Nov 25, 2021

Anagramming Monster Manual - Part B

A bob no 

A hairdo mimic.


Bad erg

A desert mimic that smokes and calls you names.


A rebuilt hi chum

A friendly golem made from scrap metal, gas powered.

A radar cub

A puppy that can detect blink dogs. GOOD BOY!

I ask libs

A curious monster that attacks with words and questions, mostly found around old tomes and books.


A shaved Ursidae.

Rave be

A nocturnal, energetic monster with a fluorescent tongue.

Let bee

A stirge you just have to put behind you.

Elder hob

Shaped like a three-sided wooden box, it sneaks up to houses at night and knocks off a brick or two, and runs off with them.

Pub dick gland

Found in taverns, it... Moving on.

Gild knob

A door handle mimic that gentle covers the inside of your hand with gold leaf. These people are highly sought after.

A bro

Either you love this monster, or you hate it. In any case, you most definitely know it.

Near limbo

These thin spectres, bent over in impossible ways, will try to take hold on you and drag you through the ground, to the antechamber of the infinite waiting halls.

I be worn

A clothing mimic, impossible to get rid of because of its cut, that manages to both hurt and look dashing!

Of a flub

A wizard made it, unknowingly.

Be a grub

Iron rations mimic.

Butt eel

Moving on.


Teenage monster, texting her bestie life advice about whatevs K THX BAI.

Nov 24, 2021

Stuff I've written on this blog that I had forgotten I had written but still like (VOLUME 2)

(VOLUME 1 here!)

More stuff I've written but forgotten about. Do you have a blog? When was the last time you went back to your first posts? I bet some are really bad, but I also bet some are very good!

I don't know if these are really bad or really good - but I like them. And I had forgotten all about them.

  • Instead of hit points: a glass egg - If you travel too far from the phylactery, your body starts to decay, accelerating the further you travel from it. But you won't die, as long as the egg is whole. [...] This is also how undead are made; regular people that travel too far from their glass egg [...] Remove enough flesh and soon you'll have yourself a zombie.

  • The Silent City - The Silent City is named so because it is illegal to speak. [...] The Grand Ocularium serves as what other cities would call a library, only here the books are replaced by several silent tellers; sages who can recite information using Silent Language.

  • Anagramming Players Handbook (all parts) - CATHODIC GOO. You support or are drawn to solutions/people that are really crappy but make things flow somehow. (from PART 4: ALIGNMENT)
  • A bunch of random, unrelated things - The antibard is a person who destroys music through aerial sorcery. He or she hates all things rhythmical, sung, or hummed. And dancing. Especially dancing.

  • Using the CSS basic box model for RPG stuff - I'm starting to get a feel for this NPC, thank you very much Mozilla Developer Network.



Swedish fika at the shores of your enemies

Nov 7, 2021

Burrow of the Ratman, or My Feeble Attempt At Doing A 1E Rat-Themed Adventure (part 1)

At the time of me writing this, there's a adventure design contest going on over at B/X BLACKRAZOR called "Out of the Sewer".

(By the time you're reading this, it's probably over!)

I'm not participating - I don't have the time or the skills - but I will make a shot at it here in this post, describing my thought process along the way, since the contest touches on some things I've been thinking about lately. And sometimes it's more interesting to read about choices than the end result.

So, JB (the author of the blog) had some rules for the contest:

  • Rat-themed
  • Written for a particular D&D system
  • Written for a particular level range
  • Include a mapped dungeon of no less than 12 keyed areas

As a side-note - and this may only be because of some filter bubble on my part - I feel like during the last 1-2 years or so, there's been more writing about 1E/AD&D, and/or stuff about the importance of weight of coins and what that entails, exploration, etc etc., with blog posts such as Classic Vs. Treasure.

(Ok, that was only one, and that post isn't awfully old, but anyway!)

For me, with no experience with AD&D at all (even though I own all the "core" books from DMG to that Wilderness-book), it just feels interesting to dig into this almost scientifically. I'll try to explain!

A warning

This post will be unfocused as hell. This is like you and me listening to my brain reasoning about stuff it doesn't know anything about.
I'll try and break it up with the occasional rat doodle here and there.

How to start, or How not to start

Well, I've entered the One Page Dungeon Contest a couple of times (even won once!), but those were system agnostic (or very much "just a map and an idea, hope you have a good DM"). I figure if I were to design a 1E adventure, I needed to do it more "system focused", which meant digging into the books.

So in my head, there's currently these things spinning around, gathered from various places:

  • Rats
  • Gold for XP
  • Coins have weight
  • Things in a dungeon are weighted in gold
  • Weight/gold ratio

I presume that each one of these items will give birth to additional stuff to consider - stuff that seasonal adventure designers do by heart without thinking - so like a rat I just started burrowing myself into the first one: rats.

Rats, or Everything Really

So I know that in a rat-themed adventure there needs to be some sort of connection to rats, obviously. But since I at this point didn't have any clear motif to my adventure, I just looked up "Rat" in the Monster Manual (pg. 81), because:

  • If I was going to do this systematically, I must assume that "monsters" are more than something to 1) encounter, and 2) hit, and I can't assume anything about a 1E rat

Even though I've never played a 1E game before, I've flipped through these books enough times to know that the stat block is packed with information - all of which must mean something. So I couldn't just throw in a bunch of rats in a dungeon doodle because:

  • How strong is one rat?
  • What can a rat in 1E do?
  • Or rather: what does a 1E DM expect of a 1E rat?

If you've done any programming, let me tell you that this adventure design project started to feel like recursive parsing; for every item discovered, two more were discovered and queued up for reading.

Anyway, reading the entry for "Rat, Giant (Sumatran)" gave me the following:

  • 1-4 HP (I guess 2 HP in average), 5-50 appearing
    •  This is were my lack of 1E knowledge starts to show: would this mean that if I put in 5 rats in my little dungeon, I should on one very basic level think of that as a 5*2=10 HP monster? Naturally, 5 rats will spread out etc. etc., but in terms of strength vis-à-vis a player? Meaning I should count backwards from this:
      • What kind of player can defeat a 10 HP monster without much trouble?
      • What about AC? Assume a tiny single rat with 1 HP but in plate mail with a shield? Or a enormous rat with 50 HP and basically no AC?
  • They keep close to graveyards, so that they may feed on newly buried bodies
    • ("Their burrows honeycomb many graveyards, ..." - I'm certainly not an expert on the English language, but that's how I interpret that archaic sentence at least)
  • Hates fire!
    • That I knew! Thank you, George Lucas
  • Likes to swim!
    • That I knew! Thank you, duck pond close to my home
  • Avoids attacking strong parties, unless commanded by creatures such as wererats or vampires

That last bullet item gave me some ideas; should the adventure revolve around vampires? Or wererats? And what about character levels, should I fire up Google Sheets and start doing graphs so that everything is calculated correctly, like doing taxes?

The math made my head hurt, but I actually had an adventure idea now. But before we go into that, another rat doodle:

Stop thinking about rats, or The first puzzle

Since I'm a bear with a very small brain, I needed to stop thinking about AC/HP and their friends (sounds like a AC/DC tribute band). So I took my trusty notepad and pen, sat down and started thinking: treasures and their placement are vital, so maybe start there? Design the adventure bottom-up? Start with a single atom and build layers around it?

Start with a single simple treasure.

Well, I started thinking about the weight/gold ratio; coins found in a dungeon are easy to carry but don't give much of experience, so turning that around should give the premise for my basic puzzle: small item, worth a lot, weighs a lot:

  • Small means it's easy to carry (not bulky)
  • Worth a lot means the players wants it (e.g. they will pursue it, even if it's hard to reach)
  • Weighs a lot means...well, this is just part of the puzzle, if used right

Maybe if I placed a tiny figurine, heavy as hell, worth a lot, on the other side of some bottomless body of water - it's easy for the players to get over the water, but harder to leave with the figurine since they may drop it on the way over.


Here's a initial sketch in Swedish I made (point 1 being the heavy figurine):

So maybe there once was a crude rope bridge across a deep shaft, and on the other side, a extremely valuable figurine on a pedestal. But then something flooded the halls, and the bridge collapsed.


Wrapping it up, or Ending a post just because it's late

I think I'll stop here for now. In part 2 I'll explain what point 2 in the sketch above means, and maybe list some keywords that popped up in this post ("collapsed bridge" etc.) and build something around them.

Until next time!

Nov 3, 2021

Sourdoughing: an addendum to part 1, part 2½, and square hexworld (completing the tower and moving for-/on-/outward)

(First part, second part, or the complete series.)

