Lydia Bucktooth, Dwarven Veteran, RIP

The second session of our Old School Essentials (BX dnd) Roll20 game saw the unfortunate demise of Lydia Bucktooth, a stalwart dwarven fighter. It was Lydia’s first foray out on the road east of the Keep on the Borderlans.

The party consisted of Lydia (dwarf), Fodder (druid), Tad (hireling), and Yersan (hireling). The group walked along the road to the east until evening. They made camp upon a hill known as “Overlook”. It was then the had their first random encounter. Result was four giant shrews.

This was the first time I had ever used giant shrews against a party. Four of them were quite a challenge. The druid cast entangle but only caught one in its viney snare. The others attacked the party. An interesting note about the giant shrew…when they attack, the target must make a save vs death or flee in panic! This happend to Fodder the druid and Tad the hireling. Lydia and Tad did well against two of the shrews, but one was still able to attack. Poor Lydia fell to the vicious bite of the creature as the others fled in panic!

A good time was had by all!

Quite deadly but it could’ve been worse. The shrews weren’t hitting very well. Our poor PCs had lower hit points. We agreed to play rules as written, so hit points would be as they come (re-rolling 1 or 2).

Fun little foray and more to come!

A Tavern Notice Board

DIY Notice Board for your Game

We’ve started a new campaign using Roll20. The rest of the fatbeards want to explore the Caves of Chaos (Keep on the Borderlands, module B2). I’m happy to oblige, having recently visited the caves in my solo play using Pits & Perils Rpg.

This time, we are using the B/X edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic game but with the Old School Essentials rulebook (a modern layout that is in essence the B/X rules). In addition, we are adding the Advanced Fantasy Genre rules (with some new character classes). So far, my pal Doug is running a female dwarven veteran (race is a class in B/X) and a male druid.

This past weekend, Doug and I ran a quick session, the other fellows were unable to join us this weekend. Lydia, the dwarf, and Fodder, the druid (gotta love that name!) made their way through the front gate of the Keep and quickly found the tavern.

None of the characters or establishments are named in the module. I decided to call the tavern the Egg & Goat. This is in honor of Egg Barkley and Goat Bentley, two of the henchmen I played in my Pits & Perils solo game.

Anyway, the tavern has a notice board (and grand place to hand out rumors and adventure threads). I’ve seen some nice looking tavern notice boards (obsidian portal has an example and drivethrurpg sells some pre-made boards) but I wanted to make a good looking board that I could customize.

Using the internet and MS Paint, I was easily able to make the board (pictured above) in little time and no cost. I searched online for “textured wood background free” and found a few sites that had images without watermarks. Here’s an example. Instead of downloading any image, I just snipped it using the snipping feature on windows 10. A screenshot would work just as well.

I dropped this into MS Paint and then did a search for parchment paper images. I snipped a variety of these onto my paint workspace. Make sure you open the cavas up extra wide to allow you to give you room for the images.

Tavern Board Template

Once I have the tavern board and the parchment, I made a duplicate tavern board to keep blank for new projects. I then had a neat idea to use the free-form select tool in MS Paint. This allowed me to make the rough and jagged edges of the notes that I post on the tavern board. Make sure to click transparent selection as an option when copying them.

Add your text and you’ll be all set. Just select the finished tavern board and paste in a new paint file, save it, and use it for Roll20 or print a handout for the table top. It really was a lot less work than I thought it would be, and I’m really happy with the results. I know that this and so many cooler things can be done with other drawing programs but this is free and simple to use.

Let me know what you think and how your make your own tavern notice boards.

More later and thanks…


The Keep on the Borderlands with Old School Essentials

Tonight I started a new campaign using module B1 The Keep on the Borderlands. It will be different than my solo play with Pits and Perils. For this, we are going back to B/X rules but using the Old School Essentials by Gavin Norman. This is like coming home to me. My first game of dnd was with the red box rules (Basic Dnd) with Tom Moldvay. And B1 was the very first module I ran. I guess I love the game and this particular module so much due in part to the nostalgia factor. I still get that warm fuzzy feeling when looking over those blue maps and perusing the artwork.

It’s a great time for Dungeons & Dragons and a great time for Old School gamers too. I’m probably playing as much if not more now that when I was a kid. I’ve got plenty of projects to keep me busy inbetween roll20 sessions. I’ll continue to tinker with my Fatbeards RPG rules (purely for my own enjoyment) and continue to play variations of rules (Whitebox, Old School Essentials, Pits & Perils, and many more.) They’re all great games and will continue to give me years of enjoyment.

More to come…