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Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Traveling Wizard Goes Dark - No More Social Media for Nystul



So, it looks like Mike Nystul has taken down his blog, his personal Facebook page and the Axes & Anvils Facebook page.

Is there anyone left who truly expects to receive any new version of the rules, let alone ANY physical products?

Mike couldn't pass this project off to others like the other two because the physical rewards owed to backers is simply too high in cost. Anyone picking up the reigns of this project from Mike would be taking on a money pit.

Nuking his social media is yet another sign that Mike is running away from what little responsibilities he had left to his backers.

This is making last year's Dwimmermount fiasco seem absolutely normal in comparison.


His transfer of the other two IPs was simple as neither has the amount of physical product add on like this one did. Here's a list of stuff you could have added on that has little to nothing to do with the core RPG:

Card Set (Add $10)

Runestones (Add $12)

Tankard (Add $16)

Dice (add $6 a pair)

Clan Patches (add $5)

Set of Clan Patches (add $20)

Dwarven Fiction Anthology (add $15)

Signed Anthology (add $30)

TShirt (add $16)

Calendar (add $12)

Giclee Art Print (add $30)

Campaign Integration (add $160) - (including the description of this, as it will NEVER happen)

I have received a lot of questions about, and interest in - the Living Campaign. I have also been asked to provide a way for folks who aren't playing a faction leader to get involved. Here you go -

The Living Campaign will be shaped by the decisions made by the leaders of the various factions involved. This will generate events that can be used by Gamemasters to give color and relevance to their games. At this level, it is a one way system (unless you are playing one of the faction leaders). We generate stuff, you use it or you don't.

With this add on your Campaign becomes part of the Living World. When you set up your Clan I will commission an emblem for you which will be created to your specifications (within reason). I will also work with you to locate you within a Campaign map that will be available to everyone online, along with an online guide to all of the Clans that are involved.

IMPORTANT - you only need one "subscription" per Campaign and it will last at least one full year.

The activities of the Integrated Campaigns will be integrated into the material that will go out to everyone. Your Gamemaster will be asked to submit a monthly questionnaire and may be asked a few followup questions. Will there be the potential for conflict, for alliances, for competition? Yes! Do I know exactly how? Not yet! But I will... : )

It is important to note that because of the amount of work maintaining the Living Campaign will take, I will have to ask everyone to stick to answering the questions I send in the manner I ask. If you feel like offering more there will be Forums where you can share material with other participants. I expect this to be a very lively community!

The Living Campaign begins the 1st of the year. 2013 will be the Year of the Dwarf!



Friday, October 4, 2013

Isle of Dread "Walkthrough Map" at the WotC Site


I love it when WotC does these cartoon maps. They frigging rock!

This time its the classic Isle of Dread (they also have blank and hex map versions of the Isle to download)

Previous ones include Slave Pits of the Undercity, The Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth and a bunch of other classics. White Plume Mountain is one of my favs ;)

Some Recent Comments by Backers of "The Travelling Wizard"'s Axes & Anvils Kickstarter

We know Mike has no immediate plans to finish Axes & Anarchy - I MEAN Axes & Anvils.

Backers are frustrated but realists as shown below (my favorite line - Mike see's himself as a 'traveling wizard') -


I would link the Big Purple thread myself, but I find the place horrible to navigate.

Of course, it seems like Mike himself doesn't quite grasp the fact that not only hasn't he produced something, but being a "traveling wizard" is about as far from being in a position to produce something that one can be.


I was surprised that Mike's two other projects were signed over to others without any kind of cash changing hands - until you realize Mike probably did less with those two project then he did with A&A. So yes, Mike turned over very little but the concepts themselves.

If this was simple incompetence, I'd have forgiven and forgotten this project long ago. It's the lies, not just to the backers, but folks like +Andrew Shields that stepped up to save this project before being kicked to the curb, that simply piss me off.

Pay What You Want - Brave the Labyrinth Issue #2 (Labyrinth Lord 'Zine)


Not everything cool costs money :)

Brave the Labyrinth Issue #2, a Labyrinth Lord 'Zine has just released.

If you are an OSR gamer of any of the various rulesets, you really can't got wrong. Grab it for free and toss a few silvers at Small Niche Games if you find it's worth it. I'll be doing so once I finish reading it ;)


Thursday, October 3, 2013

Another Bundle of Holding? Get Some "Unknown Armies"!


I've only heard good things about Unknown Armies. Actually, I heard how awesome it was, but I had no idea the genre of UA until earlier today - postmodern apocalyptic pulp action. That's a mouthful.

In any case, the game and some supplements can be had for about 11 bucks in PDF for the next he days.

