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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Margret Weis Productions Gets Firefly License for RPGs



This announcement came out yesterday, but I'm apparently a day late and a dollar short.

In any case, this is great news. Firefly was a most awesome Sci-Fi series (short as it was) and MWP seems to do some very good treatments with their licensed products. I say seems, because I don't really own any of the Cortex powered games, but I have heard good things of them.

I guess this is one I'll be buying.

From the actual press release:


Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd. and Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products to Develop 
Firefly RPG Products

MWP To Develop All-New Series of Pick-Up-And-Play Games set in the ‘Verse.

WILLIAMS BAY, WI, February 22, 2013 – Margaret Weis Productions is thrilled to announce a 
partnership with Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products to publish tabletop role-playing products 
based on Joss Whedon’s fan-favorite television series, Firefly. Initial releases are expected as early 
as spring of 2013 with print and digital releases based on MWP’s award-winning Cortex system.

The adventures of Captain Malcolm Reynolds and the crew of Serenity continue to attract new fans a 
decade after the television series first aired. Fresh from recent success, MWP’s own crew of 
seasoned designers and creators of licensed role-playing games, stand ready to develop an all-new 
series of pick-up-and-play games and game supplements. Based on much-loved characters, stories, 
and locations, every Firefly RPG product will be designed to be accessible, authentic, and as 
innovative as fans have come to expect from MWP.

"This project is a dream come true for me. I have been such a long-time fan of Firefly!" says MWP 
President Margaret Weis. "I look forward to working with my crew to take us all back out into the 
Black!"

“This partnership is another way that we can give back to the Firefly fans,” said Jeffrey Godsick, 
President of Fox Consumer Products. “Firefly followers have shown continuous loyalty to the 
franchise and we want to give them quality products in return.”

About Margaret Weis Productions, Ltd.

Margaret Weis Productions (MWP) is an award-winning publisher of tabletop roleplaying games. 
Their most recent successful licensed games include those derived from the worlds of Marvel, 
Dragonlance, Leverage, Smallville and Supernatural. Based in Wisconsin, MWP has been bringing 
games to fans since 2005. Leading MWP is New York Times Bestselling author Margaret Weis. She’s 
a tireless supporter of fandom and gamers with a vision for her company to bring high-quality games 
to both long-time gamers and newcomers alike.

About Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products:

A recognized industry leader, Twentieth Century Fox Consumer Products licenses and markets 
properties worldwide on behalf of Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Twentieth Television and 
Fox Broadcasting Company, as well as third party lines. The division is aligned with Twentieth 
Century Fox Television, one of the top suppliers of primetime entertainment programming to the 
broadcast networks.

Today's Plethora of Gaming Goodness!



I went shopping with the wife for bathroom wallpaper and came back to find the following waiting for me:

Spears of the Dawn - Scheduled to ship in March, this Kickstarter shipped in February. A month early. WTF? Kevin Crawford, you are making all of the other RPG Kickstarter projects look bad. Does this mean that "three months late" is no longer the new "on time"?

Anomalous Subsurface Environment 1- I also have ASE 2-3 in print. When I decide to take a step away from Rappan Athuk for a more gonzo megadungeon, this is where I'll be taking the party.

AFS Magazine #2 - I enjoyed #1. I expect I'll enjoy #2 too ;)

Wizards, Mutants, Lazer Pistols 1, 2 and 3 - In for a penny, in for a pound. I've flipped through #1, and it looks like fun. I'll review these and AFS in the coming weeks.

Psychedelic Fantasies Modules #1 and 2 - Damn it! #1, Beneath the Ruins appears in WMLP #1. Still, it was cheap enough, and the cover has the map on the inside and is not attached to the module, which is cool. At least #2, Within the Radiant Dome, looks to be new

Gygax Magazine Issue #1 Released on RPGNow



Yep, Gygax Magazine Issue #1 has been released on RPGNow for $4.99.

I have the print copy, and it has it's really good and really ambivalent parts to it. It is a first issue, so it may be experiencing growing pains. Or maybe we'll continue to get lets of articles proving "Old School " Cred.

Eh, at $4.99 you can judge for yourself. The cover certainly rocks!

From the blurb:


The premiere issue of Gygax magazine - the quarterly adventure gaming magazine.

