The Orton Estate

Although this Adventure Hook is probably more suited to a horror RPG like Call of Cthulhu it could work well within other systems like Savage Worlds (especially Realms of Cthulhu of course) or even Dungeons and Dragons with a few tweaks and the home could easily be fleshed out as a dungeon crawl.

Ian Theobald Orton was a famous adventurer and explorer who made his fortune finding and selling rare artifacts, artwork and curiosities.  At least that’s how the story goes in his official biography.  The truth however is much less prosaic.  Mr. Orton did indeed travel far and wide and dabbled in selling some of the more mundane things which he found in his travels, but his main purpose was the accumulation and use of long-lost forbidden knowledge.  A purpose to which he was uniquely suited and at which he greatly excelled.

Towards the end of his life he commissioned and built the Orton Estate on the outskirts of the city.  Rumors insist that Orton himself drew up the plans for the home and used different contractors for each stage of the construction so that no one person other than himself knew or fully understood the layout.  Many people even say that Ian Orton himself did much of the work even though he was upwards of sixty years old at the time.

Once the home was complete Mr. Orton spent the next few years arriving with trucks full of the art and curios he had obtained throughout his career as well as continuing to do some travel and acquiring more items which interested him until the time of his purported death over seventy-five years ago when ownership and upkeep of the estate passed to a Trust Mr. Orton had set up for the perpetual upkeep of the property for use by his family.

The Hook

Two weeks ago Natasha Hagelman, a seventeen year old local girl, disappeared and was last seen near the Orton Estate.  Authorities looking into the citizenkanedisappearance have come to the conclusion that the girl must have run away from home and have officially closed the investigation.  Natasha’s family however don’t believe this is true.  Her father is a long-time resident of the area and remembers several other disappearances around “the old Orton place” over the years and hires the players’ characters to investigate.

The Truth

Although investigations will show that the Orton Estate is currently owned by Ian’s great-grandson Henry Orton the only current resident is Ian himself.  Having prolonged his life and become immortal by turning himself into a Ghoul (a ghost or lich would work as well depending on your gaming system) he has continued his research.  Even now Ian has an insatiable thirst for forbidden knowledge which leads him to contact creatures from many realms.  These entities always require some type of payment for what they know and sometimes that payment comes in the form of humans.  When this occurs Ian abducts a passerby near his Estate and trades them for the information he seeks.  This has happened eight times in the seventy-five years since his “death” although only six were ever reported locally as the other two were from out-of-town, one a hitch-hiker and the other simply had the misfortune of being stranded near the estate on the wrong night.

#107 Dead In Thay 02

In this episode pulled from our Google Hangout our adventurers reach the Bloodgate Nexus and fight to save the Sword Coast from the evil Red Wizard invasion.  Also there’s way too much talk about turning undead.  We hope you enjoy and don’t forget you can view the video of this session on to see all of our happy smiling faces and to watch the board we use.

As always please like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter@TheGoblinBeat and send us questions or suggestions via email at and last but not least we would appreciate any good ratings and/or reviews on iTunes.  Thanks for listening!


#106 Dead In Thay 01

Listen in to the audio of our Google Hangout where we are playing through the current season of D&D Encounters.  In this episode the adventure gets started and things get crazy in a hurry!  We hope you enjoy and don’t forget you can view the video of this session on to see all of our happy smiling faces and to watch the board we use.

As always please like us on Facebook, follow us on twitter@TheGoblinBeat and send us questions or suggestions via email at and last but not least we would appreciate any good ratings and/or reviews on iTunes.  Thanks for listening!


DnD Next Class Groups

Let me start this article by saying I’m a fan of D&D Next.  I like what the design team has done so far by bringing the game back to its roots and making it feel like true D&D once again.  I can tell they all have a passion for the game and want to make it the best it can be which makes me excited to play the full version once released.  With that said I read the Legends & Lore : Class Groups article from earlier this week by Mike Mearls today and almost threw up all over my screen.  I attempted to put a comment on the page there but with the internet being what it is today I got the following message when trying to save the comment, “The text in your comment does not pass validation. Ensure that all of the approved tags are properly closed.” which tells me as a developer myself that “something ain’t right”.

