Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Example of My Prep Session Notes

This is probably the most I've done for session prep.  This is the guidelines I used for the adventure.  +Ken H who played Hyroth had a railroad adventure unlike the others in the party.  He was directed by his geas to complete his task. 

I rarely do this much prep ahead of time.  I find it narrows the focus too much, but I did like having the information in front of me.  And I think I enjoyed setting up the adventure template.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Players Scream Like Little Girl While Carring Baskets of Berries

Short Recap of Last Night's Adventure

Started with Marrick, played by +Rob Conley.  His ranger guy had recently got a chunk of loot, but was still wounded from his battle with Hyroth (played by the notorious +Ken H).
  • He returned to his home village of Bad Rock. He decided to take the 'off-road' option.  
  • He found a goblin body torn apart with a pair of large wolf tracks and followed them.  
  • He found another goblin body.  This one had worn metal armor, but it was torn from the bites.  The body was still warm.  
  • Followed the tracks until he reached road where the tracks ended.  
  • From there he returned him to Bad Water and discovered the village had some problems with goblins attacking.  One of Marrick's friends told him that they sergeant of the guard was looking for him.  They needed a tracker.  So Merrick went to the guard house.

Next was Hyroth played by +Ken H.  Marked by a god and sent upon a question for Ballor, one of the seven god of death.  He was compelled to head south.  To the Stone Fields that surround Bad Water.
  • He took the road to Bad Water and was attacked by four naked goblins with stone hatchets.  He was wounded pretty badly.  
  • Met a group of guards and they escorted him rest of the way.  They told him it might be a good idea to speak with Chalmers, there might be a reward for killing the goblins.
  • When to speak with Chalmers and saw Merrick speaking with him.
  • Mechanics point: Hyroth was on a quest for Ballor, he received a temporary boon of an additional 1d4 hit points and 1d4 spell points.
 The third crew was Malcolm played by +Chris C. and Arden played by +Daniel McEntee.  They were last given a tongue lashing from the guild for not doing as they were told.
  • Fenton, their immediate boss was in the inn, drunk and shouting about the local lord's incompetence.  They went in to get him out of there.
  • On the way bring him back, they received a message to visit someone named David in Bad Water. 
  • The opted to travel along the road at night
  • Attacked by eight naked goblins armed with stone hatchets.  They were wounded badly during the exchange.
  • Met with guards at the border of Bad Water and explained they were attacked by goblins.  The guards allowed them to stay in the barracks.  
  • In the morning while they ate they heard the familiar voice of Marrick.
  • Mechanics point: I rolled before the game to see if which players would remember the others.  Both Arden and Malcolm made their rolls as did Hyroth.  Only Marrick failed.  But he managed to remember Arden. 
So now all four players have, without any manipulation from the judge and only the powers of serendipity can be blamed, all the party members are standing outside a guard barracks.  Hyroth tagged along with Arden and Malcom to go visit David.  There was a short exchange of vulgarities, but they continued on.
  • Finally got to introduce the new character, Elderad.  He sat outside David's alchemy shop.
  • Players met David, an unpleasant fellow.  He assigns them to looking for a bush with white berries.  They grow in the Stone Fields.  So they go berry picking.
  • Hyroth leads them into the Stone Field because he's feeling drawn to an area.  He finds a stone with Ballor's symbol upon it.  He releases the blood he earned from the boon into the flat stone and it moves to the side.
  • There was a discussion about attempting to kill Hyroth again.
  • Hyroth opens the door and finds himself in a small chamber with a Fury.  She is tethered to a stone in the middle of the floor by a metal thread.  
  • The players above ground are picking berries as fast as they can.  Arden tries to enter but fails his save and is paralyzed at the door.
  • Hyroth feels he came here for the stone.  The fury is incidental.  He pulls out the knife given to him by the creepy priest and severs the tether.  
  • The fury bursts out of the ground and flies away as the party members wet their knickers.  
  • Hyroth tucks the stone sway, creates a mount and rides away.
  • The other party members run screaming out of the stone field with the berry baskets only half full.
  • Mechanic point: Hyroth's temporary spell points were now permanent for his completion of the quest.   
The final leg of the adventure find Marrick warning Chalmers about the other party members.  He tells them of the crimes they committed, but Chalmers said there was little he could do since he did not have evidence and the crimes were committed outside his jurisdiction.   
  • Chalmers sent two other guards, Ren and Bray with Marrick.
  • They tracked the goblin prints for a couple of hours.  It was at this time they saw a mysterious creature fly overhead.  Marrick shot a couple of arrows and hid.  
  • They were about to turn and return home when they were attacked by scourge wolves. 
  • Ren died during the battle.  Marrick fell beneath the second wolf, but Bray managed to kill the wolf off quickly.  During the battle when the wolves were killed, their bodies foam and bubbled then exploded.  Marrick was struck by the spray.  He failed his save.  He is now infected with the scourge.  
  • Mechanic point: Marrick is alive because Bray managed to kill the wolf the next round and was able to bind wounds.  Binding wounds recovers 1hp and stabilizes the wound so there is no bleed out.  
  • Mechanic point: I'm using the -10 is death.  0 through -9 is unconscious.  
While I was poo-pooing my GMing last night, it was still a lot of fun.  It is a ton of fun gaming with these guys.  We ll come stressed out to the table from jobs and leave the table laughing about what happened.  

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mechanics on Tonight Session

Tonight was the second session and we completed it about an hour ago.  I have to say I'm not feeling all that great about the session.  My mojo level was low.  I'll break down the mechanics of the session more than I will the adventure recap itself.

Tonight I had the party scattered to the three winds.  Also, I needed to introduce a new party member.  So I had a lot to do.  The session is 2.5 hours at most after a bit of a BS session.  Then we had echoing issues to two guys.  When I GM that distracts me and then having to repeat it a few times is frustrating.

