Thursday, June 30, 2011

Quick Update on Starter Adventures

One of the newest pictures I've received.
I think we are in the 7th inning stretch.  I think.  John and Jason from UNDERWORLD INK have been producing some great pictures.  I can't wait to get to the layout phase and see how their pictures, Rob's maps and my text blend together.  Ivy is going over the manuscript now.  When I asked her how the edits were going she said "There aren't too many crappy parts.  We'll talk later."  So I have to look forward to.

The entire manuscript is divided up as such:
16 total scenarios (4 for each class): 9128 word count
Tavern: 2011 word count
Dungeon Crawl: 4526

So the word count as of now is 15,665.  I have to admit I am not all that happy with the tavern right now.  That will be altered before it his print.  So with the addition of pictures and maps it is a fairly good sized project.  I have no idea at this time what the page count will be, I know I will be keeping it under 64, but other than that I gots no idea. 

I plan on releasing this one on PDF and print soft and hard cover.  I just have to have a hardcover version for myself and I plan on getting hardcovers for the guys who've helped.  Like I said it would be a quick update.

But no rest for the wicked.  While I wait for the others to finish their stuff I begin working on my next One-Shot adventure.  I already have the outline for the adventure.  I'm excited about hitting the book store and working on it.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

So Many Great Dice

As you can see I am going to milk that con for several posts.  This one is about the dice I bought then I think I only have my HakcMaster post, oh and another short one about other stuff I got I think that is it.  Origins made my side bar total for the year leap $300.  I'm not going to break everything down.  I just don't remember.  Well let's see these dice I got. 

First off here are the free dice I got in the bag.  I sorta wish I bought the whole commemorative Origins dice set that was in a very nice tin.   
These are the old Armory Alignment dice.  The package was so old it fell apart in my hands.  Though I don't use alignment I still had to have them.  The black die appears to have a bit of dandruff.

A collection of weird dice.  Weather generator, treasure type, monster type, decision die and I am guessing the one with superior on it is to determine the strength of an opponent compared to the players.  All very cool dice.  
These are glow in the dark dice featuring alien heads, eyes and spaceships. 
Glow in the dark I had to have them.  Bad picture of them glowing, but you get the point.
Finally, my first set of Game Science dice.  Uninked.  Which I am regretting a little because I have discovered I suck at inking them.  These things look like perfect chunks of amber. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Newest Troll in Trollhalla

After meeting Ken St. Andre I had to join Trollhalla.  Not sure why I never did before since I've been a fan for...well since I had a full head of hair and I can tell you that has been years, decades ago.  So I also though I would show you what I got at the Flying Buffalo booth. 

First off I got this hit location die.  I have a twelve sider, but I like the pictures on this one.

Then here is my stash of books I got.  First off I got the 7th CityBook.  These are probably my favorite gaming supplements.  Still need to find number 6.  I got a T&T adventure from Free RPG day from 2008.  Tavern by the Sea, The Wizard's Test and Khara Khang's Random Rainbow Maze.  Ken signed the last three.
So this is what I got from the Flying Buffalo which is a true old school company.  As you can see I was not shy about buying stuff.  And why not?  I love everything I got and am enjoy reading it all.

Don't Touch My Dice

Zack over at his RPG Blog II posted about getting new players, buying supplies for the game and dice.  He likes the Game Science dice which I am now a proud owner of a set, but still need to ink them.  Rob asked why didn't I get the pre inked ones?  I thought it should be a custom to ink your first GS dice.  I sorta kinda wish I got the pre inked ones now, but I digress.

Zack writes about getting some extra dice for new players which is cool.  But what he said next baffles and disturbs me.  He isn't bothered by someone else using his own dice???  WHAT???  I'm not even sure if that is legal.  This is why you buy the bucket of dice from Chessex.  You never ever let anyone touch your dice.  While I have never threatened to break someone's fingers, I have threaten to tear off their arm and hit them with the bloody end.  I believe it is a more game appropriate threat.

The whole thing just creeps me the hell out.  *shivers*  Just don't touch my dice and we'll get along fine.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Playing Tunnels and Trolls with Ken St. Andre

I was going to talk about all the cool stuff that I got at Origins, but that has taken a backseat.  First off, Rob and I must have stored up some good mojo for the trip.  Somehow, without the use of a flying machine we made it to Columbus in 3.25 hours instead of 4.  Rob and I are still wondering how we did that since I wasn't speeding and I don't have a vehicle that could speed if I wanted to.  Parking.  BAM!  Up front.  This was too easy.  Walking through the giant convention center was interesting since signs were sparse, but we found our way without too many missteps.

People we got to meet and talk with for a bit:

Lou Zocchi of the famous Game Science Dice, sharp enough to be considered a concealed weapon.  What a blast he was.  I scored my first set of Game Science dice, 11 dice set that included the new Zocchi dice.  How could I not.  In addition he had these old dice from the Armory, Alignment Dice.  Even though I don't use alignment I will buy any dice that are weird and something I don't have.

Tom Tullis of Fat Dragon was helping at at the Troll Lord Games booth.  Rob gave him a copy of Blackmarsh and the Majestic Wilderlands.  Tom apparently is a big fan of S&W and thrilled to have get them.  I told him to stop clogging up the top ten slots on RPGNow.  Here is a guy who is doing this for a living.  Doesn't use a CAD program, does the math in his head and uses a ruler and pencil.  I like that a lot.

