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.
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!
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
Adding zing to the Fate of the Sky Raiders Traveller adventure
Fate of the Sky Raiders by FASA lacked specific detail, so I have written an addenda to this sci-fi role playing adventure.
‘Fate’ was the culmination of an awesome Traveller trilogy by the Keith brothers. Classic Traveller RPG adventures always looked very professional and unfortunately a bit ‘dry’ too. But any good GM could see the potential in there for jazzing Traveller games up. Insert the “latest” movie ideas (Alien/ Aliens/ Blade Runner/ Star Wars/ Starship Troopers etc) into a game and most of those old adventures could sizzle.
The Sky Raiders trilogy was no exception – with a few tweaks it was Indiana Jones in space. And the concluding episode, became “Raiders of the Lost Space Ark”.
The first two adventures ( The Legend of the Sky Raiders & The Trail of the Sky Raiders) were crackers. The final book, Fate of the Sky Raiders, had heaps of great ideas but I found that it didn’t quite deliver. It had all this great lead up: a 5000 year old space ark with collapsed and devolving societies; treasure from dozens of worlds; ancient tech mixed up with savages etc etc and what do the designers do ? They give us a general description of the asteroid, a vague story arc and leave the interaction down to the GM with some random encounter tables!
Mega let down! Or is it?… coming up with your own personalised version is one of the pleasures of GM-ing. Like most Traveller adventures, there is much fun to be had in the adaptation to your gaming style.
So, putting finger to keyboard, I outlined four major cultures, inserted a few dangerous animals, detailed some interesting locations & encounters, and postulated the ongoing consequences for the Traveller universe. Addenda inspiration came from: Dr Who ‘The Face of Evil’ for the regressing cultures based on ancestral occupations; Robert E Howard’s tale ‘Red Nails’ for the pervading nasty atmosphere of enclosed warring societies; ‘Fast’ zombie movies and H.G.Wells’ Morlocks for the Ghoul society; and of course, the FASA legendary writers, J. Andrew Keith and William H. Keith,Jr for the wicked set up.
Anyway, enough bloggy preamble. Check out the Fate of the Sky Raiders – Addenda
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…
or click here 1- Intro & The Legacy of the Enemy