Sunday, May 31, 2009

Classic JG Books for Sale!

Going through some boxes I had in a corner, I found some classic Judges Guild product, leftovers from several conventions I went to in the last couple of years.

Here's a list, a link to the Acaeum JG listing, and the asking price for each:

List Updated 5/31 @ 22:20 CST
Second Update, 6/1 @01:46 CST
Third Update, 6/2 @13:08 CST

#370, The Dungeoneer #19/The Judges Guild Journal #22, $3, x5

x# means I have that many available; price is per unit, not for the whole set!

All items are in nice shape, though as to be expected from 25+ year-old products, they have a bit of shelf wear, and none are in mint condition (though the items in shrink come close). Staple rusting is evident on some. These are definitely reader’s copies rather than collector’s copies.

Shipping costs depend on how much you buy and the method you want them shipped (USPS only, so essentially Media Mail, First Class, or Priority).

Drop me an e-mail at james@adventuregamespubs.com if you want to buy some of these classic products!

EDIT: That was fast! Maybe I should have bumped the prices from the old MSRP... oh well, live and learn!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Star Trek Warp Speeds...

Based on my own, admittedly poor and simple math skills, it seems that the new Star Trek Warp Factors calculate their multipliers of Light Speed by taking the Warp Factor to the 7th power, rather than to the 3rd (or rather, cubed) as in TOS or to the 5th power (as in TNG).

Note that this completely disregards the "Okuda Scale" wherein Warp Factor 10 is "unachievable" as the scale between Warp 9 and Warp 10 follows some strange function. I'm using the tried-and-true FASA Trek style Warp Factors here.

At Warp Factor 8 (8^7, or 2,097,152x the speed of light), you are looking at a trip between Earth and Vulcan (~16.5 LY) in a bit more than four minutes, which, taking into account Chekov's announcement and the three minutes left thereafter, sounds about right.

That's... pretty darn fast... And will have major implications for the future movies. One of the problems in TOS era was the lack of support; the nearest ship was days if not weeks away, and even communications could take hours if not days! Now, the Neutral Zone is just a trip to the corner store...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Planet of the Elves

It's funny how some ideas just pop into your head...

Jodi and I were talking about how the Harry Potter movies differ from the Harry Potter books, specifically in this case about the encounter between Harry, Mr. Malfoy, and Dobby at the end of Chamber of Secrets.

I commented off the cuff, "And then, what Rowling hasn't mentioned is that two years after the Epilogue in Deathly Hallows, Hermione's work to free the House Elves from their slavery results in a House Elf uprising... and they overthrow the Wizarding World humans and enslave them..."

"Sort of like Planet of the Apes, only with elves?" she replied.

Dun dun dun!

Now that's a cool campaign idea! Ties in with my Dogpatch Campaign, after a fashion, being another form of Magical Apocalypse.

Unfortunately, when things turned against the Wizards, they turned to the Muggle World for assistance, and dragged down our world with theirs. The elves, with their much greater magical power, cast a great ritual that took out all high technology — no more guns, cars, planes, bombs, none of it — and essentially destroyed modern civilization.

Three generations after the Battle for the Planet of the Elves, the elves rule the remaining civilized lands, which are ruled elven-style. Humans are slaves, ranging from abject downtrodden field drudges to well-treated "house slaves." They are not allowed, of course, to learn to use magic.

Goblins, dwarves, giants, dragons, and other wizarding creatures are now almost common, and all have expanded into the ravaged remnants of the Muggle World. Of course, before the elves got off their great ritual, a few nukes got tossed, so there are still some interesting hot spots, a mix of mutants and magic. Some free human communities exist; a few are semi-civilized, and even use a bit of magic, but most are barbaric or savage.

Hmmm... one more concept to throw into the "to be used someday" pile...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rifts Nebraska — Background

My character is Earl, Earl Duke, the third son of the Duke family of New Hope, a small colony in the wilds of old western Nebraska. His father is Rex Duke (age 52), Mother is Daisy Mae Duke (age 43), oldest brother is Marquis Duke (age 21), older brother is Baron Duke (age 19), sister is Queenie Duke (age 16), youngest brother is Ray Duke (age 11). Family owns the Duke Ranch (the Bar-D) one mile east of New Hope.

