Thursday, March 31, 2011

Happy Whisk Meets the Swedish Chef

Over at Barking Alien Ivy encounters the muppet known as the Swedish Chef.  He's one scary dude.  Crazy.  She had a lot of fun participating in Barking Aliens series.  Please go check it out and find a killer Strawberry over Biscuits with homemade whip cream.  I speak from 1st hand experience that this is a wonderful thing.  Indulge yourself and check it out. 

3-31-11 Newbie Blogger Award

Sometimes its tough to decide which blog to give this to each week.  There are so many great blogs out there.  As I always listen to suggestions from others, Whisk thought this next winner deserved to win.  I think so to.  This site is dedicated to fantastic miniatures (no not you Lurker, you're no newbie) and comments a ton on other blogs.  So the winner is.....

Bard is a self proclaimed grown up and fantasy gamer.  He has a lot of great settings and critters.  It is very dangerous for me to keep going to these miniature sites because it makes me want to get back into it.  Anyway, the drill is, go check out his blog.  Bard is a top notched guy and you'll love his blog so start following.  

I want to thank those bloggers out there who have made this award fun and following the winners.  I appreciate and I know the winners appreciate your support.  

One last thing....last day of the One-Page Dungeon contest.  Alex said there have been over 60 entries.  I do not envy the judges.  If you got a idea get it down on paper and get it submitted. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Combat Options

Combat options.  I like them.  I like simple tweaks. If you use two hands on a single handed weapon you get +1 to damage.  Common sense dictates though, if a player tries to do this with a dagger a GM is indeed permitted to embed a 4-side in the requesting player's forehead.  (The main reason I carry extra on me.)  I like to keep them simple though.  I don't want to calculate the arch of an arrow as it leaves a welsh longbow.  Here are some simple rules I like.  Please add some one you use to spice up the game a bit.

+1 to damage when two hands are used on a single handed weapon
+2 to hit for rear attacks, and the defender cannot use dex bonus or shield for AC
-4 to hit invisible opponents if you know the general location
-10 to hit invisible opponents if you don't know the general location
+2 to hit stunned, prone of motionless opponents and defender cannot use dex bonus for AC
Automatic hit for sleeping or held opponents

Two weapons, I am more of a fan of the -2/-4 to hit than +1 for 1 attack, but that would be something I would discuss with players and see what they like. 

Critical hits, I like making my own table.  The simple way we do it though is max damage and then roll normal damage on top of it.  Sometimes I like the random effects of a good hit. 

That's all for now.  Lunch is over and I gotta run.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This is How NOT to React to a Bad Review

I was surfing with Whisk and I came across this one blog that reviewed a book.  The review didn't like it so much and sited several problems.  The author started attacking him in the comments.  Go check it out.  It is a lesson on how NOT to react to a bad review.  But it is entertaining.

Check it out.

At this time there are 307 comments!  I only got to 30 or 40.  It's like a Jerry Springer episode.

Game Night

Game night was a blast. After a series of set up, information gathering sessions we finally got into doing what we do best. Burning things, breaking things and killing things. To add to the fun we rolled just enough 1's to keep us laughing. A lot. Started with a little miscalculation with a teleport. It wasn't my fault and I wasn't on the receiving end.

To get to our target we needed to go through enemy territory. I'm not sure if they know we are their enemy, we've wiped out nearly a division of their soldier, but none have survived to tell the tale. They just keep disappearing in this one strip we travel. Well, twenty foot soldiers were incinerated. Then more soldiers tracked us during the night, but we saw them coming. Whoosh, was the last sound they heard.

Once we got to the demon's (Verdian) stronghold it took some time to find it. It was hidden by an illusion. Once we got inside, general mayhem ensued. My guy was critically hit and almost dropped. Goblin with a big ass crossbow. Man. When we got to the Verdians and demons they were unaware we were armed with shards of the chromatic crystal. One touch from them and they need to save vs. being dead.

It took a few tries, but all of them went up in smoke and fire. During our exploration of the keep Rob kept reading the treasure list of what was valuable in the rooms and we told him not to worry about it. It was a foregone conclusion we were going to take of the keep once we cleared it. Our second profession is acquiring restate apparently. Our holdings are expanding beyond the point that I forget what we have.

Anyways, no game next week. I’m blaming Rusty for the whole thing even though I couldn’t play either due to an anniversary. Thanks Rob, it was a lot of fun last night. Makes Mondays a good thing.

Monday, March 28, 2011

My One-Page Dungeon Entry

Here is my entry for this year's One-Page Dungeon contest,  Race to Adventurer's Keep.  Last year I has a theme of one bad guy hiding out in four possible locations.  I thought it added a bit a role playing to the adventure having to find Margesh.  My maps were hand drawn and looked horrible compared to the rest of the entries.  Some of those maps were works of art.

This year there is no map with my adventure.  Doesn't need one.  It's a timed adventure, run by random encounters.  It can be run solo or with a group.  It's a bit snarky at places and hopefully fun all over.

Time for work.  It's game night.  Enough said.

