Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Scores on Lulu

This morning I received a big coupon from Lulu.  Coupons, now Ivy has me talking about them.  For 29% off.   Close to 30%.  I grabbed a print copy of Realms of Chaos even though I have the PDF.  I want this one in print.

And I am late to the party on this one, but I picked up a copy of the Three Castle nominated ASE1: Anomalous Subsurface Environment.

I'm excited about getting them both into my hands.  And my wife will be very happy that I used a coupon.

The Manor

The Manor is the name of my zine.  After much debate with myself and a good portion of emailing friends of 'what I should call it' *done in the finest melodramatic fashion*, Ivy came in after a long day of work and had the name nailed down in 5 minutes.

Show off.

Here's my plan.  And like all things I do, I might change my mind in the morning.  But for now, this is my plan.

I will write the whole thing.  Although I would like to have one guest person do something.

I will be doing the maps.  While I can do maps without severely scarring someone's eyes, I'm afraid my art may have that affect.

Here's the first map for The Manor.  It is for the micro adventure The Salt Pit.  Thus the name above the house.  My take on the micro adventure is something that can be played, start to finish, in the less than a half-hour.

Some of the other content I am doing for the first issue is to get a gruesome recipe from Ivy, I have a cool random table of 20 forest encounters.  Also expect a few colorful characters to add into your fantasy games.  And I may also rift of of Christian's LA article where he writes up something about where he lives and puts into game terms.  I plan to do that with rural Pennsylvania.

Advertising.  What I plan to do is advertise the current gaming products I'm enjoying.  And blogs.

That's it for now.  Time to get back to work.

Oh, and I haven't forgotten about Starter Adventures.  It is in its second edit.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I Grab My Large Sack

Yup.  I know.  Puerile.  But I was tired and when Rob said it I laughed.  Then everyone laughed.  And then it became the tag line for this session.  So if you are expecting anything other than a tired DM managing three gamers you will be disappointed.

I'm going to give you the nutshell version.


Boog attacks soldiers.  There are 300.

He kills one.

Lord Kellington accuses them of their part in the destruction of the keep. 

Thrown in pit.

Meet a bard. 

Meet a blue eyed man who gives them something then flies off.

Blue eyed man was dragon.


Undead swarming every where.


Boog loses 2 strength and is very sad.

Army is being slaughtered by undead.

Bard sees a bodak.  Only bodak back though.


Inn.  Sleepy. sleep.

Wake up.  Lord Kellington's men downstairs.


Bard goes to farm where girl likes him.

No hanky panky.  Just sleepy sleep.


Walk to next town.

Meet weird guild member.

Boog does drugs.

End of session.

Told ya.

Game Night Not With the Newbs

Tonight is game night with the crusty, smelly vets.  That's why we play on-line so there is no funkification contamination.  We've only managed to get in one week this month.  Looking forward to grinding the vets again.

We left off as the party was arrested when they emerged from the destruction the Tarrasque caused.  I've got a few things planned for them. 

On another front of gaming I bought the Lorefinder rules.  Trey is putting together a game for Weird Adventures and I want in.  So I am reading the GUMSHOE rules for the first time and enjoying them.  I can see the advantage of using them.  If...strike that...when I run a Weird Adventures adventure I think I would lean to GURPS as my system of choice.  I already know it and seems to be the best fit for all the genres found in WA.

My zine is going forward.  More on that in a separate post. 

Mini post.  Lunch is over.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Random Sleestak Sunday

Who knew that sleestaks were KISS fans?  I did.  They are eagerly awaiting their new release this summer.

Finally a team that doesn't make me want to vomit.

Okay, now I am not a realism prude, but come on!  Sleestak would never, ever use a torch!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Bad Review

It was bound to happen and it did.  Knowledge Illuminates got a bad review, but its not a bad thing at all.  I've been involved with writing on and off since the mid 80's and had my share of both good and bad reviews and some I wasn't sure which they were.  Brendan Falconer over at the Knights of the Black Banner blog (love the name of his blog) did a review of Knowledge Illuminates.  He gave is a D, but please take a moment to go read if you're interested.

Like I said in the comments I'm sort of surprised it took so long for someone to do a negative review on Knowledge Illuminates.  We gamers are not short on opinions.  But sometimes we do try to encourage one another without pointing out the faults.  I know I am guilty of this.  I'm used to taking criticism from all my other writing experiences and I don't take it personally.  Most people liked my adventure and I'm sure there are more than a few like Brendan did not like it.

