Blogging

automata-title-pageThis blog has suffered severe neglect in recent months, although my RPG-related activities have continued unabated. Besides my ongoing first edition campaign (which recently surpassed five hundred hours of play), I have also been working hard on converting some of that game’s early adventures into publications. The first such adventure is the incident at the tinkerer-wizard Talessin’s tower (see the annotated play reports: first session and second session).

That work is now complete and my first adventure module, Automata Run Amok, has gone live on DriveThruRPG as a PDF with print versions to follow as soon as possible both there and on Lulu.com (spiral bound in the latter case!). This module is being offered for free (PWYW) as an appetizer for what I hope to be a series of publications. Here’s the marketing copy blurb for this adventure:

Out-of-Control automata have driven a wizard from his shop. He would like the PCs to solve the problem (without damaging his creations) while his rival will pay for evidence of the wizard’s dabbling in forbidden knowledge.

This is an adventure suitable for four to five low-level characters written to be compatible with OSRIC and early editions of the world’s most popular RPG.  In addition to full details on a tinkerer-wizard’s tower overrun by rampaging automata, this module includes:

  • Random tables to generate elements of a bustling port city situated in the tropics and titles for books on both magic and techno-magic
  • Twenty unique magical items of variable usefulness and danger with which to tempt players
  • Several unique NPCs and monsters, from a clock maker revolutionary to a brain floating in a machine animated by the spirit of a long-dead racist dwarf
  • Eight illustrations by the wondefully talented Luka Rejec

This twenty-page adventure should provide between four and eight hours of Old School fun. Enjoy!

Here’s a link to the page to “purchase” and download the module.

Colchester Castle under Construction

Colchester Castle under Construction

It’s been quite a spell since my last post, so I thought it might be a good idea to check-in to confirm that this blog is still a live project and to outline some plans for the next few months. There has been a logical reason for the prolonged delay since my last update, leaving aside general laziness and a busy summer schedule. This issue was that the next section of my commentary covers the Dwarven people and there were too many spoilers for my ongoing campaign to address that subject. While some of those secrets have yet to be discovered, my players have made significant progress in their investigation of Curabel’s Ancient Dwarven civilization and it will now be easier to cover that subject here without spoiling the campaign.

With this problem no longer holding things up, I will relaunch the campaign setting Bible annotation shortly. In addition, a number of additional random generation scripts written in Perl are almost ready for upload here — these will cover non-classed NPCs (compatible with just about any system) and treasure package generation (potentially useful in other games, but designed for AD&D 1E). Based on the site traffic, the random weather generator has been the most popular post on this blog, so I think these might also be of interest. Finally, I will also start posting annotated play reports from my ongoing campaign that has just reached its 66th session (covering 264 hours of weekly gaming).

Anyway, that’s enough planning — now it’s time to bring some of these ideas to fruition.

Portrait of Larry's dwarven fighter, Thorfus

Larry’s dwarven fighter, Thorfus

One of the original players in the Curabel campaign, Larry Hamilton (Follow Me, and Die! on G+), has an OSR/RPG blog and he recently posted a very complimentary summary of his experiences in the campaign along with a link to this site. Since his post deals more with the actual play of the campaign, something that I will not be addressing until after working through the preparatory material, it actually serves as a pretty good preview of the direction this blog will be taking. In addition, his site is generally worth a look for anyone interested in old-school role-playing.

Image by Steve Zieser.

Image by Steve Zieser.

My intention with this blog, Dwarven Automata, is to discuss Advanced Dungeons and Dragons (mostly first edition) and OSR (however defined) gaming using concrete examples from the campaigns I run both online via Roll20 and in the flesh. I also hope to post random generator scripts to aid in the creation of similar campaigns, although that will likely be somewhat delayed since my personal versions of these programs include copyrighted material that will need to be changed for web publication.

While some assumptions and theories about role-playing games may be implicit in the material posted here — and perhaps even explicitly remarked upon at times — I have very little interest in edition wars, game theory debates, or whatever outrage du jour has caught the attention of the wider RPG blogging world. This is a small, personal project that will remain grounded in my experiences prepping and running AD&D/OSR campaigns and I imagine it will bore most people to tears. You have been warned.