In any case please read the article first and then feel free to read my comments below:

First I think there is a typo in the article where you mention mage being elevated to a d4, I’m pretty sure you meant d6.


Second I don’t agree with that at all. Mage should be d4, rogue d6, cleric d8, fighter d10, barbarian d12 etc. It works fine, it’s Iconic to D&D and there’s no reason to mess with it.


Third why would you restructure your entire class system just to make the magic user classes fit? Magic is special, it’s freagin magic, it doesn’t have to fit in a category.


Why would you change multiple other classes just to make them fit into a category system you created for magic users? That doesn’t make any sense at all. If you want to have feats, items etc. that work the same for different arcane spellcasters just say “Usable by Arcane Spellcasters”. Although I think you are getting far afield from your original statements about magic items being unique, special and interesting with such attempts.


If you have to create groupings I like the ones by “drowsword” although I think he has Barbarian and Fighter swapped role-wise. Ideally though you just drop the idea of needing categories. Each class should be unique, iconic, and excel at its own abilities. Don’t start mucking them up just to make them fit into particular niches.

The comment from Drowsword was posted with a timestamp of 10/2/2013 3:40:55 PM which will hopefully help you find it.  Generally the comments so far have been similar to my own feelings so there is definitely hope that this class grouping thing will be tossed out but you never know.  What do you think about it?

#088 David Pulver Interview

This week Matt and Danny interview David Pulver about Laboratory of the Forsaken, his new adventure for Fantasy Craft, a d20 based game from Crafty Games.  David has been writing adventures and supplements for years, including several for D&D 2nd Edition when TSR was still around.  We had a great conversation with David and hope you’ll consider checking out Laboratory of the Forsaken.

If you enjoy our podcasts and would like to help us keep it going you can always donate to use using the donate button on our main page or buy a shirt from our shop to help fund further podcasts.  If you donate $10 or more make sure to include your address and we’ll send you an official Goblin Beat Wild Die as well as dedicate an episode to you!

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The Anagen Gate

The King of the Island Nation of Thalass has gone missing and his Queen is willing to pay handsomely for his return.  The King’s last known location was on a small island where according to legend a gate to another realm exists.  The King left with his most trusted advisors and soldiers in hopes of finding his way to this realm in order to gain a weapon or artifact to help him safeguard his people from the other nations of the area.

King Thalass, as all Thalassian kings are called, had been convinced that his small kingdom would soon be overrun by pirates and invading forces if he could not find a way save them.  As a result he fixated upon the ancient legend of The Anagen Gate.  A gate through which a person may pass to find new power and strength, strength King Thalass could use to protect his kingdom.

The Queen knows the location of the island where King Thalass was headed and can give this to the heroes.  The trick to the Anagen gate though comes from the fact that once you go through it, you can not go back out the same way.  Any who enter may only return to their own world by going forward, through six more gates.  Each gate takes the traveler to another realm where they must prove themselves worthy to move forward and only by making it through the seventh gate does one return to the island.

When the heroes arrive the King is stuck just inside of the third gate, where the last of his advisors was struck down.  Each realm has its own challenges and problems to solve to make it through the next gate but once the King is found, and the heroes convince him that they are both real and on his side, he will willingly work along with them to make their way out.

There is plenty more to flesh out here, each realm could be a single encounter or an entire adventure for the players.  The rewards for any hero making his/her way through the final gate could also vary greatly.  The reward could simply be the experience (and new power gained thereby) or could be strange new abilities or magical items.  Once the King is returned there could still be more to do as well.  Where did he learn of the legend?  Was it planted for him to find by an enemy nation or by a rival within his own kingdom, hoping to usurp the throne in his absence?

I think lots of fun could be had working within the framework of this adventure hook, but what do you think?

The Ruby of Torm Tura

Torm Tura was perhaps the greatest Warchief the Black Hand Orcs ever had. During his reign dozens of other tribes pledged their banners to the Black Hands. Torm Tura allegedly gained much of his warrior power from a fist sized ruby set into the center of his leather breastplate. The legends of the origin of the Ruby of Torm Tura are as many and varied as its supposed powers. Most of the Black Hands held that the ruby was torn from the eye of a great demon, and that it infused their Warchief with its demonic strength and vigor. Others claimed it was the eye of a great dragon or created by a powerful wizard to turn Torm Tura into his champion.

