A place wherein this Dwarven Cleric can share his love of maps, dice, miniatures, and all things involving gaming and general geekery--not to mention the occasional witty non-gaming observations--whilst escaping from the humdrum existence of his routine Terran existence.

Hail and Well Met, fellow traveler! May my Stronghold provide a place for enlightenment and amusement, and somewhere to keep your dice dry. Enter and rest awhile.

29 April 2017

[Real Life] Time Away from the Dice

I hadn't realized that it had been nearly a month since I posted anything here.

Real life has intervened.

As I may have posted before, back in the middle of last year, I became unemployed. Finally found work as a teacher's aide at a local junior high in November. I really enjoyed what I was doing and loved working with these kids.

Well, at the beginning of the year, the Principal approached me, wanting to know if I would want to take over full-time for one of the Special Education teachers in August. I would need to go through a state process that would give me credit for my previous schooling and issue me a teaching certificate based on those credentials.

I jumped at the chance. Said yes. He gave me the job. And then, two weeks later, came to me and said that this selfsame teacher had been given two weeks notice because of a gross violation of policy...and would I want to start sooner to finish out the year as a teacher.

Again, I jumped at the chance.

So...I can now announce that my two-decade legal career is behind me. I am proud to say I'm now a teacher. I'm teaching a class of 6 junior high students, ranging from 6th grade to 8th grade, each with either severe behavioral issues or severe learning disabilities.

And I love it.

But the problem is: the school has restricted any website that has to do with games or gaming. So, I can't do anything with RPG stuff until I get home. By which time, of course, I'm exhausted, cannot think, and busy trying to form a lesson plan and gather materials for the next day. My reading and visiting of other blogs and gaming sites has also, necessarily, drastically decreased. A quick skim of G+ may happen if I'm lucky.

But this blog is not dead. I managed to game last week for an 8-hour session. I've began sketching out an article for The Stronghold Zine #4. Things are still percolating; it's just a matter of finding the time and energy to put the thoughts together and send them out into the electronic ether. One of the teaching aides has started up an ambitious play-by-post 5E campaign among the teachers and staff at the school; so I have an outlet, albeit spotty and unfamiliar. In the process, I've been able to mentor a 20-year-old newcomer to RPGs, and bestowed upon him the gift of his First Dice.


And may I say, I miss you all. I miss my friends and acquaintances. I feel so left out of things. Please know that I have not forgotten any of you; it's a simple matter of access and time, really. I'm still here and I value all my friendships. And we will journey on, together, soon.

31 March 2017

First Foray Into 5E

I'm just going to leave this here.
Illus: Andrew Hale, in Heroes of High Favor: Dwarves
And my wife wants to play as well....
Illus: Magnuson24 "Elven Ranger"  on DeviantArt

I'll see you all on the other side...

25 February 2017

Carnage

This morning, at 12:50 a.m. I started up my truck and texted my wife that I was on my way home. It was our monthly D&D night. I'd loaded my >koff< pounds worth of minis in the bed of the truck and had scraped off the snow.

Fifteen minutes later, I entered an intersection only a couple blocks from home. A 19-year-old was speeding down the hill and ran the red light. I looked up and saw him just before he entered the intersection. I had enough time to think, "Oh s**t. He's not stopping," before I was tossed around like a rag doll, in spite of my seatbelt.

Thank heavens for my seatbelt.

Thank heavens for my Silverado 2500 HD.

That steel cage saved my life. I walked away. The other guy went to the hospital in an ambulance. I have no idea about his status; I truly hope he's well.

I'm pretty sure he didn't even see the light. He never braked. There were no skid marks at the scene.

He slammed into my front passenger wheel, then spun and bounced into my rear passenger corner. He turned my truck sideways, then continued to spin another 180°. He was seriously moving, at least 10 mph over the limit I'm guessing.

I'm shaken up, but OK. Sore this morning, obviously. Moving VERY slowly.

His car (a Chevy Malibu)—make that his step-dad's car—is totaled. My truck is likely totaled; I'm thinking the frame was seriously twisted.




 He hit with enough force to drive my two HEAVY boxes (one a footlocker) full of minis from the tailgate, the length of the bed and up onto a pile of sandbags. Broke the footlocker, too, in the process.

My reason for posting all this? I was nearly home, after an enjoyable night out with my friends. It's something and someplace we all experience on a regular basis. I may not have made it home last night. I keep thinking about how angry I was with one of my kids when I left the house yesterday afternoon. How I left things with my friends, my co-workers, et cetera.

Hope you all are well on this Saturday morning. I'm grateful for you all. 

Cherish every moment you have, my friends. Take the time to appreciate your loved ones and let them know how you feel. As an eloquent friend of mine told me this morning, "You never know, kids. Cherish the now. Be careful out there."

