Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Kickstarter About... Space Ferrets? Kingdom: A Pen & Paper Space Exploration RPG

When I saw the main art piece for Kingdom: A Pen & Paper Space Exploration RPG, my thought was "Why space ferrets?" I still have no idea. It's not that the art is bad (it's fairly good and evocative of something), but I do wonder why most of the aliens races are shown as sets of three. Are they somehow linked to the German language and it's use of  3 sexes? Don't run off in a tizzy - I was referring to Masculine, Feminine and Neutered...er, I mean Neutral.

Anyhow, it's a new sic-fi RPG that uses d6's and d100's. I know this because it tells me so:
The Kingdom Role-playing System relies on six sided die and percentile die. Players can either randomly generate the basic statistics for their characters or GM’s (Game Master) can choose to have a point buy system. Then they play through adventures run by the GM where their choices can inevitably and sometimes unpredictably have an impact on the galaxy at large.
 The system allows for easy creation of new adventures while having a large framework for the underlying narrative of the Kingdom universe. The main book will contain many species to use as enemies/allies/players as well as information about technology, planets, ships, and more. GM’s will have many tools at their disposal in the book in the form of percentile charts that will allow them to randomize events that happen to their players and can act as plot devices. It will also contain a starter adventure for both of the canon Kingdom scenarios.
You know what? I think project creators of Kickstarter Projects should take some marketing classes, because the above paragraphs tells me something, but they dont't tell it in the most compelling manner. Not that I want people to spout marketing shit in their Kickstarters (I could point some fingers but I won't. It's quite possible I already did in the past). Even the title lacks excitement - Kingdom: A Pen & Paper Space Exploration RPG.

Goal is set at 6K. First stretch is listed at 9k. Stretch goals only benefit those pledging $50 or more (which is a lame way to create a distinction between pledgers that HAVE and pledgers that HAVE NOT - remember, new material can always be offered in PDF to the lower level supporters). But here's my bigger question, based upon this bit about the stretch goals:
(For every 1,000 we get over the goal I will be throwing in new and unique items for donors who have pledged 50 and up. Some will also be available as add-ons.)
What do folks get at the 7K and 8K stretch goals? Remember, goal is 6k and the first listed stretch is 9k.

Still, I think the art is fucking cool, and I may just kick in 10 bucks to support the art alone. Maybe.

Looking Over The Legends RPG Rules (Not Mongoose but The Fantasy Trip)

I was hoping to play a solo adventure of either Shadows in the Dark or Emerald Twilight tonight, but after the full morning and day I had up here in the Poconos, I don't see it happening. That's okay, because I'd still have to design my party of four.

Here's the cool thing about the solos from Dark City Games - the fact that they default to four person parties means that you could actually run through the programed adventures with more than one player. It's actually a cool twist on the solo style adventure and gives an option that the standard default of solo adventuring, Tunnels & Trolls, doesn't - more than one player in a programmed adventure.

The other feature that the Dark City Games series of adventures has that T&T solos lack is tactical combat - it comes with a combat map and cardboard cutout tokens. Depending on your style of play, this could be a feature or a fault, but I'm much more tolerant of tactical combat when I'm the player and not the DM ;)

Anyhow, the Legends RPG system (which is available for free download on the DCG website) is also included in the adventures they sell. The rules take up about 7 digest sized pages (additional rules on how to use them in the programed adventure take up about another page). It's a pretty tight RPG for 7 pages, but it's also sparse in detail. You could, however, run a campaign using these 7 pages, but I suspect it would require much DM Fiat - not necessarily a bad thing, but it should be noted.

I'm going to have to put these rules through their paces later tonight and create my first character. Heck, I used to create characters in GURPS back in the day - even used Man to Man prior to GURPS. 7 pages of rules should be a breeze ;)

Butt Kicking For Goodness - Just a Tad Less Buyer's Remorse

It's been a bit since I did the last one of these.

Dwimmermount: An Old School Fantasy RPG Megadungeon

Yep, backers only, so not much I can say directly - or at least, little I can quote directly. Still, PDFs are estimating 3/1/13 and physical rewards are estimating 4/26/13. Late but at least on track now with a schedule.

And the sample art from one of the battlemaps? Actually looks really good. I no longer feel "as foolish" for supporting at a level that included the battlemaps when I do 99.99% of my gaming via G+ Hangouts ;)


Hey, a "Disclosure" Pledge?

Disclosure Pledge

I recognize my value as a voice to the public about this game.

Therefore, I will talk about my reading and playtest experiences, in public, whether it’s on my blog, my podcast, the forums I frequent, or with the people I meet and game with.

I recognize my value as a grass-roots word-of-mouth sales-force for this product.

Therefore, when I speak publicly about my playtesting experiences, I will do so mindfully, recognizing that what the public does with what I share may not always be what I intend.

