Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Electric Troikaland

I'm going to smash together Electric Bastionland and Troika! and a little bit of PbtA into a new system. Why? Why not? SHould make for one hell of a one-shot.

Part 1: Your Class
  • Roll 2d6: 1 for loose change, one for Vitality (will be used for EBL stuff)
  • Roll 2 Troika! classes
  • Roll 2 EBL failed careers
  • Choose 1 from each
  • Mash them together to form a sweet concept
  • Write down the gear and skills
Part 2: Stats
There are 4 stats. For 1 of them, roll 1d6+12. For another roll 2d6+6. For the other 2 roll 3d6. Write them down and figure out the -3 to +3 modifiers (BX D&D style).
  • Aggro – Physical stuff, brawling, being tough
  • Swift – Agility stuff, running fast, sleight of hand
  • Cool – Social stuff, tricking people, being accepted
  • Luck – Other stuff, Saving Throws, can be used for anyhting*
If your Vitality is less than 3, make it 3.

How to Do Stuff
  • Roll 2d6 + a stat
  • 13+: Critical Success
  • 10-12: Total Success
  • 7-9: Partial Success or Total Success with a Cost
  • 6-: Consequences
Are you skilled in something? If so, you can reroll a Test up to a number of times equal to the skill rank. A re-roll cannot result in a critical success. Mark off your use of the reroll.

Luck? You can CHOOSE to use Luck instead of Aggro, Swift, or Cool. If you choose to do so, reduce Luck by 1 point after the Test (success or failure). If the GM tells you to make a Luck Test, you do not need to reduce the score.

Any kind - not just swords and fists.

When you try and harm someone (physical, social, mental, whatever), roll like usual.
  • Critical success = you do 2 damage to your opponent
  • Success = You do 1 damage
  • Partial Success = You do 1 damage and opponent does damage (usually 1) to you
  • Failure = You take damage (usually 1). ouch.
  • If you have good stance/weapon/blackmail/whatever, +1 to damage
  • Damage is removed from Vitality
  • At 0 Vitality, a character is defeated
  • instead of dropping to 0 vitality, you can instead lose 1 point from the attribute you rolled

At 0 Vitality you are out of the action and defeated. In a particularly deadly situation this could mean death, but it rarely does. Killing folks is really rude. Even monsters will just send you home with your tail between your legs. Bandits will probably just steal all your stuff. In social conflicts this might mean you are humiliated.

If you have armor, it can take damage instead of you, but it is situational. Any item can be armor under the right circumstances. That blackmail you were using as leverage, it takes the damage instead of you and it turns out to be not as damaging as you thought. Oops. Heavy armor absorbs 2 hits instead of 1.

When you have some down time, you can do one of the following
If at 0 Vitality, you MUST recover 1d6 Vitality (up to the max)
Otherwise you may do one of the following:
  • Recover 1d6 Vitality (up to the max)
  • Recover 1d3 attribute points (up to the max)
  • Recover 1d3 skill points (up to the max)
  • Test to get rid of an unfortunate condition (like a broken arm, a hex, or shame)
  • When you take downtime, the Action Moves Forward without you … so choose wisely.
How Magic Works
More or less like like everything else
  • A partial success causes the ability score to drop by 1 point or a less effective spell
  • A failure instead causes damage, based on the spell. 
  • You can roll on the “Oops” table instead

Use the spells and skills from Troika! Use everything from EBL and Troika! Make shit AMAZING.

Done. I'll let you know if we do this and how awesome it.

Class: Lonesome Monarch OR Fellow of the Peerage of Porters
Career: Rook Tamer or Alpha Tester
I'm choosing Lonesome Monarch  + Alpha Tester

Lord Pesterly Union (Mr. Union)                                                        
It was just one more season of war! We went through the portal. Now nobody knows who I am. I AM NOBILITY YOU SCUM. I wish my coins were worth something here. I took up with the first guilder who would assist me - but somehow I'd been tricked into pushing buttons and flipping switches. I ate terrible things and suffered numerous indignities. Now I'm off on my own! BOW BEFORE ME!

Aggro: 9 (+0) [3d6]
Swift: 14 (+1) [3d6]
Cool: 16 (+2) [2d6+6]
Luck: 16 (+2) [1d6+12]

Etiquette OOO
Halberd Fighting OOO
Ride Horse OOO
Tracking O

My Stuff
Nice weapon (ornate, but slightly worn halberd)
Crown made of tin and dragon spittle
A sad horse who is slow and stupid [Curt]
Telescopic Rod
Protective Armor vs explosions (heavy)
Temperance Band [refuse a need, will all catch up if i remove the band]

Worst Thing that happened to me
I've lost an eye to a toy mouse that was trained to fetch grapes. I loathe mice. I fucking despise grapes.

Friday, July 2, 2021

Pease Park District

WTF it is July already. And we have a holiday weekend here in the US. The weather in the northeast is awesome - if you like cold temperatures and rain, which I do.

Anyway, with the new Sorrow in Haven crew formed up, we have a new character map:

and I'm working on the "4-page" for another district - Pease Park.

We also decided to try something with this set of characters which, I feel, is not going to work out well in the long run. I grabbed the Hackmaster 4e Quirks and Flaws tables. I let people roll on them. Rather than Build Points, they get a % bonus to their XP. Things went well for the most part, but one player's character just went completely haywire and down the shitter. I eventually had mercy on them and made them stop rolling on the tables.

If I do include a quirks & flaws mechanic in character creation, it'll have to be be seriously tweaked. Not just for the mechanical aspects (obviously) but to both imply additional role playing and make them feel more "Sorrow in Haven"-y. I don't want adventurers with multiple amputations. One eye is fine (and led to a great in-character story), but who cares about "drooling"? I know HM4e has a lot of parody content ... but it also was a beautiful re-designed version of AD&D.

I think for now I'll spend my effort on setting material.

Oh - and the first (unedited) version of the monster book is ready done. I have more material to write (a few tables here and there) and need to start tracking down some artists to fill it with creatures. But it is in a playable state! So that is pretty sweet.

Monday, June 7, 2021

The TPKs that just happened

In 2 games over the last 2 months I've had 2 TPKs.

Some would consider this a failure. The characters all died? What now?

If you are of the "I'm telling a story about the characters" type of GM yea, you are screwed and your game is a bit hosed up.

