On the Mythic Underworld, Illustrated

Hey everyone! I'd just like to announce that I've finally got my Etsy store open!

A lot of the beautiful artwork, including some from the best-rated, award-winning, what's sure to be a cult classic module, Eyrie of the Dread Eye.

It's all original works, suitable for framing. I could frame before sending, but both framing and shipping are expensive—it's certainly more affordable for you to have it framed locally. But if you've got the money, I'll gladly frame it for you and ship it  your way!

Get yourself something beautiful and support an artist! Following are a selection of the pieces available. Visit the store to see all the beautiful originals, and hang up something beautiful in your home or gaming room today!

Hack & Slash 
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On Henchmen, Collected!

Hey all! Here's the most recent henchmen!

It's the end of season 1! Season 2 is going to have more demi-humans! You can grab the collection yourself from here on Drive-thru-RPG.

Henchman Season One

You already have an edition with bonus content if you are Patreon!

Hack & Slash 
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On a Trip Though Hell

I said every day this week, but let's pretend like Thursday didn't happen. I wasn't expecting my daughter's kindergarten graduation to be so. . . disruptive to my schedule.

She sang a song and it was just great.

Oh! I ran Perdition (my excellent Dungeons & Dragons clone) online! I've never edited film before, so I spent two days and taught myself how to edit. Let me apologize in advance that the vision in my head doesn't match what's on screen, due to my lack of proficiency in video editing.

We've already addressed a lot of the technical issues, and the next episode should be even better. It's not the video of us playing--It's a movie I made of the video of us playing.

Have at it.

Hack & Slash 
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On the Goblin Drunkery

Man, is it the next day in the week?

Yeah, and we are just stretching our legs.

As part of my ongoing attempt to survive as a guy who draws dungeon maps—asking myself the question, is what I create enough to justify continuing to exist as a citizen? Does it provide enough value?

Part of the nitty-gritty of being an artist, which I actually had a class on for my Bachelor of Arts in Art in college, is finding income streams. We talked about lots of things in that last class "Methods & Materials" I think it was listed as? Matting pictures, communicating with galleries, presenting artwork, and more.

So if I was gonna do this full time, I was gonna have to do everything—and that includes working live and trying to find a way to provide entertainment that enriches people's lives enough that it supports me continuing to drag these hidden realms from the deep vastness and find ways to share them.

I stream on Twitch as Agonarchartist. But here's what I found:

Twitch isn't anything like what I thought it was. It's a streaming service, with people broadcasting videogames mostly.

But it's also kind of a spiritual revelation.

People on twitch are living their lives in a global community. Friends and companions move from activity and activity, from livestreamed home to livestreamed home, friends sharing their worlds when they are a planet apart. Twitch isn't entertainment, it's community that consumes entertainment together.

I also found that there's an entire community on Twitch consisting of artists who produce Dungeons and Dragons content. Much like the Old School Renaissance, it's a community of people, redefining the look and style of Dungeons & Dragons. Journeyman who rocks while producing art for Godkillers and Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Hope of ShegamesHegames who produces character sketches and fantasy emotes, Alyssa Faden producing maps for Tegel Manor and other books coming out soon, Insomnia Doodles who creates beautiful leather cases for role playing games. Spongeyastronuat producing a different mermaid for every day in Mermay. Wacomatrixo who animates Dungeons & Dragons and Mothership actual plays.

All D&D, All Awesome, All the time.

Today I'm here to share.

I did another storefront and character, but gave the Wine Gnome and her Tree Hollow, over to my friend Bodieh for his patreon, and he gave me some of the tremendous digital content he produces in  adventure packs on his his blog slowquest.

We've got to spread the word see?

So if you want my Wine Gnome and Tree Hollow, you'll have to go over to his Patreon to get it. I love my stuff, but I think I traded up, check this out.

This is the goblin bar. Youth's in the local town pass around plain golden keys. You and someone else in the know can climb the local knoll and there in the cliffside sit the narrow doors of the goblin bistro. Used together on the doors the plain golden keys provide access.
Of course, once you get in the drink is great. And you are sure the goblins will never have any problems with what they are using to brew the beer that lives down inside that ancient passageway in the back!
This encounter location and digital files will add an interesting quirk to any small town or village in your current or next game. A small little mystery the players can uncover, furtive townsfolk, mysterious plain golden keys, a bit of subversion, and a good time for all!

