Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Castles & Crusades Adventure Playtest

Monday night Rob and Dwayne started going through my adventure module I'd designed from the C&C rules. I definitely enjoy the 1e feel of the system and the parts they simplify. Still being new to C&C the three of us worked out some combat glitches and I'm still getting a grasp on when you add a character's level to a roll.

The first part was a quick character creation. I let the players choose which of the two ways they would like to roll, 3d6 reroll ones or 4d6 and toss the lowest. Each would get six rolls and they could put them into any stat they chose. I want them to have competent characters and the system works well, a player does not unbalance the game due to great rolls. A quick purchase of items and off they went into wilderness.

There was little to no set up for this adventure. Something I need to add. I had them encounter a group of skeletons right off to have a sample combat and warm up those virtual dice. We use Fantasy Grounds 2 and Skype. Combat went well, but both had piercing weapons so all their damage was halved. During this sample combat Rob rolled a critical and I always like to see what the players want to do, double damage or automatic max damage. They opted for the max damage because some class skills already grant double damage.

The funniest part of the night was when they were fighting a skeleton warrior. Dwayne was firing arrows at it while Rob finished off another skeleton. When Rob was done he ran over to engage the skeleton warrior. Shooting through an occupied space is -4. We made the rule that if a player shot through that space and missed his target within that -4 he possibly hit the other player. Well Dwayne missed in that -4 span. I had him roll to see if he hit Rob. Natural 20! Rob screamed out, "You killed me man!" Automatic max damage put Rob six below zero. I couldn't talk for a minute or so because I was laughing so hard. Favorite part of my night.

After the battle both of them agreed they needed some sort of healer in the group. Rob recovered some of his hit points and we stopped there for the night. We plan on continuing the game on Thursday.

Once I finish running them through the dungeon, see what their suggestions are and what I think needs tweaked I will post it here. I hope everyone has a great gaming night. Laugh a lot and don't eat too many chips.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Henchmen or Pit Detectors

In my early days of D&D henchmen were called followers. For some reason we came up with this rule that you gained the number of followers equal to your Charisma +1d4. Why the additional d4, not clue. We used our followers pretty much as pit detectors. Tied a rope around their waist and had them lead the way. If they disappeared through the floor it was noted. We'd pull them up and hope they could find another pit for us. Not once did these faithful followers ever complain. If one died in a fall we cut the rope and tied it to the next follower in line. Not one peep did he make.

Henchmen don't play a big role in most of the campaigns I have participated in lately. Allies are gained through role-playing and having similar goals. It's all complicated and strategic. But I do miss the old days where having a small legion of no named minions of pit detection. Last night I started play testing Castles & Crusades and the party running through the adventure definitely could benefit from a few worthy red shirts. All DMs, or in this case a Castle Keepers, should practice the death scream of the red shirt. Totally worth it. Good for a laugh and fun to do.

I am considering being more responsible and having the henchmen specialize in jobs that assist the players. I've been reading a lot of rulebooks of late and I would like to bring back the henchmen, a support staff for the players. And for once they will have names. Names they can drink to at the tavern after a good haul. "To Jameson, the best damn pit detector I've ever known. Salute."

I'm interested in how others handle these henchmen in their games. So please let me know.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adventurers in a Living Campaign

Why is there a dungeon a half day's ride from town? Was the dungeon something else before like a mine, a catacombs or a cave system that always seems to attract the absolute worst neighbors? If there are problems coming from the dungeon why hasn't the town taken care of it? Why hasn't the local nobility taken action? The answers to these questions can vary as much as you can imagine, but in a cohesive campaign world they need to be answered.

In most of the campaign worlds there will be a social class of adventurers. The ranking of their status will be determined by the need of their services. Most of the characters are not blacksmiths, carpenters, or washer women, they are professional adventurers. Professional adventurers come in all guises. Profit, fame and power are the name of the game. Even if the players are being altruistic the residual effect remains the same.

If a dungeon is crawling with critters near town the players will not be the only adventuring party going to investigate. Rival adventuring group can add a depth to your campaign. They had their own guild in a campaign of mine. The guild would gather information on locations, monster weaknesses and have the supplies needed to defeat the monsters. It was like dungeon headquarters. There was another class of members who gathered the information and sold it to the guild. Theses members would not engage in the dungeon itself, but make a living by investigating rumors and gathering information. It was a very lucrative profession with less risk.

