Sunday, February 27, 2011

2-27-11 Newbie Blog Award Winner

It is that time again.  Last newbie blogger award for February and its another solid entry into the new old school gaming blogs that seems to be coming out more and more these days.  This blog looks like it sputter in the beginning.  Although it doesn't fit within my 6 month arbitrary timeline since the his blogs in 2010 were very few, it looks like in 2011 he is hitting his stride.  I am talking about none other than  Jagatai from Ramblings of a Great Khan.  You may have been a Great Khan, but with this esteemed award you will be a the Bestest Khan.  Wear you badge with pride!  Everyone please go check out his blog he's got some good stuff rolling out.

Sleestak Sunday

I doubt this will become a regular entry, but I do love sleestaks ever since they entertained me a on Saturday mornings chasing those pesky humans around.  Here are a picture of the boys (maybe girls hard to tell) posing for a group photo before they went hunting.  Before dawn they returned with nothing to show for their efforts because they are using the most useless crossbows of all time. 

Have a great Sleestak Sunday.  Sorta hisses right off the tongue.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Even More New Purchases

I'm on a roll this weekend.  I ended up buying five new items off of RPGNow.  I took advantage of Avalon Game Company's $1.00 day in celebration of hitting 600 products.  They have a series called How To...I got How to Create a Great Campaign and How to Create a Great Villain.  I read through the campaign one and was glad I only paid a dollar for it.  It would be good for someone who is just beginning, but for someone with experience will find it too rudimentary.  The also purchased The Fantasy Maker Handbook.  This beast comes in at over 200 pages.  Its a work book to develop a campaign.  I glanced through it and again, glad I got it for a dollar, but may use it for something.  But still need to look at it closer.  The last one I bought for a dollar was Markets and Merchandise.  This one is a great buy.  I've enjoyed what I've seen so far. 

The last product I bought was Cerberus Royalty Free Clip Art Pack.  Over 175 images and 6 page backgrounds.  This one went for twenty bucks.  I think there is a lot of art in there I can use.  I went through and tweak a lot of the pictures and I'm happy with the purchase.  My purchases for 2011 are starting to total up. You can see the total in the right hand column along with all the links to the products I purchased.

Knowledge Illuminates is hanging on in the top 15 at #12.  Sales are steady and at the end of the month I'll post how it gone.  I've been enjoying the process and looking forward to putting out the next adventure.  Have great Saturday Night everyone.  It's a night to get some popcorn and watch a black and white horror flick.  So it is said, so it shall be. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

New Purchases and Reoing An Old Project

I just made a purchase on Lulu for Oubliette Issues 1-4.  Got them for a heck of a deal for only $15.11 for print copies.  Looking forward to getting those in the mail.  I only know a little about them so I'm looking forward to the surprise. 

Tonight I'll be taking down my free download area.  Hold the yawns or the rotten tomatoes.  I am redoing Starter Adventures.  I plan on doing and one or two scenarios for each class (which doubles the size) and con Rob into doing some nice mini maps for them.  It will remain free of charge when I put it on RPGNow. Starter Adventures was downloaded 618 times.  Wow.  Never thought it would get that many hits.  And the 0-level Spells were downloaded 98 times. 

It's the weekend so I need to get some writing done.  Black Ops is calling me though.  I've been on a tear lately, but no no, I shan't give in.  Now go kill a Umber Hulk.

Reflections on an Old School Campgain

We've been playing in Rob's S&W Wilderlands campaign for a good while now. I can't even remember when we started. My character Ashling is 10th level Mountebank. Which means I'm part thief, part magic-user. A fun combination.

Our group is using  Rob's Supplement VI: The Majestic Wilderlands. This is my first old school campaign in many years. I believe that last 'D&D' campaign I played in must have been in '86. I'm guessing. Might have been later, but not much.

I do not hide the fact that I like options and flexibility in the games I play. When I read old school clones and especially the original it seems very confined and strict. Three classes and race classes (which I cannot tell you how much I loathe). But with Rob's addition there are sub-types of classes that provide specialized options. I'm not one who needs to know the science of the damage differential between falling 20' on stone or 20' on grass. I like to know when I reach 5th level in any class that I am just not a carbon copy of every other person who is 5th level in that class.  

Rob balances it well and his campaign world is as rich as ever. There is a ton of places to explore and always something new to discover. I think S&W has suited this campaign and made it easy to run without too many runs to the rule book.

And I think that's what makes it a success striking a balance between exploration, gaining power, and conflict both socially and physically.  The depth of the history of the land is evident at every turn.  When you walk into a town or dungeon there is a history there.  Footsteps of contemporaries and ancients are before you.    There is a sort of poetry to it.  A balance.  Something you can appreciate during your first campaign or the twentieth. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

What Do You Do When the Game Turns Dull?