*Alan's corrections have been made.  Thanks Alan!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

One Page Dungeon Contest Countdown

Just a flair shot in the air to remind those of you interested that the One-Page Dungeon Contest only has until the end of the week.  There are a ton of fantastic prizes.  Check out that list.  I offered three copies of Knowledge Illuminates.  And my long time friend and GM Rob Conley has thrown in a print copy and two PDFs of his Majestic Wilderlands.  So there should be a lot of entries looking at that line up of prizes.  Then after its all over all the entries are put into a free PDF. 

Last year I won some great prizes and hope to score at least one trinket this year.  Rob asked "You're entering even though you donated prizes?"  I replied, "Umm, yes.  Did you see the other prizes?"  Plus its a great exercise in writing.  Speaking of which I finished one page dungeon.  I still need to go over it to find all my typos.  I think it turned out well.  Last year I had a small twist to my dungeon.  I did again this year.  I'll read it over tonight and post it here on Monday or Tuesday. 

Oh, and make sure you give out a huge thanks to Alex for coordinating this again.  And, to all the judges. 

Sleestak Sunday

I would love to have one of these signs.  However, they screwed the spelling up.  A sleet stack?  I dunno, but its still cool even misspelled. 

Friday, March 25, 2011

3-25-11 Newbie Blogger Award

It's time again for the Newbie Blogger Award. And it's going to be a 3peat for the blogs down under. This week's award goes to Ragnardbard, keeper of the Vaults of the Mad Archmage.

In his first blog he starts off with a bang discussing what he would like to accomplish, self-publishing some OSR goodness.  He lays out a plan of what he intends to do. And, check out his mapping skills with his Regional Dungeon Entrances.  You don't see a lot of colored maps these days and the best part I like, they are hand drawn.

I know Ragnardbard is going to be a great contributor to the OSR.  I think Australia may have to host the first OSR worldwide convention.

Okay folks, you know the drill, go to his blog, read what he has to say and start following.  He will not disappoint.  Congrats Ragnardbard and thank you to Austrodavicus for the referral.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Final Edits for Blackmarsh...Done

Edits for Rob Conley's, Blackmarsh project for Brave Halfling Publishing'a Delving Deeper Box Set is done.  Last night Rob and I did a final read through.  It took a couple of hours, but we got it done and I think Rob has another fantastic land to share with everyone.  The final read through is done out loud.  I read the manuscript and this way we catch small typos and find a few sentences that can be tweaked, switched around or explain an idea better.  After working on a project for a while its good to smack it on the ass and send it out the door.

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Way I Play

Monday night gaming, where a human, an elf and a half demon scour the Majestic Wilderlands righting wrongs and seeking justice in their own twist view of how things should be.  (Now say this in a Howard Cosell voice and it sounds much more interesting.)  Yes, it is game night.  I'm glad we do it on Monday's it helps me look forward to the day.  I would like to get into another game that meets maybe twice a month face-to-face, but scheduling that is always difficult.  Anyways to the point of my blog...

I guess I am an role-player in the grand scheme of player archetypes.  I want to explore the world the GM has created and help him find things maybe he didn't even know about his world.  I want to go through the stories the GM has created and maybe come up with an unexpected ending.  I want to see my character grow as the story and world move around him.  Actions do have rewards and consequences that effect my character down the line.  I like that I won't know when that moment is sometimes.  That moment when a simple decision can change everything.  And of course there are those times when you know what you decide will alter the path your character is on.

I'm like to go with the flow of things and not be bogged down by referencing rulebooks.  Sometimes its necessary, but most of the time I like it when the GM just says roll and I'll let you know.  I love rolling dice.  Playing so much virtual table top gaming I miss rolling a real die.  The thump on the table, the quick clicking as it rolls, bounces and spins to its final resting place.  I roll up characters just because I like the process.  I like coming up with backgrounds and stories and adventures these imaginary folks have been on.  I mine real life to for gems so I can decorate my NPCs. 

Time to go back to work.  Lunch is over.  Whisk made me another killer lunch.  My day always goes by much better when she does.  It's game night tonight.  Even though it's a Monday, it's one of my favorite nights of the week. 

Sunday, March 20, 2011

New Additions to the Family

Aww, look how cute they are.  So shiny and new, couldn't you just kiss their bottom.  And that wonderful smell.  That new dice smell.  These silver pair were added to my family after visiting my FNGS, Gold Star Anime.  Rob Conley runs a game there once a month, sometimes twice, GMing them through his Majestic Wilderlands.  So if you are ever interested in a game and in NW PA give Jerry a call and he'll let you know when the games are scheduled.

I also received Christian's 5th installment of One Square Equals 5 Feet.  (OS=5F).  I am going to roll up another character.  A 5th level one this time.  Fester, father of Chester and Hester, returns to the scene where his two sons met their end.  This dwarven warrior will take no prisoners and topple the mountain upon the heads of his sons' murderers.  Or join his sons trying.

