Monday, August 3, 2015

Kickstarter - Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter (1e)

I've been so distracted by negative events with certain Kickstarter projects (Ken Whitman can take numerous bows and curtain calls for this) that I've managed to miss some recent well respected Kickstarter releases.

So, here's the first post rectifying that :)

Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.'s Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter is a huge megadungeon and setting. What exactly is it tho? Is it old? New? Does it harken back to the days of the hobby's beginning?
THE HOBBY SHOP DUNGEON is an adventure game setting originally created by Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. in 1978 while working as a clerk for the fondly-remembered Dungeon Hobby Shop of Lake Geneva, WI. Inspired by the many games and campaigns he played with his father and many friends, and aided by incomplete maps initially drawn by Terry Kuntz, Ernest came up with a large sprawling dungeon complex that could be used to run games at the store. Since then, more than a thousand players have explored its depths, as remembered by Ernest, including TSR alumni, family members, customers and gamer friends, up to 22 players per sitting! It has been played in a variety of venues including Margaret Weis’s and Don Perrin’s Game Guild, in California’s Dungeons & Dragons Entertainment division, as a special event for game conventions and many more besides. 
This is the entire dungeon and setting around it that GP Adventures wants to bring to publication via its Hobby Shop Dungeon game line, starting now with the Marmoreal Tomb Campaign Starter.
It does have history, which is exciting. What's even more exciting to me is that +Benoist Poiré has been drawing the maps. I love Benoist's style of mapping.

The project is already funded ($29k with a goal of $20k) and has nearly a month left to run. I expect a ton of stretch goals will be hit. Thus far, some have been add ons and some have added to the base reward goal.

The most recently achieved stretch goal is the add on Sci Fi Conversion, to be written by none other than +James Spahn of White Star fame:
We just zoomed past our $27,500 stretch goal, and that means James Spahn will help us flesh out the optional Science-fiction/Science-fantasy customization document we have now added to our list of Add-ons to this Kickstarter project.  
If you would like a copy, add $5 to your pledge, and you will get a digital (PDF) document detailing how to use the Marmoreal Tomb and its Expansions in a sci-fi campaign, along with a sample adaptation described using the White Star: White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying game.  
Next up are Pathfinder and 5e conversion documents.

I'm in. Probably at some ungodly amount. Need Wilderness and Underworld expansions. Player's Guides would be cool too. Damn it!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Pocket Creatures - Ginat Leaf Bug (Swords & Wizardry / White Star)

Photo by Erik Tenkar - Side Note - This critter hitched a ride from Hawley PA to somewhere on Route 15 in NJ,  holding on at speeds that exceeded 60 MPH at points
The Giant Leaf Bug comes in at a sizable 2'-3' across when it's wings are fully expended. They are hard to find in temperate zones and the like, with their natural camouflage resulting in a 1 in 12 chance of spotting the Giant Leaf Bug when coming within 10' of it.

Giant Leaf Bugs are hunted for their sticky secretions, that can hold up to 2,000 pounds with just a drop. The average giant leaf bug, when harvested by a skilled hunter, can produced 2 to 12 drops of secretions, valued at 100 GP / Credits per drop. An unskilled hunter will be able to harvest 1d6-3 drops of secretion.

Giant Leaf Bugs are solitary creatures that would rather hide or flee than fight. If they win initiative in a round, they will take of in flight, allowing creatures directly engaged with the Giant Leaf Bug a final attack at -2 to attempt to take them down.

Giant Leaf Bug

ARMOR CLASS   2 [17]
HIT DICE   3+2
ATTACKS   1 x 1d6 
MOVEMENT - 9 Ground - 18 Flight
HDE/XP - 240


Saturday, August 1, 2015

A Red & Pleasant Land Wins 2 Gold, 2 Silver @ the ENNies and I Find Myself Agreeing With the RPG Pundit

A Red & Pleasant Land won 2 Gold & 2 Silvers at the ENnies last night. I'm not sure if that is a record, but it should be. It's great for Zak S, great for +James Raggi and awesome for the OSR. Not so awesome for Cam Banks and crew, who threw a tantrum and heckled when the first award for A Red & Pleasant Land was announced. Talk about assholes. Then the rest of the SJWs chimed in on Twitter. Well done. You showed them, didn't you? Zak might be a dick (my own opinion) but a Red & Pleasant Land was clearly the best of the five in all four categories it was nominated.

Real simple.

Or not.

+Kasimir Urbanski points out on his blog that Zak's own math showed that winning was an impossibility if folks only voted on what they had actually read.

Obviously, that didn't happen. Zak and James won 2 Golds and 2 Silvers.

What happened?

Social media happened. Ballot box stuffing happened. Cheating, legit or otherwise, happened to ensure the best product won, which just goes to show how irrelevant the ENnies are.

+Joseph Bloch said it best tho'. Wearing a "Zak S Saved D&D" t-shirt to a con with Cam Banks, Fred Hicks and the other SJWs in attendance might just be entertaining if only for their reactions. Shame they are fairly irrelevant. Or maybe that's a good thing.

Pocket Creatures - Fell Hind - (Swords & Wizardry / White Star)

Photo by Erik Tenkar
Fell Hinds are solitary creatures related to deer and virtual indistinguishable from such without a close look. Fell Hinds evolved into omnivores and have an intelligence rating in the 3-5 range, allowing them to plan attacks with almost human like ingenuity.

