Thursday, December 13, 2018

PBE Games - Almost Year-End Update

As we wind our way to the end of the year, here's a quick update on new PBE Games releases. The first item on the list is Animal Companions, an OSR-friendly system for leveling mundane creatures such as dogs, mules, or horses. In addition to outlining rules for companion training and care, Animal Companions includes the Beastmaster, a character class that can tame powerful animal allies. You can check out an early/rough version of the material in Animal Companions right here.

Next up are about a dozen Dungeons in Blue Complexes and Small Dungeons. Both types of products feature standalone and geomorph ready versions of VTT maps drawn in the classic blue style. Here's the full list:

Complexes #23 Preview
As usual, bundle deals offer access to multiple products at a discount.

Looking ahead, I have three Complexes, three Small Dungeons, and three sets of assorted Dungeons in Blue geomorphs in the queue for 2018. There's also one more Hexed Places waiting in the wings. Early in the new year, I'll update the Dungeons in Blue Master List to include all products released this year.

Here's a special offer for those willing to read this far: Pick up Animal Companions for a buck off using this link. This offer is good now through Christmas 2018.

Thanks, as always, for reading this update. I hope the holidays treat you well.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Staying in Touch

With G+ on the way out, I've been looking at alternative channels for communication. My findings thus far are... disappointing. I joined MeWe to see what it offered and discovered it's more closely attuned to Facebook than G+. The lack of circles and group organization tools, plus the friend-approval process make it a much less useful platform for passively following people you're interested in. I've thought about digging into some of the RPG-focused Discord servers, but I'm less interested in chat than I am in thoughtful posts. I guess I need to update my RSS feeds.

My ulterior motive for this post is to create a repository for methods people can use to get in touch with me or find out what's up with PBE Games product releases. So, here's my current contact information on many platforms and how I intend to use it:

  • This blog is still a good place to keep up with my gaming thoughts (woefully lacking lately) and PBE Games releases. I try to post an update on new products every month or so.
  • I'm on MeWe and I'll be posting new PBE Games releases there as they happen. I'll also be posting updates on my YouTube channel (more on that below).
  • You can find me on Twitter, which I also use to announce product releases. I sometimes post random humor and IT security news from time to time, and I'll be posting YouTube updates here too.
  • I'm still on G+ and will be until the end.
  • You can also use the PBE Games contact form to hit me up via email.
  • PBE Games on DriveThruRPG is right here.
Finally, I've just started a YouTube channel that's going to feature me playing a variety of video games. I soft-launched this a week or so back, and I'm still working out some of the tech details, but, if you're interested in video games, I hope you'll take a peek. The first series I'm doing is a let's play of Minecraft Stoneblock, but I'm starting a let's play Path of Exile series when the Betrayal league launches.

So, I think that covers the bases. I'll keep this post pinned to my G+ profile and update it when/if things change.

Edit: See my Where to Find Me profile here:

Friday, November 9, 2018

PBE Games - Product Update

Here's a quick update on PBE Games titles released in September, October, and early November, starting with a new Hexed Places:

Sangha Jungle lies at the heart of an extensive tropical wilderness. The isolated location holds a variety of unusual creatures from an older era, as well as modern interlopers. A swamp, the Sucking Mire, stretches across the northwest portion of the region, making travel a slow and hazardous process. Southeast of the Mire, the ruin of the Shrine of Flowing Flame stands atop a lonely hill and offers visitors a view of the smoking peak of Ratnak, an active volcano. Who or what destroyed the shrine remains a mystery. Beyond Ratnak lies the Burned Land, a scorched waste of lava flows, blackened and dead trees, and soot-stained rock.

Complexes #20 Preview
New Dungeons in Blue products include six new Complexes and their associated Triple Packs:
  • Complexes #16 shows a traditional dungeon with many large pillar-lined rooms. An outdoor altar graces the dungeon entrance.
  • Complexes #17 is a network of large caverns surrounding an underground lake.
  • Complexes #18 shows a traditional dungeon complex with a large throne room and many narrow side corridors.
  • Complexes #19 depicts a lava-filled cave with many crystalline growths and steamy geysers.
  • Complexes #20 shows an underground arena surrounded by bleachers and a network of cage-filled rooms for beasts or gladiators.
  • Complexes #21 depicts a network of oddly regular, circular caves. Some contain pools of water; others hold strange objects.
  • Complexes Triple Pack #6 contains Complexes #16, #17 and #18.
  • Complexes Triple Pack #7 contains Complexes #19, #20 and #21.
I've also published three new Small Dungeons:
Finally, I've published a few one-off add-ons for Dungeons in Blue. Floor Grid is a single image of the floor pattern I use for all geomorphs. Dungeon builders can use it to cover unwanted features or carve out new rooms in existing tiles. Rock Formations contains close to 400 boulders, stones, crystals, and stalagmites plus a number of rock clusters and rough stone walls, all laid out in a single PNG image with a transparent background. Customize your Dungeons in Blue creations by cutting and pasting individual components into your geomorphic maps. Note that a handful of boulders and stalagmites from this set have appeared in previous Dungeons in Blue releases (notably Icon Packs One and Two), but there are still over 350 unique items in this product.

Small Dungeons #23 Preview
Looking ahead, the remainder of November and December should see the release of nine more Complexes, six additional Small Dungeons, and a set of miscellaneous tiles for Dungeons in Blue. I'll also be publishing another Hexed Places, Dead Rock Spires, and Animal Companions, a supplement for OSR games that adds leveling to party pets and beasts of burden, expanding upon ideas I wrote about here. It also includes the Beastmaster, a class inspired by a certain fantasy movie...

That's it for now. As always, thanks for reading and happy gaming!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Tile of the Week #116 + Product Update

Here is today's Tile of the Week entry plus some information on a few new PBE Games releases. This tile is a half-size sewer geomorph with several connected rooms and corridors.

Tile 116 - Player Version

All Tile of the Week images are free for private use. You can download the images above using right-click/save as. Each tile is a 100px per five-foot square image, sized for compatibility with Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. The entire Tile of the Week Collection is also available as a pay what you want bundle if you're feeling lazy, and I'll be updating this soonish to include the last eight or ten tiles posted here.