It happens.  Every once in a while you get into a game and it just doesn't work.  The vibe is off.  The mojo is bad.  Or the GM is just not having a good night.  (And before I go any further, no Rob this blog is not about you.)  I know there are some night when I am distracted for one reason or another and its difficult for me to concentrate.  So what do you do when the game is not working.

An obvious solution is to call it an early night.  Just wrap it up so everyone can may get themselves back into sorts.  I know one of the more difficult times to play is right after a holiday or vacation. 

When the GM is having a rough night I try to ask questions or just go with the storyline that is being offered without too much resistance.  Sometimes players just need to go with it.  Some nights you need to take it easy on those fellows behind the screen, but not often.  It may get the GM rolling (a push start if you will).

Maybe take some extra time to just BS about whatever.  Sometimes its just good to have your friends around to talk about the latest movie they saw or what's going on in RL.  After some socializing focusing on the game becomes easier.

Play something else.  Game night are a precious commodity and shouldn't be wasted.  If everyone is not into the game maybe just download some weird ass game off of RPG now and go at it.  Sometimes those nights end up being hilarious.

Switch it up with someone else GM.  DO a one-shot adventure where everyone in the group is a 0-level follower and the entire adventuring party they were assisting just fell into a pit and consumed by a gelatinous cube.  Now these poor bastards need to make there way out.

This is sounding too much like some point by point article on how to something and something.  I'll stop now.

What do you do when the game turns dull?

Day Jobs for Characters

 This is a post I'd written nearly two years ago, but have been thinking a lot about it recently and thought it would be of some interest.  With my Creating an NPC blogs this is the philosophy I go by when creating them. 

You've heard the old adage 'Don't quit your day job'. I'm here to talk about those PCs who don't have the skill set to take down Roberto the Ogre Magi or the latest necromancer to raise a rotting abomination. To earn money they slosh beer into tankards, pound steel into a breastplate or scribe an esoteric tome into another language. These guys and gals are the blue collar branch of the adventuring class.

Day jobs can serve to be a launching place for several great adventures. These adventures do not have to be in dungeons or castles or swamps or some dark god's temple on a mountain top. Nope, everything can be served up in between the walls of the business. This is definitely a different sort of campaign, but done correctly can become a favorite. It helps to have a skillful GM. I am spoiled to have Rob and Dwayne as mine. And you need the players willing to play a non-hero character.

With the adventures being based in a business setting most the adventure is going to be within the community. The different types of conflicts that occur can vary from a rival shop, an unhappy customer, lack of supplies, or personal problems. I'll give a few examples from past campaigns where I have been the working class adventurer.

Devon, he was a blacksmith. He had skill using a war hammer, but I can't remember one fight with him. Most of his days were spent toiling over an anvil improving his skill. His one big adventure was going into enemy territory. I was hired to discover the enemy's secret weapon. The enemy had developed a rudimentary form of gunpowder. I learned the formula for the gunpowder, but the real asset was how to develop cannons. They had some knowledge, but it was my character who figured out how to make it work. My character returned with not only the knowledge of the gunpowder, but a weapon of great destruction. During my time spying, not once did I get into a fight. My character became a master within the guild and Rob and I decided his storyline had ended. Now for a guy who hardly lifted his war hammer he changed the face of the campaign.

There was my acolyte priest, Allen Hess. He was a meek little man whose skill set was more to the literary. He took care of a handful of children at an orphanage. He had basic knowledge of how to use a staff, but just enough to hurt himself. A vampire had been sneaking through the trapdoor in the roof and sucking the blood from the children. I, and a group of other very low ability characters, took on the vampire. There were no holy swords or magic spells whizzing through the air. Nope. When the vampire dropped through the door my character threw a pot of scolding water at the vampire and the others threw a blanket over him soaked with holy water. In this case Allen found his adventure protecting the children. He did not need to leave his home.

The finally example I'll give is one of twin brothers. I played one who had a job in a tavern he liked while Dwayne played my trouble making brother. My brother was always trying to get me involved into his schemes and most of the time I didn't get involved because I didn't want to lose my job. It was the only source of income the family had. Then my brother got an offer from a baron to return a family heirloom. He wanted him to steal it back from the Thieves Guild. He knew I wouldn't go for it so he pretended to be one day and got me fired then managed to blame it on one of the guild members. I was distraught he told me how we could make money and get back at the thieving bastards. So my Chuck Bronson gene kicked in and I found a low level footpad, beat him up so he would tell me who was next in command. I did this with such brutality that it shocked my brother. I was furious I had been fired. In the end the Thieves Guild returned the heirloom to the baron plus a good amount of gold so when we reported into him he would kill us, which he did. All this was done in a city. We never left the confines of the walls.