Steven Chenault of Troll Lord Games.  I didn't have a chance to talk to him too long, but the booth next to Troll Lord Games was a Free RPG Day booth and he spoke briefly how he liked that idea.  I agreed as I selected two free items.

Jim & Debbie of Dungeon Decks and Dragon Tomes.  Not sure what their last names are, but this couple definitely has a passion for the hobby.  I bought a Dungeon Deck from them and I really like the idea.  It's fun and I think can be a great tool for a thrown together game or assist in prepping for an adventure in an ongoing campaign.  They are going to release a couple of other decks at Gen Con.  I know the Camp Deck was one.  When characters camp this deck can assist in making it a memorable experience.  They were a pleasure to talk to.

Steve Johansson of Kenzer Company.  I heard Jolly Blackburn was there also, but did not get the chance to meet him.  Hackmaster released two new modules for their HackMaster Basic and they gave away a copy of their new Hacklopedia.  And were also taking pre orders.  He asked me if I wanted a order a copy and no one to be shy about speaking my mind, "I would love to, but when I put down $60+ for the book I want the PDF for free not to be charged an additional $20."  Well, little did I know if I pre ordered it at Origins I got the copy of the PDF right there for free.  Bam!  Sold!

Last, and definately not least is Ken St. Andre, Mr. Tunnels and Trolls himself sitting at the Flying Buffalo booth with Rick Loomis.  Flying Buffalo is one of those companies that still maintains that old school feel that we all talk about, but they have maintained over all these years.  I bought a bunch of T&T books which Ken graciously signed and added his own humor to.  I got the last copy Tavern by the Sea at Origins.  So as he is signing Ken says, "I've been trying to get a game of Tunnels and Trolls going, but can't get anyone to play."  I told him I would be right back.  I found Rob, told him of Ken's offer and the two of us hurried back to Ken to let him know to trolls were present and willing to be subjected to his adventure.

That's right I got to play Tunnels and Trolls with Ken St. Andre.  That was a lot of fun.  Getting to meet, play and be privy to a few secrets within T&T.  My character started out as a 171 pound human and exited the adventure a 8550 pound dwarf.  Ken declared my dwarf the heaviest in the world.  A moniker I will wear proudly.  Without a doubt an unexpected surprise and the best part of my convention experience.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Packed and Ready for Origins

Hotel reserved.  Check.
Cell phone charged.  Check.
Map printed.  Check.
Clothes packed.  Sorta checked.
Filled the Tank. Check.
Cleaned the car out.  Check
Cleared out the checking account.  Check.

It's been a very few busy days at work.  I know.  Blah, blah...Charlie Brown's teacher talking.  Rob and I are meeting up at 6:30am and heading west.  Should be a blast.  Rob and I can talk about gaming and other nonsensical stuff during the 4 hour drive.  I'm sure the current GURPS campaign will come up.  We will be adding our old/new guy on Monday.  Rob is thinking about running a game, but since we are not sure of the layout or how far it is to get here from there he can't bring his uhaul of gaming props with him.

I've also bringing my digital camera and hope to get a few good pictures.  I will get some lighting shots for Trey and Lurker because I know how important it is to them.

The booths I am frothing to get at are the Kenzer booth, Game Science Dice, Toad and Troll, Steve Jackson Games, just to name a few.  I am looking forward to finding that surprise vendor or vendors I had no idea about.  I also hope to maybe get into get in a little game time. 

So I need to go finish packing.  I'll blog at you guys on Sunday.  It may not be sleestak Sunday, but I am hoping I find one at Origins.  That would be the best.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Orc Artifact : Crul-Crak, the Sword of Fangs

This bastard sword was forged by orcs and enhanced by the fangs of the Crul-Crak, the serpent of a thousand fangs.  It took nearly a year for the orcs to finish the sword, the orc warlord, Tarnghest, had little patience for the time it took to enchant the sword.  He killed a handful of shamans within that year before it was finally finished.  And even then rumors say the sword was still not complete. 

The Sword of Fangs is embedded with hundreds of the small fangs from the Crul-Crak.  They retain their poisonous effect of paralyzing their victim.  And causes wounds to bleed profusely.   The grip is wrapped with the skin of the Crul-Crak.  It is always cold to the touch.  

The Sword of Fangs became the symbol of strength the orcs rallied around.  Targhest used it on those who challenged him and his most hated enemies, the dwarves.  Battles were waged constantly against the dwarves.  Not much ground was gained by either until the Battle of the Garish Banner.  Targhest battled the dwavern king, Oswald the Hammerlord.  Oswald wielded Stahlgard, a dwarven artifact passed from king to king.  The brilliant amber hued stone hammer crashed against Crul-Crak.  The two fought such a fierce battle that the both armies watched.  

Scholars mention the battle lasted five days.  Neither willing to give ground and there was never a thought of surrender.  On the fifth day Tarnghest grazed Oswald's arm, a wound barely noticeable, but enough for the Crul-Crak's poison to paralyze the dwarven king.  The dwarven army stood quiet as the orc army roared for blood.  Targhest split Oswald's skull.  A massacre followed.  With the dwarves demoralized, the orcs slaughtered thousands of them.  

