Friday, September 15, 2017

The Colony - Turn 43 - River Rafting

Start Date: August ?+5, noonish
Start Status: What floats in water?
Start Location: Lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

Aaron seems to think the party is just a few miles north of the colony now, but no one is really interested in fording the flooded swamp river. The group turns west along its banks, hoping to find a place to ford or a good location to build a raft. They travel over a mile upstream without finding many variations in the terrain – swampy ground, scrubby trees, and rushing river. Worse, the river is curving south, which, if they are where they think they are, leads toward the shadow folk who ambushed them and left a dire warning about what would happen if they return.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Colony - Turn 42 - Coastal Highway

Start Date: August ?+4, early morning
Start Status: Coast ho!
Start Location: Lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

The explorers set out along the flooded river and make good time now that the rain has stopped, reaching the coast shortly before noon. The river they're following pours down a narrow valley into the ocean, spreading a brown stain out into the choppy waters. The heavy forest extends to the coast, which is demarcated by steep slopes leading down to rocky beaches that are just a few yards wide. The elevation offers a good view out over the water, which is sadly lacking in sails. The group catches sight of a small island to the east and another coastline (island or mainland) to the northeast.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Colony - Turn 41 - Sarcophagi

Start Date: August ?+2, near noon
Start Status: A wrap?
Start Location: Mountain ruin, lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

Despite resistance from Maarek, who would rather not disturb a grave site, and Xon, who just wants to get out of the ruin and find the way home, the party decides to open the sarcophagi. Before they begin, Aaron copies the drawings on the lids for later reference.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Colony - Turn 39/40 - Holiday Double Header

Guess I've been falling behind on turn reports!

Start Date: August ?+2, morning
Start Status: What's in the box
Start Location: Mountain ruin, lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

After taking some elaborate precautions, using Find Traps and Detect Evil on the chest, and evacuating the room among them, Jinx opens the chest while the others watch from outside the room "Just in case." The result is anticlimactic. The iron latches open with a bit of effort and the lid swings up easily, revealing the chest's contents: a rectangular, leather-wrapped bundle about 8 x 12 x 2 inches in size, three worm-eaten wooden boxes with simple latches, and a bundle of green cloth. "Mendel, Rennard, come check this stuff again, and then I'll take it out of the box. No need to take chances." The cleric and paladin comply and then retreat, having found nothing unusual. Jinx removes the items one at a time. The leather-wrapped bundle proves to be a book with a heavy-duty metal binding that is closed with a complex lock. The cover and back are inscribed with stylized versions of several of the obelisk runes [center and bottom center on the wall panel image]. A quick tug indicates the lock is secured, so Jinx sets it aside.

The three boxes creak and shift as Jinx lifts them out of the chest. "These things are falling apart," he mutters. The first contains a pair of golden goblets encrusted with gems, amethysts on one, garnets on the other. The second box holds nine heavy gold chains with disk-shaped medallions, each inscribed with one of the now-familiar runes. The third box contains two ornate daggers with steel blades. They are almost identical to the dagger found in the lizard cave. Each has nine runes along the blade with one larger than the rest [bottom center and top left runes from the wall panel image].

Finally, Jinx pulls out the cloth bundle. The material has suffered from the effects of time and starts to fall apart as he unfolds the items. There are several cloth panels decorated with abstract embroidered patterns. From their size and shape, the party guesses they were altar covers of some sort, but they don't have any symbols on them. They're in bad enough shape that they'll likely disintegrate if you try to carry them off.

With all the loot cleared out, the others come back in to examine the finds and check the inside of the chest for secret compartments or traps [none found]. Aaron says "The book is magical, as are the daggers."

Mendel says, "We should check the other secret door while my spell for finding traps is still active. Why don't we stow this stuff back in the chest for now and close the doors until we finish exploring?" This practical suggestion meets with general approval and the party quickly repacks the loot and then heads out to explore the next area, heading easy along the big corridor then west in the central shrine to the secret door there.

