Friday, February 8, 2019

Temple of Elemental Evil Orange Spine

Some time ago I was trolling Joe Bloch over at Greyhawk Grognard with this image --as a follow-on to that module cover I did.  I think that there is a FB post somewhere about it, but I can't be bothered hunting for it.  Anyway.  Here is the image again in case people were interested in getting inspired.  I still think you can take this and this to this and do your own.  I have seen photos of other gamers' copies, so I am not the first to have this brainwave.  They are there if you look for them.  Write your own!  Choose your Own(tm) Ending!  Publish your own Copy! And most importantly:  Publish the Pics!

I also came across the stuff I did for Tenkar's SWCL redo, and I'll post the layout of that soon.  I believe that I'm safe doing that, because I think that my run in that race is over.  He was going to get back to me, but never did. I am sure whoever he picked is doing a great job.

Saturday, December 31, 2016


Today I helped a guy with a layout issue he was having over at Swords & Wizardry Google Community.

It felt good to be back in the saddle.

I won't say that I am good at what I do.  But I enjoy layouts. 

Pathfinder not something I want to do. I am sorry PFRPG; you are just aren't what I identify with anymore. I like DCCRPG, but here in Australia, there is just no sense of sameness and community to build upon that the United States has.  Stupidly, what hampers a lot of it being great is lack of Zocchi Dice outside the USA.  If DCCRPG used tables to accommodate normal polyhedrals, it be a better game in my eyes.  Don't believe me?  Walk into any Brick and Mortar game store and I challenge you to find anything other than D&D Next and Warhammer as the main focus.  Ask for a game like DCCRPG or even Swords & Wizardry and you are treated like a brylcreamed, greasy-bearded hipster and then have to deal with "ring us next week and we'll see if we can order it for you."  ...and forget running a game instore.  MilSims was the worst offender.

I've deleted a lot of posts because I want the last eight years swept away. I like AD&D and its clones.  I like D&D and its clones.  I like Lamentations of the Flame Princess in small doses. I even like Dungeon World.  I especially like Freebooters on the Frontier; that is the game I wanted DCCRPG to be --more on that another time.

I like a sense of community.  That's why I like Swords & Wizardry and the support it gets.

If there are any lurkers still here, I am wholly fucking surprised.  But thanks for sticking around.
I want this year to be a little different.

New logo coming and then I am going to delve a little into the RPG ADHD I have had going for the last couple of years.  I can think of maybe 5 projects I want written and and done like right now.

EDIT:  Changed the pic to the latest iteration.  I am a closet revisionist.

Saturday, August 9, 2014


"What began as a foray against brigands lairing in the supposedly deserted Moathouse near the VILLAGE OF HOMMLET, reveals itself to a vile plot beyond mere banditry; a sinister force, long thought destroyed stirs from the black hole that spawned it.  Like an ebony darkness it prowls the land and safety is but an illusion, for it watches from every shadow.  At its heart , evil broods and festers beneath the blasted ruins of a shrine devoted to the Cult of Elemental Evil.  This is your chance to drive it back and scatter its forces once and for all.

This product includes the filthy shire of Nulb and reveals the ruins of the Temple of Elemental Evil.  Beneath, labyrinthine warrens lead into demoniac darkness...and  beyond the ken of madness itself."

So sayeth the blurb in size 8 Century Gothic Italics.  Its not a direct copy from the one on the back of the original module published in 1985, but my reworking.

Simply put, it's shit I wished existed.

So back in 1985, I was 12, going on 13 and had barely scraped the surface of the Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set with my two friends, Mark and Adrian James, along with Dan Power, Pete Hart and Tim Hall.  It wasn’t until around 1987-88 when Adrian came over flashing his usual one-upmanship-fuelled bullshit smile and a copy of ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS Players Handbook, that I started looking into what I saw as the darksome fantasy world of AD&D.  By then, T1-4: Temple of Elemental Evil was three years old.  I don’t need to go into how old T1: Village of Hommlet was by that stage.  That’s another story better left to people who played it waybackwhen.