 A bad reviewer is one that bases his opinion on hearsay, doesn't do his homework or makes comments that aren't related to the product he is reviewing.  When I see one of those I just ignore it because its not based on anything.  It's just an idiot ranting.

Brendan's review was based on the material he's purchased and read.  His faults were based on what was in and not in the adventure.  And for that I respect his honesty and appreciate him taking the time to review.  And I see his points.  I may not agree with all of them, but most of them I do.

I think negative reviews of a product should be a good thing as long as its done well, doesn't get personal and its based on the actually product.  I think we all do this when we searching out a new product on Amazon, I know I've done it recently when I was buying a new printer.  I read all the one star reviews before I read any of the others.  Some of the comments were just dumb of course, but the one star reviewers who took the time to explain why they didn't like it was more enlightening than all the five star rah rahs.  Of course you want to see a bunch of 5 star reviews for anything you buy, but I almost guarantee you learn more from the one star.

I want to thank Brendan again for taking the time to review Knowledge Illuminates and like I told him I hope he likes my next offering better, if I can ever get it out.  His review is on my Knowledge Illuminates page with all the rest.  I think its just as important, if not more important than the others.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Hey Brendan, Here's Your 20 Questions

Ability scores generation method?
4d6, six times, arrange how you like.  If they really suck then roll again.

How are death and dying handled?
0 you're taking a nap, -10 your taking a dirt nap.

What about raising the dead?
Rare.  In cities the players must have a lot of money or pull.  But after a random number of days the spirit has completely detached from the body.

How are replacement PCs handled?
Each case is different.  Just depends where the players are and what they are doing.

Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
Group.  One person rolls, but each person gets their dex initiative added.

Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Yup.  For each of them I have homemade tables.

Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
Adds +1 to AC.

Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
 Only on a critical failure.

Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
 Oh Shit Run

Level-draining monsters: yes or no?
 Yes.  But not levels, but experience points.

Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?
Well yeah, if a dragon breathes fire and they only have 10 hit points left and fail their save, they will be dead dead.  But in general yep.

How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
 Not so much.  Maybe a little with rations, but not too much.

What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
 Usually just have them gain a level.  Mages will sometimes need to learn spells, but that's it.

What do I get experience for?
Resolving situations, whether its killing or debating or tricking.  Exploration.  Magic items they use.  Role playing.  And making me laugh is a great way to get xp.

How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
Combination.  Players needs to tell me how or what they are searching and then roll.

Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Retainers are often not used.  If they are they are usually off the screen help.

How do I identify magic items?
 Taking it to a mage or aim and shoot.

Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions?
 Yep.  And of course you can.

Can I create magic items? When and how?
 Sure why not.  We'll figure it out.

What about splitting the party?
 Sure.  All the time it happens.  Although I don't like it to split more than two otherwise one group is waiting too long.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Night of the Dice

Tonight was the 3rd session of the newb campaign and they all got their dice.  They genuinely loved them.  It was nice to see them get excited about a set of dice.  Mrs. Bearcharge said her's were 'the most perfect'.

So last session they left off with killing a big baddie named Margesh Blackblood.  While they did get the wagons and weapons they failed to bring back the body for the large reward.  A reward which was more than 10x what they got paid for retrieving the weapons.

I used the fantasy billboard to good effect.  They enjoyed this post on the board the most.

The mage found a post where another of his guild was planning on killing the murderers of his family.  The mage failed to convince him.

Another post caught the thief's interest and found out there are some members in the guild are a bit more fanatical and have a religious focus.  His contact told him not to worry about it.  Just to be aware of them and stay clear.  "Fanaticism is bad for business."

And they had an interesting encounter with a dragon, Alexandrous.  He was in human form drinking at the tavern.  They soon found out asking a dragon questions is often very frustrating.  The one piece of information they did find out was the thief would be dead before the end of the week.  He admitted he'd been wrong before, but didn't believe he was this time.

The players were commissioned to deliver the weapons to the military camp.  It was a two day trip.  On there first night camp they encountered one of most horrifying beasts I've ever place on a gaming board.  An undead cow!  It ran out of the woods with an axe already in its head, arrows sticking out of it, bone and muscle showing.  It terrified them.  "How are we going to kill this thing?!"  The side note to this is Rob gave me this miniature, the cow as a joke, and by god I used it.