Contents for issue #1:

The cosmology of role-playing games by James Carpio

Still playing after all these years by Tim Kask

Leomund's Secure Shelter by Len Lakofka

The ecology of the banshee by Ronald Corn

Bridging Generations by Luke Gygax

Gaming with a virtual tabletop by Nevin P. Jones

Keeping magic magical by Dennis Sustare

Playing it the science fiction way by James M. Ward

DMing for your toddler by Cory Doctorow

Great power for ICONS by Steve Kenson

The future of tabletop gaming by Ethan Gilsdorf

The Gygax family storyteller by Ernest Gary Gygax Jr.

Talents off the frontline by Dennis Detwiller

D&D past, now, and Next by Michael Tresca

Gnatdamp: A sanctuary in the swamp by Michael Curtis

Magical miscellany - new items for AGE by Randall Hurlburt

An AGE of great inventions by Rodrigo Garcia Carmona

Scaling combat feats for Pathfinder by Marc Radle

Comics:

Marvin the Mage by Jim Wampler

What's New with Phil & Dixie by Phil Foglio

Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew

Friday, February 22, 2013

Boxed Set or Hardcover Book?

I got my start in the RPG hobby with the AD&D 1e hardbacks. My first venture into the world of D&D Boxed Sets was a Moldvay Basic Set that I bought for $3 at a store that sold remainders and overstocks. I guess they were clearing out the old Basic for the new Basic.

The first "White Box" D&D like game was the Castles & Crusades White Box, followed a few years later by the S&W White Box (and later the D&D OCE White Box and Delving Deeper's White Box). The thing is, boxed game sets didn't excite me as a teen / young adult - they annoyed me.

They annoyed me because I was horrible at returning stuff to their proper box - I had (still have to some extent) "peanut butter in my chocolate" syndrome. I'd open up the boxed set for Birthright and find Runequest stuff.

Hardcovers and even most softcovers had the advantage of their title on the spine - I could pull something off my shelf and know exactly what I actually had.

As a middle aged 40-something adult, I appreciate boxed sets much more these days, as they look very nice displayed on a shelf, but for practical purposes I think I prefer hardcovers. They are just easier to use and reference in actual play.

How about you? Boxed sets? Hardcovers? Something else?

Free RPG Day = Worldwide D&D Game Day?

It appears that Free RPG Day, the once a year event where folks converge on the FLGS for free loot is coinciding with a Worldwide D&D Game Day.

Yep, they are both on June 15th this year.

I would assume that WotC knows when Free RPG Day is, as I believe they support it every year. So, I'm thinking this is not so much an attempt to hijack the day from the other publishers as much as an attempt to get some extra push on their Worldwide D&D Game Days, as I suspect attendance is suffering with the announcement that D&D (4e) is dead, long live D&D (Next).

Still, timing is everything and this is certainly interesting. If nothing else, it may lead to slimmer Free RPG Day pickings at locations that run Worldwide D&D Game Day events. It might be a good time to get to your loot locations early this year ;)

(burnedfx - thanks for the heads up)

Five Finalists for the Three Castles RPG Design Award Have Been Announced

The five finalists for the Three Castles RPG Design Award are:


Adventurer Conqueror King System
by: Alexander Macris

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
by: Jeffrey Talanian

Barrowmaze
by: Greg Gillespie

Cavemaster RPG
by: Jeff Dee

DCC RPG
by: Joseph Goodman

With the exception of Cavemaster (which I never heard of before) I own the list, and these are all strong choices. Four out of five are game systems and the fifth is probably the strongest megadungeon released in 2012 (yes, I'm talking about you Barrowmaze.

You can read the original thread at the NTRPGCon forums here.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Free RPG of the Week - DAGGER (OSR)



DAGGER is an OSR RPG that relies on the use of another OSR RPG (your choice really) to be fully used. At it's core, it's a series of instructions on how to simplify OSR gaming to bring children into the game - kids from 5 and up.

It's only 8 pages, and that includes the cover and the OGL, but it's simplicity is where it shines. So simple, I know of someone who is already working on hacking it into a drinking game for adults ;)

It's free, it works and it may just open up a new world of imagination to your kids (or with the future hack, adults too :)

From the blurb:


DAGGER is a simple, fast and fantastic tool for classic, old-school role-play gaming with Kids!

