Saturday, February 11, 2012

Mini Review - Toys For the Sandbox - #4 - The Hermit's Island (Generic / OSR)

I'm getting addicted to Toys in the Sandbox - I just can't get enough of these 99 cent treasures.  The Hermit's Island is the latest one I've read (there are more for me to read- I'm playing catch up).

What can I  tell you about it without giving away any of it?  Let's see, you get a map of a small island (which appears to be missing an indication of scale / distance - not a game killer, but it would be nice) and some background material and a brief description of said island.

You get your usual (I love "usual" in this case) 6 possible plot hooks, each with 3 possible twists.  It makes it very easy to tailor to your campaign and GM style.

You get descriptions of 4 NPCs that are very detailed yet stat-less.  You know what drives them, but you'll need to stat them out to your system of choice.

Oh, and a random encounter table and a rumor table.  A bargain and a half.

I'm really tempted to use these in conjunction with Christian's Hex Crawl series in Loviatar.  Sandbox for the sandbox :)

From the blurb:

Out in the storm-lashed waters of the northwestern ocean is a small island not too far off the coast. Years ago the island was home to a monastery until the accident. After that night the monks fled the island never to return. Stories tell of a strange old hermit living on the island. Others speak of seeing camp fires in the night. What secrets does the hermit's Island hold?

Crypts & Things Was Waiting on My Doorstep Tonight

I got home from the in-laws, and what do I find waiting for me?  My hardcover copy of Crypts & Things.  This is nearly an overwhelming OSR weekend ;)

Damn Cat Wants to be in Every Photo!

Free OSR RPG - Dungeon Raiders

Dungeon Raiders is a strange little beast.  It takes some of the main concepts of D&D and squeezes it into 10 pages.  How effective is the squeeze?  Effective, but the end result is like reading D&D with a fun house mirror.  It's recognizable, but it's greatly changed.

The author says he wrote it to "experience the construction of a Classic Dungeons & Dragons retroclone".  If that is the standard he's measuring himself against, it's probably a failure, because it strays too far from it's source material to be a clone.  As a game inspired and obviously building upon OD&D, I think it probably succeeds.  It certainly looks quick and easy to play.

It's does not use the OGL and is instead released by the author into the Public Domain.  Not sure how that works but it's a nice gesture.

From the blurb:

Yet another retroclone, Dungeon Raiders simplifies Original D&D and early D&D into one straightforward fantasy RPG system. Included are stats, rules, and spells for characters up to level 3, and it'll probably take you a while to get there.

Includes art by Jared von Hindman

Friday, February 10, 2012

In the Hopper - OSR Goodness

Damn but I have a full weekend of RPG stuff to get to.  All that and going to the in-laws tomorrow for a birthday party (and we might actually have some snow on the roads for the occasion - lucky me).  Thank God football season is over ;)

I've been looking over Barrowmaze by Greg Gillespie, a very nice looking Megadungeon for Labyrinth Lord.  Hopefully I can get it reviewed this weekend.

There have been a few more Toys for the Sandbox releases from Occult Moon that I need to get to and an under the radar release in the OSR (at least under my radar) of Dungeon Raiders, a free rpg.

I need more time this weekend (and no, I don't get off monday).  Sigh.

Oh, and I may need to pick up Cosmic Patrol.  I've been hearing good things about it in my podcast listening.

edit:  and Trollzine 4 was just released... I need more time damn it!

Turning Up the Noise - Podcast Impressions - Happy Jacks RPG Podcast

Thanks to suggestions from YOU, the readers of this blog, I've been swapping RPG podcasts in the place of my usual XM/Sirius radio.  I've listened to a handful, and haven't heard a bad one yet, but Happy Jacks RPG Podcasts had me laughing out loud as I was driving home earlier tonight.

That says a lot.  The conversations didn't sound forced, instead they reminded me of my college  days of gaming and the non-stop joking around that used to happen before and after the game (and sometimes during).  I used to have a "No Alcohol Rule" during our gaming sessions, just so I could keep a tenuous hold on the group.  The fine folks at Captain Jacks are out of control, and it works perfectly.

They are also long.  Running at 2+ hours per podcast, it's going to take me a day and a half of commuting to finish an episode.  No complaints on my end, but that may be an issue for some.

Did I mention it's most certainly Not Safe for Work?  Hey, who listens to podcasts at work anyway?