After checking and searching, Aaron spots the door latch and opens it. Rennard is about to enter the hall beyond when...

You find yourself exiting a cave into a narrow valley that winds away from you. Wild, verdant growth covers every surface and towering trees block most of the sky, but you can see a bright blue sun burning overhead. As you watch, the trees twist and sway in the still air and a thin keening wail fills the air. Shadows flicker along the valley as something passes overhead, and then the vision fades.

"Why are we still here again?" asks Xon, who has edged closer to the portcullis opening.

"Did you see the stuff we found back there?" asks Maarek. "That's worth a lot of money."

"Yeah, but we should take it and go. I have a bad feeling about these visions. It's like someone, or something, is sending us messages."

"We'll check out this area, then see how everyone feels," says Jinx. "Besides, this looks like a bust." He points through the door, which opens into a short, narrow hall leading south. "I'll bet this was a shortcut or escape route for those that lived here."

"We should search it, just in case," says Aaron. The group examines the hallway carefully and finds a door at the south end. Jinx suggestion that this was an escape tunnel or shortcut seems likely.

In the interests of thoroughness, the group returns to the south so-called library rooms and finishes searching this area, uncovering nothing of interest.

"OK, the only place left to search is the area beyond that stone door. Do we want to check it out, or should we take the money and run, so to speak?" says Rennard.

One door left. The party debates leaving it alone, taking their finds and going. In the end, they decide they have time and investigate. After reviewing the stone door, the group realizes it's going to take some effort to open; it's been sealed shut. While the others keep watch, Mendel and Jinx work with pick and spade to break the mortar and loosen the panel. Eventually, they can shake the door and it moves but still won't open. "Stand aside," says Aaron. "This is taking too long." He casts a Knock spell, there is a soft click, and the door swings open, revealing a narrow east-west hall with several side passages.

While the walls in the other areas of the ruin are carved from the native rock, in this area they are lined with pale white marble panels trimmed with black stone. Rennard is about to enter the passage when...

A pool of emerald green water lies before you, surrounded by huge stone obelisks. A human figure in a green robe stands waist-deep in the center of the pool, holding a staff that shimmers and moves as if it is alive. He, she? turns to face you and speaks in a voice that changes pitch and tempo constantly. "Rise or fall. Rise or fall. The cycle continues, ever changing. The question is, will you rise with the victors, or fall with the defeated?"

"That was... ominous," mutters Aaron.

Mendel just shakes his head and gestures to Rennard, who moves inside the door. The area beyond is relatively small. To the south, there are two small 10 x 10 chambers, each with a dais holding a black stone sarcophagus. To the north, a larger room, 15 x 30 feet, with a similar stone sarcophagus in the center.

"OK, let's NOT open those," says Xon. "The last thing we need to do is let loose the ancient spirit that's been sending us visions by opening its grave."

The party spends about 30 minutes searching the area and its contents but avoids touching the sarcophagi. The only things they find are some rotten cloth hangings piled on the floor, mildewed and indecipherable. The sarcophagi lids are thick and have shallow indentations spaced along either side (handles perhaps). The seam between the lid and bottom is almost invisible. They have rusted metal rings along either side that may have held poles used to carry them. They are quite long, close to 8 feet, but only 3 feet wide and tall.

The sarcophagi in the smaller rooms have some writing in an unknown language on a small carved panel on their lid. The one in the larger room has a larger panel with more writing. The script resembles that on the scrolls found in the lizard cave.


