25 April 2024

grodog's Founders & Legends and GaryCon XVI Convention Reports - 14-25 March 2024 - Part 3

GaryCon XVI – Thank YOUs and Swag

Continued from Part 1 – Arrival through Founders & Legends and Interregnum Tuesday and from Part 2 - GaryCon XVI – 20-25 March 2024.

Founders & Legends convention logo
Founders & Legends convention logo

grodog's Thank YOUs and Appreciations!

My attendance at both Founders & Legends and GaryCon was supported by a number of important folks, without some of whom I would literally have not been able to be there*.  

GaryCon XVI convention logo
GaryCon XVI convention logo

Therefore, I'd like to express my deep appreciation and gratitude to:
  • Luke and Bochura Gygax, for managing both conventions, providing my F&L badge (and other folks in the Legio V who ran many games supporting the 50th anniversary extra weekend), and for making the conventions appear smooth and easy!
  • Robert Brandon, for graciously inviting me to share his B&B for F&L, which was conveniently situated next door to Gary's old house at 330 Center Street, and without which I would not have been able to attend F&L at all
  • Joe Kline, for graciously providing a PC for my use after the convention
  • Rich Franks, for his unexpected help in manning the Black Blade booth, for wrangling the Legio V cats, and for delivering Joe's donated PC
  • Victor Raymond, for yet-again splitting a room at GaryCon, continuing excellent company, and good conversations before, throughout, and after the conventions
  • Jon Hershberger, my business partner in Black Blade Publishing over the past 15 years, for his hard work before, during, and after our conventions that goes largely unrecognized
Among the Greyhawk and convention communities, I'd like to thank: 
  • Darlene, for her wonderful and continuing to inspire artwork, and for signing my now-five-year-old niece's coloring book (she loved it!! :D )
  • Tony Rosten, for trekking down to Lake Geneva on Friday evening during F&L, inviting  and treating Robert and I to dinner, and for breathing a new hope into our mega-dungeon zine, The Twisting Stair (work on issue #4 begins in May!)
  • Carlos Lising and the Wednesday night “Wolves of St. Cuthbert” crew---Greg, Danny, Triet, Dan, Nick, and Jeremy---for a fun off-grid game, picking up where we left off 2 years ago, and to Carlos for the gift of two of his unpublished modules, a casl Entertainment tote bag, and for all of the Greyhawk inspiration that he creates and shares with the community year-in and year-out
  • The Lenard Lakofka Archive crew---Anna, Jay, Josh, Lee, Troy, David, Dan, Rich, and the rest of the Lakofka Archive crew for the two new Lakofka adventures modules, now freely available for download (with more in the pipeline!)
  • Paul Stormberg of The Collector's Trove, TLB Games, and Legends of Roleplaying (and Wargaming!) and his ever-helpful partner in gaming, Kevin Maurice,  for squeezing me into the museum game (my 2nd time in Rob’s boreal level, 1st at NTX in 2019)
  • Jay Scott (who streamed live throughout GaryCon, including the Legends & Lore seminar show with Mike and Anna), Kristoph Nolen, Mike Bridges, Joe Bloch, Troy Alleman's Cannibaal Publishingand the multitudinous World of Greyhawk fan community for keeping the setting alive through continuing content creation, sharing, and support via Canonfire!, Greyhawk Online and The Oerth Journal, The Grey Grimoire, Visions of Greyhawk, Virtual Greyhawk Con (4-6 October 2024!), and so much more :D
  • Jim Kitchen for securing the means for future grodog's escapes, and continuing to spread the good word!
  • Ed Greenwood, for kindly signing my copies of The Grand History of the RealmsSecrets of the Sages, and The Dragon #37 (somehow I couldn't find my copy previously-signed by Gary way back at Lake Geneva Gaming Con #3 in 2007---I need to rummage around in my office more!); TD#37 contains Ed's seminal article, "From the City of Brass... to Dead Orc Pass... in One Small Step...:  The Theory and Use of Gates", which is one of my favorite articles ever published in Dragon Magazine
  • GaryCon volunteers Jeff MacKay, Mark (first time attendee, flew in from Wales!), Dirk Collins and his son, and a couple other folks for loading up my minivan on Sunday afternoon while I finished the last of the booth breakdown!  Thank you all:  that was the quietest, easiest Sunday afternoon I've had at GaryCon in ages :D
A warm thank you to the many players who chose to spend their precious conventioneering time in my games, providing feedback on the playtests, and continuing to surprise an old grodog who sometimes thinks he's seen all the tricks:

  • LEGIO V Presents: grodog's Castle Greyhawk
    • Saturday night (The Black Reservoir):  Rich Franks, Scott Peterson, Jason Azze, Scott Hadaller, Scott Greig (Dog of War), Maurice Ktrejczyk, Greg Naughton, David Ferguson, Rich Bush
    • Sunday night (The Heretical Temple of Wee Jas):  Robert Brandon (R.R. Brando), Rich Franks, Robert Kropiewnicki, Steven Danielson, Thomas Quigley, Rich Bush
    • Monday night (The Black Reservoir):  Steven Wright, Robert Brandon (R.R. Brando), Michael Newman, Rick Winslow, Jim Stewart, Steve Jumper, Sharon Reed, Mitchell Clements, Dave "darjr" Rosser, Carlos Mondragon
  • Legio V Presents: Abyssal Rift in Greyhawk Wilderness
    • Thursday night:  William Meinhardt, Bill Meinhardt, Shiv Chopra, Steven Danielson, Raymond Fleming, Lee Capps; in absentia:  Kim George, Jim Kitchen
    • Saturday night:  Vince Vaughn, Tom Morello, Paul Wight, Dan Weiss, Joe Manganiello, John W. Roberts, Greg Joseph, Aron Clark
  • Legends of Roleplaying tournament:  LR10 Nexus of Elder Evil
    • Friday night, team #4:  Vince Lok, Devon Hibbs, Shawn Hibbs, Steve, Erika, Scott McKinley, Demos Sachlas, Joe, Zach Howard
Lastly, my eternal thanks to my family for supporting my fun and games, my publishing projects, and for putting up with my absence for a much longer time than usual this year!  All of my love to Heather, Ethan, and Henry (and Muffin and Felix too, who, being cats, probably didn't miss me very much ;) )!

The Glorious, the Goods, the Swag

Founders & Legends and GaryCon were fun and games, and some of that fun came home with me.  Highlights are pictured below, and included:

grodog's F&L and GaryCon loot!
grodog's F&L and GaryCon loot!

