Fangs of Vulgoth: Session #15

The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes battled their way across a small creek, discovered an abandoned mining camp infested with angry man-bats, and burgled some potions from an alchemist and her huge manservant in a lonely tower, before escaping into an old mine…

Play time: 4 hours


  • Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer (7)
  • Drew the Eldritch Knight (7)
  • Hugo the Time Wizard (6), Cleric (1)
  • Lobelia the Vampire
  • Rainen the Beast Master Ranger (5), Druid (2)
  • Ward the Gloom Stalker Ranger (6), Rogue (1)

Strangers in the dark

As they proceeded into the mine, they noticed the glittering red dust on the walls and floor. As they approached the first branch in the old tunnel, they saw a person walking ahead of them. The woman was clearly a vampire. She said she was Lobelia, and her family had died at Rukesti. Now she had come south seeking revenge against the vampires. The party welcomed her aboard.

They turned right at the fork, and then left at the next fork, and found a narrow crack in the wall that led to a dazzling underground city made entirely of huge rubies. Hugo cast his dome to protect them while they slept in the mine, and in the morning Drew used his magic shovel to clear a wider path into the city. There were only miner (wordplay!) injuries from the flying rocks and debris.

Urva Ruvena, the Ruby City

Bathed in red light, the Ruby City glowed in a vast cavern. Thousands of vampires teemed through the streets. Lobelia recognized some as friends and neighbors from Rukesti. She was shocked that so many were “alive”. Hugo also noted that some of the vampires wore black smocks and seemed to be hard at work, building the city. Ward managed to keep his wyvern-spirit under control, so he did not transform and attack the vampires.

Asmund looked around for landmarks or a way up to the castle. He spotted a massive forge, a black pyramid, and a stone arch. After a quick debate, the team decided to try the stone arch. As they came closer, they could hear a man screaming and a beast howling from the arch.

Lobelia transformed into a bat and flew down the steps beyond the arch to scout around. She saw several barred prison cells and a single guard, a woman with a snake tail and snakes for hair. 

Into the Silverhold Oubliette

Drew marched down the stairs with great confidence and told the snake-woman that her shift was over and she was to go see the queen. The Medusa was surprised and suspicious, but also a bit excited. She wanted confirmation. “Who sent you?” Drew said he was sent by one of the black-smocked workers in the city. She called his bluff, and attacked.

Hugo realized the danger of being petrified and told everyone to avert their gaze. Drew rushed in to hack and slash. Asmund strode up to her, reached out with his holy gauntlet, and tried to befriend her by demanding her name, but this was too strange and hostile for her. 

Rainen rushed into the prison and in one cell she found a werewolf howling on a stone block, lashed down with silver wire. Lobelia sauntered in and watched from the corner, and then sauntered up the wall and watched from the ceiling.

Hugo froze the Medusa for a moment and Drew went to another cell to see a young man lashed to a table with silver wire, screaming in pain. Drew then began battering the Medusa and tried to put her to Sleep, but instead he dropped his ally Asmund unconscious. After a few more attacks, Drew tried again and the Medusa fell asleep! And Hugo kicked Asmund to wake him up.

There was a short debate about what to do with the Medusa. Asmund decided to touch her with his holy hand. In a few seconds, the Medusa transformed back into a human woman! They woke her, and she slowly recovered from her shock of being healed. 

Her name was Aurelia, and she explained that the vampire queen Dragoslava had killed her family and turned her into a monster to guard her prisoners. Aurelia begged them to escape. The queen is too powerful to fight!

The Howling Beast

Rainen and Drew entered the cell with the howling werewolf and freed him from the silver wires. Rainen healed him and he quickly recovered. The giant white Apex Werewolf named Kveldulf growled out his thanks and demanded that they start killing vampires together.

Rainen tried to refocus him on just hunting down the queen Dragoslava. Outside his cell, this huge werewolf saw the vampire Lobelia. The team quickly convinced him that some vampires were victims and should not be harmed.

To help convince Kveldulf, they called Ward (their own resident shapeshifter) to come down into the prison and talk to him. Kveldulf recognized the scent of a fellow shifter. Ward explained that it was definitely hard to ignore the foul scent of the undead in the air, but it was possible to control their urges and focus on the mission. “I know it’s hard,” he said, “But if I can keep a cool head with a whole city of vampires right up those steps behind me, then I’m sure you can…”

Kveldulf went blind with rage and ran up the steps.

Moments later, the vampires began screaming.

Lobelia went after him, worried for her friends. Kveldulf tore many vampires to pieces, but as panic set in, they started turning into bats and fleeing up into the shadows of the cavern’s roof. The werewolf rampaged through the city, hunting the vampires.

The Screaming Prisoner

Aurelia, the former Medusa, explained that the screaming man in the last cell was Dragodai Torescu, the queen’s son. She imprisoned him many years ago. Hugo rigged the cell so he could free the handsome young vampire from the torture table while standing outside the door. As soon as the silver wires were gone, the vampire began to heal.

Rainen called out that they had come to kill the queen.

The beautiful vampire prince Dragodai immediately misted through the bars of his cell and appeared beside them. “Then let’s not waste time.” He held out his hand and his magic longsword came crashing through the Ruby City and flew into his hand. He gestured to the stairs. “Shall I lead, or would you like to?”

And that’s where we ended.

DM Notes

This was a super session. Meeting Lobelia the vampire (played by our newest player) went great. It was good to inject some fresh tragedy and darkness into the team. They’ve been too happy lately!

They navigated through the mines easily (there was a 50% chance of Something Bad happening, so they got lucky) and found the Ruby City quickly. Lobelia provided some emotional complexity as she agonized over the discovery of her undead friends, but was also excited by her newfound vampire powers. 

The battle with the Medusa was pretty one-sided for a party of Level 7 heroes, but since they wanted to befriend her it turned into a weird dance of freezing people and Sleeping people that was pretty fun. And for the second game in a row, they didn’t kill the baddie! Healing the Medusa was an exciting revelation for Asmund.

For a moment, it looked like Kveldulf would be their big ally against the vampires, but they lost control of his attention and he ran off. Will he prove a good distraction for them? So then they turned to the vampire prince, and it seems like he will be a great ally instead. Or at least a sexy one!

