Saturday, July 7, 2012

Post 2K - What's Gone on Before and Where Are We Going

When I started this blog back in May of 2009, I really didn't know what I wanted to do with it or where I wanted it to go. I was, for lack of a better term, blogging without focus. I'd liked to think that after 2,000 posts, I've gotten somewhat of a focus.

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know I love OSR type games. It's my gaming weakness if you will. I run a weekly Adventurer Conqueror King or Die! campaign on Saturday nights via G+ Hangouts and the TableTop Forge App and monthly 2-3 session Arcs of the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. No longer do I just talk the talk, I now walk the walk.

Still, this blog is the vehicle that got me back to my gaming roots while at the same time opening my eyes to the other RPGs that are out there - I do like peeking at the independent games.  Heck, I even played in an Apocalypse World (worst written great game out there) game session with some gaming personalities that were almost intimidating to game with. Alright, to be honest, they were intimidating.

Sometimes I feel like I'm out of my league. That I don't belong among the other tenured and much better written and certainly more worthwhile to folks' actual gaming experience type blogs. It's the same feeling I get before every game session that I'm GM'ing. There's that bit of self doubt. I've decided to let that bit of self doubt keep me honest. It's the piece of encouragement that will ensure that I don't put in half assed work on this blog. Not guaranteeing the results won't be half assed, but at least the effort won't be ;)

Where's the Tavern going in the future?

Well, I'm pretty much enamored with the DCC RPG at the moment. It has an excellent Old School Feel rule system and a really generous community of Third Party Publishers. So yes, that will be a good part of my focus.

ACKS is my campaign game of choice at the moment, so it too will get some attention.

I'll be kicking the tires of D&D Next whenever it is required. I do want it to be a success. I don't expect it will be the success that WotC needs to satisfy the Gods of Hasbro (Lawful Evil I suspect).

Indie games that draw my attention will obviously get... attention.

I had started a series of articles that were going to compare the initial RPGs that were released in the Golden Age of the hobby. I need to get back to that.

Well, that and a barrel full of monkeys (shit! I need to use that in my Magical Toys project I'm working on). Sometimes the blog writes itself, and when it does, who am I to force it to change direction?

If nothing else, I expect fun times ahead :)

Dungeon Crawling Like It's 1983! (Now With Wilderness Encounter Tables and Goldenrods)

I'm amazed at the pieces of gaming goodness I'm finding in the old, now 2-piece, Blue Trapper Portfolio.

Apparently I started gaming in February of 1982, as my first character's sheet has that as his creation date. I thought it was back in 1981, but character sheets don't lie (except when it comes to character stats it seems).

Here's another dungeon "One-Sheet", this time labeled "level 2". My God but I was giving away crazy loot for little reason back then. Assuming this stuff was from 1983 (the Wilderness encounter charts match up with the release of the MMII in 1983) I was gaming for a year or so when I made these masterpieces.


Just as a side note, I apparently have 1 each of the "Goldenrod AD&D Character Sheets" that aren't written on. Master copies, if you will, for my father to take to work and use the job copier. I think I need to scan these up as historical archives.

Mini Review - Waypoints 0: The Village of Cowfold (Generic Sandbox)

I love stuff for my games that is a quick read and an easy "drop" wherever I might need it. It looks like the Waypoint series is going to be much like the Toys For the Sandbox series in that way, although they approach things from different angles.

Whereas TFTSB is generally centered on a location, person or event with multiple ways for it to play out, it looks like the Waypoints series will focus on locations and the personalities and what makes them living and breathing for the PCs.

The first release in the Waypoints series focuses on the people of the Village of Cowfold, and although I don't feel like we are truly getting to see the majority of the town, we are getting what we need to make it real for the players as they come through. The NPC personality write ups are top notch, even if I won't use 90% of each write up directly. What I mean is that the write ups will allow the GM to visualize the NPCs personality and motivations, and roleplay them with more depth than most NPCs tend to get.

The map is by Matt Jackson, so you know it will be good.

