Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Wilderlands of High Fantasy Color Maps are the Deal of the Day at DriveThruRPG

Wilderlands of High Fantasy, Color Maps
From Bat in the Attic Games

Deal of the Day at DriveThruRPG through 11/20 at ~9am CST


Important Note: The PDF for the Wilderlands of High Fantasy Guidebook is included in this product. You only need to buy the separate guidebook if you want a print copy of the guidebook.

Bundle Notice: If you plan to buy all four map sets at once in the Wilderlands series then please take a look at the Wilderlands of High Fantasy Maps Bundle (Print or PDF).


Product Description
In 1976, Bob Bledsaw and Bill Owen went into business as Judges Guild. Their initial offering was centered on a magnificent 34" by 44" map of the City State of Invincible Overlord. First appearing at Gen Con IX, it was sold literally out of the trunk of a car during the convention.

This map launched Judges Guild which began working on even more ambitious project, the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. This became an ambitious project of 18 22" by 17" maps covering a total area 800 miles from west to east, and 1,000 miles from north to south. Each individual map was divided into 5 miles hexes covering an area of 260 miles west to east, and 170 miles from north to south.

Now forty years later those maps have been redrawn in full color. These maps preserves the original detail and applies known errata and corrections. Each was drawn as part of single 6 foot by 8 foot map encompassing the entire Wilderlands then subdivided and cropped.

These maps are not a scanned images of the original but have been redrawn from scratch. The guidebook is also not a scanned image but has been relaid out from the original text with errata and corrections applied.

The Wilderlands of High Fantasy Guidebook
This product contains a 24 page Guidebook for the five maps of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy. The books has an introduction and commentary by Robert S. Conley who has used the Wilderlands as his main fantasy campaign for nearly forty years. Each map is detailed with the following listings: Villages, Castles & Citadels, Idyllic Isles, Ruins & Relics, and Lurid Lairs.

This product contains

* 5 PDFs of the following 22" by 17" maps: City State of the Invincible Overlord Map One, Barbarian Altanis Map Two, Glow-Worm Steppes Map Three, Tarantis Map Four, and Valon Map Five.
* 1 PDF of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy Guidebook.

The print option adds the following

* Ten overlapping full scale maps of each half of the maps.

There is a separate print product available for the Wilderlands of High Fantasy Guidebook if you want a print copy of the Guidebook. Otherwise the PDF for the guidebook is included in this product.

This product is a authorized Judges Guild release for the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

[Now Available] Marilith-Kin and Nalfeshnee-Kin Racial Classes for Labyrinth Lord

Just in time for Halloween, we are pleased to present you with the Marilith-Kin Racial Class and Nalfeshnee-Kin Racial Class for Labyrinth Lord!


The Marilith-kin are cousins of the Marilith Demons of great infamy. They have many of the same powers, but no two Marilith-kin are alike, as is befitting their Chaotic Demonic origins!

Marilith-kin have the following abilities:
  • Armored Skin
  • Creatures of Infernal Darkness
  • Creatures of Magic
  • Movement
  • Multi-Armed Warriors
  • Natural Magicians (can use spell-like powers of 1st to 4th level).
  • Serpent Form

The Marilith-kin racial-class has 8 levels, each more fiendishly powerful than the last.

Click here to buy the Marilith-Kin Racial Class on DriveThruRPG


The Nalfeshnee-kin are cousins of the Nalfeshnee Demons of great infamy. They have many of the same powers, but no two Nalfeshnee-kin are alike, as is befitting their Chaotic Demonic origins!


Nalfeshnee-kin have the following abilities:
  • Armored Skin
  • Creatures of Infernal Darkness
  • Creatures of Magic
  • Movement
  • Natural Attacks
  • Natural Magicians (can use spell-like powers of 1st to 4th level).
  • Tough

The Nalfeshnee-kin racial-class has 10 levels, each more fiendishly powerful than the last.

This Halloween, get ready to get your demon on!







Sunday, October 13, 2019

[Now Available from JMG] Balor-Kin Racial Class for Labyrinth Lord

Balor-Kin Racial Class for Labyrinth Lord

Just in time for Halloween, we are pleased to present you with the Balor-Kin Racial Class for Labyrinth Lord!

This is your chance to finally play a “young balor,” as has often been described in early gaming!

The balor-kin are cousins of the Balor Demons of great infamy. They have many of the same powers, but no two balor-kin are alike, as is befitting their Chaotic Demonic origins!

Balor-kin have the following abilities:
  • Armored Skin
  • Creatures of Fire and Shadow
  • Creatures of Magic
  • Dual Wield Warriors
  • Immolation
  • Inhuman Stature
  • Movement
  • Natural Magicians (can use spell-like powers of 1st to 4th level).

The balor-kin racial-class has 10 levels, each more fiendishly powerful than the last.

This Halloween, get ready to get your demon on!





Monday, September 9, 2019

[Mystara] More on Tepeshy Religion


The Tepeshy immortals can be separated into two factions, that of Burza and that of Vadok. This division goes way back to the days of Taymor, when Nyx and Thanatos fought over the souls of that realm.

Following the destruction of Taymor, they decided that, in the matter of the surviving mountain Taymorans, they would hold a truce and work together to keep the Taymorans a going concern. Thus, while the Tepeshy view them as a married couple, they are viewed as a feuding married couple on a level that make Zeus and Hera seem positively like lovebirds. But as always, even with the feud between them, they and their “family” work together to defend the Tepeshy as a whole.

Even though most of the other Tepeshy immortals owe their immortality to Thanatos, as things go, they are no more or less loyal to the Grim Reaper than they are to any other Immortals, and so the Tepeshy immortals play each other off one another for immortal favor and for further power on the mortal plane.

In Tepeshy religion, all the immortals are viewed in human form; like the Tepeshy, with humanoid characteristics.

I should note here that most Tepeshy look almost perfectly human; most have only a slightly odd cast to their features. Others are less human in appearance, and more monstrous. The best way to understand the Tepeshy physical type is to consider the Addams Family extended family as seen during the party scene in the original movie. Most are slightly off-human norm, some more so, and others quite inhuman… and then imagine what the Addams Family extended family was like in medieval times. That’s the Tepeshy…

Unlike their Traladaran cousins, the Tepeshy do not revere their immortals in a single, overarching faith; each has their own temple hierarchy and they generally remain aloof from one another. Temples are not found in the settlements; they are at a distance, though each settlement has a couple of shrines and the major settlements have shrines to most of the immortals. Low-level clergy (3rd level and under) tend to the shrines, while higher-level clergy pass through to perform more important rites at the settlement shrines during certain unholy days. Most Tepeshy need nothing more than the local village priest can provide; if they do need more, they must go on a quest to the nearest temple of the appropriate immortal or seek out the high temple of the immortal if they require truly miraculous assistance.

