Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Free Swag Stocking Stuffer #5 - Voidjumpers of Space

Disappointed that Spelljammer never seemed to hit all the right buttons?  Maybe you just want a new take on it.  Or, God forbid, you might want to try it in your 4e game ::shudder::.  Eh, maybe use it in Pathfinder and ACKS.  In any case, Voidjumpers of Space is a new spin on it.

From the blurb:

Updated: This second release contains greatly expanded adventures, expanded stat blocks (Essentials-style), new ship types, a much cleaner layout, and many more small improvements.

There's this legendary D&D setting: Spelljammer. D&D in space. Wizards and barbarians on wooden sailing ships, flying through space to plunder shattered worlds.

Unfortunately, TSR rushed the setting into production, so many of its components suffered from wonky mechanics. It was an imaginative setting that could be frustrating to play. And sadly, it wasn't updated for either the 3rd or 4th editions of D&D.
I'm now attempting to fix that.

This is the second release of Voidjumpers of Space, an attempt to solve all of those problems. It's free (as in beer); you can donate a couple of bucks if you feel it's worth your money.

A few goals here:
  • incorporate reader comments into each release. I want this to be a community-driven setting.
    • I'm also noodling with the idea of a Kickstarter project to fund awesome art like this.
  • This is an attempt to re-capture the overall flavor of Spelljammer, with a new world. So, this is not an attempt to clone Spelljammer; it's not Spelljammer with the serial numbers filed off. That would both annoy Wizards of the Coast and be far less fun than creating a new set of races, classes, etc.
Head over to my blog, the RPG Doctor, for more information. Thanks for reading; may Voidjumpers find a fun place in your game.

Christmas Eve Free swag Stocking Stuffer #4 - Adventures Dark & Deep

Time for another OSR pick.  Adventures Dark & Deep (AD&D - follow?) is a "what if?" imagining of AD&D 2e.  It's pretty solid but still evolving.  Best of all?  It's free.

From the blurb:

"What if?"
Some of the most intriguing works of fiction have stemmed from those two simple words. What if Hitler had won World War 2? What if the Roman Empire had never fallen? What if John F. Kennedy had never been assassinated?
This work represents just such a "what if" scenario, if perhaps one with less weighty historical consequences. What if Gary Gygax had not left TSR in 1985, and had been allowed to continue developing the world's most famous fantasy role-playing game?

We will, unfortunately, never know the answer to that question, because he did leave TSR in that year, and others took over the job of designing the second (and subsequent) versions of the game. After that unfortunate episode, he was understandably reluctant to give any advice on how he would have carried the game forward.

However, he did leave behind hints as to the direction he would have taken the game. New character classes. Streamlined combat. New spells and magic items. Consolidated and re-worked monsters. We don't have many specifics, but we do have a fair number of "big picture" ideas. All of these have been taken as inspiration for ADVENTURES DARK AND DEEP™.
Bear in mind that the author has no special insight into Gygax's mind on this subject other than what he himself wrote publicly, and certainly the game should not be taken as having any sort of official stamp, either from his estate or the corporations that have taken the game in new directions. All that has been done is to collect the hints he did leave, use them as inspiration, and take off in a wholly different direction than that which happened "officially."

ADVENTURES DARK AND DEEP™ is not a "retro-clone." It does not set out to re-create a particular set of rules from decades past, as do some other games (not that there's anything amiss in doing so!). Rather, it is a new creation, unique unto itself, and does not attempt to recreate any set of rules that has gone before. The game and its materials are compatible with other games that are based on the original and Advanced versions of the world's most popular role-playing game.

The Players Manual includes everything a player needs; character creation rules, race and class descriptions, equipment, combat rules, and extensive rules on magic, with details on over 675 spells and cantrips.
NOTE: This is a free pdf version, and the rules are not in a final state. The game is currently in an open playtest, and your comments and input are more than welcome athttp://www.adventuresdarkanddeep.com.