What should have been the height of his victory, Tarnghest hefted Stahlgard, but what he did not know was Crul-Crakwas a jealous thing.  It released one of its fangs and it fell upon the warlord's wrist.  One of the captains saw his chance and ran Tarnghest through.  The others saw it happen and soon orcs were fighting orcs.  All wanted to possess Crul-Crak.  It was lost after the battle.
It emerged a few years ago in the hands of a bandit known as Margesh Blackblood.  This simple bandit ruled a small army with the powerful sword in his hands.  He put villages and towns to the sword and hung the corpses on the walls to warn others that he ruled, not the pretentious idiot on the throne.  The king put a large bounty on Margesh Blackblood's head, but no one collected it and no one has heard of him it several years.  

Crul-Crak is a +3 bastard sword.  The fangs secrete a poison that paralyzes its target on a successful hit (save vs. poison negates).  The only way to help the victim is to cure poison.  There is rumor that the skin wrapped around the handle if prepared correctly will neutralize the poison.  It can also grant the wielder strength 1d6 for one battle/day.  The sword is intelligent, but does not make itself known until the user decides he wants to use another weapon.  Cralcrak is a jealous sword and will paralyze the wielder as it did Targesh.  Or instead of granting the wielder strength it will weaken him for the same duration.

GM Report Card

So the party started tied up, blindfolded and most of the possessions taken away before their butt hit the chair.  You know what else?  They were the prisoner of a giant vampire medusa.  That's the kinda GM I am. 

Rob blogs about the session here.

I wanted to start them in the middle of something so I did.  Threw their bacon into the fire.  Overall I thought the session went well.  Rob tells it pretty well so I won't retread all that.  As a GM I didn't have the time to do the NPCs I wanted.  I had a list of about twelve I wanted to get done, but once the session was over I only needed about half those.  As I always do I like to set up a situation mix it up with possible advantages and disadvantages then add the players and wing it from there. 

There were a few bumpy spots.  Some rules conflicts here and there, but that didn't stop us.  We discussed it quickly then moved on.  Though GURPS can have a rule for nearly anything I an a firm believer in being consistent, but allowing enough flexibility within those rules to not let them slow the game down.  But still, if your world has a set of rules of how magic works its important to stick within those rules or have a good reason why not. 

Example, the one situation I ran into is the medusa has a magic resistance and can still cast spells, but those two are not mutually agreeable in the rules.  But, there are different types of magic with the campaign, one is the regular magic and the other is god magic.  I won't go into too much detail, but it worked out well.

GM Self Report Card
Adventure: The adventure and situation itself I thought was pretty good.  A good starting point with several plot threads the players could pick up on.  So I give myself a solid B.

Rule Calls:  Still deficienct with rules knowledge the need to page flip was minimal and it really helps when you have three guys with the same rule books.  Rob helped mainly with combat options and Dwayne with magic.  I would say may judgement calls were minimal and fair, but knowledge still needs improved C.

NPCs: I had a handful of NPCs.  Robert the servant to medusa, a timid man, but he was able to get some revenge by killing a guard.  A hyper and loud mercenary who turned into lunch for the medusa.  A few of the mages.  Were any of them remember-able (really stretching to make that a word)...I would say one was, possibly two.  I flounder too much with Robert and he was an important NPC.  So my grade for NPCs C+.  Need to nail them down a little more.

Pace: I thought I did pretty well with keeping the pace up.  I wanted to keep the tension up and I think I did well with this part.  That sense of urgency adds to the atmosphere of the game.  Game B.

Session Ending: I think this is an important part of GMing.  Leaving off at a point where the players are chomping at the bit, or introduced to a twist.  Something that will have them wondering what is going on for the next session.  Our session ended with a revelation, a small one, but one that can have large implications with the mage guild.  And there is plenty of fodder to pick up plot threads next session.  You never want to leave a session with the players thinking, what are we going to do next.  Grade A.

Fun: When it comes down to it this is the main and really the only grade that counts.  Of course if one of those section fails above it can really effect the final grade.  Last night we had a blast.  Players were in a good mood.  The game went smooth.  No problems with Skype or FG2.  So I am going to give the session an overall grade of a B+

Monday, June 20, 2011

Tonight We Begin

...again.  After Rusty needed to take a departure from gaming for a short while the onus of GMing fell upon my shoulders which I gladly accepted.  Tonight we begin the new campaign.  *sound the trumpets or kazoos*

I won't go into too much detail on how it will begin because I know Rob and Dwayne will read it although I could make something up and pull the old switcharoo on them.  Something I may do in the future.  The other cool news I heard was one of our old gamer friends is graduating college, he's been going for like 3000 years, and wants to get back into the group.  Bonus.  He's a good player and brings another dynamic to the small group.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I am using the old Judges Guild City-State of the Invincible Overlord as the setting using GURPS as the system.  But our homebrewed version, mainly flavored by Rob over the past 1000 years.  Being thrown into GMing I thought why make up a new setting when there is one already rich with history with the group and I don't have to do much work because it is already there and everyone knows it well.  I am setting it a few years after the death of the Overlord Lucius, with no true heir except a distant relative who is only 9 a regent was assigned, Lord Divolick.  This polarized the other dukes and a civil war soon followed led by Duke Draco-Lindus.  This civil war is divided by race and religion.

