Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Water, Water Everywhere, Nor Any Drop to Drink...

One of the situations I'm dealing with at my job is that the building we are located at has a basement that is flooding right now. Sure, I know the hurricane is long past, but we have a basement with 3' of water when I left for the day (saturated water table for the win) which is about the overcome and flood the pumps that pump water to the roof, which gives us water pressure.

Basically, too much water is going to cause us to have no water. Forget drinking water for the moment. We are going to have very disgusting toilets that won't flush.

Which of course brings us to the idea of "water traps".

Water is the one thing that can pass through doors (via the cracks in the door seal), seep through walls, ceilings and floors, and can devastate whole swaths of land in the blink of an eye.

It's also the one thing that life can not survive without.

Do you use water in traps and such? Do you penalize your parties when they "seek adventure" without enough drinkable water?

Some Much I Want to Write - So Much Burn Out From the Day

It's funny. You wouldn't think I'd have much time for gaming thoughts in the middle of the 2nd full day of the lower Manhattan blackout, but gaming certainly snuck it's way into the spare brainpower of my head today.

Lots of thoughts, all scattered around, and nothing forthcoming at the moment.

I think I need a beer of two to take some of the edge off of the day.

Well, that and maybe my wife can massage my painful feet. I think I've gotten way too used to spending most of my work day in the office and I'm paying for it now.

Ah well, maybe I'll get something out and on the page in a few.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Can You Really See in the Dark?

Top of a Cabinet in My Office During
The Lower Manhattan Power Outage
Driving on a partially lit turning into unlit Williamsburg Bridge, I was immediately surprised at just how poorly my lowbeams actually illuminated the roadway and the bridge itself. It was a stark difference from the lit roadway.

Driving through normally lit streets that were totally unlit was also surreal. It was not the commute I was used to.

Getting to work and having the building itself totally blacked out, with even the emergency lighting failing, and it struck me just how totally unnerving it was to explore and unlit floor with hallways and rooms and wandering people with just a simple flashlight.

Imagine if all you had were a sputtering torch or a sloshing lantern in your hand?

I have a huge newfound respect for dungeons as an adventure location. There is simply an untapped potential to use the darkness as part of the dungeon dressing. I need to think on this when I have more free time, but I like the potential i see.

Sandy Overstays Her Welcome - Not a Pleasant Visitor

Today was a long day at work - the immediate future will be full of long days too - 12 hour plus tours until further notice. The five day vacation to the Poconos for my first wedding anniversary may be put off for a week or two.

Millions without power. Over 100 homes burned down in Breezy Point in Queens. Mass Transit taking a huge critical hit. Significant loss of life (including an off duty Police Officer who drowned in his home).

Mother Nature is an predicable and powerful creature, both friend and foe.

She can visit elsewhere next time.

(back to the usual gaming blogposts with the next post)

Monday, October 29, 2012

I Made Joe The Lawyer Pick Up a Copy of Palladium Fantasy

Yep, when we were warming up for PubCon at The Complete Strategist, Joe and I (and later Sarah) perused the aisles of gaming goodness. I pointed out Palladium Fantasy, probably the only Palladium game I would run as an adult and certainly something I'd gladly lift ideas and races from for my own campaign.

Joe pick up a copy. He should enjoy it, there is much old school fun held within.

Pictured is my 2nd copy. I grabbed it during the Palladium Christmas grab bag back in 2009. Nice piece of original art within.

I think I'll need another grab bag again this year. Hopefully no miniatures this time ;)

Barebones Fantasy is Released!

I'm sure you've seen numerous posts talking about Barebones Fantasy and the fact that it has released in PDF. I have one serious question - when is the Print on Demand coming?

It's not like you can't print it at home. DWD Publishing was nice enough to include a "printer friendly version" with the purchase of Barebones Fantasy, but a POD option would be nice. Larry, if you're listening, I have spoken!

I need to set aside some time to do an actual review of the system. I'll say this much, it's one of the few systems that my "grognard mind" can wrap around that isn't D&D based. I still need to work on the spell section, but it isn't so big I'll fail my Knowledge Roll ;)

I'm very impressed with the rewrite of the Maidens of Moordoth One-Sheet into a full sized adventure that's included with the Barebones RPG.

Wonderful, more lights flickering...

Damn you Frankenstorm!

From the blurb:

It may be small, but this game is a complete and unique fantasy role playing game. Add pencils and dice and you’ll have everything you need! Create your character and embark on an epic journey wrought with peril and rewards limited only by your imagination. Flip through the pages and you’ll see:

Classic character races: Elf, Dwarf, Halfling, and Human.
Eight character skills: Cleric, Enchanter, Leader, Scholar, Scout, Spellcaster, Thief, and Warrior.
Spells: 17 very flexible magic spells in a unique and simple magic system.
Equipment: a robust equipment list containing classic weapons and armor in addition to animals, gear, and even castles and ships.
Characters: Rules on creating and developing your character.
Rules lite: simple game rules relying on rapid resolution, action, and adventure.
Cool tools to get your creativity flowing: Magic item creation, alchemy, rune craft, spell scrolls, creature creation, traps, treasures, and more!
Adventure generation: we give you the nuts & bolts for developing memorable adventures, you sprinkle with creativity
Random dungeon creation system to help a GM prepare for a night’s fun.
A bestiary of over 45 creatures, ready to spread havoc on the world!
A broad brush-stroke setting, Keranak KingdomsTM, complete with brief history, atlas, and pantheon. A great backdrop for your epic saga.
Portable: fully indexed, e-book friendly, well-organized, and fits neatly in your pack or a large pocket. Take it with you and have it ready for an impromptu game. Try doing that with other fantasy role-playing game’s core rulebooks!
Within this zip file you should have:

BBF-Core Rulebook.pdf
BBF-Character Sheet.pdf
BBF-Player Reference.pdf
Kerenak Kingdoms Map.jpg
Keranak Kingdoms Map (Hexes).jpg
And because we like saving ink:

BBF-Core Rulebook-Print Friendly.pdf
BBF-Character Sheet-Print Friendly.pdf
BBF-Player Reference-Print Friendly.pdf
And finally we've added a free adventure module:

Maidens of Moordoth.pdf
Maidens of Moordoth-Print Friendly.pdf

Please join the site over at www.dwdstudios.com/barebones and get involved.  This game was written under a creative commons license, meaning YOU can write stuff too.  We already have several great promising adventure modules submitted, and we're excited to see what you add to the mix.

Waiting on the Frankenstorm - It Moves Slower Than an AD&D Class E Flyer

This storm is taking forever to get to NYC. I'm sure it will be the equivalent a Old Red Dragon, but it's got the maneuverability of a block of wood:

Class A: Creature can turn 180° per round, and requires 1 segment to reach full airspeed. Creature requires 1 segment to come to a full stop in the air, and can hover in place. Class A creatures have total and almost instantaneous control of their movements in the air. Examples: diinn, air elementals, aerial servants, couatl.

Class B: Creature can turn 120° per round, and requires 6 segments to reach full airspeed. Creature requires 5 segments to come to a full stop in the air, and can hover in place. Examples: fly spell, sprites, sylphs, giant wasps, ki-rin. 

Class C: Creature can turn 90° per round, and requires 1 round to reach full airspeed. Examples: carpet or wings of flying, gargoyles, harpies, pegasi, lammasu, shedu. 

Class D: Creature can turn 60° per round, and requires 2 rounds to reach full airspeed. Examples: pteranodons, sphinxes, mounted pegasi. 

Class E: Creature can turn 30° per round, and requires 4 rounds to reach full airspeed. Examples: dragons, rocs, wyverns. [DMG, p. 50-51]

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Slow Rebuilding of the Free RPG Game Links - OSR

These are the games I have so far. I'm sure I'm missing one or a half dozen ;)

Add them in the comments and I'll add them here. Mind you, this is the list for Free, OSR, D&D Clones and the like. I'll be doing other posts, and other side bar links, for other free RPG sources.