For the adventure itself I like to keep the player engaged so I broke up the adventure in small parts so I could shift back and forth.  Leave one group to move onto the next.  Even if you spent 15 minutes with one group that means there was a 30 minute gap in the play. 

The setup was good overall and the events fairly well done.  But it still felt clunky.  I came up with scenarios for the players to meet again in another village.  Again, all for very different reasons.  There was a interesting scene outside a guard barracks where all three groups met up again.  The first time they saw each other since the party fight.  Even at this time I hadn't introduced the new character.

The adventure was fairly simple.  The party members would all be in the Stone Fields completing whatever task they chose.  I railroaded the location, but no the tasks within.  Two of the groups joined in an uneasy alliance.

Some of the things I need to develop more is exactly the combat I'm using.  Here's what I've used so far.
  • Cleave rule from Tenkar's game.  All classes can cleave once when they kill an opponent.  A fighter can cleave a number of times equal to his level.
  • You can attack two handed.  Standard -2 in the primary hand and -4 in the off hand.  Dexterity mods will modify these penalties.  
  • Using shields will be shattered rule.  Works great for normal shields, but I don't use plus shields very often.  I think I am going to offer the players a save on their magic shield (it would be assigned a number) and if they fail it breaks, if they succeed they can continue to use it.
  • -10 hit points for death.  I'm not a fan of the 0hp and your dead for my game.  I think the -10 gives them a slight chance to survive after being taken out in a fight.
  • For critical hits and misses we are using the deck from Pathfinder to determine the special effect.  I like having something happen.  So do the players.
I'll go into detail about the adventure in the morning.  Hey, even though I don't feel I did all that well tonight, a bad game session is better than no game session.

Prepping for Tonight's Adventure

It's my turn to GM the Monday night crew.  I'm running a Frankenstein system with the Swords & Wizardry Complete ruleset as the base.  This is my second session.  You can find my post on the first session, When GM Plan Goes to Shit...Have Fun all the way back in February.  Hadn't realized it had been that long.

Prepping for this session was like prepping for three different sessions.  The party is split into three very different groups. 
  • We've got the Silent Knives group made up of Malcom (+Chris C.) and Arden (+Daniel McEntee).  They left off by getting a stern talking to by the higher ups in the guild.
  • Hyroth (+Ken H), a battle mage, is in the graveyard with a freaky priest of a death god.  He was critically wounded from a inter-party fight.  He still has no idea who took him out.
  • Lastly we have Marrick (+Rob Conley), a ranger, in Baludor.  He just reaped the rewards for cashing in on the pirate captain's head.
  • In addition there will be an additional person joining the party this session +Rhandom A will be playing Elderad.  He'll be joining the Silent Knives group.
As you can see I have three very different groups.  What's a GM to do?  He preps for three sessions in one.  A little more work, but I had time between sessions to come up with, what I think, will be fun.  Although last time I thought I'd come up with a cool way to bring the party together...

What I've done is write up a flow chart and each chart has random tables included and variables in the adventure.  I've also included notes about some notes about things they will find in their travels.  Of course there is plenty of room to go off track if they choose.  Within the adventure I've weaved in a few places where the players could intersect.  At that point the players will have to decided what to do.

This is one of the few times I am this prepared and prepped for a session.  I rarely do so much front work.  I usually have a short note where we left off and then write a generic flow chart of events.  Some of which the player will have control on how it goes and a event chart for the world.  These events will occur no matter what the player does.

Looking forward to tonight.  I have a few pictures to upload, but I'm good to go.  We're using Google Hangouts, and Roll 20.  I haven't and won't be using battle maps.  I prefer the abstractness of the battle.  I can build the tension better with 'theater of the mind' than placing pogs.  I use pictures to help set the mood of who they are dealing with or where they are.

A sneak peek at tonight's featured location.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

The Adventure Funnel: My Entry Into The One-Page Adventure Contest

Click, but step back.  I don't know how big this thing is going to get.
Last year I didn't enter the One-Page Dungeon Contest.  The year before that, I didn't enter.  I wasn't going to let another year go by.  I almost did.  Today I set a chunk of time aside to complete my adventure.  I was going to write a more traditional adventure, a little hamlet with a short underground crawl.  But my gaming mojo is running low.  So what I came up with was an adventure funnel by using maps and pictures.  From the campaign map, to the hex map, to interesting locations within the hex like monster lairs, towns and ruins, then funnel farther into the dungeon maps and then finally the inhabitants and the loot they are holding onto until you brave adventurers take their share.

The One-Page Dungeon Contest is a great OSR thing.  It's got some amazing prizes as it does nearly every year and some all-star judges.  You have a few days before the end of April.  Get yours in before its too late.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Friday Question: Music Memory

Sitting here eating my lunch (thank you Ivy, it's killer) and a car drove by playing Blue Oyster Cult's a Veteran of a Thousand Psychic Wars.  We used to play this during games.  Blue Oyster Cult was always a favorite, Pink Floyd was featured also, but for some reason that song really brings back memories of a young me (with hair) sitting around with my friends having a great time rolling dice and going through The Village Hommlet or Tomb of Horrors for the dozenth time and loving it.

So what song/band/album floods your memories of old gaming times?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Publishing Struggles Sometimes Works Outs for the Better

Yesterday, I wrote about my struggles with getting approval from RPGNow, but that may be a good thing in the end.  While I am still struggling to find out what's wrong with my file, I don't understand the message they sent, and there have been a few very cool OSRians like +Joseph Bloch, +Rob Conley and +Pete Spahn have been helpful.

While the process is frustrating, RPGNow has always been fantastic to deal with and I've shot an email to Chuck, who apparently is the gatekeeper.

While I was frustrated, after looking it over...again...I found more small things I wanted to tweak.  A stat block shifted a few lines.  Another block cut off the last sentence in an entry and their are a few orphans I want to find homes.  Orphans are a single word of a sentence that has its own line.  So there is some cosmetic things I want to tweak and make it the best I can.  But its about as good as I can make it now so I need to get it out there or I'll start messing with it and screw it all up.