While quite content to live on foliage and brush they have a taste for fresh flesh and have been known to attack other animals and even humans from ambush. Their first attack is usually a headbutting charge which inflicts double damage if successful as well as requiring a Saving Throw to avoid being knocked prone. Prone targets are subject to stomp attacks in the following rounds if prone - stomp attacks are made at + 2 to hit and inflict double damage. Prone targets can come to their feet with a successful Saving Throw. Targets may attempt this Saving Throw once per round.

Fell Hind

ARMOR CLASS   4 [15]
ATTACKS   1 x 1d6 and SEE ABOVE
HDE/XP - 650


Friday, July 31, 2015

On GMs and GMing - Some Random Thoughts & Not So

Let me say this straight out of the box - Gamemastering or GMing is not for everyone. Heck, even the name is a misnomer, as it implies superior knowledge compared to mere "players." I'm beginning to think "judge" or "referee" is a more appropriate term.

Looking back at me gaming groups, I can note the following:

High School - 2 GMs, I was 1 of them

Summer Poconos Group - I was the only GM

College D&D Club - I was the only DM in a group of 12+

College / Post College Home Group - 2 GMs, I was 1

Roll20 / G+ Hangouts - of the 7 mostly regular members, everyone has run at least a session

What is it with the latest group? I think the common factor is everyone is a creative type - artists, writers or both.

We also all enjoy filling the roll of the GM or the player.

While GMing is a skill, it is also a calling. Not everyone has the desire to be a GM and that's okay. Really. At a gaming table of 3 to 8 gamers, only one can fill the roll of a GM at a time.

I'd also expect that in most groups, especially those that are composed of mostly newer players, the GM roll is filled by by one of the more experienced gamers at the table.

So, I'm going to hazard a guess that 2 out of 3 RPG gamers see themselves as primarily "players."

I do expect the poll I'm going to run will prove those numbers wrong, but I also expect that gamers active in blogs and social media are more on the GM side of the fence. 

More thoughts on this later.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pocket Creatures - Wealdlings (White Star / Swords & Wizardry)

Photo by Erik Tenkar

Wealdlings, or Creatures of the Wood, are similar in appearance to their Treant cousins. They are, however slower, more primitive and potential more dangerous.

Wealdlings have been found in groves of as much as 100 but 2 to 12 is most common. Dormant during the winter months they have been known to attack sleeping travelers, especially those that have fire burning for safety. They attack as a pack and have the intelligence of pack hunters. Creatures killed are absorbed by their roots, providing nourishment. Solid materials - weapons, armor, coins and the like are left behind at the kill location.

Wooded areas known for, or suspected to be inhabited by Wealdlings are avoided by the experienced traveler.


ARMOR CLASS   3 [15]
HIT DICE   2+2 to 6+6
TOTAL HIT BONUS   +2 to + 6
ATTACKS   2 x 1d6
SPECIAL - 1/2 damage from blunt weapons / -2 save vs fire
HDE/XP - varies by HD


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

As Much Fun as a Box of Rocks. No, Really!

I apologize in advance for answering further G+ BS here at The Tavern, but as it is Zak's thread and he has me blocked, I have little choice.

This time, I answer Stacy Dellorforno.

First - I never saw you at NTRPG Con Stacy. If you saw me as often as you did, you should have introduced yourself. Rach was actually looking forward to meeting you (she knows few women in gaming) - perhaps not so much after your insult of Merle Rasmussen,

Yes, I spent much of the Con with my wife. And with Zach Glazer, Doug Kovaks, Matt Finch, Rich LeBanc, Vince Florio and his wife, David P, Mark H, Bad Mike, Doug Rhea, The Wolfes, James Aulds, Glenn Halstrom, Mike and Liz, Tim Kask, Frank Mentzer, Jeff Talanian and many others. Jeff Grubb was kind enough to ensure I'd fail my save against Gaming Greatness. I talked business with a few and bullshitted with all. I think between Wednesday Afternoon and Monday Morning we didn't have company for our meals once.

If I was having as much fun as a rock, rocks must be the life of the party.

As for the offending post that upset Stacy so much, here it is - offending post - my schtick? Women don't NEED to DM to be empowered in gaming but they do need to fly on their own. Not every player wants to be a DM.

Gamers come to gaming through the network that introduces them to gaming. If there is a dearth of women gamers in the OSR right now than the main pathway for them to be introduced to gaming is by men. Same as kids being introduced to gaming by adults. The established network brings in new blood and spouses make ideal conduits for the introduction of shared passions and hobbies. New blood will build their own networks and the face of gaming will change with it.

Back to the slight of Merle Rasmussen, the designer of the Top Secret RPG. Did you know his wife was in the room for the whole game? They introduced themselves to me at dinner after the session. Simply amazing people. I should be surprised by your rush to judgement.

Now, let me parse the logic - Old Guard game designer GM's a game for three women with his wife in the room, and it's insulting.

Zak S GM's for a group exclusively made up of women from the adult entertainment industry, and that's something you support.

I'm confused.

edit - Stacy, feel free to respond here or on G+