Saturday, September 8, 2012

Gamer / Publisher Needs Help With Medical Bills

If you don't know Mike Garcia, you should. He's the main man behind Occult Moon, the fine folks that bring you Toys For the Sandbox on a weekly basis.

Mike got injured (severely) while working for Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and has had medical problems and bills relating to his injury ever since.

If you can spare some change to a few bucks towards his medical bills, that's awesome. If you can't, and in these trying days of the economy that seems to be getting more and more likely, just pass this post on, so maybe others that can "will".

Gamers are a pretty tight community, and I've seen us come together time and time again for out fellow gamers. Lets keep the tradition going strong.

Mike's giving away a gaming supplement for free to those who donate - Blood of Morpheus. Actually, in truth, he's practically giving it away to any who are willing to even think about donating toward his medical bills - consider yourself on the honor system. It sells for $3 on RPGNow, and no, I haven't done a review for it, because I helped to edit it ;)

All that being said, if you can't donate - please pass this on to others.

48 Hours Into the Poll - 165 Votes!


Damn sweet! 5 days to go, so if you haven't voted (or even better, are looking to play in October) vote (and comment if you would like).

Top 3 contenders at the moment are:

Labyrinth Lord with 38 votes

Blood & Treasure with 36 votes

Swords & Wizardry Complete with 34 votes.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is leading with 5 mentions in the comments section of the "Poll Post" - vocal fans there ;)

I think I'll go with Porky's advice, and give a quick paragraph on each, maybe split into 4 posts with 4 systems to a post - something t bang out during "Football Sunday" :)

Review - Blood & Treasure - Part II - I've Got Class

I almost didn't want to do another review post on Blood & Treasure at this point. Why? Because I don't want to influence the poll that is currently going on at this blog. Swords & Wizardry Complete and Blood & Treasure are fighting for a very close place behind Labyrinth Lord.

That being said, running a game of Blood & Treasure would be a blast ;)

Anyhow, lets look at classes in Blood & Treasure.

We have Clerics and their subclass Druids; Fighters and their subclasses of Barbarians, Duelists, Paladins and Rangers, Magic-Users with their subclass of Sorcerer and Thieves with their subclasses of Assassin, Bard and Monk.

A few things to point out:

Assassins are in the game as PCs. It's just like AD&D again, without the assassination chart but with spells ;)

Duelists, which I only remember as an NPC class back in issue 70 (71?) of Dragon are a PC class. If you want to play a lightly armored "fighter", this is the class to take.

If you remember Sorcerers from 3x, you should feel comfortable with the Blood & Treasure version of the class. He also gets a few weapons beyond that of a Magic-user that he can use.

Bards - again, similar to the 3x version of the class. I'm always partial to bards. I like bards. I like this version of the bard. Well done.

Monks - A very workable version of the class. Not a subclass of cleric, which always seemed awkward and wrong to me anyway.

Barbarians - the only class with a d10 for HD. Fighters and it's other s subs are D8, Magic-users and Sorcerers are d4 and the rest are d6.

The subclasses have some high minimum scores to hit, especially if you make your players roll in order. Monks need Con, dex and Wis at 13+.

If you are comfortable with any edition of D&D from BECMI through 3x, Blood & Treasures character classes should have a familiar feel for you. This is definitely a good thing.

I'll put part III of the review up in a day or so.

Stars Without Number: Core - Now Available in Print on Demand

I just ordered my copy last night from RPGNow. It will certainly make my GAPs project a bit easier to research if I have a dead tree copy of Stars Without Number: Core.

Besides, the damn book is cool no matter how you look at it.

You can get it with either of the two covers - Star Field like the original free version of SWN of the Alien cover that has been seen previously on the SW: Core PDF.

I am not sure if the Star Field version comes with a free copy of the SWN: Core PDF, as it is linked from and packaged with the SWN Free Edition. In any case, I went with the Alien Cover myself ;)

(just realized that the Hard Cover version is only available with the Star Field cover. Ah well, I wanted Soft Cover anyway)

Friday, September 7, 2012

Some Current Observations on D&D Next - Or "Where the F' Has Grumpy Gone?"

A "Not So Grumpy Dwarf by Stephan Alvarado
FYI - The Grumpy Dwarf is still around - he just isn't looking at D&D Next much. Why? Because Mike (and Monte, who is long gone) is no longer pulling game design concepts out of his ass. WotC is no longer promising the world and the stars - their design goals seem to be closer to home.  Heck, even the current posting by Mike makes sense.

Yes, I dared to say it. Mike Mearls Makes Sense. Say that five times fast.

