Thursday, 30 March 2017

Further Afield

I spent a few hours coming up with a sandbox style map for the region around Stillwater village and lake. Like all of the world creation I have done for Stillwater related material I did it without any planning or researching.  Just whatever, popped into my mind and looked good.

I should note that the original genesis of the Stillwater village map was the Lake. I was thinking about a local lake called Lake on the Mountain. Which is a bottomless lake on top of a hill not far from where I live. It is feed by a few streams but basically looks like a huge cistern. The rock “cup” of the lake is fairly impermeable to water. It drains slowly out of the bottom.  I have not decided where exactly Stillwater lake drains, but I am thinking it drains into an underground river that emerges further south. Like the real lake, Stillwater is “bottomless”. Locals believe it extends deep into the earth.


The Players Map of the Setting

I have already established that Stillwater is a backwater village at least a full day travel by foot to the nearest towns of Grimwall and Pirn. So I kept that theme and made the map area a rocky shield of hills, valleys and forests. There are a few other hamlets on the map, Ravenroost, Whitewater, Padoton and Yarrow. Also a small keep maintained by the nearest realm (Mhorg Hall) to protect the area. There is also a small ruined keep at Galenford. All of the small rivers and streams of the areas are crossed by fords, there are no bridges. The largest village in the area is Padoton with a population of 200.

On the GM version of the map I placed the two dungeons I posted recently. The Barrow of the Forgotten Legion is located at Stillwater. The Crescent Moon Maze is 5 miles upriver. I also noted five other locations where I want to create random dungeons.

There is no suggested ruleset for this setting. But it is certainly in the style of OSR style rules.

GM Map with Dungeon Locations



Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Catacombs of the Haunted Keep

I have had a lot of fun just doodling up maps of Stillwater and the area around it. So I had planned to go further afield with a map today.  However, I am less than enthused with the results so I think I will leave it for another day.

Instead I have another installment of old maps from 1982 for my version of The Haunted Keep. The iconic “sample” dungeon provided in the back of the Moldvay Basic rules.


The Catacombs of the Haunted Keep 1982


Earlier I posted my map of the Level 1 and Level 3. Now here is level 2, the Catacombs. Because as a beginning game master having read only a few modules I was sure that a Catacombs was an ideal level for a dungeon. It gave me a chance to use skeletons and zombies, and if I recall there was one wight. I still have the original write for the adventure but it is hand written and packed away.

I can see that one of my favorite ideas makes an appearance, the moving dungeon corridor or room. Corridor #13 moves once the door is opened and I believe room #37 rotated. When I look at the map my players created (below) it does not look that far off considering the use of these classic misdirection rooms.


The Players Map



Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Starlancer Part 2

I threw together the Starlancer model and deckplan pretty quickly so I am going to take a post to clean it up a little.

Clandestine loading on Aradin


For one, there was no way to exit the trader without going down the cargo ramp. That seems a little odd.  So I have added two ground access hatches on the bottom side of the hull. I also added a fuel scoop just under the bow of the ship.  Then I took some time to complete the rudimentary landing gear.  You really cannot see much of them on the renders so I did not bother to get too complicated with the landing gear design.

Fuel Scoop, landing gear and exit hatches


I want to show how cargo is loaded so I built a quick little scene with the ship being loaded in a deserted valley on a dark, cloudless night. Looks like the cargo being loaded or unloaded might be illegal or maybe they are just avoiding import taxes. There is about a 2 meter clearance under the ship even with a size M container (10’ tall). The cargo is being loaded with the help of grav sleds and once they are positioned under the cargo hatch the ship’s cranes can assist moving the container into place.


Updated deck plan for the Starlancer



Finally, just for fun I added a view in space in battle. Laser turret “A” firing at an unseen adversary. Actually not that easy to add to the render. I will have to look up a better way of doing it.


Under attack!


Monday, 27 March 2017

Starlancer common trader

I have created a few ships in blender for my Wolf Sector campaign for Stars without Number but I have not yet shown the basic Free Trader shown as an example in the rules.  So I took a modification of my flying wing hull and came up with a large free trader capable of atmospheric landings.

