Attronarch's Athenaeum

Campaign journals, reviews of TTRPG stuff, and musings on D&D.



TSR's editions of Dungeons & Dragons:

  • The original edition still holds up well.
  • The basic line (B/X, BECMI, Rules Cyclopedia) editions remain ever so popular. In fact, the game I'm running at the moment—Conquering the Barbarian Altanis—is using the lightly house-rule version of B/X edition.
  • The first advanced edition, especially the core books written by Gary Gygax. Packed with gameable ideas!
  • The second advanced edition and its wealth of splatbooks. Despite many being hit-or-miss, I still like thumbing through them. Some real gems hidden there.

All of the above are more than enough for a lifetime of gaming!


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I'm sure I've played some obscure RPGs that I've forgotten by now... On day six I wrote about a RPG/TBS game series Romance of the Three Kingdoms. Back in the day no one in my circle ever heard about the game (except from me). The same would go for Vandal Hearts II.


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Character Class Description
Brent Goose Cleric level 5 An eccentric, but charismatic, cleric seeking the Holy Bird. White robes and black cloak conceal his tall, frail and anemic frame. His eagle-like nose is exposed for all to see.
Llyfed Elf level 1 Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.
Basso Halfling level 1 A stable boy whom got tired of shovelling horse shit.
Gomm Thief level 5 Swarthy, good looking, dark-skinned thief. Sweet opium-like aroma is his fragrance of choice.
Derennan Dwarf level 1 A dwarf hailing from Western Wastes.

Blackmoon 13th, Earthday

“Something's off...”

Rashomon and Lyffed found Hara's reception colder than usual.

At the Fighters' Guild they find out that Hawkwerth and his party have been trash-talking two elves and their adventuring band for weeks.

Now everybody knows them as cowards, slave-boys, and incompetent folk that needs saving. Reputation they spent weeks building, now in tatters.

“Well, we know what and who we are.”

Rashomon took to the taverns and inns, buying people rounds, telling tales of his great adventures and reminding people that Hawkwerth is a nobody:

“Hawkwerth wet his pants in our last encounter. He is nothing more than a back alley thug.”

Llyfed spent two weeks studying Read Magic, dreaming of understanding two scrolls they've recovered in the last two months of adventuring.

Whilst looking for the best deal for his gold necklace, Rashomon runs into a sickly looking man. Alas, the man accidentally sneezed at the elf, and then vomited on his boots while trying to apologise.

Rashomon's immune system wasn't up to the task of dealing with a filthy human, so he fell ill few days after the unlucky encounter.

Basso spent his days gathering any and all interesting rumours and leads. He learned the following:

  • Klekless Racoba, a rogue wizard in hiding, still hasn't been captured. Imrael family is is now offering 3 000 gp bounty for his head. Namelin family is offering 3 000 pp to anyone whom brings Klekless alive.
  • Attacks on caravans have started happening again. Sometimes they are hit deep within Hara territory.
  • Gnomes of Ractuan are unhappy that two of their barges sent to Hara went missing.
  • Demons, devils, and other wicked monstrosities have been spotted at Midnight Goddess Hills.

Gomm has been laying low in Hara ever since he fled Antil. Him, as well as few other from Hydra Company members escaped the Windgod's Capital by bribing a ship captain to take them just as their former base was being run down by enraged clerics of Shang-Ta.

Either way, Gomm registered at the local Thieves' Guild, and did his best not to stand out. Sneaky little fellow he is, one day he overheard an interesting conversation:

“Are you sure about the veracity of this map?”

“Fingar himself checked it.”

“And it leads to the Necromancer's former study?”


“This is big. You have my blessing.”

He couldn't hear the rest of the discussion, nor see the map. But Gomm know the man who rolled it up and took it with him. It was Philo Gaunter, the proprietor of the Night House inn.

Willowind 3rd, Earthday

“I think it is time to go back. That cylindrical coffer ought to hold great treasure! I mean it was behind two locked doors and two trap rooms!”

“You speak sense, halfling.”

“Let's assemble a party and head back there!”

Basso gathered the following folk: Brent Goose, and his three students Toucan, Daisy, and Della; Llyfed; Gomm, his old friend from Antil; and Derennan, a stout dwarf from desolate desert.

They loaded on the rations, water, and means of limited destruction. And off they went, dreaming riches.

Willowind 4th, Fireday

“I'd like us to go straight to that chamber and see what's inside the coffer.”

“Maybe we should explore other routes? If there is treasure there, I'm pretty sure it's safe. We have the key and there is a mean trap.”

“Wasn't there a long corridor to south? Maybe it'd be interesting...”

Half an hour later the party concluded that yes, they will go to check out Basso's siren.

The party, led by Llyfed headed to the room which they exited into following a secret passage way from the treasure room.

But no one could find the secret opening!

Derennan the Dwarf studied the walls attentively. A master craftsman must've made them, for the joints were nearly invisible.

“We have to go the long way around...”

On they went, making sure to avoid busty statue.

The room with water stains was now even dirtier and damper. Wise cleric shot a pebble at the water. Nothing came out to eat them.

“It's safe guys.”

The secret passageway leading into Golding's former lair was still wide open. Smell was off. There were no corpses.

“Cool, a self-cleaning dungeon!” one of them chirped.

Finally, the party had reached the locked doors leading into the room with three supersonic scythes. A long, long discussion ensued about how to proceed. Llyfed was the only one who could see gossamer string running at shin height. Attempts to burn it were for naught. Then Basso had a brilliant idea of chucking an oil flask right at the ground.


The flask exploded just few inches off the ground, splashing a ten foot wide area. It immediately caught fire due the the burning torch that was resting within the splash area.


