Friday, January 22, 2021

Vayra asks...

 Vayra asks...

1) What class knows the most martial arts? Are they real martial arts like kung fu, or made up ones like krav maga?

Woops, I didn't make any martial arts-classes. Make your own or play a warrior or just play anything while formalizing a new martial art in-game.

2) Can I start out having already made a deal with the devil or do I have to do that in game?

By all means. Also, you can have the Devil as a godfather.

3) Do you want me to write an 8-page backstory? Can I write an 8-page backstory, if I want to? If I write something down in it like I'm the timelost princess of the brass city and the daughter of the sun and I commanded legions in the Hell War but was betrayed by my father's vizier but I don't know that, or that I'm elf conan and cooler than everyone else, will that be true?

Not necessary, but feel free to. I want nothing more than for you to play a timelost princess of your own initiative, and will work to make it happen.

4) If I eat someone's heart, will I gain their powers? What about their brain?

If they have cool powers, something will happen when you eat their organs.

5) These classes are boring, can I be one from somewhere else? What about from a different system entirely?


6) If I make a sword, which one of us gets to name it?


7) Am I allowed to kill the other player characters? What would I have to do to be allowed to? Do I win if I kill them all? Actually, how do I win in general?

That's a question for the group, not for the one player who's a DM.

8) What language stands in for 'Common'? Or what are we all talking to each other in? Like the party, mostly, but also everyone else?

In Mesomergos, Meso. In Holy Selmat, Selmati. In Okucenza, Tengor.

9) How do I learn how to talk to rocks? No not once a day just, like, normally?

It's on the list of starting languages.

10) Which kinds of wizards get to serve kings and live in towers and shit and which ones are run out of town or stoned to death in the streets? Can I be both? At the same time?

Honestly, it's usually both. Lot of Simon Magi in these parts. Having magic isn't taboo, being a heel is.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

a Desolate Dustcrawl: the Sunken Tomb of Honors

 A few months ago, I tried to arrange a community project called the Desolate Dustcrawl, in which sixteen different people directed the creation of one dungeon each, contributing additions to each other's dungeons. These different adventure locations would be put on a simple shared hexmap, with some basic lore tying them together as sites in a ruined city wracked by desertification and an angelic reckoning.

It didn't come together. People were keen to sign up, but did not have much extrinsic motivation to arrange their dungeons, or to contribute to each others'. I consider it a light failure; did not coalesce, but without much ventured on my part.

Now, we did get something from this, a couple dungeons complete enough to salvage. The first I will post here, the Sunken Tomb of Honors. Thanks to SunderedWorldDM, purplecthulhu, and especial Random Wizard for their contributions. The map is a creative-commons map available from Dyson Logos

---Click for Link---

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Thoughts on Being a Good Caller

In old-school D&D parlance, a "caller" is a player who acts as a designated suggester for group actions in situations where collective decision-making is required. When a party is discussing plans, it is also the caller who reports the "final draft" of their ideas to the dungeon master. In the right kind of game, a caller can cut down on wasted time and uncertainty.

The procedure of being a caller is based in the important fact that they are "calling" in the sense that they are announcing the group's will, not that they are "calling the shots." Therefore, a caller who is certain of consensus announces it to the dungeon master, and a caller who is not certain asks for opinions and offers their own until they are certain of consensus. To put it in a list:

Caller Procedure

  1. The DM describes a situation and asks the players what they do.
  2. If the players already discussed what they would do in this situation, the caller announces it. (skip to step 6)
  3. Individual PCs act, if they wish.
  4. If not, the players discuss as normal. The caller comes up with suggestions if no one else cares to.
  5. After discussion, the caller restates the plan to the rest of the party and to the DM.
  6. They ask the rest of the party to confirm they said everything right.
  7. The DM adjudicates the new situation.

This is the core of being a good caller: listening, understanding, clarity, volunteering. Everything else is footnotes.

