Thursday, 23 March 2017

The Toppled Tankard Inn

One of my more popular posts recently was the simple map of the Village of Stillwater.  So I thought I would detail the village a little more. The most important building in the village is the Inn. It is called “The Toppled Tankard” by its current owner Waldemar. Walde bought the Inn from the original owner Chony Gysby who wanted to move on and retire in a bigger town. Stillwater barely meets the definition of a village. Chony built the Inn to service travellers on the main road between two mid-sized towns. Over the years some of the people who came to Stillwater started small farms or fished. Twenty years ago Braden the Miller arrived and built a mill.

All of the buildings in Stillwater are single story buildings constructed of wood and the Inn is no exception. The main building has a large kitchen and a common room. Out is the yard is a stable and a bunkhouse. Not far away is the Innkeeper’s cottage.

There is plenty of space in the common room for travellers and often 3-6 travellers can be found enjoying a meal during the day. In the early evening the number can often increase to 5-10. Walde or his barkeep Bricea tend the bar and serve the common room. The cook Byri can be found in the kitchen often with the pot boy Stub.

There are three beds in a nearby bunkhouse where travellers can spend the night for 3 sp per person. Also, for 1 sp the Inn will allow travellers to sleep on the floor of the common room.

The menu of the Inn serves food raised locally. Barley bread, porridge and biscuits, vegetable stew, walnut bread, fish and crayfish. Eggs from local chickens or venison from deer hunted in the local woods. Beef and chicken is not available. For drink the Braden Miller also ferments a stout ale that is available with every meal. Water is not a good idea as drinking the lake water can lead to dysentery. The ale is stored in barrels under the bar. Food is stored in the kitchen.


The Toppled Tankard Inn in Stillwater Village


Innkeeper Waldemar
A grizzled former caravan guard with an enormous mustache and powerful arms. Walde, as he prefers to be called, bought the Inn 10 years ago and has cleaned it up and brought in more business by hiring a cook and using fresher food. Walde can be found in the Inn during most daylight hours. He has a cottage nearby. He is also the leader (reeve) of the village.

Cook Byri
A large, jovial woman of middle age. She is a capable cook. Her skills might not match that of an Inn in a big town but her food is not under cooked or burnt which is a vast improvement on the fare in most competing trail side inns. She has a cottage in the village and raises some of her own vegetables in a garden near the cottage.

Barkeep Bricea
A thin, middle-aged woman with long black hair. She is plain but not unattractive. She serves food and drink to patrons and looks after the Inn when Waldemar is not around. She is surprisingly adept with a dagger and has put a few caravan guards on the defensive. Her past is a mystery but she seems to be a foreigner. She sleeps in the bunkhouse when it is empty or in the stables when travellers are using the bunkhouse. She always seems to have her few possessions packed in a single backpack ready to go at any moment.

Stableboy Carlow
A young man who is the grown son (early teens) of Bricea. He is a natural with horses and looks after the stables. On slow days he will wander off to the Talenwood to hunt. He is an energetic and restless teen who longs to join a band of adventurers. He sleeps in the stables.

Potboy Stub

A young, mop-headed orphan who was found sleeping in the stables. Byri took pity on him and convinced Waldemar to allow Stub to stay as a kitchen helper. He speaks in bursts of words without thinking and seemingly without taking a breath. Some see the hint of elvish blood in his slightly pointed ears and light blue eyes. His age is difficult to determine but certainly he does not yet look to be in his teens. He sleeps on a pallet in the kitchen near the fire.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Online Dungeon Mapper


There are a number of online dungeon map sites using javascript. Some create dungeons randomly and others allow you to manually create using tiles. A few years ago I used one to quickly come up for my Mare Nostrum setting (Labyrinth Lord). I have completely forgotten the the software and the website. But I still have the maps.  I also misplaced the dungeon key. It looks like a pseudo Egyptian Valley of the Kings style tomb.

Tomb of Shesmu (Labyrinth Lord 2009)


I would say that room 11 and the room between area 10 and 6 are secret rooms.  I also still have a player map for use in online table top emulators.


Players Map



Monday, 20 March 2017

Ouroboros 2

I had an idea for a unique ship in my Stars without Number setting. I was thinking about the possibility of finding a salvageable pre-Scream ship in the sector. I already have a planet that was a former Military base and has a salvage industry (Midwrath). It is a little bit of a stretch because the ship would be over 500 years old. Even in space a ship is going to get pretty beat up over 500 years.

I built a hull in blender that is 200 meters long by 94 meters wide and 60 meters high. There is a control room on top of the hull and a large hanger in the front that stretches back halfway into the hull. I used a transparent plane across the entrance to the hanger but it is fairly hard to see. Inside the hanger I placed a standard (M) container and a ship’s cargo lander.

Ouroboros 2 with Cargo Lander in the Hanger


I have decided the ship was in a repair station in orbit around Tethras 3.  According to records found in the ship’s memory banks and a slightly off-kilter ship’s computer the name of the ship was the Aurora and it was launched on Soldadera 575 years ago. Soldadera appears in history texts as a major ship-building hub several sectors from Tethras.

Once the salvage corporations of Midwrath (Tethras 2) re-discovered interplanetary flight they quickly travelled to Midwrath 3 because they could detect the ship in terrestrial telescopes. The spike drive was not operable but they eventually got it functioning (most of the time). The hull was damaged by meteorites but repairable.  There is some equipment on the ship that is still not fully understood. The ship has a drive-5 engine making it the longest range ship in Wolf Sector.  It is also the largest commercial ship in the sector. The ship is obviously not capable of entering atmospheres but it carries a cargo lander that can make the short hop from orbit to surface on planets. The cargo lander can carry one class M container.


