Lacking Natural Simplicity

Random musings on books, code, and tabletop games.

Spire of Iron and Crystal, Finished


  • T.K.B., the Labyrinth Lord.

  • T.A., playing

    • Glen the Strategist (a wizard) and

    • Dooley the sly (a thief).

  • M.A., playing

    • James the Cleric and

    • Jeffrey the Monk.

  • L.B., playing

    • Taffy the Halfling and

    • Alice the Cleric

  • E.A., playing

    • Curufin the Elf and

    • Drusilla the Ranger.

Actual Play

Visited L3 62 to enchant, then 71, 74, killed Iomnogorus then 68, 69, 72, 73, Finished!

T.A. LL Shadowbrook Manor, Finished


We're playing the module Shadowbrook Manor, so if you haven't played that you might want to skip this entry.

Actual Play

We had returned to town and Gustavio had cast detect magic: +1 Quarterstaff, 7 magic bullets, 2 magic longswords.

Kitchen — Karl opens cookie jar and is apparently possessed by something. Gustav sleeps him and we tie him up. Travel to a large city, Orm finds a cleric of Thor of relatively high level who dispossesses Karl and gives us the shattered remains of the cookie jar. Karl is restored.

Back to the manor. Orm finds a long sword in the attic, Karl picks it up. Orm finds brass knuckles. Skeggi found a skullcap. Nothing interesting on the widow's walk.

Take book to library, get 1000 gp = 125 gp each.

T.B.'s Steampunk


  • T.B. — GM

  • M.A. — Dribble Drabble

  • T.A. — Alister

  • T.K.B — Brett

  • O.B. — Alex Twig

  • L.B. — Kate

  • E.A. — Vienna

Actual Play

Blackmailed into joining a military organization.

Whispering rock — pure Visitanium, dark blue, gift to museum.

Museum curator tried to escape with rock and Alex shot him in the head.

Next room 4 automatons drop out of ceiling. We shoot them dead. We find power cores.

Giant mole rat, dead. Another giant mole rat, it eventually retreats.

Wizards selling PDFs again

I’m glad that Wizards of the Coast is selling PDFs of their old D&D products again. The fact that they've made it possible for folks who bought their previous PDFs from to redownload them (and apparently in some cases at least, new, improved versions of the PDFs) is a major plus to me. And having Shannon Appelcline write historical notes on many of the products is a great plus.

AFF1e: Dungeoneer Adventure II: Revenge of the Sorcerer, Part 1


We're playing “Dungeoneer Adventure II: Revenge of the Sorcerer”, from Dungeoneer, so if you haven't played that you might want to skip this entry.


Clockwise, starting with the Director:

  • T.K.B. — Director

  • T.A. — Grimbold Tornhelm

  • M.A. — Gordo Brondwyn

  • L.B. — Alexa Wolfrica

  • E.A. — Aspen Darkfire

Actual Play

The PCs attended court, where their part in rescuing Princess Sarissa was explained, along with the fact that Xortan Throg was still at large. The PCs are assigned the task of killing Xortan Throg, and told to get assistance from Nicodemus in Port Blacksand.

The PCs got 500 GP as a reward for thwarting Xortan Throg's earlier efforts and for rescuing Princess Sarissa. They were also given 60 GP each as an advance for their next efforts, and a healing potion.

To help them slip into Port Blacksand in disguise, they were given a wagon of goods and Merchant Passes for each of them.

They entered the city and found their way to the Dragon's Tooth Inn, where they turn over the wagon to their contact, Halim Thrumbar. He gave them directions to where Nicodemus lives.

Gordo wanted to gamble in the inn, but Grimbold tried to drag him away.

They went to Nicodemus's and after a little discussion were admitted. Nicodemus told them that Xortan Throg lives in Port Blacksand, where he can study the ruins of Carsepolis, in the sewers of Port Blacksand, and has some dealings with the Fish People. He suggests that they start by looking near the old sluice-gates down by the docks at dusk. They do, and see pirates entered the sewers guided by Fish Men, and decide to follow them at a distance.

