A Walk in the Dark A look in to the mind of an RPG designer



Go For the Eyes!

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

You know, I can't resist a good blog carnival.

When I saw the "Classics Return" blog carnival over at Daily Encounter, I wondered what to do for it. Quite honestly I don't remember much of the classics, at least at enough of a capacity to do them justice. And I can't re-do a classic adventure without treading the line with WotC.

I didn't have time to do what I usually do (an adventure or delve), so I threw something together in a crazy sort of way. Here I give you, direct from the Spelljammer campaign setting by TSR/WotC, the infamous Giant Space Hamster for Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition!

Of course, in my usual fashion, I did go a little over the top. In addition to the basic monster I included several derivative hamster types, a new animal companion and the mother-of-all hamsters... Wooly Rupert, The Giant Space Hamster of Ill Omen!!!

Gnomes beware!!!

The Giant Space Hamster (PDF, 1.2Mb)


May of the Dead: Death’s Edge

As part of the May of the Dead blog carnival, I decided to do something similar to what I did with the Winter is Coming carnival: create yet another adventure module!

This adventure is significantly smaller in scope than my earlier publications, but it's just getting started. It's a very short (5 scenes) level 0 adventure for Dungeon and Dragons 4th Edition, using the rules for creating level 0 characters published n Dragon #403, and is intended to be the first part in a three part series I am calling The Dark Mistress Saga.

The summary of the adventure:

DM1: The Dark Mistress Saga, Part One: Death's Edge

     The village of Nerasi has been at war for as long as you can remember. Hordes of undead, led by a powerful necromancer named Draya (also known as "The Dark Mistress"), have descended in to the valley countless times over the last century. But this time something is different: they seem more organized, more coordinated, more bloodthirsty... and the village is in jeopardy more than ever. With the safety of the village on the line, every man and woman that was capable of swinging a blade was sent to battle. Even though the village was nowhere near the front line it was left undefended, presumed safe due to its distance from the conflict.

     Now, while the battle continues in an area known as The Fields of Bone, a small group of undead creatures have found their way in to the village. With no heroes to defend the common folk, it is now up to you - the above average commoner - to drop the shovel or take off the apron, pick up the nearest weapon and defend yourself and your loved ones from the approaching invaders.

     Death's Edge is an short module for a group of level 0 characters, using the character creation guidelines provided in Dragon magazine, issue #403.

The adventure, the first chapter of the saga, is available right here absolutely free! And I also provided a PDF of all the tactical maps in printable, 1" x 1" grid format.

Enjoy! And do let me know if there are any major problems with it.

The Dark Mistress Saga, Part One: Death's Edge
Adventure Module (PDF, 4.5Mb)

The Dark Mistress Saga, Part One: Death's Edge
Tactical Maps (PDF, 21.2Mb)

In the meantime, I'm actually considering starting a real Kickstarter to fund the other two parts of the campaign, starting with DM2: The Fields of Bone. Still haven't officially decided on that... Let's see what the response is on this one.


May of the Dead: The Reanimated

My big surprise, if you will, for the May of the Dead blog carnival is scheduled to be published in about a week, but I figured I'd do something unscheduled and show off a bit of a teaser that's still appropriate for the event.

The following is an excerpt from a campaign currently in development. I give you The Reanimated...

     A powerful necromancer’s greatest asset is that he is never alone; he is constantly surrounded by bodies of creatures that have died and can be easily raised to do his bidding.

     But bringing a creature back from the dead has its problems. Sometimes, depending on how they died, they may not have sufficient mental capacity to follow instructions or obey the necromancer’s commands. In those cases, there must be something more in place to control these creatures more effectively.

     An animus wraith is just such a creation. Under direct command of the necromancer, they enter the body of the fallen and effectively take control of it. With their spirits merged with the dead, the creature now becomes a “reanimated” creature that is under the complete control of the necromancer and the animus wraiths that manipulate it from inside.

     The following is a template that can be used on any non-elite creature in order to create a “reanimated”. Usually the best targets of such an infusion of necromantic energy are big creatures, creatures that are meant to do the heavy lifting and grunt work while the real soldiers fight the hard battles. Necromancers have been known to reanimate war elephants as mounts, ogres to serve as defenders of their lairs and even larger creatures to plow across the battlefield.

     Once a reanimated creature dies, the animus wraiths that empowered it are released. Given an opportunity they will seek out other creatures that have fallen and immediately bond with them in a similar manner, or they may attempt to bolster another reanimated creature currently involved in the same battle.

The Dark Mistress Saga, Supplemental:
The Reanimated (PDF, approx 1.8Mb)