Weird Pulp, Episode 15: Intrigue on the Orient Express

After a considerably delay, the notes for Episode 15 of Weird Pulp are now online.

In the aftermath of the battle on the Unsichtbare Hand (“Unseen Hand”) our heroes have seized control of a German zeppelin after killing or incapacitating much of its crew. At the same time, their original transport – a Pam Am clipper-style seaplane called The Lucky Lady — had gone missing when a prisoner the Wardens had taken escaped his bonds and attacked the pilot, Jason Baxter.

After discovering that their pilot had survived his close encounter and saved the Lucky Lady, the Wardens proceeded to Paris where they booked tickets on the Orient Express to Istanbul.

Read the full saga.

Web Resources


Obsidian Frontier, Chapter 10: Homecoming

Saga notes for Chapter 10 of the Obsidian Frontier campaign have been posted.

After a danger-wrought journey home from Gryrax, the Scorpion has returned to Obsidian Bay with a hold full of much-needed lumber and foodstuffs, as well as the promise of more help in the form of a dwarven relief force commanded by upstart dwarven lord Mardok Redblade.

Meanwhile the crew of the Scorpion has defeated not one, but two, piratical threats by capturing the diabolical pirate vessel Hell’s Wrath and sinking a reaver longship. Now the Scorpion and Hell’s Wrath are preparing to enter Obsidian Bay where there’s little doubt they will be heralded as heroes. Read the saga.

Web Resources

Obsidian Frontier, Chapter 9: The Voyage Home

The saga for Chapter 9 of the Obsidian Frontier is online.

After a harrowing journey to Gryrax, capitol of the Principality of Ulek, our heroes successfully negotiated trade deals to bring much needed foodstuffs and lumber to Obsidian Bay.

That’s not all they were able to do though. Their search for supplies brought them to Mardok Redblade, the young, opportunistic dwarf who’s clan rose to prominence in the Hateful Wars. He came of age while his father and brothers were off fighting the orc menace. They all died in the effort, leaving him as the new patriarch of a diminished clan.

He had been gathering other young, like-minded dwarves to his banner, and when Burgell Nackle came to him, Redblade knew it was time to act. He told the gnome that he would assemble a dwarven expeditionary force of 100 allies and liegemen and bring them to Obsidian Bay. There they would help with the reconstruction and continue the fight against the goblinoid invaders.

It is now Coldeven 13, CY 515. Our heroes have just concluded their negotiations with Redblade, while down at the docks Captain Raris Armbruster has put out the call for new crew members to replace those killed by goblin and harpy attacks on the way to Gryrax.

Read the full saga.

Web Resources:

Obsidian Frontier, Chapter 8: The Voyage of the Scorpion

The notes for “The Voyage of the Scorpion”, Chapter 8 of the Obsidian Frontier campaign, are now online.

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Obsidian Bay. A massive blizzard has suffocated the unprepared frontier town in snow, killing dozens outright and threatening dozens more with death by exposure. Many of the city’s ramshackle buildings and patchwork tents have collapsed, leaving hundreds without homes.

Obsidian Bay’s heroes are banding together to find supplies, care for the wounded and homeless, and combat the threat of monstrous predators circling the town, but it is not enough. An influx of supplies — building materials, food, weapons — is needed or the town itself might falter.

To that end, prominent citizens in the fledgling city banded together to fund a voyage to Gryrax, the capital of the Principality of Ulek. Initiated by the gnome Burgell, the mission quickly gathered momentum as others in the city donated coin toward the expedition.

The Scorpion— a well-known cog and sometime privateer — has been secured to make the run to Gradsul. Its captain, Raris Armbruster, is promising a swift run down the coast, sea monsters and aquatic goblins be damned! Read the full saga.

Obsidian Bay Pinterest board additions:

Web Resources:

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The Heart of Darkness Campaign launches

The Heart of Darkness, our second playtest campaign for D&D 5th Editionhas launched.

While our first playtest campaign, Obsidian Frontieris a traditional low-level sandbox game, The Heart of Darkness looks to really put 5e through its paces by leveling up the player characters after every session.

This one-session-per-game approach is meant to do in a few months what it would normally have taken years to accomplish: advance the PCs from 1st to 15th level. Our low-level experimentation in Obsidian Frontier has shown D&D 5e to be every bit as fast as it was billedto be … but we don’t know if that will hold up at higher levels.