The players did kill it.  But as the mage and dwarf were check it out the cow's body started hissing then exploded.  They were pepper in bone shards.  (One of the players thought that would make a great band name, Peppered with Bone Shards).  The mage failed his save and contracted Mad Cow Disease.

They returned the weapons the camp.  Mage got healed.  They found out some information about the battle and that there have been several undead things roaming the countryside making trouble for them.  On their return trip they encountered Draco-Lindus.  He told not to listen to Alexandrous.  They had been adventuring together for years and that a strong will and break fate any day.  Draco said he needed to go to the camp, but he could use their help if they would assist in taking out the source of the undead.

In comes BarrowMaze.  The players started to explore the surface mounds.  They had a fight with a few skeletons and managed to get a +1 broad sword before time ran out.

And then there was a lesson to the newbs.  At the end of the night, the one player announced he got a new job and wouldn't be able to play any longer.  The game must go on.  A few were worried that the game would end, but it won't.  Sure it sucks, but we'll continue on.

I Love This About the Internet

Something this wonderful have been lost to the rust of time.  But the internet is the great oilcan, keeping this stuff around.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

King of the Coupons

Whisk has been blogging about her new favorite past time, couponing.  While I think it's cute that she saves a quarter on bread, a nickle on a used twinkie and a penny on tic tacs, tonight I became the King of the Coupons.  Let me tell you my story.

I carried an old printer to Staples and got $50 off my new printer, an Epson WorkForce Pro WP-4530.  I got it for $150. 

It's wireless. Does the auto printing on both sides. 
The ink cartridge prints out 2400 pages. 
I gave the salesman a 'Hell Yeah' when I saw that. 

But wait there is more.  I bought an extra ink cartridge and you know what?  I got a $40 VISA gift card when I did it. 

But oh wait, there is even more.  I'll get 20% back on the ink I bought which will be about $7 AND I turned in 6 empty ink cartridges and will get two bucks each for them.

So the grand total I save tonight on my $200 purchase is $109. 

While I admire Whisk's cutting out coupons and filing them in a nice book.  Tonight, I have claimed the throne of King of Coupons.  I intend to be a fair and wise ass ruler until the Whisk can come up with a better deal.  But there is a happy ending to this story for Whisk.  Because I am wise and generous she may have the $40 VISA card and get something pretty.  You are welcome. 

Fighting With Font

If this had been an MMA fight I would've gotten my ass knocked out in the first minute.  I hinted in Sunday's post, by showing my new long stapler, that I may dabble in a zine or two .  Nothing like Christian's Lovaitar, which I think sets the standard.  Anyway, knowing nothing of how to create a zine I've been getting schooled lately.

First off, I've only recently discovered my printer can print booklets.  Never knew cause I never needed to know.

Second, mine is not a automatic two-sided printer.  (More on this later.)  I have to do it manually.  Paper can only beput into the machine four ways, so you think I'd figure it out within four tries.  Oh no.  No. No.  I keep screwing it up, but I think I've got it now. 

Third, font size.  Again, not having any experience with booklet print I had no idea how tiny the font was going to print.  I use a 9 or 10 font most of the time and that was way too tiny.  Did 14.  Still a little small.  It seems 18 is the one to use.  I'm using Times New Roman font.  Now the smart thing to do would have been to print one page to test.  Oh no. No. No.  I kept printing the whole booklet.

Four, stapling.  My stapler rocks.  But I do not.  It took me a few tries to get the pointy ends inside the booklet.

Five, page numbers.  Still haven't figured this one out.  I was planning on doing them on the edge of the bottom of the pages, but haven't figured out how to make them switch sides on alternate pages. 

And lastly, no I am not going to say what I am working on because I'm just screwing around for now.

Back to the printer thing.  I'm considering purchasing a new printer.  One that is a little bigger and can auto print both sides.  I was looking at a Epson Workforce 845.  Any suggestions about this?  Printer suggestions?  Looking to keep it under 300 bucks.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Developing the Newb Campaign

Recently I’ve been developing the newb campaign. They are in a frontier village. It was formed because of the large silver mine in the area. Over the past year there has been a large migration of adventurers due to the recent discovery of a massive burial ground (BurrowMaze) and the amount of treasure being found. To the south, there is the outskirt of a now dead kingdom that has been reclaimed by the forest over the years. The border is patrolled by guards regularly. It is illegal to enter this area without a writ, provided by the nobility. They want to settle the area, expand the kingdom, but by the right people. This is where I will be using the Kingmaker adventure path.