The Spring Equinox was a good one in this household.  But it's Sunday night and with a busy week ahead I am thinking about...actually I've been thinking about my one-page dungeon contest entry.  I think I have a good concept for this one.  Wasn't sure if I was going to enter, but it is a lot of fun and the dungeons are all very cool.  So if you are planning on entering get on it.  April will come up on us very soon.  There are a ton of great prizes, not the least of which I donated 3 copies of Knowledge Illuminates to the winners.  Good luck.

Now stop looking at my dice.  Go get your own.

Sleestak Sunday

And Another Great Review
One more bit of news to add to the end of Sleestak Sunday.  Knowledge Illuminates received another positive review from Geodieracer.  The review can be found at Haque in Black.  Thanks Geodieracer for the great review.  And I am going to put some words in there about those skills checks. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Top 5 Classic Fantasy Adventures

Ckutalik (aka the Cake Crusader) over at Hill Cantons did a blog on his 5 top fantasy adventures and it being a Saturday morning with little gas in my imagination tank I am going to piggy back off of his blog.  So here is my top 5.

1# Tomb of Horrors
Without a doubt Tomb of Horrors get the #1 spot.  It was the first TSR module I bought and played through it until I had memorized nearly every detail.  I think I could have had a 1st level guy go through and survive.  I'm talking about the 1978 version.  The real Tomb of Horrors, not all the other incarnations.  Acererak was a terrible foe, but compared to the rest of the tomb he was a cupcake.  In the original version the tomb was made of mithral and adamantine.  The tomb itself was worth several kingdoms worth of gold. 

#2 Judges Guild's: Dark Tower
This adventure we did not nearly go through as much as the Tomb of Horrors, but it was memorable every time.  I'm not sure if it qualifies as a mega dungeon, but it sure played big and imposing.  Many of the JG adventures at the time had a 'silly' quality about them.  Which was fine, but not what I wanted.  Dark Tower was heavy in atmosphere and consequences.  I'm going off memory here, but I just remember being very impressed by the adventure and the games we had.

#3 Keep on the Borderlands
In the winter of '79 my neighbor told me to come on over and play this new game.  Said it was awesome.  First thing I saw was the purple cover and was immediately not impressed.  But once we rolled up a few characters, raided the Yatzee game for dice (because we had no idea about the special dice) we started to play.  The game was simple, roll a 1 and its a kill (or death for you), roll a 6 and its a wound, two wounds equal death.  We had a blast.  It wasn't long after that my collection of gaming stuff started.  I still have nearly everything I bought from the winter of '79.

#4 Village of Hommlet
Another '79 adventure module makes it on the list.  Of course.  Hommlet was different.  There were some plotlines scattered through the village.  I guess in a way it was my first 'sandbox' experience.  You could go in several directions.  Hommlet lent itself to adventures, but did not force you into one.  Plus, if you were patient enough you could kick the crap out of Rufus and take the tower for yourself.

#5 The Isle of Dread
This module killed more of my characters than any other.  This was an end game module for one of my GMs who would eventually get to a place where he no longer wanted to GM the current cast and sent them to the Isle of Dread.  I could have just walked away from the floating skeletal ship, but I never did.  I couldn't help myself.  It was until the last time I adventured on the Isle of Dread did I finally have a character survive.  After an epic battle with the inhabitants and the other PCs he survived and retired with all his daggers.  I can't tell you much about the adventure because I only got into it once.  Died to fast all the other times. 

Honorable Mentions
G1: Steading of the Hill Giant Chief.  
This module was played a lot.  It was short people knew it and could kill like three or four sleeping kill giants and go from 1st to 3rd or 4th level real fast.  Yes it was a cheat, but a lot did it and no one seemed to care.  We all enjoyed killing the sleeping hill giants.  Some knew the module well enough to get all the treasure without having to get into a fight.  In the auditorium this adventure is the one I used to teach all my fellow football players how to play in secret.  Some were afraid to be known as a D&D player.  Fricking wussies.

U1: Sinister Secret of Salt Marsh
This adventure could easily be a huge snore, but in the hands of a good GM this module was poetry.  I'm going off of memory, but it set a great atmosphere with the mansion and was generic enough that it could be used over and over again.  This was part mystery, part smash and grab.  It made you think.

WG4: The Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun
I don't remember much of this adventure.  Not sure if I even went through it.  I just remember buying it, reading it, and liking it a lot.  Still do.

Least Favorite Adventures
C1: The Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan
This is one of my very first purchases and I never liked the adventure.  I didn't like GMing it and I definitely did not like going through it.  Do I have any specific reasons?  No.  Just remember being bored. 

 C2: The Ghost Tower of Inverness
See above.  This one I always thought had potential, but just needed some tweaking, but at the time I didn't know how to.  Where as C1 I never liked, C2 I wanted to like, but just didn't.

Q1: Queen of the Demonweb Pits
I can't tell you how stoked I was to get this adventure.  An adventure with a demi-god in it!  The climax of the G-D-Q series.  Then I saw the spaceship.  I hate spaceships in my fantasy.  It is not 'you got peanut butter in my chocolate good', its 'you shit in my bowl of cereal bad'.  I thought the Abyss was lame.  I was very disappointed.

