The Womb Bog and The Bowl

The Womb Bog

Womb Bog

I’m having fun playing with Hex Kit.

I was futzing with the randomly generated maps, where you can put different hex-types at different elevations and see what happens and got this one with a bog right in the middle. It made me want to play a game with lizard-folk, bullywugs and maybe dragonborn. Lizard-folk vampires from the Bonegrove steal your warmth by grappling with you.

Clerics of single elements, all elements in balance or two combined.

I want a demi-god called the Froghemoth and a primordial world being put together out of the broken pieces of dead worlds (hence, elf lake). I added in rivers and lakes and named some stuff.

Fun toy.

Old World Markers

(If one isn’t enough for you, roll 2 and combine them)

  1. Dead Gods’ Rib
  2. Broken Shrine
  3. Infernal Amber (Frozen Piece of Hell)
  4. Statue’s Limb
  5. Stone Tentacle
  6. Boundary Marker designating the edge of a long-dead empire
  7. Cyclopean Cog (Broken Piece of Heaven)
  8. Golem Cemetery
  9. Dead Tree Deity
  10. Cathedral-sized heart, slowly rotting
  11. Dead Mushroom Deity
  12. Tower-sized Sword embedded in ground
  13. Blasted Wizard-God’s tower
  14. Crucified Paladin-God
  15. Crow’s cage containing the rotting Thief-God
  16. Broken Skyship Gate
  17. Crashed Capital Skyship
  18. Chains running from deep in the earth into the sky
  19. Lich-god’s crystal skull
  20. Broken siege engine meant to wage war on other-planar fortifications

The Bowl

And we’ve got the Bowl, rivers running towards the cold void at the center of a broken shard of a world, turning into frozen crystal waterfalls as their water spills into the uncaring stars.

The Bowl

Why do Sky Fortresses guard the void?

What blasted the old towers along the rim?

Who decides the path of the free-floating Sky Pyramid?

What is the relationship between the Black Monoliths and the Glyph Rocks?

Will the Mushroom Grove engulf the entire Bowl some day, as foretold?

What is the source of the river’s waters?



Planarch Codex has me thinking about Kobolds

From an e-mail about an upcoming DW/Planarch Codex game:

I think I want to play a kobold, straight out of the Monster Manual.

A little scaled, horned being who grew up among 40 to 400 other kobolds. Raised to hate in a huge evil pile but left home with his red robes, his short sword and his wicker shield and is realizing quickly that the way he was raised might not have been perfect.

And so, I re-read the Monster Manual entry:

kobold jpg


I asked on G+, thinking I had run into some kind of old school D&D jargon but no. I was set straight.

Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 10.52.08 PM

“gens, n.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, June 2016. Web. 15 August 2016.

Flat Game Diagnostic Tools

When  a game was flat, there are questions that I ask to try to diagnose what went wrong. Essentially, I look at the tools the game gives us to make the game hum right along and shift from third to fourth and fifth gears and consider how they were used. Games don’t just have one tool and sometimes the use of tools isn’t the problem at all but it is a place to start thinking.

Burning Wheel: What were the players’ beliefs and what kind of artha hit the table?

Sorcerer: What were the kickers and what was written on the back of the character sheet.

I think Apocalypse World, Dungeon World and Sagas of the Icelanders might be, “What questions did you ask and what kind of answers did you get?”

A flat session might also have something to do with hard moves chosen on failed rolls and what is offered on the 7-9 rolls but asking the players solid questions and using the answers feels like an important detail that is often overlooked (or at least, under-discussed where I’m reading).

This isn’t to say that there aren’t tons of other mistakes that can be made with any of those games. I’m just talking about first thoughts when  my or someone else’s flat session.

Module Specific Death Moves

I posted this to Google+ but feel like it got lost in the mix, so here it is on my blog:

The Death moves are making me consider Front/Campaign death moves for different dungeons:

When you die during the Expedition to the Barrier Peaks Your soul is captured by the ship. Once a dozen such souls are taken, it will begin producing androids, teach them to crew the ship and attempt to free itself from the mountain.

Until then, you are stuck in the mainframe unless the players find a way to re-insert your soul back into another body.

When you perish attacking the Queen of the Demon-Web Pits your soul is caught in a soul-gem in Lloth’s web. If the players find it, you could be resurrected.