The Tepeshy immortals (and more importantly, their clergy) work on a quid-pro-quo basis, requiring sacrifices and payments for their services. The village clergy require low-level sacrifices, such as foodstuffs, animals, and various useful goods (for themselves) and coin and other valuable treasures for their immortals (kept in the shrine or temple treasury, considered the treasure of the immortal, literally). Higher-level clergy require more personal sacrifice, of one’s own blood, a quest, or even the capture and sacrifice of an enemy or specific monster (usually of Lawful sort). These are often personalized to the nature of the immortal.

All the Tepeshy immortals are served by ranks of demons; these demons, regardless of type, all conform to some aspect of the immortal they serve. Thus, a Type IV demon serving Burza would be more wolf and human like than boar and ape-like, while a Type IV serving Strigz would have two faces and be armed and armored.

Each immortal has their own “divine reward” on this world or in another, for their followers. Those whose worship is simply “good enough” end up with their souls stuck for eternity in the Underworld overseen by Rumgoth. Those who displease or fail their patron immortal are cast into the Abyss to be eternally torn apart by demons.

Burza, Mother of Night, Queen of Wolves (Nyx) appears as a matronly woman of indeterminate age; she has pale skin, blood-red lips, long raven-dark hair, and deep, hypnotic eyes, and wears a plain black dress as dark as night. She is never depicted as a wolf herself; the wolves are her children, and she is their queen. She is often depicted with a wolf or pack of wolves. Her symbol is a stylized wolf’s head. Her colors are black and white; wolf pelts are often used for cloaks or other décor. Her greatest servants are rewarded with transformation into a werewolf; her more powerful servants also gain dire wolves as steeds. Her followers often keep wolves or wolf-hounds as pets and guardians. Her clerics can speak with wolves. Her following is strongest among those who live mostly by the hunt or live in the heavily-forested highlands of the mountains. Her faithful can count on being reincarnated as wolves. Note that it is not against her faith to kill wolves; after all, it is a “wolf-eat-wolf” world. However, it is blasphemy to hunt a wolf with magic or any other “unnatural” methods. Wolves who comport themselves well in their death may be reincarnated as wolves or even werewolves; those who die poorly are reincarnated as humans.

Burguul, Lord of Shadows and Lies, Messenger of Burza (Masauwu) appears as a faceless shadow of a horned man with the wings of a bat; it is said that bats are his messengers, and thus also the messengers of his patron, Burza. His symbol is a stylized bat. His colors are black and brown. His greatest servants are transformed into werebats; some of his more powerful servants also gain giant bats as steeds. His followers often keep bats and giant bats as pets and guardians. His clerics can speak with bats. Those who displease him, or his mistress, are sent nightgaunts as punishment. His faithful can count on being reincarnated as bats; those who displease him are cast into the Abyss to be eternally torn apart by demons.

Vadok, Father of Death, King of Vampires (Thanatos) appears as a pale-skinned man of monstrous countenance, with great fangs and glowing red eyes, always dressed in regal finery tainted by the grave. His symbol is a human skull, sometimes surmounted by a golden crown with blood-red rubies. His colors are black and red (in all the colors of blood). His followers seek to placate him, for his canon claims their only way to avoid being cast into the Abyss to be tormented by demons for eternity is to serve him eternally in death, as skeletons, zombies, wights, or some other form of corporeal undead (in this guise Thanatos has nothing to do with incorporeal undead, nor in general ghouls, ghasts, mummies, or liches). His most powerful and worthy servants are transformed into vampires. These are often served by rats, giant rats, and wererats. He is served by Death Demons and Lesser Reapers.

Zhurm, Patron of Sorcerers, Messenger of Vadok (Alphaks) appears much like his master, Vadok, but is much more human in appearance, taller, almost suave, with much nicer finery. However, when he angers, he gets even more hideous and monstrous than his master. He is usually accompanied by two or three beautiful women (succubi), who act as his chorus. He also appears as a red mist within which are seen red glowing orbs for eyes. His symbol is a blood red winged ouroboros. His colors are black and red. In addition to his role as the messenger of Vadok, he is also the patron of Tepeshy sorcerers; those who rise high enough in their power are taught how to summon demons by Zhurm himself. Like his master, he is served by Death Demons and Lesser Reapers, as well as succubi; unlike his master, he is also served by ghouls and ghasts, and at times, red dragons.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

[Mystara] Tepeshiya Map WIP Mk. I

Here's a preview of the map of Tepeshiya; it is a work in progress and subject to change.

I'm drawing on a lot of the resources available at the Vaults of Pandius, though still distinctly making this part of my Mystara, so not everything out there in the Fanon will make it in (and much of what does will be altered).

A complete list of what came from where will be included down the road.

As usual, click to embiggen...

Monday, September 2, 2019

[Mystara] Altan Tepes and the Tepeshy


The Altan Tepes mountain region on the border between Karameikos, Darokin, Ylaruam, and Thyatis is a huge area that is effectively independent. Karameikos is the only state that even attempts to maintain a garrison presence, and even this is recent, with Duke’s Road Keep and Castellan Keep being built certainly no earlier than 30 years ago, likely much less.


The area on the map within the blue border totals 9,625 square miles. For perspective, here are some real-world measurements:

Albania = 10,578 sq. mi.
Haiti = 10,640 sq. mi.
North Macedonia = 9,820 sq. mi.
Israel = 7,850 sq. mi.

So that is a HUGE territory into which just about anything can be placed.