Now all the years later I still have all the original copies of these adventures.  And this post has got me to thinking how they hold up through the years especially the ones I didn't like when I was a teenager.  I'm curious if I would like C1 and C2 now.  I really doubt I will forgive Q1 for crapping in my cereal, but I'm willing to give a shot. 

Have a great Spring Equinox. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

How Do You Handle Cleric Responsibility?

Pantheons are a critical part of any game.  You have an entire class dedicated to them, sipping at their powers to push their cause forward...but how many cleric in game do that?  How many times during a game does a cleric on behalf of their deity?  Are they plundering a goblin warren for the glory of their god or to get better equipment?

Many times a cleric will tithe some of their loot, but not often.  Some will build temples, but lets face it, that temple is more a monument for them than the god they worship.  The acolytes that are more minion than devotee. 

So all you GMs out there, how do you handle a cleric's responsibility to their god?  Time has caught me up and I need to go to work.  Looking forward to your answers.  Have a great Friday.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

3-17-11 Newbie Blogger Award

Now this guy has only been blogging for a month and has nearly 70 followers.  He's on the fast track to stardom.  He's got a lot of stuff to say about the OSR, a 6 part blog post called The OSR is Dead.  Read it.  It's very good.  Plus he wrote a flattering blog about my wife, Whisk, which almost made him a sure thing for the award.  I told you when I first started this award, I can be bought.  Seriously though, he's got opinions.  Interesting opinions.  Not those verbal masturbatory opinions.  The blog I am talking about is There's Dungeons Down Under hosted by austrodavicus.  Okay readers, you know what to do, go check out and join his blog.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A Much Kinder and Gentler Elf...It Didn't Take

The following is told by Ashling.  Elf.  Monteblank.  Leader of Men.  Well, the first two are true. 

Being in the desert and being an elf don't go well together.  The heat seems to fry brains making them unthinking fanatics.  We've been targeting leaders of this a fanatical religion who is building armies to conquer the world in the name of peace.  They contiinually preach about peace as they are sharpen the swords and say how much they hate everyone else. 

Along out way to the holy city we met a nosey bunch.  One man in particular asked a lot of questions that were almost answered with Oelander's sword.  but wew are a kinder, much more understand group now.  In the end he gave us robes to wear so we could blend in.  So the eye of Horus would not find us. 

The further we traveled into the desert and the closer we got to the holy city the fervor increased to the point where all I wanted to do was fireball their stupidty, but sometimes even a big ass fireball isn't enough. 

We found ourselves standing in a sea of people listening to Horus himself.  He repeated the same inane drivel that everyone else was saying.  Becoming one.  We will kill everyone in the name of peace.  I believe my intellegnece score suffered a two point penalty just listening to him.  We found the answers to our questions about armires.  We found two possible answers on how to defeat him.  And yet, we could do nothing.  We needed to wait. 

Our goal is to reunite all the shards of the Chromatic Crystal.  We have posession of two of the seven shard.  The coucil of Verdistan (largest city in the Wilderlands) we are sorta allied with has the other five.  We have to convince them to give us the shards.  Telling them there is an enemy a thosand miles away, led by a demi god is going to take some convincing. 

After we finished our information gathering we returned home to find it under attack.  Veridans (demons) had infiltrated our home and were holding some of people hostage.  We'd been in the desert for many days and being very good.  We hardly killed anyone.  Our whole quest was frustrating because we felt helpless.  We were in a bad mood and looking to take it out on someone.  Verdians would do just fine.  Oelander mowed through the first coupld of soldiers and I finished one off with a handful of magic missilies. 

The leader of the Verdians was attercted to our portals.  She held the one little boy that is the son to our steward over the protal ready to throw him in.  Little did she know it was just a door way to a weird living room/kitchen area.  So the most would have happened is he would have gotten something to eat.  Still, we weren't going to let that little fact sooth our hunger for battle.  Oelander struck the Verdian and I hit her with my piece of the chromatic crystal.  She melted.  Wow.  That was interesting and that soothed my battle hunger. 

We managed to keep two soldeirs alive and discovered the whereabouts of the main Verdian.  So though we need to contend with the Amry of Horus, we need to be patient.  The Veridian patriarch has gotten our attention.  I'm getting hungry again. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Starter Adventures New Artists

Some very cool news for Starter Adventures, two local artists, Jason Sholtis and John Larrey will be doing the artwork.  These two are no strangers to the OSR and their work will appear in Rob Conley's 'Scourge of the Demon Wolf' adventure and they've done pieces for Knockspell and others I am sure I don't know about.  Plus they are a lot of fun to game with.  I believe it was Jason who played a mage that was killed by a flying door.  Now that was funny.

So with new material, some art from Jason and John and maps from Rob this is turning into a full project instead of a redux.  Looking forward to seeing how this turns out since it will be my first project working with artists.  Jason asked me for the tone I wanted for Starter Adventures and I said I would like pictures of newbie mistakes, fun pictures that make you laugh. 

Some of what I added is introducing someone into gaming.  A few tips I've gleaned from gaming over the decades.  Some of the tropes we accept without questioning.  And by god, I put in an explanation and example of the skill challenges I add. 

