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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.                    ...

Sunday, April 16, 2023

Scrum in Miniature: Scrum Con IV report


Myself (right) running the Forgotten Smugglers' Cave at Scrum Con IV. Source.

Visit the Scrum in Miniature blog to read about Scrum Con IV, which took place on Saturday, April 8th, and see over 400 (!) photos from the day:

Scrum Con IV: In Your Face!

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Gary Con 2023: Day 0

I had another fun trip to Gary Con this year. This was my fourth time in person, the earlier years being 2017, 2019 and 2022 (links go to con reports). So this marked my first consecutive in-person attendance, and like last year, I ran two D&D games, one new and one old, with one additional twist: I ran the two sessions as a mini-campaign, using the same pre-gens and leveling them up between.

Day 0: Wed Mar 22

My trip started with a flight to Milwaukee along with my friend Scott, who has been to Gary Con a few more times than myself and runs a new pair of creative games each year. As we flew in I noted scattered piles of snow, a foreshadowing of the winter weather we'd experience later in the weekend. At the airport, we were joined by Matthew, a former member of our local group who was attending his first Gary Con. We collected a rental car and drove down to Lake Geneva, arriving in the mid-afternoon, the earliest that I've ever gotten there. 

We made a pit stop at a Piggily-Wiggily (my first time) for rations, which for myself included snackable cheese curds (also a first), and then had lunch at Claw's, a sandwich shop in the same complex, where I had an unusual egg and fried sweet pepper sandwich. Recommended.

We still had some time before check-in, so I took them on a short tour of some notable locations downtown Lake Geneva that I remembered seeing on my first Gary Con in 2017, when I used the map in Michael Witwer's Empire of Imagination book to navigate around.

330 Center Street in 2023

These sights included 330 Center Street (the house where Gygax lived in 1974 when D&D was first published), 723 Williams Street (TSR headquarters ~1975-1978), Horticultural Hall (the original home of Gen Con) and the Hotel Clair building (TSR's headquarters during the heady years of 1978-1982). (Dates confirmed with Game Wizards by Jon Peterson)

Matthew, myself and Scott at the Gygax memorial tile

We eventually ended up down at the waterfront, home to the Gary Gygax memorial tile, where we had another gamer take the photo of us. 

I also rolled my d20s on the tile for luck, but they each came up with a natural 1...! 

The Lake of Unknown Depths

We also took a short walk over to the beach on the lake.

After that we drove up to the Grand Geneva hotel, passing TSR's final headquarters at 201 Sheridan Springs road, and checked in to our room, which turned out to be at the extreme southern end of the gigantic building, which I didn't mind because it forces a bit of walking exercise, a rarity at a packed con weekend.

We then braved the lengthy badge pick up line, where we ran into Rich, another member of our local game group, who ran 9 games (!) over the course of the weekend. After that we went to the upstairs hall to have some Spotted Cow beer and pizza at the "Pre-Con Welcome Party", courtesy Luke Gygax, and where I talked to Demos, who blogs over the OSR Grimoire.

Back in our room, Matthew led us through an fun impromptu session of Postcard from the Expedition, a collaborative story game. I think this was the first time I've ever managed to squeeze in any pickup gaming at Gary Con!

Next Up: Day 1 (unfortunately, never completed...)

Monday, April 3, 2023

Corpse Light (New Monster)

This is a new monster for Holmes Basic, one which is featured in the Random Encounters table of The Forgotten Smugglers' Cave adventure (which is indexed here). It originally appeared as part of my list of One Hit Point Monsters.

Corpse Light

Move: 120 feet/turn floating
Hit Dice: 1/8 (1 hit point)
Armor Class: 7
Treasure Type: nil
Alignment: neutral
Attacks: 1 hit
Damage: 1 point

These minor undead form from the spirits of torchbearers who have perished in the underworld or wilderness, and are said to be particularly motivated to enact vengeance on cruel or indifferent employers. Each one appears as a burning torch held aloft as if by an invisible hand. 

Seemingly drawn together, corpse lights are typically encountered in groups (3d4 would not be unusual). At a distance they appear as an approaching group of torch lights, but on drawing closer their chilling absence of bearers becomes apparent. The floating torches will begin circling, and muttered accusatory phrases may be heard, as they judge a party of travelers. They will never attack henchmen or other servants, and may depart without incident if a group contains well-treated members of this class.

If a group is found to be lacking, the corpse lights will begin swooping in and taking strikes at various members. Once they begin attacking, they can only be stopped through direct strikes of the torches or by clerical turning (as skeletons with a +2 on the roll).