There also several small lairs of critters about. The party recently wiped out tribe of goblins. There is another tribe of goblins, much larger and a lair of ogres that will come into play later. And there is an intense little temple adventure of my own making a little farther out. So there is a lot for them to choose from.

In the village there will be some good role-playing opportunities, different guilds and races and other organizations with agendas. It is run by a very tolerant baron. He doesn’t get too worked up as long as no one is murdering people in the streets or setting fires to the businesses. Right now this is what I am focusing on. I have the map and the basic descriptions of buildings, but need to a little more detailing for the NPCs.

I am also going to start using a billboard. This is something I’ve always loved to use and something I wrote about long ago. This is always a fun thing of the players to interact with and an excellent place to plant adventure leads. 

This week I will be giving them their own set of dice.  That is if I get them on time.  I ordered them online and I've been tracking their movement every night. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

I Nuked Tim's Blog Roll

I worked on Tim's blog today for I don't know how long, because he was still subscribed to dead and spam blogs.

Thankfully, I was able to unsubscribe him from all of those, through dashboard.  But in the process, I blew up his blog roll thinking I could make a new one that would work correctly.


Good thing I'm cute, and armed with this steak.

Meanwhile, when I tried to rebuild a new blog roll, Blogger would not let me add more than 167 to his roll, before it locked and froze on saving.

No matter how many different ways I tried.

My solution was to part his blog roll into two lists, A-L and M-Z.  If anyone knows how to get past the frozen saving page, please let us know.

Thanks Bunches,
 - Whisk

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sleestak Sunday Accessory and a Tip from the Whisk

I saw this strange cigarette smoking, apparently pirate, beer swilling Stak and thought, even Lurker would have to like this guy.  It's so fuzzy!  Looks like he killed a muppet.

Over at the Throwawayblog, dmark combines the gripe about the current captcha situation and Sleestak Sunday.  He included captures of one of the best episodes of Land of the Lost.  Well done. 

Whisk did a post on how to stop following blogs.  Generally if someone doesn't post in a two or three months I stop following so I can add others.  That 300 limit makes it tough sometimes.  I never messed with that Google Friends thing, but it seems to make things easier.

And last, I want to congratulate Christian for going over 200 sales.  I've written about Loviatar many times and will continue to do so.  I just like it.  A lot.  Congrats and here's to the next 100 sales!

And one more thing.

Just Say'n

Saturday, February 18, 2012

What the Fricking Hell

I've been working a lot over the past few days and haven't had too much time to check out blogs.  This morning I get on blogger and I see they have developed a new torture device.  They've made their 'captcha' (for those who don't know which I was one of them, its the word verification) so incredibly difficult and longer that it makes leaving comments more difficult.  In the end its going to frustrate people from commenting.

I'm not sure what the reason is for this change or what problem they addressing, but it's not a good solution.  It says its there to prove you are no a robot.  I don't know about you, but if a robot wants to post on my blog, I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Barrowmaze

I'm continuing my line of reviews.  I want to do more of this year.  There are so many great OSR products hitting the streets and I want to take more time to do the reviews.  I know when someone did a review of Knowledge Illuminates it motivated me and helped me understand how this worked a little better.

This review is for Barrowmaze by Greg Gillespie.  It's available at RPGNow for the devilish price of $6.66 for PDF.  It comes in at 84 pages and well worth the money.

Buy it.  I'm starting off with buy it because it is a great adventure.  I am not one for mega dungeons, but as I read through Barrowmaze I was thinking how could I introduce this into my campaigns with both my veteran group and newbie group.  It is a solid dungeon crawl that goes on for days.  I love the backstory and it kicked started a few ideas of my own.  Greg points out in the overview map their is a section for the GM to develop and man did I have a lot of ideas what to do with it once I was done reading.

The artwork is all done by guys that have become the forefront of OSR art.  The art really enhances the feel of the adventure and to me captures the spirit of adventures I want to go through.

Layout for this is easy to read.  Which is very important considering its scope.  But everything is easy to find and Greg makes it easy for the GM to navigate the maze.

