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.


Planarch Codex Job List Table Results

After spending the past two years looking for a job (I start the new gig on Monday!) it is no surprise that the Planarch Codex job table spoke to me. It is fun and like any good random table gives you just enough detail to give your imagination an inspiring kick to the nethers.

Below are some results I rolled up on a lonely night when I still lived upstate with some GM’s notes below.


From the Job Table in the Planarch Codex:

Bloody business for those with the stomach for such things. Need highly skilled operators to get into an arcane library tower that is never in the same place two nights in a row and destroy an infernal item. Begin negotiations for employment at the Malsheemi Merchants’ Guild, where an array of eclectic arcane and mundane payment options are offered.

DM’s Notes: Malsheemi is a city in hell. These merchants are devils.

Holy work being offered, a delivery to a demi-god’s distant holy shrine on a distant plane so that my tithe might be delivered. Time sensitive. Pay can be in gold, gems, secrets, maps and more.

DM’s Notes:  Players in a play-by-post game took this gig, it turned out to be a gang leader wanting to send his tithe to a shrine to Prometheus, god of stealing from the high and mighty. Turned out  his home was being torn apart by a war betweeh Ghoul King and the Demon-Prince of the Gnolls

Professional adventuring party needed for bodyguard work for guild wizard. Please apply in person to the Wizard’s Guild Tower with list of appropriate references.

DM’s Notes: I’d ask questions about the players’ thoughts on wizards and riff off of that.

Guards needed for pilgrims walking the Kas Road. Food and pack animals provided. Payment in full upon reaching the City of a Thousand Swords.

DM’s Notes: Kas was the greastest swordsman who ever lived and is looked on as a saint to dedicated butchers who favor a sword. His pilgrimage is taken by swordsman on the verge of becoming legends but in order to take up this holy walk, they must put down all weapons and wear no armor. Here’s hoping their enemies don’t show up looking for vengeance.

Who squats in our harbor within those alien ships? Why are they here? I will pay you to find out! Inquire in the Manticore Tower and be prepared to discuss pay and begin immediately. How long can we afford to wait?

DM’s Notes: The players will be hired by a xenophobic shit-heel of a wizard very much inspired by Dying Earth books. The ships are woven, floating nests of giant spider refugees because I love giant spiders. I’d want to ask the players questions about how they feel about newcomers to Dis and/or how they felt when they first arrived.

According to the Laws of Dis we must inform any adventurers or freebooters who might consider the following job that it will put you in the midst of a holy war. When and if you inquire in person we will, by Dis Law, have to inform you one more time and then our lawful obligation will be met. The Holy Executioner, servant of Blind Justice is seeking the Trickster with 13 Faces for crimes perpetrated on several planes. Inquire about this work at the Gallows Temple.

DM’s Notes: Pretty self explanatory, a trickster deity known for disguise is hiding from a goddess of justice. I have no idea how I’d run this one.

Adventurers needed to aid a man possessed by an alien god. From what many of the best alienist summoners can tell us, the deity from another reality is seeking a pilgrim who ventured from this deep plane and is now in Dis. Inquire among the Nurse Warden’s Guildhouse.

DM’s Notes: I’d ask questions about the players’ past interactions with the nurse wardens and their brushes with alien gods.

Do a solid for the Captain of the Silver Axes and you will be paid well. Need freebooter scum who know the streets of Dis to find an obscure Temple.

DM’s Notes: I’d ask the players about their past tussles with the Captain before he asks them to find a roving temple that stiffed his merc company on a past bill. 

Silver Swords in Dis

No matter where or whom you come from, in someone’s eyes, you and your family are monsters.

The Planarch Codex: Dark Heart of the Dreamer, Walton and Friends

The Silver Swords are named for the arcane weapons they carry into battle, forged from the astral chains that kept them in slavery for centuries. Since rebelling and gaining freedom from the psionic monsters who dared call themselves their masters the Silver Swords have founded a city in the Deep Astral built from the wreckage of a thousand cathedrals, the psychic detritus of dead faiths.

The Silver Swords put their faith in no deities but in the corpse of the young lady who liberated them. When she died, their warlock eunuchs set the body on their Dragon Throne and continued to rule in her name. If one of their own people should complete a great work, they are ritually sacrificed before her throne and their soul fuels the Corpse Queen, allowing her body and will to animate and rule. When she is in repose, the Silver Empire is run by the cruel warlock eunuchs.