Sometimes it's good to get away from the high adventure aspects of gaming and get dirty with an everyday person. It's good to get the perspective of people your adventurers pass everyday without a thought. It was a lot of fun developing that side of things. Doing this makes a GM flesh out his world in more depth. One last example for this was when I ran a campaign where all the players were city guards and they had to deal with the rowdy adventurers in the taverns. They got a taste of their own medicine. Try it sometime if you haven't already. You might find running a potion shop is just as fun as breaking down the door of dark god's temple on the mountain top.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Plotting Against the Gods

Stuck at work between appointments.  Taking a small break between in all.  Thought I would comment on our game Monday Night.  After needing resurrecting...again...our crew went into investigation mode.  Dreams, visions, prophies and portents point towards a coming storm of those who follow the Hawk, those who believe they follow the one true god.

We investigated the city and found it was already infested with them.  We posed as people geniunely interested in learning more about their religion, to just get a jist of what they were about.  And we did.  Basically it is their way and everyone else must die.

Near the end we did get a hint of hope.  There is no way we can battle all the beievers.  But...the one true god sent his prophet to the world.  This is not the first time.  We have some clues to follow of how Horus was conquered the first time around.  We are in our end game...we now plot against gods!

Oh, and on a side note.  We discovered Oelander likes custard.  A lot.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Something Good in the Mail

OSE5F #4 is here!  I blogged about my failed attempts to conquer the dungeon Christian continues on in the fourth installment of One Square = 5 Feet.  One encounter or test at a time.  Someone wrote to Christian about having a crappy day and then he got OSE5F in the mail and it cheered him up.  That's really the best part of it.  Getting that great envelope in the mail that you know is not a bill, or a wedding invitation that you have to think of an excuse not to go, or the general junk mail that clutters up our lives.  That envelope is just for you and it's filled with fun and something that you actually want to get in the mail.  Like Christian says "We could all use something good in the mail now and again."  Well said.

That's it.  Time to go watch Dr. Who and eat popcorn with Whisk.

End of an Era

So Ivy (Whisk) and I traveled to pay our last respects to the bookstore we so often frequented, but when we arrived the giant corpse was already thick with flies.  They were selling everything for 20% to 40% off.  Most of the books were 20% off.  Anyway, it seemed like everyone stopped by the pick at the remains.  The whole thing just left me frustrated and angry.  They had already closed the cafe, so there was no last caramel mocha or javanilla.  No last session of writing at my table.  Like Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, I have my spot.

Instead I waded through the people looking for one last gaming book to get.  One last book to use up the gift cards we had remaining.  After way too many months I found Pathfinder's Bestiary 2 there.  Ivy got her cookbook (one I am sure to reap the benefits from) and a few magazines (none of them dirty).  We waited in line for nearly an hour.  With the 20% off and the gift cards I got the Bestiary for free.  One last book.  It was a good one.

Tomorrow I'll continue working on the new and improved Starter Adventures.  I'll need to recruit some help from Rob for the maps I'd like to include.  Not sure how much time he will have since I know he is writing a lot on a new project.  Then of course it will need to go to the wife to tell me when its golden.

I also wanted to thank Angry Lurker and Ark for doing reviews of Knowledge Illuminates.  Both positive reviews even though I nearly plagiarized Dr. Seuss.  They took the time out of there day not only to read it, but give there thoughts on it and I do appreciate it.  Thanks again guys.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cost of Gaming

There's been a lot of talk about PDF pricing and how expensive it can get.  Including my pricing of my own adventure.  A lot of controversy surrounds the pricing of the Castle Keepers Guide.  Over $30 for a PDF.  I won't pay that much for a PDF because I would want it in print.  If I am spending that much I want to be able to hold it in my hands without using two ink cartridges.  But, I can think of one PDF that priced at $30 and did pretty well.  The real kicker is it only had 37 pages to it.  I am Mongoose, and so can you! is a 37 page PDF.  It is now a Copper Pick.  I see they dropped the price to $24, but I believe it achieved copper before lowering the price.

CKG is lingering in the top three at RPGNow and #32 on RPG Drivethru.  So people are buying it.  Just like people bought Mongoose's PDF.  I'm not sure why, can't explain it, but there are enough people out there who will buy to have it right now.  They don't want to wait.  Although in the case of the CKG they've been waiting a few years.

But the other thing I want to mention is the cost of print books which I think are pricing themselves out of the hobby.  I would love, love, love to get the Hacklopedia of Beasts from Kenzer & Company, but at the price tag of $60 (not including 10 bucks shipping), that isn't going to happen.  It's going to be a beautiful and fantastic book, but I don't personally have that kind of money to plop down on one book.  All these $40 rule books are pushing it these days.  Steven Jackson Games put out Low-Tech at a $30 hard cover which isn't that bad these days, but it was incomplete and three companions were put out with on PDF which cost an additional $26.  So that hardback just became $56 dollars. 