I write theses posts as I go through the publishing process to share with others.  I always enjoy reading these posts from others.  Because if I can get through this stuff it should be fairly easy for the rest of you.

Tonight I'll tweak the mistakes I found, shouldn't take too long and then get some assistance with the other problems.  It's a learning process.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Another Hiccup in the Process

I received a denial from RPGNow for Starter Adventures.  When I did it the first time, it was approved.  I made adjustments on the color of the cover and resubmitted it.  This time I was denied because the interior art was too low of resolution.  I hadn't changed anything in the interior.  Plus I'm not sure which image they are speaking about.  Here's the message:

Your product Starter Adventures (Softcover Color (Premium)) was rejected by LightningSource for the following reason:
Title Received - Contact CSR
B3 - 36 - Low resolution images in interior file
LOW RESOLUTION IMAGES IN INTERIOR FILE Lightning Source recommends images be 300 ppi.
B3 - 36 - Low resolution images in interior file

Not sure what that means, but I email Chuck to help me figure out what I need to do.  RPGNow customer service is top notch.  I've always had great luck with them.  I would just like to put this puppy to bed.  It's been a long wait.

For any of you out there in blogger land can speak RPGNow technicalese please let me know.  I thought it meant the image on page 36.  There's isn't an image on page 36.

Anyway, that happened.

The Nonchalant Egbert is Burning while This Urn Stands Alone Adventure

I thought of several titles for last night's game.  So I used them all.
  • The Nonchalant Adventure
  • Egbert is Bruning
  • This Urn Stand Alone
We had a full compliment of three mages and a dwarven meatshield.  In addition we had a small group of 'charmed' minions to get in the way of those nasty blades and arrows.

We met the Abbot Heinrick.  The big baddie from last adventure.  He made a threat.  We killed him.  We found another prophesy that was nearly unreadable.  I think I hurt myself a little trying to interpret it.  Although, it was not as bad as our trusty GM who needed to do yogi stretches during the session after yanking his back.  I believe the entire party was glad it was not a video session.  No one should have to suffer a GM in yoga pants!

We then inadvertently pissed off the god of the temple we were in by trying to steal, well not so much steal, as investigate the these bones protected by a nasty trap.  We did our best to stop the trap, but we all got singed anyway.  We put the bones back because once we did the healing pedestal stopped.  We needed that.  No clerics, no band-aids for the boo boos. 

We then went outside.  Ah, the fresh air.  But this foul stench reach me nose.  I turned to gib smack Egbert, he had a habit of casting stinking cloud out his ass, but then we saw a scene out of Bambi.  All the little animals were running.  A noxious green/gray cloud chased them. 

The party had to chose, track the cloud where it came from.  How do you track a cloud you may ask, follow all the corpses of all the slow animals that got caught.  Or return to Tarn and save the village from Mr. Grumpy Pants.

We decided to track the toxic cloud.  Deduction, I'm not so much worried about Mr. Grumpy Pants killing me, but that toxic cloud certainly looked to be able to do the job.

After two days we found a steel domed structure.  Our dwarf friend made short work of the door and inside we went.  Lots of metal things were going bang, click, clomp and bzzz.  I found a plaque and it said 'Armageddon Outpost 12'.  I was also attacked by stirges, but held my ground. 

A gentleman named Turd greeted us with a wrench.  I charmed him and he was very useful after that.  Turd showed us...his name was Runt, not Turd, but I remember him as Turd.  Anyway, he showed us around and he spoke of a Master.  We meet the master who is vaporous and mean.

The Master Squirted Egbert with acid.  A battle started.  Conner, the brilliant mind, ordered the party to attack the urns the Master was coming out of.  So while Darius battle the Master single-handedly, six of us battled the urns.  It was no easy task. 

Once the urns were destroyed the Master vanished, Egbert ran into the room with a giant book and threw it like a cross-eyed 10-year-old girl, still smouldering and poor Darius was nothing more than a charcoal we collected the loot and ended the adventure.

Another very fun adventure by +Chris C.  These adventure are no difficult or long, but there is a lot of cool nuances and these bit sized adventures are fun because you feel a that the party accomplished something.  There were a few times where anyone of us could have died.  Chris makes all his rolls in the open so no fudging.  The arch of the adventures, I think, is discovering who we are.  The Cindarians.  We are catching glimpses to the bigger story.  Very cool.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Games I'm In

Tonight is my standard Monday Night game.  I can't even remember how long I've been gaming on Mondays.  Has got to go back 15 years.  There were gaps of no activity, but Monday's has been standard and been through a few groups. 

This Monday we have Ephemera by +Chris C. of The Clash of Spear on Shield blog.   I think we will be entering out 6th session.  I've already had one character murdered by his malicious hand, but so far my mage, Conner has survived.  Mainly by staying in the back and shouting out worthless instructions.  I think he has made it to 2nd level, so that's a big day.  Double my spell ammo.  With a party of mages we have been good with avoiding major trouble by the liberal use of spellage.  I don't see that changing any time soon.

+Ken H of The Rusty Battle Axe, had been running the fantastic megadungeon, Monteport, but he needed a break.  I guess he's playing too many music gigs these days.  He does do a great imitation of the insane laugh off of Pink Floyd's, The Lunatic is on the Grass.  I guess we all need to start somewhere.

Alien Menace
The other game I partook in was The Alien Menace by +Douglas Cole from the Gaming Ballistic.  We played our first session this past Saturday.  We are using GURPS 4th Edition.  And Fantasy Grounds.  Doug got a real education of how wonderful and how much a pain in the ass it is to use Fantasy Grounds.  The group is made of hardened soldier who are assigned to take down the aliens and get the information back.  None of that talking.  My guy is modeled after Rayland from Justified, but with a grenade launcher.  Boom! = Fun. 