I've also published a handful (a big handful, actually) of new Mega Tiles and Complexes. For those unfamiliar, Mega Tiles are single quad-size tiles that are compatible with other Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. Complexes are dual-purpose, quad-size tiles. They include both a standalone version you can use as a one-shot dungeon and a geomorph-ready version you can add to a larger creation.

Mega Tile 38 Preview

Here's the brief summary of all the new products, along with a couple of product previews:

  • Complexes #13 shows a system of large caves that contain a small lake. The area is only reachable via holes in the ceiling.
  • Complexes #14 depicts a traditional dungeon with large, pillar-filled halls and chambers, two shrines, and a room with a huge, empty dais in the center.
  • Complexes #15 shows a large chasm or tunnel with two outdoor entrances. Various rooms and tunnels are carved into its sides.
  • Complexes Triple Pack #5 is a discount bundle containing all three of these products.
  • Mega Tile #36 depicts an enormous underground chamber surrounded by smaller rooms and four shrines.
  • Mega Tile #37 is a cave complex with many statues scattered throughout. An underground river, crossed by a bridge, cuts across one corner.
  • Mega Tile #38 features a traditional dungeon complex with several prominent features and new construction along one side.
  • Mega Tile #39 shows a cavern complex divided by a cliff face. Traditional dungeon corridors and rooms fill one corner of the geomorph.
  • Mega Tile #40 shows a single huge chamber containing many smaller rooms. A river featuring docks and bridges divides the space.
  • Mega Tile Five Pack #8 bundles all five new Mega Tiles into a single package at a discounted price.
  • Mega Tile Big Deal #2 offers a larger discount on Mega Tiles 21 to 40.
Complexes 14 Preview
With that, I believe I'm caught up with new releases. Thanks for reading and happy gaming!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Tile of the Week #115

Here is today's Tile of the Week entry. It's a full-size tile that shows a section of sewer tunnel with several connected rooms and corridor nearby.

Player Version

All Tile of the Week images are free for private use. You can download the images above using right-click/save as. Each tile is a 100px per five-foot square image, sized for compatibility with Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. The entire Tile of the Week Collection is also available as a pay what you want bundle if you're feeling lazy.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Tile of the Week #114

I haven't done a Tile of the Week entry in a while, so... here you go. This is a standard-size geomorph that depicts an underground river that feeds a lake. Someone or something has built a bridge over the river and carved out a chamber nearby. Underground rivers and lakes are also the theme of the recently released Dungeons in Blue - Waterways Pack, which contains 27 full-size geomorphs, each with a water feature. You can see a preview of one of the included tile sets at the end of this post.

Tile 114 - Player Version

All Tile of the Week images are free for private use. You can download the images above using right-click/save as. Each tile is a 100px per five-foot square image, sized for compatibility with Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. The entire Tile of the Week Collection is also available as a pay what you want bundle if you're feeling lazy.

Waterways One Preview

Friday, May 25, 2018

PBE Games - New (and Not So New) Releases

It looks like the last PBE Games update I did was sometime in March, so I guess I'd better catch things up. I've released a dozen new products since my last post on the subject, so without further ado...

The High Density Bundle contains three new Dungeons in Blue geomorph sets that feature dense room layouts with lots of twisty corridors and confusing connections. Each of the sets is also available individually.

High Density One Preview
Three new Dungeons in Blue Complexes are standalone maps suitable for a one-shot adventure that also include geomorph-ready versions you can use to create a more elaborate dungeon or cavern complex.
  • Complexes #10 is a gauntlet of rooms and corridors filled with tricks and traps. It's the perfect challenge for a group of McGuffin seekers.
  • Complexes #11 depicts a maze of sewer tunnels. Place this dungeon beneath a town and populate it with your favorite filthy foes.
  • Complexes #12 shows a natural cavern complex with water features. Someone has excavated a tomb complex along the north side of these caves.
  • Complexes Triple Pack #4 is a discount bundle containing all three of the listed Complexes.
Complexes Eleven Preview
I've also finished off four new One Page tables. They're listed below, and they, along with the previously released One Page #26: Crafting Components are available in the One Page Pack #6 discount bundle.
  • One Page #27 Town Folk lists twenty villagers and city dwellers, each with his or her own problem. Use them to populate any fantasy town or hamlet.
  • One Page #28 Dungeon Features provides strange objects and odd terrain for your underground environment, each with its own trick or twist.
  • One Page #29 Minor Magic contains twenty magic items you can add to any fantasy role-playing game. Most have a single minor but useful power, but a few also temper benefits with consequences.
  • One Page #30 Trail Travails offers twenty minor obstacles and encounters that are ready to add to any cross-country trip.
I think that brings things up to date. Upcoming titles include two new Hexed Places, a dozen or so additional Complexes, new Mega Tiles, and a few random Dungeons in Blue tile sets.

Thanks, as always, for reading. Happy gaming!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Campaign TiddlyWiki - Now Available

I've put some polish on my blank campaign organizer TiddlyWiki and I think it's now in a state where sharing it isn't totally embarrassing. It's still a bit rough around the edges, and I'll try to keep the file updated as I make changes and enhancements. You can find the TiddlyWiki file here:

You can check out the content live on the web or right-click/save as to create a local copy you can edit and use for your own game. The TiddlyWiki includes some introductory material on how to use it but assumes some basic knowledge of what TiddlyWiki is. Of course, the file is set up to match my GMing style so it may not meet your needs, but, at the very least, it demonstrates some of the techniques I've talked about here on the blog.


Friday, March 16, 2018

The Campaign TiddlyWiki: Tags

Last time I wrote about TiddlyWiki, I focused on overall organization and various tricks and methods for structuring tables of contents and lists of tagged tiddlers. Today I'm going to dive into some actual applications for these techniques.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

PBE Games - A Very Minor Update

PBE Games hasn't published much since the last update I did as part of a Tile of the Week post, but here's a brief note about the most recent Dungeons in Blue releases.

  • Elevations - 16 geomorphs all depict staircases and level changes. While plenty of tiles have stairs leading to other levels, these add variations within a single level.
  • Base and Expansion A to Z Pack - This discount bundle includes all standard and expansion tile sets (Set A to Z and Expansion Set A to Z).
  • Special Tiles Pack - Another big bundle that includes all the oddball geomorph sets plus the various icon and room packs. Like the Base and Expansion pack, this bundle features a hefty discount.
I do have several sets in the pipe, including two more Complexes bundles, and a triple pack of high-density geomorphs (you can see a preview from one high density set here). I also have two more One Page products and another Hexed Places ready to roll.

