This Blog 2019, Goals and Grommets

Inspired by the 2019 goals post over at Charles's Dragons Never Forget Blog, I figured I would do the same thing. 2018 right around ...

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

The "notes" from our first Dungeon World Game

I think I need to go see somebody.

I'm not sure this is what the designers attended.

Thanks for stopping in!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Second Quick Map

Another quick map considering  folks seemed to like the last one.
My original idea is a large standing rune-stone on top of a lonely hill. If one knows how they stone can be opened revealing a tunnel down to a moderately sized temple complex. The complex was once used for worship and also for  blood trials in a  sunken sandy bottomed "arena" style room.
Those were my thoughts What are yours?

Again use as you wish, please leave a message down below to let me know what you came up with.

The original resolution is much larger but  Blogger has a problem with that . If any one has any need of a 10200 by 14027 version let me know and we can figure something out.

Also if anyone knows anyone has any tips on  best practices for scanning  watercolors let me know, the colors in these scans came out washed out looking, and when I try to adjust them in Gimp it makes things worse rather than better.

Thank you for reading!
leave questions and comments in the gaping maw of the slor below. 

* "During the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!"

Friday, July 25, 2014

A very Quick post with a great link.

Ever see something you wish you had thought of?
A simple idea that's just great?

For me Pulp Covers Blog is one of those ideas.

It's just covers of pulp adventure books, without much editorializing, just  great images.
I wish I had thought of it
I love it.
IT's  Here

Also Thank you to every one who said nice things abut the  map I uploaded yesterday. I'll upload a few more ASAP.

Thanks for reading this  quickly
Leave any comments in the Altoids box below.

(for kicks)
Reaction Check of ad&d 5th
Roll 1d6 add or subtract charisma bonus.

9. The person falls madly in love with you
8. you have a new BFF or it may just be lust.
7. You impress the person, and they like you very much.
6. A friendly goodhearted reaction.
5. You're "all-iet"
4. Give or take your company
3. They will do business with you, but that's it.
2. They  will act like they like you but when you leave they are going to talk shit about you. and charge you more just because you are you.
1. A cold disinterested reaction, they would rather you leave sooner
0. They wont do business with you.
-1.They want you to leave NOW.
-2. They will have an aggressively negative reaction to your presence, call the  authorities, shove you out the  door, run away shouting curse ... and so on.
-3 They stab / punch you in the face.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Map for you just for the hell of it.

So here is a map.
I was thinking of doing an example adventure for  my home brew game "Amazing Adventurers and Exciting Exploits" so I sketched up a map water-colored in some bits then  though, "well I would rather go another direction."

Here is the map I started.
It became kind of a quick sketch of  something I might  expand upon latter. The real reason I never used it s that I need to leave more white space for what I want to do for AAIE.

That and I made a mistake on the entrance  structure which frankly irks me.

Have at it, Enjoy it.

Note the two thought bubble things at the top, that's something I do to sketch in my own notes.

So if you take it and use it drop me a line in the comments section to let me know how you used  it and how it went.
Cause that would be pretty cool.

As always thank you for reading.
Please leave comments , questions and  map stories in the  ink well below.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Quick Adventure Hook "The Scarmaw Orcs"

Twenty  athletic  Orc youths stand in a row. With them standing out  like sore thumbs are two humans....

The  king has been clear about  the mission. Locate the Scarmaw Orcs, negotiate a treaty of trade and nonaggression with the green skinned bastards, and if possible see if we could turn the tribal chiefs attention towards the dwarves in Iron Pass. Simple? No not simple. So here we are the chief has refused to speak to us unless we pass the orc warrior trial, what ever the blazes that is, and  now this big brute Thagnar and his smashed up smelly tooth is shouting in my face.

From the  other side:

Thagnar One Tusk looked over the new recruits. Not a single one of them would survive a battle, not one worm ridden one. He marched up and down the ranks of young orcs, only a few would meet his gaze the rest of these sad sacks of yak shit turn down their eyes, like yearling wogs.
Humans sent by the chief?  This must be some play at humor towards Thagnar; Thagnar hates humor. Thagnar will send back their corpses in woven baskets once the trial is done.
“Pathetic worms!”
Thagnar grinned to himself, he knew by smell that at least one of theses young warriors just wet their armor.

“It's time you worms, time to find out which of you will done the shield of our tribe and begin training for the patrols. It is time for you slime-wallows to prove you're ready, become true Scarmaw tribes-orcs, or go back to helping the mothers tend mushrooms!”

With that uplifting speech the Mudmaw Orc trial of passage begins.

Roll 1D20 to determine the  trial:
  1. The participants  pair off and are tied together. Between the two of them they are given one dagger and one torch. They are then pushed into the and told to return with blood on the dagger.
  2. Each young warrior must face down a dire boar, forcing it to yield, their only weapon is a shield.
  3. Each  participant , must strip to the waist and fight a giant cave wasp weaponless.
  4. There are twenty  new recruits, all of them are lead into a cave with a deep bowl shaped depression in the middle. At the sound of a gong Thagnar tells them to fight, when ten are left standing  the trial is over.
  5. The participants pair off and are connected to each other by a 5 foot iron chain. The chain is suspended over a raging fire. The last of the pair to give has passed the trial. There are no rules.
  6. All of the participants are told to go to the coast and retrieve the egg sack of a giant eel, (a favorite of the chief) The eels are very large and very protective.
  7. The participants must run through a trench while older Orcs rain rocks on them from above. At the end of this gauntlet any left standing are each made to ride a Cave Slith (a 10 foot long lizard known for it's nasty disposition) To pass the initiation the  young orc must stay on the lizard for no less than  5 drum beats.
  8. The  Inductees must drink the pulp of the Yacoooma mushroom. It is very hallucinogenic, and is known to give visions, and send some of those who imbibe into murderous rages. In the end each  youth is taken to the chief alone to tell him of their visions. Only  those who have visions of war progress to adult hood. The chief gets a second boon form the  exchange as each vision is seen as something of an oracle, the visions are highly valued by the chief. Interestingly yacoooma pulp may only be consumed once, if it is ever drank again by the same person it acts as a deadly poison.
  9. The young orcs are sent to the nearest human settlement and told not to return with out a horse. Those who return pass on into adult hood. Those who do not are presumed killed.
  10. Participants must enter the  caves of the  slug god, negotiate the dark and  mucous coated confines of the  Spineless gods domain, fill a flask with slug acid and return.
  11. The  Workings of the  boulder. the group is split into two teams of ten and are taken to a strange cave with a thirty foot tall conical mound at it's center. Each team is given a six foot round, very smooth  boulder of granite and told to push it to the top of the cone, the first team to succeeded passes the trial. There are no rules as to how this has to be done.
  12. There are twenty new recruits and twenty large brown leather sacks laid out in a row. Each participant must step forward and cram their head into one of the sacks when orders to do so. The sacks contain. (roll once for all sacks or once for each it's up to you)1.Broken glass 2.honey 3.A poisonous viper 4.A brick 5.Fire ants 6.gravel 7.A sleeping badger 8.The  head of one of last years losers coals 10.Thistles 11.A cave centipede 12.A large pile of orc ear wax and toe jam. 13.A spiked gauntlet. 14.A glass jar of  Skink blood. 15.Finely Ground charcoal and several sharp stones 16.A pair of young fire beetles. 17.Chiken bones 18.A live chicken 19.A still beating heart from "something" 20.A tribal dagger which (if you survive jamming your face into it,) becomes yours.
  13. The  participants pair off and "chicken fight" on on the others shoulders using  red hot iron spears. The winner of each match is the  first to knock off or scar his opponent. The winners move on.
  14. Thagnar takes the group to a wide open cave, a deep crevasse bisects the floor. An open sided stone bridge arcs over the crevasse some  eight feet wide and thirty feet long. As arrows begin to whistle by, Thagnar grabs the first recruit in line and pushes him towards the bridge. You hear him growl, "Serpintine" as he shoves the frightened orc forward.
  15. Bullett Jumping. In a pit outside of the  tribal caves the the tribe keeps a captured Bullett.  Each  participant must jump over the beast twice to be declared a brave enough orc to fight in the ranks. Each year the  Bullett claims several of the initiates.
  16. Each participant gets a set of  tightly woven wicker gloves covers on the outside with stinging  cave ants, the participants then fight until there are only ten left standing.
  17. Each participant is given a small cup of  a highly toxic fungal extract, they are told to pour it in their eyes, to purify their sight for battle. This does not damage the eyes but makes the  recipient violently ill both vomiting and emptying their bowels. After this  purification  each participant is hit with long supple wooden switch  crossed the face to mark them as a member of the  tribe, finally they are secluded for a day and a night with no food or water. When  the next day dawns they may come out of seclusion as adult warriors. Some never come out.
  18. IN a near by  underground gully  there are known t be umber hulk dens, each  of the twenty is given a different formulation of  ocher mud, which is smeared on their hands. They are to race to the umber-hulks den , some  three miles away though dangerous underground tunnels and leave their hand print on the  beasts. Those who make it back  succeed, those who do not are dead.
  19. There are groups of patrol that watch ever hall and entrance  to the Scarmaws tribal caves each wears a headpiece adorned with cave lizard scales, bring back a scale to pass the trial. If you happen to kill one of the guards you may take his post after the trial, if a guard happens to kill a participant, so be it.
  20. There is a thirty foot tall cliff at the far end of the caves, below it will be built a fire that will be allowed to burn down to hot coals. The participants must leap from the lip of the cliff into the coals and survive. How this is achieves is unimportant, if the participant dies or is  maimed, then they  were never meant to be warriors. After the leap each survivor is bathed in  water from a near by spring then covered in  dark charcoal dust  which is vigorously rubbed into the participants burns and open wounds, marking them for life.