Doug said its been several years since he GMed, he did well corralling us into a single direction.  He also had an excellent audio clip to get the adventure rolling.  It was fantastic.  Hope he shares it soon.

Castle of the Mad Archmage
The last game I've been playing is +Erik Tenkar's Sword & Wizardry trip through +Joseph Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage.  I've gone through one session.  I think we have another one this Friday.  We'll plod through more rooms of poo.  This one I play a cleric/mage.  I got some strength, so I can smash big things into small things.  So far so good on this one.  I'm glad Erik doesn't play with disease rules or all of our characters would be septic.  

 Majestic Wilderlands
Another game we've been playing a few sessions here and there is +Rob Conley's Fudge edition of the Majestic Wilderlands.  He's been toying with the idea of developing an entire supplement.  I know he's got a big chunk down.  My opinion about Fudge/Fate as a system is still to be determined.  At least I have some dice to play.  

 Waking to Oblivion
The final one is a setting I've been developing just for my group.  I've run one session.  Ready to run a second.  It's a micro developed type setting where I have groups and places detailed to an obscene level.  It's been fun to write and I am hoping its as fun to explore.  Session two should be happening in a week or two.

I guess I need to get a calendar for all my gaming sessions.  Game on tonight.  Stand back, Connor's got two spells.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Winners of the 5-Year Giveaway

Thanks to those who responded.  Sometimes I like to hear from the lurkers who visit.  There were a batch of readers I don't think I've heard from before.  Glad you stopped by and said hello.  Much appreciated.

Now for the winners.  There was one print and three PDF giveaways.  Here's who won.

Print version goes out to Jeremy [Retro] who is indeed a very special person in need of a giveaway.  You win Jeremy.

The three PDF winners are:
+Christian Sturke aka the rorschachhamster
+Jay Murphy
+Moe Tousignant

Just Google+ me or email me at elder(underscore)sensa(at)yahoo(dot)com.  And let me know what you'd like to receive.  Anything it up for grabs: any of the Manors, Adventures or the soon to be released Starter Adventures. 

Thanks again to all the took the time to stop by.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gothridge Manor Turns 5 and a Giveaway

Howdy folks.  Today my place in the blogosphere turns 5.  I'm not feeling very nostalgic or sentimental so I won't go on about my last five years.  However, if you are a regular to my blog and either love it or hate it or want something free, just comment below. 

I'll select one person who will win a print version from anything in my catalog.  Even the as yet to be released Starter Adventures.  This offer is not restricted to US entries.  If you're living in Greece or Australia or Tibet I'll ship it to you.

For every 20 comments, I'll select an additional winner to chose anything of mine in PDF.

It's my way of thanking all the cool readers out there who spend a little of their day here.  And it's good to hear from people that I know visit.  Thanks for making the Gothridge Manor my fun place on the net.

Now go comment and win something.  I'll keep this post up until Sunday when I'll announce the winners.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Starter Adventure Proof in Hand

As the title reads, I got my proof copy of Starter Adventures.  It looks good, but the cover needed tweaking.  The reds were muted.  That was my fault.  I used a textured red and it didn't translate well.  I changed it up with a more striking red that will make the words and cover pop a little more.  Ivy also said, "put your name on the damn cover, that's where it belongs".  So I added it at the bottom.  That's a light glare in the bottom right corner.

On the back cover, the picture's colors and reds were also muted.  I changed the contrast on the picture and that improved it.  Ivy also said, "put your blog address on the damn back cover, that's where it belongs".  So I added it at the bottom.  The upper left corner got dinged pretty good during shipping.

Here's a glance of what it looks inside.  It came out better than expected.  I'm happy with the guts of it.  And look at how +Jason Sholtis and +John Larrey and +Rob Conley made it look amazing.

A little trivia.  Jason drew a picture of stirges for me way back when this project started.  While this project languished in land of dust bunnies he needed a stirge picture for Frog God Games, Monstrosities.  It looks spectacular in those pages.  So Jason drew me a whole new stirge picture.  I think my stirges are scarier.

I absolutely love the map Rob drew for me for the adventure.  You'll find several masterful maps by Rob inside.  And Jason captured the final moment of an adventurer with an unfortunate name.

I tweaked the covers and submitted the changes to RPGNow and await their approval.  Last time it took six days.  I'm going to release Starter Adventures on PDF for $8 and print at $16.  If you purchase the print version you get the PDF for free.  I'm also going to see if Rob can create me a VTT friendly version so GMs can use it on Roll 20 or Fantasy Grounds without the room numbers.  This will avoid any complains from grumpy dwarves or metro-sexual elves. 

If you have any questions, please let me know.  You can email me, Google + me or just comment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

New Monster: Scourge Goblin

Here are the stat lines of the scourge goblins.  I'm using Swords & Wizardry for the system.  I'm not a fan of alignment or assigning a single set of stats because I like a range.  In this case I've given you stats for 1HD to 5HD goblins.  Their damage increases by 1 point per HD. 

Scourge Goblins
Hit Dice: 1 to 5 
Armor Class: 5 [14]
Attacks: 2 fists (1d2) and 1 bite (1d3)
Saving Throw: 17 to 12
Special: Immunities
Move: 12
Alignment: Neutral
Number Encountered: 1d4 x 100
Challenge Level/XP: 1/15 to 5/240

Scourge goblins are much like a locus swarm, when a group settles into an area they consume all plant and animal life creating a dead land.  These creatures were created many years ago when the necromancers to the south decided to expand their territories beyond the great river.  The massive goblin tribes were between the undead army and the human kingdoms to the north.  The undead slaughtered all but one tribe who sought assistance from the humans.  The mage-king, Barakus, agreed to aid the goblins by giving them the power to fight the undead.