Robert Caney


  • The caller will benefit from tracking standard procedures, such as marching orders, watch rotations, and typical ways the party checks a door for traps.
  • In situations with no pressure and little information, the caller can speed things along. For example, if the party comes to an empty chamber with two identical rooms, the caller can propose something like "shall we have the rogue listen at both doors?"
  • You don't need to report the entirety of a long plan to the DM. Walk through the first few steps and keep the plan in mind, in anticipation of the situation changing. If things go surprisingly well you can just go to step 2 and narrate the next part of the plan.
  • Pay attention to the features of the room you're in, the features of the room behind you, and any patterns connecting them to places you've been before.
  • If another player is mapping, the caller should try not to explore faster than it takes the mapper to map.
  • It often makes sense to describe what each PC is doing. This gives you an opportunity to notice if someone is left out, allowing you to ask them what they're doing. If they are uncertain, feel free to suggest they help another PC or keep lookout.
  • If the plan involves several steps in sequence, try to visualize them to make sure you aren't leaving anything out.
  • The caller's PC gets to wear a big hat. It's just the rules.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Dog Moods

All dogs are good, but some are better at following an adventurer's orders. Dog "hirelings" do not have a loyalty score, rather they have a "good" score and a quirk. When given a simple order, roll a d6 and add the dog's good score. Higher is better. Most dogs range from -1 to +1 good. The goodest dog in the land might be +2. The gooder the dog is, the more expensive to purchase from a trainer. 

Roll a d20 for each dog the trainer is able to sell at the moment; the owner probably has a good idea of what kind of animal they're selling. Each quirk has an optional physical descriptor and an optional rule applied to it, but don't sweat these if you don't want to.

(Note: there is no reason you could not adapt this to all hirelings, but people are sometimes complicated.)
art by Eran Fowler

d20 Dog Quirks
  1. Curious: +2 Good when finding trouble.
  2. Quiet: can smell the dead from far off.
  3. Hard-boiled: +1 tracking and innate sense of justice
  4. Yippy: +2 Good when guarding, -2 Good when silence is needed.
  5. Stygic: can speak an obscure language, no sense of humor.
  6. Unflappable: +1 Good when traversing obstacles.
  7. Cowardly: won't get within 50 feet of evil smells.
  8. Growly: +1 Good to charge something.
  9. Shepherd: +1 Good to protect care hirelings and animals.
  10. Tendril'd: can read minds, no sense of right and wrong.
  11. Playful: +1 Good to charm.
  12. Terrier: +1 Good to attack small things.
  13. Coal Hound: unharmed by fire.
  14. Campaigner: +1 equipment slot.
  15. Comforting: grants a bonus on recovering from mental and physical wounds.
  16. Sensitive: detects diseases, pregnancies, parasites, and the like.
  17. Social: other dogs get +1 good when following the same order as this dog.
  18. Retriever: +2 Good when fetching something.
  19. Veteran: roll a random tall tale for this good good dog.
  20. Roll twice and combine.

Saturday, January 9, 2021

So you have asked about the TeleGLOG

It was a project, a community game. We said we would take Arnold K.'s GLoG ruleset and change it, one person making a new change, one at a time. After a full rotation, we had this document. Not playable or intuitive, but fun and interesting in its own way. When this was passed around, there was a greater enthusiasm. People who had missed the chance to sign up the first time wanted to go for a second round, and popular opinion was that we should that this new ruleset for another rotation, rather than starting from scratch or someone else's hack. Predictably, this document was the result. When the first TeleGLOG was made, someone suggested trying to run it. No one suggested that was possible this time.

Was it worth it? Sure. There are some neat ideas hidden in these diseased brains, and people enjoyed writing and working together. Are the end results desirable to play? Heck, I don't think so. My advice to anyone who sought to emulate this project in the future would be to focus your aim with a smaller team. Check out the Charcuterie Board, that went great.

Customs as Arrows in a Player's Quiver

 Many players, famously, are uninterested in the minutiae of worldbuilding and social customs. In dungeon games, they want to tell a story together, and while drawing on a shared setting can elevate that, reading background is not collaborative. To that end, I propose refocusing those things DMs want players to be able to incorporate in games by explicitly describing how a PC can use a social custom. This also serves as fair warning to the players about what socially-adept NPCs may attempt. The format:

Name: Generic Name (any additional names in parentheses)

  • Purpose: half-sentence starting with "to"
  • Custom: second-person instruction on what is done and the consequences for breaking the custom.
Arthur Rackham

And examples:

Name: Parley (pax, formal ransom)

  • Purpose: to make conflict less deadly
  • Custom: if you throw your weapon aside and invoke this custom, you must be taken prisoner and have your needs looked after. Nobles are to be given means equal to their station. Killing someone who has invoked parley makes you an outlaw in the eyes of authority, and honorable underlings may help mistreated prisoners escape.

Name: Formal Gathering (promenade, seasonal feast)

  • Purpose: to show respect for nobles
  • Custom: if you throw a party worth 10 gp or more, anyone you invite up to minor nobility must attend and talk to you unless they have a defensible reason. When you throw a party worth 50 gp or more, anyone you invite up to a king must attend. Those who break the custom are poo-pooed by their peers and random encounters on their estate have fewer guards for a week.