On a scale of 1 to 10, this one goes to 11 (Spinal Tap for the win!)

Picking Apart My Picking Apart of Monte and 5E

I figured I'd explain some of yesterday's "rant".

When 5e was first announced, it was billed as a sort of Rosetta Stone of the various D&D systems. It isn't.

First, Monte tells us in reference to 5e "not talking about a bridge so you can play 1e and 4e at the same time". This was Monte correcting the marketing guys. And yes, it pissed me off, because that was the whole selling point.

The correction is that 5e deals with the "styles" of previous editions, which in this case comes down to "complexity". In my opinion, the different editions of D&D differ in more then just complexity but in goals and gameplay. Focusing on complexity will lose much of what makes each edition unique.

Then we have the whole issue of the DM deciding on which rules he's going to run with, and each player gets to decide which rules they want to design their characters with. That is not recipe for a successful game.

How do you balance an 0e styled PC with the powers of a 4e styled PC? Let alone make them both work in a game using 2e style as it's framework. BTW, how are the monsters being stated out? What is their default "style edition"?

Telling me that the default rules is to allow the players to use which ever "style" they want despite what the GM's "style" defaults to just pisses me off right there. Could it me an option? Sure. As the default, where the players will come in with that expectation and I'd have to immediately cut those expectations off at the knees - not a good decision on the part of WotC.

The DM buys the vast majority of the books and supplements in any edition. By empowering the PCs to play with various rules in the same game, the DM will have to know the rules for styles 0e-4e and the players will just have to know the "style" they chose? That's not empowering the players, that's burdening the DM.

WotC would be much better off designing the very best D&D game they can make, aimed at the targeted market that will give them the most success. Aiming to please all players of all editions will leave them pleasing few players of any editions.

I'm still pissed that I wont be able to seamlessly import modules from earlier editions. For me, this could be the game killer right there.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Picking Apart Monte's Latest Column - Uniting the Editions Part 2