There is talk on the Chubby Monster Games blog about moving on from the generic, stat-less format of Waypoints 0 to licensed stat blocks in the back. I'm not so sure that is needed, as everything I need to run with the Village of Cowfold was included in this stat-less edition. Still, if it gets the series added visibility it can only be a good thing. I saw that because The Village of Cowfold is top notch sandbox material, and if the rest of the series follows suit I'd hope it would get the attention it deserves.

Waypoints 0: The Village of Cowfold is available for free, so you have no excuse not to grab yourself a copy. 

From the blurb:

Waypoints #0: The Village of Cowfold is released for FREE as an introductory product to showcase our future plans. This issue of Waypoints will peel back the many layers of an interesting and unique medieval village, offering a look at what makes it tick, the various histories, and the tangled web of the inhabitants. Hooks, descriptions, details and a map help flesh out this supplement so that that provides any Gamemaster with a no-prep option to help inject a breath of fresh air into their campaigns.

Welcome to the Village of Cowfold, a village your players may never want to leave.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dungeon Crawling Like It's 1983!

I wish i had kept all of my old dungeons from when I was a kid / teenager, but alas, most are long gone and probably best forgotten.

I did find this "One-Sheet", if you will, with a dungeon map on front and the keyed locations on the back.

Who needed anything but number of monsters, loot and possible traps when writing up your dungeon? Anything else is just taking up wasted space.

At least I didn't use every single square on the graph paper for the dungeon - there was some actual space being used to keep it all from falling in on itself.

I'm going to guess circe 1983 or so - earlier and I wouldn't have left any free space on the map and much later I would be including "Dungeon Privies", "Air Vents" and "Waste Disposal Chutes".

Still, I notice there is little rhyme or reason as to why this assortment of creatures would be in a dungeon, let alone why they aren't dying off from lack of food (apparently I did include a dungeon stream, which provides water AND is where I place 5 Giant Crocodiles).

Ah, the good old days, when "It just is" was the answer to the rarely spoken question: "How the fuck did all this stuff get in here in the first place?"

Mini Review - Leagues of Adventure (Ubiquity System)

I really do like the Ubiquity RPG system. I think it accomplishes much of what Savage Worlds can accomplish without a lot of the system weight that get's attached. Lets call Ubiquity my favorite system that I've yet to play.

Leagues of Adventure is the latest game to use the Ubiquity RPG Engine. Notice I said "game", not sourcebook. Unlike Savage Worlds, which has a core rules set and source books that feed off that, games that use the Ubiquity system are just that - stand alone games.

That can be both good and bad. It's great if you want to pick up a single set of rules and run with it all in one package. Not so great if you are getting the same core rules restated for each genre that you pick up. It is, admittedly, a small quibble, as the Ubiquity core rules are much lighter than those that constitute Savage Worlds.

Leagues of Adventures covers the late Victorian Age. It is not an era I have much experience with, either in fiction or gaming - Sherlock Holmes is about as close as I usually come. Thankfully, LoA comes with extensive write ups of time lines, important historical personalities and world leaders that enable even a Victorian Novice like myself enough pieces to drop in front of the players to make it sound legit. Very well done and extremely well researched. I enjoyed this section as both a gamer and a former history major ;)

Of course, as fun as the historical Victorian is, Leagues of Adventure takes things just a little bit further:
In Leagues of Adventure the boundaries of science are being pushed far beyond their historical limits. While hardly commonplace, mole machines, airships, and even time-traveling machines do exist. Some are already in the hands of governments and Leagues, while others remain the personal property of their slightly mad inventors.
Therein lies the hook of LoA - it's Jules Verne and than some. Our history and just a tad more. Victorian with pulp. I like it.

Would I run this before Hollow Earth Expedition? I don't know? I'm definitely more grounded personally in the Pulp Era of the 30's, but League of Adventures certainly gives the tools to allow one to bridge the gap.

Did I mention the extensive bookmarking of the PDF?  Very well done.

From the blurb:

Welcome to Leagues of Adventure a rip-roaring setting of exploration and derring-do in the late Victorian Age!

