Friday 22 June 2012

50 RPG Encounters on the Road

Is your party every bumbling around from one location to the other? Ever wonder what was supposed to happen on those journeys besides weather? Never fear, the answer is here! (So long as the answer is absolutely ridiculous).

***50 RPG Encounters on the Road***

Challenger1. A beggar who's actually a shape-changed demon.
2. A woman who's actually a shape-changed harpy.
3. A highwayman attempting to return stolen valuables to the guy he stole them from.
4. A giant magical glowing rock. It hums louder when a bomb.
5. A rift to another dimension.
6. A pile of dead bodies arranged in a pentagram and with ever-burning magical flames licking them.
7. An illusion of a ten mile deep chasm stretching to the horizon.
8. A toll booth requiring all magic items be surrendered to enter the country.
9. A goblin warrior proclaiming himself the "King of Thieves". He carries a dagger and can whip the party's ass.
10. A lake of molten lava.
11. An archway that calls a 10d6 lightning bolt whenever passed under or around.
12. A massive hedge maze, invulnerable, cast by a nearby mad enchanter.
13. The villain of the adventure en-route to another evil deed.
14. An army camps here.
15. A strange, glowing magical fog.
16. A fifty way intersection marked with bad directions to odd locations.
17. A deserted city made completely of glass which appears out of nowhere in the middle of fog.
18. A parasitic dimensional traveler who will accompany the PCs until attaching to one and sucking his life out. Any attempt to remove him will harm the character he's attached to.
19. A company of knights on a quest which turns out to be hunting the PCs down for a crime they didn't know they committed. The knights don't recognize them and insist they join the 'noble quest' to capture the 'evil criminals'.
20. A mysterious cloaked and hooded stranger who pitches over dead at the character's feet before he can do anything.
21. A beat up princess screaming and fleeing a fire rhino ridden by a knight in molten armor.
22. A tyrannosaurus rex chasing down a triceratops.
23. A chest lies forgotten in the middle of the road. Inside is a cursed magical artifact or treasure best left untouched.
24. A skeleton lies at one side of the path. It shakes it's head as if to say 'don't go this way' when someone tries to head north.
25. A band of 20 storm giants who are incredibly stupid and bad at math. When they capture travelers they can be 'paid off' for 1 copper coin a head.
26. Part of the road turns to quicksand and pitches the party to the bottom of a 1,000 level dungeon before sealing up over top of them. The mad laughter of their most hated enemy echoes magically in their ears.
27. A peasant demands the party accompany him and listen to his tales of pigs. If any refuse he becomes enraged and whips the whole party's butt.
28. A thief runs by holding an overflowing magical bag of at least 250,000 gp. Seconds later what appears to be every magical law enforcer in the universe comes yelling by while screaming: "He went that way!"
29. A magical floating Inn owned by a halfling named "Weird Joe" who attempts to sell the PCs fire wine which is literally 99% alcohol on fire.
30. A rainbow bridge to some weird magical dimension.
31. A wagon stuck in the mud. Anyone who helps out learns the wagon is carrying bricks of gold on their secret mission to ransom a prince. The wagon driver gives several bricks to the party for their help in the mission.
32. A tank rolls by and fires a shell at a space fighter. Several seconds later everything appears normal and they're both gone.
33. A woodsman asks for directions to an old woman's cottage so he can attack a Werewolf.
34. A vampire with an umbrella runs past screaming his head off about forgetting his sun tan lotion.
35. A landmine.
36. A merchant who follows you everywhere insisting he was going that way anyway and tries to sell you stuff.
37. A really annoying bard who insists on joining the party.
38. A magical river of energy bisects the road in which undead ghosts scream as if in mortal agony.
39. A crashed alien spaceship has struck near the highway.
40. One copper coin lying on the ground. What luck!
41. A dead magic user clutches a scroll in his stiff hand. It says something very important...
42. Several chariots blow by screaming after a large wild boar "In the name of the Prince!"
43. A time rift appears to another timeline.
44. A portal opens and 1d20 demons spring out. The leader says, "This isn't the slave city?" Then they grab the PCs as a substitute.
45. A tree falls over on the road. Then a fireball blows up the tree. It appears druids and fire wizards have started a war here with the road and the party of characters in the middle.
46. An annoying writer shows up and tries to sell the party his book. He proclaims it the, "Most awesome best thing since Swiss Bread."
47. Several very drunk and beautiful women stumble out of the bush on the side of the road and mistake the PCs for famous millionaires (hey, this is fantasy, right?)
48. A sundial is in the middle of the road. When turned it turns the entire globe except for the sundial with a great shaking noise. A large voice says "Oops" and the sundial disappears.
49. The road ends with...nothingness. What happened here? How can the PCs still make it to their doughnut shop/destination?
50. A crazed halfling, starved out of his mind, attacks the party and rips their packs apart with his teeth in search of food. He cannot be fought or the party will be severely beat up in his hunger-maddened state.

