dungeon Grappling Quick-Start. Even if you don’t have the book, you can still use the rules. Two pages of grappling the way it should be: fast, fun, and well-integrated with the Fifth Edition basic rules mechanics.
All together, this is a complete adventure that can be run on its own or dropped into an existing campaign.
Let’s get something straight right off the bat: You do not need to have, use, or even like Dungeon Grappling to use this adventure.
You need not entirely buy in to the Viking-ish, pseudo-Norse setting material that serves as background.
I mean, you should love Dungeon Grappling, as a great set of grappling rules that don’t suck. And Woden will cast his unflinching eye on you with displeasure if you dis the setting. But, sigh . . . such things are not required.
I did, however, condense the Dungeon Grappling mechanics into a two-page quick-start that accurately represents how I both taught and ran the game at GenCon. You can attack to grapple, defend from grapples, and even cause injury by grappling, at the very least. Just the basics. But in Indianapolis, that was enough.
Each encounter has monsters that might use grappling against you or be grappled more effectively than they are struck. Well, except for a few where that’s not true, because you have to keep everyone guessing.
It makes for a really different kind of game, in a good way.
This is my second kickstarter. It’s probably a bit better organized than before, and definitely it’s farther along in terms of investment: I have more faith in myself and my ability to deliver a product.
- Print will be an option right out of the gate, and the better the Kickstarter does, the better the printed book will be
- The “cool cover” is not an option that comes around last; I commissioned it already, and Juan Ochoa is busy at work on it
- I’ve already got encounter maps, by Dan Roy of Bogie Maps, being created. These will also come as separate files for dragging into a VTT
- Oh, of course the entire thing is written, edited by renowned industry pro and multiple ENnie Winner John Adamus (Thanks to Ken Hite for steering me his way!), and Todd Crapper of Broken Ruler Games is completely owning the layout and graphic design, telling me when things are good, and when I just need to shut up and let him work.
So, is there anything not done? Well, sure. I’ve commissioned some preliminary art, and you’ll see that in the first two weeks of updates. And if it just passes the first goal, I’ll be able to populate the existing art spaces.
But there’s a bunch more art that could be there, and with a moderate achievement in stretch goals (roughly what Dungeon Grappling raised, actually), more art will be added.
Also: I’ve got a special guest star, so to speak. Roland Warzecha, of Dimicator, is perhaps one of the finest Sword-and-Buckler Western Martial Arts instructors and fighters in the world. He’s also an amazing illustrator. We got to know each other through Asfolk, the Viking Martial Arts studio I joined (and where I’m now an assistant instructor) researching Dragon Heresy. He’s agreed to a commission for at least one piece for the project, and I sincerely hope it does well enough to add a few more.
But really, that’s it. I could ship the thing on Monday and the adventure would be playable, while the book would be very attractive (if somewhat incomplete) . . . but that’s not how we do things around here.
So, I hope you help me bring this one to life, as you helped me bring Dungeon Grappling to life. I’m going to give Monday October 2 a wide berth, as there’s a few other Kickstarters launching that day, such as Mentzer’s new setting. Plus, I do still have to finish that pesky Kickstarter video. I’ll be storyboarding it tonight, and recording it over the next two days. But somewhere on Tuesday or Wednesday, this project will go live, and I would truly appreciate both your support financially, as well as the all-important shares and endorsements on social media.
Until then: game on!