I am writing this as someone who easily spends hundreds of dollars per year buying gaming stuff.  Some people like read John Grisham or Nora Roberts novels, I like reading gaming books.  I find myself spending more and more of my money on old school gaming stuff because it's my preferred choice and you get a lot of value for your money.  It seems more of the expensive books are trying to dazzle you with artwork and fancy templates.  Old school product may not have the dramatic artwork, but I much prefer the ink line drawings, they spur my imagination more that a blast of swirling colors and exaggerated power poses.  There will be a few more typos in the independent products, but the writer's excitement is bursting throughout the pages.  I think I've used this quote before and I think Beethoven may have said or at least in that one movie about him and I'm sure I'll misquote.  "To miss a few notes is nothing.  To play without passion is unforgivable." 

I am done rambling now.  I'm going to my bookstore they are closing down.  That is my place I go to write.  My place to go to get away for a while.  I was my place of peace.  Now it's going away.  I guess all things change so now I need to find a new shrine to do my meditation in.

Friday, February 18, 2011

2-18-11 Newbie Blogger Award

This next newbie blogger award is a no brainer really.  This blogger has already been very active in the OSR community and putting out some great blogs.  Driven by the relationship of fantasy and horror literature.  Most of us already know this blogger and are following the blog.  Congrats to Beedo and his Dreams in the Lich House blog.  Only three months old, but its seems like you've been around a lot longer.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Projects in the Works

I have to blog today because my last blog is no longer true.  At least I beat the water mill for a few hours.  I'm not sure what time frame the sales RPGNow calculates to determine your spot on the list.  I'll post a sales report at the end of the month. 

Right now I am working on the 2nd adventure for the One-Shot Adventure Series, The Mine of Rot and Disease.  It is written, map is done and the general layout is getting there.  I need my wife to edit it and I need to play with a few pieces of art.  I'm working with the price point with this one and it looks like it will come in at $2.50.  It's a straight forward adventure that will be the first in a series of three connected adventures.  Rob did the map again which looks great.

I am also working on a new project with Dwayne.  No real details to tell right now because the project is still in its infancy.  Waiting for Rob to complete his new project which I am sure he will be telling people about soon.  He's on a time crunch so I can get to editing it.  I'm looking forward to seeing what he's done.

Well that is all for now.  I need to get ready for work, but I think tomorrow I start a 4-day weekend.  I think. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Knowledge Illuminates is #1

Thanks to Tenkar for alerting me to this.  Last night I was browsing through and was happy to see my adventure had  cracked the top 100 coming in at 69.  This is very cool and thanks to everyone for supporting it.  I had to wait till I got home from work to see it because the internet was down. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Newbie P.O.V.: Advertising Your OSR Product

I am not claiming to be an expert in this field just something I've gone through the past few weeks with my own experince and having been a small business owner from before.  This is just one newb's point of view.
So you're done with your manuscript, you've navigated the process of getting a publisher account and uploading your PDF to RPGNow.  Now what?  It's time to beat feet and let people know about it.  Most of us have blogs to post our product on, but for some of us that is a small audience.  RPGNow has several ways to help get the word out about your product.  After all, they don't make money unless you do.

The first is to send out comp copies.  You can send them out to all their featured reviewers.  One click sends them out to all.  Doesn't mean they will read your offering, but it helps get some reviews on your product started.  Tenkar's Tavern is one of the reviewers so if you're doing an old school product there is at least one that is in the OSR.  In addition to sending comp copies to reviewers you can send out 150 copies to who you want.  You can create your own mailing groups to send these out or just do it individually.  Find some people who would like to review your product and get it to them.  Endorsements are good and may tip the balance of someone who is sitting on the fence of whether to buy it or not.

Another way to promote you product is through RPGNow's page impressions purchased with Publisher Promotional Points (PPP).  PPPs are earned, not bought (or at least I don't think you can buy them).  For each month you have a publisher account you get 10 PPPs.  If you signed an exclusive contract to RPGNow you get an additional 10 PPPs per month.  Then you get 1 PPP per $10 of product you sell.  You take these PPPs and purchase blocks of 2500 page impressions.  You have to choose which site you which to advertise (because RPGNow is one of several connected web markets that are connected).  Since mine was a fantasy RPG product I chose RPGNow and RPGDrive-Thru.

There are two types of page impressions you can purchase.  First is the home page impressions.  So when you or I log on to RPG your product will be featured.  Currently on RPGNow is costs 153 PPPs to purchase this.  I don't have anything near that and probably won't for a while.  And let me tell you those 2500 page impressions sounds like a lot, but they only last a couple days.  The other way you can advertise is the category page impressions.  So if someone chooses fantasy category than your product has a chance of popping up.  This is much cheaper to purchase costing only 18 PPPs. 

