The Dunedain

The Dunedain

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Campaign Idea

Here is my latest idea for a new D&D or AD&D campaign.

This campaign that Starts in England in 1066. I know what you are thinking here- another military style campaign with a different historical period. That is only half true, my 1066 campaign would be set during the conquest period, but not really be a part of it. Just straight D&D adventures, with dungeons and all the other stuff (within the context of the setting); my thought is that the PCs are NOT members of either the defeated Anglo-Saxon or Norman armies, but rather the type of rogues and scoundrel that follow any military undertaking, opportunists taking advantage of the chaos generated by the multiple invasions of 1066. Maybe your character is a Norwegian that got stranded in England, for whatever reason, or maybe he's a Lithuanian trader with a taste for high risk, high reward opportunities

William the Conqueror's England was not really all that stable, pretty much for the rest of his life. In 1066 England was invaded by two major north/west European powers, major battles were fought in the north and south of England. Additionally, the Scots, Welsh and Irish made major raids into England that year. The Anglo-Saxon nobility had fled to the Scottish court looking for help, Edward the Aetheling was the last surviving real heir to the English throne; his sister Margaret would eventually marry Malcolm Canmore, the Scottish king, thus cementing a weak claim to the English kingdom for the Scots. Edward would go on to join the Byzantine Emperor's elite Varangian guard, like so many other defeated English lords and warriors, which changed the ethnic make up of the Varangians to mostly English from nearly totally Scandinavian within a generation. Anyway, it was a really chaotic period of time to be in England for more than two decades.

Now you are thinking “But there are no monsters in England!”, au contraire mes amis, England has a rich tableaux of mythology, tradition and history to draw upon, from the ancient Celtic Britons to the Romans that conquered them to Arthurian myth and legend surrounding the post-Roman period in Britain and the Nordic type religion of the old Anglo-Saxons, as well as the actually Nordic mythology of the Norsemen themselves who invaded and settled England in the preceding centuries. All kinds of Christian stuff can be thrown in there too, check out some of the stories about English saints.

Add to that flavorful mix of northwestern European myth and legend the fact that this is a D&D campaign world we're designing, and you can throw in pretty much anything from the Monster Manual if you want. Humanoids? My take on this is that they are just men that have been tainted by the chaos and evil of the Norman Conquest period. Petty, tricky men might become Kobolds; brawny, bullying scavengers might be twisted into Gnolls. Dragons are all over the British isles in myth, St. George the Dragonslayer is the Patron Saint of England (although not yet, he has to wait until the 14th century). Dungeons can be Roman ruins, or ancient Celtic sites, or simply a manifestation of the world reacting to the conquest itself. Then mix in the undead, plenty of reason for the unquiet dead to be poking their restless spirits around Conquest period England.

Plus, all of this stuff falls directly into the middle of my college major, History with an emphasis on the medieval period and my minor, Medieval Studies; so I think I can pull off the atmosphere of this campaign pretty well. Big Darryl always says that I majored in D&D at college and I don't think he's really wrong.

I might ditch some of the more anachronistic stuff, like plate mail, but maybe not, I can see an argument either way on that.

 See- They are wearing plate in this medieval depiction of the battle of Hastings :)

But not in this one :(

Lack of local players may necessitate  going a non-standard route to run this campaign, like PBEM or even Google+, despite my Luddite ways; anyone who is interested in going one of these routes should probably comment here with their preference or email me here

Even if you aren't interested in playing,I'd still like to see any commentary that might help me improve the experience for my prospective player, thanks!

Minor edit: I also wanted to mention that no one won the Celtic Halloween contest, because there were no entries. I noticed that as soon as I hit publish.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


So I was just checking my email and I saw the date, I am 20 days into my new contest and I don't have a single entry. I think to myself "I haven't posted on my blog since I announced the contest, maybe it's lack of visibility?"; then I look at my blog post announcing the contest and I see that I didn't tell anyone where to send their entries. I will rectify that now, send them here. I sincerely hope that this was the issue, and not just me being lazy about getting back to regular blogging.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately, I bought the new D&D- even though I said I wouldn't. Everyone blogging about it had such nice things to say. I haven't tried playing it yet though, so I am going to hold off on reviewing it until I have test driven it, so to speak.

I also have been prepping a pretty cool Carcosa campaign, it involves the Soviets using Tesla technology and Nazi occult secrets and their own ESP experiments. I set the whole thing in 1980, so it's kind of got a Twilight 2000/Carcosa crossover feel to it. KGB, Cosmonauts, Spetsnaz and Scientists on a wacky trans-planar adventure.