Last week, I talked about why we might be interested in uniting the editions, and how we might look at the tones and play styles of those editions to capture what we seek to have in D&D. To be clear, we're not talking about creating a bridge so that you can play 1E and 4E at the same time (See, this shit was NOT fuckin’ clear!). Instead, we're allowing you to play a 1E-style game or a 4E-style game with the same rules (uhm... but I already have those rules, even 4e which I don’t  even want to play.  Why would I need a new set of rules to play D&D in a style that I already have.  First damn paragraph and my head is hurting.  Curse you Monte!). Also, players at the table can choose the style of character they want to play (Wait, how can the players choose a style for the PCs if you just said he needs to choose a style for the game oh my God it’s going in circles!). In short, let's talk about style and D&D.
The way we want to accomplish handling the style of play is with a modular approach. If 3E style is about character customization and a tactical view of combat, options should allow you to customize characters with feats and skills, plus play with a grid and miniatures (and have rules that support threatened areas, attacks of opportunity, and so forth). But in a 2E-style game, some or all of these options would not be desirable. Because of this truly modular approach, it means you don't have to pick an edition style. You can have the simple, fast combat of 1E with the character customizing skills of 3E, or any other combination (but if the 3e feats require 3e movement and 3e facing, your 1e “handwaving” ain’t gonna cut it).
But where do you start? For this to work, there needs to be a basic core to the game upon which you layer these options. That's where distilling D&D down to its essence comes in (yep, 3d6 in order 6 times... that was easy). What are the things that you'd expect to overhear at a table of people playing D&D if you didn't know which version they were playing?
That's something that we're working on right now. But some of the answers are obvious. Six ability scores ranging from 3 to 18. Fighters, clerics, wizards, and rogues. (Or, if you prefer, fighting-men, clerics, magic-users, and thieves.) Character levels. Experience points. Rolling a d20 to attack. Magic missiles. Fireballs. Hold person. And so on.
In effect, what you end up with is a fully playable game with its own style. Think of it this way: It would be wrong to say that there is no inherent D&D style that carries across the nearly forty-year lifespan of the game. What you really end up with, in this approach, is a game that ends up looking—not coincidentally—like original D&D. Not entirely, of course, and not precisely, but close. It's a game that captures the feel of OD&D (“feel” is  a scary word, because it may feel like it, but it isnt it, and apparently won’t even be compatible with it.  So if I really wanted to “feel” OD&D, I should play OD&D)
From there, with that excellent foundation, we can build upward and outward. (Wait, so they are saying that they striped 4e  and 3e down to their Oe essential oils, and are building from that?  Wouldn’t it make more sense to really build from 0e if that were the case?)
I know you have a lot of questions, and frankly, so do I (Huh!?!  you’re the designer.  if you still have a lot of questions, that aint good). That's what the public playtest is about—finding the answers together. The next big question you might have, however, is that with everything being so customizable, who makes the decisions (why yes, Monte.  Who makes the decisions.  Inquiring minds want to know)?
I think some of the answers are player-provided answers, and some are DM-provided. This is tied in very closely with my philosophy of the game overall. Players should play the characters they want to play (with DM input), and DMs should run the games they want to run (with player input) (that all sounds all fine and dandy, but if we are building upon 0e, and you aren’t empowering the DM, you’re gonna fail)
Some choices then—such as whether a character has a long list of skills and feats; or skills, feats, and powers; or just ability scores, hit points, Armor Class, and an attack bonus—are up to the player (no they are not.  if I don’t want that shit in my 0e touchy feely game, they have no place in it.  simple as that.  this is why, if 5e fails, it will fail.  You can’t run a 0e game with 4e feats, or a 4e game with 0e lack of feat... or what not). Some choices are up to the DM. If miniatures and a grid are used, that's a DM choice. If the adventures are going to be about grinding through a dungeon to get enough coppers to pay for tomorrow's meal or an epic quest across the planes to save the universe(s), that's a DM choice. (That latter choice might seem like flavor only, but it can determine which rules options are taken.)
So, the game is actually a matrix of these choices, with some made by the DM and some by the players, which will end up determining the feel of the overall game and might allow the group to "emulate" a prior edition (holy shit, talk about back tracking! now instead of getting a feel, you MIGHT emulate a certain edition). More importantly, though, these choices allow people to play what they want to play. In effect, the group can make their own edition of D&D. And that's really the most exciting part of it, I think.
Last Week's Polls
What's your favorite play style for your D&D games? Rate each of these on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being "not at all important" and 5 being "vital to the game."
(Let me summarize - Folks want “crunchy” but not too crunchy, heavily story based, with tactical options around those of 3e (but not 3.5e), no one is looking to be all that simulationist and in the end, they want heroic play.  Story and heroic action beat simulationist and tactical hands down)

Fast and simple


Tactical combat


Heroic and high action

If you could have only one of the following, which would you choose?
Heroic and high action
Fast and simple
Tactical combat

New Kickstarter For the Adventurer Conqueror King System Player's Companion

The Adventurer Conqueror King System has been a hit since it's official release last week (and is currently #2 at RPGNow, after the #1 selling and $1 priced Legend).  I know I'm liking it.  Heck, I've been doing a multipart review of the game system.  It's definitely Old School.

The guys at Autarch have started a Kickstarter for the ACKS Player's Companion.  It's already over galway funded with 5 weeks to go.  It's pretty safe to say it's going to hit it's  goal, and maybe even a bonus goal or three.  New classes, new spells and a point based customized class system, that allows you to design your own classes.  It's backwards compatible to the classes in the core book and the Player's Companion, so balance should not be an issue (or maybe it will be.  stuff like this shouldn't be in the hands of a min/max player, but it's an awesome GM tool)

Here, let me borrow from their Kickstarter page:

·         6 new character classes, including the dwarven machinist, dwarven spelunker, elven ranger, mystic, priestess, and shaman
·         144 character generation templates with pre-selected proficiencies, spells, and equipment options to create archetypes such as the Aristocrat Bard, Buccaneer Thief, Gladiator Fighter, or Runecaster Shaman.
·         100 new spells, including never-before-seen dweomers such as dismember, earth's teeth, and undead legion.
·         A point-based customized class system that lets you create the perfect blend of fighting, thievery, divine, and magical power. The custom class creation rules are 100% backwards compatible with every class in the ACKS core rules and all of the classes in the Player's Companion.
Pretty damn cool!