Yes, more shit I won't get to read for months - maybe years. Yes, I paid my 11 bucks...

The East Coast Will Cast "Summon Nystul" During Peak Blizzard Season ;)


Alex Gray - Mike Nystul - "Alter Self" anyone?

How about: "I'll finish my commitments before living the life of a vagabond"?

Nah! Didn't think so...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

When it Comes to Pre-published Settings, Do You Prefer Detailed or Simple?

This kinda cropped up in an email conversation earlier today, and I thought it was worth asking
my readers - do you prefer detailed or simple commercial RPG settings?

See, for me, my preferred setting is something like Blackmarsh - enough to include some possible story hooks yet not so detailed that I feel like I need to memorize a 4" think tome before I can even run it.

I would take the Greyhawk Folio over whatever shelves of books the Forgotten Realms occupies these days.

So, what is your preference? Detailed or simple or something else entirely?

Now I Want My RPGs in "Mobi" Format - Say Hello To My Little Friend - Kindle Paperwhite



I'm a geek. A geek that's been working steady overtime since July. I just had to check out the new Kindle Paperwhite.

As a bit of history, I had the first Kindle upon release, the Kindle 2, the DX (in the hope of reading RPG PDFs) and now the Kindle Paperwhite.

Already my mother wants one for Christmas.

Hey! Maybe I'll finally finish reading Playing at the World!

In all seriousness - the adjustable backlight, the touch screen, the sharp lettering - I think I'm falling in love all over again.

I just need more RPG releases in Mobi format - not sure what there is right now besides Fate and Dungeon World...

Free D&D Adventure - Murder in Baldur's Gate (3.5 / 4e / Next)



Can't pick a winner in the edition wars? Grab Murder in Baldur's Gate for 3 flavors of D&D - "Dead but lives forever", "Dying before it was even released" and finally - "Longest gestation period ever.".

From the WotC blurb:

The Murder in Baldur's Gate Launch Event took place August 17-18, designed to kick off the 2013 August – November season of the D&D Encounters official play program:

Duke Adrian Abdel is a living legend in the city of Baldur’s Gate, and much of the city has gathered to celebrate him and his accomplishments. On this day of festivities, though, the duke’s past will finally catch up with him—with dire consequences. Murder has returned to Baldur's Gate, and brave heroes are the city’s only hope to stop the violence.

This scenario, like the complete Murder in Baldur’s Gate adventure, is playable with three versions of D&D: 3rd Edition (v.3.5), 4th Edition, and the D&D Next playtest rules. At the end of the session, players face a choice, and their decision will impact what experience they have in the upcoming D&D Encounters season, in which the full adventure plays out.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

It's a Setting! It's a Rock Album! It's an Art Book! It's the Dragon Kings Kickstarter!


Alright, this is one of those Kickstarters that has been pushed hard prior to going live. I know I posted about it earlier, and the concept is pretty cool, even if it is a bit muddled.

Tim Brown, the main man behind Dark Sun back in the AD&D 2e days is releasing Dragon Kings as a sort of spiritual successor to his earlier creation. The setting itself will be system agnostic, but they will be releasing PDFs that are system specific for Pathfinder and Savage Worlds (and others as stretch goals). Kinda cool, as I enjoyed the early Dark Sun releases.

But then Tim kicks it up a notch by adding a 12 track Dragon Kings music CD, telling the story of the world of Dragon Kings.

But wait, there's more! The Dragon Kings Gazetteer is both an art book for the setting and reflects the songs on the album.

It all seems... awkward to me. My wife, however, thinks the music that played while watching the video was pretty cool. I do like the artists lined up for this project, and Brom is one of my all time favorites.

This went live yesterday and is already past the halfway mark of it's $29k goal.

It's also one of the few gaming Kickstarters my wife seems interested in.

I just like my Kickstarters with simpler options...

Another Cool Kickstarter - The Lost Lands: Sword of Air (Setting+ for S&W and PFRPG)


I feel like a news service today ;)

Another cool Kickstarter went live today, this time by the Frogs - The Lost Lands: Sword of Air. It's a sandbox setting, mega dungeon, campaign, ruined city, new monsters, new spells, new rules, etc - for both the Swords & Wizardry and the Pathfinder RPGs.

Estimated length? 500+ pages, but I'm not sure if that's the Pathfinder count or the S&W count (Pathfinder tends to run about 20-30% longer in page count - easily - than S&W).

Am I in for this one? Yep. Made the 4th wave of shipping for the Bones 2 Kickstarter too :)

Reaper's Bones 2 Kickstarter is Live!

Here's the current loot for Bones 2:


Free Quickstart - Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition


It's October, and you know what that means - Halloween!

