Saturday, June 5, 2010

RPGNow Specials for June

Sometimes you get thrown a curve ball.  Sometimes the curve ball is a sweet one.  This is a sweet one ;)

OneBookShelf / RPGNow / DriveThruRPG has supplied certain bloggers with a discount code to give to their readers.  I happen to be lucky enough to be one of those bloggers.  (Even luckier that I heard about the program in the first place).  The code for June is:


It's worth 20% off all products from the following list of publishers. It's good for one month from today (actually, yesterday), with unlimited uses (but only three per customer).

There are some really nice games from these publishers.  Damn, now I really need to work on a review of Starblazers from Cubicle 7.

I also have some freebies to reward individual readers with.  I'm going to need to think on this one.  Should be fun.

Back later with the weekend's buybacks, but in the meantime enjoy the 20% savings ;)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Irregular Thoughts

Or is it just thoughts on an irregular column?

I'm thinking of writing some Tales of the Blue Knight as an irregular column for this blog. Kinda my work experiences mixed with my gaming experiences and life observations in general. I'm learning after a year of doing this i'm a bit more focused when I can stick to a general theme. We'll see how I do over the weekend ;)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A Thought About Free...

Earlier this week, a valid point was raised about the cost of "Free".  Would I want someone to do my job, law enforcement, for free?  People already do.

Steven Seagal - Lawman - Reserve Officer with full police powers.  I've never watched the show, but he's doing it.

NYC doesn't give arrest power to it volunteers.  NYPD Auxiliary Police Officers serve more as eyes and ears, as well as a visible deterrent to crime.  Their job is probably more thankless then mine. Later tonight I need to pick my son up from the Police Academy... he's taking his first class to be an Auxiliary Police Officer.  God bless him.

I got into this line of work partially because I was taking every civil service / utility company test I could find.  I wanted a union job, just like my father.  I was also looking for something a bit more rewarding, emotionally and economically, then retail sales.  I was tired of being inside 8 hrs a day.  I wanted to be outside and get paid for it.

I was also the geek that tended towards playing Paladins in his early AD&D days.  Being a cop kinda puts you in that Paladin / Knight in Shining Armor role - at least until you put the domestic abuser in cuffs and now his girlfriend is attacking you because, despite the black eye and loose teeth, you weren't supposed to do that.
It plays out like a great roleplaying game, with twists and turns and the need for creative solutions thought up on the spur of the moment.

If someone wants to do my job, or aspects of my job, for free, God bless them and keep them safe.  There's more then enough crime and abuse and problems to go around.

One day I'll have to relate some stories about how my experience playing D&D helped me solve problems on the streets of the South Bronx ;)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Happy Hour at the Tavern June 2

So, my plan was to pimp Starblazers with a short review, but that will wait a day or so. Instead, Fantasy Flight Games has been busy pimping out their Warhammer 40k RPG lines with some free offerings in June. I'm not a huge fan of quickstart rules in general... most leave me unsatisfied, even uninterested in the product they are intended to showcase. Not so the case with FFGs latest quickstarts. Nice flavor and decent introductions to the rules in question. (Of course, I have both Dark Heresy and Rogue Trader in hardcover... even played in a FG2 campaign of Dark Heresy for the better part of a year).

Anyhow, lets see the latest offerings:

Dark Heresy Edge of Darkness - Quickstart - 48 page long Dark Heresy introduction. Nice presentation and decent adventure. But I'm biased - WFRP and 40kRP settings are some of my favorites. The fiction is generally good too.

Dark Heresy Salvation Demands Sacrifice - 8 page supplement, it offers 3 new radical careers for your Dark Heresy game. Of course, it requires the Radical's Handbook, which I don't own and isnt mentioned on the download page. If I thought I was going to be playing in a Dark Heresy game in the near future I'd think of picking it up.

Rogue Trader Forsaken Bounty - Quickstart - 24 page long introduction to Rogue Trader. The included adventure is about 10 pages long. Between the 2 quickstarts you should have a decent idea if you like the system and the setting. Cool cover art ;)

Rogue Trader Dark Frontier - 12 page sequel adventure to the quickstart.

Rogue Trader Epoch Koronus - 13 pages of game history / timeline. You either love this stuff or you hate it.

Rogue Trader Drydock - 7 pages - more like 4 pages on ship design, 1 page on ship combat. Handy reference if needed, but little more

K, that's it for tonight. Some nice free samples from a very well produced and written sci-fi line (with heavy fantasy overtones). Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Creative Mountain Games $1 Sale

If you, like me, never brought your gaming out of the 3.5 era, this sale might just be for you.  Creative Mountain Games has put just about their whole RPGNow catalog on sale for a buck.

My favorite, which I've owned for years and can't say enough about, is the SRD 3.5 Revised (Full) Bundle.  It's a very convenient way to carry your 3.5e rules, and 3500 pages for a buck is a steal. 

The Favorites Bundle is also a buck.  It includes a low level adventure, some small source books, a tile generator and a dwellings generator.  

Really, you can't go wrong even if you are just into Old School Rules.  Everyone needs a SRD to call their own ;)

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Price of Free

Yeah, i know with my current schedule of posting weekend freebies, it appears I am focused on free stuff.

Truth is, price is just one factor I look at when I make my purchases.  Cubicle 7 has sucked 55 bucks from me with 2 PDF purchases:  Starblazer Adventures and Legends of Anglerre.  I got majorly screwed when I picked up this piece of sh!t for FG2 a while back.  What a painful waste of 20 bucks.  Then again, I bought into the Dresden Files Preorder, and I couldn't be happier.

Here's the deal as I see it.  Most of the QUALITY free stuff available hits one of the following categories (with some major overlap):  OSR or the Classics Re-imagined, The Full Piece Company Sample, and the Hobbyist Publisher.

Most game companies these days are run by hobbyists, so this category will overlap with the other two in most cases.

OSR games tend to have a no-frills FREE PDF.  In these cases I've bought the still low prices art-filled PDFs, but its nice to have the option not to have to.  The vast majority of OSR adventures are not free (but there are some quality free ones to be found).

The Full Piece Company Sample that is given away for free is the typical retail loss leader.  I spent 8 1/2 years working retail for a major NYC Department Store... I sold electronics, men's clothing, candy, the bargain table.  The major sales had items that were sold at cost or less to bring people in to buy higher profit margin items.  Some RPG companies do something similar.  Heck software companies do that daily at Give Away of the Day.

Many of the hobbyists are just happy to see their work being read, used, praised and critiqued.  Some might be building up their resume for a shot at the big(ger) time.

Then you have the handful of companies that are not one of the elite, yet they are still trying to make a living (or supplemental income) off of their hobby.  God bless them.  They are aiming high yet the market makes their prices seem out of whack, excessive even to some.

That's the market.  You can't change it.  Either make yourself stand out from the crowd and justify your price, join the crowd and adjust your price, or find your own solution.

I spend a good time of my shopping at Indie Press Revolution.  Very little free.  Most of it is what I would call "premium pricing".  When there arent too many low priced items to shop against, the prices seem fair.  When you price yourself against free and low priced, you can price yourself out of competition.

95% of free is total crap.  50% of the not free RPG gaming material is easily total crap.

I don't like crap.  I doubt many do.  I cull through the crap to post items that I think have value, whether they are free or not, so others can avoid crap.  It takes a lot of due diligence before I'll spend my cash on something to check it out.

I'm not trying to demean the time or effort that writers, artists, publishers, programmers, etc put into their work.  I'm just reminded of a recent thread on EnWorld.  A certain new publisher was selling stuff on RPGNow.  His writing was atrocious, his editing worse, his art was computer manipulated to hide the plagiarism, and his data was stolen word by word from computer games.  His books were "premium priced".  He was reported and after a long couple of days his items were removed.

No consumer should have to buy something like he was selling.  And his selling that sh!t (beyond just crap) devalues other products that are worth their premium pricing.

Not sure if this became a rant or not.  I know pricing of products is a very personal thing to publishers... its their bread and butter.  Thing is, as a consumer, if I can get value for free I will.  If I can get an awesome product for a premium price that I can use and afford, I will.  Same goes for a great product at a reasonable price.

Who decides what price is reasonable?  What price is premium?

The customer.  I always hated that little f'er when I worked retail, cause the bastid changed his mind constantly. ;)

Weekend Buybacks for May 31st

Wow, nearly 11 am and no calls or texts from work.  Phew!  Time to enjoy the last day of my 3 day weekend ;)

Lets see what buybacks we have for this weekend:

TrollZine #2 from Flying Buffalo:  Tunnels and Trolls holds a special place in my personal Golden Age of Gaming.  Before MMORPGs or even the Gold Boxes of AD&D from SSI, before the average gamer had access to a computer, Tunnels and Trolls allowed one to game solo.  With books and dice. And it was fun!  Enjoy this fan created magazine for T&T

The Hounds of Adranos for Fantasy Grounds:  Free module for Fantasy Grounds 2.  You need the Basic Roleplaying Ruleset to use this (which I have and must say its a beautiful ruleset).  It includes tokens and maps.

Dark Dungeons in the D&D Rules Cyclopedia retro-clone.  Its a huge beast of a book.  If you play any of the D&D retro-clones I'm sure there is stuff you can lift.  PDF is free.  It is also offered in hard and soft cover versions on Lulu.com.

At 11:18 am I got the call from work.  Sigh.  They hopefully can handle the problem.  Hopefully.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Zoom Zoom Zoom!

Alright.  My chauffeur service lasted about 3 hrs.  I didn't have a single drink during my son's 17th birthday party, but I certainly did after I drove everybody home.  Black Cherry vodka and coke... damn nice.  30oz tin cup... way to big.

Anyhow, I'm playing the holiday weekend card.  I'll do the buybacks tomorrow.  I'm off.  That is, assuming work doesn't go all to shit and I get called in.

Celebrating a Year at the Tavern

Yep, I started posting on this blog on May 31, 2009.  I've been doing this for a year.  Can hardly believe it.  It's morphed a bit since the beginning as it (and I) have tried to find the proper voice.  I expect to some extent it will always be a work in progress.

It's also my son's 17th Birthday.  My god but time flies.  Party Time!  Excellent! (Wayne's World Flashback... heh)

I'll post some buybacks later today.
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