Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Curses and Their Removal

The group had planned to investigate the twelve engines that had been sent to some nefarious character, but as they’re deploying, the get a call from Carl. Gabe has come into the safe house, and blood from Gabe is flowing off of him into the sword he’s clutching in his hands, hugging it to him like a very violent steel teddy bear. He’s barely conscious, and operating on a near-feral level. Wounds and not-wound injuries are both draining into the very thirsty sword.

There are black veins coming from his hand. When Kamali tries to shake Gabe awake, there’s a response as if he’d love to bisect Kamali in half . . . but the sword is just too thirsty to let the blade move from the blood. The motion is suppressed – not by Gabe’s choice.

The team looks to cast the separation ritual to separate him from his sword. But . . . that’s going to take too long, they decide. Timothy of the fast knives just goes to lop off Gabe’s hand. The swords blurs in automatic response, and cuts one of Timothy’s favorite knives in half. Timothy blames Gabe for this. “Oh, Gabe is going to pay for that knife.”

Well, they decide, let’s to the curse removal ritual. They do the spell, and separate him from the sword, wrapping the blade in white silk. They think about brought about the sword’s transformation, and come up with it seemed to transform in the cave when Gabe rescued Dierdre.

Gabe comes around slowly. The first thing he hears is “You f**king owe me, brother” as he kicks the pieces of his bisected knife towards Gabe. Gabe, confused, pulls out his wallet, which Timothy relieve him of quickly. This somehow seems oddly correct to Gabe at the moment. He’s feeling hungry. And poor.

Timothy pointedly reminds me that I killed his good knife. And that no, he’s not going to loan me money for a Chicken Burrito. Anyway, the team is uncertain whether Gabe is at 100% and more of a liability than is worth taking to go after the engines. Kamali goes for some mental mojo – reading aura, holding hands . . . it’s a very tender moment.

Kamali sees Gabe slaughtering pale folks. He’s pretty sure they’re vampires. The way the sword gets you is by helping you go after things you hate; once the hooks are in, you start hating everything.

Kamali goes full psychobabble on Gabe. There’s an analogy to the Emperor and Luke and Darth Vader somewhere in there. We decide there might be a story in that, but why ruin a perfectly good villain by dwelling excessively on a backstory?

In any case, Kamali has SeekerSense, and he can use the blood to track; the blood and the engines are kind of the same directions.

The Firehouse Ghost (and they were monster hunters) says “you’re going to fight vampires with THAT?” looking at Kamali’s assault rifle and machete. He sighs, walks over to a wall, and pushes a panel. The wall opens. We see a fresco of the order of St Eustace. Hunters. Trappers. Firefighters. One of the few soldier-saints.

The door opens into another room which looks a lot like Myriam’s mysterious disappearing room from whence the sword came. Gabe gets a quick download on Myriam’s confusing and secret history. Another wizard with a secret history and questionable past filled with pursuits of power. Hmm.

Timothy suggests we talk to the “f**king ghost” about the best way to hunt vampires. The ghost takes a quick inventory of our current weaponry. He suggests shotguns if we can get them, high-caliber weaponry if we can’t. And spears. They would keep the vamp away with a spear. Then blast off important bits.

We get a quick download on vampires and their weaknesses

  • Hawthorne, greenheart wood, and silver stops them from regenerating
  • Holy attacks and fire will hurt them, as will sunlight
  • Immersion in natural water or sunlight is extremely dangerous to them
  • They will be uncomfortable around natural running water

Gabe stumbles across a whole drawer of ammunition that looks like silver and wood and garlic slugs for shotguns. We also are well supplied with silver knives.

A few things strike was weird: hard-cased shotguns shells with glyphs on them. Also some liquid-suspension rounds with garlic, water, wood chips, sliver. . . called “The Works.”

We spend a LONG time kitting up. Timothy is honking the horn with a “get this the f**k on with it” thing. Naturally, the spectral dog jumps into the car. Through the door. 

We head to the location. We decide “bring one alive; the rest? Toast.”

Lorenzo and Gabe are on point. Amos is taking care of the trees. “He don’t have no weapons, just a slingshot!”

We head over to the site. Windows blacked out. We enter through a garage door, and there’s a one-armed vampire sleeping on the bar. Lorenzo runs up and stabs him with a spear for 9 impaling. Others, including Gabe, follow up with various nasty attacks to vital bits. Still – unliving, so not much additional damage. We pin him in place, but then the garage door starts to slam down, catchign Amos’ hand underneath. His hand is trapped under the garage door.

Timothy: “Amos. Stop f**king around. Lift the door.”

The spectral dog tries to run through the door . . . and bursts into blue flame, running away, yipping. Timothy makes a mental note to steal a piece of the door for later anti-dog operations.

Lorenzo passes, but Kamali decides to place the barrel of his shotgun against the guy’s head, and pull the trigger. The vampire has expired. It is now dead.