But that isn't how I do it. That isn't how you do it either. In any game where character death is not only possible but probable, the game can't be a story. I know I harp on this a lot, but it really frustrates me hearing all these folks talking about "the story".

So all the characters in the BCDH game died off. And it was glorious! Some began praying to Vecna for salvation and became her thralls, others refused. The battle was on. Everyone died OR was no longer a playable PC. What does this mean? That the campaign continues with a new chapter! With those events having unfolded as they did (I really didn't think it would go that way, but hey - players? am I right?) a small cult has become a big cult because they have champions. The 4 characters that 'turned' are now effectively the 4 horsemen of the Rock Apocalypse. The new band of heroes is off to hunt for some weird shit in Barrowmaze (which I'm VERY excited to run). Everyone is down with it.

When it happened, I think this was the first time most of these folks had seen a TPK. They'd all lost a character here and there, but there was some continuity of adventure. This was different. I'm pretty sure (although not entirely sure) that what made it more OK was the intro to the next campaign - their previous actions as players had an impact on the world, and that is pretty awesome.

A TPK isn't just a failure of the adventure, it is an opportunity to change focus - how you as the GM handle it makes a big difference. If all the characters die and you give up and nothing else happens, then it was a boring loss. Make it an epic loss.

In the Sorrow in Haven game everyone knew - THEY KNEW - this dungeon was a deathtrap, a lie, a trick, all bad. Yet they still chose to go in there. A few sessions went by, more and more information about the bigger situation was being presented. They got into a serious situation and weren't entirely sure what to do ... but they could tell no matter what it was going to be bad. And it was. Epically bad! Characters getting stabbed and blasted, curses going nuts, people running away and getting overwhelmed. But here is the important part - everyone had fun.

Everyone had fun with an epic disaster. Because it is just a game! Folks were already talking about their new characters minutes later. Technically they did "resolve" the dungeon, but absolutely not as they had hoped. I had no idea if things were going to go completely sour for the characters, so had to so some quick on-the-fly thinking. Their actions ended up having an effect ON THE CAMPAIGN.

Again - a TPK of heroic adventurers should be dramatic. Not a bunch of 1st level wangers. They are fodder. but a group of seasoned adventurers screwing up like that? Oh you know Shit has got to get Real. So ... Sorrow, the giga-dungeon, the heart of the campaign, is now fully awake. They'll know this soon enough. More importantly though everyone talked about how much fin they had getting their asses handed to them.

Don't misunderstand - these TPKs are not common events. Just happened this way. What I'm trying to get to though is as a GM, don't be afraid of them! Use it as an opportunity to weave your player's actions into the setting and start something new. 

That "story" the GM runs isn't that interesting (sorry - it isn't). But the story that the players have about their epic and catastrophic failure? You know that is going to stick around for some time. The emotional impact of losing all the characters, and the players all feeding off each other, is more than the GM can thrown out. That is ok. GMs are only human, and at any given table just one human. The power of a group is stronger. That is why seeing a movie in a theater full of people who are excited to see it is more fun than watching it at home on your phone.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Rival Adventuring Parties in Barrowmaze (and beyond)

Been on a bit of a break from Sorrow - exhaustion, Memorial Day, etc. Plus the group has been deeply engaged in some dungeoneering which didn't get me super inspired to write anything. My other group rolls some old school D&D (my BX variant BXDH). They are about to jump into the Barrowmaze, and one of the things that is great are the pre-made rival adventuring parties, but i wanted some more. Found this post and loved it, so added them as well. I also dropped the Fearsome Five from the list ... the name just irked me for some reason.

Which rival party? This one (1d100): 

1d100 Rivals
 1 - 8  Bastards of Bogtown 
 9 - 16  Bertrand's Briggands 
 17 - 24  Boon Companions 
 25 - 28  Gorelick, Kesselmann, Voboes, Inginok and Fritch  
 29 - 32  Halma-Khet 
 33 - 36  Lord Farthingale's Men 
 37 - 40  Morgenstern and Sons 
 41 - 48  Norse Whisperers 
 49 - 52  Order of St. Halachris 
 53 - 60  Outriders 
 61 - 68  Renata 
 69 - 72  Sisters of Ynis Nagahl 
 73 - 76  The Dragonslayers 
 77 - 80  The Forsaken 
 81 - 84  The Gallant Comrades 
 85 - 88  The Progeny of Lorbis Vu 
 89 - 100  Unknown (just some mooks)

What the fuck am I going to do with all these rival parties? They are the inspiration to get adventurers moving! 

As part of the restocking of Barrowmaze there is a little restocking table made popular ages ago.
every room they visited:
1: add a monster
2: add a monster with treasure
3-6: left as-is (1 in 6 change of treasure)

I also like this idea, so I'll also be rolling for each space ADJACENT to where they tromped, +2 if they bring back significant loot:

1d20 Situation
 1 - 13  No changes 
 14 - 16  evidence 
 17 - 18  evidence, changed feature 
 19 dead mooks 
 20 dead adventurer 
 21 looted room 
 22 here they are! 

Evidence: broken weapons, signs of a scuffle, discarded torches, scribbling/graffiti (maybe they recognize it)
Evidence, changed feature: broken door, scrapes from secret door, wrecked statue, etc - standard adventurer bullshit
Dead mooks: dead hirelings ... X in 20 they are recognized (X being the # of times they've hired mooks from the guild)
Dead Adventurer: roll on that rivals table and kill someone!
Looted Room: monsters and treasure all gone
Here they Are: the rival party is here. roll again!

 1d6  What's up?
1 All messed up - wounded from battle or traps, either what is/was here or not
2 - 3 Roll for surprise? Depending on what the PCs were up to, roll for surprise, or reaction 
 4 - 6  In the middle of it - fighting, looting, disarming traps, or whatever

In addition to seeing these rival parties fucking up their dungeon(s), they will likely interact with them. Everyone starts with a 0 to the reaction roll for the rival parties (they are rivals after all). Bad interactions lower this, good ones raise it. Nasty rivals might start their faction score at -1d6.