Barakus's plan succeeded beyond his imagination.  The goblins were now imbued with the immunities against the undead.  They are not paralyzed by a ghouls touch, not drained by a wight nor will they contract a disease by a mummy.  They are immune to the undead's natural abilities.  This immunity does not expand beyond the undead.  A mage casting paralyze has a normal chance of succeeding.  The goblins fought back the undead.  In fact they ate any of the remains they came across.

What occurred afterwards, Barakus has no way of expecting.  The goblins began consuming and multiplying at an alarming rate.  He soon found his kingdom being consumed by his own creation.

Scourge goblins have an extremely high metabolism.   They need food constantly.  They also age and multiply quickly.  The goblin females instead of having one offspring now have a litter of goblins.  A horde of scourge goblins can double in size in one month.

Scourge goblins build very distinct settlements.  There are grouped villages surrounded by a large earthen wall that wraps around miles of area.  They are able to construct these massive walls extremely quick.  Once the wall is completed, they begin devouring the countryside.  It seems the only things they will not eat are the four elements, even water.  They usually stay in one location for two to three months before moving on. A stark dead land marks their path.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Goblin Scourge

I settled on Goblin Scourge as the new name for my goblin offshoot.  Here's the map I drew that got me to thinking about them.  As you can see the brown, 'dead' areas.  They move into areas and the destruction begins.  As you can see a chain of farming villages are protected by the river...for now.

The gray lines within the dead areas are the earthen fortification.  Scourge goblins are masters at building these structures. 

I'll try to write up something for a post tomorrow, to stat them.

Getting Ideas from Maps

One of my favorite fantasy tropes to play with is goblins.  I've written about them in past posts, Re-imagining the Goblin and Goblins! because in my campaign I find them very versatile.  While having a crazed horde of goblins storming across the country side is a lot of fun, it also lacks any depth.  It's just another goblin horde.

The goblins I have in my campaign are very skilled at adapting to their environment.  Some type of goblin can be found in nearly every part of the world.  And their ability to adapt is not just environmental, but culturally.  Goblins are adept at assimilating the predominate culture in the area.  They have no gods, traditions or history.  I've covered this in the previous posts.

Last night while drawing a map I was playing around with another idea.  Where goblins become a sort of pestilence.  Or blight on the land.

In this version, the goblins are vicious omnivores that consume plant and animal life at an alarming rate.  They will settle into an area and quickly build primitive fortifications on a massive scale, covering miles of territory.

The creation of these goblins came about as a answer to an outbreak of undead.  These goblins consume the undead, bones and all.  They are immune to the paralyzing touch of the ghoul and the drain touch of the wight.  They cannot effect incorporeal undead, but put them against a horde of skeletons and zombies, they'll make short work of them and you won't have to clean up the mess.

Of course the problem was that after they finishes consuming the masses of the undead, they began devouring everything around them.  Only stones are dirt seem to be not of their taste.

This is a idea seed I got from my map...that I can't show you because I am at work and my map is at home.  

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Starter Adventures Approved

Yesterday I got the okay from RPGNow to order a proof copy.  Ordered it ASAP.  Now I'm waiting on that.  In the meantime I need to go over to Lulu and do the same thing and get the PDF finalized.  I'm very excited about getting this done and out there.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Got My 3rd Printer from Epson and it Didn't go Well

Not sure exactly why they are unable to send us a printer that works correctly, but now they they have decided to avoided our inquires.  The help center would not put us through to a manager.  After Ivy's insistence she is still on hold 35 minutes later.

I'm not nearly as upset as she is, but I am ready to move on.  I won't be buying an Epson again.  While they tried to fix the problem, they just created even more problems.  Three Epson printers in five days.  I doubt there will be any difference on the forth or fifth.

Good-bye Epson. 

RPG BS Session I is in the Books

Last night I host a RPG BS Session on Google Hangouts.  I was surprised by the turn out and got to meet a lot of gamer dudes.  In Hangouts there is only room for 10 folks and we were at that max for most of the night with people dropping in and out.  Here's who showed up or at least paid the doorman to get in.
+Rob Conley
+Random Wizard
+Joseph Bloch
+Jim Pacek 
+Joe D
+Erik Tenkar
+B. Portly
+trey causey
+Edgar Johnson
+Christopher Helton
+Chris C.
+Mike Evans 
+Richard LeBlanc
+Zzarchov Kowolski
+Douglas Cole
+Keith J Davies

I would have liked to have spoken to some of the guys more in-depth, but with ten of us in the hangout it's a juggling act to get everyone included.  When it wound down near the end, about six of us were in the hangout and much easier to get into more depth of conversation. 

My intent for running this BS session was to just get guys together to talk about gaming, stuff that they're working on, past gaming stories, share ideas and products, and telling dumb jokes and still laughing at them.  I had a blast.  It was a lot of fun and a few asked if this would become a regular thing.  I hadn't really thought about doing it more than once, but I may do another one in a month.  But if someone else would like to host an RPG BS session, please do and let me know. 

I appreciate to all those who participated and made it fun.  To those who were trying to get and couldn't, I wish there could have been a away to open a 2nd room.  Maybe if we do this again I'll get a 2nd gamer to host a 2nd room.  If anyone has a suggestion on how to run it better let me know.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Look Babe, Your Printer Arrived

Only I can't lift the box so Bug and Wiggy are keeping an eye on it for you.  Now, as long as this one doesn't vomit yellow everywhere too, you'll be good to go on the next Manor.

PS: We're out of Turkey Hill Chocolate Marshmallow.  Please stop on the ride home.  Thanks and smooch. 

PPS: All your gamer dudes out there.  Aren't you glad your wives don't know the passwords to your blogs? 

PPPS: For those that might not know.  Tim's Epson started crapping yellow ink back after about a year of owning it.  They did nothing even though this was a known Epson ink issue. 