My campaign starts where the civil war is winding down and it seems both sides have lost steam in their commitment to the fight.  Both sides have taken heavy losses and though some boundaries have changed very little is different after the years of war.  So there is a bitterness that nothing was resolved to have so many sacrificed and a relief that it looks like the civil war may be over.

That is the overall backdrop.  A land still in grips of the final stages of a war.  Now where to begin.

So what I had the players do is make up their characters and I gave them the responsibility to figure out how they knew one another.  What past they shared.  There would be no, You see a mysterious stranger in the corner table of the tavern.  I am not against it and I may use it next session for all I know, but I wanted to hit the ground running and both of them know the Majestic Wilderlands better than me overall.

Both completed characters, Dwayne is a mage who specialized in healing, light and movement colleges.  So he can heal very well, get out of a situation very quickly and has only one real offensive spell, Sunbolt.  Rob is playing a mercenary/guard assigned to mage's guild.  During Divolick's rule the Guild of Arcane Lore who for all its years of existence remained neutral in political matters.  Now the guild allies itself the regent and was used extensively in the war.  As part of this arrangement Divolick made assigned a portion of the mercenary guild to protect mages and are paid very well for it.  And so our little party is born.

With their character made and their professions and likes and dislikes created, I made a more extensive background for each character.  I little family history, developed friends and allies, rivals and enemies.  Both have a little of both. I do this so it feels like their characters have existed in this world before they started rolling dice.  And it provides a little fodder for future adventures.

Now my part as GM is to develop that introduction adventure.  And I am going to say it right here, there is going to be a little railroading involved.  That's right, I said railroading in a sandbox campaign.  Who may think they cannot coexist, but they can in the hands of a master GM.  Well at least one who is doing anyway.  I'm going to jump into this one where the characters are in the middle of something.  Wham!  In your face PCs!

Again, can't say much because Dwayne and Rob are reading this blog carefully hoping I may give them a detail or two.  So to prepare for this first adventure I've had to re familiarize myself to GURPS.  Its been a while since we've played.  And also I need to whip up a few NPCs I have outlined.  This shouldn't take long with the help of GURPS Character Assistant 4.  Probably one of the best tools for a game system ever.

Have a great Monday.  I am thinking it may be a long week because Rob and I are going to Origins this weekend.  Still have to find a hotel.  Man, too many things to do.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sleestak Sunday

That is one dedicated gamer.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

It's Been One Crap Ass Week

I won't go into all the arguments that have occurred in the past couple of weeks.  Seems like things are settling down and of course when one of these dust ups occurs nothing changes and no one changes their mind.  Just happens.  Happens in all sections of life.  Work, home and here on the blogosphere people get irritated and pissy.

So here it is Free RPG Day, I was not feeling all that enthusiastic about it to begin with, but damn it I wasn't going to miss it.  I wanted to get my commemorative d6.  And who knows I might actually meet a cool gamer or two.  So into the game store I go (I won't mention the name because I am not going to be too nice here in a few) and at the counter is the gaming guy.  This store is mainly a book store, but it has a decent gaming section and he is in charge of it.  This gaming guy is about as irritating as they come.  He's one of those I have an opinion on everything especially about the things I don't know about.  If you've been to the moon, he's been there twice.

He's talking to two other gamers.  "Goodman Games DCC is crap.  He's trying to be all 'old school'"  He did that little finger quote thing when he said old school.  "The OSR is such lame shit."

Ya know, I try to be a nice guy.  I really do, but sometimes things just don't work out.  So I ask gamer guy, "Have you ever played any of the old school games or the clones?"

Without a beat "No.  Don't see the point.  If they were any good WotC would still be publishing them."

Now there are so many things wrong with that statement I stood there for a second hoping he would laugh or give me the gotcha sign or something.  Nope.  Dead serious.  Now, like this recent fray on the blogs, I knew speaking with gamer guy would be like going into a deep mineshaft without a lantern.  No chance of changing his mind.  So instead I addressed the two gamers.

"If you guys are interested at all in playing some old school style gaming you can download the rules for free.  *gave them S&W, LL, and Osric were the ones I could remember*  There is a game just south of here we play twice a month, your welcome to join in any time you feel like it.  It's a great time.  If you don't like it it won't cost ya a thing."  Also gave them my email if they had any questions.

The two guys were interested, gave them some gaming blogs to read.  I am not sure if that was the best thing considering the rants of late.  The gamer guy actually tried to grab the paper I gave them.  WTF  Luckily the goof has the dexterity of a dog turd and nearly fell down.  The two other guys laughed at him and left.  Said they would give it a look.

So now I am alone with gamer guy.  He's pissed and I still didn't get to pick any of my free stuff yet.  This was going to go well.  I am thinking, I'm going to get arrested today.  And to tell you the truth, I was in a mood where I was okay with that. 

Fast forward ten minutes after looking at some other gaming stuff.  I ended up buying Pazio's Misfit Monsters.  They always do a great job.  Luckily for me and my arrest record gamer guy's shift was over and the owner lady took over.  I didn't say anything about what happened to the owner because the gamer guy is her nephew.  I ended up getting the Dragon Age quick start and Goodman Games DCC.  What I failed to get. and one of the main things I wanted was a commemorative d6 for this year's Free RPG day.  I'd gotten one for the past four years. 