 Faction Score  How they Feel
-9 or worse Nemesis! probably try to kill  you and take your stuff 
 -5 to -8  Enemies: definitely not your friends, will try to take advantage 
 -1 to -4 Jerks: they don't like you, won't give benefit of the doubt
 0 Neutral: just more adventurers adventureing for adventure
 1 to 4 Upnod: acknowledgement and might help a bit
 5 to 8 Respect: will steer clear, maybe share info, they like you cats
 9+ My Good Friend!: will assist, maybe team up, definitely share info

similar faction system for pretty much everyone - not just rival adventuring parties. all factions! those cultists? FS starts at -6. The barkeep they keep tipping goes up to +1d4. This is, more or less, similar to the loyalty scale i use for hirelings

 Loyalty Score  How they Feel
0 They are going to mutiny
 1 - 4  Hate being employed by you, probably steals, definitely talks shit
 5 - 8 Disgruntled, will do bare minimum 
 9 - 12 just a job, but they do it as best they can within reason
 13 - 15 They like you and want to be your actual friend
 16 - 17 Absurdly loyal - may give their life to save yours
 18 True Companion - almost nothing they won't do for you, no questions asked 

so any hirelings have a Loyalty score of 8 or less? maybe that should be another +1 to the adjacent area where rival parties are dicking about. Yep. I'll do that. 4 or less? they'll actually tell about cached gear and the like. fuck the PCs! They are terrible bosses but i need this job to maintain my crippling addiction to smoking crab gills!

Monday, May 31, 2021

TPK and campaigns and GM prep and ranting

The basic D&D game ran into a TPK. It was glorious. In the end that TPK lead to the direction and next chapter of the game. The TPK is an epic situation - complete and total failure, absolute collapse, and should have an impact on the greater game. 

So the 4 characters that turned against the rest of the party because they thought, for various reason, praying to the altar of the Vecna, queen of the damned and primarch of the setting sun, would be good, have become NPCs - in fact they are the "Four Traitors" (the 4 horsemen of the rock apocalypse). These wicked NPCs are racing to do things ... while the party is now racing against them.

as a GM, we decided to move on to this new chapter of the game. i had a ton of material that I wanted to run for my pimped out isle of dread game, but c'est la vie. i can package it up for later consumption. this is why, unless i'm REALLLY into something, preparation and notes and everything are simple.

but back to the TPK ... now to the players feel? they are fine. i hear all these "rpg horror stories" of TPKs, how the GM was awful and unfair and sucked. While these might be part of the case, i also remember one player I had in a game a few years ago. He had been RPGing 'for decades'. great. He lost his fucking mind when his character died. "first time i've ever lose a character". what? he hasn't been playing D&D ... or at least the D&D I play.

At what point did the game become about being heroes? My fantasy rpgs are all about some mooks that are fucking shit up. the challenge is surviving while doing things. you are heroes because you  succeed, yo do not succeed because you are heroes. The later is fine, but the former is how i prefer to play.

so when did that change happen? i think that also is when the "story" because so important. maybe i'm just being a cranky old man, but how the fuck does anyone think that is is fun to play in someone else' story? if the story already exists, the events are pre-determined, then it isn't a game? is it even interactive fiction? if you fudge the dice to get results that are 'better for the story' why are you even rolling dice? want a story? read a book. want to tell a story, write a book. or movies or anything but why why why an RPG, especiallyly one like D&D?

There are, of course, story games. I don't really get this as an entire genre and, frankly, don't care if you try to explain it to me. play what you want. but remember this - if you can't lose it isn't a game. animal crossing? super fun and adorable, but it is a toy, not a game. you can't lose.

ok i'm done.

just play more games. whatever kind you like.

be cool to each other and stop being assholes online.

try something new this summer - like i might actually sty a storygame.

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Dragons in Dungeons and Dragons

My group of players finally encountered a dragon in my BX(DH) game. Some of the players are new to D&D, other have been decades of experience. I decided some years ago that making every dragon a  godlike creature that is only worthy of NPC status or apocalyptic end-boss status was pretty lame. I mean the fucking monster is in the name, right? So enter the "thunder lizard".

The short version of the setup is that on the Isle of Dread the village of Tonora has been abandoned because it was beset by a thunder lizard. This being the isle of dread, players assumed a T-rex. When the thunder and lighting of the the dragon was revealed (it was an epic appearance, crawling out of the sea eating the last of a shark) there were two trains of thought.

1) Fuck this. The entire rest of the island is cut off. This is way too powerful for us.

2) Dragons have treasure and I want to get this this thing's treasure.

I did my best to neither encourage or discourage any plans - hanging back as referee judge and letting them debate and make choices. In the end, 2 daring party members identified that the dragon had its hoard under the sea near the short (that gem-finding sword I forgot i handed out like 10 sessions ago came in handy!). The rest hung back and watched - prepared to flee and partly in it for the probable carnage.

The crew was a bit underpowered, but clever. They did some sneaking and used their abilities to their fullest. When the dragon woke up and started rampaging at the interlopers, the battle was FIERCE. All the hirelings but 1 got obliterated. 2 of the PCs got blasted down to unconscious (using the 0 HP = unconscious in my game, -1 is dead) with some lucky rolls.  1 PC got lightninged apart. Everyone was damaged and beaten ... but in the end, they defeated it!

After all, a blue dragon is an 8 HD creature. Some luck and clever tactics & strategies were on their side. The dragon had el blasto breath and some magic, the one character who took draconic as a langue finally got to use it, everyone was sure it was going to be a TPK, but when then the final crossbow bolt did its job there was a collective cheer.

Dan: "That was amazing. I've been plying D&D for 30 years and that is the first time i've ever got to actually fight a dragon". I know - because Dan I an used to play as kids and I had the 'dragons are the badassest things in the universe' problem. Everyone was excited. The crew tangled with and beat the most iconic fantasy monster. It was only 8HD but they thought it was 100HD and still went for it!

They had the option to avoid it. But that lure of something to fuck about with is too strong. The urge to do stupid dangerous things in D&D is what makes D&D amazing. It is the opposite of real life. The dragon is that thing you can't tackle in real life because you are scared of it or maybe it is too much. For example I need to replicate a customer environment in a VM for some testing of of something my devs haven't been able to reproduce, but fuck it, why not?

Overcome your dragon! SLAY IT! It isn't impossible. You might even have a good time doing it and find some sweet treasure. I mean seriously - who doesn't want a sharkskin cloak studded with blue quartz that lets you turn into a shark 1/day. ALso, bragging rights.

You can make dragons gods in your game, world-shaking monstrosities that control the destiny of millions, but i let them be monsters. terrible monsters, but monsters that can be overcome nonetheless. 