Addendum to last post

Yes, last time we built a wizard's tower - belonging to the strange Lard Lord - but I forgot the last step in the tower building - rolling for debt!

So here goes: 1 - Nothing to worry about, no debt here. The wizard found the tower and managed to overtake it by turning the previous owner (also a wizard) into a frog (put the frog at the top floor - it's alive and has allies looking for it)

Ok, exciting - a frog! Let's put it at the top floor, and update our list of things known about this wizard and tower (last two bullet items):

  • The wizard communicates with sirens
  • The wizard constructs golems using lard and tangled weed
  • The wizard is in custody of a small child of non-human origin
  • The wizard is neglecting a lot of simple house chores due to the child
  • The wizard is a lousy carpenter (see: entrance)
  • A nearby earthworm is selling phony potion recipes to the wizard, hoping to eradicate all birds from the area
  • The wizard is nicknamed "the Lard Lord" behind her back, although no one dares to call her that
  • The previous owner - another wizard - was turned into a frog and is currently at the top floor, unknowingly to the current owner


The previous owner; watching, waiting, catching flies

With that out of the way, let's move forward!

Part 2½: Radius of impact, or I Don't Know How To Write Part 3

I have no idea where we should go from here, but I'm guessing we should be developing the surrounding area around the tower, using the bullet point items above. But does that mean zooming out, placing the tower locally like in a hex, or should we just rip off some "fact" above and then connect the dots?

Hmm, what if you place these dots of interest in an area, and a dot of interest (the tower in this case) has something like a "radius of impact/influence". I'm not talking about "this is the Tower of McMeanie, and so everything in its radius of impact are MEAN", but more of a influential thing, like how it affects trade and people's views on other stuff. I like more the idea of for instance the people of a small village in the vicinity (radius) of an Evil Tower having to cope with that; "yes, that McMeanie is horrifying, but it could be worse, possibly; at least now I know what I got." Or stuff like superstition.

(And sometimes these Towers of McMeanies have a very small radius; they want to be left alone/occluded from the world. Or maybe no one really cares about that place anymore.)

So you could define these dots of interest, along with their radius of impact/influence, and just randomly plot them on a canvas/piece of cardboard/left side of a boar. You could then assign different properties (i.e. nouns/verbs) to these radii, like "superstitious", "xenophobia", "greed", "health", "oppressed", and so on (a radius of impact should probably hold multiple properties).

The intersection of multiple radii could lead to interesting splats of information on the world, that have shaped that particular place and people (if static). I guess the PCs themselves each carry a "spotlight", e.g. a radius of impact attributed with different properties - and that is something that ripples through these static radii of the world.

OK, enough of me just making things up, I think we need a silly image here that are somewhat related to my ramblings:

Should our newly constructed tower - the tower of the Lard Lord - have a radius of impact? Yes. Should we define it now? Maybe? How would one define such a radius?

Well, first of, the radius needs a value and a unit. Since the tower is fixed in place (OR IS IT???) we could just count the radius in meters, I guess. So how big should it be? Well, we could reiterate the bullet points above, and see if any of them gives us any indication of an increase in radius, and potentially what kind of property we should add to our circle (i.e. the Lard Lord communicates with sirens, so maybe people in the radius are always on the lookout towards to sky, or avoid the water ways, or dislikes ladies wearing fur, etc.).

I don't think I'll add a radius now, since our little sourdoughing world doesn't really consist of anything besides this.

Intermission: It Puts the Tower In the World, or I Can't Do Hexes In Google Sheets

I've been reading some good advice on hexcrawling lately, which is something I have no experience with, but the idea behind it speaks to me, so I think I'll just try to cram this into here as well.

With the little caveat that I can't do hexagons in Google. But it doesn't matter, since 1) I want to keep this simple, 2) I don't think it really matters actually.

So this is the known world of sourdoughing at the moment:

I made the "Lard Lord" into a link, that just opens the adjacent spreadsheet tab "Wizard's Tower - the Lard Lord" (which is the same sheet I've been posting previously). It just seems silly not to take advantage of those technical aids available here.

Alright, next time we'll move on to part 3, where we'll start fleshing out something else (hopefully! Or maybe I'll just do an infinity series of "Addendum to Part 2½" and we'll never leave this square hex).