So as I end this I will make a small plea to my readers who may have gotten an extra d6, if you would like to trade for it or get a copy of something I wrote or you just want a little RPGNow credit I would love to trade for that elusive d6.

So with that, I am going to turn this week around damn it.  I have the rest of the day off, I need to get ready for the start of a new campaign I am GMing and Netflix is brimming with stuff I could watch until my bones turn to dust.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fear the Fro

Ark over at Rather Gamey is getting a little tired of the negativity going around the blogs and I gotta say I am to.  I love good discussions, but they have devolved into pettiness lately.  So I am going support Ark by putting up Happy Trees. 

Here you go Ark.  This tree is for you!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Even People Who Play Golf in Indonesia Follow Me

So I get this google alert about Gothridge Manor and up came, The Golf Channel in Indonesia.  I gotta say its one of the stranger connections I've had with the blog, but i kinda like it.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Free RPG Day 2011

It's that time again.  Free RPG Day is coming this Saturday the 18th so make sure you check out the website and see which stores are active.  To be honest though this is the first time in past three or four years that I'm not planning my attack.  Not that excited to see what I can score.  Free RPG Day was one of the reason I came back to gaming and the join in on all the OSR goodness.  So I am hoping that I get more in the mode closer to game time.

Each year I manage to score a quick-start of this game or that and then I've always gotten the commemorative 6-sided die.  This year I'll probably go for Goodman's DCC or Pazio's Pathfinder.  I'll bring Ivy along so I can have her pick up an extra item for me.  And if you have children I encourage you to use them also. 

It's a good way to get out to your game store and maybe pick up a few items.  I usually pick up something, but with Origins the next week I need to save some money, but who knows I may still pick up a set of dice.

Mining the OSR for GURPS

So last night was a last game with Rusty for a while.  Our party managed to find the important things.  Though the adventure was built for six to eight players and three of them being fighter we did okay with four of us, with one NPC fighter who got beat up pretty bad by a ghoul.  I won't go into much detail as not to spoil the plot for the beginning of the Splinters of Faith series, but be prepared for a lot of round rooms.

The group discussed what we wanted to do next.  Everyone seems to have d20 fatigue so we are going back to GURPS.  I think for our group its always been the system of choice, for better or worse it fits us.  I will be GMing this time around which I am excited about.  Wasn't sure if I would be, but the more we talked about it the more ideas that came to my head.

Now just because we are playing GURPS does not mean I am not going to mine the shit out of OSR products.  Oh no, I plan on having a large pick-ax going to town.  Plus, Rob runs another Swords & Wizardry game on the side so I might do a few pick-up games there so I can throw a d20. 

While GURPS is a great system and has some of the best historical supplement books, the one thing it lacks, nah, I will even say sucks at is adventures and creatures.  Though they are making head way in this area SJG isn't about to expend resources on an ehhh selling product right now when they are riding the baloney pony of Munchkin all the way to the bank.  But with the Dungeon Fantasy series and recent release of Low Tech (which is interesting, but it makes me think too much) and Monster Hunters at least it doesn't feel abandon. 

This week the guys will make their characters.  Rob I think will be playing a city guard/mercenary spear man.  Dwayne has not unveiled his guy yet.  As a GM all I asked was they make the characters and figure out some back story on how they know each other and make them compatible.  Two man adventuring party leaves little room for error. 

I'll be using the Majestic Wilderlands as a setting.  I always tell Rob that think of it as a alternate universe from his own.  Since it was such quick notice it works out because of the history we have with it and there are several threads we can pick up on and get into depth without putting too much effort into it.  All of us know the Majestic Wilderlands, cultures, politics and legends.  So no need to feed the players information the only thing that needs monitoring sometimes is knowledge they would not know. 

Back to the OSR connection, I plan on going through some adventures, supplements and blogs and getting some good information gathered I can use.  Good gaming stuff doesn't have a system boundary, it'll work anywhere. 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Random Ramblings and Game Night

So I get up this morning not feeling so swell, read a few blogs and choke down a slice and then two peices of toast.  Dog is wild, jumping around grabbing everything including my damn socks.  I'm thinking, man dog, not the socks.  Feed the dog, kiss the wife and head out the door with slightly moist socks.  It's only Monday and I am already snarling at the week.  It could be worse and it does.

Tonight is gaming night, but the last one with our crew of four.  Rusty need to bow out for a while.  Maybe something can be worked out, but he's got his got stuff to do right now and gaming is way low on that priority list.  Has to be.  Real life, annoying as it is, stands in the front of the line and gaming has to be patient. 

Rob, Dwayne and I will continue on with another campaign although I am not sure when or which one.  I think its my turn to GM, but who knows.  Out of all of us I GM the least.  Rusty just started us into the Splinters of Faith adventure series.  Rolondo will need to retire before he's realized.  Then this got me to thinking about old characters and some recent blogs I've read about not bothering to name a character because they will be rolling up a new one.  In a later blog I plan on going over some of my old characters that I remember.  Should be a cool walk down memory lane.  I am not one who retells character stories over and over again so taking a look back should be fun.

Lunchtime  is over.  Time to return to work and get some stuff done.  There is gamng tonight.  Which is good.  I go home to a good wife.  Which is the best.  And my socks are now dry.  Which is a bonus.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Sleestak Sunday...and You Thought I Forgot.

