Saturday, July 13, 2013

Free Shadowrun 5th Edition Quickstart

Hey! Are they trying to make
QSR look like OSR?
As I post this, there is only one product that is selling better at RPGNow than Ambition & Avarice, and that's the full version of Shadowrun 5th Edition.

You can get a free copy of the Shadowrun 5th Edition Quick Start Rules from this link, that way you can save your cash and pick up Ambition & Avarice for about a 1/3 of the price of the full Shadowrun rules ;)

From the blurb:

Shadowrun, Fifth Edition is here and there's no better way to dive into the Sixth World than with these Shadowrun Quick-Start Rules. Take on the role of a Combat Adept, Decker, Street Shaman, or Street Samurai in a brawl against fast-food goodfellas using this set of streamlined rules perfect for both those new to Shadowrun or long-time players getting back into the game.

Some Thoughts on Using Ambition & Avarice With DCC and Other OSR Systems

I did some serious reading of the new Ambition & Avarice release last night, which is a much different experience than reading different sections as stand alone pieces while trying to proofread. It struck me that in addition to being an excellent OSR ruleset on it's own, it makes for an extremely useful DM's tool or supplement for other OSR rules.

Case in point. I'm looking to kick off a DCC RPG campaign this summer, with the plan to use both published adventures and my own scenarios mixed together. The PCs classes (and "savage" or humanoid) races would make for some excellent NPCs or adversaries for use in DCC.

I can just see using a goblin cultist and his minions in an adventure, using the A&A spells with minor alterations. No one says that NPCs and monsters have to be created using the same rules as the game you are running.

It's a great tool to keep your players on their toes and keep everything fresh.

Well, except for the fact that +Greg Christopher is one of the players in my gaming group, as is +Craig Brasco , the cover artist. Or the fact that our group playtested the rules. But that's okay, as they will get a chance to playtest the mish mash of rules I'm talking about above this summer ;)

Anyhow, here's a bit on the Cultist in A&A. I think it's a perfect fit as an adversary in DCC:
Cultists are able to perform sacrifices to capture the life force of their victims. The sacrifice must be a humanoid. The subject must be bound in a ritualistic manner on an altar or in an open area of at least 10 square feet. They must also be healthy (no toxins, no diseases, etc.) and possess over 50% of their maximum hit points. 
The sacrifice kills the subject and transfers their life energy into the escaping blood, which can be stored for future use. For every hit die possessed by the subject, a pint of infused blood (16 ounces) can be captured. Consuming a pint will recover 1d6 hit points or heal 1 points of attribute damage. It remains potent for up to a week.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Some Minor Observations and Thoughts on Wizard Spell Casting in the DCC RPG

I've been listening to podcasts on my drive to and from work for months now. Gaming podcasts up the wazoo. Woot! My most recent addition had been Spellburn, an excellent DCC RPG flavored podcast. The last episode focused on wizards and spell casting, so I thought I would take a look at it too - and raise some questions.

See, for me, spell casting in DCC was the hardest part for me to wrap my head around. It's similar enough to the source material to seem familiar, but different enough to confuse the shit outa me when I first encountered it.

The whole "can cast a spell until you fail to successfully cast it" was another head scratcher when I first came upon the DCC rules. I wanted to see my spells by level chart. I've gotten past that handicap now, thank you much ;)

Wizards start out with 4 1st level spells plus their Int modifier. The starting spells are chosen randomly, but if the assortment is lame, the Wizard can drop half of those and choose that half (page 124 - easy to overlook as it is not next to the class description).

Wizards also gain 1 spell per level gained after 1st level - which would mean that as written, the characters will gain on average 2 spells of each of the higher spell level.

Is it possible to forget a spell and replace the knowledge of that spell with a different spell of the same or higher spell level that the caster can cast? As PCs find new spells via adventuring, they may want to replace some of their more useless spells with new shinnies. (spells like Patron Bond are pretty much single use, and I suspect would be readily forgotten after use by most wizards for something more useful in a game session).

If not, I can see that x/day type magic items that replicate certain spells would be very useful to fill in these gaps for the casters.

Ambition & Avarice: 1st Edition Releases in PDF (OSR Ruleset)

I'm very excited to see the full version of Ambition & Avarice released into the wilds, not least because I game with the writer and one of the artists ;) I've been playtesting this, and it is good. It's takes some of the usual tropes and twists them a bit, but it is solidly OSR.

I'm working off a Chromebook, so grabbing a copy will have to wait until I get home.

I know what I'll be reading before tomorrow night's game session ;)

From the blurb:

Ambition and Avarice is an action-adventure roleplaying game. It provides a rich tapestry of choice for the player while remaining light and fun. The adventuring mechanics are OSR compatible and allow easy integration with a variety of old school campaign material. You can pick up this game, grab an old module, and get playing in a very short amount of time.

The characters are rough and dangerous adventurers. No more clerics wagging their moralistic fingers at thieves. You are all thieves in some sense of the word, having come to feed on the treasured corpse of the past. There are 10 races and 10 classes that each bring a unique flavor to the classic dungeon crawl. The five magic-using classes have a varied selection of new and exciting spells. The non-magical classes have their own rich choices and don't fade away in importance as the magical characters advance in level.

The entire package is designed to allow quick character generation and presented in a format that is clear and easy to read. It is an ideal choice to hand to a new player who is looking to get into the great game, but turned away by thick rulebooks with byzantine organization.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Dragon Horde Zine Issue #1 - Pay What You Want (OSR Fanzine)

The Dragon Horde Zine Issue #1 is very Old School - not just in content, but in feel. To the point that some of the articles use a font that mimics a bad mimeograph copy. Alright, that part I didn't enjoy so much ;)

Still, it's 24 pages of Old School zine complete with a decent dungeon, new creatures and magic items and even some charts for detailing the tavern your party is currently imbibing in. Good stuff!

The suggested "donation" or price is 50 cents. If you pay 50 cents, OBS adds a 35 cent "surcharge" to your purchase for being under a buck. Either add something else to you cart if you want to kick the author back a few cents, or just pay a buck. It's well worth the price (and you can check it out for free and pay later if you would like).

From the blurb:

Inside this inaugural issue:

• The Monster Roster: the leech-man and the beguine, with Oe/BX/1e stats

• d30 feature: Where Does the Weapon Hit? 

• Familiars Found: Guidelines for Spellcaster Familiars
  in New Big Dragon's Universal RPG The System

• A Map of Yal Caramon and an overview of Lerdyn Chrisawn's Chronicle

• New NPC Class: Chroniclist

• The Undertemple of Arkon: An Adventure for Characters Levels 1-3 

• Seven New Magical Weapons 

• Who Speaks What: A Languages Spoken Crib Sheet

• Who's in the Tavern: Tables to Fill the Tables at the Local Tavern

An Amazing DCC RPG Adventure Path Put Together at the "Humanitarian Orc" Blog

You are writing something for the latest DCC RPG Contest, are you not? There's cool loot and shit!

Well, the Humanitarian Orc Blog just posted one hell of an adventure path. I like it!

Here's a snippet, then got to Humanitarian Orc to read the rest. Don't forget to enter the contest yourself - no DCC RPG rulebook necessary ;)
The Thanes of Hirot 
Since time immemorial, you and your people have toiled in the shadow of the cyclopean ruins.  Of mysterious origins and the source of many superstition, they have always been considered a secret best left unknown by the folk of your hamlet. 
But now something stirs beneath the crumbling blocks.  Beastmen howl in the night and your fellow villagers are snatched from their beds.  With no heroes to defend you, who will rise and stand against the encircling darkness?  The secrets of Chaos are yours to unearth, but at what cost to sanity or soul? 
A band of friends, family, and neighbors braved the Starless Sea.  While many were lost, by lot or by fate a few arose to become true heroes.  Tales of their deeds spread quickly and a plea from near Hirot is soon received. 
High above the windswept moors and darksome woods, the village of Hirot is under siege...

"Renegade" (OSR Clone Rules) Goes "Pay What You Want"

For some reason, this makes me think of Chivalry & Sorcery
Renegade is one of the more recent OSR clones to hit the playing field, and by more recent I mean in the last year or so. It didn't get much notice from what I saw, but that may have been due in part to the fact that most of the OSR rulesets have a free version for you to kick the wheels and try before investing in it.

I guess you could consider Renegade to now be the the "Try before you buy" category, as it has gone "pay what you want" at RPGNow.

Even if you aren't interested in another OSR clone, the adventure design tables and charts in the second half of the rules are worth the investment of bandwidth to download. It also includes random tables as a separate PDF as part of your purchase - encounters, events, foods, etc. If you like tables for inspiration, you have them here.

From the Blurb:

Renegade is ideal for anyone looking to start playing the world's most popular RPG with family and friends. This version of Gary Gygax and Dave Arnesons' rules translates instantly into other Old School RPGs and early versions of D&D.
The gameplay is fast and easy to learn, but Renegade is a complete system with all the spells, monsters and items needed to play for years. The game includes lots of support aimed at making life/ running games easier for new GMs.

The content is suitable for age 7+.

The following list outlines some of the options and content included in Renegade:

Lightweight rules that encourage improvisation and exploration
Classic and challenge-based experience (XP) options
A wide range of PC classes
Ascending and descending AC
Step-by-step support for rapid adventure and world building
A single-column layout suited to print or tablets
Optional skill challenges
Word/ OpenOffice class templates and quick start PC sheets included
Renegade has an expanded version called Renegade ~ Corruption with extra content.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Kicking Ass Kickstarter - Maelorum: Reprint an Epic Gamebook!

Truth in advance - I'm not kicking into the Maelorum: Reprint an Epic Gamebook! , but that's because I grabbed two copies the first time around ;)

Yes, it stands up to the hype. This is one of those rare solo "Gamebooks" that works on both the gaming level and the story level. This sucker is in my bag every time I take a trip to the Poconos to get away from the city (I like to squeeze in a few moments of solo gaming in between all of the running around the family finds for me). Have I finished it? Nope. I'm enjoying it in snippets. Still, my signed 1st edition is taking a bit of a beating.

Will has softcovers and hardcovers this time around, and I must say I really like the new art for the hardcover. Hardcovers can stand up to the workout you will probably put this through.

Maelorum is like taking the Fabled Lands series and making it even better. Not that they are all that alike, but Fabled Lands set the old bar in my opinion, and Maelorum is setting the new bar.

I like the "Volume One" on the cover, as it means Will has more stories planned. I may need to corner him one day and find out just what those plans are :)

There's about a day and a half left in the latest Maelorum Kickstarter. It's blowing past stretch goals and has already surpassed 500% of it's goal.

I know it will ship, as Will did a great job with the first Maelorum Kickstarter. I know the product rocks, as I have it.

If you missed out on Maelorum the first time around, now's your chance to correct that.

Damn, it feels good to be talking about a Kickstarter and feeling all good and positive. I'm sure that will fade when I look at all the projects I supported that are overdue by months and years. I'm pretty confident that Maelorum: Reprint an Epic Gamebook! will hit it's mark.

A Closer Look at "In the Prison of the Squid Sorceror" (DCC RPG Adventure Anthology)

(Did I mention that In the Prison of the Squid Monster is one of many prizes in this month's DCC RPG Contest here at Tenkar's Tavern?)

I picked up In the Prison of the Squid Sorceror last week when Lulu was having it's 25% off sale. Actually, I grabbed a couple of things, but this is the shiny that I'm taking a look at (with the DCC RPG Campaign waiting to be sprung). Yes, I already have this in PDF and reviewed it prior, but print version is always nice to have and it allows a look with fresh eyes if you will.

There are 12 mini to short encounters / adventures in this book. I really think they should have gone with 13, as it would have fit the DCC universe a bit more closely, but I digress.

The first adventure (by Ken Jelinek), after which the book itself is named, is for 1st level characters. I'm already trying to think which adventures to "seed" rumors to the survivors of the funnel, and this would be perfect. This may just be long enough for players new to the DCC RPG and characters with actual levels (and class power / spells) to get their feet wet before moving up to larger / tougher adventures.

Mermaids From Yuggoth is a 3rd level adventure from +Daniel Bishop . The name of this short adventure conjures images of Cthulhu Mythos in my mind, and the adventure itself helps that along. It's more roleplay than combat and is meant to fill in some of the dead space between other adventures - you can actually start events in motion when the party is 2nd level. It's not something you see often, but does a fine job of adding a sense of continuity between other DCC adventure.

Skipping ahead a bit in the book, we come to The Long Sleep by Ken Jelinek. Potentially a funnel for a smallish party of of 0-levels, I think it will find more use as an adventure to pull out when the party has less than it's full allotment of players at 1st level. Yeah, I'm focusing more on the lower level stuff, as that will see more immediate use.

I'm thinking these short adventures (there are 9 more included - I'll get to looking at them closer as the week goes on) would work well if played 2 in a session (the Brave Halfling Appendix N adventures could be thrown into the hat too as they are short in length). It's kinda like a DCC RPG  Double Feature, with a built in intermission / bathroom break / walk the dog built into it.

What is Your Favorite Non-TSR Module / Adventure (any system)?

Many of us "Old School Gamers" look back fondly on the classic B2 for Basic D&D. Or G1-3. Maybe Tomb of Horrors.

Often out focus is on the TSR classics, but there are others out there (many from Judges Guild come to mind).

My favorite, possibly of all time - Death on the Reik for Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 1st Edition.

25 some odd years I can't say for sure if the adventure was uber-awesome, but my memories of it are. It was a blast to GM and my players had a blast with it. Too bad the campaign came to an end when the party's wizard blew himself and most of the party up with a misplaced fireball. It wasn't so much the fireball itself, but the dozen or so flasks of oil that he carried to enhance his pyromaniac tendencies. Ah well, he did learn a lesson.

So, what your favorite and why?

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

A Look at Admonition #4 in DCC RPG

What is "Admonition #4" in the DCC RPG? (page 314 in the PDF)
Fear no rule. I know you will homebrew this game: I trust it will remain recognizable but different from as I conceived it. Such is as it should be.
Just like OD&D and many of it's offspring, it is expected that the DCC RPG will be played in a manner that suits each individual group. Houseruling is to be expected.

I'm one mean houseruling mother f'er! I do it to every game I run. I can't help myself.

Last spring / summer's ACKS campaign? I houseruled the sucker. The ongoing AD&D / OSRIC game delving into Rappan Athuk? I houseruled the shit out of that.

I don't know how an experienced DM / Ref / Judge worth his salt doesn't tweak a given ruleset to suit his players. Mind you, houserules aren't there to make make the game easier for the players, they are there to make it a better play experience for all involved. Some may help them, some may hinder them but the play is the key.

I do, however, let my players know upfront the houserules that are in effect. No one likes the surprise houserule that screws over their plans. It's not fair to the players and itsnot fair to the campaign.

When you run a campaign, do you RAW (run as written) or do you houserule?

Received Two More Excellent Submissions for the "Unofficial OSR" Zine Today

I think I'll be printing out all of the current submissions this weekend just so I can physically hold them - and get an idea of how big the first issue of the Unofficial OSR zine is heading to be. We are getting submissions at a nice steady pace (two today) and they've all been "very good" or better. I'm humbled. I'll also be buying lots of beers it seems.

There is still nearly a month to submit (details on this post)- and we pay with "beer money" - no one is getting rich, but the least I can do is buy you a beer ;)

One thing the zine lacks is an actual header / title / whatever the f' you call the graphic that would be "Unofficial OSR". If you're good at that stuff, send your ideas to tenkarsDOTtavern at that gmail thing. I'll pay more than a beer for the one we use. Heck, if we get a couple of decent submissions, I'll even put it up for a vote with prizes and shit.

In the meantime, a heartfelt thanks to all that have submitted or are thinking of doing so. It is your zine after all.

What is Your Favorite Non-D&D Old School RPG?

In my early days of roleplaying, I'd play just about anything. I did spend more time with two games than any other besides AD&D. Those games were MERP and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. So, if I were to ask the question based on what I played back in the day, those two would be my choices.

If you were to ask me today, based on what I find myself wanting to play, it would be Tunnels & Trolls - a game I refused to play back in the day.

Go figure ;)

So, which game or games would make your list?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Prepping For DCC and Beyond

So, I find myself prepping (reading an rereading rules and adventures) for my group's upcoming DCC RPG campaign. It's going to be a hell of a switch from the current AD&D / OSRIC venture into Rappan Athuk (and the previous ACKS campaign that saved us from a painful DnD Next playtest campaign).

As I dig deeper into DCC, I'm reminded that it is not nearly as complex as it appears at first glance. Sure, the book is friggin' huge, but that more due to the fact that every spell has it's own chart.

Here's a thought for a Kickstarter - laminated DCC RPG spell cards - one spell per sheet - it would be the ultimate DCC player material. Well, except for the fact that it would only really be useful for casters and Judges. Eh, good idea, no idea how to do it in a cost effective manner. Not sure how to do it on POD either.

Anyhow, I plan to kick things of with Sailors on the Starless Sea and then see where it leads. We have a group of 6 plus the GM, and over the summer we can probably hit at least 4+ for each session. One of my players actually has a DCC RPG adventure that he wrote and was published, so I'll need to be very well prepped to keep my GM cred at it's current level. ;)

Then when I get my Hardcover copy of The Razor Coast for Swords & Wizardy, I'll probably be itching to start a S&W campaign. So much gaming to want, so little time.

Sidetracked there for a bit.

I plan on using some variation of my proposed character stable idea. It still needs tweaking, so I shall tweak away. The idea of having an in game mechanic to swap out characters depending on player wants / party needs / PC death appeals to me. Playtesting it will see how it works in play as opposed to theory.

One idea I'm toying with is to give the players multiple rumors in between adventures about possible legends / locations / further adventure - not all would be level appropriate. Semi sandboxie if you will, as there is no detailed world to adventure in at the moment. Or I'll use one of the suggested Adventure Paths from the contest. I'll get feedback from my players to see how they want to run it, but I believe I have every published DCC RPG adventure (in PDF at least) so I have lots of options to choose from.

I do need to work up some random encounters / tables to possibly hit the party with before / after adventures as they travel - got to keep it real ;)

Mini Review -DCC # 67 - Sailors on the Starless Sea (DCC RPG Adventure Funnel)

I find it hard to believe I never reviewed Sailors on the Starless Sea - as apparently I did in May of 2012 - oops! heh

That being said, in the time since I've actually run some DCC RPG funnels (and 1st level adventures), so I'm going to take another stab at this from the POV of having actually run this stuff:

Sailors on the Starless Sea is probably the perfect "0-level Funnel" if you are looking to set the tone of your DCC RPG campaign at the Goodman Games default. Each of the publishers of DCC RPG adventures have a certain tone to their products, which is to be expected. Slightly dark, sometimes apparently hopeless and the odds are never in your favor, that is the tone of the Goodman Games adventures. (actually, I should do a post on the tone of the different adventure lines and how to tweak them to work together).

With the mindset of  "You turn to your companions and ready your meager weapons. The time for retribution has come" you know your PCs are going to be in the thick of it. Not because they are heroes, but because it needs to be done.

The use of the Beastmen in Sailors on the Starless Sea is pure DCC RPG. Strange and unknown (and no two looking exactly alike) it keeps the party from falling into the old OSR / OGL / Pathfinder routine of "seen this, done it before" and gaming the encounter with metagame information that works across editions. "No, you haven't seen this before." Actually, you probably won't see it again, as each DCC adventure from all of the publishers pretty much have monsters / adversaries unique to each adventure.

It's also a fine example of making loot unique, whether magic or non-magical. Sure, the DCC rulebook discusses this, but this adventure shows it in action.

It's also fucking lethal, as all good funnels should be and also supplies PC replacement opportunities if needed (as all funnels should).

I'll make sure to let +Harley Stroh know how it goes when I do.

Yep, I'll be running this soon ;)

From the blurb:

Since time immemorial you and your people have toiled in the shadow of the cyclopean ruins. Of mysterious origins and the source of many a superstition, they have always been considered a secret best left unknown by the folk of your hamlet.

But now something stirs beneath the crumbling blocks. Beastmen howl in the night and your fellow villagers are snatched from their beds. With no heroes to defend you, who will rise to stand against the encircling darkness? The secrets of Chaos are yours to unearth, but at what cost to sanity or soul?

An introductory adventure for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Roleplaying Game, Sailors on the Starless Sea pits a mob of 0-level adventurers against the legacy of the Chaos Lords and their corrupted hordes. Delving beneath the crumbling ruins, the characters discover ancient crypts, a starless sea, and an ancient ziggurat, where death and treasure await in equal measure!

Tavern Activity - Zine, Reviews and Assorted Plans for the Summer of 2013

As the recent heat wave in the North East reminded me, we are knee deep in summer. One always needs to make some summer plans.

The aim is to get the first issue of the Unofficial OSR zine out the first week of September. We have some excellent submissions this far (including a scenario for the original Chainmail rules) but there is always room for more. Remember, we pay in "beer money" ;)

I'd like to average a review a day, but now that I'm back from my week of vacation, it will probably slow to 3 or 4 a week if I'm lucky. I think Sailors of the Starless Sea will get reviewed tonight.

What I'd also like to do is a "DCC RPG Content Post" a day for the month of August (much like I did with Swords & Wizardry back in May) but getting the zine together may preclude me from hitting it daily. Maybe I'll aim for every other day. Crap, maybe I need to start working on that stuff now ;)

Oh, and tentative plans for a Swords & Wizardry Online Con / Gaming Event towards the end of September.

God bless my wife for being a good egg :)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Got Twelve Rats With My Reaper Bones, Still Looking For the Pile of Coppers

I finally got around to unpacking my Reaper Bones tonight. There literally is a crap-ton of minis.

I still need to cut apart the ones that are still one their sprue - bought the hobby knife last week while on vacation along with some brushes. I also need to glue together the bigger pieces.

Overall, I'm very happy. There are, however, a significant number of minis that are bent to the point they can't stand up. I've heard rumors of a 1 sec boiling water dip, bend into place and than ice water to lock, but I think I'll wait for others to work the kinks out of the process ;)

Some Thoughts on Kicking off the DCC RPG Campaign

(don't forget to enter the Summer 2013 DCC RPG Contest - Put Together a "DCC RPG Adventure Path" From Existing Published Adventures and you may win some awesome prize)

So, my group seems interested in playing some DCC later on this summer. Damn exciting.

I'm figuring we are looking at 5-6 players, so 3 0-Level characters a piece. I'm currently rereading Sailors on the Starless Sea, as I expect this will be the funnel we will use.

I'm going to go with 4d6 in order, keep the three highest dice. One stat swap (any two stats) or reroll of occupation (including a racial specific reroll for those that have their heart set on playing one of the demi-human races. I don't see the point of limiting the players choice too much).

They'll roll 4 characters and head forth with 3 (the last will be a replacement if needed).

Edit: Alternatively, they could roll 12 sets of scores in order and choose the 3 sets they want to use in the funnel (I'll see which method the players prefer)

I'm interested to see the entries for the DCC Adventure Path contest and how they suggest what order to run the adventures - I may just follow one of the paths set out ;)

Announcing the Summer 2013 DCC RPG Contest - Put Together a "DCC RPG Adventure Path" From Existing Published Adventures

Here's July's DCC RPG Contest:

Put together an "Adventure Path" using currently released adventures from Goodman Games and 3rd party DCC RPG publishers.

No need to buy anything or even read the DCC RPG rules (but you can read the DCC RPG Beta for flavor if needed). Read the hooks / blurbs / summaries on RPGNow / Goodman Games of the adventures (links to the publishers products are at the bottom of this post) and string 4 or more together in a "metaplot". You can mix and match publishers if you like. Actually, mixing and matching should be fun. Make it fun. Try to make sense (which means you will need to explain how one connects to the next - yes, make shit up ;)

The contest will be open for entries for 10 days - sometime on the evening of July 17, I'll close the contest to new entries. I will pick a top 5 list on July 18th. You enter by posting your adventure path (or link to it if you post it on your blog or website).

Blog readers will then vote on their favorite "DCC Adventure Path" (one random vote will get a $10 RPGNow GC from Tenkar's Tavern). Voting will close on the evening of July 25th, 2013. Votes will be cast as comments in the Voting Post.


The Top Pick gets print copies of In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mythic Bull Games), AL3 Through the Cotillion of Hours (Purple Duck Games), AN1 The Ruins of Ramat (Brave Halfling) and AN2 The Vile Worm (Brave Halfling)

The Runner Up gets print copies of AL3 Through the Cotillion of Hours (Purple Duck Games), AN1 The Ruins of Ramat (Brave Halfling) and AN2 The Vile Worm (Brave Halfling)

The Second Runner Up gets a PDF copy of In the Prison of the Squid Sorcerer (Mythic Bull Games)

There will be additional PDF prizes supplied by Purple Sorcerer (Lair of the Mist Men, Perils of the Sunken City, The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk and A Gathering of the Marked) and Purple Duck Games (The Falcate Idol and The Black Goat) to random participants.

Links to the publishers:

Goodman Games - Print / PDF

Purple Duck Games

Purple Sorcerer Games

Mythic Bull Games

Dragon Hoard's Publishing

Thick Skull Adventures

Brave Halfling 


(Prizes generously supplied by Purple Duck, Purple Sorcerer, Mythic Bull and myself)

Mini Review - Critters, Creatures & Denizens (DCC RPG "Monster Manual")

Somehow Critters, Creatures & Denizens slipped by my notice when it released back in March. I usually get a notice from RPGNow for new DCC RPG releases, but not this one.

Now, the DCC RPG is much like LotFP' Weird Fantasy, in that the assumption is that the big scary guys are unique, either by location (Flying Buggywuggies are only found in the Swamp of Armpit Pustules) or by solitary habits (The Ogre ate my momma! Which ogre? The Ogre silly!).

The approach taken by CC&D is twofold. New (or new twists on old) monsters for you to use as inspiration when designing you own adventures (including the odd patron) or for use when you need to drop something on the PCs unexpectedly.

The other thing CC&D gives you is a tool to make your own monsters. I will admit, this shit gets chart heavy and loses me with tables like the one below. The mutations table in the beginning is aces though.

KISS is usually my method. Still, there is more than enough inspiration from the stated out creatures to keep a DCC Judge in monsters for months. Just handwave most of the charts if you are like me. Unless of course, you are a chart monkey, in which case, you'll be in heaven ;)

Did I mention the boatload of +Scott Ackerman art? Holy shit, nearly worth the price of admission on it's own.

From the blurb:

A new book of monstrous surprises and new ideas for the Dungeon Crawl Classics Roll Play Game. In its pages are:

-More than 120 Pre-generated DCC RPG compatible creature entries from the banal to the horrific with more than 400 variations for size and other subtypes.
-More than 7 templates that transform the stock creatures into zombies, skeletons, lycanthropes, and more…
-The guidelines and definitions needed to create your own creatures that will scale appropriately with the DCC RPG environment.
-Two tables with more than 30 mutations so you can create so many variations that your grand children will still be using this manual to create original combinations!

Optional rules for:

-Familiars, critters with class levels, and more…
-Overland and table top movement for those who love a safari…
-New sources for magic items…

Things you will not find in this work:

-Treasure tables. Most creatures don’t bother, and the ones who do are likely to be using what ever it is against the players. Besides, every Judge and Storyteller has their own ideas on appropriate treasure so why bother to codify things with tables?
-Threat ratings and encounter balancing architecture, because only you can know what your players can and cannot handle. Besides, the creatures of the wild don’t look for targets of equivalent strength. They hunt the weak, the sick, and the lame… aka: adventurers…

Mini Review - Beneath the Dome Part 1, Tombs of Green (C&C Serial Adventure)

Whenever I think of "serial publications" I remember TSR's horrible attempt to turn a single novel into multiple "novelettes". When I look at Beneath the Dome Part 1, Tombs of Green, I see another poor execution of the concept.

Why do I consider it a poor execution? I doubt there is enough in this first part to fill an evening of gaming or even most of an evening. There are 8 pages of "meat" in this offering - 6 for the adventure (8 rooms / encounter locations) 1 for the new creatures and 1 for new spells / map.

It feels incomplete, which is to be expected, as it is serialized. I'd expect the GM would run this when he has more of the product in hand, not just this small piece. Which is why the following piece of advice really struck me:

So, they should suddenly find them later on? I really hate when something is in an adventure but NOT in an adventure. Does this advice change with the release of the 2nd part of the series?

It's not a bad part of a dungeon, but it's expensive for the piece you get. $2.99 if you buy each part separately, or 10 bucks if your subscribe to all 4 parts at once.

From the blurb (the typos below belong to the Troll Lords):

Join James M. Ward in his latest foray into adventure gaming. Beneath the Dome is a serieal adventure. The first four episodes are laid out and being prepped for release.

The subsription includes four dungeon crawling adventures. They can be played separately or linked together for hours of game play.

Don't miss a book: SUBSCRIBE HERE (and save!)

“There is danger here. You should go back to your homes and guard your loved ones. I will try to keep death from your doors.”

Part 1: Tombs of Green launches the characters into the mountain deeps. Here they find the fallen have come back from the dead and seek companions on the lonley journey. Its a hard hitting, blood bathed, old school adventure, where luck and skill play equal parts.

Two new monsters, the andromodons and four new spells add to the night's fun as players push the envelope of adventure.

Thoughts on a "Character Stable or Tree" For the DCC RPG

So, we just finished the 2nd session of G1 run by +Joe D and it was a fucking blast. As we wrapped up for the night, we got to talking about the DCC RPG and the idea of playing a few sessions after we finish up with the current series.

Which got me brainstorming out loud with the group.

My previous thoughts on a higher level character funnel were addressing character replacement from a needlessly complicated direction.

Dark Sun, as originally presented in AD&D 2e, gave each player a "stable" of characters or a "character tree". When the active character leveled, the player could level another character in his stable and swap out characters between adventures. No inactive character could be raised in level higher than the active character. No trading between characters. Each player has four characters total at any one time - one activer and three in their "stable".

Doing a variation of this for the DCC RPG is pretty easy, especially as many groups default to some level or episodic play in their DCC campaigns. It allows replacement if the player's active character dies / goes missing for a year and a day / etc with a character the player has some investment in.

I would probably allow a player to form his character stable upon reaching 2nd level. Generate 3 sets of 4 0-level characters and choose one from each set to survive to level 1. The player will now have 1 2nd level and 3 1st level PCs.

Depending on the type of campaign, a player may choose to level two PCs in tandem and forget the other two for now, or the Judge may throw in some lower level adventure more appropriate to lower level characters in the stable as a change of pace and to allow the players to experiment with other classes.

I need to tweak this a bit, but I think it could fit in very well with the DCC RPG's theme and flavor.

Always open to ideas and thoughts on the matter...

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