Once a polite and friendly young man, a year ago his life was changed irrevocably and without warning. He was tending to the cattle on a distant acre of the ranch when he was blinded by a flash of light from nowhere, and fell unconscious. When his family found him a week later and several miles away, he was changed. Strange implants had been put in his head. He was stronger, and not as smart, and always had a headache and had gone from being a nice and polite young man to being a mean and bitter cuss, especially when the headaches were bothering him. Most of his friends stopped talking to him, and even the girls at Cassie’s Corral wouldn’t accept his credits. For a couple months he left town and tried to work as a mechanic in Alliance, but couldn’t stand the “big city” and moved back to New Hope.

Scrawny and otherwise non-descript. Gangly as though he’s not grown into his body as yet; now it is likely he never will, due to the implanting of the M.O.M. implants. He invariably covers the implants with a sweat-stained black cowboy hat when not wearing armor; he removes it only when pointing out “What they done did to me!” Unfortunately, though the implant process was apparently with the “perfected” version of the implants, the metal rods are indeed the large sort, and cannot be removed.

Mean and bitter when he’s having his headaches; not much better when his mind is clear. He is desperate for acceptance, but embittered by his experiences in the last year. His hopes for the future mostly crushed, he now wonders if maybe his future is elsewhere. He doesn’t trust the Coalition States; he sees them for the tyranny that they are. Dislikes the Baronies, as they, too, have their own form of tyranny. He doesn’t even like small cities, as he finds them confining and the rules and laws to be hindering. Doesn’t like or trust Dee-Bees, but not to the level of hatred; mostly its because he wasn’t raised near any, New Hope being all human, doesn’t know any personally, and has only heard nothing good about them (even the “friendly” Dee-Bees in the Baronies are mostly regarded as “lazy good for nothing slackers” by the New Hope colonists). Not knowing why he was implanted, or by whom, makes him sometimes wonder if there is a greater purpose to it all, but generally, it just makes him bitter and angry, and often mean.

New Hope was settled 25 years ago by expatriates from the Colorado Baronies. The folk that settled in New Hope sought freedom from the techno-wizards of those southern realms. Some were God-fearing folk; others just didn’t much take to the rules and regulations of the Barons; while a few were outright outlaws or destined to someday become outlaws. They were attracted by wide-open prairies, green river valleys, and the relatively low number of ley lines in the old Nebraska panhandle.

The colonists came from the four corners of the Baronies, from all walks of life. Some were rich, some were poor; most were of middling means but with dreams for something more. More than a thousand set out to the north, with wagons and ATVs, trucks and hover-cars. For a time they settled in the North Platte Country, an older colony from the Baronies, a half-dozen ruins-mining communities built on the ruins of Torrington, Morrill, Mitchell, Scottsbluff, Bayard, and Bridgeport.

For a while, the New Hope colonists thought they would make a go of it in the older colony, but there, too, “civilization” had grown corrupt and too organized. “When there are more Headhunters and Mercenaries than common folk, it’s time to move on,” was the philosophy of the New Hope settlers.

And so 20 years ago, they set out again, into the broken hills north of the Minotaur Mountains (so named for Lake Minatare, in the Rifts era one of a number of mountain lakes amidst the former hills… and for the minotaurs that often lair within the mountains cavern system). There, amidst the hills and dunes of the Great Sand Sea, they spread far and wide, often settling atop one of the ancient ruins in order to mine the goods and resources buried by the Apocalypse.

The New Hope settlers held three major settlements and a dozen minor settlements. New Hope itself was built almost atop the ruins of Angora, on the northern slope of the Minotaur Mountains. New Testament was built upon the ruins of Bonner, and New Charity was built atop the ruins of Letan. More than a third of the settlers could be found in those three settlements; a third settled in and around the existing town of Alliance; and the remaining colonists spread out east and west, in independent homesteads up Dead Snake Gulch (west) and into the Great Sand Sea itself (for this was a time when the western sands were fertile and green).