Based on the known history of the Known World, this can include:
  • Ancient Azcan and Oltec ruins (perhaps with some long-lost Azcan/Oltec tribes);
  • Ancient Blackmoorian ruins (perhaps with robots and androids);
  • Ancient Taymoran ruins (perhaps with vampires and undead and lost tribes of Taymorans);
  • Ancient Nithian ruins ca. 1500 to 500 BC (perhaps with mummies and with lost tribes of Nithians);
  • Ancient Traldar and/or Hutaaka ruins, ca. 1400 to 500 BC (as in the Lost Valley of Hutaaka);
  • Ancient Gnoll ruins ca. 1000 BC and onward;
  • Ancient Dwarf ruins ca. 900 to 491 BC (as in Thunderdelve, and perhaps a surviving dwarven delve or three);
  • Lost Tribes of Thyatians, Kerendans, Hattians, etc., ca. 600 to 400 BC;
  • Early Traladaran ruins ca. 500 BC to 500 AC;
  • Plenty of Humanoid tribes and lairs from 491 BC (Battle of Sardal Pass) onward;
  • Displaced Alasiyan tribes from the Thyatian colonization ca. 150 to 250 AC;
  • Lairs of lycanthropes from 400 AC onward;
  • Primitive Traladaran hill and forest folk pushed out by the growing power of the city-states ca. 500 AC and onward;
  • Settlement of Darokin refugees from the internecine warfare in the fallen kingdom ca. 723 to 927 AC;
  • Settlements of Alasiyans either allied to Thyatians or not willing to convert to the Eternal Truth ca. 825 to 860 AC;
  • Settlements of angry Traladarans pushed here by Thyatians and later by Stefan ca. 900 and 970s;
  • Settlements of Darokin noble refugees from the Great Merger, fleeing the rule of the Merchant Kings ca. 927 to 949 AC;
  • Displaced hordes of Humanoids from Stefan’s crusade to push through the Duke’s Road ca. 970s and onward;
We also know that there are at least two major dragon lairs in the region (one centered in the region, the other nearer Duke’s Road Keep), based on Bruce’s article from Dragon #170, though their types, ages, and names are unknown.

So with that, here are some developments for the region:

There are the following minor remnant “Lost Tribes” in the region, usually a single small tribe and a handful of clans controlling a valley or highland region: Azcan, Oltec, Taymoran, Nithian, Traldar, Thyatian, and Alasiyan. Like the Traldar of the Lost Valley of Hutaaka, these Lost Tribes are rather inbred, highly xenophobic, and suffer from some cultural quirk based on their native culture.

There is also a single surviving dwarven delve, which also is home to a clan of gnomes; it is still producing large quantities of silver and gold, as well as high-quality gemstones. This, together with the vast wealth to be found in the Humanoid-haunted ruined delves, is the reason for the road (trail, really), that passes through the Keep on the Borderlands.

There are small settlements of Traladarans and Darokinians on the verge of the region, both descended from refugees from their respective invasion and revolution. Both group’s settlements are centered on a noble family that fled from the conquest/revolution, and thus they are insular and xenophobic.

All these groups are insignificant compared to two tribal groups, the Humanoids and the Tepeshy, which compete for dominance in the region. The Humanoids have greater numbers, but the Tepeshy are better organized (not much, but more than enough). The Humanoids live primarily in the old dwarven delves and other natural caves in the high mountains, while the Tepeshy live in the terraced valleys. The Tepeshy are semi-nomadic, moving every couple of years to other valleys to allow their terraced farms to lay fallow and allow local fauna and flora to recover from hunting and gathering.

The Tepeshy (singular Tepesh) are primarily descended from a mix of Taymorans and Traladarans native to the mountains, with long ages of intermixing with the Lost Tribes and the Humanoids of the region. The Tepeshy are for all intents and purposes a race of demi-orcs, and no few are full half-orcs (though their bloodlines actually include everything from kobolds to ogres and all in between), due to wife-stealing on both sides. They have the pale skin of their Taymoran and Traladaran ancestors (sometimes with a  light tinge of other color from the Humanoid side), with various eye, ear, nose, mouth, and other physical elements from their Humanoid ancestors (to a greater or lesser extent).

Tepeshy are organized into tribes and clans, all of which engage in internecine feuds and vendettas, though they readily unite against Humanoids or other invaders. Like their Humanoid cousins, they prefer to live underground, in the dwarven delves dug lower in the valleys; if such dwellings are not available, they build dugout pit-houses using stone walls and sod roofs, for themselves and their animals. They keep small gardens and maintain larger terrace farms for grains (some of the terraces date back to the time of the Oltecs). They also herd mountain sheep, mountain goats, and small wooly long-horn highlands cattle; some clans have giant sheep or giant goats that they use as steeds. They supplement their diet by hunting (mostly boar, deer, and bear), gathering, fishing, and raiding. Some tribes and clans keep mastiff hounds as pets and guards; others keep and train brown bears or grey wolves. They also keep hawks for hunting and sport, and homing pigeons to send messages between major tribal settlements.

Tepeshy dress in colorful woolens, leathers, and furs, and their technology is such that they can make leather armor, fur armor, scale mail, and wooden or hide shields and bone helmets; they wield spears, long and short swords, battle and hand axes, slings, and short bows. If you use the barbarian class in your campaign, they can take the barbarian class (they are a mountain/hill people).

Culturally, otherwise, they are mostly similar to Traladarans, though even more superstitious. They have the avarice and wildness of their Humanoid heritage; the tendency to engage in internecine feuds of their Azcan and Oltec heritage; the will to conquest of their Traldar and Thyatian heritage; and a fear and reverence for the Immortals of their Taymoran, Nithian, and Alasiyani heritage. Their language is originally derived from Taymoran with many Humanoid and other borrowings and is not mutually intelligible with any other language. They have a unique writing system, maintained by their priests and sorcerers/witches, also descended in a long line from Taymoran.

The Tepeshy do not worship the same immortals as the Traladarans or the Humanoids; they worship a pantheon of generally dark and dreadful Immortals and Demons:

  • Burza, Mother of Night, Queen of Wolves (Nyx)&;
  • Vadok, Father of Death, King of Vampires (Thanatos)*
  • Burguul, Lord of Shadows and Lies, Messenger of Burza (Masauwu)&;
  • Opasha, Lady of Lust and Debauchery (Talitha)*
  • Rumgoth, Lord of the Underworld and Undeath (Orcus)*&;
  • Strigz, Lord of War (Demogorgon)*
  • Zahovara, Mother of Mountains and Jewels, Protector of Lairs (Pearl)&;
  • Zhurm, Patron of Sorcerers, Messenger of Vadok (Alphaks)*

Especial enemy immortals include:

  • Akul-Gurz, Lord of Icy Doom, Father of Giants (Thrym)
  • Gajarpan, the Dread Serpent (Atzanteotl)
  • Magath, the Hammer (Kagyar)
  • Timorsham, Lord of the Burning Sun (Ixion)
  • Zajar-Bal, Lord of Fire and Destruction (Rathanos)
  • All the Humanoid immortals (Hel, Bartziluth, Jammudaru, Karaash, Ranivorus, The Shining One, Wogar, and Yagrai)
  • The Traladaran immortals (Halav, Petra, Zirchev)
Vampires and lycanthropes (werewolves, wereboars, and werebats) have a special place in Tepeshy society. Vampirism and lycanthropy are considered rewards for long service to the tribe and faith; the gift is not given out willy-nilly, and especially not to mere strangers! Heroes of the people, as well as high-level clergy and magic-users of the faith, can be granted vampirism (*) or lycanthropy (&) (depending on their patron god or goddess). Followers of Burza and Burguul are granted lycanthropy (werewolf or werebat); followers of Vadok, Opasha, Strigz, and Zhurm are granted vampirism; followers of Zahovara are granted lycanthropy (were-drakes); and followers of Rumgoth are granted either lycanthropy (wereboar) or vampirism. These “Lords of the Tribes” are respected by all, and usually have their own temple, fortress, or manor apart from the settlements, to retire in some lonely high valley or in some important mountain pass to protect the tribes.


