The Ypsi-Arbor D&D Gazette is a zine for ephemera, stories, art, and other whatnot from the tables of Dungeons & Dragons players in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and surrounding cities. In short, a zine of whatever it is that people found important enough to submit, plus a few other items that I had banging around in my head.
The genesis of this was @mollerwa quoting The Simpsons at me a few months ago in response to a call for players:
"I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter."
And the idea was hatched:
"a hyperlocal A2 D&D newsletter would be rad."
That idea wouldn't die, so here we are.
Never joke on twitter, kids.
I'm really happy with how this turned out. Like all good projects, it took far longer than it should have to put together. If you submitted, thank you so much! It really wouldn't have happened without you. If you're kicking yourself for not submitting, well, there might be a next time if this proves to be enjoyable to folks.
If you want to be kept up to date on any new issues or news, you can subscribe below.
Edited by Chris Salzman
C: "I rolled a 9"
G: "That's a 6"
C: "No, it's a 9"
G: "Well, you rolled a d8 so..."
Submitted by George Hotelling
Thock is a dwarven cleric. Thock's preference in battle is to "Smash!"
Submitted by Jim Walke
Submitted by Chris Salzman
Through a combination of good scouting, solid buff strategy, and a perfectly executed pincer attack, the party has just taken out the boss encounter on dungeon level 13 in a round and a half.
Wizard: "Guys, I think we just became a professional adventuring squad -- we really know what we're doing, and it only took three years in this dungeon!"
One room later, the party is hiding underwater in a fountain hoping their summoned dire bats can eat the angry hellwasp swarm hovering overhead before they have to come up for air.
Wizard: "Look, I brought fire spells—how was I supposed to know when we encountered a swarm it would be immune to fire?"
Submitted by Richard Murphy
I would love to submit a photo of my D&D group at our first NerdCation in a castle in Ohio in 2017. We spent a weekend playing D&D and eating tasty snack foods. I made them all D20 pillows and it lead me to start a small craft business, Saving Throw Pillows.
Submitted by Lana Krolikowski
You: waist deep in orc entrails, foaming at the mouth in rage.
Me: giant bear arm wrestling the flesh golem by the acid trap.
We made eye contact. I bet those wounds will be really cute scars when they heal. Tell me what color my fur was and the runes on your platemail bikini top so I know it's you.
-Raging Romantic Druid
Submit Your Own Missed Connection!
Submitted by Brandon Carruth
Phi is a halfling rogue with a very stylish fanny pack.
Submitted by Betsy Salzman
This adventure is designed for a party of level 3-5 characters who are familiar with UM Football. It is unoptimized and you are encouraged to modify it as needed.
It has been at least a year since Autumn began and it shows no signs of abating. The leaves have long since fallen, and the color green is but a distant memory.
Worst of all though is the disappearances. It seems that 11 of the town's young people have just...vanished during this endless autumn.
If players ask around they will hear rumors that the peculiar weather started shortly after that odd mage dressed in blue and gold came through town asking lots of questions about the ruins on the outskirts of town. "You know, the ruins? Where The Big House Colosseum used to sit?" A bold drunk in the tavern can even offer a harrowing thought that the young people who have gone didn't just set off to find their fortunes, but might have been kidnapped by that same dark mage.
Only one person in town was brave enough to go out and get near the ruins. She said that all she could hear was shouts and high pitched piercing whistles on the wind. She turned back and none have dared go back that way again.
A 30 foot wall runs along the perimeter of the ruins. There are two gated entrances: one on the South (locked, a DC 25 strength check will break the lock, or a DC20 lockpicking check can unlock the door) and another on the North that waits unlocked for any who dare to approach the ruins.
If the players enter North gate they hear a high pitched sound above them. A vehicle moving at tremendous speed flies over the the Colosseum and 4 Stuntpeople jump out and beginning descending on parachutes from 2000 feet in the air. They travel at a rate of 10 feet per second when their parachutes are deployed. They will aim themselves towards the players.
If the players enter by way of the South gate they are attacked by 6 Shambling Rabid Fans.
Once within the wall a promenade encircles the main amphitheater with entrances into the stadium set every 50 feet. The promenade itself is lined with hundreds of brilliant golden trophies depicting all manner of horrifyingly violent acts. The dates on them stretch farther back than any human lifetime.
Players that linger within the promenade are likely to encounter 1d6 Shambling Rabid Fans at the GM's discretion to move them along.
Towards the Southern end of the amphitheater is a metallic cart. A successful DC 15 investigation check will reveal a hidden lock box that contains 50gp. An unsuccessful one only reveals molding food.
The stands are full of empty blue seats and stairs that descend down to the field and up to the top of the stands. Players who search this area fully may make a DC 15 Perception check. If they are successful they find a set of blue clothes with block maize 'M's on them. If they wear them any Shambling Rapid Fans will treat them as friendly.
Well tended green grass greets the players as they see the field. This is the only green in this area for years due to the endless autumn.
In the middle of the field there are a few notable things:
The Coach carries a 7 foot tall staff that is topped with a football shaped orb that glows with a brown light.
If the players have been careful they can go unnoticed in the stands if they are successful on a DC15 Stealth check. They must remake this check every 30 seconds.
The Coach was the one who kidnapped the local townsfolk. He is training them for an upcoming contest between himself and "a Red Mage" located hundreds of miles to the South. The trophies in the promenade are from other such contests.
If a player steps foot on the field The Coach and his Footballers immediately notice the player.
The Coach will yell to the players that they are intruding on his field and interrupting his important work. He will give them one chance to leave and then will command 5 of the Footballers to attack. He will say that this is a perfect opportunity to try out some of what they've learned in practice.
If they players are successful in defeating the 5, he will then send 3 towards you, 3 to guard him, and he join in the fight. The GM can roll initiative separately for both groups of 3 as well as for The Coach.
If all of The Coach's underlings are dealt with he will offer the players the chance to join him. All he requires is absolute and unquestioning service.
If the players refuse he will fight to the death. Once defeated, any surviving Footballers will be released from his control.
If the players destroy the orb at the top of his staff autumn will end and snow will begin to fall.
Use the Hobgoblin stat block. Stuntpeople carry longbows and will shoot at players from the sky as they're descending.
Use the Zombie stat block, but with only 10 hit points. Shambling Rabid Fans all have a full set of UM wear on them that the players can take.
Use the Thug stat block with +4 to AC due to their safety equipment. They are in the thrall of The Coach and if The Coach falls, they will stop fighting. They have one additional ability:
As noted previously, the GM is directed to pick their favorite coach to base this character on.
Use the Mage state block without the 5th level spell slot. The Coach has these additional abilities:
The Coach will yell various platitudes at his Footballers and invectives at the players whenever possible. He is uninterested in anything other than it being autumn forever and is deluded into thinking that he is training his Footballers for an upcoming game.
Submitted by Chris Salzman.Special thanks to Max Sprauer for brainstorming help.