Leagues of Adventure is a roleplaying game set in the late Victorian Age, a gritty steampunk game where the hostile natives are a serious threat, a pulp action game where the characters eat savage warriors for breakfast, a highly cinematic one which allows the characters to swing single-handedly from the underside of an early airship while bare-knuckle boxing pterodactyls over a lost plateau.
Truth be told, it’s whatever you want it to be!

Whatever drives your character, there’s a world packed with danger, excitement, and mystery out there waiting to be explored!

So take an action packed trip into the world of Leagues of Adventure!

Mini Review - The Manor #2 (OSR Fanzine)

For those of you following at home, the short adventure included in Issue #1 of the Manor is what I used to kick off my sandboxie ACKS campaign about 2 months ago. In a week my party should be arriving at their destination, and I already see that I'll be using the latest issue of the Manor when they do.

Hugo's Healing Potions will most assuredly get used in my current campaign, maybe as soon as next week. I love the personalities that are presented, and the table of random customers / events can easily be used elsewhere (much like the Toys For the Sandbox series). When one article has multiple uses, you know it's damn good.

Smuggler's Inn has a unique hook. The setting local is unique too, and might require planning ahead to get the players there, but that's rarely a problem. Very interesting personalities here too, as well as a list of new magic items, one of which I think I have a player who would kill to get their hands on it. I may yoke that for a party quest at some point.

Stange Things You May Find Under the Cot is a random list of what you may find under the bed your are sleeping in in an Inn. Some of these "things" can turn into adventure seed in and of themselves.

Poetry Slam: Orc appears on the inside back cover, not the regular PDF. Let me explain. Tim has provided both a regular PDF version, and a "print out double sided and fold and staple" version, in case you want a physical version to love and to hold. The Orc poetry appears on the PDF for the cover, inside rear. Hope that's clearer now.

So far Tim is batting 2 for 2. Very impressive. (and I knew I recognized Matt Jackson's map work)

Almost forgot, the Manor is systemless, so it is easy to use with any Fantasy RPG system you are looking to use.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Of Good & Evil, Law & Chaos, Games & Real Life

(I made a post touching on this on G+, but this is a bit long for a G+ comments, so I'm blogging and sending it to G+ too)

In a typical fantasy RPG session, a "good" aligned character will probably be involved in more direct violence (killing, maiming, etc) in the very first encounter than a real life police officer will have shooting incidents in a 20 year career (as a side note, most Law Enforcement Officers will have Zero Shooting incidents in their career). By the end of the first adventure, PCs will probably experience more violence than most soldiers see in their entire career (yep, that's more of a peace time quote, but overall it is accurate).

Now, spread those adventures over a 10 level career, with 4 to 6 adventures per level, and you have a shit load of violence that your "good" aligned PCs have been involved in. A shit load of blood on those hands. Not all is guaranteed to have been "evil blood".

See, I really don't think you can put "real life" morals into RPGs, unless the point of the game you are trying to play is basically about "real life morals".

I'm not saying you should choose a play style that makes the folks at your table uneasy (unless, again, that is the point of the game - what might fit into a CoC game won't work in Weird West or Gangbusters). What I am saying is that judging "in game actions" with a real life moral compass is not just an act of futility, but is an act that attempts to move gaming into "real life". Wasn't the idea that gamers couldn't distinguish between the two put to death in the later 80s and early 90s?

Here's the take on alignment from the Adventurer Conqueror King System Core Rulebook (quoted here for the sake of this discussion- page 37). Notice the choices are the classic Three Alignments, and that Lawful doesn't mean "good" necessarily and Chaotic isn't a synonym for "Evil"? Neutral is where the vast majority fall. Italics where present are added by me.

As an aside, this is in my mind a workable alignment system that doesn't pigeonhole PCs' actions based upon a narrow definition of alignment.


In the Adventurer Conqueror King System, your character will
enter a world of ceaseless violent struggle, where civilization
is ever-assailed by forces intent on its destruction. In this
perilous realm, he will be called to choose a side: Will he pledge
to defend civilization and its allies against those who seek to
destroy it? Will he sell his sword to any who can offer fame or
fortune? Or will he become an agent of entropy and destruction
undermining peace and order? This choice is called Alignment,
and the three choices are Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic.