I plan on running it in my own game.  That's about the biggest endorsement I can give.  Do yourself a favor and go get a copy.  Oh, and don't forget your 10' pole.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Newbs Have Leveled Up

I am stealing a recent blog title from Whisk.  Next Thursday is the third session for the newbs and I am going to have them take the next step in gaming.  I bought them each their own set of dice.  Earlier this week I asked them what their favorite colors were and hinted that it would effect the next game.  A couple of them were worried about their answer.  They thought it was something that would mess up their character.  I didn't correct them.  At the start of our next adventure they will each have a brand spank'n new set of dice.  My newbs have leveled up.

5e Play Test

Last night I got to participate in a 5e play test. It consisted of creating characters and a battle with a troll and some goblins.  We'd entered a dungeon, but didn't get too far into it.

I won't go into too much detail other than many of us have seen these rules before.  They lean more toward older editions than 4e.  There is a cool rule about magical healing.  Monsters have low hit points, but do a lot of damage.  And we had a good time.  I still need to fill out my questionnaire which is what I like least and best about my experience and if I had any questions about the rules. I'll fill it out tonight.

I am hoping this outreach towards old school guys and the reprints is a step toward a friendlier relationship with everyone.  That they realize its not just their rules that needed to change, but their attitude.  I'll be adding that to my feedback email also.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Why I Am Not Buying the 1E Reprints

I think the covers look great.  I think the idea of the reprints is great.  I hope new gamers grab a copy and check them out.  It reminds me a little of when I was a young lad and loved Hard Rock, but then found the Blues.  A source of what I loved. 

But, I already bought the books.  I like the ones I have.  I'm not sure, but I thought I saw they were going to be $35 each.  That's $105 for books I got.  That's $105 I could spend on OSR stuff, zines, adventures, and supplements.

I would rather buy more OSR stuff. 

Working on Starter Adventures

Yesterday I put in about six or so hours in working on Starter Adventures, mainly doing the layout.  With the artwork and maps and stat blocks and oh yeah the text, trying to find a good way to put the page has been a big challenge.  I fought my way through the introduction, cleric and fighter section and the adventure in the back is all set.  I had one of my little incidents again with Word closing on me and I lost about 90 minutes of work.  After a tirade of swearing I got back to it and ended up calling it a night when I got back to the place I had been before the loss.  Sometimes I swear this project is cursed, never had so many problems with Word.

Sections that need done:
Magic-User (4 sections)
Thief (4 sections)
New Magic Items
New Monsters
Red Bear Tavern
  - I need to get the map for this one.  I keep making them and losing them just as fast.
  - Need a few pieces of art for this.

Everything is written, except the magic item section which only need one more added.  Most of this is just layout now. 

Some of you offered to do some proof reading for me (Porky and Boric G) and I will be taking you up on that offer.  I would like to have one more set of eyeballs.  So if you are interested let me know.  Not only will it be for making sure my typos are no too obvious, but problems with layout they see or maybe something that needs clarification. 

And this one is just for Rob Conley, maker of maps, 5-4 I win!  Muhahaha.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Little Sleestak Sunday and Zines

Little Enik when he was happy.  Before the weight of his fore-bearers was placed on his shoulders.

This little guy's first words were "Lurker, yum.  Munch, munch."

Snowy Sleetstak Sunday to all those in the blogosphere.  Last night I failed to make the 5e playtest.  Whisk was down with an injury and needed tending.  But it sounds like we may do it Monday instead of our regular game.

I also wanted to mention that I've gotten 20 sales this month with Knowledge Illuminates.  Someone bought 2 copies this morning.  This burst of interest in it has inspired me to finish Starter Adventures.  I'm stuck on the layout.  I'm struggling with even the basics things (like fricking margins).  I've got a good chunk of time to work on it today since I don't have to worry about GMing tomorrow.

I think Christian has started something with Lovitar.  Their is a welcome zine-demic going around the OSR.  Matt Jackson is planning to put out a new issue of his Lapsus Calumni zine.  You can grab some of the older issues using that link.  Also Matt has been doing a Friday Five Minute Map feature on his blog.  Very cool, but I keep forgetting to do one. 

Johnathan Bingham mention on his blog he is working on a zine called Delve.  He also mention Kobold Quarterly is open to publishing OSR articles, but hasn't received submissions.  In my ignorance I thought KQ only did 4e stuff.  I have been corrected.