I bought the category page impressions.  One block for DriveThruRPG and two blocks from RPGNow.  They have a stat feature that lets you know how many impressions were used and how many times were clicked on it.  My stats are out of 2500 impression on DriveThru 3 people clicked on it.  This is why I didn't bother buying a second block.  Thought it would be better to save for homepage impressions.  On RPGNow I've used 4370 out of 5000 impressions and 18 people have click on it.  A little better, but it means only .41% clicked on it.  I think I'll save for homepage impressions, but it will be difficult to save that many PPPs right now.  Maybe when I get more products out there accumulating sales will I be able to do that.  So as you can see it's not an easy gig.

Probably the best way to get your product out there is send some comp copies out to your friends who will be kind to you in some reviews and send them out to others whose opinions you respect and hopefully have a good enough following to drive some business your way.  In this case if they dislike your product the worst thing you can do is argue with the reviewer.  It doesn't look good and you only end up looking like an ass.  Not everyone is going to like your product and that's cool.  But if enough people are saying the same things of what they dislike you should probably go back to work on it and fix the problem.  Always thank the reviewer either way.  They took their time to go read through your product when they didn't have to.  So even if they thought your product was crap, hopefully they will give details why and you thank them and hope they like the next one better.

I've been fortunate to have been blogging for a while now and got to know a lot of good people on the internet.  So far everyone has been supportive and it's been an exciting time.  Especially when you hear someone used your adventure or supplement and they loved it.  Like I've said in an earlier post, my expectations for my adventures are relatively low, but I plan on to churn out more and have fun with it.  I don't pay my gas bill with my profits.  I'll just get another bag of chips.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Creating an NPC - Pog Nog's Cart

Another addition in the creating a NPC.  I like to take races that are usually outside the players realm and put them into a community to see how they react and others would react.  Pog Nog is a goblin who has earned his stay.  He uses his skills to help others and expects very little in return.  Pog Nog is sort of a town mascot, but with a dark secret.  He will try to direct people to see the evil that is coming without saying it out load.  He is more afraid to speak of the evil more than the evil itself.  So without further ado....herrreeeeee's Pog Nog!

When you have a need for something, but just can’t seem to find it anywhere Pog Nog is the goblin to see.  His cart is full of unusual and useful things.  Pog Nog has a knack for having what you need and having what you need before even you know it.  His prices are minimal, a few coppers will do or Pog Nog will trade one item for another.  Next time you’re looking for a do-hickey, thing-a-ma-jig or a whatchmacallit, save some time and look for Pog Nog’s Cart.

There is a 75% chance that Pog-Nog will have a mundane item the players will need.  There is also 25% chance of him having something the players will need in the future.  If he has an item the players will need he will offer a trade.
Pog-Nog (street vendor: goblin, male, 4’6”, 60lbs, gray tuffs of hair, sparse gray beard, brown eyes)

Pog-Nog is a skinny, good-natured goblin.  He has a gift for having what people need.  He is an excellent scrounger with extremely good luck.  He finds his items sifting through garbage, walking in the forest, anywhere he goes he finds something useful.  His cart is organized into different piles of categories only he understands.  To most it looks like a pile of random things.  Pog-Nog knows exactly what is in his cart and where it is.

The town’s people are protective of him and the guard will not tolerate others harassing him.  Pog-Nog enjoys humans, but believes they are silly for living here.  He knows of the great evil that dwells near by and hopes he can help when the time comes.  He doesn’t know what the evil is or what it will do just that it is there.

When Pog-Nog was younger he belonged to a cult of goblins who specialized in prophecy.  Their group discovered a great evil was reawakening.  They tried to warn the goblins, but the goblin lord would hear none of it.  He declared the group of seers as traitors and had them hunted.  Pog-Nog was one of three that escaped.  He hid amongst the humans.  He survived by scrounging through what the humans threw away. 
One night he had a dream about him pulling a cart helping others as an evil attacked.  The next morning he built the cart from scraps he found and his business was born.  He will not mention the evil because he doesn’t want to be chased from here and if the goblins won’t listen to a goblin then why would humans listen to a goblin.  He is content with being helpful and hopes he will be prepared for when the evil comes.

Adventure Hooks
The holey ruby.
                Pog-Nog recovered a coin-sized ruby and gives it to one of the players during an exchange.  He doesn’t want any money for it.  He will just say that it is needed for later, but can’t explain for what.  On closer inspection the ruby has a small hole through the middle of it.  It is from the necklace of a baroness.  There will be a reward announced by town criers.  Should the players return the necklace to the baroness she will reward the players and because they have shown their honor by returning the ruby she will ask them to find her son.  Her son has been missing since he left for to explore the Harrower Caves. 

From the past comes the future.
                While Pog-Nog is searching through his cart for another customer an ornate buckler falls to the ground in front of a character.  The buckler is dinged and has the faded coat of arms of the player’s family on it.  Pog-Nog will inform the player he found it near a bad place in the woods.  The bad place used to be a manor house, but is now infested with undead.  If researched the player will find the manor belonged to his great uncle who disappeared years ago. 