For a time the colony thrived, for the rains were good, and farms and gardens grew green and lush in between the wide swaths of prairie fit for large herds of cattle and sheep. Ten years ago, though, the droughts started, first in the western Great Sand Sea, then the Snake River all-but dried up. Homesteads withered and died, some violently, as Simvan raid became more common. Even the Indians of the Casper Reserve took to raiding, and the generally cordial relations between settler and native broke down.

Now, ten years after the start of the Drought, few independent homesteads remain, and of the three major settlements, only New Hope remains, New Testament and New Charity being ghost towns. Of those who did not die on the frontier, most returned home to the south, while many settled in Alliance or New Hope; and so New Hope actually has grown over the last ten years, though losses have kept the growth to a minimum.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Bob’s Birthday BOGO Sale!

To celebrate the May 18, 1942 birthday of the late Bob Bledsaw, founder of Judges Guild, Adventure Games Publishing is holding a Buy One Get One Free sale on print products now through May 23rd.

That’s right, Buy One Get One FREE!

Pay for 10 books, get 10 books FREE; order 100 books, get 100 books FREE!

Here’s how it works:

Between now and May 23rd, order a copy of any one of the following books and get a second book of equal or lesser value of your choice for FREE! Plus, everyone who orders gets a FREE copy of the Wilderlands of High Adventure Campaign Map 18: Southern Reaches for each book ordered!

Adventure Games Journal #1 ($12*)
2008 Wilderlands Jam [2008 Gen Con Special] ($12*)
Monsters & Treasures of the Wilderlands 1 ($10.95**)
XXXI [2007 Gen Con Special] ($10*)

*Once these products are sold out, they will NEVER be reprinted!
**Quantities are very limited on the M&TW1; no rain checks will be offered.

Quantities are limited, so the offer is only good while supplies last!

If you just want to order two books and wish to pay via PayPal, simply use the PayPal button for the more expensive one, and include the book you want to get FREE in your note. Otherwise if you want to pay by money order or if you want to order more than two books, e-mail james@adventuregamespubs.com with your complete order and you will be sent a total with shipping costs and other details.

***This offer is also good for AGJ Subscribers! Subscribers can use their page credit to purchase one book and get the other of lesser or equal value FREE, plus pay NO shipping!***

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Maps? We don't need no stinking maps!

Well, maybe... but I'm drawing some anyway. I find it to be a good exercise. It gives me ideas, takes my mind in different directions, clears the cobwebs.

For example, the megadungeon I am currently working on (tentatively titled Dungeon of Dismal Doom, 12,926 words and counting, almost half-way done on Level 1A) for publishing was inspired not by reading other dungeon adventures, but by the fact that I was drawing maps for the Rifts campaign in which I am currently playing.

You see, I am either a game master's worst nightmare or his best buddy, because I like to develop as much background and setting material as I am allowed for his game, especially where my character is involved. Take, for example, the town of New Hope, my character's hometown. I'm developing the basics for the NPCs, local ruins and monster lairs, various intrigues that the GM can pick up on, etc. And also maps...

Here's an example of the map work I'm doing for New Hope. It's a frontier town in what was once western Nebraska; the style is Old West, as the people who settled the colony were from the Colorado Baronies.

Each square is five feet. I have the page set so that when printed on a regular 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of paper, with 1/4" margins, each square is 1/2". This allows us to use the classic Boot Hill and Star Frontiers counters for battles, which makes for a nice mix of things available in the Rifts Megaverse...

Friday, May 8, 2009

My Appendix N (Fantasy)

Zachary at RPG Blog II has aksed, "What's your Appendix N?"

Here's my answer...

Appendix N
Inspirational and Educational Reading (Fantasy)

Incomplete, and always a Work In Progress!