Along the way they fight a giant centipede that attacks them. Gordo strikes the blow that kills the centipede. Aspen is knocked into the sewer and starts to drown. Alexa pulls her out.

7 RPGs I've most played or run

The 7 RPGs that I've most played or run are:

  • D&D

    • AD&D 1E — This was the first RPG I played.

    • D&D 3.5E

    • Retroclones

      · Labyrinth Lord

      · Swords & Wizardry

  • DragonQuest — Source of a couple of the best campaigns I ran.


  • Savage Worlds

Idol of the Orcs, Session #9: Finished


We're playing Idol of the Orcs, so if you haven't played that you might want to skip this entry.

This session lasted from 1 pm to 2:30 pm.


Clockwise round the table, starting with the Labyrinth Lord:

  • T.A. — Labyrinth Lord

  • L.B.

    • Avarey, a male Half-Elf Cleric. (light green lego base)

    • Sallee Marie, a female Halfing Fighter. (light blue lego base)

  • M.A.

    • Gustavio, a male Gnome Magic User. HP 4, AC 5. (green lego base)

    • Karl, a male Dwarf. HP 4, AC 6. (yellow lego base)

  • T.K.B.

    • Orm, a human Cleric of Thor. HP 5, AC 3. (red lego base)

    • Skeggi, a human Cleric of Vidar. HP 6, AC 4 (3 with shield). (blue lego base)

  • E.A.

    • Semiriah, an Elf Ranger. HP 3, AC 5 (4 with shield). (sparkly pink lego base)

    • Maury, a human Thief. HP 5, AC 6. (tan lego base)

House Rules

A Critical Hit happens on a natural twenty on an attack roll, and damage is doubled.

There isn't a Critical Misses rule, but sometimes on a natural one on an attack roll something embarrassing and funny but usually non-damaging happens.

Actual Play

Karl puts on Ring. Karl takes it off. Karl puts it back on. Orm scratches him, but the scratch doesn't heal instantly.

Went back to 3rd level of the dungeon.

Maury successfully opens a lock! (For the 2nd time in this dungeon, we think.)

5 Adventurer corpses, one dressed as a magic user: 120 gp, 400 ep, scroll. Nothing else worth taking.

Found room with pool of clear water, with a figure chained at the bottom, struggling. Can't reach it with a 10 foot pole. Can't pull it up with rope and grappling hook. Men see it as a beautiful woman and the women see it as a handsome man, while Avarey sees it as a beautiful elven princess. Tied a rope to Maury and sent her down to pick lock. Takes a couple of tries. Maury puts other rope noose around the figure. She sees the figure wither into a skeleton. We pull them both up. Maury gets the boots and pouch off the skeleton, which convinces Orm that it's not as it seems.

The pouch contains thieves tools, 157 gp, 45 sp, and 2 gems, worth 150 sp each. There is a rusty longsword. Orm smashes the sword against the wall. It breaks.

Orm touches the figure, and sees it wither into a skeleton. He bashes the bones into pieces, then wipes the bone dust from his mace. The others see Orm bash the beautiful man/woman into pieces, then wipe the blood from his mace.

Back to the village.


Pay 3 gp each to the hirelings, 18 gp total.

Total gold from last time and this: 6031.5 gp, so 753.93 gp each. Total XP from last time and this: +816 XP each! With a 5% XP bonus that is +856 XP!

So ends The Idol of the Orcs!

Messenger arrives with letter for us. From Mortimer Bean, scribe of the Library of Tobin. Commends us for driving out orcs. Offers us a job retrieving the Hyperion Cantos from the estate of Tazimack the Red, which had been checked out from the Library years before by Tazimack the Red, who has since died at his estate in in the village of Tolb. They'll pay us 1000 gp.