Have a good Monday everyone.  It's game night tonight.  We're headed into the homeland of a godlike creature with delusions of conquering him.  We'll be rolling up new characters next week I'm sure.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

40 Minutes Left for Sleestak Sunday!

Crap forgot all about Sleestak Sunday.  It will be quick, but here is Sammy in the spring.  He is my faithful sleestak that sits on my desk and hunts Chaka in my jungle of RPG books. 

Sammy says hi'sssss and I killsssss Chaka.

I Know it's Late, but I Have a Question

It's late and my brain is fried and Google is not being helpful.  I'm working on an adventure, this adventure has some spiders in it.  My question is, what are the 'pods' spiders wrap their prey in called?  I saw cocoon and pods, but none of them sounded right.  Maybe they are, not sure.  That's why I am asking for help at 11pm  on a Sunday night.  I forget how much I hate daylight savings time.  Anyway, for those who comment, thanks for the info. 

Oh, and Whisk said she would throw in some honey glazed toads stuffed with ricotta cheese and ham for those who answer.  If you vegetarians she just juice the toad eggs up in a frothy shake. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Reimagining of an Iconic D&D Monster: The Goblin

My offering into the James Maliszewski call to share what we've done with these critters to make them our own.

The one monster I changed the most was the Goblin.  These guys have as many depictions as any monster, from the vicious minions of Saruman, in the Lord of the Rings to the Dobby in Harry Potter.  I know Dogby is described as a house elf, but you know and I know he's a goblin. *see comment with Sean about the banker goblins*

The goblins in my campaign are a cultureless race.  They have no god they collectively worship.  They have no customs or traditions they carry on from generation to generation.  They are a blank slate.  But masters of imitation.  Goblins search for another race to learn from.  Goblins will worship the same god and celebrate the same holidays and social occasions.    They will build a shanty town near the other race's settlement and it will imitate the village or town's layout. 

The imitation is never quite correct and often comical in its execution.  Goblins will take up the worship of local gods, but often will change the name that is more familiar with their language.  They will also create mock up of the refined wear priests and acolytes wear.  If your religion requires the acolytes to wear a plain brown robe you can be sure you'll be seeing a group of acolyte goblins donning burlap bags or potato sacks.  Though they may miss the mark with their imitation, Goblins are very respectful and honor the local gods. 

Though not many races like having goblins around underfoot, they are very useful.  Goblins are also masters of salvaging.  When a goblin settlement is nearby the sanitation increases because the goblins go through all that is tossed out, organize it and use what they can destroy the rest.  Large cities usually have a goblin settlement nearby so their 'city dump' doesn't become a problem.  The goblins also keep the rat population down.  Goblins hunt the rats for food.  The other benefit of having goblins nearby is they are a source of cheap labor and never complain about doing the horrible jobs.  Most large cities employ several teams of goblins to keep the sewers clear.

On very rare occasions when a goblin community is being abused or systematically slaughtered the community as a whole can go into 'goblin rage'.  When a goblin community final enters goblin rage they have gone feral and will attack any living thing with a berserker rage.  These are the wild goblins adventurers encounter in the wilderness.  They live to kill at this point and nothing more.  Should a goblin infected with goblin rage enter a docile goblin community, the rage will spread and within a few hours all goblins within the community will be infected.  No alchemical or magical solution has been found to cure goblin rage.

As a whole, goblins a passive race, but once in a great while an extraordinary goblin will rise above his peers and make a significant contribution; some have become elders in their church, some hold minor positions in the local government and a more than a few have become successful merchants.  Although they may never be generals or bishops or kings, goblins do not dream of power they are motivated by learning.  Though they are limited with what they learn they never stop trying to become better.  They also are protective of the friends they make and have been known to sacrifice themselves to aid the hosting community. 

Friday, March 11, 2011

A Very Cool Blog About Whisk

Austrdavisus did a very cool blog about my wife, Ivy.  He comments on her food and being a a wife to a gamer and taking interest in the games I get involved in.  He appreciates her humor.  Go check out his blog which is a great one anyhow and the kind words he said about Ivy.

And he likes Nigella Lawson.  This guy is smart as hell.

Blogging Fun and How's the Weather?

The past week has been a lot of fun in the OSR blogs.  I've been shying away from the more serious blogs of late just because of the heavy issues I deal with at work constantly.  I want to come to my blog to have some fun and read about other fun stuff going on.  Commentators have been hilarious, and Whisk and I get a kick out of reading them.  She has become a OSR blog junkie and comments more than I do.  She follows cooking blogs and writing blogs, but she always says she likes the gamer guys, their funnier. 

It's Friday, we got another foot on snow here.  I guess winter is not ready to go into the gentle good night.  It got me to thinking (as little as possible of course) about weather in your game.  Do you bother with it?  Is it important to gameplay?  Do you have rules about weather?