I enjoy the interaction with the guild whether for or against. I enjoyed the rivalry between adventuring parties. I think it added another facet to the adventure. A party may get into the dungeon and leave to go back to town to heal up and when they return they find a rival group cleaned out the rest of the place. It makes players rethink their strategies and gives a GM another option.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Feast of Goblyns Déjà Vu

I do believe this was the first adventure published for the world of Ravenloft. At the time it was the largest adventure I'd ever seen coming in around 96 pages. The cardboard map was more of a DM screen with lots of good information.

So here I am all excited that I plunked down over $11 to absorb this 96 page monster and as I reach page 32 the next page is repeated back to 17. In fact a whole section is repeated 17 thru 32. Then the module picks back up on page 65. What the heck? But I go on a little farther and it happened again. I get to page 80 and the next pages are a repeat of 65 thru 88, but then continue on to the finish.
My page count goes like this:
1 -32

So where did pages 33 thru 64 go? I thought about take the module back, but of course I didn't or I wouldn't be writing about it. I thought it was ironic that 31 pages went missing. That fog must have been affecting the real world.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sea Adventures and Micro-Cultures

I've never been a fan of sea adventures. For some reason the whole idea bored me. I liked it when the GM would just make a few rolls and say, "Normally it takes two days to travel to Mystery Island, but due to poor weather it took 3 days." Cool. I can live with that. I jump out of the boat and start the real adventure.

During a campaign where Rob and I co-GMed the players got themselves captured by slavers. The next session was a ship adventure as the slavers took the players to a slavers' auction in another kingdom. Instead of dreading the session I decided to take charge and make it a memorable experience.

One aspect of the game I am fairly good at is creating micro-cultures. I guess I would define micro-cultures as a group of people bond together because of a situation not because of geography or religion. Their common bond is the situation and the laws and customs developed out of this situation. So I created a micro-culture for the slave boat. I wanted to give the adventure depth by developing these laws and customs. The antagonist, the captain, needed to drive this micro-culture. So the first thing I did was create the captain of the ship. I wanted to play with stereo types and make him fun and dangerous.

The Captain
I made him a young man and sounded like...well, imagine John Cleese playing an American who is talking in a bad British accent. Throw a little Tim Roth into the mix. He would strut up and down the benches of slaves as they rowed the ship. He would pick favorites arbitrarily and play the other slaves off of one another. For example, one of the players stole extra food. The captain caught him. The captain made him choose which other slave would not eat. The player had to eat the food next to the one who got none. The captain also had the habit of asking for volunteers. Usually it would be for tasks with benefits such as handing out the water or food. But he also would ask for a volunteer to use as bait to fish for sharks.

The Ranks
The captain used a simple system of rankings by what row of benches the slave sat in. The players started in the back row and move forward. The closer you got to the front the more water and food you were given. Some slaves were allowed to roam freely and asked to help patrol the other slaves.

Some of the players learned small tricks from the other slaves on how to maintain their strength and fatigue. One trick was to keep moist cloth pieces under their tongue. Another was when they would be shackled and unshackled to make sure it was done in different places as not to create sores. If the captain saw one of the slaves limping, the slave was fed to the guard dogs. Waste not, want not.

The Special People
There were a few people the captain knew would bring a high price so they were never thrown overboard. One of the players was an albino elf who had taken the attractive advantage. The captain nicknamed him 'snowflake' because he was to pretty and delicate. He ordered his men when they beat the elf to not touch his face or cut his skin. One of the guards was over zealous in his punishment and slapped snowflake and bruised his face. The captain apologized to snowflake as the guard was disemboweled then thrown to the sharks. Snowflake always got asked his opinion and the captain would take his advice and twist it into a punishment for the rest.

The Climax
The adventure climaxed at the slave port when one of the other prisoners, a very strong NPC, became enraged when he saw two of his tribe hanging over the side of another slaver's boat. The distraction gave the players enough time to attack a few unprepared guards and made a break for it.

I didn't overdue the details in the beginning. I wanted the flexibility to alter the situation to make it interesting. I wasn't sure how far I could push the players. They were going from heroes fighting for mounts of treasure, to slaves scrambling for cups of water or crumbs of food to keep their strength up. I wasn't sure how well they would do with the transition, but I figured if I could make it fun they would go along with it and they did. Throughout, I gave them glimmers of hope. That escape was possible. I created a few memorable NPCs to create floating village. The captain by far was the star of this adventure and was talked about long after the adventure was over.

