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Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Deal of the Day - Castles & Crusades Codex Germania

When Troll Lord Games Kickstarted its various historical sourcebooks for Castles & Crusades, I was all over it. Today, Codex Germania is the DTRPG Deal of the Day. You can snag a copy for 6.40 (normally 16 bucks)

While you are at it you can also grab copies of Codex Classicum (Greek, Etruscan and Roman myths) and Codex Slavorum (Slavic myths) for 6.40 apiece.

The Codex Germania unearths the mythological realms of the ancient Germans. From the murky forests of their beginnings rise the myths, the magic, gods, goddesses, monsters, heroes and legends of the ancient Germans, all brought to life for your Castles & Crusades game.

New Classes! New spells! More monsters!

Bring the Germanic World to the table!

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Monday, August 10, 2020

Deal of the Day - Sly Flourish's Fantastic Adventures (5e)

I may have my feet solidly in the OSR, but even I have heard good things about Sly Flourish and their various releases. Today's Deal of the Day is Sly Flourish's Fantastic Adventures. Inside you get 10 short adventures for D&D 5e, but I suspect, as they are lower-level adventures, you can convert to the OSR system of your choice with little effort.

Normally 14.99, until tomorrow morning Sly Flourish's Fantastic Adventures is available for 4.50.

Sly Flourish's Fantastic Adventures is a book of ten short adventures for the fifth edition of the world's most popular roleplaying game.

Each adventure is written for 2nd to 5th level and is designed so GMs can drop them into any fantasy campaign world. Whether you run a homebrew setting or a published game world, these adventures will fit in as either main adventure hooks or side quests to be undertaken by the characters in your game.

The adventures include:

The Night Blade: Ralavaz the Night Blade, a notorious bandit chieftain, has been released from prison. Rumors mark him as having returned to the hideout from which he and his band once operated—a ruined watchtower where a new group of bandits now dwells. The local sheriff believes that Ralavaz’s return means the Night Blades are back—and that the bandit chieftain must be stopped for good.

The Dwarven Vault: Miners digging on Goldpeak Mountain recently broke into an ancient dwarven vault lost for centuries, and from which treasure and madness now flow. Monstrous attacks in the local area see the adventurers asked to investigate, leading them to the mines and the discovery of the ancient magic underlying the threat.

The Well of the Black Sun: The mine known as Deepfathom Well is the only source of the lucrative alchemical substance voidwater. However, a number of recent murders—including the immolation of a head miner—have closed the operation, and the mine’s owner hires the characters to investigate. As they explore the mysteries buried deep beneath the ground, the characters discover the dark power lurking within the mine—and expose the activities of a secret cult that seeks to control that power.

Rosethorn: A particularly intelligent goblin named Rosethorn has brought the local goblin tribes under his control, and is leading them in devastating raids against trade wagons and farm folk. When the local sheriff seeks help to put an end to these dastardly robberies, the characters uncover multiple levels of mystery and subterfuge, and discover the secret behind Rosethorn’s villainous mind.

The Gleam in the King’s Eye: Lord Marlin Whitesparrow hires the characters to join him as he explores the lost chambers beneath his ancient keep. His goal is to claim the Crown of the First Lord—a lost family relic that might help solidify his rule. But within the forgotten spaces beneath the keep, Whitesparrow and the characters will discover family histories that should have been left alone.

The Crashed Palace: When a celestial palace falls to earth, its destruction unleashes corrupting magic and a bearded devil intent on summoning its master—a powerful pit fiend from the hellish plane of Dyn. A mortally wounded archon begs the characters to travel to the palace and prevent the summoning of this fiend, but dark magic and monstrous creatures transformed by the devil’s rituals stand in their way.

The Flesh Eaters: Lizardfolk tribes living near settled lands traditionally keep to themselves. So when a lizardfolk attack leaves local settlers dead, the characters are asked to investigate. After discovering that an ancient lizardfolk cult is responsible, the characters must track the cannibal cultists back to their lair, revealing the dark magic that has corrupted the lizardfolk, and standing against their powerful leader.

The Queen of Red Water: At an old dwarven dam, a bugbear matriarch has found the key to holding an entire valley hostage by stopping the flow of the local river. With farms on the verge of collapse from the sudden drought, the characters are charged with negotiating with the bugbear’s agents on behalf of the local village. They must then infiltrate the dam to identify the full scope of the bugbear chieftain’s threats.

The Cult of Dusk: A deadly attack in the local village leads to the revelation that a dark cult is seeking forbidden magic in the nearby ruins known as the forgotten library. The characters must pursue the cultists and their mysterious leader into the ruins, trying to prevent a ritual that might pull the world into eternal night.

Gloom: Lord Whitesparrow’s spoiled nephew and heir, Pennin, is marked for death, and the characters are tasked with discovering who is behind the threat. Even as they learn that Pennin recently desecrated a local temple, murder and mayhem lead the characters to discover that one of the temple’s priests is a former assassin of great and terrible renown—and that she has kidnapped Pennin to seek bloody revenge.

Each adventure includes a map of the adventure location and a special presentation format designed to make it as easy as possible for game masters to pick up this book, choose an adventure, and get started playing. Whether you're running a single-session adventure for a few friends or want to drop a short adventure into the middle of your longer campaign, Fantastic Adventures has you covered.

The electronic version includes both PDFs and Epub, perfect for running off of your phone or tablet along with pregenerated character sheets for levels 1 to 5 custom built for Fantastic Adventures.

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Sunday, August 9, 2020

About the Appendix N Library

About the Appendix N Library
I made it back from my business trip to Ft Bragg/Fayetteville NC and even though my luggage space was tight I managed to make space for a couple books I picked up from a used book store. Both of them were compilations of Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stories by Fritz Leiber. I only had one Leiber book so far and these two basically filled out the rest of the stories I didn't already have.

Last year I started building up an Appendix N library in earnest. I hit up the used book stores on the regular and have a list of the books I'm looking for. Last year I was "stuck" in the Jacksonville FL area for a month and I found a couple treasure troves of bookstores.

I probably should go back a bit and explain what Appendix N is for those that are coming from another headspace. In the back of the 1st Edition AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide, listed as "Appendix N" Gary Gygax compiled a list of authors and wrote "All of the above authors, as well as many not listed, certainly helped to shape the form of the game. For this reason, and for the hours of reading enjoyment, I heartily recommend the works of these fine authors to you."

The Original Appendix N ListSo basically the main man himself says that these authors were not only inspirational for AD&D (and clearly all subsequent RPGs) but just good reading. Some of the works by the listed authors can easily be pointed to as inspiration for specific elements of AD&D. I'd list them, but why? You should figure that out yourself.....and while you're at it take some inspiration for making your own tweaks to your game (or not).

So we have a 40 year-old recommended reading list.....have you ever tried to go to the library to pick up an old, non-mainstream book? Not as easy to do as you would think, unless you happen to be part of a HUGE library network (like Tenkar has in NYC). Sure, inter-library loans will help some, but you've got to wait in line with all the other nerds trying to do the same thing.

Actually a LOT of the "official" Appendix N authors had their works published as dime-store paperbacks. Hardcovers aren't always available....they may never have been made, or were made in much smaller numbers. Sometimes you'll luck out and find a compilation or omnibus version with a few books under one cover, but I've found that out more with my own personal Appendix N list.

This is the thing as well.....you really should have your own Appendix N list. The official one in the back of the DMG is a good start, but there has been a lot written in the last 40 years. You might want to add or remove genres, etc. I'll add my personal list at the end of this post, after a couple bits of advice.

Lets say you have your beginning Appendix N list, now where to start?

Libib
I'm going to suggest working a bit backwards and even before picking up your 1st book, well your next deliberate Appendix N purchase (undoubtedly you already have at least one book...right?) figure out how you're going to track your library. I dislike buying a second copy of a book that I don't need because I wasn't tracking...... I personally use Libib, which is free. Google documents/sheets can work just fine, but even a simple hand-written list will suffice, as long as you always have it on you. I'm to the point now where I have most of the books I've been looking for, so I often have just a couple here and there from specific series, or hardcovers I want to replace my paperbacks. In Libib I just have a specific library called "Wanted Books" that lists what I'm needing.

As far as actually getting the books you want for your library.......well, you'll inevitably need to put in some leg work. Used bookstores are my personal go-to. The larger chains are hit and miss, but they have multiple locations and are usually the leading places where people go to sell books in the first place. I do like Half Price Books and when I'm in OKC or Dallas I hit up a few. I have had a couple good finds, but I think the days of walking into an entire library of cheap gaming books is long-gone. Still, there is a gem here & there. The smaller used bookstores, the genuine small business type places (regardless of physical size) have been really good to me. They've been the best place for me to find the old trade paperbacks. Lastly, and I've only done this a couple times to close out series for my library, you have the online retailers like AbeBooks. These retailers are worth checking into after you've been hitting the bookstores a bit and you get a feel for what certain books cost. Just yesterday I bought a book to finish out a series because I could do the mental math and realized I'm just paying an extra $2 for shipping over me buying it in person. Since it could be months or years before I saw that book in the wild......a $2 "premium" is totally worth it.

This weekend I'm relaxing from my trip and organizing my Appendix N library (see where I got the inspiration from?) I've bagged up some of my trade paperbacks to help protect them and generally figured out which books I still need to close out certain series. Now I enjoy the hunt for adding to my library almost as much as I hate buying unneeded dupes. I'm hoping that at least one Tavern reader is motivated to start/formalize their own Appendix N library and maybe....maybe have a bit better luck than I have (not that I'm complaining....)

Frugal GM's Appendix N Library (Authors):
Poul Anderson
Piers Anthony
Robert Asprin
Terry Brooks
Jim Butcher
L. Sprague de Camp
Lin Carter
C. J. Cherryh
David Farland
Craig Shaw Gardner
John Jakes
Robert Jordan
Katherine Kurtz
Tanith Lee
Fritz Leiber
John Moore
Andrew J. Offutt
Jack Vance
Lawrence Watt-Evans
Robert E. Howard

I could be missing some authors, but I've deliberately avoided authors of actual RPG material or TSR books, well at least the ones I know of.

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