Category Archives: Adventure Seeds

One Page Encounter Maps: The Wizard’s Study

This article is something of a test. I often see large maps online for free, and they’re awesome, but I don’t really want to pay to have them printed out – especially if they’re not flexible enough to be used in many different situations. Paying a bunch of money for one combat map isn’t my thing. But what if the combat map was small enough to be printed out on your home printer? On a single sheet of paper? Yeah, I’d be in for that. So that’s what I’m doing. If it’s well received, I will make more. Read on… Continue reading

Free Full Sized Ship Game Mat: Hellstrider

As promised last week, here is the full map of the Hellstrider, a replica of Fat Dragon Games’ “Sea Dragon,” done in Dundjinni.

I’ve also included it with a water background, if you’d like a more mundane ship, and a version without a grid for all you Maptool users out there. One note I will make about using it in Maptool to help DMs align the grid – the main deck is 5 wide; the mast on that deck sits in the middle of a square. The lower deck is only 4 wide, so the mast sits in between two squares. I apologize for not including more details (like cargo), but I’m currently working on a project, and didn’t have time.

This ship is a traditional “Cog,” which were primarily trading vessels used in the Middle Ages. I will spare you the rest of the interesting internet research I did; I’m sure you know how to use Google if you want to know more, or just want to look smart in front of your players. Continue reading

Fourthcore Team Deathmatch Map: Mutiny on the Hellstrider

A few weeks ago, just before I got the chance to play in the Charm City Gameday Fourthcore Team Deathmatch, I emailed C. Steven Ross with an idea to make a deathmatch map on a ship sailing in a sea of lava. I had so much fun playing in the deathmatch that I decided to realize that map myself. Of course, I love making the deathmatch terrains, and I really believe they add something great to the deathmatch experience, so I wanted to make the map resemble something that could be made and used in a match. Continue reading

Two Page Mini Delves: The Secret of the Pale Reaver

 This article is part of the May of the Dead blog carnival. For lots (and lots) more May of the Dead goodness, check out Going Last’s carnival page here.

There are a few things that I’m trying out with this two page delve. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether or not I was successful. Of all the two page delves I’ve made thus far, this was the one I really wish I could have playtested and tweaked. Unfortunately, this was not an option. So even if you don’t think the delve would work out for your group as presented, at the very least this will hopefully be a starting point for ideas.

I tried out an isometric view when I made the map. It turns out that isometric dungeons are quite easy to make, as long as you have some isometric graph paper. You can print out isometric graph paper for free online; I used at 1/4″ grid. I also drew the map with a 6B pencil instead of the usual black gel pen. You’ll have to let me know if you like the look better or worse than the cleaner lines of a pen.

And of course this is my first shot at horror. There isn’t really a way to “win” this delve, only a way to survive. Many players might not like that. I tried to incorporate advice on horror writing that I’ve found in various places – I’ve used lots of foreshadowing before the final “encounter” and included advice for the DM to generate suspense during the delve.

The map for this dungeon is an exact replica of the Fat Dragon Games “Sea Dragon” model, which I talked about last week. You certainly don’t need the model to run the delve, but if you want a 3D representation on the table, that’s where you can get one.

 You can download the mini delve here.

The Pale Reaver

Interesting Encounters: The Shaman’s Unhallowed Grove

This post is part of the May of the Dead blogfest being run by Going Last. If you’d like more undead type goodness, head over here for lots more.

This particular encounter has been kicking around in my head for a while now, but it was too… unformed for me to feel comfortable publishing. Fortunately, the May of the Dead blogfest gave me a kickstart; by applying an undead theme to the encounter, it now had purpose and flavor.

I’m not going to dictate the specific background to the encounter in order to give you the opportunity to take it in your own direction. However, the very basic setup is this: a shaman is attempting to use lightning to animate or raise a body. He has converted a ring of standing stones into a primal conduit to channel a storm’s energy into the body, which lays in the center on a slab of stone. His motivations, backstory, and the plot leading up to the encounter, I leave up to you. Sounds very “Frankenstein’s Monster”? Yup, it’s supposed to. Except in this case, instead of using science, the Good Doctor is using primal power. Continue reading

Two Parties, One Goal: Ideas for Playing D&D Against Another Group

Although I like to stick to terrain projects and general advice here, I have, in the past, used this blog to put forth D&D thought experiments I’ve had. These mostly deal with non-traditional ways of playing the game; I suppose I like to put the ideas out there for feedback, or maybe just writing them out forces me to flesh out the idea into something that’s logical and cohesive. In any case, this is one of those posts.

I originally asked Dice of Doom to kick around this idea in one of their podcasts. I kind of forgot about it until The Angry DM posted this tweet, and got me thinking about the topic again. Someone else tweeted this in response to a comment I made that both groups of adventurers should be actual play groups. This got my brain churning even faster. Continue reading

May of the Dead: Horde Zombies

Zombie Horde by The Meat Grinder at DeviantArt

This post is part of the May of the Dead blogfest being run by the guys at Going Last. There are a lot of other bloggers contributing all sorts of undead content for all sorts of RPG games. For more of this May of the Dead goodness (badness?) you can click through to the blogfest homepage here.

Haven’t zombies been done to death? (Pun intended) In the compendium, we have 61 zombies. 61! of just one type of creature. What more can I add to the mix? I don’t suppose too much, but let’s take a crack at it anyways. It is, after all, May of the Dead… Continue reading

Adventure Seeds From History: Athaliah and Joash

True history is rife with stories and plot arcs that we can take for our own game. I was reminded of one such story this week; I may turn this into a series, I may not, but for now, enjoy the true story from Israel’s history of Athaliah and Joash.

It’s interesting to me how many campaign worlds have a stable government. I believe this is a by product of the world many of us live in today. We enjoy the luxury of stable rulership, and the peaceful transfer of power. For much of history however, this was not the case. History is splattered with the blood of kings, queens, and princes who died at the hands of those they trusted, all so someone else could seize power. Then there are vengeance killings following the coups. The struggle for power was turbulent, filled with intrigue, bloody, and endless. Continue reading

Two Page Mini Delves: Dwarven Museum Of Moriah

This is a conversion of my entry in the One Page Dungeon Contest into a 4th Ed. specific Two Page Mini Delve.

I haven’t really added too much. I added some hooks for the DM to use both before and after the delve. These have become features of all my mini delves. I also added the standard stuff – skills and DCs, and a few combat specifics. Plus rules for a collapsing ceiling ported mostly from the Escape From The Badder Warren mini delve I did last year. Continue reading

New Gamma World Monster: The Jitterbug

So, this post started out as a joke on Twitter last week. There was a conversation about a Gamma World game where @wesleykhall and @vanitygames were present. In that game, the party had a sort of “dance off” with a giant bug at one point. Not many details were given. At that point, @digitaldraco chimed in with, “Was it a jitterbug? (I’ll see myself out…)” Hardy har. But then again… that actually sounded like a Gamma World appropriate monster.

So I made a Jitterbug, and with the help of Wes’s awesome art skills, brought it to life. Continue reading