Law: Lawful beings believe that civilization is worth fighting
for. Despite its vices and villainies, civilization must be defended
against those who would destroy it. Lawful beings tend to see
wars among civilizations as aiding the cause of Chaos, and so
they seek peace among Lawful civilizations where possible.
However, Lawful characters are not pacifists, nor are they
necessarily altruists. Indeed, most would think something was
wrong with a hero who turned down fame and fortune; chests
of gold, magnificent weapons, comely consorts, and grants of
land are, after all, the rightful rewards for great deeds of valor
on behalf of Law.

Neutrality: Neutral beings generally enjoy the benefits of law
and civilization, but it is not something they directly fight for.
They tend to focus on their own ends, whether those are family,
fame, fortune, pleasure, or power. A Neutral mercenary might
be found fighting on behalf of Law or Chaos; a Neutral farmer
tends his crops and pays his taxes, whether to the Patriarch or
the Lich-King.

Chaos: Chaotic beings actively seek to destroy civil society.
Chaotic characters are often madmen or cultists of forgotten,
chthonic gods. To the extent they have any order at all, societies
of Chaotic characters are ruled by force and fear, and are often
characterized by all manner of corruption and vice. Even
decadent Lawful civilizations at least pay homage to civilizing
virtue, but chaotic civilizations embrace their corruption.

Note that a character’s choice of Alignment doesn’t determine
whether or not he takes care of his children, cheats on his wife,
or steals from the merchant’s guild. It is concerned only with the
weighty issue of where his allegiance lies in the grand struggles
of existence. To have an alignment of Lawful or Chaotic is to
have chosen a side in this perpetual struggle. Many people,
choosing no side, are Neutral, although it is important to
remember that most Neutrals still want the protection of Law
even though they are not willing to die for it. (To paraphrase
George Orwell, Neutral humans sleep peaceably in their beds
at night only because Lawful heroes stand ready to do violence
on their behalf.)

Human vices, such as greed, lust, and vanity, are widespread
and common even in Lawful societies. But Chaotic societies
are characterized by their monstrous vices: Genocide, human
sacrifice, wanton destruction, cannibalism, necrophilia, and so
on. Evil is all-too-human in every civilization, but Chaotic is 
something both more and less than human.

TableTop Forge Kickstarter is in It's Final Stretch - Here's Pushing For the 3D Dice Roller!

The TableTop Forge Kickstarter has 3 days to go. It has already blown past it's original goal, numerous stretch goals and has one final goal - 3D dice.

Let me type that gain - 3D Dice. Rollable with your mouse. Holy crap! 

I love my VTTs. I've supported most of them. I've used more than my fair share. TableTop Forge is the VTT I've moved up to.

Lets see if they can hit 40k and we can roll some dice!  

Wait a second? Those dice better include the wacky DCC RPG Dice! ;)

Here's the latest update from the TableTop Forge Kickstarter:

We've taken our coolest level and packed it with all the best goodies. Anyone who pledges the Elven Longsword level will get:

- The Full Backpack
- A 4-hour gaming session with the creator of Far West, Mecha, Spark, Dungeon World, or Narosia
- Eureka: 501 Adventure Plots to Inspire Game Masters, by Engine Publishing
- Masks: 1,000 Memorable NPCs for Any Roleplaying Game, by Engine Publishing
- The full 82-card Tarot of Dreams deck fully integrated with your Tabletop Forge game and ready to play.

Of course, you also get to see the app during development, submit bug and feature requests before anyone else and have your name immortalized in the app's donor list. 

And before you ask, yes, anyone who pledges above the Elven Longsword level also gets the tarot deck and the PDFs from Engine Publishing.

We're less than $4,000 away from our final stretch goal too, so if we pass that everyone gets 3D rolling dice that you can roll with your mouse. How cool will that be?

Mini Review - Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror (DCC RPG Adventure)

I've been dying to talk about AL-1, Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror (by Daniel Bishop) for nearly two weeks now. How can that be when it was just released this morning? Purple Duck Games was nice enough to send me a preview copy of Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror to peek at and it was damn good. I just wasn't able to talk about it. Grrrr!