Christmas Eve free swag Stocking Stuffer #3 - Spellcraft & Swordplay Basic Game

Spellcraft & Swordplay is a nice twist on the typical OSR game.  It is very well put together.  Oh,  and the basic version is free.  Basic as in the classic "first 3 levels". So, what are you waiting for?  You know you need this to complete your OSR collection ;)

From the blurb:

Since Spellcraft & Swordplay was released on Lulu in 2008, almost 800 copies have been sold. Now, we present a free PDF introductory "Basic Set," akin to those games in the legacy which S&S honors. Containing a streamlined (but complete) version of the rules and character progression to level 3, this 48-page book is a perfect introduction to the new class of old school, ideal for introducing new players to the game, or for just having an extra set of rules at the table!

Christmas Eve Free Swag Stocking Stuffer #2 - Lost Roads of Lociam

For you second stocking stuffer of the day, we present Lost Realms of Lociam, a fantasy RPG.

I love free RPGs, not because I'll necessarily run them, but because they are great sources of inspiration in the games I do hanker to play.

From the blurb:

The Lost Roads of Lociam is a fantasy roleplaying game where the players portray characters on the magical world of Lociam, part of a greater story of magic, divine power and the struggle of Order versus Chaos than mortal men can even understand.
This book contains all the rules you need to start playing, including background-information about Lociam, rules various actions, magic, religion and a lot more. Richly illustrated the Core Rulebook will set you firmly on the way to high adventure, only limited by your imagination.
Welcome onto the Lost Roads of Lociam.

This Light Edition is produced for the SVEROK National Gaming Week of 2011 and is a FREE game, containing all you need to play including ready-made characters and a starting adventure. Should you wish to explore more then you can get the full rules here at DriveThruRPG for a low cost

Christmas Eve Free Swag Stocking Stuffer #1 - War of the dead (Zombie Horde Pogs)

I hope to get a few stocking stuffers out today.

First is The War of the Dead "Zombie Horde" Pogs for you to use.  Great for the Walking / Waking dead type games, as well as nasty zombies in your other games.  Use Maptools to snip these for your online VTT of choice.

Friday, December 23, 2011

On the 29th Day of Free Holiday swag, My Bartender Gave to Meeeeeee! Beware, The Viper (Mini Mini Tunnels & Trolls Solo)

For the Longest Nite Celebration over at Trollhala, Rarr! I'm a Monster released a short short Solo Adventure for T&T called Beware, The Viper.

It's for T&T, so it has to rock!

Tomorrow or Sunday should be the last of the Free swag posts.  Not that I won't be posting free swag when I find it, but I won't be trolling the 'net looking for it ;)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

On the 28th Day of Free Holiday Swag, My Bartender Gave to Meeeeee.... Daily Spell List (Pathfinder, but really, works for OSR too;)

Sometimes simple is better.  LPJ Design has released a Daily Spell List... er... list.  Really, three sheets to list you known spells, brief description, etc.  Nothing all that fancy.  Licensed for Pathfinder, but usable by any of the OSR games really.

Much neater then the back of a loose leaf sheet ;)

From the blurb:

Wish you have one place that listed all your spells for the day and you didn't have to flip through books or searching PDFs to find out what that spell does? Help is coming for you in the form of the LPJ Design's Free Daily Spell List. For use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game players and GMs! The Daily Spell List is a printable forms for players and GMs alike which makes managing your daily spell simple and easy. Keep up with your spells without all the head ache you have been used to. Best of all the Daily Spell List is completely free, a gift from LPJ Design and your support of the Pathfinder Role Playing Game.

Christmas Reading List

I'm sure a lot of folks are off next week. If not, most have an extended weekend. Family, gifts and church are on the plates for many of us.

Me, I'm trying to add "reading" to the holiday activities. In my case, I'm referring to actually reading Carcosa and Isle of the Unknown. Can't review what I haven't read, and if I wait to read for the hardcovers to arrive I'll never get it done ;)

Anyone else have a "holiday reading list?"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On the 27th Day of Holiday Swag, My Bartender Gave to Meeeeee: The Lazy GM - Spawn of Non-Terrifying Beasts of Legend! (Pathfinder)

I am sick as a somewhat sick dog.  It's a hacking cough and my voice comes and goes.  When it goes I sound a bit like Selma from the Simpsons, just not as appealing.  Sigh.