This adventure turned out to be a high point in the campaign. After that adventure I learned I could make a sea adventure exciting and fun. The players taught me they were willing to put up with almost anything if you made it fun and gave them a chance. The entire session the players were shackled until the ending and they had a blast. Who knew?

Monday, September 14, 2009

Interview with Bob Liddil: Part 2

Part 2 of the interview with Bob continues with his views of today's gaming industry and an exciting announcement.

SHORTS: Do you follow the gaming industry today? And if so, what's your opinion of the state of gaming?

LIDDIL: Hasbro owns Wizards of the Coast, which owns Dungeons and Dragons. Four words; big boring corporate suits. I moved on from the game publishing industry when WOC burned the world down with Magic Collectible Playing Cards. It was comparable to “the day the music died” in Don McLean’s classic song, “American pie.”

Until recently, I never looked back. All the hard work that the hard noses and stiff necks put into destroying gaming was wheel spinning. In the end, it was corporate greed; big dollars that sunk gaming, as I knew it. In the end, the card and dice industry were the winners and literacy was the big loser.

As for my opinion of the state of gaming today; I believe that in today’s world, Dungeons and Dragons and the peripheral publishing that went with that genre would not stand a chance against Internet, instant movies, 500 channels of TV and video game consoles.

America is on a downward spiral toward functional illiteracy. There has been such a “dumbing down” of youth as a result of educational laziness that I doubt if 3 in a thousand youths challenged to do so could tell an original story equal to a two hour dungeon game.

It’s disheartening that we are “tweeting” our way into a literary abyss where Perez Hilton being called a pedophile by Demi Moore makes the front cover of the LA Times.

Still, when I published via print on demand 100 copies of “The 30 sided fantasy and Other Tales,” last year, 94 sold immediately and recently a copy showed up in Europe with an asking price of 40 odd euros. So maybe I am wrong and Gaming has simply ceased to be a mass-market prospect for the likes of corporate giant Hasbro, who thinks that “GI JOE” should be a movie.

I hope so, because "Little Shop Of Poisons and Potions 3 - Apothecary in Dungeon Deep," my new book scheduled for the winter of 2010, the news of which is exclusive to this blog, is gonna need an audience who knows how to laugh, kill and die.

SHORTS: It's great to hear you're publishing a new gaming supplement. What prompted to return to publishing gaming supplements?

LIDDIL:I had been noticing a surge of interest in my older works on forums here and there and that there was some interest still out there. So, beginning with The 30 Sided Fantasy and Other Tales, a completion of the “30 sided trilogy,” I began to think in terms of a new project. Noble Knight did so well selling the 30, I am wondering how they would do with a 3rd Poisons and potions book.

That it would be a new poisons and potions book; the idea came from you. You are working in an active campaign in a hard to grasp world. Into ever life a little vial of potion must fall.

I plan to send # 1 of the new first edition to you personally, signed and numbered, with a thanks for the inspiration.

SHORTS: What can we expect from your new book?

LIDDIL:The new poisons and potions will be a little more death intensive than last round. The Assassins’ Guild chided me for not being “killer friendly enough” and did not accept my explanation that Grimm has been studying exotics for these last years. There will be 30 new objects associated with poisons and potions and a “side effects page that will make freewheeling dungeoneers much more cautious in their imbibing habits

SHORTS: Will Little Shop of Poisons and Potions 3 include short stories like the others?

LIDDIL: Yes. The further adventures of Fleet O Feet, the erstwhile alchemist’s apprentice is shaping up nicely. Several stories are completed and several more are rattling around in my head.

Below is an actual entry from the new book, which I present to your readers for their campaigns. It comes in a little blue crystal vial with a symbol of an octopus on it.

# 10 Essence of Octopus

Of all the creatures that swim in the warm waters of the Boiling Sea, few are more terrifying than the Giant Octopus. These titans of the deep have been known to attack passing ships and grab Nauticals and men alike right off the decks, dragging them screaming to their graves wrapped in huge tentacles.

There is another octopus though, a miniature one that is little known outside practitioners of the arts of alchemy. It is known as the Blue Striped Pigmy Octopus. Its signature blue and white parallel stripes distinguish it, a bold statement that says, “Don’t tread on me. I am very, very poisonous.”

Two liquids are harvested from this creature by specially trained (and not too smart) Nauticals. The INK that it ejects when frightened is particularly useful when mixed with magnetized iron filings to form thick writing ink.

The contents of Blue Striped Pigmy Octopus’ venom sack are a natural 2-step poison that assassins covet hungrily. There is no known antivenin for “Essence of Octopus.” Administered through puncture or edged wound, (often by dart), it is a guaranteed death sentence.

Classification: Lethal Cocktail of hemotoxin and Neurotoxin
Cost: 4,400 GP per 1 oz vial
Number of Applications: 1 by volume but it can be stretched due to toxicity
Mixing Agent: Counterintuitive to mixing
Special Properties: Paralysis or “Living Death” precedes actual death

Thanks for inviting me on your blog.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Interview with Bob Liddil : Part 1

I discovered Bob about 20 years ago when I bought Apothecary on the Street of Dreams. It's been a pleasure to learn about his history with gaming and his trials of publishing. Here is Part 1 of the interview with Bob. I hope you enjoy.

SHORTS: Everyone has an initiation or discovery story about how they got into gaming. How did you discover gaming?

LIDDIL: It literally happened on a “dark and stormy night” back in 1977 or so. My friend Jack Powers invited me over to his house for a “snow storm and popcorn party.” I was one of a party of 6 players he introduced to this neat new game called “Tunnels and Trolls.” It was the most fun I’d had in a really long time and it was a great intellectual exercise as well. That night, more than two feet of snow fell on Southeastern Ohio, paralyzing the roads, so basically we slaughtered Orcs until 3AM and then crashed on whatever furniture we could find.

At that point, having spent the entire night trying to keep Damian The Dangerous alive in the roadways and dungeons of “The World” I was totally hooked. Together, we wrote a classic fantasy adventure story, albeit orally, and for me, as an already budding writer, that was just the coolest thing ever.

Next morning, we were awakened by a car crashing into the side of Jack’s house that took out part of the back porch and kitchen. It skidded on the snow and came right into the building. Ironically, Damian had gotten himself trapped on a runaway wagon in the game the night before and almost got his 3x5 card torn in half. He and I both lived in perilous times

SHORTS: Independent publishing is prevalent in the gaming industry now, but back when you published “Griswald Grimm's Little Shop of Poisons and Potions” in 1988 what obstacles did you need to overcome?

LIDDIL:In the very beginning when Dimensions and Doors, Castles and Kingdoms and Demons and Notmen, my first three were published, only two kinds of typesetting existed. Professional typesetting was messy, expensive and cumbersome. Or one could use an IBM Selectric for the different type fonts of the day.

By the time LSPP came out, personal computer typesetting was coming of age and I was learning how to use PageMaker. Probably the biggest obstacle on the first book was just the physical process of assembling the book. To save money, Dallas Nillsen, my partner in Pandora’s Treasures, threw a “collating party” at her house in Logan, Utah. Once collated, the print shop wire bound them and they were ready to go. It really wasn’t much of a hassle for me, because she handled everything other than the actual typography and writing.

In the late 80’s the single most difficult obstacle to overcome had to be the cost of printing. Analog printing is inefficient on “short runs” and not cost effective at all. The cost of a single unit in a 1000 unit run was typically more than $5 per book. Since the wholesale price to a distributor typically seldom exceeded $6.00 the profit margin was usually a wash.

Only selling the book at retail at conventions allowed me to sell it at all. Distributors seldom bought more than 25 at a time so I would say that getting the finished product into the hands of the gamer was my biggest obstacle, that and the fact that Dragon Magazine wouldn’t let me advertise because of the title. TSR were in deep conflict with the Christian Right at the time and the words “Poisons and Potions” were so inflammatory that the book was actually banned by the Wizards of the North!

Coming up with the formulas was easy. I am a very irreverent game master and a great believer in “look before you touch.” I play tested the poisons and potions at a game convention in Salt Lake City in an “ancient apothecary dungeon” and killed virtually every gamer in attendance. The days of drink anything and watch what happens pretty much ended that weekend for those kids.

It still makes me laugh to remember that 13 hour-long game during which I must have signed five dozen “Certificates of Death,” a product of mine in the late 1980's.

SHORTS: Your products from 20 years ago reflect a lot of what's going on in gaming today, being self-published and system neutral supplements. What was the response then to your books being system neutral?