“Altan Tepes” means “Golden Spires” in Traladaran and “Red Dawn Peaks” in Tepeshyan; Tepeshyan legends speak of their immortals impaling enemy immortals on these very peaks at the dawn of time. The Altan Tepes in Tepeshiya are very tall and steep, giving the appearance of narrow cones or spikes, though most peaks are atop long, winding ridges, like some sort of giant stone labyrinth. The Altan Tepes are a karst formation, meaning that they are riddled with natural caverns and tunnels. They combine elements of the Carpathian Alps and the Dolomite Alps, with the valleys heavily terraced as in the Andes (though not all terraces are actively farmed, some are lost and crumbling amidst forest and bracken).

The valleys are often filled with fog and mist, the result of much of the rain that would be taken to the Alasiyani Desert or the Darokin Plain falling in the mountains in addition to the natural level of rainfall. This makes the forested portion of the mountains effectively a temperate rainforest. In summer the mountains are cool, the valleys warm, both hidden and shadowed by mists. In the winter much snow falls due to the magical influence of the glacier, Akuliima (“Ice Throne”), and then the raids of the frost giants reach deep into the lowlands.

The southern and northwestern foothills are covered in oak, hornbeam, holly, rowan, ash, maple, hemlock, dogwood, and lime, among other deciduous trees; the northwestern foothills are barren wastelands. The mid-range mountains, ridges, and valleys are home to beech, fir, spruce, and sycamore; conifers such as the fir and spruce predominate the higher one goes. Above the timberline among the alpine meadows are found thickets of mountain pine, juniper, and alder shrubs. Many tall, nigh vertical ridges, peaks, and cones are barren save for tangles of shrubs and vines and the odd trees growing out of cracks. Oddly, motile and carnivorous plants and fungi are not found in the region, for reasons unknown to myth or legend (these kinds of lifeforms are found in the Underworld of the Humanoids, however, as are many animate molds, jellies, and slimes).

The mountains are home to the following normal animals, among others: bats (normal and giant), bears (black and grizzly), beavers (normal and giant), boars (normal and giant), bobcats, cattle (highland longhorns), chipmunks, deer (red, roe, and white-tailed), dogs (wild), dormice, eagles (normal and giant), ermine, ferrets (normal and giant), foxes, goats (normal and giant), grouse, hawks (normal and giant), jackals, lizards (normal and giant), martens, minks, moles, mountain lions, owls (normal and giant), porcupines, rabbits, raccoons, rats (normal and giant), ravens (normal and giant), salamanders (normal and giant), sheep (normal and giant), skunks (normal and giant), snakes (normal and giant), squirrels, trout, turkeys, weasels (normal and giant), wildcats, and wolves (normal and dire). There are many other species of birds (notably the death-warbler, which has a black and white skull pattern on its wings and back) and countless insects, though especially bees, beetles, butterflies, centipedes, flies, mantises, moths, spiders, stick-bugs, ticks, and wasps (normal and giant-sized).

The mountains are also home to at least the following monsters, among others [NE refers to the northeastern mountains and hills facing the Alasiyani Desert, GL refers to the glacial and alpine region of the frost giants]: apes (snow, GL), baboons (normal and higher, NE), bugbears, chimeras, devil swine, djinni (NE), dragons (white (GL), green, red), dragonnes (NE), dwarves (duergar), efreet (NE), elves (deep), ghasts (NE), ghosts, ghouls (NE), giants (hill, frost (GL)), gnolls, goblins, griffons, hell hounds (NE), hobgoblins, jackalweres, kobolds, lamias (NE), Lammasu (NE), lizardfolk, lycanthropes (werebats, werebears, wereboars, werewolves), manticores (NE), minotaurs (eastern reaches), morlocks (Blackmoorian ruins), mummies (Azcan, Oltec, and Nithian ruins), nymphs (eastern foothills), ogres, orcs, owlbears, pseudo-dragons (and their less intelligent cousins, the drakes) remorhaz (GL), rocs (small and large), salamanders (frost, GL), satyrs (eastern foothills), scorpions (giant, NE), shadows (Taymoran ruins), skeletons, spectres, sphinxes (NE), vampires, wights, winter wolves (GL), wraiths, wyverns, yeti (GL), and zombies. Notably absent are any sorts of surface-dwelling elves, fairy-folk, and many of the sylvan folk (though there are some in the eastern reaches); the Tepeshy are inimical to all such creatures to due ancient feuds (dating from the settling of Traladara by the Vyalia ages ago).

Note that though their realm is on a smaller scale, the variety of monstrous inhabitants of the phantasmagorical Underworld of the Humanoids is on par with that of the Broken Lands and the Shadow Elves.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

[Mystara] B2 and Altan Tepes Ideas

Just hanging this here for now...

According to the Five Shires gazetteer, dwarves were all over the Altan Tepes digging mines and strongholds in ancient days (ca. 900s BC). 

So the dwarves who settled the region in the 900s (and the exiles from the Shires after the fall of Loktal's Realm) were exterminated by humanoids, the same hordes pushed back at Sardal Pass in 491 BC (check out the migrations map in Orcs of Thar).

The monster- and humanoid-haunted delves are still filled with the treasures of the old dwarves, their lands inaccessible due to intervening tribes until the arrival of Duke Stefan, whose army pushed through the Duke's Road 20 years ago (and sent the surviving forest and hill humanoids into the Altan Tepes to settle among their mountain cousins... with a burning hatred for humans and a desire to reclaim their lost lands).

Perhaps some remnant petty dwarven stronghold still exists in that region, south of the Frost Giants, and they are the reason for all the trade in gems and jewelry... them and the adventurers now looting the lairs of the humanoids in the old dwarven delves.

Not to mention, of course, frost-giant haunted mountains are a great reason to have a castle, humanoid tribes or no...