But wait, despite my misery, I've found a little gem to put in your Christmas stockings.  As it's for Pathfinder, my OSR friends may see it as semi-precious, but they'd be fooling themselves.  This little piece is a keeper, and it put a smile on my face despite myself.

Yes, I'm talking about The Lazy GM:  Spawn of Non-Terrifying Beasts of Legend!  Come and meet Gabriel, the Were-Toad.  See the Ectoplasmic Cube!  Beware the Plague of Zombie Sheep!  Feast your eyes on the Half-Dragon Donkey and many more!  Or at the very least, a few more.

Not responsible for player's eyes rolling when used.  Besides, it's free ;)

The OSR Christmas Stocking is Full of Goodies This Year

Let's see what we have hanging from the fireplace this year:

Carcosa and Isle of the Unknown by Raggi's LotFP - I really need to find the time to review these two.

The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz! which I reviewed last night.

Thousand Suns from James of at Grognardia - we've been hearing about this one for a while. I probably won't get a chance to peek until things die down over the holidays.

Weird Adventure - this one came out of no where and looks extremely interesting. I'm finding it hard to resist, but my plate is full, so I think I can wait.

I'm sure I missed a few others. I might need a second stocking ;)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

On the 26th Day of Free Holiday Swag, My Bartender Game to Meeeeeee - Krampus

In some places, some worlds, maybe even your own (fantasy) world, the Spirit of Christmas, Old St Nicholas, Santa Claus, however you know him, becomes distorted.  When that happens, the jolly fat guy with the laugh that steals cookies and milk from little children gives way to something more sinister.

The chimney isn't big enough for this fellow - windows are probably more his style.

I'm talking Krampus.  There are many that know who, and few know him i the same way, but they can all agree that he knows the kids that aren't nice, that aren't good.  They would have been better served if they had been good...

Here's how you can enjoy your own Krampus.  I think this guy hangs out in Raggi's Weird Fantasy RPG, seeing into the nightmares of little children ;)



Stop by the Nevermet Press website for details - this artwork is for use with the Krampus Christmas blog carnival running from 12/19/2011 to 12/24/2011. Enjoy! 


  1. 300 dpi 9" x 5" .jpf stock art image for you to use in your personal, non-commercial projects or blog
  2. Original .PSD Photoshop File with all the orginal layers intact
  3. A README file with licensing information.

Due to previous confusion of the terms "professional" or "commercial", we intend to mean "commercial use" is any use by any for-profit organization or individual for any reason, even marketing or inclusion with freely distributed products."Non-commericial" or "personal" use is intended to mean any use by private individuals. Details about each license are included below

Creative Commons LicenseNon-Commercial Uses Are Encouraged and are subject to the following Creative Commons License Nevermet Press is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. Attribution must be given to Steven Austin and Nevermet Press (all hail Steven Austin and Nevermeet Press) for all non-commercial uses.
Commercial Uses are strictly prohibited. To obtain a commercial license to use this artwork contact editor@nevermetpress.com 

Review - The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz! (Labyrinth Lord Adventure)

First, I'd like to thank Dylan Hartwell for supplying me with a review copy.  Good stuff.

Now, on to the review - The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz! (you had me at "brewery"... heh) is a Labyrinth Lord adventure for levels 3-7.  It's a large level range to cover, especially at lower levels, where the power curve is a bit stronger then at higher levels, but in the hands of the right GM it should work.

The BBof P! is not just an adventure, but it's also is the bare bones of a sandbox setting of the area around the town of Shattenburg.  At this point I think I need to mention something - run as written, Elven PCs need not apply.  Alright, they may apply, but it should be downright uncomfortable for them.  It's actually a nice twist to the usually vanilla fantasy setting - any elves the PCs encounter in town are likely to be servants, and fairly oppressed at that.