Posted in session report | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Fangs of Vulgoth: Session #14

The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes dredged up an old vampire, found the smoking ruins of Rukesti, battled many vampires, and founds many magical treasures, before heading back south to face the vampire lords…

Play time: 4.5 hours


  • Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer (7)
  • Drew the Eldritch Knight (7)
  • Hugo the Time Wizard (6), Cleric (1)
  • Rainen the Beast Master Ranger (5), Druid (2)
  • Ward the Gloom Stalker Ranger (6), Rogue (1)

Round 3 with the creek

The party awoke in a dark, snowy spot in the woods. Rainen rose from a dream of monkeys fighting in a mountain hot spring, wondering what it meant. For a few minutes, the group discussed their goals. Fight the vampires? Sneak past the vampires? Risk taking the road controlled by the Temple? They resolved to push south to Castle Torescu and risk the vampires in their search for the Black Road through the mountains.

Heading out, they made slow time through the gloomy, snowy woods. Soon they found the partly frozen banks of the Little Fang Creek, their ancient nemesis. Ward froze a path across the water and the team tried to cross. They all slipped and fell into the icy waters. Again. (Except for Drew, who misty-stepped across.) After much swimming and struggling, they reached the far shore, dried off, and continued south.

Rainen noticed a huge swarm of bats swirling through the trees, also heading south.


Late in the afternoon, they arrived at the abandoned mining camp of Narat. The snow mostly obscured the old cottages and tents. Only the stone tower looked intact. Drew revealed that the Oracle had given him visions of this place, and he wanted the green potion from the tower.

They approached the tower and heard some muffled sounds within the old cottages. Drew cleared a path to the door, allowing several huge but clumsy bat-like men to stumble out into the half-light. These were the man-bats that the vampire Lucien had created and was trying to teach to fly.

The ensuing battle was quick and bizarre. Hugo slowed several man-bats, and Ward used Lucien’s ring to command two of them to stop fighting. One man-bat grabbed Drew and flew a short distance straight up to drop him on his head. But the party brought their spells and silver weapons to bear, and tore the undead creatures to pieces.

They kept one alive for questioning. They named this man-bat Wuce Brayne and demanded information about the tower. But the creature merely knew that two humans lived inside and he was supposed to guard them.

Into the tower

Rainen transformed into a squirrel and scampered up to look inside the room at the top of the tower. She saw a laboratory full of books and glassware, and potions! Also a stern woman in black and a large man sleeping on a large bed. Ward picked the lock on the heavy door and ventured into the tower with Drew. But they stepped on a metal grate and were electrocuted.

Heavy footsteps echoed from above, and soon an extremely large man covered in ugly scars began walking down. He demanded they leave. He threatened to throw them out.

The team shouted up that they wanted the green potion, and were willing to trade a magic knife for it. The large man seemed to briefly consider their offers, but he was unwilling to give up the potion and suspicious of them in general. By the time he reached the bottom of the stairs, it was clear there would be a fight.

Fighting without fighting

Drew successfully cast Fear on the big man, and used that effect to herd the man out of the tower. Outside, Ward hurled daggers and fired magic arrows, but most of his shots bounced harmlessly off the man’s chest. The giant (not a Giant, but you know) began hurling bricks, which proved very effective and Ward ran away. Meanwhile, Rainen began climbing back up the tower in the form of a spider.

Asmund teleported and ran up the stairs and found the woman preparing a bandolier of potions. He turned invisible and sneaked into the room, and found the green potion. As his companions ran up the stairs to join him, Asmund banished the woman to the Shadowfell. With her gone, Rainen jumped into the room and they began pouring all of the potions into vials so they could run off with them.

Hugo looked around the lab, noted that the books were all about nature and not about magic, and lost interest. Asmund ran back down with the potions, followed by Hugo. Drew ran up to the lab, destroyed everything with a Thunderwave, discovered a chest full of women’s fancy clothes, and then ran back down with Rainen.

One by one, they all ran out into the snow past the large man. Asmund took a brick to the head, but kept his wits about him. Moments later, the entire group had dashed away across the snow field and arrived at the entrance to the abandoned mine at the base of the mountain.

With no sign of pursuit, they decided to try the potions. Hugo identified many of them as acid, cold, and fire concoctions. But three vials contained something… mutagenic.

Drew drank two of the vials, and Ward drank one.

The strange brew caused Drew to vastly increase his Strength and Dexterity and speed, as well as making him grow 18 inches taller! Ward however shrank 3 inches and became a bit slower than before. Both men lost Charisma, but gained some elemental immunities.

And that’s where we ended.

DM Notes

Everyone loved this session! Apparently they really enjoy falling into that creek, over and over again. The combat with the man-bats was a good example of enemies with interesting abilities (bite, scream, and drop) that were dangerous, but didn’t take too long to kill. Plus the team once again showed a lot of creativity in that fight.

The encounter at the tower was great. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get more interactions with the mad scientist woman or her giant test-subject companion. The players tried to blame me (me!) for starting the combat, and I had to point out that they broke into these (bad) people’s home and started making weird demands without much pretense. This was pretty much a recipe for starting a fight, I think.

The non-fight was a ton of fun, again showcasing a lot of creativity with Rainen’s shapeshifting, Asmund’s banishment, and everyone’s general sneakiness. They got the potions and escaped with minimal harm. Plus the baddies lived! They might show up again one day!

And the big climax was Drew and Ward taking the potions. This involved making seven d6 rolls to see how the potions would change their Strength, Dexterity, Constitution, Charisma, Movement, Height, and Immunities. They odds in each case were in favor of some improvement but with a small risk of getting worse, and they managed to roll “worse” quite a few times. But since the fighter ended up with massive strength and dex, and seven and a half feet tall, everyone seemed pretty satisfied.

Next time, into the mines in search of the vampire castle and the Black Road to freedom!

Posted in session report | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Orbital Vampire Tower: New adventure on DriveThruRPG

There is a new one-shot Dungeon Age adventure for sale on DTRPG, and it is Pay What You Want for the rest of May. Go get Orbital Vampire Tower right now before the price locks in.

The Pitch

The ancient world of Harth withers beneath its dying sun…but it’s not dead yet.

