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FREEBIE OSE Adventure: Surgerock Vault and Updates

Artist: Dean Spencer

Too long, didn't read? Scroll to the bottom for a link of the adventure.

I'm way too busy right now with life and hobby stuff. But I heard a call for a contest over at 10 Foot Pole: and my brain started turning the wheels and I would then have to shut my brain off....NO! Don't do it! you are slammed right now!

But.... I did it anyways? I gave myself 3 hours...that's it...get it done (would of been less, but all the mapping). The main reason--because I enjoy receiving good or bad feedback so I can continue to improve, and sometimes...that's hard to receive! Getting feedback from Bryce Lynch, I know at least it will be honest. So this post is about my thoughts and ideas behind this short adventure. Here is the rules of the contest:

"You get nine fucking rooms and eight fucking pages. And PLEASE don’t feel the need to use all eight pages. Pretty please? Entries must be received by March 15th. The title has to be Wavestone Keep, but you can’t use that name, just call it something like that. And the marketing blurb has to be “Fear the waves, the tides and the sea itself! A fearsome tower of stone roams the oceans, delivering its deadly cargo of lizardmen wherever it happens to land!” But, again, you can’t use that wording, come up with the same fucking thing though."

My first thought was--pumice = floating tower/castle/arena/vault??!. My second thought was---I didn't think lizardmen made sense on the ocean and I didn't really want to use sahuagin or the regular sea creatures that seem over used to me. The ocean is a huge place--so there SHOULD be weird jellyfish, starfish, seahorse humanoids, clams, fish...more fish...there should be more monsters in the monster manual that has ocean creatures than land-dwelling in my opinion.

My third thought....I had this one piece of art commissioned in the past that didn't quite work out for an adventure, but I still liked it and planned to use it someday (because I paid for it!). Having only "eight fucking pages", I figured I could still get away with at least one piece of art! Because art inspires me...and it inspired this short adventure.

Artist: Gilangarmi

The sword in the artwork seems huge to maybe it is a magical sword for titans or giants. Maybe there was some sort of war...whatever....and why is this sword here? In fact, those chains and everything about the artwork screams to me that this is The of course, had to make is a special sword. And why is it in a vault of pumice??--- since I'm involved heavily in the Zontani Sea area, I wanted it to be apart of an area that one day I plan to flesh why not the Rains of Sanjoon on the Zontani Sea! I definitely want to write an adventure for that area someday as I have a bunch of ideas floating around---but need to complete things first. So a magical sword---it's purpose? To drain oceans..a dehydrator...perhaps an enemy of the trident Wave from White Plume Mountain (but can't really say that in the adventure)---what better place to protect this sword from fire-dwelling creatures than to put it in the middle of the ocean!

I don't like starting off with just the adventure entrance---so I decided to add a quick wandering encounter table for a sea journey.

I knew the adventure review that spawned this contest had lizardmen and kobolds...I didn't like the lizardmen idea (but threw in some bones to represent!) and stuck with the kobolds. Kobolds protecting a magical titan sword?--nah...they just love the floating stone lair and want to keep it! So there was a faction idea for me--Level 7-9 heroes can easily squash kobolds and I didn't want to do a Tucker's Kobolds type situation, so I viewed it as more of a roleplay opportunity, in fact, since it's higher levels--the kobolds are the main food source for the other dwellers--that means I could use anything and not just undead or living statues/golems. They would love to have some strong PCs helping them out as they wish to keep their lair on this floating rock.

I started thinking about giants and figured stone giants would be neutral between warring giants (frost and storm vs. fire) threw a few of them on this floating piece of rock. For Rains of Sanjoon (SPOILER)--most of the area is floating in the sky--so now I got these bored stone giants that are tasked with guarding this sword (as fire giants misbehaved with it in the past) and suddenly they find themselves floating on a ocean---so why wouldn't one of the stone giants--an ancient giant on the verge of old age/death-- discover a passion for fishing? This would provide another roleplay opportunity and maybe provide some backstory on wtf is going on here. We would also have a younger giant, who is gung-ho to guard the sword and kill invaders.

Then I wondered....what exactly are stone giants? I mean, perhaps I bent some rules here, but figured if they truly are stone giants, then maybe getting 'turned to stone' wouldn't really affect them? So I threw in a basilisk with a stone giant thinking the giant would be immune. This got me on a whole 'turn to stone' tangent and I almost put in every creature that could turn people to stone in the adventure--because if stone giants were the Guardians, then it would make some sense---, but then decided against it (although I did add a gorgon).

Stone giants have cave bears....figured cave bears would eat kobolds..check! I also wanted the place to feel bigger than just 9 rooms (and I viewed rooms as main areas, not empty rooms or rooms that were similar like the kobold warrens--hopefully I don't get dinged)--so I added a mini maze with minotaurs. Then I wanted to add some other things to sorta "cheat" the 9 room limit--meaning, maybe there are some magic items that can bring forth encounters. So I added a new magical item called Zanora's Lantern--(pretty similar to a Mirror of Life Trapping) and added a encounter that could be more roleplay and also create a situation--do we put this person back into the lantern to get our companion back out? or no...? Sure--I could of used a Mirror of Life Trapping, but I just know....seriously...if players see a lantern, they are going to fuck with it hoping for wishes, so just seemed more interesting to me than 'looking into a mirror' (which feels like a Gotcha! moment to me).

Usually I like to add a new monster, spells, or magic items--so if someone totally hated an adventure from us, at least they get something new out of it. This time, I put in just a few new magical items--like Hornet--because there SHOULD be more magical crossbows out there!

There is a lot more I would of changed (especially the cover page which bugs me) and expanded on...but I only had "You get nine fucking rooms and eight fucking pages" and I had to put a timer for myself so that I can get other things that are higher on my To Do list completed--so I did the best I could. Will it win? who knows...who is the goal. If you got comments about it or use it, message me or comment below--would love to hear about it. Hopefully someone out there can throw it into their own campaign for fun.

Surgerock Vault:


I'm excited to report that Gyllagoon's Island is funded through Kickstarter and still has about four days left:

I just received some new artwork for it and I expect the layout process will be done hopefully in the next few weeks so there will be minimal waiting for backers, except maybe me waiting for the print proofs from DrivethruRPG (4-6 weeks I guess? ugh). I want to thank our Backers so far for making this a reality--I really enjoy being able to use cool artwork for our adventures.

I'm still working on the Brine Lord Cassidy's Tomb adventure with two other backers from the previous Kickstarter. There were a total of three backers--one just wanted to provide a room/monster, while the other two wanted to be more heavily involved, so I said what the hell? And I got to say, they have some great ideas that helped form a pretty cool adventure so far. It probably doubled the idea I had for it. It has an island, sea grotto caves, and 2 levels of a tomb that has minimal undead in it and a crapload of weird stuff going on with a horror vibe. I'm almost done writing everything, with their feedback, except I haven't started the second level yet. This adventure could probably use its own monster manual--several new monsters, new magic dimensions...all kinds of crazy stuff and we have had a blast so far. Should be done by May 2022.

Happy Gaming All!


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