09 February 2017

[From the Mailbag] Treats from The Manor

Came home today to find a surprise from +Tim Shorts . A bad day made much better for these maps.

Already planning on fitting these into the current campaign. Judgement of the Crow has some positively E-VIL potential.

If you aren't following Tim on Patreon, you really should be. If you do, you can get great stuff like this in your OWN mailbox. Check him out at https://www.patreon.com/gothridge

05 February 2017

[Inktober 2016] Day 29—The Tombs of Jarra Cavernfire



The Tombs of Jarrra Cavernfire
(keyword: secret)

The tombs of this ancient Dwarven queen appear simple at first: three sarcophagi and three massive coffers,  emptied long ago . A secret door leads to an empty chamber; a priceless repeater hangs in the far wall. The floor is warded: any creature(s) that cross 3/4 of the floor fall through the floor 50' down to a floor of spikes. If the party contains a Dwarven priest (LG), the floor instead solidifies and tilts downward, revealing a surprise.

A series of rooms hold the remains of Jarra's Priestesses, piles of weapons, and coffers filed with treasure. Beware: other deadly traps and invasive vermin are in these lower halls.

A hardy and intrepid party will find its way to the grand hexagonal sarcophagus of Jarra herself. If she is disturbed, she will quickly rise to wreak her vengeance.

26 January 2017

[Inktober 2016] Day 28—The Salamander's Cavern


The Salamander's Cavern
(keyword: burn)
After following a narrow, winding tunnel a mile or more, the party finds themselves in an air pocket.* Far beneath them flows the life-blood of the Mountain God—a river of magma.

Across a narrow bridge arching over the river is the dwelling place of an aged but cunning salamander. In a natural pool, magma bubbles. A steep ledge is where the creature sleeps.

The cavern is also home to three magmin, minions of the salamander. If approached/attacked, they will do whatever is necessary to herd their foes into either the pool or over the edge and into the molten river. The intense heat in the cavern makes it difficult for surface dwellers to breath and will weaken them physically.

*(As this is a grand cavern, the scale should be at least 1 ■ = 10'.)

24 January 2017

[Inktober 2016] Day 27—The Lair of the Dark Folk


The Lair of the Dark Folk
(keyword: creepy)
A crumbling ruin at the ed of a dark, filthy alleyway hides a long, steep, winding stairway. Once leading to an underground hideaway of a minor noble, it now leads to the disgusting lair of a small tribe of dark folk; both dark creepers and a dark stalker reside here.

The walls, ceilings, and floors are coated and misshapen with trash and filth. The dark ones move quickly in their habitat; all others must move at half-speed or slower to avoid tripping or sliding. If someone falls, there is a 50% chance of an injury (1d4 + disease).

Ten creepers nest in the crannies of the main floor, while one stalker and six more creepers nest on the lower level.

23 January 2017

[Inktober 2016] Day 26—The Warehouse of Amon'ley

I'll be damned if I'll let Inktober 2016 win. I lost enough in 2016 and endured enough pain and heartache to lose one more thing. I don't care that it's 2017. In my map book, it's no longer 2016 but not quite 2017.

 The Warehouse of Amon'ley
(Keyword: box)

This massive warehouse stores countless arcane treasures. The labyrinth of crates and barrels—some stacked 60' high—makes it nearly impossible to catalog the items mixed in with the mundane wares. Only Amon'ley knows where everything is, and he keeps it all in his head.

There is one entrance: through a massive sliding metal door, although Amon'ley has a portal in his small office. Two guard stations with archery slits flank the door.

Amon'ley uses the services of a huge half-demon ogre to lift and move the crates, periodically rearranging the crates to prevent any covert attempts to catalog.

16 November 2016

[Inktober 2016] Day 25—The Druid's Rest


The Druid's Rest
(Key word: tired)

This small hut is nestled among six ancient standing stones. Each stone bears a different rune and stands on a small hillock, as if thurst up from within the earth. One stone has toppled and several are cracked. The ring itself is surrounded on three sides by a steep cliff; the approach is a sloping path lined by dressed stones.

No one knows who built this haven for weary travelers. The well and corral are well-maintained, the wood pile never runs out, and the outhouse is always clean and decorated with fresh pine boughs. (There are no pine trees for miles around.) Inside, a wood stove heats the room in cold weather; snow never falls on the hilltop despite its height. Seven cots are maintained and there is room on the floor for additional bed rolls.

Although comfortable, guests seldom spend more than a couple nights; reports of strange events and noises abound, as if the unseen owner discouraged long-term stays.

11 November 2016

Veteran's Day Free Offer--EXTENDED

This offer is good until midnight Sunday (13 November 2016), Hawaii-Aleutian Time.

I'm getting to this a bit late because of the new day job...but better late than never! Hence, the extension of the offer through the weekend!