I understand this does not mean I should speak with artificial enthusiasm or acclaim, but I should share my enthusiasm and enjoyments when they happen. When encountering speed bumps and failures along the way, I will speak fairly, and try to preface my comments with the explicit mention that this is an early playtest and some problems are to be expected. I am responsible for what I say, but I am not an “internet cop”, here—others may say what they say. Whenever possible, I will share my “off-list” discussions (actual play reports, thoughts as I read the materials, etc) with Evil Hat Productions so they might keep tabs on them.

I recognize the value of keeping the game texts I read private.

Therefore, I will not share those texts, in whole or in excerpted part, with anyone not authorized by Evil Hat Productions. I understand that any such authorization must come directly from a member of Evil Hat Productions and must be explicit and written*.

I also understand that if I think that sharing an excerpt of the text would enhance my public voice or the grass-roots sales-force effort, I will contact Evil Hat Productions and discuss what I’d like to do!

*Explicit and Written Approval to Share

As some of you may have already seen us say, we are entirely fine with you sharing the draft with your play-group for play and testing purposes. Naturally! You need to do that kind of sharing in order to do that kind of playing. So do it! You have our blessing. And if you happen to encourage a few of them to back at the $1 level while you're at it... great! :)

Regardless of whether you read, play, and talk about Fate Core over the next week, we hope you all travel safe and stay cozy, wherever you are. Thank you so much for getting us so far already, and we think you'll be excited to see what we have in store for you when we return.


Appendix N

Did I hear rumors that Delving Deeper boxes have started shipping? Absolutely nothing to do with the backers only update, except that our cousin that's always fashionably late but always arrives with the greatest beer for the party is remaining true to form ;)

Reaper Miniatures Bones: An Evolution Of Gaming Miniatures

OK, we received 6 approval samples of the Vampire Level part of our Kickstarter rewards and thought you might be interested in seeing the progress of our project.   It's getting amazingly close and we are probably as excited to send these out as you are to get them!

Yep, that's Reaper (All Thumbs) Bryan hosting and Reaper (Matt the Katt) Clark playing the guitar with Video production and box tossing by Kit (Mr. Hands) Pierce.


Adventures Dark and Deep Players Manual

First and foremost, thank you to all who backed the Players Manual project. We came in at $8,600, which is 132% of the goal. Thanks to you, we're going to have a beautiful book!

The next step is to get the artists set to working. The emails to them will go out today or tomorrow, giving them their individual assignments. Their work should be back to me by February, or possibly sooner.

And one piece of even better news; the editor has already gotten back to me with her notes and revisions for the manuscript! Seems that some people had a lot of faith that the Kickstarter campaign would meet its goal. So that potentially lengthy phase of the project is already done. I just need to incorporate her notes into the "live" version of the document.

So we're in an even better place than I expected to be today. Artists will get their marching orders by the weekend, and the markup is done and just needs to be incorporated into the manuscript. Once the art comes back, final layout and production can commence. I'll keep you all posted as there's news to report.

Thanks again, and have a wonderful holiday season.

Joe Bloch
BRW Games

Horror on the Orient Express: Call of Cthulhu by Chaosium

To Contantinople...err...Istanbul...Constantinbul...Istantinople...to Turkey!

For backers only
Greetings and Happy Holidays!

As part of the research for the reprint of Horror on the Orient Express Chaosium's Nick Nacario and Meghan Mclean will be taking a research trip to Istanbul, Turkey. There we will look up photos and ephemera from the good ole' days of the Simplon Orient Express. We want this reprint to be as authentic as possible, especially when it comes to the handouts, in order to make your gaming experience as realistic and incredible as possible.

Join us on our journey, and follow our progress on the Chaosium in Turkey blog. Here we will upload photos and post about our discoveries.



Deadlands Noir

'Twas the Week Before Christmas...
...and all through the Old Absinthe House,
not a creature was stirring...especially Delilah Starr!

She was an ebon goddess on a dirty stage, belting out tunes to the locals every Friday and Saturday night at the Old Absinthe House. Delilah loved Bourbon Street. She sang to the drunks and the sailors and the roustabouts and they sang back. They sang in quiet murmurs and lewd catcalls and the clink of the ice in their glasses. Delilah loved the chatter—even while she sang. She loved everything about Bourbon Street, and she tweeted at them like a canary out of its cage.

But something's happened to Delilah. Something that will lead your party around the Crescent City and beyond.

The Old Absinthe House Blues is the first full-length adventure for Deadlands Noir, built for a party of Novice characters with gum on their shoes and icewater in their veins.

Final Version of Deadlands Noir

We fixed a last few mistakes you guys and gals helped us find in Deadlands Noir.

Adventurers Guide to Terrath for Shroud of the Ancients RPG

The Age Old RPG Debate - Portrait or Landscape Character Sheets
Greetings Adventurers,

The writing and editing continues. However, at one of our meetings this week, the question of the orientation for the Shroud of the Ancients character sheet came up and there was much debate. We have been using the landscape format (lengthwise like a TV screen) during all of our playtesting (i've never used a landscape styled character sheet, but there have been a few folks that said that they prefer a portrait orientation (like a book or memo).