LIDDIL: System neutrality was a necessity during the decades of the 70’s thru 90’s. Gary Gygax and TSR would sue you where you stood for merely mentioning D&D compatibility specifically, where Rick Loomis encouraged T&T fans to “do their thing,” and Steve Jackson was cool as ice every time someone mentioned GURPS.

I always believed that the heart of role-playing was in the storytelling. That’s where my emphasis pointed. Also, having been introduced to T&T prior to D&D, I acquired that sort of “anti-establishment” rebellion attitude right off the bat.

System neutrality the way I published, with no real rule set and compatible with every single rule set was a scarcity. Most Kitchen Table Publishers of my era were broke, stayed broke or went broke.

Lou Zocchi and Gamescience were the obvious exception, and Steve Jackson as well.

You can find more information in Part 2 of the interview soon, but if you just can't wait head over to Digitropolis where Bob makes his home on the web.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Random Ramblings #4

I'm excited to announce that Part 1 of an interview with Bob Liddil will be posted tomorrow. His experience with self-publishing 20 years ago is invaluable. So check in tomorrow and see what Bob has to say.

Finally, I completed the first adventure for Castles & Crusades. The overall plan is to make the adventure short enough to complete in a single night. Of course this will depend on the CK's style and how much combat goes on. This will be the first leg of a three part adventure. Rob (Bat in the Attic) and Dwayne (Gamer's Closet) agreed to play test it for me soon. After that I'll be posting it here.

My character, Torrin of the Red Hand, continues to gain a reputation and fame he wishes would fall onto someone else. Torrin is now in charge of protecting Lake Town. Dwayne placed in this world without the craftsmen we would need to make armor or even find the metal to make a weapon or shield. But during one of my adventures I freed a fallen soldier from his undead existence and he told me of the Krill, dwarven equivalent in this land. I finally got around to finding them and was able to strike a deal, Lake Town has pearls they have iron. So now resource trading has begun in earnest and has been fun developing. Here's what we have so far.

-Lake Town trade fish and food in general for protection. The knight and paladins from the castle patrol the area.
-Lake Town has pearls and we are now trading it for iron from the Krill. This is a huge boon. And they sent a long a master anvil banger to train a few of my men in weapon and armor crafting.
-I've made a tentative alliance with a group of griffin riders. I saved a rider's life in an earlier adventure and Rob healed the griffin.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. It's opening weekend for the NFL. My team, the Steelers, already got their win for the week so tomorrow I'll have more time to write instead of shouting at the radio.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

I Know I am Late to this Party, But...

Finally. Finally, got to go see District 9 tonight and it lived up to all the great things I heard about it. It's been a while since I'd seen a great sci-fi flick like this. One that gets me thinking. While I was watching it I considered the RPG elements to it. What bits I could use and what would work in a game. And of course with the ending I am extrapolating on what could happen. Possible scenarios after the end of the movie. What happens in their new encampment? And what happens when three years passes?

All good stuff. If you haven't seen it (and it seems like I am one of the few that hadn't yet) go see it. It will get your creative juices pumping.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Should We Let D and D Die?

The Rules Magis over at the Gamer's Closet wants to pull the plug on D&D. What do you say? Should we toss D&D on fire for kindling. I agree with him on the cookie cutter classes and I've never been a fan of the Vancian magic system. I don't think MMORPGs are much better though. Lord of the Rings Online for example, I had a 50th level Hunter. He was cool, but every Hunter at 50th Level had the same powers. There were slight differences in wardrobe, but not much. So I think most MMORPGs suffer from the same short comings as a system like D&D does.

Mechanical wise, I am not as much of a fan as I once was, but what I think we sometimes forget or that gets put the side (and this is going to sound corny as hell, but it is true) is that it's not the classes, skills, spells or equipment that matter. It's the journey that matters. It's the time we spend playing our character, having fun with friends, embarrassing ourselves when we finally kill the last boss with only 1hp left. Sit me around a table with friends, with any game, give me a fist full of dice, pizza delivery on speed dial, and a few cold cokes in the fridge and don't care if we play Monopoly, charades or D&D. It's all good.

So should we let D&D die? I vote no. I think there is still some life in the old girl.