Side note - on the way back to Lotamu to get their XP for getting that treasure (you get XP for treasure once you get to civilization in my game) they got ambushed by some giant geckos and a couple of ghouls wearing the discarded gecko skins as a 'disguise'. That almost anihilated the party. That was the most atrocious series of shit rolls I've seen by a group of players in quite some time. But somehow, also fucking awesome. RPGs are dreat.

Game on!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Awesome Trap Follow-up

I talked like I knew what I was talking about in the last post, and (in a twist that shocked no one) it turns out that exact situation came up in the game on Friday night. 

Setup: chest is a small room, chained to the walls - not to lock the chest but to keep it there. Bolts in the stonework, heavy chains with inscriptions (non-magical)  in ancient languages. Claw marks on the ceiling. 

These aren't exact quotas, but pretty close based on my quickly scribbled notes:

Player: "I want to open it but this is clearly a bad idea"

Player 2: "This is a trap ... but what is in there? omg. OPEN IT!"

Player 3: "Dude, dude, dude. Relax. We don't HAVE to open it. But we should open it."

Player 4: "Maybe it has a head in it?"

Player 5: "I get as far away as I can in the hall while encouraging someone else to open it. Don't we have hirelings for this kind of thing?"

Players 1&3: "I like my henchman - no way! You open it."

Player 2: "The Winter Queen isn't keeping the not-dead king's head in here. But what the fuck is she keeping in here?" 

Player 6: <chuckling quietly and grinning> "Consequences be damned - open it, Argento!"

The in-game tension from describing a weird thing got the players all amped up, which was great. The more they fucked around with it without opening it all the way increased the ominous sense of danger - because there was something terrible in there.

It was glorious. They opened it. 

Friday, March 19, 2021

How to Write an Awesome Trap

 This isn't about mechanics, this is about style.

Make it Obvious

If you pit traps hidden unless everyone has a 10' pole, then everyone will carry a 10' pole all the time. If you make door traps undetectable unless folks succeed at a roll, then every fucking dungeon door is searched for traps. "But that makes sense" is fine if we were running some sort of a simulation, but it is FUCKING BORING in real life gaming. I used to do it that way, then one day I came to my senses.

Make traps obvious. Or their effects obvious. Either show the players the trap or a big fucking clue. Got a chest covered with contact poison? Then tell them it is covered with something or throw some dead bodies (or rats) or whatever around the thing. Give the players something to latch on to. If they ignore this, it is at throw own peril.


"There are a few human skulls, cracked with age, littering the hallway." If they focus the light and look down the hall "you see some armor-clad skeletal bodies, headless, about 30' away". There is clearly a trap here - something that decapitates motherfuckers.

Don't Write a Solution 

Let the players come up with a solution. as a good GM, you need to determine if that would work, or how it would work. Just write the situation - the hallway has a bunch of blades that will chop of your head. Very Indiana Jones 3. 

Not writing a solution seems to imply that you don't need to write how it is triggered. Not true. But writing a trigger may imply a solution, but doesn't dictate there is only 1 solution.


  • Player: I'm going to run and dodge my way through'
  • GM: Give me a DEX Check. But failure isn't damage ... it is decapitation
  • Player: serpentine pattern and Naruto style ... LET'S GOOOOOO!

  • Player: I'm going to crawl slowly along the floor feeling for stones that may trigger these stupid blades
  • GM: the blade are not stupid they are awesome. it will take you 2d6+4 minutes to crawl that carefully.
  • Player: ok ... i'm going to use my chalk to mark stuff too
  • GM: great - you do it* and everyone else it only takes 1d6+2 minutes because of your marks

* You do it could and should likely be expanded into some tense role playing for fun, but was too long to write out for my example.

Make them Want to Mess With It

A trap just being a trap for no reason is as boring and lame as a trap that isn't obvious in some manner. Players should have a reason to choose to mess with a trap. Choose is the important word here. Again. Choose. If the trap lies between point and and point B and the characters need to get to point B then it isn't really a choice to interact with the trap. Of course need is a bit sloppy as well. They probably want to, which is different than need to, so want allows for a choice (even if a bit thin).

A trap sprung on completely unsuspecting players means they didn't choose to interact with the danger and makes it feel like a gotcha. If they ignored all the obvious signs, that is their own dumb fault. But as the GM, maybe you didn't do a good enough job of telegraphing. Make a note and figure it out later. Don't beat yourself up. This is just a game after all.


  • Why even go through that passage? Because that door at the end of the hallway has the mark that we've seen on other treasure vault rooms. 
  • The gemstone on the pedestal surrounded by dried blood and looks really valuable. Are the walls covered in blood as well - like an explosion? I really want that topaz...
  • So the statues turn to look at us as we pass by and they all have gold coins for eyes. Like real gold I think (in a game where copper groats are the common currency this is some serious loot). But they are looking at us. Actively. I want those coins! But I don't want to die! Coins ... LOOOT! I get out my prying dagger. Watch my back, wizard! (The wizard steps out of the room because 'fuck this!')

Bonus Fun: Monster as Trap

I've done this a bunch and it is always fun. A trap is an obstacle, something to overcome - a challenge if you will. So are monsters. So why not place a monster that will DESTROY the party - like serious TPK potential - but put it in a state that the characters can avoid it ... but if they mess with it something cool happens. My favorite - sleeping dragon.

Everyone knows that a giant-ass sleeping dragon that is cradling a pile of coins and gems and whatnot. If they trigger the trap (wake the dragon) there will be hell to pay. So sneak by it and avoid the danger ... or figure out a way to get that loot. Of maybe the dragon is blocking an archway that leads to a cool sublevel of the dungeon they heard has a fountain of Beefy Strength or something.

Replace 'dragon' with whatever is awesome for the adventure: Giants, Lovecraftian horrors, infinite amount of huge hunting spiders, hoard of fear burrowing goblins - whatever floats your boat. The idea is to make it a clearly bad idea if they are 'triggered'.

Traps Kill and Maim!

Traps that just do some damage are boring. Traps about always be seriously brutal - kill them fools! Rip off legs and destroy armor. If you make traps just whittle away at hit points they are annoyance and become less interesting. Drop a ceiling on a PC (or hireling if the players are wise) and they'll get the idea. This doesn't mean character's can't survive, but why do 1d6 damage when you can do 10d6 damage? Make that shit BRUTAL.

