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Monday, 27 February 2017

Treasure Hunt by Aaron Allston + Advanced Dungeons and Dragons

Treasure Hunt
Last night I was back in the DM chair after a long break as a player. Currently our gaming group has a few campaigns on the go, with different game systems/settings, including Traveller and Dungeon Crawl Classics. I didn't bring the players back to old characters from the D&D campaign, deciding instead to run the AD&D classic, Treasure Hunt (1986).

It wasn't until today that my good friend Stephen pointed out I had run the module, quite by coincidence, on the three-year anniversary of the author's death. Aaron Allston wrote modules, supplements and sourcebooks for various roleplaying games, and a slew of Star Wars novels.

Now, I am not new to Treasure Hunt. When it came out back in the 80's, I was in a group of a dozen players from High School (including Mr Holland the English teacher) that were at the mercy of another friend called Stephen (who usually ran Dragon Warriors but in this instance was our DM). How he wrangled us all, I barely recall. I would reckon it would have been like herding cats.

Aaron Allston
(December 8, 1960 – February 27, 2014)
Zero-level cats. I have mentioned before the similarity between Treasure Hunt and the Dungeon Crawl Classics funnel system. Back then, playing AD&D without choosing a class was kinda funky. Each player character began the game at negative 500 experience points, working our way up to 1st level. We were very free in our gameplay, often making spontaneous choices, which Stephen would take note of as they determined a character's eventual class, alignment, etc.

Fast forward thirty years and I am on the other side of the DM screen. How did our group of "experienced" forty-somethings cope? So far, so good. We are about half-way through the module and already the players are trying things they might not if they had a list of skills and special abilities on their character sheets. I also have a couple of new favourite NPCs. One has been tweaked slightly; A Half-Ogre instead of a Half-Orc. I'm not sure how he will fare next session but he could end up making a cameo.

So thanks Aaron for the zero-level concept which began with Treasure Hunt and proved popular with D&D fans - James M. Ward included an appendix for 0-level characters in Greyhawk Adventures (1988). Thanks also for  Gazetteer 1: The Grand Duchy of Karameikos (1987) and D&D Dungeons & Dragons Rules Cyclopedia (1991).

Rest in peace.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Last Week of a Successful Kickstarter + How Do You Do It?

Alliteration Works!
What a great start to 2017! Starting with a Kickstarter that funds in two days, January is almost at a close and so is that Kickstarter. Dungeon Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! 2!! has basically followed that same template as the first DDLitDoD! and apart from being 19 days long instead of 33 days, the backer trend seems to be similar also. Lots of action initially and then a plateau. "Day after day, day after day, We stuck, nor breath nor motion; As idle as a painted ship. Upon a painted ocean." to quote Samuel Coleridge.

What do you do? How do you get more interest? How do you get beyond this inertia? When backers change their pledges up/down/sideways or worse yet... drop off altogether!

With extraordinary strength of purpose. Or, in one word: Faith. Not just in God (although that certainly helps me!) but also in the creative process and being ready to begin right now. Why wait? You're probably as ready to start something now as you'll ever be. And you keep on communicating. Discuss the project with your backers. Ask what they like. What they would love to see. Keep working on it, and be patient.

I have no doubt the second Kickstarter will fund and I didn't even before it went live. What is the secret of my success? Hard to be sure. Obviously having "Dungeons" in the title has helped. People recognise the genre just from that work. Alliteration may also have contributed. What do I think is more important than all that? I love sculpting these miniatures (a new skill, though I've painted them for decades) and have enjoyed fantasy roleplaying since childhood. I let that love shine through. Be passionate! People get that. I really would love my miniatures in your hands and on your gaming table! Because I believe the world is a better place when people come together. Games are one way to enable that.


I have also made some new friends from around the world. The internet makes collaboration easy and with their encouragement and support, I offer something better than if I did everything myself. It also means word gets out in different places, like France and Germany (and America) for example. Friends closer to home are equally important because the Kickstarter isn't over when it hits the funding date. Without my gaming group, collating addresses and packing boxes would've been a nightmare!