High in the night sky, a vampire’s tower is torn apart by a rampaging angel. People and monsters are trapped. Magical treasure lies scattered everywhere.

It’s all yours for the taking, if you can find a way out before the angel finds you.

This adventure is a one-shot dungeon-delve into a wizard’s tower. In space. With vampires. This is an alien-survival-horror-movie of an adventure (or at least, you can choose to play it that way).

  • This adventure is intended for low-level characters (around level 3). 
  • It is focused mostly on exploration, with several social encounters and opportunities for deadly combat.
  • It runs 3 to 5 hours.
  • There are 17 unique magical items, 17 unique monsters, and 17 unique rooms. I swear I did not plan that, it just worked out this way.

Play tests

Other Notes

Thank you to everyone who has already downloaded Orbital Vampire Tower, and double thanks to everyone generous enough to pay full price this week, and triple thanks to the customer who already played it and posted a review!

I have lots of ideas for other one-shots and campaigns this year, but I’m going to take a little break to work on the next Dungeon Age novel in my continuing quest to channel Jack Vance, Fritz Lieber, and Michael Moorcock into my writing.

Posted in adventures, announcements | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

One Shot: Orbital Vampire Tower (party)

Play time: 4.5 hours


  • Gryme the Lizardfolk Alchemist (3)
  • Lavender the Elf Bladesinger (3)
  • Ukrog the Minotaur Barbarian (3)
  • Sven the Human Swarm Ranger (3)

Ruins in the woods

After a light week of standard adventuring (killing goblins, I assume), the party woke and got on the road. Deep in the forest, they stumbled upon a strange white stone platform covered in runes, wrapped in ivy and moss. They stepped onto the platform and touched the small pillar at its center.

Instantly, they were all teleported to a dark room. As their eyes adjusted to the dim flicking light, they saw stone walls covered in slash marks and torn paintings. They stood on another round white stone, only this one’s control pillar had been smashed off. They were trapped! Looking out the single doorway, they saw a chamber with a spiral staircase and several other doors.

Slimy and scared

They slipped over to a door that had been slashed and torn open. Inside, the dying lantern revealed a floor covered in warm syrup, a table of vials, and several large smashed cylinders. Gryme quickly identified and pocketed several potions of healing and enlargement. They then inspected the cylinders and found each contained a dead man, all with similar faces but different types of skin. One cylinder was empty. One held a live fellow.

The live fellow was naked, shivering, and covered in slime. He said his name was Rev, and he seemed to have no memories. The team took him with them.


Next they pounded on a locked door. A voice inside said to go away. But when the party mentioned that they had a young man covered in slime, the door opened to reveal a skeleton surgeon, Doctor Mahkoi. The doctor was gruff and unfriendly, and mostly concerned with protecting young Rev on behalf of his master, Revelius Onar. The team saw a lot of blood spattered inside the room, and reluctantly let Rev stay with the skeleton, who offered him a lollipop.

More messes

Ukrog looked inside another smashed room and found three narrow cots and three destroyed lockers. Inside there was some clothing and one very nasty cat. He roared at the cat and it ran away, slipping and falling down the stairs. They left the clothes in the hall for Rev and moved on.

In the next room, they found some smashed furniture, a broken stone arm, and a large round window. Outside they saw a vast starry night and a single gray object slowly floating.

Going up

On the next floor, they went through yet another smashed door and found a nice lounge with three curtains. Behind the first curtain they found a damaged illusion of a snowy mountain, which Lavender briefly explored. Behind the next curtain appeared to be a hallway to a tavern, but they did not go in.

The last curtain revealed a damaged illusion of a sunny beach. Everyone went down to the water to explore and relax. Lavender and Ukrog put on some old-fashion bathing suits, and Lavender found a Ring of Gills. Gryme tried to swim out and explore the water, but was unable to go far. Then the water turned into a tsunami of turtles. They fled to the exit, but the turtles struck Lavender and Gryme for some serious psychic damage.

Vampires galore

Returning to the central stair well, the team knocked on a locked door but got no response. They then explored a dark red and black bedroom and saw a woman floating outside the window. After a moment, she misted through the glass and appeared before them. Gray skin, red eyes, fangs. She demanded to know who they were and why they had come.

The team was equally confused, but did not ask who she was. She said that this was the tower of Revelius Onar, a vampire lord. The tower orbited on the dark side of the world so it was never in direct sunlight. She also explained that Revelius had trapped an angel for his experiments, and now the angel had escaped and was on the rampage. When she asked about the security guard Delilah, a gargoyle, the team showed her the severed stone arm. The vampire then shooed the heroes out of her room and closed the door to resume hiding.

After these revelations, the team went into the fourth room and found a lovely couch and a huge hovering mirror. Gryme sat on the couch and it began massaging his back. He played with the jewels on the armrest and was able to shift the view in the mirror, and hear the sounds of the places he looked at. This put him in contact with a stern vampire woman dressed in black and gold. The team told her that they had met Rev, a weak skinny person who was now in the care of the doctor. The woman looked delighted at this news and ended the communication. A few moments later, the team heard a heavy bang and boom from the floor below them!

Running out into the hall, they saw the vampire woman again poking her head out of her room. She asked what they had done. They said they had been talking to another vampire in the mirror. The woman reacted in fear and horror, saying that was vampire lord Aura Jatheed, and the banging noise downstairs must be her “Cleaners“. The woman retreated into her room again and slammed the door.

The party decided to run away too, so they headed up the spiral stairs again.

Up on the roof

The stairs ended in a glass-ceiling greenhouse full of strange plants and animals. Ukrog discovered the tiny shock frogs on the trees, and put some in a vial to make a lightning grenade. Sven spotted some footprints and tracked them to young man lying in a pool of starlight. It looked exactly like Rev!

But this version of Rev was even weaker, his skin nearly translucent. He claimed to be a dying vampire, that something was wrong with him, and he needed sunlight to live. The starlight was too weak, and he couldn’t find the sun. Ukrog picked him up and they agreed to find him some sunlight. On the way out, Sven also discovered a nest of fire ants tormenting a red octopus in a tree. The octopus psychically begged for help, so Gryme froze the ants to death and the octopus crawled up on Ukrog’s shoulder.