  • a swank and eminently useful casl Entertainment tote bag (and two unpictured and  unpublished books as well!)
  • Forge of Ice miniatures catalog and encounter map from Alex Bates for his new zine adventure, The Corpse Eaters, as well as one figure from the adventure, two new crossbow-wielding sleestak, and three Bakshi goblin minis; it looks like he may still have a few of his awesome dragon turtles by John Dennett, too, so grab one before they're gone; the artist Shalya Sackinger was helping Alex with his booth, and gave me a copy of her artwork zine portfolio, as well as A Practical Guide to Xinevan Birds (volume 1, which suggests a volume 2 in the future!)
  • Two of the newest Greyhawk community publications:  LA3 A Minor Threat and LA4 The Gift, from the Lenard Lakofka Archive (several other Greyhawk publications debuted at the show too but I did not get copies of all of them yet)
  • Darlene's Color Me Fantasy coloring book (a birthday gift for Regina, my wonderful niece!), and her first volume kicking off The Story of Jasmine graphic novel series (which first appeared in The Dragon #37)
  • Merle Rasmussen's newest design, I Choose to RISE---a card game released in February to honor Black History Month, and co-designed with Dr. Aritka Tyner "to support youth in developing their leadership skills and making a difference in the world around them"---for more information, see the Planting People Growing Justice Leadership Institute

grodog's F&L and GaryCon loot!
grodog's F&L and GaryCon loot!

  • Aron Clark's Holmes & Clark clone and new edition of Albie Fiorie's classic White Dwarf introductory adventure, "The Lichway" (look for an interview with Aron in the coming soon Fight On! Magazine #15)
  • Jennell-Jaquays-dedicated DCC adventure #105 By Mitra's Bones, Meet Thy Doom! 
  • Jay Scott's The Free City of Altimira (a promotional gazetteer preview)
  • the F&L swag bag included a winter cap (made me think of Carlos Lising!), some soda/beer cups, dice, a chocolate coin, and a shot glass
  • Victor Raymond's Doomground rules and setting booklet for his new OD&D+Greyhawk mega-dungeon campaign

And that's a wrap---until next year! =)



* My job at Amazon Web Services ended in September when AWS moved my formerly-remote role to Seattle as part of their company-wide "return to office" policy changes, and I've not yet found new work.  

So, if you know of anyone looking to hire for remote roles in Knowledge Management, CRM, Customer/User Experience, Content Management, Taxonomy/Ontology, Information Architecture, Search Engines, Community Forums, Chat, Wiki, and similar self-help/customer support functions, please send them to my Linked In profile and let me know! :D


22 April 2024

Mega-Dungeon Monday - The Recessive Gallery Level

This is a presently-unfinished map that I designed primarily during the pre-COVID era:

The Recessive Gallery Level -  map by Allan Grohe (grodog)
The Recessive Gallery Level - 
map by Allan Grohe (grodog)

The map is drawn on 8 spi graph paper, so it represents a fairly large level environment---880' east-west by 640' north-south.  That places it solidly among the largest of my dungeon levels, and it's comparable in width to my original design for the first level of my Castle Greyhawk (which has been significantly enlarged more-recently, along with my second level).  

Unlike many of my maps, I didn't sign and date this one, so I'm not sure offhand when I created it during the past decade-ish, but I worked on it last in November 2019, probably as prep for running it as a convention game, but I didn’t get quite that far with the keying. 

As usual with my unfinished maps, various rooms are orphaned until I determine whether access to them will be via doors, archways, secret doors, or other more-esoteric means of entry.  

Some interesting (to me, anyway!) features to note:

  • Entrances are via the 60’ circular shaft just right-of-center, ramps on the right side, a 20' wide corridor to the south, and a 20’ wide secret corridor on the far left
  • The area just above the entry shaft is the levels titular Recessive Gallery---a recessed artwork gallery.  I haven’t decided exactly what type of art is represented in its exhibits, but I’m leaning toward statues and other physical/magical art emplacements (similar in style but not necessarily subject matter to those in my drowic sage of demonology's home in Erelhei Cinlu)
  • You’ll notice some triangular doors drawn on the level, and they are in fact triangular in shape and placed in triangularly-shaped corridors, which complicate movement (the triangles are oriented with the point downward)
  • A few of the rooms are moving, although only one is marked on this version of hte map:  the lower-right 40x40’ room
  • Two multi-level complexes exist:  an octagonally-shaped one in the lower-ish left, and a square-ish shaped one in the lower middle right.  These extend upward and downward from the baseline elevation of the level, and may reach into other adjacent levels (I haven't determined that yet).
  • The large skull/lightbulb-shaped room is likely a temple, perhaps to a god of death---perhaps Nerull or Wee Jas or a previously-slain god of death (two of my players' PCs are interested in the god of death:  one is from the Horned Society and has been actively worshipping Nerull, while another is a fey bard from another plane and is enamored with an aspect of the god of death from that plane, who may or may not also existing within the portfolio of one of Greyhawk's death gods)
  • I placed a few repeating room-door mazes in the level, in the tradition of early Gygaxian and Kuntzian map designs
  • At least two of the large rooms are inhabited by dragons!

More to come as I continue to work through older draft posts and as inspiration strikes! :)


14 April 2024

Maw of the Beholder - A New Magical Ring for the World of Greyhawk

Maw of the Beholder is my new magic item inspired by John Popson's wonderful commemorative GaryCon XVI ring.  John runs Effincool Miniatures, and makes some excellent figures, including cool dungeon decor and the Court of the Sultana line, amongst many other great pieces! 

Here are a pair of images of the ring, from John's Facebook photos:

GaryCon XVI Commemorative Ring - head-on view, crafted by John Popson of Effincool Miniatures
GaryCon XVI Commemorative Ring - head-on view,
crafted by John Popson of Effincool Miniatures

GaryCon XVI Commemorative Ring - rotated design view, crafted by John Popson of Effincool Miniatures
GaryCon XVI Commemorative Ring - rotated design view,
crafted by John Popson of Effincool Miniatures

Physical Description

A metal ring fashioned from green gold and carved in the shape of a beholder, with the open mouth of the beholder acting as the finger's hole.  The hole is ringed with 20 teeth, each a yellow-green chrysoberyl shard.  The beholder's central eye is a spectacular double-stone---a jacinth with an inset violet garnet---while each of the ten smaller eyes is a different precious stone worth 500 to 1000gp.  The top of the ring features a magical rune in raised relief.  