Traps that Warn or Detain

Fine - I acknowledge that these exist, but they are rarely that interesting. You fell in a pit! Other adventurer's help you out of the pit. But if you take these situations - fall in a pit, drop a net, and so on - then these should warn someone/something else ... and start a race against time! Fall in a pit and a bell rings and a bunch of kobolds with jackal skulls for heads wielding javelins dripping poison come running in 2d10 seconds (like 1 or 2 rounds) from the secret room next door - that is a trap with a pit as part of it.

No Content? Just Advice?

I was going to write up a list of traps or a trap generator, but they are already everywhere and I don't have anything that is so unique as to change your world. So roll something on whatever table, grab results from whatever generator, then make them MORE. 

For some examples I hit up and used what was generated and made it MORE. The traps presented are just traps, so I'm not shitting on that site (it is a really nice generator), but everything is very mechanical. Basically the opposite style of what I'm doing. 

The Web Trap

Original Summary: magic makes webs fill an area and make a really easy DEX Save to avoid or STR to break out.

MORE: What looks like charred ropes hang limply in an area that itself has charred walls. Step in giant spider webs get sprayed all over you (automatic). If anything struggles, they get set on fire! 2 STR Checks to completely escape back the way you came or 4 to get to the far side. 3d6 damage every check (assuming that is rounds or something). ON the far side ... a ruby made of living flame held in the many legs of the Spider Queen Leth.

Bear Trap

Original Summary: bear trap triggered by pressure plate that a macguffin is on (I like that this one has a reason for them to mess with it in their description). Moderate damage (with an attack roll), easy to get out of.

MORE: A series of concentric bear traps can be seen poking through the floor - each one larger than the last, the farthest one clearly closing at about 8' high. Pedestal with Juice of Everlasting Cool - i'm down the pressure plate thing. trigger the plate and BLAM - crushed and pierced to death by those bear traps. The first one does 1d6 damage, then each one after that 1d6 MORE damage than the last - total of 10 of them, each one triggering 1 second later. snap Snap SNAP! And it will destroy the fragile Juice Bottle - because if i can't have it no one can! Better ruined than in the hands of thieves ...

That is all for now. please do some gaming! If you pimp out some traps or do some cool traps in this style, let me know! Time to go clean up the garage and get ready for my Friday night game. Maybe I'll remember to eat lunch today at a normal time.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

monsters Monsters MONSTERS!

The monster book got lost in the shuffle of the new year, but I'm back on my bullshit! Focused on writing and tweaking stats as I go. I changed the number of monsters in lair to an actual roll instead of a multiplier, and have been adjusting some combat stats based on threat and description. Just finished page 25 - only 16 pages to go. Then art and/or the extra fun tables.

Always with the art. The art defines the look and feel, sometimes more than the text. The stat blocks are mechanical, the description have some flavor, but pull double duty as mechanical details. That leaves the art and tables. These need to be entirely inspirational to have the desired effect. 

My most recent artist has gone and gotten himself a regular job. I'm quite happy for him, but this means I need to find some new folks. I've got this idea in my head where these aren't detailed drawings, but images and impressions. Like an adventurer quickly sketched something in their notebook. I love what Scrap Princess does - evocative and strange and, most importantly inspirational (and the non-art material is also INCREDIBLE). 

Then I got to thinking, what if I describe a general style (quick and sketchy, backgrounds optional, infer rather than show) and find 5 or 6 artists who want to throw down. I also know that everyone has their own style and asking them to "dress down" is generally not cool - all the art an artists produces is their resume and asking them to do what might be considered 'bad work' would be detrimental. So why not ask Scrap Princess? Frankly, though, I'd be embarrassed to ask Scrap about commission work. Their stuff is so amazing and I'm just a hobbyist doing a vanity project.

But back to it .. the question is which ones get art and which ones get tables? I definitely want at least 1 illustration each page ... or spread? Maybe a few artworks in there can be full-page illustrations of a critter or critters on the opposite page. I don't know yet. First things first, though, I need to find some artists to discuss this with.

Let's make a random table for a monster. And the random d6 says .... #2. A table for the Lost Angels.

The first thing that comes to mind is The Hive - so let's do that!

The Hive of the Lost Angels
1d6The structure is...
1... made from the interred, dug from their tombs and graves, and posed perfectly to praise many-legged Yseth.
2... perfectly symmetrical and focused on an ancient relic buried deep within and submerged in divine honey.
3... and impossible maze of tunnels that must be crawled through, each chamber housing the honored dead.
4... made of chewed holy scriptures and scrolls mixed with the profane rantings of an unknown Shadow Templar.
5... a perfect replica of a shrine of the Eternal Light familiar to the PCs, including corpses dressed in found objects made to look as church members they know.
6... a gigantic pupa, housing an Angelic Queen that has died in her eternal slumber, that will be Yseth reborn.

Add in some world building with the monsters? Sounds like a good plan. I have no idea who Yseth is - that isn't a cannon old world god in my game (yet). And from that last one I wrote she apparently wants to be reborn. The Lost Angels have honored dead - their own? Are they associated indirectly with the Church of Eternal Light (a thing in my game) or connected to the Shadow Templar (also a bad guy thin in my game)? More questions than answers? I'd say that is about perfect!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

"Wheels in Motion"

In this post I'm going to break down a bunch of the current adventure/campaign I'm running in Sorrow. We are still playing and there are some threads that haven't been plucked by the players. There are a few spoilers in here - so if you are one of my players, read this later! The whole thing isn't laid out, just where the group has gotten to so far.

An Example of How I Write Adventures

Start with the problem - this is what the players are presented with - the "objective" of the adventure.

0: "There is some sort of reverse-aging plague ... uh oh!"

So now the fun bits: why and then why and then why...

1: Why this plague? The plague is caused by a dungeon that has grown out of control. 

2: Why out of control? Some wizard was working on a time-related thing and screwed it up.

3: Why is it screwed up? He was under pressure and died (and wasn't as good as he thought).

4: Why pressure? His wife pushed him to do it.

5: Why the push? She married him to gain power.

6: Why power? because she knows about a magic wishing dungeon one someone else's property

7: Why this other place? MAGIC WISHING DUNGEON

So that defines a reason for this adventure. Lets add a few complications. Complications are the hooks and subplots.

0.1 The plague is very dangerous - people age to nothing in about 48 hours. It has the potential to spread and disappear all of Haven. Yikes!

2.1 The strange machine built by the now-dead wizard is being run by members of a faerie court

4.1 He was rushing to provide a time potion to the dangerous gang leader Micky the Fish

Now let's flesh out these NPCs a bit - specifically their motivations. 

The wizard: Yent was an esoteric interested in the search for truth. Having the luxury of being upper class, he had the time and money to pursue these things. But he wasn't really a wizard - he was an occult hobbyist (albeit an advanced one), and made mistakes. He was just doing his thing, but was manipulated into going down this route by his wife.

The wife: Ulona was Yent's 4th wife and got with him to try and create a method for extending time because of the Wishing Fountain. How does she know about the wishing fountain? Because she was the lover of Micky the Fish! But she was just using Micky as well (more on that in a moment) because she wants to get to the Wishing Fountain   

Micky the Fish: once an GDD member, ran across the Wishing Fountain during a 'routine' dungeon crawl. He got corrupted and is turning into a terrible monster. Ulona was a hireling of the GDD crew and knows what kind of power Mickey has ... but doesn't care about the details of HOW, she just wants it for her own nefarious purposes. Ulona continued to manipulate Micky even as he became a rampaging murder machine.

The Other Estate: Yent figured out that the Wishing Fountain, which appears from time to time around Haven had a regular pattern and made some calculations. The next appearance was in the nearby Clopman estate. Why? Because the former head of the clopman's was a wizard who was ALSO interested in the Wishing Fountain and built a statue to attract it. Magic, man. Sweet. 

Now with all the bits and pieces sorted I can write up the wheels. These are what drive the campaign. They are the events that unfold if the character's DON'T get involved, but also set the general trajectory. PC interaction is the heart of a good RPG game, so every time the PCs get their grubby selves involved I update the direction of the wheels (and those related to them). For example, the PCs messed up Mickey getting the time potion, so he changed his mind and decided to hunt them down (after they talked about how awesome they were and generally bragged around town).

The Wheels

Wheel 1: The Plague

  • Consume the Blesmont Circle population
  • Consume Magnen Village neighborhood
  • The Hammers (kind of the supernatural police) get involved
  • Spread to All of Shady Thicket
  • CAMPAIGN CHANGE: Massively depopulate Haven before being running its course

Wheel 2: Micky

  • Get the Time Potion
  • Instead of giving it to Ulona, use it himself to "live forever"
  • Continue to grow more murderous and monstrous
  • His gang becomes a cult
  • Consolidate Power in Shady Thicket
  • CAMPIGN CHANGE: The Hammers form up, recruiting for a a war within Haven

Wheel3: Ulona

  • Get the time potion
  • Raid the Clopman estate and enter the dungeon
  • Use the time potion to extend the time it is open (don't want to get trapped)
  • Wish for her cult to get power
  • CAMPAIGN CHANGE: a bad cult-related thing happens

I left out the details on that last bit because while I told my players not to read this ... they might.

What Now?

Now with the big picture laid out, I can start littering clues and connections all over the damned place. Create rumor tables (the Ulona of Vious Moon has been attempting to purchase the Clopman estate), add descriptive notes to encounters that infer something or another (like the dead "wizard's" clothes in the time dungeon indicated he was upper class.

I didn't know what would happen or where the adventure would go. Who ever knows what the fuck players are going to get up to? In this case they stopped the time dungeon/plague, started a gang war against Mickey that ended in street riots and wide-scale destruction, and ended up carousing and getting Imdar Clopman drunk and tricking him into being their friend. Now they are going to attempt to kill off the Wishing Fountain Dungeon. Also one of the PCs killed another PC and has gotten himself addicted to some nasty drugs - which is a completely unrelated but really interesting side plot.

This was over a few months of actual play ... you can't have this much interconnected stuff in a few sessions without spoon-feeding the information. That just feels like telling the players a story I wrote and letting them know what to do next. At any point the crew could have ignored something or gone off on a tangent, let events transpire and the campaign would be irrevocably changed. All of which is AWESOME. And if they get in there and deal with the dungeon cropping up, that will be awesome too. 

And here is the best part - I don't care how the adventure/campaign ends. It doesn't matter as long as it is interesting. I've seen so many adventures (and posts on reddit and whatnot) where there is a foregone conclusion that the PCs will save the say - they will get to a major battle on the top of a mountain and the GM has written up this epic encounter and bla bla bla.

I'm all about setting the wheels in motion. The players' job is to get in there and mess about with things. If they want to stop the impending doom, great! if not, that's cool! if they succeed? fantastic! if they fail? no problem. It isn't about telling a story, it is about having an adventure. The story is what happens when the players retell the adventurer to their friends.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Some Dungeon Geomorphs

I draw a bunch. It seemed like fun but I'm not really into it. Perhaps I'll make some more later? If I do more, I need to change the grid size so I can add them staggered. Or maybe I should figure out what the 'standard' scale is so you can mix and match with other folks' stuff. We shall see. 

Here are some scans. Perhaps I'll make them into individual images suitable for roll20.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Shady Thicket

The city of Haven is absurdly large. The population density is unreasonable. The idea is ludicrous. However, I'm not going for reality, I'm going for insane fun and maximum opportunity.

Haven is broken down into Districts, each acting like a semi-autonomous city-state within the city. There isn't a central "city government" - the place is endless chaos of guild and noble house politics and schemes. Recently in my game the criminal element was a major focus. There was a gang war in the city the adventuring crew organized to take down someone nasty. It was awesome.

This post is about one district: Shady Thicket. I decided to write up a document for each district to give them distinct flavor and color. Here are some screen shots of that. Let me know if you are interested and I'll happily share the pdf with you.

The idea is to give each neighborhood within a district some tone, which gives the entire district a tone. In addition to the description, some people and places. A series of tables to generate random buildings that apply to everywhere in the district and lean into the feel of the neighborhoods in the three regions of the district.

