Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Kobold Menace of Witchover, Session 1

Dramatis Personae:

  • · Lily Flower, a half-elven cleric, played by my wife Maria
  • · Iona Shalot, a half-elven ranger, played by Kate
  • · Remo, a human monk, played by Chris
  • · Finchetto, a halfling baker, played by me

Our heroes met while traveling in a caravan. The caravan was destined for the town of Witchover. The Spring Festival in Witchover attracts people from far and wide with its large market. Many merchants stay for much of the spring, through until Mayfair.

The people of Witchover are guided and protected by the Lord Mayor Colin, who has a permanent office in the manor house overlooking the fountain square.

Upon arriving in Witchover, our heroes made for the Rusty Lantern (aka The Lamplight Inn). There the party met Wendy, a niece of Rusty the proprietor. Remo diced with some children – Rachel, Seth, and Henry. He paid each child a copper farthing for their service as eyes and ears in the town. While dining, our heroes learned of some kobold bandits who have been stealing cows and goats.

Remo immediately saw return on his investment. The children returned, announcing, “Old man Axel’s taken a drubbing.” Our heroes sped away to Axel’s farmstead where Lily healed Axel back to health.

Axel and his wife, Linda, informed the party that kobolds stole their milk cow. When Axel followed, he saw the kobolds drag the cow into a labyrinth. Axel was then jumped by goblins that beat him severely. The goblins were driven off by their fear of another group of humanoids. Axel fled home.

The Lord Mayor Colin arrived to look in on Axel and Linda. The mayor offered a reward of two hundred fifty gold crowns if the party saw to the kobold menace.

Following a map Iona drew from Axel’s sketches, our heroes went to the labyrinth’s entry way, There they decided to eat from the rations Linda provided while they plotted. They devised a plan to set traps and await the night when the dungeon denizens might emerge.

Advanced Edition Labyrinth Lord

Finally, I have convinced my wife to play Dungeons & Dragons with me. I have played D&D for the last twenty-five years. We have been together for sixteen of those twenty-five years, six dating and ten married. I am not quite sure what made this happen but she decided to give it a try.

In addition to my wife, the group consists of Kate and Chris, a wife and husband with whom we are friends. The name of the game is Advanced Edition Labyrinth Lord, which is essentially a free edition of first edition D&D for those not in the know.

I have decided that I am not going to use any canned adventures. I have learned from my previous campaigns that I am an overplanner. I am only designing enough of the campaign to set the wheels in motion. The rest I am going to make up as I go along.

I will report how it goes.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Labyrinth Lord Character Creation House Rulings

Aside from how it is played, much of what affects a character’s success is determined at creation. With this in mind, I have created a couple house-rulings for the character creation process.

  • Stat Rolling: I use the tried-and-true roll 4d6 and drop the lowest die method.
  • Starting Hit Points: At first level, characters get maximum hit points. It is like like they rolled the highest hit point die result and added any constitution modifier applicable.
  • Beginners’ Luck: At second level, characters get to re-roll a hit die roll that results in a 1 or a 2 until they get something better than 2.

Given these tweaks, the survivability rate increases.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Labyrinth Lord

Currently, I serve as the game moderator for two gaming groups. In both groups, we play Labyrinth Lord. The choice belongs to me. I chose Labyrinth Lord for a few reasons, which I will enumerate here.

  1. It costs nothing. I like to use free systems when I introduce, or re-introduce, people to gaming.
  2. It possesses an old-school feel. Call it nostalgia. Call it an aesthetic. I like it.
  3. The rules work … simply.
  4. One book! Most games I like come complete in one book. I observed this throughout my years of gaming. This was not decided by way of some philosophy.

Like many GMs, or LLs, I like to tinker and develop house-rulings. I will present a few here. The people I play with have a more narrative flair, which I welcome and encourage. This means that they want to develop characters that they can play and get into. Labyrinth Lord tends to have high mortality rate. To combat this, I have developed a few tweaks. I will post them separately.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The People of Yore

Four groups accepted the Archons as their gods. Four groups decided to forsake the Darkness and its demons. The Dwarves, the Elves, the Halflings, and the Humans decided to embrace the Light.


The dwarves of Yore are the standard dwarves of fantasy. Dwarves are only male. New dwarves are carved from stone and precious materials. When they awaken, they do so as adults. While dwarves revere all of the Archons, they are most fond of The Noble, The Smith, and The Warrior. Dwarf names are based on minerals. This is a metagame convention that is employed to create a cultural tone. Male names end with –ar, -ir, and –or. Occasionally a “g” can be added for flair.