I did a review on another zine style adventure earlier from Jason Sholtis, Zogorion, Lord of the Hippogriffs.  Fun adventure, well written and some cool surprises.

And I'll end it with the man who started this madness, Christian, is working hard on issue #8 of Lovitar.  Jay Penn is kicking out some great artwork and it sounds like Christian is going to need a bigger stapler.

Time to get back to work.

Friday, February 10, 2012

My Newbs Are Growing Up

Last night the newbs grew up a little.  They impressed me.  A simple chain of events started the game.  First the recap of last adventure.  Some of the players were thinking this was an episodal game, where everything got reset at the beginning of the next session.  After the short explanation this was a continuous  game that what they did in the last session will effect what happens in the next and the next.

So they returned the acolyte to the temple thus earning the right to be healed there.  Brother Owen, head of the temple, handed of all people, the thief the reward.  At first he wanted to keep it all.  After a brief discussion on how to split it everyone went away satisfied.  The thief got to keep the 'change' left over from the split.

The thief went to sell his goods and met up with a member of the Brotherhood, my world's thieves guild.  At the beginning of the discussion the player wanted nothing to do with Trent, the Brotherhood recruiter.  But as they spoke some more the Trent explained how difficult it would be to sell anything in town if he didn't join.  Plus he'd have access to some of the information gathered and not least of all have no worries of other thieves taking from them.

The thief sold some things off and later regretted not trading for the stuffed badger because the mage that he wanted to identify his ring really wanted it.  There was a promiscious encounter with the elf mage and a mercenary.  At the tavern there was a gathering of adventurers.  After some talk they discovered a new source of treasure was being hauled up from the depths of a giagantic tomb.  Later on the bartender told them about a merchant looking for some help.

I dangled both these leads out in front of them.  What do they do, the smart thing.  They dig for more information.  After agreeing to join the Brotherhood, I player Trent as a very convinceing NPC who is only looking out for their own best interest, he told them they were not ready for the Barrowmaze.  Sure they might hit it big, but more don't come out than do.

So they met with the merchant.  Two of his wagons were stolen.  He wants them back.  And he was high as hell.  As the party deliberated on whether to take the job he smeared coins all over his table to make a point.  They accepted. 

This is where I used my one-page dungeon Where is Margesh Blackblood.  He has four hideouts.  But again the party did the smart thing and deducted out of all his hideout the wagons could only be kept safely in his manor outside of town.  With some clever role playing and strategy they formed a good plan of attack. 

But that is when the bad rolls began.  They fought with Blackblood for a while until in the end a string of good rolls brought him down.  End of session.

One of the players said, "I can't believe we played for two hours without getting into a fight.  We just talked." 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Hoping the Newbs Find Their Own Carrots

Newbie group is tonight.  Everyone is coming.  The guy who plays the thief saw me this morning and said he'd been thinking about what he wanted to do for over a week.  I gave the players the assignment this time around to think of names of their character like I mentioned in an earlier post.  This time around I don't want to call them dwarf, mage, thief. 

Last time around it was minimal role playing.  A little in the beginning and then into the dungeon crawl.  This time around it will be more of an urban session.  This is where they will get to exercise their rping chops.  When they return from the dungeon they will learn about the town they are in and selling, haggling, resupplying, finding information about the next great adventure and I am sure what it means to break the law. 

I haven't developed a structure for this adventure.  Maybe a lose flow chart of things that will happen.

  1. Return to town.
  2. Collect Reward and get healed.
  3. Sell of loot and probably resupply.
  4. Have a few vague rumors to tickle their ears.
  5. Have them interact with certain group, such as an encounter with the thieves guild, mage guild, merchant guild.  Just to give them the sense there is a depth to this place.  
  6. Then I will have a certain merchant ask them to assist him.  His wagons were taken by some bad people and he would like his wagons back.  
This is just a general flow of the night.  It might completely change on a whim.  I am going to have the players drive this session.  I want to see what they want to do and explore.  I have carrots if they need them to get them started, but I hope they find the carrots on their own. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Player Monster Knowledge

Peter over at his Dungeon Fantastic blog asked an interesting question in his post, Player Reading Monster Manuals.  Go give it a read, I'll wait.  And if you have a second answer his poll on the side.  I'll wait.

There is no way you can enforce the players not to read the monster manuals.  If you play, most people I know get the core books.  And in a game where monsters are a regular occurrence I believe players would have some knowledge of them through stories, trainers or whatever.  Most people who live in my campaign world know trolls regenerate.  I'm not going to deny my players that knowledge.  Some may argue the more unique monsters the players would have no knowledge.  Fair enough.

But this is when a GM needs to take advantage of the player's knowledge and turn it on them.  So for shits and giggles let's use a medusa as an example.  Stone gaze, and because of Clash of the Titans she may be kick ass with a bow, poison snake head, all of us can recite the list of fine qualities this lovely lady possesses.  So players are armed with what they think they will happen.  Ah oh, lookie here, this medusa doesn't turn anyone to stone.  This one turns them into water, trickle into the river next her layer and wash into the sea.  Those stone to flesh potions might as well be orc turds for as useful as they will be. Maybe her gaze is not the catalyst, maybe she breathes out a gas and those who are in the area of effect become nothing more than a puddle. 

GMs cannot be lazy.  They must put the effort into creating new monsters or at least variations of  a critter to build tension when a monster is encountered.  Tweaking old monsters, playing on expectations is a great way to startle the players out of their comfort zone. 

The other thing is just to make new monsters.  Blogs are dedicated to making monsters.  You can't swing a dead displacer beast without hitting a new one.  But the best monsters are the ones you make yourself.  In this case the players will only know them by their description and not their stats.  Like I said before, GMs cannot be lazy, they need to put that effort in.  Players know as much as the GMs and sometimes more. 

This ain't 1979 when only a couple of kids had the books.  This is 2012 and everyone has the books in print, PDF, on their phones and ipads and crap I probably haven't heard of. 

But I say go ahead and read your little monster manuals, I got stuff in my head that's gonna make you lose sleep. 

3 Game Nights in 1 Week

Monday Night, the veteran group actually found an item to control the Tarrasque.  For the entire campaign they have been stranded on the back side of a mountain range after an earthquake slid most of a mountain into the pass.  After taking control of the big guy they used the Tarrasque to bulldoze out the pass.  The only thing about the Tarrasque, it has lousy brakes and destroyed the keep at the other end.  I can't go into too much detail because of some of the stuff that is happening is still a mystery to the players.  But in the end, when they reached the end of the pass a few days later, they were greeted by an small army and placed under arrest.

Tomorrow night is the second session of the newbie group.  One of my assignments to them was to come up with names for their characters.  One of the women who plays an elf found a name generator and came up with a first name I can't pronounce with the second name 'Bearcharger'.  So when I pass her in the hall at work she chants 'Bearcharger'.  I'm very much leaning on doing a AD&D version of the Kingmaker adventure path from Pazio.  I think the beginning hex crawls are fun and manageable.  Then I was thinking of slipping in various adventures I've bought.  Classic AD&D adventures and OSR stuff.  I need to go through some of my things and decide.

Then on Saturday, as long as we don't get buried in snow, going to playtest some 5th edition D&D with Rob (Bat in the Attic) DMing and Al from Beyond the Black Gate might be making his way down.  Again I am sure it will be decided by weather.  Then there will be handful of others there.  I'm curious to get a feel for the new offering.  I've had the playtest stuff for a while I haven't looked at it. 

I can't remember the last time I had 3 games in one week.  And Whisk doesn't even want to strangle me.  She may by the weekend. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

POW! BAM! ZONK! 100! Done!

I just wanted to thank everyone for the support and shout outs and comments.  At the end of the day I lept over the 100 mark and landed on 110.  It may not break any records or seem like a large number, but I think its great.  I never thought I would sell a 100. 

I've been a big fan of the OSR.  And tried to to support it as much as I can promoting and purchasing what others have to offer.  My favorites tend to be the one man or two man products who really want to put a personal spin on gaming.  A peek at what it might be like to play in their game.  With Knowledge Illuminates I tried to give people a small dose of what it would be like to have me GMing a game.  And when you hear about others using it in their game its a great feeling.

Those who purchased a copy yesterday let me know so I can get you the proper xp.

Again, thanks to everyone who purchased a copy in the past year.  I hope to have a second offering soon.