What are your thoughts? Let us know and help us shape the character sheet that you'll be looking at each week.

King for a Day

Page 269... and closing
As you can imagine, the events of Friday have affected a lot of us, and made it hard to focus and write. But I still got a lot of writing done on the book. I am on page 269, but the townships still need fleshing out as well as some details on NPCs and stories.

The good news is that the firs 150 or so pages in stone and they will not be moving. The rest of the book is still in that weird cross-referencing stage where I have to write something here and then there and then... oh that means the office he works out of has another lamp.

You get the idea.


It's 3am. And I will try to have more updates from here on out.

(Seriously, I don't update that much, because I just don't like spamming people.) (it's only spamming if you are pimping a new project)

Solo Gaming Planned For the Weekend Away

I'm in the Poconos for for the weekend, so no game tomorrow night (the piss poor internet won't support a Hangout). Laptop and tablet if I want to read some gaming material, but Dyson's Delves will be the main gaming related reading material - I plan on using the Mini-Mega Dungeon in my AD&D 1e Campaign.

I would, however, like to get some gaming in while I'm up here, so I brought the two Legend / The Fantasy Trip compatible solos with me that I recently ordered: Shadows in the Dark and Emerald Twilight.

I'll see if my party of four can survive. Even better would be tempting my wife to assist.

Shit, I need to create my party of four. I'll work on that tomorrow morning after the vet visit.

Friday, December 21, 2012

An Overly Ambitious Crowdfunded Project That Has Raised Little Interest - No-Dice.Net

Lets say you do much of your gaming online, perhaps using Google+ Hangouts. Going a step further, we'll say you use Tabletop Forge or Roll20 as your gaming interface within Hangouts - you know, for the dice rolling, mapping and such.

Tabletop Forge is a bit less robust than Roll20, but TTF is totally free, Roll20 has a minimal subscription if you want all of the bells and whistles but can also be used for free.

Do you feel the need to layer yet another program on top of one of these two?

I don't, but if you do, No-Dice.Net is there to fill the niche for you. Alright, maybe not yet and maybe not ever. You see, No-Dice.net is trying to offer a few extra functions using an open API, but TTF, Roll20 and even Obsidian Portal would have to actively support N-D.N. If they don't support it, much of what it offers isn't really going to do much good.

Let me quote their aim:
No-Dice.Net is an ambitious project to modernize tabletop gaming.  It will be a central hub for dungeon masters and players to store character sheets, create battle maps, develop new game rules, plan campaigns, and find groups.
Because of No Dice's rule set creation engine, any rule set can be supported with a little work, but there will also be pre-built sets available for purchase. These rule sets won't cover every aspect of a given game, but they will cover character generation and leveling.
All of our tools will be accessible through an open API to allow easy integration within other sites and applications. 
No Dice, LLC will also be developing a standard XML data format for characters, rulesets, and maps so that other applications can be made compatible.
Yes, it's very ambitious, but I don't see this "central hub for dungeon masters" forming. RPG gaming is fairly divided - just look at the communities on G+. Actually, the communities on G+ do a good bit of N-D.N's Social Gaming goals cover:

No-dice.net will feature many social aspects to connect players. You’ll be able to share your campaign, character sheet, etc with the world, and keep track of your gaming group.
Video Chat/Collaboration Plug-Ins for On-line Play (G+ Hangouts plus TTF or Roll20)
Badges/Achievement System (is this needed for RPGs?)
Campaigns can be marked “LFG” and Searchable (schedule a game and send out an invite via G+)
Integration With All Major Social Platforms (G+ seems to be where the gamers are)
It a hugely ambitious goal they have set for themselves (I've barely scratched the surface with the text I quotes). I'm just not sure how much of what they offer is really needed, or if needed, isn't already being offered by another app or website.

They say if they make their goal of $33,000 this will be ready to roll by December 2013, effectively halving the time to develop it without funding - which would put the unfunded date at 2014. Even with the 2013 date, it is quite likely some of what they hope to accomplish will appear in other apps, including the ones mentioned above.

I must not be the only one seeing it this way, as with 8 days left in the funding cycles, they've raised $265. This is a "Flexible Funding Project", so whatever is raised will be distributed to the organizer of the project upon completion.

The Dangers of the Indiegogo "Fine Print"

We all know the basic Kickstarter rules about project funding - or not funding. If the project fails to fund, those that pledged are not charged. Easy to remember.

It's not the same at Indiegogo.

First off, Indiegogo uses Paypal as the payment processor, so you get charged up front. Big change from Kickstarter.

The other big difference between the two is that Indiegogo has "Flexible Campaigns" as a funding option. Here's the "fine print" many don't read - I know I didn't at first: This campaign will receive all of the funds contributed by Sun 30 Dec 11:59PM PT.

So, whether it hit's goal or not, your money has been taken and won't be returned.