As always
Thank you for reading.

Please Drop any comments you  like into that woven basket full of bullet ants bellow.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Numbers to the Rescue!

Nothing brings people out like a math problem.
this stems from this post earlier today.
I was musing  about the Warrior fight style "great weapon fighting."
the fight style allows the warrior  using a 2 handed weapon to re-roll 1's and 2's for damage and  keep the second result.

I said I would rather just roll two dice every attack and  pick the higher because it feels more thematic, to heck with the math, I'm to lazy.

A reader from G+ Mr.Ian Borchardt is not too lazy. In fact he is the antithesis of lazy so he did this:
If you want the actual numbers for your glaive, here is 1d10.
First column is highest of 2d10; second column rerolls 1 or 2.

Damage 2D pick the highest Re roll 1 &2's take result
10 19% 12%
9 17% 12%
8 15% 12%
7 13% 12%
6 11% 12%
5 9% 12%
4 7% 12%
3 5% 12%
2 3% 2%
1 1% 2%

Using your method the average result is 7. Using the default method the average result is 6. Have fun
Thank you for the numbers Ian.
He used the damage for a weapon doing 1d10 because that's what my character is going to be trotting around with.

Where does this take me with that idea? Nowhere really I just thought the whole re-roll 1 &2's take the second roll mechanic was oddly out of place given the streamlining of the rest of the system.

Ian's numbers don't seem game breaking to me, I could try the roll 2 dice and take the higher all the time method with the group I run and I don't think the  game would implode from it.

Nor would it be any better than the "Dualist" fight style's +2 with a one handed weapon while  not wielding other weapons.  Duelist, unless I have complete lost my nut guarantees at least 3 points of damage every roll. That would make a rapier (1d8) do 3 to 11 even without other bonuses making it pretty much better than a Glaive, a Halberd, or a Pike, even with great weapon fighting. On top of that as a duelist I could have a shield for plus 2 AC. Gravy

Would it be unbalancing to give Great weapon fighter a flat damage bonus?  Perhaps.  Giving a 2D6 Maul another +2 might be a bit much over time. At least it would be consistent with duelist and archery.

This also proves that though  _I  LOATH_  min-maxing a character I am also perfectly capable of it. I fell dirty.

Also you read it here first, this kind of bonus wrangling is how babies are made and those babies are named "power creep."

In the name of fairness, my own game Amazing Adventures and Exciting exploits, has bits of dangling  mechanics exactly like this, and they also irk me. I'm going to have to go back through and  expunge some of them when I get a chance.

Thank you again to Ian for the quick numbers injection, I appreciate you taking the time.

Thank you for reading,
Please leave comments in the broken Texas Instruments box below.

A quick likely rhetorical fiddly system question for D&D 5th ed.

I was just making a Character for  our  D&D 5th ed game tonight. Jay is running the module from the starter set and I am playing a  (GHASP) fighter... (I generally always play fighters.)

Looking over the fighters Fight styles I noticed "great weapon fighting."
Re-roll damage rolls of 1 or 2 keep the result of the re-roll. Sounds fine, I'm taking it.

Given the systems focus on advantage disadvantage wouldn't make more sense to handle great weapon fighting in a similar way and always roll 2 damage dice then keep the higher, avoiding having to take the time to re-roll?  Mathematically it's different, but I'm not taking the time to figure out the exact differences, I think rolling 2 dice would be aesthetically more pleasing.

Here is the character by the way .
For those about to die we salute you.

My D un D guy.

Name: Orin Holzknecht

Race Human +1 all stats
Class : Fighter
Level : 1
AC: 16
Hit Points: 14

Method 4d6 drop the lowest straight up and down, no re-rolls.
Strength : 14 +2
Dexterity: 15 +2
Constitution: 18 +4
Intelligence: 13 +1
Wisdom: 11 +0
Charisma: 14 +2

Chain mail
Dungoneers Pack.
Glaive heavy , reach , 2 handed, 1d10+2
Scimitar: Finesse, light, 1d6+2

Gold: 130
weight 55

Animal handling
Artisan tools: wood working

Fight style: great weapon fighting (re-roll 1 or 2 on damage)
second wind 1d10+1 haling needs a rest to recharge. (really?)


Alignment: Neutral Good.
Folk hero
(random rolls)
Defining event: A fey creature gave me a blessing and reveled my secret origin.
Personalty trait: Thinking is for others I prefer action.
Ideal: There’s no good in pretending I'm something I’m not.
Bond: A proud noble once gave me a beating so I will take it out on any bully I find.
Flaw: I have a weakness for the vices of the city particularly women.