A Petition for the Cyclops

I feel it is my duty to bring everyone's attention that the Cyclops has been has been getting a raw deal. Being one of the original monsters it has been forgotten, pushed aside for other, more trendy monsters. Beholders, mind flayers, bodaks and devourers now populate the dark places where the Cyclops once ruled. He wants his position back. He wants to be feared. Make a place for him in your adventures. Make a home for him within your mythologies. I petition to all of you within shouting distance to create a place in your imaginations for the Cyclops.

Those of you who agree please sign below and let everyone know the Cyclops is not forgotten.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How Real Do You Like Your Damage?

I'll break this blog into three categories of playing out wounds for characters.

#1: There are no hit locations. Characters have a lump sum of hit points and damage is subtracted from that pool. When healed it is added to the whole. It's the easiest system. This version allows your players to last longer in a fight and go deeper into dungeons.

#2: The attacker targets a specific hit location. Each location has different crippling effects. Damage to the leg can either reduce the move of a character or cause a fall. But when it comes to healing, it's a general effect. Potions and spells of healing raise the total of the entire health, not just a specified area. Some GMs will house rule that a healing must be done for each area damaged.

#3: The attack hits a specific location and does damage to that location. Healing must be done not only the location, but a specific wound. If a character suffers two wounds to the chest, two separate healings must be done.

Depending on your style of play and system you use will determine the level of realism you want to create. I like #2 because it's a good balance of strategic hit locations and the simplified healings. In my campaign a potion or spell of healing is developed to find the damaged areas. After one area is healed the remaining healing will go to the next wound. The exception is if a limb was crippled during the fight. The wound can be healed to full health, but until the leg is restored, he'll have a bum leg.

Version #1 is the D&D way and there is something great in its simplicity. It keeps the game moving along without having to consult a table for hit locations, what the penalties are or how much damage each appendage can tolerate before becoming crippled. Just roll to hit and roll your damage. But there is no strategy involved. In video game terms, it's a button masher.

Version #3 is too much work for me. I don't like balancing my checkbook let alone calculating and keeping track of each scratch I've suffered. It takes the heroic aspect out of the game. Dungeon delving is nearly impossible. Each wound accumulates until your character is useless. Having to journey through twenty levels of critters is not gonna happen my friend.

All the versions have advantages that make a game more interesting. As a GM you have to decide which version fits your style and what your players will enjoy. And if all else fails throw a big-ass fireball and let the gods sort'em out.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

What do you do?

It's an hour before the game. You check your notes from last game session, but there are none. The idea of keeping close notes as the players adventure through your world is such a great idea, but rarely happens. You've done nothing to prepare for the session. You're tired from working all day and the ideas are not there. You need to figure out something quick. Maybe a canned module? Wing it? Call the session off? Act confused when the players show up and tell them you thought the game was tomorrow?

What do you do?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Unearthing a Treasure

I dug through some of my gaming things and unearthed a booklet I hadn't seen in years; Apothecary on the Street of Dreams (AotSoD) written by Bob Liddil. The red cover has a sketch of a skull mortar and bone pestle that demands attention. When I saw it started with a short story, I groaned. For some reason game fiction is lousy most of the time. But I was happy to discover Bob Liddil writes a good story.

Part 1 is titled 'Tales'. It is a single story that provides background of the sinister mind that created the magics in Part 2. Griswald Grimm provides 30 interesting concoctions in Part 2. Each concoction is given a full page of detail including suggested prices and read the special properties section because some of these salves, ointments, or potions have some interesting side effects.

What I like about AotSoD is it gives the art of alchemy a personality. It's not just a simple you find two healing potions. There is a potency and danger in Griswald Grimm's designs. It gives depth to a part of the game that is often glossed over.

Part 3 is another story of Griswald Grimm and his apprentice Fleet O' Foot.

The final section, although it is not labeled Part 4, but rather The Karnuth Manuscripts. This is probably my favorite section because it describes books that contain powerful formulas. One manuscript teaches non-magic user how to throw I fireball and is noted to have been banned by the Wizard's Guild National Committee. Griswald even includes his own book in there (AotSoD). This is a great resource to make libraries more interesting.

The other feature of this book that I like is it is system neutral. There are no giant stat blocks wasting precious space, just a lot of good writing and fun. If you are a collector or need something to jazz up the alchemical side of your game Bob Liddil has already come up with some great ideas. And since my rediscovery of his book I will be implementing some of the ideas into my campaign.

Here is a link to Bob Liddil's Digitropolis webpage.