Brent and Derennan turned around just to see Toucan and Daisy overpowered by four long, large, eel-like muscular tubes of gray flesh. They coiled around Brent's followers and then brought them down with their bulk. From there they bored into the flesh with great ease.

“Master, save us! Please! Master!”

Brent took a few steps back, to safe distance, and with wall behind his back. And then he took out his sling, and started shooting.

Toucan perished in front of his eyes. Daisy followed as well, despite Derennan cleaving one of the monsters in half with his polearm. Della and Llyfed took down another one.

“Master, call on Kadrim to save us, please, Master!”

Della cried as two muscular tentacles constrained her.

“It hurts, it hurts!”

She screamed; snot, spittle and blood dripping out of her as three hellish worms minced her soft flesh.

Brent stood at safe distance, holding his sling, while Della, his last follower, was being sucked dry.

She too perished in front of him.

Now one of the worms latched onto Brent, while other went for Derennan. Llyfed found out the creatures' weakness—fire. He tickled the worm hanging off Brent with a little bit of torchlight.

Success! The monster immediately dropped.

Derennan turned to Basso and politely asked him to burn the monster, despite the latter being attached to his armpit.

As it usually goes, this was merely the beginning of the problem.

During the fight Gomm heard sounds similar to frog-like croaking. Except it sounded much deeper and voluminous.

And now he spotted a dozen or so floating gold orbs looking at him from pitch black darkness. Some of them would disappear and then reappear in split second.

“I think we should get into the trap room and lock the doors behind us!”

“I think so too!”

The party scrambled in, making sure to stay clear of the grooves which indicate where the scythes fly. Gomm the Wiser had shredded parts of his rope in order to have some fine particles they can breath into the air to detect the fine strings. And it worked!

The adventurers worked their way through the trap room, into the room where they crushed a bunch of centipedes coming out of a smart-ass-box with “Curiosity killed the cat” inscription. On they went into the room Basso has been dreaming of for the last few weeks.

After a little bit of investigation, the party decided to open the stone coffer. Lid functioned the same way as in the previous chamber, meaning it had a thin groove running around the top. The widening was just enough one can put in their fingers and grab it.

Brent stood to the side as Basso, Llyfed, Derennan, and Gomm opened the coffer.

They chucked lid to the side.


Nine perfectly polished balls.

Nine large, 30 inch circumference balls.

Nine shiny, silvery balls.

Nine damn heavy balls.

The party loaded them up, bending under the weight, and set off for Hara.

It took them twice the usual time to get back.

Willowind 7th, Waterday

“Yes, these seem like globes of pure silver. You could probably get between 500 and 2000 gold coins for each.”

It was difficult to say which balls were bigger: the adventurers' eyes, or the orbs resting on the jeweller's workbench.

Discuss at Dragonsfoot forum.

#Wilderlands #SessionReport

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The treasure was where they left it—a pile so wide six men could easily roll in it. Everybody but Amanda, Silente, and Theo dove straight into the pile, stuffing their sacks with as much coin as they can. A pile of mangled deer corpses next to it were no concern of theirs.

“Ahem—Boys!” Amanda coughed loudly, pointing down the dark corridor they haven't ventured through yet.

A massive human-like head, adorned by long, greasy, lanky hair—imagine armpit hair half-a-meter long—with horse-like jaw hovered high in the air. Its diabolical cackle revealed a sickening array of ghastly, yellow, rotting teeth. True horror was revealed only after it'd made few more steps forward.

Lantern light now fully illuminating the figure, revealing its elephant-like body covered in warts and blisters. To further the nightmare, ten more heads like the first one—with varying degrees of balding—were connected with thick worm-like veiny tubes to the body.

Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 13

Hydra Abomination, Amanda, Kallahan, Sashundo, Gabriel
Moments before the chaos.
From left to right: Amanda, Brother Kallahan, Sashundo, and Gabriel Faria.

Many memorable encounters were had in Barbarian Altanis, but above one remains special.


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It has to be Silent Hill! I played horror games before, but never did I turn off the console out of fear... Man, that first scene when you stumble around the mist engulfed city and then wander into that dead-end alleyway when dead flayed babies assault you... Fuck that shit.


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New edition of Swords & Wizardry Complete came out this year.

Adventurer Conqueror King System Imperial Imprint, a second edition of ACKS which massively updates the rules, will be coming to Kickstarter this year. It consists of three books: Revised Rules, Judges Journal, and Monster Manual. Each is a wealth of information on its own, but together they are simply mindblowing. Even better, Judges Journal and Monster Manual will be great for all OSR judges, even if they don't run ACKS.


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Blank piece of paper, of course!

Goldenrod character sheets as close second!

By the way, check out Mad Irishman's amazing recreations of those sheets.


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Huh, too many to count: Adventures Dark and Deep, Fantastic Heroes & Witchery, RuneQuest 2E, Arduin, Palladium Fantasy RPG 1E... The list goes on. In my defense, I often get them because I like mining them for ideas. I'm esepcially interested in thoroughly play-tested rules, for these seem to be quite rare!


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A zine chronicling the Conquering the Barbarian Altanis D&D campaign.

This issue details the thirty-fourth session in mammoth 11 pages!

You can download the issue here.

Overlord's Annals zine is available in print as part of the legendary Alarums & Excursions APA, issue 573:


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The simplest RPG I'm playing at the moment is Basic / Expert D&D. It was made for kids. The most complex would be the first edition of AD&D (MM, PHB, DMG, UA). The complexity mostly comes from disorganised and sometimes incomplete rules. But it is a wonderful game nonetheless.


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