Saturday, July 13, 2019

[Modron Campaign] Adventure Log #4: Murderhobos of Scrubvale

Fourth Adventure: Murderhobos of Scrubvale
Source: Original
Judge: James M.
Dates: 6/13/19; 7/12/19
Location: Northern Brushwood (Region 01: 3910, Modron 4520, 4522)

Characters & Players
Preacher William Winchester (male Human 3rd level Cleric) [Will P.]
Initiate Tsun (male Human 2nd level Monk) [Will P.]
Veteran-Prestidigitator Balule the Elf (male 1st level Elf) [Dan P.]
Gary, Balule’s War-Dog [Dan P.]
Veteran Yarlag the Hideous (male Half-Orc 1st level Fighter) [Dan P.]
Dave, Yarlag’s War-Dog [Dan P.]
Veteran-Prestidigitator Ayers the Elf (male 1st level Elf) [Lew E.]
Warrior “Mighty” Konkeror (male Half-Elf 2nd level Fighter) [Lew E.]
Robber Bernie “The Bounder” Brushwood-Baggins (male Halfling 3rd level Thief) [NPC]

Tales of Adventure
The members of the party were having lunch at Somethin’s Cookin’ when their friend, Bernie “The Bounder,” stopped by and told them about another ogre-hunting opportunity near his hometown of Brushwood. “The Sheriff of Brushwood has offered a 100 gp reward for the head of an ogre that is raiding the countryside near Scrubvale,” he told them. “This one is working with some hobgoblins, which is odd, as hobgoblins aren’t usually found in the area.” After discussing this and other opportunities, the party decided to head out to Scrubvale.

After the great success of Balule’s war-dog on the last adventure, Yarlag decided to also buy one, and they both kitted out their dogs with savage-looking leather armor. As the group was readying for their trip to Scrubvale, Ayres and Konkeror returned from their trip home to the Adderwood and rejoined the party.

The party took the Difring Trace across the Gasconfold Plain to Scrubvale. Slow travel across the near-trackless plain meant they camped halfway there, just north of an area of rugged, broken lands. Ere the sun set they thought they could make out tall, ruined towers in the distance in the midst of the badlands and felt this might be worth looking into at a later date.

Shortly after dawn before the others awoke, Balule and his dog were on watch and espied a hippogriff in the distance, heading right their way! He awoke the others and they loosed volleys of arrows at the hippogriff, who suffered enough damage such that he felt there would be easier prey on the plain than the party’s horses.

The party travelled the rest of the way to Scrubvale without incident and made it in time to join the locals at the local tavern, the “Basilisk & Cockatrice,” for an evening meal and drinks. When the locals found out they were there to hunt the ogre and the hobgoblins they were feted and had not to pay for their meals or drinks.

The locals provided such details as they could about the inhuman bandits. They knew from chance encounters that the ogre did not reside with the hobgoblins; the ogre lived in a cave near the ruined Tower of the Basilisk, while the hobgoblins laired somewhere further south in the Brushwood. They operated by raiding steadings south of the Difring River; they had started out further away from the hamlet but had now worked their way to the steadings nearly within sight of the river, and so the locals had finally been able to get the sheriff of Brushwood to offer a reward, before the monsters started raiding across the river in the hamlet itself!

There was then much grumbling about how they had had to go to the sheriff in Brushwood, for their own bailiff, Malagig, was quite useless, not even calling together a militia to help defend the steadings. “He takes all the taxes, and gives nothing in return,” they complained. “Useless,” others said, “All he does is stay in his manor and party with his cronies and such maidens as he can seduce to his chambers!” When a deputation of elders from the hamlet went to him to beg assistance, he had his men strip them, beat them with sticks, and hied them away covered in horse dung.

As the party listened to the complaints of the peasants, they asked why they didn’t do anything about the less-than-useless bailiff. Sheepishly, the peasants respondent, “Well, the problem is that Malagig is the younger brother of Gakatig, the seneschal of the Duke, and so little if anything could be done!” It had been heard that, being a complete wastrel, he had been given this post as a sinecure, and treated it as such.

As the complaints continued, Yarlag noticed that a figure in the corner, in the shadows by the fireplace, suddenly got up and made his way to the door. Suspicious, Yarlag followed him out and watched as he tried to melt into the shadows of the houses and shrubs as he made his way west, toward the manor of the bailiff. Yarlag quickly followed and ambushed the fellow, smacking his hooded head with the flat of his blade; down he went with a thump. Upon removing the hood Yarlag discovered he was face to face with another half-orc! He quickly patted him down, took his weapons and his pouch, and gagged him and tied him to a nearby tree just outside the hamlet.

When Yarlag brought back the party, they found him awake and trying to break from his bonds, to no avail. They questioned him, and discovered his name was Krann, and that he worked for the bailiff as a “minister without portfolio,” but yes, that included spying on the locals. After sterner questioning with both carrot and stick (coin and blade), he admitted that he was the one who had hired the ogre and hobgoblins (having recruited them from the clans of the Gilring Wilds to the south), at the behest of his master, Bailiff Malagig. To what end he was not sure, but he had overheard discussion with a messenger from the north that if Malagig were to cause chaos in the region, he would be well rewarded.

Having gotten all the information they felt they needed out of him, they let him go with a purse of coins, and watched him flee east, out of the hamlet toward Brushwood, with the promise that if they ever saw him again they would kill him. They then returned to the tavern, where they flopped on the floor for the night.

The next morning a local lad led them to the cave where they believed the ogre slept by day, “for before the arrival of the ogre, there were no sounds from the cave, but now by day there has been a terrible sound of snoring and at times, roaring!” The cave was about a mile south of the ruined Tower of the Basilisk, of which the local reminded them, “Go not to the ruined tower, as you value your lives! Though it is said that great treasure can be found there, it is guarded by the basilisk, and said to be encircled by the stone forms of all who sought his treasure!” And with that the lad hurried back home, not eager to personally witness the defeat of the ogre… or the destruction of the party!

Initiate Tsun was sent to scout out the cave, as he was the most stealthy of the group (not the first time the party missed their good friend, Bernie, nor the last!) When he entered the cave, he discovered it quickly branched into three tunnels, one each north, east, and west, and at their crossway he discovered, to his terror, two statues, perfect of form, one of a human and the other of a halfling, both with a look of terror on their face, looking toward the northern tunnel! He also found a midden pile at the entrance to the western tunnel, and evidence of passage to both the east and west. But he heard no snoring, nor noises of any kind.