As an item of fine jewelry, the ring would command at least 12,500 golden orbs. 

Magical Description and Lore

At least five variants of the Maw of the Beholder have been successfully identified, and all are believed to be the creations of the artificer-mage Oshonj-Opp'n.  Each features his personal rune atop the beholder's head.  Oshonj resided in the small riverine community of Port Nilonct, situated at the juncture of the Velverdyva and Att Rivers during the heyday of the Archclericy of Voll (now modern Veluna; the town was destroyed during the great floods of 57 CY).  It is not known when or where Oshonj first encountered the fearsome eye tyrants, but his surviving laboratory journals demonstrate both the deep familiarity and a certain fixation that can have only grown from direct, personal experience.  While a master craftsman and enchanter, Oshonj never received regular patronage, attracted few apprentices, and faded from the court's eye over time.    

Oshonj's rings were first recorded by the Baklhunish bard Zilepfe Saerrical, who observed the successful usage of a Tyrant's Crown while exploring the Rift Canyon in the company of Keoghtom and Quaal in 189 CY.  He recounted their exploits at the court of Viceroy Belkan I in Dyvers, which were duly  recorded by Endrrhen Y'laexa, sage for the visiting Prince Moranvich, and later also an associate of the court wizard Alphon.   

Oshonj eventually attained lichdom, and remained secluded in his forgotten tower in the westernmost timberlands of the Gnarley, until he was destroyed by The Company of the Thirsting Peryton in 224 CY.  They sold various mundane and magical treasures from the lair, including several of Oshonj's laboratory journals, and one of each of the five known ring types.  Widely believed to have retained additional rings and other unsold valuables, the adventurers found themselves hunted by wizards and beset by assassins, and they fled into the wilds of the Cairn Hills, never to be heard from again....     

Three additional pictures of the ring, from Brian Stillman, of Eye of the Beholder fame:

GaryCon XVI ring, photo by Brian Stillman
GaryCon XVI ring,
photo by Brian Stillman

GaryCon XVI ring, photo by Brian Stillman
GaryCon XVI ring,
photo by Brian Stillman

GaryCon XVI ring, photo by Brian Stillman
GaryCon XVI ring,
photo by Brian Stillman

Magical Properties and Gameplay Notes

The five known Maw of the Beholder ring variants and the magics imbued within each are detailed as follow.  The rings cannot be recharged---their secrets of creation and enchantment lost with the Oshonj's demise.  Prices and XP value are for a full-charged ring.  

  1. Cursed Maw of Wounding (one known to exist):  This variant appears to provide magical capabilities similar to one of the other four rings, but when commanded into action during battle or in any other stressful situation, the ring's true nature is revealed as the beholder's mouth closes and its chrysoberyl teeth dig into the finger of the wielder's hand!  The ring cannot be removed, and the victim takes 1-3 points of wounding damage per round for ten rounds, and at the end (if still alive), they must succeed in a natural save vs. dragon breath (no bonuses permitted) or the finger is severed.  (If slain, the finger is severed as well).  Severed fingers cannot be reattached or healed save by regeneration or wish, and permanently reduce the character's Dexterity by 2 points.  Some sages speculate that all of Oshonj's rings become cursed when they run out of charges....  

    XP Value
    :  --  
    GP Value:  3000 (made of inferior materials compared to the others, which is only obvious after the ring's true nature is known)

  2. Ring of Peering (four known to exist):  When activated by command, in four segments the eyestalks on the ring of peering elongate up to 16 feet in length, and actively gyre to look in all directions, peer around corners, and into nearby dimensions---seeing hidden, camouflaged, invisible, out-of-phase, ethereal, or astral creatures in a 6" radius.  Each charge expended lasts for 6 rounds, and while activated, the wearer cannot be surprised, backstabbed, or assassinated except by teleport, timestop, or similar tactics.  At least one ring of peering is also known to provide true sight (as the illusionist spell), and another x-ray vision.  Each ring has from 6 to 47 charges (6d12-25; minimum 6).

    XP Value
    :  2000
    GP Value:  15,000 (20,000 for true sight or x-ray vision versions)

  3. Anti-Magic Eye (two known to exist):  Perhaps the most-puissant ring created by Ossonj, this variant has only one function:  when activated, in 2 segments it fires an anti-magic ray up to 8" at either a creature or an object.  Non-magical objects receive no saving throw and are automatically hit.  Magical objects save at base 15, with with an additional +1 for each plus above +1, and an additional +5 if they increase agility, or reflect or resist magical effects (including providing MR).  Creatures targeted must save vs. spells to determine if the ray hit (save fails) or missed (save succeeds).  If the ray misses the primary target it continues to maximum range and may hit a secondary target (who is also entitled to a saving throw, etc.; if the ray reaches maximum range without successfully striking a target, the ray vanishes and the charge is lost).  A target struck by the anti-magic ray is encapsulated in anti-magic for 8 rounds:  they cannot use magic weapons, spells, or effects as if they were in the radius of an anti-magic shell spell, and similarly cannot be targeted by magic weapons, spells, or effect (magical weapons will still function as normal weapons and can still damage an enveloped target).  Each ring has from 3 to 60 charges (5d12-2d10 where 10s count as 0s).        

    XP Value
    :  2500
    GP Value:  17,500

  4. Ring of Replication (three known to exist):  Each ring of replication features 1d12-2 functional eyestalks; any result of 3 or less means that the central eye does not function.  Each functioning eye or eyestalk can fire a single beholder eyeray beam 2d3-1 times before its charges are fully expended.  Expanded eyebeam powers below are from my variant beholder rules:  