Enik demonstrates the Watusi for Marshall.

Marshall was not amused.

Locations: Crossroads

I went down to the crossroads
fell down on my knees
I went down to the crossroads
fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above  "Have mercy now
save poor Bobby if you please ."
                                                       -  Crossroad Blues by Robert Johnson

I've always found the folklore surrounding crossroads fascinating.  Some say it's a symbol of a choice between good and evil, others describe it as the intersection of the physical and spiritual.  And of course one of my favorites is a story where the man went to the crossroads to sell his soul so he could learn how to play guitar.  In mythology you have the Greek goddess Hecate ruling over the crossroads.  And its no coincidence that she was also the goddess of the night.  All that's great and good, but how can we make this simple location something a little more interesting besides a choice in which direction to go?

One of the old customs was to execute and/or bury criminals and suicides at the crossroads.  This was done so that when the restless spirits that were not permitted to be buried in consecrated ground would not know which way to go to get back to town, thus eliminating that chance of revenge.  Teutonic knights constructed altars and performed human sacrifices at the crossroads.  There is also a good chance that gallows would be constructed there to execute the criminals. 

Some cultures believe if you want to acquire a certain skill one needs to visit the crossroads a number of times at certain times then you will meet the devil/spirit and he will give you a skill.  In game there might be some evil spirit living there to make deal with those who show they are serious.  The spirit will not just grant skills to someone who would waste the skill, when the spirit claim the soul they want a greater soul.  Someone who will become more than the skill he was given therefore there is a profit for the spirit.

This is just a small taste of what a simple location can become, a rich environment for your game.  Here is an impromptu random encounter table.  No details are given for creatures or people.  Just a little atmosphere text that can be crunched up by the GM if he or she so chooses.

Random Encounters at the Crossroads
  1. Three bodies hang from a large barren tree just beyond the crossroads.  The temperature drops and it begins to rain.  When the players near the tree lightning flashes and the tree is gone as the thunder rumbles above.
  2. A man sits on a rock just off the crossroad chewing on a piece of grass.  He nods and smiles.  Sun beats down and he sips from a clay jar at his side.  "Time for drinking. "  He says not looking at the players.  He's watches the road, "It'll be coming soon enough.  No time for drinking then. "  If asked he will chuckle.  "If you stick around, you'll find out. "  If the players take a sip from his jar they must make a save vs. poison.  On a failed save the player will see steam rising from one of the roads and flames will flare out from the ground.
  3. A tree trunk is decorated as a crude altar.  The one side is covered with candles, wax coats most of the bark.  A couple of baskets to the side are stained with blood and covered with flies.  Twenty-two shriveled hearts with two more on the way.  If the players wait around long enough they will meet Walter, a large, but simple man.  He's got a man thrown over his shoulder, arms and legs tied.  A large skinning knife in his hand.  "I got one left after this one and I won't be a bother to anyone.  I got to do this before the night comes in. "  Walter won't explain.  His home is nearby, which is no mare than a lean to.  He's got a woman unconscious tied to the tree.  All around Walter's home ropes lay at the base of trees where he kept the others.
  4. Two poles are pounded into the ground in the center of the crossroads.  A string of skulls hangs off of one pole, while another string lies on the ground.  If the players come through at night they will see one of the skulls as a dim green glow coming from inside.  The first player who touches it will hear a voice in his head.  The green glow will vanish to the other players.  "What do you want? "  The spirit will know where to find it or learn it.  If the player rejects the question the spirit will leave.  If the player makes a deal with the spirit is will bind with the player's.  
  5. A woman runs across the road screaming about demons and love.  Her eyes are wide and wild.  If the players stop her they will see her ears have been cauterized shut.  The longer the players restrain her the more hysterical she will become.  From the distance the players hear  the sound of a  sustained musical note.  Animals run in panic from the music.  Images of lost love ones, friends and enemies start appearing.  Some look like they remembered them, some look torn and tortured.
  6. The fog lies low and thick.  The ground wet and slow.  The players smell sulfur in the breeze.  An empty gallows sits off a ways, looking too new, too well built for a place like this.  A place of neither here nor there.  Up ahead smoke drifts into the air and smell of sulfur grows stronger. 
  7. A man dressed in fine dark leathers paces the crossroads, he hums as he walks.  When he sees the players approach he shakes his head.  "It ain't time.  I'll see you when you're ready.  I'll be here. "  A horse charges out of no where, the man bounds into the saddle and rides off.  
  8. A large old oak tree stands guard at the crossroads.  Something moves in the breeze that's nailed to the trunk.  Skin.  Someone's skin hangs by a nail.  No one and nothing else around.  

Additional Note: Paul over at Quickly, Quietly, Carefully has added another bit of legend to the crossroads.

Friday, June 10, 2011

I'm Not Feeling Too Serious...Shocking

Too much serious crap going on in blog land and I refuse to be apart of it.