I'm figuring the weekend before or after Halloween I'm going to run some kind of "horror RPG" session for the Saturday Night G+ Hangout group. Call of Cthulhu is probably the first choice on that list.

The CoC 7th Edition QS is 48 pages long and a great introduction to the game. I recently grabbed a copy of the 6th edition, and I have an older boxed set from my college days of roleplaying.

Really, you can't go wrong with the CoC Quickstart and you certainly can't beat the price.

From the blurb:

The Great Old Ones ruled the earth aeons before the rise of humankind. Originally they came from the gulfs of space and were cast down by even greater beings. Remains of their cyclopean cities and forbidden knowledge can still be found on remote islands in the Pacific, buried amid the shifting sands of vast deserts, and in the frigid recesses of the polar extremes. Now they sleep — some deep within the enveloping earth and others beneath the eternal sea, in the drowned city of R'lyeh, preserved in the waters by the spells of mighty Cthulhu. When the stars are right they will rise, and once again walk this Earth.

Welcome to Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Quick-Start Rules, a booklet that collects the essential rules for Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition and presents them in abbreviated form.

This book comprises a complete basic roleplaying game system, a framework of rules aimed at allowing players to enact a sort of improvisational radio theater—only without microphones—and with dice determining whe­ther the characters succeed or fail at what they attempt to do. In roleplaying games, one player takes on the role of the gamemaster (or Keeper, in Call of Cthulhu), while the other player(s) assume the roles of player characters (investigators, in Call of Cthulhu) in the game. The gamemaster also acts out the roles of characters who aren’t being guided by players: these are called non-player characters (NPCs).

From its origin, Call of Cthulhu was designed to be intuitive and easy to play. Character attributes follow a 3D6 curve, and the other Call of Cthulhu mechanics are even simpler. Virtually all rolls determining success or failure of a task are determined via the roll of percentile dice. This means that there’s less fiddling with dice of different types, and the concept of a percentile chance of success is extremely easy for beginners and experienced players to grasp.

Use this booklet to play Call of Cthulhu immediately, and to discover the improvements to the system. Games rules, an updated character sheet, and a classic adventure are included.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Another "Bundle of Holding" - Feng Shui (Hong Kong Action Movie RPG)


I think I've turned into a Bundle of Holding addict. Seriously. I know I don't have time for all of these cool games, but at some point I will, and when I do, I'll have some amazing shit to read (and possibly play).

At the moment, 11 bucks gets you: Feng Shui rulebook, Golden Comeback, Blowing Up Hong Kong, Friends of the Dragon, and In Your Face Again.

11 Bucks exceeds the average. You could give a buck and still get the first two I listed.

I'm beginning to understand the crackheads I used to arrest in the South Bronx back in the late 90's ;)

This bundle has a short run - less than 3 days left. So if your going to do it, just do it. 'Cause to do it, you must do it. Or something. Fucking Apocalypse World "too cool to write intelligently" is bouncing around my head. Make it stop!

Heh! I should ask Nystul how he copes. Wait, that's right, he doesn't write anymore - he teaches!

Learn RPG Writing and Publishing From Our Very Own Snake Oil Salesman - Mike Nystul!

I will let Mike speak for himself and leave the comments to my readers ;)
As a professional game designer and avid hobbyist with over 25 years of experience I feel that I have a lot to share with others in the gaming community. I have also worked as a teacher and instructor so have the background to develop a curriculum of classes that have something to offer gamers of all levels of experience. 
Here is my initial offering:  
Game Design 101 
Eventually many gamers get the itch to try their hand at creating their very own game. In this class I will cover how to choose your theme, how to choose the mechanics that will best serve that theme, design basics and an introduction on advanced topics such as layout, art direction and publication. All participants will receive a copy of a concise but complete original rpg that illustrates the topics we will discuss.   
Class Length: 3hrs 
Class Fee: $20
Just think of all the wisdom...

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Free OSR Adventure - The Vile Worm (S&W Version)


Arcana Creations has released the S&W adventure, The Vile Worm, for free. It's a conversion of the DCC adventure of the same name published by Brave Halfling, which itself was a conversion of The Vile Worm of the Eldritch Oak, which was included in the Swords & Wizardry White Box boxed set by none other then Brave Halfling.

So yes, The Vile Worm conversion for Swords and Wizardry is a conversion of a DCC RPG conversion of a Swords and Wizardry White Box adventure. Talk about returning to one's roots.

It's free, it's low level and should occupy a few hours of gameplay on a Saturday night.

