Updates and stuff

What I’ve been up to and plans for the future.

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Hi all,

I’m writing this post as a small update to what I’ve been doing and what’s going to happen in the coming weeks. Recently I took a trip to Amsterdam to play and DM DnD for a whole day, I also got a chance to play test my first adventure (it went great). I’m also going to use this opportunity to talk about the Campaign Diary and Encounter Compendium.

So lets start with the beginning the trip to Amsterdam. We did two one-shots, one by one of my players who wanted to try DM’ing for the first time and the play test game by me.

One-shot

The one-shot was a lot of fun. We played a low-level adventure about wolves who suddenly were a lot smarter, and could even talk. They were terrorizing a local town and we had to save them.

I played a giant fat sad violinist who had a big interest in magic, food and exploration (he was going to be the main NPC in my one-shot later that day).

The adventure itself was straight forward. Save some shepherds, find out whats up, more wolves and a boss fight. I did think the encounters itself were a bit to strong for our party. In one of the earlier encounters my character died. Because the DM felt guilty and wanted me to be able to play the final of the adventure he said he that after combat I regained consciousness. He should not have done that in my opinion, I would have been perfectly fine watching the last part. Now dying in the game had no more meaning (I might write a post about this in the future).

The boss fight was heavy. We failed our stealth when we were scouting the wolves den and so we had to fight the encounter in front of the den and the boss fight at once. To add to our misery one of the wolves could breath fire. In the end half the party died again, this time for good. The two survivors made a deal with the wolves to leave them alone if they stop killing sheep and that was how the adventure ended. It was fun and our first time DM did a good job.

wolves of welton

Play test

After a pizza break it was my turn to shine. As some as you guys might now, I’m in the progress of making my first DnD adventure for the DM’s guild so it was a perfect opportunity to do a play test.

The summary of the adventure is the following: A fat wizard has shrunken some creatures and put them in his body to help him with some of his physical problems. After a few months he becomes weaker everyday, with his stomach feels stingy, he gets constant migraine attacks, and does sudden strange jerky movements with his arms. He also just feels a lot weaker than he should. To solve this he called upon the hero’s. He shrinks them as well and they have to kill the stuff inside his body that’s tormenting him.

I’m not going to reveal to much of the adventure today but it is a silly adventure. The wizard is in a hurry and if the players don’t stop him to ask questions they get shrunken and have no clue what to do inside of his body.

There are three encounters to solve. Not all can be solved with combat. And afterwards they find out they need to escape the wizards body to get back to normal size.

The adventure itself was a lot of fun, and honestly one of the more amusing sessions I’ve ever ran. For my group tho it fell a bit short, only 2,5 hours. I might need to put some extra stuff in before the next play test. But I guess if you put this into an ongoing campaign it can take a bit longer. It’s a one-shot for a party of level 8 so if ran with newer player it will probably also take a bit longer.

I don’t feel like adding stuff for the sake of it so perhaps I just keep it the way it is.

Current series on my blog

So for the small duration of my blog I’ve been posting focusing on two types of post. Campaign Diary and Encounter Compendium. I must admit I’m starting to have doubts about the formula of the diary. I don’t think it has a lot of value to outsiders so in the future the formula will change a bit. It will take 3-4 more post to catch up on the campaign and after that I want to change to focus more to lessons I learned running the game. So you’ll still have a story but DM’s might as well get some nice advice from it.

The Encounter compendium I really enjoy writing and it had been received well in the small community that I’m building. They take some research and time to write but more will follow soon. I might use social media to decide what monsters follow next.

So whats next?

For the coming two weeks focus will be on school. Reexamination are here and they take priority during that time. So I expect I won’t be able to make a lot of post. During this time there won’t be a new Encounter Compendium. I am going to try to finish a Campaign Diary post.

After that post will be back to regular schedule. Monday a campaign Diary, every other Friday an Encounter Compendium. I’ll also try to post some opinion/advice/reviews in the future on random days or in weeks without an encounter post.

The goal of my DM’s guild adventure is to have a finished product by the end of September. It will be named “The Inside Job”

So now you are up to date with the Backfip Dungeon.

Have a nice day

DrBackflip

Basilisk: A Stone Cold Killer

Basilisks, what are they and how to use them in your DnD game.

“All who behold its eyes, fall dead upon the spot”- Pliny the Elder’s Natural History

basiliskBasilisk from 5e Monster Manual

Looks and behavior

Eight thick legs, a strong tail, a back full of spikes. Most of them have colors between the grey and orange range but other colors of the rainbow have been spotted as well. These monstrosities have a jaw strong enough to bite through stone and bones.

