Part of why we love gaming is nostalgia. You can indulge your yearning for the days of graph paper dungeons and self-illustrated adventures at Plagmada.org, an archive of, “manuscripts and drawings created to communicate a shared imaginative space.”
I’d somehow managed to know nothing at all about Plagmada until earlier today, when Hal Weaver pointed me to a BoingBoing post from Cory Doctorow showing off the latest file donated to the archive. It details a 1981 adventure called “Habitation of the Stone Giant Lord,” by G.J. Caesar (who is in his 40s today, I’d guess).
You can check out the whole thing in the Plagmada archive, along with many more. It’s full of graph maps, typed text and fantastic illustrations. The adventure leads the PCs through a stone giant lord’s…uh, habitation. While it’s full of the goofy, primitive things we all put in adventures when we were 12, it also works toward a certain verisimilitude, with the various rooms serving actual functions in the daily lives of the stone giant tribe.
Some of my favorite bits include:
A 52 H.P. Stone Giant who was sleeping. there is a 42% chance that the fight at 2 will wake him up. If so, there is a 5% chance he will rush in to help.
You have to love the way a kid will make an adventure with virtually no thought toward balance, but come up with incredibly precise rolls like this one. Did they playtest it? “Dude, that 43% chance of the giant waking up is totally broken. You’d better nerf that.” Also note that the sleeping giant has a 95% chance of waking up but just not giving a shit.
The furniture consists of his sleep bed, 2 benches…12 hides, mostly tiger. Under the bed is a barrel…In his file cabinet are various maps and charts. In the second drawer they have stored a rotten fish, and many papers…The third drawer contains a bear control potion under Tregis’ birth certificate.
I love how organized the stone giants are. File cabinets! Most giants would just toss a rotten fish in a corner, but not these guys. “Better file that away. Rotten fish, second drawer.” I do believe the last line is a misunderstanding on the part of the author and the PCs. These are some classy giants, but I doubt very much that they keep birth certificates. They do, however have a rigorous certification procedure for bear hunting. It’s quite likely, being the lord’s bed chamber, that the third drawer actually contains a birth control potion under Tregis’ bear certificate.
If the PCs walk in while the stone giant is sleeping, they’ll really have him over a barrel.
Plagmada is looking for further donations to the archive, so if you have old RPG maps and adventures stored away, check out their donations page and maybe put them on display.
(That top image is a pretty good candidate for a caption contest, by the way. There’s no prize or anything, but have at it in the comments below.)