Now, enjoy this creepy banshee I found on the internet as inspiration for the adventures you all want to write!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A new contest

First, I'd like to say that falling out of the habit of regularly blogging blows; it's like taking a break from college, or quitting exercising for a while- it is so very hard to get back into the habit. Second, yet another apology to David, my wife has been driving around with your loot from my contests in the back of her minivan for something like a month now. Mea culpa, I should have taken care of it myself.

Art by Todd Lockwood.

Now, on to the contest, generously sponsored by Warlord Games (so far), I have a box of their Celtic Warriors, from their Hail Caesar line of products ready to send to the winner. I'll also throw in a copy of the AD&D 2nd edition "Celts Campaign Sourcebook" for 2nd place and, I guess, a pdf of same for 3rd place.

The contest, since it is October, is to get something Celtic and/or Horror themed (better if it's both), short adventure, long adventure, monster(s), anything that fits the theme and is OSR related, anything from B/X to AD&D to Call of Cthulu will be welcomed. Adventures will be judged by my small, elite group of players and myself, anything that can't really be classified as an adventure will be judged by the Council of Central NY Game Masters.

All entries should be received by midnight EST,October 31st and the winner(s) shall be announced sometime in early November. Authors retain the rights to their work, so feel free to publish it on drivethru RPG/RPG Now, I also make no claim to any art created for or used in your contest entries. Enter as many times as you want, at the end of the contest I'll put all the files together in a zip file and upload it to Dropbox or some other storage site.

Happy October!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

I DMed some 1st edition AD&D today....

... And it was awesome. Thanks for pulling me out of retirement Darryl, I needed that. I really can't wait to DM again.

That is all.

Have a good rest of the week everybody!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What I have been doing lately...

Since last year, I've picked up a ton of OSR stuff in print- ranging from Expeditious Retreat Press' "Malevolent and Benign" to Lamentations of the Flame Princess' "Player Core Book: Rules and Magic", I also bought a whole lot of miniatures, mostly WWII and Ancient Romans and Gauls/Britons, for use with my B/X WWII game (still in early development) and 43 AD respectively. I also did something I expressly stated I wouldn't do, I bought the new Players Handbook (and the starter set, but even at 1/2 price I think it was a waste of money).  Oh, and I completed my 3rd edition Legend of the Five Rings RPG collection, and started on the 4th edition with the core rulebook.

Now, the new D&D surprised me, after Gen Con everyone was all raving about it, so curiosity got the better of me and I order it on Amazon, I haven't had a chance to look at really yet, because my lovely wife Mona has been reading through it.  Oh, and I also bought a ton of Pendragon stuff, from 1st edition through 5.1, I kind of felt like I had to when I found "The Great Pendragon Campaign" for a mere $60.00US in a game store in Germany, 1st (only?) printing, mint condition. I actually want to run some Pendragon now, but I haven't figured out how to go about it. I am considering PBEM because my gaming group has grown up and gone to college and moved out of the house. I only have my youngest, Ember, left here now and she'll be gone in a couple of years.

I suppose I should have seen it coming, this isn't the first time I've lost pretty much my whole gaming group because they grew up and moved away. The last time it was my brother Jon's friends, he's nine and a half years younger than me, so I was in my mid-to-late twenties when I ran AD&D (2nd edition, they were oddly reticent to play 1st edition) for those lads. Eventually I switched to 3rd edition, but they were mostly gone by then. I ran Hackmaster (4th edition)  for a while after I gave up on D&D, really it's the first retroclone though, right? Anyway, my oldest two children have moved on, although John is forced out of the dorm for holidays and between semesters, so I see him then. Ashli calls a couple of times a week usually.

 In theory I am still working on a super-hero genre RPG based on Joshua Guess' book Next (and it's impending sequels), but I haven't really been doing much of anything but playing "Civilization 5", "Mount and Blade" and the "Panzer General" clone "Panzer Corps", and by playing Civ5, I really mean working on a mod. "Mount and Blade" is great, because it's a sandbox RPG, but I became mightily peeved with it on Sunday when my saved game corrupted, why didn't I think to do alternating save slots? I tried starting over, but that kind of blows. I am accustomed now to being the most powerful lord in my Kingdom, who single-handedly  brought the other four Kingdoms (OK, one is a Khanate) of Calradia to their knees, commanding armies of 4-500 elite troops. I was an axe-wielding god of death, now bandits can beat my ass and take me prisoner.

"Panzer Corps" continues to please though, it has all of the good turn based strategy of "Panzer General"- even the maps look the same and the controls are identical, but the scenarios in the Grand Campaign are different enough from PG to be fresh and challenging.

Anyway, it's late here and I am rambling, so I'll just mention that I also got a couple of different flavors of "Swords and Wizardry" and bought everything available for the "Basic Fantasy" RPG. I am going to sign off for tonight and I'll try to start posting more again. Before I was blogging about gaming almost every day, but when you take year off the habit gets broken, now I have to reinstate it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

It's been over a year...

