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Tales From the Sorcerer Under the Mountain

Created by Newt Newport

A rulebook/adventure for OSR/5th editions inspired by 80s British Fantasy Roleplaying Games.

Latest Updates from Our Project:

Five Questions about The Jungles of Ruin
about 3 years ago – Fri, Aug 30, 2019 at 01:22:48 AM

Good Morning Glorious Backers and Currious Onlookers,

Next stretch goal up for grabs is stretch goal 6, The Jungles of Ruin an adventure by Guy Milner.

Here are his five answers to the questions I asked him about this adventure.

Q1. What influences are you drawing on for this adventure?

A  lot of it comes from the original X1 Module Isle of Dread, which I  remember picking up in the old Blue Box D&D Expert set. It was a  proper wilderness adventure - stuff to do, factions to explore, plots to  work with - and it was a big influence on me at a young age.

Q2. Which flavour of FRP do you favour, Old School or New School?

Err,  can you define those terms? Probably New School - I can appreciate the  cool stuff the OSR has produced, but whenever I play or run it I bounce  off the system hard - games have developed a lot since the birth of the  hobby and we should be using those bits as well. Dungeon Crawl Classics  does really interesting things with the basic OSR framework and I've had  a lot of fun running that, but generally I'd still favour D&D5e  over any previous editions. But that's cool! We don't have to all like  everything!

Q3. Your description hints at adding new cultures/races. Can you tell us something about the Jaguar People and the Jungle Ducks?

They're  both pretty sympathetic cultures, rather than being stereotypical evil  fantasy races. The Jaguar People are walking, talking Jaguars who have  their own proud culture, but are pretty isolationist since whenever  people come to their jungles they mostly seem to want to steal their gold. They follow a fearsome God-Emperor, but there's more to their  relationship with them than meets the eye. The Jungle Ducks came and hid  in the ruinous jungles many years ago to avoid an ancient curse, and  are desperate to return to civilisation - but they know that if too many  of them come out of hiding, the Archmage might find them and enact his  revenge. So they are desperate to meet adventurers, and conflicted about  whether to rejoin civilisation.

Q4. Is there a specific format the adventure takes to cram in all the features your excitement packed game description mentions?

So  the adventure is built around a loosey-goosey wilderness exploration  system that captures the basic feel of classic hexcrawling while  avoiding too much of the book-keeping. There's one setting detailed  fully, the Lost City of Bast-Ur, that can be played through as a  stand-alone adventure, and lots of random tables for populating the rest  of the jungles - along with details of Jaguar People and Jungle Ducks  as playable races/classes.

Q5. Maximum Game Fun or Logical Fantastic Realism?

Maximum Game Fun all the way. Logical Fantastic Realism sounds rubbish.

We are on course to fund this adventure, but if you are a currious onlooker and want to make sure you've only got just over two days to get off the fence and make it happen.

Onwards and upwards!

;O) Newt

Stretch Goal 5 Curse of the Emerald Swan Funded!
about 3 years ago – Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 06:08:00 PM

Good Evening Glorious Backers and Currious Onlookers,

So we now get to find out what is on the mysterious ship that has appeared out of the mist in Neil Shaw’s adventure.  I am happy about this since I want to know, plus Neil has produced some excellent work for both issues of From the Shroud, our Crypts and Things fanzine, and it’s nice to bring him to a bigger audience.

Thanks for supporting this. If you've backed one of the books you'll get this as in the flavour of either 5th Ed or OSR or both (if you backed at the either of the Head levels) in pdf with the option of POD.

Next up Guy Milner's adventure The Jungle of Ruin.

Onwards and Upwards! 

;O) Newt

Five Questions about The Curse of the Emerald Swan
about 3 years ago – Wed, Aug 28, 2019 at 11:42:26 PM

Good Afternoon Glorious Backers and Curious Onlookers,

So as the end sails into sight, three days on the Kickstarter Clock, its time to ask author Neil Shaw five questions about his adventure for both 5th Ed and OSR rulesets, The Curse of the Emerald Swan.

Q1. What influences are you drawing on for this adventure?

For me I tend to work off one set piece or idea and use that a skeleton and work out from there. In this case oddly the core idea came from Terry Pratchett's Sorcery which to the best of my recollection doesn't contain any boats, haunted or otherwise.  Beyond that I tend to expand outwards from there until I have a story. When it comes to naval things in general I tend to fall back on Master and Commander as it gives me a good understanding of life on an old navy vessel and I find it a highly enjoyable film, always worth another watch.

Q2. Which flavour of FRP do you favour, Old School or New School?

I enjoy new school more as some of the creative minds out there are taking the rules light history they came from and adds to them without adding too much or making the game a quagmire of optional books that in reality are essential. I find that D&D5e captures the feel and spirit of old school D&D while addressing its short comings very well.

Q3. Your description gives the adventure an air of mystery. Is this a mystery adventure, with an investigation at its heart. Or is there more to it than that?

There is a mystery as to why the Emerald Swan has come to roost in this small harbour and how it came to be the creepy mist shrouded terror it has become. For those willing to piece the clues together it is possible to answer these questions and more. However don't expect a run of the mill haunted boat, this is something more.

Q4. What sort of foes will the adventurers meet?

Without spoiling too much there's ghoulish bilge rats, an undead cook, and some giants, that last one may seem out of place but that is part of the mystery.

Q5. Maximum Game Fun or Logical Fantastic Realism?