Remember the Iron Age: FRP project  the one that spammed my comments to push their fundraising? Flexible Campaign. $192 of $5500 raised with 10 days to go. Those backers better be ready to get a whole lot of nothing.

Even better. No-Dice.Net, billing itself as an add on to Roll20 and Tabletop Forge. Is seeking $33,000. With 9 days left they've raised $265. You guessed it, another "Flexible Campaign".

These projects are going to be so far off their mark funding wise there is little to no chance for them to give the handful that pledged the items / rewards that they pledged for.

Got to read the fine print.

It's the End of the World and I Feel Fine...

The World ends today. Long live The World.

In case you missed it, it appears the end of the world missed us, which is fine by my reckoning. It did get me thinking tho'.

What if there were some end of the world doomsayers in my current AD&D campaign? Not a majority of the population, but a sizable minority - an End of the World Cult if you will. Add a few minor nobles into the mix as believers (or perhaps even better, as "pretend" believers manipulating events behind the scenes). Throw a few "The end is Near" kooks at the PC party as an urban "random"encounter, then gradually turn up the volume as the supposed event gets closer.

Heck, maybe there actually IS a power manipulating events from the shadows, steering the world to it's premature end. Can the heroes prevent this from happening? If they fail, do I have the proper plan to destroy the world in a memorable way? There is nothing worse than an anti-climatic end of the world ;)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

James Mishler Returns With "The Magnificent Miscellaneum" (Troll Lord Games Systems)

I got the following email from the Trolls over at Troll Lord Games earlier today (just gonna snip the relevant part):

But what I wanted to talk to you about today was our new release: The Magnificent Miscellaneum by James Mishler.  Every issue of this ongoing series of supplements contains a magical mix of wondrous wizardry, potent priestcraft, monstrous menaces, mystical magic items, and more. With a touch of humor and classic gaming goodness, the Magnificent Miscellaneum is a collection of various materials for your Castles & Crusades, Amazing Adventures, Harvesters, Tainted Lands, Star Siege, and Fields of Battle games, for both players and game masters. We may have sold 12,000 copies of the Players Handbook and released five separate printings, but it doesn’t mean we all can’t use more! The Crusade goes on!

This first issue includes three new spells for Castles & Crusades, a crazy and weird monster in classic B-Movie style from the Cold Depths of Space, five new monsters in the quick and easy format used in the Castles & Crusades White Box Set, and a mysterious NPC for Amazing Adventures.

Haven't seen hide nor hair from James since his self publishing went south. There was never a question of the quality of the work James produced - it was only the highest quality stuff for Castles & Crusades - higher quality than the Trolls were producing at the time.

It's a shame, as I suspect James would have done well in the Kickstarter Era, as it would have covered his cash flow and paid for stuff in advance. Ah well.

So, how is The Magnificent Miscellaneum?

It's pretty good. I like the spells and the flavor text - powerful low level spells with a decent amount of downside or high cost. The new creatures? Awesome flavor. Not sure how much of a chance I'd get to use them, but I love how James' mind works. The character for Amazing Adventures? eh. I don'y play the game and it isn't going to convert so well to the OSR style game of choice.

Is it worth a buck twenty five ($1.25)? Easily. Even at six pages, theres some good stuff here.

My one question - why is such a short PDF weighing in at 13 MBs? Some tablets dont have ever expanding memory, and nickels and dimes add up.

A Kickstarter That Makes Me Ask: "Why?" - Republishing: The World of Synnibarr

Thank you for welcoming me to RPG Addicts: The Collectors meeting this month. This is my first time in a "step program".

I'd like to make a confession.

While I have never purchased or even looked at an actual copy of FATAL, either in person or on an electronic screen, I do own a copy of The World of Synnibarr. No, I have no idea which edition. No, I don't recall why I bought it. Maybe it was one of those "Ebay Lots" with lots of books, where you only are interested in one or two. Still, I have it and looked at it and quickly put it down. Actually, I put it way. It's in storage now, where it can neither tempt me nor hurt me.

There are nights that it calls to me. Those are the nights I drink heavy.

Now, it's back and it's on Kickstarter. It's got a Raccoon with a rocket launcher. It's trying to make a comeback. Someone, please make it go away. I don'y think I could last a second encounter with it.

Hell, even the author says "I have published this by myself, eight times from 1980; I will do it once more. This time I have a GREAT TEAM to assist me; we shall not fail.". Doesn't that say something about this "game"? It's insidious nature? The danger? The fucking endless charts?

Or even the damn pricing: $15 for the core rules PDF, but really $25 if you want the core three rulebooks. I mean, wouldn't you need The Atlas to figure out where the hell you are?

I'm almost ready to support it as a goof - but then I wouldn't have the cash to support something I may actually play.