     "That my friends is one big ass gelatinous cube, Murry the Elf looked down into the pit where Bill the Uncomely had just taken a header.  Bill kicked his little feet, but his efforts only managed to sink him deeper.  "I got dibs on his Ring of Protection."
     "Lot a good its doing Bill," Ebert the Obvious chimed in.  He grimaced as he watched Bill being slowly digested.
      Terry the Paniced ran around the edge of the pit with his arms over his head.  "OMG, somebody do something."  His voice echoed through the dungeon corridors, hallways, passageways and other synonyms.  "We've got to do something!"  He stopped for a moment and glanced into the pit.  "OMG!"
     Choke the Codpiece shook his head.  "Shut the little fucker up before he attracts every hairy brown eye in the place."  Choke hefted his obscenely large crossbow.  "I got this."  He took aim into the pit, but the angle cause the bolt to fall out of the crossbow and land on top of the cube.  "Son of a...that was a magical bolt"
     "Somebody cast a spell!" Terry screeched.
     Murry smacked Terry as he ran by, "Shuddup will ya.  You're the freaking mage.  You cast a spell."
     Terry whirled on Murry with a +2 stern finger at the ready.  "If you hadn't forgotten the 10' pole we wouldn't be in this mess."
     Murry puffed out his elven chest, "You wanna piece of me?"
     "I think they're going to fight."  Ebert said picking a piece of old bread from his teeth.
     Choke pulled out his gargantuan axe, "Why don't you girls fight later.  Let's get this sorry bastard out of the pit before he gets vomited out.  Even a gelatinous cube has got to have standards."

And that's all I have.  I have to go to work.  Weekend it almost here so have fun or I shall chop you to pieces! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Villains, S&W Style, Part 5

Wow, yesterday was sick as hell.  Not that you guys need to know that, but was working on some write ups for the blog.  I enjoy doing the Villains, S&W style and thought of a few stand by baddies I like to have.  I am sure we all have our favorites that get introduced into different games.  One of mine is Opulus.  A cranky old priest with ideas of his own.

S: 9, D: 9, C: 11, I: 12, W: 15, Ch: 14
7th level Cleric 
Opulus is an elder priest in the temple of Delaquain.  He does little in the way of direct service to the people, but is a high ranking adviser the directs temple policy.  In his eyes the temple has moved away from its initial mission which is to serve the Gynorian people, but with being accepted into the whole, respectability, and more say on what goes on the temple has moved towards a tolerance toward all races and cultures.  Opulus believes this is a waste of resources.

He believes the temples exists to use and expand its resources for its own people.  The other races and cultures have their own gods and temples let them suckle them to oblivion.  When Opulus has been present at public temples he has been known to casts geas on those he believes are taking advantage of the temple.  Often the geas he sends them on cause the person's death because the quest is beyond the person's capabilities.  Opulus believes the only reason they failed is they did not have enough faith.  The temple of Delaquain has kept this fact hidden for years and Opulus has been admonished because of it.  Yet he cannot be remove from his position because it is a lifetime commitment. 

The temple is fractured.  Opulus has a small, but zealous group that believes the temple should return to serving their own.  While the main body of the temple wishes to integrate itself further into the culture.  The popularity of Delaquain has never been so high.  Opulus continues to use his influence within the temple to bring the the fall of those who do not believe in what he believes.  He would rather see the walls burn than have them desecrated by outsiders.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Manly Dungeon Tiles

Dwayne over at The Gamers Closet just finished his second set of dungeon tiles.  Now these are not those sissy print on cardstock or cardboard flip maps.  No, no.  These tiles where made with POWER tools.  Real wood.  Real primer and paint.  These are man tiles.  You could use a wall section to knock out that annoying player in the group.  I think Dwayne even spilled real blood on some of them.  Go check them out. 

The blood, it's everywhere!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Cthulhu Dice

I'd almost forgotten my little score over my vacation.  Being a sucker for weird dice I saw Cthulhu Dice (which is a misrepresentation since there is only one die...should be Cthulhu Die, but I guess that would be confusing to because the game isn't about killing Cthulhu its about keeping your sanity or losing your sanity, making others lose their sanity while the dark water rises in the night and the city not seen in ten thousand years glimmers in the blood moon of the thirteen month as the reality catches on fire and peels away in black curling strips).  I failed my roll.  I have to go now.

Here is the die with all its glorious tentacles, elder sign and Cthulhu.  The green things are Sanity Tokens.

If that comes up everyone goes insane!

Sammy is looking very Cthulhu.  He wants to go as Cthulhu for Halloween.

Group Dynamics

Yesterday Christian had a lousy time during his game session.  Christian and two other gamers in the group were not happy with the way the GM was running things.  Christian tried to solve the problem via email, but nothing changed.  So he voiced his displeasure at the game table...

I don't know how close of a relationship he and his DM had, but in the blog Christian said he considers the GM a friend.  Of course there are friends that hang with and there are friends that you share your life with.  His blog made me consider the dynamics in our group.  It will be the National Enquirer Edition of our group.

Our main group consists of 4 guys.  Dwayne (Gamer's Closet) I've been friends with for 33 years no.  Oh my god, I shouldn't have done the math.  Rob (Bat in the Attic) I've been friends with for 25 years.  And Rusty (formerly of the Rusty Battle Axe) is the newb of the group and I can safely say I've been friends with him for 2 years now.  I give you this background to give a bit of perspective of the longevity of our group.