From the blurb:

Deep within the forest, an ancient oak has grown huge, twisted, and evil. Ages ago, a savage cult haunted these woods and this tree became the focus of their unspeakable rites. Below it, they carved out a chamber of sacrificial horror where innocent victims were offered to a hideous worm-like god. As the centuries passed, the cult faded into the mists of time, but the twisted old oak stood fast, awaiting the day when the creeping evil in the dark below would be summoned once more.

Has "Appendix N" Gone Retail Before Shipping to the Majority of it's Kickstarter Supporters?

Hardly a week goes by without getting an email from someone asking me if I know the current status of the Appendix N Kickstarter - everyone wants to know when they are going to get their goods, and since I got mine three months ago, I must have some inside knowledge.

Here's the simple answer - I have no inside knowledge. But I do listen and I do read.

The last update on the Appendix N Kickstarter indicated the hope to get everything to everyone before the end of the year. Which would mean some folks would be getting theirs six months after I got mine.

Nowhere did it mention that Appendix N releases were being released to the general public before getting into the hands of those that supported the Kickstarter. It's been brought to my attention that the Appendix N releases are hitting retail distribution, like NOW. Is it possible that someone miscoded an entry? Sure - but at multiple locations?





Here's the direct links:

http://paizo.com/products/btpy8twu?Appendix-N-Adventures-The-Ruins-of-Ramat-and-the-Vile-Worm

http://www.frpgames.com/cart.php?m=product_detail&p=87453#.Ukhq64akoz4

http://www.gamekastle.com/index.php?m=product_detail&k=2&p=87453

http://www.gtsdistribution.com/pc_product_detail.asp?key=5211CE4AF79642BF87A231A8AE01DFD6

Now, as a community, we've bitched and complained when Kickstarters have shipped to retail before landing in the hands of those that supported the project. This might be a distributor screw up - but if folks can make a purchase and receive product before those that supported the Appendix N Kickstarter (especially those that kicked in extra for shipping after the fact) then there is a real problem here.

The Paizo link actually cost $11.01. I just ordered a set (shipping hurt but what the heck). When I get my Paizo copies, I'll post a pic. Hopefully folks will have pics of their Kickstarter copies to post before then.

Another "Pay What You Want" RPG - Westwater (OSR B/X Fantasy Western)


Looking to have a dwarven gunslinger? Look no further. Westwater is a Fantasy Western wuth roots in the OSR. So, you can play it with spells, magic and fantasy races OR you can play it as a straight up western RPG.

I'm thinking the first option might be a way to get some mileage out of the various Deadlands sourcebooks for those of us that don't play Savage Worlds.

As always, with Pay What You Want, the price is always right.

Westwater is going to my iPad later today.

From the blurb:

Back in the early 80s, B/X was one of my groups favorite RPGs.  While there were Wild West RPGs that existed, we really wanted to play in that genre using Tom Moldvay's system.  Thanks to the OGL, we can now share that with you!

Westwater uses the OGL to be completely compatible with any other B/X rules system.  While the core of the game mixes traditional 19th Century history with fantasy, there are guidelines that allow you to play the game modeled after realistic 19th century themes, or with a fully magical and fantastical theme.

So choose your gunslinger, holy man, monster hunter, mountain man, outlaw, and more classes, and earn your name in the Wild West!

This version is the no art version, and is designed to be a free/pay what you want model.

Another "Pay What You Want" RPG - The Void (Lovecraftian Sci-Fi Horror)


The Void released back in early August, but I missed it back then. I've always been interested in a sci-fi horror RPG - kinda looking for a CoC meets Star Trek. Not sure if this one even comes close to fitting that bill, but the price couldn't be better.

From the blurb:

The Stars Were Never Meant For Us

2159 AD. It is a good time to be alive. The nations of Earth still exist, but they have become more civilized, and humanity has expanded into the rest of our solar system. But, alas, it is not to be our time. Something approaches, a thing on an orbit from far away. Seemingly a mysterious shard of dark matter, this object is known in obscure prophecy as the Chthonian Star. It is awakening things long thought lost or dead, things that have slumbered awaiting its return. The Unified World Council sends out special teams of sanctioned Wardens, whose job it is to ascertain the new threats to human life, to learn everything they can about them, and fight them wherever they are found.

The Void is an original Lovecraftian hard sci-fi horror setting.

The Void Core:

Designed with accessibility in mind. A short overview and introductory adventure can have you playing within an hour.
Uses simple but satisfying d6 dice pool mechanics.
Introduces exciting new rules to ratchet up the survival horror.
Gives Characters many options for diversity and customization.
Provides an exploration of our fully colonized solar system in the near future – and the things that threaten it.
Created by the award-winning team that brought you CthulhuTech.