All that being said, I want to know what Raven has been smoking all of these years. I'd like to try some after I retire - it must be some good shit ;) 

A Kickstarter That Gladly Isn't - Some Mish-Mash Transvestite Anthropomorphic Horror Solo / Group Adventure

I had this dream last night. No, really, bear with me. It was one of those dreams that your mind latches on to so tightly that you fall right back into it after that middle of the night trip to the bathroom. Except that when you fall back into it, everything is the same but different. Fuckin' dreams!

I was having Kickstarter dreams. Or dream. Or maybe it was chapters of the same dream. Someone wanted to me look over a prospective Kickstarter dealing with a transvestite anthropomorphic vampire with a solo quest type set up which was also for group play. It's been over 25 years since I last saw The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but I'm sure that's where my subconscious was stealing bits of this idea from.

When I first woke up, the ideas to make this into a viable project seemed so RIGHT! Thankfully, the act of fully waking sobered me up, while at the same time smoothing out all the "amazingly awesome" details.

I know where much of this comes from. A shitload of Kickstarters I've been looking at. There the reboot of the Mummy RPG, there's card game and fiction book project that looks intriguing, there's the hangout last night having ideas bounced off me and giving feedback on a project and the reboot for like the 9th time of the anthropomorphic game of animals with RPGs (and I'm not talking role playing games).

Last night was one hell of a trip ;)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Looking at Emerald Twilight for Legends of the Ancient World (The Fantasy Trip Clone)

First off, this isn't some "Twilight" hack, so all the vampy nerds should just avoid this post if google somehow send you here.

Secondly, I've been on a bit of a The Fantasy Trip "Quest" of sorts recently. It's one of the rare, fairly popular for the time, early RPGs that I never bought back in my younger days.

Sure, TFT spawned Man to Man (and Orcslayer) and GURPS for Steve Jackson (I have them all), but I never got a change to play with the original.

Still don't have the originals, but I'm looking at Legends, which is kind of a TFT retroclone. More precisely, I'm looking at Emerald Twilight, which is a programed / solo adventure which assumes a party of four.

I'm going to have to run this next week when I'm on vacation. I'm not so sure about using the combat map or tokens, but I suspect they are an assumed part of the system, so I'll give them a proper workout.

All of which leaves me to wonder - is there enough here to run a short campaign, or even a short story arc?

See, damn me! The historian in me wanted to see how this actually plays out and it it stands the test of time. Can a 9 page ruleset compare to the hundreds of pages the current edition of GURPS needs? Should it need to?

I needed these tokens when I ran
Attack of the Frawgs!
The Legends rules are available for free here. They also came with Emerald Twilight. 

Mini Review - Roll XX (Tables and Tables and...)

You said you needed some tables for inspiration?

Have we got the tables tables for you! (Imagine Cheech Marin in Dusk to Dawn)

Bite tables!

Weakness Tables!

Sorcerous Location Tables!

What's in the Treasure Chest Tables! (it might just be 2,000 Coppers ;)

In Roll XX there's all kinds of tables!

Featuring sections for Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Supers, Modern, and Horror gaming, Roll XX is packed with adventure hooks, NPCs, story seeds, magic items, monster, locations, and setting details!

System agnostic too, so leave your prejudice behind!

Oh shit! The review part.

Okay, this shit rocks.

Seriously. I'm not inclined to roll a D20 on the tables. I'm more likely to pick thru some tables like they were Chinese Food Menus - one from Table A, one from Table B and maybe one from Table D ;)

I really like this.

Between this and Dyson's Delves I don't think I'll be looking elsewhere for source material for my current campaign.

The Sullen Seven - Rings

Because the lowly 7-sided die needs some more uses:

7 Rings:

1 - Ring of Postponed Finality - If someone wearing this ring is killed, their friends and comrades have 24 hours to heal the wearer to a positive hit point total to restore him / her to life. For example, Dunbar takes a major blow and fallsto -13 HP and should be dead. When wearing this ring the party has 24 hours to heal him to a positive HP total to avoid his true death.

2 - Ring of the Sheep - this ring is cursed and makes the wearer more susceptible to Charm type spells. Suck spells are saved against with a -4 penalty. The wearer of a Ring of the Sheep will never willingly remove it.

3 - Rings of the Assassin - these plain rings come as a matched set. When worn on each hand and touched to each other, a magic garrote forms between the two ring. The garrote in question is treated as a +2 weapon.

4 - Ring of Sanctuary - this ring, when placed on the ground and the command word is said, cast a Sanctuary spell. The ring can be used thus once per day

5 - Ring of the Open Palm - in many ways similar to the above mentioned Rings of the Assassin, the Ring of the Open Palm allows the wearer to treat their ringed hand as if it were a +1 sap. Talk about a painful slap ;)

6 - Tenkar's Ring of the Tankard - never one to be without a proper Tankard of beer, Tenkar's Ring of the Tankard can turn into a 32 oz tankard of cold, fresh beer up to three times per day.

7 - Ring of Undeath - This ring appears to be identical to a Ring of Postponed Finality (and will show as such 75% of the time when researched or magically identified), but instead of preserving the wearer's body it will turn the deceased into a Ghoul 1d7 rounds after the wearer dies.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dyson's Delves in Hand! Dungeons Maps for the Win!

Yep, I had my soft cover version of Dyson's Delves delivered today (the turn around time at Lulu seems to have shortened considerably).

Holy shit but it rocks!

In case no one told you, it includes a mini-mega dungeon. No, I'm serious. The first included adventure is 11 levels deep, about a dozen rooms or so (give or take) per level and balanced from start to end for levels 1-6. I may just have to put my AD&D 1e group through it even though they are mostly level 4 - I guess blowing thru the first few levels could make them nicely overconfident. Did I mention it has wandering monster tables for the mini-mega too?

It has a total of 5 detailed dungeons PLUS 45 additional levels for you to fill in the details. I may not need to open any other adventure or map out anything else for the rest of this campaign... and the next...and the next ;)

Totally worth the investment. Even Ashley thinks so ;)

Come the New Year there should be a nice contest to announce with the help of Dyson himself. We'll probably start working on the details after Christmas. Stay tuned :)

Free Game of the Week - The Thing in the Chimney (DCC Adventure)

Looking to run a Christmas themed "One-Shot" for your gaming group that is heavy on the weird and awesome on the atmosphere? Look no further than "The Thing in the Chimney", A Yuletide Adventure by Daniel J. Bishop.

This sucker is a damn good read and should be even more fun to run and play. Christmas is a week away! What are you waiting for? Grab your DCC RPG (or an other OSR ruleset with little conversion needed) and get to work!

Another Kickstarter Blows Past It's Goal - To Be Or Not To Be: That Is The Adventure

This one isn't quite an RPG - it's more like a choose your own adventure.

It's damn interesting and hugely successful thus far: $387,127 pledged of $20,000 goal.

Personally, I think $25 is the sweet spot, especially with all of the stretch goals that have been met thus far.

Here's some info from the Kickstarter page:

To Be Or Not To Be is an illustrated, chooseable-path book version of William Shakespeare's Hamlet, written by me, Ryan North:

"William Shakespeare" you may know from single-handedly giving us some of our most evocative phrases, such as "all that glitters is not gold", "too much of a good thing", and "the game is afoot" (Sherlock Holmes said this too I guess.)

"Ryan North" you may know from my work on the critically-acclaimed comic Dinosaur Comics, writing the incredibly popular Adventure Time comic book series, or from co-editing the #1 Amazon bestselling short story anthology Machine of Death.

"Chooseable-path" you may recognize as a trademark-skirting version of a phrase and book series you remember from childhood.  Remember?  Books in which... an adventure is chosen??

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Kickstarter That Time Forgot - The Morrow Project

Making the old new again doesn't stop with the OSR it seems.

The Morrow Project was not a game I initially had direct knowledge of back in my early days of gaming. Sure, I had seen the ads in Dragon, I just had little to no clue as to what it was all about.

That changed one day when one of my friends gave me his copy of The Morrow Project.

"Dude, I really want to play this. Read the rules and run it for us. Please!" I tried to read the rules, but they were the usual mess that the small game publishers back then usually put out. I couldn't quite get a handle on the system, and truth to tell, my desire wasn't there. The old group played our last game in February of 1997. Paul was lost when the Towers came down on 9-11-01. Damn shame, because he would have been all over this Kickstarter.

I may have to pick this up solely for the memories of what was and what never came to be. Hell, I  might have to actually run a session this time around. I suspect it will play much like a pen and paper Fallout ;)

(16 days left and its already blown past goal - $22k+ with a goal of $15)

Next RPG that That Time Forgot will be Synnibarr ;)

The Sullen Seven - Trying to Find a Use for Seven Sided Dice - Staffs

Because the 7-sided die is as ugly as they come, I present The Sullen Seven Staffs (say that five times fast ;)

1 - Staff of the Wanderer - this +1 Staff can be used to find true East once per day without using a charge. At will it can find clean drinking water within 5 miles (it indicates direction . distance and general amount of water - too many choices it goes from closest to furthest). Finding water costs 1 charge.

2 - Staff of the Sword - much like a cane sword, there is a sword hidden within this staff. The wilder can switch from log sword to staff at will without using a charge. Neither the Staff nor the Sword have a base magic bonus to hit. Using 1 charge grants the staff / sword a +1 magic bonus for 24 hours, 2 charges grants the staff / sword a +2 magic bonus for 24 hours and 3 charges grants the staff / sword a +3 bonus for 24 hrs. When the charges of the Staff of the Sword are totally consumed, the weapon is stuck forever in the form it currently is.

3 - Staff of Beating - this gnarled staff grants no bonus to hit but does grant a +2 bonus on damage inflicted - the catch is that the Staff of Beating ONLY does subdual damage. It has no charges or other abilities.

4 - The Iron Staff - although this staff has the shape and weight of worked wood, it has the toughness (and conductivity) of iron. Using a charge allows it to change shape into one of the following forms: 10' Iron Pole, Grappling Hook with 20' Chain, Sledgehammer or 10 gallon cooking pot. It remains in it's current shape until willed back to Staff form or dispelled.

5 - Staff of Authority - this +1 staff strengthens the morale of one's hirelings and henchmen. When wielded it grants a +2 bonus to moral rolls for allied NPCs. If hirelings or henchmen fail a moral roll, expending a charge allows them to reroll their morale check (this includes the usual +2 modifier)

6 - Staff of Opening - this +1 staff can be used to open locked / stuck doors by expending a charge and tapping the surface in question. A loud "BOOM" accompanies the opening. When used in combat, a charge can be expended on a clothed / armored opponent. If the struck target fails their save, they suffer an AC penalty of 1d3 points as buckles unbuckle, knots untie, trousers fall down and the like.

7 - Staff of the Orchard - this staff is made from wood of an apple tree. While fairly useless in combat, when the command word is said and the staff's end is touched to the ground it transforms into an robust and fruitful apple tree for up to 24 hrs. The apples from this tree heal 1d2 HP per apple, no more than 2 apples can have an affect on a character per day. Eating an apple also counts as a full day of food and drink. No more than a dozen apples can be harvest from the tree per day. Any additional apples picked will rot immediately. Apples created from the Staff of the Orchard will rot if not eaten within 24 hours.

(not to forget the Sullen Seven Rods ;)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Yet More Thoughts on "Attacking the Darkness" - BAD ASS

Back in October I wrote about my Attacking the Darkness houserule, otherwise known as BAD ASS: Benefits from Attacking the Darkness, Advantages Shared and Simple.

The idea was pretty simple:

When players roll a natural 1 they Attack the Darkness. Roll damage as usual and put it in the Attack the Darkness Pool.

Every 25 points in the pool can be cashed in for various rerolls. Unused points are converted to XP for the players at a rate of 1 XP per point.

After playtesting the rules, I discovered that 25 points was too high a threshold to hit. So I lowered it to 10 pts of damage per BAD ASS Token, and kept the points rolling per story arc (not starting new each session).

I then upped the conversion to expo to 10x per point. So, the XP actually matters. Result?

My players didn't cash in the 2 BAD ASS tokens they earned for a reroll, but the thought did come up. Instead, everyone cashed in the points for 290 XP at the end of the adventure.

I'll need to roll with it for a second arc to see if I need to tweak it again, but I do like it's potential.

Here it is in it's current glory:

BAD ASS - Benefits from Attacking the Darkness, Advantages Shared and Simple

Attacking the Darkness: On a natural roll of 1, the character in question "Attacks the Darkness". Roll damage as if you had a successful hit. These points are added to the BAD ASS Pool.

BAD ASS Pool: Points are placed by the party in the BAD ASS Pool as described above. Points are accumulated in a per session manner, and unused points will be "cashed out" at the end of the game session.

At 10 points (and each interval of 10) the party has the option of converting 10 points into a BAD ASS Token (you can use coins or just make a note of it). The BAD ASS Token, or a BAT, can be used to reroll certain rolls during the game session. Some examples are as follows:

- A single attack roll (but not a natural 1)

- A saving throw

- An initiative roll (group or individual, depending on system used)

- A damage roll for a weapon or spell

- A skill roll, such as a thief's open locks or an elf's hear noise chance.

- A moral roll for a party member's henchman.

Points spent on BATs can't be cashed out at the end of the gaming session. They are gone.

Unused BATs can't be saved between sessions and will expire and the end of the gaming session.

Cashed out points are converted into expo on a 1 pt to 10 XP basis . Everyone in the party gets the full value of the cashed out points - they are not divided amongst the players.

Mini Review - Colonial Gothic: 2e (Colonial Horrorish RPG)

For a bit of background, I have my BA in History, with my concentrations in Early American History and The Middle Ages. You study what you enjoy, as it makes the hard work just a tad more enjoyable. So when I saw that the Colonial Gothic RPG had just released a a new edition of the rules (which I had missed the first time around) I had to take a peek.

I'm fairly impressed.

Under the hood it uses the same D12 system as Shadow, Sword & Spell. (I have SS&S and will have give it a second look at some point, as I have now found the system intriguing)

I like the alternate history of Colonial Times that is shown. I like the idea that you can set a "dial" of sorts for the campaign's horror component - not all groups will be comfortable going "all in". I really like the flavor. I really like the adversary / creature design chapter. Heck, I'd love to do something similar for the OSR (I know of Raggi's Creature Generator, but it doesn't always fit my needs)

The big missing piece?

There's no short adventure to kick things off with. Believe it or not, although they often feel like throw aways, this little pieces often showcase how a game system works and make a good example of game design for the rule system. Coming from my OSR roots, I'm sure I could bang something together but I'm not sure it would good fit for the system.

I guess I'll need to track down an introductory adventure at some point.

From the blurb:

The North American Colonies

The great nations of Europe struggle for control of the New World. Native Americans struggle for their land and their lives. Planters and traders struggle for wealth and position. A new nation struggles to be born.

But look beneath the surface.

Monsters stalk the woods. Angry ghosts and spiteful witches plague the villagers. Explorers search for lost cities and fabled treasures. Ancient evils are awakened.

There is a secret history, and this history deals with events that took place in the shadows. These events played a role in the history of the American colonies and the Revolution that few know about.

The truth is hidden, and plots are afoot. Events are moving behind the scenes, and lurking in the shadows are agents with their own agenda.

War is coming. 

The Siege of Boston is lifted, and General Washington is leading the Continental Army to New York. The enemies are many, but as to who they are, you do not know.

Colonial Gothic is a supernatural historical horror roleplaying game set during the dawn of the American Revolution.

This Second Edition rulebook is fully compatible with all previous Colonial Gothic adventures and sourcebooks.

The Sullen Seven - Trying to Find a Use for Seven Sided Dice

I have a huge appreciation of The Dungeon Dozen. It is many layers of awesome goodness. While it it probable many will not use the tables is written but instead use the site for inspiration, the idea of rolling on the table is damn fun.

On most days I don't have ten things inspiring me, let alone a dozen. Seven things every couple of days? Perhaps. An opportunity to use the ugliest die available? It's got to be awesome!

Previously Undiscovered Magical Rods

1 - Rod of Ungodly Godliness - Using a charge allows one to change their visage to almost godlike - causes fear in creatures 4 HD or less. Higher level creatures may suffer a morale penalty

2 - Rod of Minor Might - Acts as a +1 Club - No charges necessary

3 - Rod of Light - a single charge causes the rod to emit light like a Light spell. Two charges will emit Missiles of Light (as Magic Missile Spell)

4 - Rod of Persuasion - single charge casts a Command Spell. Double charge casts a Suggestion Spell

5 - Rod of Fishing - no charge needed to use as a fishing pole. One single charge will produce enough fish to feed four people for one day. Fish still need to be cleaned and gutted.

6 - Rod of Awareness - one charge will allow the rod to be set in the ground. It acts like a sentry for the next eight hours, and will silently warn it's owner of any creatures larger that 6" tall that come within 30' of the activated rod

7 - Rod of Spoiling - when activated, the rod will spoil food, wither vines, rot fruit, sour wine and beer. Radius is 20; per charge spend, maximum 100' per usage.

DM Fiat Over Skill Rolls For the Win!

My Were-Troll Under the Bridge Was a Bit Taller - and My Party Avoided as Best They Could ;)

Yes, DM Fiat was definitely a big win in last night's AD&D 1e.

Now, let me explain what I mean by DM Fiat in the context of last night's game: I improvised required rolls for actions (or required no rolls for actions) such as:

Required no roll, just effective roleplay, to conduct a fairly successful interrogation of two surviving slavers

Trying to grab a flaming torch held by a magically held bugbear - as the party just had 40 gallons of oil wash down the stairs they were climbing, getting the flaming torch out of the areas was a good thing, especially as two more bugbears had just joined the fray.

Throwing a party member from a bridge into a river by a huge were-troll - not by grabbing the party member sneaking across the bridge all alone, but by grabbing the rope tied to his waist and trailing behind him (which the rest of the party had failed to hold or tie off)

Deciding on the proper saving throw for said "now in the river PC" when the party's cleric cast a Command spell and ordered the were-troll to "Dive" (as it had to take orders from it's master  I assumed it had a basic knowledge of the Common tongue) - said were-troll failed it's save and dove in the only direction it was capable off - the PC in the water. It's a damn good thing he saved.

Required no roll to successfully throw said waterlogged PC a new rope and extradite him from the river with the now floundering were-troll.

Last night had a certain energy to the session which a rules heavy system like 3 / Pathfinder would have held back if run as written IMO. I'm not saying AD&D 1e isn't rules heavy, it certainly is and has a lot of baggage I willfully ignore. It does, however, put more trust the DM to improvise in a fair and even handed manner than later editions of the game which try to have a rule / roll / throw preset for nearly every possible occasion. Are all DM's fair and even handed? Of course not.

I suspect it is easier to run a 3x or 4x game of D&D if the DM has a strong grasp of the rules than it is to run an earlier edition. Or rather, it is easier for an inexperienced DM with a strong grasp of the rules. More experienced DMs tend to allow play that is outside the predefined ruleset, but as the later editions have more defined rules to cover a much larger assortment of possible actions, the ability to go "outside the rules" is greatly decreased. If there is a rule for an action, players expect you to use it. If there isn't a rule for the action, players are usually happy with a well thought out, balanced, improvised ruling.

Last night was a good session of hopefully well thought out, fairly balanced, improvised rulings.

Alright, less DM Fiat than DM Improvisation Ruling ;)
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