Anyhow, on to the rest of the book.  In presentation and in atmosphere, it seems to me to be a very good fit for Tunnels & Trolls in addition to the usual listing of OSR RPG systems.  It doesn't take itself too seriously, yet at the same time there is a dark side to much of it.

If there is a weakness to the adventure, its the hook.  I actually missed it on my first read through, as it's actually on the front page as part of adventure recap / description.  In any case, it's hard to get a pre-written hook that fits your party's needs in a published adventure, even when multiple ones are supplied.  So, as weaknesses go, its a minor one.

If you are a GM that likes to tweak and twist published adventures into something that fits your style, the Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz! would be a good choice.  If you want something that tries to cover all of your party's possible actions and totally in depth descriptions that you can read to your group, you'll probably find this lacking.

I'm a twist and tweaker myself ;)

(edit - forgot to mention the maps are works of art - detailed without being cluttered)

From the blurb:

Something has happened to the delicious beer in Shattenberg! None of the residents have seen the brewing monks for weeks and the tavern masters are oddly silent. Where once it was a delicious and creamy blend of mountain mushroom-based stout, it now offers an odd coppery taste and costs twice as much. For a small mining and farming town on the edge of the wilderness, this is a tragedy. Now rumors have begun circulating that hideous creatures gathered to the north are somehow the cause. The players are hired to investigate and, if possible, remedy the problem.

The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz is written as both a stand-alone old-school fantasy adventure and, if you take a liking to the town of Shattenberg and its locale, a rich source for subsequent adventures. Contained within are maps of the Pilz Monastery and region, background information, multiple adventure plots, a new spell, and new monsters.

Big or Small?

When it comes to adventures, is less more?

I ask because I've seen adventures range from 4 pages to 104 pages more or less (I'm not counting mega dungeons, settings or adventure paths).

For me, the sweet spot is usually around 16-24 pages. Long enough for maybe 2 nites of adventure but not so long I can't familiarize myself in less then an hour or so.

I know at times more IS more, but for the me, less is usually more for adventures.

Monday, December 19, 2011

On the 25th Day of free Gaming Swag, My Bartender Gave to Meeeeee: The Walking Dead (All Flesh Must Be Eaten Introductory Game Kit)

What better way to celebrate the holidays than by playing a scared, nearly hopeless lost soul in a world that's been over run by the walking dead.  They're dead I tell you!  Good thing I was in law enforcement before the world turned to shit... what, that's the TV show.

In any case,  kick some undead ass in this introduction to All Flesh Must Be eaten.

From the blurb:

My God, these people are dead!

They're walking around and they're dead!

You wake up in a hospital, confused, alone, haunted by memories of the injury that put you there, and by strange dreams calling you to travel. You're surrounded by strangers, others who look as confused as you. Nobody knows what 's going on. There's only one thing for sure.

The world has gone to Hell.

You haven' t seen another living soul since you woke up. But that isn't to say you haven' t seen others walking around. Because the city is crawling wi th walkers... rotting, starved, ravenous walkers who may once have been people, but now are just animated corpses, hungry for your flesh and blood. Your only hope: follow the dreams to find the survivors. But are your dreams leading you to hope and a new beginning...or betrayal and a death trap?

This is the world after the Rise... a world where the living struggle to reclaim society from the dead, for whom All Flesh Must Be Eaten!

Welcome to the All Flesh Must Be Eaten Introductory Game Kit!

Inside you will find:

• Complete, streamlined rules for playing the All Flesh Must Be Eaten role playing game

• Six complete archetypes--Cast Members ready to play

• A complete adventure scenario and campaign outline which can be played in one or two sessions, or form the basis of months of continuous play.