So, like the title says, a very minor update. Thanks, as always, for checking things out.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Organizing an RPG Campaign with TiddlyWiki

This is rambly because I touch on several different topics related to TiddlyWiki (TW5). As I mentioned in my last post about using this software, I'm doing a sort of in-house review of how I've used it in the past to keep track of game-related notes. The first thing I want to touch on today is the good and bad of using TiddlyWiki.
  • It's simple to record textual information and apply basic formatting like headers or bullets. If you can remember a half-dozen bits of markup,  you can probably create an easy-to-read wiki.
  • It's less easy to apply more complex formatting, like tables. While there's markup to support advanced HTML and apply CSS, unless you have some understanding of these subjects, it's a little time-consuming.
  • TiddlyWiki is great at linking up disparate bits of information, and tags are awesome tools for structuring your data. In fact, I'm going to talk a little bit more about tag organization in a bit.
  • Updating information at the gaming table can be challenging. Switching between view and edit mode for individual tiddlers, especially if you use transclusion, can be a big distraction.
So, where does that leave me in my thinking? First, all background material for my campaigns is going into TiddlyWiki. For me, it's the ideal repository for historic, governmental, NPC, religion, regional, and city data, as well as other general documents. I'll also use it for rules notes and system information that I need to keep handy. When it comes to specific encounter and session planning, things get a little fuzzier. I've done sessions where literally everything is stored in TiddlyWiki, and it just doesn't work in all cases. Scrolling back and forth to find specific information on a creature for an encounter or notes on a room in a dungeon is more of a distraction than a boon. I think the breakdown for me is something like this:
  • The session outline/summary goes into TiddlyWiki.
  • Locale descriptions get wikied.
  • Encounter details and stat blocks get committed to paper.
Managing an encounter or combat is so much simpler when you can scribble down hit point updates, changes to the environment, or conditions without worrying about which tiddler you need to edit and how stuff needs to be formatted. If data does need to be updated in TiddlyWiki, I think a journal summary of the changes (which can double as a session log), is the way to go.

Now that I have a general idea what I want to store, I can think a bit about how to do it more effectively. I've been toying with my blank campaign wiki a bit over the last few days. Specifically, I've been tweaking tags and sidebars. Tags are labels you can apply to any tiddler, and they can also be tiddlers themselves. Sidebars are navigation panels to the right side of the story area (where open tiddlers are displayed). By default, TiddlyWiki has four sidebars:
  • Open displays a list of tiddlers that are currently open.
  • Recent shows a historic list of tiddler activity.
  • The Tools panel gives you access to a bunch of TiddlyWiki functionality.
  • The More sidebar lists specific tiddler categories: tags, missing, recent, orphans, etc.
The real power here is you can add custom sidebars, and I'm going to use them to add three tables of contents to my notes. Based on past games and the thinking above, the data I store falls into three broad categories: Campaign notes about the game world, System documents for house rules and mechanics, and Wiki parts like templates and blank sample tiddlers. So, step one is to create three tiddlers called Campaign, System, and Wiki, and tag each one with $:/tags/SideBar, which automatically turns them into sidebars. I'm also going to use system fields in each to put them in the order I want. The list-before field tells TiddlyWiki to show the current tiddler before the one listed in the field; list-after means list it after (duh). The image to the left shows my new custom sidebar layout with my three tiddlers front and center. One side note: I also tag each of these tiddlers with contents, which is not the same as the Contents tiddler. I'll talk about this in a bit.

So, what goes into these three tiddlers? As you might guess, a table of contents (TOC) of everything tagged with campaign, system, or wiki. Creating an expandable TOC is simple:

     <div class="tc-table-of-contents">
         <<toc-selective-expandable "campaign" "sort[title]">>


This bit of markup has a template that shows a header, uses a built-in macro to create the campaign TOC, sorted by title, and, finally, transcludes the contents tiddler (which, if you remember, tags all three of the sidebar tiddlers).

Confused yet? The reason for this bit of trickery is to avoid tagging a sidebar with any tag that might show up in its TOC. That creates a recursive loop that causes Bad Things (TM) to happen. Using this method, I can quickly access the sidebar tiddlers. The Contents tiddler I mentioned earlier contains TOC listings for the campaign, system, and wiki tags and serves as the default TiddlyWiki homepage.

The final step in all this is creating tiddlers for the top level tags in each category. If you look at the sidebar image above, you can see some of the tags I've created, and how the toc-selective-expandable macro works. Briefly, each entry, bestiary, for example, is a tiddler tagged with campaign that contains a {{||DLIST}} template. Anything tagged with bestiary is automatically categorized under the appropriate tag, as you can see in the expanded npc entry, which shows Agent Blue both as an NPC, and as a gvtnpc, my shorthand for government NPC.

Now, this is not *exactly* the behavior I want. If I have 200 NPCs, the underlying tags are going to get lost in the shuffle. I may end up adding a layer here and only tag NPC tiddlers with the appropriate sub-tag.

OK, so this is longer than I expected, but I hope it's shown you some of the power of TiddlyWiki (or offered some useful advise if you're already a convert).

Sunday, February 25, 2018

TiddlyWiki - Templates

I recently finished running two campaigns: Daruna, which ended in an epic battle that brought things to a satisfying conclusion, and the Colony, which was... less good. As part of my post-campaign shutdown process, I take a look at the TiddlyWiki for each campaign to see if I can improve my GM notes and recordkeeping. As usual,  I find some new features and tricks that I roll back into my customized empty GM wiki. Today, I'm going to talk a bit about templates for TiddlyWiki.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Tile of the Week #113

Here is today's Tile of the Week entry. This is the fourth of four tiles that use a high-density room/corridor style. I have a full set of similar tiles in the pipeline.

Tile of the Week 113 - Player

All Tile of the Week images are free for private use. You can download the images above using right-click/save as. Each tile is a 100px per five-foot square image, sized for compatibility with Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. The entire Tile of the Week Collection is also available as a pay what you want bundle if you're feeling lazy.