Beach party 2

The party went back downstairs, through the lounge, and onto the illusion beach. Rev perked up a little, but then declared the sunlight here to be fake and resumed dying. Meanwhile, the octopus continued to whisper that it was hungry and started biting Ukrog. The minotaur ripped the octopus off his shoulder, and it sank its beak into his hand. There was a brief and vicious battle as Ukrog crushed the monster, Gryme shocked them both, and finally Sven put a swarming arrow through its fleshy head.

At about this time, they head a chorus of terrible screams from downstairs.

Creeping down the spiral stairs, they saw the angel! It was a whirling matrix of golden blades and rings floating around three flaming eyes. Scattered around the floor were three vampire corpses, in various states of dismemberment. When Ukrog carried Rev closed to the radiant light of the angel, Rev began to perk up and grow stronger. He then stepped aside and let the party go on without him.

Fearing the power of the mad angel, the team tried to rush down the spiral stairs. But the angel took notice of Ukrog, the only Chaotic member of the party. The angel screamed that chaos must be destroyed! It bathed the party in searing radiant light, and they fled downstairs two levels to the bottom of the tower.


In the dark, filthy depths of the tower, they found a vast reservoir of blood and a stinking compost heap full of corpses and fungus. Lavender used her mage hand to snatch up a golden raven talon from the compost. This revived three fungal zombies exhaling spores. The team promptly shut the door. Gryme tried to jam it shut with an arrow, but put a hole in the door instead and spores began floating out. Lavender tried to blast the spores away, but ended up inhaling them instead. Instantly she felt unwell and orange fungal matter began growing on her arm.

Ransacking the leftovers

The party went up one level to explore the last few rooms. They found a laboratory floor being devoured by acid, a silver metal cell, a red resin cell, a menagerie of dead animals, and a shop full of tools and machines. They gathered up a magic knife, a crystal orb, and unearthed a little mechanical friend who began following Ukrog around.

About this time, they heard the WOOMF sound of someone teleporting into the chamber above them. And then they heard the whirling, burning, screaming sounds of the angel killing whoever that was.

Desperate to escape the tower, the team decided they needed to explore the blood reservoir. They went back downstairs. Gryme held his breath, and Lavender used the Ring of Gills, and they began swimming through the thick red blood. Together, they discovered the broken control pillar from the teleportation platform. They could escape!

But there was a price. Swimming in the inhuman blood affected their bodies. Gryme’s tongue tripled in length, giving him the ability to taste and identify blood. Lavender’s body tripled in mass (but not size), leaving her stranded on the bottom of the reservoir, too heavy to swim. Ukrog had to haul her up on a rope, and she found she was slower on foot than before.

A moment later, the acid pool in the lab ate clean through the floor and air began rushing out of that room.

The big escape

Sneaking back upstairs, they found the angel hovering about between the stairs and the teleportation room. They also saw two new bodies on the floor. Combining their magical powers and tools, they created a glowing, floating cloak and paraded it up the stairs, hoping to draw the angel away. But the angel did not seem to notice this.

Then Sven used his swarm powers to gather up the broken glass in the room where they found Slimy Rev and smashed the glass down to create an audible distraction. The glass shattered, as well as dozens of vials (including several vials of Enlarge). The tower began to creak and groan. Wood, metal, and stone were grinding and breaking. The angel went to investigate!

The team bolted from the stair well toward the teleportation room. Sven looked back and saw that a metal table was Enlarging out of control, smashing through the walls and ceiling of the room. Then the back wall exploded, and everything in the room was blown out into the dark starry expanse.

Including the angel.

Before the party flew out to a cold, silent death, Gryme used the golden raven’s talon (a wand of Control Air) to create a wall of air to fill the breach. Momentarily safe, the heroes ran to the teleport room, restored the control pillar, and vanished back to the forest where they began.

Ukrog promptly destroyed the old teleporter so no one else could ever be trapped by it.


DM Notes

This was a great adventure. Everyone had lots to do. We explored every room and talked to about half of the NPCs, and collected about half of the magic items. There was only one combat, the fight with the octopus. It was a very dense session, mostly focused on exploration and solving puzzles. The players were very keen on asking NPCs to explain everything, and I tried to be engaging but not too revealing. They did a solid job of poking around the rooms and gathering items.

By the last third of the game, I think they were getting a little gun-shy about all the scary rooms and dangers. But in the end, I was super proud of how creative and clever they were just to stay alive and find a way out of the tower. With so much happening, I decided to just have the angel kill the Cleaners and the Thieves. This made the angel seem scary and dangerous, although it meant we didn’t get to talk to or fight those NPCs.

I will add some notes to the adventure to encourage DMs to edit how much content to leave in or skip. I think most people would want a one-shot to be less than 4 hours, and this can easily go longer because of all the rooms and people. But that’s still a good problem to have!

Posted in session report | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Fangs of Vulgoth: Session #13

The adventure continues! Last time, our heroes cared for a dying tiger and found the Crossroads, where they killed an old friend and discovered a buried relic with immense holy power…

Play time: 4.5 hours


  • Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer (7)
  • Drew the Eldritch Knight (7)
  • Hugo the Time Wizard (6), Cleric (1)
  • Rainen the Beast Master Ranger (5), Druid (2)
  • Ward the Gloom Stalker Ranger (6), Rogue (1)

Dream a little dream…

The party rested at the Crossroads inside Hugo’s protective dome. No one kept watch.

Admund dreamed of the terrifying whirling rings of the angel Virune, and suffered intense mental anguish, but he awoke to find his new holy gauntlet had become an entire sleeve of protective armor.

Drew dreamed of strangling the dead witch Baba Kruska. In the morning, he felt better rested than ever before, and found a small bone knife in his hand.

Ward dreamed of battling his own were-self, but the wyvern spirit overpowered him and he awoke transformed into his were-wyvern form.

Hugo dreamed he was crawling through the mountains, picking through the ancient dead of a forgotten battlefield, before slinking into a hot, stinking cave.

When they emerged from the dome, they found the bones and remains of the vampires and some animals had been arranged in a complex design around their camp. Disturbed, they moved on.