I will admit I have no love for the Harn weather charts Rob likes to torment me with on occasion.  He tells me what the weather is even if I am two hundred feet beneath ground...dead.  I only use weather in rare times.  Most of the time I might use it to set a mood.  Develop a foreboding atmosphere or have beautiful weather, birds singing in juxtaposition of a villagers being slaughtered by monsters.  Like an Enya song playing while a sweet grandma villager gets mauled by a werewolf (tip of the hat to Zevon).

On even more rare occasions I will have the weather effect the players within the rules in extreme circumstances.  Wearing metal armor in the desert is not a great combination.  Wearing next to nothing in a blizzard is going to make it difficult to much of anything.  Of course the solutions to these problems is fairly simple, but not observing them could be a catastrophe for the party.

So I was wondering what people are using for their campaign concerning weather.  If you have tables or something that you use at the table let me know I'm interested to hear what's going on at other gaming tables.

Oh, and almost forgot.  Have a great Friday.  I hope to get some good gaming work done this weekend. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Johnathan Bingham is a Hot Elf Chick

I Googled hot elf chicks and low and behold there was Johnathan.

My side still hurts a little.

Four Naked Elf Chicks in a Hot Tub

In the spirit of James of Underdark Gazette, I make my offering of hot elf chicks.

Now I know they don't look like elves, but when I imagine them with heads, they do.

And oh yeah I am supposed to put something about the OSR in here. We are all cool.  Come play with us.  Really.  We're not that weird......okay so we are, but its okay.  And I like Pie!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Stupid Piece of Fish

Okay, this is not a blog about gaming.  Nope.  I am writing because my wife puts a picture of some RAW fish on her blog and gets 568,301 comments.  So I am going to put a piece of fish on my blog and see what happens.

I challenge you to a comment duel, Whisk!

3-9-11 Newbie Blogger Award

It's that time again.  Young little bloggers scurrying around wanting attention.  I've looked around and chose another excellent blog.  Again, I thought this blog had been around longer than it had.  I am speak of none other than The Jovial Priest.  He wrote a great blog about a silver based economy.  I completely agree with this and my world uses this.  And he is very active with comments and has a lot of great ideas.  So again, as always, please check out The Joval Priest and consider yourself blessed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Another Great Review

Carter Soles over at The Lands of Ara did glowing review of Knowledge Illuminates.  Thanks Carter.  I appreciate the review.

How Gaming Got Me to Read Books

Gaming is what got me to start reading.  When I was in school, I hated to read.  Hated it.  I would have rather tore the pages out of a 1st edition of The Hobbit and tossed them into a fire than read a single sentence.  I am not exaggerating.  Hated it.

Then I started gaming.  Our first D&D sessions were at the library until they kicked us out for some lame ass reason.  One of those 'just because' reasons.  Anyway.  After I got more and more into gaming I saw a couple of the guys carrying books with men with swords, women wearing as little as possible and monsters that looked angry.  I was reading adventure modules.  I was reading the DMG, the PH and the MM.  I started reading without realizing it. 

I was curious about the books, but I never learned how to read a book.  I knew how to read, but wasn't able to remember what I had read and would get confused on what happened.  I borrowed a friend's book Sword of Shannara to check it out.  I didn't like it.  I got halfway.  There were parts I liked, but lost interest quickly. 

I be-bopped to my local mall when there was still a bookstore call B Daltons and checked out the fantasy section and saw a cover of a book that I instantly loved.  It was the cover of Thieves World (pictured is the cover I like, Amazon didn't have a copy of it) edited by Robert Asprin.  I bought it immediately.  I was glad to see it was filled short stories.  Easier to digest.  But what I did, to get through the reading was take a notebook sheet of paper write down characters' names, their profession and their status, alive or dead.  This is the way I taught myself how to read a book.  I think part of the problem with starting with fantasy books was that some of the names were unpronounceable so I had a harder time remembering who they were.  But I really liked the stories.  I liked the interaction of multiple storylines and multiple characters from different authors interacting with a single setting and cast of NPCs.  And I think it was the first time I'd experienced a fantasy world that wasn't high fantasy.  There are no magic swords, wizards are as much cursed as they are powerful, and people actually had to buy food with shaved copper coins.  These characters were not riding into a dark tide of horror, but scrambling to get a few coppers during the day to eat, to find an anvil so he can continue his trade and painter who saw the truth in things.  It was cool and I discovered this is the type of fantasy I enjoyed.

The Thieves World books are always a favorite and first five are pretty good, but I can never get past book six and beyond.  Sanctuary loses its grimy magnificence and just become grimy.  I've probably reread the first book a half a dozen times.

Another book that I really enjoyed and one I don't hear about much is Michael Moorcock's The Warhound and the World's Pain.  Still one of my favorites today.  It has an interesting premise and hero.  I think this one is out of print, but sometimes you can pick up a copy at a used bookstore or ebay. What this one showed me is how to combine a fantasy setting with a mythology and make it work.  I was fascinated by the quest, the hero and setting.  Everything about it made me want to create this world and run someone through it.