Yep, I'm in again.  I like getting signed gaming stuff ;)

Some Further Thought on Tunnels & Trolls in Actual Play

I found that T&T makes for a really good pick up game last night for some of the following reasons:

1 - Using the Quickstart rules available at RPGNow, you have all you need to create your character (and advance him or her) through the first few levels of play in about 5 pages. That's including spells, weapons, armor, equipment, combat rules, character generation, saving throw rules, etc.

2 - Using the T&T 5/5.5E rules probably works better for pick up games because of the above reasons. Anything else the GM wants to add (like Spite Damage or the Rogue class) can be explained easily enough.

3 - the game's use of D6s exclusively makes explaining the rules to new comers much easier then a handful of variable dice. Everyone who has ever played a board game knows what a D6 is.

4 - 3d6 in order works fine in a campaign game, where one time magic, magic items and plain old leveling will help survivors overcome their weaknesses. For a one-shot, I'd suggest allowing the player to arrange scores as they want. It helps overcome the fighter with negative combat adds, and lets the player who wants to play a wizard the actual chance to play one.

4 - A DM that can convert D&D to T&T on the fly is a huge blessing. I hope I can do nearly as well when I get around to running (not just playing) some T&T

5 - Oh Run Away is very useful for dealing with adversarial / disruptive players. It teaches a lesson and doesn't cause any real harm. Nothing like watching the expression when they are told: "Hmmm... nope, this isnt D&D, there is no save. Based on key stat totals. That's why yours failed. Mine won't" ;)

6 - T&T rewards players for thinking out of the box when they use the Saving Throw system by awarding expo based on the roll, fail or succeed. I never realized how effective this system was and how flexible it was until I saw it in action last night. Once the players groked how it worked, experienced role player's put it to an extensive test. It passed with flying colors. I'd like to import something similar to the D&D line of games.

7 - DARO - Doubles Are Rolled Over is the secret to the Saving Roll system. When you can keep rolling and adding, so long as you roll doubles, even the nigh impossible can at the very least be attempted.

Hmmm - I think the Saving Roll system from T&T deserves a post of it's own one day.

I Enjoyed Some Tunnels & Trolls Last Night in SoHo

I got to play some Tunnels & Trolls at last night's Games That Can Not be Named. Obviously, I'm naming the game because I can, but I can't name the adventure, which was written for D&D and it's clones and converted on the fly by our very skilled GM.

It was nice to see how easily the rules for T&T can be picked up, as I was the only player of four who had previous experience with the system. I think we made some new converts. ;)

The adventure itself was pretty unique in it's game play, but amazingly played very well with the flexibility of T&T's "saving throws", which are closer to ability checks then a D&D type save.

There were two there were two other tables running two different GTCNBN. The turnout wasn't as huge as last week's in Brooklyn, but it wasn't bad at all.

Big thanks to Alex and Tavis for organizing and to everyone else for a really great time.

I'll be back at the SoHo Digital Arts Gallery next Wednesday night ;)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Heading Over to Another "Games That Can Not Be Named"

Tonight's another night of GTCNBN. I missed the first, but this will make 3 weeks in a row.

I'm getting really good at signing all these NDAs. There's gotta be some kind of Euro Game that can be designed around NDA signing. ;)

I'm looking forward to the point when these games can actually BE named... heh

New Post Up at Saturday Night Special

I've been falling behind on the Saturday Night Special blog. New post just went up, and if I can pull it off I'll make up for the lapse by posting another on Sunday.

Posting from my iPad, but you can find the link in the upper right hand corner of this blog.


Do PCs and Their Adversaries Need to Operate by the Same Rules?

Think of this as a follow up to yesterday's post on critical hits.

In 4e, monsters follow their own set of rules. Mooks always die with one hit, and bosses have abilities on par with PCs or better (yeah, this is a generalization - but it serves it purpose). Do we need to have the PCs and the monsters playing by the same rules in the OSR?

If you want to use critical hits for the PC attacks, you could limit crits on the opposing side to the Big Bad Evil Guy or the equivalent. Or you could give PCs a crit on a natural 20, andmake their adversaries confirm their nat 20 crits with a second attack role. You could even give PCs a save (vs Death or whatnot) instead of having the monster role to confirm.

The thing is, once you let the PCs and their adversaries play by different rules, you do change the nature of the game.

By the same token, by adding critical hits into a game that wasn't designed for critical hits, you are already changing the nature of the game. Critical hits hurt the PCs more the they hurt their adversaries. Is changing the rules the two sides operate by a way to balance that discrepancy, or does it cause more problems then it helps?

