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.

10 July 2017

[From the Mailbag] Happy Monday Goodies!

I decided today that I need to sweep the leaves accumulated at the door of the Stronghold and clear some dust from my head. It's been a LONG time, relatively.

Changing careers at mid-life is difficult; it's even worse when dealing with depression and some medical issues as well. Walking away from 20 years of legal education/experience and deciding to go back to school and get a teaching certificate has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life.

Let's see: what else to catch up on? The 5E campaign was interesting, to say the least...except it died, badly. A DM trying to run two groups of 5 each, on GroupMe. Other than my 35+ years, and the DM's experience (He's 19 years old), NO ONE had ever played before. It devolved from every day, to every other day, to maybe once a week... Needless to say no one's posted on GroupMe since June 9. So...I'm pretty sure it's dead.

Now to plug some new game stuff:

First of all: a shipment of goodies from the Manor. +Tim Shorts   can always be relied on to make a day better and to produce amazing stuff. Today's envelope of joy is no different.
  • The Ghoul Nest: a laminated card with a great side adventure and a unique monster. I think I'll have to drop this into my family game. My kids don't face enough undead in their gaming.
  • NPC Card: Blake, a 4th-level mage. A great resource, complete with stats and backstory.
  • Death Coins: a Micro-Adventure. Comes complete with a great map, great magic items, and a compelling story. I can't wait to drop this one on my group; it's just enough—at face value—for a good night's worth of adventuring, but could be used as the basis for a much longer adventure or the kick-off for a campaign.
I would highly recommend signing up for Tim's Patreon campaign so that you can get this great stuff for yourselves: www.patreon.com/Gothridge. Go there. Now.

Wait...don't leave yet. Also in the mail was the fulfillment of a Kickstarter that I've greatly anticipated: Planet Mercenary Based on the webcomic "Schlock Mercenary" by Howard Tayler and set in that universe, it came with some great add-ons and looks ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIFUL. The ruleset was written by Alan Bahr and Howard Tayler.... I'll be honest...father-type stuff has kept me from cracking it open yet, so I can't give you a review yet. Knowing Alan's gaming cred with +Gallant Knight, and knowing his experience (most recently: "Tiny Frontiers" and "Tiny Frontiers: Mecha and Monsters"), I'm sure it's going to be terrific. It's already gotten some great reviews, including one from Steve Jackson.

And now, it's time for dinner, then settle down in the 100ยบ-plus-temperatures to plan some characters' imminent demise.

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.
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