Rob is our main GM and so he gets most of our abuse.  Because we've gamed for so long together I have no problem telling Rob or Dwayne what I am not liking.  The one example I can give is last campaign Rob ran a handful of canned modules and they got boring.  I told Rob I didn't like them and the fact that we sorta knew them by heart didn't help.  You just don't run White Plume Mountain will old gamers without changing it around.  And here's a very good thing about Rob, he take criticism very well.  He doesn't take it too personal and he'll often ask for suggestions. 

If Dwayne has done something I'm not too fond of I will let him know.  Again, he is good at taking suggestions.  There may be times when arguments occur and they do between Rob and Dwayne, but no matter what, on Monday night we will be sitting around the computer playing a game together.  We've gotten to a point in our lives that we realize how important it is to dedicate a small time of each week to one another.  It is so easy to let gaming slide and before you know a couple of years have past.  I don't schedule anything on Monday nights because to me it belongs to my gaming group. 

The interesting thing is Rusty being our new guy to the group, it feels like he's been there all along.  I don't think he got through the first night before we started making fun of him.  And he got in a few good shots himself.  But I also feel if I didn't like something Rusty was doing I would have no problem telling him.

All this is good and great, but what happens if you run into a situation like Christian where the GM wants to run the game his way despite the players not liking it.  In my group we know each others style and can pretty much guess what to expect.  In his situation if Rob was running a campaign I didn't like I would sit it out.  And I've done that.  Nothing against Rob or the GM, just not my style. 

And the entire group knows they can be honest with me.  I have no problem changing things up if the majority of them are not having fun.  I see it as a challenge not an insult.  I've read this blog through and not sure if I made my point or not.  I guess the important thing it to work it out (no shit, eh?), make the game important because it is. We have our differences and at times when we are not nice, but Monday Nights are sacred.  All disputes are put aside so we can roll some dice. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Sleestak Sunday

Enik and the Sleestak wearing the necklace confer with the great spirits on how much money they will need for Origins gaming convention in a couple weeks.  Enik asks, "What if that dude from the Game Science Dice is there?"  Ancestor replies, "You will have to buy a set.  Just don't put them into your pocket they are very pointy."  Enik asks, "What if they have..."  Ancestor interrupts, "Enik, you have been in that pylon too long.  Go to the convention and have fun and stop being a fricking cupcake will ya."

Saturday, June 4, 2011

I Think this Should be the Theme Song for the OSR

"I could really give a shit, I'm going out with style."  Amen

Origins : Should I Stay or Should I Go

Rob (Bat in the Attic) and I are seriously considering heading to Origins this year.  It's coming up quick at the end of the month and we'd go for Saturday the 25th.  Admission fee is only $5.  Ton of exhibitors which I am sure will make my side total for the year skyrocket.

It's about a 4 hour drive one way which is not too bad.  We'd probably try and find a place within an hour of the convention center and hit it early in the morning and then head home that evening. 

I've never been to one of the big conventions.  Just local ones.  Some of those are pretty hit or miss.  No one shows up to play or the GM does not show (not just talking about you Jason :P).  Origins is one of the biggies and I think would be great to go.  I'll have to plan better next year, try to sign up for some of the games and get more involved. 

As of now though, still not sure if I'll go.  Have to coordinate things with Rob and make sure my credit card isn't on the verge of melting.

Good Mojo Headed Toward Mr. Conley's Way

The North Texas Convention is in full swing and I am stuck in NW PA with Rob.  But his Majestic Wilderlands has been nominated for the 3 Castles Award.  I told Rob I would send him some good mojo today and I will keep my promise.  Here are some random pictures of what I found when I googled good mojo.  Good luck Rob, I hope you bring home a cool ass trophy.

That's about all the good mojo I have for the day.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Great Book for Gaming

I was at a Borders I now need to drive over an hour to get to and despite the drive I really like it.  I found this book in the journal section and thought it was absolutely perfect for gaming.  My initial thought is to use it for our Monday Night games for my character and journal the entire campaign.  I am also planning on buying a couple more for other things that I haven't even thought of yet.  Anyway here are a few pictures of the book with a little help from Sleestak Sammy.

It's a black hardcover.  I like it.  Those are Sammy's feet.

Sammy tried to help out but got tangled in the thing that I don't know what it is called that keeps the book shut.

And the cool thing is it is all graph paper baby.  So I can use it for notes, sketches and dungeon layouts.  Now in my mind this will be cool as hell, but in reality it might just turn out to be a huge dinosaur sized turd.  But I really dig the graph paper pages.

Final shot.  Just thought this would make a great book during gaming sessions as a player and a thinking journal for a GM.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May Sales Report for Knowledge Illuminates

May has come and gone quickly and this will probably be my last sales report for Knowledge Illuminates, but I will be updating the its page on the header above.  When Starter Adventures comes out I'll do another monthly sales report.  One of the things I did this month was to sign up for Your Games Now, another PDF store run by Joseph Browning of Expeditious Retreat Press and the blog Sorcery & Super Science!  Trying to branch out into other stores and looking for some others. 

Well the numbers for May are tiny.  Sold 4 total and 2 out of the 3 One-Page Dungeon Contest winners have gotten their prizes.  That brings up these totals.

Total Sold: 69
Comp Copies: 12

Total Gross: $266.00
Total Net: $172.90

I hope to add Starter Adventures to next months totals.  So back to work I go.  Have a good one.