Crime Scenes and Raspberry Jam

I don't normal repeat post between my blogs, but I'm fairly proud of my latest Saturday Knight Special post:

It was my second week of field training when I got my first crime scene assigned to me. At roll call, myself and my partner were told to immediately fall out and respond to the housing project on e163 street.  There were numerous buildings in the complex, each in the 10-14 story range for height. One of the first things I had noticed when I had the post earlier in the week were the number of people middle aged and younger walking with limps, canes and in wheel chairs. I mentioned my observation to a cop with a little more time on then me, and he suggested it had to do with the large number of shootings in the precinct. It was as good an answer as any, but it didn't make me feel all that much better.

When we arrived at the location, there must have been at least a dozen patrol cars and unmarks parked outside. Some were from the precinct, and least two were from the PSA (think a police precinct that just covers housing locations - we overlapped) and the unmarks were probably the detectives. It was soon apparent that this was more then "just some crime scene".

Walking up four flights of stairs is never fun, but I learned to have an aversion to elevators in public housing from the first time I stepped in one - the overwhelming stench of marinating urine in a confined, unventilated metal box is far from pleasant. I'm not saying the stairs smelled much better (they had the added obstacle of dog feces liberally strewn about) but at least the air had movement to it.

Stepping out on the fourth floor, we immediately spotted our destination. Just across from the stairs and to the right was an open doorway. Activity was apparently going on inside the apartment and bosses were milling around outside of it. Looking closely, we could see a body laid out in the doorway and some blood splatter on the door.

"Lou! The rooks are here!" It was a cop from the precinct who made the announcement, drawing the attention of the Lieutenant that had control of the scene.

"Right. Put yourselves 84 at this location. You're assigned to preserve the crime scene. No one comes onto this floor unless they have police business. Keep away the gawkers, even if they are our own. I don't care if they have eagles on their shoulders, unless they are part of the investigative team keep them away. Can you handle that?"

Do you think we were going to question the Lou's orders? Of course we said we could handle it. We did.  Kinda. We didn't keep anyone away that was a Captain or higher, not that we could, but we kept the rank and file at bay, as well as the inquisitive residents. Heck, we even started up a conversation with two crime scene detectives that were waiting on the precinct detectives to wrap up so they could do their work. Somehow, that conversation caused us more harm then good.

See, as the four of use were chatting, a middle aged male black in a dark brown suit came down the hall from the elevator. He looked like a detective and he made a beeline to the apartment door, the one with the victim lying in it, shot twice in the head, blood and brain matter covering the floor. Heck, he nonchalantly stepped over the body and introduced himself to one of the detectives working the scene. He was the victim's older brother.

That's about the biggest f-up one can do at a crime scene. We did it. When the pissed off detective came out of the apartment to yell at us, one of the crime scene detectives stated that he let the brother past us so he could ID the victim. It was a good answer, and it shut the detective up, but he knew it was bullshit. My training sergeant told me it was bullshit too when I got back to command, but also stressed the importance of always having an answer. But that was later.

We weren't done yet at the crime scene. The precinct detectives were taking the victim's brother back to the Station House to get more info. Crime Scene was now in charge of the crime scene, and they went to work collecting evidence. Which was all fine until I heard my name called from inside the apartment.

I approached the door, doing my best not to look at the body, blood and brains right in front of me.

"Yeah?" I answered, not sure why I summoned.

"Step in. You're vouchering the evidence. It's the least you can do." It was the detective that covered for us. Now it was time to pay him back.

"Kid. Do yourself a favor and look at him. He doesn't care anymore. Look and get it out of your system. You have a whole career of this and more waiting for you."

So I did. I looked at the young black male. Mid 20's, shot twice in the front of his head, right in the forehead. The blood had started to thicken on the floor. Bits of brain matter could be seen in the blood. Raspberry jam. Raspberry jam with bits of raspberry. That what the victim was lying in. It felt better then blood and brains. It looked better too.

"You good? Excellent. Come on in. Don't worry about stepping in the blood, it's kinda hard to miss at this point. Here's the shit you'll be typing vouchers for back at the station house."

 I stepped in the raspberry jam.

The Only Good Spam is From Monty Python

In honor of the 45 spam comments that Blogger caught over the last week (score Blogger 45 / Spammers 0) I figured I'd post some Spam of my own.