When the wheel breaks.
                Pog-Nog is desperately trying to fix a broken wheel on his cart, but doesn’t have the strength to lift it.  He will ask the players to help.  He is in a hurry to deliver a package to a friend.  They players can help repair the wheel or offer to deliver the package.  The package is a leafy plant.  His friend, a healer, needs the plant to finish a salve to cure the children in the nearby village.  The children have a rotting skin disease and will suffer greatly.  If the salve is not delivered within a day any hope for the children will be lost.

Ever see a goblin in a headlock?
                Pog-Nog and another goblin are brawling in the middle of the street.  Pog-Nog tells the people trying to help him to leave him alone.  The other goblin will announce to everyone why Pog-Nog is a traitor, how his group of prophets made up stories of great evil to remove the goblin lord from power.  This will send Pog-Nog into a rage.  His secret is out.  If questioned about the evil he will tell the players that the evil has many births and one will be within the nearby Harrower Caves.

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Most of you who stop by my little corner of the world know I recently published an adventure called Knowledge Illuminates.  I plan on just yapping about the process that I've gone through.  Those of you that are already deep into the process will find most of this old tread. 

RPGNow is the place I am selling my adventure and they have a ton of tools available to help advertise your product.  I can't say enough good things about them.  To get a publisher account it's as easy as letting them know you would like one.  Then you have to decide if you went to sell exclusively through them, in which case you earn 70% of the price you choose.  Or you can sign a non-exclusive agreement so you can sell other places, this contract will earn you 65% of the listed price.  Even though I am offering my adventure only on RPGNow, I like to have options so I signed the non-exclusive contract.

Setting a price point was difficult.  I discussed this with Rob (Bat in the Attic) and my wife (The Happy Whisk) to settle on a price that I thought would be fair.  Both Rob and my wife told me not to undercut myself.  So figured a $2 profit margin on each sale would be a good point.  With a $4 price point and with the non-exclusive contract of 65% I earn $2.60 per sale.  It's interesting to hear different opinions, but in the end I have to make the final decision.  I think it is a good starting point.  Whether it is correct I will see.  And what will make it correct or not is my expectations of what I consider a success.

I have no delusions of making a ton of money.  I'll be happy to earn a little money to supplement my own gaming purchases.  My expectation for Knowledge Illuminates is to sell 10 copies this weekend and 25 copies overall.  Low expectations?  Maybe.  But, to me, selling 25 copies would be a success.  I'm good with that.  Rob thinks I'll sell 100. 

As of the writing of this blog I've sold 12 copies and 8 comp copies were downloaded for a whopping profit of $31.20.  Friday when I first released it Ivy went to the store and bought two bags of chips when she got back I had sold two copies and told her she already blew my profit margin with those chips.

I plan to publish a few other products before the end of March (and I won't sell them until the wife says they are golden).  Future releases will be a rerelease of Starter Adventures.  I'm going to fix all the typos, add some maps, add a few scenarios and offer it for free on RPGNow.  I checked the other day and Starter Adventures has been downloaded 608 times.  Holy crap on a cracker Batman.  I never thought it would get that many.  The other two will be another addition in the One-Shot Adventure Series and an ecology manual for Harpies.  I am figuring on charging $4 for the other adventure and $1 for the Harpy manual.  Not set in stone, but things I am considering.

Have a great Sunday.  No football, but I am sure a ton of you are glad of that.  I am heading to the bookstore armed with a 40% coupon hoping to bring down Pathfinders Bestiary 2.  It's a huge beast, but I think I can take it.  I just hope I don't have to roll or I am doomed. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

One Square = 5 Feet, Part 2

Where we last off Chester was staked naked to the entrance to the dungeon for a warning to all.  Hearing of this, his identical twin brother, Hester grabs his good friend, Huckster the Slippery, a dwarven thief.  Together they mourn the passing of a favored brother, but quickly turn their attention toward the gate to extract revenge.  Hester is an identical twin in every way, even equipment.  It's spooky.  Huckster stats are S:10, D:18, C:10, I:12, W:12,Ch:11.  He got 3 hit points and an AC of 13.  Equipment wise he rolled for shit for gold scoring the bare minimum of 30gp so he only has Leather Armor, Hand Axe, Light Crossbow and some bolts.  Along with those he brought some rope and an 8' stick.  He couldn't afford a 10' pole so he chopped down a small tree.

Since Huckster the Slippery is a thief he attempts to pick the locks.  He's got a whopping 15% chance to open it.  After failing three rounds in a row that all too familiar of a viper comes slithering through the gate and attacks.  The viper doesn't surprise Huckster, but does win initiative and hits with an 18.  One point of damage and Huckster fails his saving throw and is incapacitated for four days.  Hester yulps with fury and strikes at the snake, CRITICAL HIT.  The blow does max damage of 9 points of damage.  That's just enough to kill the viper. 