When you die trying to destroy the Slave Lords you approach the Black Gates and angels are waiting for you at the entrance to the Dead Lands. Roll as per the Black Gates move. On a hit, the angels send you back into battle, thanking you for your service and letting you know that your wings will be waiting for you when you return.

On a 7-9, the angels will demand something specific, asking you do be somehow more pious in your life than you were so that your soul is more ready to do Law and Good’s work.

On a miss, the angels take you beyond the Black Gates, saying that you are not worthy of the glory that will come with scourging the slave lords from the face of Greyhawk.

When you perish in the Tomb of Horrors, you roll as per the Black Gates move. On a hit you evade Acererak’s grasp and return, knowing that a fell power squats in the Tomb, waiting for the adventurers.

On a 7-9, your ghosts evades Acererak’s pull and you are able to warn your fellow adventurers about the peril of one trap.

On a miss, Acererak devours your soul and you are never seen again.

The lonely fronts after a Dungeon World one-shot

The one shot from this past weekend is over but I wanted to make some fronts to pass time during the commute and learn the in’s and out’s of DW.


**Front: The Empire of the All-Seeing Sun**

Cast: God-Emperor, General of the Sun’s Own Army, Gladiators, Rebels, Unconquered Savages, Common Sun-state Citizens, Dead Sea Cabal Necromancers


Will the God Emperor become undead?

Will the God-Emperor pass on his All-Seeing Power?

Will the Empire take over the world?

Will the savages destroy this empire and deficate in its ashes?


*Danger: Dead Sun Cabal*

Type: Ambitious Organization

Impending Doom: Usurpation

Grim Portents: Gain God Emperor’s favor

Steal moonstone from the consort’s cult.

Gain Iron Liche’s artifacts for their own use.


*Danger: God Emperor of the All-Seeing Sun*

Type: Arcane Enemy

Impending Doom: Tyranny

Grim Portents: Gathers worthy predessessors to his palace.

Gathers unholy texts regarding undead transitioning.

Leads armies against enemies.

Leads diplomacy, helping his enemy’s enemies.


*Danger: Moon Consort’s Cult*

Type: Ambitious Organization

Impending Doom: Chaos

Grim Portents: Friends replaced by shape-shifters from the moon cult.

God Emperor is assassinated.

Dead Sun Cabal’s efforts are harried.

Werewolf plague!


*Danger: Northern Savages*

Type: Hordes

Impending Doom: Chaos

Grim Portents: Giant-moot!

Raids on the empire’s borders.

Fall of a prominent Imperial holding.

Death seen, riding a polar bear towards the Empire’s capital.

Fall of the All-Seeing Sun Empire.


**Front: Revenge of the Iron Lich**

Cast: Iron Lich, Steampunk Undead, Power Hungry Wizards


Will the Iron Liche rebuilt his towers crypts and charnel factories?

Will the Iron Lich take over the 1000 Road Republic?

Will someone be possessed by an Iron Lich body part/artifact?


*Danger: Dead Sun Cabal*

Type: Ambitious Organization

Impending Doom: Usurpation

Grim Portents:

Sends agents to steal Iron Lich’s shit.

Sends a spy to watch adventurers.

Member betrays cabal for promises of power and immortality.


*Danger: Undead Hordes*

Type: Hordes (duh)

Grim Portents:

Known town is over-run.

Crypts are ransacked.

Smiths kidnapped to create lightning ghoul’s harnesses.


*Danger: The Iron Lich*

Type: Arcane Enemy

Grim Portents: Sacking places important from the lich’s living days.

Domination over death cults and inventors.

Hand re-built.

No longer a towerless wanderer, but a force to be reckoned with.


*Danger: Ocean God’s Wrath (they threw the Iron Lich’s hand into the ocean, y’see)*

Type: Planar Force

Impending Doom: Destruction

Grim Portents: Flooding, storms, etc.

Sea’s minions kidnap wizards and sages.

Sea Monsters attack coastal towns.

The Flood

Dungeon World: Visiting the Indigo Galleon with a Druid and a Barbarian

Mike was in town for the weekend, so it seemed like a good time to take out the shiny new Dungeon World tome and put it to use. I printed out the character sheets, along with the Barbarian, dropped them all on the table and Janaki and Mike chose their characters while I quickly skimmed The Indigo Galleon.

The skim reading meant I got the basic idea but got many of the details wrong, which turned out to be fine. My Captain-Senator was also a necromancer, with an Imperial Spellbook chained to his breastplate and he marched into town with a squad of 8 Imperial soldiers.