The people and place tables will always be unique, but as I write up more districts - which I'll do in detail as we actually play in them - I can reuse and tweak the building generators. For example, in Smoldering Wharf  docks I may use something like.

 d6 StateFeeling
Bustling / Active
2 Weather-beaten 
 Shady / Criminal 
3 Precarious / Dilapidated  Warehouse / Storage
4DisreputableFish / Fishermen
5 Leaning Heavily  Repairs / Carpentry 
6 Partially Collapsed  Boatswain /Sailors 

In fact I'll use exactly that. :)

You can map a city, but as soon as you've done that you lock things into position. Also, it is boring. I've got a 2-page spread of the district with the walls and major roads (and Greenwine hill). I've drawn on significant sub-streets and added a few buildings to mark specific locations. Everything else is handled with role playing and random tables. Based on an idea from the lastgaspgrimoire (which has SO MUCH GOOD STUFF), I've written up my "city crawl" mechanics to cover chasing someone down an alley, seeing wtf is going on up on those rooftops when the crew inevitably does that, and poking around the Undercity. So the map is simple and we add to it as we need. As we transition to roll20, I can even share it with the players.

Monday, January 11, 2021

RPG Weather - Haven System

I've complained about it before and made a bunch of tables and all sorts of things, but weather tables in RPGs are rough. Too complicated, not an interesting flow of weather, too random, and so on. Even the ideas I came up with were OK (at best - and I'm biased) ... but not really interesting or even that easy to use. Then I discovered this absolute gem!

Of course I had to abscond with the idea and make some changes to fit my needs. It really is a beautiful system and quite flexible. It is dynamic, gives patterns to recognize, and is really simple to set up!

How To Use these Tables

  1. Start somewhere. For example my game in late spring, so I'm starting in the center hex of the spring table.
  2. Roll a d6 and follow the rules as Daniel wrote. They are simple and fun!

[New Stuff] 

  1. In the last weeks of a season, roll 1d4 instead of 1d6
  2. If during that time a result on the right side of the table is a 2 or 3, transition to the left-most hex on the season table. 
  3. If the next season starts but the weather table is still the previous season, don't freak out. instead roll 1d6 is results of: 1 = up, 2-3= right up, 4-5 = right down, 6 = down
  4. And follow new rule 2 up there. Eventually you'll get to the next season's table

Special Hexes
Then I decided that I could do some sort of special hexes. The top-most and bottom-most hexes are special in that they tend to stick around for a bit. So in the spring the first time one of the top or bottom hexes are encountered they are Spiced Winds. As soon as the weather leaves that hex, they change to Doldrums and the other once becomes Spiced Winds. The winds can stick around for a few days, but don't come about too often. Cool!

What My Weather Types Mean
  • Clear: normal uninteresting day, reasonable season temperature, winds, etc.
  • Cloudy: overcast and cloudy. when this hex comes immediate roll for the next day to see what kind of clouds - if rain or storm is 'on the horizon' they look like 'rain clouds' or 'storm clouds' rather than just 'grey shitty day clouds'.
  • Cool / Warm: lower or higher temperatures than normal, but not out of the question
  • Cold: not just cool but cold!
  • Cold Snap: indicates cold, but a sudden drop in temperature when it happens
  • Heat Wave: it is way too hot and will linger, the next day's weather not even kicking in until later in the day
  • Oddly Warm: it is way too warm for winter. not crazy hot, but a really warm day.
  • Rain: it rains!
  • Sleet: is it rain? is it snow? It sucks no matter what, freezer over if next day is snow
  • Storm: it rains really hard and is probably windy. If in the winder it is a snow storm. if the previous day was sleet it might be snow for a bit.
  • Windy: it is hella windy. Haven is by the sea, so this isn't too weird
  • Fog: big heavy fog rolls in off the sea. pea-soup stuff. a good time to do crimes.
  • Light Snow: some snow falls. it is pretty.
  • Thunder Snow: snowfall with thunder and lightning
  • Silent Snow: sound is dampened, snow cover is heavy
  • Wet Snow: nasty bsuiness. roll another 1d6. On a 1-4 it ices over. Gross
  • Howling Wind: just really intense gale that seems to have a bit of howling coming from the wind itself
  • Warm Wind: it is warm, which is nice in the winter
  • Doldrums: totally calm day, no wind, magnify previous day's weather (ignoring wind)
  • Spiced Wind: winds that carry the scent of spices and far-off places. usually considered an omen (50/50 good or bad) depending on when they arrive.
  • Blood Rain: the rainwater is reddish and leaves a film on things. it is a type of reds algae that lives in the clouds
  • Ashy: The sky gets smudgey clouds and a a bit of ash, like a light rain, falls from the sky. nobody knows where this comes from 
  • The Calm: The weather is fantastic and a perfect temperature - everything seems calmer on these days, including the people and creatures of Haven. usually a good pop-up market day
  • Black Tides: the weather from the previous day continues and the tides are particularly high and low - the water is dark, a dangerous time to be in the ocean and the mouth of the rivers
  • Wendigo Snow Storm: this happens at most once a winter (then it becomes Howling Winds). Incredible winds, heavy stinging snow fall, and wendigo stalk the streets at night.
And now for some tables:


In Action!
My calendar has 12 months, each with 28 days (because fuck it - why make it complicated like real life?). Spring is March - May, 3 months per season. Starting on May 7th in the center spring hex, here is an example of the daily weather.

DateSeason Die  Roll Weather
May 7Springd6xclear
May 8Springd64warm
May 9Springd64windy
May 10Springd61warm
May 11Springd63rain
May 12Springd61clear
May 13Springd61clear
May 14Springd64clear
May 15Springd62warm
May 16Springd63ahsy
May 17Springd66warm
May 18Springd65clear
May 19Springd63storm
May 20Springd61warm
May 21Springd63ashy
May 22 Spring (transition) d42Storm
May 23Spring (summer)d64rain
 May 24 Spring (summer)d66storm
May 25Spring (summer)d64rain
May 26Spring (summer)d66storm
May 27Spring (summer)d61cold snap
May 28Spring (summer)d64storm
June 1Summerd64rain
June 2Summerd62The Calm
June 3Summerd63clear
June 4Summerd64warm
June 5Summerd61clear
June 6Summerd65warm
June 7Summerd62clear
June 8Summerd64warm
June 9Summerd63Black Tides
June 10Summerd64Black Tides
June 11Summerd63Black Tides
June 12Summerd66Warm
June 13Summerd66Warm
June 14Summerd61The Calm
June 15Summerd62Clear
June 16Summerd63Cloudy
June 17Summerd63Spiced Wind
June 18Summerd65Storm
June 19Summerd64Black Tides
June 20Summerd65Black Tides
June 21Summerd64Black Tides
June 22Summerd64Black Tides
June 23Summerd63Black Tides
June 24Summerd61Storm
June 25Summerd64 Black Tides 
June 26Summerd61Storm
June 27Summerd64Black Tides
June 28Summerd61Storm
July 1Summerd65warm
July 2Summerd66warm
July 3Summerd62clear
July 4Summerd62cloudy
July 5Summerd65clear
July 6Summerd66The Calm
July 7Summerd61Cool

