Adventures in Roleplaying Part 4 – The Gathering Storm

“At the time, like most things, it seemed like a good idea.

Reasonably ok pay, three meals a day, and free board for a year. Everything seemed rosie for a change, at least until you read your contracts small print… Miserable weather, near constant marching, and routine patrols….

The air smelt of blood, death, and fecess. As what remained of Baldrick rained down on you, all you could think was that he would never return home to his family’s turnip farm.

The company had been dispatched 10 days ago to hunt down a goblin raiding party that was attacking northern homesteads.

But It wasn’t a raiding party… They were a scouting party for a larger horde.

The screams of a group of pikemen  being cleaved in two by an Orc barbarian’s Greataxe snapped you back to your senses in time to see a group of 6 Goblins armed with Scimitars charging straight for you…”

As I mentioned in a previous posting, I was getting a new group together for some D&D loving. 
We’ve had our session (0), ideas were exchanged, a social contract was signed, and characters were rolled up… And then there was a couple of weeks break till Session (1).

For party composition we have a Dwarven Cleric, a Human Fighter, a Lizardfolk Wizard, an Assimar Paladin, and a Half Elf Rogue. 

Personally I think some of them based their characters off Game of Thrones characters, but cudo’s to our player Paul for basing his Lizardfolk Wizard on a character from ‘Cadillac’s and Dinosaurs’.

 For safety sake I took a copy of their character sheets.

As I was getting back into the swing of things and I was DM’ing (dungeon mastering) for a new group, I started the group as a level 1 party. Also, instead of starting the party in a tavern, I started them in the middle of a battle with npc’s (non player characters) dying all around them. This way I could get a feel for how they Roleplay their characters and give them a taste of combat straight out of the gate.

To get my players pumped for session (2), I had there first combat encounter sort of layered. They first fought a group of 6 goblins, then followed up with 2 Orcs. 

By then end of these 2 encounters they were in a bad way, so things didn’t look too rosie when they got charged by a Troll.

Luckily our party was saved by the timely intervention of their Dwarven Sergeant D’van StoneHammer, who planted his axe in the middle of the Trolls head.

D’van reminded the party to burn the Troll before charging off to meet the oncoming green tide.

Session (1) ended with the party barely alive, facing a green tide charging at them as the scene faded to black.

I think I gave my players a good show, as I got a few ‘come on’ when the scene faded to black and my players wanting to know what happens to their characters. 
Personally I can’t wait till we get into session (2), and find out what has happened to our band of adventurers.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave 

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IKEA: Making gaming great again

In case you were unaware, there is currently a Petition for IKEA, on Change.org, to make an affordable multifunctional table for gaming.

Started only a week ago by Brad Smokely, his IKEA petition has over 19,500 signatures.

There have been many attempts either by private companies or by Kickstarter to develop a high-quality multi-functional table for both dining and gaming, but most have been out of the price range of most of the community.

IKEA is a  leader in multi-functional furniture at affordable prices, and it is the hope of the petition that IKEA will take notice and fill this gap thru their international stores. The gaming community is already a heavy user of IKEA’s KALLAX product as it is an efficient way to store and display their gaming collections. 

An affordable multi-function gaming table designed by IKEA would not only be an incredible addition to their line of products, but would also be an essential item for people who play card games, board games, and tabletop Wargames.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave

Adventures in Roleplaying Part 5 – The Man Caves DM Screen

With Wizards of the Coasts ‘Stream of Anniliation’ over, and myself nearly caught up on their videos. I thought with the release of their product information for the rest of the year, I’ld show off my Dungeon Master Screen.

 https://youtu.be/4q0q8vbkpG8

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave

Adventures in Roleplaying Part 4 – The Man Caves Dungeon Master Folder

With Wizards of the Coasts ‘Stream of Anniliation’ over, and myself nearly caught up on their videos. I thought with the release of their product information for the rest of the year, I’ld show off my Dungeon Master Folder. 
My folder cost in the region of €20 to €25 to compile. It comprises of material free and paid for. Some of the places I got my material were:
Absolute Tabletop
DrivethruRpg
Dragon nag
Wizards of the Coasts ‘Dragon+’ App

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.
– from The Man Cave

Adventures in Roleplaying Part 3 – The City

So… It’s a new year, and time for a new adventure. I’m going to have a new group of adventurers next month, so it’s time I got started writing a new adventure. 
This time round, the group will be running Dungeons & Dragons 5E. It’ll be set in the Forgotten Realms, in ‘The Spine of the World’.
I’m being a bit lazy this time round. I’m not going to homebrew an adventure arc or campaign. I’ve been going through some of the  adventures I have in my DM (Dungeon Master) folder, and starting off I’m basically going to link them together as part of a larger story arc.
I’m going to do this by firstly making a homebrew city, high up in the Spine of the World. I haven’t settled on a name for the city yet, and to be honest I don’t think I will name it (I’ll leave that up to the players). 
The inspiration for ‘The City’, comes from drawings of medieval cities, the image at the start of this article, Helms Deep from The Lord of the Rings, and with a touch of ‘Attack on Titan’.
So the basic idea was of a city high in the mountains with multiple layers of defence. The city would be populated primarily of humans, elfs, and dwarfs. With each race being in charge of a particular layer of defence, and section of the city.

I did a pencil scetch of the city, to get my ideas down on paper. The humans will have an urban environment, the elves will have a forest environment, and the dwarfs will live in the mine, at the center of the city.

I then went over the pencil drawing in pen. I finalised the design, added a few flourishes.

And then I coloured it in.


Obviously my little drawing isn’t to scale, and I’ve purposely left most of the city blank for two reasons. Firstly, so that new players can explore the city. And, secondarily so I can link the adventures I have picked out (more about them in a later post), better to the players choices.

Well that’s all for now, until next time, I’ll see you at the table.

– from The Man Cave

Hobby Hack #4 – Cutting the Costs


We are all aware of the cost of our hobby (well, except our partners, who we usually fudge the prices of our purchases to). 
Let’s face it, our hobby isn’t cheap. Between model/ miniature costs, the cost of accessories, paint and glue, costs rake up pretty quickly. As such, we are usually on the look out for ways to either cut our costs or to get a good deal on our purchases.
Some times this is buying on the secondary market, other times it’s finding alternative products, and it’s the latter (alternative products), we’re going to delve into today.

The first item we’re going to look at is ‘Primers’. For those of you who are uninitiated, a ‘Primer’, is basically the first step in painting a miniature or model. It’s basically a base coat of paint you apply to your model, so that your other paints can grip to, and not flake/ rub off. Although the most common colours to be used in priming a model are black and white, you can use nearly any colour, it just basically depends on your paint scheme.
There are a number of different ‘Primers’ available on the market from companies such as Games Workshop and Army Painter, just to name a few. Generally they are applied either via an Airbrush or a rattle can. I use the rattle can variety (as I don’t own an airbrush), the price of a can of ‘Primer’ can vary depending on where you get them, but usually a can of ‘Primer’ will cost between €10 to €15 per can, and if your painting an army of miniatures for games such as Warhammer 40k, Age of Sigmar, Warmachine/ Hordes, Dropfleet Commander, or Infinity as an example your going to need multiple cans.

Today we are having a look at a cheaper alternative to the big boys.

Today we are looking at Halfords Plastic Primer (grey colour). I’ve been previously told about this product but haven’t had a chance to test it till now. Now that I have tried it, I don’t think I’ll be using anything else going forward.

So how much does it cost?

At a cost of less than €8 for a 300 ml can, and less than €10 for a 500 ml, price wise you can’t go wrong.
What’s the coverage like?

To me, the spray seemed to be finer than say Games Workshop or Army Painter ‘Primer’ sprays. It didn’t clump or collect in recessed areas either, like I have happened with the previously mentioned sprays. I was impressed in the colour coverage, the spray even reached those hard to reach places (you know the ones I’m talking about, like between the legs, and in recessed tight corners).

So how did the ‘Primed’ model turn out?

I was interested to see how a ‘primed’ model would turn out, so I tested the spray on a number of different models. I would a this point take a moment to point out that although I did ‘prime’, for the most part I didn’t remove mold lines and flash from the models.


First up I primed a couple of containers from Puppetwars.eu, the containers are made of a resin-foam material. In a few places it appears the spray ate into the model but I believe this is more to do with the resin-foam than the spray.


Next up I tried a Fusilier model from the game Infinity.


I then did the Librarian from Games Workshops Dark Vengeance box set (I swear it has nothing to do with 8th edition 🤔). The grey is nearly an exact colour match for the Colour of GW plastic. The spray actually got in between the sections near the shoulders and back pack.


Next up I primed my fleet of UCM spaceships (8 frigates and 5 cruisers) from Hawk Wargames, Dropfleet Commander.


Finally I primed the web store exclusive Saratoga class cruiser from Dropfleet Commander.

The Halfords sprays come in a variety of colours so if grey isn’t your preference, you have a range to choose from.
If you haven’t tried the Halfords Plastic Primers before, based on my experience with them I can’t recommend them enough. 
Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.
– from The Man Cave 

On Kickstarter – Oath of the Frozen King by Absolute Tabletop


As someone who enjoys Roleplaying games, and as someone who acts as a Dungeon Master (DM) who knows what they are doing, I watch a bit of YouTube for DM tips and inspiration.
A while ago I came across Absolute Tabletop, and their YouTube channel Tabletop Terrors.
So when I saw that they were launching a Kickstarter for a new Product called an ‘Adventure Kit’, My interest was piqued.

Absolute Tabletop is a tabletop roleplaying game publisher with a focus on community and a belief that anyone can be creative. 

Founded in September 2015, Absolute Tabletop has self-published roleplaying game material, including a worldbuilding sourcebook ‘Be A Better Campaign Master’, and supplemental rulesets for their adventure setting ‘DragonGrin’,  called The Convocation and The Copper Jackals. In 2016, Absolute Tabletop drew attention for giving away hundreds of free digital supplements to people who participated in their Absolute Creativity writing event.

Absolute Tabletop comprises of Michael Barker, Matt Click, Tim Kearney, and James Kearne. 

So what are Adventure kits?

Adventure Kits from Absolute Tabletop are a series of versatile, flexible frameworks for roleplaying game adventures.

If you are a Prep-light GM/ DM or an improv-heavy GM/ DM? Then you will enjoy the versatility and flexibility that Adventure Kits provide, while DMs who prefer going into games with a lot of prepared material will appreciate utilizing the ‘Toolkit’ to create a fully fleshed out adventure quickly and easily.  
Tim from Absolute Tabletop already did a video, to show off how someone could use the Toolkit.

So what’s inside Oath of the Frozen King?

Inside the pages you’ll find inspiration, mechanics, and ready-made, modular add-ons for each adventure. Absolute Tabletop have left their Adventure as open as possible so you can use as little or as much as you need to create your unique adventure. Inside the pages of Oath of the Frozen King there are sections for:

The Adventure Setting: A brief description of the world, realm, and region that the adventure is set in, including a quick note on how to run it in your own campaign world.  

A World Primer: The most important tenets of the world that the adventure is set in. These are the details that give the world its tone and feel.

An Adventure Overview: This top-down view includes high concept details of the lore, tone, and possible conflicts.  

Map: Each Adventure Kit includes a modular map of the adventuring location for easy reference. You can find full-size maps for use with miniatures available for purchase at http://www.HeroicMaps.com.

The Locations: Each area of the adventure includes a flavorful description and applicable mechanics, as well as sights, sounds, and sensations.

The Encounters: This list of encounters includes at least one of each of the following: a roleplay encounter, a combat, a skill challenge, a puzzle or trap, and a climactic encounter.  

NPCs: Each Adventure Kit comes packed with a handful of unique and thematic non-player characters, complete with basic stats, personality traits, and even secrets for use in roleplay encounters.  

The Resolution and Rewards: This section offers some suggested adventure resolutions and ideas for rewards and loot for the adventurers. 

The Toolbox: Modular add-ons and adventure enhancements like mechanics, thematic phrases, set dressing, trinkets and loot, and simple generators for monsters, skill challenges, and traps.

I recently had a chance of asking Barker at Absolute Tabletop a few questions and here’s what we talked about…

Q) Although the adventure doesn’t have to be entirely centred on your world of Dragon Grin, how much fluff/ settings will the Adventure Kit give us.

A) The book will contain enough Dragongrin lore to inspire the game master to run a fun and immersive game inside the world, yet the information will be loose enough to be discarded without hurting the content itself. Also, the book will now contain a short story set in the world of Dragongrin, about the rise of the Frozen King himself! So there will be plenty there for those interested in Dragongrin to get their hands dirty in wondrous lore. 

Q) given that Oath of the Frozen King has certain elemental themes (such as Ice and Undeath), will future Adventure Kits have other elemental themes (such as Fire and rebirth, as an example).

A) We’ve only briefly considered the content of future Adventure Kits, but in that time, we’ve discovered that we do like the idea of changing up the elements a bit (a hellish environment, or a swampy one, as a couple examples). That said, I don’t think we’ll be solely designing future Adventure Kits around the elements. 

Q) As a DM that struggles at times with describing settings, scenes and appearances, your Adventure Kit, really helps (from what I’ve seen of it on Tabletop Terrors) to bridge the gap for myself between the stat profile of a monster/ NPC to what I imagine it to be. Do you think this is something that was missing from Not just 5E but other RPG games.

A) We see the Adventure Kit as striking a balance that has been missing from all sorts of RPGs, including 5e and other systems/settings. But as the world begins moving towards a more theater-of-the-mind style, we feel this focus on description and setting (opposed to hard mechanics) will be widely accepted by those – much like yourself – who feel the balance has been tilted too far towards the “crunch” in the past. I hope that answers your question!

Q) One of Absolute Tabletops continuous mantras has always been that anybody can be creative, how much of a headache has it been between giving people the tools to be creative with the Adventure Kit, as opposed to just rail roading them.

A) You know what? It’s been strangely the opposite, actually! As a bunch of ADHD creatives like ourselves, we find it quite a bit easier to offer up some broad-stroked options for the DM in question than to strictly force them onto a predetermined path. Because we all know that halfway through an adventure module, the players usually do something completely different anyway!

Q) Once the books start coming in from the printers, which of you gets the pleasure of storing them.

A) We actually utilize an extremely reliable, print-on-demand company called IngramSpark (Lightning Source on DriveThruRPG) who print and ship all our ordered products. So no filled garages or unhappy families on our end!

Q) Absolute Tabletop has been publishing a number of adventures now for nearly 2 years, you’ve published a number of softcover books (my personal favourite is your Thunder Dwarf book), you’ve established your backend channels so to speak with publishing, the absolute tabletop website, and community. How much trepidation did you guys experience in regards to going to Kickstarter with your Adventure Kit.

A) A metric ton.

Q) With your Kickstarter being so successful, and with time still to go, have you guys been shocked at the level of support you’ve received so far.

A) We are utterly shocked. I don’t think that will ever go away, to be honest. We were shocked when we first launched our website to see that over 200 people wanted to give us their support. We were shocked when we first started the AbTab community to find a wonderful influx of new and creative minds (like your own!) who wanted to meet like-minded people and game with them. And yes, we are shocked now, given the success of the Kickstarter. 

Ultimately, we love our community, and they continue to surprise us. Not only in tremendous support, but in courtesy, skill, and creativity. You are all amazing.

Absolute Tabletop originally launched their Kickstarter with a funding goal of only €500. At the time of my writing this, The Oath of the Frozen King, has raised over €25,000 and still has a number of days left.

So if you like what you’ve seen, there’s still time to make a Pledge.

Until next time, I’ll see you at the table.
– from The Man Cave