First things first - it's a 2nd level adventure, and at the moment the only second level adventure released for the DCC RPG. Which means I probably won't have a chance to run it until September or later, but that is fine.

The map is laid out like a classic fantasy RPG dungeon map, and it looks great. I should mention at this point that there is a copy of the Referee's map at the end of the adventure, but this time without the rom numbers. The unnumbered map is also included as a hi-res stand alone JPG. Yep, Purple Duck Games understands what is useful to enhance a game session being run online via one of the various VTTs or even Google+ Hangouts. It's little things like this that mean a lot.

Did I mention that the PDF is bookmarked? Unlike larger PDFs, this wasn't needed, but again is a nice touch and certainly useful for navigation.

I am going to make one small suggestion for the future - maybe a second copy of the GM's map can be added in the next release (this suggestion applies to pretty much all adventure publishers). It would make reading the PDF that much easier if I could have a copy of the map and a copy of the PDF side by side on my monitor as I read through the adventure. If you think about it, this is why the early TSR adventures were printed on the inside of the removable adventure cover - so the map and the text could be read side by side. Just a thought. (Edit: Purple Duck Games is already updating the file to include a sperate Referee's Map - literally minutes after this post went live. My kind of publisher ;)

Back to the adventure. There are a handful of magic items. Nearly all are single use, and maybe not even that many uses. Still, a party that perseveres to the end should be amply rewarded. Well, maybe not amply, but rewarded on some level ;)

As for the adversaries, they range from strength in numbers to damn dangerous on their own, which is one of the reasons I like the DCC RPG so much - everything can be a threat.

I'd love to delve deeper into the adventure itself - it is a wizard's workshop and you can guess that much of the fun is related to that fact, but I'd hate to give away a spoiler. I suspect it will be a decent challenge to a 2nd level DCC RPG party and I look forward to running it.

Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror is available for $2.75 at RPGNow.

From the blurb:

Terrible horrors lurk in the workshop of Dellspero the Philosopher. Though Dellspero has been missing for ages, does his lair still contain the secret magics he worked with?

What terrible dancing horrors did Dellspero unleash when he offended the Chaos Lords.

Bone Hoard of the Dancing Horror is a Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game adventure designed for 2nd-level characters or can be easily adapted for use with higher or lower level characters.

All products in the Adventure Locale line present one or more dungeons that can be quickly picked up and used for a session of the Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

B/X Companion Available (Finally) in PDF on RPGNow

I don't know how I missed this, but the B/X Companion (by JB over at the B/X Blackrazor Blog) is finally available in PDF.  I say finally, as I've had the print version since the 2nd (3rd?) printing and found it to be an awesome resource for both the D&D B/X boxed sets as well as Labyrinth Lord. I've yet to have a chance to put it into action, but one day I do intend to.

So, if you've been itching to get a copy of the B/X Companion but noticed it's sold out in dead tree format, or if you want to put it on that snazzy new Google Tablet that ships in about a week or two, now your chance to own the PDF.

Here's the blurb:

The B/X Companion is a re-imagining of what could have been, had the 1981 editions of the Original Fantasy Role-Playing Game (the Basic and Expert sets edited by Tom Moldvay, Dave Cook, and Steven Marsh) been followed up by a third Companion volume promised in their pages. Using the same format as the original volumes, and working from the hints and info provided in those 1981 editions, the B/X Companion provides rules for high level play, including levels 15th through 36th, 60+ new spells, 100+ new magic items, 80+ new monsters, rules for running dominions, mass combat & siege warfare, astral travel, and more...all in 64 pages.

My DCC Adventures Finally Arrived!

Goodman Games mailed the package out on June 22 - they arrived either on the second or the third of July. I get stuff from Finland in 2 to 3 days, California apparently a week and a half.

It would have been nice to have brought them along for yesterday's beach reading instead of the Cosmic Patrol Quick-Start, but alas, it wasn't meant to be.

Of course, all this reminds me that I'll be running a 2 session DCC RPG Arc starting this coming Monday, July 9th (Funnel Time!) via the UA-LC. I need to see how many i have signed up, send out reminders, and see if I have any slots left to fill.