DAGGER is designed to introduce kids 5 years and over to classic-style fantasy role-playing. It is compatible with most old-school fantasy role-playing game systems. It is played with one adult acting as the Referee and from 2 to 10 kids playing the parts of adventuring heroes.

This supplement uses  common, core mechanics found in most old-school fantasy role-playing games. However, these core mechanics are reduced to only the most basic elements necessary for play. This effectively simplifies the game so that players as young as 5 years can easily grasp the basic concepts. The rules presented here are supplementary (i.e. they are not all-encompassing) and it is assumed that the Referee already possesses a general knowledge of some form of classic fantasy role-playing. Any aspect of play not covered in these rules should be handled by the Referee, “filling in the gaps” as necessary with his own rulings, or rules from another classic fantasy system. This is a practice that is expected and encouraged.

Included in this Free Product (all are easily printed):

All of the Standard Dagger Rules
Recommended Spell Listing
Classic Monster Reference
Character Sheet

Butt Kicking for Goodness! Wait For It...

So, it looks like the Ogre Kickstarter won't even be arriving on the shores of the US until late July - at best:

Ogre

Updated Schedule -- Not Before July, I’m Afraid
Update #74 · Feb. 21, 2013 · 2 comments

The factory has opened -- we had a long talk today. We know that quite a few of you might be unhappy to hear of this timeline, but we wanted to share exactly what steps are left.

Then there's a crapload of interim steps


Delivery to Austin -- late July

We know that this may have been unpleasant to hear (and for us to share!), but we hope that you might be able to be big-hearted and gracious -- even though you have every right to be upset.

We grossly underestimated how long a project of this size would take – we’re really sorry about that. It’s been a learning process -- even the factory has never handled a game this big (and has had to make new machinery!).

The good news is that there aren’t many things left that can go wrong (trays and the drop test are the two biggest). We’re about 98% finished for in-house production, and 30% finished for manufacturing.

Good things come to those who wait, and we know that you’ve waited very, very patiently. We’re confident that Ogre will be very good, when it arrives.

So yeah, it's going to be very late at best.

King For a Day

King for a Day books have left NJ.

The wait is nearly over

Magicians: A Language Learning RPG

A very interesting breakdown of hidden costs of a Kickstarter


Book Update
Update #32 · Feb. 20, 2013 · 35 comments
Hello everyone,

I've got some big news that is a mixed bag but this update is mainly to let you know of a big change to the physical book. I'll hit you with the bad news straight off and I'll follow up with some explanations for those who would like one. As we neared the end of the kickstarter project I promised to both up the page count from 120 pages to 180 pages and make the book a hardcover instead of a softcover, this wasn't a stretch goal or anything, I simply believed it possible due to all the support Magicians was receiving. As it turns out, the page count will actually be 212 pages but I will not be able to afford to send out hardcovers, it's going to end up being a softcover 212-page book instead.

The reason for this is, in short, an $11,430 dollar tax hit. I know this is extremely disappointing news for everyone, this was really something I wanted but it all comes down to not having the funds. That said, the book will still be great quality and be an awesome thing to own, it will just be a perfect bound book instead of a case bound one.

The change will not affect the timeline, and I should be able to start shipping books out in about a month as I've send the final PDF out to the printer, they've told me 3 weeks to receive all the books but there needs to be a proof before then so maybe a bit longer. The only thing left to add to the final PDF is the audio, which I'm just now getting started on and I'll try to have it out to you real soon.

The longer explanation:

As you probably all know, I live in South Korea and am Canadian. Because of this I wouldn't normally be able to create or run a project on kickstarter but I have a good friend in New Jersey that offered to be the middle man for the endeavor and to let me use their account for the whole operation.

It's also tax season and since the kickstarter money came in in 2012 taxes are owed on the kickstarter money as well. I'd set aside about $6000 for taxes after talking with my friend, figuring around 20-25% for taxes. Unfortunately, I just got finished sending $11,430 to the states to cover tax costs. The kickstarter amount was large enough to both bump my friend into a new bracket and to kill any and all of his deductibles.

Here's the cost breakdown of the kickstarter as a whole:

Total from the kickstarter: $34,056

After 10% deducted by kickstarter and Amazon payments, and after pledges that didn't go through are subtracted we ended up with something a bit shy of $30,500 but we'll round up.