Name: Debate (inquisition)

  • Purpose: to inquire about a figure's belief
  • Custom: while a guest drinks your beer, wine, or tea, you are entitled to ask them questions about their divine and temporal allegiances, as well as questions of religious and political doctrine. Unless they baldly lie, you can always tell their vague attitude and feeling. If they baldly lie, they are afflicted with a minor curse until the next sunrise.

Arthur Rackham

Name: Challenge of Arrows (duel, Trial)

  • Purpose: to bring someone to justice
  • Custom: If you publicly impugn someone thought to be virtuous, they have to come and answer this slander with contest of Bowry. The more evidence you have, the closer you get to start to the target. If they lose, or if they don't show, the law acknowledge their wrongdoing and punishes them accordingly. If they win, you risk your reputation.

Name: Sanctuary (formal presentation)

  • Purpose: to respect the sovereignty of rulers
  • Custom: If you present yourself to the leader of a city, town, or temple and promise good conduct, they must take care of you as long as you are not below their notice. If they bring you to harm or hand you over to someone pursuing you, they lose the right to sanctuary themselves.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

All the World is a Stage, but you are a Juggler (GLoG Class)

In ancient times, we called ventriloquists "gastromancers," for we knew they told the future. We let mimes set the aesthetic agenda, because their genius spoke louder than the chorus. And the magi we called wise men and kings were jugglers.

art by TheFantaSim

You can juggle and use a number of one-slot-or-smaller items equal to the numbers of hands you possess +1 for each juggler template, or double that if the items are all especially juggleable.

Starting equipment:  sling and ten twine balls, easily-discarded cloak, pair of devil sticks or poi, one Golden Age Trinket

Starting ken: acrobatics and either theft or etiquette

  • A: Performer
  • B: Catch, Retinue
  • C: Parley, Circus
  • D: R2tDotE,wJwnD

Performer: You seem like you belong when you act like a deferential entertainer. Works equally well on officials, bandits, and lions.

Catch: You can pluck missiles fired at you from the air and start juggling them. This may cause you to drop something else. 

Retinue: Entertainer and historian hirelings are fanatically loyal to you as long as they get paid.

Parley: Only a total blackguard or literal snake would violate a parlay under the watchful eye of a Master Juggler.

Circus: Your party gets a +2 reaction bonus when travelers or random encounters happen upon your camp.

Return to the Days of the Empire, when Juggling was not Disgraced: It's back, baby! A blood-bidden and decorum-decked position awaits you.

Golden Age Trinket
  1. Father of History's aborted manuscript. Study for an hour outside a dungeon to learn of an ancient treasure or significant grave within.
  2. once-privileged dialect, the father of modern Thieves' Cant.
  3. gladius, well-worn. +1 damage against unarmored people or horses.
  4. invisible box.
  5. old but distinguished horse. A senate emeritus.
  6. thin red jian. Can be concealed within your throat safely as long as you don't run or shout.
  7. toad familiar of a priestess who was burned as a poisoner.
  8. five silver rings. You can link or unlink them at will.
  9. secret name borrowed from a figure in history. If you want someone to know it refers to you, they do.
  10. wolf's milk. Those who drink it become stronger but lose patience and decency.
  11. silver coin, on one side a face and the other an elephant. The face can report what it hears and the elephant can report whether vermin are near.
  12. six badges of six consuls assassinated. When you die violently, your next character starts with half your accrued XP and a golden age trinket.
  13. lantern, juggleable, that runs on either oil or alcohol.
  14. chain net. Covered in bells.
  15. sandals. Anyone wearing them is considered two one-slot items for the purpose of juggling.
  16. bronze six-pack. You count as having medium armor against attacks targeting your belly specifically.
  17. six ancient petards.
  18. silver greaves with lion faces engraved in them. They can eat fresh meat and it sustains you.
  19. living metal pigeon.
  20. as many juggleable machetes as you can carry.

Sunday, January 3, 2021

When you need a dungeon but it can't be too interesting


Friday, January 1, 2021

Session Report: Bonepunk (Wretched Remains)

On December 31st, I ran a one-shot game, a session of Baal's Bonepunk. In accordance with a madcap, light style I prepared little beyond the premise and allowed myself a bit more freedom than usual in adjudicating the game. We guessed and contradicted ourselves in terms of what sorts of technology was commonplace, and we didn't feel bad about it. This was the opening crawl:

We are the people of San Holofernes, a city with no sky.