He returned to the party and explained that the cave may very well connect to the ruined tower of which they were warned, and that there was activity toward both the east and west. They decided to check out the eastern tunnel first. There they discovered a sleeping cave bear, which awoke upon their approach! The bear raised up its head, snuffled and whuffled at them, and growled… they quickly backed away and hurried to the cross way. They decided that perhaps the bear was the pet of the ogre, and used to trespass by the hobgoblins, and so not interested in bothering them if they did not bother it, which seemed like a very good plan!

They then decided to check out the other cave, and after a short walk they found the cave ended in a handsome new door, very large and of stout oak, complete with a shiny new lock! Curiouser and curiouser! Listening at the door, Tsun heard a terrible snoring within; thus, the answer to the lack of noise in the caves! Tsun picked the lock, and they quietly filed into the large room, where they found the ogre sleeping on a large, rough-hewn bed of timbers and furs, with a chest in one corner and various detritus piled in another corner.
The best ogres are sleeping ogres...
Not believing their luck, they motioned for Tsun to go up and slit the ogres throat… which he did without incident. And the terrible ogre died with even less trouble than Hegrash before, and they knew not even his name. They then looted the room, finding gold and silver and a bag of gems – a bag of eight zircons, the same bluish-purple as they found in Hegrash’s hoard! And so now conspiracy theories began to whirl wildly in the talk of the party as they counted out the loot.

In the end they decided that, since the hobgoblins lived deeper in the Brushwood, in all likelihood they would meet up with the ogre at his lair to go on their raids, and they decided to try to pull off a long con – they would represent themselves as the “new bosses,” sent by the “big boss” to take out the ogre and “take over the operation.” And so, they beheaded the ogre and dumped the body in the cross way, then napped and ate as they waited for night, and the hobgoblins to arrive.

Not too long after dusk the hobgoblins arrived, as expected; speaking to them in Goblin, the party explained the “new arrangements,” and passed out several gold coins, which mollified any questions the hobgoblins had about being led by humans, elves, and a half-orc. They then told them they were going for a “big score,” the leader of the humans of Scrubvale, the bailiff’s manor! And so, the party, with 16 hobgoblins in tow, marched back to Scrubvale, quietly forded the river, and snuck to the manor house. They discovered it was well fortified, with only one visible entrance, and that up a stair, with the wooden bridge pulled away; no real windows only arrow slits, and all of stone until the third floor, which was of stone and wood and wattle and daub.

Fortunately, it was apparent that no guards had been placed outside, for the bailiff was either too secure or too cheap. But how to gain entrance? “Do not despair my friends,” said the cleric. “All places like this have an escape tunnel or three. We just need to find the other end and then we are easily in!” They spread out and searched the area, eventually finding an odd trap door in the floor of the stable. Upon opening it, they saw it led down into a tunnel that headed straight toward the manor house. They filed into the tunnel and made their way slowly and carefully. Tsun, in the lead, discovered a tripwire, meant to warn those within against this very kind of assault. He disarmed it simply by placing bales of hay to either side and everyone carefully crossed over.

The tunnel ended in a door, locked of course, but picked easily enough. They found it entered a “panic room,” filled with go-bag supplies and such, with a door on the other side, obviously of secret sort to the outside. They opened this door and found it entered a well room, with another door on the other side. They passed through this door and found it opened into a long corridor which hugged the outside walls to the left, for they were in the cellar level on the ground floor. They followed the corridor and found three doors before the corridor turned left and ended in a stair up. They listened at the doors; two were silent, but behind the third they heard some sort of chanting.

One of the other doors was easily opened and found to be a supply room; the other was locked, as was the door behind which they heard the chanting (loud enough that no one heard them test the door). Tsun and William went up with some hobgoblins and scouted upstairs, while the others remained below and had the hobgoblins break down the door behind which they heard chanting… and then all Hell broke loose!

The Sorceress is still at large...
For they had burst in on the bailiff and his fellow cultists performing a ritual sacrifice to Set, the ancient enemy of Mitra! There were four cultists – a priest with a snake staff, a warrior-woman, a sorceress, the bailiff (obvious from his description from the peasants), and a maiden sacrifice, all standing before a statue of Set with great gem-stone eyes.

The hobgoblins charged the cultists and engaged with the bailiff, the priest, and the warrior-woman; sadly, for them, they could not get to the sorceress, and after the first engagement she caused many of them to fall into slumber with a spell. But more hobgoblins piled in, as did the party members, and their dogs; Tsun and William quickly returned when the cry of “Setites! Setites!” was shouted up the stairwell. Apprised of the dangers of a priest of Set and the sorceress, William quickly cast silence 10’radius on a stone and cast it into the room, quashing any enemy spell casting.

It then became a whirling grind of blades and staff against blades and teeth; but the party prevailed in the end, with the loss of two hobgoblins and both of the dogs (the last to the poisoned blade of the bailiff). The sorceress had disappeared, though whether she had used an undiscovered secret door or gone invisible during the melee, none were sure. The party was busy looting the bodies and about to check out the statue and altar when the hobgoblins who had been left upstairs ran in…

“Uh, boss! BOSS!”

“What, what?”

“We killed some guys up there!” the hobgoblins smiled, then frowned.

“Yes, and?”

“Uh, well, one of them was holding a lantern…”

“And?”

“Uhm and… and it fell when we killed him.” They nodded.

Uh oh… “It fell?”

“Yeah, it fell… and, uh… blew up…”

“BWOOSH!” the other hobgoblin exclaimed, happily, waving his arms to show how big the explosion had been.

“And… the upstairs is on fire, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, that’s it! The upstairs is on fire!” they both nodded, smiling.

The party looked up as one at the rafters above, and through the floorboards they could see smoke slowly drifting down… and in the dead silence hear the crackling of the floorboards burning merrily above.

Yup
“Out! Out! Everyone out!” they cried, as everyone rushed to the corridor, and then to the well room, and through the panic room, and into the tunnel to the stables. They peeked out of the stable doors and saw the local peasants gathering at the manor on the other side, trying and failing to put together a bucket brigade to the nearest well. Their attention wholly on the burning manor, the party and hobgoblins snuck out the back of the stables into the nearby forest. They had brought with them the bodies of the cultists and the living, walking form of the erstwhile sacrifice, a lovely maiden named Daniena of Brushwood, who had been enticed hither by the warrior woman with promises of joining an adventuring group. They had given her the warrior-woman’s plate mail and long sword, but they had kept the shield, which they had discovered was magical (as was, obviously, the staff, which nearly bit William when he tried to pick it up, but left Konkeror unmolested).