The grandiosely named “Starlancer”, or SL for short is the product of one of the oldest shipyards in the system on Kaitos. Zakhariadis Shipyards were making spike-1 capable jump ships from the beginning of the post-scream trade era. They specialize in traders but do fill some government contracts for the Unity of Suns.

The Lady of Aquillon moving to Jump point


The concept for the Starlancer was a large cargo bay capable of landing on planets. The SL is capable of landing on small landing pads or even hard packed earth. It lacks in armor or significant speed but it is also no slow boat. The fuel bunkers and scoops allow for maximum versatility. The Zakhariadis shipyard only makes a Spike-1 and Spike-2 drive version. The spike-1 is actually the most popular due to cost. A large number of SL traders will be found in the Wolf Sector circle trade run around Kaitos.

The cargo hold is accessed by a ramp in the belly of the ship, sturdy landing gear lift the ship up high enough to allow loading from beneath.


Starlancer Deckplan


The Jump Engines preparing to engage

I threw in a comparison of the Yellowjacket trader hull to the Starlancer hull. The 300 foot long Starlancer is more than twice the length of the 138 foot Yellowjacket.

Lady of Aquillon passes a much smaller Yellowjacket near Kaitos III







Sunday, 26 March 2017

Stillwater Inhabitants

The village of Stillwater map I threw together on a whim a month ago has gathered in detail so I decided to make a larger detail map and give name to the inhabitants and their homes. In total there are 57 permanent inhabitants of the village. Stillwater is located on the main road between the towns of Grimwell to the west and Pirn to the east. Each of these towns is a full day walk from Stillwater.




Stillwater Village Detail Map


Cottage of Tholes Forde
Tholes is a hunter and he is charged with maintaining the ford for which he gets a small stipend. He has 2 grown boys aged 16 and 14. His wife died in childbirth.


Cottage of Reder Dage
He farms a patch of land near the Innkeeper’s house. Reder has a wife and 4 children (boy 14, boy 12, girl 9, boy 5).


Braden the Miller and Brewer
Braden runs a mill located on the river. The mill uses a simple water wheel. All of the local farmers come to Braden to mill their crops. He takes a portion. Braden is also the local brewer. In addition he and his two sons live at the mill. The sons are grown (Aldos 22, Sheeve 18). His wife went missing 2 years ago.


Cottage of Richyi
Richyi is a farmer with the help of his wife and 2 girls (age 16 and 14).


Cottage of Burgos
Burgos is a single man who has the largest cultivated field in Stillwater.


Blacksmith Phomas
The smith Phomas has an open air smithy (building to the east) and a cottage for him, his wife Gwenir and two sons Baxter (21) and Bain (18). The two sons are apprenticed but his best apprentice is Samara (16) the daugher of Signe the fisherman.


Cottage of Alter
Alter makes a living hunting game in the Talenwood and bartering for what else he needs. He also collects firewood in the winter for several of the other villagers. He is unmarried with no children.


Cottage of Ernard
Ernard is the Barber, herb specialist, and healer of the village. He has no real training aside from what his gran taught him before she died. He is often found wandering well afield and know the local lands well.


Toppled Tankard Inn
Detailed in a previous post. The home to Waldemar the innkeeper, Byri the cook, Bricea the barkeep, Bricea’s son Carlow and the orphan Stub.


Shoppe of Aniew Drery
Drery is a clothier and outfitter. Anything that can be purchased in Stillwater (aside from food and drink) is found in his shop. The clothier’s shop is the largest building in Stillwater. It is also home to his wife Lisabet and their five sons (ages 16, 14,12, 12, and 8). The Drery boys are something of a terror in the village, always in trouble.
Players should not expect to find weapons and armor at the Clothiers’ shop. He sells used clothes, blankets, and household items. Things that might be of interest to adventurer’s are sturdy boots, blankets, backpacks, rope, candles and the like.


The Bakery
Wake & Leise are a husband and wife team of bakers. They take local flour and make barley bread, wheat bread and some pastries.  Wake travels once per week to the market in Pirn.
They have 2 children (girl 14, boy 12).