At the same time we don’t want to just roll up 15th level characters and call it done. That would allow us to test those characters, but we’d lose the organic evolution of the characters that makes D&D so much fun. The Heart of Darkness solves that problem by rapidly accelerating character advancement. In someways it’s more work — we all have to advance our characters each week, and the DM never has a chance to adjust to the current power level — but it also allows us to kick the tires on 5e in ways that one-shot playtests simply can’t.

Like Obsidian Frontier, the new campaign takes place in the World of Greyhawk. This time though, it’s set in CY 650, a little more than 50 years after our original Blackrazor campaign. The idea is that this is a “legacy” campaign, one that inherits — but is not bound by — the history of our earlier campaign. It’s a stranger, more progressive Greyhawk with non-lawful good paladins, tiefling warlocks, dragonborn sorcerers, and dwarven wizards. It’s an approach that would have shocked and enraged our traditionalist selves back in 1999 … but it provides the maximum flexibility we need for testing all of 5e’s races and rules.

Exploring the Obsidian Frontier

Our Obsidian Frontier sandbox campaign for D&D 5th Edition is proceeding nicely aided by the release of the Dungeon Master’s Guide in December 2014.

Chapters 1 and 2 has seen our heroes explore the Caverns of Quasqueton, home to the (allegedly) deceased adventurers Roghan the Fearless and Zelligar the Unknown (as featured in the B1 In Search of the Unknown).

Continue reading Exploring the Obsidian Frontier

D&D: In Search of the Unknown, Part 1

The Obsidian Frontier campaign gets under way with In Search of the Unknown, Part 1, in which a group of fledgling heroes takes on the Caverns of Quasqueton. Read the saga on the GriffWiki.

We’ve added a number of pages to the wiki to support the campaign:

  • Obsidian Bay, CY 515: An overview of the city as it existed two years after its founding
  • Obsidian Frontier Primer: Essential NPCs, locations, and other organizations for the campaign
  • Obsidian Frontier Saga: All of the adventures associated with the campaign.
  • Frontier Era Category: A new category collecting all of the wiki pages related to the Frontier era
  • The Pomarj: An overview of the peninsula where the campaign is based. Updated to include information about the historical  baronies associated with the region.

Weird Pulp, Episode 12: Dreams of the Purple Lotus

Jian Zao (“Sword of Morning”) of the Red Hand Triad was desperate. His brother, Jian Zhang, had fallen under the sway of opium, and had become a frequent customer at the Green Dragon Opium Den.

The den, an uncommon sight in New York City in the 1930s, was opened by Ling Si, a Chinese herbalist, drug trafficker, and sorcerer in October 1937. Within weeks the den had captured dozens with its opium-tainted dreams.

Jian Zao could not rely on his own resources to save his brother, having been warned by his leader to leave the den alone. Desperate to save his brother, he approached Wardens Richard Shen and Andrew Buchanan to see if they could help.

Read more in Episode 12 of Weird Pulp “Dreams of the Purple Lotus”.

Also added to the site  is a write up on the Tears of St. Bernadette, a powerful divine relic capable of healing grievous wounds.



Obsidian Frontier D&D campaign launches

We’ve launched a new Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition campaign called Obsidian FrontierIt’s set in our old stomping grounds of the World of Greyhawk in our homegrown city of Obsidian Bay. Rather than follow the continuing chaotic adventures of the Blackrazor Guild however, the campaign goes back in time 75 years to the founding of the free city.

It’s an unexplored era for us; we’ve hinted at the events surrounding the Founding — the arrival of the Griffins Guild on the Pomarj to fight the tide of evil that had flooded it only a few years earlier; the discovery of the sprawling, seemingly endless subterranean complex of the Obsidian Maze; the “gold rush” as adventurers from around the Flanaess arrived eager to fight the Pomarj’s new goblin and orc rulers, and to  try their hand at exploring the megadungeon. The game runs on Sunday nights, and is meant to be a sandbox-style playtest of the new Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition rules.

Obsidian Frontier is set in the Common Year 515, two years after the founding of Obsidian Bay, and three years after the independent human baronies of the Pomarj were overrun by orcs and goblins. The humanoids had in turn been driven out of their homes in the Lortmil Mountains by an alliance of elves and dwarves.

As its name implies, the campaign has a very Old West, frontier-style vibe that takes its inspiration from Deadwood and Hell on Wheels (though not nearly as dark).

The campaign is run by Ken Newquist, and he’s running a companion campaign of sorts as well — the Broken Land campaign is set in the same time period and the same locale, but features a different set of characters.

"Hit Hard, Hit Fast. If that doesn't work, run like sissies."