Ouroboros 2 recovering its lander from a planetary delivery


It has been re-christened the Ouroboros II by the Vanhampler & Cillar Trade company who own and operate the ship.  The ship has passed from company to company over the 90 years it has been back in operation. The current captain is Kelemen Swift who has been captain for 13 years.

It is a unique ship so it is not likely to come into the possession of players but I can use it as a plot point.  It could vanish off course, breakdown, have a ship’s computer mutiny or fall to pirates. Or maybe the players just book passage on the enormous ship and there is a murder or board. A lot of possibilities.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Yellowjacket Deckplan

Another deckplan today, this is the Yellowjacket I mentioned before.  It is a small trader, a shuttle to be exact.  This time I took the time to design it in blender in meters so I had a good feel for whether it was the correct size. I have watched one tutorial on textures and I have been experimenting on my own as well. I quickly realized that it is easy to make your own textures. The ship texture and background textures (stars, horizon) are ones I created myself.

Yellowjacket Deckplan Mark IV - author 2017


The Yellowjacket is a Spike-1 transport capable of carrying to standard (M) containers or 6 tons of cargo. The cargo is loaded directly onto a loading dock in the front of the hull (see photo). This is also the main entrance to the hull for the crew planetside. There are emergency airlocks on the top and bottom of the hull.

The version pictured is the “Stellar Flare” captained by Joshy Areen and owner/captain whose home port is Alpha on Bomar. His Yellowjacket is maximized for cargo and has not weapons or defenses. The Stellar Flare is mainly found on the Kaitos-Bomar route which is reasonable safe. Captain Areen has a crew of six.

Loading Cargo Alpha Port - Bomar



It could be crewed by a single person. But more commonly the crew is 4-5 people. Sometimes crew quarters are given over to paying passengers. The accommodation for passengers is basic but comfortable.

In some busy systems, barebones model Yellowjackets are used to ferry cargo from larger traders to the surface or from space stations to the planet’s surface. This especially the case on Kaitos where the hull was developed.

At an entry point of 200,000 credits for the hull (usually coming in around 240,000 with fittings) the Yellowjacket is one of the workhorse traders found in Wolf Sector.

Leaving Orbit - Ten-Go Station Kaitos III


Friday, 17 March 2017

Crescent Moon Maze

I was doodling in paint on a black canvas and turned the sketch into a quick dungeon map. A very simple one.  I decided to take it another step and detail out room descriptions. In 20 minutes I had a complete 1-2 session adventure for any old school game (and some new).


Crescent Moon Maze is a series of natural and worked caves connected to the surface by a cold water stream. Located to the north of the village of Stillwater, most of the locals are aware of the caves because of the curious carving above the cave mouth - a crescent moon. The carving has been there since before anyone can remember.


Several villagers working in the fields have gone missing.  It happened near dusk and a local boy saw short, dog-like creatures chase down the farmers and tussle them into large sacks and drag them off.  It sounds like an overly aggressive tribe of kobolds. The locals ask the players to help. An intermittent trail leads to stream bubbling up into a pond that eventually empties into the lake. To follow the stream upriver explorers will have to briefly dip under water to enter the caves. Note what that does to spell components, food, torches and the like.


In the caves, the kobold chief Grimfang has been building up his tribe with the help of a Human cleric of Stibon (god of pain, suffering and despair). Now that cleric (Zul) has insisted on some human captives so he can sacrifice some souls to his god.  So the kobolds went out and found some locals.  There is also a kobold shame, Sootcloak he has become Zul’s faithful assistant. I have not differentiated between male and female kobolds figuring they have the same statistics. Also no kobold young.


There is an escape chute in the ceiling of Grimfang’s lair. The stone ball ambush is exactly as it sounds. Four kobolds will roll 1 ½ foot stone balls down the slides at adventurers. There should be some treasure in Grimfang and Zul’s belongings. Also, something amongst the stolen supplies.


Crescent Moon Maze Quick Map

Thursday, 16 March 2017

Yellowjacket Light Trader

I am still spending a lot of time playing around building spaceships in Blender. I have not had the time to watch any more tutorials but I am still picking up things a little at a time. The latest one I created is an atmospheric landing capable trader capable of carrying at least 2 small size containers, maybe four.  I have finished it yet and I need to work on the deck plan.


I was trying my hand and creating and wrapping the shapes in textures today and came up with this image of the Yellowjacket sitting on a landing pad preparing to receive cargo. On the Yellowjacket the cargo bay is in the front and the control room will be somewhere along the side of the ship.


Imator Parallax approaching Bomar VI to refuel


I also put an image of the ship in orbit about a planet.  I am still dropping the ship images on planet and stars images.  But I do plan to learn how to place starfields and planets in the scene. Maybe even animating a few frames of action. There is really a lot you can do with Blender.




Imator Parallax receiving cargo

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Timgal Ruins Overland Map

A quick map today showing the location of the Deep Pits of Timgal dungeon recently detailed. Landfall is the closest village. It is a mix of outcast Alusian natives and explorers and pirates from the seven cities. Many expeditions into the interior of the main island leave from Landfall.

The Timgal ruins are well known. But most explorers have spent their time exploring the ziggurat near the river and the ruins near it. A few miles away on a trail through the jungle is a large, stone ruin leading to the Deep Pits Dungeon.

A few other sites have been added to distract the players with. The Moaning tower is a tottering stone tower which moans eerily when the wind blows through cracks in the rock. The Mongala marshes is a deadly area full of quicksand, bogs, hidden pits and venomous snakes. Giant sea turtles can be found at Lafira beach.

There are few natives on the big island now that the serpent men activity has picked up. There are a few abandoned villages near Timgal and one fishing community at Dja still manages to hang on. Though the population of Dja has fallen to 45 natives.


Timgal Ruins area Map