Can you tinker to the point that the game is no longer "The Game" we know?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Digging Into the Adventurer Conqueror King System - Playing With Proficiencies

Non-weapon Proficiencies first snuck into AD&D with the Dungeoneer and Wilderness Survival Guides (Weapon Proficiencies were in the Player's Handbook) They added a bit of depth to characters, and were a full pledged part of the system with AD&D 2e.  The Adventurer Conqueror King System offers is own take on a Proficiency System.

This isn't a skill point system like D&D3x, where you get points every level and tweak.  Unless you get a bonus due to a high Intelligence Score, your character will start with three proficiencies.  Adventuring everyone gets.  This allows you to have a general idea on how to set a camp site, search a room, guestimate the value of items... the basic crap PCs do.

You also start with one General proficiency.  Some examples are Alchemy, various Crafting skills, Leadership, Mapping, Tracking and a bunch of others.  Everyone gets another General Proficiency every 4 levels.  Some General Proficiencies are also listed under a Class list, allowing some flexibility as to how you spend your limited points.

Everyone starts starts with a Class Proficiency, and depending on the class they earn one every third or every fourth level.  The interesting thing is that some of the proficiencies are combat related or casting related, but others may be more social, or at least non-combat related.  This can lead to a problem - obviously some proficiencies are more valuable then others.  Weapon Focus turns a natural 20 into a double damage crit (there are no criticals otherwise in the system that I've seen so far, but at 250+ pages, I could be wrong) or a Fighter could spend his point on Riding.  Alright, Riding is also a General Proficiency, but you get my point.

That being said, there are so many combat related proficiencies (and few points to spend) that add a little flavor or "umph" to your character, that it is quite probably that no two characters are going to be built with the same proficiencies.

I personally like "Sniping", which allows a Sneak Attack with a ranged weapon at up to short range.  Then there is Weapon Finesse, allowing you to use your Dex instead of Str for attack mod with one handed weapons.  There are a lot of choices like that.  It really does help make your character unique.

I know they say the Proficiency System is optional, but you would be doing yourself and your players a disservice if you didn't include it in your game.  Heck, you could easily port this section over to most any other OSR style game with minimal tweaking.

I'll probably skip the Spell section (as it should be close enough to what you already know) and move on the the Adventures Chapter next.  Figure Thursday or Friday if all goes well.

Critical Thoughts on Critical Hits

I think critical hits were the first thing I house ruled into AD&D back in the day. We felt they added flavor, and there was nothing like rolling a natural 20 and having the critical swing the combat's momentum back in the party's flavor. It didn't hurt that the DM often didn't remember to inflict the criticals on the PCs.

When we moved on to MERP / RoleMaster it was crit heaven. My God but they had the best criticals ever in a game. Some funny shit too. They also led to fairly frequent party member death, as the crits were quite lethal, and the GM never forgot to use them against the PCs.

Tunnels & Trolls 5e and prior didn't have crits. With the way combat is rolled, once the players had momentum going, it was all downhill for the monster side.

That changed with the advent of Spite Damage. Basically all 6's rolled resulted in a point of damage that automatically scored, despite the other side's rolls or armor. Suddenly, solo adventures that were hard were now impossible, as your PC was slowly whittled down (as most T&T solos lacked healing for the player, this was a huge change in game balance).

T&T got me thinking about criticals in RPGs in general. In any particular encounter, the monsters / adversaries are making just that one appearance. For the most part, the GM isn't concerned about any damage they suffer carrying over until later. Not so for the PCs. Whatever damage they take, whatever penalties that's linked to that damage, carries over from encounter to encounter.

Criticals are flash that look great on paper, but are actually a PC penalty.

Is it possible to make criticals fair for the PCs? Are criticals even needed?

Why the hell are we so attached to them? I know I'm guilty of liking criticals, even though I know are far more likely to screw with me than help me.

Damn Thoughts Pass Through My Mind Like a Sieve

I had some decent ideas for blog post topics last night lying in bed. My wife had dozed off, and I didn't want to turn on the computer to wipe them down, and now they are rattling around in my head, just out of view. Sigh.

I think i need to use a note taking app on my iPhone next time.