It's been over a year since I wrote anything for this blog, and it was a sit spotty for about a year before that. I tried to keep things going for a while, but I was much more greatly affected by the death of my sister than I could have ever imagined. I've really screwed up my credibility by failing to deliver prizes to a bunch of contest winners, for which I have no excuse. I still have all of the prizes, and if I owe you one, and you are still reading my blog, contact me and I'll get them to you.

I haven't really gamed at all for roughly the same period of time, but now I am in a better place and want to DM again. I am thinking Lamentations of the Flame Princess, mostly because I want to step out of the generic quasi-western European fantasy D&D mold, while still actually using a game system I am familiar with. I picked up a couple of the modules for it, and I had a few more and a pdf of the Grindhouse edition (and Vornheim) but when my last computer finally died, at the age of eleven, I lost my LotFP stuff, but they have a free version available on RPG Now/Drive through RPG, so I guess I'll print that out. Anyone in the Northern Central NY area want to play?

I am also working on another RPG based on Joshua Guess' Next with my long time collaborator Darryl Cook and my lovely wife Mona AKA Saint Mona the Patient, who keeps me out of jail. It's good to be working on projects again, but Darryl really has the lead on this one. Baby steps back out into the world. Speaking of Darryl and me working on RPG stuff together, 43 AD is now available in print on demand format on LULU, we play-tested it and edited it, the author is Paul Elliot, the man behind Zozer Games.

James Raggi- my wife would like to do some art for you.

I guess that's all I have to say for now. I know it's been a while, and you'd think I'd have more, but I've had a rough couple of years. Be well everyone, and I'll try to make this a regular thing again, but I am a little out of the loop right now, so I need to do some catching up on OSR related news (I could really not care less about the new edition of D&D)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Buried the lead story again.

The result of a coin toss has given the June prize of Warlord Games 28mm American soldiers to LASGUNPACKER. I recently acquired the Bolt Action rules and am reading through them myself, so I hope you enjoy your prize.

As usual, send me your postal address to williamjdowie AT gmail DOT com, and I'll send the miniatures.

For those of you who won the Roman themed contest- I am sending the dice (and miniature) out tomorrow too. I have gotten a little weary of waiting for Mona's artwork backlog keeping me from sending the other prizes.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


I discovered that, with the purchase of the "Otosan Uchi" boxed set, I had nearly everything printed for the first, second and third editions of the "Legend of the Five Rings" RPG. Everything except the "Tomb of Iuchiban". Imagine my surprise when I went looking for that particular item and saw the prices that it fetches. I am not a collector, I play my games, but when I see a $120.00+ price tag on what has been called "the Tomb of Horrors for L5R", I get a little annoyed. What, did they only print like 50 copies? I'll stop ranting now.

Last weekend I played "Barbarians of Lemuria" and it was pretty cool, met some cool new people and they seem like my kind of playing group, a little laid back, the GM made rulings instead of looking stuff up in the book every 5 minutes. I even had a beer there. Plans have been laid out to make this their summer game and I intend to keep playing. It was fun, my only comment was that we could have played the exact same adventure with D&D or a retro-clone (my current favorite being S&W).

Now I see it's June and I have an obligation to run my contest, the sole prize for this is a box of Warlord Games 28mm scale American Infantry for their Bolt Action line. I haven't played Bolt Action yet, but I did order the rules recently, because I like skirmish scale WW2 stuff. Warlord games sponsored this contest, and usually I like to pick a best adventure, with my judges, to decide who get's the prizes; but I haven't been all that bloggy lately, didn't come up with a working set of OSR style rules for WW2 (yet), so I will choose the victor at random from the comments section.My original idea had been to run an OSR D-Day/Battle for Normandy adventure contest.

For those of you still waiting on prizes from my last Roman themed contest, my wife is busy with other art commitments, but assures me that your portraits are next on her list, in the meantime I am going to just mail the dice to the winners, sorry about the delay.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

I've Been Absent for a While

I haven't blogged for a while. I had some health issues, my daughter Ashli has had some health issues and two of my Aunts died this year, which just brought me back to the same depressed funk I was in following my sister's death last September. Mostly though I haven't been writing anything because I haven't had anything to say. I haven't gamed at all since December, and I didn't want to turn my blog into just a series of announcements of what cool new stuff I got in the mail and contests.

Speaking of contests, my last Roman themed contest in particular, I still haven't sent out the dice. I was kind of hoping to mail them with the character portraits my wife offered to do, but she's still waiting to hear from the winners what exactly they want. You can email her directly at monelun AT yahoo Dot com, but I suggest CC-ing the messages to me at WilliamJDowie AT gmail Dot com, so I can catch them too if they end up in her spam folder.