We are a religious people, who uphold the truth of the Canonikon Scroll. It is so holy, we are not allowed to gaze upon its laws. Compliance is compulsory.

Our gnosticators teach that the evil of the Adv*rsary corrupted the gift of God’s life, and that our distance from God is the reason we are dead. Only with self-denial and obedience to the Parliament can we hasten the day when we are reborn.

The Parliament represents the people. Anyone can claim a seat, as long as they have the independent wealth that makes them incorruptible against bribery and greed. They select among their sons the leaders of the Noble Army.

The Noble Army is comprised of all who do not choose to be independently wealthy, and it is led by the bravest among us. All in the military have seen the monstrosity the gnosticators warn of, save the highest rank which must keep an unblemished mind.

But tonight, a crowd of “soldiers” on shore leave have declared their rebellion. They have no plan, no supplies, and no leaders. They will surely by crushed by the week’s end.

You are those rebels : (



  • Dead-Delver, playing gilded former guard
  • Dogleaf, playing a former knight with a saint scrimshawed on his skull
  • purplecthulhu, playing a gamewarden with a remotely viewing eye
  • Ren, playing a ratcatcher that believes himself to be a ghost
  • SunderedWorldDM, playing a skeletal former gardener


Act One

To start things off, I had each player establish one fact about the neighborhood that their rebellion had seized. So it came that the party, along with about 40 other rebels, was hiding in the bombed ruins of a glow-in-the-dark paint factory. This rebellion was introduced to the players as leaderless, so I opened the floor to anyone to try to propose step two of the Revolution. When no player jumped immediately in (foreseeable since everyone was getting acclimated,) I had two rebels suggest two courses of actions. The zealous Luca proposed marching through the city streets, telling The People to rise up. The cautious Santiago suggested getting supplies. As some members of the party tossed around the idea of getting fertilizer from a farm on the edge of the city, something fell through the ceiling.

Covered in dust and surrounded by corrugated plastic, a ten-year-old girl lay disoriented on the ground. Amazingly, she seemed to have all her flesh and be in all ways normal and living. The party knew that the existence of someone untouched by necrotic energy was a threat to the legitimacy of the regime. Looking up, they saw the hole in the ceiling of the city from which this girl, Evey, fell. As one PC explained to Evey the world she found herself in, purplecthulhu tried to fire an arrow carrying his eye into the hole above, hoping to glimpse heaven. The dart fell short and landed outside the factory, where he saw a gargoyle police inspector leading a team of government soldiers towards the building.

Alerting his comrades, they set a quick trap before fleeing. The party led Evey and about twenty rebels into the sewers where they knew they would not be easily followed. Rolling well for encounters, Ren's ratcatcher led them capably to an underground concourse and from there to the farm they sought. As they went, they discussed what to do with Evey and agreed to help her get home, though their comrade Luca demanded that she do her best to secure them weapons when they got to the surface. By this point, the rebels refer to her strictly as "the messiah."

Through a convenient sewer grate, they spy the farm. Like all farms, it is under military occupation, with towers surmounted by skull searchlights and fences that resembled neuron webs. Sundered's character offered to sneak onto the compound and turn off electricity feeding into these, but failed to account for the neural fence being electrified. As the searchlights shrieked, he ran for the electricity booth, dodging crops of unexplained corpse-hands before flipping the main switch. With the defenses offline but the soldiery alerted, a battle quickly ensued.

I didn't want to adjudicate a full-scale battle, so I abstracted the fight between the soldiers and the NPC rebels, electing instead to throw a zombie bear at the party. This beast of burden emerged from the farm's stable (as well as an example statblock in the host's section of Ball's rulebook.) If I had thought to, I could have simply represented the guards as members of the Horde class and done likewise for the rebels, but this went pretty well. Interpreting the combat rules as best I could, I essentially had each attack take the form of an opposed roll, which meant people hit fairly often but that when they didn't there was no result. I now believe that attacking shouldn't be opposed, just given a penalty for truly tough opponents, or else that failed attacks result in your potentially taking damage. Both would be in keeping with the fast-paced, high-impact ethos Baal describes in the rules, and I suspect the way Baal runs combats would probably not have this potential problem.