And then vampires drop or rise from freaking everywhere. Gabe gets hit on his left hand for 5 HP of injury; not crippled. Kamali gets his leg crippled.

Gabe invokes Smite. 2d6 burning damage to everyone within . . . hrm. Usually Range 4, but for some reason, Range 2; he steps into close combat and delivers 10 points of holy fire to three targets. They are not amused. They’re not dead or incapacitated, but they’re not amused.

We continue to fight; Timothy is struggling with the doors. Gabe gets grappled from behind. Kamali spends fatigue and other things to avoid being grappled. Gabe invokes Smite again, and my assailant bursts into flame. But hangs on, making my back really hot. Apparently it’s time to stop, drop, and roll.

We continue to fight. A vampire is attacked, dodges and drops, fast-draws a shotgun from under the counter, and acrobatically kips up. He tries to shoot Gabe, who goes full Neo and dodges. He sheds the grapple of the burning vampire limbs, and tries to stab the vampire 2 yards away. He crit fails and falls down. Oops.

Timothy goes through a window, and hurls a stake at the vampire’s face; the vamp grabs it out of the air. Seizing what is hopefully a moment of distraction, Kamali takes aim for the face of Vampy McGrabbypants.

We smell rotting flesh coming from map-south.

The vampire that caught the stake tries to pin Lorenzo to the floor with the wooden stake. An acrobatic dodge later, Lorenzo jumps down and dodges.

Kamali finally gets a chance to shoot a vamp in the face and hits.

Oh, and big nasty thing. Stitched from multple corpses. Amalgam of many parts. 9-10′ tall, putrid, SM +1. And fast. It comes running at Gabe. It slashes him for 12 damage, 10 absorbed by armor, and 3 injury get through. A toxic attack is shrugged off with enough margin that I might well be immune. Gabe strikes back: a hit for 9 cut and 1d flaming damage, which comes up a 1. This is an abbatoir demon; a body is built for it which the demon occupies. It’s weak to holy water.

Timothy moves around to the back of the thing; he makes a deal with the unholy knife to take the soul of the demon. The knife says “The pact . . . is sealed!” Kamali and Gabe can both hear this, somehow. He stabs it right in the chest, and it folds around the knife, dying.

So, net/net: dead demon. Several deep sleeping vamps. One captured vamp. We do a purification on the giant pentagram/summoning circle. There were wards set up against us. But we managed to clear the hall.

***

We end there. We head back to the firehouse. We meet Desire, who looks like she’s ready to collapse. Check that: she actually collapses. Oh, this is going to be one of those conversations later.

 

 

 

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Conflict at the Conclave

Last we left off, we are at the conclave headquarters as Gabriel has just stormed off, disgusted at not being able to see his long-term girlfriend.

Lorenzo helps treat people in the lobby of the Conclave while Timothy helps out by using his knife skills with surgical precision.

After aiding the folks in the conclave lobby, Timothy turns to diplomacy and speaks to the man that seems to be in charge of the whole operation, laying out what has occurred in the past couple hours, trying to distract the man from what has been happening the past couple hours.

Once the boys disarm themselves and Lorenzo helps the patients, the old man leads us to a conference room. The old man shows a quartz that glows and then shows a bird’s eye view of the city of Boston. Sickened by the view, Timothy asks for some water. The map starts glowing a bit as numerous red dots have started showing up.

Red dots match up with the bank robberies from yesterday, along with multiple others and several residences but Myriam’s house hasn’t shown up until Timothy gives the old man the news. The news isn’t quite new to the old man as he mentions that there have been multiple other car bombs have been going off all over the city.

Kamali lays down the situation with the homeless group and the abandoned house that had been infested with vampires. The old man agrees that it lines up with everything else that has been going on before debating how things are going with vampires. The old man insists that the local leadership of the vampire clans insists that they haven’t been moving at all. In fact the vampires that attacked us are revealed to have had their abilities long enough to be comfortable in their undeath, mature vampires and definitely not recently turned.

William Sims, the old man, tells that everything that occurred seemed to happen all at once and explains that the psionic blast from last night was the explosion from Murphy Island, the oldest family of Boston and have the resulting Custos powers within the city and within 100 miles.

William reveals that he isn’t even supposed to be in charge, instead he was just the head gardener and merely obtained the position through everyone else being lost. The main power structure having been at a meeting when the building was attacked and the emergency ritual took place and shifted dimensions, however now they can’t actually find the building. Kamali suggests that there was someone blocking the signal causing William to curse in realization.

The local vampire boss, Landry, has her hand in pretty much every sort of vice out there and has been questioned by the Conclave using a Truthsayer spell to ensure the entirety of her questioning to result in the truth.

The boys discuss the wisdom of going to visit a vampire master.

The conclave are members, not necessarily part of, and once she left after questioning. The group exchange numbers and are given a marble in return. The marble given is the same as those in the bag that Amos bought long ago in the Yukon. It’s requested that the Conclave look them over and it’s revealed that the bag of marbles are actually memory orbs. Amos is given a piece of paper with a ritual and the doorkeeper’s phone number.

