Friday, November 30, 2012

My Countertop of Games - Pictured and Then Disbursed ;)

Remember how this month started? Hurricane Sandy and mandatory overtime for your humble barkeep? Well, I spent a small fraction of that overtime on gaming material - some to collect, some to read, some to use. Oh, and 25 issues of KotDT at a buck a pop. really, I couldnt go wrong :)

I had this spaced out and scattered, but decided to pile it up and see what it amounted to.

After the pic I just as quickly dispersed the pile into many smaller ones, less the wife catch on ;)

Lets see: Dungeon Dwellers was a set with the T&T Black box. The price was a steal. It's my second T&T Black Box. I love the cover. I'll display one in the end. Dungeon Dwellers itself? Eh

Albedo I grabbed in a thrift shop last weekend.

Power & Perils I snagged on Amazon as well as the Lejendary Adventure stuff.

Next is a bunch of Dungeoneers. Sone nice Old School bathroom reading material.

The OSRIC Players Guide, the small sized OSRIC and ASE2-3 were grabbed at 30% off on Lulu

Lords of Creation stuff was Ebay as was the T&T Orange Box. Same art as the Black Box. Great condition. A missing piece to my collection.

High Fantasy will go on a shelf, although the adventures may be converted for standard use.

Barrowmaze 1 was a splurge - but well worth it.

Up near the top are those KotDT issues. I stopped reading over two years ago, but at this price I'll catch up ;)

DCC RPG Holiday Contest - Santa Claws as a DCC Patron!

Life is slowly turning back to normal in my neck of the woods. Work is mostly sane. That means it's time for the next DCC RPG Contest:

Santa Claws designed by all of you to be a DCC Patron!

I've actually had this idea kicking around inside my head for a few weeks, but after exchanging some emails with Sean Conners today (and getting a sneak peak of the Angles, Daemons, & Beings Between patron book earlier today) it helped cement what I want to do.

I don't think I need to describe Santa Claws to you in great detail, as it's best to let your imagination fill in the gaps. Santa Claws is Naughty AND Nice. He knows if you've been Naughty or Nice. He brings gifts to those he deems worthy and inflicts punishment on those he feels deserves it. He's also insane, or at least, that's how the rest of the world sees him.

I'll be asking for entries that are:

(Examples are yoked from AD&BB, King Halgaz Bekur)

Invoke Patron Checks - (rolled randomly)

-The insight of the King reaches through the veil of unlife to touch his servant. The touch of the King increases the caster’s Intelligence by 1d6 points for 1d4 hours; however, the caster loses one point of Sta permanently. (good and bad)

-The King sends an emissary to treat with his servant’s enemies. A wraith knight appears and attacks the caster’s enemies. The wraith knight remains for 1d3 turns; afterwards, it is free to act on its own. (probably good)

Patron Taint - Those entering into the Service of Santa Claws are entrusting themselves to a most judgmental being whose decisions can seem almost random and capricious. One rarely gets what one asks for. (rolled randomly)

- The caster’s despairing visage frightens all that cross its sight. The first time this result is rolled, the caster’s face changes to that of a fearful wraith – skin blackens and becomes translucent and eyes burn with a blue-white fire. This occurs for 1d3 turns after casting any spell and all those that view the caster’s face must make a Will save DC 8 or flee for 1d3 rounds. The second time this result is rolled, the caster suffers the condition 1d3 random times per day, in addition to each time a spell is cast. The third time this result is rolled the condition is permanent

- The caster avenges even the most innocent slight. The first time this result is rolled, each time the caster casts a spell, he or she is consumed with feelings of raging vengeance. One randomly determined creature is the subject of the caster’s ire and the caster will do anything to exact his revenge on an imagined slight. The condition lasts for 1d3 turns. The second time this result is rolled, the caster suffers from the condition as described above, however, the state of vengeance lasts for 1d3 hours. At the end of this time, the caster receives a Will save DC 10. On a failure, the condition lasts for another 1d3 hours. The third time this result is rolled, the caster suffers from the condition each time he or she casts a spell, and the condition lasts until the caster has sufficiently exacted his or her revenge on the subject (i.e. the duration is indefinite).

You can enter one or the other, one of each, multiple times, whatever - it's up to you. No more than one gift per person no matter how awesome your entries. A panel will be chosen to decide whose entries are so awesome they should be gifted. Be advised, entries may be reproduced elsewhere (like an issue of Crawl! or a freely released PDF). 

My goal would be to get this put together, fully written with spells and such and distributed freely to the DCC Community in PDF. With luck, it would be ready for Christmas in July of 2013 ;)

Ah, yes, what are the gifts?

A current issue of Crawl!, donated by Rev Dak

DCC #69: The Emerald Enchanter, generously donated by a reader of this blog (Print Copy)

AL 3: Through the Cotillion of Hours, donated by Purple Duck Games (Print Copy)

Attack of the Frawgs, donated by Thick Skull Adventures (Print Copy)

A Tenkar's Tavern Beer Stein, donated by me (Drinking Copy)


A copy of The Dungeoneer Compendium of Issues 1-6 from Judges Guild donated by me (Print Copy)

Knowledge Illuminates donated by Tim Shorts of the Gothridge Manor Blog

Possibly a shirt or two bearing the Tavern's Banner art and the caption "My Party Got Wasted at Tenkar's Tavern!" if I get that hooked up before the contest is over.

Notice that all of the above is stuff that will need to be mailed (mostly by me)? Good, because the contest will run until December 20th  25th, 2012. Get your entries in by midnight that night, NYC time. I'll look to announce winners on the 23rd or the 24th 27th or so and mail the goodies out in the week after Christmas.

Enter and enter often ;)

So, have you been naughty or nice?

What the Hell is "Con Crud"?

"Con Crud" seems to be the most used (abused) excuse when someone's Kickstarter Projects is running late:

"Just got back from the con circuit and con crud has left me useless"

"Here's my list of five excuses... oh, and Con Crud."

Is "Con Crud the "mono" of the RPG Con circuit?

Or is it simply "I'm tired from a weekend of gaming, my voice is hoarse and I have jet lag".

Would it keep you from doing a real job if your weren't going to get paid for the days of work you miss due to "Con Crud"?

Would you have your doc put "Con Crud" on your sick note?

Is there an accepted definition of "Con Crud", or is it another bullshit term thrown around instead of saying "I feel run down from partying"?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Kickstarters That Make You Ask - "Are They Smoking Crack!?!" - 1879 RPG, Miniatures and App

Remember that Reaper Miniatures Kickstarter? That shit was like the Elvis of Kickstarters. (Goal of $30k, hit over 3.4 million)

The Dwarven Adventurers did mighty well too, but it stayed in the stratosphere. (Goal of just over $1.2k, hit over $136k)

So, a goal of a mere $325k for 1879 RPG, Miniatures and App by FASA is right in the ballpark, right?

What the fuck were they smoking? It wasn't reefer, as they would have sobered up and realized they were fucking high. Crack, crank - maybe their doing speedballs like their going out of style. Their on something.

I'm serious, someone over at FASA (is this old FASA, a reborn FASA, is RedBrick now FASA - edit: Old FASA trying to publish for the first time in a decade) must have been stoned when they thought up this Kickstarter.


Let me count the ways:

1 - The Reaper goal was 30k - this one is nearly 11x that amount. Enjoy the high, because you're going to come down shortly and it's going to hurt

2 - It's Steampunk / Stargate - that's cool, but not $325,000 cool

3 - It's an RPG we're developing, oh, and miniatures, and apps, a computer game, and a miniature wargame. Pick ONE.