The Wailing Pond

The morning came cold and dark. Snow continued to pile up in deep drifts. The party headed north into the forest in search of the town Rukesti. Several hours later, they emerged from the trees on the frozen shore of a small pond. Ward heard screaming on the wind.

They carefully crossed the ice and found an old log frozen in the pond’s center, with a rusty chain wrapped around it. Drew smashed the log free and Ward spotted something deep down at the end of the chain. With great effort, the team hauled the chain up and an ancient iron cage heaved onto the ice.

Inside the cage lay the decrepit form of a decaying, starving vampire. He claimed to be Baron Cazamir, a servant of Queen Dragoslava Torescu. The knight Lucien thought he was a rival for Nicoletta’s affections, and so imprisoned Cazamir in the pond. The Baron was pleased to learn Lucien was dead. Then Asmund slashed his holy gauntlet through the bars and destroyed the vampire utterly.

What dark secrets and strange powers did this undead prisoner take to his final doom?

Ruins of Rukesti

Late in the afternoon, the party found the remains of Rukesti. Every home and shop had been reduced to smoldering debris by the vampire attacks and their dread wyverns. Only the scorched chimneys remained, standing like tombstones in the thick smoky haze. But the heroes heard small sounds of movement all around them…

They hurried through the blasted hellscape in search of House Vanator, hoping to find weapons and treasures. They were intercepted by a pack of feral vampire wretches that lunged and leapt from every angle, desperate for blood. The adventurers unleashed a few spells and attacks, quickly reducing the wretches to bone and dust.

House Vanator

They found the mansion destroyed, but Hugo detected some magic buried within. They went to work, excavating the debris to find the undercroft. There in the darkness, they found the Hellsing dagger and the Holy Ring of the Dread Maiden, as well as various mundane weapons and armors. Hugo also found a copy of the Inkara Saga, but tossed it aside, uninterested. Asmund kept the book.

Emerging from underground, the party found themselves surrounded. A dozen vampire thralls stood all around them, calmly and quietly waiting in the smoky mist. And then they attacked. The battle was fast and desperate. These powerful vampires, the victims of the attack on the town, quickly bit and clawed the team to shreds. Asmund used his holy gauntlet to drive some away, and Hugo froze several in time. One by one, they slashed and crushed the vampires into ash, until the few survivors turned and fled into the gloomy ruins.

The remains of the town

With the day drawing to a close, the team hurried to the ruins of the Temple of Virune and excavated a Holy Amulet of Ariel, a Holy Ring of the Templar, and a Holy Staff of the Pilgrim. Asmund also found a dozen human corpses laid out on the temple pews in the nave.

They sought out the apothecary’s shop next, but found only a blackened crater filled with a noxious green ooze. Drew then found the remains of Oscar’s house, where the old man, still alive and human, sat on the wreckage of his home, waiting to die, unwilling to leave.

Hurrying south out of town, the team spent the night in Hugo’s magic dome inside the old mill, where the night passed quietly and the snow continued to pile higher. The next morning, they used the Master Shovel to slowly continue south to the destroyed village of Cherat, and then farther on before making camp again in the deep snow.

A strange night

During Asmund’s watch, a lone woman walked up the snowy road and stopped to stare at him. He stared back. She turned and walked on into the snow. He called to her, but she did not respond, and continued south.

During Drew’s watch, a sound drew him away into the woods where he met a strange figure hunched over a dead rabbit. Dressed in feathers and staring with wide round eyes, the stranger whispered that she was Striga, someone very old and tired, with some knowledge of the underground horror called Shernavoth. Striga hated the huge numbers of vampires, and wished a return to the old ways. It was she who arranged the bones around their camp. She also revealed that one way to defeat a vampire is by invoking its True Name. Drew left her in peace, and she vanished into the night.

Ward’s watch passed with event, and the morning came, dark and freezing.

And that’s where we ended.

DM Notes

Another solid session. Everyone enjoyed their strange dreams. The encounter with Baron Cazamir was spooky and strange, and now everyone wants to know what might have happened if they had not destroyed him so quickly. The vampire battles in Rukesti were quick and dangerous. The first was theater-of-the-mind, and the second was on a map.

Discovering the magical loot seemed to make everyone happy. Most of the items are attunement, so they have to constantly re-evaluate which things to use and which to set aside. The journey south was quiet, and I think it set the tone well, being very cold and silent and strange. I wanted to shift gears from the heat and violence of Rukesti, and I think that went well.

Next time, I believe we will finally enter the mountains and begin the attack on the vampire stronghold at Castle Torescu!

Posted in session report | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Fangs of Vulgoth: Session #12

The adventure continues! Last time, the dark queen Lerazia killed Ward, but he got better and killed her back, and after a few shocking personal revelations, Asmund destroyed the Wyld Altar so no more Apex shapeshifters could be created…

Play time: 4 hours


  • Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer (6)
  • Drew the Eldritch Knight (6)
  • Hugo the Time Wizard (5), Cleric (1)
  • Rainen the Beast Master Ranger (5), Druid (1)
  • Ward the Gloom Stalker Ranger (5), Rogue (1)

Tyger, Tyger…

The party headed west, looking for the main road and the mining town of Narat. Along the way, Rainen and Sasha detected a strange predator in the woods. Using her abilities to speak with and charm animals, Rainen discovered and befriended a dying tiger. It had lost an ear and ear, and half its teeth. It limped through the shadows covered in old wounds.

Rainen spent some time soothing the creature, healing and feeding it, until it fell asleep in her lap, and died at peace. Its spirit then found a new home in the Violet Eye in Rainen’s mystwood hammer. The Eldritch Eye awakened, granting her fabulous new magics.

On the Road Again

The party emerged from the woods and surveyed the desolate town of Narat and saw the entrance to the mines under Castle Torescu. They debated attacking now, but decided to tie up a few loose ends first. So they turned north, immediately leaving the road and heading through the forest to find the fabled Crossroads.

Old Friends

No sooner did they arrive at the Crossroads and saw the ancient gallows and giant stone in the ground, but an old friend emerged from the misty woods. Carlos Vanator! The cheery little vampire killer looked a bit worse for wear as he led a handful of survivors from Rukesti out of the wilderness. He immediately embraced his friend Drew, and Drew immediately noticed that Carlos was a vampire. They made a little tense banter, but then Ward lost control of his animal spirit and transformed into a were-wyvern. Roll initiative!