Amos pulled out a doodad to pull a piece of the truck from his pocket to aid in a divination spell to try to figure out where the truck that blew up Myriam’s house came from. Amos draws tarot cards to divine where the truck came from, casting a ritual to divine from where the truck came, gaining a flash of insight that it came from a used car lot. Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign – S1E3: Vampire Diary”

(Duplicates Update #6)

Thus just in!

I just got the cover art in from Juan. Pretty awesome, so I put it into Todd’s cover mockup using the power of the Magic Wand Tool in Photoshop. The real version will have non-fake text for the back blurb, as well as better fidelity in the text elements. Still, this is what the thing will look like!

We are only $275 from the basic funding goal! One more good day, or two or three typical ones, and we’ll hit the first, most important milestone: getting funded.

After that, it’s stretch goal time. The most important for me is hitting the $6,000 goal where I can start commissioning more internal art. Over the coming days, you’ll see previews from each artist, as well as some work-in progress.

Until then . . . spread the word! We’re nearly there!

Did you Play Lost Hall at the Grappling Smackdown at GenCon?

I know a few folks – maybe one or two – who played what was called then “The Tower of Justice” or “Grappling Smackdown” with me in the IGDN booth at GenCon this year.

Friday and Saturday mornings, 10am start time. Each day was 7-8 people, some who’d signed up, some who didn’t.

As the book that will be now titled Lost Hall of Tyr: Dómstóllinn is closing in on its basic funding goal, I want to give you folks playtest credit. And a free copy.

So: email me! You have my card from the event. You can also hit me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com, or leave a comment to this post. Let me know which game you attended, what character you played, the name you wish to be credited with, and the most memorable thing that happened to you during the game.

Progress Update

We’re doing reasonably well . . . about 75% of the way there in the first 2 1/2 days of the campaign, and before a weekend. Hopefully that bodes well. We’re at $1900 of $2500 to fund, so that’s promising.  Lost Hall of Tyr is close to making the first hurdle!

Maps!

I thought I’d throw down a few glimpses of the work Day Roy (Bogie Maps) is doing to bring the encounter areas to life.

This area might be all bark and no bite . . . but I seriously doubt it.

And here’s an internal preview of the Lost Hall itself:

That room has seen better days. I mean, it’s still neater than my house if I take my eyes off my kids for an hour . . . actually, I think that door looks familiar.

And here’s a nice little place for a picnic. Or ambush.

 Six Maps. All this good.

The maps are wonderful, and portable. Most of them will make great encounter maps for any game.

The nice thing about them is them make me want to do even more with them. I’m strongly considering beefing up the Lower Hall especially. I have such tantalizing and seductive possibilities in my mind.

Things are progressing on the art front as well. While two of the images are just done, three more – the cover, and images by John and Roland, are in progress, and I expect them in a week or so. I’ll cover the artists in more detail in a bit.

Until then, thanks for the support thus far!

Thursday is GURPSDay and September has come and gone. Hey, I even turned 46 this past Monday! (If you want to get me a present, throw a few bucks at my Kickstarter. If enough GURPS folks throw in, maybe some nice things can happen).

Also: Pretty sure exactly two years ago today I blew myself up, fracturing my heel into six pieces and in the process launching myself six to eight feet into my back yard.

Fortunately, while I failed my IQ roll, I did make my HT roll.

So: GURPSDay!

Welcome to the second year of GURPSDay, and here’s the pull for this week.

We’re currently drawing content from 89 blogs. Only 11 more to go until we’re pulling from 100! But we’ll need your help. And if you just started a GURPS blog – and I know that some of you have – email me and get on the list!

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay Summary Sep 29 – Oct 5, 2017”

Lost Hall of Tyr: Dómstóllinn: Kickstarter is now LIVE

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.

I talk about Dungeon Grappling, doing Kickstarters, and Lost Hall of Tyr on James Introcaso’s Table Top Babble 040 – SciFi and Kickstarter Advice.

The module is set in a culture and realm that 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 Lost Hall of Tyr to life, as you helped me bring Dungeon Grappling to life.

I’ve got what I need, I think.

The video is complete. The pitch looks OK to me and some of my eyes-on folks.

But don’t take my word for it. Check it out in preview mode.

Lost Hall of Tyr: Dómstóllinn by Gaming Ballistic, LLC

(The title link is to the preview; the image is just the video)

A 52 to 64 page adventure for 5e (and S&W at least, if it does well) with support for Dungeon Grappling.

Look for it Real Soon Now on Kickstarter.

Last week I sat down with James Introcaso again, and spoke for more than an hour on grappling, Dungeon Grappling, how to publish a game, and how I approach running a Kickstarter, especially as a newbie.

It was a fun interview, and James is a great interlocutor.

Check it out!

TableTop Babble – 040 – 5e Sci Fi and Kickstarter Advice

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!