Napoleonic dust up in western India in need of time travelling armchair general…
Step right up guvner. Come and see the ultimate turn of the (19th) century smackdown. Ten thousand redcoat whipping boyz versus fifty thousand heroes of the Maratha Empire. All star colonial attackers (boo- hiss) versus bronzed native defenders (hurrah!). Some no name, toffee nosed snob, Arthur la-di-dah Wellesley, leading the British East India Company, versus the renowned, up-from-the-ranks Colonel with a heart-of-gold, Anthony Pohlmann, generously assisting the Maratha Empire!
Will John Bull cop another bloody nose? Will highly trained troops, lead by an overzealous glory-hog, beat a horde equipped with modern weaponry, defending their own turf? Witness bullshit flanking manoeuvres over undiscovered river crossings, entire corps playing possum, ridiculous mismatched numbers, misunderstood orders, heroic last stands, last minute cavalry charges, and sacrifice of the highest order.
Watch the Armchair Corporal re-write history and snatch defeat from the jaws of victory… just click that ole mouse here 20/20 Hindsight: Re-fighting the Battle of Assaye, or go to the Alt History tab at the top o the page.
Inject some pizazz into your roleplaying adventure by using a format derived from antiquity and modern cinema.
Hey pssst, want a great tip for running EXCITING role playing game adventures? This easy-to-use formula can be applied to jazz up almost any game type be it fantasy, sci-fi, horror etc, just so long as your players are ready for a fair wallop of action.
So, what is this magic formula for instant GMing success?
Well, sorry to go all click-baity on ya but you’re gonna hafta check out The Action Movie School of GMing to see what the dealio is. Or just go to the drop-down menu at the top under Roleplaying.
Frodo reached Epic Level when he got the Ring to Mount Doom. What stats and abilities did he boost, and how does the book explain it?
The One Ring hits the lava and Frodo’s XP bar lights up like a pinball machine. The Halfling scores like 25 zillion experience points and levels up from maybe a basic level 3 to a legendary level 89-ish (give or take an RPG system).
Frodo spends all that XP on a massive wisdom bonus, some themey deleterious character attributes, and the ability to see the future. It does him about as much good as Paul Atriedes, but in-story where does this epic-ness come from?
Check out EPIC LEVEL FRODO for insights into the player’s handbook stored in Tolkien’s head.
Did you know that Frodo Baggins, the most peaceful, famousest and bestest hobbit in all of Middle Earth, used the evil power of the One Ring to command and kill via a fiendish curse!
Yep- Mr Baggins is a badass! But is he a baddy?
To find out how Frodo used the Ring itself to circumvent the impossibility of anyone destroying it, check out Frodo’s Curse
Could the Eagles fly the Ring-bearer to Mount Doom? YES, but they’d have to be very sneaky…
The biggest plot hole in The Lord of the Rings is arguably “why not use the Eagles to get to Mordor?”
But imagine an alternate universe where Tolkien wrote LotR, with the same internal consistency, except the Fellowship of the Ring ride the Eagles to Mount Doom…
Could they get there? You bet! But it’s not as simple as it sounds. How do the Fellowship get in touch with the Eagles? Which way would they go? Who would go? How long would it take? What precautions would they take? How would they get over the mountains and past the winged Nazgûl?
All these questions and more are answered at Flying the Eagles to Mordor – A ‘How-To’ Guide.
Seriously, “Fly You Fools!!”
Tolkien’s contour map reveals some clues.
One does not simply walk into Mordor – One looks at a map first!
What-the-Uruk was Gandalf planning on doing if he survived Moria and guided the Fellowship beyond Lorien? Specifically, how was he going to get into Mordor?!!
Tolkien may not have written Mithrandir’s plan down, but he seems to have left some subtle cartographic clues. Check out the analysis ( Gandalf’s Plan to Enter Mordor ) of the contour map of Gondor & Mordor in the front of The Return of the King.
Tweaking a classic Traveller game
Broadsword was a cool adventure for Traveller, a sci-fi role playing game by GDW. The booklet had fabulous detail on the mercenary Broadsword class starship, but sheesh did the scenarios need some work or what?!
The 800 tonne mercenary cruiser was the bomb! The ugly lil flying pumpkin was kitted out with beam lasers, missile racks, two modular cutters with potentially a squadron or two of star-fighters! AND it had three squads of marines armed to the teeth with hi-tech gear: ATVs, gauss rifles, fusion guns, pointy sticks- yeah baby!! All this was detailed with floorplans, a pecking order for the entire crew, SOPs etc. But as for the provided adventure…yikes!