Then on Monday I found a different contact number and called for a free replacement.  Only thing, it's a refurbished model.  I asked the girl if it was going to be the same piece of crap we have now, or if it would work.  She assured me it would work.

Now, we have to wait for Poop-a-doopers to get home and see if it really works.  They also sent free ink.  It's a good day.

I Know This Isn't True at All, but it's the Entertainment that's Important

Session #4 of Ephemera by the illustrious, the incredible and the well deodorized +Chris C. from The Clash of Spear on Shield.  Hold your applause, I'm going to tell you a story about my character, Connor, a simple, but brilliant mage, how he matched wits with the devious and deadly Chris the Krazy Killer GM.

The game opens up moments after the final scene from last session.  The body of the dispatched village leader at our feet, the new leader, a fine outdoors woman named Lona, wiping the blood from her blade.  There was a new sheriff in town.  The hobbled, one-legged boy was now safe and sound.

Or we were north of the village and standing over a little minotaur body who had a restaurant named Ellison's.  But we won't waste time on the whereabouts of Connor because wherever he was, he was looking good.

But with the viscous ice demon defeated what is a party of one brilliant mage and two barely above plant life mages to do?  We did what all good mages do...we went on a road trip.

We headed for the Village of Tarn.  There we met a panicked you man who was putting "elbow to knee" as the French say.  +Ken H mage, I believe his name is Darius, or Darin, or Darla, charmed the young boy in mid stride.  From the young boy we learned information about horrible king with many dark dwarves, taking children to an unknown destination, but only the dwarves returned.

We can't have that.

Our council of mages considered a plan of action.  Half-baked ideas flew around the campfire like bake goods at a fair for the blind.  I allows my fellow mages to exhaust their verbal diarrhea so I could allow them to hear my plan.  Of course when they heard it they immediately agreed I was beyond their scope of tactical genius.  I nodded humbly and told them they should stand.  Their kneeling was getting embarassing.

Across the river we went.  And no, I did not walk on the water.  I slugged through the chilly water just like the rest.  We then found a hiding place and waited for the dwarves to leave the village with the children and to follow them.  We wanted to discover where they were taking them.

We followed for a couple days before the weather turned bad.  We set upon the bumbling dark dwarves.  +Rob Conley man, Egbert, put them to sleep.  And then he cast a real spell.  ha ha ha, that joke always gets me.  We then woke one up and Darla charmed him.  We plied the midget with questions and he willingly showed up where he was taking them.

I know its not a dwarf, but it's the sleeping that's important.

We came upon a temple.  A ziggurat to the uninitiated.  We ended and while my fellow party members bumbled in the dark, I walked over to the mural of the sunrise on the wall and shook my head.  These people have evolved very little since they were sperm.  After I pushed the sunrise the lights came on in the temple for all to see.  I said, "Please, please stand.  This kneeling and thanking me is getting quite embarrassing." 

I know they aren't mages, but it's the kneeling that's important.
We then went into a cloak room.  I knew there was something to be found in this room.  I explored the cloaks and was beset upon by the most vicious bathrobe ever to exist.  An abomination if ever I have seen one.  While it flapped at me.  I stood my ground to make sure my fellow party member were safe.  This demonic robe was relentless.  After a titanic battle the fell robe...well, it fell.

We searched the next room and a horde of skeletons swarmed after us.  Darla slammed the door shut and Egbert commanded his minions to spike it close.  And so it was.

I know this isn't a door, but it's the spikes that are important.
We then encountered another room with skeletons.  A room full of supplies.  Egbert had his man grab a table to use as a wall, I suppose.  Since the table measured smaller than the shield his man carried it did very little in the way of blocking anything...except our progress.  While I applaud his attempt, there is a time and place for those who should be seen and not not be heard.  I commanded the minions to topple the stored crates and barrels atop the brittle boned skeletons.  This was more than enough to return them to death.

We then explored farther.  We found some interesting rooms that I cannot remember.  We returned to the skeleton room that was spiked and quickly dispatched them also.  And that is where our session ended for the evening.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

RPG BS Session is Set

Last week I had the idea of starting a hangout to just BS about games.  I know before and after game chat is just as enjoyable as the game itself, but with all of our schedules, I know it's difficult to squeeze in game time.  So I thought why not just set aside some time just to sit back and talk to others about the games.  So that's what I'm doing.

I sent out invitations to people about the RPG BS Session, but I wasn't aware I couldn't invite a circle.  I had to select each one individually.  That got tiring.  Anyone who reads my blog is of course invited to join in. 

Can't make it til later?  No problem, just drop in when you get a chance.  Need to leave early?  No problem.  It's a casual get together, no commitments.  If you have a mic and a camera great, but neither are necessary. 

Since this is my first event I've attempted and there is very little structure to it, if we get a bunch of folks we may need to split it into a couple of rooms so we aren't talking over one another. 

Monday, April 7, 2014

Starter Adventures Sent for Approval and a Peak at the Backside Cover

Finally did it.  I sent in my files to RPGNow to get approval to get it printed.  Then I can order a copy of it and see how it looks.  That is if it gets approved.  I'm sorta flying blind here.  I tried to watch videos and read about the best way to do it, but most if it I didn't understand so I do what I always do, throw the manual over my shoulder and learn by doing.  We'll see.

Love the cover.  +Jason Sholtis sent me this one a while back wondering if I could use it for anything.  I replied, "That's my cover!"  I love the twilight hues of light against the trees.  It's also one of the scenarios in the book, The Last Potion.

While most of you know what the front cover looks like, he's what the backside looks like...and the backside of a goblin.  I think this picture sets the tone for the book, it is written with casual tone, a bit sarcastic in places and hopefully funny.  A goblin who moons the party while making smoochy noises is funny to me.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

RPG Mall

I decided to make a link page to all the RPG stores I like to virtual shop and browse.  You can find the page under my blog title to the right.  I thought it might be cool to have a virtual mall that you (and me) can check out the different stores.  Right now I have a small collection and know there are many more.  Some of the stores I'll need to add are some of the ones I go to eBay for and I know there are more Etsy stores to add.