Mark moved away to a different school and I oh-so-casually AD&Ded with Adrian, even though his mother banned him from it (Ha, Ruth).  It was also the time that he and I were in a high-school lunchtime AD&D group ran by  a dude called Pete Mullen.   Pete was a music teacher and an all around okay guy for an adult.  Anyway, this lunchtime D&D sesh morphed into us gathering at school on rainy weekends.  Pete would let us in to a classroom and we’d have lunch and play AD&D.  The adventure?  Well, if you haven’t guessed by now, wake up to yourself.

We tried a few times to raid the Moathouse; got our asses handed to us the first time around and then fucked Lareth’s shit up with some lucky dice after we all rolled new characters.  On our way back, Kobort and Turuko were waiting for us on the road back to Hommlet and fucked our shit up in return, but not so much that we couldn’t defeat them.

[Afterward-we-went-to-Nulb-started-a-huge-bar-fight-with-river-pirates-because-the-paladin-didn’t-drink-ale-killed-more-bandits-in-a-tower-close-to-the-Ruins-of-Elemental-Evil-ambushed-and-killed-a-wizard-with-a-golden-skull-mask-(pedant grognards STFU right now, I’m trying to make a point)-and-was-in-return-ambushed-and-almost-killed-by-an-assassin-took-a-trip-to-Verbobonc-only-to-come-back-and-find-that-our-basecamp-(the tower close to the ruins)-had-been-taken-over-in-turn-by-an-army-of-devil-worshippers-from-the-Horned-Society-looking-to-make-their-own-forays-into-the-templ]

TLDR: You’ve heard it before; some teenager geekgasming about the first game he or she played in.  Me too.  Ultimately,it  dawned on me that there was a huuuuuge story behind this campaign he was running; masterfully constructed and keyed for DM Pete to throw at us when we did certain things.  I was hooked to this AD&D game; fully flavored by DM Pete and the Temple of Ele-fucking-Mental Evil.

Pete Mullen moved away at some point, or lost interest.  I forget.  We continued running stuff, different things like Pool of Radiance, Curse of the Azure Bonds, Throne of Bloodstone,  AD&D in Lankhmar, and a lot of us eventually became a little starry-eyed with AD&D 2E.  In 1989, I wagged school (hard, given that my Dad was also a teacher)and took a solo three and a half hour train-trip to the city, found a copy of The Temple of Elemental Evil, read it on the train coming back and…

…holy fuckballs.  None of that plot-shit DM Pete used is in there (the point, pedant-fucking-grognards.  Stop spitting rage-filled biscuit crumbs at the computer screen).

Okay, okay.  This is coming from a kid who grew up in the country during the 1980s.  Don’t scoff at me and tell me that my imagination is what –in fact—had me hooked in the first place.  Or that Pete Mullen was a great storyteller.

Sure.  Okay.  All that stuff.

So I ran The Temple of Elemental Evil a number of times on different postings in the Navy.  I poached all of Pete’s stuff and made it my own.  Even his DMing style.  I even did my own version built up from scratch.  Which was brilliant, I might add.  I dovetailed Against the Cult of the Reptile God into Hommlet at precisely the right moment for them to stand a chance against a spirit Naga themselves, and each of the Elemental Princes of Evil into their respective Elemental nodes as the powers-that-be.

Fuck that Zuggtmoy/Iuz/Lolth/oh-wait-it’s-really-Tharizdun shit.  This was my story.

Wait.  This is my story.  More on that in a sec.

Looking back when I bought T1-4 and realized that it was in my eyes incomplete, it was bit of a letdown.  I was 16; I had no fucking idea what a Maguffin was –and there I was, scratching my head at four barely fleshed out elemental nodes, with a gem somewhere in each…  Giveafuck. Where has Dad hidden his new Penthouse magazine? [bivrip!]

So fast forward to the present. Next year is T1-4: the Temple of Elemental Evil’s 30th Birthday, even though it is a misbegotten lump of incompleteness.  I saw here, and maybe here, that other people have thought about writing their own T2: Temple of Elemental Evil for the OSRIC RPG or their retroclone du-jour.  I say to those writers:

Do it.

