Posts Tagged ‘mazesandmonsters’

Printable Mazes and Monsters game board

Monday, May 23rd, 2011
This entry is part 34 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

You probably remember sitting around with your friends playing Mazes and Monsters back in the 80s, but your mom threw away all your M&M stuff during the Tom Hanks Scare of ’82. And original Mazes and Monsters gamebooks are so hard to find on eBay! How are you supposed to play M&M retro clones?

Problem solved! I’ve lovingly restored the Mazes and Monsters game board onto hand-crafted free PDFs. Just print out two of each PDF and tape them together.

Mazes and Monsters board, bottom left and top right

Mazes and Monsters board, top left and bottom right

Between this and the Maze Controller’s screen, you’re just about ready to descend into a spiral of fantasy and madness. Candles not included!

Coming in a week or two: Paper-doll minis, suitable for Mazes and Monsters, or for any game system that features fighters, holy men, and frenetics.

Finally you can have your own sweet Mazes and Monsters GM screen!

Monday, May 9th, 2011
This entry is part 33 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

The original Mazes and Monsters MC screen.

The original Mazes and Monsters MC screen.

Or Maze Controller’s Screen, to be more precise. Just like the one that Daniel rocked in the movie.

I’ve made a printable screen that is JUST AS COOL as the original, and it has all the Mazes and Monsters charts you need to run the game. (Edit: I’ve added a blank template as well, for use with other games: see below.) Wandering monster matrix, Maiming Subtable, it’s all here. It looks something like this:

Click for a bigger view

Click for a bigger view

Here are all four PDFs you need to construct it. They’ll be in the completed M&M PDF.
left front section
left section
right front section
right section

Or if you want blank templates so that you can play with your own rules of choice but LOOK like you’re playing Mazes and Monsters, you can use these instead of the left section and right section:
left section (blank)
right section (blank)

I’ve tried printing and cutting it out, and the completed castle looks pretty nifty. I can’t wait for my next M&M playtest.

Mazes and Monsters: Monsters!!!

Monday, April 18th, 2011
This entry is part 32 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

Here’s the M&M bestiary from levels 1 to 5, from the lowly Pixie to the mighty Mazosaurus Rex. The Mazosaurus Rex is not SPECIFICALLY attested in the movie, but I think it can be inferred from the awesomeness of Mazes and Monsters.

Download Monsters PDF

Mazes and Monsters: magic charms

Monday, April 4th, 2011
This entry is part 31 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

Gear up your Hanks with a chapter of magic items! Here’s the PDF of the full chapter.

Click to download the pdf.

As a sample, here’s a charm that, for sheer baroque old-school madness, knocks the Eye of Vecna into a cocked hat:

Graven Eye of Gellor. Level 8 charm. This is a faceted ruby with twelve faces. (It looks much like a d12.) On each face is carved the iris of an eye, along with a unique magical rune. To use the Graven Eye, you must actually put out one of your own eyes and put the Graven Eye in its place. From now on, you will probably want to wear an eye patch a lot of the time.

At the beginning of every day, a different face of the Graven Eye will face the world, and you will have a different power when you gaze through the Graven Eye. Each morning, roll on the following table:

Table 9-1: Graven Eye of Gellor
1: Eye of Understanding: You gain the benefit of Read Strange Languages all day.
2: Eye of Fear: You can make an attack on people in throwing range or closer. If you hit, they are Mazed (RONA 6). While Mazed, they fear you. They may either stand where they are, not moving, or spend their turn moving away from you.
3: Eye of Seeing: You gain a trait die on all RONA checks involving seeing or perception. Also, you can see invisible creatures.
4: Eye of Truth: When people are lying, you see them surrounded with a red haze.
5: Eye of Light: You can shine light from your eye as if it were a lantern.
6: Eye of Lies: You can change your appearance to that of any person or monster that is approximately your size. Whoever you change your appearance to must have the Graven Eye of Timor visible as one of its eyes. The change of appearance does not affect your abilities or the appearance of your clothes and equipment.
7: Eye of Change: For the entire day, whenever you go through a door you’ve never been through, you roll on this table (rerolling 7s), temporarily taking on a new power. Passing through the same door multiple times has no effect.
8: Eye of X Rays: You can see through anything within throwing range (walls, curtains, etc) except lead. This doesn’t let you see in the dark, so you can’t, for instance, see the coins inside a dark coin purse or treasure chest.
9: Eye of command: You can make an attack on someone within throwing distance. If you hit, you do no damage, but you may issue them a short command. They are Mazed (RONA 4). As long as they are Mazed, they must follow your order. The Maze ends when the order has been fulfilled. The attack will fail if following the order will obviously lead the creature to immediate harm. (Near future harm is OK. The Mazed creature will not stab itself but will insult a dragon.)
10: Eye of the Mind’s Eye: You may make any images or visions you want appear in the sparkling surface of the Eye.
11: Eye of Darkness: You are blind in this eye. You gain a weakness die on all RONA checks involving seeing or perception.
12: Eye of Flame: As an attack, you can shoot a fiery red beam from your eye. It can attack at bow range, but unlike a bow, can also attack people next to you. It does fire damage. You gain a Trait die on the attack roll.

Maze Controller’s Guide

Monday, March 28th, 2011
This entry is part 30 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

The Maze Controller’s Guide section of the Mazes and Monsters manual contains a lot of advice, some of it sound, some of it very bad. Perhaps the worst piece of advice is

If a player is becoming uncomfortable, terrified, confused, or frenzied, DON’T BACK OFF! Keep on challenging the player by upping the stakes in the fantasy. Don’t let a player leave the fantasy until they solve their issue! If players can’t handle it, they will freak out, flake out, or drop out. These are acceptable losses! You can’t make an omelet without driving some people mad.

But hey, it doesn’t go much further than Dogs in the Vineyard.

Here’s a section of the manual about designing Mazes:

(click for a larger version)

Mazes and Monsters manual: I wrote 40 spells

Monday, March 21st, 2011
This entry is part 29 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

…and tricks and powers. Here are 14 of them.

I changed the way the Mazes and Monsters magic system works. Spells, Tricks, and Powers are now much more differentiated from each other. The changes were based on my RIGOROUS RESPECT FOR TEXTUAL EVIDENCE, not whimsy.

Spells: Rory, who read the novel, told me that in one scene, spells were referred to as one-shot items, like scrolls. Now spells are fire-once items, available to any class, as opposed to tricks and powers, which are learned permanently, and class-specific.

Powers: I originally had powers be unique to Holy Men, but I’d forgotten that Jay Jay says his Frenetic has “tricks and powers to take him far and keep him safe.” Now, Frenetics and Holy Men both have access to powers: healing powers are still unique to Holy Men, and I’ve added some tricky powers, like Sonar, for Frenetics. Some powers can be used by both classes.

Tricks: To make Tricks unique, I made them work a little bit like Blue Magic from Final Fantasy: Frenetics learn them by harvesting items from defeated enemies. This adds a form of treasure that the Maze Controller doesn’t have to worry about placing. It also adds another income source: every time you kill a Dragon, you can harvest its magic tooth and sell it in town.

Here’s Page 37, which contains half of the Tricks (along with the monsters they’re stolen from).

Click for larger PDF version of this page

Here’s page 39, which contains half of the Powers.

Click for larger PDF version of this page

mazes and monsters page 33: winning

Monday, March 14th, 2011
This entry is part 28 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

I’m working on Chapters 6, “Experience and Leveling”, and 7, “Spells, Tricks, and Powers”. Here’s a page from Chapter 6.

Mazes and Monsters Manual page 33

Mazes and Monsters Manual page 33

Mazes and Monsters Manual chapters 1-5

Monday, March 7th, 2011
This entry is part 27 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

Rules for helping Tom Hanks escaping the Mazed condition in chapter 5.

I’ve added chapters 4, “Quests,” and chapter 5, “Combat”, to the PDF of the Mazes and Monsters Manual.

Look for 13 more pages of rules, 19 illustrations from the movie, and 1 screencap from Burton’s Hamlet.


