[Below are the first few session reports from my on-going store game using Forbidden Cavern of Archaia and 5e D&D run in an old school style. The part in italics is on the flyer I posted].


HIS 5E GAME OF D&D will use just the free Basic Rules found online at: http://media.wizards.com/2018/dnd/downloads/DnD_BasicRules_2018.pdf
Making it perfect for those new to the hobby and curious. New players are very welcome! Not even dice are needed.

FIFTH EDITION RUN IN AN OLD SCHOOL STYLE: We will use a few of the alternative 5e rules for slower healing and stress. EXP is mainly gained by loot which removes the focus on combat. Dead characters are replaced by a 3d6-down-the-line generation. And this megadungeon exploration is in the vein of METROID/DARKEST DUNGEON, but there are plenty of NPCs and factions to manipulate for your own selfish ends!

#2 PREVIOUSLY: TOMB RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARCHAIA. Two devout clerics of St. Ygg dared to plunge into the Forbidden Lands with their recently liberated thi--, "relic hunter", in tow. Their goal is to bring dangerous relics of the past and information about the gathering chaotic hoards back to the warm, lawful embrace of Ygg. Currently, they are hunkered down in an elven crypt with four magical but fragile amphora-- worth plenty if they can get them back safely.

#3 PREVIOUSLY: OH GREAT, ELVES. With the arrival of the elven "delegation", Katyanna, Buddy, Radon, and their halfing burglar Brakka, Ukko and Gunter see their grave digg--- relic retrieval in peril. But diplomatic name-calling and judicious use of thieves cant brokered a deal where the adventuring party would help with the urns and then only draw from the recently recovered (and very slippery) Deck of Many Things once they were safely around other innocent Ygg-fearing souls. A treacherous climb awaited, but Ukko was to suffer the first non-Deck misfortune, by almost falling to his death! Where it not for the entirely inadequate medical attention performed by almost everyone and Gunther's devotion to Ygg, Ukko would have been dead. But instead, he lived to deal with the jerks of St. Ygg. Now much richer, the party drinks really, really well and decides their next course of action!

#4 PREVIOUSLY: JUST A BUNCH OF ROCKS. Loaded up with supplies, the party leaves early in the morning to explore more of the dread sunken city. Playing it safe, the party plunges into one of the upper caverns to avoid the humanoid patrols on the canyon floor. They tangled with well-disguised denizens in the forms of a large draco-form and stalactite-like crustaceans. Then, once across one of the broken city's many subterranean gulfs, the party pauses in a puzzling vine-covered foyer and muffled cries for help!

#5 PREVIOUSLY: STONE COLD DEATH! Disaster strikes! After meeting up with a pair of inquisitive dwarves, a sufferer of demonic thrall, and another sly thief, the party battled their way past ravenous mimetic plant life to a maze of doors. While mostly empty, the designs on the wall revealed this tomb to be the resting place of a powerful Archaian summoner and necromancer. Soon enough the party found themselves in said tomb tempted by a large brilliant ruby and a crypt of magic items. But it was all a trap...

Stone guardians mobilized and although moved like drunken men from years of dormancy, they laid low all but two of the party. Those two escaped from death leaving behind the mournful songs of their crushed friends- may Ygg take them quickly.

#6 PREVIOUSLY: ABRAKADABRA! THE PARTY GOT A MYSTERIOUS STAFF BUT STILL LEFT CADAVERS! Undaunted by death and haunted by the mysterious crypt, the sole survivor of the previous trek gathered a new band of adventurers to raid the crypt of the Archaian sorcerer.

The trip was fill fated from the beginning as the party was attacked at Dragon's Tooth Henge by undeath rising out of the growing mounds of mold, filth, and garbage at the henge. Each bore the crude mark of a hand with a fanged mouth in the palm. Although surrounded, the adventurers overcame and finally laid to rest these horrid bones.

Once back at the crypt of the sorcerer, a plan was hatched to steal the staff, ring, and the too-enticing-to-be-left ruby. The results were the same, but this time the two surviving members have a mysterious ebony staff and gold ring. Now if they can just get it back to Eastdale...


Still always milling over how to make weapons simple, but contain meaningful context-dependant choices so that combat can become faster and environments matter.


A very excellent post from Ben L. (of Ultan's Door Fame which I'll be running at North Texas RPG Con) about story emerging from sandbox play. He also gives a really even-handed explanation of the different approaches adopted by the OSR and indie games in their response to "trad rpgs". 

I could quote it to death, but here is one of my favorite parts:

If we don't see ourselves as storytelling, then in what sense do we take pleasure in "emergent stories"? When we say we're into "stories that emerge from play", we mean precisely stories that no one aimed to produce. Like in ordinary life, where we do various things not intending to produce a story, but nonetheless through the interaction of chance, the dubiousness of colorful characters, and our boldness in the moment, a memorable story emerges.