A shout out to a few fine fellows my be in order here:

Lewis, Grant, Greg, Blair, Dennis and Dave for their inspiration at the gaming table (and help packing boxes).
Erik Tenkar, for letting me sculpt his famous dwarf, Tenkar Calishun.
Ken St. Andre (creator of Tunnels & Trolls), for his advice on Trolls and encouragement throughout this project.
Rick Loomis (Flying Buffalo) and Liz Danforth for their blessings and support.
John R. Lehman for his review.
Rom from Cult of Game, for his mad graphic design skills and another cool review.
Will from The Grinning Skull: Grim’s Dungeons of Doom, who is definately a kindred spirit!

My loving wife and our awesome children who don't mind having a crazy sculptor around.

God bless you and have a fantastic week!

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Tenkar Calishun + St Andre Troll + Delvers Lost in the Dungeons of Doom! 2!!


Warriors & Wizards. 
Here we are, January 2017 and I realise that my gaming blog has been gathering interweb dust. So, what have I been up to? December featured a trip to Fiji for a youth convention on climate change. I am really surprised how quickly Christmas rushed by! I enjoyed time with my family at the beach - it's a cracking hot summer in New Zealand. Running through the native bush and swimming at the beach is a great way to unwind after a challenging year in my new role as a Youth Ministry Coordinator.

I also began sculpting again. I sculpted my first 'Green', a barbarian called Kroag for my friend Lewis. Green putty is so much easier to use than Tamiya Quick Epoxy Putty! I continued to be amazed as more miniatures took shape. While at the beach I contacted another blogger, the renowned Erik of Tenkar's Tavern

I found him on Facebook and sent him a message:


  • 31/12/2016 08:50
    Darcy Perry


    Hey Erik, not sure what time it is there but it's quarter to nine, the morning of New Year's Eve here in New Zealand. I am a longtime follower of your blog. I was wondering if you ever had a miniature of Tenkar the Dwarf sculpted? I am new to sculpting but have managed a successful Kickstarter campaign and will be starting another one early 2017. Are you interested? Merry Christmas, Darcy Perry
  • Erik Tenkar
    31/12/2016 08:51
    Erik Tenkar


    heh - that would actually be kinda awesome

We chatted for a while and Erik sent me some artwork. Over the next few days we discussed details about his axe and shared our love for gaming,

Tenkar's Tavern

I started with his face (needs more beard!)

A double-bladed bearded-axe!

Goat insignia on his stein!

Then I thought about my friend Mark, an avid Tunnels & Trolls gamer. Ok, a fanatical Tunnels & Trolls player. He has even written and published Solo T&T Adventures! So, me thinks, how about making him a Troll? I hadn't sculpted a monster before. I may have even told a few folks I would stick to smaller heroes. Never say never.

Wait a minute, he's mates with Ken St. Andre! Ken stayed at his place last time he visited New Zealand. What if I asked Ken for advice about a Troll miniature? That would be really cool. So I went back to Facebook. I soon had an email with two screenshots of a Troll from Snow White and the Huntsman, along with a couple of snapshots of Ken's smiling face! Game on!

The result? The St. Andre Troll!

The Wire

Low on Green Stuff, I resort to left over Tamiya Quick Epoxy Putty.


Fedora hat for style.

Ken prefers his Trolls without toes or nails/claw.

The great Troll Hammer!

Note the rulebook and dice bag!

Welcome to the Dungeons of Doom!

Ken's archetypal Trollworld Rock Troll.

Ken is an amiable guy. He also knows what he likes in a troll. As you can see, I took some licence as an artist, making the St. Andre Troll a combination of sentient rock and more Ken-like features. I was also inspired by the art of Josh Kirby and Liz Danforth that for me, were the Trolls of my youth. They are burned into my brain. Ken suggested a Tarzan loincloth, which was great because (I love Tarzan, and) it meant a belt. Which meant a belt buckle. So I put a T&T on that!

I also slipped a rulebook in his left hand and a dice bag hangs from the studded belt. You need a lot of six-sided dice to play Tunnels & Trolls! The hammer is a nod to Troll Hammer Press, while the fedora hat is Ken's signature headgear.  

I launched the 2nd Star Hat Miniatures Kickstarter this afternoon. In a couple of hours it was half funded. As I write this, I realise I will be packing a lot of boxes in February!



God bless you all and enjoy your week!