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The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave: Index of Posts

An index of posts describing the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave, an adventure for Holmes Basic characters levels 2-4.                    ...

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A Dungeon Map is now included with the Ruined Tower of Zenopus on DMs Guild!

Screenshot of the new Dungeon Master's Map for The Ruined Tower of Zenopus

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus
now includes a map of the dungeon!

Yesterday I uploaded two separate dungeon map files to the Ruined Tower of Zenopus page on DMs Guild (as previously teased). These should be available for download by anyone who has already purchased the module, and for any new purchases. If you go to your account on DMs Guild there is a section near the top that says "Updated Files", which hopefully will show this product as updated on May 26th. 

This map is derived from the map I made in Gridmapper a few years ago and posted here.

The two maps are variations of the same map; the first is a Dungeon Master's Map, a preview of which is shown above, and the second is a Player's Map. In addition to being labeled differently, the Player's Map has the room letters removed, along with the secret doors and corridor between Rooms S and F.

Each map comes as a png file with a size of 8400 pixels by 8190 pixels, a large size that is optimized for use in Roll20, but is also printable. See the notes for each use below. Each file is a little over 4 MB. 

Each square on the map(s) is 10' wide, as in the original. A few corridors are not to scale due to the limitations of Gridmapper (or perhaps my lack of skill in using it). The secret corridor between Rooms S and F should only be 5' wide, and the rat tunnels should only be 3' wide (I noted the latter on the map). 

Using in Roll20:

-Create a New Game. The Zoom should be set to 100% by default, but set it to that if not.

-Click on the Page Toolbar icon. There should be a Page called "Start". Hover your mouse over it and a gear will appear to the left titled "Page Settings". Click and a "Page Settings" menu will open. Change the Settings as follows: 

-Under "Page Size", set the Width to 60 and the Height to 58.5. Under "Cell Width", change the size from 1 to 0.5. 

-Leave the Page Toolbar by clicking on the page called "Start". Now go to the toolbar on the left, and click on the "pin" icon (second from top). A menu will open. Change from Objects and Tokens to "Maps & Background". If you don't do this, your map will import as a token and the grid will not overlay the map.

-Again confirm Zoom is set to 100%. Drag the map file (the DM's or Player's Map) from your desktop (or folder) to the Roll20 Page workspace. This will import the map. In the workspace, drag the map until the upper left corner of the imported map is exactly aligned with the upper left corner of the workspace. This should line up the map exactly with four 5' squares inside each 10' square on the map.

-You can change the color of the grid in the Page Toolbar if you'd like the 5' squares to be darker or lighter (you can even set them to white so they are invisible).

-Note if you are using the Player's Map, you will need to add the Secret Passage between Rooms F and S if the PCs find it. This can be done either by drawing it on the map using the Roll20 drawing tools, or I think you can cut and paste the corridor from the DM's Map and import it into Roll20 and overlay it on the map in the appropriate spot.

Printing the Map: The map can be printed on a sheet of paper, but be warned that since the background is black and fills the negative space, it will use a lot of black ink or toner. The map file is only 75 dpi but is so large it should print at a fine resolution when shrunk to the sheet of a paper. I tested this and it printed fine using a "Shrink to Fit" setting, which was about 7% of the original size.

I hope to make a more printer-friendly option available in the future.

Product Link:
The Ruined Tower of Zenopus on DMs Guild

Click here to read reviews of the RTOZ by various bloggers

Thursday, May 21, 2020

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Reviewed on EN World

DM's Guild Roundup, written by Sean Hillman, is a monthly or bi-monthly column on En World that highlights various DM's Guild releases with short reviews. The Ruined Tower of Zenopus appears in the most recent installment (posted earlier this week), which carries a modified title: "DM's Guild Extra: Community Reviews" and focuses on "three smaller offerings. One of these is an enhancement for your campaign, while the other two are adventures that can be set in your campaign". Full disclosure: I submitted the ROTZ to the column for review in reply to the February column. Here is an excerpt of Hillman's review of the RTOZ:

I enjoy all the products I review, but this adventure was of particular interest to me. The Ruined Tower of Zenopus appears in the original Basic D&D by John Eric Holmes as the Sample Dungeon. Many adventurers began their role-playing careers in this dungeon or other dungeons inspired by it. Zach Howard has brought this dungeon into the modern day with a 5E conversion...
Read the rest of the review here:

DM's Guild Extra: Community Reviews (click here)

Product Link:
The Ruined Tower of Zenopus on DMs Guild

Click here to read other reviews of the RTOZ

Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Goes Gold!

Interest in the The Ruined Tower of Zenopus has remained fairly steady at DMs Guild over the last few months, no doubt aided by the forced increase in screen time everyone is subjected to during these days of quarantine, and (in the last week) the sale at DMs Guild I posted about earlier this week. As a result the adventure has now hit another DMs Guild milestone: Gold Best Seller...!

As a thank you to everyone who has purchased the adventure, and to help it be more useful for on-line play during these dark days, I will soon be adding a re-drawn map as a separate file. DMs Guild allows redrawn maps as long as they support a product rather than being sold alone. Everyone who has already purchased the product should be able to download the new map for free.

This map is derived from the map I made in Gridmapper a few years ago and posted here. I've tested and found it very suitable for import into Roll20, and have optimized the size for aligning with the grids in their interface. I've also made DM and Player versions, so there will actually be two map files of this sort.

I've also been working on a hand-drawn map that will be more printer-friendly than the original or the Gridmapper map.

Product Link:
The Ruined Tower of Zenopus on DMs Guild

Click here to read reviews of the RTOZ by various bloggers

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus is on sale this week

DMs Guild is having a "Play It Forward" promotion through this Sunday (May 17th), which gives each author of a purchased product 100% of the revenue instead of the usual 50%. Furthermore, many products are 20% off, and the Ruined Tower of Zenopus is one of these selected items, which means it is currently only $1.59!

Product Link:
The Ruined Tower of Zenopus on DMs Guild

Click here to read reviews of the RTOZ by various bloggers

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Holmes Ref: Dungeoneering Reference Sheet

Screenshot (click on image for a larger view)

Another week, another Holmes Ref sheet!

This one is a true DM's aid for dungeon exploration using the Holmes ruleset, covering Time, Movement, Light, Surprise, Wandering Monsters, Reaction Rolls etc.

DUNGEONEERING REFERENCE SHEET (click here to download)

A few notes:

---The 1/12 movement rate for combat rounds comes from two sources:
(a) the rates given by Holmes in the section "Combat Rounds, Time and Movement in Melee" on page 20, where indicates that movement in melee "is usually at a sprint; an unarmored man can move 20 feet per melee round, a fully armored man only 10 feet".
(b) the extension of the above rules on page 3 of the first printing of B2 Keep on the Borderlands, which repeats the above rates, plus give 5 feet per round for Armored & Encumbered, and states that a monster's melee move can be determined by dividing the monster's move by 12 (although this really should be 6, see below).
---Monster Movement. The column for "Monsters" on the Time & Movement table doubles the movement rate for monsters. This corrects a problem I noticed a number of years ago regarding the relative movement rates of characters as compared to monsters, as explained in this thread on ODD74.

To reiterate: OD&D had movement rates of 12" (120' in the dungeon) for light foot, 6" (60') for heavy foot, and 3" (30') for encumbered heavy foot. These are given in the Encumbrance Table on page 15 of OD&D Vol 1. 

But OD&D Vol 3 further explains that characters get two moves in a 10 minute turn, and thus gives a movement rate of 120' for a fully armored character (which is equivalent to heavy foot). Thus, the 60' rate for heavy foot (fully armored) is actually 120' in the dungeon.

Holmes, when making the Movement table for Basic, incorporated this double move into the listed rates, and thus giving an Exploring rate of 240' feet for unarmored (i.e. light foot), 120' for metal armor or encumbered (i.e., heavy foot) and 60' for metal armor & encumbered (i.e., encumbered heavy foot). 

However, the Movement table in Holmes does not include monsters, and the Monster List in Holmes does not incorporate this same double move per turn, and instead simply gives a Move stat for each monster that is as exactly given in the list in OD&D Vol 2. 

Without giving monsters these two moves, characters are going to be moving twice as fast relative to monsters. You can see this if you scan a list of monster movements (for example, in my Monster Reference Table), and note that the 240 feet/turn Exploration rate for an Unarmored men given in the Movement table is faster than any monster Move stat on the list other than Horses and some flying beasts. If you further compare the 240 feet/turn Exploration to the humans in the monster lists in Holmes, which including Bandits and Berserkers (each in leather armor), you will see that they have a move of 120 feet/turn, half of that of characters.

So to correct this, I've included a Monsters column, where it is noted that the movement for a monster in a turn should be double their Move stat from the Monster List. This doubling applies to ally of the movement rates: Exploring, Walking Normally, Running and Combat.

---The Phosphorescent Fungus is from the Sample Dungeon, Room L. Holmes also used this in the Maze of Peril. Real world fungal bioluminescene is known as foxfire. As I've written previously, "Margaret St Clair's The Shadow People, an Appendix N book that I read and enjoyed, has an extensive worldwide underworld lit by foxfire, but I don't know whether Holmes was familiar with this book."

---The Swimming rules are from the Sample Dungeon, Rooms H and M.

As usual, please let me know if you spot any typos & ask questions about anything unclear.