Fun Fun :)

My Few Thoughts on the Cosmic Patrol Quick-Start Rules (from Free RPG Day)

I've been meaning to read the Cosmic Patrol Quick-Start Rules: The Kahn Protocal since I got them shortly after Free RPG Daqy. I have the Cosmic Patrol rules in PDF, and was never able to get myself to sit down and read them straight through. They looked interesting, but I wasn't quite grasping the rules.

I tried reading them this past Saturday after my hell week at work, and fell asleep somewhere on the second page. I blamed that on the week from hell.

Yesterday I took this with me to the town beach on the lake and I just wasn't able to get through it. The rotating narrator idea throws one hell of a wrench in my preconceived notion of what constitutes an RPG, and Cosmic Patrol doesn't fit the definition for me. I have no idea how to run it, or I do, but don't feel it would ever run right that way with folks with mainline RPG experience.

I never finished reading the quickstart of Comic Patrol either.

A July 4th Thought - Selling Magic Like the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Sells Fireworks

Pennsylvania can be a weird place, and it doesn't get much weirder than around the 4th of July. The state allows the sale of fireworks in licensed fireworks stores, but only allows the sale of basic, pretty much non-explosive fireworks to state residents. You read that right. They only allow the sale of the larger, more explosive and more dangerous fireworks to those that can show out-of-state ID. BTW, every state surrounding PA pretty much makes possession of what their residents can buy in PA illegal. Weird ass and funny shit.

What if there were a city-state that had a similar policy. It allowed for a licensed "magic store" to sell dangerous magic items, but only to citizens of other states. Maybe only citizens of states it's at war with, and all of the items are cursed in some way, and more dangerous to the user and his allies than the benefits it grants.

Or in DCC, a magic guild that sells powerful spells that aren't in the book, but only to non-citizens, and all of the spells have really harsh corruption and misfire charts.

Maybe I should pick up some restricted magic before I head back to the city myself ;)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Wrapping Up the First Half of My Vacation - The Productive Half is Coming Up

My wife has to go back to work on Thursday, so we are heading back to the city tomorrow. The time in the country has been great for brainstorming, not so hot for actually putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).

Tomorrow night, all day thursday and friday day time I'll (hopefully) be getting some productive writing time in. I have lots of ideas bouncing around my head, and little time to put them down. Thankfully they seem to be lodge in pretty good, and the scribbled notes should serve to jar them loose when necessary.
No DCC Ducks, at least not yet. Soon though.

No one says you have to play with ducks ;)

Duck Crawl Classics ;)

I went to the beach at Lake Wallenpaupack (Pocono Mountains, PA) this afternoon, more for the change of pace and the idea that I'm on vacation than anything else. I brought some of my DCC RPG adventures and Crawl! 1 and 2 for some reading after the swim.

What stuck out in my mind? The ducks. Not just swimming among the human swimmers, but bringing their chicks to the shore to beg food from folks like me. Their lack of any feeling apprehension was pretty cool.

Of course, it got me thinking. You know what Dungeon Crawl Classics is missing? Ducks!

Yes, ducks. Not the small, flying kind, but the big, humanoid kind. The old Runequest type (no idea if they are in MRQ or RQ6). Silly big old ducks.

I think I'll write it up after I get through my previous writing commitments ;)

Are Your Proficient With Your ACKS?

Some of the proficiencies in the Adventurer Conqueror King System RPG are damn near impossible to pull off successfully as written.

Acrobatics requires a roll of 20+ to successfully tumble in combat, which would infer the +2 mentioned earlier in the proficiency description applies to this roll to, making it effectively a roll of 18+ on a D20. Why even bother?

Knowledge checks succeed on a roll of 11+, bu the PC is consider an expert in his or her field? An expert is only successful 50% of the time?

How about the healing skill? If the PC takes the skill twice, on a roll of 18+ he can neutralize poison, cure disease or cure light woulds. 15% chance, and it takes two skill points to even have a chance.

Did I mention that you don't get to add an ability modifier to the proficiency rules as written? That was probably the first thing I houseruled into the ACKS system, and it hasn't broken anything yet.