Watch @bodieh and support his Patreon for Adventure packs and more!
Catch me @Agonarcharist on twitch for chill conversation and Dungeons & Dragons talk all afternoon, and support me on Patreon for more henchmen, adventure locations and maps in high resolution, storefronts, and more content, theory, and fun, than you can shake a stick at. I mean, you could shake a stick at it, but you'd just look silly.

Come join the community and fun so that you will accidentally give me money!

Hack & Slash 
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On the Storefront

I told you more cool stuff was coming.
One of my Patreons bemoaned the fact that there was a dearth of storefront pictures.
So, I'm going to be illustrating a selection of medieval and archaic storefronts.
High definition, vtt ready version on Patreon. Otherwise enjoy this 150 .dpi web jpg!

This is the Inn of the Welcome Wench, but I've left the sign blank so that you can name it what you want. This is the actual layout of the Inn from Homlett—The town from T1, Temple of Elemental Evil. It has the right number of windows and floors and matches the interior layout.

Like, more cool stuff is coming. All week long. I wasn't posting because I was working furiously. Stay tuned!!

Hack & Slash 
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On Henchmen, Continued

Good morning world.
The Internet can be a hostile place.
It's best not to go alone.

The third henchmen, the alienist, is available on my Patreon. It's only because I want to encourage you, to help me not be homeless.
600 dpi versions on the patreon, and easy to use .pdf collections coming of these intermittently. 

Come on, look at Dan the Candle Bearer. 
Who doesn't want to hire that guy?
More cool stuff coming every day this week. (!)

Hack & Slash 

On the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh Stroll

I've played a lot of adventures. I've never been able to easily find out what happens in an adventure without playing it. I've always wished someone talked about the adventures that they've been through, not so much a review, but a commentary. This. . . is that.

The secret really is sinister.

It's the first Dungeons & Dragons adventure I ever played. My father ran it for me, my mother, and my brother. I've run it a dozen times myself, and found myself again among the halls of the alchemists house in my adult life more than a time or two.

It's one of the great reasons for its ubiquity. It's easy to put a 'haunted' house on a map. Let's take a stroll through the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh.


This module is notable for being from "TSRUK", and contains a personal message from Don Turnbull.
So, American readers—if you find the text too flowery and florid or too plain and stilted, the structure of the language slightly unusual, the use of certain words apparently slightly offbeat, these are the reasons. Perhaps you will take solace in knowing that UK readers of all the other TSRª modules have the same reaction in reverse!
Is it an essential British trait that they would take a game about dungeons, and write an adventure about an old house up on a hill? The United States has no ancient buildings looming for a thousand years.

The Dungeon Master is instructed on personalizing the town, making it a base of operations for the players. Name the council, develop them as individuals, draw a map, design an inn, create local gods.

Then, there's the legend. The decrepit house sits up on the hill, once owned by an old alchemist around which nefarious rumors swirled. Now it's haunted—dilapidated and unwholesome. Ghastly shrieks and eerie lights emanate from within the dismal lesion marring the purview.

Spoilers for a thirty year old module, but hey, right? The house is a base of smugglers, led by an illusionist. It has a remarkable clear description of how to present the module and the core mysteries, without giving away too much.
It is paramount that the players are given no obvious clues, which would lead them to believe the house is not haunted; they must deduce the truth for themselves or simply stumble upon it. They might even wander around the house, finding a little treasure but never discovering what actually takes place there.
This module and the other two in the series are designed for thinking players. Those who tackle the adventures imaginatively and thoughtfully will not only obtain good rewards for their characters but will derive the satisfaction of seeing the various layers of the plot peel away as the real meaning of each clue is discovered. On the other hand, those who regard the House as nothing but monsterslaying territory will not only fail to unravel the secrets but will find their adventure dull and unsatisfactory; they may even lose their characters, for the smugglers, in the hands of a competent DM, should be more than a match for an unwary, careless party.
No munchkin hack & slash here! Only real role-playing.