Damn Wayback machine last crawled the Tavern in 2011 :(

Labyrinth Lord
Labyrinth Lord AEC
Swords & Wizardry - Core
Swords & Wizardry - WB
Swords & Wizardry - Quickstart
LotFP Weird Fantasy
Delving Deeper
Spellcraft & Swordplay
Dark Dungeons
For Gold & Glory
Basic Fantasy RPG
Ambition & Avarice
Myth & Magic Player's Starter Guide
Myth & Magic Game Master's Starter Guide

Dearth of OSR Goodness at One of the Largest / Oldest Game Stores - The Complete Strategist NYC

Picture Borrowed From Google Maps
I mentioned in my last post that Joe the Lawyer and myself spent some time at the Complete Strategist yesterday afternoon. I walked out with CoC 6th Edition, Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition and Action Castle II (I'll discuss Action Castle in a later post). There's is a crapload of RPG goodness at the Strat, but there is a dearth of OSR games from any publisher.

Rifts and the rest of the Palladium line? I think the Complete Strategist keeps Palladium Book and Kevin Siembieda in business.

World of Darkness? Huge Selection

Warhammer Fantasy Role Play and WFRP40k? My God yes.

Pathfinder? Amazing selection.

D&D 4e / 3x? Eh. Not great, and the only section you are stuck looking at book spines and not covers.

OSR? A few copies of LotFP Grindhouse Boxed Set, Carcosa and Labyrinth Lord Core and AEC. That was all I saw.

No OSRIC, no Swords & Wizardry and certainly no modules with the exception of DCC RPG adventures.

Fucking humbling experience to see games like The Dying Earth RPG had more product available than the whole OSR.

My Latest Acquisition - Call of Cthulhu 6th Edition

Yesterday, part of PubCon was wandering the aisles of the Complete Strategist and deciding what I would be spending my money on. Mind you, "if" I was going to be spending money never came up - I knew I was, the question was "on what?"

Well, the main purchase was Call of Cthulhu Sixth Edition. I have a boxed set of CoC but I really haven't bought anything for it in years. As Halloween is just around the corner, CoC was an easy choice.

The book is much more complete than I expected, including 4 adventures. I'm considering doing a search for a 1 on 1 adventure to run for my wife on Halloween. As her only other RPG experience was a 1 on 1 Tunnels & Trolls session, it might be fun for her. If nothing else, I expect she'll humor me ;)

I also picked up the Savage Worlds Deluxe Explorer's Edition for $9.99. I already own the hardcover, but for 10 bucks it's an amazing value. Who knows, I may actually run it at some point.

RATS! An Indiegogo Funded RPG to Roleplay Rats...

It's funny. I've been looking at the RATS! RPG since Uri first announced it, and yet I haven't got myself to pull the trigger on it. With 4 days to go in the crowdfunding, I'll need to make that decision soon.

The art looks amazing and I think Uri has done a great job putting together a game that might actually make roleplaying rats an enjoyable experience - I just dont have a good recent experience with rats in the RPGs I play ;)

That being said, and I don't want to draw a conclusion that may not play out when the full game, there seems to be an undertone of real life events boiling forth in the game itself. Not sure I would have used the term "holy war" in today's environment of political correctness. Hmmm, no - I probably would have, but then I don't have all that much published ;)

From the RATS! Indiegogo site:

RATS! is a satiric role playing game chronicling the rats’ awakening and subsequent holy war against modern humanity, other animals, each other and numerous inanimate objects as well. Players take on the role of intelligent rats who participate in various insanely dangerous, or just plain insane, missions to further the rodent cause.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg. Our world holds more mysteries and horrors than any man, or even rat, can imagine (without reading the book).

Publishing a game about revolting rats has been my dream and obsession for many years now. During my work on RATS! I’ve come across two wonderfully talented artists who felt inspired by the campaign setting and started creating stunning art for the future book, as well as contributing their own ratty ideas.

We have put a tremendous amount of hard work into this game. With your help, we hope to make this furry vision a reality!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

PubCon Fall 2012 Recap - Pints, Grub and Dungeon!

Setting Up Dungeon! at the Pub
This afternoon was the first official / unofficial PubCon in NYC at Rattle N Hum, right across from the Complete Strategist. The party was so rocking that I had to call off tonight's gaming session. I'm beginning to feel the afternoon of beers and ciders in my head now, but it was worth it.

Alright, we call it a PubCon, but the turnout was small. Still, you need to start small to build bigger things, and we plan to make this big. Beer (and cider), great pub grub and gaming - how the f' can you go wrong?

I had a nice wheat beer, followed by a number of different ciders (including a delicious pear cider) and some insane shot that Joe the Lawyer has us drinking that had no right to taste as good as it did. I really can't tell you how much I drank, but I had 2 pints of seltzer to clear my system before leaving ;)

Anyhow, the four of us (told you it was small gathering - Joe, Tavis Allison, a young lady whose name escapes me and myself) foolishly ate and drank before deciding to pull out a game. I had brought Drinking quest 1 + 2, but at the rate we had been drinking , DQ would have put me down for the count. As Joe had just picked up a couple of copies of the newly revised Dungeon! game, we played a round of it.

The Inaugural PubCon NYC 2012 Attendees 
It was fun. The young lady won the first and only session, playing the role of the thief, I mean Rogue.

My few complaints? Why the need to change the classic "character classes" of the player's pieces? The old game did it just fine. Oh,and no PVP, so we couldn't stop the young lady from getting back to the starting area with her loot intact. Yes, WotC found a way to "carebear" even the revised Dungeon! board game ;)

We are already planning for PubCon II this spring. No date yet, but there will be a Sprint PubCon :)

Delving Deeper Offers Original Flavored D&D For Free

It's been a heck of a wait, but if you are looking for some Original Flavored D&D, Delving Deeper might just be your game.

Did I mention it's free in PDF?

Three booklets are in the release

The Adventurer's Handbook - which is where the classes reside

The Referee's Guide - where you find the rules for running the game

The Monster & Treasure Reference - where you find monsters and treasure. What, were you expecting a tricky type of answer? heh

You can grab all three together at the link above.

From the blurb:

What is the Delving Deeper RPG?

Delving Deeper is an emulation of the original fantasy role-playing game.

Meticulously forged over two long years of development, Delving Deeper invites you to recreate the original role-playing experience as it was in its earliest days.

Return to a time when three alignments were enough, when a handful of character classes ruled, and when magic swords had their own ideas about who's boss.

If you’ve ever read or watched a good fantasy with hungry eyes, then this is the game for you. Right here are all the rules you'll need, none of the rules you won't, and unparalleled room for expansion and growth. Grab your trusty sword, your magic wand, and call the guards to arms! There are treasures in these pages...

Pushing Back Monday's (Oct 29th) Labyrinth Lord Session

With the possibility of the "Frankenstorm" hitting the NYC metropolitan area, I'm pushing the LL session that was tentatively set for Monday night back 2 weeks (I'm away the first week on November).

I'm not so much concerned about the possible loss of the internet at my house, but as an "emergency worker" I may not even be home to run the game. I figure it's best to move it now than have folks wonder "where the f' is he?" ;)

Best laid plans of mice and men and all that crap...

The Grumpy Dwarf Asks: Why Drain the Life Out of Undead Energy Draining?

Foolish dwarf! Why are you reading D&D Next articles when you have serious doubts you'll ever play a session? Because, I tell myself, it might become big, or even Big (but not as BIG as D&D was in the past) and it certainly isn't 4e, which can only be a blessing.