Good news is it's another Games That Can Not Be Named Night tomorrow in SoHo. Very nice way to break up the work week.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mini Review - Stonepick Crossing (OSRIC)

Stonepick Crossing is Advanced Adventures Module #22 from Expeditious Retreat Press.  It's an OSRIC (AD&D) module for a full party of 1st to 3rd level characters.  It actually says for 6 to 8  characters, but if I went above 6 (maybe 7 on a really good day) I'd probably never DM again.  So, like I said, it's for a full party of adventurers.

The adventure takes place in the tharp of Stonepick.  It will start in the town proper, and then lead on other dungeon like areas.  Which all sounds like old hat, but there is more then one thing going on in the Tharp of Stonepick.  I count at least 2 main plots and some sub-plots going on, and PC can get involved in any or all.  Which means that the DM needs to keep an eye on who the party has met and some events that may be going on behind the scenes.  A railroad this is not.  The party has a lot of freedom as to what they are going to accomplish and in which order.

Heck, they even throw in a new monster.  Not a bad way to start off a campaign if you are willing to flesh the town out and the immediate surroundings, as the party has much to do right from the start.

From the blurb:

Stonepick crossing is an OSRIC(tm) module designed for 6-10 adventures of levels 1-3.
The tiny town of Stonepick Crossing sits on top of an old dwarven dam holding built some 500 years ago to end a long war. Recognizing the futility of direct assault, the dwarves built the dam to flood the goblin caves, flushing the foul creatures out of their caves and into the slaughter of honest combat. Now 500 years later, the dwarves have moved on and a small thorp has sprung up.

Mystery surrounds the protected town and rumors abound: locals disappearing in the middle of the night, strange noises from underneath the dam and even rumors of a monster in the lake percolate through the community. Which rumors are true and which are the ale-addled ramblings of old men fearful of their own shadows?

If you enjoy this adventure, look for future releases in the Advanced Adventures line from Expeditious Retreat Press.

Has the Hobby Completed a 360 (Devils & Demons in D&D)

I had this thought while lying in bed last night after my Super Bowl viewing / eating / drinking. Are we returning to the early days of the hobby? Are be going to be re-experiencing the Jack Chick tracks?

AD&D had a demon on the cover of the DMG (I KNOW it was an Efrietee (sp), but the common man saw it as a demon). But even before that, the MM had whole sections devoted to Devils and Demons. Heck, I remember putting Asmoudeous (damn spelling) in a 20x30 room for my Monte Haul Campaign back in my High School years. Yes, the players killed his mortal form.

AD&D 2e exorcised Demons and Devils from Dungeons & Dragons and turn them in some jumble of nearly random letters. Solve the PR problem by filing off the serial numbers.

Since then they've been making a resurgence, especially with the OSR inspired games of late. We all remember LotFP Weird Fantasy is Porn, but it was also bringing back so
some fairly demonic images with it's art. Not saying it is bad or wrong, but I still feel it was done more for shock and notoriety then game purpose, especially in a system that intentionally has no monster section.

The Secret Fire was heavy on the demonic feel, almost as if the only way to harken back to Old School gaming is pentagrams and demonic art on every page. Which is a shame, as it obscures a nice game system.

Carcosa goes heavy (as in a ton of bricks heavy) on the evil rituals, sacrifices, raping and killing the kittens, but it almost treats such in a text book manner. If it was going for shock value, it was less effective then the art in the other books I mentioned. It's dark in the manner of making one think, not just going for the raw emotion of reaction.

It's almost like a 40 year old heavy metal fan putting up his poster of Iron Maiden's Eddie from the Piece of Mind Tour to prove he still knows his metal and it's still relevant.

I can still sing along with nearly every Iron Maiden song, but Eddie is no long relevant in my eyes.

In a few months we will have reprints of the 3 core AD&D 1e books, complete with the demons and devils, and the succubus with the really nice breasts. We actually find ourselves back at the beginning. I really need to find the Chick comic for D&D. Like so much else, its packed away somewhere.

BTW, not judging, just observing. I find it interesting that the hobby has moved in a circle in some ways.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Free RPG - Ancient Trails, Witness to History (Traveller Adventure)

Terra-Sol Games has released the first part of their next series of free adventures for Mongoose Traveller, Ancient Trails. It's always nice to get something decent for free.  Heck, they are even throwing in free audio enhancements.