Scene: A cafe. One table is occupied by a group of Vikings wearing horned helmets. Whenever the word "spam" is repeated, they begin singing and/or chanting. A man and his wife enter. The man is played by Eric Idle, the wife is played by Graham Chapman (in drag), and the waitress is played by Terry Jones, also in drag.

Man: You sit here, dear.

Wife: All right.

Man: Morning!

Waitress: Morning!

Man: Well, what've you got?

Waitress: Well, there's egg and bacon; egg sausage and bacon; egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam;

Vikings: Spam spam spam spam...

Waitress: ...spam spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam...

Vikings: Spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!

Waitress: ...or Lobster Thermidor a Crevette with a mornay sauce served in a Provencale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pate, brandy and with a fried egg on top and spam.

Wife: Have you got anything without spam?

Waitress: Well, there's spam egg sausage and spam, that's not got much spam in it.

Wife: I don't want ANY spam!

Man: Why can't she have egg bacon spam and sausage?

Wife: THAT'S got spam in it!

Man: Hasn't got as much spam in it as spam egg sausage and spam, has it?

Vikings: Spam spam spam spam... (Crescendo through next few lines...)

Wife: Could you do the egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam then?

Waitress: Urgghh!

Wife: What do you mean 'Urgghh'? I don't like spam!

Vikings: Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

Waitress: Shut up!

Vikings: Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

Waitress: Shut up! (Vikings stop) Bloody Vikings! You can't have egg bacon spam and sausage without the spam.

Wife: I don't like spam!

Man: Sshh, dear, don't cause a fuss. I'll have your spam. I love it. I'm having spam spam spam spam spam spam spam beaked beans spam spam spam and spam!

Vikings: Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

Waitress: Shut up!! Baked beans are off.

Man: Well could I have her spam instead of the baked beans then?

Waitress: You mean spam spam spam spam spam spam... (but it is too late and the Vikings drown her words)

Vikings: (Singing elaborately...) Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam! Spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam spa-a-a-a-a-am spam. Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam! Spam spam spam spam!

The Tavern Will Be Reviewing a Brewery (and other minor tidbits)

So far my wife has been more amused than annoyed by me playing Star Wars over the weekend (we have no living room at the moment, just the double bedroom). With all the cut scenes in the quests / missions she is certainly getting an earful. I was so distracted yesterday that I never posted any free swag. I'll have to make that up tonight as best I can.

I should also have a new review up either tonight or tomorrow. No, it isn't either of LotFP's latest releases. I need time to digest them.

I've been asked by Dylan Hartwell to take a peek at his first OSR adventure release: The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz! A Tavern reviewing a brewery? heh - should be fun. I need to make sure I have a few beers for the trip ;)

My cat decided to knock some of my Dungeonmorph Dice off my desk - seems she wants to design some dungeons too.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fight On! 13 Is Out on Lulu

It's not like I don't have enough to read at the moment, but Fight On! # 13 is a Tunnels & Trolls themed issues, so of course I had to pick it up.

I think I've made it as far as 24 ages of the 124 pages it holds.  It's a beast.

5 bucks in PDF - code: DECBOOKS11 drops that by 20% to 4 bucks.

Not a bad deal at all.

Did I mention that Liz Danforth did th cover and the Trollgod had a mini-solo inside?

Another Short Note on Star Wars: The Old Republic

I'm sure everyone is thrilled I'm posting again about the latest MMORPG, but I found something very interesting playing the game last night.  While the Republic may be perceived as Good, and the Empire as Evil, both are really more gray than black or white.  You can make choices as an operative for the Empire that will define your character as good.  Every other game I've played since the original Everquest had lines that were pretty well drawn between good and evil.

It's a nice change.  Of course, game balance is always an issue with MMORPGs, and the character you thought you had may not have the same abilities next time you log in.  That doesn't happen in table top RPGs.  Still, Bioware seems to be bringing some of their strengths to their newest game.

I have a feeling I'll be hooked ;)

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