    1. death ray (5" range)
    2. disintegration (3" range, up to a 7'x10'x5' deep volume may be affected each round if targeted upon matter)
    3. charm monster (5" range, save at -2)
    4. anti-magic cone (6" range)
    5. fear (8" range) 
    6. cause serious wounds (6" range, 3d8+3 damage, save vs. poison for half damage)
    7. telekinesis (8" range, 2700 gp weight plus 10gp weight per hit point above 55)
    8. flesh to stone (5" range, 25% of beholders can also use stone to flesh with this eye ray as well)
    9. slow (6" range, 1 target for a number of rounds equal to hit dice, no save)
    10. hold monster (5" range, save at -3, duration 1 round per hit die, plus 2-7 rounds)
    11. sleep (8" range, affects up to 6 HD creatures per Wotinar's Advanced Sleep)
    12. ray of enfeeblement (7" range, 35% loss plus 3% per hit die)
    13. illusion (4" range, as per spectral force; remains for 1 round per 2 hit dice after concentration ceases; 10% of beholders may create permanent illusions with this eye ray)
    14. light burst (4" range, as per Eye of the Deep; very useful against drow, illithids, duergar, intellect devourers, etc.)
    15. pyrotechnics ray (5" range, ignites combustibles only) 
    16. blindness (6" range, permanent until cured; this will also negate the random power of a rival beholder's eye ray if the target beholder fails its saving throw)
    17. repulsion (4" range, lasts one round per HD, save at -1)
    18. fumble (7" range, lasts two rounds plus one round per two hit dice)
    19. vampiric ray (3" range, 3d8+6 damage, save vs. breath weapon for no damage [ray misses, and it may hit a secondary target]; if hit, victim rolls a second save vs. death magic or also loses one level; damage caused is transferred to the beholder as healing, and ten additional points of healing are transferred if the victim is energy drained; see my’s 4th level necromancer spell of the same name)
    20. ice ray (5" range, 5d4+8 damage, save vs. petrifaction for half damage)
    21. ray of rot (4" range, as per violet fungi touch, save vs. poison avoids the effects)
    22. reverse gravity (5" range, lasts on victim for 4 rounds + 1 round per HD of beholder)
    23. heat metal or chill metal (4" range, lasts for 8 rounds; 45% chance for either, 10% chance for both in the same eye)
    24. other DM nastiness (including ideas from the artifacts tables like transmute bones to jelly, transmute bones to green slime, animate dead, change alignment to that of beholder, imprisonment, temporal stasis, plane shift to a random plane, geas, eyebite, a two-eye combination for power word stun, random mutation powers from Gamma World, etc., etc.)
    25. Roll twice: the eye has two different powers that can be used one at a time. If you roll this result again, add a third power or allow the two eye beam powers from the first roll to be used simultaneously! 

    For duplicate results, either re-roll, or increase the number of charges (add another 2d3-1 charges), double the range, and/or penalize the saving throw by -2 (and reduce the total number of functional eyes by one with each such result).

    I also place all beholder eyes randomly, so players can’t count on disabling a beholder's anti-magic by hitting his central eye, for example.

    XP Value
    :  2500
    GP Value:  20,000

  5. Tyrant's Crown (two known to exist):  This variant allows the wearer to speak with and to understand any beholder, including an eye of the deep, spectator, and similar beholder-kin (bleeder, etc.).  Beholders and kin will treat the wearer as if they have an 18 Charisma.  By expending a charge, the wearer can exercise rulership (as the rod), affecting up to 16 HD beholders with no saving throw (save negates for 17+ HD beholders), and up to a total of 60 HD of beholders and kin.  Rulership activates in 5 segments and lasts for 1 turn per charge.  The wearer may also attempt charm monster at 1 target within 4" (save at -4) or suggestion at up to 6 target beholders within 6" (6 targets save at +2, 4-5 save at normal, 2-3 at -1, and 1 target saves at -3).  Charm or suggest drain 1 charge each, and require 3 segments to activate.  Each Tyrant's Crown has from 4 to 48 charges (4d12-2d10 where 10s count as 0s).  

    XP Value
    :  2750
    GP Value:  25,000

Closing Notes

I used GVDammerung's Canonfire! article "Furyondy Reforged - A Brief History & Chronology" for timeline history of the Viceroys of Ferrond.  

I hope that the Maw of the Beholder may find its way into your treasure hoards! :D


11 April 2024

grodog's Founders & Legends and GaryCon XVI Convention Reports - 14-25 March 2024 - Part 2

GaryCon XVI – 20-25 March 2024

Continued from Part 1 – Arrival through Founders & Legends and Interregnum Tuesday.

With the shift to Wednesday, this required the changing of the badges over from Founders & Legends to GaryCon:

Allan's Founders & Legends and GaryCon badges and lanyards, with accoutrements
The changing of the guard....

Wednesday - 20 March 

Booth Setup

I came into Wednesday having spent the day before hanging out and gaming, rather than driving cross-country, and I could definitely get used to that!  Robert Brandon graciously agreed to help me unload the minivan, and we arrived at the Forum for the 8am start of exhibitor check-in.  With Robert’s help, I was able to cede my spot at the loading dock by 8:45am or so, and to begin building the booth.  

I had planned for a similarly-open booth design like how we’d set up last year, but this process is, unfortunately, more art than science, and it’s not something anyone who doesn’t know the planned layout and the products as a whole can really help much with.  So, after Robert and I rejockeyed the tables a few times, and with some reconfiguration and fine-tuning by swapping out tables with the able assistance of the hotel staff, the booth settled into its final form, and I thanked Robert and released him to rest of his day by 9:30 or 10am. 

The Forum was reorganized this year, which was a bit of a surprise---I’d seen changes in the layout design, but they hadn’t quite clicked, given the relocation of the GaryCon merchandise to the back-right corner of the hall.  The big surprise (and a hugely positive change overall!) was the shifting of the throughways in the Forum to run the full length of the hall---this really opened the chamber up, and allowed gamers to see down the full length of the halls from the main entry doors.  That in turn gave better line-of-sight to vendors along the throughways, and helped to showcase the breadth and depth of products available at the show. 

Black Blade Publishing and Our OSR Cornucopia

For those folks who are unfamiliar with Black Blade Publishing, we publish our own books (OSRIC, Monsters of Myth, Tales of Peril) modules (Rob Kuntz’s Bottle City, Cairn of the Skeleton King, Tower of Blood), and gaming tools (graph and hex paper pads from quarter-page size up to 17x22”).  However, our content only represents about 15% of the booth’s content footprint.  

The remaining 85% is provided by third-party, old-school publishers, many of whom are friends and fellow old-school designers, including works from The Tekumel Foundation, North Wind Adventures, Gabor Lux’s E.M.D.T., Carlos Lising’s casl Entertainment, Paul Stormberg’s TLB Games and Legends of Roleplaying, OSRIC sourcebooks like Trent Smith’s Heroic Legendarium and Matt Finch’s Tome of Adventure Design, Swordfish Islands and Third Kingdom Games’ hexcrawls, and adventures from Anthony Huso, Jennell Jaquays, G. Hawkins, Paolo Greco, Robert Conley, Expeditious Retreat Press, and Goodman Games’ Original Adventures Reincarnated, among many others!

