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Stephen Wendell
Paris, France
In 2018, Stephen Wendell followed his great grandfather from Tennessee to the Great War in France a hundred years before. He recounts his ancestor's war stories in A VERY MUDDY PLACE. Stephen is also the author of the Littlelot series of children's books.
Recent Activity
The Wyrm Dawn campaign produced a base map in the Primordial Age plus six transparent overlays in subsequent Ages. I compiled these chronological maps into a composite. In order to clear the clutter, I divided the final cross-section into middle, fore-, and background maps. Throrgrmir Middle Ground. Throrgrmir Foreground. Throrgrmir... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at DONJON LANDS
The old man, sprawled across the table with a dagger in his back, grabbed my attention. I forgot all about the Scroll of the Dead and the town’s imminent destruction by volcanic eruption. I wanted to solve the mystery of the old man’s murder. After Garth convinced me the adventure... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at DONJON LANDS
The cover fell off last year. Forty years old in January, the rusty staples slipped through the worn crease. The problem is not uncommon. To Repair for 40th Anniversary Game. I thought to just lay the detached cover flat face down, stretch a strip of Scotch tape along the spine,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
“I, Viggo Eskilsson, sage of Valormr, do here record the many histories of the underground realm known as Throrgrmir from its primordial origin to its age of dragons so prophesied.” —Viggo’s Histories Eskilsson came from the wild northern peninsula, tracking down legends of Throrgrmir’s wyrms and the Wyrm Prophecy. His... Continue reading
Posted May 29, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
“If you’re going to use your dungeon for role-playing, I recommend you play right up until the start of the Age of Villainy, or possibly 1-2 turns into the Age of Villainy.” —Tony Dowler, How to Host a Dungeon (2008). A standard game of How to Host a Dungeon consists... Continue reading
Posted May 28, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Continued from “A Neutral Human Fighter.” “What’s a tavern?” I said. “It’s like a bar in medieval times,” said Garth. I only knew what a bar looked like from cowboy movies with Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. The image jarred with the knights and castles in my imagination. “What am... Continue reading
Posted May 25, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Mob Disbanded The mob wrecked the Cynosure and the School of Mines and defaced the statue of the former despot. Then they fought over the Magnate’s treasure and eventually disbanded. A few stalwarts formed an adventuring party. The Free City of Valormr Gullhofn, now liberated from the Magnate’s dominion, declared... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Now we enter into what—for adventurers in the Wyrmwyrd campaign—will be recent history. The mining mogul was a middle-aged man of wide girth and overbearing stature. He carried extra weight like a cudgel. Thinning dark hair receded from a large forehead. Beady eyes sat too close either side of a... Continue reading
Posted May 18, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
The green dragon Faerunduine made her lair in the Deepmost Cavern. On a ledge above the underground lake, she slept and dreamt of the coming Age of Dragons. The Last Wyrm Spawn Wyrmling Alpha woke from her slumber in what once was the Great Wyrm’s lair in Throrgardr. The wyrmling... Continue reading
Posted May 14, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
No one knows how long was the reign of Dagrun Stardark or how her empire ended. Few clues remain, and while these are much debated in scholarly circles, no consensus has been reached. Sages refer to the period as “Stardark’s End.” Among them, it is generally accepted that the dungeon... Continue reading
Posted May 12, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Stardark University While she was strong in magic, Dagrun Stardark knew she was outnumbered in the dungeon, and her treasury was spare. The Empress, therefore, cultivated the former glory of the dwarven empire to instill a sense of unity and pride in the citizens. To that end, she founded a... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
The following text describes events in Wyrm Dawn’s First Age of Monsters. In this age, “A Wizard” (How to Host a Dungeon, Dowler, 2019) rose so quickly to “villainy” that I have determined to run a second Age of Monsters following the empire’s demise. Throrgrmir Legacy A long, dark silence... Continue reading
Posted Apr 28, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
“Roll these dice six times.” Garth pushed three Yahtzee dice across the blue notebook that lay flat between us. We were sitting on the floor in his room. He leaned against the bed. Having watched Kaytar explore the dungeon and defeat the wizard, I was ready, by Garth’s decree, to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 11, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
The initial impetus, to run an impromptu pick-up game or a solo game in The Deep Halls, prompted me to make two conceits: One, we use random methods to stock the dungeon, thereby avoiding any preparation. Two, it is a “closed” dungeon campaign. That is, one in which we haven’t... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
We’re almost ready to play. We’ve covered everything that happens in the depths. Left for us now is to consider what happens when our adventurers are outside the dungeon. I want only to cover aspects critical to the scenario. I intend to run The Deep Halls as a solo game,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
The Flying Dungeon Stocking Table reflects the stocking methods given in the Holmes edition with supplements Monster & Treasure Assortments and Dungeon Geomorphs. The idea that gets me further than the head voice saying, “Bluebook D&D!” is to use M&T for random monsters and treasures. Basic D&D (1977) only goes... Continue reading
Posted Mar 25, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
“Built by priests of Amon-Gorloth, this dungeon was constructed and adapted from existing caverns following their dreams channeled from Amon-Gorloth itself—making them a twisted and nightmarish version of the convoluted mausoleums under the desert sands where Amon-Gorloth sleeps and dreams.”—Dyson Logos on “The Deep Halls” In 44 words, Dyson Logos... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
In our explorations we compressed The Halls’ seven levels to three, tugged them back out to four, and stretched the first level across colors like the Painted Desert. Then we chocked the rooms full of treasure and adjusted them for party size. All the while, we assumed beginning character levels,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 24, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Spread out over seven different depths, these caves, chambers and twisting passages provide an immense dungeon for exploration. So immense that I haven’t even considered how I would stock it. Which is why I’m giving it to you. This massive dungeon level is yours—released under a free commercial use or... Continue reading
Posted Mar 23, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Merging The Deep Halls’ colored layers into a three-level dungeon, we noticed earlier that, because Level 1 is not contiguous, the player party, still 1st-level, is forced to descend to Level 2. One might avoid the problem by grouping the first four colors into Level 1. The dark green level,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 22, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Where t equals one roll on the treasure table or 143 g.p., (5 areas × 2t) + (8 areas × t) + (2.5 areas × ½t) = 19.25t = 2,752 g.p. and change 1,525 [from monsters] + 2,752 [treasures] = 4,277 XP Therefore, the ratio of stocked XP to that... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Previous experience-point calculations are based on a party of three. Larger or smaller parties must earn 2,171 XP—more or less—to advance an experience level. I lead with a summary. Explanation and math follow. After a look at how a clever party of six makes up for fewer stocked XP per... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
“The difference between courageous and foolish is knowledge of risk.”—Adventurer Handbook Early in our Deep Halls explorations, we were careful and systematic. Lantern overhead, we probed with pole into the advancing pool of light. It was in making adjustments for experience stocked but unearned that we first diverged from the... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
This is a continuation of a previous article: “One Deadly Dungeon.” It is the sixth in a series in preparation for a Holmes Basic D&D campaign Dreaming Amon-Gorloth. Problem: Whereas, a party of three 1st-level adventurers needs 6,513 XP to advance a level, the maximum they might extract from The... Continue reading
Posted Mar 14, 2021 at DONJON LANDS
Before we go on to remedy the dearth of experience points stocked in The Deep Halls, I want to check our work against a Holmes-era published module. In “One Deadly Dungeon,” we use the probabilities for monsters and treasures on the Flying Dungeon Stocking Table to calculate how much experience... Continue reading
Posted Mar 13, 2021 at DONJON LANDS