I think the other series of books that influnced my young D&D days was the first three Dragonlance books.  I remember getting a promotional poster in a Dragon magazine and waiting for the first one to come out.  Tanis, Goldmoon and Strum were a great cast.  When the modules came out I thought it was fantastic that they mirrored the books, but when I tried to play them with friends I remember how it didn't work.  It was railroad time and I didn't know it.  I got frustrated because they weren't doing what the character did in the books.  They weren't acting like the characters in the books.  This is no good.  I learned a lot from that series.  

I began to read a lot.  And before too long I had jumped from sword and magic tale to Dostoevsky.  Eventually got a second degree in college in English Lit.  Who knew gaming would have that huge of an influence on me and get me to love I something I absolutely hated.  Now if can only get me to like peas. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

More Editing Advice

Monday morning here before work.  I'm doing the preliminary edits on one of Rob's projects.  A very cool project.  I am not at liberty to give details, but it will make something already cool, cooler.  Like I said its Monday morning.  Don't judge the syntax.

Anyway, I am going to use my good friend Rob of a bazillion years as my guinea pig for this short editing advice blog.  I apologize ahead of time to Rob, but like all good friends, I never miss a chance to take a shot.

When you send your manuscript to be edited please do not format it.  Your manuscript should be in the simplest form of single column, paragraphs need to be defined, and for the love of the d20, double spaced.  Now these are easy enough to change, but like last night when I started editing, it took me an hour of my time to untangle the formats and correct the spacing.  Time I could have spent slashing the crap out of his introduction.  Which I did later on.

I did the same thing when finishing my adventure.  I was in a hopping hurry to see what it would look like.  Give your editor a break and format your manuscript for editing.  It's already a thankless job don't make it more difficult.  I've had to (un)format the current project I am working on or I would get an earful from Ivy. 

Please do not have multiple copies of the manuscript in various stages of edits.  This one I am guilty of and Rob and I ran into while editing Points of Light 2.  It usually happens when a writer piece-meals the work to you.  Complete the manuscript before handing it over to your editor.  Some writer/editor teams may have not problem organizing and doing it this way, but for those who can't it can become a huge headache and you redo stuff you've already done and/or a section does not get edited. This kind of situation occurs when the writer is falling behind his deadline or the project was too big for the deadline given. 

That's it.  Have as good as Monday as you can have.  The cars are still frozen here.  Even the snow is frozen, and there was a weird critter under my place making a racket this morning, but I still plan on having a good day.  As the old Amish guy I used to help years ago would say, "Every day is a good day.  Try missing one."

Sunday, March 6, 2011

And the GM Day Purchases Continues

So I made two more purchases.  I bought the Toolbox from Alderac Entertainment Group.  I have a couple of their print books I purchased in the 50% off bin at the local gaming shop, but was always interested in the Toolbox.  I know they have the Ultimate Toolbox, but I think this one is more manageable.  I won't be printing this one out.  More of a reference book.

The second purchase was the Realms of Crawling Chaos from Goblinoid Games.  For only $3.71 I had to check it out.  Again, this is one I've been looking at for a while.  At 64 pages its on the edge of what I'll print out for a PDF.  But I plan to read it through and if I am digging it than I'll probably buy a nice print copy.  I've liked Proctor's and Curtis's stuff in the past so I'm guessing I'll be making another order.

Like I guessed and the cool thing about selling something RPGNow is transferring it site credit.  So my profits from Knowledge Illuminates is going towards buying other gaming products. 

That's all for Sunday night.  Ivy just made a kick ass dinner and we'll be kicking back for the rest of the night watching some weirdness on Netflix.

A Trifecta at Ludibrium Games

As you can see by my side column of my running total for the year I am a game buyer.  Love reading new material.  I decided to get into the GM Sale at RPGNow and pick a few things I was curious about.  I bought all three adventures from Ludibrium Games.  Ironwood Gorge, The Sanctuary Ruin and their latest offering Kingmaker.  I printed out two of them and plan to read them.  The only request I would have to the guys is please oh please do not use a black background for your maps.  It eats way too much ink.  Especially some of the full page maps you have.  Admittedly it looks good, but if I gotta buy another ink cartridge to print out an adventure that is less money to get more gaming goodness.  I'll do some mini reviews probably later on in the week.

I also picked up Oubliette 5 for the low low price of zip, zilch, nada.  I'm still waiting for my print copies (issues 1 thru 4) in the mail.  Again will try to do a mini review later on in the week.  Tenkar has shown me the way that reviews don't have to be exhausting to write. 

And my final self promotion plug for the GM Sale.  Grab a copy a Knowledge Illuminates for only 3 bucks if you haven't yet.  The sale ends tomorrow.

Now go hug a sleestak.

Can You Find the Sleestak?

Cold.  Keep looking.

Getting warmer.  Keep looking.

Eww, no.  Looks like one of those mucus commercials.

Here'sssss they aressss. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Friday, March 4, 2011

Another Review and a Question

James over at the Underdark Gazette did a great review of Knowledge Illuminates.  Damned if he didn't find a typo.  Again, the skill checks were brought up.  I need to explain those in more detail next time or leave them out.  I put in generic target numbers to define a difficulty level for finding a secret compartment or bashing a door open.  The way I use them is you roll a d20, add the appropriate stat bonus (or maybe a racial bonus), usually add the level and see if the total is equal to or above the target number.

d20 + stat bonus + level = result

What I was wondering out there old schoolers of all shapes and sizes, do you like these skill checks included or toss them aside?  Thanks for the input.