Lets look at Mikes' "Pearls of Wisdom" from this past Monday (yes, I am making light of it, but his observations are spot on. Just giving credit where credit is due):

The rules shall make things easier for the DM. This might seem like a funny concept, but it’s something that is a huge distinguishing point between RPGs and other types of games. In an RPG, the rules should help move things along, serve as a useful tool for the DM, make things clear and easy to understand for players, and enable the sort of creative, unpredictable, and evocative gaming that has kept tabletop RPGs going for 38 years.

The rules guiding a good RPG fade into the background. Once you learn the rules, you can apply them logically and easily. A good rule is easy to extend to situations that sit near it, giving the DM an easy tool to cover the gaps and any weird situations that arise. The rule doesn’t call attention to itself, disrupt the game, or cause extra work.

An RPG rule’s greatest goal is to ensure that the game is better for its presence. If you didn’t have that rule, you’d want it in the game.

This point is important because RPGs are the most open-ended form of game. The DM needs to make judgment calls and apply the rules, and having rules that are easy to extend or modify makes that much simpler.

I sincerely doubt that D&D Next will "my kind of RPG", but if Mike can accomplish this, he'll go a long way to bringing players back from all the editions of the D&D.

The rules shall balance character options, within reason. D&D gives players classes, races, spells, and other options to build characters. Although the game isn’t competitive, it’s supposed to give players a chance to take on a role as an adventurer in a fantasy setting. Some people want to be wizards, and others want to be warriors. The game should ensure that no single option, or small group of them, completely overshadows the rest. The game is about the adventures of fighters, rogues, wizards, and clerics, not a wizard and his or her lackeys.

In other words, the game shouldn’t punish someone for deciding that he or she wants a character like Sir Lancelot rather than someone based on Raistlin Majere (or vice versa). Whether your DM runs an absolutely killer dungeon or hands out artifacts like candy, the characters should each have the same basic opportunities to contribute to the adventure, stand out, and feel effective.

On the other hand, perfect balance is a complete myth. If people want to build broken characters, they are going to find ways to bend the system and options to completely outdo everyone else. When a broken combination appears, R&D needs to judge whether it’s a pervasive enough problem that it requires errata or another major fix. In the meantime, we can give DMs guidance and advice on dealing with overpowered characters. We can also issue suggested changes to tide groups over. It’s fine for players to find powerful combinations. R&D needs to determine if those combos are powerful enough to distort the game or transform one character class into the absolutely most powerful option (This is Grumpy sticking my head in to the conversation - notice how they are treating D&D Next like a MMORPG with this - I suspect there will be a big push to provide the rules in whatever electronic format WotC can use to lock them down and provide updates via subscription - whatever method that WotC uses to distribue this - and all the back catalogue they are promising - will probably not be consumer friendly)

Building everything in perfect balance would lead to a boring game. Additionally, the moment where a character does something notable is a moment created by localized imbalance. It’s interesting when the wizard uses feather fall to allow the rogue to float silently on to a hill giant’s back and stab it in the back from above. It’s heroic for a fighter to block a dungeon corridor and singlehandedly hold back a dozen ogres while the rest of the party retreats. We want our characters to shine. The rules step in to make that happen by giving the character the chance to accomplish something unique.

The rules fall down when, through no special effort, one character outshines everyone else combined. There’s also a problem when entire classes don’t have much to contribute. The system works if the average gamer can put together a character and have a good time. Thus, overall the classes should be balanced by giving them unique and interesting things to do that allow each one to stand out in its own way.

Not aiming for perfect balance. Targeting the average gamer?  Good stuff :)

Review - The Monolith From Beyond Space and Time - Part II - Head Scratching and All That Jazz

Despite the fact that it looks like a VD infected
penis of a Mongelman, I like the cover.
It's been over two weeks since the first part of my review of The Monolith From Beyond Time and Space. Why the delay?

Because I really wasn't sure what to make of the "adventure" as a whole. Actually, let me rephrase that just a tad. I wasn't sure what the "whole" of the adventure was supposed to accomplish, except to bring an ongoing campaign to a screeching halt. If the adventure doesn't outright kill your party, the survivors will probably be so fucked up, your campaign will be just as dead. This isn't ending your campaign on a high note - it's more like a slasher flick killing.

As a tournament module, where the players aren't invested in the characters or the campaign world, it could be a hoot to play. Heck, if you want the the players to be invested in it, make it like that whole season of Dallas that was retconned back in the day - after you basically skull fuck your players, it never really happened. Take them out for drinks and have a laugh. Because if I ran this for my regular group as a legitimate part of the campaign, street justice would fail to describe the acts of violence that would be directed at me.

All of which is a shame. The concept of the Monolith From Beyond Time and Space is a good one. Who doesn't want a little Lovecraftian weirdness and horror in their fantasy? I know I do. The key word is "little". One scoop of Mythos - the full half gallon in one sitting leaves one sick and never wanting more, ever again.