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Hill Dugger Inn

The Hill Dugger or the  Old Dugger as its sometimes known is located on the old trade road about two days walk outside of Dairhouse proper and west of the small town of Cliffmedow.

The Dugger is built into the side of a hill, much in the way that Halflings prefer to dwell it was however built by man and is to their larger size. Its small blue door is easy to  pass buy on a  summer day while traveling the trade road, the Dugger hangs no sign, only the smell of cooking  invite in the weary.

No one remembers who originally created the Dugger in or if it was always an in at all. The current owner Brewer Thomas inherited it from his grandfather who in an unsubstantiated story was said to have won the  inn during a game of dice.

The fair at the Dugger is hardy peasant food such as Bulgar, barbacoa of goat, root vegetables roasted over coals, and mutton are all common dishes. Thomas's Haggis is known locally as being particularly good.
As a brewer Thomas is known as a experimenter who will use honey from his own bees and  local herbs to make fine mead, he also purchases hops from the north to make excellent bitters that are unlike the ales houses of Dairhouse. one benefit of being on the trade road is the opportunity to  cherry pick ingredients from the  caravans that pass by.  The old Dugger has a strong local following based on ale alone, a fine way to end a hot day.

So  while the Dugger is fine in it's way why would adventures be interested in it beside a good mead? Up until last summer they would not have but when Thomas began digging out a foundation for  a new boiling kettle, he found a skeleton resting four feet below the surface. A gigantic skeleton.

As he continued to excavate the massive bones, the scope of the  creature he had found  soon became apparent, and naturally Thomas started thinking of ways to profit form the  find. For a year now he has been  letting  passersby by see the skeleton for a gold crown, and  has sold some of the smaller shards of bone to various hedge-wizards claiming they can weave great magics with giant bones.
Unknown to most Thomas also found a four by four engraved stone, with mysterious runes on one side and a rough map on the other.

Thomas has hidden the stone, and only shown a charcoal rubbing  to a few close acquaintances, but yet word has spread. The map seems to point in the area of  the marsh to the east, but shows a very different landscape then what presently exists. Word is out that Thomas might be willing to sell the stone just to get it off his hands and plans on reburying the giant with a proper headstone fearing he may have gone to far already and risks being cursed.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

100 things that could have been in that Hollow tree.

The hollow tree.

Three boys from town were walking in the forest hunting for mushrooms and fiddle-heads. As the shadows began to get long they rounded a thicket and hopped over an oxbow in the stream they were confronted by a massive tree trunk. Round as Old Milfords Grain house, taller than a hog shed and broken at the top into jagged woody teeth that looked like a vast hoary crown.  It looked as if the grand old tee had bee sicken by lighting recently, the trunk had fallen and a deep crack was rent down the side of the remaining trunk. The boys could see that the lightning had also exposed a deep hollow inside the mighty stump. At the Drum-kettle Inn an old man tells what the boys say they had seen, and why they promised each other never to return.