This year we brought many new-to-our-booth publishers and products to GaryCon, including the D&D documentary films Secrets of Blackmoor and The Dreams in Gary’s Basement, Merle Rasmussen’s new ally-friendly card game I Choose to Rise, Aron Clark’s Holmes & Clark clone (and his conversion of the classic level 1 adventure, “The Lichway”), Knave 2nd Edition, and last but certainly not least, Kelsey Dione’s ShadowDark. 

I can't post a pictorial review of the booth because blogger's editor hates me, so here's one image from just before the opening on Thursday morning, about 9:15am or so:

Pre-opening Thursday morning!--- and who are those VIGs entering from the left!?!
Pre-opening Thursday morning!---
and who are those VIGs entering from the left!?!

To see the rest of the booth pictures, please use my publicly-visible Facebook album entitled "Founders & Legends and GaryCon 16 (March 2024)" at https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10163493148909832&type=3, which includes many fun images from the conventions as well as booth pics.  

Allan grodog Grohe in the Black Blade booth at GaryCon 2024
Allan (grodog) Grohe in the Black Blade booth
at GaryCon 2024

The back of the booth, with our graph/hex pads and more OSR books
The back of the booth,
with our graph/hex pads and more OSR books

New Empire of the Petal Throne maps from the Tekumel Foundation
New Empire of the Petal Throne maps
from the Tekumel Foundation

Empire of the Petal Throne books from the Tekumel Foundation
Empire of the Petal Throne books
from the Tekumel Foundation

Front-left corner of the Black Blade booth
Front-left corner of the Black Blade booth

Holmes & Clark clone, Heroic Legendarium, and more!
Holmes & Clark clone, Heroic Legendarium, and more!

Left-side corner of the Black Blade booth, with OARs and OSRIC modules
Left-side corner of the Black Blade booth,
with OARs and OSRIC modules

Front of the Black Blade booth with OSR books from EMDT, Anthony Huso, Jennell Jaquays, Hyperborea, and more!
Front of the Black Blade booth with OSR books
from EMDT, Anthony Huso, Jennell Jaquays, Hyperborea, and more!

G. Hawkins, Larry Wickman, Plagmada/Tim Hutchings, and more!
G. Hawkins, Larry Wickman,
Plagmada/Tim Hutchings, and more!

OSR Indies united!---Jacob Hurst, Ben Milton, Paolo Greco, and more!
OSR Indies united!---Jacob Hurst,
Ben Milton, Paolo Greco, and more!

To get an idea about the evolution of the OSR through the products in our booth over time, see John O’Neil’s wonderful photo-essays from Black Gate Magazine at https://www.blackgate.com/2023/03/26/gary-con-report-black-blade-publishing-and-limitless-adventure/ and https://www.blackgate.com/2018/03/13/the-1001-treasures-of-black-blade-publishing-and-goodman-games-gary-con-2018-report-part-ii/.

I wrapped up the booth setup by 4pm or so, leaving a few placeholders in the shelves for product that had not quite made its way to the booth yet.   

That left me free to finish moving out from 328 Center Street before the rest of Robert’s crew arrived, time to coordinate keys with Victor Raymond (my roommate again this year for GaryCon) and to bump into Carlos Lising and Erik Mona in passing at Jay Scott’s pre-con streaming show, and a peaceful interlude to find and eat some good food at the Chophouse while chatting with my wife and sons.  

"The Wolves of St. Cuthbert"

After eating, Carlos and the redoubtable Jeremy Breazeale hussled us offsite to the second (?) annual gathering of “The Wolves of St. Cuthbert”—a reunion of the GaryCon 2022 campaign crew, which Carlos eloquently recounted as part of his GaryCon 16 Patreon summary.  As usual, I had a great time playing with Gregory, Danny, Nick, Dan, Triet, Jeremy, and Carlos, and I managed not to lose any dice this year, too ;)

Thursday - 21 March 

The Exhibit hall opened early daily at 9am for special guests, VIPs, and Platinum+ badge holders, while exhibitors were able to enter to finish set-up starting at 8am.  I was able to visit for a bit with friends from the Acaeum (and Jim Kitchen graciously tracked down the last? set of GaryCon lockpicks at the main merch booth for me), and then the Forum doors opened wide.
The Thursday opening crowd proved to be the closest I’ve come to GenCon-level-chaos in nearly two decades.  On the plus side, Thursday morning was very busy from opening through about 12pm or so, which was great for business, but clearly showed the limits of what a one-human booth can manage.  Everyone was gracious and polite, but the long was long for quite some time….

We did sell out of some books even before opening on Thursday (two sets of Anthony Huso’s limited edition of Castle of the Silver Prince), which does happen when we have lower stock on more-expensive books, but I had to reshuffle the booth a few more times than usual during the rush.  ShadowDark flew off the shelves, quite literally, throughout the day, and the Knave 2e books arrived in time for opening too.  The rest of the day was thankfully less insane, and Rich Franks (our chief in the Legio V) lent a hand in the afternoon (and again on Friday and Sunday too), which was very appreciated!

Abyssal Rift 1

Thursday night I ran the first playtest for my high-level, aquatic “Abyssal Rift” adventure:  

Playtest grodog's newest high-level adventure, exploring an aquatic wilderness in the World of Greyhawk. Your mission is to pursue a set of aquatic foes into their lair beneath the waves of the Azure Sea. The ixitxachitl have captured a sea-elven princess and plan to sacrifice her to Demogorgon at the next new moons, in three day's time!  

Bring your hex and graph paper, dice, and a healthy dose of paranoid courage! 12th-17th level PCs will be provided, most with some form of aquatic survival (along with some house-ruled spell changes).

The GaryCon portion of the adventure used Mike Bridges' South Seas of Greyhawk map as the base adventuring environ, and I slapped together a quick hex grid on it using the overlay sheet from the Forgotten Realms grey box set:

Mike Bridges' South Seas of Greyhawk map +  Forgotten Realms template = instant hex grid!
Mike Bridges' South Seas of Greyhawk map + 
Forgotten Realms template = instant hex grid!

We played in Evergreen 2 in the dedicated Legio V and Legends of Roleplaying room, which ended up being where I ran all of my GaryCon games.  The PCs accomplished their mission in spite of a somewhat slow start on my part, and the noise level in the room making it difficult to hear at times (one of the players left early due to a noise-induced headache).  

Friday - 22 March 

More Booth

The craziness of Thursday morning opening did not reassert itself, and Friday remained steadily busy, which was wonderful on both counts---plenty of time to socialize with friends and to help customers find the X-level adventure or the new setting or the new zines or the documentaries, et al, that they sought.  