Monolith is certainly worth more for it's parts, than as a whole. A dungeon that reacts to the voiced thoughts or desires of the characters? I can run with that. Screwing with perceived distances in a certain location, due to magic or otherwise? Crapload of fun with that. Screwing with the free will of the players? Not so much fun. Damning them deeper and deeper, pretty much irrelevant of the decisions they make? Not my style of game.

I think any of the "screw the party" aspects of the Monolith are workable on their own. Maybe more for inspiration other than taken straight up, but James has some interesting scenarios that could play out well on their own (and probably toned down a bit). So, raid it for parts, plots and ideas if you will, but avoid adding this to your campaign unless you really want to burn it all behind you with no going back. Or run it as a one off at a con.

(yes, I see I used some pretty vulgar language above. it is what it is.)

Running Campaigns Like a Cable TV Series - A Way to Address the Extended Campaign Grind?

Joe England over on G+ has an interesting thread about running RPG sessions over G+ Hangouts. In it,  the discussion touches on one- shots, short arcs and campaign play. The answers as to preferences are pretty much as varied as the posters. So, of course, a thought occurred to me -

Why not run RPG campaigns like the cable channels run their TV series - 8 to 12 episodes that come to a natural climax - take an extended break, then pick it up in a few months time. Some players will probably stick around, some may drop and get replaced, but the setting and theme have continuity built in.

You would probably need a set day for the return of the new season, just so players don't forget, but it could work. Campaign play without the extended grind.

Workable, or not worth the extra work?

I Wonder How Close the Current Poll Mirrors Current Games Played Trends

For the poll asking folks to vote on "Which OSR game system they would want me to run on G+ Hangouts for them" I gave 16 choices and allow folks to vote for more than one choice.

About 12 hours later, there are 70 votes (!), and already a pattern can be seen:

Labyrinth Lord (21 votes) and Swords & Wizardry Complete (19 votes) are practically neck n' neck. They also have been around the longest - they are pretty much the "OSR Name Brands".

Blood & Treasure (14 votes) and Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (12 votes) and very recent releases and have gotten good feedback and word of mouth.

Crypts & Things and LotFP Weird Fantasy both have 11 votes. Both take classic assumptions and about FRPGs and make them something else.

Interesting results so far.  The should only get more interesting over the next week of the poll.

(As an asides, the supporters of AS&SH have been the most vocal in the comments section of the post linked to the poll)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Poll - Which "Old School" RPG Should I Run in October for the Fine Patrons of the Tavern?

Awesome Logo borrowed from Matt Jackson
There were a lot of suggestions for this poll, and I suspect I'll be doing this every month or two, so I trimmed the list to 16 choices (I'll do the next poll with other games from the list). You can pick as many as you want, and you can add a comment as to why a certain game should be the one chosen.

Comments will hold weight, so even something that doesn't come up 1st (but is close) may be the game chosen if the comments are persuasive enough.

Besides that, commenters will get some kind of consideration if I have too large a pool of players to accomodate - tho if I do 2 one-shots, that may put us at 12-14 players. So, if I have to go random picking players, commenters will get their name put in the hat twice. That should work ;)

So, take the poll and choose a game or games you would like to see played in October, then tell me "why" in the comments below.

Time to roll "Old School" ;)

New Site for Swords & Wizardry Goodness - S&W SRD

I found this site a few days ago and I still need to link it on the left side of this page, but figured I'd put it out there now.

It's the Swords & Wizardry SRD, which has the support of Frog God and Matt Finch.

A bunch of one-sheet adventures, a GM Shield to print out, character sheets and a whole lot more.

There's enough here to kick off a campaign and then some ;)

Will the Real Original Elf Class Please Stand Up? (Delving Deeper and S&W White Box)

Elves in Delving Deeper:

Elves begin as either fighters or magic-users, but can change class between adventures as often as desired. An elf becomes dual-classed when he changes class for the first time, and may thereafter use both the weaponry of a fighter and the spells of a magic-user simultaneously.

The dual-classed character must maintain separate experience point totals for each of his classes, with all earned experience going toward his currently active class. He uses the more favorable game statistics of both classes during play, but cannot act as a magic-user while wearing non-magical armor.

Elves in Swords & Wizardry White Box:

The Elven adventurer may choose, on any given day (perhaps when the moon rises) whether to use the capabilities of a Magic-user or of a Fighter. As a result, the Elf has access to either the Fighter or Magic-user chart for to-hit bonuses and saving throws, depending upon whether he donned steel that day or summoned up the power to cast spells.

Character Advancement: Elves may use either theFighter or Magic-user class advancement charts, to be announced at the start of an adventure. They are typically allowed to progress as high as fourth level as a Fighter or eighth level as a Magic-user.