Act Two

Triumphant against the soldiery and the zombie bear, the rebels freed the farm-workers, who were literally chained to their beds. They also recovered a (randomly rolled) exoskeleton called a Mule Framework, which Sundered would put to good use. Evey emerged from her hiding place in a nearby dumpster, excited at the bravery she witnessed, and the rebels got to business planning their next move. Taking stock of the materials at hand, they realized they could blow their way through the city's ceiling with three successive charges of fertilizer-based bombs, and thereby get the messiah home and free themselves from the tyranny of San Holofernes forever.

After the first blast, purplecthulhu's character's eye, still outside the factory, perceived mercenaries with dog-faced laser rifles turn and rush towards the farm, followed by a gilded rhinoceros skeleton, filled with organs and organ-grinder machine guns. Rebels hurried to climb up to plant the second charge, but by the time it was set the soldiers had arrived. A pitched battle began, with some player characters aiding in the bloodbath and some scurrying to detonate the bombs, scale up, detonate the third, and hurry through the hole to the surface.

A lot of small moments occurred around this time. One PC confessed his love for Luca before getting seriously injured by a laserburn, fall, and rockfall that destroyed the rhino skeleton. Another was surprised to face his own brother with a laser-rifle, tragically raised to oppose all that they once loved. Another struggled to lift himself up the hole despite his heavy artificial frame. In the end, all but two escaped, and I allowed those stragglers a single roll to see if they survived the battle, since the session was wrapping up. With luck, both survived.

Joining the rest of the party on the surface, they felt the wind on their bones, cooling the warm smile of a sun. Evey took one PC by the hand and led the group to an old house on a hill, from which they could hear music from an old record player-- not one made of bones or anything, just like a normal record player. They found Evey's parents and, while the party bowed to the "angels," she apologized to them for running out of her cousin's quinceanera and they apologized for not taking her seriously. Some kind of lesson was learned.

Evey's father eyed the party warily, despite her assurances. As she explained all about the tyranny of the city below, he tried to brush it all off as not his family's problem. But citing the lessons we all just learned, about taking things seriously and answering problems when they arise, Evey insisted. Her father took out his cell phone, extended its extendable antenna, and called the mayor.

We don't yet know what happens to San Holofernes, to Evey, or to those Bonepunks who found the living world. But I like to think that there are good things in store.


This game was a big success. The main system feels so nice, since when you're good at something you get to roll a big die. This session was about big action, but I can easily imagine games with more sedate scenes. It would have been great to get some literally hide-bound priests or earless bureaucrats in there somewhere. In future Bonepunk games, I want to use the 100 miraculous items table more extensively to add variety to potential threats and allies. The first two appendices are also gold. Maybe the only thing that I would do against the recommendation of the book is change the experience system. By default, Bonepunk uses the gold-for-XP standard, though it does have an alternate system which also replaces classes in the appendices. I really like the classes, but I'm not sure I like gold acquisition being central to a game about overthrowing authority. But basically everything else in the book is very good. Character creation is fun and the host's chapter is exactly what I want it to be, including explicit text on what the game is about.

Please consider running a game of Bonepunk. Those of us immersed in the OSR scene read so many games that intrigue us, that we may even wish their creators will run for us. I tell you, it is a rewarding experience to play these games, to run them even if we don't totally know how, to tap into the vision of creators who we not only respect but can communicate with and share energy with. I could have run this one-shot or the one I ran two days before with one of my own systems. But it was so engaging to run in Avatar GLoG and Bonepunk, and to explore them with other people excited to do so. When someone publishes rules for their game, they're giving you permission to use all their best ideas. Please consider running a game you loved reading.

Session Report: Avatar GLoG in Hell (the Only Crime is Pride)

(Content warning: Hell, brief mentions of gender, xenophobia, slavery, studding people, misery, suicide.)

On December 29th, I ran a one-shot game, a playtest of Xenophon's Avatar GLoG outline as well as my Hitch in Hell setting. This required some tinkering to merge the assumptions of both in a small outline. Notably, I ended up writing techniques for different sorts of benders as well as the three classes brought from the Hitch in Hell. Because it was a one-shot, I knew I wouldn't have time to focus on hexcrawling, so I constructed a scenario with a slight traveling prelude before getting into a small dungeon space. I also wanted to design with the potential for any kind of bender to be useful in some part of it.


The Players:


After reading the prelude from Hitch in Hell, I explained that the party had been travelling through a part of Hell called the Braggerlands, searching for magic "Spartan Seeds" in the Caves of Creon. Believing themselves near to their destination, they came upon a fortified camp of Salamandrine Men. Fearing the suspicion of the inhabitants of the camp, they nevertheless approached when they realized that an emberstorm would blanket the area in a couple of hours.