And here's a preview of one of the upcoming High Density geomorph sets.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Colony - Down for the Count

Sadly, it looks like this game is done. We've been experiencing some significant player ennui over the last month or so, and I feel like I'm paddling against the current to keep the campaign running. I'm going to have a talk with the remaining players to see if we can find a path forward, but I think we're probably below critical mass. For now, I'm going to forget about it and play some Path of Exile.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

TiddlyWiki - Lists and Fields

I've written a few posts about using TiddlyWiki 5 (TW5) to manage campaign notes.  Recently, I've been playing around with lists and tags in hopes of better organizing some categories of information, specifically, NPCs.

A quick summary of the TW5 features I'll talk about today for those who are unfamiliar:
  • TW5 is a single-file wiki you can keep on your computer.
  • It stores chunks of information, called tiddlers, you can link together.
  • A markup language makes it simple to format (most) content.
  • You can tag tiddlers with labels that are also tiddlers.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Colony - A Speedy Advance to Failure

Crossbow bolts from the dark tunnels ahead put the party on high alert. They've been here before, and know they're at a disadvantage against foes that can see in the dark.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Tile of the Week #112

Here is today's Tile of the Week entry. This is the third of four tiles that use a high-density room/corridor style. I have a full set of similar tiles in the pipeline.

Tile of the Week 113 - Player

All Tile of the Week images are free for private use. You can download the images above using right-click/save as. Each tile is a 100px per five-foot square image, sized for compatibility with Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. The entire Tile of the Week Collection is also available as a pay what you want bundle if you're feeling lazy.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Colony - Rescue Efforts

After Rennard falls into some sort of trap or illusion, the group starts immediate rescue efforts. This is a relatively brief update because the party wasn't really sure what they were dealing with.

Start Date: August 25th, morning
Start Status: Paladin Dive Competition
Start Location: ???

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Brigg, Smoke, Zenobe
At the Tulip: Castor, Hagan, Xon, Aaron

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Colony - I Just Do Eyes

Back in the depths, the party decides to secure the gem eyes from the frog-thing statue. There are mutterings about statues coming to life, but we know that can't happen, right?

Start Date: August 25th, morning
Start Status: Swimming Hole
Start Location: ???

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Brigg, Smoke, Zenobe
At the Tulip: Castor, Hagan, Xon, Aaron

The Turn

The initial survey of the area around the portal reveals no immediate threat, so the group members turn their collective attention to... loot. Specifically the fire opals in the frog-like statue in the center of the murky pool. Smoke takes the lead on recovering the gems, which are just out of reach from the edge of the former fountain. Before beginning she makes another circuit of the area, including the alcove/hall to the north, listening at each door. Silence. Next, she heads to the pool. "I don't like the look of this water, but I guess there's not much choice."

Sunday, February 11, 2018

The Colony - Home and Hearth

Start Date: August 24th
Start Status: On the Road Again...
Start Location: The White Tulip

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Brigg, Smoke, Zenobe
At the Tulip: Castor, Hagan, Xon, Aaron

The Turn

[August 23rd]

When they returned to the Tulip, the party sent a letter to the Vine mansion in New Kavlin, outlining their progress and requesting any information on the golem roaming the upper mine.

Several hours after the party delivers the note to the Vine mansion in New Kavlin, Dunvel Woring (captain of the Vine mercenary force arrives at the White Tulip along with two of his cohort. He asks to speak to whoever is returning to the Silverstream Mine so he can coordinate taking two squads of his men, supported by a squad of city soldiers, out to blockade the road and protect the surrounding area from any intrusions. He also brings a small package and a letter from Jinel Vine herself.

The package contains five certificates of credit (*), each worth 100 GP, drawn on house Vine. The letter, written in Jinel Vine's own hand, congratulates the party on their efforts thus far and indicates the cash is a bonus for pressing the investigation so quickly and diligently. She says the golem is part of the mine's equipment (and that she's surprised it's still operational). She shares the golem's name "Pickhand" and suggests the party tries to shut it down to prevent it from causing damage using the command phrase "Pickhand, cease digging."

She indicates she's contacted Mayor Tiern concerning the potential threat from the depths, and she, in turn, has authorized the use of city forces to protect the region. She also says this does not change her agreement with the party. The group is still in charge of delving into the mine and the depths beyond. As she understands it, the military forces are setting a perimeter half a mile down the road and alerting local inhabitants to the potential threat. She brings the letter to a close with another word of thanks.

(*) Certificates of credit are used to exchange larger amounts of currency. They're basically paper money backed by a particular organization or family. You can redeem them for cash with the issuing group. Most money lenders or other prominent organizations/merchant houses will also accept them, but they may not redeem them for face value.

[August 24th]

Various party members spend the day cleaning and repairing equipment, shopping for supplies and relaxing after their extended delve. They also take care of a few administrative details.

They pay another month's rent (180 GP) to Mosk, using two of the certificates received from Lady Vine. He gives them 10 GP + 100 SP as change.

Castor, Aaron, and Xon visit the Vine mansion in New Kavlin to exchange the remaining three certificates for coin, which takes about an hour. The receive 40 GP and 2600 SP in exchange, which makes the walk back to the White Tulip hauling several sacks of coins a bit nerve-wracking (that's ~70 pounds of coins). Once back, they split the currency among the party members, and store some against future group needs.

Smoke continues her herbalism brewing in the kitchen that evening and seems moderately pleased with the results.

[Someone allocate cash so everyone can update character sheets and Joe can update the group treasure sheet.]

[August 25th]

Brigg is first up and wakes everyone else before dawn. "Let's get moving! I don't want to waste daylight!" The others respond with various levels of grousing and grumbling, but the party is on the road in short order. By the time they reach the gate, the sun is up and it looks like they have a nice day for a walk.

The party heads for the farmhouse near the Silverstream and are surprised to find it occupied. The commander of the army squad has established his headquarters there. There are a few tense moments when the sentries order the party to halt, but everyone relaxes once the group identifies itself. Lieutenant Sharz tells them that he and Dunvel Woring have established several camps around the mine entrance at a distance of half a mile and placed a checkpoint on the road. He has a rough map showing the area and emplacements. Seeing matters are well in hand, the group takes their leave, passes through the checkpoint back on the road and heads to the mine proper.