Some male dwarf names: Adamitar, Aerinor, Bazzitarg, Borax, Dumortar, Fluorar, Galenor, Hyalor, Idrialor, Kyanor, Lanthanir, Scorodar.


The elves of Yore are the standard elves of fantasy, with one exception – they are plants. Elves are more like dryads. Elves are plants and not animals. They resemble traditional elves in most ways, though their skin tends to have a green hue that changes to red, orange, or yellow in the fall and winter. This means that half-elves are impossible. While elves revere all of the Archons, they are most fond of The Artist, The Counselor, The Mage, and The Ranger. Elf names are based on angels. This is a metagame convention that is employed to create a cultural tone.

Some male elf names: Ezekiel, Forfax, Gabriel, Gazardiel, Hadraniel, Metatron, Omniel, Orifiel, Ramiel, Rashnu, Samandriel, Sariel.

Some female elf names: Verchielle, Taharialla, Sofielle, Michaela, Sophia, Sushinae, Seraphielle, Manakela, Remielle, Qaphsielle, Murielle, Jophielle.


The halflings of Yore are the standard halflings of fantasy. While halflings revere all of the Archons, they are most fond of the The Doctor (in the guise of The Midwife), The Knave (in the more benign for of The Trickster), and The Yeoman. Male halfling names are based on birds and theirs calls and songs. Female halfing names are based on herbs and wildflowers.

Some male halfling names: Hoypoo, Bobwhite, Tremolo, Grebe, Kee-arr, Sorah, Dee-dit, Kill-deer, Coowah, You-all, Will, Flicka.

Some female halfling names: Dandelion, Willow, Petunia, Azalea, Angelica, Hemlock, Cicely, Sassparilla, Aster, Marigold, Thistle, Crupina.


The humans of Yore are the standard humans of fantasy. Humans revere all of the Archons but hold different ones in higher esteem based on region. Likewise, names vary by region and can follow any number of conventions.

The Archons

Though they are gods, the Archons closely resemble people. They can be moved, angered and inspired. They think thoughts and feel emotions like people. And like people they have flaws and foibles, and profound secret strengths. They obey the laws of nature just like people.

To the best of any sage’s knowledge, the Archons have no true names. If they did then they have been long lost. Each is known by many names. There is no true organization or hierarchy to the Archons. They appear in art and song and story over and over again, often times in contradictory roles. Some stories have more popularity with a particular group or a particular area, though all understand that none of them are the one, true story.

The Archons are neither male nor female but can appear as either. The gender an Archon presents itself as depends on how it would best be seen or the part it is playing in a drama. Archons have many different names. The names listed above are the most common. For example, The Knave is also known as The Trickster, The Thief, The Jack, The Varlet, and The Skulk. Each of the different names focuses on a particular aspect of the Archon.

Archons can manifest as a being on Yore at will, and have done so many times. Usually an Archon will manifest only a portion of their essence. When an Archon manifests a form, they are often locally worshipped in that guise. In Cairn City, the wizards of the Magesterium are known to revere Lunaris the legendary Moon Mage as a manifestation of The Mage.

Archons can be prayed to and sometimes grant gifts, wishes, and miracles. Sometimes people have felt the wrath of an angered Archon. Individuals who dedicate their lives to a holy purpose can train as clerics and learn to cast cleric spells.

The Archons are:

• The Artist,
• The Counselor,
• The Doctor,
• The Knave,
• The Mage,
• The Noble,
• The Ranger,
• The Scholar,
• The Smith,
• The Stranger,
• The Warrior, and
• The Yeoman.

A Brief History of Early Yore

Long ago, before reckoning, Yore was a peaceful, plentiful land. People knew no danger, fear, or want. Everything was in balance. Life was so easy that people never needed to develop cities or tools. Time was so plentiful, and life so secure, that people turned to their imaginations and discovered the arcane arts of magic.

Over time, things changed. Perhaps a summoning brought him, perhaps he found a world ripe with potential, whatever the cause, the demon Abraxas came to Yore. He threw everything into chaos. What's more, with Abraxas came monsters. The world became a hostile, perilous place.

When the Archons found Yore, the paradise was torn asunder. Together, the Archons taught the inhabitants of Yore how to fight Abraxas and the monsters. The arts and sciences that are still practiced today were imparted on the people. Through the judicious use of their knowledge, tempered by their hearts, the people of Yore freed themselves of the demon Abraxas's power and created a great civilization.