Saturday, February 2, 2013

Wayward Kickstarters - "You reach down and discover 10 GP..."

The full quote actually is: "You reach down and discover 10 GP that have been discarded. When you inspect the coin, there's a strange name on it: Maelorum".

So, it appears that one of the Kickstarters I supported (or a fellow backer) has donated $10 to the Wayward Kickstarters fund. I reinvested our last $10 (plus matching funds) already, and now we have yet another $10 donation (which I back dollar for dollar).

That means $20 to place on a Kickstarter: hit me with more ideas, as this money is burning s hole in my Kickstarting pocket ;)

Further Thoughts on What I Would Like in an OSR Magazine - A Sample Platter and Full Course Meals

Yeah, the idea of an OSR magazine is still on my mind.

What I really would want from on OSR magazine is a stronger community. An active community. A community that would feel that the magazine is theirs.

So, I would want to see some of the bigger names in the OSR contribute, writing what they are known for (or expanding their reach). So, maybe +Greg Christopher would write a new class for Ambition and Avarice, +Greg Gillespie might add a small and previously unknown barrow to the Barrowmaze, +Dyson Logos  and +matt jackson would be showcasing a new map, a new piece of insanity from +James Raggi, it's a nearly endless list. That's not even including the amazing and unsung artists that we have. Not huge articles (unless that's what they wanted) but an opportunity to expose the community to creators whose work they might not have sampled yet.

And it can't be fluff pieces, it would need to be content that stands on it's own. None of this "here's a sample of the Big Bamboozle's Book of Wonderous Wonderings and Wombats". It could be unuesed material for such, but again, it has to be able to stand on it's own.

At the same, I'd like to see others in the community write the bulk of such a magazine, as the more we create the stronger we are, and the more the community creates, the stronger the community is.

I truly believe the OSR community has more creative personalities by percentage than RPGs in general, but we have to be that way. If the community doesn't support the games we play, who will?

Yeah, this goes way beyond the actual type of content I was talking about before and goes right to the content creators. As a community we would need to take a sort of collective stewardship of the magazine, because without content there would be nothing.

I'd like to think it could be done. I've got ideas kicking around my head. I may need to kick myself in the head and see what happens with the ideas.

I'm open to all thoughts in this. Feel free to call me an idiot if you think I'm off track on this ;)

Dwimmermount Update #44 - Video Link and Summary

(The video update recorded Thursday night was supposed to alleviate the need for a huge weekly update this week, but Tavis touched on enough new stuff that this week's update is a pretty sizable recap of the 45 minute video - I'm going to highlight via italics and bold what I feel are the major points of this week's update - Erik)

Where We Stand

For a lengthy discussion of where the Dwimmermount Kickstarter is at, you can check out the video record of a G+ hangout with myself and backers Erik Tenkar, whose blog Tenkar's Tavern often acts as a watchdog for Kickstarter projects, and Miguel Zapico who is working on the MapTools framework for running Dwimmermount as a virtual tabletop. The video is attached to this update, and can also be viewed at this link.

Next week I'll be doing another hangout and taking questions from backers. The hangout will be scheduled via the Google community Mages of the Mountain. If you're not already part of this community, please provide us with your Google+ username using this form - you can also let us know your Minecraft username and I'll add it to the Dwimmermount server whitelist.

Here's a summary of things discussed on this video:

Through his friend Victor Raymond, Dwimmermount's author James Maliszewski has shared the news that his father is very ill and not expected to live much longer. Autarch understands his needing to take some time to deal with this difficult situation, and we trust in his honor and integrity to fulfill his responsibility to the Dwimmermount backers as soon as he's able. We feel that the best way to support James, and to uphold our own responsibility to you as backers, is to keep working to realize his vision of the Dwimmermount mega-dungeon.

X and Y Challenges

The difficulty Autarch faces is that our contract with James transferred to him the funds we raised on Kickstarter, along with the responsibility for fulfilling the Dwimmermount rewards. James maintains copyright to his work and the rights to the use of the art he commissioned and paid for. In the video, I assigned these two issues - money and copyright - to the x and y axis of a chart. (In future updates I'll hope to have a graphic of this chart to embed in these updates). Placing the different rewards and bonus goals into the four quadrants of this chart helps determine which aspects of the project need to wait on James, and which we can make progress on in the meantime.

The upper right quadrant is rewards that need both copyright and funding. Things in this zone will have to wait on James' return. The hardback is furthest out in this quadrant; it is costly to print and crucially relies on his copyright. The map booklet is closer in. As a print reward it needs funds to produce but is less expensive, and its IP situation is more nuanced.

The upper left quadrant is rewards that need copyright, but not funding. Things in this zone may be produced as fan and community efforts, but can't be published by Autarch. The PDF is at the edge of this zone. Professional editing, development, and layout would require some funding, but the lack of hard printing and shpping costs makes it feasible for fans to create for their own use and sharing. The PDF's dependence on IP means this is something Autarch can't do while remaining within the law. 

Many rewards in this upper left are already finished, or well on their way. James' draft of all sections of the Dwimmermount text is complete and available for backers to download. Miguel's MapTools framework is largely complete; work is proceeding on levels 7 and 9, but all the other areas of the mega-dungeon are available to run online with an integrated dungeon key and sophisticated features like lighting and fog of war. The Minecraft server is up and running and making progress; we have large sections of Dwimmermount levels 1, 2A, and 2B excavated, including some dungeon dressing. (The server would benefit from minimal funding; right now it is hosted by my home PC and is vulnerable to household outages.) Another bonus goal, to share James' original notes, is partially complete - some existing materials like character sheets have yet to be scanned. Progress can be made on sharing the existing scans at the Play-Generated Map and Document Archive, but preserving the original papers and adding more scans will need to wait on James.

The lower left quadrant is rewards that need neither money nor copyright. These can be done by anyone, whether it's Dwimmermount fans, backers, or companies. The main reward in this quadrant is backstage access: the chance to watch the process of realizing a mega-dungeon. This won't be complete until everything else is, but progress here is good; the Mages of the Mountain G+ community is a recent advance.

The lower right quadrant is rewards that require funds to produce but don't need copyright. These are things achievable by a company rather than a collective effort of fans. Two rewards in this quadrant are the megadungeon tracker and the wilderness vinyl mat. Both are concepts that Autarch set up and haven't been contracted or paid for, so copyright remains with the artists and cartographers. These are physical items that cost money to produce and ship. Autarch could plan to cover these expenses by making these products available for sale to backers who didn't originally pledge for these rewards and to the wider world of gamers, since these items would be useful not only for Dwimmermount but for other dungeons and kinds of RPG play.

My idea here is that, by offering for sale to the general public, Autarch would be able to generate enough revenue to cover the cost of delivering these rewards without having to wait for James' return. (The costs would be eventually invoiced against the original pledge funds). Dwimmermount backers who pledged for the wilderness mat and mega-dungeon tracker would have these items shipped to them. Everyone at the Zealot-Phantast level and above would get the electronic versions, and could apply this as a discount on the physical items if desired.

Proposing New Kickstarters

I think that the megadungeon tracker and wilderness vinyl mat are sufficiently viable as commercial products that their general sale could cover the cost of fulfilling these Dwimmermount rewards. However, Autarch doesn't have the money on hand for the production necessary to have items to sell. To get around this limitation we'd be looking at launching new Kickstarters to create these items, with the expenses of fulfilling existing rewards factored into the funding target. This is a controversial and risky proposition, which is why I want to get community feedback before we go ahead.

Last week I met with Luke Crane, Kickstarter's Games Project Specialist, to discuss these plans. (Luke is also the co-designer of FreeMarket, a game in which characters engage in radically futuristic economic schemes, so this conversation was a little like being lost in a dungeon and getting the chance to to ask Dave Arneson about best practices for dungeoneering.) Luke said that there is ample precedent for this move. His recommended approach to handling it is consistent with Kickstarter's recent requirement to disclose risks. People backing any new project Autarch crowdfunds should know that we have outstanding unfulfilled rewards on Dwimmermount, so that they can take this into account before deciding to extend their trust on anything else we do.

The wilderness mat is the reward that I think can most immediately be fulfilled by a second-order Kickstarter. I'd like to use crowdfunding to get these rewards into the hands of the Dwimmermount backers who pledged for it. My feeling is that we'd all benefit as a result, regardless of whether you pledged for the wilderness mat, because having this cool play aid will encourage playtesting which makes the ultimate Dwimmermount release more robust and suited to the actual needs of gamers. I think this new Kickstarter could succeed by learning from the mistakes Autarch has made in the past - or, at least, be set up in such a way that if it succeeds in reaching its funding target it is likely to succeed in delivering its rewards on time. In the video, I explain some of my reasoning; unfortunately if I'm going to keep my commitment to post these updates on Friday, I don't have time to write these out before midnight.

Autarch is also considering launching a Kickstarter for Domains at War, a project we have in hand but don't have the money to produce. I fully understand that people who feel burned by Dwimmermount may feel like we're rubbing salt in their wounds if we take money for another project while this one remains unfinished. It may help to explain that Autarch is divided between two cities, NYC and Durham, with accordingly separate resources. As I've been spending time on Dwimmermount things like writing these updates, the Durham crew - with the assistance of many volunteer readers and playtesters - has been finishing the Domains at War manuscript. It's now at the point where the only thing it needs to be finished is funding for illustration, layout, printing, and shipping. Domains at War is a key piece of what we created Autarch to do, and I'm confident that by supporting our growth its Kickstarter will enhance rather than detract from our ability to deliver the rewards we've promised our Dwimmermount backers.

One of the bonus goals we proposed for the Dwimmermount Kickstarter was a scenario for Domains at War that would use its mass-combat system to play out the ancient battles between the Thulians and Red Elves seen in pedestal-visions on the Path of Mavors. We didn't reach that funding level originally, but as a token of our continuing dedication to doing right by our Dwimmermount backers we'd like to offer you this bonus goal as part of our Domains at War launch. The essential rules for mass combat in D@W, similar to the War Machine in the Rules Compendium, will be released for free. Your enjoyment of this Dwimmermount-exclusive scenario won't depend on your having to buy Autarch's new thing, because that would be lame.

There's a Jack Vance story in which Cugel is lured into a monster's cave and can only escape by tricking other people to enter. I really don't want Autarch's continuing use of Kickstarter to be this kind of situation, so I need your help to avoid such a fate: Cugel may be clever but every GM knows that many heads are easily able to outwit one. In the comments to this update, and at the Mages of the Mountain community, please help me identify the flaws in what seems to me like a good idea so that we can fix them and move forward together.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Sine Nomine Publishing Releases the Spears of the Dawn Art Pack to the Public Domain!

As Kevin promised during the Spears of the Dawn Kickstarter, he has now released the art from the SotD book into the "public domain". Do with it as you see fit. Holy shit but that is so awesome!

From the blurb:

Free African-inspired fantasy art for your own campaigns and projects!

Need African-styled locations, adventurers, and creatures? Thanks to the generous backers of the Spears of the Dawn RPG Kickstarter, these images and resource files are yours to do with as you please. With the consent of the artists, I've relased all these images into the public domain, and you may use them freely in your own gaming products and personal campaigns.

Included in this trove of black-and-white line art are roughly 60 images fit for fantastic adventure, plus Nicole Cardiff's color cover of Spears of the Dawn for you to remix or reuse. All are provided in their original .tiffs.

Not only that, but an InDesign CS6 file is provided, one containing a sheaf of objects, styles, and the full source file for the game's first chapter for you to use as a worked example. Go ahead and rip it to pieces, and rebuild it in a way you like better. While the actual content of the chapter is not public domain, you should feel free to reuse, recycle, and remix all the InDesign component parts in any way you like.

Lessons Learned From Moderating the Dwimmermount Update On Air Session

Talk about being unprepared. I wound up moderating a Q&A that had all of two incoming questions.

Lesson #1 - Have your own set of questions ready - This is a big one. I figured if we ran out of questions, I'd be able to think of some on the spot. Ain't happening if you are trying to listen to the actual conversation.

Lesson #2 - Be prepared to fill in the silence - I need to learn the gift of gab. Well, you know, filler gab. ;)

Lesson #3 - Pacing - This goes hand in hand with the lessons #1 and 2.

Lesson #4 - Solicit questions prior to the hangout - I really should have asked for questions on the bog side and the G+ side prior to this. Live and learn.

Lesson #5 - Forget the Buttkicking Hat of Justice / Inquiry / Doffiness - My Sherlock Holmes Hat, although better with headphones than the Viking Helm Tavis had generously offered to load me, itched the living shit out of me. That and it made me hot. Screw the hat next time ;)

Lesson #6 - Drink Heavily - there was just water in my stein. Next time there will be beer ;)

Dwimmermount Video Update for 1/31/13 is Live

Yep, that is me wearing the Butt Kicking for Goodness Sherlock Holmes Hat of Inquiry. It was that or a bararian helm that Tavis would have loaned me.

There is a lot of good info in this video if you are at all interested in Dwimmermount. Or if you want to see me stumbling along on occasions. If nothing else, there is that for entertainment value ;)

My only regret is that I did not seek questions earlier from the community. So yeah, I kind of handicapped myself in my first (last?) moderating gig on G+ Hangouts. Go figure.

This was recorded last night.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Huge Thank You To All That Participated in the BFRPG Appreciation Day, and a Question

I want to thank all of the bloggers that participated in the Basic Fantasy Role Playing Game Appreciation Day. You were all awesome. We hit 24 blogs involved in the event. Amazing!

I also want to thank the readers of this blog and all of the other blogs that were visited. I want to thank everyone that took the time to go to the Basic Fantasy RPG Site and gave it an honest look. I hope you found it to be rewarding.

So yes, a huge thanks to all!

Now the question:

Should we do this again next month?

If so, who / what do we "appreciate"?

This was certainly a huge success. Can we repeat it?

Give me your thoughts if you will...

What Would You Want In Your Perfect RPG "Hub" Site?

To take a step away from critiquing what you aren't finding to fit your desires, what would those desires be?

Would your ideal site list recent blog posts from blogs in the OSR? RPG Blogs in general? Be customizable and list the blogs you follow? Not list blogs at all?

Would it have a forum? If so, how expansive should that forum be? Would it have sub-forums for all the different OSR games and other RPGs, or should they be all in one general forum?

What about sections run by different people? Or would that just duplicate G+ Communities?

Should it have campaign tracking software?

A section to upload community created works for use by the community?

I'm not even sure what my ideal RPG website would entail. It would definitely integrate the blogs that I enjoy reading the most, it would have a forum (at least for the exchange of ideas - G+ is a pain to look up old threads for this purpose) but most importantly, it would be a link repository of gaming goodness.

Links for blogs, free RPG resources, other RPG Forums (perhaps with the last 5 posts from Dragonsfoot and RPGNet and others showing - so you can link right to an interesting post right on another site).

What don't I want? Ads. Minimal ads if any. They just kind of take me out of my zone when I'm trying to immerse myself. Or, if there are ads, they should be from other RPG sites - kinda of expanding the reach of all of them.

Oh, and virtual 3d chatting. Hey, if I'm going to ask for things that aren't going to happend, I mayas well ask for the world ;)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Basic Fantasy Role Playing Blog Appreciation Day"

So, last week +Christopher Helton and I got around to discussing the Basic Fantasy RPG. We both remarked that for a very complete, well written and free OSR role playing game, it often got overlooked in general discussions of OSR games. I know I've been guilty of it in the past on this very blog. This is out attempt to rectify that to some extent.

My first encounter with BFRPG was memorable to me, not in the day that I found it, but in the amount of material that was available for the (at that point) unfinalized set of RPG rules. I mean, more free goodness than I had found elsewhere on the net. Quality goodness.

If I recall correctly, the first thing I downloaded was BF1 Morgansfort: The Western Lands Campaign. Yep, I downloaded the setting before I grabbed the rules. I grabbed the rules shortly thereafter, but I was still amazed that anyone could put out such a complete, enjoyable and yet free game setting. If only there had been G+ Hangouts at the time, I might be running a BFRPG game and not an AD&D 1e / OSRIC campaign.

Over the next day or so (as it is already tomorrow in some parts of the world ;) you will find a series of posts from different bloggers and posters on G+ talking about the Basic Fantasy RPG.

This is your chance to board the train in case you missed it before.

All of the downloads at the Basic Fantasy RPG site are free. The books sold on Lulu are at cost. It's a game by gamers, for gamers.

Here's a list of the current posts that have gone "live" (I'll try to update this as the day goes on).

The Basic Fantasy RPG Blog - The blog of the Creator of the Game

Dorkland - Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Appreciation

Aeons & Augauries - Healers, Hunters & Monsters for BFRPG

Mythopoeic Rambling - BFGs to meet in Tenkar's Tavern

What a Horrible Night to Have a Curse - Got Basic?

The Other Side - Basic Fantasy Role Playing Blog Appreciation Day

Frothsof 4e - Basic Fantasy RPG Blog Appreciation Day!

Raven Crowking's Nest - Basic Fantasy RPG Appreciation Day

They Might Be Gazebos  - Basic Fantasy RPG: Don't Forget About This One

Castelli & Chimere (Castles & Chimeras) - Basic Fantasy RPG Blog Appreciation Day (English)

In The Shadow of Puzzled Vikings - Back to Basics: Basic Fantasy!

Curmudgeons & Dragons - Props to BFRPG

Gamers & Grognards - Honoring Basic Fantasy Role Play: A Rule I REALLY Like

Once More Unto the Breach! - Basic Fantasy Role Playing Blog Appreciation Day

Tabletop Diversions - Basic Fantasy Appreciation Day!

Chronicles of Ganth - Basic Fantasy Role Playing Fun Time Action Hour in Fantastic Color-Scope 1600 Vision!

Kyndalanth - Basic Fantasy Role Playing Blog Appreciation Day

The Space Cockroach's Hideout- Basic Fantasy Role Playing Blog Appreciation Day

The Crazy GM - What I Like About My BF…

In the Shadow of Puzzled Vikings - Back to Basics: Basic Fantasy!

Graphs, Paper and Games - Basic Fantasy Role Playing Appreciation

A Life Full of Adventure  - Get the Word Out: Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game

Places to Go, People to Be - I’ve Always Liked Redheads

Here's some other Basic Fantasy RPG Downloads

Sycarion Diversions and more

We've Picked a Wayward Kickstarter - Doppelganger: The Universal Game Piece

Well, so far we're 0 for 1 in picking Wayward Kickstarters (Kingdom: The Space Exploration RPG did not fund).

This time around we're doing something a little different. We're backing a piece of gaming electronics - an LCD miniature, if you will.

I find Doppelgänger interesting enough to give it a shot.

Will it fund?

Dunno. If it does I get a cool toy, if it doesn't, the money gets recycled into yet another Wayward Kickstarter ;)

From the Kickstarter site:

The Tabletop Doppelganger is a customizable playing piece that can replace any role playing game or board playing game piece.  This piece has a 1” by 1” square base and an LCD screen on the front and back, and allows you to upload photos to the piece through a USB connection to your computer. You can then use the buttons on the top of the piece to select a photo loaded to the piece, and use the piece in place of any RPG, d20 game or board game playing piece.

With the capacity to hold over 30 pictures, you can carry all of your RPG characters on one piece simply by uploading photos of your favorites to the Doppelganger. You can add multiple pictures of your characters performing various actions, such as fighting, raging, singing, casting spells, or using different weapons, and change the photos on the displays as your characters perform different actions. You can even play with characters and monsters that you do not have in miniature form, since you can simply add the pictures of these characters to the piece!

My "Teratic Tome" Arrived Today!

Yep, my hardcover copy of the Teratic Tome arrived this morning. I picked a good day to bring my car to the dealership for maintenance it seems.

Damn, I may very well need to put my 1e books on a shelf to give the Teratic Tome the proper company ;)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

If You Were to Publish an OSR Magazine, What Types of Articles Would it Include?

With the recent release of the first issue of Gygax Magazine I got to thinking. There are very few "In Print" options (PDF doesn't really expand that much) for RPG mags. We recently had the ending of Kobold Quarterly (not OSR but a very well put together RPG mag) and well over a year since the last issues of Knockspell and Fight On!

Which is a shame. Gygax is not by any means a bad magazine but the first issue was a tad  lacking and it is not focused on Old School Gaming (old school reminiscing? sure). I'm sure it will get better in time.

Still it leaves us, the old School gamers, without a true magazine to call our own at the moment. Which led me to think about the type of articles my "Old School Magazine" would have.

It would ideally consist of a variation of the following regular features:

A section on new spells.

A dungeon adventure and an outdoor setting / encounter / adventure.

A section with a new monster, monsters, races, etc.

Game theory, balancing, ideas, tangents - this part would be very open to interpretation and would probably have more than one article an issue.

A gamer's blog highlight section - highlighting some of the best plog posts and ideas in the OSR and pointing out overlooked blogs that really deserve more attention.

Artist highlight - there are some amazing artists that could use some exposure - this could be such a vehicle.

Anyway, that would be my idea of an OSR Styled Gaming Mag. I'll think about it in my dreams tonight ;)

So, any ideas what you'd want in your ideal OSR Styled Gaming Mag?

Some How, Some Way, THIS Will be Making it's Way to "The Gut" in Rappan Athuk

This a a piece of art by Nicholas Cloister of the Monsters By Email website / soon to be subscription service. He was kind enough to allow me to peek at some additional pieces of his work. The stuff is amazing.

Anyhow, my party will be entering "The Gut" in our next session of the Rappan Athuk campaign I'm running, which is kind of like a huge underground "highway" between sections of the megadungeon.

I don't know what this guy will be doing there just yet, but he looks intelligent enough to have a purpose.

I guess I have a week and a half to figure out what that purpose is although I am open to suggestions ;)

Tabletop Forge to be Merged Into Roll20 - TTF Backers to be Treated as Roll20 Backers


Application solidifies its status as the preeminent long distance gaming solution
Wichita, Kansas (January 29th, 2013) - This week two major announcements regarding the
popular online roleplaying program Roll20 became public. The first involved the newly launched
TSR company endorsing Roll20 as their “official tabletop,” the second pertained to the lead
developer of competing game space Tabletop Forge announcing he was halting production on
the program to instead help with future enrichments to Roll20.

“The most flattering part of all this is that they both came to us,” said Roll20 co-founder and lead
developer Riley Dutton. “It really helps make us feel like we must be doing something right.”
The new TSR was formed by Jayson Elliot to cover multiple aspects of gaming, beginning with
the launch of “Gygax Magazine” next month. Elliot was one of the first adopters of Roll20 in
the Kickstarter phase. Additionally, a feature by Roll20 co-founder Nolan T. Jones’ brother,
Nevin P. Jones, will be in the initial issue of Gygax Magazine covering Nevin’s first roleplaying
experience which was accomplished using his brother’s application.

Tabletop Forge was begun as a Google Hangout application by Joshuha Owen with the
purpose of helping the vibrant Google+ roleplaying community to better realize their games.
The Google+ page for Tabletop Forge boasts over 11,000 members, many of whom supported
the program’s KIckstarter last year. However, Joshuha decided that the community would best
be served by a single HTML5 solution.

“There are lots of options for roleplaying over the internet, but it became redundant to have
both Roll20 and Tabletop Forge, as in many ways they were serving the same community and
had similar features including a common goal of being lightweight and easy to use," remarked
Joshuha. As such, the creators of both programs say they will be treating all Tabletop Forge’s
Kickstarter backers as if they had made their pledges to Roll20, migrating Tabletop Forge
assets to Roll20, and be working with a multitude of RPG artists to bring their content to the

Roll20 began as an effort to keep developers Dutton, Jones, and Richard Zayas in touch via
long distance gaming. Their project went public with an eighteen day Kickstarter campaign in
April of 2012. Since then it has attracted over 100,000 users as a free service. The program
continues to be funded by subscribers who receive features that assist advanced gameplay.

(the bolding is by me. This is exciting news, and my understanding is that Josh will be adding his programing skills to those of the original Roll20 developers to make things even better. Just think, I started playing around with Roll20 after leaving it behind 6 months ago just this past Sunday. It's come a long way.)

(oh, and yeah, that stuff above? it's an official press release dealie)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Looking For Suggestions For a Wayward Kickstarter

Kingdom: The Space Exploration RPG did not fund, which puts money back in out Wayward Kickstarter fund. At the moment we have $10 in donations, $10 matching funds and about $10 from OBS sales commissions from when DnD Classics released.

So, 30 bucks to play with.

Any suggestions?

Review - Gygax Magazine #1 (Part 2 of 2)

Back to reviewing Gygax Magazine #1 (the first part of the review can be found here):

DMing for your Toddler by Cory Doctorow - Cory's article is a nice piece on improvisational DM'ing with a very simple improvised RPG system. My niece is two at the moment. I think I might try on her in two years.

Great Power for ICONS by Steve Kenson - It's a sampling of power for the forthcoming Great Power supplement of ICONS. It's times like this I wish I actually player Supers type games. It appears to be well written.

The Future of Tabletop Gaming by Ethan Gildorf - A decent article putting D&D into the perspective of the time and culture it was released into and how it fits into today. Yep, there are times where I long for simpler times too.

The Gygax Family Storyteller by Ernest Gary Gygax Jr. - not so much a "old school cred" article as a Gygax family story, centered on EGG himself. Very enjoyable. See, I like historical pieces, just not the "here's why I'm almost famous" stuff.

Talents Off the Front Line by Dennis Detwiller - it's an article for the Godlike WWII era supers game. It makes me realize that I need to do more than skim the rules (as I do own them). I may need to actually read them thoroughly and run it.

D&D Past, Now and Next by Michael Tresca - a look at D&D throughout the editions by zeroing in on things like miniatures, magic items, power levels, random attributes, lethality and such. It looks at the handwaving and other adjustments needed to bring past modules into later or "Next" editions. Much better than I expected.

Gnatdamp: A Sanctuary in the Swamp - Michael Curtis - Not so much an adventure as a small village (about 200 inhabitants) with a handful of adventure seeds. Well, four seeds spelled out at the end with a paragraph each and probably a half dozen or so an enterprising DM could whip up from the locations and inhabitants. Systemless. Nicely done.

The Kobold's Cavern overseen by Wolfgang Baur (this is where Kobold Quarterly has taken refuge)

     Magical Miscellany by Randall Hurlburt - Some magic items for the AGE (Dragon's Age) System. I own this and almost ran a session of the system. Distracting me from my OSR gaming! Still, most of the items here could be converted to OSR gaming with little trouble.

     An AGE of great Inventions by Rodrigo Garcia Carmona - Adds guns and gadget research to AGE. I'm sure there is a way to convert or use this for inspiration for some over reaching gnome ;)

     Scaling Combat Feats for Pathfinder by Marc Radle - I wouldn't be surprised if this article was pretty cool for Pathfinder Players, but feats are all Greek to me.

Marvin the Mage by Jim Wampler - 2 page comic spread. OK comic, but I may borrow the potion hawking scene for my game on night :)

What's New With Phil & Dixie by Phil Foglio - a 1 page comic bringing back the Dragon Magazine classic. Some of the jokes actually made me smile, which isn't bad for a comic that hasn't appeared in ages.

The Order of the Stick by Rich Burlew - a 1 page comic of OotS. I love me some OotS. This page will not convert you if you aren't currently a fan, but I'm hopeful it picks up with later issues.

So, my overall score of Gygax Magazine #1? Good, not great. I don't mind some historical pieces, but I did get annoyed by the "here's why I'm great" articles that I covered in the first part of the review. The second half of the magazine is definitely the stronger part.

If I had to pick out the strongest piece, I'd go with Gnatdamp. It's a fine setting piece.

Least favorite? James Ward slapping himself on the back, but that might be because I remember him slapping himself on his back in the pages of Crusader.

How Relevant Is ENWorld From YOUR Perspective These Days?

ENWorld used to be the place I got nearly all my gaming info from and where I participated in numerous forum discussions. I was a supporter for years, kicking in those few bucks a month to keep terminally slow forum running.

G+ and blogs are where I find my RPG news these days and where I talk about RPG related topics. For me, ENWorld offers little that I can't find elsewhere.

I'm surprised at how well the ENWorld Kickstarter has done, but maybe I shouldn't be - the PDF package of goodies available doesn't quite compare with the package offered with the Pathfinder Online but it covers both Pathfinder and 4e to some extent.

Another case of supporting a Kickstarter for the bonuses and not the core products. I guess I should be happy I'm firmly entrenched in the OSR - there is nothing all that tempting that is being offered from my perspective.

So, do you still visit ENWorld? Are you supporting it's Kickstarter? If so, are you in it for the loot or to support the site?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Roll Call Request For Those Participating in the January 31st "Basic Fantasy Role Playing Blog Appreciation Day"

I know there's well over a dozen bloggers that have expressed interest in participating in the January 31st  "Basic Fantasy Role Playing Blog Appreciation Day" event coming up this Thursday. I have your names from G+ and the comments section, but what I really need are the names of your blogs so I can put a link list together (and so I don't miss stuff later on this week).

So, if you would be kind enough to add your blog's name as a comment here or on G+ I'll get that list up and put on a sidebar of The Tavern.

It's not too late to participate. The more the merrier ;)

Review - Gygax Magazine #1 (Part 1 of 2)

Alright, I've had my copies of Gygax Magazine Issue #1 for 24 hours now and have given it a decent read through. Have I read every word? No. Some articles are about games I know little or less about, and some just lost my interest. It's a mixed bag of sorts.

First, let me say this - it looks, feels, tastes and smells like Dragon Magazine from the 80's in presentation, layout, font, paper type, etc. It is very nearly a trip back in time from that alone. I like that aspect. I like that a lot.

As for the articles... there are some gems, there some games I don't play and there is a shitload of reminiscing and proving old School cred. Lets get down to the specifics:

The Cosmology of Role-playing Games by James Carpio - it's kinda like a history of RPGs grouped by arbitrary associations that the author used placed on the backdrop of a "cosmos" type star map. Interesting, but he lists "Thieves' World" as an RPG system, when it was a multi-system setting. Yep, a nitpick, but as it's part of the "Alpha Prime" listing (the first list he presents) it makes me a bit wary of the rest of the article. Not an awesome start to the magazine. Lets move on.

Still Playing After All of these Years by Tim Kask - the first of an assortment of "here's my old school cred" articles, it's interesting from a history standpoint. From a gaming standpoint? Eh.

Leomund's Secure Shelter by Lenard Lakofka - Len handles the "here's my old school cred" and some personal background on himself AND does some AD&D math showing that + 1 Damage is better than + 1 to hit. Includes a chart and everything. It's an actual article that deals with actual gaming and game theory. Not bad at all.

The Ecology of the Banshee by Ronald Corn - I never read the ecology articles back in the days of Dragon and God knows I don't plan to start now. That being said, the Banshee's abilities and their variant's are described in a systemless manner, which is good, especially if you want to present the magazine as something applicable to gamers of all systems. Well done article, even if I don't like "ecology" articles in general.

Bridging Generations by Luke Gygax - Yet another "here's my old school cred" article, this time by one of the Gygax's. Moving on.

Gaming With a Virtual Tabletop by Nevin P. Jones - An article about running games using Roll20. I use TableTop Forge for my online gaming, but with the current dungeon crawl campaign in Rappan Athuk, I may need to check out Roll20 if it allows for maps to be saved in progress between sessions. So, if the article is making me consider checking out a different gaming app, it's a decent article.

Keeping Magic Magical by Dennis Sustare - Dennis doesn't need to bore us with a history of his "old school gaming cred", he shows us why he has such cred with an article talking about possible ideas to houserule magic to make it more special. I'm not saying I'd run with any of the ideas he presented, but they are interesting and inspirational. Nice.

Playing it the Science Fiction Way by James M. Ward - yes, yet another "here's my old school cred" article. Back, meet hand. A bit of history here too, once you get past the "One of my claims to fame is the creation of the first science-fiction role-playing game, Metamorphosis Alpha." I guess another claim would be destroying The Crusader magazine.

Alright, end of the first part of the two part review.

More later

Do You Regularly Play More Than One OSR Ruleset?

I have them all, or at least I THINK I do. I have all of the editions of D&D, from the OCE and it's Supplements, B/X, B/E/C/M/I, AD&D, AD&D 2e (and those later editions) and more clones than you can shake a stick at.

When I returned to gaming via Fantasy Grounds 2, I played Castles & Crusades. Moving to G+ Hangouts, it was D&D Next Beta which quickly became me running a game of ACKS for the group. We moved from that to playtesting some Ambition & Avarice and now I'm running a AD&D 1e / OSRIC campaign.

So, although I switch around my game systems, it's generally only one at a time (I did run some DCC RPG one shots over the summer / fall)

I guess I'm a "one system at a time type of DM / Player" for the most part.

Do you play in / run different OSR systems at the same time? Any particular reason to do so? Are you a "Serial System Changer" like me? ;)

Playing With Pestilance (a Rappan Athuk Session Report)

For those following at home, my players were mostly running around level 3C of Rappan Athuk - The Fountain of Pestilence last night. I can actually name the level, as they found the fountain last night and almost immediately said - "Hey, this is like camping a Spawn Point in a MMO!" Which it was, until the numbers started increasing ;)

Prior to that, they had a lot of "Left Hand Teleports". Teleports are a bitch to map, even the ones that aren't traps. (We did have two that were potential traps, but the players hadn't played with enough pestilence yet to make that happen). They are able to figure it out via trial and error, which was rewarding even from my side of the table. They done did well.

There is one thing that came up that I had to remind them of, and that was an earlier clue from 2 (3?) sessions ago, but was only 2 days time in game. Which actually worked out well, because even with the clue and following it's coded instructions successfully, the impulsiveness of certain party members came close to leading to deep doo doo for the rest of the party. I love it when a plan comes together, and in the next round falls apart. Priceless ;)

As we wrapped up for the night the players came across the the Entrance to "The Gut", the main underground thoroughfare to the primary location of Rappan Athuk. I have plans for this trip, and two weeks to finalize them. I'm looking forward giving the party some nice surprises - pleasant and otherwise (mostly otherwise).

I know, my recaps are sparse, but I don't like to give too much away when talking about a commercial product in use - Rappan Athuk. I will say that we've had the most focused play as a group delving through this megadungeon, so that speaks volumes right there :)
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