As with Thursday, Rich Franks came by and helped me out a bit, which allowed me to eat some food and take a bathroom break (not necessarily in that order; thanks Rich!).  

francisca and grodog in the booth (with Dirk Collins' son foregrounded)
francisca and grodog in the booth
(with Dirk Collins' son foregrounded)

Sales were brisk, and some product definitely began to ran low or out completely---many of Melan’s newest zines and adventures, including Castle Xyntillan, and the leatherbound sets of Hyperborea 3rd edition.  And by the end of the day, we had both documentary films in the booth---Secrets of Blackmoor and The Dreams in Gary’s Basement---as well as The Lost Dungeons of Tonisborg, too.

Paul’s Legends of Roleplaying Tourney

Every year for the past several Paul Stormberg has run a large (the largest?) tournament at GaryCon.  The past few years have been themed around exploring the Temple of Elemental Evil, and this year’s tourney capstoned that series, as the PCs attempted to bring battle to the Elder Elemental God itself!  

Similar to previous years, this year’s scenario included some challenging puzzles, but the overall adventure was more streamlined, which allowed more time to work through its challenges, as well as more time to complete the adventure.  My crew of players were all veterans of both the tournament format and of the ToEE background and environs (several played last year).  They fared well during the initial encounters, but were stymied in a puzzle room that permitted three of the PCs to pass relatively unscathed, but which damaged the rest of the party when they attempted to follow.  In the end, they wisely decided to split the party while working through the logic of the puzzle, which permitted the first group to advance to the semi-final encounter.  They were joined by one of the other PCs toward the end of the round’s time, and those PCs were literally saved by the bell---my phone timer went off as I was picking up handfuls of d8s to hit the four PCs with three flamestrikes, which would have insured their doom (dead PCs aren’t worth points in the tourney scoring).  

In the end, they ranked in the middle of the teams, with 100 points.  Paul’s tournament summary and the final scoring results are posted to the GaryCon blog at https://garycon.com/the-legends-of-role-playing-tournament-results/.  

Saturday - 23 March

Yet-More Booth

Saturday saw more of books sell-through, including all of the copies of the ShadowDark rules and zines that we had available—we tried to finagle another shipment to the convention, but it wasn’t feasible, unfortunately.  They were gone by noon.  

On the plus side, Saturday brought a restock from Carlos Lising with new casl Entertainment adventures, and Merle Rasmussen brought copies of his new game, I Choose to Rise, just released in February 2024 for Black History Month. 

Abyssal Rift 2, Hollywood Style

My last game of the convention was my second run-through of Abyssal Rift.  I was able to tweak the introductory portion of the scenario a bit to provide more concrete guidance to the players, which got them started in earnest a bit more quickly than Thursday night’s crew.  

And what players!—I knew two of them already (Aron Clark, who plays in my regular group, and John Roberts, who I played Titan with during F&L), but five of the remaining six were Hollywood friends of Luke’s:  Vince Vaughn, Tom Morello, Paul Wight, Dan Weiss, and Joe Manganiello; with Greg Joseph rounding us out at eight.  

I was somewhat nervous about DMing celebrities, but it worked out fine in the end:  they all acquitted themselves well in the south seas of Greyhawk, and accomplished their mission to locate the ixitxachitl lair in time to prevent the sacrifice of the sea olven princess.  (They did employ some non-standard cooperative tactics inspired by 5e mechanics, which we improved within fine).  Afterward we hung around a bit chatting about Greyhawk and its history (including some basic questions about what is Greyhawk, that they had to reign me back a bit in my responses), and the history of Dave and Gary’s work together before they took a group picture with Luke and headed off.  

Sunday - 24 March

Closing Out the Booth

On Sunday the Forum was only open until 2pm (although I think I was still closing out the our last transactions around 2:30pm), and as with Friday and Saturday, sales were steady but not crazy.  The time went by quickly, all-in-all, and before I knew it the hall was starting to shut down.

Thanks to our voluminous sales, I was able to pack the booth up and—through the assistance of some very determined GaryCon volunteers who wouldn’t take “no really, I can manage” for an answer:  Dirk Collins and his son, Mark from Wales, and Jeff MacKay; they loaded my minivan completely!!-- get out of the hall by 6pm!  Perhaps a GaryCon first for me! :D

Empty booth!
Empty booth!

The spoils of victory---empty boxes!
The spoils of victory---empty boxes!

Afterward, I gratefully grabbed a burger at the Chophouse bar, and had a fun dinner discussion with another GaryCon attendee, who opened our chat with the gambit, “Your favorite and least-favorite mega-dungeons?”  Only at GaryCon :D :D

Legio V Board Meeting

While packing up the booth closed out the Black Blade books for the show, there was still business to attend to.  Each year after GaryCon the DMs of the Legio V gather to commune with the winds of GaryCons present, past, and future by invoking the Genevan mysteries through rituals of haruspicy and the sacrifice of slain character sheets, conducted by Dionysian celebrants.

This year’s meeting ran a bit longer than usual—from 7:30pm until 10pm or so—and I retired soon thereafter, as I was exhausted from the very busy long weekend, unfortunately missing out on both the celebration and the Hyperborea adventure that Del had prepared :-/

And that's a wrap!

I crashed early on Sunday night, and slept well into Monday, which closed out another fabulous GaryCon.  

I'll conclude in part three with my Thank You acknowledgements and convention loot and swag!


08 April 2024

Surprise Gygaxian bookmark!

I don’t use my Oriental Adventures book super-regularly, but I was very surprised on Saturday to rediscover that the bookmark I had in it was a New Infinities Productions business card from Gary (likely from when I wrote a few letters with Qs about Necropolis and other topics BITD), and that it was signed on the reverse!!

New Infinities Productions, Inc. business card from Gary Gygax
New Infinities Productions, Inc. business card
from Gary Gygax

New Infinities Productions, Inc. business card, signed on reverse by Gary Gygax with "Keep RPGing! Gary Gygax"
New Infinities Productions, Inc. business card,
signed on reverse by Gary Gygax

Gary signed a number of D&D items for me, starting with my DMG back at Origins in Baltimore in July of 1987, so this business card was not the first by any means, but it was quite the surprise to rediscover it =)

New Infinities Productions, Inc. (NIPI for short) was the short-lived publisher for the Cyborg Commando RPG, along with the rest of the Gord the Rogue novels set in Greyhawk.  If you're ever interested in pulling details from the Gord novels, Krista Siren's Gord's Greyhawk site is the best online resource!


