Sunday, December 28, 2014

Dark Sunday: The Temple of Air

This session idea was original used in my 2011-2012 Dark Sun Campaign. The setup for my players was that there were some Templars from Gulg who were planning on binding a powerful Air Elemental to their will. This temple is relatively small compared to most dungeons, consisting of only three rooms, but it has depth involving the features of the dungeon.

The temple is a gigantic tower about 100 feet tall, at its top the elemental that it was built for lies asleep. On Athas there are no gods and the closest thing that comes close is the worship of powerful entities, such as elementals and some Sorcerer Kings.

The Prayer Room

Entering through the large stone doors you find yourselves standing on a solid stone floor, before you lays a large pit with small stone pillars enough for one person to stand. At the opposite end there is an altar sitting on an outcropping from the wall. Another stone doorway behind it. Three men in robes stand by the altar, swords at the ready.


The room was created for common prayer, so often I'd see temples filled with needless deathtraps and other hazards not normally in a temple. The room is meant to have one person on each stone pillar to pray as such the fall from a pillar is only 10 feet so enough to do damage, but not to kill someone outright. The priests or priestesses would convey ceremonies at the altar, no the temple is in disuse.


Creatures can jump from platform to platform relatively easily though I required athletics checks to jump across. The enemies in the dungeon were simply reskinned soldiers and gave them the ability to hover. This works out better in 5th Edition because movement can be broken down to include an action while performing the movement. So an enemy could hover from one space, attack a player, and then return to an unoccupied space. Players could do the same thing if they had access to a flight spell. Aside from that I added abilities that allowed pushes, so if a player was pushed off the edge of a stone pillar they would have to make a dex save to stop from falling.

The Tower

In the room, the floor is covered in sharpened bamboo pikes, four ropes lead from the floor to a hole in the ceiling 100ft up. 


The room is a simple chamber to weed out the unholy from visiting the Elemental. The Priests would climb up to the roof of the tower this way. Air elementals that inhabited the tower would buffet those who were not of the temple, causing them to fall to their deaths.


This was originally a skill challenge where the players would have to hold on every 30ft of movement or be buffeted by errant air elementals that had taken up resident. So making athletics checks or acrobatics checks to jump from rope to rope while trying to climb up. My players were smart and decided to break the bamboo at the base of the tower to lessen the damage if they happened to fall. This was to their detriment later on however.

The Summit

Before you lies a nimbus laying above the towerer, There is a large altar at the edge of the tower, but no railings for support. The Templar is chanting an evil spell as the nimbus begins to grow darker and darker.


This area was meant to allow the priests and priestesses to communicate with the elemental. As such they believed their faith protected them from falling off the sides or through the center hole in the level. This also allowed for them to perform executions of the unworthy if it was necessary. Typically they would challenge a fallen priest to climb to the top of the tower, if they survived they would be allowed to plead their case to the elemental directly, if the elemental felt they were lying or unworthy it would buffet them off the tower.

In my player's final encounter they actually managed to push a Mul Gladiator down the central hole. He survived unknown to them, if they left the bamboo pikes he would definitely have died.


This was a major boss encounter, the players had to deal with Templars trying to bind the elemental to their will and several soldiers that were to keep the templars safe while binding the elemental. If the Templar is harmed I performed a concentration saving throw to make sure the spell was not disrupted. After five turns the spell would be complete and the templar would win. 

The end result of this dungeon was a failure by my players. No one died, but when the Elemental was bound to the Templar he used its magic to fly off the top of the tower and attack a nearby village. He chose flight as his mission was to recover the magical power to help the Gulg army, and fighting the players would put that power at risk of being taken away from him.

Hope this was an informative post. Any comments, suggestions, or critiques are welcomed. I left this post generally vague so it could be used in any system. If anyone wants specifics such as DCs or Enemy statlines, feel free to voice your opinion and I may change my style later on.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Dark Sunday: Eyes of the Ally

Dark Sundays are where I show off homebrew ideas for the Dungeons and Dragons' Dark Sun campaign setting. 
Eyes of the Ally, image from Trinket Geek.


Masters of the Way were known for their ingenious ways of utilizing Psionicly resonate crystals. One such master was an accomplished bowman, his skills were legendary, but he for saw a problem if his Patron was asked to meet a contact alone. 

So he created two necklaces. One worn by his patron and one by him. He could see through his patrons eyes and always hit those threatening him no matter the range or obstructions.