If you have a store or frequent a cool store that features RPG stuff let me know so I can add it.  I know a lot of the big boys stores, so I am looking more for the smaller individual storefronts.  Those are the ones I need the most help with.  But if you see any store I haven't added let me know.  I'm cool with it as long as the store is about gaming and RPGs.

Okay, I Guess I Did This Late Saturday Night

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Kickstarted Done Good: Scarlet Heroes

There are a few people who get Kickstarter in my opinion.  And two guys get it right, +Joseph Bloch and my most recent Kickstarter backing with +Kevin Crawford.  Kevin started his Kickstarter for Scarlet Heroes only a couple months ago.  I think the Kickstarter campaign lasted longer than it took him to get a printed product into his backers hands.  I like the way these guys run their Kickstarters because 1) they already have it written 2) there is no confusing stretch goals that seem to be more of a detriment to a project and 3) both are excellent at writing game systems.  And as a bonus, Kevin released the Artpack for Scarlet Heroes into the Public Domain.  That is cool to the fourth power.

I bought two hardcovers and they were delivered a week later than +Erik Tenkar's.  He has a dark pact with the delivery gods...or they just set up Kickstater HQ in his basement since he backs every single one.  Anyway...The books are fantastic.  Great quality, images are crisp.  My only complain is come of the print is very dark.  Harshly dark in some places as if they had their super bold button on.  The system itself is very interesting and I've been reading through it and Kevin makes me feel like a muppet.  It's very good.  I'll do a review in a separate post.  Hell, I may even try one of those vlog reviews.

I wanted to give a shout out to Kevin Crawford for continuing to do an excellent job and this is one Kickstarter I was very glad to back. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

GM Games Sales Report: March 2014

It's time again to share some sales numbers.  This is the the third month without a new release.  I will change that this month damn it.  *raised fist in the air*  I need to dedicate myself to learn how to do the POD covers.  That seems to be my biggest stumbling block now.  I'm sure I'll find a bunch more along the way.  Despite no releases sales have been steady in PDF form.  The print sales fell off to nearly nothing.  Only 2 this month.  On to the numbers and news.

Milestones: The Manor #4 reach a 100 sales.  

Up Coming Changes:
Printer: I'm getting a new printer.  I finally got tired of my old Epson spewing yellow ink all over and wasting reams of paper trying to clean it up.  Not to mention the money wasted on ink cartridges.  I've got it narrowed down to a couple of different printers, but I still haven't made my decision.

Manor Covers:  I've decided to go to red covers for the Manors.  Instead of having 10 different kinds of card stock laying around.  It will be cheaper for me.  Save me time to go look for card stock.  And It will give it a uniform look. 

Project Status Updates:
Manor #6: Is completely written.  I need to shoot it off to my proofreaders before the end of the weekend.  I'm waiting on more awesome art from +Jason Sholtis and +Dylan Hartwell.  I think this is going to be another cool issue.

Starter Adventures: It is edited, written, art finished and formatted.  I need to learn how to make the cover in light source and then get test copies.

Manor Compilation, Issues 1-5: I received the final cover from +Johnathan Bingham and his wife Daisy and it look amazing.  It is in the same boat as Starter Adventures.  Waiting on me to figure out technology.

March 2014
Knowledge Illuminates: released February 16th, 2011, print version released October 29th, 2012
PDF: 6 (12)   Print: 0   Total Sales: 408 (213)

The Manor, Issue #1: released May 5th, 2012
PDF: 2   Print: 0   Total Sales: 327

The Manor, Issue #2: released July 4th, 2012
PDF: 2   Print: 0   Total Sales: 244

Cave of Seiljua: released September 9th, 2012
PDF: (12)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: (567)
The Manor, Issue #3: released released February 7th, 2013
PDF: 2   Print: 0   Total Sales: 150

Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams: released April 19th, 2013
PDF:  (13)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: (286)

The Manor, Issue #4: released July 28th, 2013
PDF: 3   Print: 0   Total Sales: 100
Where is Margesh Blackblood?: released August 12th, 2013
PDF: 2 (9)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: 17 (194)

The Manor, Issue #5: released November 21st, 2013
PDF: 4   Print: 2   Total Sales: 90

Execution Corner: released December 15th, 2013
PDF: 4 (16)  Print: N/A  Total Sales: 28 (131)
Total Sales for February 2014
PDF: 25 (62)   Print: 2   Total Sales: 27 (62)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

One-Page Dungeon Idea & Another Idea

I don't have one yet.  But I will.  I'm putting a few things on hold so I can do something a little different.  The whole printer thing is aggravating, but I think I've got a direction now. 

I've seen some of the very cool entries.  It's always great to see what others do, their approach to the game and how fricking cool their stuff is.  Our gaming group spoke briefly about past entries, +Ken H was a judge one year.  We still remembered some of the more outstanding entries.

The other idea I had, and this one I am more likely to follow through on, is to having a gaming BS session.  No game to schedule, GM or players, just people in a Hangout just yapping about their game or games in general.  One of my favorite parts about gaming is BSing with the guys before and after the game.  But there is little time to enjoy it.  So in the coming week I'll announce a time and date of a Gaming BS Hangout.  Anyone can join in for as long as they like and just kick back, meet a couple gamers and talk about what's going on.

Adventurers as Celebrities (or in this case, Rock Stars)

This is a repost from April of 2010.  I sometimes go back through posts and see what I liked and what I've changed.  This post I think still resonates with my attitude toward adventuring parties in my game.  So here it is again.  Coming up on 5 years man.  Who knew?