01 April 2024

grodog's Founders & Legends and GaryCon XVI Convention Reports - 14-25 March 2024 - Part 1

Part 1 – Arrival through Founders & Legends and Interregnum Tuesday

The blog has been quiet of late, in part because I'm still job hunting, and in part because I've simply been busy, both writing/designing and planning for the two conventions, as well as attending and recovering from them, of course!  

On the writing/designing front, I’ve been building the “Abyssal Rift” scenario since the advent of the No Artpunk 3 contest, and while I didn’t submit it for that, I’ve continued work on it via playtesting at GaryCon (to be described in the forthcoming sequel to this post), and will continue playtesting later in the year at both North Texas RPG Con in June and at Virtual Greyhawk Con later in the fall (dates still to-be-announced, I think).  Here's the event description:

I also designed and submitted a scenario for “Return to Perinthos” for the Jennell Jaquays Memorial Jam, which should appear in truncated form in May-ish (I wrote 4600 words for a  750 word limit...), and which Jon and I are working toward publishing in full for NTX in June, too.  

So, without too much further ado....

The Trip Northward – Thursday and Friday

Jon Hershberger, my Black Blade Publishing business partner, and I loaded up my family minivan with books destined for gamer hands on 11 and 12 March, and I hit the road after lunch on Thursday, 14 March.  When driving to Lake Geneva, we usually overnight in Davenport, Iowa, to make the trip more manageable, and I did so again this year.   (On the drive, I got to catch up with my brother Brian, which is always fun; we chatted quite a bit about the recent Neil Gaiman original artworks charity auction).  

Arriving in Lake Geneva around noon on Friday, I met up with Robert Brandon (an active member in the Greyhawk fan community) at 328 Center Street (the house immediately beside Gary’s old home at 330 Center), where Robert graciously hosted me throughout Founders & Legends.  We got settled in, grabbed some lunch, and ran around a bit downtown to visit Gary’s memorial stone by the library:

grodog at Gary's Memorial Stone (photo by Robert Brandon)
grodog at Gary's Memorial Stone
(photo by Robert Brandon)

Gary's Memorial Stone
Gary's Memorial Stone

That evening, Robert and I dined at Tuscan with Tony Rosten, my friend and publishing partner in The Twisting Stair (our mega-dungeon design zine).  (As it turns out, I think Jon and I dined there one year on a Sunday night, and perhaps once also with Rob Kuntz too).  We chatted about gaming, designing and publishing, conventions, our home groups and campaigns, and had a wonderful time.  The three of us returned to 328 Center Street to visit further, and Tony and I also did some planning for TTS #4, which we’ll begin work on after his schedule lightens up in May.  

Here’s a sneak-peek at the TTS#4 map from way back on 7 July 2018:

Return of The Twisting Stair begins 15 March 2024!: 
"That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange aeons, even death may die."

The Ides of March had already proven to a propitious omen for the trip! :D  

Founders & Legends

One of my primary interests in attending Founders & Legends was to spend time playing games, rather than only DMing them (as has generally been how my time goes at GaryCon for lo these many years).  When I was a young lad attending conventions in the greater Philadelphia-NYC-Baltimore corridor, I sampled many games at conventions to kick the tires---sometimes just that once, but occasionally leading to much-longer stints (as with Paranoia and Vampire, for sure).  

This year I wanted to return to wargames and boardgames, so I registered for three long (6+ hour) sessions for Divine Right, the Tom-Wham-a-Thon, and Titan, in addition to running three sessions in my version of Castle Greyhawk.

My other primary motivation to attend F&L and GaryCon was to celebrate the 50th anniversary of D&D's publication in 1974.  This year our Legio V crew created anniversary dice to distribute to players in our games...:

Legio V 50th Anniversary Dice
Legio V 50th Anniversary Dice
(photo by Mark Clover)

...and, as always, to celebrate the memory and creations of Gary Gygax, Dave Arneson, Jim Ward, and the other founding fathers of our fabulous hobby:

Legio V - Top 10 Reasons To Go To Gary Con

"What is Legio V?"

I'm glad you asked.  From our events descriptions:

The Lake Geneva Legio V began as a handful of gamers who have attended Gary Con since its inception. We have grown over the past few years to include like-minded individuals united by a respect of Gary Gygax and his legacy. We are the dedicated attendees who love Gary Con for the camaraderie it establishes, the Game Masters who run games from across the decades, and the committed gamers who spend these four days in a fervor of dice rolling and old-school good times. 

Although events run as LEGIO V Presents will use a variety of rule systems, our focus is on games authored by Gary and his contemporaries as well as those systems whose designers pay homage to these pioneers.


Divine Right map (TSR, 1979)

I played Divine Right for the first time, at long last!  (On BoardGameGeek at https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/23/divine-right).  I’ve known of the game since the days of TSR’s old Gateway to Adventure catalogs, and from Glenn Rahman’s “Minarian Legends” columns in the early days of The Dragon and Dragon Magazine.  

Matthew Archibald ran the game today (and a second session at GaryCon, which I think Robert played in?), and he will be running it again at the second annual Philadelphia Area Gaming Expo (PAGE2) in January 2025, where I hope to return to play Divine Right again.

If you’re interested in learning more about Divine Right, in addition to the BGG link above, a new edition is Kickstarting soon, with current discussion at https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/3181902/reprint-coming.  You can also follow Worthington Publishing’s KS profile at https://www.kickstarter.com/profile/1456271622 to be notified when the KS launches; they also plan to reprint Rahman’s DR and Scarlett Empire novels, in addition to the two games.  Edit 2 April 2024:  the DR Kickstarter is at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2141043266/divine-right-2024.

Squeezed between, I managed to sit in on about 40 minutes of Ben Riggs' seminar, "The Creative Legacy of E. Gary Gygax" and was glad I'd made the time to do so.  (I hated leaving a little early while he was still speaking, but I needed to setup for my 7pm game).  

Ben shared a slideshow with many pictures of fun sites where Gary grew up, pictures of the family when the children were all small, pictures of Don Kaye, etc.  He engaged the audience actively in the presentation, querying for who knew what vs. what was new, and soliciting Q&A throughout as attendees raised Qs and clarifications.  I hope it was recorded, as I'd like to catch the end of it, if possible.  