...1001 RPG Quotes

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Cool Pictures

Thanks to the awesome people on Twitter, here are two very cool pictures: by

and by

Thanks to Mr. Donini for the RPG picture and to Mr. Williams for the sweet Storm Trooper picture!

Here's a random link I found. Not sure if it's any good yet: 


...Free E-Books 


How to maintain a good Long-Term Campaign

This is my reply to a reader tip request in Johnn Four's Newsletter regarding how to run a good long-term campaign.

Dear Joe (name changed),

That's a good question which depends on many factors. Since your question states only a general problem, I'll try to answer with only general remedies.

1. The most integral part of running a good long-term campaign is having an awesome adventure arc. As the GM it's your job to create a fantastic story and world which the players want to keep coming back to over and over again. Maintaining player interest is the key to a good long-term campaign. Try watching good movies and reading good books for inspiration. All the best GMs steal ideas occasionally and modify them so the players won't recognize them. Excitement is contagious. If the GM is excited by an adventure, the players will be too. Try to always end adventures with cliff hangers, that way the players will be wondering all week what will happen next and that will maintain interest ten fold. I used to employ such great cliff hangers my players would beg me to continue the adventure on the spot, but I wouldn't. All week they could talk of nothing else but what would happen next in the adventure. When it finally came time to play everyone was so excited and 'into' the story I didn't even need to recap events.

2. Schedule a weekly playing time and try to make sure you play the game every week. People are busy, if you miss a couple sessions your campaign will die or at least be forgotten which is never a good thing for a long-term game. Always try to play once a week and preferably on the same day at the same time. It's always worked for me. I have some friends who used to run games 'just whenever' but then no-one would make it out to the games and it would be months between sessions. This kills a good campaign as surely as anything.

3. Have good characters. Make sure the players have a vested interest in their characters. Try to let them acquire 'cool' things and accomplish great deeds early on. Make them draw a picture for their character. All of these things will firmly establish the character in the players' minds and keep them eager to play. While nobody cares much about Joe the Fighter, just consider how much more interest is invested in Joe the Fighter who slew the great demon Argos to save the Kingdom of Pan and who wields the great star-fire sword of the elves? Weave the characters and their relationships into the story and the story characters you create as quickly as possible. Make them feel like they're part of a world. Have them meet and interact with the same important NPCs over and over again until those NPCs are as much a part of the story as the player's characters themselves.

4. Establish a good long-term villain. If your campaigns die off early it's probably because of a lack of cohesiveness in the stories. Try to tie all adventures together with a story arc, cliff hangers, and (if possible) a really good villain who constantly annoys and taunts the heroes. Most players will endeavor to keep playing a campaign at least until they 'beat' a really good villain you've established. As long as you can keep the villain alive without cheating or being unfair, your campaign should keep going as long as the villain really is worth his salt. My players once spent most of a 20 level campaign hunting down one annoying thief who kept stealing from them and a particular dark wizard who always defeated them (but left them alive). When they finally caught the thief and defeated the evil wizard, the campaign ended but on an epic note.

Hope that Helps,

--David L. Dostaler
Author, Challenger RPG (free)


Challenger Revision Updates:
  • Improved Glossary
  • Improved TOC
  • Commissioned 100 pieces of artwork for the book.
  • Weapon damage rules.
  • Rewrote all powers in the game and all descriptions of all classes (and planning race descriptions).
  • All Class entries now have a subtype, skill access, weapon training, and armor training entry.
  • Reduced levels to only 30 levels in common, legendary, and epic tiers. When you reach legendary or epic level you can buy new special epic and legendary powers.
  • Completely reworked the skills chapter. All skills now have specific groupings, RRs to do various things with them, rules on critical success and failure, and many redundant and confusing skills have been removed or clarified.
  • Added henchmen and magic item crafting rules. Now the complicated artificer and potion brewing powers are much simpler.
  • Rewrote all high level powers and put in some cool new ones.
  • I have a guy working on putting tables in the book (print only because e-books don't support tables) for equipment, classes, and so forth.
  • More powers per level (usually it takes a really long time to get stuff).
  • Overall clearing of clutter and making the text more 'serious' but still keeping the occasional funny part.
  • Rewrote introduction to be less 'preachy' and more geared to new players complete with all the abbreviations needed to play.
  • Dragon moved from classes to races.
  • Classes now only have one name instead of dozens.
  • GM 'essay' is now at the very back of the book.
  • Adding in more monsters by request.
  • Possibly going to do double column to format pictures better.
  • Possible cool parchment background and swirly page borders (I have these, but formatting glitches prevented me from using them sooner).
  • Castle map picture and rules on drawing your own 'dungeon' areas.
  • New Engagement rules solve a lot of mechanical problems including 'free hits' in combat. Now there are only free attacks and 'dodges' to get out of the way of such free attacks. Overall, makes combat have more flow and a feeling of control as opposed to randomness.
  • Special thanks to Sean and Robby for the great ideas!
Thanks to all my great playtesters for the new rules in the works! You know who you are and I really appreciate it. If anyone reading this and playtesting the game is interested in the Kingdoms of Sileeria source-book please let me know you'd like to be included! I'm planning on e-mailing everyone later when it's more 'official' and in the works. Currently I'm quite busy with just rewriting Challenger itself.


50 RPG Encounters on the Road 

Thursday 7 June 2012

Kingdoms of Sileeria

Update: Interest in the Kingdoms of Sileeria project has been strong so far. 3 of the 10 available kingdoms have so far been claimed. If you'd like the chance to be included in the project, see the new page here:

Okay, this isn't official yet, but I have so many great, creative, and awesome people helping me out with Challenger I was thinking it would be neat to do a source-book called "Kingdoms of Sileeria" which would basically be a tribute to the playtester's favorite characters.

Each person who's helped me with Challenger (if they wanted to) would get to have one 'leader' such as a king, queen, emperor or whichever of one of the kingdoms of Sileeria. They could send me their brief notes on appearance of the leader and details of the kingdom. I could then get my artist to do a world map and character sketches based on the info to immortalize everyone's favorite characters in print and the Challenger world lore.

This isn't a 'for sure' yet, but I've had some interest in the project and so far everyone thinks it's a good idea. Dibs have already been called on the 'pirate' kingdom and I can't even begin to tell you about all the awesome stuff in the New Moons Universities lore. The characters, concepts, and locations are amazing! I won't give you any hints here because I don't like to give away other writers ideas unless they've approved it first. ;)

I'm also working on the 'Challenger Approved' symbol which can be placed on Challenger Approved products under the Challenger Open Game License.

Of course, I'm also re-writing a lot. Don't be surprised if you don't see me online much in the next couple of weeks. I'm planning to do a lot of work. Revamping every single power in the book, completely overhauling skills, new henchmen and crafting chapters. My artist also thinks she can do a cool parchment background and awesome page borders for the print version of the book and I think I'll be able to afford 100 or so pieces of artwork from her to fill out the books artwork if I can format it properly into the text (she thinks she can do it). I have another guy working on putting in 'tables' into the book for equipment, lists of classes and races and so forth. If we can manage that it'll probably be in the new print book but e-books don't support tables so you might not see it there except in the Challenger PDF on

Thanks for reading!

--David L. Dostaler
Author, Challenger RPG (free)

...Challenger FAQ 

Monday 4 June 2012

Caverns of the Psychopathic Crazy Lunatics 1st Official Playtest

 Hey Everyone,

Welcome to the highlights of the 1st official playtest of The Caverns of the Psychopathic Crazy Lunatics an Of Mice Men and Wizards Adventure. We ran this adventure with Age of Past, Story Realms, and Challenger characters. Coincidentally, no Of Mice Men and Wizards characters were present.

1. Everyone died about 2-3 times except for the invisible, insubstantial, flying Dryad. So going to fix that.

2. The 1st level healers were run off their feet casting Raise Dead spells. Fixing that too.

3. The giant venomous spider killed 6 friendly giants almost single-handedly with his poisonous bite and teleportation powers.

4. One guy drew 4 death skulls form the Deck of Many Problems with separate characters. It was pretty funny.

5. Someone found an Astral Diamond and wand of fireballs in a 10,000 ft. diameter tree.

6. I think the best part of the adventure was probably when the PC with the wagon in the dungeon (don't ask) had half the party in it as he barreled between a row of pillars that all shot the wagon with lightning bolts and fireballs. Sorry to the guys who lost all their characters in that one, brilliant (fire) moment.

7. Second place goes to the water elemental who walked directly into the lightning trap and blew up half the dungeon (and half his comrades).

8. The survivors were quite rich and ended up with some very cool things. They then decided to take a vacation in the Abyss and were nearly killed by demons. Okay, old hairy PC guy, for the last time: Demons are Not Afraid of your retinue of 10 loyal Knights! I don't care how high you rolled on intimidate!

9. Wizard PC tried to sacrifice his 'Nymph' girlfriend to close the portal into the abyss. Sorry Mr. Wizard, she doesn't count as a magic item to sacrifice.

10. You can get this adventure for free on Amazon Kindle. If you bug me enough, I can probably put it out in PDF on as well. Not all elements will play out as described as above. I was using the adventure in combination with my 'random awesomeness' generator.

Thanks for reading, everyone! I got some really great playtesting in on the newest version of Challenger. Thanks to everyone who participated and to all my playtesters!

--David L. Dostaler
Author, Challenger RPG (free)

...More Adventures