They quietly crept up to the darkness of he Hollow stump, carefully peered in  and saw.
  1. Three children growing out of the old trunk. The children looked exactly like them.
  2. A swirling swirling vortex that looked like the night sky and gave off a low humming noise like bees under a thick blanket. 
  3. A massive wooden heart, rent from an equally large wooden artery, dried sap oozing  from the wound with each slow labored beat.
  4. A writhing mass of  blood red giant slugs, recently hatched form their slime covered egg sacks.
  5. The skeleton of a man horribly deformed by the action of ancient roots clutching a black lacquer box.
  6. A gnome tending a small cauldron of broth containing a hand. The owner of which was o where in sight. The gnome became angered when he saw the youths and chased them, shouting curses and throwing stones.
  7. A round wooden table, pieces of copper and spread about, a murdered man laying on the ground.
  8. Several stones floating in the air.
  9. a crack in the earth, a  natural slope leading down, cool air rushing from the opening.
  10. The inside of the tree was covered with a thick coating of ice in spite of the warm spring day.
  11. They saw nothing, but they heard voices, conversations and music.
  12. A strange face carved inside the  tree, a woman locked in an endless scream, it looked like a small gem may have rested in her mouth but they dared not go any closer.
  13. A fine camp, with a silk bed roll, a brass lantern, and several bottles of wine.
  14. The biggest rat any of them had ever seen, and strangely it was wearing a saddle.
  15. A swirling vortex of smoke and sparks.
  16.  A young child, who had at some point had his eyes removed, who when they approached he offered to tell them their fortunes in a very adult voice.
  17. many small items that had been lost form local farms over the past few decades all heaped up in a pile and hung fro the interior walls of the tree. Things like horse shoes, nails, keys, bits of chain. Things lost but barely missed.
  18. A vine as think an a mans arm and at least ten feet long busy  trashing a young doe to death.
  19. An extremely large egg, with a shell of molted blue, black, and tan. The children returned to town to get a wheel barrow for the egg then thought better of it.
  20. A cook pot, a bag of pipe-weed, a smoldering pipe laying on the ground and a huge snake curled up in the center of the hollow tree. A large lump plainly visible in its abdomen.
  21. Some one had placed a large cage trap inside the hollow tree. A chocolate cake placed as bait.
  22. The slumbering Owl Bear
  23. A large pulsating  purple blob, as they peered at it it began to move toward them, their heads swam and the forest began to swirl, after that the boys only remember running, heedlessly though brambles and  streams until they arrived back at town.
  24. The tree was packed solid with skeletal remains, so much so they were spilling out where the  truck had cracked.
  25. A great pile of feathers and chicken bones.
  26. The three was harboring a wood nymph , who upon seeing the boys whispered a secret to each of them and sent them home with the request that they return when they are older.
  27. There was a creature, a cracking creature o pure light , it was as if the  lightning that struck the tree was still living in the  hollow tree, waiting to lash out again.
  28. There was a sword wedged into the ancient roots of the tree. The boys tugged on it, but none of them were strong enough to pull it free.
  29. There was a spiral stair leading up into the tree trunk, then into darkness. Strangely the  boys tell that the tree was broken off at a much lower point than the spiral stair seems to climb. 
  30. A troll sat with it's back to the opening eating some poor creature still half alive,luckily the boys ran off before it saw them.
  31. A very large chest held shut by iron chains.
  32. a Four foot long three foot tall wooden model of a war ship. The boys tried to take it but it was rooted to the ground, ass if it grew there.
  33. A gigantic lizard skull.
  34. Some one has set up a bar inside the  tree, non one was around, but a small sign said  "opens at midnight"
  35. A Shimmering image of a beautiful woman , soundlessly mouthing unknown words over and over again.
  36. A figure appearing to be made of living wood, and attached to the inside of the tree by hundreds of small roots, It writhed as if trying to get free.
  37. A strange garden of iridescent flowers, that ring with a soft music when disturbed. 
  38. A sheer hole dropping into the earth, the boys dropped a stone in and never heard it hit bottom.
  39. a living space built for a human sized creature , whit a fire pit and a door flap made of a thick pelt, it seems to have been abandon for  while.
  40. Three casks of  very fine spirits, and a small pouch of coins.
  41. A strange stone altar surrounded by burnt down candles, a skeleton fresh but flayed fo a it's flesh  strapped a crossed it. 
  42. A HUGE snail.
  43. An opening into a giant ant colony, the ants pop in and out of the  freshly downed trunk looking for prey.
  44. A pool of mud that burbles and  roils, seeming to momentarily taking on the shape of faces, limbs and random body parts.
  45. A silver chalice filled with a strange amber fluid.
  46. Several Huge multicolored mushrooms the likes of which the boys had never seen before.
  47. A large ape that turned to the boys and began to speak, they were so frightened they ran home.
  48. A stone well, complete with a bucket and pulley.
  49. The hollow tree appeared to be empty , but the boys tell of a very strong smell of waste water or sewage in the trunk.
  50. The inside of the tree is covered by a vast pixie city, the pixies have been thrown into a  tizzy trying to reconnect with the pixies in the part of the city that was lost when the tree was hit by lighting and fell over.
  51. The Interior of the tree is the  home to a hive of massive wasps. The boys ran home to tell the village men , because they know from their bed time stories that the  royal jelly of giant wasps can cure wounds and disease.
  52. A bail of hey with a tied up miniature goat chewing away at it.
  53. A giant  pitcher plant the  evening light streaming into the trunk plainly reveled the shadow of a human form inside the massive plant.
  54. A massive pulsating brain like fungus.
  55. a crystalline blue pool of water, bubbling up form a spring deep below.
  56. An elf chained to the interior of the tree.
  57. An apothecary's work space, covered with bottles and powders. A skeleton sitting in a chair in-front of the work bench head in it's hands.
  58. The interior of the tree is covered with  runes the runes tell the story of a journey from the under world to redemption, reading it ha a magical effect.
  59. I hidden pit filled with  spikes.
  60. A giant spider the spider speaks a scratchy  form of common, it invited the children in for tea and ha no idea why they ran away.
  61. A perfect model of the  local baron's keep, accurate in every detail.
  62. Hundreds of tiny tombstones, each one with a name scrawled on it in a ancient script.
  63. dozens of fine threads hang from the upper reaches of the  broken stump, on the end of each one  a tooth dangles in the breeze.
  64. a mysterious man sized green pod covered in a sticky jelly.
  65. The inner wall of the tree holds an intricately carved series of commandments concerning  living the proper life of  paladin.
  66. A woodsman's ax, the hand and and upper arm of the woodsman still attached.
  67. An intelligent and very rowdy family of raccoon
  68. Two ethereal ghosts locked in a  never ending wrestling match as the struggle to gain possession of a strange dagger.
  69. A map is burnt into the  wood inside the hollow trunk. It shows places and  cities the  three youths have never head of , but the geography looks familiar to them.
  70. Strange sweet smelling fruits hang form the  interior of the tree, each ones rind looks like a different and frighteningly realistic human face.
  71. A very old looking man in  stark white cloaks sleeping soundly on a bed roll laid out inside the tree.
  72. A small house built into the side of the tree, a badger is tied up in-front like a dog.
  73. A Person is pushing it's way up through the soil in the center of the tree stump, it looks like the  person has been dead for a long time, whats worse there is a tangle of other arms pushing through the soil. This could be a problem.
  74. A man sized straw and  twine idol with a bird cage on its head. IN the bird cage a small son bird was tweeting happily.
  75. A large burlap sack containing several pounds of pure clay, a few mismatched iron rods, a large set of shackles and a small ivory box containing  a small blank scroll.
  76.  A small patch of  red fern that wave and move on their own.
  77. thousands of  four inch long  glowing centipedes writhing in a mass an d covering the interior of the stump.
  78. A ghoul feeding on the corpse of some unfortunate victim.
  79. Grown into the twisting roots of the old tree is a sturdy looking silver shield.
  80. three goblins building a strange device out of a stolen wheelbarrow, a dire wolf, some rusty shields and a heavy crossbow.
  81. A bloody scythe is rammed into the interior wall of the tree stump, the  area is splashed with blood and gore.
  82. two gnomes playing chess.
  83. A goat like grey skinned make figure with huge horns chained to the wall of the stump, when he saw the boys he began imploring them to free him, even promising to show them where a great horde of gold is hidden in the forest.
  84. A skull riddled with  nails. No body. The boys say the skull was perched atop a small wooden chest.
  85. Inside the tree is a large and very old looking statue. 
  86. It's a gelatinous cube spawning site. There are several cubes stuffed in the hollow of the tree slapping blindly up against each other. They apparently came to the surface from a  cave below.
  87. The boys found a very sad forest pixy that told them the story about her family being  slain by  a hunter. he asked the boy to stay and never leave, they  realized that was a bit creepy so they  ran home.
  88. A huge hairy humanoid was quietly sleeping  curled up in the hollow tree.
  89. They have found the body of a local farm hand who has been missing for several weeks, he has had his throat cut and has been stripped naked.
  90. The interior walls of the tree stump is covered with  strange multicolored fruit.
  91. A man in a flowing black cloak was sitting on a stool in the middle of the broken stump, he told the boys he is a follower of the old faith and will be setting up a grove, he then offered them tea, and began explaining how a walnut becomes a mighty oak. The boys quietly left and then ran back to town. 
  92. A huge beetle was chewing away at the tree trunk, several large writhing egg sacks were seen strewn around the  forest floor nearby.
  93. A grave stone that must have been here before the tree first started to grow, on it is inscribed the name of the towns founder. A man who  was thought to be an evil necromancer, just saying his name is thought to be a bad omen back in town.
  94. The Roots of the old tree create a five foot wide tunnel that travels under the earth from the base of the tree.
  95. The mummified remains of a dog that had gotten stuck in the  tree many yeas before.
  96. A trove of large Pearls and  several other smaller Gems that has been hurriedly stashed here.
  97. a small sapling growing form the exact center of the older trees trunk, when the boys approached it began to  shimmer. The heard voices singing in their ears, and another stronger voice telling them to tend the new sapling. The assumed it was a dark magic , and  ran back to town.
  98. Wedged into the ancient tree's interior is a strange silver tube about  four feet long,  a foot around, and covered in runes.
  99. The huge cracked stump contains the  prow of a very old ship, clearly visible inside the  broken vessel is a skeleton strapped to a chair, wearing a helmet that connects it t some strange arcane device that appears to be part of the old vessels prow.
  100. A 5 by 5 by five stone cube hovers silently in the center of the ancient tree's trunk, it seems undisturbed by  the ages, an it slowly spins. it is  shinny, black on all sides except one which holds a door.
Thank you for reading .
Please leave comments in the hollow tree stump below.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Transitioning from AD&D to Dungeon World, sounds big right? Right?

Out with one in with another:

So last night after a quick game on roll 20 the group I game with decided that it would be fun to convert their characters from my long standing campaign over to Dungeon World.

So what does this mean for my relationship with AD&D 2nd edition?
I think it's pretty much over.
Breaking up is hard I know.. It's not you it's me... I'll pay for a cab.

Over course of time my campaign has been run in,
BX D&D (red box)
Rules compendium D&D
Advanced D&D
Second edition AD&D
Third edition D&D
Phase Abandon (home brew)
I might be forgetting something , but lets face it one more game system wont make a difference.