Whatever the truth, Torm Tura was not only a powerful warrior, he was also smart and conniving. While he ruled the orcs of what are now known as the Tormeric Planes no other race dared step foot in the region, including the gnolls who had long been their hated rivals. Upon Torm Tura’s death, after a reign of more than forty years, a length of time unmatched in orc history, the ruby vanished along with the body of the great ruler.


Now, hundreds of years later, rumors say the tomb of Torm Tura  has been found. Fearing the return of a powerful orc ruler the humans, elves, dwarves and others that live in or near the Tormeric Planes are looking about for a group of heroes to delve into the ancient tomb and secure the ruby before the orcs can do so. The gnolls also fear a return of the days of Torm Tura and are seeking the tomb for themselves, and of course the Black Hand orcs are doing all they can to find their way into the tomb in hopes of bringing back the glory days of their tribe.

If the heroes accept the commision to find the Ruby of Torm Tura they will not only be delving into an ancient and deadly tomb, filled with deterrents and death traps, they will also be racing orcs, gnolls and who knows what else to the resting place of Torm Tura himself. And who’s to say that the ancient orc is truly dead after all?

As always let me know what you think about this Adventure Hook and how it works out if you use it!

Adventure Hooks: Haunted Hollow

This Adventure Hook is for a fantasy setting, be it D&D, Savage Worlds or any other system.  As usual let us know what you think about it, especially if you use it in some way.  Enjoy!

Haunted Hollow is a quaint village where most everyone in town is in some way involved in logging.  Some folks fell the trees, others clear away stumps and yet others plant new seedlings each year so that the whole process can begin anew.  For years the small hamlet has gotten along in this way with little or no trouble but lately kobolds that live in the nearby mountain have begun attacking the townsfolk while they are within the woods.

As a result the town council has put out a call for adventurers to help fend off the kobolds and put a stop to their attacks.  When the player’s characters arrive they are thus greeted warmly by the populace and treated to half price rooms at the only inn in town.

The next morning however the chest containing all of the gold the town had raised to pay whomever freed them from their kobold problem goes missing.  What’s worse, it is found in the room of one of the players!  The townsfolk accuse the characters of being thieves and tricksters and oust them from town.

The whole problem in Haunted Hollow comes down to the haunting.  Throughout the history of the small town there have always been rumors that the town and surrounding forest are haunted.  Strange things will sometimes occur with no other explanation than ghosts or spirits.  Once at the start of the harvesting season all of the horses in town were suddenly gone and so there was no way to pull the carts carrying wood from the forest to the mills.  The horses were eventually found the next morning dispersed throughout the upper floors of every building in town and many days work were lost getting them all back down to ground level.

The simple answer to all of these strange things, and to the gold showing up in the room of one of the players is pixies.  The pixies have lived in the forest since long before the coming of humans and don’t care one bit for the chopping down of trees.  They have mostly left the humans alone though because they haven’t ventured too close to the pixies’ home.  This season though the wood cutters are coming ever closer to the home of the pixies and as a result they have used their tricks to lure kobolds down from the mountain to attack the humans by making the kobolds think the humans are stealing from them and preparing to wipe them out.  As a result the kobolds have decided to act first.

Starting with their entry into town on the first day, have the players notice laughing sounds from time to time coming from nearby.  Once they are tossed out of town they might even manage to spot a pixie rolling about in some flowers laughing at how well he did at getting the adventurers kicked out.  Once the player’s begin to realize what is going on in Haunted Hollow they have many choices to make.  They could decide to go kill the kobolds and salvage their reputations only to find out the kobolds think that they are protecting themselves.  They could try to leave and get caught in the middle of a fight between the woodsmen and the kobolds.  They could even try to track down the pixies and find out the truth of what is happening, at which point they would need to try brokering a peace between the humans and pixies while dealing with the kobolds either by fighting them, bargaining with them, or tricking them into returning to their mountain.