They decided to send the hobgoblins home (they had hoped more would die in the battle and they could finish them off after, but to no avail); they gave them each some coins or a gem from the treasure they found on the warrior-woman but kept the ring and necklace they found on the bailiff. After the hobgoblins left (with the bodies of the priest and warrior-woman “for their victory feast,” the party started bickering about what to do now?

After much debate, it was decided the safest course was to bury the body of the bailiff in two parts so he could not be raised. They would collect their horses and wagon in the morning and go to Brushwood to collect the reward for the ogre’s head. A simple plan. But then, most plans go awry…

They hunker down and sleep, awakened at the roar of the manor house as the burning top stores collapsed into the cellar below; a great ball of fire shot up, visible even from the woods, in the form of a dancing snake. Mere coincidence, of course…

The next morning when they awake they discover that the snake-headed staff now looks like a normal walking staff/quarter staff. Curious, they all think. They then go back in circuitous route to appear to come up from the south to allay any suspicions. They arrive at the tavern and are welcomed halfheartedly. “You have slain the ogre!” people say, but then also lament that they had not found and slain the hobgoblins, for that night they had attacked and burned the bailiff’s manor (feelings were a bit mixed on this, of course).

When the party inquired how they knew it had been the hobgoblins, they discover that though the flames had burned almost everything from the upper levels, the cellar level was mostly spared, and they had discovered the bodies of two hobgoblins therein…

They took the bodies of the cultists but left the two dead hobgoblins! Drat!

The party decided they’d better check out the ruin before any other evidence they left behind showed up. When they got there, they discovered most of the fire was out, having blown itself out when the upper levels collapsed. The found that the two hobgoblin bodies, somewhat charred, had been dumped unceremoniously off to the side, while the peasants were still pulling out bodies and remnants from the cellar, whose walls still stood. There were several partial-bodies, covered with blankets, off to the side, and various items of potential reclaimable value piled nearby.

They climbed the ladder and looked down into the cellar; where they thought to find a statue of Set they found instead… a statue of Mitra! “Set is the Great Deceiver,” Will comments to all, “Obviously, the enchantment I saw upon the statue earlier allows it to appear in different forms. This will not go well for us, if we are discovered!”

They climb down to the cellar and start helping the peasants sift through the ruins. “Any sign of the bailiff?” they ask. “None yet,” the peasants say, “but with that fire, he may have been reduced to ash.”

The espy the poisoned blade of the bailiff, where they left it, too worried of poisoning themselves. Even as a few of them discuss what to do with that, Konkeror looks to his staff, then to the statue; then back at his staff, and again to the statue. Smiling, he steps over and touches the staff to the statue… and immediately the statue of Mitra turns into the statue of Set, and the quarterstaff turns to the snake-headed staff!

The other party members notice this even as the peasants do… “Setites!” the peasants call out. “You are all Setites!” they cry as they run to the ladder and climb out.

“No!” William and Tsun cry out. We are followers of Mitra! It is the statue and staff that are evil!” William and Tsun follow the peasants, with Yarlag and Balule close behind. Now angered beyond reason, Konkeror lassos the statue and tries to pull it down… whereupon it turns into a giant rattlesnake!

The rattlesnake lunges at Konkeror and bites him twice; on the second bit, venom courses into his body, and the half-elf begins convulsing and crying out terribly. His half-brother, Ayres, engages the snake in melee; Yarlag and Balule, on the wall, loose arrows at it. Balule’s arrow strikes it between the eyes; it shakes, hisses, then collapses into stone kin the form of a dead serpent.

Ayers kneels by his brother and attempts to help him with a scroll potent against poison, but to no avail; it is obvious that Konkeror is dying and will very shortly breathe his last. Yarlag sees that William and Tsun have given up following the peasants; he turns to look down at the others and tells them that they are going to have to flee.

“But my brother!” Ayers cries out, “What about him?”

They look down at him, turning black and blue and shuddering, and shake their heads. “If we stay, we may die as well, accused of being a cultist like him.” Weeping tears of anger and sorrow, Ayers says a few elven prayers over his dying brother as the others strip him of his weapons and valuable equipment, then they flee, with Ayers promising vengeance on Set and his minions. His last sight of his brother is of him shuddering in a painful death amidst the ruins of the manor, beside the shattered statue of Set and next to the snake-headed staff…

They sneak into the forest and around to the blacksmith where they had left their horses and wagon. Finding there only a young boy, they pay and tip him generously, the swiftly fell down the road to Brushwood.

They arrive several hours later, hopefully long before any strange rumors (for they had not been passed on the trail), and quickly seek out the sheriff, from whom they receive their 100 gp reward for the head of the ogre. Yarlag and Balule each give Daniena 5 gp of the reward, to help her “get started as an adventurer, especially if you are going to be sticking with us.” She thanks them both, and gives Balule a meaningful smile…

Unsure of what exactly to do next, they stop for lunch at the Tipsy Troll Tavern, on the Difring Trail west from Brushwood, just outside the palisade wall, to decide what to do next… and to keep an eye out for anyone from Scrubvale who might call them out as Setites…

They shall learn why they fear the night...
Treasure Gained
Ogre treasure 1,000 sp, 1,000 gp, eight zircons worth 50 gp each.
Set necklace worth 1,500 gp; signet ring worth 500 gp.
Magical +1 shield from the Warrior Woman.
Warrior Woman treasure 10 zircons worth 50 gp each (given to surviving hobgoblins).
Ayers gets his brother’s magical +1 broadsword and potion of water breathing.
Poisoned blade of the Bailiff abandoned in ruined manor house.
Snake staff abandoned in the cellar.

Opponents Slain or Defeated
Hippogriff of Gasconfold Plain
Nameless Ogre
Malagig the Bailiff
Nameless Priest of Set
Nameless Warrior-Woman of Set
Nameless Sorceress of Set (no body found, still alive?)

Companions Lost
“The Mighty” Konkeror
Dave the War-Dog
Gary the War-Dog
Two hobgoblins

Level-Ups
Yarlag the Hideous advances to 2nd level.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Wilderlands of High Adventure Campaign

I am running a Wilderlands of High Adventure campaign in the Modron region using Advanced Labyrinth Lord. The details of the campaign are on my Wilderlands-focused blog, Hanging Out in the City State. Click here to check out the campaign; so far there are maps, note about the Royal Family of Modron, and Campaign Logs for the first three adventures. We generally meet every other week, so that is when most updates will occur, though I'm in the process of an info-dump of materials as I get them in writing...