Friday, August 25, 2017

The Colony - Turn 38 - Creature Lair

After slaying the floating tentacle monster (which I wager at least some of my readers will recognize), the party regroups, heals up and heads into the thing's lair. They're hoping for loot and want to be sure no more foes remain.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Colony - Turn 37 - Mmm Floaty

Surprised by a weird floating creature in the hall, which manages to snag Rennard in its many tentacles, the party responds with deadly force to the apparent threat.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

The Colony - Turn 36 - Search and Rescue

Start Date: August ?+2, morning
Start Status: Dungeon delving
Start Location: Mountain Ruin, lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

Xon maintains his watch out in the courtyard while the rest of the group continues exploring the rooms connected to the secret passage. Searching the chamber at the end of the narrow hall uncovers nothing of interest except a small packet of gold leaf. "That has some cash value," says Aaron. The pages and writing supplies are too old to be useful and the rest of the stuff in the chamber is junk.

The group backtracks along the hall, searching for secret doors with Rennard in the lead. As the paladin rounds the final corridor, he is shocked to find the exit blocked by a hideous creature! A pulsing, rippling mass of glistening pink flesh hangs in the air, just beyond the door. A gaping beak protrudes from the side of the thing, and close to a dozen coiling tentacles covered in tiny spines dangle beneath it.

[Surprise!]

Before the group can react, the creature lashes at Rennard with its tentacles and four of the slimy things wrap around his legs, arms, and body [12 damage from spines]. As the creature starts to pull him into the hall, the paladin tries to break free, but finds he cannot move! His sword falls from his nerveless fingers as the creature clutches the helpless Rennard to its body.

A very short turn today, due to the unexpected appearance of a floaty thing.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Colony - Turn 35 - Delving Deeper

Start Date: August ?+1, afternoon
Start Status: Search & Sleep
Start Location: Mountain Ruin

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

After exploring the various shrines and main hallways in the complex, the group decides to do a more thorough search of the area, except for Xon, who refuses to stay in the building and keeps watch in the courtyard. The time-consuming process produces results. Aaron finds a secret door in the large shrine, and Maarek finds another in the south chamber.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The Colony - Turn 34 - Whispers in the Dark

Despite the freaky hallucination/vision, the party decides to explore a bit more of the shrine complex.


Start Date: August ?+1, Early afternoon
Start Status: Another Path
Start Location: Mountain ruin

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Colony - Turn 32 - Discoveries

The weather and terrain turn against the party, forcing the group to take to higher ground. As they traverse the hills south of the river, they find a ancient ruin tucked into a narrow valley.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Colony - Turn 31 - A View From Above

Start Date: August ?, Morning
Start Status: Not all who wander are...
Start Location: Lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

After discussing their options during a rest break, the party decides, over Mendel's objections, to backtrack and start following a stream, hoping it will lead them (eventually) to the coast. The clerics also use some of their healing spells to relieve the various wounds people suffered during the short fight.

Monday, July 24, 2017

The Colony - Turn 30 - Lost

The main party is definitely, positively, completely unsure of where they are.


Start Date: August ?
Start Status: Which Way?
Start Location: Lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

After quickly checking their gear and making sure everyone is up and about, the group starts checking out the area. Aaron uses one of his ink vials to take a sample of the bubbling black water and reclaims his map without touching the head. Jinx and Maarek keep watch while Xon, Rennard, and Mendel start exploring the cavern. The place proves to be a circular cave about 100 feet across. There are about a dozen of the tree-like pillars supporting the roof. A single passage leads out of the chamber. Careful searching reveals no secret doors or traps, nor does the party find any footprints or drag marks.

Monday, July 17, 2017

The Colony - Turn 28 - Corpse Town

The party is still exploring the countryside, and they've stumbled across an abandoned village.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Colony - Turn 27 - Beach Party

With potentially valuable, but fragile, scrolls in hand and no way to protect them from rough handling, the party decides to make a fast trip back to town.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Colony - Some Items

The party in my PBEM game, The Colony, started at 3rd level, and to my mind, characters that have gained that much experience should have a magic item or two. Here are a few of the starting items from the game. We're using Labyrinth Lord, so most of this still should be easy to translate to other D&Dish systems. I've included the character names with each item  for people reading along with the game.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Thursday, June 22, 2017

The Colony - Turn 22 - Reports

The party makes it back to civilization with time to spare on their mapping contract. Time to report in and see what the loot is worth.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

PBE Games - Dungeons in Blue Update

It's been a while since I've put out an update on PBE Games products, but that's OK, I've been pretty non-productive during the first few months of the year. Here's a quick look at recent (and not so recent) releases.

Entries and Exits Revisited is a set of 16 quarter-sized tiles, each depicting either a surface entrance or a stairway leading to a new level within the dungeon.

Three new Small Dungeons, geomorphs that can also be used as stand-alone maps, are also available: Small Dungeons #19, Small Dungeons #20, and Small Dungeons #21. You can also pick up all three at a discount in Small Dungeons Map Pack #7.

All geomorphs are ready-to-use PNG-format files compatible with most virtual tabletops. Use them as-is, or combine them into larger maps using your favorite image processing software.

Here are one-third scale previews of some of these packs.

Entries and Exits Revisited

Small Dungeons #20
I hope you'll check out PBE Games's maps and other products and find something that enhances your game. Thanks, as always, for reading.

Monday, June 19, 2017

The Colony - Turn 21 - Homeward Bound

The poisoned party members threaten forward progress. The group pauses to reassess their plans outside the dangerous confines of Black Needle Forest. Also, a brief update on those back at the White Tulip in New Kavlin.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Colony - Turn 20 - Forest Parkour

A pleasant lunch turns ugly when tiny spears rain down from the branches overhead. Black Needle Forest has a nasty reputation, so the party errs on the side of caution.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The Colony - Turn 19 - March On

After searching around and testing the obelisk, the party continues their mapping expedition.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

The Colony - Turn 18 - Look, Squirrel!

For reasons that are opaque to the GM, the party has decided to leave the cave complex, leaving several areas unexplored. On to overland exploration.

Monday, June 5, 2017

The Colony - Turn 17 - It's a Dirty Job

With the lizard dead, the party turns their attention to looting and further exploration.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Colony - Turn 16 - Look! More Bloody Footprints!

The party descends into the lizard's cave, ready to finish the beast off before it can hurt anyone else (or them).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The Colony - Turn 14 - Descent into the Den

The party has accepted a contract from the colony military to explore the area northeast of the colony and produce a map detailing what they find. The first thing they come across is a big ravine strewn with bones.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Colony - Turn 13 - Mapping

The party begins their first outdoor excursion. With a time limit on their contract, they've decided to head out immediately rather than take advantage of the Oakfell foreman's limited hospitality.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Colony - Guns

It may not be apparent yet, but my PBEM game, The Colony, includes black powder weapons. We're using Labyrinth Lord as our core ruleset, but, as usual, I've tweaked a few things. Here's how black powder weapons work.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Colony - Turn 12 - Road Trip

The party switches things up and heads into the great outdoors. They hope to earn some quick cash and, hopefully, determine the fate of Maarek's and Kessel's parents. They, along with several other workers from Oakfell, vanished into the woods several months ago.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Colony - Turn 11 - The Return

A relatively short turn, as the party is approaching their deadline to return to the White Tulip.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Colony - Turn 10 - Peace in the Shade

The group has reached an accord of sorts with the mysterious humanoids they encountered in the old city beneath New Kavlin. Exploration continues in a new direction.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Colony - Turn 9 - Conversations in the Shadows

The party has stumbled upon an encampment of... something. Brigg the monk tries to talk to them, while Smoke warns the other about the possible threat.