Rather than just a game of Traveller, the Broadsword adventure had vague mass combat scenarios more intended for Striker and High Guard: GDW’s dense ground and space combat rule systems. The overall campaign was a great idea, loaded with possibilities: The players conduct ground and space operations to prop up the regime of Garda Vilis during a rebellion. But the 4 scenarios are missing something. Namely crucial details, skulduggery of any kind, plot twists, and GM’s advice for when the players do the unexpected.
Click on Sharpening Broadsword: Adventure 7 to check out my expansion of the Garda Vilis campaign back into the realms of a RPG with added zing for the crew of the Broadsword.
Rip-snorting fantasy adventure wherein players lead the defence of an isolated Inn against the attack of a cannibalistic horde.
Couldn’t be bothered with a long wilderness trek to reach a dungeon? Need to satisfy your players with a bit of gratuitous violence that doesn’t involve random monsters waiting in rooms? Want a quick, ready to go scenario for players in between dungeon crawls? Fancy a small scale siege where it makes sense for the Player Characters to be in charge?
Well look no further. Whilst many an RPG adventure starts at a tavern, this adventure is IN THE TAVERN. The standard gaming trope of a colourful Inn (with numerous squabbling patrons) is smashed together with the “hold your ground” cliche (shades of Rorke’s Drift) in “Defend the Coaching Inn.”
The players meet one evening at a lonely tavern on a forested back-road. Normally they’d be rolling for rumours, buying iron rats, harassing the bar-staff with 10′ poles, and picking fights. This time the PCs skip the ‘information’ and ‘wilderness trek’ phases and jump straight into the action as they help defend the inn from a horde of cannibalistic humanoids.
This stand-alone adventure can easily be slotted into a long standing campaign as a one off, ding dong battle. Or the scenario can be expanded into several sessions as the action dictates and the players follow up different plot threads. The inventive GM can also weave a murder mystery sub-plot into the narrative for added flavour.
Whilst designed for the World of Warhammer, this adventure is written in the style of no stat gaming and can easily be used with Dungeons & Dragons, GURPS, Fate and many other fantasy rules & settings.
So clickety-click on Defend the Coaching Inn and see if you can hold your ground; shield the gentlefolk; slay the invaders; defend the Inn and most importantly… protect the beer!
Optimising the Fellowship of the Ring: the Nine Walkers – a strategic revision.
The Fellowship of the Ring is the world’s most renowned, literary adventuring party. This is the archetype which lurks in the collective unconscious of all gaming groups, from paper and pencil D&D, to byte and bitmap WoW.
An Istarii Wizard and a Dunedain Ranger lead a Dwarf Warrior, a Sindar Archer, a Gondorian Fighter and four Halfling burglars on an epic wilderness adventure and the mother of all dungeon crawls.
But anyone with an ounce of cunning and a desire to maximise the chances of success has probably asked themselves…
“Why take four hobbits?”
“What about bringing some more ranged weapons and healing potions?”
“Elves are awesome. Why only bring one?”
These questions and more have bugged me for years. Why abandon Frodo and Sam to chase after Merry and Pippin? What was Gandalf actually planning on doing to get into Mordor?! Most importantly, if I was Elrond, who would I include in the Fellowship?
The strategy behind the Fellowship and some alternative possibilities are examined in the article “Min/maxing the Fellowship of the Ring” … so clickety-click, or go to the menu at the top of the page.
Awakening of the Wyrms: an alternate history of early Fourth Age Middle Earth.
Extrapolating the Queen of Shadows Campaign
To misquote Peter Jackson and the infamous Boromir meme…
“One does not simply awaken the Dragons of the Withered Heath.”
Some people just crave a resolution: so please find herein the epic conclusion to the Awakening of the Wyrms, an alt history of the 4th Age of Tolkien’s Middle Earth.
Thrills, spills, and canon busting bitter pills are guaranteed, not to mention some brain melting coordination of armies, wizards and assorted entities into a coherent timeline of 4th age possibilities.
The ideas of J.R.R Tolkien, Iron Crown Enterprises’ Middle Earth Role Playing game, and Anders Blixt (https://gondica.wordpress.com/) have been smashed together to re-invent the early history of the Fourth Age. Aligning famous names versus each other, whilst riffing-off Greek mythology and recent world events, and developing (or destroying) various corners of Middle Earth proved challenging and a little inhuman. Hence the incorporation of a Spy Game sub-plot, using the ubiquitous fantasy trope of the ‘adventuring party’, enabling a more on-the -ground view and a role-players perspective on the action.
Feedback welcome – this story is not set in stone. I am happy to adjust to correct major errors herein.
Click here to see how it all pans out… Awakening of the Wyrms – Conclusion