Weapon/Armor Restrictions: Elves have general limitations similar to those of Magic-users, but are allowed to wear special Elven chain mail while adventuring as a Magic-user.

and the Variant Elf in S&W White Box:

Some Referees may want to allow the Elf to advance as a blend of Fighter and Magic-user instead of switching back and forth. In that model, the following abilities and advancement table might be used instead:

Weapon/Armor Restrictions: Elves would have the advantage of both magic and armor at the same time, so the Referee may limit the Elf to chain mail. Elves may not use shields when casting spells. Elves may not use two-handed weapons (two-handed sword, pole arm) when casting spells.

Why I do these comparisons when I don't have access to my OD&D Boxed Set escapes me, but whatever. I believe the S&W White Box non-variant elf class is truer to the OD&D rules, but I suspect the Delving Deeper version is probably how more groups played it.

Delving Deeper - A Look at Volume III - Monsters and Treasure Reference

Let me bring your attention to the cover of Delving Deeper Vol III - many layers of awesome! I love this cover. Maybe it's because it has a troll and a hairy footed hobbit halfling on the cover. Nice choice and well done.

If you liked the way the OD&D Boxed Set listed it's monsters, you like the set up of the monster section. If you are like me, and hate that part of the OD&D Boxed Set - you won't like it. I understand why it was done this way (emulating the original) but it doesn't mean it was the best choice. It's not horrible, and if this became your ruleset of choice I'm sure you'd grow accustomed to it fast enough, but  it is not user friendly. At least it will be addressed when they do the softcover.

The magic item section is the magic item section you'd expect. Seems pretty close to the other OSR rulesets I've read and the OD&D Boxed Set.

Damn, this means I have to go back and read DD Vol II, which I seem to have skipped over.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Look at Thieves and Skills in Blood & Treasure

Alright, I've looked at thieves in Delving Deeper and Swords & Wizardry Core. Now it's time to take a peek at thieves in Blood & Treasure, which means we have to look at skills.

Blood & Treasure doesn't try to emulate OD&D like the above two, but it certainly has it's feet roots in the OSR.

There is nothing that Thieves can do in Blood & Treasure, skill-wise, that every other class can't do. Thieves just do it better - much better.

Here's how skills, or "Heroic Tasks" work in Blood & Treasure:

If you are unskilled, you need to roll an 18 or better, but you can add your stat modifier to the roll.

If you have a "knack", like elves finding secret doors, your target is 15 and you can add your stat modifier.

If you are skilled, like a thief with finding traps or hiding in shadows, your target is your relevant save. You get to add your stat modifier to the roll.

I like it. I like it a lot.

I liked how Crypts & Things handled it, but this one goes to "Eleven" in usability.

Even if I never play Blood & Treasure (and with the number of OSR games I own, it's possible) I'll be porting this over to my next game, not matter the system. It really is that good.

The fact that the different task descriptions include examples that would elevate the difficulty, thereby imposing a penalty on the die roll is just icing on the cake.

Guess I still need to cover the rest of the classes next, don't i?

Want a Free Peek at the Blood & Treasure RPG? Grab NOD #1

Seriously, if you want to see where some of John's ideas took root and morphed into Blood & Treasure, you can just look at the article on Boons & Benefactions in issue #1 of NOD. This is the seed that morphed into the optional Feats in B&T (some of them didn't make the cut, but I'm sure you could use the list to add options to your own B&T game). Not to mention some additional classes for S&W, especially if you just want to stick with the free S&W Core rules.

What, you can't an issue of NOD? First issue is free and full of goodness for any OSR game.

From the blurb:

In this first issue of NOD, you can explore the Wyvern Coast, a sandbox hexcrawl with over 190 encounters. There are six new classes, three new races, a random village generator, a dozen new deities, new monsters, and more! Compatible with most Old School game systems.

Delving Deeper - Quick Comment on the Optional Thief Class

I'm not home at the moment, so I don't have my OCE D&D Boxed set to refer to.  Swords & Wizardry White Box doesn't have a thief class, but Swords & Wizardry Core does.

Here's my comment / observation:

S&W Core's Thief skills are percentile based (except for Hear Noise) and increase with level.

In Delving Deeper, all of the Thief Skills are D6 based: 3 or higher on a D6 indicates success. Level doesn't not increase this.

So, Delving Deeper has a bit of LotFP Weird Fantasy thief to it, but not quite.

I'm fairly sure S&W Core is closer to the original thief class.

I'm not sure if I like the DD version of the thief, but it does make him more relevant at lower levels.


Poll Results are in: Old School Spell Level Caps for the Win (Barely)

There can be only one - well, not really. Everyone has their own preference of where to cap spell levels at.

The preferred cap for 38% of the poll responses was 6 magic-user / 5 cleric, which corresponds to OD&D.

Right behind that was 9 magic-user / 7 cleric, which of course matches up to AD&D. That came in at 33%, but by pure numbers only a difference of 7 votes.