Fang Time

Five heroes against six vampires looked like a pretty dangerous set-up, but Hugo deftly Slowed all but one of the vamps, which tipped the odds back in their favor. Still, most of the party and the vampires ended up into a tight scrum. Drew slashed away with Lerazia’s silver rapier while Ward unleashed his wyld side. Still, the vampires were able to regenerate, as well as drink a lot of blood, so they stayed in the fight!

One by one, the vamps were reduced to ashes, starting with poor Carlos himself. At one point, Sasha the dire wolf and Ward grabbed a vampire between them and simply ripped him apart. But not before Ward recognized the fanged face of his young protégé, Gavril the bowman!

About this time, three corpses of criminals who were hung at the Crossroads burst out of the earth and tried to drag the party down to hell. Drew was able to kick two of them away. But the third one grabbed Asmund and yanked him down into the earth. Even so, Asmund blasted two more vampires into oblivion. The last vampire tried to escape, but Ward chased him down in the mist and tore him to pieces. Then Rainen sent Sasha to yank Asmund out of his early grave, and the battle was won.

Saint Sarnai

Asmund then inspected the statue of Saint Sarnai the Peacemaker at the edge of the Crossroads. She held a bowl of rusty sand, and the base read, “Abandon war to find peace.” Asmund placed a knife in the bowl, which he had been working on for many days. The knife burst into flames and curled up into a scroll of Revivify! He was a bit annoyed at the loss of his knife, but pleased all the same.

Buried Treasure

Drew, chasing a vision he had of the Crossroads, began digging down under the giant stone. His master shovel made short work of the loose earth, and he tunneled down to find an old iron shield and an ornate silver gauntlet. Hugo identified this as the Holy Hand of Virune, a blessed artifact that allowed the wearer to not only fight the undead, but Turn Undead, as well as compel a held creature to tell the truth. The group gave this to Asmund, their most ardent Virune worshipper.

With the sun setting, the team decided to camp in Drew’s tunnel under the giant rock and continue to Rukesti in the morning to loot the ruins.

And that’s where we ended.

DM Notes

This felt like a pretty classic session of D&D. We had some exploration, some shenanigans and funny NPCs, a big battle that everyone seemed to enjoy, and cool loot. Next time I suspect we will have more character-heavy moments at they return to Rukesti and see what remains there. So, I’d better go prep for those encounters!

Posted in session report | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

PWYW Fantasy and SciFi books!

As some of you have noticed, I have started to make my books available on new sites, including DriveThruFiction. This is a great platform where you can get my books in both Epub and Mobi (Kindle) formats. And I have also made a bunch of titles Pay What You Want (PWYW), which means you can buy them for free (just put a zero in the price box) or pay whatever amount you wish. Here are those PWYW titles:

Elf Saga: Doomsday (Book 1 of 4)

This is not your typical epic fantasy. When Jenavelle learns that the world is about to end, she must assemble the greatest warrior women from five different nations to stop the dragon apocalypse and restore the balance of nature before time runs out. But then Jena finds out that she’s adopted, and that’s when things get really weird.

Explore a world of sword and sorcery that’s as classic as it is funny with JENAVELLE, a knight who’s sick and tired of epic fantasy clichés, AMINA, a warrior princess with a fondness for romance and swashbuckling pirates, NIYA, a hard-drinking mercenary who really hates faeries, TOMOE, a samurai shaman who is struggling with her recent resurrection, and LOZEN, a beautiful hunter whose hobbies include fine cuisine, high fashion, and excessive violence.

Angels and Djinn: Raziel’s Shadow (Book 1 of 3)

The young falconer Zerai thought he was a long-lost prince. He thought he would be granted supernatural powers to slay an army of demons. He thought he would reclaim his grandfather’s empire. He thought wrong.

After years of living in the wilderness with other orphans, hiding from killer mercenaries and monsters, Zerai has lost all of his friends, leaving him alone on a quest to save his country. But even after he joins a company of legendary warriors and seers from the east, his chances of success seem bleak against the vast southern armies, packs of bloodthirsty ghuls, and huge fiery ifrits that have claimed his homeland.

Zelda Pryce: The Razor’s Edge (Book 1 of 3)

Girl genius Zelda Pryce uses the arcane arts to invent beautiful machines, devices that defy explanation with the power to make her invisible and even let her fly like a superhero. 

They also let her to break into homes, banks, and museums with ease. But she’s no thief. She’s a security expert. After successfully burgling the Smithsonian, Zelda is hired to test the alarms at the British Museum in London using her copper wings and ingenious cloak. And that’s where everything goes wrong.

Space Opera

Posted in announcements, books | Tagged | Leave a comment

One-Shot: Orbital Vampire Tower (solo)

Play time: 3 hours

Hero: Amaranth the Warlock (6)

Note: This one-shot adventure was written for low-level play, but since we only had one player for this session I allowed him to super-charge his solo character to level 6. This had… interesting results.

Fire in the Sky

Lonely warlock (of undeath and plants) Amaranth was making his evening camp when a mass of flaming debris appeared in the sky above him. He quickly dug a bunker and ducked underground just before the cataclysmic impact. After digging himself out, he found himself standing in a huge impact crater full of burning wreckage and one strangely intact white platform. Amaranth looked around, and then touched the hand-shaped indent on the pillar at the center of the platform. And everything changed.

Blades in the Dark

Amaranth found himself in a dark room. Chipped murals on the ceiling, torn portraits on the walls. He was standing on another white platform, but the central pillar was broken, and missing.

Out in the hall, he saw several doorways, mostly dark or flickering. As he approached one, a giant wing of metal blades burst through the wall, screeching and flailing at him. He unleashed his undead vines (eldritch blasts) and shattered the wing to pieces.

In the next room, he found a large glass hatch looking out at the stars. Stars in every direction, up and down. He was IN SPAAACE!!!

Strange Survivors

The door to the Private room was shredded to pieces, and the interior was flooded with blue fluids and shattered glass. Inside four huge broken tubes, he found a headless man’s corpse, an elephantine man’s corpse, and a reptilian man’s corpse. In the fourth tube was a young man named Rev, shivering and terrified. He had no idea where he was or what was happening, but he was naked and covered in blue goo. Amaranth collected a few potions and then revived the red reptilian man as his zombie servant, Scaly.

