Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Past Year in the Manor

I didn't do this last year and not sure if I did one of these year end posts ever, but for some reason I feel like doing one this year.  I think its been a good year overall for my gaming.  Bought too much stuff again, but you'll have that.  My vices are few, but intense and one of them is gaming stuff.  Here are some general numbers for Gothridge Manor this year.

Number of Reviewed Products:16
Crawl! No. 8: Firearms
Tombstones of Terror
Life of Rage OSR Edition
Adventures Dark and Deep: A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore
Rory's Story Cubes
Adventure Fantasy Game
World War Z
6 Iron Spikes & a Small Hammer
Gnomes of Levnec
Lair of the Orc Shaman
Kefitzat Haderech
Citadel by the Sea
Moleskin Maps 4
Moleskin Maps 3
Menagerie of the Ice Lord

I'm glad to see I did at least 16 reviews.  I would like to do more this coming year. 

Number of Maps Posted: 21
Little Laminated Maps
Mini Map Time!
Map Time! and a Question
Map Time!
Map Time!
Campaign Map Funneling
Mega-Dungeon Map Time!
Map Time...I Know, Again
Map Time.  Again!
Map Time! 
Campaign Map Time!
Map Time!
Map Time!
Map Time!
Map Time!
Map Time!
Map Time!
Map and Adventure Under Construction
Map Transformation
Map Time!
Dungeon Map

I hope my maps were a little more creative than the post titles.

My Favorite Chart:
Mr. Blue created this chart for my Manors.  So cool.

Ha!  Really love this chart.  Mr. Blue, I would love to see an updated version.

Products Released this Year:  6
February, The Manor #3
April, Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams released for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.
July, The Manor #4
August, Where is Margesh Blackblood?
November, Manor #5
December, Execution Corner

I'm very happy with the the number of releases I had during the year.  In 2014 I would like to get four issues of the Manor released along with side projects.

Things I Failed to Follow Through With:  2
Commenter XP

While I did not follow through with NaNoWriMo I did get a lot of writing done and it got me started on a couple of projects.  Commenter XP became too much paperwork although I want to do something in the future that is much easier to calculate. 

Conventions Attended:  1
Con on the Cob

I'd like to get into a couple more cons next year or at least game days.  And I hope not to get sick as hell next time.

Most Visited Posts
Campaign Map Funneling - 975
Friday Question: Diseases - 974
1000 Posts - OSR Mega Bundle Giant Giveaway - 854
Mega-Dungeon Map Time! - 734
Thoughts on How to Keep a Mega-Dungeon Interesting - 720

The Map Funneling and Diseases numbers were greatly enhanced by my linking them to Reddit.  Still, I've seen a large increase in hit this year. 

Best Event at the Manor
1000 Posts - OSR Mega Bundle Giant Giveaway

This was amazing.  So many people donated to my giveaway to make it a bug event.  People I'd never spoken to before were very generous and I was able to give four people 15 different PDFs and RPGNow gift cards.  

On-Going Posts
Sleestak Sunday
Friday Question
Map Time! 
GM Games Sales Reports

Sleestaks are getting harder to find these days, but I do enjoy the hunt.  Friday questions always seem to get a good response.  Map Time!, who doesn't love maps?  And the GM Games report is a peek at my numbers and how I do things.  Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. 

Blog Gamers I Met Over the Year:  5
+Ken H - The Rusty Battle Axe
+Chris C. - The Clash of Spear on Shield
Dylan Hartwell - Digital Orc
+Bryce Lynch - 10 Foot Pole
imredave - Forgotten Runes
+Dan C. - The Dungeoneering Dad

All of these fine folks I met at Con on the Cob.  I even managed to get Chris join our Money night group....sucker.

Thanks to everyone who takes time out of their day to check out Gothridge Manor.  Here's to the new year and all the cool gaming stuff it will bring.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Early Sleestak Sunday

This picture comes from The DeviantMakepeace.  Sleestak have surrounded the the kids from the Ark.  I barely remember the Ark show.  I think I even had a big wheel version of the ark when I was wee.  Surprisingly I recognized the kids and their uniforms.  The ark kids are moments from being slung up in a net and fed the moaning sleestak god in the ever smoking pit.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Map Time! Double Time!

A couple more mini maps on 4" x 6" cards using Sharpies and colored pencils.  I've been liking the smaller canvas.  I can pump out more and use the scanning process to make them larger. 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Loot in the Mail

When Lulu had its 40% off and free shipping and needed to get something even though I put a temporary halt to my game spending, holidays and all.  But with both coupons I had to get something.