Capping at level 9 for magic-users and clerics is a 3x concept if I'm not mistaken, and came in at 24%.

Honestly, it's a bit across the board, and not one answer was overwhelming in it's responses.

Kinda tells me a have a nice cross section of mostly OSR type readers on this blog, but also a chunk of 3x / Pathfinder / why play a game with levels in it readers too.

That's okay, in the near future I should have my copies of Drinking Quest in hand. I suspect that game will appeal to readers and gamers of all editions and rule sets ;)

(there were 127 total responses to the poll - thanks to all who took the time to respond)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

So Many Systems, So Much OSR Goodness

As you saw with my earlier post, I came home to my boxed set of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea earlier today. Last night I found Volumes I + II (still waiting on Volume III) of Delving Deeper. I just got my HC of Blood & Treasure last week. I am swimming in OSR Goodness!

So, here's what I want to do. I need to compile a list of OSR games, which will then become part of a poll - Which OSR Game do you want me, your friendly neighborhood barkeep, to run as a short story Arc of 2 to 3 sessions on Google+ Hangouts? Once the poll is decided we'll figure out a day, time and TPK victims ;)

I'm going to remove ACKS and DCC RPG from the list, as I already run ACKS pretty much weekly, and I've run a handful of DCC RPG sessions, and should be running some more later on this month for those that played in the earlier sessions.

I suspect the list of options is fairly long, so I'm going to throw a list out there off the top of my head - let me know what I omitted and I'll make sure it's part of the poll when it goes up.

In no particular order:

Labyrinth Lord
Labyrinth Lord AEC
Labyrinth Lord OEC
Swords & Wizardry Core
Swords & Wizardry Complete
Swords & Wizardry White Box
Crypts & Things
Blood & Treasure
Castles & Crusades
Dark Dungeons
Delving Deeper
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Mazes & Perils
For Gold & Glory
Microlite 75
Adventures Dark & Deep
Basic Fantasy RPG
LotFP Weird Fantasy
(added below thanks to readers here and G+)
Mazes & Minotaurs
Worlds Apart (Traveller)
Mutant Future
Realms of Chaos (LL)
Starships & Spacemen
Neoclassical Geek Revival
For Gold & Glory
Myth & Magic
Par Fortuna
Bucklers and Backswords
Space Princess
Tombs & Terrors
Tunnels & Trolls

What needs to be added?

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea in Hand

The Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea comes in a huge box, suitable for display on a bookshelf. The books are damn huge too. Heck, I haven't even unfolded the map yet, but that also looks sizable.

I'm very thankful it looks good on a shelf, as I've got Blood & Treasure and Delving Deeper to read thorough before I get to AS&SH ;)

Just got back from my mini vacation to the Poconos. Hopefully tonight I'll have the next part of the Blood & Treasure review up.

Spent My Night Wrapped Up With Delving Deeper Vol1

Yep, spent bedtime reading Volume 1 (the Player's Book) of Delving Deeper. It was a very comforting read.

Of course, I have the same question here that I have with the OWB - hit points and hit die progression.

For example, Magic-User HD progress as follows:







So, do you roll the new total number of HD every level, replacing the previous HP, even if the new total is lower?

Do you roll the new total number of HD every level, replacing the previous HP, except if the new total is lower?

Do you add a new HD only when the number of dice increase, and subtract one from the roll to take into account the +1 from the previous level?

Inquiring minds want to know...

Monday, September 3, 2012

Review - Blood & Treasure - Part the First: I Got Race (and Niche Protection)

There is something to be said at starting at the beginning, and that's just what I'm going to do with this part of the review of Blood & Treasure - Races and Classes (or at least, touch on classes), as they work hand in hand.

First things first - it's the usual 6 stats, and bonuses and penalties run the usual stretch - -3 at 3 and +3 at 18. It was nice to see which saving throws a high Dex gives a bonus to, as I usually just winged that part based on common sense. It should also be noted that stats give bonuses to task rolls (think skill rolls). So Dex may help you open a lock but Wis will help you listen to that locked door.

Races: The same ones from the AD&D 1e Player's Handbook. Humans, Dwarves, Elves, Gnoes, Half-Elves, Half-Orcs and Halflings. If you wanted to run a game emulating the OD&D Boxed set, you would omit the races designated with a [A] for "Advanced". Things are designated thus throughout the rules, so you can set a virtual switch of what stays in your game or not. The other designation is [E] for "Expanded".

Now, as far as I can tell, any race can be any class, which obviously is the first thing you'd house rule if you were going to emulate an earlier edition of the game. That being said, John built in some niche protection for the races. Humans get a 10% bonus to expo, which is huge. They also get a free feat (if used) or +1 to all saves if feats aren't part of your game (they are not really 3e feats either, but that's a whole 'nother post).