Adams, Robert. “Horseclans” series

Anderson, Poul. THE BROKEN SWORD, THE HIGH CRUSADE, HROLF KRAKI’S SAGA, THREE HEARTS AND THREE LIONS

Asprin, Robert Lynn. “Myth” series; “Sanctuary” series (Editor)

Boyer, Elizabeth. “World of the Alfar” series

Burroughs, Edgar Rice. “Barsoom” series; “Pellucidar” series; “Tarzan” series

Carter, Lin. “Green Star” series; “Jandar” series; “Terra Magica” series; “Thongor” series; “World’s End” series; “Zanthodon” series; innumerable short works and edited compilations

DeCamp, L Sprague. THE TRITONIAN RING; “Conan” stories

Dunsany, Lord. THE KING OF ELFLAND’S DAUGHTER; “Pegana” series

Eddings, David. “Belgariad” series

Eddison, E. R. THE WORM OUROBOROS; MISTRESS OF MISTRESSESS; A FISH DINNER IN MEMISON; THE MEZENTIAN GATE

Feist, Raymond. “Magician” series

Fox, Gardner. “Kothar” series

Gemmell, David. “Drenai” series; “Jon Shannow” series; “Rigante” series; many other novels

Gygax, Gary. “Gord the Rogue” series

Heinlein, Robert. GLORY ROAD

Hickman, Tracy and Margaret Weis. “Dragonlance Chronicles” trilogy; “Dragonlance Legends” trilogy

Howard, Robert Erwin. “Conan” series; “Cormac” series; “Kull” series; many additional short works

Leiber, Fritz. “Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser” series

Lovecraft, H. P. “Cthulhu Mythos” stories

Moorcock, Michael. “Elric” series; “Hawkmoon” series

Moore, C. L. “Jirel of Joiry” stories

Morris, William. THE HOUSE OF THE WOLFINGS; THE SUNDERING FLOOD; THE WELL AT WORLD’S END; THE WATER OF THE WONDROUS ISLES

Mundy, Talbot. “Tros of Samothrace” series

Offutt, Andrew. “Conan” stories; “Cormac” stories

Pratt, Fletcher. THE BLUE STAR; THE WELL OF THE UNICORN

Saberhagen, Fred. EMPIRE OF THE EAST; “Swords” series

Saunders, Charles. “Imaro” series

Smith, Clark Ashton. THE CITY OF THE SINGING FLAME; “Averoigne” series; “Hyperborea” series; “Zothique” series; additional short works

Tolkien, Christopher. THE CHILDREN OF HURIN

Tolkien, J. R. R. THE HOBBIT; “Lord of the Rings” trilogy

Vance, Jack. “Dying Earth” series; “Lyonesse” trilogy

Wagner, Karl Edward. “Conan” stories; “Kane” series

Walton, Evangeline. “The Mabinogion” series

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What's Your Game Style?

Commentary and discussion that followed James Maliszewski's Retrospective on Isle of the Ape inspired this:


It is hardly complete and of course, completely debatable. I never really found the styles of Gygax and Arneson to be incompatible; they were merely along different points on different axes, and really both fall within the broad grouping under "High Adventure." That Gary advocated more along the lines of pure Adventure, while Dave emphasized the Role-Play aspect, does not mean their philosophies were at odds.

A few definitions are in order:

The Adventure element of gaming refers to the Character or party of Characters going forth and making their way through a setting, having adventures, killing monsters, looting and pillaging, and generally doing what adventurers do, regardless of whether the Players are emphasizing the Role-Play or Roll-Play aspect of the game. However, what is certain is that though there is a campaign setting, and the Game Master may even have some over-arching plot points and ideas for what is going on behind the scene, it is the PLAYERS that drive the game by their desire to have Adventure. In essence, Adventure gaming isn't about the destination, it's about the journey there... and there may very well be no "there" toward which one is striving.

The Narrative element of gaming is almost, but not quite, the reverse. While all the same things may occur in a Narrative game, the overarching interest of both Players and Game Master is the telling of a story within the pre-existing milieu created by the Game Master (and quite often, with the assistance of the Players). Often there is a Goal, and specific Antagonists, and all the other bits and pieces that come into play through the nuts-and-bolts concepts of the literary end of things. In essence, Narrative gaming is all about where you are going, and getting there in the most apropos and character-driven method possible.