I have nothing against the various flavors of D&D. I still have this pipe dream to return to basic D&D at some point. I would love taking the Basic D&D rules compendium that's slowly turning yellow in my attic for one final spin. Though I think the chance of that happening is shrinking fast at this point.

so why change? As a group though I think there was a kind of unspoken simmering dissatisfaction with the AD&D2nd system. I could be projecting here it could be my simmering dissatisfaction that's flying around, but regardless I sense it. The feeling I get sometimes from playing  the second edition game is kind of like when I suggested we play the  old deluxe Car Wars for a few sessions. I posted an intro video and  the reaction was something akin to showing the drivers of a 2014 Audi a model T-Ford. "You have to crank it? You have to do all that just to go buy milk?"

I think for our style of play, we have started looking for a system that's less fiddly. Sometimes we go a session and a half with out ever rolling a die, so 90% of what AD&D offers is left just sitting on the character sheets moldering. 

 I'm not a flavor of the month guy  I started this campaign world in Jr high school on My friend Fred's couch, that's about 27 yeas ago? something like that, usually we pick a system and run it for a while. I strongly believe Apocalypse World and  Dungeon World are the current hackers flavor of choice. Kind of like Fate has been over the  past few years, have an idea? Use Apocalypse World it will be great!  It's like tatted up D&D with a beard, some big sunglasses, and a can of Pabst.

What I do find interesting is this, We talked about Dungeon World for a while one night on skype. Neal offered to run a game, the “slave pits” of somebody. We played one game and Jay said “I love this game,” and “This is my new favorite character.” That's pretty strong stuff from one game. There must be something there that matches how the guys like to play.

I think it's the functionality of the basic moves and how they an be implemented creatively. For example It's not I'm just "defying danger," but The gm is asking me how I'm defying danger and what I say might make a difference. That's good. It matches up nicely with my long standing habit of giving mechanical bonuses based on creative things the players tell me they are doing. It codifies a big part of how we already play.

A dead simple die mechanic also helps.

Abilities and  effectiveness being ore about who your character is and less about what they have is also something I think appeals to the group.

As a GM the only thing it means to me is that my 2nd ed books go back in the box, and I should invest in some Dungeon World materials beyond the main PDF.

Every body Is going to remake their 6th level AD&D characters as brand new fresh dungeon World characters.
The only character who might cause an issue would be Johann the gnome Bard, but Neal assures me there is something out there on the inter-webs that he can use to cob together a gnome.

But wait! The group is already level six how can you expect them to go back to the beginning with a new system?

Dungeon World puts a strong emphasis on characters being awesome right out of the box. After examining the starting character moves, Willhelm the first level Dwarf fighter is pretty much as effective as a first level dungeon world character as he was as a 6th level AD&D 2nd ed character.

The only real loss they will feel is the dropping back in hit points. Which I will have to adjust for as the GM. I will just have to adjust what they fight accordingly, and you know, read more dungeon world.

The current story arcs, have Johan researching the legends of the norther lands. Wilhelm looking to go to the ruined city of Careth to suss out information about the thieves guild who were apparently behind the cutting off of his hand. Finally the Master our Druid, looking to restore the lay lines by collecting magic infused stones and placing them in ancient druid groves. There is a side line about a strange cult leader named Vorul who is looking to get his hands on a key that The master has which has been back burned while Vorul plots quietly. There is other stuff going on but the players read this blog sometimes, loose lips sink ships and all that.

That's quite a bit to adjust and track, but it's not a lot to adjust statistically. For the story I just keep using my notes and carry on.

In short a transition to Dungeon World or anything else for that matter is just a book keeping exercise, story wise the change is negligible.

I will be posting from time to time on this blog how the transition goes. I have a pretty good feeling about it.

Thank you for reading.
Please leave any comments in the used book donation box bellow.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Pod cast part 4 Finale "Battle of the Furnace Ape."

So we have arrived at the final episode of the  4 part AAIE pod cast.
I think the four casts they give a pretty good feel for AAIE and  how it flows, even if you just listen to parts and pieces there is allot to be learned about the game from these clips.

Here is episode 4: Battle of the Furnace Ape
The  party has journeyed into a mysterious crypt and  ind that they are being watched by an intimidating  monster called "the Furnace Ape."

Here it is embedded if that's how you like to roll.

Past episodes:
Episode 1: Character Gen :
Episode 2:  Into the Woods:
Episode 3: Into the crypt:

Check out this post for a more info and the stats from "The Furnace Ape"

Keep an eye out on the  blog, Amazing Adventures and Exciting Exploits (the game featured in these pod-casts) is going be a free PDF download very soon!

As always thank you for reading
Comments welcome in the large stone coffin bellow.

A 2d20 Pantheon of fools, Devils and Cretins

An experiment in image association.
take the image below.
Roll 2d20  and sum them up.
find the part of the  doodle that's near your number,  figure out what you think that is.
Do it again.
Combine the results
That's the new cretinous god of your Pantheon.

I rolled 37 then 20 and  called it  "CUa-tal The Sheltering Parasite."

As always thank you for reading

Please leave a comment in the shuddering void below.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

We were all set to play last night and then....

A conversation broke out.

Here is why I don't always approach the gaming experience or what it takes to run or play a game exactly like other people do.
Sometimes it is not about the game.

Last night,

  • We talked about  food, allot. including this:
  • Pulled pork with slaw and  home made pretzel  buns that I made for Quariz and Mike a weekend ago.
  • Then we talked about Billy Bob's Barbecue in Pogheepsie New York, Which for my money is the best BBQ joint in the area. (I know,  anyone  who lives in the south would know better.)
  • We talked about a hole in the wall main street place where Jay gets Dope Cheese burgers for lunch.
  • We talked about playing basketball this summer.
  • We talked about Rusty's, Jay's and my work.
  • We talked about how  an RPG love fest through G+ into convulsions and landed us in many peoples circles (I think that's AWESOME by the way.)
  • We talked about the Zoo in Millbrook.
  • WE talked about Shards of Thimbral My last doomed "serious" Rpg Project.
  • We talked at length about Dungeon World.. Ok honestly I went off on how much I love some of it.
  • We talked about how Great Chris P played D&D 5th the other night.
  • We talked about the  State of the AAIE PDf. Jay gave some thoughts on positioning the  Critical hit tables so the GM can navigate to them more quickly .. Point taken, it shall be done.
  • We talked about all the random generators on the net and how awesome they are.
  • We talked about  a bunch of other random  shit.
  • We talked about how close 5th ed's "roll 2d20 pick the higher or lower depending on your advantage / disadvantage." Die mechanic is pretty close to something we do in the Block game and AAIE
Pics of the block game

We should play "The block game" again.
These little bastards miss  us.

Long story  short, we shot the shit for three hours, we never played.
This is one of the things I love about  R.P.G.'s and Table top gaming. It keeps me in touch with my friends.
In allot of ways without the touch stone of games, finding reasons to just jump on the computer and shoot the shit would not be as easy as it is. That excuse to be with others as we get older and as our lives have gone through all the complexities and changes of adulthood is the greatest debt I owe to this hobby, it's why I play, it's why I write and share games. 

AS always Thank you for reading 
  Comments welcome in the  large yellow toolbox filled whith  wooden blocks below.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

An ode to random, GM-ing from one's toes.

I am one lazy S.O.B. sometimes.
when I GM my prep is often laughable.
It's better with my AD&D game. With that I tend to look at the story and ask what's going on in the long term?
I'll answer the big questions ahead of time:
  • What are the PC's involved in? 
  • Is it winter yet? 
  • What are the villains up to? 
  • Where are they going? 
  • What are the  characters chasing, and why have they chosen to chase it
When it comes to the minutiae of the game however I get lazy.  Usually I forget to answer questions like the ones below.

  • How many Hp does each orc have?
  • Where do the guards stand at exactly midnight?
  • When does the caravan show up?
  • Whats in that chest the  Jarl  rests his feet on?
  • Do I have a map of this town.
  • How much gold is the innkeeper carrying.
  • Does a paper boy even have HPs? 
I just read a rambunctious discussion about hit points where one hit die monsters are concerned.*
I read the post and the comments that followed and thought to myself.
"Wow I never even think about that kind of thing. I just assign the hit points when the PC's come up on  monsters I don't think I have pre-rolled monster hit points in years." Truth be told I generally just give every monster maximum hit points and  let the chips fall where they may.
It's a different way of looking at things, but for me I  don't care how many Hp's the orc guard has before the  PC's decide to off the bastard.

So that brings me to random.
Sometime I use random content to bail me out, knowing full well I would not have to  if I was better prepared to begin with. It gets sort of addicting.

While I was working on AAIE, I got into the ill-advised habit of running play-tests with absolutely no preparation at all.
I used a random story seed generator to create plot hooks then actively try to link the characters into one or all of them based on their connections and their histories. Once the  party had chosen what they wanted to pursue, or as is often the case decided to pursue something I had not thought of I would quickly try to weave that choice into a coherent story. All the while  rolling up random monsters (some examples of these random critters have made it into this Blog,) giving descriptions of locations, and playing NPC's. 

After a while I realized I was doing something new. I was playing.  
I know of course the GM is playing , I'm being foolish.. hear me out.

The way  AAIE is built, a GM can run the game any way they please.  Tons of prep or almost none what ever floats the GM's boat. There is a real tool box vibe going on the charts and tables are there for the gm to use if they wish. For me I find it an interesting challenge weaving the random into something that resembles an interesting adventure.

And that is the power of random and I think why many "Old school" (what ever that means) GM's enjoy their charts and random lists. Why  two of my highest  viewed blog posts are lists of 100 random (Blanks.)
For me random challenges. Random knocks me out of my own  thought loop. Random ignores my tastes and my ingrained preconceptions. As a gm I have to react to Random, switch up my formula and carry on. In short Random makes me engage with the game and play in a different way then working a fully realized adventure does.

If one of my players asks about mermen and I  decide to roll on "The Half crazed Sailors Report, form the Dungeon Dozen.
And I get # 8:
The Mermen are, Training domesticated whales (and other sea monsters) for suicide attacks against human shipping concerns.
As A Gm now I have to run with that. I have to use it I have to adjust whats going on  and more than likely I have to blow the  Character's ship up with a booby-trapped whale.

And that's what random does it throws a big old monkey wrench into whatever peaceful pattern of thinking I have fallen into. It's mental gymnastics, puzzle solving trying to get all the pieces to fit.

So when I'm Running a game of AAIE and I roll a monster like "slug Goblin," a magic item like "Pin of skull Crushing." or a Story seed like "Retrieve The Head of a Feast From a Giants Feast."    I don't see it as random nonsense I see it as a challenge that as a gm I have to rise to.

This whole post needs to be viewed through the lens of my  improvisational brain. I have a limited capacity to  internalize details but a well developed capacity to wing it. What that means is I understand random is not for everyone. I love long running story arch based campaign and I admit too much random in that type of game would spoil the broth.

Even still, The next time you feel like running a one night game or have some down  time between story elements in your campaign Why not give some extra random a try?

* The discussion about 1 HD monsters and Hit points was from The Tao of D&D found HERE I Did not comment on that discussion because my thoughts were not on topic in relation to the authors intent. I do however find it an interesting post, and it made me think "Wow I have not rolled HP for a monster in a very long time."

Our trial run of AD&D 5th ed.

This is the  most under-produced Video you will ever see. It's really just a pod cast of use playing 5th ed for the first time.
II reserve my opinions on the game. There are hundreds of bloggers who are going to be more complete and concise about that than I  can be.
I have also said in the past I'm not doing big 5th ed pieces on this blog because  it's not a "D&D blog" it's a "Shit I made in my  brain parts Page"

I can however say we have given the Basic PDF an honest shot.

So listen to this on your ride to work.
It's 2 hours and 7 minutes long so ... I don't know background noise wile you paint the bathroom?
That screen is not going to change so don't bother staring at it.

I Think it bears repeating , this  video was made for speed of delivery not so much for  aesthetic impact. I wanted to have it up by Sunday but  we did not play on Friday as planned etc..etc..We played on Sunday and here it is.

However you do get to marvel at my in depth preparation, my  dope ass mapping skills ($killz?), and  my so cool  "It came from the North," hand writing.

Thank you for reading thank you for watching  thank you in general .
Comments welcome in that little box that says "Cookies" below.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Something big, Sort of, this way comes. (and a monster)

Sort of  a big deal:

Over this long weekend I created what I called Amazing Adventures and Exciting Exploits “Final” PDF. Which is the first time I have used the term Final concerning this project. As any of you  who work on  "Do it your self"  game design already know "Final" is a tricky concept. I spent the  weekend tightening up the index and  adding  bits and pieces here and there, finding things to clarify and tweak. It's about 95 pages as is, It will likely bloat to 100 when I add in a few more play examples and that sort of thing

 I have to be honest from the art, to the writing,  to the lay out, it's all incredibly unprofessional I have no allusions otherwise, but  it is playable and fun so at least I have that on my side.
So we come to this, next after another week or so of tweaking and  reading and letting  my friends pour over the damn thing I plan on offering up the PDF to any takers.

My question to you fine folks is whats the  best easiest way to distribute to you fine folks?

A monster just for fun:

So that your not all bored to tears by that announcement  here is a monster I used in my last AAIE game, Just so you can get a bit of a taste.