Cost of editing and layout: $2515

Cost of artwork: $6000 (all the stretch goals, over 200 pieces of artwork)

Cost of shirts: $500

Cost of beads: $1,200

Cost of coins: $1,200

Cost of pouches: $150

Website: $900

Taxes: $11,430

A total of $23,895 in costs.

A few more hundred dollars for currency exchanges, sending fees, plus packing expenses, etc. and I've got less than $6500 dollars left to cover both the buying of the books and the shipment of them. Even a very conservative estimate for shipment eats most, if not all, of that money. And so there's no way I can afford to go for the hardcover option. I'll already be delving into my school savings to pay for it all, will be taking a semester off school to work and try to make that money back up so I can get back to school in September.

Once again, you have my sincere apologies, I know ignorance isn't much of a defense; I'd have run an entirely different kickstarter if I'd known 40% of the project's money would end up in other people's pockets. I hope you all still feel that there is value in your pledges, everything else is unaffected and I'm working on building the final multimedia PDF with audio capabilities as we speak. I'll try to have it out to you all as soon as I can.

Maps - Hand Drawn or Mapping Program?

I've noticed that the big mappers online draw freehand (and they do an awesome job with it - +matt jackson , +Dyson Logos and the rest).

Me, I can't draw for shit. Heck, I can't even draw a straight line, as my Saturday Night group can attest to.

I've dabbled with many of the computer mapping programs - Dunjieni (SP?), Campaign Cartographer, Hexographer and the like - I still suck ;)

How do you do your maps (with that voodoo that you do)? Freehand, pen to paper, drawing program, mapping program, find already completed maps and make your adventure conform?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Dice - By the Set or By the Bucket - What Memories Do They Hold?

I still remember my first dice set. I got it for my birthday many moons ago, along with the AD&D 1e Player's Handbook and the DM's Guide. Solid dice of different colors with rounded edges. Red d4, black 6d, white d8, blue d12 and a brown d20 (with the numbers from 0-9 twice - so i colored them in with green and orange crayons for Hi and Lo). No d10 was included.

My next set was a gem set. Crappy rounded edges and scars from the molding process.

My third set was from my boxed set of Gamma World - you know the ones - waxy, irregular, barely able to read the numbers. Made my percentile set included with Top Secret (these dice actually gained stress fractures) seem like high quality.

Now I own so many dice I'd be hard pressed to tell you the history of 5% of them, if that much. The d10's that came with the different Pacesetter games, the dice that never came with my Paranoia Boxed Set, the 3d6 that came with my boxed Traveller Starter Set. I don't recall the dice that came with my AH Runequest 3e boxed set, but I know there were some. I think.

Dice hold memories, not just of their rolls, but of their time of acquisition.

Now I own hundreds of dice. Some bought by the pound. Some picked out by hand as a youth.

What are your dice stories?

Updated OSRIC PDF Available for Free Download



+Stuart Marshall has updated the OSRIC PDF file.

You can grab a copy for free via the Knights N Knaves website.

Actually, while you are there, check out the Dangerous Dungeons thread(s) here and here at the KnK's forums. I need to see if I have anything I can contribute to the project.

Somehow I Missed Yesterday's Release of the Unearthed Arcana Premium Reprint

Is it just me, or does this cover look pretty uninviting?

Yep, I dropped the ball on this one. Yesterday, February 19th was the release of the Premium 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Unearthed Arcana (at least that's how Amazon calls it).

I picked up the core 3 AD&D reprints, so why did this fly under my radar (I'm sure I mentioned it months ago when it was announced)? Probably because the mixed reviews it had at the time it was released and the poor feedback I've read over the years.

Me? I still use Weapon Specialization and the new spells, but forget about the new classes and races. Talk about unbalancing. Hmmm, interesting referring to "new classes and races" in a book 28 years old ;)

Anyhow, it's a $49.99 suggested retail. No mention on whether or nor part of the proceeds get donated to the Gygax Memorial Fund - but then I don't think we know how much the first 3 books raised for the fund either. Amazon has it for $31.44 with free shipping. Not a bad deal, if only I needed it.