Sunday, June 9, 2019

[Now Available] Advanced Labyrinth Lord Adventure Record Sheets

Advanced Labyrinth Lord Adventure Record Sheets
By James Mishler
10 pages, PDF, $1.00

Advanced Labyrinth Lord Adventure Record Sheets provide players and Labyrinth Lords with useful forms and information to use and keep track of individual adventure sessions.


This pack contains the following:

A 2-page Party Adventure Record Sheet, which is used to keep track of the party members, locations explored, NPCs encountered, information learned, monsters killed, treasures won, henchmen & hirelings, divisions of the spoils and XP, and mysteries & loose ends of an adventure session.

A 2-page Character Adventure Record Sheet, which is used during ad adventure to keep track of the character’s combat stats, special abilities and skills, and spells, and is used to keep track of locations explored, NPCs encountered, information learned, monsters killed, treasures won, and secrets kept from other party members during an adventure session.

A 4-page Labyrinth Lord Adventure Log includes two pages dedicated to information needful for running labyrinth and wilderness adventures, including rules for time & movement; light & darkness; listen & spot checks; doors in the labyrinth; traps & trap detection; climbing, stealth, & swimming; and foraging & hunting rules. Also included are a page for keeping track of details of player characters and henchmen, plus a page for keeping track of marching order (by tactics), light sources, monsters and treasures, and notable events.

Permission is granted to print these record sheets for personal use.



Saturday, June 8, 2019

[Now Available] New Advanced Labyrinth Lord Character Record Sheet -- UPDATED!

Now available -- my new Advanced Labyrinth Lord Character Record Sheet.

Pay what you want (something would be nice, $1 suggested)...

UPDATE 11/9/19: This product now has two character sheets -- a 4-page full record, and a more classic 2-page quick record. Still Pay-What-You-Want! Cheap!

Two and Four pages, PDF.

Here's the first page:


And here is the full two-page character sheet:



Thursday, June 6, 2019

[Now Available] Quick Start Character Race & Class Sheets: By-the-Book

QUICK START CHARACTER RACE & CLASS SHEETS BY-THE-BOOK
For use with Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Labyrinth Lord
James Mishler Games
By James Mishler
32-pages, $2.99 – Introductory Price of $1.99!

The QUICK START CHARACTER RACE & CLASS SHEETS BY-THE-BOOK are designed to enable a group of players, new or experienced, to quickly create 1st level characters of the various races, classes, and racial classes available in Labyrinth Lord and Advanced Labyrinth Lord. Each race, class, and racial class is detailed on a single sheet with all the information needed to begin play with that class, including requirements, class abilities, a description of basic 1st level spells (as needed), and a list of starting equipment that makes the most difficult and tedious character-creation element – choosing equipment – relatively fast and simple!

Also included are appendices dealing with Rolling Up Advanced Characters, Rolling Up Basic Characters, Equipment Lists, Fast Packs, and Secondary Skills.

Note that the Quick Start sheets do not usually include any information about advancement, abilities, or spells available after 1st level, other than Experience Points required to attain 2nd level. For all such information, consult the Labyrinth Lord, Advanced Edition Companion, or Advanced Labyrinth Lord tomes.

Permission is granted to print these sheets for personal use only; in fact, such is essential to use the product as intended!

Quick Start Race Sheets
Dwarf Race.....3
Elf Race.....4
Gnome Race.....5
Halfling Race.....6
Half-Elf Race.....7
Half-Orc Race.....8
Human Race.....9

Quick Start Class Sheets
Assassin Class.....10
Cleric Class.....11
Druid Class.....12
Dwarf Racial Class.....13
Elf Racial Class.....14
Fighter Class.....15
Halfling Racial Class.....16
Illusionist Class.....17
Magic-User Class.....18
Monk Class.....19
Paladin Class.....20
Ranger Class.....21
Thief Class.....22

Appendices
Appendix A: Rolling Up Advanced Characters.....23
Appendix B: Rolling Up Basic Characters.....24
Appendix E: Equipment Lists.....25-27
Appendix F: Fast Packs.....28-29
Appendix S: Secondary Skills.....30
Open Gaming License.....31-32

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Death by Infravision!

So for the first time ever in almost 38 years of play, I have witnessed the first Death by Infravision (playing Labyrinth Lord, BTW).

The party -- human thief, human cleric, halfling, dwarf cleric, and elf -- burst into a room and found some goblins. They slaughter all but one, who ran down a stair screaming for backup.

The party starts to hear rumblings of many feet, howling and gibbering and thumping, and start to freak out; they are already down hit points, and not ready to deal with a whole swarm of goblins. 


So they start pouring every flask of oil they have 15 feet down the stair, over the side of the short wall beside the stair.

They say they are going to wait until the goblins reach the oil, then hit it with fire. So far, so good...

Knowing the only fire they had at the time was the thief's lantern, I ask, "So what are you going to throw down there?"

"Oh," they say, "we'll use our flint and steel."

"Flint and steel? 15 feet down a stairwell?"

"Oh... um, somebody light a torch!" they scream, as I describe how the mass of goblins is now swarming up the stair...

I tell them they have a 2 in 6 chance of lighting a torch in time.

"No time!" shouts the thief, down to 2 hit points... who then throws his lantern down the stair, which shattered amongst the oil and the front rank of goblins.

The party shouts in joy as the first two ranks go up in flames! Then the fire dies down after two rounds... casting everything into darkness.

A few moments pass as both sides take stock, and the goblins once more start rushing up the stair. The elf and the dwarf, the only ones who can see, loose arrow and stone down the stair at the goblins, with the dwarf acting as a shield in front of the elf. The goblins can't hit, as both are heavily armored and swift...

And then the humans, desperate for light, fire up their other light sources, blinding the elf and the dwarf for 1d3 rounds!

Dwarf, unable to use shield and dexterity, becomes much easier to hit, immediately takes an arrow, dies, and falls down the stairs (and rolling into a goblin, killing the poor 1-hit point creature)... and so, Death By Infravision!

The previous session an elf got taken out with Death By Acid. The party encountered some new creatures -- I call them Screaming Mimis -- greenish balls the size of a beach ball with eyes on stalks and big feet that let them jump far and high. When killed by slicing or piercing weapons they explode, and anyone within 5 feet has to make a saving throw versus Breath Weapon or take 1d8 points of acid damage. The gnome's dog killed one with its terrible bite, and the elf failed her saving throw with a "Natural 1," and rolling maximum damage, melting off her face, and killing her...

At least they were able to bring her body out of the dungeon. When they fled the goblins they never got a chance to recover the dwarf's body... but I am sure they will encounter it again... mwahahaha!