On average they are around 12 feet (3.5 meter) long. But their most notable feature are the eyes. Glowing with a pale green light it could be the last thing a person sees before he’s turned to stone?

The basilisk is a clumsy but cunning monster using underground caves, overgrown forests or just the desert sand to hide itself. When a prey comes close enough he relies on his powerful magical gaze, sometimes it even hisses to draw adventures towards him. By instinct they will avoid creatures without eyes or with a high magical power.

Basilisks are not highly social creatures, typically gathering only in small groups of three to five adults sharing a cave. Adult males are typically solitary hunters and opt to instead dig a burrow large enough for themselves and a potential mate. Larger colonies are not unheard of, and if conditions permit large broods in excess of 20+ adults can inhabit large cave systems.

Basilisks Variants

water_wraith_by_brynnmetheney-d5mmjewBasilisk by Brynn Metheney

Swamp Basilisk

Smaller and more agile in build than their common cousins. These creatures are slightly weaker and may be found in swamps, marshes, or river deltas. Their gaze paralyzes prey rather than petrify, and they drag their prey below water to drown the helpless victim.

Desert Basilisk

Known locally as “Sand Fangs”, this rare subspecies that has a radically different diet. It lies in ambush under the desert sands where it emerges to ambush prey with its gaze. It then sucks the fluids from the victim’s rocky body using two special fangs on its upper jaw. Once drained of fluids the corpse then breaks down into sand.

Crimson Basilisk

Crimson basilisk are subterranean carnivores with a voracious appetite that is only whetted when they get the thing they desire most, blood. They have an even more horrifying way of killing their prey. Instead of turning them into stone they start bleeding from the eyes, ear, nose and mouth. Once they smell blood they go into a frenzy, the only thing on their mind is kill kill kill.

Players toolkit

Adventurers that are looking for a new pet might find the basilisk interesting. Intelligence wise they are about the same as a dog. The only downside is their aggressive temper which makes them almost impossible to train. Instead of capturing an adult one they are better of looking for a basilisk egg and start training them as soon as they hatch.

When you are lucky enough to survive a basilisk fight you are well of collection their eyes, hide, bone and fangs since they are believed to hold magical powers useful for potent petrification magic and can fetch a high price if you fight a buyer.

Dungeon masters toolkit

Low Tier (levels 1-4):

A local wizard/alchemist is looking for a set of basilisk eyes to brew a powerful potion. He is offering a fine reward and rumors say there are some basilisk roaming in the cave system in the south.

For a low tier party a basilisk can be a deadly foe. By knowing what they are looking for they can prepare themselves. If they don’t, well then they deserve to die.

Mid Tier (levels 5-10):

As the party is plowing through the mushy swamp, the 2 player with the lowest constitution hear a “Kssst” sound. If they look up they need to make a constitution saving throw against the basilisks paralyzing gaze. Roll for initiative.

For this encounter I used the swamp variant. You can always change the environment. Use normal ones in caves. Desert ones in… the desert. What makes it a bit more fun in the swamp is that they get dragged under water and if you are wearing heavy armor it can be hard to get out without help. Depending on how hard you want to make it for your players and how many of them got stunned you can add an extra basilisk in the second round.

High Tier (levels 11-16):

Recently a blind monk has appeared in town. He offers a map to a dragons lair if a hero can defeat him and his two basilisks. So far four challengers have been turned to stone and crushed by his strong fists.

For the monk you can use the martial arts adept from Volo’s guide or make a lvl 10 monk. If the PC is turned to stone the monk will smash his statue so he can’t be restored. The monk is not lying about the map. His monastery has been destroyed by a powerful dragon and he seeks allies to reclaim his mountain temple.

Most parties have at least one fighter who loves to duel, so this is an interesting option for those.

Epic Tier (levels 17-20):

As the hero’s enter the dragons lair they notice the first room is guarded. 13 basilisks are roaming this area. The only way to reach the dragon’s lair is through this room.

Players have a choice here. Do we fight and risk detection and lose resources or do we fight an other way through. Invisibility, flying or something else creative. If they don’t kill them they have to pass them again on the way back. In every case it will burn some of their resources.

Next time you use a dragon’s lair, use basilisks. Its sure is a hell of a lot better than the classic kobolds they have encountered a thousand times before.

 

So that’s all for the basilisk, enjoy! You can find more encounter compendium here.

Sources

Ecology of the basilisk

Basilisks – Forgotten Realms Wikia

Basilisk – Wikipedia

Crimson basilisk

Monster Manual p 24 Basilisk

Campaign Diary: The story so far… Part III

The hero’s try to save the Southern Sanction by retrieving the magical ward.