They make a slow approach to the outbuildings and tunnel, but nothing seems disturbed. The driving rain the other day wiped out any tracks around the entrance, and the area appears undisturbed. They spend an hour watching before advancing and checking the buildings. The uncovered corpse (the blanket is tangled in nearby undergrowth) lies near the entrance, creating quite a stink.

Inside the mine, Brigg takes the lead as the group sweeps the upper level for intruders. The only thing they find is the mining golem, still at work in the southeast chamber. "Time to try out Lady Vine's command." says Zenobe, who steps forward and says, "Pickhand, cease digging!" in a loud voice. The golem stops hammering the rock, turns, faces Zenobe, and goes still.

"Guess she'll be happy about that," says Jinx. Now that the golem is still, it's easy to see the damage it's suffered. Its pick-like hands are bent and twisted from constant hammering, and the compartment in its chest is missing half the panels that hold the ore in place.

"If they can repair it, this place will be productive in no time," says Smoke.

"Only if we do our job," answers Rennard. "Let's go."

The group completes its sweep of the first level and finds no surprises. They descend the ladder and perform the same sweep of the lower level. [They also search a very specific location because they meta-game a GM mapping error and find a secret chamber that contains nothing.] Everything is quiet, so they go to the portal room, also empty.

"Everyone ready?" asks Smoke. The others nod, so she puts her hand on the sphere. The usual light show occurs. The room at the other end of the trip is empty and still. "Lights out," whispers Rennard. "We wait until we're sure we can escape."

The group members wait ten minutes (they think) before heading up the stairs. The hall is also quiet. This time they have a plan for exploration. They check the double doors across the corridor from the stairway and find they really are rusted shut. Brigg listens but hears nothing. Next, they check the doors north of the frog-thing statue and pool. These are now ajar and open into a short north-south corridor that ends in another set of closed double doors. The south doors in the frog-pool room wiggle a bit when Rennard tests them; Brigg hears nothing when he listens. Ditto for the other set of doors in the east-west hall.

"OK, it seems like everything is quiet here. What now?" asks Smoke.

End Date: August 25th, morning
End Status: Back in Blackness
End Location: ???

Friday, February 9, 2018

Tile of the Week #111

Here is another Tile of the Week entry. This is the second of four tiles that use a high-density room/corridor style. I have a full set of similar tiles in the pipeline.

Tile of the Week 111 - Player

All Tile of the Week images are free for private use. You can download the images above using right-click/save as. Each tile is a 100px per five-foot square image, sized for compatibility with Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. The entire Tile of the Week Collection is also available as a pay what you want bundle if you're feeling lazy.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

The Colony - Bait and Switch

The teleporter recharge cycle gives a few minutes respite, and the party uses the time to set an ambush. Rennard trots up the stairs to ensure the exit path is clear while those with ranged weapons take position near the bottom of the long staircase. Brigg and Zenobe place torches where they'll light the portal circle and Zenobe prepares an oil flask for throwing.

Rennard reports the passages above are clear, at least to the statue room and he, along with everyone else, settles in to wait. Time passes and Brigg says, "That should be long enough for the teleporter to recharge. Be ready!"

More time passes. After another 10 or 15 minutes, Smoke starts getting twitchy. "I don't think they're coming. I told you they were moving down the tunnel to the west. I think we scared them off. Should we go back for those gems?"

"No. They may be setting a trap of their own, and we're pretty beat up," answers Jinx. "I say we head to town to rest and recover. We can fill in the others and see if there's any news."

A few more minutes pass, and finally, Zenobe says, "Right, let's go!" Brigg trots around the platform and grabs the extra torch while the others cover him, then everyone heads upstairs. "Give me a minute," says Brigg. He pulls out a spike and drives it under the edge of the door leading to the stairs. It's a tight fit and may or may not hold. "At least we'll know if something comes through."

The party resumes their usual marching order and heads back through the statue room, setting off the disembodied voice once again. North, through the passages, then east and south through the mine tunnels to the shaft leading up. After climbing the ladder, they head south and out into an intense storm. Gusty winds shake the trees and the heavy rain turns the open area around the mine entrance into a muddy mess. "Great," mutters Smoke. "Soaking wet again."

The party starts marching and makes reasonable time. They arrive at the gates of New Kavlin shortly after noon and are at the White Tulip 20 minutes later. As the adventurers dry off, clean up and eat a hot meal, Castor and Zenobe tend wounds and Brigg, Jinx and Smoke update the others on the events of the expedition. Castor shares his story and updates the travelers on recent departures (Mendel and Adrienne). Hagan mentions Chance and her interest in getting involved with the group's adventures.

End Date: August 23rd, early afternoon
End Status: Home
End Location: The White Tulip, New Kavlin

As a brief follow up, each member of the party earned 540 XP for this trip. A rather paltry amount, but they recovered no treasure and only recorded a few kills -- possessed miners, a possessed ogre, and a couple rocktopuses. Sometimes they should listen more closely to Smoke's advice, I think. Those fire opals... nothing could go wrong from taking those, could it?

Friday, February 2, 2018

Tile of the Week #110

Here is today's Tile of the Week entry. This is the first of four tiles that use a high-density room/corridor style. I have a full set of similar tiles in the pipeline.

Tile of the Week 110 - Player

All Tile of the Week images are free for private use. You can download the images above using right-click/save as. Each tile is a 100px per five-foot square image, sized for compatibility with Dungeons in Blue geomorphs. The entire Tile of the Week Collection is also available as a pay what you want bundle if you're feeling lazy.

And since we're talking about Dungeons in Blue, I'll touch on a few new products that are now available.
  • Terminations Two - A set of 16 quarter-sized tiles, each with three or more dead ends. Using these tiles, you can bring a variety of corridor styles to a finished-looking end.
  • Odds and Ends - A discount bundle that includes six sets of geomorphs: Transitions Two, Border Bits, Labyrinths, Entries and Exits Revisited, Terminations, and Terminations Two.
  • Mega Tile Five Pack #7 - Another discount bundle that includes the five most recent Mega Tiles (numbers 31 to 35). Individual tiles are also available separately, of course.
Here is a pair of previews of the items above.

Terminations Two Preview
Mega Tile Thirty Five Preview

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Colony - Push/Pull

The fight with the risen miners continues, and the party grows concerned about potential flanking by the unseen crossbow wielders.

[Round Five - Party Initiative]

"Watch the back, Brigg!" calls Rennard. He and Jinx maintain their formation at the north end of the hall far enough back from the corner to cut off missile fire from the pesky crossbows.

Brigg hands oil flasks, one each, to Smoke and Zenobe then, grumbling, retreats a ways south, pulling out his bow as he goes. Smoke stows her oil flask and stays close to the front line with Zenobe. The group doesn't have long to wait, and the pack of miner-things charges around the corner and attacks!

OOC: Since the party had initiative and held action...

Jinx fires his blunderbuss at one of the front-rank creatures, but the shot goes wild. Rennard hacks at the other as it closes. He also misses. The two creatures attack with crude weapons, a heavy club and an iron bar, but both miss. The remaining creatures crowd in behind them, but the two fighters don't budge.

[Round SIx - Party Initiative]

Beyond the miner pack, the flickering light of the burning oil begins to fade. Jinx and Rennard attack with bayonet and sword. Jinx misses, but Rennard connects [5 damage]. With the two fighters standing firm, Zenobe and Smoke have little to do other than offer encouragement. Brigg calls out, "Nothing here yet!"

The front two creatures hammer on Jinx and Rennard, and this time they both score hits. [Jinx 7, Rennard 4]. "Hey now! That hurt!" cries Jinx.

"Sarva provides!" answers Zenobe, happy to have something to do.

[Round Seven - Party Initiative]

Zenobe prepares a spell.

Jinx stabs at his opponent with his bayonet again, and Smoke says "I can move up if you need a minute." Jinx just shakes his head as his bayonet impales his foe. The fighter uses the leverage offered by his gun to shove the creature back, creating a little breathing room. Rennard uses his action to summon Sarva's healing power and lays hands upon himself [6 healed]. Zenobe casts his cure light wounds spell on Jinx [3 healed].

The front rank creatures do not hesitate. They surge forward and attack the two fighters. Neither does damage, but the massed creatures shove the group back 5 feet or so before they can resist. "These things are pretty strong!" exclaims Rennard as the last flickers of red light fade from the hall to the north.

[Round Eight - Ten]

The party continues their slow retreat from the corner as the press of corpse-like foes continues. Zenobe prepares an oil flask for throwing as Jinx manages to skewer and kill one of the creatures. Smoke applies a torch to the wick, and Zenobe hurls the missile, which bounces off the inside wall near the corner and splashes fire across the corridor, backlighting the front rank's opponents. "There are a lot of these things!" calls Rennard. "Smoke, start firing!"

"My hands are full!" she snaps.

At the back of the group, Brigg continues to retreat, eyes and ears peeled. After two rounds, the group is about 60 feet from the north corner, Jinx and Rennard have both taken hits and inflicted damage, leaving another creature dead in the party's wake. The oil burns low, but there's no sign of the ranged attackers at the north end of the hall.

At the back of the group, Brigg is close to the door leading to the octagonal room when his eyes go wide, "I just heard a screeching door back here!" he shouts, pointing through the open doors and west. "From that direction!"

[Round Eleven - Foe Initiative]

Zenobe prepares a spell.

The front-rank creatures pound on the front-rank fighters with their improvised weapons, but neither scores a hit. The remaining creatures shove forward and the entire melee shifts south along the hall once again.

At the rear, Smoke takes the lead. "Coming past, Brigg!" She heads through the double doors, diagonally across the octagonal room, then activates her blink boots and vanishes, reappearing 10 feet down the east-west hall. Nothing in sight, yet.

Brigg follows at a slower pace, juggling his bow as he pulls oil flasks out of his half-slung pack and stows them in a belt pouch. "Be ready with that torch. I'll throw an oil flask if I spot something worth burning!"

At the front, Jinx and Rennard have the same luck as their foes. Neither can land a blow. Zenobe casts his cure light wounds spell on Rennard [3 healed]. The entire group backpedals, aided by continued pressure from the front, and ends inside the octagonal room.

[Round Twelve - Foe Initiative]

The melee moves southwest toward the next set of doors and the creatures spread out as they get past the doorway. Zenobe takes a place next to Rennard, shield and flail ready. Three of the creatures attack. Jinx blocks one blow, while Zenobe catches another intended for Rennard on his shield. A third blow scrapes off the cleric's heavy armor.

Smoke continues moving west along the wide corridor, Brigg trailing. Smoke reaches the east side of the pool room, and there is still no sign of opposition, although her quick eyes note the open doors to the north. "Brigg! The door! Oil!"

The monk pulls a flask from his belt pouch and hurls it at the partially open doors. It *donks* off the door and breaks when it hits the floor north of the pool. "Hope this works," mutters Smoke. *blink* She finds herself by the pool. "Perfect." She touches torch to the slick and it catches fire with a *whoosh*. "COME ON!" she yells over her shoulder.

All three combatants attack the massed foes in front of them. Rennard managed to connect [5 damage], as does Zenobe, [5 damage]. One of the creatures falls, creating a momentary gap. "Now! Back!" shouts Jinx. The three withdraw and make it into the east-west hall. "Doors!" calls Zenobe, and he and Jinx slam the rusted panels closed.

"They won't hold, but now we can GO!"

[Round Thirteen - Foe Initiative]

"Or not," mutters Jinx as the doors swing back open.

Two of the creatures push through and attack. One drives his pick past Zenobe's shield, scoring a solid blow [7 damage].

At the rear, Smoke keeps moving toward the portal chamber, praying the enemy isn't already there. As she reaches the stairs, she catches movement at the edge of her torchlight further down the hall, a not-zombie? She has little time to ponder as several crossbow bolts rattle out of the darkness as she ducks down the stairs. "Enemy in the hall west!" she shouts, as two bolts strike home [7 damage]. "Erk!" She nearly takes a tumble but recovers her balance.

"We need to go!" shouts Brigg, as he crosses the pool room and takes a position at the southwest corner. "Break and go!"

The front rank hears the call. The swinging doors give them the break they need. They withdraw and head west, fast. One of the creatures follows the other tangles with the doors and the rest of the pack. Brigg takes a shot at the trailing enemy from his position beyond the pool, but the shot is wild.

[Round Fourteen - CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Party Initiative]

With a short lead, the melee group breaks into a run. "Go Brigg! Help Smoke!" shouts Rennard as he and Zenobe lead the way with shields raised.

The monk wastes no time, he runs ahead, rounds the corner and descends the stairs two at a time and finds Smoke standing on the empty platform. "Nothing here! Are they coming?"

"Right behind me," and the clatter of armor on the stairs announces the arrival of the rest of the group. They all crowd onto the platform and, as the trailing creatures start down the stairs, Smoke slaps her hand down on the pyramid on the pedestal. The familiar glowing sparks rise and as the first creature reaches the platform, the room blinks out, then reappears, empty.

"Whew! That was close," says Zenobe, as Smoke trots up the stairs. "All clear here," she says.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Colony - Ritual Searching

This is a fairly long report, combining several turns, which catches up to the current action.

Start Date: August 23rd, morning
Start Status: Blah blah blah
Start Location: ???

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Brigg, Smoke, Zenobe
At the Tulip: Castor, Hagan, Xon, Aaron

The Turn

Brigg agrees to scout ahead while the others hide around the corner, ready to respond should he get in trouble. Smoke checks her weapons as the monk disappears into the dark hallway and keeps watch at the corner. The others wait a few yards back.

The group waits several minutes, The only illumination the faint light of Rennard's sword. The sound of a loose stone skittering across the floor alerts Smoke to someone's (or something's) approach. She raises her pistol, but Brigg calls out "It's me." He rejoins the group and they all retreat a short distance down the hall.

"I think there's a whole complex of rooms down there. The hall continues for about 70 feet, with a branch to the left, before it opens into a chamber. There are four doors, two per side, along the hall, and another set at the end of the left hall, 30 feet or so away from the intersection. The doors down the side hall are ajar, as are two of the doors in the main hall. I peeked into one, a small room that looks like something was using it as a den."

"There's also a pair of half-open doors across the room at the end of the hall. That's where the chanting is coming from, and some light, but I can't see inside. There are guards in the room. At least three. They're like the risen miners."

"How many in total, do you think?" asks Rennard.

Brigg shrugs. "I only checked the nearest open door. I didn't want to risk more. But the mercenaries said there were 20 or more and we've killed what, six or seven? Who knows if there are more of those things, or if they have allies down here. Oh, and that chanting? It sounds like the same language as the message back in the statue room. I didn't stick around to listen though."

After a hasty conference, Zenobe casts Bless, then Brigg advances along the east-west hall once again, this time with purpose. He plans to shoot at one of the guards in the chamber ahead in hopes of drawing some of them into an ambush set by the rest of the group. After he vanishes into the darkness, the others wait. After a thirty count, Jinx starts to move. "What are you doing?" whispers Smoke.

"Moving up to support Brigg."

"I thought we were waiting here."

"I thought we were moving up."

"We should move up," chimes in Rennard, who taps Jinx on the shoulder. The pair advances at a shuffling pace, mindful of the fact that they can't see a thing.

"Guess it's a slow advance," mutters Smoke, who follows. Zenobe trails, dividing his attention between the back and the front.

Meanwhile, Brigg has reached the first set of pillars, where he realizes his dark vision isn't going to let him see into the room. He pauses for a moment, trying to spot a target backlit against the dim light from the open door, but sees nothing. Reluctantly, he moves forward, past the south door. Behind him, he hears the faint clank of metal on metal and a whisper of voices. "Great," he thinks, "they're arguing about the plan now." He stops when he reaches the intersection and prepares his bow. Five seconds, ten. Movement. Draw and release!

The sharp sound of an arrow striking stone tells Brigg his shot didn't connect, but it draws a response. There's an inarticulate shout from the guard room, and the backlit figure he shot at moves out of the light. More alarming, the chanting stops. The rest of the group, alerted by the shout, stop their advance and prepare for action as well as they can in the dark.

Silence for a moment, then the light beyond the doors goes out. There is a creaking, grinding sound, followed by many footsteps and a commanding voice speaking an unknown tongue.

Brigg turns and runs for the safety of the party. "I think they noticed us!" he calls as he gets close to the group, who are about 20 west of the corner.

"How many?" asks Smoke.

"I don't know. I couldn't see. More than one or two though."

[Round One - Party Initative]

With no light to see by, the group is hamstrung. Rennard and Jinx take the front line with Smoke and Zenobe behind them. Brigg hovers at the rear, bow ready. Everyone can hear things moving in the dark, but no one can see anything. "I got a bad feeling about this," says Smoke. "I wish I could see something."

Her feelings prove correct, as several crossbow bolts rattle off the floors and walls around the party. "They can see us though!" exclaims Zenobe, his ears ringing from a glancing blow to his helm.

There is another metallic squeal from the hallway ahead, and Jinx hisses, "That was another door opening! Advance, retreat, or hold?"

[Round Two - Foe Initiative]

"Fall back to the corner, we can make a stand there," says Rennard. No one can see whatever is shooting at the group, but everyone can hear footsteps in the hall. As the group begins their retreat, a hulking figure looms out of the darkness in front of Rennard.

"Ogre!" cries Jinx as he readies his blunderbuss. The creature swipes at Rennard with a thick wooden club studded with bits of sharp stone, slamming the paladin's shield aside and striking him solidly [6 damage]. "It's one of them!" he adds when he spots a greenish crystal formation on the brute's neck.

"Watch yourself!" shouts Smoke. "Another!" This foe is human-sized – one of the missing miners, no doubt – and it uses a rusty pick to hack at Jinx. The blow strikes home [3 damage].

Jinx can just make out another of the creatures in the darkness behind the two on the front line. "Back, now. Steady pace!" He fires his blunderbuss at the bigger target and the shot rips into the creature [8 damage].

Smoke raises her pistol, firing over Rennard's head, and also scores a hit [4 damage]. The staggered creature roars but continues to press forward, allowing Rennard to take a swing with his sword. He runs the blade into the ogre's guts, and they spill onto the dusty floor [8 damage], followed closely by the creature's twitching corpse."

"Now, MOVE!" Jinx's shout speeds the pace, and everyone makes it around the bend. Once there, Brigg stows his bow and digs into his pack for an oil flask, and Zenobe calls forth the light of his holy symbol. The last miner-thing follows the group.