I see it on a sliding scale with the baseline being a simple down to earth medieval setting. I want players to be able to visit a town, city or village and feel like it makes sense, at least initially. This grounding is essential for the outlandish and crazy things a group of adventures will encounter when they go into that part of the map that is blank or says “here be dragons”. Once the adventure is in full swing I want the players to expect the rug to be pulled out from under them and have a great time. At no point should an adventurer see a beholder floating towards them and think “well this is normal”.

This adventure is £500 away from funding at time, and I'm more than certain that when some of the Curious Onlookers get of the fence it will get funded, then we will quickly sail onto fund Guy Milner's adventure The Jungle of Ruin by the end of the campaign. 

Onwards and Upwards

:O) Newt

Five Questions about Fires From the Deep
about 3 years ago – Tue, Aug 27, 2019 at 01:20:05 AM

Good Morning Glorious Backers and Currious Onlookers,

Currious to know a bit more beyond the basic description of Paul Mitchener's Fire from the Deep adventure? Me too, so I asked Paul five quick questions about it.

Q1. What influences are you drawing on for this adventure?

What I think of as “classic D&D” along with a splashing of Fritz  Leiber, a dash of Michael Moorcock, and a touch of Tanith Lee. That  should give you the tone.

Q2. Which flavour of FRP do you favour, Old School or New School?

I think I’m a hippy, though less so since my haircut. I don’t see the  two as opposed; peace and love. I want characters to be important, but I  don’t give two hoots about things like character optimisation. I want  decisions to matter, and not just tactical decisions. I want exploration  and playfulness. I want story to be what comes after the session rather  than something pre-planned. When it comes down to it, I guess that’s  sounding pretty old school.

Q3. Your description hints at something more, than the quest for  the implied magic item that has come from below. Can you throw any light  on this?

The “magic item” is not just an McGuffin- it’s the soul of the  adventure. And not just in a “ooh, what a cool gizmo, and everyone wants  it” way. Though everyone *does* as it happens, want it, without really  knowing what it is.

Q4. What twists and turns does the adventure throw at the players ?

Spoilers! Seriously though, the characters won’t be alone in their  pursuit of what came from below, and might have to fight even to get the  job. As well as expected and unexpected dangers, there’s a moral  dilemma at the heart of the adventure, and an open conclusion depending  on what the player characters decide to do, not just whether or not they  win.

Q5. Maximum Game Fun or Logical Fantastic Realism?

I don’t think the two are exclusive. Actions have consequences, and  that’s an important part of my fun. I want adventures about people, not  just situations. After all, even in a “standard” dungeon delve, for me  things are all about the player characters, and how they react to  danger, strangeness, and rewards. Not to mention solving problems  creatively. That sounds like Maximum Game Fun to me!

This adventure has already funded as a stretch goal, so backers will be getting a copy in either 5th edition and/or OSR  depending on their backer level.

Happy funding

;O) Newt

Only Six Days to Go
about 3 years ago – Mon, Aug 26, 2019 at 12:26:20 PM

Good Morning Glorious Backers and Curious Onlookers, 

First things first, did you win the fourth Sunday Dungeon challenge? Well if I was strict about it, no. The goal was 120 backers by breakfast time this morning, and we got one new backer. But, enough existing backers raised their pledges so financially the campaign moved up as if we had hit 120 backers, so I'm calling this one a win!

Here's a quick bit about it: 

Sunday Dungeon IV: The Crossroads. With four entrance/exits this is where you go if you want a quick short cut through the mountains. But will its inhabitants let you pass unmolested, and will you be tempted to delay your journey to look for the riches that are rumoured to be there?

So here's a quick update on where we are up to with just under a week to go:

  • Both the Tales from the Sorcerer Under the Mountain (OSR Rulebook + adventure) and 5th Edition version of the adventure, The Sorcerer Under the Mountain, have funded. 
  • Four stretch goals have also funded: Character portfolios, Confessions of an OSR DM (extra content included in the 5th Ed adventure, which everyone will get as a free pdf), The Castle of Howls (a one on one adventure for both 5th Ed and OSR) and finally Fires from Below by Paul Mitchener a full adventure for 3rd level characters for both OSR and 5th Edition in pdf/print.

Then as community extras, which have funded as we have hit certain numbers of backers:

  •  Sunday Dungeons I-IV 4 One Page Adventures with stats for both OSR & 5th Edition as pdf, has funded as a community extra.
  •  Monsters are People (1 to 7) seven monsters detailed as non-player characters, with beliefs, contacts and adventure seeds, both OSR & 5th Edition as 4- 5 page pdf.

Thanks to Paul Mitchener, who is doing editorial,I'm just putting the final touches on the "Tales from the Sorcerer Under Mountain" pdf. Next I will do the finishnig work on the 5th edition adventure "The Sorcerer Under the Mountain". They are both  on schedule for release about mid-September. 

A couple of shout outs to contributors who have projects of their own, which I may be of interest to you.

Jon Hodgson who done the marvellous covers recently ran a Kickstarter for a set of gorgeous illustrated Map Tiles which are currently on pre-order until the end of the month

Glynn Seal who is going to be doing all the maps for this Kickstarter  has a small ongoing Kickstarter of his own called Handi Maps Kickstarter

Finally, I want to say thank you to one of our backers, Dave McAlister, who runs dnd5e.info. It's been an invaluable resource while I've been putting together the 5th Ed adventure version of The Sorcerer Under the Mountain.

Only six days to go now.

Happy funding

;O) Newt