Role-Playing gaming emphasizes the Player taking on the Role of the Character; at the furthest end of this axis, you are actually dealing with full-immersion into the character, with reams of background and names of allies and enemies, likes and dislikes, and a full list of all goals and dreams, etc. A Role-Playing game at that level might not even use scores or any sort of dice to determine results!

In Roll-Playing gaming, the Character is little more than a collection of scores and derived attributes to be used to chart the "score" a Player has at any one time. In some of these games, names are unimportant, histories are mere flavor text, and the goal is to advance the Characters scores and derived attributes ever onward and upward.

Gygaxian, Arnesonian, and Rein*Hagenian should all be understood; Jacksonian needs a little clarification. Jacksonian refers to both Steve Jackson (the British Jackson, not the American), who wrote the Fighting Fantasy series back in the day; it also refers to Gary Jackson, the fictional creator of the HackMaster game featured in the Knights of the Dinner Table. I should also note that for Dungeons & Dragons purists, you can substitute Hickmanian (Hickmanite?) in place of Rein*Hagenian if you don't want to get vampires mixed in with your dragons...

And that's where I'll leave it for now.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dogpatch Adventures

One of the campaign scenarios I've always enjoyed running has been the post-Magical Apocalypse setting; i.e., our own Earth after a Magical Apocalypse takes out high technology and leaves behind chaos, magic, and magical races and monsters. Sort of like Shadowrun meets the Emberverse, or Rifts without technology. So often when I'm running a one-off, I'll toss in anachronistic elements like the gas station (as in the demo, below) or references to real-world geography and historical elements.

In fact, I've long had a campaign setting ready and raring to go, when the opportunity presented itself; other campaigns have, invariably, found their way into line first. Perhaps someday the Dogpatch Adventures can be continued in this setting. We'll see. For now, I'll just post two maps from the materials I worked up...

I should note that these maps were inspired by the work of Matthew White, with his Atlas of Medieval America, an idea abandoned far too early, methinks. Such is the way with the Internets... Too, of course, you can see some inspiration from the Horseclans novels of Robert Adams. But then, what post-Apocalypse world is complete without the Horseclans riding and raiding on the Sea of Grass?


Monday, May 4, 2009

PointCon Report

PointCon is a local convention in Stevens Point, about a half-hour from Iola. It is held by GASP, the Gamers Alliance of Stevens Point, which is actually a university club at the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point. As GASP operates under the usual limitations imposed on university clubs, I've never really dealt with the group, as I had more than enough of that crap back in my own university days.

This was, if I recall correctly the second time I've attended PointCon; the first was back in 2001 or 2002, when I lived in Iola the first time. Since then the student union has been drastically remodeled, and the location was much nicer. Unfortunately, there were not remotely as many attendees as there were some seven or eight years ago. Due to scheduling issues, the con was held opposite the Stevens Point cultural festival, Free Comic Book Day, and the release date for the latest Magic: The Gathering set... and if that was not bad enough, UWSP was also host to a high school band competition, which sucked up just about every parking spot on campus!

The end result was that, on Friday and Saturday at least, the organizers seemed to outnumber the attendees... quite sad, really, as the set up was very nice, and the organizers did everything they could to make a gamer feel welcome. I was not able to attend on Sunday, so I do not know if they got a better showing then or not...

I had long ago scheduled with them to run a Castles & Crusades demo on Saturday morning from 10:00 to 3:00. I had intended to go on Friday evening as well, but missed it due to feeling under the weather. I arrived bright and early, met with the con-com, got my badge, and scouted out the room where I'd be running... I gotta say, one of the best rooms I've ever been assigned for running a game. Lots of tables, comfortable chairs, and if I'd wanted to use it, a marker board big enough for any combat.

Unfortunately, I didn't have any players...

No one showed up. Well, no one new, that is... First, of course, Mikel was already there, as he was one of the organizers. Then Luis showed up... and Travis... and Matt...

I think you can see where this is going.