I don't.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Comparing OD&D to it's Nearest Clones - S&W Whitebox and Delving Deeper - Part IV: Weapons & Combat



Well, with the soon (alright, November) release of the "Deluxe" Reprinting of the Original Dungeons & Dragons Boxed set, this might all be moot, right? Because we're all going to be shelling out $150 for a new reprint of a cloned game. Well, actually, I might be one of the many suckers myself, but whatever ;)

So, when it comes to the Original and it's two main clones, how close is the combat system amongst them all?

Weapon (and armor) costs between OD&D and the Swords & Wizardry White Box are nearly identical across the board, which is kind of surprises me. I mean, sure, they changed up the order of the items, but except for things like the spear, the prices are the same. Delving Deeper changes up the prices to the point where you can't even figure out if there was a forumla they used - little rhyme or reason. Sure, it's a minor thing, but something that stands out none the less.

Damage for all weapons in the OD&D WB is 1d6, no matter the type or size. Of course, I can't actually find that rule, but I know it well. Damage in DD is also 1d6, no matter the weapon. Damage in S&W WB is 1d6, or + or -1 depending on the weapon. So, some diversity, but still based on the 1d6 concept for all weapons.

As for Attack Matrixes, things get a little complicated.

OD&D WB, a 1st level Fighting-Man needs an 18 to hit AC 2. Actually, that applies to 1st level Clerics and Magic-Users too. Every 3 levels (starting at 4th) a Fighting-Man moves up a step on the Combat Matrix (every 4 levels for Clerics and every 5 for Magic-Users). Each step on the Combat Matrix is an improvement of 2 to 3 points to the chance to hit. Phew!

DD starts Fighters with an 18 for AC 2, but Clerics and Magic-Users start at 19. Fighters improve by + 1 every other level or every level, Clerics are similar but slower and Magic-Users every other level get + 1.

S&W WB starts everyone at a 17 to hit AC 2 (there's also an acceding AC option, but we'll avoid that for now). Otherwise, the breakdown of the combat charts are similar to DD. Not exact, but similar.

So, snapshots:

A Fighting-Man (Fighter) 1st Level against AC 2 needs: OD&D 18 / DD 18 / S&W WB 17

A Fighting Man (Fighter) 5th Level against AC 2 needs: OD&D 15 / DD 15 / S&W WB 14

A Fighting Man (Fighter) 10th Level against AC2 needs: OD&D 10 / DD 11 / S&W WB 11

Interesting how S&W WB starts out with the better attack chance, and winds up tied for the worst

Basic Fantasy RPG - $4.62 on Amazon



Huge hat tip to +Christopher Helton for the heads up on this:

Amazon has the prefect bound version of the Basic Fantasy RPG for $4.62. Free shipping for prime members or part of a qualifying order over $25.

You could outfit a group of 6 for less than 30 bucks.


Reprint or Originals? Where Will Your Money Go?

With WotC reprinting the Original Dungeons & Dragons Boxed Set (in a real wooden box, not just a wood-grained finish) the question seems to be (at least for those interested in the material being reprinted):

Buy a used version of the original, at a higher price -

or

Buy a new version of the original, at a high price (but no where near as high as the original) -

or

Buy and own both -

or

Settle on a cloned version.

I guess all the above is a valid answer too, as I have the originals and the clones, all in nice white boxes.

Lord knows i don't need this latest cash grab by WotC, especially with the new cover art (what were they thinking?). Not saying I won't pick it up, but I certainly don't need it.

What are your thoughts?


Monday, February 18, 2013

Original Edition Dungeons & Dragons Premium Reprint - In a Real Wooden Box



Thanks to +Jason Paul McCartan for bringing this to my attention.

WotC has decided to go with a "premium" reprint of the 3 LBBs and the four supplements (from the site - a mere $149.99 with a release date of November 19, 2013):


A premium, deluxe edition of the Original D&D "White Box"!

The original Dungeons & Dragons boxed set was published by TSR, Inc. in 1974 and was the very first roleplaying game, introducing concepts that have persisted throughout later editions. It included three small rules booklets in a white box.

This deluxe, premium reprint of the original "White Box" features new packaging and includes the following seven booklets:

Volume 1: Men & Magic
Volume 2: Monsters & Treasure
Volume 3: Underworld & Wilderness Adventures
Supplement I: Greyhawk
Supplement II: Blackmoor
Supplement III: Eldritch Wizardry
Supplement IV: Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes
Each booklet features new cover art but is otherwise a faithful reproduction of the original, including original interior art.