Hester pumps his fist and does a tiny victory lap when he sees Huckster convulsing on the ground.  Being the generous GM that I am Hester knows a thing or two about snake bites and has known Huckster for a long time, but is still hesitant about sucking out the poison, but he takes on for the team.  With Huckster back in action, still one hit point down the party continues to try to get through the gate.  Hester doesn't wait for no stinking thief to pick the lock he manages to rip the gate off its hinges with a might show of strength.

*This ends issue 1's encounter.  On to issue 2.

Since the viper was killed, Huckster attempts to make a hearing roll.  And he fails.

*This ends issue 2's encounter.  On the purple issue 3. 

Hester walks up the corridor 30' and when he makes the turn a viper flies through the air at him.  Hester was surprised and flailed at the critter missing.  The viper lands on Hester's face and hits with a critical.  Since the damage is only 1hp normally I am going to make it 2 damage for the critical.  However, the heavens parted and Hester made a saving throw, but the snake attached to his face.  Huckster sees a thin rat man turning to run down some stair and takes a shot of him with his light crossbow.  CRITICAL MISS.  The bolt just misses Hester and the string snaps making his crossbow useless for the rest of the adventure.  The thin rat man disappears down the stairs.

"By the gods get this thing off me," Hester shouts.  He dropped his axe and is tugging to pull it off his face.  Huckster steps up and attempts to chop the snake in half, hits doing 3 points of damage.  Not enough to kill the snake, but enough that it releases its grip on Hester's face.  Hester attempts to stomp it with his boot, miss.

Next round.  The snake gets initiative and goes after Hester again.  Hit again.  One more point of damage making it three total that Hester has suffered.  Hester rolls to save vs. poison and fails.  He is incapacitated for 1 day.  Huckster chops down with his hand axe hitting doing two points of damage.  The viper now only has 4 hit points. 

Next round.  The viper wins initiative and attacks Huckster and scores a CRITICAL HIT.  I am not kidding.  The snake does 2 point of damage to Huckster taking him to 0 hit points.  And just for shits and giggles he attempts to save vs. the poison and critically fails.  Again, I am not kidding.

The thieves find the two interlopers and look at Hester and get spooked.  They thought they killed him before and now he's back.  Never the less they strip both characters down and burn the bodies outside incase the dwarves are cursed.  Hoping to keep them from returning.   The thieves sell the equipment they plundered from the character to buy a new gate. 

Morale of the story, bring more friends.

One Square = 5 Feet

I've received the first three issues if 1 square = 5' and decided to roll up a character to go through the cool adventure Christian has included in each issue.  I'm using the complete Swords & Wizardy rules.  My rolls were good. S:14, D:12, C:11, I:12, W:9, Ch:12.  So I chose to be a dwarven fighter.  Rolled for hit points and ended up with 6.  I bought Chain Mail, Shield and a Battle Axe.  Giving him an armor class of 14.  His name is Chester.

The first encounter Chester comes to a locked gate.  Picking the lock is out of the question.  So it looks like brute strength must do the job.  After three rounds of failure a viper slithers out and attacks Chester.  The viper hits on its first attack doing 1 point of damage and Chester critically fails his saving throw vs. poison.  The result, he is incapacitated for d4 days.  Since it was a critical failure it will be maxed at four days.  Not that it matters.  Within this time the thieves that Chester came to thump find him at the entrance, strip him of all his equipment then stake his body near the entrance to warn any others who wish to enter. 

Thus ends the very, very short adventuring career of Chester.  Morale of the story, bring friends.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why I Should Listen to My Wife

So I know I am impatient. I've been working on this project for a while and last night I wanted it to be done. I'd gone through it a bunch of times and it was golden. Ivy wanted to read through it and I said naw, it's golden. She said it would be a good idea just to go through it one more time before I posted it. Pppfffttt, it was all good.

Then Tenkar did his review, a generous review I might add. He said their were a handful of typos. There were, a handful by the second page. So back I went. I don't want others getting a typo filled adventure.

It's edited now. So if you downloaded a copy before 10pm last night you might want to get the newest one available. So my lesson learned for the day is, nothing is golden until the wife says so.

For Sale! Finally.

Well I have finally gone and done it.  I have my first adventure, Knowledge Illuminates, for sale at RPGNow.  This is the first in my One-Shot Adventure Series.  Like the description reads, these are smaller dungeons designed to be completed in a single session.  But, with all the adventures I write there are several possibilities that will lead to other adventures.  I use a sandbox style approach to the adventure so the party can explore the countryside as well as the dungeon itself. 

The adventure is split into four sections.  The first is the introduction and background information the GM will find helpful to run the adventure.  The second section is the countryside with various locations described.  The players can explore the area in any way they choose.  The third section is the dungeon itself.  And the final section is where a new spell, magic item, plant and creature are described. 