I designed this encounter as an opportunity to set the tone of the sort of social interaction the player characters were used to. None of them, not even the salamanders, had any particular knowledge of this small culture, but they were unsurprised to be threatened and condescended to. These people lived in homes of hollowed-out giant faces and wielded cruel, inefficient polearms. When the party asked for shelter, this was granted, yet the officer speaking with them demanded they stay in separate face-homes according to which of the three genders they belonged to. When this was met with questions, the officer reiterated rather than explaining. After much fruitless discussion, the party elected to claim to just all be men so they would be able to stay together, which the officer accepted.

The party was then shown to a face-home, where a few male salamanders stayed. They bided the emberstorm interacting with them, playing cards and yelling at each other. The party learned a bit more about the society in which they were visiting, about how its men were studded by the state and used as conscripts in endless skirmishes. They were told that by entering the camp they were now slaves, a development that might have frightened them more if they hadn't already decided to escape as quickly and forcefully as possible after the emberstorm passed.

They escaped as quickly and forcefully as possible after the emberstorm passed. It did not prove difficult with the application of surprise and bending. In retrospect, I like this first section of the session. The people they met were sufficiently cruel for the theme of a Hitch in Hell while still being coherent. On the other hand, I worry that the players might have been affected more by the encounter if they saw more of themselves in the sins of the salamander camp. It was enjoyable to see their scummy player characters' disdain for their scummy hosts, but I think in the future I want to create a fruitful opportunity for ethical disorientation.

Still searching for the Caves of Creon, they encountered a lion-ox (first draft was a sphinx) drinking at a sulfurous hot spring. Seizing the element of surprise, they attacked and quickly slew it, freezing the water around its head to blind it. It was here that we saw how powerful bending is in Xeno's outline, especially when it is creatively applied. What followed was a series of considerations on how to best cook or boil the lion-ox's flesh, where to camp, and other practicalities. They also recovered a tablet from the boiling spring explaining a firebending technique. Studying it was beyond the timescale of the game, but I wanted to include such treasures since they seem like an important part of Avatar GLoG.

After camping, the party found the Caves of Creon, surrounded by the wretched and incapacitated forms of over a hundred people, pathetically struggling in the mud. *Slashing* their way through, they met with one damned soul who was somewhat more composed, an unburied suicide named Haemon. He explained his lot, and said that this was indeed the Caves of Creon that they sought. This sequence is interesting to me, because it highlights the tension Hitch in Hell has, where it wants to depict people acting cruelly and yet it also wants to attain some measure of mercy. The player characters were somewhat aloof in dealing with these damned souls, which makes sense since every part of the game has prompted that. Something for me to think about.

I won't summarize the Caves room by room, but the party quickly found a fortune in gold talents, as well as a trio of guardians (Niobe, Edith, and Eurydice.) They also spoke with Creon, who punished himself for his tyranny by staring into a Dolorous Palantir, which showed him scenes of torture in other parts of Hell. In another part of the caves, the party contended with the beheaded Medusa, starting a fight when one of them stabbed her animate headless body and another opened the box containing her head.

(Naturally, she was an Earthbender)

This fight ended with one party member turned to stone and medusa herself falling down a deep chasm. Deciding to cut their losses and possibly return for the PC-statue on another journey, the rest of the party loaded up with magic seedbags and quickly stole a pair of gold talents before cheesing it for the door.

The moment the gold was removed from the caves, the entire place began to sink into the ground. 400 gold richer and one party member poorer, the party began the long journey home. By experimenting with the seeds they learned that throwing one to the ground produced a fully armed and armored soldier. When they got back to the boomtown of Canoe, it would be with an army...


As a game, I believe the session was a success. Xenophon noted that his outline resulted in characters of a higher power level than he now preferred, which we could all understand. Poor Oblid, the only player with a non-bender, was also playing the class which is most dangerous, since it summons hostile creatures as its main gimmick. While the bender is powerful, it is fun to play, and while I didn't always understand how to interpret the bending rules I was amused to see then used in the problems the characters encountered.

El Dorado: a Hitch in Hell is focused more on theme and emotional experience than on a particular ruleset, and those themes displaced the ones we might have pursued with a session of Avatar GLoG in its natural setting. I hit on the theme of terribleness pretty easily, but I think there's room to work on its accompanying theme of sorrow. That is something that is easier in campaign-level play, but I'm unlikely to run a campaign in Hell anytime soon.