Janaki chose the Barbarian and Mike took a Druid. I adore how fast these AW-derived games steam through chargen while still providing lots of evocative details for the table to dig into.

Priscilla Foehammer and Nigel of the Stinking Mire had just gotten back from the Tomb of the Iron Liche. I asked Priscilla what she was attempting to destroy in the tomb.

“The Iron Liche.”

She rolled her Strength, got 7-9, so I told her that their battle brought down the tombs and gravely wounded the Iron Liche but she was not able to confirm the kill as he slid into a seemlingly bottomless shaft as the stones fell all around them.

I asked Nigel what he wanted to understand in the Tombs and he was seeking out the mysteries of the Iron Liche’s magics and he failed that roll, meaning that he had a hand of the Iron Liche, metal bones, rusted cogs and steam-powered exoskeleton, secreted in his bag like some kind of precious secret.

The adventure is a big glorious mess and it hit a hiccup when Priscilla died fighting some marauders in the abandoned dwarven mines. Rolling a 7 on her Last Breath move (thanks to her Barbarian move that gives her +1 on Last Breath) she confronted death, who looked kind of like one of the White Walkers from Game of Thrones, only he rode a polar bear. Death told Priscilla that she had to kill the necromantic Captain-Senator and stake his head in a high place with her name runes carved into his face.

This is when things got crazy. They rested up and healed for a day and then Priscilla called the imperial senator-captain/necromancer out and confronted him and his soldiers. Nigel turned into a War Elephant (straining the limitations of being able to turn into a domesticated animal) and stampeded the soldiers while the Foehammer cut off the necromancer’s hand and then head while holding on with 1 hit point left.

In the end, after a few more rolls and shenanigans, Nigel had secretly fastened the liche-hand onto his own hand (why do hands always figure prominently into my DW games…Vecna envy?) and was about to summon the Octopus God of the octopus folk so that he could turn the world into a swamp. Priscilla’s questioning of his actions caused him to hesitate and cut off the fell hand of the Iron Liche.

This game came very close to being Moby Dick and the Barbarian vs. Cthulhu but it didn’t get down that road. Nigel leveled up and Priscilla is 1 XP shy of 2nd level. I love the way XP works in this game now, love it to bits.

Pirates, chtonic deties, imperial necromancers, imperial necromancer’s head on a spear in the middle of a small fishing village by a glory-hungry barbarian, shape-changing into an alligator, a poisonous snake and a whale…it was a fine night of gaming.

Looking at their Bonds, Nigel realized that the danger the spirits warned him was following Priscilla Foehammer was actually him. Good stuff.

Welcome to Dis, letters to get started.

A Story Games Thread:

Ill-Met in Waterdeep

Dear Prime Newb Whose Home is still Digesting in Dis’ Guts,

Welcome to Dis.

You have what you could carry from your home and need to find some scratch so that you don’t have to sleep out under the alien stars.

Sure, this isn’t your first rodeo and you had plenty of adventures back at home but now you are in Dis. The trappings are familiar but the context is entirely new. Now you are all small fish in an ever-expanding pond that is constantly devouring other ponds.

Someone among you took the lead in getting you to Dis alive. Have that one roll +Int.

On a 10+, you either got out with a really amazing artifact or know someone in Dis who can help you settle in a bit.

On a 7-9, you have some remnant of your old world that isn’t immediately useful but you could sell it for 3d6 silver if you don’t mind it becoming a curio in a local parish’s shop window.

On a miss, trouble from the old world has followed you here.

There is a place for rent here in the Vecna Parish that has something that reminds you of the City of Splendors. Sure, all of the architecture seems to be littered with eyes and hands but something about this joint feels like home, dammit. Explain to the GM why you want to rent that place so badly. The owner, a one-eyed recovering wizard (recovering?), likes the idea of renting to new refugees, as it reminds him of when he first got here, fresh from Greyhawk City.

Chunks of your world are still floating on the top of the stew that is Dis. When your GM rolls on the job table, he will insert an element of the Forgotten Realms as either the Patron, Target or Job Type. The GM could describe a job and ask you what about that job is actually a piece of the Realms and how your character recognizes it.

The one-eyed former death cult wizard will hold the space for you for a few days while you do some honest or dishonest freebooting.

Hugs & Kisses,

Your GM

Please come to the thread and play along.