The Quests chapter includes helpful rules like:

When you start a new hero, you will be much less powerful than your friends. Remind your comrades that it is their duty to babysit you for a few levels, until you are slightly less useless than you were. On the plus side, your uselessness may result in all the heroes being killed in the maze, in which case everyone will get to start over at level 1!


Sample from the Combat chapter:

Candles should be set up on and around the Game Board: their hypnotic flickering will help the players reach the psychologically vulnerable state in which Mazes and Monsters is the most fun!

Changes to chapters 1-3

After playtesting, I also made some rules changes to chapter 1-3: the surprisingly common situations where you roll a 11 (fumble) followed by a 12 (crit), or vice versa, is now called a “save,” and allows you to take a free turn if you do something other than what you were planning.

I also made fumbles less common, since they are sort of a drag, and ended up using something very like the D&D 3.5 rules for confirming critical hits. I didn’t plan it; it just sort of happened that way.

Download Mazes and Monsters chapters 1-5

Mazes and Monsters Manual, chapters 1 to 3

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
This entry is part 26 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

Download my lavishly-illustrated playtest PDF of chapters 1 to 3 of the Mazes and Monsters manual, containing


This should be everything you need to get your characters ready for play.

It’s coming out pretty well, I think. Give it a look and see what you think. Let me know any errors, confusing parts, or things that look otherwise weird.


(Note: Chapters 1-5 are now available!)

mazes and monsters playtest concludes

Monday, February 14th, 2011
This entry is part 25 of 34 in the series Mazes and Monsters

Last week, our playtest heroes fought their way through the Crypt of the Twin Kings (one good, one evil), overcoming skeletons, traps, and a sealed room where they’d have to listen to Led Zeppelin… forever.

Now they stood before a magnificently carved ivory door that bore engravings of the Twin Kings fighting monsters! This was undoubtedly the end of the maze, the treasury of the Twin Kings themselves! Next to the door was a decrepit side-passage that terminated in a dead end. On the wall of the dead end were, carved into the stone, words in a strange, unknown language.

Our Holy Man, Sansange, was elated! She had been waiting for a chance to cast her new power, “Read Strange Languages.” There was just one problem: the spell cost 20 spell points. Sansange had 20 spell points at maximum, but had already spent 10 on casting an Instant Heal after a battle with skeletons.

Sansange convinced everyone that the words must be of paramount importance, and everyone should camp out and regain their spell points, and then next morning, Sansange could translate the words.

Here we hit, and fixed, a few rules problems. My initial rules had it that resting overnight restored 1 HP and 1 spell point per character level. We agreed that it might be fine for HP to regenerate at this rate, but that a full night’s sleep should restore all spell points.

We also adjusted the cost of Instant Heal. Initially, all level 1 spells cost 10 Spell Points, so that, for instance, a level 1 Holy Man could cast “Instant Heal” twice per day.

Instant Heal cured 30 points of damage: however, since everyone had 2d12 or 3d12 HP, no one had anything near 30 HP. Sansange felt bad about spending 10 points to cure a minor injury.

We decided that, since Instant Healing was the bread and butter of the Holy Man class, we’d give it a nonstandard Spell Point price. It could now cost any number of Spell Points: it cured that many points of damage. You could use it like D&D’s Lay On Hands to efficiently fix minor injuries. At higher levels, with bigger wounds, it became less efficient, but new healing spells would become available then anyway.

Rules issues resolved, the heroes made camp. Since there were no fatigue rules, Sir Robert, who had spent neither HP nor Spell Points, stayed up all night to guard the camp. And it’s a good thing he did! The camp was attacked by Mystic Skeletons!

Mystic Skeletons were much like the other skeletons the group had fought, except that, instead of attacking, they could try to Maze a player. A Mazed player would see everyone as a skeleton, and wouldn’t know who to attack.

This fight was more grueling for the party than the previous one, with several characters becoming Mazed and attacking their friends. Walmart Jr, hurling daggers at the Sansange the Holy Man, posed the greatest threat. She only stopped when someone gave her a chance to break the Maze by reminding her that “your father threw himself to his death in a pit! If I was really a skeleton, how would I know that?”

When the battle was won, the party got its reward: the chance to finish their sleep and refresh their Spell Points. Sansange cast her spell and read the words written on the wall, which said: