Saturday, November 19, 2011

Partial Fix to Get Your "Free Fix" at OneBookshelf

This only works at DriveThruRPG.com.  It doesn't work at RPGNow as far as I can tell, but if someone can replicate it there I'd be thrilled to hear about it.  I prefer the color scheme at RPGNow ;)

Go to the DriveThruRPG / DriveThruStuff homepage.  Below the featured product, you'll see a bunch of new products being shown and 3 tabs:  Sample New Products, All New Products and New Since Last Visit.  Sample New Products is the default.  Best I can tell, it doesn't show any of the free products.

All New Products WILL show new "free" products, as will New Since Last Visit, but since the latter only shows what has been added since you last visit, not what you actually saw since your last visit (and we haven't been seeing any new "free" stuff)it probably won't help much at the moment.

All New Products is the tab you want.  The FREE STUFF! graphic button is worthless at the moment.  If and when they actually allow you to sort by release date the story may change for the better.

More Thoughts on RPGNow's "Reorganization" of It's Free Products Section

Right now I'm beginning to feel like this guy.  You won't like me when I'm angry...

AD&D Grognard left this as a comment to the original post of mine regarding the current state of the Free Products section on RPGNow, but I feel his comment deserves to be a post of its own.  AD&D Grognard, if you don't want this to be posted, I'll take it down, but I think you put this into words better then anyone else so far and it needs to be heard.

Ok, it's done. They have till Tuesday and then I plan on starting a boycott.

Message as follows:

Just a comment to go along with the rest of those in the online game community who have contacted you and will continue to do so about the following matter. 

Your recent dismantling of your 'free' products area creates a very real situation. I make use of these products to do previews on my blogs and soon ezine.

This service provides me with a chance to preview work early, get people interested in new product and ultimately send them to your site. I do this without compensation from either of your gaming sites.

Now it is a pain in the ass and quite frankly too time consuming to track down the material as it now stands and as such will be dropped from my programs until such time as RPGNow decides to pay for ad space or brings back the free product filter in a usable form.

In other words, if you don't want someone driving traffic to your sites for no cost to yourself then just keep the free product situation the way it is. There are other online retailers providing much the same type of free program services that would probably appreciate the traffic boost.

(end message)

"Never try to appeal to a man's better nature. He may not have one. Instead appeal to his self interest'.

-Robert Heinlein

As I said on the top of this post, you said what needed to be said better then I.  

It's strange that I just recently remarked at how games like Old School Hack and Cascade Failure were finally finding distribution via OneBookshelf's sites, as the creators of these games are pretty solidly in the "We Work For Free" corner of our hobby.  With the current change to OBS's way of "showcasing" free products (and I use "showcasing" in the meaning of  "not showcasing at all") as they are released, these two products would never be found by the casual, or not so casual, shopper.

If you feel the same way, let OBS / RPGNow / DriveThruRPG know.  If folks don't show that they care, then the change to the Free Products Page will speak for itself.

Friday, November 18, 2011

What to Play When One Steps Away From the OSR

I'm looking for a system that is a bit more "episodic" then most of the rule sets in the OSR.  By default, they assume campaign play, which is awesome overall, and my preferred way to play, but sometimes you need something made for easy swapping out of PCs between sessions, which is damn useful if you plan on using any typo of VTT.

I'm leaning towards Trail of Cthulhu, using the recently released Apocalypse Machine Sourcebook.  Kind of a Fallout meets Cthulhu setting.  I'm reading through the sourcebook now, and I think it would work well in the type of pick up game Constacon tends to run.

More when I've gotten further into reading the sourcebook.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

OneBookShelf Changes It's Sorting System For Free Products and I'm Not Happy

Maybe they are just trying things out.  Maybe its a programing glitch.  Maybe this is the new way they want things to be.  I don't know what the answer is, but I'm not happy.

Before, when you were at the RPGNow / DriveThruRPG homepage and clicked the "Free Stuff" graphic on the left side of the page, it took you to a page with the latest "Free Products" being offered.  If you wanted to go back further in time, it was as simple as clicking a button.

Now, when you click the "Free Stuff" graphic, you are taken to a page where the free stuff is sorted by "relevance" by default.  So, White Wolf's Tri-Stat DX RPG is now the top selection - originally added to the mix back in 2004 - 7 1/2 years ago.  I can also sort by Product Name, Publisher or, get this - price.  It's all FREE, what price is there to sort?

There is no option to sort by date added to the catalogue.  So, if you are adding a free product to OneBookShelf's catalogue, the chances of someone finding it are slim to none as it stands currently.  They do not appear on the home page with the other new products that are offered at a price.

Some may still come to my attention via my status as a reviewer, but I suspect a lot will escape my view unless others bring it to my attention.  You can always email me at trubluniteATgmailDOTcom if you come across something free that should get some added attention.

As I said at the start, this may be a temporary glitch, it may not be - but I certainly am not thrilled by it.

Just Another Hole in the Wall

So, my contractor started with a nice size hole in the wall. The hole should morph into a doorway over today and tomorrow. Assuming he ever made it to the house - he was running late with car problems.

Which, of course, leads me to the type of Hole in the Wall your players might experience - that's right, the small drinking establishment. The perfect place for the PCs to feel like extended family. A nice base to work from between adventures. A location that those "in the know" know about, and can find the PCs to offer their next adventure. As time goes on, it's also the place their foes can use to get at them - little hurts as much as having your friends and family hurt or threatened.

Gotta love them holes in the wall ;)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review - d6 Magazine Issue 2

It seems like yesterday that the first issue of d6 Magazine hit the virtual news stand.  Actually, it was less then 2 weeks ago.  That's a damn nice pace.

What do you get for your FREE d6 Magazine dollars?

32 pages of d6 goodness:

An excerpt from the upcoming d6 RPG: The Black Desert covering robots and androids.  Pretty useful if you are planning on running a sic-fi campaign, or even used for making golems in a fantasy setting.

Graiv's Magical Curiosities - "A shop of useless magic items".  Pretty much everything here is adaptable to an OSR game or pretty much any RPG, as the majority are stateless and systemless.

Cinnamon and the Maco - Floor plans and sats for a sic-fi spacecraft.

Broken Wand -  an adventure using the Cinema6 rules.  At about 16 pages long, it's fairly sizable, although that does include a page and a half summary of the changes Cinema6 does to the cored6 rules.

Really nice magazine.  The fact that its free makes it priceless.

Remote Renovations and Other Assorted Stuff

The contractor started work on the renovations at the house earlier today. I had to work but my son was off today, so he's the point man, making phone calls to update me. I'm just glad it's started.

Today also marks a full 5 days in my new position. So far, so good. I have a motivated and competent staff. It's great, because they make me look good ;)

The same thing can be said about Game Mastering. No matter how skilled you are at it, you won't be able to overcome a poor group of players. At the same, a less skilled Game Master can really shine with the right group of players.

You also have to match play styles between GM and players. To some extent, the same can be said about supervisors and staff - if all are on the same page the work gets done in a more efficient manner. That, and everyone enjoys the day a heck of a lot more.

Alright, back to more game related posting tonight.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alright, got my Kindle Fire (not my actual picture - I borrowed it from another site - the wife is currently playing with mine).

Here's my quick first impressions:

It's much lighter then my 1st Gen iPad.  Part of that is going from a 10" to a 7" screen.  Part of that is the metal case of the iPad.  Part of that is that the Kindle Fire is significantly slimmer.

The screen is bright and vibrant.  Works well for my Kindle book collection, playing movies via Amazon Prime (and the movies seem to load quicker then Netflix does on my iPad) and playing Angry Birds. ;)

I've uploaded Netflix and Hulu to it but I've yet to give them a try.  Didn't have a lot of time to spend with i tonight as the contractor is starting work tomorrow and we had to get things ready.  I need to upload some PDFs onto it still.  I didn't see a Dropbox app for it, but there is a Boxee app, so that should work.  I also need to upload some standard ebooks and some comics.

The touch screen responds well - better then the HP WebOS Tablet that was all the rage for $99 bucks 2 months ago.  I'll say it's about as responsive as my iPad.

My mother's reaction (she's knocking on 70 soon) upon seeing it and getting to play with it - she wants one for Christmas.

My wife's reaction - she has yet to put it down since she picked it up 20 minutes ago - and she wants her own for Christmas.

I'll play with it later when my wife relinquishes it ;)

Awaiting The Fire

Yep, I'm waiting on the delivery of my Kindle Fire today. Well, technically I'm at work and my son is waiting for the delivery, as he is off today, but lets not split hairs.

I'm hoping this is a viable and affordable alternative to the iPad. I love my iPad, but carrying a $800 piece of electronics on the NYC Transit System is probably the choice of fools. Carrying a $200 piece of electronics on the NYC Transit System is probably also foolish, but $600 less foolish ;)

I want to see how well the Kindle Fire handles my PDF collection. More tonight.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Free RPG - Cascade Failure - (Post Apocalypse)

I love it when Greg - I mean the Chubby Funster Guy, puts out a new game, or releases an update to a new one.  They are always well put together and full of amazingly evocative art.  The RPG systems he designs are no slouches either.

Cascade Failure is his first RPG system to be distributed via RPGNow.  It's a post apocalyptic sic fi setting build upon the OGL.  If you are familiar with any of the OSR games out there, the basic similarities should ground you pretty well.

