Evils of Illmire

We’re starting an Evils of Illmire campaign, using the change from the year-long Barrowmaze open table to try out a few new forms of gameplay - namely OSE (which is about as crunchy as most of us are willing to go), Owlbear Rodeo (because I want to try using my drawing pad at the ‘table’, and Roll20 is frustratingly resistant to it) and keeping all digital character sheets and handouts in one Google Slides document (because I’m too disorganised to keep up to date with so many different links to separate sheets).

I’ve sat down with my home-printed copy of the module, gone to town with my highlighter, drawn up a few premature house rules for an untried rules system, put together a few digital tools which will most likely have taken more time to create than they’ll save, and am raring to go after one session.

Campaign Preamble

The group’s first session


Hi, Idle Doodler! You and I both have been running Barrowmaze with our own rulesets, and now you are shifting to OSE just as I have been hankering after it myself, just to see if it would satisfy. And I was even thinking of Illmire.

Your links led me to your blog and the house rules you have in mind, which are, gosh, just about the same as mine (save vs Death at zero HP, for example, though instead of inventory disappearing from real wounds, I was imagining CON, with a permanent loss of a stat every time one reaches that level).

Anyway, I was even estimating how many inventory slots to give, and I thought, “Hm, how about ten, but I’d modify it by STR and CON bonuses/minuses.” What do you think of that rule? It would mess up your (very nice) 10-slot character sheet, potentially…

Thanks for sharing all the stuff you share on your blog.

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Great minds think alike! (Or are just subject to the whims of online trends…)

I mainly went with inventory disappearing because it’s worked really well in the Barrowmaze game. I did ponder how something might be done without having to introduce a slot system - like lowered attributes or a penalty to saves - but they all seemed to involve just a little bit too much bookkeeping (which is one major deterrent when it comes to death & dismemberment systems, as well as having another table to look up), like having space for a current attribute and a lowered attribute that could be healed.

Heck, I’m even looking to see if it’s possible to do away with the # HP out of # HP part of a character sheet - I don’t like how it’s treated as a refillable bar. Far too predictable.

In the end, filling up inventory slots with injury ‘items’ just captured that sense I wanted that getting hurt
really sucks in the middle of a fight, and lingers afterwards. It allows for heroic moments like Boromir fighting on while losing his shield, the Horn of Gondor and then his life.

As for number of slots - yeah, I wondered about that little extra bit of granularity (and if we were playing 5e, I’d definitely have gone for it - anything to boost stats other than DEX!), but didn’t want to mess with the RAW weighting of attributes.

I went with ten initially because of ease of calculation should we need to calculate boat capacity - small boats will have a capacity of 40 slots, with an unequipped character weighing ten slots, and any items coming in separately. Easier maths at the table! I did want to keep the option open though, which is one reason why we’ve gone with this character sheet over my homedrawn one - we’ve used bordered text boxes for inventory slots, so if everyone’s happy to change it halfway through, we can do so.

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I’ve been running The Evils of Illmire since July last year, it’s pretty damned amazing, so much great content, so many possibilities for the players. It was a great learning experience for me as well, just let the players shake the tree and see what falls out. Session reports are here The Evils of Illmire – Old Scouser Roleplaying

We’re not done yet either, still a good bit for them to do.

A lot more concise and readable than mine! I’ll have to settle down and have a flick through these.

Its modularity is very handy - lots of self-contained dungeons but with enough links to each other encourage player note-taking. Quite similar in format to Barrowmaze, in fact, with isolated dungeons scattered around leading down into a connected larger area. Makes it nice and episodic for a GM reading through it.

Its occasional departure from standard alphabetical order has caught me out a few times, though!

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Here’s a write up for session 2 - and I reckon I need to set myself and arbitrary word limit going forward. Days of concise university essays evidently long behind me…

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The organisation is a bit odd but improved in the latest release (v4). I do like being able to prep only what I need for the next session, and focussing on one dungeon at a time really helps.

That’s a nice read. I find it tricky deciding how much detail to put in, you want to catch the highlights and show what the PCs are doing, but it can easily get very wordy. In my later posts I decided to go for a bullet point format which works well for me, plus I think it’s easier to read as well.