Amaranth led the young man (and Scaly) to the Medical bay and tried to pry the door open with a crowbar. A voice called from inside, and Amaranth convinced the stranger to let them in. Squinting into the bright sterile lights, they found a small operating theater, the white walls spattered with blood. The skeleton surgeon, Dr Mahkoi, explained that his bandaged patient, the maid Griselle, was dying of extraordinary slash wounds. 

Amaranth demanded exposition! Dr Mahkoi explained that this tower was the Manse of Onar, the home of a vampire alchemist. And yes, they were in space above the world Harth. But one of the master’s creatures had escaped and destroyed much of the tower. 

Leaving the naked gooy man Rev with the doctor (and a pair of pants), Amaranth and Scaly moved on. They poked around the staff quarters, finding some work clothes and a skittish cat. Then it was time to head upstairs.

Suite Life

The Master suite was locked, so Amaranth poked around the dark luxury of the Guest suite, picking up a little gold and some vampire sunglasses. Then he went through a shredded door into the Recreation suite, where he found three curtains. 

Behind curtain 1 was a flickering illusion of a tropical beach, where a tsunami of turtles caused him psychic damage. Curtain 2 revealed a snowy mountain, also a flickering illusion, and he retreated from a sudden blizzard. Beyond Curtain 3 he found an illusory bar full of ruffians, and had to run for his life as a violent brawl broke out. Despite the stranger danger, Amaranth emerged with two magic rings and a magic dagger.

The warlock then ventured into the Observatory, which appeared unharmed. He sat at a massive telescope and started pushing gems in his chair’s arm. The first button revealed a golden tower floating among the stars, and a woman’s voice erupted from the chair. When Amaranth claimed that he had taken over the Manse of Onar, the woman was amused and said he wouldn’t enjoy it for long. He then summoned a view of a red moon covered in red tentacles, and horrific screams burst from the chair’s arm. Lastly he looked at a silver moon covered in glowing people and heard them chanting.

Herbicidal Maniac

Amaranth continued up to the Greenhouse and found a lush jungle beneath a glass dome, full of colorful creatures. He quickly set to work killing the flora, transforming the vibrant rainforest into a decaying landscape of browns and grays covered in moss and lichen. This made it easy to spot the blue parrots and red monkeys, as well as a giant green sleeping serpent. 

He also found a swarm of fire ants (ants on fire) attacking a red octopus in a tree. The octopus protested the destruction of the jungle, because he was so hungry and wanted to eat everything. Then he begged Amaranth to help him escape from the tower. Amaranth agreed and the octopus climbed on top of the zombie Scaly.

Master of the House

Back at the Master suite, Amaranth met the vampire alchemist Revelius Onar in his Iron Skull armor. Revelius explained that he was trying to cure his allergy to sunlight by studying two immortal creatures: a red horror and a metal celestial. Then he spotted a fragment of the red horror, the octopus! After a brief battle, Revelius slaughtered the small horror while Amaranth watched in amusement.

Revelius then hired Amaranth to find and “deal with” the metal celestial hidden somewhere in the tower. Just then, they heard a sound from downstairs…

Cleaning Crew

Amaranth went downstairs to find a voidship had docked at the large glass hatch and three grizzled warriors had arrived. These mercenaries worked for the vampire in the golden tower, the woman who Amaranth talked to in the Observatory. They were here to loot the place!

After a brutal battle, Amaranth killed all three mercenaries (mostly by sucking the life out of them with his eldritch vines) and took their weapons. 

What’s in the Basement?

Downstairs, the warlock examined two corridors. One ended in a red resin cell, and one ended in a wire mesh cell. The metal cell was splashed with blood and a butchered body lay on the floor. He assumed this was one of the servants who let the celestial out.

In the Machine shop, Amaranth tried to free a small construct from under a fallen beam, but a clumsy misstep accidentally smashed the little guy to pieces. But he did grab a cool knife and a powerful orb. The floor of the Alchemical lab hissed with bubbling acids, so he didn’t go in. The Animal lab had been torn to pieces and bodies lay everywhere. He spotted a creature in the shadows feeding on the corpses, believed it to be another red octopus, and left it alone.

After a brief battle with some mechanical hall monitors, the warlock found the Sub-basement.

In the Reservoir, Amaranth spotted yet another fragment of the red octopus horror swimming in the dark water, and left. He then entered the Compost heap and battled some Mycotic Zombies to acquire wand made from a golden raven’s talon.

Escapes Galore!

After a short rest in the Guest suite, Amaranth noticed a vampiric woman floating outside the window. Using gestures, they agreed to meet at the glass hatch. Amaranth nudged the Cleaning Crew’s voidship away from the tower and the vampire came inside. She was Skarlet Anzi, assistant to Revelius Onar. Amaranth tried to convince her that the celestial was gone, but she didn’t believe him and chose to take the voidship and fly down to the dying world of Harth.

Amaranth then went upstairs and told Revelius that all was well. He was suspicious and went to investigate. While he was gone, the warlock discovered an ivory wand in the Master suite, and then stole his personal voidship. What followed could only be described as a harrowing free-fall flight back down to Harth, complete with two last-ditch teleports to escape from the fiery explosion as the ship impacted the desert. 

But our hero survived!

DM Notes

This one-player one-shot was tons of fun. I definitely found a number of places where I want to streamline the written adventure because I found myself a bit overwhelmed with all the rooms, NPCs, and options. But the player had a great time, and really enjoyed discovering that the adventure was a survival-horror session IN SPAAACE!!! 

There was tons of interactivity, and the mood was solid. He said it felt a little too sci-fi instead of fantasy, so I will tweak the language accordingly. But all in all, a great game night!

Posted in session report | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

New campaign on DTRPG: Witches of Frostwyck

Well, it only took a month of writing, three months of playtesting, and another month of writing to bring you… Witches of Frostwyck!

Who wants to fight my Baba Yaga?

The ancient world of Harth is dying, but you’re going to die even sooner if you can’t escape from Frostwyck.