From the blurb:

Once again you are contacted by the enigmatic Professor Elsie Itcher.  This time her strange pronouncements send you on a wild goose chase.  But if the goose chase pays off, it could make your career!

Ancient Trails, Witness to History is a Mongoose Traveller adventure set in the Twilight Sector Campaign Setting. This adventure will test your science and problem solving skills as well as testing your gun hand. This is the second in a three part campaign arc started with Ancient Trails, So it Begins.

Don't forget to pick up the Audio enhancements for this campaign as well.

Kickstarter - Monster Art & Minis

The Monster Art Kickstarter Project is now the Monster Art & (Laminated Paper) Minis Project.

I'm going to let the art speak for itself:

Be forewarned - if you opt into this Kickstarter, one of these buggers is going to have my face ;)

Here's some more from the page:

What is the Monster Stock Art project?

We're attempting to create a library of stock art for all the creatures in the 3.5 RPG SRD.  While initial goal is 100 images covering the most commonly used 50+ creatures, we'd love to do a much larger set of creatures with added funds.
Note: We're adding some extra rewards to this project from the related Monster Stand-Ins (Plastic-Card Miniatures) Project.  See the very bottom (just above the FAQ) for details.
It is a great resource for small print/PDF game publishers, video game authors, web sites that have anything to do with monsters (fantasy fiction, RPGs, etc.), writers who blog about games, etc.  How often have you written about a monster or need a graphic of a monster for your computer game or run into a similar situation where you need monster art? With this project, you'll get a vast collection of high quality Monster Stock Art.  You'll have them ready instead of having to pour through stock art websites, PDF collections, etc.
Plus, if you want if for personal use only there is a PDF option which has the monster images as print-them-yourself paper miniatures. Select this option by itself, or pick another reward and add $10 for this extra reward.
If our initial KickStarter goal is met we'll create 100 monster images, but if we exceed our goal, we'll keep adding more art to the overall collection.  I personally would love to make the collection match every monster in the 3rd Edition System Reference Document.

What size are the graphics?

The monster images will be created as mostly 1/4 page (5.5"x4.25" @300dpi) graphics.  Some (at least 20% and probably quite a bit more) will be done as full page graphics @300dpi or larger.  However, to keep your costs down, I'll scale them down to 600 pixels by roughly 400 pixels which is appropriate for most web site and other electronic uses.  These "web-size" graphics are available at less expensive reward levels.

Which creatures will be in the collection?

If we meet our initial goal, we'll have a little over 100 of the most common creatures:
  • 4 kobolds (when there are multiples of a creature, you'll get 4 versions where the weapons vary and/or the poses change slightly, etc.)
  • 4 goblins
  • 4 hobgoblins
  • 4 lizardfolk
  • 4 orcs
  • 4 drow
  • 4 mummies
  • 4 zombies
  • 4 skeletons
  • 2 stirges
  • 2 pixies
  • 2 will o wisp
  • 2 gnolls
  • 2 troglodytes 
  • 2 gargoyles
  • 2 ghouls
  • 2 vampires
  • 2 wights
  • 2 rakshasa
  • 2 worgs
  • 2 rust monsters
  • 2 centaur
  • 2 minotaur
  • 2 ogres
  • 2 trolls
  • 2 owlbears
  • 2 horses
  • 1 medusa
  • 1 dryad
  • 1 lich
  • 1 spectre
  • 1 hellhound
  • 1 werewolf
  • 1 werebear
  • 1 wererat
  • 1 cyclops
  • 1 griffon
  • 1 pegasus
  • 1 unicorn
  • 1 gelatinous cube
  • 1 treant
  • 6 dragons (black, blue, green, red, white, gold)
  • 4 elementals (air, earth, fire, water)
  • 3 giants (frost, hill, storm)
  • 1 to be determined
But of course, that's the tip of the iceberg.  There are more giant types, naga, metallic dragons, genies, angels, demons, and a slew more!  So for every $1000 we'll add 6 to 10 more creatures (the exact amount varies) that we exceed our goal, we'll add another creature to the collection!  As mentioned above, I'd love to have the project's artists do every creature in the 3.5 SRD.
If we get close to the initial goal, I'll post a poll to help determine the next 10-20 creatures.  If it looks like we'll be able to do all of them, I'll do another poll and so on.

Who is behind the project?

First, let me introduce the artists and which of the samples each artist created:

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