The demi-humans get their niche protection in their multi-classing, which is determined by race. For example:

Dwarves can multi-class as cleric/fighters, magic-user/fighters or fighter/thieves.

Half-Orcs can multi-class as assassin/clerics, assassin/fighters and assassin/magic-users (or if they single class, they can dual class later like a human.

See a trend? Every demi-human race has a set of 3 multi-class combinations, and each combination has a preferred class. Nice way to take care of niche protection. Before you ask, halflings have thief as the preferred class.

Classes share one of three experience point advancement tables. Multi-classed characters all share one table, no matter the class combination. It certainly simplifies things. I like it. I like it a lot.

Alright, more on classes tomorrow - I've rambled enough for tonight ;)

Free Game of the Week - Worlds Apart

Maybe you remember me posting about Worlds Apart over the weekend - I did. It is currently reside in the Free Game of the Week spot on the left side of this page, so consider this a reminder if your haven't already grabbed a copy.

What is is? A fantasy RPG on a water based world with the Traveller OGL rules as the engine. Pretty neat.

From the blurb:

Four islands composed the sultry chain, floating upon a bright blue sea under a tropical sun, each island gradually decreasing size as the eye passed from north to south. They were mountainous, etched with deep valleys, and covered with lush foliage. Greysolt surveyed the chain as best he could with his spyglass, taking the longest time upon the southernmost island, covered in a hazy steam of warm clouds. The crew of The Dromedary remained silent as the Captain surveyed what no other voyagers had ever seen. Each held different thoughts in the silence: thoughts of receptive natives, thoughts of fresh water and fresh fruit, thoughts of spices unknown to the civilized world, thoughts of slaughter and pillage.

The crew was a motley sort, a dozen or so hardened men and women in their late 30’s. Each had another life behind them; some, several different lives. They were unreliable in the mainstay, but rock-solid in a clutch. They bickered and feuded as they worked, helping each other make The Dromedary move, breath, and live. Their ship was not just a thing of wood and artifice, it was a collection of elemental powers: it was a voyager ship.

Greysolt declared the all clear indicating an isolated cove to drop anchor, and the crew jumped into action. Several went into the hull to tend to the elementals bound within eldritch machinery, but most headed towards their cabins, gathering various equipment for the coming landing. The cove beckoned, the unknown called.

The Dromedary calmly pulled into the bay and slowed to drop anchor. Two dinghies plopped into the water, and their crew descended into the rocking ships. Crossbows ready, the small craft rowed to the black sand shores. Behind the shores a seemingly impenetrable wall of vegetation dazzled in a multi-colored display. Now, to heed the call…

Welcome, traveler, to Worlds Apart! Brave the Forever Sea in a fantasy game of trade and exploration. Take the role of soldier or sailor, entertainer or scholar, dweomercraefter or drifter. A thousand thousand islands populate the world and riches, adventure, and danger lurks upon every shore!

How Not to Do a Kickstarter Project - Craft of Corpse Born (DCC 3rd Party Adventure)

Craft of Corpse Born - A Zombiefied DCC RPG Adventure Module is a DCC RPG 3rd Party Adventure that hopes to fund using Kickstarter. It might be the best DCC Adventure since Sailors on the Starless Sea, but it's hard to tell because the Kicstarter site for it is really lacking in info.

Lets see what it's currently doing wrong, and what could be done to correct it.

1 - Fails to give a descriptive, engaging description. 
The dead roam the town of Westport. Find the cause, fight your way through quests & conquer evil in this DCC RPG compatible module.
That's the bolded description. It doesn't excite me. It doesn't say much. Heck, it's barely 2 sentences. You don't need a video to give your Kickstarter a kick (Appendix N did fine without one) but you need to sell what you are offering. You need to have confidence in your product. You need more than 2 bland sentences to capture your customers.

2 - Which of the following do you really care about as a prospective customer?

In the spirit and rules of DCC RPG (Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game) this module will guide you through an adventure including over 50 separate areas within the town buildings, ships and the final battle area.  Inside are clues to what is causing the disease on this town and how to end the curse.  Fighting animated dead and corrupted living force you down the path to glory. You must save the town from the demonic and magical evil that imparts its will on the people.
This Kickstarter project starts with the module already being about 75% written.  The full color art for the back and front covers of the module have already been created by professional artist Jordan Galaviz.  Black and white art for the inside has been created also.  The maps are complete and an initial editing has been finished (of the 75% written so far).  The content is close to complete and about ready to go to Alpha Play Testing.  An experienced gaming group in St. Louis, Missouri has agreed to Alpha Play Test this module and Beta test it if needed.  The module will then go to final modification and editing. Then to layout composition preparing it for final online publishing and then for its initial printed run.
The funding deadline is for the module to be (initially) complete and submitted to Joseph Goodman of Goodman Games, Inc. (makers of DCC RPG) for licensing approval by Sunday, 21 October, 2012 at 11:59pm (CST).  Licensing approval is mandatory to be able to include the "Compatible with DCC RPG" logo on the cover and back of the module and for linked marketing of the module with Goodman Games.  
Funding is required to pay for the required software to create this module and compensation for art and efforts for those involved in pushing this through the production process.  The completed and licensed module (Using the OGL from Wizards of the Coast and DCC RPG licensing from Goodman Games) will initially be published online through RPGNOW.  Once this goal has been met, the printed production run will start (approximately January, 2013).  This is where your rewards come in.  As a contributor you will receive your rewards long before anyone else has access to the printed module at their local gaming store.
Maybe the above is of interest to a distributer, but it's just useless noise on a Kickstarter support page when you are looking for funding.