4 - Someone thinks Kickstarter is a ATM that kicks out free money - again, someone is high

5 - Simply put, it aint going to happen. Lower you goal by about, say 90%, work on the RPG and work the rest of the stuff in later.

6 - Who uses 15mm miniatures in RPGs these days? 25-28mm is norm

7 - $325,000 goal.  $2,191 raised over 3 days - 27 days to go - You guys are sober now (I hope). Do the math. Shut down and reboot with a reasonable goal. Your market is speaking to you. Or maybe it's the voices in your head. Listen to them, because all you're going to do at this point is waste the next 27 days on a project that won't fund.

But hey, lets get some of their selling points:

“Spare us a shilling, Guv?” Our funding goal is $325,000. That sounds like a lot (it is) (no, it sounds fucking insane), but this isn’t your normal project. It encompasses miniatures, roleplaying, and a computer game. That amount feeds our artists, writers, editors, coders, and designers while they labor on this unique take on expansionism in the British Empire (it's not my job to feed these people - work on ONE part at a time - wait, you can't, because the new FASA is part of the old FASA and now has computer programers at a traditional RPG company). New products include core rule books, force books, campaigns, and adventures. A full range of 15mm miniatures and our electronic gaming app round out the product range. For an up-to-date list and descriptions, follow our web site at 1879.fasagames.com. (How about just writing the CORE RPG book for now, and a much lower goal?)

First Stretch Goal  $400,000:  all backers at $10 or more will also receive a 22" x 33" folded color game line poster. (do any of us really need a folded poster at our age?)

I'm declaring this dead before it's truly started. Interesting concept, horrible execution. Excellent example of not understanding the Kickstarter market.

Tunnels & Trolls - Rumors, Updates and a Hopeless Redemption Attempt

It's a new edition, and it's in French!
It's been a while since I've posted anything substantial about Tunnels & Trolls. It's not that I'm not still collecting the pieces I still need for my collection, but I haven't been playing the solos and I haven't been playing in or running any T&T stuff online. I really should at some point, but I need to work in some LL and Blood & Treasure before we even get to that (let alone my regular AD&D campaign that is starting up soon).

Now there is word of a future edition of T&T - T&T Deluxe which may go the Kickstarter route. As Rick Loomis actually posted this back in July and we are almost in December, I'm going to assume he wants everything nearly done before kicking off the kickstarter:

Hi, folks. I try to avoid forums, as I find if I get involved in them I spend way too much time on them, and time is my most limited resource. Ken, Liz, Steve, Bear, and I are going to use kickstarter to create the newest edition of T&T. If you have strong opinions about the direction of the game, join the kickstarter and your opinion will definitely be heard. (You will be able to join for as little as one dollar, and you can cancel your participation the day before it ends!) We haven't started the kickstarter yet because we are still working on the presentation and the video. Nothing is "written in stone" yet - as the kickstarter proceeds we will determine what goes into the Deluxe Edition. Note that I am a firm believer in staying as close to 5.0 as possible. Ken likes to tinker. We'll work out a compromise. For those who want "more support for 5.0" please keep in mind that everything we produce is supposed to be usable with all editions. That's my insistence. If you want to stick with 5.0 -- I want you to be able to use all the new stuff. (And if there is demand, I may very well make a print on demand version of 5.0 or 5.5) 
Now as to the French edition. Patrice wanted to do a version in French, (with our permission) just for his own personal satisfaction. He got Ken to write some new stuff, and Steve Crompton to lay it out, and Liz to put up some new art. It came out so beautiful that now that I have run out of 5.5, I am not satisfied to just reprint 5.5. I wanted to have a deluxe edition even better than the French one. (Competition is what drives us to be better!) But keep in mind Flying Buffalo is a very (very very) small company. I don't even have enough $$ to just tell the printer "Print me up another 2000 copies of 5.5". Happy Day -- I have discovered Kickstarter. We'll use that to finance the new edition of T&T.
As for support for older editions: one of the things we definitely hope to do is create great new maps of Trollworld. Those will obviously be usable with any edition.  
Also - Patrice put out a French version of my solo adventure, Buffalo Castle. He got me to rewrite some of the paragraphs and make it better, so now I plan to print a new and better English version of Buffalo Castle!
This is part of Ken St. Andre's post from July:
I thought I would take a moment to tell you that serious work has begun on the next edition of Tunnels and Trolls. There is a 5 person nuclear team at work on the project right now consisting of Rick Loomis, Liz Danforth, Steve Crompton, Bear Peters, and Ken St. Andre. We’re doing this for several reasons which I will be sharing with you all later, but a big one is that we have run out of copies of T & T 5.5 and 7.5. Since a reprint is needed, why not make it bigger and better than ever before. Also, I have some new ideas I want to share with you all. Also, I believe a game needs to keep evolving in order to stay alive.
Yeah, I totally missed this. My personal preference would be something closer to 5.5 than 7.5 as far as rules, but closer to 7.5 as far as presentation.

There is a current attempt to by some members over at Trollhalla to facilitate a... it's not a healing, it's certainly not a mending, maybe a forgiving of James Shipman and all the ill will he has generated with some mighty underhanded stuff.

There is a reason that T&T went from 5.5e to 7e, as James had published the unofficial 6e that had been floating around. Judging from the current peek at James' site, they will need to skip 8e, as he's already published one that he's already gotten copyrighted: "Since it contains many rule changes, our Library of Congress Registered Copyright has been approved!" Strangely enough, James has 5.5 and 7.5 in stock. In the case of 7.5, its the rule book alone (it was always sold as a boxed set) and in the case of 5.5 it's spiral bound (FBI did not publish it recently in a spiral binding as far as I know). Personally, I don't seem James taking any steps to mend fences, right any wrongs or play by the rules. He's aslo reprinting the Corgi 5e version of the rules, 4e, 1e - the list goes on. The shame is that James has lots of cool stuff at his site, and no rights to publish any of them. How he could be forgiven and trusted after all this time, I don't know. I do know his site is like the Devil's treasure chest for T&T gamers, and the idea of removing the taint of evil from it is mighty tempting, I just don't think it can be done.

It does make one wonder how Shippy can make a profit of of old rulesets and Flying Buffalo can't figure out how to do the same. It's only recently that FBI put T&T 4e up on RPGNow in PDF. If FBI just spent the time to get their stuff in PDF and print on demand, you would lessen by far the business that goes to Outlaw Press.

Ah well. I really like T&T. I hope they stick to a 5e base with lots of options with the new edition. I also hope they have Ken's manuscript in hand before the Kickstarter starts. I'd hate to have to put them on my "Overdue Kickstarter List" ;)

Lejendary Adventure: Essentials - Just Got a Copy - Thoughts?

Somewhere in storage I have the Lejendary Adventure trilogy of rulebooks, signed by EGG himself. Never read them, as I ordered them when I wasn't gaming, but collecting. Now I game AND collect ;)

In any case, I grabbed a copy of Lejendary Adventure: Essentials boxed set on Amazon fairly cheap (certainly cheaper than the original $29.99 the Trolls were asking back in 2004).

So, my questions are as follows:

- Is it worth reading during the week I have off during Christmas (as I have a shitload of RPG related reading / writing to do from now to then).

- Is it worth running? Some games read well and play like crap. Some read like crap and play well.

- If it is worth running, anything else I should look to pick up?

Communication is Key - How to Critically Fail With Your Crowdfunded Project

I never expected to find myself in the position of a "Virtual Kickstarter Investigative Reporter". It just kind of landed in my lap as I looked at the projects I had supported, their track record for delivering in a timely fashion and a general failure for timely communication by those seeking funding, especially after the funds had been raised.

Something that stands out to me, especially after the number of late projects that I have had recently brought to my attention, is that frequent communication with backers is the key to keeping most folks happy.

I don't care if your project has a blog, a website, a forum - sending an update weekly via Kickstarter or Indiegogo goes a long way. Why force those that supported your project to seek you out? Message them direct.

I bitch and complain about late projects because as a community we are too quick to accept the idea that these (want to be) professionals can't produce in a timely fashion. That it's okay to be a year late or more in your estimated release date. Because, lets face it - creators are optimists and supporters are pessimists when it comes to timelines.

The truth is, those projects that have frequent updates are usually less obvious with their lateness. Or maybe I'm more forgiving with those that care enough to keep their supporters in the information loop (although I do find I am like the proverbial elephant, and extended silence followed by frequent updates will still have me focused on the extended silence).

The worst thing you can do as a creator / writer / publisher / whatever of a Kickstarter is fail to communicate with your supporters. That is your community. They are the ones you will be looking at to support your future projects. If you fail to engage them, if you fail to keep them informed, you will lose them. You will be remembered for your late project and not for a successful project.

Communication does not stop when funding ends. Some folks run their Kickstarters like a fucking pep rally, sending out daily updates, and then once they take your money you dont here a peep for a month.

Don't pile up the excuses either. After the first one, all we want to hear is "I fucked up and promise to do better." Really, we don't care why you are late. Broken toe, leaky roof, cat took a shit on your notes,   "Con Crud" (i fucking hate this lame ass fucking excuse with a passion!) we really don't give a shit. You fucked up, own up to it and move on. Generally speaking, we've run out of sympathy after the first excuse so don't waste our time.

Running a Kickstarter project is a lesson in community building, or at least, it should be. Treat your community fairly and with respect and you'll keep them. No one running a Kickstarter should think of this as "one and done", because almost all will want to put some other project out there at some point. This is your name, your reputation, why fuck it up because you fail to communicate?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kickstarter Request Inquiry - Game Design: "e20: System Evolved" Roleplaying Game

When a game's main writer / lead developer is the only one that can bring a project to a successful completion, there is an inherit risk. When the only investor is the writer of the game, that risk falls upon his shoulders alone. When it is a Kickstarter funded project, everyone that has pledged shares in that risk.

This project was created by Gary M. Sarli, no small name in our hobby. Gary apparently has significant health issues.

The Game Design: "e20: System Evolved" Roleplaying Game, seem to have fallen prey to that risk.

Here's the latest Kickstarter Update:

e20 System: Good News and Bad News

Update #38 · Dec. 27, 2011 · 5 comments (yes, that is 11 months ago, almost to the day)
Here’s a quick update on where we stand with the e20 System, since we obviously did not get it finished in time for Christmas.

Bad News: Just as I was finally able to work near full capacity again and I was plowing through material at a really high pace, the developer — senior patron Jack Hale — had an epic collapse almost as bad as mine after Gen Con. Like me, he has some significant mental health issues that can seriously impact his work, and he has even more serious physical problems on top of that.

I didn’t even realize how much trouble he was having until a couple of weeks ago (when more and more of my work was having to be put off because I needed the sections he was working on to do them), and it quickly became apparent that we couldn’t hit our current deadline. I put off announcing a new deadline, though, because for a while I thought we might be able to at least finish the PDF by Christmas; even that turned out to be wishful thinking.

Jack has actually been doing better for the past few days, but we agreed that it’s probably best to work from the assumption that any such productive periods will be the exception, not the rule. Jack is still going to help where he can, but I’m shifting his assignment to things that won’t slow down other pieces of the book if he falls behind again.

So, I’ve now taken stock of the work that needs to be done and figured out how long it will take me to do them completely on my own. Unfortunately, it looks like I can’t possibly finish the whole book myself before the end of February 2012. Patrons and pre-orders would receive their PDFs at this time, and the printed books wouldn’t be delivered until somewhere around mid-March 2012.

I hate seeing the deadline pushed out that far, but at this point I don’t see anything else as realistic. Since I have medication for the time being, I think my work output can be fairly reliable at least through the end of February, and recent history tells me that I have to assume that Jack won’t be able to contribute much. (As I said, he’s been better for the past few days and he might pleasantly surprise us, but it’s better to be happy to get something early than to be disappointed to get it late.)

Good News: Since things are taking so long, I’m trying to think of ways to make it up to everyone who graciously provided so much support so early on. One of the first things I thought of was re-integrating the last two chapters of the book, which detail the settings of Fallen Gods (dark fantasy) and The Hollow Sky (space opera with a horror twist). Given that I won’t be doing the final editing pass until the start of February or so, there’s now time for me to get in touch with those chapters’ authors and see if they’d be willing to do some revisions & expansions to flesh out the chapters a bit. With any luck, we’ll be able to have two working campaign settings in the Universal Rulebook, and these settings can be more fully fleshed out in a future e20 System product.

I have some other ideas to hook up my patrons with a little extra — some bonus PDFs, most likely — and I’m hoping to make an announcement about that in the next several days. At the very least, patrons will get an early look at some of the laid-out chapters of the Universal Rulebook before the final PDF is assembled.

Thanks again to everyone for being so understanding about this and for your kind words about my last post on the subject. Any game publisher would be blessed to have such a devoted and supportive fan base, and it means even more for a small indie publisher like GMSarli Games.

Enjoy the rest of the holidays!

Not much to fill in the gaps, just more questions in the comments about the project status.

However, if you go to the forums for the game, you get the following info:

Re: e20 System Progress?
by joela » Sun Jun 10, 2012 12:57 am

Is there ANY news when patrons are suppose to receive their HCs!?! There's a lot of "buzzing activity" but where's the promised product? That rough draft pdf is just carp. 

Re: e20 System Progress?
by Darthmoe » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:05 am

Due to unavoidable emergency circumstances e20 was delayed for a second time. Work has resumed but Gary was and still is unavailable to work on the project so now the weight of fiinishing the entire thing has fallen in Gary's editor. At this time there are no projected projected release dates and no deadlines will be set. However work is underway it's happening slowly but surely. 

The only thing I can tell you is Gary was become unavailable due to emergency circumstances we don't even know what the circumstances and speculation will not help, but at senior patron level we seem to be in agreement that our first concern is Gary's well being. That being said there are people more qualified than I to give you updates.

Re: e20 System Progress?
by Darthmoe » Mon Jun 11, 2012 12:17 am

I also forgot to stress the work being done is strictly on a volunteer basis. Jatku took for Gary as a favor to him and the patrons.

Re: e20 System Progress?
by ronin » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:39 pm

Anything new to report?

Re: e20 System Progress?
by jazzencat » Tue Oct 09, 2012 12:16 pm

I think the technical term for the state of this project is "dead in the water", or perhaps "vaporware."

Re: e20 System Progress?
by Nikosandros » Sat Oct 13, 2012 12:12 pm

More like "money down the toilet".

I suspect that the odds are not in favor of this seeing the light of day

I'm going to have to pray daily for Monte's health it seems...

(yes, it's a joke. kinda. I've got money invested in Numenra or however you spell it ;)

Kickstarter Requested Inquiry - Quicksilver Worldbook for Pathfinder

Another request, and this one is a doozy.

I bitch and complain when a project takes longer than two weeks to give a current update. Five or Six weeks is pretty much the extreme. Four fucking months?!?

Are the guys behind the Quicksilver Worldbook fucking insane? Not being in contact with your supporters for four months does not instill confidence in the progress of the project. It instills the "they're spending our money on Ho's and cocaine" type of thoughts.

I'd love to give you some of the updates, but the last few are backers only. Still, I can grace the kind readers of this blog with the update titles:

Update #14 - For backers only · Jul. 27, 2012 · 1 comment 

July Already-- We are LATE-- and-- and--
Update #13 - For backers only · Jul. 09, 2012 · 1 comment

I like the July 9th update. So, how far did the $3,555 go spending on Ho's and coke?

Or was it HoHo's and Coke, as $3,555 probably wouldn't have lasted from the summer ;)

Kickstarter Requested Inquiry - Looking at the Metamorphosis Alpha Roleplaying Game

Yep, we've got a new feature when it comes to the RPG Kickstarters, the Kickstarter Requested Inquiry. Basically, what this is is my taking a peek at an overdue Kickstarter that I didn't support for one reason or another, but one (or more) of this blog's readers did. It's overdue, and it needs some light put on it.

In this case, we are talking about the Metamorphosis Alpha Roleplaying Game Kickstarter. Damn, Metamorphosis Alpha is an RPG classic. WTF didn't I support this one?

The reasons are simple:

1 - It's James Ward. I'm not going to take anything away from what the man did in the past, but once he started working for Trolls he seemed to have set his target at 12 year olds (I seem to recall he actually said something to that effect, but damned if I can find the quote). He single handedly killed the Crusader Magazine. His Towers of Adventure for C&C pissed me off to no end - an expensive piece of shitty filler.

2 - It's NOT James Ward. Best I can tell from reading the public updates and comments, it James' IP, but it's Jamie Chambers' project. I'm not even sure if James is involved beyond licensing the IP. (edit - apparently his is writing something for ut)

3 - It's an entirely new system using d6s (System 26), which is about as far as you can get from any of the previous incarnations of MA. Not my bag, man.

So, what are the issues?

Launched: Apr 6, 2012
Funding ended: Apr 29, 2012
Estimated delivery: Sep 2012
Todays Date: Nov 28, 2012

It's only two months late, no biggie, right? Wrong! Two month's late with no new estimate in sight. Depending on where the book is being printed, lead time from finished product in electronic format to print is one to three months. I'll assume they are going print on demand, so closer to a month with proofs and corrections. The thing is, the rules dont seem to be nearly done yet.

Here's the latest public update:

Exploration, Action, Adventure!

Update #20 · Oct. 31, 2012 · 7 comments   

G'morning folks! Having been both shot with X-Rays and surrounded by powerful electromagnets in the last few days, I'm waiting to find out if I get a mutation of my very own. (After injuring my back earlier this year I've been dealing with recurring problems and pain. Hopefully I'll know exactly what's going on soon.) I just returned from the Geek Media Expo in Nashville, where among other things I ran "The Petting Zoo of Death" adventure for a group of five vic—er, lucky players. I confess I was actually a bit disappointed that the group wholly survived the adventure, through a combination of successfully negotiating out of what would have been a tough fight, smart tactics when they could have been swarmed, and us running out of time before the nasty final encounter. It was a good time, though, and the players enjoyed both the setting and the game system!

One player remarked how he enjoyed the multi-genre elements of Metamorphosis Alpha, which is my favorite thing too. The adventure was like a short dungeon crawl, yet clearly in a sci-fi setting, but the characters had weird powers. In a nutshell, she summed up my favorite elements of MA as well.

Just as I feel like a good RPG adventure combines combat, problem-solving, and roleplaying, a good Metamorphosis Alpha adventure combines the exploration of the unknown, the trappings of the future, and the craziness of strange mutant powers. I think it's one of the things that makes MA unique and special in the world of RPGs, separating it from post-apocalyptic settings.

Progress Report

Convention season is officially over, and I'm going to be taking a last look at where we at and what we need to do to get this book done and out the door to our (very patient!) (not all are so patient, as it wouldn't have been pointed out to me if they were) backers. I met with Lizard (contributing writer) in Ohio two weeks ago. You can see another piece of chapter art above from the amazing Lindsay Archer! I'll try to give you guys some more concrete scheduling information next week. (Note - this update was 4 weeks ago - I'm guessing none of it has gotten any closer to being "concrete")

And there is one more potential piece of news ...


I can't say too much about this yet, as this would be an independent licensing deal with James M. Ward for the MA property but I can report the following: I've had an informal conversation with someone who may be bringing out a line of miniatures for Metamorphosis Alpha! This is exciting news for everyone involved, and though it would be a separate deal we've already established that if it goes through we will share resources and information to make sure we bring the fans material that will work well together! I'll repeat that this is NOT OFFICIAL at this time, but I'm excited about the possibilities. When there is something to announce, I'll let everyone know immediately! (nice, but where the game?)

Comments, anyone?

As a followup to Mike, is there any projected date on the release? Maybe even a PDF beta copy? I want to consider running MA at GenCon next year (at least for the KFG Wed Gaming), but need to start working on it now since I'm not an overly experienced GM and have critically limited (and erratic) time to work on scenarios. With luck, I can get a playtest of it in at WYC in March. Are these time frames expected to be doable? (this guy is hoping it will only be 6 months late)

Any word on a concrete release date?

Anything yet in the way of an update? Is there a website yet?
Asking courteously, of course -- just like the delegate from New York. (from the October update)

Not comfortable even answering that with a non-answer it seems...

Apparently, since the summer, public updates have been coming along at one every 5 to 6 weeks. I am a HUGE proponent of frequent updates on funded but not completed Kickstarter projects. The creator might think that the 30 minutes he spends typing a weekly update might be spent in more productive ways, but without updates, your supporters are going to assume you are NOT being productive.

Unhappy supporters means less repeat customers. The concept is simple. Keep folks happy (even if it means you are stringing them along) and you'll do better business in the long run.

Have a project you want me to take a peek at that is dragging it's feet? You can send me a message via G+ or my Google Profile.

Judges Guild Dungeoneer - When the Old is New

I snagged The Dungeoneer Value Pack on Ebay and it arrived today. Inside are 12 early issues of the Dungeoneer and the Dungeoneer Journal as well as a Compendium that covers issues 1-6.

Yep, I've got a lot of old school reading in front of me.

Of course, the first thing I noticed was the cover art. Kevin Siembieda's art is serviceable, but Paul Jaquays' art was pretty tight. Yep, here I am judging fanzines by their covers.

Paul on the left, Kevin on the Right

I'm hoping to find a few articles that I can borrow from for my soon to start AD&E 1e campaign, but if nothing else there is a ton of inspiration in front of me at the moment.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thoughts - Dungeon World or What Apocalypse World Could Have Been

Most of you that have read my blog before already know of my opinion of Apocalypse World. One of the best rule sets of the modern era hidden behind purposefully obnoxiously confusing "Look at me! I'm Fucking Hip!" bullshit writing. AW is a gem of a ruleset hidden within a steaming pile of poo. I love the rules, I detest the rulebook. How much do I detest it? I literally threw it across the room in frustration and was extremely pissed off that I had wasted money on the shit. It's redeeming quality is that it plays so much better then it is written.

So, when I saw the Dungeon World Kickstarter over the summer, I was loath to spend money on it. My experience reading AW had soured me to any other variants. Shortly before it wrapped up, I put my 5 bucks down it full expectation of getting a similar pile of steaming shit. I figured I wouldn't regret 5 bucks, but I do. I wish I had put down 25 bucks so I could have gotten the soft cover. Yes, it is that good.

I had put off downloading the Kickstarter file (we're still waiting on the Kickstarter extras) as, truth be told, I was apprehensive of finding out what was on the other side. I had expectations and they weren't good, despite all the good ward I'd heard about Dungeon World. Remember, I'd heard the same about AW and how "beautifully it was written". Well, having finally downloaded the monster file (it's over 120 mb) I can finally say it kicked my expectations to the curb, and that is a good thing.

I'm actually groking the rules behind the system. Sure, they don't fully fit my OSR mindset, but for a good system, I can temporarily change my mindset ;)

I was reading it during lunch at work and I was actually drawn into the rules, which rarely happens to me. I'm enjoying the read through, although I have sidetracked slightly by reading A Beginner's Guide to Dungeon World (it's a free DL)

This isn't a review. The book is over 400 pages and I've barely scratched the surface. I'm drawn back to the rule book the moment I put it down, and I can't think of a more positive endorsement than that. Is it possible my opinion can change before the end? Sure, if Vince steps in and starts writing the same shit as he did in AW - thankfully it's only the AW rules they are building off of and not the writing style with Dungeon World ;)

Oh, did I mention the awesome cover?

Butt Kicking For Goodness! Cool Art and "REDACTED"

It's been a week or so. Time to catch up ;)

Swords & Wizardry: The Actual 1st Edition Roleplaying Rules

SW Cover is here!

Cover art is in! We will get this off to the printer and keep everyone appraised of the estimate delivery date once we have it from the printers. We appreciate the understanding and support that you have shown. Happy Thanksgiving!

Player's Companion for the Adventurer Conqueror King RPG

Expanded Player's Companion Templates: Assassin to Explorer

For backers only (Thanks to Tavis for permission to share)

Frequently Asked Questions

In case you're just now checking in on the Player's Companion Kickstarter, or if you could just use a refresher on its status, here's the most important things to know:

Print rewards are are on track to reach backers in the second week of January. The book is at the printer now and we’re expecting to get the print proof for review shortly.
For the PDF rewards, a download code from DriveThruRPG will be emailed to you. We’re still finishing the internal hyperlinks for the final PDF, but you can download a nearly-final version that’s complete in every other way using the directions at the bottom of this update.
As a thank-you for your patience with the delay in fulfilling these rewards, we’re creating an expansion of the templates in the Player’s Companion, about which more below.
Weekly Update Schedule

Two weeks ago we promised to keep you informed about the Player’s Companion every week. We’re still committed to doing that, just on a different day. The last two updates went out on Fridays, which are also the day that those of you who are Dwimmermount backers get the weekly update on that project. To limit the number of updates crowding your inbox on the same day - and to give us a little more breathing room to prepare each one - future Player's Companion updates will be sent on Sundays. Apologies to anyone who has been waiting anxiously for this one since Friday!

Expanded Template List and Spreadsheet (This will be a cool resource for use in just about ANY OSR game)

Of all the opponents that ACKS players might encounter, a rival NPC party is one of the most interesting for players - and also the most time-consuming for Judges to prepare for. The templates in the Player's Companion do a great job of reducing the load of making a new character at first level, another potentially time-consuming aspect of play. We've been working to expand the template approach to make it easier to make characters at higher level, either for Judges to use as members of NPC parties or for players to enter a campaign beyond level 1.

So far, we're a third of the way through this project, with proficiencies chosen from level 1 to 14 for all of the classes in the core ACKS books organized alphabetically from Assassin to Explorer. Among the downloads for the Player's Companion, you'll find a Zip file in which these are presented two ways. The Word file Expanded Templates lists the proficiencies each template would gain at the level shown in parentheses, following the Player's Companion template. The Excel spreadsheet Expanded Template Characters 11-25 is potentially the more useful of the two. In addition to outputting the list found in the Word file, you can also use it to generate ACKS stats for each of these templates at any level you choose.

The spreadsheet is still a work in progress - it doesn't currently expand the spellbooks for higher-level arcane casters, or account for the effects of some proficiencies on the character's stats, and the statblock output is rough. However, it does calculate hit points, attack bonuses, and other key variables for the template characters. In weeks to come we'll continue adding to the classes covered and refining the way they're presented for use as NPCs.

Deadlands Noir

Strangely enough, it doesnt say backers only, but as it consists of a link to backers material, I suspect "Backers Only" was the intention. If you are a backer, read the update and grab some of your loot ;)

Backers Only - Project and Identifiers Redacted

The Doc says I can work again. There are many monsters, but these ones are mine. Factions. Conversions. Busy times. Things might start making sense.

Magicians: A Language Learning RPG

Magicians Beta!

Hi everyone, I hope our American backers had a great Thanksgiving and all is well. Last week I promised to get you all a playtest as soon as I could and, originally, John and I were thinking that we'd put together a teaser document that was limited to just the basic system of magic, core rules, some examples and maybe some monsters and cool stuff to put on threat cards. When we actually when in to do some cutting we found that pretty much everything I've got in the draft is fairly essential to running the game so here's what I'd like to do:

Anyone who would like to get a game of Magicians going can message me (via the contact me button) and ask for the playtest. I'll link you to the beta draft of Magicians I sent John last week along with a couple videos and documents for those wanting to learn some Korean pronunciation. Keep in mind that this draft still needs a lot of stuff - more examples (I'm planning on using some characters and spells you guys came up with here) and just stuff like clarity, grammar won't be quite up to snuff, especially because I won't be able to get Daniel started on character sheets and the like until kickstarter funds are released, but I don't think there will be any problems reading it and understanding how to play, so if you want to start playing or are just curious shoot me an email!

I've created a forum, where you can discuss anything you want about learning a language, Korean, future hacks, feedback on the playtest or whatever else! If you'd like to contact me, there's the button through kickstarter but I can also be reached on twitter at @kylejsimons if you'd like instant clarification on the game, have a question about something, or just want to get to know me - I'm thinking of doing a Korean word a day on twitter for fun. If I don't reply right away I might be asleep since I'm on Seoul time but I promise I'll get back to you ASAP!

There is still a few days left for people to get pledges cleared if they were issues and, after that, I'll be messaging people and asking people for pictures so we can start sketching, letting our creators know how to come up with card packs, getting spells from anyone who pledged extra (or have it included in their pledge level) and all that fun stuff. I seriously can't wait, from the spells I've  seen so far there should be some pretty awesome stuff coming in from the rest of you!

Dungeon World: A Game with Modern Rules & Old-School Style

Backers Only - (my summary) Proofs are in and they are good (with minor changes). Books should just before or shortly after the Christmas Holidays. Huzzah!

The Slow Return to Normality - Upcoming Events at The Tavern

It looks like work is slowly returning to normal. This is bad for the RPG Collector in me, as overtime is going the way of the Dodo, but good for the actual gamer in me, as I can now start to think about planning things out in advance and have a fair idea I can keep to the schedule.

I was hoping to get a session of Labyrinth Lord in for next week for those that have been waiting, but the family dog had an emergency vet visit over the weekend. Her breathing had become deep and rapid  especially when excited. It appears her heart murmur had become an enlarged heart and some fluid in the lungs. The new meds started working their miracles almost immediately  but I need to bring her back in a week and a half. To the Poconos. So I need to take a day or two off from work next week to get this accomplished. So, pushing off LL for the moment.

It looks like we're putting together an on air viewing of the Wizards & Warriors TV Series in the spirit of MST3k. Should be a blast. We're still working out the logistics. More info when we start locking it down.

I think I have the idea finalized for the next DCC RPG Contest. It will have a holiday theme of sorts. It should be fun and have real, physical prizes thanks to some 3rd party publishers and some awesome blog readers. I need to order a set of Tenkar's Tavern Tankards so I can add one to the prize pool. I plan  on leaving this contest open longer than the usual one week. I suspect prizes won't ship until after Christmas, just so I can avoid the annual post office insanity.

Still working on getting the steins and t-shirts up and ready for sale for any interested. Give it some time tho', as it's not at the front of my list of things to do.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Wizards & Warriors TV Series Circa 1983 - With Video Link!

Somehow I missed the Wizards & Warriors TV series when it first came out in 1983. That's very surprising, as I was just getting to my full steam of AD&D 1e gaming.

Jeff Conaway seems to have kept some of his Taxi era hairstyle.

My God, but this is painful shit to watch so far (halfway into the first episode).

I think we should watch episodes on a weekly basis and discuss them as if it were high literature ;)

Anyone willing to go along with this horrible idea?

What Can You Tell Me About "High Fantasy" RPG by Jeffery Dillow

I grabbed High Fantasy and Adventures in High Fantasy on Ebay based solely on the fact that I had never come across it before and I had had a little extra money in my virtual wallet.

So, aside from the really scary combat chart, is there a reason for me to do any more than skim the rules and steal ideas from the adventure book?

Bueller? Bueller?...

Skellies and Ranger Battle Before the Amethyst

Without Flash
Way back in the day I used to paint miniatures. I guess with the Reaper Kickstarter I'll have to get back to doing so.

With Flash

In any case, one of these two pics will be at the center of an adventure I'll be writing. Not sure what yet, but it screams to be written ;)

Snagged on Ebay - Very Stuffed Tunnels & Trolls "Golden Box" (T&T 5e)

There are very few holes in my Tunnels & Trolls Collection. I'm missing 1e but I have Ken's very own copy of 2e. The pics I've seen of 3e look the same as 2e. I have 4e, 5e, 5.5e, 7e, 7.5 e, 1st or 2nd printings of most of the solos (some signed by Ken).

I have all of the Corgi editions (generally speaking, my favorite, mostly due to convenient  size and the stripped down but wholly playable 5e rules included with the double solos.

I have a copy of the British "Golden" cover 5e rules that I tracked down earlier, but this is a complete box AND other T&T goodies. At least, I believe the the smaller sized "Golden" cover is a British edition of the rules.

It uses the same cover art as the early 5e black cover with gold ink. I have the orange box sitting on the top of the black box for size comparison.

Heck, it even came with a smaller sized version of Grimtooth's Traps. Still enough that I'm not even sure it's been cracked open previously.

Free OSR Product of the Week - Shane's Delve (Generic Dungeon)

When Matt Jackson asked me if he could use my just posted pic of a chunk of Amethyst last night in a free adventure, I had no idea the adventure was going up the same night. It did.

Matt works damn fast.

Shane's Delve is a nice, short generic OSR adventure that includes a room with rats, coppers and a nice sized chunk of Amethyst. Well done!

Hey, my first professional photography credit ;)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

How NOT to Plug Your Ingiegogo Project on Someone's Blog

1 - Spam the comments section of the most recent blogpost of a fairly popular RPG Blog without adding anything remotely relevant to the blogpost in question.

2 - When you DO spam the comments section of a blog, run on for paragraphs about the shit you want to spam.

3 - WTF would you even bother addressing the owner of the blog before stealth spamming your shit? Best to be sneaky and hope not to get caught on the holiday weekend.

4 - Formatting the post and making the minimum attempt at making it look presentable would simply waste seconds you don't have. There are dozens of other sites to stealth bomb.

Here's the now "spammed" comment in question:

AragornNovember 25, 2012 10:37 AM
Iron Age is pen&paper Role Playing game (wow, excellent first sentence). It brings new concepts and interesting setting allowing you to experience world of 1. st. BC first handedly (my God, next I expect to be told you have 12 million dollars that you need my help in moving), not only by moving among the people of that period but also recognizing their myths, legends that are intertwined with an occultism (because "occultism" isn't the same without an "an").
Iron age system (capitalization is optional) allows player (because we know no more that one person would ever pay to play this game) to completely customize his character by giving him choice  (using the word "the" isn't so optional) of seven different races, each race allows further customization by the choice of many different backgrounds. Customization goes even further, and so player can choose Traits that allow player to define his character in detail! (this sentence speaks for itself)
System of the Iron age has powerful set of Core rules supplemented by various optional rules, that allow great deal of options to players that require them. (didn't I read this same sentence with the last "easy assemble instructions for home"?) Some innovative rules are present that will spice up the combat itself, allowing each character to use style most appropriate to his characteristics. Setting of Iron Age (whoa! Capitalization is back!) is presented in original and unique way, by implementing and merging beliefs of different nations in amalgam not unlike tolkien based world or ancient sagas.
I've been working 2 years on the system (maybe you should spend some on your English grammer - it might be a more effective way to get your thoughts across. Oh, and etiquette lessons may be useful too)  , even more on the setting itself yet now I need your help (You need my help? Sure, I'll give you lots of help). We've recently started our indiegogo campaign, and as such are in need of help with promotion and contributions. To increase our chances of success, we've started a competition (read about it in update section of campaign), which gives you a chance to become our partner (10% from NETO profit from core book and bestiary) and earn one time fee of 200$.
 (sweet! I can be a partner! Fuck that)

Dude, here's the help I can give you. Find a native English speaker to edit your Indiegogo page. Then have them edit your game. Take some real life lessons in how to communicate with people to have them take an honest look at your stuff, not stealth bombing blogs. I'm sure you're gonna get some traffic from this post, but I doubt you'll get much in the way of business.

Oh, and by the way - fuck you!

I'll Need to Work This Amethyst Piece Into an Adventure

I Need to Take a Better Shot then My iPhone's ;)

I picked this piece up for 18 bucks at a flea market in the Poconos earlier today. It's about 7" tall and 5 1/2" wide and weighs a good amount. When I get home, I'll need to put a miniature or two in front of it to get the proper scale.

I have this image in my head of this piece 50' tall and and altar in front of it. Lots of flames with reflections flickering off the crystal.

Cultists and rats and babies and copper sacrificial knives oh my!

See, I'm doing my homework Larry Moore ;)

Is Fantasy Flight Games Clearing Out its WFRP 3rd Edition Stock?

FFG is running a sale on adventures and accessories for it's WFRP 3rd Edition system, selling stuff as low as 33 cents on the dollar.

These prices aren't sale prices, they are "clearing out the warehouse prices".

I picked up WFRP3 when it released, and I was disappointed in the system myself. It seemed more interested in the new dice gimmick then being an RPG. I literally had no idea so much had been released for WFRP. At the discounted prices FFG is offering, I guess I'm not the only one.

Good deals if you already play WFRP3, as the boxed set itself is not on sale.

(thanks to Mark from Creative Mountain Games for the heads up)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Every Dungeons Needs _____ and No Dungeon Should Have _____

Is there one thing that the failure to include it in a dungeon adventure will lead to a less fun experience for all?

Is there something that should never be in a dungen adventure, but often is?

These don't need to be physical items, but they could be themes or whatever.

Rats and coppers are invalid answers ;)

For me, most every dungeon should have a treasure room. It might not get found by the players, it may be found but overlooked, it may have a false analog to fool the players, but generally speaking, there should be a treasure room. Heck, it might not be usable treasure. It may have been valuable at the time the dungeon was built / created but now has little to no value due to deterioration, change of valued metal types or the like.

No dungeon should have unavoidable deathtraps. There should be warnings, hints, signs or the like so that the players have the opportunity to make an educated guess, even if wrong. It shouldn't be there to screw the players but to challenge them.

What are your thoughts?

Some Questions / Observations on B1 - In Search of the Unknown

I'm away for the weekend, and the only things I brought in print with me that were gaming related were OSRIC and B1 - In Search of the Unknown. My intention is to start writing the introductory adventure for my AD&D campaign, and what better inspiration than Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Module B1? (Okay, one could argue B2, but it is what it is).

So, here's some observations from B1:

1 - Right on the cover it states "With only minor modifications, this module is also eminently suitable for use with ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS". Strangely enough, it seems with only minor modifications it is suitable for use with Dungeons & Dragons. More on that below.

2 - Non-player character clerics include Tassit, Servantjü of St. Cuthbert. The World of Greyhawk was casting a wide web back then.

3 - Fighting Men NPCs include Krago of the Mountains (Dwarf) with Str 18/54. Exceptional Strength was purely an AD&D concept as far as I can recall.

4 - I'm pretty sure thieves were restricted to Humans only in Basic Dungeons & Dragons, but there is at least one of each of the player races in the NPC list.

5 - I had forgotten that B1 was a "stock the monsters and treasures from list A and list B" type of adventure. Hardly easy on a beginning DM, but amazingly awesome for reusability of the adventure among the same group / intertwined groups. The room descriptions themselves dont change, but the contents do.

6 - It makes a point of introducing tricks and traps to the players and the DM - it's not a funhouse dungeon, but it has its moments.

7 - There is a list of potential hirelings and henchmen for the PCs to hire, but no town to actually find them within. We know they aren't hanging around outside the dungeon waiting for a job. I guess that's why they swapped this out for B2 in the later Basic D&D Sets.

Found in a Thrift Shop - Albedo The Role-Playing Game

I've been hitting garage sales and thrift shops for years in the Poconos, hoping to stumble across and RPG gem and always coming up short - until this morning.

Albedo, The Role-Playing Game was found in a stack of games in a thrift shop in Honesdale PA. Holy crap!

I remember the game (and the comic) but never owned either. I was friends with a few gamers that were also into anthropomorphic comics - although their tastes went a bit off the scale. What they read couldn't be left around for third parties to stumble upon.

The box is in surprisingly good shape, everything is included and the 25 year old game was only a buck and a half. I've already started reading the background info during a bathroom reading session, and although I'm not all that impressed so far I'm still happy with my find.

The system itself seems to love charts. I tend to not like charts so much ;)

Goodman Games Holiday Sales - PDFs, Grab Bags and More!

Goodman Games is running a few sales for the Holidays.

As far as I can tell, they've put their entire listing at RPGNow at 25% off. If you've been on the fence about picking up the DCC RPG or the like, now is your chance. Not sure how long the sale is going on for at RPGNow.

Goodman also has some goodies on sale in print at their website:

The Big Grab Bag

By popular demand! For those of you who didn't have a chance to partake in the Mystery Mail Sale before it sold out, we've added the Big Grab Bag option. We have a stack of ding-and-dent merchandise in the corner of the warehouse. Much of it is from toting books back and forth to cons, which creates shelf wear and bent corners, and some is from retailer returns. For a measly $15.00 + $11.35 priority mail shipping, we will take a flat-rate priority mail envelope, stuff it FULL of randomly selected products (as many as will fit!), and send it off to you! The exact contents will vary, and may include anything we've ever published, from 3.5 to 4E to DCC RPG to card games, miniatures, and everything in between. Cost of shipping via Priority Mail included.

The Swag Bag

Over the years we have printed a variety of promotional products, such as $2 modules, Free RPG Day giveaways, and Level Up magazine. We have some of these products from prior years lying around the warehouse gathering dust. We’d rather get them into the hands of gamers! For a measly $5.00 + $5.15 priority mail shipping, we will take a flat-rate priority mail envelope, stuff it full of promotional modules (as many as will fit – typically 4-6 books), and send it off to you! The exact contents will vary according to available supply but will consist of some of the books shown in the photograph. Cost of shipping via Priority Mail included.

Foreign Language Translations 

We recently posted examples of some rare modules to our forums. A number of gamers asked how they could purchase copies of the rare items shown in that thread. We have a very limited number of foreign language translations of Goodman Games products which we are making available while supplies last!

Friday, November 23, 2012

What Would You Allow From Unearthed Arcana in Your 1e Campaign?

As I start to plan out my AD&D 1e game, the latest post at Dispatches From Kickassistan got me thinking - there's a whole lot of unbalanced shit in Unearthed Arcana.

I already knew I wasn't going to allow "power gamer character generation method V" into the campaign. Even as a bunch of Monte Haulin' teens we saw the insanity within.

Cavalier, Cavalier-Paladin, Barbarian - fuck no, they gotta go!

I'll keep weapon specialization, but I'll tweak it.

I'll keep the new spells, but reserve the right to nuke any that I feel are unbalancing.

So, what would use from Unearthed Arcana? What would you never use? What would you modify?

Some Assorted Holiday Gaming Deals For Black Friday (+)

There are some gaming deals out there this weekend for those that are willing to look for them.

KenzerCo has a few specials, but the one I just grabbed is the Knights of the Dinner Table special - the last 25 issues in stock for 25 bucks. As I stopped reading about 2 years ago, this is a cheap way for me to catch up

Palladium Books is running it's year X-Mas grab bag special. It's a great way to get signed books and art prints, which is what I usually ask for.

Is Open Design now Kobold Press? Looks like it. I've only heard good things about their Midgard setting. Everything is 25% off, so I might grab something from here.

The Kiltedyaksman (Greg G) is discounting all of his Barrowmaze line by 10% for the Thanksgiving Weekend - print AND PDF. If you've been on the fence until now, it's a good time to buy.

Crooked Staff is offering a bunch of map products and bundles for $1.99 each. This is top notch stuff, and a bargain at full price. I'll be grabbing the ones I still need later on today. There is also a look to a freebie on their blog - the link is good for today (Black Friday) only. Grab it at the very least. It's like an early Christmas gift ;)

Matt Jackson has discounted his Moleskin Maps releases by 50% - $1.50 each. Again, high quality stuff at a nice discount.

Lulu is Running a 30% Off Sale!

I know Lulu is constantly running a sale of some sort, and anyone that pays full price at Lulu is probably a fool. I know I paid full price with my first few purchases at Lulu before finding their coupons.

For the Black Friday Holiday weekend they are running a 30% off sale. Now is the time to pick up some of those RPG products that you might have been putting off. The code is: DELIRITAS

Me? I'll be grabbing OSRIC in Hard cover, the latest Anomalous Subsurface Environment and probably some issues of NOD. If you haven't picked up Blood & Treasure, this is the perfect opportunity. There is quite simply a huge amount of OSR goodness at Lulu.

Heres a bit of extra savings on Blood & Treasure, NOD and John Stater's other stuff in print:
As a way to show my appreciation, I'm put all of my books at Lulu are now 10% off between now and the end of the year (not the PDF's though - they're cheap enough already). At the moment, Lulu is doing a 30% sale as well (code is DELIRITAS), so if you've been waiting to buy NOD or Blood & Treasure or anything else, now's the time! Remember, with Blood & Treasure, I'll send you a link for a free download of a PDF when you buy a hard cover book - just email me the receipt.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

My Thanksgiving, in Pictures

Sometimes pictures capture more then words ever will.

Rockaways, NY

November 2012

(gaming posts will return tomorrow - prayers and good wishes can be sent to those that suffered loses due to Hurricane Sandy)

Six Days After Hurricane Sand

After Nearly Two Weeks of Recovery

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I'll Be Missing Some Holiday Weekend Gaming - Hopefully I'm Productive Instead ;)

I'll also be missing out on turkey and the rest of the goodies, as I'm working about 17 hrs tomorrow. Since that was an offering to the Gods of "The Job" to get the 4 days off afterwards, I won't complain. Much ;)

Still, I've seen the call go out for some pick up games on G+ for the extended weekend here in the states, and I'll be away from serious enough bandwidth to support any gaming. I'm sure that makes my wife happy on some level.

In any case, last year at this time I was not gaming at all, so I am extremely grateful for all the excellent gaming I've shared with my regular group and the DCC sessions I ran earlier. Once work settles out, I'll be running some Labyrinth Lord and Blod & Treasure for those that were interested.

I'm hoping this weekend will be semi-productive, as I work on the opening scenario for the new AD&D 1e campaign I'll be running. As it is set in the BareBones Fantasy Keranak setting, I'm hoping to convert it to BBF afterwards. I owe it to Larry :)

My intention is to work on a few other projects as time allows. I don't recall when I last had a four day stretch, let alone a stretch away from most distractions (blog and G+ will still distract I'm sure).

Additionally, my plan is to get the next DCC contest up and running. I have an idea for it - Santa Klaus as a DCC Patron, and he's looking for suggestions for "gifts" for some DCC characters - one for the "good list" and one for the "bad list" from each entry. The more imaginative the better. I'll corral some judges for this. Prizes will be print copies of DCC modules that have already been donated. I may add a  Tenkar's Tavern Tankard to the prize list - need to work that out. Oh, and I'll be ordering sample Tenkar's Tavern T-Shirts too this weekend. That may make it to this prize pool or the next.

Runequest II (Chaosium) - Plunder (RQ Book of Treasure)

There is So Much Wrong / Right With This Cover - I Love It!

Of all of the RuneQuest editions out there, RQ II - The Chaosium Edition, is by far my favorite. I found it after discover RQ III, the Avalon Hill edition of the game. I've always felt that the second edition had more "soul" than it's later sibling.

Occasionally I go on Ebay hunting sprees, and during my latest I stumbled across Plunder, subtitled RuneQuest Book of Treasure. I'd never run across it before, so i snagged it.

The first 25 pages are a series of very forgetful charts and random tables, but the last half of the book has new magic items for RQ II. The great thing is, most of these will convert to OSR play will little work on my side. It's a nice little resource for some unique and new magic items to slowly to my new campaign.

If nothing else, it will be a nice source for inspiration.

It does remind me of how much fun I used to have running RQ II using Pavis and Big Rubble. Is was the first true sandbox I had ever run, even if I didn't know that's what it was called at the time.

I'm sure I was fairly clueless about running the system back in the day, but as I was the only one with the rules my group probably never knew ;)

When Kickstarters Believe Their Own Hype - or - Who the F' is "Legendary"?

Marketing is pretty much half of a successful Kickstarter. Notice, I didn't say half of a "good" Kickstarter. Many good Kickstarters fail, and those that fail probably left off some of the usual hype.

One of the danger words is "Legrendary". If they have to use the word "Legendary", it probably isn't.

Case in point:

THORVALLA a (Computer) RPG by Guido Henkel

"Legendary computer game designer Guido Henkel is ready to bring you a re-imagined approach to fantasy computer RPGs" - Okay, just who the fuck is Guido Henkel that I should help him raise a $1,000,000?

Lets see, they give him a resume such as:

"Legendary computer RPG designer Guido Henkel is the driving force behind Thorvalla. With almost 30 years of experience in the computer games industry, he has designed and worked on landmark titles, such as Planescape: Torment, Realms of Arkania: Blade of Destiny,  Realms of Arkania: Star Trail, Realms of Arkania: Shadows over Riva, Fallout 2, Neverwinter Nights and many others. Virtually all of these games have been decorated with awards across the globe as some of the best computer role-playing games, cementing his reputation as one of the industry’s premier computer RPG designers."

Great, but what did he actually do on these games? Was he the lead, or just one of a room full of code monkeys? (not trying to dis code monkeys, just asking). When the fuck did he become "Legendary?"

Remember SHAKER, to be designed by other "legendary" computer game designers? They nuked their project with nearly 2 weeks left in the funding when it became obvious it wasn't going to happen. Guido should probably hit the button now. He's at $31,000 of his $1,000,000 goal. That's 3%. He's doing $10k a day or so over his first 3 days, and funding almost always slows down as the project goes on (unless you are Reaper).

On a totally different side of the "not walking in the same frame of reality of the rest of the world" we have:

The Saga of Dragon Star & N.R.G. Core Rulebook RPG

Unlike Thorvalla, this one will probably fund, as its sitting at $8,694 with a goal of $15,000 and 23 days to go. Good for them.

Catch this piece though:


If we reach $65,000 or more in pledges by the end of day Friday, November 23rd (by 12 a.m. Saturday, November 24th, Pacific Standard Time), then Wayne Reynolds will illustrate the 9 class iconics for the N.R.G. Core Rulebook! But that's not all--each backer who, by this point, has pledged $50 or more, will receive a 28mm metal miniature of this iconic, plus a metal mini of the Cthondra, the fierce, multi-headed beast featured on the cover! And all of this will be packaged in a gorgeous boxed set!

Let me get this straight. Your goal is $15k. You set a time limited stretch goal of $65k for 2 weeks into the funding - over 4x your goal (and about 7x your current funding). I'm not sure when this goal went up, over the last few days or right from the beginning, but there are no other stretch goals and this carrot was never attainable.

Cheap and easy way to get Wayne Reynolds name attached to your project? Perhaps. Or just a cruel joke. No idea. I'm not going to call it deceptive, but it could be misleading for those that just look at the art and not the actual text (and pipe dream) attached to it.

What Level Do You Start Your OSR Campaigns At?

Maybe This Should Be the Opening Scene of the New Campaign ;)

This is a tough one for me. Generally speaking, as a DM I prefer to start my campaigns at level 1. It always seems more authentic to me that way. However, my new AD&D 1e campaign, is to some extent, a reboot of my ACKS campaign, as we've lost and gained players in the group since the start of that. PC levels there are around 4 / 5.

I'm thinking of starting the new AD&D 1e campaign at level 2. PCs are less squishy than level 1, but no one has level 2 spells yet. I want them to have some of the feeling of accomplishment for leveling in the ACKS game while still starting the new game at a lower level. Imperfect solution, but most solutions are imperfect.

I'm also thinking of passing on one magic item to each player from the previous campaign. Different world, different setting, but something passed down from distant ancestor who may or may not have crossed over to a different world.

What level do your start your campaigns? Does it make a difference if you are ending one ongoing campaign to start a new one? Does your preference change if you are a player and not the DM?
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