So yes, indeed, by around 10:30 we decided to hit the room and play. It really doesn't qualify as a demo, as everyone but Travis had played C&C before... but it was still a game! I was immediately struck by the comparison to the early Knights of the Dinner Table comic strip where B.A. convinces the gang to drive to GaryCon '94 (The Wonderful GaryCon Adventure, Issue #1, Jul 94), and they end up playing together, just as they did at home...

As I hadn't brought my 1E Advanced Dungeons & Dragons stuff, we ran with a pick-up game of Castles & Crusades. Here were the characters:


[The Tuesday Night Gang. This time with, clockwise left to right, Luis, Mikel, Travis, and Matt. Poor Jayson had to work that day, otherwise he likely would ahve been there, too... Ray arrived later and I forgot to take more pictures...]

Pollo de Sol, 1st level human fighter (Luis)
Goolintaboras the Great, 1st level gnome bard of Elvis (Mikel)
Grizzly Oakheart, 1st level human druid (Travis)
Vanx, 1st level human wizard (Matt)

Just as the adventure was beginning, we were joined by Ray, whom you may recall I've run a one-on-one 1E AD&D game with from time to time, as well as the odd pick-up game or two with other friends. So he quickly rolled up Edward, a 1st level elf-heritage half-elf cleric of Hawkeye.

The first scenario was rather off the cuff, and I wasn't really on my game by that point (accidentally drinking a soda that expired 15 months prior will do that to you). Somehow my adventure where the party was going up against a clan of goblins menacing Grizzly's forest (and perhaps their home village of Dogpatch) turned into a Lovecraftian nightmare where they went up against strange eyeball-squid things suited in armor and bearing staves that shot lighting ("Yeah, like the ones in Stargate..."). The party survived that adventure, rescuing half the pixies that had been kidnapped; the other half had been drained of their magic by some terrible device of the ancient Markabs.

For the subsequent adventures that day, I whipped out an old standby... Judges Guild's Book of Ruins. The village elder, Jedh Klampet, turned to the "heroes of the week" for assistance in a troublesome matter of some bandits (Hegrash the Bandit Ogre, as it turned out to be). The bandits caused no end of trouble for merchants making their way up the old trade road from Little Rock, riading them when they were asleep alongside the road. So the village offered the heroes a penny in the dollar on all trade that passed from Little Rock to Dogpatch for the next six months if they found and routed out the bandits.

Told the suspected hideout of the bandits ("A local ranger done saw some shady characters out by the ol' ruins down Choctaw way, on ol' Sixteefive. Sez he done saw strange fellers wearing cloaks in the bright day tradin' goods what we know was stolen..."), they arrived in late afternoon. They were able to deal with the kobolds and orc henchmen with minimal problems, thanks to Vanx and his handy sleep spell. The ogre, though, caused them rather more trouble, but they still prevailed. Of the more notable incidents, Gooli was knocked back when the kobolds rushed the door, and the kobolds discovered the presence of the adventurers when Edward peeked in through a hole in the wall into their lair... and saw one of the kobolds looking back at him! Also, Grizzly fumbled and fell back on to Edward, who had a flaming flask of oil ready to throw... and both went up with a big whoosh, with Grizzly getting singed rather more than the cleric...

They spent some time investigating the ancient ruin; they were very interested in the strange, rusting metal walls on one side of the building, and the odd hill of crumbly material mixed with bits of metal that stood outside the front of the building, closest to the old Traderoad. Amidst it they found a section of the strange material fairly intact; a weatherbeaten shield of green and yellow, with the letters "BP" barely legible upon it. They also found several small pits which, it seemed, led to caverns beneath the ruin...

Back in Dogpatch two weeks later, Elder Klampet asked for more help, this time to clear out an old serai, or rest stop, along the way to Little Rock. Some years back monsters had taken it and slain the merchants who held it; the merchants of Little Rock wanted it cleared so more trade could come up this way. As it was midway between Dogpatch and Little Rock, it would be a two-day ride, as the old Traderoad was little more than a fancy trail, washed out in many places. The first day and night passed uneventfully, but the next morning the party was attacked by three gnolls as they rode along the trail. Grizzly was knocked unconscious, and things looked ugly, but they got in some good shots and finished them off without further loss. After tending to Grizzly, Edward thought they should backtrack the gnolls and see if they had a lair, as they carried on them little more than a few coins and their weapons, not even food or equipment.