I simply ask the player the first time a proficiency is used that requires a proficiency check "what ability do you think would apply to that skill?" They explain their answer and if I agree, we make a note of it and the ability score bonus carries on for that skill whenever it may crop up. If I don't agree, we discuss it until we find an answer that does, even if that answer is "no bonus".

From my perspective, making the proficiencies more usable makes them more relevant and makes the game by extension that much more fun.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Working on Game Writing Stuff Tonight - Thankfully My Assistant is Sleeping

I'm trying to use my time away from home to do some writing I wasn't able to put too much time into this week, what with the Hell Week I had at work that carried past working hours.

Ashley, my usual assistant, decided to join us on our vacation this time. well, she really didn't have much of a choice, as she has a vet appointment at 11am in the morning. I figure I'll have to start looking for her around 10am in her usual hiding spots. In the meantime, she's sleeping on her designated towel / blanket.

I've gotten a peek at the artwork of the artist that will be illustrating much of the project I'm working on - I am f'n psyched!

Building the DCC Monthly Prize List - Crawl! Fanzine is on the List :)

Dak Ultimak posted a comment on the previous blog post:
I'd be happy to donate a copy of Crawl every month, and I'd like to publish the winning stuff every month too! You can add an issue of #1 & #2 into the prize pool now. I'll send them directly!
How awesome is that? He's also looking to publish the winning stuff from each month's contest.  Hot damn!  Of course, that means prizes will no longer be strictly random. I think I'll have to add those that donate prizes to a sort of "judges table", where we vote on the best and there is a simple point system. But really, who cares about that - what matters is not only do I have a bunch of Appendix N Adventures to give out in print, we'll have an issue of the Crawl! Fanzine to give out each month in print!

And don't forget Purple Sorcerer Games and Thick Skull Adventures, who donated PDFs to last month's inaugural DCC contest without ever being asked to do so. The DCC community certainly rocks :)

Finalizing the Idea for the July DCC RPG Free Loot Contest

Over on G+, James Aulds had the following ideas for DCC RPG contests:
a new zero level occupation with weapon and trade good,   a monster, statted and described, more lucky signs/ star signs names.
Then Jon Marr from Purple Sorcerer made the following offer:
If you do the 0-level occupation contest, then I'll compile them into a list and add a "Tenkar's Occupation List" to the 0-level party generator. :)
I think we know what July's contest will will be: 0-level occupation contest with weapon and trade good. Get thinkin'! Don't post until the contest goes live, which probably be closer to the end of the month. I'll also mention this one on the DCC Forums over at Goodman Games, which I didn't for the last one. The last contest sort of took on it's own life ;)

Should be fun :)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Brainstorming Some DCC Contest Ideas

I'm really happy the way last month's Dungeon Crawl Classics Adventure Giveaway went. From an extra PDF copy of DCC 67, to two of the independent publishers of DCC adventures giving away some free swag, all the way through to 27 entries that give GMs of just about any fantasy game well rounded and detailed NPCs, everyone was a winner. (not to mention the Toys For the Sandbox

I'd like to make that a monthly tradition.

As it stands, I'll have two print copies of Brave Halfling's first seven (1, 1a, 2-6) Appendix N to give away as I get them. I'm hopeful I can get some occasional comp PDF copies from the other 3rd party publishers to fill in the monthly gaps (or just add to the prize pool to make it even more awesome).

Of course, this leads to the need to think up monthly contests that not only link into the DCC RPG but also give something back to the DCC community by the nature of the entries themselves (much like the detailed Zero Level PCs that were the entries in last month's contest. Oh, and it can't be overly difficult, as it would not be overly fun ;)

I figure the next contest will require one to create a Patron - Name, Title and a sentence or two describing him / her / shim / it / whatnot. No tables or spells. Just the kernel.

That should cover July (which will get posted when I get the loot to give away).

August may simply ask for an Adventure Title and a sentence or two description.

Like I said, entries that give back to the DCC community.

After that I'm stumped, at least for now.

There is no prize awarded for giving me some contest ideas, except for the prizes / gifts / loot that will be given away as we get to said contests.