When the queen is awake, the Silver Empire is ferocious, just and embraces change.

When the queen is dead the warlock eunuchs are in charge of the empire and the Silver Empire is then ferocious, myopic and fearful of anything or anyone who could upset the status quo.

The Silver Swords are not quite human. Maybe it was from the psychic torments under slavery’s cruel tentacles or from breeding with all manner of dragons and mythical creatures from a hundred different worlds along the astral deeps. They are humanoid in shape and most often bipedal but vary greatly in all other ways with only a single silver eye to unite them.

A Silver Sword is a monster with these moves:

  • Claim land for the Silver Empire’s Corpse Queen
  • Make a pact with a greater mythical beast (dragon, liche, etc.)
  • Free slaves from their bondage

P.S. There is a heretic off-shoot of Silver Empire, those who threw down their blades, refused to worship the queen after she died. They lead lives of contemplation in floating monasteries amidst the primordial chaos from which the ur-gods created everything.

The Chaos Monks are monsters with the following moves:

  • Release land from feudal bonds.
  • Give an enemy’s inner turmoil a physical incarnation.
  • Let others know how to destroy the economic realities that make slavery profitable.

DW Stats

Silver Sword

HP: 7

AC: +2

Damage: d8 (roll two, take the higher)

Tags: Planar

Chaos Monk

HP: 7

AC: +1

Damage: Fists, 1d6, Psychic Blast 1d8+1

Tags: Planar

Other things to stat out: The Corpse Queen, Eunuch Warlock, Silver Sword Dragonrider

Maps: Silver Empire Colonial Outpost, Silver Navy Astral Corvette, Silver Captital in the Deep Astral, Monastery in the Chaos Waste, The Deep Astral, The Chaos Wastes

Inspired by:


Russ Nicholson’s Githyanki

The Planarch Codex

Dungeon World

World of Dungeons

Link to Conversation over on G+

Dungeon World in Hell

Why did a powerful guild, temple, church or council go to the trouble and expense to teleport you into Hell? What goals do they hope you will accomplish?

You were a high level, powerful (in)famous character before being sent to hell and the arcane transition stripped you of your levels.  Name a title or deed that you accomplished.

Where did they mean to send you? Because the drop into hell (surprise, surprise) did not go as planned.

by Dave Sutherland

A rough map of the Nine Hells snagged from this lovely site and we’re ready to roll:


And I’d make a list of hellish encounters: suffering sinners, Blood War mercenaries, hell hounds looking for escapees, etc.


Planarch Codex, old school book cover ignition

World of Dungeons and the Planarch Codex have a firm grip on my inner freebooter scum.

I want to start a game by throwing some books on the table and asking:

How did you freebooter scum get into debt with this Efreet gangster from Blood River?

Are any of you sleeping with this guy?

Does one of you hold a grudge against him from back in the day for that gig with the thing and the other thing?

[Roll on Job Table, page 14 ]

Who is  up on the statue and who is standing guard?

Are you worried about the superstitions surrounding this idol?

Do any of you worship this deity?

Are you really going to fence the gems to your patron with the key necklace or do you plan a double-cross?

How did you meet this guy again?

Are any of you sleeping with this guy?

Dungeon World: Dark Heart of the Wood, a dungeon engine

The Dark Heart is somewhere in the forest. Every great arcane event in history has touched on it and one of them likely created it. The scholars argue about the Dark Heart’s origins and in the general order of the events.

The adventures begin mid-level, food is running low, a few torches are left. They were hired by a small treasure town between  the forest and the nearest duchy to find a group of younglings who fancied themselves delvers, heads filled with stories of gold and glory. These kids had no place entering the Dark Heart. They should have known their place, ransacked a broken wizard’s tower with a troll squatter or tried to kick a ghoul around in the barrow downs. They are in this mess somewhere. You get more money if they are alive but the townsfolk will understand if you bring back bodies to be interred in the family plots.

When you want to know something about the level of the dungeon the players are on, roll 1d6, note the result on Table 1 and then roll another 1d6 and note that seperate result on Table 1 in order to find out which events collided here. Those are the two arcane events that had the greatest obvious effect on this level. If you need more descriptors for rooms, see Tables 2 and 2A. If you need inspiration for Independent Agents, see Table 1A.

Table 1: Arcane Events (roll 1d6)

  1. Wizarding Wars
  2. Silver Incursion
  3. Drow Exodus
  4. Modron March
  5. Blood Wars
  6. Independent Agents

Note: What if I roll the same thing twice? If it is something that interests you, keep it and go with it. This level was untouched by other events or at least the others who came through decided to haul ass. If it is a result you are lukewarm on, roll again or pick your favorite.

1) Wizarding Wars: When humanity first summoned elements and powers from beyond and used this newfound power to make childish war on one another.

2) Silver Incursion: When the Corpse-Queen’s forces tried to take our world as a colony.

3) Drow Exodus: When half of the elves under the sun ventured under the ground to worship a Queen of the Demon-Web Pits.

4) Modron March: The Modrons marched through this plane, scholars still argue about what their great mathematical trans-planar migration meant.

5) Blood Wars: Where Demons and Devils made war on one another.

6) Independent Agents: All manner of other beasts, monsters and such have made their homes in the Dark Heart.

Table 1A: Independent Agents (roll 2d6)

  1. Goblin Horde
  2. Giant Spiders
  3. Illithid
  4. Chaos Monk Hunting Party
  5. Demi-God
  6. Adventurers
  7. Death Knight
  8. Vampire
  9. Gnoll Pack
  10. Liche
  11. Death Slaad


  • On this level, the <roll on Table 1A> are/is feuding with the <roll on Table 1A>/<remnant from Table 1>.
  • On this level, the <roll on Table 1A> is trying to find an artifact left behind from the <roll on Table 1>.
  • On this level, the <roll on Table 1A>  is desperate and afraid because of the remnant from the <roll on Table 1> they recently encountered.

Table 2:  Room Ideas (roll 2d6)

  1. Summoning Room
  2. Tomb
  3. Barracks
  4. Prison
  5. Holy Site
  6. Library
  7. Monument to an Event
  8. Monster’s Lair
  9. Reflecting Pool
  10. Food Storage or Farm of some kind
  11. Something Alien


It looks like a <roll on Table 2> but actually it is a <roll on Table 2>.

It looks like a <roll on Table 2> but actually it is a TRAP!

Table 2A: Dungeon-y Words (roll 1d6)

  1. Cyclopean
  2. Broken
  3. Untouched
  4. Befouled
  5. Ransacked
  6. Still in use


In which Judd fantasizes about how he’d end his game-fast.

Game-fast: in which a gamer stops playing games in order to focus on other pursuits and goals.

In N.Y.C.:

  • Solo Houses of the Blooded game with Janaki where she can ride dragons, get into duels, adventure in Puzzle Houses, debate ven policy in the Senate and have sexy romances.
  • Sit down with Rob, Jason, Witt, Melissa and Janaki and play Misspent Youth.
  • Get together with Bret and run a Ghost Rider Marvel Heroic game where folks who can make it show up and guest star as their favorite Marvel characters.
  • In a Wicked Age with Bret, Janaki, and Carly with sangria and mojitos.

In Ithaca:

  • I’d show up to Barry’s house in the middle of the night, plop down World of Dungeons and a 1 Page Dungeon in my clipboard and play until the sun comes up or City of Fire and Coin, depending on who is around.
  • Sit down with Paula, B.C., Cole and Evan and play Monsterhearts on summer evenings.
  • Get my roommates, Anthony, Andrew and Sarah, to the table and make characters around Anthony’s idea of playing an Imperial Engineer in the Warhammer world using Burning Wheel.
  • Grab my old Tiefling Rogue/Sorcerer and jump into Jim, Charlotte and Aaron’s 4e game.
Visitors and Such
  • City of Fire and Coin with Drew and whoever is in arm’s reach.
  • Dust Devils with Samurai with my dad.
  • Marvel Heroic’s Civil War with Storn, Pete, Anthony, Andrew and Sarah.

But I won’t. I’m staying on target and keeping those flying monkeys in the sky. And ya know, as much as I want to game it feels good to put it aside and concentrate on what is important. It will make gaming that much more satisfying once it hits the table again.

The job search grind is grinding on me.