Category Archives: DIY Projects & El Cheapo Gaming

The Game Bag


This is my burden and the inspiration to redo the $20 Dungeon. Why because it’s gotten too damn big with too much stuff. This bag and those two plastic containers on top are just mini’s and miscellaneous terrain/map bits. That’s right no dice, no rule books, no notebooks. Juggling this stuff when it’s time to run a game is just too dang annoying and cumbersome.
It’s cool to have all sorts of stuff handy when you’re running a game at home but when you’re on the road, you travel lighter and if you’ve gaming for a while you start to accumulate lots of little bits and accessories.
This goal of this post is to get a starting point and start thinking about what to cut out. What’s duplicated, what I don’t need and things are multi-taskers. My main goal (to start) is pare this down so everything fits inside the bag.
Like I said before, I’m getting to switch from Dungeon Crawl Classics to Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells and then after that it’ll be a little Swords & Wizardry White Box. It’s going to be fun and a little bit crafting projects coming up.

The $20 Dungeon Revisited

It’s been years since I did the the whole $20 Dungeon project. So I thinks it’s time a I did an update and think over the project again and it’s a good time for that because I’m getting ready to change gears in the near future with the close of the Dungeon Crawl Classics game and the move onto some Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells (followed up by some Swords & Wizardry more than likely). That’ means it’s time to clean out and reorganize the GM’s accessory bag.
Now this isn’t my dice bag. That’d probably be a whole other post. Nor is it the bag with rule books and notebooks. Nope this is the bag with minis and various bits of flavor pieces to spice things. Now since the DCC game started I’ve bought a few things at the FLGS and they just ended up there plus I put in the things that I’d thought I need and, well, a bunch I haven’t used. I’ve accumulated a lot of stuff over the years. It’s nice to have but I need to be more selective about what I drag around with me. It’s time to clean the bag out and rethink the $20 dungeon and not only cheap but efficient.
Much of the thoughts and materials is going to remain the same. Wood makes a good material for the wall sections. It’s easily accessible. Not too heavy. Fairly inexpensive and easy to work with. I’ve found that 3/4 inch stock is the right size as I mentioned in the ancient post. But I want to fancy them up a bit more and see what other bits I can come up with that are useful. There’s a good chance, I’ll mix and match some of the wooden blocks I’ve picked up. Heck, I might even break all that felt from the wargaming days or do more of the cork tiles. These make nice map tiles. Just paint and they already look like stone.

So along with all the other projects, I have on my plate I’m adding another little crafty one. I know it’s crazy but sometimes it’s fun to work with your hands rather than your brain. And I know this post doesn’t have that much substance. It’s more of “I’m going to do a thing” but it’s start. Time to put on that thinking cap.

Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells Character Sheet V3

Since it was requested Here’s the Version 3 of the character sheet. A few things have been rearranged and I’ve added Sanity.
My Character Sheet V3
And as a bonus here’s some ideas on house rules.
Initiative: I really like the idea of using Hit Dice to determine initiative. I was playing around with a similar idea before I’d even heard of Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells so why not take that old idea and apply it in a new way. Now, I’ve played games with static initiative and while it was easy, generally everybody went in the same order every round and it got kind of boring and predictable. So what to do?
Roll your Hit Die and go in order from highest to lowest roll.
The more combat oriented characters have a better chance of going first but not always.

Blood/Hit Points: I like both so why not use both. Well sort of basically. The minimum uninjured HP that a character has is equal to their Physique. When the character gains a level and they could potentially roll (with all their Hit Dice) more than their Physique then roll the dice. If the total is less then nothing changes. If the total is more then that’s the characters new total HP and when the character gains their next level just roll an additional Hit Die as normal.

There’s more ideas bouncing around my head but that’s for later when they start making sense to me.

Arcane Portals

So I grabbed these little beauties with my last Amazon order. Now they were only $6 when I got them and the price has changed since then as seem to happen on Amazon.

Sure they are a little smaller than normal D&D mini scale but I know I can find use for tentacled magical portal. They are actually designed for the Eldritch Horror board game by Litko Game Accessories. The folks over at Litko make a bunch of handy tokens, markers, other little bits for a vareity of board games, war games and RPG’s. I’ve got a bunch of their tokes to use with Savage Worlds as Shaken, Wound and other markers plus I picked up their Savage Worlds AOE templates which of course I’ve been known to use in other games. All of which are generic enough I could use for other games. Their stuff is made of acrylic so be picky about what glue you use. Other than that they are pretty handy. Really, go check out their RPG stuff.
Keep those dice a rolling, folks.

Finally Did My Character Sheet for Sharp Swords

Still working on all the bells and whistles I want to prepare for Sharp Swords and Sinister Spells. Today’s little project my own little character sheet. Since the rules are pretty lite there aren’t that many differences. The one thing I did want to add is a Luck Track plus this serves as a little cheat sheet for the die chain. I know it’s pretty simple but but some folks find that extra little bit of reference handy. Enjoy.
My Character Sheet

Some More Random Thoughts On O5R

Yeah, O5R or making Fifth Edition D&D a little more old School. The last post I did on this was all about mechanics and some are my DM is going to use in his next campaign. This post is more of rant about mind set and fluff.
So much of the OSR style of play centers around the players not being limited by the rules. That may sound crazy. Old School games don’t have every little thing spelled out on how to handle a character trying something. So the players tend to try crazier and more outlandish tactics. They will try to find new uses for anything including spells. This is where that whole rulings not rules thing comes in. Don’t let the rules stop you from trying something. Doesn’t mean you will succeed but try any way. The DM needs to learn how to wing it and when to yes or yes but.. And as a DM, keep your job simple. Don’t worry about every little bit of rules minutia (unless you have someone who just loves being a rules lawyer and that’s a whole other problem). Let the players have fun and try those crazy plans.
Now the other thing is fluff. Reading thru the Players Handbook, Monster Manual and the splat books, you’ll notice that everything is tied to Forgotten Realms. As DM, let the players color outside of the lines. If they want to have their character be something and there isn’t exactly that class. Find the closest mechanically and change the fluff. The same goes for things like spells. Don’t have change the mechanics just fluff. I had an idea for Yuan Ti Druid. For Good Berry, instead of conjuring berries; how about a handful of lethargic mice.
I don’t mean to say to anyone, “You’re playing it wrong.” And I know that YMMV depending on the group and its dynamic and the experience of the DM and players. But I do have these bits of wisdom. Roll dice. Have fun. And don’t be afraid to color outside the lines now and then.

Tubes of Mini’s

A quick and dirty post here and shout out to the astute members of the Facebook Mutant Crawl Classics group.
Someone found this cool tube of crazy robots that are prefect for MCC or another gonzo Sci-Fi/Space Opera type game on Amazon. And thanks to Amazon’s love selling extras, it recommended a tube of Fantasy Mini’s by the same manufacturer.
All in all not bad. The robots are well robots and bigger than your normal 25/28 mm scale mini’s but that’s OK. The fantasy ones are mostly pretty cool. The dwarf, orcs, and two headed orcish types are larger but pretty close to the standard scale. The dragons are just about the right size. But a couple seem king of silly. They are made of soft plastic and looking at Amazon at least one person has started to paint them. All in all a pretty good buy. Hey, you’re smart. You do the math.
Ok so here’s a couple of pics. First we got the fantasy ones with a couple of standard mini’s for scale.

And the Robots with some Galaxy Laser Team minis.