[Round Three - Party initiative]

Zenobe keeps watch from his position behind Rennard, ready to step into the breach if necessary.

Brigg finally gets out an oil flask and starts preparing a wick.

Jinx and Rennard attack the zombie that followed the group and score solid hits [6 and 3 damage respectively]. The creature falls motionless at their feet.

With the others busy, Smoke takes the opportunity to check the hall behind the group, holsters her pistol, and prepares a torch. There's nothing in sight, yet.

No foes appear around the corner, and the recent gunshots make it hard to hear anything.

[Round Four - Party Initiative]

"Light them up, Brigg!" exclaims Smoke as she applies flint and steel to her torch and the oil flask missile. Brigg nods and ducks around Rennard, who extends his shield. The monk hurls the flask, low and hard into the darkness around the corner. The flask hits the pillar/facade on the south side of the hall and sprays along the floor and wall. It doesn't appear to have hit anything but it does provide enough light to reveal more dead miners in the hall, five at least, all 10 to 15 feet away [Basically, the oil flask flew past them all]. Before he ducks back around the corner, Brigg also catches sight of something smaller in the shadows beyond the light. As he withdraws, crossbow bolts clatter off the wall behind him. All but one that is. It strikes home, [3 damage Brigg].

Jinx uses the lull in the action to reload his blunderbuss. Zenobe and Smoke stand ready in the second rank, and Brigg position at the back, keeping an eye on the south hall.


The miner-things in the hall are approaching. You can't tell what the other things are or if they are moving forward. Odds are they aren't, as they're beyond the oil.

End Date: August 23rd, morning
End Status: Strategic Positioning
End Location: ???

The party is currently situated in the northeast corner of the map, and the enemy is advancing down the east-west corridor.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Colony - In the Unknown Depths

Start Date: August 23rd, morning
Start Status: Gem Temptation
Start Location: ???

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Brigg, Smoke, Zenobe
At the Tulip: Castor, Hagan, Xon, Aaron

The Turn

"I knew we should have taken those jewels before trying this!" says Smoke as she paces back and forth in the pedestal chamber.

"Relax and have patience," answers Brigg. "It worked once, it'll work again."

"How do you know? Are you a secret wizard or something? Maybe we drained whatever magic powers it."

Brigg shrugs. "It's been at least five minutes. Should we try again?"

While the rest of the party was ready to press on with exploration in the newly discovered tunnels, Jinx was more interested in ensuring the group could return to their starting point. He offered to test the platform by himself, but the others, seeing the wisdom of his suggestion, joined him on the platform. Jinx touched the pyramid, which did the same glowing/golden lights routine as the sphere pedestal. The group spent a minute reassuring themselves that they were back in the Silverstream before returning to the platform to continue their exploration of the space beyond. This time, however, the platform didn't work, leaving the party waiting for... something.

After Brigg voices his suggestion and with varying degrees of enthusiasm, the party returns to the platform and Jinx touches the sphere. This time, the light show starts as expected. "See?" *fwoomph* "It just has some sort of delay, perhaps a recharge cycle," says Brigg as the group reappears in the mystery caves.

"Right, let's get moving. Time is passing," says Zenobe.

Brigg takes point, followed by Jinx and Rennard, then Smoke and Zenobe. As the group passes the strange statue with fire opal eyes, Smoke eyeballs the pool, which is filled with murky water. "I hope there's nothing living in that," she mutters as the group continues to the double doors that showed signs of use at the end of the hall.

Brigg takes a few minutes to listen, then shrugs and pulls out an oil flask. He dribbles a bit on each hinge of the door panels, reaching high to reach the topmost. "You know, the size of these doors suggests this place was built by the tall ones. Look how high and narrow they are." Finally, he grasps the pull rings and gives a gentle tug, followed by a harder pull. The doors finally start to open, hinges grinding and edges scraping on the frame and floor.

"Not exactly quiet," whispers Jinx.

Brigg shrugs, "You can open the next set."

The chamber beyond is octagonal, roughly 20 x 30 feet. Like the hall, it appears to have been carved out of solid stone. There is a heap of rubble in the center of the room and another set of double doors in the north wall, and one of these is ajar. Thin lines of mold follow damp trails from ceiling to floor and puddles of discolored water mark the floor, and the air is dank and chilly. Scuff marks show where someone or something moved between the doors and all around the room.

"Look here Rennard. I think this might confirm your theory that there was some sort of rebellion or uprising." He points to the rubble, which, after a few moment's study, everyone can plainly see was once a statue of a (possibly tall) humanoid figure.

"Someone took a serious dislike to this," says Rennard, as he studies the shattered fragments. While it's easy to spot the bigger sections of the body, shoulder, leg, torso, the statue's head is either missing or hammered into gravel. A thick layer of accumulated muck and dust indicates this damage was done long ago, but some of the pieces have been moved recently.

"I don't hear anything here," says Smoke at the north door. "Looks like more corridor."

The group moves into the north passage, which is 10 feet wide and carved through solid stone. "Hang on a second," says Jinx. "Something here. I can see some faint lines in the stone." He points out details to the others and eventually discovers a hidden catch that opens a tall and narrow panel in the wall. Beyond is a narrow corridor that bends south after 10 feet. A search of the far end reveals a similar panel and latch.

"Tricky," mutters Smoke. "We really need to be careful here."

Everyone backtracks to the main passage and, with Brigg back on point, heads north. And north. The corridor is at least 150 feet long, and at the north end it turns west and continues. The group is about to start down the west passage when Rennard hisses a warning and dims his sword, "Quiet!"

Everyone stops dead and Rennard gestures at his ear, indicating the others should listen. Smoke is the first to nod, then the others follow suit. They can all hear the faint echoes of a single voice speaking in a regular cadence. Brigg gestures back toward the corner and the group backs up as quietly as possible. The monk keeps watch at the corner, and Rennard whispers, "I don't like the feel of this."

"Can you sense evil?" asks Zenobe.

The paladin shakes his head. "It may be too far away. Can anyone make out the words?"

No one can, but Brigg says, "It sounds like someone reciting something. A ceremony or ritual maybe?"

OOC: Brigg can barely make out a pair of pillars or facades in the corridor around the corner and ahead.

End Date: August 23rd, morning
End Status: Voices in the Dark
End Location: ???