The winter wind was blowing hard through the hero’s hair. Below them they could see Spineguard Keep’s courtyard. Constant conflict in the north had its impact on the garrisons size. If you’re lucky you could find 20 soldiers here, good thing the horse tribes almost never raid during winter.

They were looking at the back of a stout Dwarf, the general of the fortress Netero.

“The royal guard was not called to Redknife for a small mission. Disaster has struck and it struck hard this time. The undead army doesn’t come on this side of the river and do you know why? A magical ward infused with a stone rests in Redkife, well rested I must say. It has been stolen and if we don’t find it back The Southern Sanction is doomed again. Undead are crossing the river and gods may now how many he will send.”

Upon hearing this news the party rushed towards Redknife. Where they indeed found the town under attack. The undead had not reached the walls just yet, at the river the royal guard was keeping back the small waves. When they were sure Arzu was in the town they went out to help the guards. Just in time for a wave of Ogre zombies.

It was there that one of the hero’s met his fate a bit to soon. The monk Zhu rushed into the wave, forgetting he was so much faster than his friends who could not keep up. Before the rest of the party could reach him he had seven zombies around him taking attacks from all sides he went down fast and for good.

The rest of the battle the hero’s tried to reach Zho but they had to go trough a group of zombies with an ogre zombie putting up a though fight. By the time they reached Zhu there was nothing they could do.

ogre_concept_by_jubjubjedi-d7694bl.jpgOgre by jubjubjedi

Redknife was saved for today but the party came back in defeat. After a funeral ceremony the party decided to retrieve the magical stone, while the royal guard would keep defending the town from the zombies.

During their investigation a Goliath appeared at the front gate of the town, asking what all the noise was about.

Ug Stoneskinned: Banned from his tribe after losing against his rival Trog, he can only return if he gets strong enough to beat him in a rematch. So for now he seeks refugee in the north.

All the clues they found let to believe the thieves must have run of to the Spine Mountain range. The left Redkinfe immediately and apart from an encounter with a Bulette the trip went rather well.

As they were in the mountains they were looking for tracks or at least a place a couple of thieves could hide. The first few days were without success.

One night during his watch Dr.Chen, the death cleric, started praying to the gods. From the start he was struggling with his believe, and he wanted answers.

His prayers were heard and from the bushes a three-headed dog appeared. His religious training recognized it as a messenger of Cerberus, god of death and the unknown. The dog’s mouths opened and from it came a godly voice.

“Your mind has been filled with doubts and it clouds your judgement, you seek answers and you don’t find them. That will change! Tomorrow go east, there you’ll find your thieves. They have the stone and you need to take it. Bring the stone to south far into the Dead Kingdom and deliver it to the queen. She will bring you salvation.

cerberus_by_emma_fay-d442qnb.jpgCerberus by Ema Fay

The next day the party indeed found tracks east of their camp and found the thieves easily. The fight was a though one but with some good tactics the party won and even captured the thieves.

On the first night home the thief tried to escape though and he was killed in an effort to recapture him. But what happened the next night was a lot worse.

During his guard Dr.Chen took the stone and left the party. When the group noticed his disappearance they immediately tried to find him without success.

They had to go back to Redknife without a thief and without the magical ward that protects the whole south.

 

To be continued…

Part II

A Small Update

Things I did since we started and plans for the future.

Hi all DrBackflip here to give a small update on the blog. Backflip Dungeon started two weeks ago and I’m starting to get a better grasp on what I’m doing.

So far I’ve made some small updates on the blog’s design and logo. It’s not perfect but it will do for now. Maybe one day I just get someone better than me in designing to help me.

I’ve written about two and a half campaign diaries, and an encounter compendium post. Both are fun to write but are very different. The campaign diaries I can just base of my notes and memory and as we are catching up to the current story it will get even easier for me. I’m also experimenting with the style of the post. More objective facts or more in the style of a story. We’ll see where it goes I guess.

I’ve gotten some good feedback from the Ankheg encounter compendium post and I truly enjoyed making it although it took a lot more work. Researching, encounter building, map making all that kind of stuff but its super rewarding to hear people are using it for their games. So more of them are on the way!

As of now I’m planning to release a campaign diary every Monday as long as there is content (my games do not run every week). Encounter compendium will be more in a every 2-3 week range and will be released on Fridays.

Other type of post like reviews, interviews and discussions will just appear when I feel like it. Also I’m currently working on my first official adventure for the DM’s guild. Saturday will be the first play test.

That’s all I have to say, thanks for reading and have a nice day!