In all seriousness, This is a well designed module. There are multiple layers to this mystery and it relies on player choice and initiative to assess what is actually going on, instead of just killing stuff because it's there. It's the kind of adventure where combat (should) happen(s) because there's an actual conflict, not just because you see something to kill. It clearly supports all the choices, with outcomes noted in the finale.

But that's not what you're here for.

What you are here for

You show up in town, ready for adventure. After taking lodging and shopping for a bit, you hear a legend about a haunted house up on the hill. If you decide to investigate, then you get introduced to a member of the town council, who has an interest in your decision to 'stamp out a local menace'. The council member makes no specific promises, but mentioned rewards—perhaps, say, something for doing a public service.

When the party sets out, they are accompanied by a slew of townsfolk, urchins, and hangers on. Amusingly, they retire shortly after the house pulls into view.

It sits atop a cliff, behind a 6' high stone wall, with a heavy ornate great. To the east is a well.with a softball pitch of a snake that has sleeping venom.

The house is obviously two stories, although there is a secret third underground "level", leading down to the coast at the bottom of the cliff. The house is laid out in a chunky upside down T. The front door opens into a big central room, with a staircase going up to a balcony you can see, with hallways leading to the west, east, and north wings.  It's a great vertical and non-linear space!

While exploring, you'll find rats, goblins, and other vermin as you would expect in any kind of standing structure. Tracks for observant players show some frequent foot traffic. Let's explore!

The stairs to the second floor hang over a passage to the east. These leads to empty and dilapidated rooms.  To the west lies the library of the alchemist, a study, and a trapdoor leading to the basement trapped with a magic mouth that says:
"Welcome, fools -- welcome to your deaths!" followed by a prolonged burst of insane and fiendish laughter.
The passageway to the north contains two events of note, there's a beat up "withdrawing room" which I assume is british for lounge. In addition to detritus there is a chimney. If examined, you find a loose brick, concealing a small chest, along with a spider that sets down beside you. The default poison causing 'enfeebling' for 1-4 days, rather than any authentic risk.

The other event of note is that when you take the first step to descend into the basement, there's a wicked howl of shrieking pain, triggered by a magic mouth.

The upper floor is unstable, and more than one player character has died by falling to his death through unstable flooring. Another deadly chamber lies to the west, with an unassuming closet, filled with a cloak covered in deadly yellow mold.

Upstairs to the east, lies unstable flooring and a very subtle clue, that I think frequently goes missed until later in the module. This is the room where the smugglers can see the approach of the ship and signal it. More interesting is Ned Shakeshaft, a prisoner who is actually an assassin. He's supposed to mislead them, in the interest of a merchant who profits from the smuggling operation.

You can reach the attic, and get attacked by stirges as your reward.

The Main Event

Eventually the characters man up and brave the depths beyond the magic mouth spells, and head down into the basement.

This leads to a very memorable encounter. There's a corpse on the floor in a suit of FULL PLATE MAIL! This is a great moment for your fighters, immediately before they die from the rot grubs infesting the body.

There's a secret door in the wine cellar, and sooner or later the party will encounter the smugglers, which include their illusionist leader, along with several gnolls. There's a great illustration of the illusionist, hitting a party with the color spray spell.

Having discovered the smuggling operation, the town council conceives of a plan, where you assault the Sea Ghost and end the smuggling operation once and for all.

The party has a number of options for assault, giving them the opportunity to strike in the dark, or engage in open combat aboard the floating vessel. A terse, exciting, and possibly deadly battle occurs on the deck of the sea ghost. Looting the vessel lets them discover a slew of prizes, not the least of which is a pseudo-dragon looking for a Wizard to bond with, and the fighter thief aquatic elf "Oceanus".

Once complete, a few days pass, until the council becomes curious why such primitive creatures as lizard men would seek the arms and armor from the forges of men? Is the town of Saltmarsh at risk of attack?

I guess if you want to find out, you'd have to play Danger at Dunwater, but that is a different tale.

You enjoying these posts? I'm depending on you to keep writing them. Come make some requests and get a ton of free stuff over on my Patreon!

Hack & Slash 
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