Tell us what makes your product special. Why should I be looking to fund this, sight unseen? It's Zombies and the DCC RPG. Two hot properties. What makes this special?

If the creator can't be excited about his/her project, how can prospective customers?

3 - $8 bucks for the PDF seems steep. Even Goodman sells their DCC RPG PDFs for $6.99 on RPGNow, and Goodman seems to set the high water mark.

4 - Don't offer a free PDF to go along with the print copy. The print copies ship after it releases in PDF, so anyone looking to buy a print copy will get their's after it releases on RPGNow. Adding a PDF copy to the print pledge level costs nothing, but adds a huge benefit, both perceived and real, to the potential customer.

5 - Don't bother with stretch goals. Yeah, I know some folks don't like the endless "carrot on a stick" trick that is so popular at crowd sourcing sites, but you know what? The shit works. Use it. Promise extra pages. Maybe a short PDF booklet to support it. Doesn't have to be fancy, but offer something.

Kickstarter is not an automatic home run for funding. Slapping "DCC" and "Zombies" on a product isn't enough.

If you want my money, I need to desire to give it to you for your wants to be filled. At this stage of the game, I'm not even sure what's actually being offered here, which is a damn shame.

I THINK Craft of Corpse Born is offering more encounter locations / areas than any other DCC RPG currently on the market. It's town based, so it should be more free form and less linear than most. But I don't know that, I can only guess.

There might be a diamond in the rough here, but I'm not going to pay to find out without more info.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Update! Everyone That Entered The August DCC Corruption Contest is a Winner! (With Thanks to Mike at Occult Moon)

I meant it when I said I wish I could give a prize to everyone that entered the August DCC RPG Corruption Contest - the entries were just that good.

Mike Garcia from Occult Moon agrees with me - so I need the following to reach out to Mike at thecrazygmATgmailDOTcom with the email they use at RPGNow, because Mike is going to hook you up with one of the first 16 releases in the Toys for the Sandbox Series.

Yep - everyone wins and I couldn't be happier.

Holy shit but I'm part of an awesome community of roleplayers and publishers and artists and let me just shut up...


Epic Prime

Tamas Illes


Joshua Ward

Lord Mhor





Sean Smith

(if I missed you, let me know)

The Winners of the DCC RPG Corruption Contest Are...

It's time to decide the winners for the DCC RPG Corruption Results Contest. If I thought getting winners form a list of 133 was hard last month, all 25 entries this months could be and should be considered winners. That being said, I need to pick the winner of Crawl! #3 and 5 winners of single issues of Toys For the Sandbox. Thankfully the 2 adventures from Purple Sorcerer Games I get to determine randomly.

Alright, Crawl! #3, courtesy of Dak Ultimak goes to - TheMetal1, for the following entry:

A black and yellow ichor filled semi-transparent sack appears on the PC’s back, small at first but growing into an enormous orb in 1d3 months. Reduce movement by 5ft and agility by 1 for each month of growth. After which the following happens (d6):

(1) The sack will burst causing 1d4 acid damage in a 30ft radius, but the PC there after immune to any acid attacks.

(2) The sack tears open, revealing a unique demon (roll on page 404 of the DCC rulebook to determine type) causing 1d6 damage immediately to the PC and attacking anyone in the area.

(3) The sack tears open, spilling out thousands of tiny hungry spiders with the PCs head in place of a normal spider head. Treat as an Insect Swarm (see the DCC rulebook page 418) but each attack forces a DC 8 Fort save with failure indicating a mild poison (1 hp damage plus -1 penalty to all rolls for 1 hour)

(4) The sack solidifies and becomes like a sickly turtle shell. The character is considered permanently encumbered (slowing to half his speed) and PC receives a +5 AC to any rear/back attacks.

(5) The sack dissolves revealing a Primeval Slime (see on pages 423-424 of the DCC rulebook to determine type).

(6) The sack bursts causing pus to ooze out. After 1d4 days, the sack is empty and deflated. It will then start to refill again in 1d3 months. Roll again on this table to determine the result.