Additional Thoughts
This simple idea is so rad - it could be used to chart the course of anything dynamic. What about how the forces in a war are doing, or the relationships between factions, or the unrest in a nation? All of these are possible. It really may be one of the best things I've found on the internet.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Phantasmagoricon Volume 1

Everyone loves a monster book! More monsters! More ideas! But you know what no one likes? The same fucking monsters over and over and over. How many monster books have zombies and ghouls and whatever is in the SRD of whatever game is popular right now? Oh - and let's not forget about the wolf, the dire wolf, the ice wolf, the fire wolf, the undead wolf, the water wolf, and myriad variations on the same thing that are only exciting once or twice (think reskinning monsters in video games).

I'm in the writing details of the first Phantasmagorican - the monster books for Sorrow in Haven. This is the general layout (please ignore typos I'm not into editing right now). The blank space is for yet-to-be-determine stuff. Some artwork definitely, but perhaps also random tables to spice things up. For example everyone knows what the cherub looks like and the sticks to that general image, so perhaps a table of "what are they guarding" or "variations of weapons and look". Some might just get some additonal text describing tactics or variants or something. I'm focused on getting the main guts all done before going down the rabbit hole that is details.

Once I've got everything written up, I'm going to go back through and clean up the langue. Get rid of "seems to be" or "may be" and things like that. Make the words definite. Replace dumb words (big) with interesting words (towering) - generally make the short blurb evocative. If a GM reads a description and doesn't immediately imagine the thing and where they could use it, it isn't a good description.

Timeline Notes

  • Descriptions (about 25% done right now) - finish by end of Jan 
  • Description review/editing - end of Feb
  • make some choices on art and extra tables - mid March
  • get art - May
  • write tables - start mid-March, done by May
  • add the introduction - June
  • add an appendix or two as needed - June/July
  • cover artwork! - august
  • final proof - September

The Sorrow in Haven rules are all done - we are just doing some playtesting at the moment. At this point rules tweaks are very minor, a few wording choices get updated from time to time. Ultimately I'd like to make the whole thing less wordy (I do tend to go on) but I'd rather have a product in hand than backpedal that much. 

The rules are 8.5 x 7 , but the monster books layout is 8.5 x 5.5. I think I'm going to stick with that for the moment. perhaps the next rules iteration will get the 8.5 x x5.5 treatment and be less wordy. we'll see...

Monday, January 4, 2021

Restock the Dungeon

I really hate adventurers exploring a dungeon, then leaving, then coming back and nothing has changed. Obviously things have changed, but rarely are there any rules for what has happened.  Here are the rules that I use.

When the PCs leave a dungeon every room they have explored gets a restock roll. But what die to roll? If the dungeon is particularly active, roll 1d8. Regular dungeons roll 1d12. Slow/dying/quiet dungeons roll 1d20 or the higher of 2d12 (if you hate d20s for some reason)

 1dX  Restock with ...
 1 - 2 
 Monster + Treasure
 Trap + Treasure
 Unguarded Treasure
 Special Event
 No change, but show signs of activity
 No change, no signs of activity of any kind 


If there is a lair nearby (and nearby is relative) expand that lair and move some of the monsters. Only add more if they would be spread too thin. If the lair is of something with just 1 monster, then add some minions of that nasty.

If there are nearby monsters that aren't from a lair, add a few more of those. If there is a faction that has a reasonable presence, add some of them. These two are interchangeable and just depend on the map and the dungeon and all that.

Finally if there isn't anything that jumps out at you, add a random monster. Shit moves into dungeons. They spawn monsters from their very walls. Whatever works for you here.

If these are new monsters, add some new treasure. Otherwise split up some other treasure from where the monsters came from. If it is a trap room them move something from a nearby cache that the dungeon mooks would reasonably hide and trap. 

If unguarded, add something new. I always look at this last one as something another adventurer may have dropped.

Special Events
If there are some sort of things going on add a special bit to the dungeon. For example, if there are cultists trying to summon a demon then add some evidence of summoning, maybe some imps that have joined in the fun, or perhaps they've tweaked up this location to aid in their summoning making the whole thing move along faster ... or maybe they have SUCCEEDED and the thing is here. Whatever happens, make this room special and interesting (hence special event).

In Sorrow, there is an ever-present danger that the dungeon continues to grow. Dungeons are like living things and are pushing into the World of Light, they are a mold growing on the underside of reality. When this event pops up, I roll on this handy chart:

 1d20  Dungeon Growth Event
1 - 4
 1d4 chambers of this level
4 - 7
 1d8 chambers of this level
8 - 11
 2d4 chambers as a sub-level of the same dungeon type
12 - 14
 2d4 chambers as a sublevel of an adjacent dungeon type
 15 - 17 
 3d6 chambers as a sublevel of this dungeon
18 - 19
 1d3 chambers, temporary, Dust type, connect to other level 
 1d6+1 chambers, new point of egress to/from Sorrow

Been Gone a While
In the case where characters fuck off and do something else for a while, or get otherwise engaged/stuck/in jail/healing/leveling up I usually roll a few times or lower the die. Sometimes I just organically decide what happens. 

They killed most of faction 1 but faction 2 is still ok? Well fuck you faction 1 - faction 2 is here to take this dungeon over! Now that the Cult of Summoning Satan is dead the Sisterhood of Ruined Flesh is going to make this whole place a temple to Rot.

Big monster is killed off? That seems to open a new path of exploration for the other denizens. With that stupid gorgon eliminated (no one liked her anyway) the Callowpest have moved in from the north and started hunting a Sick Jack tribe. The Jacks don't like that are are setting traps.

Last Words
It is 2021. Finally. FIrst printing of Sorrow in Haven (revised edition) should become a physical thing this year. Monster book(s) are on their way - lots of writing and layout still to do - I am struggling a bit to make a layout I like. GM handbook is in its infancy. Also working on layout (focused on usability) of Sorrow itself. 

I'm also working on some geomorphs - a little daily exercise. If that actually becomes something I'll see about making them into a pdf or something. Most of the "365 day" projects don't make it a month (forget about a year), so who knows?