And James, thank you again for taking the time to review my adventure.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Welcoming Nature of the OSR

I know there are flare ups about one subject or another.  Heated arguments go from blog to blog, some bloggers may decided not to continue while others thrive or have become 'known' for stirring up a shit storm.  I think the most heated one I can remember was when Zack over at Playing D&D with Porn Stars started his video series I Hit it With My Axe.  I don't even remember the details.  I think his blog was still relatively new and his followers skyrocketed.  Of course with that brilliant title for his blog he was bound to get a ton.  I didn't have a dog in that fight.  I watched the first few episodes with some interest.  Not because they were porn stars, but because I'll watch any video of people playing D&D.

But back to my point, if I really have one, the one thing I like about the OSR even if they are populated with young and old grump grognards, is how welcoming the community is as a whole.  I've been blogging for nearly two years now and I think I've had one asshole comment and even then he was always a great commenter before, just maybe had a bad day.  I'm cool with it and don't hold a grudge.  It's too exhausting.

There seems to be a new influx of old-school blogs popping up and part of the reason why I came up the newbie award.  One I thought it was funny and two its always nice to have a boost in the beginning.  Just letting someone know you are reading their posts can keep them in the game. 

When my wife came out with her blog, The Happy Whisk, I think she had more gamers following her than cooks or writers.  She admits to liking the gamers more because 'we are funny'.  She is right.  We are funny.  It is really cool to see these old school gamers who have my wife's blog on their blog roll.  It's small things like that that I appreciate the old school group.

When I recently came out with my first old school product I received a lot of encouragement and support from the other bloggers.  And I know if someone is coming out with something I know I try to support it also.  Then we have all those bloggers out there who continually put out free stuff.  Al over at Beyond the Black Gate has earned his own file folder on my computer.  He puts out great stuff and I gather it all in one place so I can find it later on.

I almost forgot to mention all the Warhammer, war gamer cross overs we have had lately.  The Angry Lurker and Porky are two of the more prolific commentators on Whisk's and my blogs.  Lurker even promoted my adventure on his blog which was great to see.
Okay, I am done with my love fest.  I'll make sure tomorrow I bitch about something to balance the scales.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

RPGNow's GM Sale

If you haven't heard already RPGNow is have a GM sale from March 1st until March 7th.  So every product involved is 25% off.  I've included Knowledge Illuminates which down to $3.  There are a ton of products included in this sale.  If you have the time and extra coin check out the sale.  I know I'm going to be hunting around through those participating.

GM Games Sales Report for February

Since I currently have one product for sale this will be a simple.  I plan on doing this monthly just for those who plan on getting into selling their own gaming stuff or those already in it who are interested in how a small one-guy company.  Since this is my first foray into this I have nothing to compare it to.  In an earlier post I spoke about expectations and what my expectations are will determine whether it is a success or not.  This still holds true, but the other part of it is I hope to successfully satisfy my customers' expectations of my product and hope they feel they got value for the money they spent. 

My expectation was to sell 25 copies of Knowledge Illuminates.  That was it.  I didn't want to set my goal too high because I know the gaming industry is struggling and gaming purchases are at the bottom of a priory list.  I wanted to make $2+ for every adventure sold.  With a non-exclusive agreement with RPGNow (which gives me 65% of the listed price) and a $4 price tag that earns me $2.60 per sale.

This month I sold 37 copies of Knowledge Illuminates and 11 complimentary copies were downloaded by reviewers and those who assisted.  There are 6 people who have it in their shopping carts and 18 have it in their wish list.  Knowledge Illuminates product page was viewed 2489 times.  Although I think a few hundred was me check on it.  Couldn't help it.  I checked my email about ten times a day to see if I sold anything.  I usually check my email once a day.  The total dollar amount sold was $148.  My profit was $96.20. 

The cost for art work was $29.91.  That reduces my profit to $66.29.  But the great thing is I can reuse the art for future products.  So I paid for it already.  I won't mention the $30 I took in site credit to take advantage of Avalon Game Company's $1 day sale and bought more art.  But since none of the art appeared in Knowledge Illuminates I won't count it. 

Big bucks, eh.  Though the money is not going to buy me a car I had fun.  Like I mentioned earlier it was the first time in a long time I enjoyed checking my email.  It's like when you order something on Amazon and going to the mailbox to see if your order came in yet.  The one day I came home and had five sales.  It was fun.  And it motivates me to complete more projects. 

The area I need to educate myself on is art.  I need to get to know a few artists whose work I like and see what it costs for me to get them involved.  I'm not interested in changing the genre of art or producing something where the art is the featured feature.  I would like art that is made just for my stuff and not something that is stuffed into a hundred other products.  But on my profit margin it's not going to happen yet, but that gives me time to educate myself.