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Colony - Turn 8 - Creeping

The party continues their explorations in the Old City beneath New Kavlin. Sim, Maarek, and Kessel return to the White Tulip after their excursion outside the city and tell the party what they've learned.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

The Colony - Turn 7 - Tunnel Crawl

Having secured the permission of their landlord to open the grate in the cellar of the White Tulip, the main party spends some time exploring the tunnels and chambers of the old city. They hope to find whatever is troubling the hostel's owner and guests.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Colony - Turn 6 - Descent

Man, there are a lot of players in this group! Chicken herding at its finest! The party plans and executes its first descent into the so-called old city, the ruins beneath New Kavlin.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The Colony - Turn 5 - Breakfast

After encountering a pair of deadly rats in the cellar, various party members seem to think they've solved the problems plaguing the White Tulip. The owner, Mosk, is a bit skeptical about this conclusion.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Colony - Turn 4 - Night Watch

The party has split up for the night, and those staying at the White Tulip plan on patrolling the place all night to see if they can figure out who or what is causing problems for the hostel's owner. They suspect something is either climbing out of the well or sneaking through the bars leading into the Old City beneath New Kavlin.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

The Colony - Turn 3 - In the Inn

Start Date: July 18, 1027, Evening
Start Status: Dinner at the Spoon
Start Location: The Tipsy Spoon

The Turn

After dinner, the party splits up. A large contingent heads out to find the White Tulip (after the day's scouting, a few people know where it is). Others divide up and start looking for rooms. Before leaving the Spoon, Mendel and Smoke ask the barkeep about the various houses for rent around the city. He suggests they inquire at the Landowner's Partnership, an organization that represents many of the smaller landowners in and around the city. Everyone agrees to meet again at the Spoon tomorrow evening for dinner.


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

The Colony - Turn 2 - Cruisin' the City


Early turns are long and filled with information, but they do lack in the action department. In part, this is people getting their game legs back, but it's also people getting familiar with the setting and figuring out where to go/what to do.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Colony - Turn 1 - Docking Maneuvers

And we're off! The first short turn to kick off the game and get players back in the groove of PBEM gaming.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Colony - New Kavlin

After a long delay, we're finally starting up! If you're wondering what the Colony is, here's the intro post to the campaign. The first turn *should* go out tomorrow, and, as usual, I'll be sharing them here. Theoretically, we'll be doing two turns a week (Monday/Thursday).

Friday, March 3, 2017

The Colony - A Quick Update

Prompted by a comment on my previous Colony post (hi Marcus), here's a quick update on the state of the game.

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Year, New Campaign - The Colony

After The Wilds came to its rather inglorious end, I've been without a regular campaign. I've been toying with this idea for a while, and I just sent the teaser out to my usual crew of players last night. Hopefully, I'll get a few nibbles.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

PBE Games - Wrapping Up 2016

Yeah, I know. New Year's has come and gone, but better late than never. December was a busy month, but I managed to accomplish my goal of getting the last eight Dungeons in Blue Expansion Sets out the door. In total, the twenty-six Expansion sets contain just over 275 geomorphs, and you can get them all at a nice discount in the Expansion A to Z Pack. I also released Labyrinths, a set of thirty-two maze-like tiles that will turn any dungeon into a mapper's nightmare.

Labyrinths Preview

December also saw the release of a new Hexed Places outdoor setting, Denshi Ferry. Like all Hexed Places, this product details encounters, locations and rumors about a classic six-mile hex, in this case, a river border between civilization and the wilderness. Every Hexed Places includes a map of the region, plus details and brief stats for all encounters in a format that's easy to adapt to any OSR-friendly game system.

To round out 2016, I released a new Uncommon Ground texture pack. Corrosion is a grainy texture in various dull hues reminiscent of rust and verdigris. Like all Uncommon Ground products, it includes four color variants of the seamless texture and comes with a liberal personal and commercial license.

Looking ahead, I should have an update to the Dungeons in Blue Master List out in the next week or so. I'll also be updating the pay-what-you-want Tile of the Week Collection with the latest additions Soon (TM). Beyond that, I have a small set of entry and exit geomorphs in the works, as well as a new Hexed Places that will (hopefully) see the light of day this month.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading, and have a healthy and prosperous New Year!