Next year, I think that Temple of Elemental Evil deserves a birthday present from each and every person who has the guts to call themselves a Writer and a D&D player:  Write up your T2: The Temple of Elemental Evil and post it somewhere.
In fact, I should do one too.

So here’s a front cover of an adventure module that doesn’t exist, but I wish had.  In my alternate reality, T2: Temple of Elemental Evil was released in 1981, just after T1:Village of Hommlet was re-released with a color cover. I hope it gives you inspiration, or at the very least, look on it in 2015 and think about what you might have done.

Enough from me. Get writing.

TheForce (AG).

EDIT:  Hey kids!  Every pedantic typophile can go die in a fire before they can tell me that the font used for “The Game Wizards” in the TSR Logo is not right.  (Yes, I know it’s not right, Captain Effing Obvious.)  Instead, props to anyone who can tell me the right one.  I shall then acquire it and put your name in a “Special Thanks” somewhere.
EDIT 2:  Why the change in style and colorful language, especially after three years of silence?  I’m someone dealing with a lot of repressed anger.  This is how I’m dealing with it.  While I'm at it:  Temple of the Kraken, Cloudmaker Mountain will be ready when I am.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Wow, what a week. I have sent off my One Page Dungeon to ChattyDM. It seems that I have right up to the closing date to edit it, but I am not a believer in doing so immediately. I shall leave this one for a few days before reading it again with a fresh set of eyes.

Incidentally, this one went through 14 revisions in CorelDRAW. Prior to that, the catacomb layout went through a number of incarnations before landing in my Little Black Book of Dungeons(tm)**. I have to say that the experience for me was priceless and I want to talk about that in a separate post. Something along the lines of 'Evolution of a D&D Dungeon.'

So without further ado, I present to you Valley of the Necromancer Kings (in an --almost editionless format--see previous post). Writing it was a lot of fun and I hope that it invokes the spirit of Keep on the Borderlands, Temple of Elemental Evil, Lich Lords, the Demonic Three and the World of Orb ( the last two are purely for those who know them). I had so much fun in fact, that I would like to revisit the Valley of the Necromancer Kings as an Adventure Dungeons & Danger Game Module.

Tomorrow I get back into Temple and the other Adventure Dungeons & Danger modules. No rest for the wicked! Again --as always-- comments and questions are welcome :)

** Not actually a SWS product but is in fact my version of a Handy-Billy; my Moleskine Pocket Squared Notebook. Buy one; you will never know when you need to DM a quick Dungeon Bash. Hmm, maybe a pocket sized book of dungeons would be a good product.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The Chatty DM is hosting a One Page Dungeon Contest. It seems that this One-Page business has grown astronomically since it was first introduced by Sham’s Grog and Blog, being a throwback to the BECMI and AD&D. I shall refrain from reposting the contest rules here, but those who are interested in entering may view the rules here.

When I first learnt how to play D&D, I was fortunate enough to have a small number of closet nerds at my school that played B.E.C.M.I. and AD&D. I remember them running a few impromptu dungeons from a one page sheet, so for me, this is like coming home.

Now, while I should be working on the FREE adventure, Temple, Dweller, et. al. I find myself immersing myself in a one page dungeon instead.What you see here is the genus of my map. It doesn’t give a lot away, but that is the point. As you can see, I am going for the ‘old school’ look by using some old school modules as inspiration for this one. Like I said, this map is in its infancy, it will blow your mind when I've finished! Once I have submitted it, I shall post it here for people to see and for GMs/DMs/Castle Keepers to nab.

Astute people will also recognise CorelDRAW as my publishing program of choice: This is where I do the bulk of my map and module creation. I have spent some time improving the original by making the graph paper modular; allowing the user to fill the squares therein with an appropriate color. Angled walls and caverns are just a poly-line, joined and filled to stay in line with the walls.

The end result looks rather sexy. The best part is that Adventure, Dungeons and Danger game modules will not suffer from pixilation. I mentioned that before, but it is worth saying again. You can see how it looks as a PDF here.

Think of this entry as an example of what you can expect from Sagawork Studios and Adventure Dungeons & Danger.

PS: Dweller? More on that soon. Slow and steady wins the race :)

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