In most campaign worlds the adventurer would be the rock star. It's not the nobles, they are busy with bullying the populace with their soldiers and knights taking away their food, money and time. It's not the guildmasters because those s.o.b.'s control how much this or that can be sold for. Merchants, not a chance. They are only a half a step above a thief. An adventurer does not take anything from the common man and adventurers do what most wish they could do.

An adventurer is not tethered to any one location. The travel is frequent and sometimes into lands that locals can only imagine. Adventurers go to these places knowing they may have to battle some of the worst creatures ever to exist. The power adventurers demonstrate in skill of arms, the power of the arcane and the connection they may have with a deity. The wealth they amass. The possessions they collect. But the main reason is an adventurer's complete lack of fear to stand up against anything or anyone.

Commoners and nobles alike follow the tales of this adventuring party or another. How that common farmer would love to be Thandor the Lich Slayer for just a day so he could punch that little weasel of a baron right in the nose. How that little weasel of the baron wishes he was Hydril the Fire Master so he could expand his power and claim his own kingdom. Adventurers are outside the social system in many ways because of the freedom of travel, power and money they possess.

With this admiration comes the negative aspect. Those who worship the adventurer, devoting their time and thoughts, expect something in return. Mainly this will come in the form of inclusion, attention, confirmation of their devotion. A slight or insult could cause this same person to turn from devotee to enemy. While this may not seem a threat an unsuspecting enemy can be more dangerous than an awaken dragon. Adventurers need most of their everyday needs taken care of by others, so there are many opportunities for one of these slighted fans to become a problem.

Local authorities don't like adventurers because of their entitlement state of mind. Adventurers often come into places believing they are above the law and should be allowed to do whatever they wish, even if includes burning down a tavern or two. Adventurers prove to be a challenge to keep in check and many resources need to be used to 'watch' them. There are entire graveyards filled with the corpses of city guards who tried to protect their homes from angry adventurers.

Nobles like the stories, but don't like them coming into their realm because adventurers stir up the passions of the common man. How many times has a party of adventurers seen a noble as the cruel master when all they demand is that the people do the work they have promised to do?

Even local villagers can be hesitant by allowing a group of meatheads to stay. They may be the kindest adventurers who are generous and helpful, but then they go traipsing into the countryside, stir up a shit storm and once they get what they came for are off to the next location. Meanwhile Ma and Pa Kettle need to deal with the aftermath.

Whether your campaign sees adventurers as rock stars or not, there will always be a variety of different groups. You have the garage band variety, where they have some talent, but keep their day jobs. These guys usually stay local and rarely travel too far out. They are content with being a farmer or craftsman, but need a little excitement. Once the wife and children come along they usually retire from such activities.

Then you have the filler bands. They are out on the road with the big boys, but never seem to get the big score. They tend to hit known areas close to civilization. They don't have the talent or money to do any extensive adventuring, but do well enough to keep up their lifestyle.

The one-hit wonders are adventurers that don't have that much talent and lucked out with a situation, but because of their lack of talent or ambition they don't do much afterwards. Often these one-hit wonders buy taverns or sponsor other adventurers. Or can be found half in the bag boring everyone around them with the retelling of their only adventure.

The steady adventurers are calculating and methodical. They plan each adventure figuring out the risk and reward ratio. They are not afraid to bail out from a situation that seems too difficult. They are not the most glamorous of the groups, but they provide results.

Lastly you have the superstars. They have the talent, luck and ambition to do it all and do it in style. Sometimes they will sacrifice a sure paying gig for one that has the possibility of being glamorous. Sure they could take down the tribe of trolls that has been bashing caravans for the past three months. All that money and supplies sitting there, but trolls are not sexy. There is a rumor going around about a blood god cult in the mountains sacrificing people and monsters to their god to gain enough power to bring their god into this realm. Not much of a pay off, but sexy as hell.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Ever Hear Sean Connery do a Dirty Popeye Imitation?

Me either, until tonight that is.  So what does it mean when five guys get together and tell in appropriate jokes?  It must be game night!

After a shitty day at work there is nothing better than fake killing stuff.  It was +Chris C.'s turn to run his gaming world of Ephemera.  +Rob Conley+Ken H and I all play magic-users and +Daniel McEntee plays a perverted dwarven fighter...okay he's not the only pervert.  Ken is horrible also.

We were exploring an ice temple cave complex to save a boy from a nasty fate.  What we kinda forgot is we'd saved him last session (which was January 6th).  He was terrified outside waiting by the boat as we got greedy and went in again for more loot.

It took us a few minutes to realize we were a group of mages with no spells, wandering around.  The dwarf wanted to try one more door and he opened it up before completing the question.  We found the library.  Found a old script from an old prophecy and a gem that was linked to the prophecy.

So we leave with the young boy and head back to his village.  However, he said the leader of the village was trying to capture him and give him to a dirty dwarf.  Not our dirty dwarf, but another one we did not know.  We confronted Brill, the leader, and after a well place Charm Person, he fell to his knees and admitted he was a coward.  That a minotaur had captured him, but Brill traded the lives of his other villagers in trade for his own life.  The first victim was Old Man Holt.  His bloody scarf was hidden in Brill's possessions.

We waited for Lona, she seemed the most competent of the villagers, and informed her of what occurred.  She was rightfully pissed and drug Brill in front of the other villagers and heard both sides argued of whether to spare him or to execute him.  I was on the side of sparing him.  I argued it brilliantly.  Ken argued for execution.  Chris rolled the dice and Brill was executed on the spot.

We then went hunting for the minotaur and his two dwarven companions.  Without a spell I was useless.  But the other two mages had spells at the ready.  We tracked them with the help of Lona and a handful of villagers armed with bows joined us.  But the highlight of the evening was short, as Egbert the Tumor cast sleep and all fell into a dwarf fell into the fire.  And then we killed them all.

And so ended our third adventure in Ephemera.  The young boy free, the village with a strong leader and the minotaur dead.

So what are we planning to do next week?  That's right!