Saturday evening at 7pm, I DM’d the first of my three Castle Greyhawk events, and the players chose to play in my version of the “Black Reservoir” level, which I designed based on Gary’s 1975 short story from El Conquisator, hosted on my Greyhawk site (with Gary’s permission) at http://www.greyhawkonline.com/grodog/gh_castle_black_reservoir1.html.  I brought several levels with me, since I knew that some registered folks had played various levels during previous years:

  • Gygax levels
    • “The Chessboard” level that I ran at GaryCon and NTX last year
    • “The Black Reservoir” level, which I count here in Gary’s rather than Rob’s levels since I built it from Gary’s short story account rather than Rob’s map from the El Raja Key Archive
  • Kuntz levels
    • The Original Bottle City level
  • grodog levels
    • “Diamonds in the Rough”
    • “Escape from Level 14” (a.k.a., “Drawing Under the Influence of Gygax and Kuntz”)
    • “Halls of the Irons Golems”
    • “The Four Corners Level”
    • “The Heretical Temple of Wee Jas” (with two variant heresy options)
    • “The Hidden Aerie of Pazzuzu”

I left my “Iounic Caverns” and “Enchanted Orchards of the Arimoi” levels at home, along with my expanded version of S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth because they were too large to fit into my divided file folders.  (I think I'm forgetting another level or two among the options, but c'est la vie!).  

After exploring around the southern end of the level, the players used a wish spell from a luck blade to pass through to the northern portion, where they encountered the infamous pteranadons from Gary's story.  They prevailed in their battle, and survived their explorations!


I slept in an hour later, and spent most of the day playing Tom Wham games during the day-long Tom-Wham-a-Thon!  Tom’s games are always quick to learn, fun to play, and offer a variety of ways to win so they have great replay value.  

The three we played were:  Battling Space Ships (BGG at https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/19372/dragon-lairds), Felithian Finance (BGG at https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/19435/felithian-finance), and DragonLairds (we also played using the expansion set; BGG at https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/19372/dragon-lairds, and expansion at https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgameexpansion/45999/ebony-lavender-dragon-lairds).  My hope had been to play Feudality (BGG at https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/99312/feudality) too, which I understand is one of Tom’s favorites, but time ran short after the other games, so perhaps next year!  

Dave Conant (in yellow) and Tom Wham (hatted),
teaching us games at the Wham-a-Thon! 
(photo by Mark Clover)

I enjoyed all three, and had not played any of them previously (although we do own copies of Dragon Lairds and Battling Space Ships, among many other Wham-designed games---he’s a favorite in the Grohe household! :D ).  Of the three, I think Dragon Lairds will appeal to our 16 year-old son Henry most (along with Divine Right, and perhaps Titan), while Felithian Finance may catch my wife Heather’s eye.  

Speaking of Heather, the players at the table also offered a number of suggestions for 2 player games, that are relatively quick to play (which is an attributes she particularly appreciates in a game these days!):

    • Alhambra (the card game)
    • Cloud Nine
    • Great Dalmuti (I think we may have this)
    • Lost Cities
    • Love Letter
    • Roll Through the Ages

My contributions to the discussion were Starship Catan, Milles Bourne, Sushi Go, and Incan Gold.  (I forgot to mention Cat in the Box at the time, which I played at TsunamiCon for the first time last fall, and is quite enjoyable!).  

Saturday night I DM’d again, and the players selected my “Heretical Temple of Wee Jas” level, but the session ended a bit early with a near-TPK as the PCs wandered into three ghosts.  Since I’ve first ran that encounter back at GaryCon III in 2011, I updated ghosts to use relative aging, so the dwarf and half-elf PCs got hit for XX and XX respectively while the human PCs, well, let’s say they needed dust pans and brushes to scoop their remains up….  (Other than the paladin, who failed the save vs. fear and sprinted off back the way they had entered from, and was eventually rescued by the dwarf fighter/thief and half-elven bard).  


Monday was devoted to Titan referred by Brett King, and which I played together with Wade from Saturday’s Tom Wham games, and with Dwight and Keith from Friday’s Divine Right game (I also spotted Dwight in the audience at the Greyhawk seminar during GaryCon too), and John from one of my D&D games!   I hadn’t played Titan (BGG: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/103/titan) since I was a kid at one of the east coast conventions from my teenage years, and I had no recollection of how to play, starting fresh.  As with Divine Right, the players and the referee were very helpful, and Keith and Dwight had played it quite a bit, and Keith mentioned an online resource for solo play too (which I’ll have to share later after repinging him, since I couldn’t find it in my notes so far).

The game play was quite fun and engaging, although mastering the stacks of counters and the flow of the game board movement was a bit challenging.  I wasn’t able to recruit for several turns in a row due to bad luck on die rolls, which slowed my development considerably.  We did run a few Battle Lands engagements by the end of the session, with Keith edging out John for the win on points.  A fun time, for sure!

My final session of Castle Greyhawk at Founders & Legends brought a second run into the “Black Reservoir,” where the players explored along the “shore” and caves in the cavernous south wall, meeting a variety of interesting WM encounters (each seemed to segue into another, as their mandatory 1 turn rest resulted in another 1 on the WM die roll ;) ).  They ended the session with their discovery of "The Blight House" on a small rocky island (only the second team ever to find it during the 15+ years I’ve been running this level).  The Blight House is a site sacred to Incabulos, Greyhawk’s god of evil sendings---nightmares, plague, drought, and the like:

"Incabulos" by Jeff Easley
(Dragon Magazine #71, March 1983)

Interregnum Tuesday

Over the course of F&L, Luke allocated some new on-grid games to the schedule for Tuesday (which was originally a day of rest between the conventions), in order to provide some additional gaming options for folks who were in town attending both conventions, or who had arrived early for GaryCon.  

Gaming in the Geneva Lake Museum
(photo by Toni Kerschner Smith)

As a result, I was able to play in Rob Kuntz’s “Boreal Level” of Castle Greyhawk, which I had previously played part of once back in 2019 at the North Texas RPG Con with my son Henry.  We went a different route within the level this time, and encountered some different dungeon features (including the same trap for a second time), along with plenty of frost giants!  I didn’t initially recognize the level as one I’d definitely played before until I got back to our room (although parts of the intro and setup did feel familiar).  Then I checked my Castle Greyhawk history binder, where I found my 2019 player map and notes, and naturally began to compare our exploration across both sessions!  

Interregnum Tuesday closed out Founders & Legends for me, with much gaming and fun had by me, and its many other attendees!

To be continued in Part 2 – GaryCon!