I have a soft spot in my heart for veterans. A big soft spot. I've got plenty of them in my family, and even more among my friendsw and acquaintances. Regardless or relation (or no) I am so grateful to all of them for their service and sacrifices; I cannot begin to imagine the experience.

 To honor those veterans out there, I'd like to offer copies of any of the first three issues of The Stronghold 'Zine ABSOLUTELY FREE to any veterans out there. For those who aren't aware, or for those who want to pass the offer along, The Stronghold 'Zine is in the vein of an old-school fanzine, and is a mixture of 3.x/PFRPG and edition-neutral materials. A little bit of crunch, a little bit of flavor, and a lot of fantasy gaming goodness.

Just drop me a line at blue.moon.ink.press@gmail.com and let me get some copies out to you as a way to thank you for your service.

09 November 2016

[Inktober 2016] Day 24—Potoel the Pie Maker

(Potoel the Pie-Maker
(Key word: one dozen)

Potoel makes pies. Pies and sausage. His wares are known throughout the city for their delicious taste and unique spices. Potoel developed his recipes while in the Wars against the city-state of Berl. Unknown to any, the Wars also turned Potoel into a high-functioning ghoul.

Upon returning home, he opened his shop selling meat pies he bakes on the premesis and sausages he makes in his basement. His wife left him soon after he opened the shop; at least, that's what he claims.

In his sub-basement, he keeps a baker's dozen of "fresh" sources: the city's beggars and hopeless are kidnapped and kept here until he's ready for a new batch. The occasional wealthy citizen appears there once in a while too.

It's true what they say: the less people know about what goes into their sausage, the better they'll sleep at night.

[Inktober 2016] Day 23—Quagmire Springs

Yup. My life has finally calmed down a little bit. I'm between real-world deadlines and I've started a new job (and potentially new career). It's not much, but I'm hoping it will let me get back and finish Inktober, albeit a few weeks late.

Quagmire Springs
(Key word: slow)

Despite the spring technically being "freshwater" the water springs from its source rife with a murky, oily substance as wee as a noxious green fungus. The resultant "water" is dank and vile; its viscosity causes the spring to flow slow and thick down the natural slope to pool at the bottom, where it slowly drains out.

The "water" can be lighted on fire as if it was oil; if imbibed it can temporarily grant an increase to Strength (an effect of the fungus) and Charisma (from awe and disbelief that anyone would be bold enough to actually drink the fluid). When the effects wear off, the individual suffers a temporary Dexterity and Constitution loss from the resulting sickness.

28 October 2016

[Inktober 2016] Day 22—Brownleaf's Cottage


 O.K. I'm now in the process of playing catch-up. A couple of real-life deadlines are kicking my butt, but I'm determined to see this through, even if I have to bleed into November just a bit.

Here's the offering for Day 22: 

 
Brownleaf's Cottage
(Key word: little)

Brownleaf is a pixie druid, who fancies himself an artist. He has crafted himself a home in a discarded snail shell in Elkhole Forest.
  1. Entry Hall: Brownleaf keeps most of his weapons and armor here.
  2. Rumpus Room: used for entertaining, games, sport, etc., as well as his studio.
  3. Gallery: Brownleaf keeps his favorite artistic works here.
  4. Storage/Dining: used for both storage and informal dining.
  5. Study: bookshelves, a comfy chair, and a stove.
  6. Bedchambers
  7. Walk-in Closet
  8. Treasure Room: linked to #7 by a secret door.


21 October 2016

[Inktober 2016] Day 21—Gonk Tribe's Arena


Gonk Tribe's Arena
(Key word: big)

Located in an enormous knob of granite jutting up in the middle of the Sanktar Plains is the arean of the Gonk Ogre tribe.

Two massive stone slabs serve as doors. Inside a narrow (relatively) walkway rings a steep pit. The pit is littered with stones, tree branches, and bones.

The pit serves as a place to resolve challenges and duels, as well as a place of punishment. The tribe will also bring in warriors of other races for entertainment.

The knob is nearly fifty feet tall and the pit another twenty-five feet below the surface. The victors are aided from the pit by means of a rope ladder. The dead rot where they fall.

[Inktober 2016] Day 20—Quirinklauth's Lair


Quirinklauth's Lair
(Key word: squeeze)

The Drake, Quirinklauth, has amassed a tremendous hoard of treasure in his cliff-top lair. Quirinklauth enters through a small cave that leads to a hole in the top of a one thousand-foot-high subterranean dome.

Other creatures must enter through the winding, narrow passageway; the passage is so narrow, in fact—sometimes narrowing to only a few feet—that human-sized creatures can only proceed at a fraction of normal speed. The passage is also, on average, only three- to four feet tall.

The hoard in the domed cavern is dozens of feet deep, and includes weapons, armor, gems, and coins, as well as art objects. The items are both mundane and magical
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