Cottage of Thamond
Farmer Thamond works a plot behind his cottage with the help of his wife Gerti and there three children (boy 14, boy 9, girl 6).


Cottage of Menga
Menga is an apprentice carpenter to Hruria. He is the son of the fisherman Tane.


Cottage of Tane
Tane is an elderly fisherman (50+). His wife died this past winter. He has one grown son Menga who is apprenticed as a carpenter and a second son, Guthrie, who is only 10. The younger son helps with the fishing.


Cottage of Signe
Signe is a fisherman working 2 boats on Stillwater lake with the aid of his son Talon (18). He has a wife and two daughters. Samara 16 is an apprentice to the blacksmith, and Hana 12.


Shop of Hruria
Hruria is a foreign man who is the village carpenter, roofer and boat builder. He has a large shop near the lake that also is home to his wife Erika and his two children (boy 14, girl 8).


Shack of the Hermit

The hermit answers to the name Holes. Coined because his dirty clothes are heavily patched but still full of holes. He makes a living fishing and digging up things on the old battlefield to the northwest of the village. There is a rumor around the village that Holes has a stash of gold coins under the floor of his shack. The Drery boys tried digging up his shack floor when he was out wandering. They did not find anything and when Holes returned he chased the boys all the way to their home with a rusty old sword.


Player's Map Version

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

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

The Lair of the Lycanthropes

I thought I would post one one of the level maps from one of the first dungeon I every mapped and the map the players created.  This was level 3 of my “Haunted Keep” dungeon based on the introductory dungeon in the Red book rules. It was drawn up in early 1982. I was always just a level ahead of my players when we first started gaming.

The Haunted Keep Level 3: Lair of the Lycanthropes (1982)

Back in 1982 part of the fun was seeing how lost the players could get in the dungeon as you tried to describe what they saw in words and provided minimal help with the mapping. This was exacerbated by the dreaded “natural caverns” style dungeons. Level 3 of my Haunted Keep was called “Lair of the Lycanthropes”.  If you ever read the Red Book rules (1981 version) the introductory adventure hinted that the Rodemus family that built the keep might still be around and were rumored to be wererats. My adventure ended in a cavern on the other side of an underground lake where the Wererat chief held court. To make getting out of the dungeon quicker, there was an elevator on this final level (it was 1982 and I was a high-schooler). It was my first dungeon and I figured the players would not want to roleplay traversing all three levels again to get out.


Below you can see how my players made out on their map of level 3.

The Player's Map of Lair of the Lycanthropes



Probably not my best design choice for a dungeon




Monday, 13 March 2017

Exploring the Ruins of Timgal

I have not talked about the Alusian Setting for awhile. This is the OpenQuest setting I am developing. A bronze age world with a primitive lost island. On the main island are the remnants of a once powerful lizardman or serpent man civilization.

Human explorers have ventured into the ruins they call Timgal on the main island for years. It appears on many treasure maps. The players will be following one of these maps to Timgal and spot a trail leading into a fairly intact structure rising out of the jungles.

Just one level is mapped. Further levels are accessible via the deep pits that are filled with water. The lizardmen come up these tunnels to raid the surrounding jungles after dark.

So without further elaboration here is the map of the Deep Pits of Timgal.


Deep Pits of Timgal Map Level One


Sunday, 12 March 2017

Flying Wing Hull Type

From the beginning went I started using Blender I wanted to try my hand at a flying-wing style spaceship. A small trader that could be configured for atmospheric flight. I got side-tracked about 4 times now once I started manipulating shapes and saw something that looked like a spin hull.

But I finally took some time to rough out a new hull.  This time I took the time to change the blender scale to meters so I can actually create something that will be to scale once I create a deckplan. The hull shape is 80 x 40 x 10 meters. It actually has a shorter wingspan then the B2 Bomber but it is a lot longer and taller. I assume the shape is just to give it some lifting properties, powered flight it the primary method of staying aloft.

I also created a little man (a little better than a stick figure) and a Standard S Container to scale. I created them when I was trying to figure out if a container would fit in the ship and how tall an airlock would have to be. I took an image with the man and the container standing on the basic hull.



Atmospheric Hull Type Prototype Shape