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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Monday, January 18, 2021

New Kickstarter Scam - Cloning a Current Indiegogo Project (but the tells are damn telling)

This isn't a scam I had seen before, and I'm kinda surprised by that. I actually stumbled across this with a suggested YouTube video while watching YouTube. I guess Google knows me well at this point ;)

Here's the video in question:


Here's the long story short. Vinnie Tartamella is an independent comic book creator that has 5 prior projects under his belt at Indiegogo. His latest, Shadow of the Kraken is currently funding on Indiegogo. The project launched at least 15 days ago, so around January 3rd, 2021, judging from the oldest comment on the page. Note, Vinnie's location comes up as Weston, United States.

On January 9th, 2021, Shadow of the Kraken launches on Kickstarter. Now, the Kickstarter account is named "Vinnie", but the account owner is Sergey Erentsenov.
Where is Sergey from? Almaty, Kazakhstan.


Something is rotten in Kazakhastan I think.

Now, is there ANY likelihood of the Kickstarter clone of Shadow of the Kraken funding, thus defrauding the 5 backers (of which I am one, in for a buck). None whatsoever, as Kickstarter is an "all or nothing" funding platform. What is sad, and telling, is that the creator of the above video reached out to Kickstarter, and they saw nothing wrong.


I'll be sharing this post with Kickstarter. I expect a similar automated response.

Now, just as an FYI, the Kickstarter page copies the Indiegogo page word for word, except for the Risks and Challenges section, as Indiegogo doesn't have such. It appears Fake Vinnie used our very own long time Kickstarter Scammer Whitless Whitman to write it:



Kickstarter scams in 2021: a new year, a new scam, and an indifferent Kickstarter, as usual.

Update - 1/20/2021 - The project is suspended on Kickstarter

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Sunday, January 17, 2021

From Fever Dream to Initial Thoughts on New Disease

 

From Fever Dream to Initial Thoughts on New Disease
[I'm recovering from what I assume is a bad cold/light flu....NOT COVID....doubt I'll even get tested at this point, and last night I didn't have much of a temperature, but I did have one.....and this post comes straight out of my dreams last night.]

Rarely do I dream about gaming, and even then it's a pretty one-sided affair, like I'm dreaming about being in a game (as a player slinging dice) or I'm dreaming in-character. Last night I had the same dream over & over, but from different viewpoints. The result was an odd stream-of-consciousness that I think was about a HackMaster game, but the reasons for that should be apparent.

Starting from a player perspective there was one player at the table that had the hots for the woman playing a female druid at the table. He wanted to force her PC to fall in love with him, er his Sorcerer PC (yes, it was as creepy as that sound like) and created some magical potion that would do the trick. At this point another female Druid, this was the in-character mother of the would-be victim, discovered the ruse and was all, "Over her dead body". That phrase was a bit off, but I remember it clearly. So this older Druid performs some ritual that twists the magic of the potion so it doesn't work, but it has an unexpected side affect.

The younger Druid drinks the potion and appears to get rather sick, looking a little gaunt. The symptoms fade quickly enough and the Sorcerer, and player, leaves the group before his plans get out.....evidently the older Druid did not just out the guy, which would have made more sense to me. What isn't discovered is that the potion has a nasty side affect that remains hidden until the Druid changes into an animal form. Instead of changing into an expected form the Druid becomes an undead abomination that is an amalgamation of undead and lycanthrope. What's worse is that this state is transmittable through bite or claw attacks. The Druid is able to shape-shift back to human form, but her victims......they're stuck in this undead state.

This new disease, commonly referred to as Zycanthropy, starts off slowly at first and is confined to a single game world. Soon though PCs start getting affected and these PCs are taken to tournaments (why I think this is a HackMaster game) and the infection spread through the greater gaming community. Some game worlds the infection is recognized early and eradicated, but in others.....it just takes over. One issue is that Zycanthropy creates these pseudo-undead, but in doing so it usually severs the connection Clerics have with their Gawds, so higher-level Cure Disease spells are just about non-existent.

Zycanthropy is just decimating the gaming industry as game world after game world falls to this plague. Patient Zero and her home group hops from game table to game table trying to find the Sorcerer that created the original potion. They do end up getting to the right game table/game world, but this world is one the verge of being completely overrun by Zycanthropes. The Sorcerer is unrecognizable as he's some sort of Vampire now, but he's been working on a cure ever since he got infected. The cure is finished, and it works, but there is a big drawback in that it turns you fully Human (even of you were another race before infection) and if you get re-infected that infection is fatal. Doesn't sound terrible, but if you're the under 1% of humanity of a world of Zycanthropes......you're pretty fucked.

My dream kind of ends there. Actually it generally restarts and shows things from another perspective, or just re-hashes aspects already covered.

Zycanthrophy: A disease in which the affected become an racial-undead hybrid which is based on their level. For example a 1st level Elf affected by Zycanthrophy would appear extremely gaunt and skeletal, where upon approaching 2nd level their appearance becomes much more ghoul-like. Infection sets in if a creature loses 1/2 of their hit points to a Zycanthropes natural attacks (claw/claw/bite for 1d2/1d2/1d3).

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