Carousing the Compiled Compilation of Fight On!



When it was announced that Fight On! was ceasing publication, I realized that most of my copies of Fight On! were in PDF, not print. Which isn't all that big a surprise, as the PDF price was much cheaper than the printed price, even with the famous Lulu Coupons.

Well, the 4 issue compilations make that less of a done deal. The PDFs generally run $4.99 each and print is $9.99 (plus tax and shipping). The compilations are 4 issues in print for 20 bucks - half the single issue prices and the same as PDF. So, I picked up the compilations of 1-4 and 5-8. These suckers are as thick as some of my old college textbooks.

My goal, now that I have these 2 tomes, is to cover an issue a week or so on the blog - starting with issue 1 and moving onward to issue 8. Hopefully by then issues 9-12 will have their own tome ;)

With print on demand publishing, these issues will never truly be out of print. I'll highlight the good, the bad and the downright ugly (which admittedly, can still be pretty good). Thankfully, Fight On! #1 was fairly short, so I should have that post up by the end of the week.

(link to the lulu page with the compilations + 4 {1-4} and +8 {5-8})

Stray Thoughts After Three Weeks of Not Running a Game

This weekend was the third straight session that was cancelled. The first was cancelled in advance, as I knew I wouldn't be around. The second was cancelled due to - well, cancellations. This past Saturday was cancelled by me with half the group running late and myself recovering from a stomach virus.

Three weeks of inaction. Not good when you are prone to the Gamers' version of ADD ;)

I'm currently staring at my copy of Jaws of the Six Serpents - a Swords & Sorcery title that uses the PDQ System. Before my full return into active gaming (and fully embracing the OSR), the PDQ System was one of the RPG systems I was giving a good and hard look at.  Actually, Questers of the Middle Realms was the game that got me thinking about PDQ, but I would have had to have made the game serious, and not sure how well that conversion would have gone.

I've also got my The Golden Age of Classic Traveller on CD-Rom sitting on my desk. I always come back to Traveller when I think of running a SciFi RPG. At which point I recall that there is no expo gain in Traveller - you will not get better at doing, just what you own - and I put aside such silly thoughts. That being said, my X-plorers Boxed sets are sitting to my left - but that is the opposite of Traveller in terms of crunch, and leaves me unfulfilled. Maybe Stars Without Number...

Never got my Tunnels & Trolls session off the ground last week either.

Now Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is tempting me. Damn it! Maybe I'll just borrow a few rules for some NPCs and such...

Drinking Quest 3 - A Trilogy is Completed (Indiegogo)



Drinking Quest 3, the follow up to Drinking Quests 1 & 2, is raising funds over on Indiegogo.

Now, I already have DQ 1 & 2, and even had a chance to play DQ1 via G+ Hangouts with Jason, the creator - needless to say, the game rocks!

The great thing about the Drinking Quest games is that they are all stand alone and do not require you to play through them in a certain order. Alright, that and drinking. Gaming and drinking is always a good combo.

So, how do I show my support?

I'm in this one for all three copies - DQ 1, 2 & 3. Why, when I already have 1 & 2? Because I'd like to be able to give a copy or two away on the blog, that's why.

It's just that good.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mini Review - Curse of the Weaver Queen (OSR Adventure)



I have had limited exposure to products from EldritchEnt. For those keeping score at home, Lich Dungeon (Level One) was my initial foray into the realm of EE products, and it was less than satisfactory. So, it was with not a small bit of trepidation that I decided to give Curse of the Weaver Queen a peek. It did help that it was written by Time Kask, whose interview by Grognard Games I've been enjoying.

Let me get the usual EldritchEnt criticism out of the way first: I find their alternate game stats annoying and unintuitive. I understand why they've chosen to go with them but that doesn't mean I need to agree with their decision. My second issue is the complete stat block and description of each creature both in their encounter AND as a recap in a monster section. Why? It's annoying in PDF format but I'd feel cheated by the fluffing of the page count if I was buying this in print.

Alright, now that I've gotten that stuff out of the way, Curse of the Weaver Queen isn't a bad adventure.

I like the mechanics suggested for dealing with swarm type attacks. Are they "by the book" or realistic? Probably not, but they look like they should work and definitely would make swarm type attacks playable. I may steal this bit or rework it just a bit for my own campaign.