Monday, February 6, 2012

One More Sale

I have 99 sales of Knowledge Illuminates.  I released it on the 16th of February last year.  Its anniversary is coming up quick.  I'm hoping to reach 100 sales before that date.  So if you had any wee bit of an inkling to buy a copy, do it now.  Help me hit triple digits.  Rob, from Bat in Attic, said I would sell a 100 and he likes to be right.  All I need is one person to buy one copy.  Easy enough.  It's only 100 cents.  And if having the adventure weren't enough, I'll throw in 100 Gothridge Manor experience points to sweeten the pot.  How the hell can you resist that? 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Very Weird Sleestak Sunday

I have no idea what is going on here.  A guy peeing up, standing by some pit (better be careful using that hand dryer) while Chaka Obama is a giant looking very happy he can look over walls and a big sleestak head at the end of the bathroom.  There is something written in the clouds, I think it says Al Gore.  Anyway, despite all the political stuff it has a sleestak and really, that is all that matters.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Review: Zogorion, Lord of the Hippogriffs

The party is be-bopping over hill with poor old Dale dragging his ass because he's still wounded from the fight against the potato throwing gnomes.   High above a small herd of griffons flies over head when one lands nearby and addresses the party.  You have just met the Mighty Zog,Lord of Hippogriffs.  This is where the adventure begins.

Okay because this is a Jason Sholtis adventure first thing I'm checking out is the artwork.  He and John Larrey, Jason's cohort at UNDERWORLD INK, have done a fantastic job.  Their artwork can be found in almost every corner of the OSR.  I like the attitude they take towards the artwork and the adventure.  It all revolves around having a good time.  The cover cracks me up because they are playing a tabletop RPG using Zog's house rules.  And once you read the adventure that cover tells you a lot of what goes on in the adventure.  It's very, very cool.  The other piece I thought was outstanding was a quivering lipped goblin wearing suspenders.  I feel really bad for the lumpy headed fellow.   

The adventure itself is a short one.  Something that can be built up to for a minor boss or something the players encounter in a sandbox setting.  It has a perfect set up to be an interesting location in a sandbox.  The other thing that I really like about the adventure is it is built for 3rd to 7th level characters.  Most OSR adventures are geared for beginning levels, having an adventure that is in that mid-range is a nice change of pace. 

Jason was inspired by Loviatar, so this adventure as of this writing and as of this blogger's limited knowledge is only available from Jason himself.  No PDF.  At $2, Jason will send you this 16-page adventure with a cardstock cover and map inside.  The print and pictures are sharp and good quality.  So scrape together a couple of bucks, you can find that in your couch cushions and treat yourself.  Treat your players to a wild adventure. Just follow this link and look to the left side of the page and Zog will be flying to your door in no time.

Magic Bullets

This is one of my favorite Tom Waits songs.  No video, just a very cool story.  Enjoy.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Review: Weird Adventures

...blues man scribing the perfect murder ballad in the jaundice hue of a street light.  I want to be a smuggler running bootleg alchemicals in a forest infested with shotgun wielding ogres and they are the least of my worries.  I want to be a photographer who captured a picture of oil para-elementals tearing apart a rigging crew and is now running from big oil.  Rumor is they hired a hit fiend to get to me before the pictures could be released.  I want to be a scholar who's discovered the gargoyles have collect treasures through every history and store them in a sacred mountain.  I want to play Weird Adventures in black and white, wear a hat and pretend I smoke.

Weird Adventures is a world setting that takes very interesting twists on our real world.  Set in a world where weird is not weird, but the normal.  Where Ripley's Believe It or Not mixes with Film Noir and pulp magazines.  It's a world where you need to big...huge or no one will notice you.  It's a place for big adventures and big ideas. 

Trey has developed a world of some depth.  If you have every read his blog, From the Sorcerer'sSkull you know most of his posts are dedicated to the City and the surrounding world.  Nothing is out of bounds.  You can run this setting with pretty much any elements you can come up with.  The City is a playground to be explored and the wonders enjoyed.

I bought both the PDF and hardcover (actually two of them).  The books are gorgeous.  The artwork really enhances the content and you can tell they had a lot of fun.  Trey set up the book for easy reference, but I guarantee the first time you pick it up you'll read it cover to cover because it is a great read.  Then Trey added some great touches by adding mock advertisements.

I think Weird Adventures hits all the right notes.  If I did a rating system I would give it a 5 out of 5.  But I think the true test of a good gaming book is after you read it you want to play it.  And I want to play in The City.  I want to be...