I have a ton of the books from Lulu so I wanted to pick something completely different.  As in, something I hadn't heard of or tried.  Still a gaming book.  Let's not get all weird.  I found Fantastic Heroes & Witchery.  +Timothy Brannan suggested I take a look at it and on his suggestion I bought it.  With a name like Tim, how could he be wrong?

A Review at a Glance
Just got it in the mail about an hour ago and I really like what I see in the contents.  I bought the paperback version.  While it is a retro-rpg it looks like its taking on a few curves and backroads not normally traveled.  The class section looks interesting and something I am extremely interested in at this time.

The layout is very nice.  Double column deal with good art.  Most of the art looks to have been purchased on on-line or public domain pieces, but I think used well.  And what I think is original artwork is very nice.  EDIT: Tim Brennan said the author did much of the artwork inside.  Even better.  Cover is simple and cool.  A mage pissing his pants while a fighter is wondering if he shoves the mage into the dragon's mouth if that will give him enough time to get away.  The print is nice and dark, easy to read. 

I'm very excited to sit down with this 400+ page bad boy and have a look at it.  So far I am giving Fantastic Heroes & Witchery a healthy thumbs up.

If you want to grab a copy here are a couple of links to go surf the ether.
The paperback version will cost you $24.62.
The hardback version will cost you $36.22.

A Pre-Adventure, Adventure

Picture by LuigiL
I continue to shape the campaign world I'm working on.  I plan on running my first adventure in January sometime.  A playtest of sorts.  I'll have the guys start with 0-level guys, kinda of like DCC style, they will have items that reflect their background and of course be incredibly susceptible to the world around them.  Creating a couple of characters would be a good idea.

I "plan" on running a coming of age adventure.  The theme will focus on these very young adventurers coming together as they go through a rite to adulthood by completing the Trutoro Pilgrimage.  So it will be a pre-adventure, adventure.  It will give the players a little background, an introduction of the people they will be dealing with and the world in general.  I guess you could compare it to Harry Potter going off to Hogwarts, except I don't get a billion dollars.

I've got ideas for the pilgrimage.  Some I've gotten from historical references, culture rites of passage and a good portion is my own made up stuff.  I like the idea of having adventures before the players become adventurers.  In the past I ran a session or two with each player individually to give their character a sense of history, an identity beyond the group.  It also helped to establish contacts, friends and develop enemies or at least competitors. 

Off to work.  It's a weird Friday since very few will be there.  I've loaded up my iPod and plan to zone out to some tunes and catch up on paperwork.  That's the plan.  But like most plans, I imagine it will be blown to shit within 15 minutes.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Art in My Mailbox

Right before Christmas I stopped by the post office, which was surprisingly empty, and got my mail.  There was a little yellow slip inside which means I got a package.  A yellow slip is a good thing.  It means books or packages of fun stuff and maybe presents.  I had no idea what this yellow slip was for.  The only thing I could think of was one of the card kickstarters I backed finally delivered...ah, no. 

It was better.

It was a slim cardboard envelope from Ireland.  Jay Penn, art guy who drew the cool picture for the cover of issue 5 of the Manor, sent me something?  I got into my car and opened it up and saw this.

No way! 

Way!  How cool is that.  Jay sent me the original piece.  What a cool and surprising gift for the holiday.  I need to get some frames for all the work Jay has sent.  And I need to clear off some wall space to get them hung.  Thank you Jay for your work and generosity.   It's going on the wall.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Taking Over My Husband's Blog

You know what I love about not being at work?  Means I get to stay home, hack into my husband's blog and give it a little makeover.  Some lights.  A few falling Santas.  Really brightens the place up.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make a big pile of almond pizzelles for Tim. I'm going to use them as leverage to get him to help me clean out the fridge, tomorrow.   If that doesn't work I'll just take my top off.  That ALWAYS works.


Frink'n Santas on My Blog

I'm at work and eating mash potatoes.  I click on my blog to check out what everyone is writing and a see a Santa fall.  Then another.  Frick'n Santas all over my blog. 


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sleestak Sunday

Hey, a little sleestak from Angela Oster.  She's got lots o little skinny drawings on her site. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Xerography Debt Reviews The Manor

In issue #34 of Xerography Debt Joel Biel reviewed the first three issues of The Manor. I thought it was an interesting review being it was from someone that I don't believe is associated with the OSR or even know what it is.  Here's the review.