This is the monster that will be featured in the crescendo of the V-log series "Crypt of the Furnace Ape" 

In case any one wants to check that out, here are the links.
Part 1 "Character Gen"

Furnace Ape:
  • Level 3
  • Resolve Pool 3d10
  • Armour score 13
  • Attacks: Meaty Fists
    • 1 or 2 per round 
    • 3D6 damage  (spit between 2 attacks or all in one.)
  • Special attack: Poison Spray
    • 3 x a day
    • fan shape in front of the furnace ape
    • 3d6 damage (Roll a resolve check with a difficulty of 13 to half damage.
    • critical success: bites 1 target for 6d6 necrotic venom damage
  • Description:
  • These beasts are often summoned by greater flame demons who use them to guard hidden summoning / sacrificial braziers.The furnace ape is a minor demon that takes the form of a broad shouldered simian who stands roughly  6 feet tall, and nearly five feet from shoulder to shoulder. The fur on these creatures wavers and moves by it's own accord resembling low flickering flames. The coloration of the beasts changes from Molted red, yellow and white patches to a dark nearly black blood red depending on how far they stray from the fires they have been charged to tend. 
  • Furnace Apes have two very notable fangs that hand down from their upper jaw. These are not extended canines but rather true fangs that are hollow and  are used to  propel a fan like Myst of necrotic venom. The Venom if allowed into an open wound can cause rapid flesh rotting, scarring and  a painful death. Fire apes have two central eyes and if examined closely four other smaller eyes around their heads that give them a limited 360 degree vision, (they can see 360 degrees but can only discern depth and color to the front.)
  • While they look like apes they are not, for example they do not climb well, can't swim, and are not particularly dexterous.
  • When  away form their fires their fur darkens and this darker coloring helps them maintain cover in wooded or cave like environments, allowing them to hide in shadows at -3 difficulty. The Furnace ape tends the coals in a single braziers often sneaking out at night to nearby towns to steal coal and other combustibles. They take from sheds and unknowing businesses, to avoid notice they never take much and never from the same location twice in a row. A furnace ape caught in the act of staling will drop what ever it has taken and flee, often leading to  rumors of  forest ape men or wild men. 
  • Furnace Apes will fight to the death to protect their fires, often retreating to draw opponents away from their braziers and using other simple tricks to gain an upper hand.
13 Rumors about Furnace Apes:
  1. It has been written that, Disturbing the coals of a Furnace Ape Brazier may bring the wrath of the greater demon who put it there, this wrath often takes the form of incredibly bad luck in the future.
  2. They say a cloak made form the pelt of a Furnace Ape will grant the  wearer warmth in the coldest to climates.
  3. IT has been said, Killing the  Demon  who summoned a furnace ape will give you control of the furnace ape.
  4. Old stories say, The  poison glands of a furnace ape can be used to make A bladder of flesh eating. Fill it with water and any meat placed in the bladder will be dissolved in the course of a day, bone will not. An Interesting but some what useless ting to have around.
  5. I was once told Dark Elves hunt furnace apes for their venom, they will latter use it on their swords and crossbow bolts.
  6. It was once written that the minor eyes of the a spider ape once removed can be used to see through each other, by looking into once central eye. The  image is  grey and  blurry and the  eyes only remain fresh enough for a day , but the effect can be useful.
  7. I have been told the fangs of a Furnace Ape are sought after by by alchemists and apothecaries.
  8. I have heard that if the coals a furnace ape is guarding  are extinguished they have one day to rekindle them or their patron demon  recalls the furnace ape and destroys it via death by  hot chains.
  9. I was once told that Furnace Ape venom much watered down is an amazing anesthetic, and  also incredibly addictive.
  10. It is written that Furnace Ape's are actually cowardly and  will  run from  opponents as long as their fires are not threatened, they are only motivated by  fear for their patron.
  11. It is said the teeth of a furnace ape are made  the finest ebony scorched by a steady diet of coals.
  12. There was an old hermit who would tell the tale of Furnace Ape's living deep underground as a society at peace , long before they were claimed by the  Fire demons as slaves. To this day they dream of freedom.
  13. You can tell when they're around because they give off a musky scent a bit like day old sauteed onions.

Thank you for  reading and as always the furnace ape will accept comments in his lair below.

Friday, July 4, 2014

New stuff everywhere!

For those of you reading who are American, Happy Fourth of July.

The newest episode of my actual play V-log is up for your listening pleasure.
Its called "Exploring the Furnace Ape Crypt" and can be found 
over HERE  on you tube.

This episode picks up where the gang left off last week in episode 2, and continues deeper into the cave they fell into.
And if you like your Furnace Apes Embedded you can listen here:

My hopes with these V logs is that some folks will check them out and get interested in or curious about "Amazing Adventurers and Exciting Exploits." To be honest that hasn't seemed to happen yet, but that's alright. The V-Logs were fun to make, and just sharing  the guys and myself sitting around the table have a game is worth it to me. 
There will be one more next week which will conclude the Fire ape Crypt series, then we'll move on to other things.


As any one who is any one who knows anyone who games knows the 5th edition Dungeons and Dragons "Basic PDF" dropped yesterday. 
Our group was set to give it a spin last night but bad weather here in the Northeast put the  brakes on that and we're going to try again Sunday.
As I have stated before I'm not going to  write about 5th ed on this blog, but I would be remiss if I did not say a few quick things.

As pointed out by others in the  "Additional Consultation by" section it was pretty awesome to see both
Who I don't always agree with when I read him, but whatever.
Who's Blog I read every time it updates and love the shit out of, again whatever.

I think this is cool just because in my feeble mind these guys are bloggers like me. All be it better at it, with much larger followings (read that as they have followings, me not so much.) Still the same cookies even if it is a different box.
It's oddly validating, and I'm really happy for them to get a credit in such a huge release.
Big ups guys

I would never need anything more than whats in that PDF to play the game, from now until forever. I am not saying I'm excited about the game it's self or juries still out on that, I have not played it yet. 
What I am saying is the FREE PDF gives me enough info to run the game anything I would need in the future I could home brew, monsters spells, ect, the frame is there to do what ever with. In fact I'm hoping they don't Muck up what they have in that PDF with what ever they cram into the PHB.

Alright folks have a great 4th , don't get stupid and blow your digits off with cheap fireworks, be safe.
thank you for reading.

Please leave comments in the loaded mortar below.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Something I love. (a digression)

Too many posts for two days I get that.

Something I love ..and have always been more than a bit obsessed with  is procedurally generated animation.

I would love nothing more than to be talented, patient, techie, or  savvy enough to dabble in this sort of thing, but I'm not, so I live vicariously though others.

But this , using  procedures and Sound to  create 3D animations (as I understand it) is just for my simple brain, Simple brain blowing.
I'm not even upset that it's around three years old, I'm behind on this one, but glad I caught up.

Originally linked to off of the  Fantastic Blog "False Machine"

From the RESONANCE Vimeo site"
"Resonance is a collaborative project with over 30 independent visual and audio designers/studios. The aim was to explore the relationship between geometry and audio in unique ways. for more details and opportunities to get one of the limited edition Blu-Ray and DVD versions of the full film."

Check it out here.

Also Take a look at:

This CGI short "About a planet"


Why the  hell should I map any more? 

Thanks for letting me share.
Have a good one.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dungeons are a mixed bag.

Troll bait title right ? right ?
OK maybe it is , but I mean it.

As a caveat though I need to add that does to mean I don't love dungeons, I do! Like I might love a kitten with a lazy eye, I love the holy hell out of them. I run dungeons, I have mapped dungeons. I just think that the concept is kinda dated and  well...stupid.

Another Caveat: Before someone jumps my shit and says, "I used such and such a mega dungeon and my  group loves it and  I'm certainly not stupid ~!RAWR OLD SCHOOL! RAWR!~"
I agree. You are not stupid and  Dungeons are fun, old school is awesome, and  lets calm down and here have a drink.

Let me spell out thoughts on dungeons, as I think of them.