You’re lost in a frozen forest of deadly predators and mysterious recluses. Your only refuge is the tiny village of Frostwyck, where metal is rare and kindness is rarer. And there are worse things in the shadows than mere bloodthirsty beasts.

Witches haunt the groves of the north. Most keep to themselves, content to guard their secrets and powers. But one torments them all.

Dama Zhadna has cursed the village so that none can escape. And now you’re trapped here. You’re going to die here.

Unless you find a way to defeat the Witches of Frostwyck.


Witches of Frostwyck is a low-level campaign designed to run from Level 1 to Level 4 or 5. I ran it for about 48 hours (12 sessions, 4 hours each). I suspect your mileage will vary depending on playstyle.

This campaign includes 18 wintry wilderness locations (ancient ruins, wizard towers, cabins, and sacred groves) as well as Frostwyck itself. Players can encounter dozens of NPCs, including cannibal witches, forthright druids, grim hunters, zealous Templar warriors, sad ghosts, and lots of grouchy villagers just trying to survive.

In addition to the numerous original creatures, the campaign includes over 30 original magical items and weapons. These include eight “cunning items” imbued with household witchcraft, and four “eldritch weapons” that can be empowered by eight other hidden magical power sources (they’re plug-and-play!).

Faction play

Will your players side with the clerics and paladins of the Temple of Virune against the “unholy” forces trapped in Frostwyck? Or will their own unholy magical gifts brand them as enemies of the Temple, trapping them between the witches and the witch-hunters?

Maybe they will forge an alliance with the druids? They guard an ancient power in the eastern forest that not even they understand…

Or perhaps they will free the undead servants of the witch-lord herself and turn them against the cruel Dama Zhadna?

In closing…

I loved researching, writing, and running this campaign as an homage to Russo-Slavic folklore, including such iconic characters as Baba Yaga and Koschei the Deathless, as well as monsters like the vodnik and rusalka. The grim Siberian forest, the isolated village, the vicious predators, the hardy villagers, and the strange forces all came together to create a great game.

I hope you like it.

On DriveThruRPG: Witches of Frostwyck

Posted in announcements | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Fangs of Vulgoth: Session #11

The adventure continues! Last time, Ward became a were-wyvern, the group defeated the vampire knight Lucien, tried to tame a dread wyvern, and discovered the remains of a Shifter village destroyed by the Dark Queen Lerazia…

Play time: 4 hours


  • Asmund the Divine Soul Sorcerer (6)
  • Drew the Eldritch Knight (6)
  • Hugo the Time Wizard (5), Cleric (1)
  • Rainen the Beast Master Ranger (5), Druid (1)
  • Ward the Gloom Stalker Ranger (5), Rogue (1)

A long cold night

As the snow fell, the group huddled in the abandoned cottages. Asmund dreamed of a dark tower where clerics of Virune huddled in fear and the angel commanded him to save them. During Drew’s watch, his friend Wyoma One-Eye came to him and begged him to run away with her, but he refused and she left in tears. Hugo dreamed of his mother and saw a vision of her last night alive, when she ran into a local girl: Rainen Thicket!

A colder morning

Hugo immediately confronted Rainen about her meeting with his mother. She barely remembered the incident, only that a kind woman came to her aid after she was robbed by a stranger. Hugo stormed off in a huff.

Then they heard footsteps approaching in the heavy snow. An old man leapt through the trees and landed by Ward, and tried to make Ward flee with him. This man, Ivan, said that the Dark Queen was coming and they needed to run. He started dragging Ward with great power, and revealed that he too was a wyvern shifter. Ward refused to leave his friends, and Ivan fled on his own.

A warm reception

Believing that the Dark Queen was on her way, the party prepared an ambush. They dug a trench, built a snow berm, set fire to one cottage, and created an illusion of a giant werewolf, hoping to lure Lerazia to them. And she soon arrived.

Asmund tried to convince Lerazia to return to her grave and leave the shifters in peace. But Lerazia insisted that the shifters were killers, as bad as the vampires. Asmund offered to destroy the Wyld Altar, and she encouraged him to do so, offering him a safe home in her lands if he did so. Asmund…started to agree with her point of view. But Rainen insisted on the humanity of the shifters and Lerazia attacked.

Silver reaver

Ward immediately lost control of his powers and transformed into a were-wyvern. Lerazia ran straight for him and stabbed him with her silver reaver, dropping him unconscious. The rest of the party rushed into the fray, reviving Ward and manipulating the field with all manner of spells. The tide turned, and Ward slaughtered the Dark Queen Lerazia, reducing her to ashes and her deadly silver rapier.


Their task complete, the party returned to the Angel Tears Falls to rest and recover. Drew cleaned the gore from his weapons. Hugo studied his book. Rainen taught her ravenwolf puppy how to hunt and brought back a vicious wolverine.

Ward tried to hunt a sacrifice for his angel Kasimah, and failing that tried to go fishing. But when he fell in the river, the current swept him away. Rainen and Drew ran to his aid, but Drew was swept away as well. Finally Rainen summoned her spectral ravenwolves to pull them both from the water. And so, for the third time, the party’s deadliest foe was a mundane body of water.

Altered altar

The next morning, Asmund climbed to the Wyld Altar and placed his holy hand upon it. The radiant light quickly reduced the huge block to a pile of gravel, and another half-finger vanished from Asmund’s hand. Ward confirmed that he could still transform into a were-wyvern, even without the altar, and everyone got ready to move out.

And that’s where we ended!

DM Notes

This was a very good session. It was a bit packed full of plot points and guest stars, but there was something for everyone. As an episode of a TV show, it would probably feel weirdly contrived, but it worked fine in the game. Personal interactions with Wyoma, Ivan, and Hugo and Rainen were all interesting. The shenanigans at the river were completely unexpected, but very fun.

The battle with Lerazia was a good proof of concept for my new monster design principles. She was definitely a deadly threat at the beginning, and downed a character in round 1, and she presented some cool abilities, but then she died in spectacular fashion in round 4 after everyone had a couple chances to show off their cool ideas and abilities in return. It only took an hour and never felt like a slog.

All in all, a solid session, if a little over-stuffed. From here on out, I expect to see a more linear run as the group takes on the vampires once and for all.

Posted in session report | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment