Sunday, January 31, 2021

Scratching an Artistic Itch

 

Scratching an Artistic Itch
Maybe three of you guys know that a lifetime ago I used to work in the addiction industry. During that time my boss tricked me into attending a week-long intensive outpatient group therapy "retreat". Don't get me wrong, it was awesome....I worked through some repressed shit and made some friends I'm still in touch with (Group 4 represent!), but I thought I was going to evaluate the place in advance of my company trying to provide some specific business services.....

....anyway, as part of my therapist's recommended future "self care" I was specifically told to take up some more artistic pursuits. This is the biggest reason I started doing maps and writing some game "stuff". While I have been blogging for close to twenty years I do not consider myself an artist or writer, so working on "artistic" pursuits is a stretch for me, which was kind of the therapists point. I'm supposed to push myself and try new shit....which can be a lot harder than you might expect. I can come up with ideas, but execution....that's difficult for me. I love to gather up materials, plan things out, and try to figure out how I'm going to execute, but actually pulling the trigger.....yeah, I procrastinate like a....well, I just do. I know this is a problem for me and a barrier to my own prescribed after-care.

A couple weeks ago when I came down with the Flu (Covid?) I knew I had to do something 'cause if not I'm going to have a problem just wallowing in my sickness and doing nothing but watch TV. I needed a project....and I found one. I decided I'd make some terrain, specifically some round stone & thatch dwellings. I was inspired by this YouTube video by Landvetter's Lair


My messy workspace
While this was my inspiration, I wanted to make it my own and do some tweaks. My original idea was to work on the scale of the wattle and try a few different techniques. I actually started on doing four separate buildings. I liked the way the wattle came out, but to say it was labor intensive was an understatement. I think the wattle for each building took eight hours. In retrospect while I got the scale of the wattle how I liked, the buildings, intended to be two story, were still too tall. I don't like the enormous doorways I ended up with.


This whole endeavor took about a solid week and a half of work. At one point the walls of three of the buildings....well, I think they just sucked. I attempted to use thin foam-core and texture using a greenstuff cobblestone roller. While you could see the cobblestone, the moment you worked with it or God-forbid, try to paint it....the cobblestone pretty much disappeared. I ended up ripping the glued foam-core off and applying clay, which does hold the texturing, but had its own problems.

Four finished huts

My workspace is a mess I still need to clean up, but I did at least finish....well kind of. My goal was to finish by today's post, but I still need to coat the four models with a protective spray. I'm not sure I'm going to keep these particular models.....I'll probably send them to a gaming buddy who I know will use them at his gaming table.

One hut with figure for scale

This whole process has been a PITA, but I did enjoy trying to figure out how to do  few things, and how to fix some mistakes. I already have a couple of ideas on how to improve upon the build process, getting all of the scale how I want it, and where to spend just a little bit of money (not much in the scheme of things though) to improve the outcome. 

I think the thatch roof I did was much easier than in the video and I'm looking forward to trying it in an easier (rectangular) application.

I'm glad to be "done" with this initial project. I hope this was sufficient to scratch my art itch, at least for a while. I have other things I want to work on.....

Single hut with roof removed

Aside from the huge amount of time expended here, the actual cost comes down to maybe $3-$4 a piece for these things....seriously. The most expensive supply, use-wise, was probably the Modpodge I used generally to seal various bits and bobs. One of the huts I used plain Modpodge to see how that worked on the "wattle", and some black-ink infused Modpodge was used as a sealer for the clay and the roofs. The foamcore was from the dollar store and the clay was $10 for a HUGE box I used a tiny portion of.

I'm not looking for encouragement or even kind words about this project (I'm not an idiot, I won't turn them down), but I thought it might be nice to share a gaming-related project that I've spent some serious time on. After I seal these models and document my build-process and lessons-learned I hope to be able to revisit this style of building and eventually make a small bronze-age style village.



Saturday, January 30, 2021

Kickstarter - Neon Blood (OSR Cyberpunk)

I know that I've said this before, but I love when OSR engined RPGs step into less-used genres. Neon Blood is an OSR Cyberpunk RPG, and I don't think I've seen that before. Very cool :)

Neon Blood is an OSR/DIY (we call our work Dirty-OSR) inspired cyberpunk game set in a version of the world in 2035. We don't need to go very far into the future to see how culture, tech, and politics might shape the future of humanity. It is dystopian, but all hope is not lost for ye who enter here.

The goal of this game is to take the OSR-based RPG system and roughen up the edges, throw in some chrome, pump it full of HiCap neon, and light it on fire. The rules start with the d20, but we make a firefight feel like a frenetic two-way range where your decisions and training will be a matter of life and death. And hacking will never be boring or the side gig; it easily occurs in real-time alongside a firefight without disruption to either team.

The combat is brutal and deadly, and death is one bullet or NovaWire away. Zero hit points isn't the end, but neither is it a handful of chances to not experience what comes for everyone. Even hackers aren't safe; play hacking games, win deadly prizes. As awesome as this sounds, combat is full of player-facing choices to keep your character alive and gunning. But everything comes at a cost in Neon Blood.

10 bucks get you the PDF and digital soundtrack (yes, soundtrack). 30 bucks add in a softcover book of the rules.

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Friday, January 29, 2021

Free OSR - White Lies (S&W White Box)


Swords & Wizardry White Box has become the preferred ruleset of many looking to hack an OSR ruleset into different genres. Sci-fi, Cthulhu mythos, and others have hacked the rules. Heck, my own Swords & Wizardry Light was itself a teardown of the White Box Rules.

White Lies takes the S&W White Box rules and brings it to the spy genre. Think James Bond, the Man From Uncle, Secret Agent Man, and more.

And now White Lies is Free in PDF (and damn cheap in print)

Based on Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox, White Lies brings all the simple elegance of WhiteBox out of the dungeon and into the realm of espionage and paramilitary action and adventure! The digital purchase includes character sheets (both class-specific and blank) and a small Admin toolkit called Echo Team, containing a team of pre-generated level 1 agents for you to use as NPCs or quick players characters.

This product is not affiliated with Covert Ops, our d00lite espionage RPG, though it captures much of the same feel and has some of the researched and developed content repeated or adapted from that product.

Tip of the hat to the Taverner that emailed me the above heads up :) 

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Thursday, January 28, 2021

Kickstarter - Welcome To Eastwood (MCC/DCC RPG)

Continuing with my Kickstarter catchup :)

Today we are looking at the Welcome To Eastwood Kickstarter for the MCC/DCC RPGs. It looks to be a "funhouse" sandbox-style local setting/adventure that seems perfect for dropping into a campaign. I'm a sucker for setting material, and sandboxing just adds points ;)

Welcome to Eastwood is a 28pp MCC or DCC sandbox adventure for 1st or 2nd level characters. While it is made for Dungeon Crawl Classics or Mutant Crawl Classics, it could be adapted to almost any RPG world/system. 

The Village of Eastwood

Eastwood is the ultimate vacation theme park. Its "wild west" veneer conceals the techno wizardry of a powerful temporal field. After weeks (or months) at the resort, visitors could re-enter life moments after leaving for vacation, and never miss a day’s work. But neglect of its systems sends the entire park bouncing into distant pasts and futures. 

The adventure begins as the PCs stumble upon a strange “village” that mysteriously appears overnight. Getting into Eastwood is simple, but escaping proves to be a deadly challenge.

The art looks perfect for the described adventure, and it's a low-level adventure, so it should be easy enough to convert to the OSR system of your choice (which is what I do with DCC RPG adventures in any case) 

The PDF is 5 bucks (a bargain), print is 9 bucks plus shipping and print plus PDF is 13 bucks (plus shipping).

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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

The Humble RPG Book Bundle: 5th Edition Dungeon Extravaganza (includes some System Neutral Sourcebooks)

Looks like we have another RPG Bundle over at Humble Bundle. Although this one is labeled for 5e, as I've stated before, just about any GM can convert from 5e to the OSR will little effort, and many can do so on the fly with little to no prep. Additionally, this bundle has some system-neutral setting pieces that I highly recommend: the regional sourcebook The Duchy of Reme and the Lost Lands Setting book. Both come with rules addendums for 5e, but the sourcebooks themselves are system neutral, and the Lost Lands Setting Book comes with a license for other publishers to publish in the Lost Worlds Setting and reference locations and add to the lore. Now THAT is fucking cool.

Did I mention it includes The Book of Taverns, Volumes I and II? I kinda like taverns, go figure ;)

The Humble RPG Book Bundle: 5th Edition Dungeon Extravaganza comes in at three price points: $1, $8, and $15. The Duchy of Reme is included at the $8 level and The Lost Lands Setting book is included at the $15 price point.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Zine - Black Lung (Charity Zine)

Cancer is some scary shit. I should know, I'm a cancer survivor, and my health issues in 2020 were directly related to cancer treatment over a dozen years ago (congestive heart failure and the occluded left carotid were likely due to radiation treatment.) Yep, cancer is the gift that potentially keeps on giving to survivors, even years down the line.

2020 is also the year that Rocky found out that he had lung cancer. See, we didn't need Covid to make 2020 a truly shitty year, cancer and its lasting effects did a fine job fucking 2020 up on its own. When I found out Rocky had cancer, I literally teared up immediately. Rocky isn't just a good friend, but a damn good person, and he didn't deserve this. No one ever deserves this.

Rocky's battle is ongoing and he could certainly use your support. More importantly, his family needs it. Rocky is a husband and father of three young boys. 

Black Lung, the Charity Zine is being distributed by Frog God Games and is available in PDF format with variable pricing. All proceeds go to assist Rocky and his family, Frog God Games is merely facilitating distribution. Donations range from $15 to $150. The Tavern will be donating at the $150 mark.

Black Lung is a charity ‘zine to support an RPG designer and his family during their fight with cancer.

Authors include: Casey Christofferson, Levi Combs, Jack Cull, Alyssa Faden, Ala Fedorova, Skeeter Green, Greg Gillespie, Keelan Halvorrsen, Brendan LaSalle, Ian McGarty, Gabe Rotberg, James Michael Spahn, and Jim Wampler 

What is Black Lung?

This ’zine is a collection of pieces from a wide swath of the RPG community. Why did all of these authors and artists offer their time? To help a friend in need. And that is what this ‘zine is, people doing what they love for someone they love.

Is this a fundraiser?

All proceeds from this venture will directly benefit the family of RPG author, layout mastermind, father, and husband, Rocky Gardner as they combat the lung cancer that laid him low.

What is inside? 

Inside, you will find adventures, monsters, magic, and technology for a variety of game systems including adventures compatible with Shadowrun, Dungeons and Dragons 5th Edition, Swords and Wizardry, Dungeon and Mutant Crawl Classics, and Labyrinth Lord. There is something for everyone between these covers. 


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Monday, January 25, 2021

News - Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman to Publish a New Series Based on Classic Dragonlance

I suspected something was in the works when they had their lawsuit against WotC dismissed - Tenkar

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman to Publish a New Series Based on Classic Dragonlance - https://www.facebook.com/trhickman

Wilmington, NC – January 25, 2021 – Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman are pleased to announce a multi-year licensing agreement with Wizards of the Coast to produce a new, three book series of Classic Dragonlance novels.

The new trilogy will return fans to the most beloved characters from the original novels along with introducing a new strong protagonist. The books will be published by Del Rey Books, an

imprint of Penguin Random House. Although a publishing date has not yet been formally set, they anticipate announcing when the first book will be released later this year.

“We couldn’t be happier to be returning to the world we love,” says Margaret Weis. “Dragonlance is what brought Tracy and I together so many years ago. We’re thrilled to be able to do this for existing lovers of Krynn while bringing our beloved characters to a new generation of readers.”

The first Classic Dragonlance novel, Dragons of Autumn Twilight, was written by Weis and Hickman and published in 1984. Since that time, more than 190 novels have been published in the setting. Weis and Hickman have collaborated on numerous series over the last 30 years including projects set within the world of Classic Dragonlance and outside of it. Two notable series are The Death Gate Cycle and The Darksword Series, both published by Penguin

Random House.

“We credit the fans of Dragonlance for making this journey possible,” says Tracy Hickman. “We wrote this series out of our thanks to them for this amazing life-long journey...and from our wish that they join us once more on the road to Solace.”

The license for the series was secured by Weis & Hickman in 2018. Their recent dispute with Wizards of the Coast was resolved at the end of 2020, with all parties pleased to have come to agreement on how best to move forward with the trilogy. All are focused on 

producing the best series possible and will not comment on the past dispute other than to say it has been resolved.

Watch for additional news from Weis and Hickman about Classic Dragonlance and other projects on the horizon in the coming months

Sunday, January 24, 2021

"Painful" Lesson Regarding System Differences

 

Just a head's-up that today's post is something like 96-103% PC storytime and if that's a turn-off consider this your warning to just come back to the Tavern tomorrow. Also, kind of adult content, possible trigger? Adult content as in Porky's, not as in serious adult content ;)

I've mentioned before that I had a HUGE gaming dry spell between 1996 and 2003, or so.....not that other years were bountiful, just better. I had picked up HackMaster on my honeymoon in late 2002 and we started hitting the FLGS (Favorite Local Game Store) the next year. One friend I made through the FLGS was Rob.

Rob was a medically retired Army vet who happened to be stationed in the same place I was....at the same time even. He was just in the next barracks over and in another unit so out paths just didn't cross "back in the day". Of course we hit it off playing many games at the FLGS and I eventually got into his gaming group. Ugh, that group was painful with Rob as a GM, way too social and mental for my tastes. We'd have entire sessions where no dice were slung. Not my style of game. We used to joke that Rob had his detail settings set too high...he could tell you exactly how many field mice were f*&king in a specific pasture 3 counties over.

Some of us ended up getting together for another, "looser" game that Rob wanted to run for us and this would be my real intro to D&D 3.5 since I could start from scratch with my PC, and I had finally gotten a PHB. I probably should have spent more time reading said PHB, but if I had then the rest of this story never would've happened.....

Anyway, I have a habit of running a very specific type PC whenever I start a new fantasy RPG in that I try to make the absolute best Archer that I can. This time I went with some sort of Elven Cleric of a gawd (I know, but "gawd" is an old HackMaster habit I'm not keen to drop) that had a bow as a preferred weapon. One casting (I hope I remember the spell name right) of True Strike and I'm pretty much guarantied to hit my target, especially after I multi-class a bit into Fighter.

I end up naming this PC BALADAR (yes, it is capitalized!) after a big joke we had while creating PCs. The bit was some back-and-forth about two gamers who get married and have a kid they decide to raise as a self-aware PC. BALADAR was the name we came up with for this poor bastard kid. 1st Day of Kindergarten BALADAR.....btw he speaks of himself in third-person....is sent to school with a pinned note showing his stats "My Intelligence is a 7!" and that 1st day is rough. "BALADAR wants a juice-box! BALADAR wants a nap!" After describing BALADARs various foibles, and laughing for a good half hour at this piece of group fiction, I HAD to name my next PC BALADAR.

We started this new game as 1st level nobodies in a desert seaport. As a group we decided that we didn't want an "urban" campaign and would rather get out of BFE (if you don't know this one......consider yourself fortunate to not have lived there). We didn't have much money between us and figured that it would be much better to get paid to travel to somewhere else instead of the alternative. Working as a caravan guard seemed easy enough, all we had to do was secure employment. BALADAR took off with our Sorcerer.....basically our most Charismatic PC to go find a caravan merchant that needed more muscle.

After some effort we finally find a group that could use more manpower but there's a hitch. The caravan matron, a large attractive-forty-years-ago-maybe, woman has her pick of new guards and why should we be picked up instead of another group? The Sorcerer pitches our abilities.....having a Cleric and Sorcerer as well as a couple of fighters (one was actually a thief, but why mention that?) could prove useful, but to no avail. In what I'm sure is a bit of the GM fucking with the player, the Matron would much rather get a little kick-back in the form of being "serviced", by the Sorcerer. The desert can get cold and lonely at night, after all......

Now these little side discussions between NPCs and PCs were rather common in Rob's games to begin with, and usually not held at the table, so those not actively involved rarely pay much attention. Hell my PC isn't even actively involved....he's just "there" off to the side, but I am trying to listen in the best I can.

So here we have, in-character, some old-fashioned straight-up sexual harassment Quid Pro Quo. Can't get much worse, right? Well the Sorcerer decides instead of taking one for the team, or declining outright....., he'll go ahead and pimp out my PC instead. Wait, what?

He does the old, "My buddy at the bar wants this on his tab.....*waves at guy to get him to nod and/or wave back*" trick and this part I completely fell for 'cause I didn't hear the lead-in. The GM has me enter the conversation and explains that not only did the Sorcerer explain that BALADAR was more than happy to "service" the Matron, my acknowledgement from across the room was considered binding. 

Again....wait, what?

Of course the Sorcerer has hightailed it and BALADAR isn't going anywhere until the deed it done, as it were. This is when I had what I thought was an epiphany....BALADAR wasn't a 1st level Fighter, he was a 1st level Cleric. I have just the spell for this occasion (I hope at least one of you sees where I'm going...): Command.

Command (Enchantment/Charm)
Level: 1    Components: V   Range: 1"    Casting Time: 1 segment   Duration: 1 round    Saving Throw: Special   Area of Effect: One creature
Explanation/Description: This spell enables the cleric to issue a command of a single word. The command must be uttered in a language which the spell recipient is able to understand. The individual will obey to the best of his/her/its ability only so long as the command is absolutely clear and unequivocal, i.e. "Suicide!" could be a noun, so the creature would ignore the command. A command to "Die!" would cause the recipient to fall in a faint or cataleptic state for 1 round, but thereafter the creature would be alive and well. Typical command words are: back, halt, flee, run, stop, fall, fly, go, leave, surrender, sleep. rest, etc. Undead are not affected by a command. Creatures with intelligence of 13 or more, and creatures with 6 or more hit dice (or experience levels) are entitled to a saving throw versus magic. (Creatures with 13 or higher intelligence and 6 hit dice/levels do not get 2 saving throws!)

BALADAR casts Command: Orgasm Yeah, suck it GM! I got over on your little machinations, anc screw that other player too!

Should work, right?

Yeah......no. That spell block above...that's for 1st Edition D&D, which was what I was used to. D&D 3.5 run the spell a bit differently...d'oh!

Command

Enchantment (Compulsion) [Language-Dependent, Mind-Affecting]

Level:Clr 1
Components:V
Casting Time:standard action
Range:Close (25 ft. + 5 ft./2 levels)
Target:One living creature
Duration:1 round
Saving Throw:Will negates
Spell Resistance:Yes

You give the subject a single command, which it obeys to the best of its ability at its earliest opportunity. You may select from the following options.

Approach

On its turn, the subject moves toward you as quickly and directly as possible for 1 round. The creature may do nothing but move during its turn, and it provokes attacks of opportunity for this movement as normal.

Drop

On its turn, the subject drops whatever it is holding. It can’t pick up any dropped item until its next turn.

Fall

On its turn, the subject falls to the ground and remains prone for 1 round. It may act normally while prone but takes any appropriate penalties.

Flee

On its turn, the subject moves away from you as quickly as possible for 1 round. It may do nothing but move during its turn, and it provokes attacks of opportunity for this movement as normal.

Halt

The subject stands in place for 1 round. It may not take any actions but is not considered helpless.

If the subject can’t carry out your command on its next turn, the spell automatically fails

So now I'm fucked, literally?

We get back to the game table and the GM explains to the other players what happened and how bad I failed to thwart the Sorcerer's manipulation. Good news though! We can still take our place as caravan guards for this trip since BALADAR stayed true to his "word" and made sure the Caravan Matron was "pleased" with her hiring decision.

Yeah........not sure if I was more pissed or disappointed. I know I'm an adult and if it really bothered me I could have shot a proverbial flare up and waved the bullshit flag. I got worked over and thought I could flip the script through creative spell use, but nope. I'm not sure how this scenario was supposed to have gone, not sure how I would've gotten revenge either, but that's because it was all too much for BALADAR.

He died in out very 1st combat encounter. Since 3.5 isn't exactly thought of as an overly deadly game I'm thinking he died of shame, it just took a while for the dice to come around to do their part.

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Kickstarter - Magic and Shit: Weird Fantasy for Your OSR RPGs

I must admit I've been remiss in my Kickstarter coverage of new projects, so there are now a few in the hopper. The first one I'm looking at is Magic and Shit: Weird Fantasy for Your OSR RPGs by Levi Combs.

10 bucks for the PDF, 15 for the Print plus PDF.

Levi has been active in the OSR for years, so let's see what his latest project is all about.

Following up on the success of our RPG zines The Phylactery and The Phylactery 2, Planet X Games is stoked to bring you an all-new, all-different zine dedicated to weird fantasy magical items and artifacts with a heavy metal vibe. Magic and Shit is a cover-to-cover 48-page, saddle-stitched, 5.5-inch by 8.5-inch B&W printed zine with a bad ass color cover by Planet X favorite (and consumate, lifelong metalhead) Lawrence Hernandez. Like all of our zines, this poser-free fanzine is stacked with a ton of new plug-n-play content that you can drop directly into your fantasy role playing games. No rambling charts or useless page-filler to suck up space - just our usual grindhouse-style content infused with some denim and leather love for the 70s-80s metal scene.

 The magical items in this zine have been designed to bring something a little weird and altogether new to your campaign, while still giving a knowing nod to the games of yore that we all love and remember so fondly. What will your players do when confronted with the Mummified Hand of Gilly Yonder? Dare they slip on the Graveshroud of Nanthos the Black? What the hell is a Corpsehatch Seed? Dare they summon the dread powers of the Moaning Head of St Barach?

This zine is full of surprises and all-new takes on magical treasures to keep your players guessing. Will they partake of the Blood of the Bol-Gatha and harness the power of the Faceless One? Will they read aloud the Screed of Black Lore and gain the powers of darkness for themselves? Perhaps a villain is in possession of the Ossuary of Yeth and its only a matter of time before the players find themselves at the mercy of howling demons from the great beyond? With options galore, there's a hundred ways to make this zine a staple at your tabletop game. 


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Friday, January 22, 2021

Virtual Gary Con Notifies Attendees of Need to be ID'ed via Video / VoiP Chat Prior to Attending Convention After Purchasing Badges (Updated)

Imagine my surprise when I was pinged by a Facebook thread to a new thread in the Gary Con Facebook Community.


My initial assumption was that it was a fake email, but apparently, that is NOT the case, and it was an email sent out on the behalf of Gary Con.

The concern from many attendees, registered and potential, was that the vetting was possibly going to be on political ground, but it was later clarified that the vetting of potentially thousands of attendees was to weed out one asshole. An asshole that committed an offense at last year's Virtual Gary Con and apparently was already known to convention staff.

Edit 2335 1/22/2021: I've conversed directly with Luke Gygax, and he has updated me with the following:
ID buyer to badge so right person has right badge.  Link badge to Discord ID to help lost players get to right GM.  Verify is VOIP or webcam.  No interview or vet process.  No time or desire to do that. Just like a badge check in.

Second purpose is to help deter bad actors and ban those that are proven bad actors from future events.  The rules are con policies and thats been the case for years.  So nothing new there.  Gamers are good people by and large but any big group may have some bad actors and it’s a responsibility to take prudent action to deter, dissuade and limit those bad actions.
I've included some relevant screenshots from the thread below, but I'll make my observations known here:
This is simply a horrible implementation of a vetting policy. It sounds like someone on the Gary Con Staff realized late last night they may get trolled again by last year's bad actor, and this was the solution they came up with. Registration for the convention opened in late 2020, and this policy should have been in place BEFORE anyone put their dollars down for badges.

The argument that picking up your badge at a physical convention is your vetting process does not hold water. I doubt everyone manning the badge table during the usual early convention mad-rush is matching badges to faces. No one is being asked for ID in my expereince.

If you have a bad actor at a physical convention at your game table, the GM needs to get support staff and have the person removed. At a virtual convention, you simply boot the bad actor from your VTT. 

Not every attendee has access to internet speed high enough to effectively transmit video. Is that now a requirement to attend a virtual convention? 

The man-hours required to implement this for thousands of attendees, as well as the joy of scheduling such interviews, is more than daunting. 

In the future, are we going to be asked for ID and to pay for background checks before attending a physical convention? 

All of this drama, disruption, and annoyance of your community to weed out one bad actor? I don't know what their offense was, but to take action like this, at so late a time, makes me suspect that at a physical convention it would have been an arrestable offense. This is literally panic mode. late in the game. Someone dropped a ball and this is the result.

It's very simple to fool the video vetting process - simply have someone else sit in for the video. I suspect it is more likely an innocent person will be denied attendance to the convention than the bad actor will reveal themself.

I agree with weeding out bad actors from convention spaces, but this is not the way to do it.

Obligatory screenshot dump. The original thread is currently locked.



















Deal of the Day - Grand History of the Realms (Forgotten Realms D&D)

The Forgotten Realms can be a fetid mess to figure out as a timeline with all of the products released over the decades. Grand History of the Realms kinda solves that problem, at least through the 3.5 era.

Clocking in at 162 pages, I see this as a trip down memory lane from when I was waist-deep in Forgotten Realms fiction and source material

Normally 9.99 in PDF, until tomorrow morning the Grand History of the Realms can be had for only 4.99.

From the history:

What It Is. The Forgotten Realms is a huge and rambling place. That's no surprise, considering the number of authors and game designers who have added to the Realms over the past decades. At least in theory, all of these stories and events interlock into one cohesive world history (although admittedly sometimes better than others, depending on the extent of the authors and editors' Realms-lore).

With the quantity of products, however, it's often impractical for a single DM to understand the scope of a campaign's history or to understand what's happening at the same time elsewhere in the campaign world. Brian James made it possible by creating one massive and coherent timeline of the Forgotten Realms' published history, listing dates and events from every single Realms product published by TSR and Wizards of the Coast. The amount of work and attention to detail needed to pull this off somewhat boggles the mind, but the results are delightful for fans of the setting.

 It's particularly effective to see this history collected in chronological order because the Realms' rich history has a variety of ways to count years in its calendar. There's Present Reckoning, Dalereckoning, Northreckoning, the Shou calendar, the Netheril Year, the Aryselmalyr calandar, and the Roll of Years (Year of the Cauldron, Year of the Bent Blade, Year of the Starving, and so on.) Tracking what happens at what time isn't easy for DMs who set their game there. This book solves that challenge neatly.

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Thursday, January 21, 2021

Free OSR - Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game (1999)


The Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game from 1999 is an often forgotten piece of D&D / TSR history. Sitting somewhere between AD&D 2e and the D&D Rules Cyclopedia, it avoids character generation by presenting character folders. I understand what it was attempting with its approach - lowing the entry bar for new players. It just doesn't quite feel right.

In any case, why don't you peek for yourself, as The Dungeons & Dragons Adventure Game is available for the price of Free. :)

Tip of the hat to Epi!

The classic game of fantasy returns with a new look and approach for a new generation. You control the action. You create the story. You use your imagination to enter a world of mythological monsters, heroic knights, and magical spells. You take on the role of a brave warrior, sly thief, crusading priest, or powerful wizard. You become the Dungeon Master, making the adventure come alive!

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Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Deal of the Day - Bone Age (OSR)


One of the things I love about the OSR is the ability to mix and match from the various rulesets without breaking anything. Rulesets that are genre or setting specific are great resources for use with other systems. Bone Age is an excellent resource for other OSR games if you don't want to use its ruleset.

Normally 10 bucks in PDF, until tomorrow morning, Bone Age is on sale for a mere 3 bucks.

The Bone Age is an old-school RPG of neolithic-era tribes struggling against the sudden arrival of bug-eyed aliens. You play a Tuzanian, a tribe of jungle-dwelling, vine-swinging, pterodactyl-riding, bone-wielding savages, or a Cruach, giant-crab riding cave-dwellers living in mountains bordering the jungle. Radiation leaked from the Invaders' crashed flying saucers spreads on winds of purple, blue, and white, mutating the land and its inhabitants. Meanwhile, a race of turtle-apes and ape-turtles sleeping in stasis beneath the surface awoke...1,000,000 years later than planned. And they were not impressed by the native population – or the alien Invaders.

The Bone Age isn't based on a specific OSR system, but comparisons can be drawn to Swords & Wizardry, Labyrinth Lord, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, and Dungeon Crawl Classics. The base mechanic uses a d20 where higher rolls are better than low rolls, and works in a similar fashion to the way saving throws and attacks work in Labyrinth Lord. Thus, an ability might be expressed as 12+, meaning you want to roll a 12 or higher on a d20. Placing the target number in the hands of the players means they get the thrill of shouting "My attack hits!" or the agony of lamenting "I failed my mutation roll," as opposed to the Game Master setting a secret Difficulty Class.

The Bone Age uses a class & level system, with levels maxing out at 10. While most of game mechanics in The Bone Age will seem familiar, there are some things that stand out in contrast to many other games. The most important is the concept of Attunement. The land of The Bone Age – called Kalsentia – is itself a living entity, and the creatures that inhabit it can develop a spiritual connection to various geographic regions. These regions are represented by hexes on a map. If you are attuned to a hex, you function more effectively in it. You can attempt to attune to new regions, but you risk the wrath of the land if you offend it – rock slides, earthquakes, and floods are just some of the signs that you have angered Kalsentia.The land is brutally hot. The north is dry, the south is humid. Many regions see rain only once per solar cycle.

Some bullet points of interest:

With the exception of the PCs and NPCs, The Bone Age harbors no terran life forms; no horses, no dogs, no bumblebees, no bats, no platypuses.

The methods necessary to create metal have not been discovered.

The bones of ancient creatures litter the landscape. Bone is thus a resource used for a variety of tools, including weapons.

Three alien ships crashed on the planet one solar cycle ago. Radiation leaks from those ships continues to be carried by the wind, infecting the land and its inhabitants with horrible mutations. The aliens are collectively called the Invaders. 

Advanced technology has been pilfered from Invader ships and Invader dead. Wise men and women have attempted to understand the strange items, to varying degrees of success. Player-characters will discover Invader tech in various states of repair. The use of these items can be unpredictable, wondrous, and dangerous.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2021

News - Saddle-stitch to be Discontinued at OneBookShelf / DriveThruRPG


I got this email yesterday and talked about it on last night's podcast, but it's important enough to both publishers and their customers that I felt I needed to share it here too.

From DriveThruRPG:

Dear publishers, 

Our printer, Lightning Source, has informed us that they will be discontinuing saddle-stitch printing very soon. The format will no longer be available as of March 1, 2021. We apologize for this change; we realize it is happening without much notice and have voiced our concern with Lightning Source. They have determined the format is not profitable, however, and they cannot continue to support it.

For those publishers who currently have saddle-stitch titles, you will need to convert your title to perfect-bound and, where necessary, add blank pages to reach the minimum allowable size of 18 pages. 

However, currently our site automatically treats premium color books under 49 pages in length as saddle-stitch. We are in the process of updating to handle any premium color book of 18 pages or more as perfect bound. Once we have made that change in our site code, we will let you know so that you can begin uploading your conversions of previously saddle-stitch titles to perfect-bound.

In the meantime, you might also decide to update your premium color saddle-stitch titles to perfect-bound standard color, which can be uploaded now to our site.

If your saddle-stitch title has pages the customer would remove from the book, or has so few pages that adding blank pages to get to the 18-page minimum size for perfect-bound does not seem an ideal option, you might also consider converting your title to use card tiles, card sheets, or even a mini-poster instead of a book. See our Publisher Knowledgebase (https://onebookshelfpublisherservice.zendesk.com/hc/en-us/articles/227867627-Printed-Card-Formats-Costs) for more information on those formats.

Yours, 

OneBookShelf Publisher Relations

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