These are wondrous objects that are rare to see on Athas. The two gems are indistinguishable from one another except that one is open and the other is closed. 

Once per charge, the person wearing the open eye is considered the point of origin for one non-magic ranged attack action by the person wearing the closed eye. No matter what type of weapon is used the damage is considered psychic. No spell effects can be sent through the eye(i.e. Magic Missile, Silence, Polymorph, Ensnaring Strike). If the weapon is a magical weapon this restriction is ignored for magical enchantments already built in to the weapon.(i.e. Arrow of Slaying).

As a bonus action without expending any charges, the person wearing the closed eye can see everything that the person wearing the open eye can see. This does not extend to hearing, touch, taste, or smell.

A spell that can scry or find a person when used on someone wearing this will show the location of both wearers.

1d8 charges per day. It may regain charges even if it has reached 0.

Ways to Introduce:

  • A patron is looking to have some protection on a deal where he was told to bring no bodyguards. He will wear the open eye during the meeting. A kidnapping or assassination attempt could occur.
  • Out in the wilderness the party finds a man who looks to have been shot by arrows. He is wearing the necklace of the open eye. An unknown enemy has the closed eye. If a party member decides to wear the necklace it is possible for this enemy to gain beneficial knowledge or find the location of targets.
So what do you guys think? Please post any critiques in the comment section below.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rise of the Dark Sun

Back in the 2010, I had only played a few tabletop roleplaying games. In fact I had stayed away from Dungeons and Dragons for a couple of reasons. First off was that I wasn't much of a fantasy fan, but mostly the Dungeon Masters that I had seen running the game yelled at players for not playing the game the way they did. In retrospect it was not the games fault that the guys organize them were jerks.

Around that time a roommate of mine introduced me to the Dungeon and Dragons podcasts done by the guys from Penny Arcade and PVP. I told him I didn't like elves and magic, to which he pointed me to the Dark Sun episodes.

4th Edition Campaign Book
And he sold me. The setting was interesting and unique, no elves prancing around talking about fae creatures it was about desolation and survival in an unforgiving godless world. The setting was created back in the 90's and it made a lot of drastic deviations from the core rules of D&D.

Dark Sun was never about high adventure to me it was always about survival. I ran two successful campaigns in Dark Sun and I hope to in the 5th edition of D&D as well. In the coming weeks I hope to create homebrew items and scenarios for Dark Sun to run in 5th edition. Every Sunday will be Dark Sunday.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Miniature Corner: Pathfinder Red Dragon

This year at my work we are doing a Yankee Swap. This is what I am bringing. Shhh! Don't tell anyone.
The Red Dragon
Find it at Reaper Miniatures.

Overall it took me 3-4 hours to crank this out. The red is a combination of Mephiston and Khorne Red from the GW paint line. The horns and breast are Kisley Flesh, though the horns and claws have a wash of Ogryn Flesh(No Longer Available) over them. The wings themselves were Squig Orange. The yes were Abaddon Black for the pupil and Moot Green for the iris. I'm not sure if green was a good choice.

Base and scenery pieces were done with Typhus Corrosion, Mournfang Brown, XV-88, Caledor Sky, and Guilliman Blue.

Side Bar

What is your favorite dragon?

Mine definitely has to be The Dragon of Tyr. Maybe its because he is the only Dragon on Athas, but really I think it has to do with the origins of Dragons on Athas.

Spoiler alert, in Dark Sun powerful sorcerers turn into dragons.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The End

Ever get that feeling that you just want to start something, but never get around to it? I get that feeling plenty of times. Awkward GM originally started back when I was still in college at the start of my addiction to tabletop games. Since then I've branched to a lot more systems and have found myself looking for an outlet to express myself.

Let me get to the point, this blog is mainly going to be covering the following:

  • Tabletop RPGs - Ranging from the new to the old to the obscure to the weird. Unlike most people my first RPG was based off of the Red Dwarf game, my current game of choice is Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition
  • Wargaming - Specifically Malifaux and Warhammer 40k. Though I dabble in other systems from time to time.
  • Video Games - I'm a PC gamer by most accounts, but have been playing Playstation and Nintendo for as long as I can remember.
Typically you'll see homebrew rules, rules debates, tactics analysis, and the occasional game design tidbit. You probably won't see much news, leaks, or reviews here. Other sites have been doing those for a long time.

I hope that this is not the first of my blogposts you read. There should be many more to come later down the line.