Spring is here now, and aside from plotting my planting and doing some clean up and repairs around the house, I think I may just get a chance to game again soon. I got the entire Basic Fantasy RPG collection available on Amazon and I picked up Swords and Wizardry in both the White Box and complete flavors. I am hoping to do something for Swords and Wizardry appreciation day, but I am unwilling to commit since it falls two days after my sister's birthday and I am not sure I'll be in the mood for anything; this being the first year without her.

I had planned on running a Celtic themed contest in March, but my depression kind of got in the way of that, so I think I'll run it later this year, maybe October so we can get the whole Samhain/Halloween thing going with it.

My more ambitious plan is to put together a D-Day/Normandy campaign themed contest for June, I think an OSR game can handle any genre, Sci-Fi has been done more than once, so why not WW II? What do you all think?

Warlord Games has already generously agreed to sponsor both contests.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Roman Contest Prizes Awarded-

Grand Prize-
PDF copies of 43 AD and it's supplement Warband, courtesy of Zozer Games.
8”x10” Canvas Print courtesy of
Print copy of William Morris's House of the Wolfings
Print copy of LC1 Assault Against the Menace on the Mountain
PDF of LC1 Assault Against the Menace on the Mountain
Roman Numeral D4(x2), D6(x2) and D10(x2).
One commissioned Character portrait courtesy of Mona Dowie.

Goes to Ned Leffingwell for “Mayhem at the Manor”

Second Prize-
PDF copy of 43 AD courtesy of Zozer Games.
PDF of LC1 Assault Against the Menace on the Mountain
Roman Numeral D4, D6(x2) and D10.
One commissioned Character portrait courtesy of Mona Dowie.
One Old School 1984 Ral Partha Roman Legionary lead miniature, unpainted.

Goes to David Jaske for “Road to Antioch”

Third Prize-
PDF copy of 43 AD courtesy of Zozer Games.
PDF of LC1 Assault Against the Menace on the Mountain
Roman Numeral D4, D6(x2) and D10.
One commissioned Character portrait courtesy of Mona Dowie.

Goes to Ian MacDougal for “The Crooked Baths”

May the laurels of victory be placed upon the brows of the victors!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Roman Contest Over

I declare my latest themed contest officially at an end. I probably should have done that yesterday, but it was a snow day and the kids were home. The relatively small number of entries should make judging easy and fast, so I'd expect to see an announcement before the weekend as to who has won what. Thanks to everyone that entered, refrigerator magnets will most likely be going out in the mail the same time as the prizes; most likely Saturday.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Contest Deadline

It has been suggested, and I agree, that I should maybe move the contest deadline through the weekend. I have a couple of good reasons for doing this- a number of people have contacted me and said they probably would not have their submissions ready on time, so an extra weekend to work on them might make for a more robust contest; and I am not running a February contest, so it doesn't conflict there either.

So I guess that's about all, unless someone wants to volunteer to judge. I lost two judges this time around, so I am down to three. That's not much of a panel.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

So I've Been Sick

For most of January I've been sick and not promoting my contest at all, or blogging to speak of. I just came on today to thank everyone who did submit an entry for the contest and remind everyone that there is still a little over a day left to get an entry in.

I also wanted to get a public shout out and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my son John who turned 18 today.

So, I haven't been at my computer a whole lot, other than WotC opening the vaults on D&D Classics and me missing my own Blog's Anniversary; did I miss anything important?

I have mostly been doing a lot of reading and laying in bed this month and it looks like it may go on that way for a while longer, so I will not be running a February contest. I have already planned a Celtic themed contest for March though, running from the 1st through the 31st. Warlord Games is already signed on to sponsor that one, so I figure I have to run it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


So I am running a contest here, and maybe I should be promoting it a little more, but I have to say I am a little disappointed at the response so far. The Viking themed contest was so successful I thought that themed contests were sure to be a hit, but maybe I was wrong. My Mongol contest was a bust, I only got one entry. I suppose I should have just declared him the winner of all three top prizes, but I figured nobody wants to win by default. Mongols were somewhat specialized though, so I thought Ancient Rome would be a good theme, easily as popular as Vikings, if I can believe film and literature.

But now the contest is half over and I still haven't received any entries, which is probably a bad sign; and nobody sending me a progress report, which is a worse sign.

So I have to wonder, is it the themed nature of the contest, or did I make the rules too open? Do people just not respond to the Ancient Roman theme? Something else entirely?

Will I be inundated with contest entries as the deadline approaches? I am curious, I generally receive a lot more feedback than I am getting now, and this contest has been advertised to a much wider audience, so I would have expected more rather than less.

Anyway, there are a bunch of cool prizes at stake.

Comment if you have an opinion about my contests, whether it's the theme, the way I run them, whatever; I can handle constructive criticism.

Maybe next time I'll put up a poll to vote on a theme.