The adventure itself is actually interesting. I don't mean that as a slight, just an observation. I guess I wasn't expecting much, and this exceeded that. Treasure isn't given in gold and silver pieces - wait, actually, it is, but it's value is occasionally given as something along the lines of "worth the value of a fine blooded stallion and a finely crafted suit of armor, complete with shield and helm". Which when you think of it, is an awesome way to value treasure.

No obscure math riddles either. Sorry, more Lich Dungeon flashbacks.

If this was written using one of the "usual" OSR stat blocks, I'd recommend it. If you can get past the annoying need to translate everything into a "D&D" type format it's a decent adventure. I just find the "Eldritch Language Standard Terminology" annoying. It's a personal prejudice I guess.

From the blurb:


The lunar goddess Arianhrod presides over the great wheel of life. But centuries ago, some saw the Wheel as a Web: a spider's web. And so began the Cult, and so it has festered, hidden, malignant... waiting.

Now they come scuttling out of the dunes at night, silent and deadly. Only a very lucky few have survived the ravaging horde. The bugs. The huge spiders. The Gatherers, taking what is man's and returning to their lair.

That area of the dunes is strange. You'll see. You can find it easily. And with luck, you may live to tell the tale.

Curse of the Weaver Queen uses a generic language compatible with any set of fantasy Rolepleying rules. It is a stand-alone adventure and will easily drop into any existing campaign.

Mini Review - Menagerie of the Ice Lord (LL Adventure)

She might have a cavity...


+Dylan Hartwell was kind enough to forward me a copy of his latest adventure, Menagerie of the Ice Lord, a low level adventure for Labyrinth Lord. Color me impressed, but Dylan seems to get better with each product.

The first half of MotIL is the adventure. No need to save the world, it's purely an investigate and loot type of mission, which I find refreshing. The fact that the varied assortment of creatures have a well thought out reason for being where they are? Icing on the cake.

It's nearly 100 rooms over 5 floors (alright, 6 floors if you count the 2 rooms on the last floor). Heck, this is practically a megadungeon in design. I'd love to put a party through this, as I suspect it will play out well.

I do have one problem with the adventure part - there is a magic item (actually, more than a dozen of the same type) that if they fall into the hands of the PCs can have long term unbalancing effects. Sure, it's easy enough to change the item, the effect or even the number found (if they are found - secret doors and the like) but I really don't like having to do so. Snall gripe, but it's there none the lesd.

The second half of MotIL consists of new monsters - 30 to be exact. It's like a low level Fiend Folio of sorts, and each is accompanied by artwork. This is something that you can use now and in the future.

The printed copy also comes with a laminated sheet of graph paper, so you can use dry erase markers and map if you would like, It also includes a folded map of all 5 (6) floors of Castle Denator (the location of the adventure) and on the back of that is a blank character sheet.

All that for $3.99 in print ($2.99 in PDF).

If you have to make a choice between Print and PDF, go for the print copy. You'll be amazed by what Dylan crams into an envelope for $3.99

I'm dying to see what Dylan comes up with next. I guess I can't ask for another brewery, so maybe a tavern based adventure ;)

Kickstarters That Make Me Ask: "Why?" - Busty Barbarian Bimbos (RPG)



Sometimes there's an RPG product in the works that makes you think. No, not in an enlightened way. It makes you think: "What the fuck were they smoking to think that this is in remotely good taste?" Then, thinking further, you realize "ah, so this is meant to be the opposite of good taste." Which doesn't mean it won't suck, but does mean it is more likely to suck than not.

Busty Barbarian Bimbos is one of those games. It also happens to be a Kickstarter project that has nearly funded. I'm guessing bad taste sells. Where are the legions of feminists aghast at this Kickstarter project whose four main attributes spell out SLUT (Slap, Legs, Uhm and Tits)?

Somehow I suspect Macho Women With Guns pulled off the campy flavor a bit better than Busty Barbarian Bimbos will.

That all being said, the price point on this project is sweet - you get a printed softcover copy for $15 shipped.

I wonder if it includes any real life samples ;)

edit: there is an earlier version of the PDF available for free from their site. It looks well laid out and the system is simple and intuitive. Obviously haven't read the whole thing yet, but at first glance I am pleasantly surprised.