Perils of the Sunken City, courtesy of Purple Sorcerer Games will be randomly awarded to - JeffStomer for the following entry:

Your stomach's bile is magically replaced. Roll a d5.

1. Alchemical acid. Your insides slowly corrode. -2 CON and you can no longer eat spicy food.

2. Maggots. They rip into your food, increasing your appetite. You must now eat twice as much to stay adequately fed.

3. Water. Food sits in your stomach for weeks, slowly digesting but weighing you down. -2 to movement-related skill checks, but you only need to eat once per day.

4. Blood. There is now a 2% chance of receiving a random disease at every meal.

5. Alchemist's Fire. You may force yourself to belch, expunging a minor breath attack up to five feet away (1d8 damage, Reflex save avoids). However, doing so badly burns your mouth and innards--dealing you equal damage.

The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk, also courtesy of Purple Sorcerer Games, will be randomly awarded to - Gabriel Perez Galardi for the following entry:

Roll 1d6 to know which of the senses is corrupted:

1-Sight: Your eyes double in size and the optic nerve grows like snail antennas.

2-Smell: You grow an elephant nose but can't breathe through it.

3-Hearing: You grow necomimi.

4-Touch: A hand grows from each finger of your finger tips.

5-Taste: You get Gene Simmons tongue.

6-All of the above.

Congrats to all the above. The Metal1, I'll need your snail mail address to give to Dak to get you your reward. Jeff and Gabriel, I need you to email me at erikATtrubluniteDOTnet so I can forward you your prize codes.

Now, for the five winners of Toys For the Sandbox (one issue to each winner, chosen by the winners from one of the first 16 releases):

Charlie Gilb

Ted C.

David Macauley

Geraldo Tasistro

Eldric IV

Doug Medesha

Tim Shorts

Yeah, that's 7, not 5 winners. Sue me! ;)

(edit - all others that entered go to this post and Mike Garcia from Occult Moon will hook you up with some Toys for the Sandbox!)

The above 7 need to email me at erikATtrubluniteDOTnet and let me know a) which of the first 16 Toys for the Sandbox they want me to but for their account and b) the email address the use at RPGNow, so i can buy the release you want for your account.

Everyone, and I do mean everyone, should consider themselves winners. Amazingly great entries all around.

Next month will include some more products in dead tree format AND hopefully a a judging panel :)

Tenkar's Minor Magical Tidbits - St. Betran's Holy Chalice (DCC RPG)

Saint Betran's Holy Chalice

This chalice is a lawful holy relic. In the hands of a Lawful Cleric, it adds +2 to Lay on Hands spell check attempts IF the the target is Lawful. It adds +1 to the check if the target is Neutral. It has no effect if the target is Chaotic. It’s most special ability is obvious when it it used by a Lawful non-cleric.

In the hands of a Lawful non-cleric, it allows that character to attempt to Lay on Hands once per day. The spell check is adjusted by the character’s Personality modifier and a +2 from the chalice itself. There is no adjustment for the character’s level. Whether the spell check succeeds or fails, no further checks may be made until the next day. A natural roll of 1 requires the PC to roll on the disapproval table and he must comply with the results if he desires to use the chalice again.

St. Betran’s Holy Chalice first appeared amongst the Dwarven Clans, often as a reward to a great hero that furthered the goals of the Patron St. Betran. No more than one has ever been awarded to a specific clan, and over the years a few have been lost to the outer world, either by clan extinction, individual foolishness or theft. All dwarves recognise a St. Betran’s Chalice on sight and will assume the possessor to be a thief if they are not themselves a dwarf.

(If you wanted to use the chalice in an OSR styled game, change it's power to Cure Light Wounds once per day / Cure Disease once per week - usable only by good characters, healing power does not effect creatures of evil alignment).

Expeditious Retreat Press is Giving Away Free Adventures in PDF

You read it right. Joseph Browning, the main man behind Expeditious Retreat Press, is giving away free PDFs of his Advanced Adventures line for OSRIC (usable with the OSR ruleset of your choice with minimal work).

So, how do you get in on this deal?

1 - Go the Joseph's Sorcery & Super Science Blog.

2 - Follow the Sorcery & Super Science blog via Google Friends Connect if you haven't already done so

3 - Let him know in a comment on the post linked here (and above) which singular aventure you would like to get (there are 25 to choose from - he has it linked on the post).

simple, aint it?

The Tavern is an Old School Blog. Joseph is giving away an Old School Adventure of choice to those who simply ask.

Match made in heaven if you ask me.

Time to unleash the hordes of drunken (and sober) Tavern patrons!
Tenkar's Tavern is supported by various affiliate programs, including Amazon, RPGNow,
and Humble Bundle as well as Patreon. Your patronage is appreciated and helps keep the
lights on and the taps flowing. Your Humble Bartender, Tenkar

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