Skip to main content

A Red & Pleasant Land, Part 6: Go Team Vampire!

Work on HexPop! is moving along. More of the UI clicky bits can be clicked. More and more of the necessary input can be inputted. Learning several new technologies at once -- Javascript, Electron, React, Redux, Semantic UI -- is quite a mind and time drain. But excited and hopeful to have a beta version in front of people soon. 

Anyway, events from last session.

Prep Time

At the conclusion of the previous session, the players wanted to follow up on information about a magical artifact hidden in a sundial atop a tower in one of the nearby squares on their map. So I spent a little time with the tables in A Red & Pleasant Land and Vornheim and wrote up a short adventure to the top of the tower.

Any guesses where the players didn't go this session?


  • Wolfram Veta - Cleric of Vorn, Grim Gaunt God of Iron, Rust and Rain
  • Gor Orben - Amazon, "She is Gor"
  • Zeera Hargen - Magician, master of the stab-them-with-my-knife spell
and new player (co-worker visiting from a remote office who had been talking about wanting to play for months)
  • Eben Krawl - Roller of high numbers (14 STR, 17 DEX, 6 HP wtf!?)


  • Preparations around Castle Cachtice. The players really want to get their hands on a wagon. They had already placed a construction order for one, but hate waiting.
  • They decide to play on the carpenter's sense of pride. They invent a rumor that a rival carpenter has been bragging that their own work is superior. And faster!
  • Doesn't earn them an instant wagon. Although the carpenter, Tasha Skulk, does believe their fake rumor. It must be that upstart carpenter in square ##! He's after my position in the castle! I want him dead!
  • Yeah, players gonna be players. After a short discussion, they decide to ignore the sundial tower and follow-up on a different loose thread -- the wisps of smoke they had seen rising from the western forest way back when.
  • A journey to the west! An encounter with some Mome Raths along the way. These cause a few problems for the party, but our new player, Eben Krawl, comes through with some good rolls. (Seriously, he kept rolling exactly what was needed the whole night. It was sickening.)
  • They arrive at the western forest. The smoke rising from the woods turns out to be chimneys from a human village hidden in the woods -- an Orb Loc.
  • I roll up some details for a main NPC for the village. The priest of the local church believes that Zeera Hargen is the "chosen one" who has come to eliminate the vampires and restore reason to Voivodja.
  • Zeera has other ideas. If I bring fresh humans and information on their hiding place back to the Heart Queen, surely she'd reward me.
  • Being the "chosen one", it doesn't take much convincing. The most devout members of the church agree to follow Zeera on a "raid" on Castle Cachtice. Lambs to the slaughter.
  • The party arrives back at the castle. They quickly turn in their followers as an offering to the Queen of Hearts. And the Queen quickly dispatches a hunting party to the location of the Orb Loc.
  • She is extraordinarily pleased! So pleased that she will fulfill a minor request for each of the party members. Information. Treasure. Personnel.
  • Zeera makes a dark request -- make me a member of your House.
  • The Queen: "Do you understand what it is you ask? Are you prepared to surrender yourself to unreason? There is no going back?"
  • Zeera: "Let's do this"
  • Several guards escort Zeera away. He is taken to a room deep in the castle. Stripped naked. Bathed in milk and honey. Finally, the vampires make their attack.
  • Your humble referee: "The vampires violently descend upon you. Are you going to do anything? Last chance."
  • Zeera: "Doing nothing."
  • As the blood drains, all that was Zeera Hargen's mind vanishes. All that remains is an undead creature, a newly born vampire thrall, mind enslaved to the House of Hearts.
  • RIP Zeera Hargen

Questions before next session

Biggest question on my mind: Does Castle Cachtice have some kind of village attached to it? The players have settled on this as their home base. Until now, I've kind of handwaved where they're buying supplies, where they're finding craftsmen, etc. The map of the castle in AR&PL doesn't have much of a general living area for anyone aside from the royalty. Probably time to decide what a Wonderland vampire village next to a Wonderland vampire castle would actually be like.

What worked well?

Once again, Into the Odd knocks it out of the park with being able to get brand new players into the game.

I also ran the Mome Rath encounter using the Electric Bastionland roll-all-damage-keep-the-highest combat rules. I liked how it turned out. Combat still went quickly -- only about 3 rounds. But not the first round slaughter that sometimes happened with straight ItO rules.

What didn't

I was honestly a little disappointed with how the hidden village played out. I didn't feel like I had a sense of how to run the place. My own lack of preparation showing, probably.

Popular posts from this blog

Dungeon in a Cigar Box

This has popped up in several pictures I've posted.

This is the dungeon-in-a-cigar-box that I built. Absolutely nobody asked about this, but I'm going to write about it anyway.
Inspiration for this came from this CRIT KIT Kickstarter that I missed out on:

Stumbled upon that a couple months back and thought it looked cool. Portable box that functions as a dice tray, dice & mini storage, and modular dungeon. Thought it would be a fun project to try building myself.

Additionally, you already know I love some Dragon Warrior.

Thought I'd make my dungeon floor and walls resemble that.
Bill of materialsI picked up most of this stuff at Michaels. Any arts & crafts store likely has comparable items.

Wooden cigar box: & stick red felt: couple sheets o…

Let's auto-populate Voivodja!

Problem I have a 40x30 map of Voivodja to populate for my A Red & Pleasant Land campaign. 1200 squares. I brainstormed a little over 100 ideas for locations. I have 1100 squares that still need something in them. At least a seed of an idea. 
Available Resources Copies of AR&PL, Vornheim, Frostbitten & Mutilated, lots of other OSR books, and a Bachelor's in Computer Science. 
Solution  The beginnings of an app for auto-populating the contents for all of the hexes in a world. On the backend, I've written a basic text templating and random table rolling engine. I've given it a huge data set of useful random tables from the various OSR books I own. Where appropriate, results in random tables recursively reference other tables, which reference other tables, which references other tables, etc.

Pass in a seed file of hex coordinates mapped to terrain types, an optional file of "Named NPCs", and it will spit out an A5-sized PDF ready to be printed as a coil-bound…

A Simple Resource Management System for Into the Odd

Rules without the commentary available here.

My mind is still on resource management systems. 

Into the Odd (ItO) doesn't have one and, to be honest, doesn't need one. Plenty of tension to be found via description rather than tracking individual rations. ItO is lightweight, fast, and runs great if you simply assume that, as written, the expedition always has food, water, light, camping & climbing equipment. 

So why bother with managing resources? 
Character customizationLike with Ben Milton's new Knave (, I like the idea of a character's role being determined by what kind of equipment they are carrying. Want to be a "fighter" in a classless system like ItO? Carry large, powerful weapons and wear armor. Want to be a "magic user"? Carry lots of Arcana (or spellbooks). A "specialist" (to use the LotFP term)? Carry lots of tools, poison vials, flashbangs, etc.

But customization like this works best if there is a l…