Many of them are ungodly huge and full of stuff. I mean who digs these things? Who stashes their shit in them? Designers go to great length to explain how these things came to be and I think real world examples of truly mega and old underground areas are pretty sparse. Sure the New York subway system is underground, multi-leveled, full of giant rats, and sprawls all over the place, but I want to stick with  fantasy tropes for this post.
One good example would be the massive french  catacombs, and  limestone mines that lie under Paris. It's a fantastic example that really crazy under ground  Dungeons and dragons style locations can and do exist.
holy shit...
The Kremlin is said to be built over a vast network of tunnels and holes dating back to the establishment of  Moscow. Legends of lost libraries, torture chambers, and who knows what abound about the place.

K5 in The valley of the kings is by far the biggest tomb found in Egypt, with over 120  chambers and hallways it's the closest thing I can think of from Antiquity that qualifies as "A lost mega dungeon." 

However usually underground construction built in that past for reasons other than mining were not on that grand scale.
The Colosseum in Rome had a complex underground system of room and chambers under it's floor. But it was not something a man could get lost in for days at a time before being dissolved by a gelatinous cube.
Most other Egyptian tombs were more on the  scale of  30 chambers or less, and the  famous pyramids do not exactly contain mega dungeon levels of passageways and chambers.
11 rooms? Gary Gygax and Frank Mentzer would point and laugh.
My thought here is that underground construction is incredibly expensive. Digging a huge hole, filing it with  walls and traps and what not. It just all seems like an awful lot of trouble and expense, not only in money but in resources and time.

It makes more sense to me that if players get involved in a  true mega dungeon it would be something more like Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. A natural cave  hundreds of miles long that some villain has usurped a section of for his own evil purposes and  treasure storage needs. Or smaller a tomb that has broken into either another tomb (I used this gimmick in the game documented by my pod cast,) or breaking through into some larger natural feature. 

Above ground ruins are far more prevalent than below ground  labyrinths and can make interesting places to explore in their own right. For goodness sake Cappadocia in Turkey is basically an above ground mega dungeon. With  building upon building carved into  volcanic mounds. You get your rocky chambers and  some fresh air to boot. 

Any  of the Pre-Colombian  ruins in South America could be locations for a mega-scale adventure without having to fall into the same "dungeon" pigeon hole.
Hey look, A mega dungeon with the lid blown off!

Another game trope is, "wizard builds unimaginably huge dungeon the dies. It lies forgotten for years taken over my  monsters until heroes show up and get eaten."

This is cool stuff and I love it, I'll use it again some day, especially of the  "And the mad wizard left behind his greatest artifact The Iron Sausage of Fisting  in the depths of his  labyrinth!" Variety.

However my better judgement says if some old wizard dies it would not take before his  help or the locals he was lording over would loot the old bastard. Now we have explain traps and magical seals and what not that the old guy put on his labyrinth so that the butler can't go steal all his stashed gold, his cursed rings and healing potions.

Wait a second, if the butler can't get in to do the looting how does the local monster population get in over the next few years? Oh alright there is a monster generating machine in the basement that the old wizard looted from Castle Grey Hawk, fair enough. Why don't those bugbears set off the traps, and what do they eat down there in the dark?

You can see what I'm doing , I'm playing  a devils advocate and  asking all the questions that someone that does not have all the  role playing game tropes ingrained in them would ask.

You see, if your  dungeon  introduction contains the  word "ecosystem" I don't want to play your dungeon.

That's not because I'm not impressed but because I have embraced all those old RPG tropes. I can answer any  strangeness in any in a game I'm playing with the epithet  "cause D&D" and then move along, perfectly happy. I have never looked a desert settlement in and RPG and said, "Where the hell do they import their food from?"

I would  never be one of those guys dancing around a Worldcon hall chanting  "The Ring World is unstable." I have no desire to de-suspend my belief and shoot holes in things.

There is a subset of gamer out there however, WHO LIVES to shoot holes in things.
The idea of a huge lost construction project under the abandoned tower of a once powerful figure, who apparently had the resources to build   this big ass underground lair, gives them  a huge balloon to poke at with intilectual tooth picks.

If all this is off about dungeons in fantasy games why do we keep kicking the door in  and searching the  door frames for dart traps?

Tradition is a big part of it. No one can doubt that. Advanced dungeons and dragons module A1 is "Slave pits of the Undercity." Which  finds players in a sewer fighting Salvers and insectoid ass holes. That story arc by the time the players hit A4 find them stuck under a volcanic island, In the  "Dungeons of the slave lords." Dungeons are how players got introduced module wise to The World Of Greyhawk it was from the underground up. A1 was published in 1980, thirty four years ago, and we're still seeing allot of game worlds from the  basement up.

I got this From Here so who the hell knows how accurate it is but  I think it sums up the tradition  aspect of using  dungeons as locations pretty well.

According to Gary Gygax (in an interview with Dungeon #112), the first dungeon crawl was part of a wargame in which the invading force entered the enemy's castle through a former escape tunnel dug from the fortress's dungeon. The group had so much fun with this scenario that it was repeated over and over with increasingly complex dungeons until the wargame aspect of the game was dropped in favor of exploring the dungeon.

Tradition aside dungeons frame action well.
The gm can describe the walls the floors the  interior elements and all the other flotsam and jetsam inside a dungeon room to effectively frame the action. If a gm's plot is a railroad the traditional dungeon provides the  best possible track. Yes your party can blow up walls, dig tunnels, and what not just as perfectly described in Dyver's recent post found here.  Even still  if the  crypt you are looking for is at the bottom of that 24 level dungeon, the gm has plenty of time and locations to create problems for the party to solve.

So do I love or hate dungeons?
Here's my  final summing up:
Dungeons as we have come to know them, as the  RPG trope, created at the dawn of the  hobby and with no real touch stone in the  natural world, make zero sense.

As a designer do I think the  dungeon as a part of fantasy game design has been dragged around  more than enough by more than enough writers as to make it pretty much the most redundant feature in most fantasy games? Yes. Should the  concept of dungeons be re-looked at, shaken up, and slapped around when ever possible? Yup, absolutely.

As a player and a GM though I don't give a shit what that stuffy designer says.

There are few better places to  set an adventure , few theoretical locations that can offer a way to not only contain the players but still provide the a series of problems and challenges before they reach a goal.

Few places that can be creepier or stranger. I find that I need to just need to loosen up, suspend that reality and not worry about how that  8 foot around beholder got to the bottom of a dungeon made from 5 food wide 6 foot tall stone hallways.

Dungeons kick ass in ways a forest or a desert have  a hard time kicking ass.
Dungeons come with a preconceived sense of dread. (how any times have you seen players go nuts checking every door and  every  hall for traps when there's nothing..nothing at all. It only takes one smashed skull from a falling  rock to teach them good habits.)
They have history that has wormed it's way deep within the  psyche of  Role playing gamers.

Finally they have a place in our hobby other locations just can't take.

As always Thank you for reading ,
Comments, shenanigans......
and blue dungeon maps welcome in the monkey barrel below.

*This post was edited for clarity based on a fine bit of editorial work done by a reader. Proving 2 things, I'm no writer  (obvious) And discourse is possible on the inter-webs (rare.)