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.
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!
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.
Wilderness RPG adventure in the Grey Mountains of Tolkien’s Middle Earth
Filling in one of the blanks of Middle Earth Role Playing.
Way back in the nineties Iron Crown Enterprises wrote the awesome ‘Northern Mirkwood’ campaign supplement for Middle Earth Role Playing. The book detailed all sorts of locations, not just in Mirkwood, but across northern Rhovanion. There was lots of info on cool locations from the Hobbit, as well as the Grey Mountains, the Withered Heath et al. As usual the MERP maps were very detailed…
My eye was caught by a specific locale. High up in the Grey Mountains there was a large hidden valley called Uthrael Beoac. There were a couple of intriguing paragraphs about this valley in the text but nothing more. My interest was piqued.
Years passed and no details, let alone adventure books, about it emerged. Finally ICE released their Grey Mountains campaign book but alas- no further detail on Uthrael Beoac! And then ICE lost the rights to Middle Earth –arghh!!!
Add a few years and long comes teh interwebz, and the groovy Middle Earth Role Playing wiki / the Notion Club archive (http://merp.wikia.com) with some intriguing little hints about fan modules. The Uthrael Beoac page (http://merp.wikia.com/wiki/Uthrael_Beoac) has a map that seems to indicate that at one point someone had written an adventure that closely matched the Wind Thrones illustration from Middle Earth: The Card Game. However I could find nothing else online other than a cool French website (http://crepusculesuranduin.over-blog.com/) ‘Twilight on the Anduin’ with another illustration and some more ideas about what the valley could contain.
At that point I decided to stop searching for what someone else had created and instead, detail the mysterious mountain valley the way I imagined it. Using the background hints provided by MERP, plus ideas from the Middle Earth Role Playing Wiki et al, I have outlined the history (and prehistory) of the valley, general adventuring locations, and some adventure plot-lines all in a rough imitation of the MERP format.
Check out my version of this wilderness adventure at…
The Awakening of the Wyrms is a role playing campaign set in Tolkien’s Middle Earth in the early years of the 4th Age. Using locations and creatures from Middle Earth Role Playing (MERP) this alternative history involves the awakening of the Dragons of the Withered Heath and the subsequent havoc they wreak on the north.
Obviously I have broken the Tolkien canon a wee bit in that the description of the early 4th age by Tolkien does not go happily for the free folk. This work specifically combines the expansions of I.C.E.’s MERP and Anders Blixt’s awesome idea for the Queen of Shadows campaign (https://gondica.wordpress.com/).
I read Blixt’s idea quite a few years ago and only came back to it recently in an urge to get some 4th age action happening. His vision of Sauron’s Daughter pulling the strings in the background (a la the Mule from the Foundation series) was quite inspired but I felt that the overall nature of the campaign was a bit too human- o-centric. The 4th age might be the Age of Men however there are still many classic elements left in Middle Earth that could give this campaign an epic fantasy feel.
Awakening of the Wyrms can be used as an expansion of the Queen of Shadows or as a stand alone campaign. Regardless, I have had fun cobbling together a semi-plausible alt history of Middle Earth’s 4th age.
The campaign narrative along with FAQs and RPG resources is contained in the Middle Earth Menu – see Menu bar at top of page…