Thursday, August 15, 2019


Original art. Brush and metallic pens on colored paper.

The layer of soil and stone which covers our world is but a thin cover, like the skin of an apple. The vast, unseen interior is stranger than we imagine.

In places, it peeks through and grants access to explorers daring enough to descend into the shrouded unknown.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Warren's Butchery - Ground Floor

Click to enlarge
This is the third part of an adventure that I've been working on for awhile. It is inspired by the Warrens zone of Darkest Dungeon and the Isle of Doctor Moreau.

The Butchery is a two story building with a wrap-around porch. The Boss Hog and his Wretch attendants reside here. So does most of the treasure.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Warren's Butchery: The Grounds

This is the second part of an adventure that I've been working on for awhile. It is inspired by the Warrens zone of Darkest Dungeon
  • The first post in this series, describes the enemies encountered.
  • This post describes the exterior areas surrounding the Butchery. 
Everyone knows:  For years, Warren has operated a hog farm supplying the surrounding villages with pork, bacon and sausage. A small still produced harsh liquor. He is a skilled veterinarian who, in desperate moments, has operated on people (the stitches were never pretty but they usually survived).

If you visit the compound at night you'll hear awful beastly screams.
Warren is a bit crazy. He talks to his animals constantly.
Warren's hogs reproduce and mature at an unnatural rate.
Warren is a sadistic freak. If you stray from the paths, his land is strewn with traps.
Warren once grafted the hand of an ape onto a man who had lost his limb in an accident.
Warren practices his veterinary skills on his herd and performs many unnecessary surgeries.
Warren is a wizard and protects his lands with magic. Sometimes he sells potions.
No one has heard from Warren in months.

Unbeknownst to his neighbors, Warren experimented on his stock. With arcane surgeries and cultic ritual, he elevated  many of them to human like sentience. This led to his downfall, when the Swine rebelled, enraged by the torments they suffered.

Now their ranks are swelling. Their hunger drives them ever further afield, in search of flesh to feed the growing horde and satisfy their enormous king.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Tier List: 5e Races

Inspired by the latest episode of GG NO RE, I've created my own tier list of 5e races:

My rankings are 100% based on how well these races fit into my vision of D&D-land. It's a place that draws more inspiration from Bas-Lag, Warhammer, Darkest Dungeon and Carcosa than vanilla Tolkien or the Forgotten Realms.

A few notes:

  • Like the GG NO RE crew, I am profoundly human-centric. I do like the Carcosan rainbow people.
  • Devil's infiltrating the world... cool! Angels... ok. (Tieflings and Aasimar)
  • Robot-golem boys (and girls) - yep
  • Short people are awful and should be portrayed as sneaky, psycho bastards (Goblins, kobolds: fine. Halflings, dwarves*, gnomes: shite)
  • My comparatively high estimation of Kenku is entirely based on Matt Finch's portrayal. 
  • Elves are boring.
It could be better: 
What do you think? Come at me!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Little Piggies Go to Market

I'm assembling a dungeon for my 5e game based on Darkest Dungeon's Warrens locale with inspiration from the Isle of Doctor Moreau.

Mostly for my own use, I'm collecting my monsters (art & stats) here:

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Battle for Morden's Vale

Campaign Update: 
The party finished clearing the Moat House and dispatched Lareth the Beautiful and his bloodthirsty chaos cult. Returning to the nearby town of Morden's Vale, they defended the town against an onslaught of barbarians from the wastelands to the north.

David A. Trampier

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Moat House Ambush

I have been running a "weekly" game (effectively 2-3 times per month) with a group of six players, none of whom have played D&D before.

For the last couple sessions, they have been exploring the classic Gygax Moat House. I added this dungeon on to my map, mostly because it has a reputation for being one of the first adventures that people experienced when they picked up D&D back in the day. I took satisfaction in connecting my new players to that tradition but I didn't expect them to feel particular connection to D&D history.

Totally wrong. It surprised me, but my players LOVE knowing that they are adventuring in an original Gary dungeon (I had to explain who Gary Gygax was) written before any of them was born. When an encounter is hard, or they fall for a trap, they blame him, "Damn it, Gary!" It's super great.

The response has been really cool.

A few notes on running the Moat House:

  • I gave my players a printout of the above picture. They used the detail in the drawing to drive their strategy (i.e. sneaking along the small bit of ground along the wall and scrambling in through the broken tower). It definitely helped my novice players strategize and engage with the world.
  • I am using Daniel's excellent annotated maps to run the adventure. So helpful, I plan to replicate them for other adventures. 
  • A few of my players have stared listening to actual play podcasts (Adventure Zone, Critical Role) and when things come up that they know about from their shows (i.e. Klarg the Bugbear) they get super excited.
  • I am texting out Gifs, to show players what monsters look like. Fun for me, and they enjoy the strange crap I find. Also the pics maybe make them scarier? 
Gnolls. So gross.
Favorite Encounters: 
  • When the ground floor bandits fled, Cordelia the druid turned into a spider and crawled under the locked door they had retreated through. While itsy-bitsy, she discovered the secret staircase down into the basement.
  • Bugbears! I don't use any Tolkien-y monsters/races in my campaign but I left the bugbears in this module. They came up on a wandering monster check and successfully sneak-attacked the party rogue, dropping him instantly, leading to a tense fight. Super fun. 
    • Reading the bugbear lore, and noticing that they are sneaky made them interesting to me. Big angry brute hulks = boring. Big, silent hulks creeping up in the dark... scary. 

Also a bugbear?

Next session is Tuesday!