It's a 95 page PDF optimized for tablet and on screen reading.  It is extensively bookmarked.  There isn't an included adventure and the setting could use some fleshing out.  Hmm, maybe the Funster can put out a setting book for this... hint hint ;)

You really can't go wrong by grabbing yourself a copy.  It's free, yet better produced then most of the gaming products that put major dents in your wallet.

From the blurb:

Cascade Failure is a post-apocalypse future RPG. Set in the aftermath of a devastating war that collapsed the interstellar economy, Cascade Failure is a survival RPG that casts the characters out into a dangerous and hostile universe. The game is built on a rugged OGL chassis that is melded with a variety of new subsystems to round out your character. You can jump into unique character classes like the Kinetic that can move objects with their mind or into a unique alien species like the insectoid Sahael with a hardened exoskeleton and powerful mandibles for biting attacks.

The Cascade Failure universe was once rich with technology and as a survivor you will struggle to bring it back online. Learn to pilot mechs, hovercraft, starfighters, foil-based watercraft, and more. Enhance your body with cybernetics or through the consumption of powerful pharmaceuticals left over from the before times. There is even a species of robotic Golems that are literally living and thinking technology.

If you enjoy the post-apocalypse genre, but tire of endless deserts and mutants, Cascade Failure can provide an alternative. Check it out! It's free!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Free Miniatures - Darkfast Classic Fantasy Set Zero: Basic Adventure

One day I need to take a screen shot of the email account I have with OneBookshelf, just so you all can understand how things like this can pass me by.  This is actually an email I "starred" for later - but I have over 500 of those, out of nearly 6000 emails, of which over 5000 are probably products I could review.

All those "starred" emails?  Stuff I'm probably interested in reviewing, but I won't download until I have the time to look at it.  I'm never going to catch up it seems ;)

I also get notifications of free products in the same manner.  Just got around to this one.  Heck of an oversight.

5 good guys and 5 bad guys, in front and back poses - perfect for printing out as miniatures, or for using TokenTool to make tokens / pogs for your VTT of choice.  Did I mention you can change the color scheme, effectively doubling the number of miniatures?

(can you also tell I'm fighting some major writer's block for Mike Monaco's Iron Chef Adventure Challenge?  I'm digging deep looking for inspiration.  I drew a very heavy Al-Qadim deck.  Sigh)

From the blurb:

Darkfast Classic Fantasy Set Zero: Basic Adventure gives you 10 original Classic Fantasy themed miniature figures perfect for roleplaying games or wargames.  All files are 300dpi and include front and back views.  This is a layered PDF giving you two options of colour schemes for the figures.

There are 20 possible miniature combinations in this set!  Please use responsibly.

Cardstock Miniatures are an affordable and attractive alternative to metal or plastic miniatures. Print as many as you like as often as you like.

You will need a colour printer, cutting tools, glue, foamcore and time.  Assembly instructions are included.

Snuggling Up With Crypts & Things

I'm on a bit of an art kick this weekend, and I find myself flipping thru the Crypts & Things PDF looking at the artwork.

Next chose (or commissioned) some really nice pieces of art for this book.  Effective without being overbearing.  Paizo can afford to splash painting and full color art throughout their books, but B&W line art can be very effective, as is the case with Crypts & Things.

If I have one complaint with The Secret Fire, it's with the artwork.  Going for gore and reaction more the effect, that book's artwork took away from the total package in my opinion.

With Crypts & Things, the artwork only adds to the total package.  Can you tell I'm enjoying myself?  heh

Falling Under the Spell of "The Clip Art"

I wish there was a better term for the royalty art one can find under the "Clip art" heading.  To me it seems to be a disservice, as prior to my recent finds, when I thought of clip art, I thought of really simple / lousy thumbnail sized pieces of art.  Thank God I'm proving myself wrong the last few days.

My latest find can also be found on RPGNow.  Eastern Raider Games has a Portrait Package of 36 images listed at $4.49 for the set.  The price drops to $1.99 for the set once I put it in my cart.  That's about 6 cents an image.  Heck, if I only like one, it's still less then 2 bucks for it's usage.

I'm very much liking the idea of using licensed art for inspiration ;)

Here's the very liberal license conditions:

The package also contains a license.txt file thus giving the buyer the right to modify the images
(crop, blend, rehue, resaturate etc.). Anyone who owns this license may use the artworks in
any way (s)he wants, in any number of commercial products without the need to pay
anything, not a cent of royalty. The only exception: the artwork (even derivative ones) cannot be
sold in themselves, they have to participate a specific project.

The package contains mostly portraits and mostly fantasy/SF/Horor themed ones.
Might be useful for Web sites, MMORPGS, forum avatars, DMs, players can impersonate their character/world

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