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Showing posts from February, 2020

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Prep Notes, Part Six

Finishing my fluffy prep for The Ruined Tower of Zenopus, Zach Howard's 5e adaption of Holmes' Sample Dungeon! Room A Rooms B-E Rooms F & G Rooms H-M Rooms N-S3 Random Encounters This list is a merging of the Wandering Monsters table from  The Ruined Tower of Zenopus   and Zach Howard's d12 Hauntings in the Dungeon of Zenopus . I've provided 5e Stats for the hauntings and for standard wandering monsters, but not for a creatures unique to The Ruined Tower. You should go but it. Highly recommended. The numbers are for a 1st level party of 3-5 characters; double them for a large or 2nd level party. Unique encounters occur only once, and should be re-rolled afterwards. 1-2. Goblin Patrol 3-4. Stone Skeletons 5. Giant Rats 6. Giant Crabs 7-8. Smugglers 9. Fancy Ghoul 10-11. Cleaning Cube 12. Unique: Split Shadows 13. Unique: Ghost Crabber 14. Sand Storm 15. Sea Fog 16. Unique: Armored Zombie 17. Unique: Abandoned Familiar 18. Sc

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Prep Notes, Part Five

Continuing my fluffy prep for The Ruined Tower of Zenopus, Zach Howard's 5e adaption of Holmes' Sample Dungeon. Room A Rooms B-E Rooms F & G Rooms H-M N. Sub-Necropolis 100x70’ A large room with low vaulted ceilings and caryatids (columns carved in the shapes of women). The ceiling caves in towards the North wall, ending in a slope of dirt and rubble, riddled with rat tunnels. Ten carved sarcophagi are spaced evenly across the floor. As per Zach and Holmes. P. Ghouls’ Pantry 70x50’ This room is filled with cracked and scattered wooden coffins (of recent make and in the Parsasian style), and the floor is littered with gnawed human bones. Two fancy ghouls are in this room. They are dressed in a wild mismatch of fine funereal clothes and jewelry, now ragged and muddy. If they are aware of the PCs approach, they will hide among the coffins in order to ambush the intruders. The ghouls wear a collection of bracelets, bangles, earrings, and rings worth 5d10 gp e

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Prep Notes, Part Four

Continuing my fluffy prep for The Ruined Tower of Zenopus, Zach Howard's 5e adaption of Holmes' Sample Dungeon. Room A Rooms B-E Rooms F & G Past Room G, I've done a lot less to the rooms. Most are pretty much as you'd find them in Zach or Holmes. H. Underground River 80x50’ A rectangular room with a high vaulted ceiling. The stone walls are carved in bas-relief of strange sea-creatures bearing spiraled shells and sinuous tentacles. An icy river runs through this room, originating from a cascade of water pouring down the east wall. I. The Bronze Head of Zenopus 40x90’ I felt the need to clarify how well the Bronze Head can answer its question: The Bronze Head knows about Zenopus and his research, which was extensive. It can answer nearly any knowledge or lore question, although the information may be a few hundred years out of date. The mask can also check in on the present state of the dungeon. It does not know anything of what has transpired ou

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Prep Notes, Part Three

Continuing my fluffy prep for The Ruined Tower of Zenopus, Zach Howard's 5e adaption of Holmes' Sample Dungeon. Room A Rooms B-E F. Firuzeh The Thaumaturgist’s Workroom 60x50’ The Thaumaturgist has secured this room, from which she has made a few cautious forays into the rest of the dungeon, hoping to unlock Zenopus’ secrets. Workbench: Scattered with books, notes, and materials. 6 books full of impractical arcane theory. If collected and studied at leisure, the following spells could be compiled with an Arcana 18+ check (each): floating disk, knock, magic mouth. Partial maps of the dungeon, and notes on the goblins and pirates. A few references to dark things from under the cemetery. Lunch: Cookpot half-full of lentil stew and a jug of watered wine. Small pots of samples of soil, rock chips from dungeon walls, ashes, dried insects, bat guano, and moss A baby cleaning cubelet trapped in a glass bulb A spoonful of amber material (see E. Empty Rooms) in a sealed gl

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Prep Notes, Part Two

Continuing my fluffy prep for The Ruined Tower of Zenopus , Zach Howard's 5e adaption of Holmes' Sample Dungeon. Room A, The Goblin's Abode can be found here . B. Bone Guards 50x50 Walls are engraved with images of simple, linear figures (like Etruscan vases) in esoteric attitudes. 4 closet-sized alcoves, covered with faded tapestries. Skeletons will attack as soon as someone is 10’ into the room. Upon examination, these skeletons aren’t bone—they are the same milky white stone as the dungeon. If destroyed, they will reassemble the next day. Blue tracery will mark any places where they were broken the previous day. C. Corridors Most corridors are 10’ wide and 10’ high, and made of tightly fitted white stone. At the referee’s discretion, some of the corridors may show signs of their long neglect: Earthquakes have shifted the paving stones, causing rises and drops of ten feet or more and breaking up any level surfaces. Passage through this corridor can only be

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus: Nutshell Review and Prep Notes, Part One

Holmes Basic is the D&D of my bones. 5e is the game for which I can actually gather a table of players. So The Ruined Tower of Zenopus , a 5e conversion of Holmes' Sample Dungeon by Zach Howard of the indispensable Zenopus Archives, is pretty exciting. The result is exactly what you'd hope for. Here's the fun gameplay of a classic old school dungeon, with the clarity of modern layout. There's plenty nice, thought-out additions so that you don't feel like you should have just saved your money and looked up 5e stat blocks yourself. These include some great resources that Zach has developed for Portown and the dungeon factions. There's beefed up versions of some 5e creatures to be more in line with the Holmes/Gygax beasties. There's cleaning cubes, an addition to dungeon ecology that I find delightful (and I keep hoping my players will try to make work as a resource). And there's information on incorporating Portown into Ghosts of Saltmarsh

Zine Zone Zapped

Zine Quest 2 is taking its toll on the ol' discretionary funds. Gourmet Street: Fantasy Street Food Adventuring Zine I love food in my fantasy. When keying a dungeon, I usually end up spending more time thinking about what sorts of foods the inhabitants prepare than I do on traps. Pretty eager to check this out. Kozmik Objects & Entities Nate Treme gets better and better with everything he releases. I'm pretty sure I want to live in this zine. The genre tone is right up my alley, and it looks gorgeous. 5 Room Dungeons: an RPG zine for D&D 5th Edition This was an expensive one, as it's a subscription to a series of six zines. Furthermore, I can't actually bring myself to visit Johnn Four's website anymore, because it is SEO'd to the point of strangulation. But I have every reason to think he'll put together some pretty solid adventures. And I love a good five-room dungeon. Dungeons & Dilemmas I'm drawn to the idea o

Minor Charms & Knackbardies

Knacks ( knakkespelle, kitchen magic, pocket charms, cradle airs, etc. ) are t he pettiest of petty magic—very minor utility charms, often passed down in families. Mole, Mole, come out your hole Or else I'll beat you black as coal! Mole, Mole, put out your head Or else I kill you till you are dead! —To drive vermin from fruit still on the tree, recite this poem while burning moss from the tree's trunk and limbs. One, two, three, four, five, See, I caught a hare alive. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, Then I let her go again. — To address complaints of the liver, catch a hare, pluck a small amount of fur from its belly, and then release it. Knacks have no game mechanics. They do not have a definitive effect on the world. They increase the odds of succeeding at mundane tasks by an undetermined amount. Knacks are valuable to their possessors; a farmer who can recite a rhyme that increases the likelihood of picking fertilized chicken eggs has a distin