And so after some searching they found the gnoll camp, with sacks of gold and silver and one bag containing a large number of gems, some more valuable than everything in Dogpatch! It was also determined that the spear that one of the gnolls was apparently using as a bindlestick was, in fact, magical! Some talk was made of simply continuing on Little Rock to retire in style, but others wanted to complete their mission.

And so they came in time to the ruined serai (The Screaming Sanctuary). They scouted it out and found that there were no windows and only the one door, and that the walls were quite solidly constructed. Edward decided to check out the roof, and so stood upon Grizzly's shoulders so as to climb up. He nearly fell off, but quickly stabbed into the wooden slat roofing with his dagger to hold on... unfortunately, this alerted the residents, who opened the door to investigate. In addition to seeing the four hobgoblins, Pollo and Vanx also heard a horrible keening screech, like screams of a dying woman, coming out from the serai. While Grizzly came around the corner to investigate, Vanx hit the hobgoblins with a sleep spell... not realizing that Edward was in the area of effect ("He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking..."). With a thump, thud thud thud, whoosh, CRASH! Edward fell to the ground.

Whioe he was healing himself, Gooli and Grizzly went in to the serai, as the screaming continued. There they discovered two screechers, one in each corner of the room, giving off the horrid keening. First they slit the throats of the hobgoblins. Then, as they were silencing the screechers through judicious use of bladed weapons, they failed to hear the bugbear step in through the door behind Gooli, and his first indication that he was in trouble was when the large morning star crashed to the ground next to him (handed to me on a silver platter he was, and still I missed).

Gooli quickly turned to slash at the bugbear with his own blade, but not realizing the door was open, stuck it solidly in the side of the door (Nat 1 Fumble!). Grizzly struck him with his spear, however, and quickly slew the bugbear with the magical weapon.

The party investigated the corridor revealed by the door further, with Edward discovering the secret door into the secret vault. There they found the dead hobgoblin's treasure (a chest full of electrum and several gems) and four sleeping pallets. They continued to search, and found another chamber, where they found four more, plus a larger pile of skins and rags for the bugbear. They decided that the other four must be out of the serai, and figured they would wait. Upon further investigation, they saw lofts in the sleeping room and in the vault, though neither was occupied. They also saw that the corridor was a great horseshoe around the inside of the building's walls, with the other door going into the main entry room.

They then decided to check outside, to see if they could find some clues as to where the other hobgoblins had gone. Unfortunately, they discovered that something was blocking the other door... though they did not recall anything being there before. They found the situation to be similar on the other door, as well... apparently, the other hobgoblins had snuck out the opposite way while they entered the corridor, and piled the dead bodies of their friends against the doors to block the adventurers in the serai!

Figuring this could only mean that they had gone for reinforcements, the party tried to figure out a way to get out. The walls were solid stone, five feet thick; then someone remembered the wooden roof wasn't all that thick or tough. And sure enough, after some work, they were able to remove two of the big planks of the roof and climbed out on a rope...

And thus ended the day of adventure. Everyone was reminded of the way C&C ran so smoothly, with a classic AD&D/D&D feel yet with the simple and elegant d20 System at its core. There was even talk of continuing the Dogpatch Adventures at another time, but not in place of the existing Greyhawk campaign or the Rifts campaign.

Altogether, a good time was had by all.

Best (repeatable) quote of the day:

"The only damage I've taken so far was by my own hand." -- Edward the Cleric
"I stab him!" -- Grizzly the Druid


On a side note, we took an hour-long break for lunch, during which Ray, Matt, and I all headed down to the local comic shop to check out Free Comic Book Day. There we found local author (and my friend and former co-worker) John Jackson Miller signing comics during the festivities. John writes Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic published by Dark Horse. There's Matt, getting a poster signed...