So, why is James Wyatt taking the rusty scissors to the already shrinking private parts of the energy drain ability of certain undead? I don't mind limiting the ability to a handful of the critters, or even to just 2 (wrights and wraiths as James writes in his article), but why make the effect inconsequential?

Here's how James sees it:
A wight's most dreaded quality is its energy drain, and here's a place where we're still hammering out some details. In the current playtest bestiary, energy drain is an attack the wight can use in place of two weapon attacks, so it does less damage, but it also reduces the target's maximum hit points (limiting the effects of healing until after the target's next long rest).
Not for nothing James, but really, what's the point at this point? I like the idea of a drain to maximum HP (works even better for Vampires in my opinion, but whatever, we'll work with what we got) but a long rest does away with the effect? Whoop de frickin' do! That's not a threat.

Maximum HP are reduced until the casting of a high level spell, or a restoration potion, or a minor quest - something that actually has an effect on the party's resources. Heck, something, anything that has more of an effect than necessitating a good night's sleep. Maybe add some chicken soup to the requirements, it heals everything I've heard.

Again, it's not the effect that I have a problem with - I like this method much more than level drain. This method has no real risk for the PCs. It's not a threat. It's not something they need to overcome. It's a booboo with a slightly longer heal time.

There's no need to carebear the game to this extent. Trust me, the players will enjoy playing with a bit of actual risk. it makes success all that much better.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Are Your PCs a Part of the World, or Apart From the World?

The latest podcast over at RPG Circus touched on the idea of wether or not PCs were a part of their gaming world, or a part from it. It got me thinking about the topic, and truthfully, I think MOST games are run in such a way that PCs are apart from the world their in.

Few campaigns have events that don't impact the PCs. Events happen because they will impact the campaign and the PCs, but that doesn't make the PCs part of the world. It doesn't exist except where it further's the ends of the campaign.

If the campaign is on rails, you know which parts of the world exist, or will exist when needed. In a sandbox, it exists immediately around the PCs.

It helps to ground your players if they have a background - family, history, friends and the like will help the DM make the PCs a part of the world, as apposed to a part from it, but not all players want that kind of depth or experience to their game.

I guess a part of, or apart from, depends on style of play - but it's certainly easier to run a campaign as he second type.

So, a part of or apart from? Which do you prefer and which do you find yourself mostly playing in?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

I've Been Attacked By the Frawgs! (More Prizes for the Next DCC Contests)

Thanks to Stephen Newton and his company Thick Skull Adventures, we now have print copies of Attack fo the Frawgs for upcoming DCC RPG Contests here at Tenkar's Tavern.

If I've said it once, I've said it at least a dozen times - the DCC RPG Community is the best there is in our hobby, bar none.

Hmmm... I guess I'm about due to announce a new monthly contest ;)

When is 2000 Coppers Not 2000 Coppers? When Its an Ingot!

Last night I played in a short session of Blood & Treasure run by Keith Davies, prolific blogger, G+ poster and writer of gaming thoughts. Keith was experimenting with a node based megadungeon style play.

While exploring a partially ruined tower, and after defeating the "Edward Scissors Hands" mechanical golem, we came across a 5' long magical device that took in metals and shat of metal ingots.

Damn frigging cool!

So, this thing and the golem were scavenging pipes, and some were copper, and it had crapped out a number of copper ingots (and other metals, but who was really paying attention to anything but the copper?)

So of course, my Dwarven thief had to know how much the copper bars weighed - 20#'s according to Keith.

How many coins per pound are we running with? 100 coins per pounds he says.

Or, as Keith writes it up much better than I:

Whereupon the following conversation ensued:

Erik: how many ingots are there?

Me: roll a dozen.  Six copper, four tin, two iron.  They weigh twenty pounds each.

Erik: Sweet!  How much are they worth?

Me: Hang on… thirty coins to the pound?  Those are huge coins.  Let’s say a hundred coins to the pound, then they’re kind of realistic.

And hey, it’s just copper, copper’s not worth that much, and it’s heavy.  This is in a convenient form at leas…

Me: I swear, this was not on purpose.

Erik: What, a lot of copper?  Twenty pounds times a hundred coins… you’ve gotta be kidding.

Me: Not on purpose!

Erik: Don’t change it! Two thousand copper in ingot form, from a… thing that’s smelting it from old machinery?  That makes sense!

See, not all finds of 2,000 coppers gets the same reaction ;)

In all seriousness, I want this metal smelting relic on tracks. Imagine the easy of just throwing in your (mostly) dead adversaries and having it kick out gold, silver and copper ingots? No need to loot the bodies, just drop them in the handy dandy Ronko Metal Smelter and Rotisserie and get your red hot ingots.

Damn Keith, but that's my kinds of magic item!

PubCon This Saturday in NYC - Be There!

Remember No Fighting (and tip your waitstaff)
Here's the quick details for PubCon this Saturday (October 27th in NYC)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Meet - First Location - Downtown Strand Book Store
Corner of Broadway and E12th Street
Time  1230 PM

Meet - Second Location - Complete Strategist Game Store
11 E33rd Street - Between 5th and Madison
Time  130 PM

Meet - Third and Final Location - Rattle N Hum (Pub)
14 E33rd Street - Between 5th and Madison
Time  230 PM (directly across from the CompStat)

Now, I'm not sure if I have an hour worth of game shopping in me (I may, or a I may not) so I might hit  Rattle N Hum a tad early. We plan on grabbing a table or two in the back. No, the staff does not know this is planned, but as we didn't know if it was going to be more than Joe and I and a few others, we figured we'd wing this the first time.

I'll be bringing Drinking Quest 1 + 2 with me, and if we get a half dozen or more to show up (not including Joe & myself - which means six others) we'll do a roll off to see who wins my copy of DQ2 (I'll order myself a replacement).

This is an informal gathering of like minded individuals. The only agenda is to have a good time ;)

The Tavern Got a Nice Mention on the RPG Circus Podcast Yesterday

There are lots of RPG podcasts out there, sometimes more than I can keep track of, but when I saw traffic coming from the RPG Circus website to Tenkar's Tavern, I had to find out why.

Apparently yesterday's episode highlighted a few gaming related Kickstarter projects, and my post about the late Kickstarters I've supported got a very nice mention. Very cool guys! Thanks!

I listened to the first half of the podcast on the wat to work, and I'll listen to the second half later on my way home. After listening to the Happy Jacks Crew to the point where I wanted to take Tappy's mouth and shove every OSR game I could find and shove it down his throat - sigh. Tappy really got annoying to me - not because of his voice, but he's one of those bullshitters that pretends to have knowledge of everything because he's too embarrassed to admit he actually doesn't know. So, I stopped listening to the Happy Jacks and RPG podcasts in general.

I'm happy to say that it looks like RPG Circus will be accompanying me on my daily commutes for the immediate future. Sure, it lacks the beer swilling and belching over at Happy Jacks - but it also lacks the obnoxious attitude that was turning me off to Happy Jacks.

Give the Circus boys some love, and tell them "Tenkar sent ya!"

(For the lads at RPG Circus, you pronounced Tenkar correctly - it's the number 10 and another word for automobile. 10-Car ;)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Mini Review - Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands - (LL Setting)

Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands isn't your typical fantasy setting. To my eyes, it feels like a darker Ravenloft.

Actually, darker might not be the right word. Grittier. It's a grittier Ravenloft.

I think it's obvious from the title that undead play a major role in this setting. They are the movers and the shakers. Humans are often the local rulers. Demihumans are extremely rare, and would only be part of adventuring parties - they would not usually intermingle with the locals. Which makes for an interesting quirk to the setting, as non-human PCs are definitely going to be sen as outcasts and not trusted by the locals.

Adventuring parties themselves need to be sponsored by, or comprised of nobles. Depending on their composition and on whose lands they are dungeon raiding, they have to give from 25% to 50% of their loot to their sponsors. As an aside, this isn't an economy based on coinage but barter, so you will often have the reverse of a normal gaming situation - instead of converting valuables to coin, the players will be seeking to convert coin into valuables. They can also get special writs of wealth issued in exchange for their new found loot (at a cost of course)

This is an extremely comprehensive setting, with nicely mapped out cities and towns, with each having enough to run a session or two in each based on the location descriptions. There are a lot of hooks to feed your players. This is very much a sandbox styled campaign setting, which is both its boon and it's curse.

As I see it, native born adventurers become "part of the system", not just by necessity to be licensed to adventure but also because they undergo the Ritual of Cleansing, which marks them and allows them to roam freely at night without fear of the undead. So, if the party is okay with adventuring in undead lands and probably running missions for undead masters at some point, all is well. If they expect to be heroes in the traditional sense, I feel the setting is stacked against them. (they are seen by the populace as heroes, but I don't see their actions necessarily being directed to "heroic acts")

It's a shame, as I really like the setting itself. It has a huge amount of roleplay potential, I just wish there was some "fighting the evil powers from within". Sure, there are some adventure seeds as such, but most of the ones that would put the heroes against the powers that be assume they are outsiders that have found (or been kidnapped) the hidden realm. Which means if they are higher level, much of the setting would be a cake walk, or low level, and the nights would just get them killed.

Maybe I wish it had more of a Midnight "rebellious" undercurrent running with it.

Still, as the author himself states near the beginning: "The Ghoul Lands setting presented in this book may not be suitable for every group, campaign, or style of play. The Labyrinth Lord is encouraged to mine these pages for any NPCs, Factions, New Monsters, New Magic Items, or story ideas that can be ported over to his own game. In addition, the awesome maps of Ghoul Keep and the various settlements, towns, and cities of Makaar Mor provided by Tim Hartin of Paratime Design can be easily restocked and reused to better fit your game world. Enjoy!"

In my opinion, Ghoul Keep is certainly worth it for the sheer "lootability" of it's contents. It's parts are just that good.

From the blurb:

Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands is a sandbox mini-setting supplement for the Labyrinth Lord™ RPG that details an isolated kingdom located north of the Duchy of Valnwall. The people of the Ghoul Lands are ruled by the Ghoul King Lorrgan Makaar, a powerful undead creature who has slowly amassed an army of undead to invade the living lands in the south.

Ghoul Keep a.k.a. Morakaal
Ghoul Keep, a.k.a. Morakaal, is a forbidding mountain fortress that blocks the northern reaches of the Pass of the Dead in the rugged mountain range known as the Peaks of Valen. It is an ancient structure, comprised of fused bone walls, angular towers, sharp battlements, and lofty spires whose peaked windows flicker with ghostly green light.

The elite soldiers of King Lorrgan Makaar’s horde dwell here, including evil humans, ghouls, and an abominable race of ghoul-human hybrids known as gahouls. These forces regularly patrol the lands north of the pass, searching for those who would try to enter or escape the Ghoul Lands, but seldom venture far south of the keep’s walls for fear of a mystical barrier known as the Cursed Ward of Valen that brings painful death to any undead attempting to cross it.

The Ghoul Lands a.k.a. The Kingdom of Makaar Mor
The people of the Duchy of Valnwall believe Ghoul Keep marks the start of an undead wasteland known only as the Ghoul Lands. In fact, the entire Ghoul Lands is actually an isolated human kingdom named the Kingdom of Makaar Mor that lies in a fertile valley beyond the Peaks of Valen. The Kingdom of Makaar Mor is fully detailed in this supplement.

Using Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands
Ghoul Keep and the Ghoul Lands is designed for the Chronicles of Amherth™ Labyrinth Lord setting, but with a little work, it can easily be incorporated into any existing campaign. The isolated nature of the Ghoul Lands means the Kingdom of Makaar Mor can be "dragged and dropped" into any mountainous region as an established realm, a rumored territory, or perhaps even a “lost world” type valley that is discovered via a hidden mountain pass.

What You Get
-The history of the Ghoul Lands a.k.a. the Kingdom of Makaar Mor, with details on its geography, architecture, technology level, and the people, their customs, and way of life.

-Maps of the capital of each of the kingdom's five provinces as well as descriptions of the rulers, dozens of major NPCs and factions, and details of some of the more interesting locations found throughout.
-30 new magic items themed for the setting (many dealing with undead)
-8 new plants that produce interesting natural and supernatural effects
-11 new monsters (including 4 different variations of the typical ghoul)
-6 maps of Ghoul Keep and its dungeons, all fully stocked and detailed
-1 map of a Commoner’s Hall—a specialized marketplace, with all of the shops and NPCs fully detailed. A great starting point for launching a new Ghoul Lands campaign!
-1 short adventure, Kalitus Corpi, designed for beginning characters levels 1-3 (see below for more info).

Take What You Will!
The Ghoul Lands setting presented in this book may not be suitable for every group, campaign, or style of play. The Labyrinth Lord is encouraged to mine these pages for any NPCs, Factions, New Monsters, New Magic Items, or story ideas that can be ported over to his own game. In addition, the awesome maps of Ghoul Keep and the various settlements, towns, and cities of Makaar Mor provided by Tim Hartin of Paratime Design can be easily restocked and reused to better fit your game world. Enjoy!

Also included with this product is the sample adventure Kalitus Corpi. Kalitus Corpi is a short, site-based Labyrinth LordTM adventure designed for 4-6 characters of 1st-3rd level (about 8-10 levels total). The adventure takes place in a ruined temple that has been taken over by a cannibalistic cult named the Kalitus Corpi. The party must discover the cult's activities, infiltrate the temple, and destroy the cult's avatar—a hideous undead hybrid of man, rat, and maggot known as Raltus the Undying.

A "You Got Your Chocolate in My Peanut Butter" Kickstarter - Base Raiders: The Superpowered Dungeon Crawling RPG

Base Raiders: The Superpowered Dungeon Crawling RPG.

Read the title again.

How does it feel to you?

It's feels like "You got your Supers in my D&D!" to me.

It's either going to be one of the great RPGs of our time or a real mess, but at the very least you have to give it points for being the Peanut Butter Cup of RPGs: Like dungeon crawling, but prefer spandex to your chain mail bikini? Base Raiders may just be the game for you.

In general I'm not big on Supers type games, although this one uses the FATE system as it's core, which is certainly a pretty cool choice.

I may have to support this one, just to see how one "dungeon crawls" in The Legion of Doom's HQ. Besides, "All your base are belong to us!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just Under a Week to the Release of Barebones Fantasy RPG

I'm beginning to think Larry and Bill from DWD Studios must be insane. They are releasing a new, high quality RPG into the market in a week and they aren't using Kickstarter to do so. WTF guys!?! How dare you use a traditional method to release your game on time. You could have used Kickstarter and nearly guarantee a late product release ;)

I've been following Barebones Fantasy since the springtime and getting peeks at early betas of the rules.  Color me impressed. I'm an Old School / OSR type of gamer. I've tried Savage Worlds, been intrigued by the Ubiquity system, consider running QUERPs for a bit, but time and time again I come back to one of the various D&D clones or illegitimate offspring. So it may be surprising that I'm actually chomping at the bit to run Barebones Fantasy - I just need to free up the time. It doesn't hurt that the setting book being released a bit later has a town of Tenkar and a Tenkar's Tavern in it ;)

I'm actually thinking of using the included tables from the Adventure Idea Generation section to roll up some ideas for adventures. Must be the "Chart Guy" aspect of my OSR-ness. What can I say? I love me some well done random tables.

The monster section reeks of Old School goodness, but Larry - where the rodents? Can't have a dungeon without rodents :)

Maybe I'll kick off a twice a month BBF campaign with the new year. I already have an idea or two rattling around in my noggin.  Hell, maybe I just need to clone myself and send one off to work and keep one self just for gaming :)

More "Where The F' Are They?" List of Overdue RPG Kickstarters I've Supported (Omissions and Oversights)

It appears I missed a few last night so it's time to correct that.

CHAMPIONS OF ZED: Zero Edition Dungeoneering

Goal: $4,600     Total: $8,077     Funded: June 16, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: August, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Shipped

Champions of Zed - last update 9/10 - once this project started running late, the updates stopped. Maybe there is info at the forums, but is it too much to ask for an update via Kickstarter every two weeks?

Tabletop Forge
Goal: $5,000     Total: $44,413     Funded: July 9, 2012
Estimated Release Date: August, 2012      Actual Release Date: Not Yet Released

Tabletop Forge - Updates approximately every 2 weeks - Its software. Software doesn't play nice. That being said, I'm about to teach myself Roll20, as the TTF Beta is buggy and frustrating me. When half the party can't see the maps I draw, we got a problem.

Race To Adventure
Goal: $40,000     Total: $52,117     Funded: July 24, 2012
Estimated Release Date: Dec, 2012     Actual Release Date: Early 2013 (New Estimate)

Race To Adventure - Updates about once a month - Board Game - Blame the delays on European vacations. No, really -"wouldn't you know it, August turns out to be a time when a lot of folks in our field are off on a vacation. But we're not talking about GenCon here -- we're talking about Europe, where we're going to be having the game manufactured. This sort of nations-wide month long vacation is super, uh, foreign to USA-based folks like us, so we simply had no idea it was coming."

Goal: $10,000     Total: $23,580     Funded: August 9, 2012
Estimated Release Date: Oct, 2012     Actual Release Date: Not Yet Released (New Estimate - Nov, 2012)

Fantastiqa - Updates monthly - guess they got hit by the same European Vacation ;)

Spears of the Dawn Alpha Release Available Now to Kickstarter Supporters

The Spears of the Dawn Kickstarter still has 16 days to go before ending and it's already funded. Supporters of the Kickstarter can get their hands on the Alpha release now - not in 2+ weeks when the Kickstarter ends but right now.

It's no short RPG either, coming in at over 170 pages.

I'll be reading this sucker in depth tonight, as I'm really intrigued by running a Fantasy / Stars Without Numbers Hybrid game.

See, the right way to do a Kickstarter is to have a product usable before the end of the fundraising

Monday, October 22, 2012

Here's The "Where The F' Are They?" List of Overdue RPG Kickstarters I've Supported

The below list is of RPG Related Kickstarters that were estimated to ship (I am using the ship date for the physical item, not the PDF if there is one) October 2012 or earlier.  I was going to add Indiegogo projects to the list, but they are so few (and this list got so long) I'll summarize as follows: LotFP stuff that I supported was late but has shipped. Barrowmaze II shipped on time!

Colors for Actual Ship Date are as follows:

Red: Hasn't shipped and is (or will be based on new estimates) significantly overdue. This includes projects that have been shipping in dribs and drabs for months. If all backers dont have what they pledged for, it's in red.

Orange: Late but shipped, or recently missed a shipping date and hasn't shipped

Green: Shipped on time. Holy Shit!

DungeonMorph Dice
Goal: $5,000     Total: $20,620     Funded: May 22, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2011     Actual Ship Date: December, 2011

Adventurer Conqueror King System
Goal: $4,000     Total: $11,648     Funded: August 6, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: November, 2011     Actual Ship Date: April, 2012

Far West
Goal: $5,000     Total: $49,324     Funded: August 25, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: December, 2011     Actual Ship Date: Not Shipped (and has missed interim ship dates)

Far West - last update 10/19 - updates approximately monthly -  First the main / lead artist flaked out in the middle of the job (and claimed to have finished work he hadn't completed), then Gareth got sick, "Far West" as a title will now be cropping up in unrelated media, making marketing a pain I suspect - and no new ship date.

C&C Classic Monsters
Goal: $4,000     Total: $9,108     Funded: December 2, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: January, 2012     Actual Ship Date: May, 2012

Quantum Roleplaying Game
Goal: $13,000     Total: $47,747     Funded: December 30, 2011
Estimated Ship Date: April, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped

Quantum RPG - last update 9/27 - recent updates have been for the new setting book for the as yet unreleased RPG - I don't care how you spin it, but kicking off a new Kickstarter without releasing the final product of the first annoys me. Invest more into something I don't yet have? Boggles the mind. Even better, the second Kickstarter failed ($7,751 out of $30,000 raised - it failed on 10/18). Gee, think it failed because no one has the first Kickstarter in hand yet?

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Goal: $6,000     Total: $13,216     Funded: January 15, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: April, 2012     Actual Ship date: July, 2012 and still ongoing completed I believe

Adventurer Conqueror King System Player's Companion
Goal:: $4,000     Total: $20,622     Funded: March 16, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped  

ACKS Player's Companion - last Update 10/9 - Updates approximately monthly. No ship date, but feedback from early release PDF has been applied and the contents revised - Updates average one per month at this stage.

Story Forge
Goal: $12,000    Total: $21,736     Funded: March 20, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: July, 2012

Goal: $10,000     Total: $48,756     Funded: April 14, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: August 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped (New Estimate Spring / Fall 2013)

Dwimmermount - Last Update 10/19 - Updates Weekly. Absolutely the best thing Travis (and James) have done is give weekly updates. In the Way Way Back, where updates were few and rumors were many, folks were getting might uppity, and with good reason. There was certainly a loss of some goodwill during the Way Way Back Times, and Travis is putting the effort in now, but things would have been so much simpler if updates had been weekly from the start, especially with the wide margin the ship date is being missed by.  

King For a Day
Goal: $800     Total: $4,844     Funded: May 1, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: September 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped (new estimate - December 2012) 

King For a Day - Updates Approximately twice a month. I'm somewhat doubtful of the December 12 ship date, but I'm willing to be surprised 

Artisan Dice
Goal: $300     Total: $91,542     Funded: April 7, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: April, 2012     Actual Ship date: May, 2012 and still ongoing completed now I do believe - this suffered from overwhelming response. If you are going to be late, let it be because you have too many customers ;)

Adventures Dark & Deep
Goal: $2,500     Total: $7,459     Funded: April 15, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Shipped September, 2012 - I was only in at the PDF level, but congrats for hitting the ship date ;)

Myth & Magic Player's Guide
Goal: $5,000     Total: $24,076     Funded: May 7, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: August 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped

Myth & Magic Player's Guide - Last update related to this Kickstarter and not it's sister project - 9/21. PDF released to the wild, no hard copies yet

Appendix N
Goal: $1,000     Total: $18,893     Funded: July2, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: July, 2012     Actual Ship Date: Not Yet Shipped (New Estimate Late September  November 2012)

Appendix N - Last Update 10/22 - Updates more than once a week - Brave Halfling is like your cousin who is always late to appointments - whether it's a Kickstarter or a pre-order, the quality has so far been excellent, the timeliness has been poor. PDF versions of the releases look to be on time or close to it going forward - physical products is going to be a wait n see in my opinion.

Nystul's Infinite Dungeon
Goal: $2,000     Total: $16,017     Funded: June 3, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: September 2012 (New Estimate October 2012 for PDF)
Nystul's Infinite Dungeon - Weekly updates - Estimate for physical delivery is November 2012. greatly expanded offering from initial description.

Not RPGs, but Game Related

Dwarven Adventurers Boxed Set
Goal: $1,250     Total: $136,487     Funded: July 25, 2012
Estimated Ship Date: September 2012

Dwarven Adventurers blew away it's goal and added so many miniatures to the set that missing the estimated ship goal was a given before the funding even completed. If you are going to ship late, this is the reason. Weekly Updates

There are some other Board Games and such, which I will update later

Tonight I'll Update the "Where The F' Are They?" List of Overdue Kickstarters I've Supported

Yep, tonight I'll update my list of supported Kickstarters, the overwhelming number of which are overdue. Some, extremely overdue. Many with a piss poor record of keeping the waiting supporters updated.

I know folks speak about being "fashionably late", but that should not apply to projects that are funded with cash up front.

The strange thing is, I love the whole crowdfunding concept, but it appears more and more that folks in our hobby don't grasp the concept that failing to produce on time (and often without much of an explanation of the delays) will affect how folks look at your future projects. If all you want is "one and done", feel free to shoot yourself in the foot. Otherwise, maybe honest shipping estimates, prioritizing workloads and frequent communication with your customers goes much further than putting one's head in the sand and hoping no one asks questions.

Am I bitter? No

Frustrated? Yes

It's why I really appreciate Kickstarters like Spears of the Dawn, which released the Alpha of it's rules to supporters - and that's with 17 days left to fund. Somehow, I expect this one will ship on time ;)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

An Ars Magica PC Game Kickstarter? It's So Crazy, It Might Just Work

I just stumbled across the Ars Magica video game Kickstarter. I've never played it, but I did find the rules intriguing during my earlier role playing days - I just never had a group that showed any interest in playing it. I know it has a following, as it's in its 4th? 5th? edition.

I don't know if that following will convert to $290,000 worth of support for a fantasy computer game that doesn't follow the usual tried and true generic or Forgotten Realms fantasy type world.

27 days to go - just under $20k raised - so it doesn't seem likely but it sure would have been interesting.

I haven't seen it pop up on any blogs that I read or my G+ feed, so it could be that the greater RPG world hasn't even heard about this one. It's a shame the Shaker guys couldn't have shifted their funding to an established game with an actual direction.

Funny Voices, Accents and Impressions - Are They Part of Your GM Tool Set?

Pretty much what the titile of this post says - do you use funny voices, accents and impressions during the game sessions that your run?

I know I do. I've been doing so since my teens, and I think my skill with such has only gotten better with age. For me it adds flavor, and makes NPC more memorable, especially if you can keep the voice consistant between sessions.

If you do use voices, are there any techniques that you use to make is special?

Free Stuff of the Week - Inkwell Stock Art: Ogre

I know a decent number of the smaller publishers in our hobby, and I'm constantly reminded that one of the biggest expenses in getting any product out isn't the writing, but the art. Getting original pieces of art made for your project can be cost prohibitive, thus the use of stock art.

With stock art, you license the use of the art for use in your projects  but others may also do the same. You license isn't exclusive - others may also use the art in their projects, but the price is generally much more affordable then getting artwork made specifically for your project.

Inkwell Designs has a large amount of high quality monster stock art for sale at RPGNow, and they even have their Ogre Stock Art available for free for you to use in your projects. Can't beat that.

Inkwell Designs also has a Kickstarter running with a whole new assortment of Monster Stock Art.

"I Wasn't Dead 'Til I Had No Head!" - an Ambition & Avarice Session Recap

"I Wasn't Dead 'Til I Had No Head!". Say that to yourself in your best Jackie Mason voice. That's what I did when the party found the undead talking skull that had just spent the last 100 years staring at an empty room. An unlit empty room.

I had no idea how this encounter was going to play out. Talking skull that wants to see ANYTHING besides the room he's been stuck in for a century. He wants out. He wants company. He really has nothing to offer the party, but I could sense there was a lot of potential to this encounter, so I winged it.

The best Mister Skull could offer the party was the idea that he never slept and could see 360 degrees around his skull. Was that part of the encounter text? Nope, but seemed reasonable. Besides, the idea of a talking skull (with horns no less) being part of the party was just too good to pass up. Not to mention that I love playing with accents and voices, and it was quickly decided that Mister Skull was a very lonely Jackie Mason - with one liners and everything.

At the moment the skull is tied and strapped to the head of the party's Dark Elf. Don't ask. Sometimes you just run with it. The player wants to see if he could wear the skull instead of his helm. Not a request I had expected, but one I'm willing to work towards.

Oh sure, there was combat and negotiations and a severed foot found, but Mister Skull ruled the night.

As for the quote that I titled this post with, it was the answer to the question "How did you get like this?" or something similar. Said in my best Jackie Mason voice, the line was a killer ;)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Another Cancelled Kickstarter - Old School RPG, uhr - I Mean SHAKER

How can you pretty much guarantee to fail at Kickstarter?

Have a placeholder for for your project's name: this not only guarantees confusion among potential backers ("wasn't this called something else just yesterday?") but it also shows your concept wasn't even ready.

Say a whole lot about nothing: I got caught up in the hype of an honest to goodness Old School RPG like Wizardry or Bard's Tale, but the reality is that the initial Kickstarter page just made general yet nicely fluffed statements about Old School Computer RPGs - it could have been using Might & Magic, Ultima or any of the many games from the past as it's inspirations, but it never really said "what" it was.

Show a fantasy piece of art as your main image, but decide to make the game (some point after putting the Kickstarter up) a Sci-Fi with fantasy trappings maybe game: Seriously, what the fuck?

Here's the update on SHAKER / Old School RPG which was cancelled with 16 days to go (and just short of 25% to it's 1 million dollar goal). But in reality, it isn't cancelled, it's still live as I post this - 24 hours after they announced cancellation. But they say it's cancelled. So in reality, they have no idea what the fuck they are doing - still:

Update #10 · Oct. 19, 2012 · 93 comments
Uncharted Isles, Mineshaft, Contraption...

In the industry, games are pitched every day. Some make it to the next stage, but many don't, like those named above. We regret to announce that we're adding Shaker: An Old-School RPG (it's SHAKER and Shaker depending on where i read it. Not that it matters anymore, but which one is it) to the latter list.

We are profoundly grateful to our fans. You were as excited about this game as we were, and from the very beginning, you encouraged us to post more details about it (because there were NO details about it initially!) and even sent in fan art! We have received backing from over 7,000 of you and raised a quarter million dollars in just a few days (!). That's humbling and wonderful.

We are profoundly grateful to the press. You covered our Kickstarter's launch and story update and gave it as much attention as you possibly could (with the limited information we could provide). It was through your efforts that many heard about our game.

We are grateful to our friends in the game industry who gave us suggestions, support and critique (probably along the lines of: uhm, what is this game actually about? do you have any idea where its going?). We are a wonderfully tight-knit community, and we owe you for all your feedback and friendship.

Ultimately, our pitch just wasn't strong enough to get the traction we felt it needed to thrive (there was no real pitch - just some marketing mumbo jumbo and an attempt to fund a game before the game was even conceived). Sure, it may have made it (not at this rate of funding). We could have fought our way to a possibly successful end (about the only wise thing they have done is pull the plug). In reading your feedback and talking it over internally, however, we decided that it made more sense to kill it and come back with something stronger (maybe even come back with a concept before asking for your money - now that's a fucking concept!).

In game design, mercy killing is the law.

So, please accept our thanks and apologies in equal order. Expect something more soon.

'Nuff said!

The Challenge of High Level Campaigns - Surviving to High Levels or Having the Campaign Survive?

I've been thinking of high level play and the thought occurred to me. It's been my experience that few campaigns ever hit the "high level play" mark.

It's probably why lower level adventures seem to sell best on places like RPGNow - more folks are just naturally playing at lower levels.

I'm sure part of it is player attrition and the struggle to keep a group together and gaming regularly to hit those levels. I'm sure part of it is GM (and even player) burnout - playing the same system, setting and characters can get old after a while.

There is also the challenge of balancing adventures to a higher level party. Things get pretty swingy in the higher levels compared to balancing challenges at lower levels. The power of the spells, magic, monsters is much more variable. The extremes of cakewalk and TPK are more common than at lower levels.

Then there is the definition of what actually constitutes "high level play". Is it hitting name level of 9 through 11, or is the 14-18 levels of play?

I have found my campaigns tend to die to a combination of DM / Player apathy after a certain point more than TPKs, but that might be because I'm an OSR system whore and love them all.

This question does not apply to 4e, which we know handles all levels equally well, and you are already designing you 20th level Wizard when you are just a 1st level apprentice ;)

Mini Review - Take on Magic Items (Dungeon World / Generic)

I'm going to sum up my take on Apocalypse World, which I've stated many times in the past. It's the best playing poorly written set of game rules I've ever tried to read.

The system is aces, but it is presented with such obnoxious fake attitude, useless vileness and utterly confusing rules presentation that it really turned me off. Thank God there are other games out there to riff off the system and can leave the poor presentation behind (yes, I know some folks LOVE how AW is presented. I'm happy for you. I'd rate the rules a 9.5 and the presentation a 1, both on a scale of 1-10. I wouldn't line my birdcage with the the AW rulebook unless I was looking to improve the presentation).

Which brings us to Dungeon World, an RPG that riffs off of AW and Old School RPGs. I'm an actual supporter of the Dungeon World Kickstarter. Not what you would expect from someone that threw his AW book across the room in frustration when I first (and last) tried to read it. The folks behind DW know how to present rules. User friendly rules.

Heck, Dungeon World isn't even officially released yet and supplements are trickling out for it (thanks to it being released under a Creative Commons License). Today I'm looking at Take on Magic Items.

Take on Magic Items is a collection of magic goodies for use in a Dungeon World campaign. They are well written and nicely presented, and I remember enough from the few sessions of AW that I did play (under great GM who understood my frustration with the AW rules as written) to make sense of the mechanics with ease.

The strange thing is, as I was reading them, I was also instinctively translating them into OSR items in my head. They literally convert that easily. Some need no conversion at all. The following example is one of my favorites (as I have a player that would LOVE this item) and it requires no conversion whatsoever for D&D/ OSR, Savage Worlds, RQ/Legends, Rolemaster/HARP, etc:

Miser’s Amulet 
This simple silver amulet is of seemingly
shoddy craftsmanship, yet never requires
When you are wearing the Miser’s Amulet
and you give someone one or more coins, a
few minutes later one of those coins reappears
in a coin pouch on your person. 
When a coin reappears in your coin pouch,
the amulet grows cold and slowly warms
over the next few minutes. 
If you have a Miser’s amulet you probably
should have a coin pouch.

It's an awesome item that has the potential of bring forth endless roleplay possibilities. Great bit of atmosphere it conjures up too. There are 23 other items in Take on Magic Items of similar quality and atmosphere. Well done!

I'll be using them in my A&A game for now ;)

A Kickstarter Full of Art - Monster Stock Art & Minis II

Inkwell Ideas is not new to Kickstarter funded projects. I love my Dungeonmorph Dice. I'm very happy with the stock art I acquired with the first Monster Stock Art project. Heck, the only reason I didn't jump into the successful Cityographer Mapping project is that my players spend very little time in urban environments.

So, if I already have a bunch of stock art from the first Monster Stock Art project, why am I about to jump into a Second Monster Stock Art project. Because not only is the art in the second project at least as good as the first project (and it was very good), but now the pieces also come in line art and background versions.

Here's some samples art pieces from the Monster Stock Art & Minis II Kickstarter page:

You can support for different dollar amounts, which converts to points that allows you to cherry pick different sizes of art pieces that you want.

Or you can do what I'm doing. Support at $200, and get at least 100 art pieces, with background, without background and line art (so really 300 pieces). Everything the project produces is yours.

If you just want laminated stand up minis, you can do that too: 25 bucks gives you 8 laminated sheets of miniatures, 16 stands and an organizer box.

Damn it, but there's a story behind Simon Buckyord's Mite. I just need to figure out what it is and write it up ;)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fighting the Common Cold - OSR Style

I'm currently fighting some version of "The Common Cold", otherwise know as the "Coughing, Sneezing, Stuffy Head Fever and I Can't Rest" Illness. So, I've decided I want to kick it's ass, and for that I'll need to make it an OSR Styled monster.

Common Cold
Hit Dice: 1 to 4
AC: 4 [15]
Attacks: 1 attack per round / damage as HD 1HD 1-3 dam, 2HD 1-4 dam,
3HD 1-6 dam, 4HD 1-8 damage
Saving Throw: As HD
Special: Heat does double damage, Cure Disease is Save or Die, Successful
hit causes disorientation for 2-12 days (-1 Hit, -1 / 5% skill checks) unless save
Move: 6 Fly 12
Alignment: Chaotic Annoying

There's the common cold, and then there is The Common Cold. No one remembers which long dead wizard created The Common Cold while trying to find a cure for the common cold, but it no longer matters. His creations have been unleashed upon the world, and as they need host to breed they will be found everywhere from dungeons to rooftops and in between.

Smaller Common Colds (1 and 2 HD) barely reach a foot in height and are fairly translucent. As such, they have a 50% chance to surprise unwary prey. Larger Common Colds stand 2'+ and lack that ability, but have been known to split themselves into smaller HD creatures to achieve such an effect. A 3 HD Common Cold can split into 3 1HD Common Colds or 1 1HD Common Cold and 1 2 HD Common Cold.

Common Colds reproduce by "infecting" a host. A character struck by a Common Cold in combat must make a save vs. disease at the end of the combat (one save no matter how many hits). Failure means he is now incubating 2d6 Common Cold "babies". Over the course of the next 2d6 days, these babies will leave his system as droplets sneezed or coughed out. They can't be seen or harvested.. In approximately 2 weeks, these babies will become 1 HD Common colds

The Resurrection of The Razor Coast

Nicholas' Logue's Razor Coast Setting is something you whisper about in dark corners when someone starts talking about "pre-orders" in this hobby of ours. It just goes to show that anyone, even a name with clout like Nick had back in 2007 and 2008, can royally screw the pooch. I bitch about Kickstarters that are months overdue - there are folks that were waiting over 4 years for the Razor Coast Setting for Pathfinder.

Written and done apparently for years, it was waiting on layout and art. And waiting. And waiting some more. I know I was very interested in it, but I don't recall if I ever preordered it. I may have to search my different email accounts just to make sure.

In any case, it's going to be brought into the light shortly by none other than Frog God. I'm not sure if that's good or bad, as there is a huge amount of baggage attached to it at this point. Still, Frog God will be launching a Kickstarter for it on December 25th.

The word from Frog God:

FROG GOD GAMES Announce Availability of Nicolas Logue’s Razor Coast as a Kickstarter Project

About Razor Coast

Razor Coast is the long anticipated Caribe-Polynesian flavored, Age of Sail swashbuckling RPG campaign envisioned and designed by Nicolas Logue.  It is applauded for its ambitious and original design, its epic flavor and its lurid, full-color art  – including a cover by the award winning Wayne Reynolds. Logue tapped a team of veteran designers to help develop and write Razor Coast, including Lou Agresta, Adam Daigle, Tim Hitchcock, and John Ling.

“Razor Coast isn’t just an adventure,” according to Agresta, Razor Coast Project Manager, “it’s part setting, part adventure path, and part toolkit to build your own unique campaign. It’s non-linear. It’ll never play the same way twice.”

