Welcome to DolmenBarrow!

My new campaign, called DolmenBarrow, is a mashup of Barrowmaze (by Greg Gillespie) set in Dolmenwood (as presented in the Wormskin zine from Necrotic Gnome Productions). I might also slip in some Hill Cantons, Dwimmermount, and Operation Unfathomable.

To learn more about the campaign, click on the following links:

You can also download Welcome to Dolmenwood and the Dolmenwood Map for free.


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Renata’s Robbers


Last session the PCs came across a band of brigands in the Barrowmaze. It turns out that they were the remnants of Renata’s Robbers. The group had heard rumours about them earlier – that they were camped in the woods near the barrow mounds and were charging a “toll” for adventuring groups returning to Prigwort.

However, they have fallen on hard times since the Acolytes of Orcus consolidated their control over the Barrowmaze. Late one night – after some particularly drunken revelry – their camp was suddenly attacked by Orcus-worshipping Goatmen mounted on Night Goats. During the assault, Renata (their leader) and Violet (daughter of Lady Harrowmoor) were dragged screaming by the Goatmen into a barrow mound.

The surviving Robbers ventured into the dungeon in an attempt to rescue Renata and Violet. However, without leadership they have been struggling…

…At least until the PCs arrived. Parley ensued and the two groups decided to combine forces. Now the Robbers have regained their focus and are determined to rescue Renata.

Continue reading

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Fall of Atlantis (Teaser)

KanahuFor the past few months I’ve been running a Dolmenwood/ Barrowmaze mashup using Labyrinth Lord and haven’t posted too much about ACKS. In the background, though, I’ve been reading the sneak peek pdfs of the ACKS Heroic Companion and Barbarian Conquerors of Kanahu (BCK) and thinking about how I’m going to use it in my games.

I was originally considering converting my Astonishing ACKS campaign over to the Heroic Companion, but have decided against this. I think standard ACKS spellcasting works great in Hyperborea, with mighty Pyromancers and Xathoqquan Sorcerer-Priests brimming with magic power. More of a four-colour pulp comic feel.

I will adapt some of the material from the Heroic Companion and BCK when I restart Astonishing ACKS – particularly some of the non-magical character classes, Heroic rules, and Technology – but I’m planning on waiting until I get the final draft before doing too much with this.

What I have been fiddling with, though, is an ACKS mini-campaign called Fall of Atlantis using the Ceremonial Magic rules from the Heroic Companion and high technology from BCK. Set in antediluvian Earth, it would focus on the exploits of former slaves and barbarian foreigners on the doomed island of Atlantis in the final years before it sinks.

This campaign would be loosely connected to my Hyperborean game. In this era, the Old Hyperboreans still dwell on Earth at this point and have only recently begun to be corrupted by Xathoqqua. The human (and hybrid) Valusians have finally wrested control of their lands from their Ophidian overlords, but will soon fall too. And the Atlanteans – once greatest of all – have become decadent and corrupt, relying on oppression and slave labour to maintain their powerful empire.

I’ve also been reading the excellent Spears of the Dawn, an African-themed sandbox RPG from Kevin Crawford of Sine Nomine Publishing. Although I don’t think I’ll run a game set in Africa, I like the idea of it being home the most powerful human civilisation in this era. The “Ivory Kingdoms” are the only human domains that Atlantis treats as near-equals (Atlanteans view themselves as ‘above’ humanity, on par with the Hyperboreans and Ophidians).

So expect a few posts here outlining this new mini-campaign. If it still interests me after I wrap up Barrowmaze later this summer then I’ll give it a shot.

Hyperborea HR

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Equipment Quick-Start

In an attempt to speed up character creation, we’ll do randomized equipment selection. These tables are based Gavin Norman’s Dolmenwood House Rules.


Fighters (& subclasses) roll 1d6 twice and pick the best result; clerics (& subclasses) and non-humans roll 1d4; thieves (& subclasses) roll 1d4 but ignore shields; magic-users get no armour.

  1. Leather Armour (AC 7)
  2. Leather Armour + Shield (AC 6)
  3. Studded Leather (AC 6)
  4. Studded Leather + Shield (AC 5)
  5. Chainmail (AC 5)
  6. Chainmail + Shield (AC 4)

(Moss dwarfs get cork armour instead of leather, and pinecone armour instead studded.)


Fighters roll 1d12 twice; clerics roll 1d4 twice; thieves and non-humans roll 1d8 twice; magic-users get a dagger.

  1. Club (1d4 dmg)
  2. Quarterstaff (1d6 dmg, 2 hands)
  3. Mace (1d6 dmg)
  4. Sling + 20 Bullets (1d4 dmg)
  5. 3 Daggers (1d4 dmg)
  6. Hand Axe (1d6 dmg)
  7. Shortsword (1d6 dmg)
  8. Shortbow + 20 Arrows (1d6 dmg)
  9. Spear (1d6 dmg, or 1d8 dmg with 2 hands)
  10. Woodsman’s Axe (1d8 dmg, 2 hands)
  11. Longsword (1d8 dmg)
  12. Heavy Crossbow + 20 Quarrels (1d8 dmg)

(Moss dwarfs can swap metal weapons for a wooden cudgel [1d6 dmg].)

Class-Specific Equipment

  • Fighters who rolled crappy armour and weapons (referee’s discretion) get an extra piece of adventuring gear.
  • Clerics get a wooden holy symbol.
  • Thieves get thieves’ tools.
  • Magic-users get a spellbook with one spell selected by player plus 1d4 random spells.

General Adventuring Gear

All characters start play with a backpack, a tinderbox, 5 torches, 1d12gp, and 1d4 items rolled from the list below:

  1. Crowbar
  2. Hammer
  3. 10 iron spikes
  4. Sledgehammer
  5. 5 days’ rations
  6. Waterskin
  7. 50′ hempen rope
  8. Bedroll
  9. Lantern and 3 flasks of oil
  10. Ink, quill, and 5 sheets of parchment
  11. 10 sticks of chalk
  12. Small sack


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The Friar (Cleric Variant)

I’m adding the friar class as an option in my current campaign. It’s adapted from the Fantastic Heroes & Witchery RPG by Dominique Crouzet.

Friars are all sorts of wandering preachers and simple parish priests, whose religious ideal is to serve their communities in the name of their faith.

Friars are actually more common than clerics in Dolmenwood – and more popular among its inhabitants. While still servants of the One True God, many friars propitiate obscure saints or local petty gods as well. (Their loose interpretation of the faith and recognition of other deities does not seem to affect any their class abilities.)

Game Rules:

As per Friar class from FH&W, with the following clarifications and adjustments:

  • Experience requirements, attack progression, and saving throws are as per cleric.
  • Bludgeoning weapons only, as per cleric.
  • Armour is restricted to studded leather (AC 6) or lighter; shields permitted.
  • For the Community Ear class ability, use a “Hear Noise” check (with chances as per thief of equal level).

Friars are appropriate as PCs in the DolmenBarrow campaign.


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Half-Goats in DolmenBarrow

Requirements: CON 9
Ability Modifiers: CON +1, INT -1, CHA -2
Ability Min/Max: STR 6/18, DEX 3/17, CON 9/19, INT 3/15, WIS 3/14, CHA 3/12

Half-Goat with skillfully-concealed horn nubs (Credit: Charles LeBrun)

Half-goats result from matings between humans and goatfolk. The majority of these cross-breeds are moronic half-wits; player character half-goats are assumed to be within the rare 10% of goatman hybrids of near-normal intellect.

Each half-goat possesses a few goatish features – such as a goatee beard (even on goat-women), goat eyes, goats hooves in place of feet, or a rudimentary tail ending in a tuft of coarse hair. They also have small nub-horns, no longer than an inch, atop their heads. Their butt attack is thus not particularly to be feared, although their thick, bony skull can still deliver a blow of some force (1d6 damage). Those who have goat eyes (30% chance) will possess infravision which functions up to 30′ distance.

Half-goats speak Woldish (common) and Caprice.


Half-goats are hardy beings, resistant to magic and poison, and receive the following saving throw bonuses:

  • +2 save versus breath attacks
  • +4 save versus poison
  • +1 save versus petrify or paralyze
  • +1 save versus wands
  • +2 save versus spells or spell-like devices


Assassin 10
Bard 4
Cleric 4
Druid 4
Fighter 12
Friar 4
Magic-User 4
Mountebank 6
Thief 12
Ranger 6
Witch 6


Pick Locks -7%
Find and Remove Traps -5%
Pick Pockets -5%
Climb Walls +10%
Hear Noise +1*

* Half-goats receive a better dice range for hearing noises. For example, 1st level half-goat thieves hear noises on a 1-3, and at 9th level it is 1-5. Hear noise may never be better than 1-5.


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Lumpen-Ones in DolmenBarrow

(I don’t like Halflings, so I’m swiping this class from Devilmount as a “compensation class” for anyone who rolls crap for stats. Lumpen-Ones were originally created by Jack Shear for Devilmount, and also featured in Crumbling Epoch by Fictive Fantasies.)


Requirements: 12 or less in all scores
Prime Requisite: None
Hit Dice: 1d6
Maximum Level: 8

Stubby, nude, misshapen grotesqueries, these sludgy grumps resent their world-mates and specialize in underground skirmishing and sniping. They rarely wear clothes (but may be persuaded to wear armour – chain or lighter, plus shields).

Lumpen-Ones are child-sized and may not use large and two-handed weapons, but can use any other weapon. Because they are so small, Lumpen-Ones have a lower armour class (-2) when attacked by creatures greater than human sized.

Lumpen-Ones can see in the dark with infravision up to 60 feet. They get a bonus of +1 to initiative rolls when alone or in a party composed only of Lumpen-Ones, and a +1 bonus on any missile attacks (they like to throw rocks at people).

Lumpen-Ones are considered beneath notice and tend to be ignored by others. If they remain silent and motionless, they will be unnoticed on a roll of 1-2 on 1d6. (This ability is effective both outdoors and in the dungeon).

Lumpen-Ones speak Woldish (common) and Lumpen. They do not have a prime requisite and do not get experience bonuses (or penalties).

In all other respects, treat Lumpen-Ones as per Labyrinth Lord Halflings.


Lumpen-Ones with AEC-style classes receive the following saving throw bonuses:

  • +2 save versus breath attacks
  • +4 save versus poison
  • +4 save versus petrify or paralyze
  • +3 save versus wands
  • +4 save versus spells or spell-like devices


Assassin 8
Fighter 6
Mountebank 4
Thief 10


Pick Locks +5%
Find and Remove Traps +5%
Pick Pockets +5%
Move Silently +10%
Climb Walls -15%
Hide in Shadows +10%


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Revised Labyrinth Lord Multiclassing

(I’m swiping the “combining classes” rule from the Basic Fantasy RPG for my Labyrinth Lord campaigns. I think it’s a lot easier than the AD&D/AEC system.)


Illustration from Steve Zieser

The following replaces the AEC Multiclassing rules (p.24):

At the referee’s option, characters may advance simultaneously in two classes. The character must meet all requirements of the chosen classes. The multiclass character gains all special abilities of both classes, and uses the best hit points, attack values, and saving throws of each. However, they must gain experience equal to the combined requirements of both base classes to advance in level, and their maximum level is limited to the lowest of the two classes chosen.

Traditionally, humans are not allowed to multiclass, but this is permitted in my home games. (Some humans may also be permitted to switch classes during play.) Demihuman race-classes may not multiclass.

Subclasses may not multiclass with other classes of the same type (so no fighter/rangers or magic-user/illusionists). Due to their beliefs, lawful clerics (including subclasses) cannot multiclass as magic-users or thieves, and paladins cannot multiclass at all.

Multiclass characters sometimes gain class abilities that would otherwise conflict. Notes on specific class combinations follow:

  • Multiclass clerics (and cleric subclasses) may use any armour or weapons appropriate for the other class.
  • Multiclass fighters (and fighter subclasses) can combine their abilities freely with any other class.
  • Multiclass magic-users (and magic-user subclasses) may cast spells normally while using armour or weapons appropriate for the other class.
  • Multiclass thieves (and thief subclasses) may use any armour or weapons appropriate for the other class. However, the thief armour restriction still applies so that if a multiclassed thief wears armour heavier than studded leather or uses a shield, thief skills may not be employed.

Example: Gimp Froodle is a a gnome fighter/illusionist. He uses the best hit points, attack values, and saving throws from his two base classes. He may wield weapons as a fighter and can cast illusionist spells while wearing armour. Gimp requires 4286 XP to advance to 2nd level, and is limited in advancement to 6th level.


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