So, help a brother out :)

Mini Review - Crawl! #2 (DCC RPG Fanzine)

I'm really enjoying the second issue of Crawl! When I read the first issue (I have the cool black cover version) I had just started meandering my way through the DCC Rulebook. I'm now going back and rereading the first issue and I understand things so much better. It was cool before, but it's damn near awesome now. Just to let you know, the 2nd issue is even more so ;)

Crawl! Issue #2 deals with treasure in the DCC RPG. Treasure is handled differently then most OSR / OGL games, as magic items are not just uncommon, they are damn near unheard off at the lower levels. Crawl #2 has a very nice treasure system that works well with the flavor of the DCC RPG, for both special and lucky items in addition to the valuables the party may acquire while adventuring. Heck, this whole extended Loot section is worth more than the price of admission by itself.

The personalities of the Sunken City add a bit of depth to that adventure and I may use pieces of it in the next DCC RPG Arc I run. Jon, you done good.

There are some new, optional combat rules, but the page of new equipment is excellent. I think I will try yo sell my players a "Lucky" Ukulele ;)

For a mere $3.50Crawl! #2 is chuck full of DCC goodness.

Rolling Orc Flambeau (an ACKS Session Recap)

With a gag in your mouth, no one can hear you scream
My players never cease to surprise me. When I think I've seen it all, I suddenly learn that I quite simply "haven't seen it all". (for those playing along at home, last night used a highly modified Trouble at Karam's Claim 1-Sheet)

Last week's game was a highly distracted session, where the most vile beast was the heretofore unknown "Research Assistant" in all of it's varied guises. That and drop ins.  Last week was almost a wasted session, but it did set up this week perfectly. It also ensured that we gamed last night, as otherwise we would have one nearly wasted session followed by two weekends off (as I'm on vacation and definitely can't play next weekend. The wife thinks I moved the departure day to the Poconos back one day to accommodate this morning 9 am yoga class, and that works for me ;)

Anyhow, on to the highlights:

The party comes across a room that is used as a smithy. The door on the north wall has stuff piled in front of it. They wisely assume it is holding something in, and the party prepares for combat as the refuse is cleared away. The Lizardman Gladiator steps into the doorway as the door is pulled back, revealing an anxious and hungry carrion crawler. Eight attacks, two hits, one failed save and the lizzie is paralyzed and out of the fight (and on the floor). Magic-user promptly casts sleep, knocking out the baddie that then falls on top of the prone lizzie. Too bad the lizzie's player was still returning from GoogleCon or whatnot ;)

Later there is a fight with six orcs in the mine's main tunnel. The human fighter gets on a tear with his cleave attacks and before you know it, there's just 2 orcs left standing, one of which is seriously injured. The orcs morale fails and they throw themselves on the ground for mercy. Vesper, the elf tells the orcs "we only need one of you..." at which point the party's goblin henchman Gooban puts a heavy crossbow bolt into the injured orc, killing him at the elf finishes his sentence "so whoever talks most lives." Moot point.

The living orc squeals like a pig, and is promptly hog tied and gagged as the party explored it's options. Seeing that there is basically a gauntlet to run if they want to proceed, the human fighter, James, decided they should push the mining cart that their captured orc is currently residing in down the hall and into the group of orcs at the far end. Curio, the Magic-user, decides to douse the orc in highly flammable alcohol before the cart is put into motion. Rolling Orc Flambeau - fire and torture in one simple act. Priceless.

Needless to say, a well placed sleep spell and the flaming cart of doom enable the party to survive the encounter with minimal damage. They are rolling well, and my dice are roll like poop on a stick. That's with me changing about half the orcs in the adventure into orgillions. Ah well.

Flash forward to the final battle. Two ogrillions, eight orcs and an ogre with a magical two-handed sword. Magic-user casts his final sleep spell. 8+8 HD of creatures slept. All fall but the ogre, who is only saved from sleep because he has 4+1 HD and not a mere 4HD. He lands one hit during the final battle - and rolls a 1 on a d10 (plus adjustments). Like I said, I was rolling like shit last night.

Next game is in two weeks. I leave for the Poconos in two hours. Life is good :)
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