“We filled it with corrupt municipal Dragoons, dastardly smuggling rings, weresharks – lots of weresharks, desperate naval battles, oppressed tribes craving heroes, witches, cursed islands, legendary treasure troves, an impending apocalypse or two, demon pirates, retired assassins, undead worms, gator men, failed heroes waiting to be redeemed, dark conspiracies brewing in the oceans depths, vengeful ghosts…oh – and mutating cannibal pygmies. Who doesn’t like those?”

Razor Coast Availability

“Frog God Games has committed to doing more than just putting out another pirate campaign,” said Rachel Ventura, Frog God Games VP of Sales and Marketing, “This is going to be a hardcover, full color extravaganza, complete with Player’s Guide and enough swag to sink any pirate ship!”

“We decided to take what we learned from Kickstarting Rappan Athuk and crowdsource Razor Coast, because it allows us to unleash a complete experience for both Pathfinder and Swords and Wizardry fans,” said Bill Webb, Frog God Games CEO.

“We plan to compile the campaign articles into their own book, create a player’s guide, develop and include an independent system for ship-to-ship combat, have treasure chests of unique pirate items, and offer a Tallship Cruise with the creator, Logue,” stated Ventura. “We’re also planning stretch goals that include expanded art and cartography from the same artists the fans have already approved, as well as from new artists of similar style and talent, poster-sized printed maps, custom character sheets, and more.”

Frog God Games Razor Coast Kickstarter starts December 25th 2012 at midnight and will run for 30 days.

“After the Kickstarter gets funded, Frog God Games has pledged to fulfill not only the pledges from the backers but all remaining pre-orders, national and international” said Agresta, speaking on behalf of Logue. “As of October 18th, I finished honoring every refund request Nick received. Making good on Nick’s past obligations cleared the way for Frog God Games to step in and finally bring this to print.”

An Very Interesting Kickstarter - Magicians: A Language Learning RPG

Foreign languages are, for me at least, literally foreign. I crapped out in High School Spanish and German. I then proceeded to crap out in college Spanish and German. It doesn't come easy to me, if it even comes at all.

Which is probably why I find Magicians: A Language Learning RPG so damn interesting. To get more powerful in game, you literally need to be able to say the actual words to invoke higher level spells - that just happen to be in Korean.

Depending on the player, that can be one hell of a carrot.

Apparently I'm not the only one that sees it like this either: it has more than doubled it's 3k goal and has 30 days left to fund. Not too shabby at all (and a very pleasant change to some of the Kickstarters I've highlighted recently).

A small piece from the site, just to explain what Magicians is:

Magicians is about having unlimited creativity without complexity. The only thing that restrains you and your character is your own knowledge of the language because the magic system in the game is a language. Doing away with the necessity of a teacher or even dice, all you need is your smartphone and a few hours a week to game with friends to have fun telling a great story and to learn a language along the way. 
Magicians will connect you to your character, motivate and push you to do more, learn more and make you feel like you're living out one of your favorite fantasy novels. People who love books like the Harry Potter series, the Earthsea books or The Magicians will have a great time using Magicians to tell coming of age stories about students of magic learning about power and responsibility, pride and humility, trying to grow up with the ability to remake the world at their fingertips. 

Some Further Thoughts on the One Hour Adventure For AetherCon

I received some good advice from my readers out there in "Internet Land".

It was stressed that I should use pre-gens. That was already the idea. Heck, my idea is to go with a 100% Halfling party using the classes I wrote up for Demi-Options. Should be fun. :)

I'm also going to go with first level characters. There needs to be some kind of risk to the PCs, and higher levels probably won't see any in a 1 hr play slot.

I need to get the players involved right away and drop them into the adventure with them already on the move. In this case, a newborn in town has gone missing, and all evidence points to goblins as the kidnappers. A short narration should get them in the immediate vicinity of the cave the goblins are holed up in and then the game is afoot ;)

My intentions were to write this up over the last week, but work has been mostly hell and much of my creativity is drained before I even walk in the door to my home. Hopefully this weekend I can recharge my batteries...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Expeditious Retreat is Running a 50% Off Sale on PDFs For 48Hrs - Save Joseph From the Dreaded Space Pirates!

Joseph Browning, he of Expeditious Retreat Press, purveyors of Old School Goodness, are running a 50% off PDFs sale over at RPGNow. Best I can tell, it applies to everything that isn't free (free stuff is half of fee, which remarkably is still free!)

Save him from the Space Pirates in his dream, that gave him a choice of torture of a PDF sale. My players would have opted to have Joseph tortured, but at the DM I'd be going for the PDFs myself.

(somehow i grabbed a buggered link - fixed now)

An Extraordinary Failed Kickstarter: Dark Realms RPG 1 Million Book Give-Away

It's official. The Dark Realms RPG 1 Million Book Give-Away has been canceled. Damn shame too. They were just $44, 610 from their $45,000 goal. There are 11 disappointed (or possibly relieved) backers.

So, what was the story?

An RPG that's been around for years but no one knew about it wanted to be the break out RPG story it never was. So, singlehandedly, it decided it would give a 1 million copies of it's RPG rules on newsprint, to get it into the hands of the masses that had been deprived of the knowledge of it's existence. The fact that it had an awkward game system behind it that was certainly NOT introductory was not going to hold Guild of Blades and it's flagship game Dark Realms back from taking the mantel of leadership from D&D and Pathfinder.

Alright, that was never going to happen, but they had dared to hope.

I didn't. See here and here.

Here's the update from yesterday (it as officially cancelled earlier today):

Hi Everyone. I would like to thank those of you that backed this project (all 11 people). At this stage, it seems extraordinarily unlikely that the project can succeed (there was a better chance of hitting the Powerball and Mega Millions while getting hit by multiple lightning strikes, all on your birthday) . As such, I will let this message sit for a couple days, then I plan to terminate the Kickstarter campaign. (wisely, they killed the Kickstarter the following day) We still firmly believe in the goals of the project, but in discussions on various forums, we found far too many existing role-players would only back such a project if it were for their existent favorite game (see, there is a reason certain games are favorites - they have a following, are well supported and play well). Sadly, the owners of games like Dungeons and Dragons and Pathfinder (the two current market leaders) risk too much to give-away their core rules en mass when they are currently the market leading sellers (no, they risk too much supporting a poor substitute), so a project like this necessitates a new entrant to the field to give it a try. (but it's not new. Dark Realms is old. And not that good, sorry to say. Try something REALLY new and maybe you'll get a spark. maybe)

When the opportunity presents itself for the Guild of Blades to be able to self fund this project, I expect we'll take up the challenge once more (if they had anywhere near $45k to piss away on something like this, they probably would at that). Until then, it will have to sit on the back-burner.

The Dark Realms game books remain currently available on our website at guildofblades.com (grab it, and if someone is willing to run it, I'll gladly sit in on a G+ session. I couldn't make it through the rules myself, but if someone is willing to give it a try, I'll find the time) and we have begun releasing PDF versions of the same books RPGNow.com:


We will continue to release additional support material for the Dark Realms. The Magic sourcebook is nearing completion and the Undead compendium is in the works. I have made significant progress on the World of Chaos campaign box set, but a fair amount remains to be done. The failure of this kickstarter simply means that the 1 million give-away project can't proceed at this time (again, 11 supporters means something else entirely - folks that have already bought your game weren't interested in the kickstarter), but continued development on the Dark Realms game itself absolutely continues. The Technology, Space Pirates and World of Chaos Campaign settings should all be available late winter. More to come.

If you would like to keep up with developments for the Dark Realms, you can drop by our website and create an account to access our forums at:


Happy Gaming,
Ryan Johnson
Guild of Blades Publishing

I'm sorry, but the idea here was to give away cheap, disposable copies of the game to build business for Guild of Blades. It wasn't to grow the hobby.

It's not a good game in my opinion. It's certainly not a good game for beginners, which is how this Kickstarter was selling it as. 

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