The ruleset I used is Swords & Wizardry, but everything can easily be adjusted to fit any of the other retro clones or the original itself. 

Rob Conley of Bat in the Attic did the maps for me, my current gaming group helped me playtest it and my fantastic wife edited it.  What art I did use for this product I got from The Forge Studios.  Seriously, it was fun to write.  No so much fun doing the layout and figuring out why pictures and paragraphs move mysteriously on the page, but I swore and got through it.  I hope those who get it enjoy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Creating an NPC

The following is an example of what I do with NPCs in my campaign.  Random inspirations come to me so I just write them down, flesh it out a bit so when the players interact there is some depth to the NPC.  Stereotypes are fun to play with.  Use the expectations of a stereotype and twist it just enough to make it interesting.  And if I'm really in a groove I can even hear how that NPC will speak.  So I will write down phrases the NPC might say and then clip on 'sounds like a drunk John Clease'.  The final touch is to add on four to five adventure hooks onto an NPC.  I try to keep these simple, but interesting (I hope).  This gives the NPC a feeling that he is living a life and things are happening and he is doing things.  Because of this, its easier to engage the players with the NPC.  One adventure hook could be a simple fetch quest while another may be an overarching situation that NPC will be dealing with for years. 

So without further ado...heeerrrreeee's Peter!

Peter the Painter

                If you’re in need of a portrait of a loved one, a landscape for an empty space on the wall or a memento for a special occasion Peter is not your man.  Peter is painter of horrific creatures and fantastic places.  Normal painting does not interest him.  He follows the stories and myths for his next masterpiece. 
                Peter is a halfling that comes from a prestigious family so he can indulge in his personal pursuits without worry of money.  He travels from village to town or remote location to find the latest monstrosity.  He usually travels with adventuring groups he trusts.  For a while he traveled with the Black Fist mercenary company and became an honorary member.  Peter is good with a sling and knife, but these skills are used for hunting small game.  He will avoid getting into a direct fight.
                When Peter travels he has his small covered wagon.  Inside the wagon are his painting supplies and his collection of paintings.  Currently he has 23 different creatures captured on canvas.  These are protected in watertight tubes.  He also keeps a 1000gp in a locked chest for supplies and to hire guards when he travels. 

Peter (Painter: halfling, male, 3’7”, 100 lbs, blond hair, gray eyes, a wisp of a mustache)
                Peter travels to keep his inspiration fresh and to keep ahead of the problems he creates.  Peter can’t help but spinning a tale or two to get people to do what he wants.  Especially women.  He enjoys playing the aw shucks artist whose passion for painting acts as an aphrodisiac on the ladies.  He starts with sketches of a woman then claims she is the most beautiful he’s ever seen.  If she is married it makes the game more enjoyable.  To make matters worse when high on ale he will give details about his conquests.  He’s had several narrow escapes with husbands and boyfriends, but Peter relishes the danger. 
                Peter makes friends easy and enjoys being around others.  He makes people like him and is generous with buying a round of drinks or sharing a tale around the fireplace.  When he manipulates people he is good at playing dumb or offering them payment for their trouble.  Trying to get the entire truth out of him is difficult because he is a natural liar. 

Adventure Hooks

I’ve heard something interesting.
Peter has heard that a blood beast inhabits the nearby forest.  He desperately wants to paint it.  He will try to convince the players to escort him and make up a rumor about a great treasure it guards.

Damn the nobles.
                A young noble, Sir Geoffrey Downton, was privileged to see a few of Peter’s paintings from his private collection.  He wants Peter to paint a mural in his manor, but Peter politely refused the offer.  Sir Geoffrey wants the players to capture Peter and return him to the manor, unharmed.  Peter is with a group of friends from the Black Fist mercenary company.  They are planning a hunt for a strange creature in a mountain ruins.  They will not allow Peter to be taken without a fight.  If the party does not return with Peter, Sir Geoffrey will make their lives difficult. 

Yes, I said Uvom.
Peter needs a fresh batch of pigments especially one called Uvom.  It is a difficult pigment to find, but Peter knows where it can be located.  Uvom is made from the feces of a creature called Aduvom.  An Aduvom is the size of a dog with powerful jaws that can burrow into the earth.  They are aggressive and travel in packs.  Peter needs as much as the players can collect.  He will pay well.

Broken Peter.
                Peter is found beaten and stabbed in the middle of the street. He will need immediate attention or die.  No one saw what happened, but the players will spot someone in the distance watching and then take off when he notices the players.  Koren, a street urchin, saw what happened.  He will be difficult to find since he knows the streets well.  If caught, it will take a bribe or intimidation to get him to speak.  He knows Peter has been visiting the home of a well-known merchant while that merchant was at his shop.  Jorran is a well-known local merchant with a bad temper.  Peter has been having an affair with his wife and Jorran found a small nude sketching of her and hunted the halfling down.