This is a zine of homemade role-playing game adventures and rules supplements.  Very cool.  These have been pouring into my life lately.  The feeling of the adventures here is very small town and reminds me of the sort of made-for-TV horror movies of the 1980s or HP Lovecraft in the fact that a single creature like a Ghoul or Troglodyte is the ringleader terrorizing people unfamiliar with encountering monsters, rather than dozens of goblins or a dragon or a Lich.  It's encouraging, like it elevates the characters and role-playing rather than building to one campaign-defining combat sequence where the characters expect to win.  He writes elaborate personalities for the people who work at the potion shop and defines the economy around it and the public's various reactions, creating interactions around what, in my experience, is normally treated as the most mundane part of role-playing: shopping.  Smuggler's Inn is given a similar treatment along with an adventure that may result from your stay.  #3 include "Mine of Rot & Disease," another adventure whose title should likely not be revealed to your players!  Again, it's conceptually creative, redeeming a few cliched themes to catch your players off guard.  Lastly, we are treated to Pog Nog, a goblin street vender who specializes in things you just can't seem to find anywhere else...and numerous role-playing possibilities how things could go wrong with dealing with him!
There is probably close to a hundred reviews in Xerography Debt.  As first I couldn't find the review.  Luckily it has an index in the back.  I'm going to dig around in it and see what other zines look interesting.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Little Laminated Project Maps

I've been drawing maps on 4" x 6" note cards.  Then recently I released Execution Corner as a quick location based on one of the maps.  I liked how it worked.  I was messing with the write up and wondered if I could fit it on the back of the note card.  Map on front info on the back.

The Sharpies bled through the note cards.  Printing on the back would look bad and unreadable.  So I printed the descriptions on a second note card.  It's an 8 font, tiny, but I still think readable.  I couldn't figure out how to combine the two.  Then my better half suggest I laminate them together.  Fricking brilliant.  I don't have a lamination machine...but work does.

I scored the lamination machine at work. 

There is a hand drawn map on front and description on back.  This particular on is a two set map.  Outside the mine entrance and the second is a map of the inside.  I placed the two note cards back to back and put them through the machine and wa la, I have a single, sturdy little adventure.  Can spill water on it, mark it and erase.  I think it's pretty cool.

I'm sending out a few out to random folks.  I don't have many maps and each one is unique.  No copies are made.  There will only be one of what I send out.

I don't think much will come of this, but its a cool exercise.  Playing with the presentation of an adventure and I learned how to use the lamination machine.  Might just have to add that to office equipment I need. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Lulu 40%, Help Me!

Okay, Lulu's got a 40% off coupon.  I need suggestions.  I have already bought a ton of stuff from there, but looking for something I may have missed or fell off my radar.  Help me choose!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Game Night: The Demonic Squid

Last night was game night, and our party fresh with a purpose set off.  A secret door was found.  A large underground lake.  Then a demonic, giant squid appeared.  That fresh purpose was quickly forgotten by Adzeer, who relished the idea of sending this monstrosity back from whence it came.  Only it looked more like this...

Adzeer was nearly a snack.  The others, more intelligently, stayed back and assisted with spells and missile attacks.  Never fear though, Adzeer survived to battle another day, but the demonic squid did also.

We managed to stumble upon a small stash of treasure.  Some very good items there.  A talking sword that will provide lots of entertainment in the hands of our little dim witted thief.

When the session ended the party was 20' from where we started. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Matt Jackson Maps

There's this interesting site called Patreon, I hadn't heard of it until recently.  It's where people present what they do and if you like it you can become a patron of their art and donate money to the person for the work they do.  It's kinda like piece work though.  You pledge (I'll use Matt as the example) any where from .25 cents on up.  I think the pledges would vary depending on what the person was doing.  Say I pledge a buck, so for every map that Matt completes that month he gets a buck from me.  But the patron can put a cap on how much he or she pledges.

+matt jackson recently threw his maps into the Patreon ring.  You can find it here.  I've recently become a member and surfing around the site trying to get an understanding of the site.  But I like it so far.  If you are a fan of Matt's maps, head on over to his page and become a patron of the arts.

Some other old schoolers taking advantage of this site is +Dyson Logos.  Another incredible map make.  His Patreon site is here.

And yet another map maker, +Shane Knysh is also offering his maps.  While the above two work in mainly black and white, Shane uses vivid colors.

You can't go wrong back any or all of these guys.  here are probably more who have projects going on, but I'm not sure how to search for them yet.  If you have a project on Patreon please feel free to post the link in the comment section.

Execution Corner on RPGNow

Execution Corner is now available on RPGNow.  I put it under the PWYW category.  It's a small location you can drop into your campaign.  A crossroads area where 96 criminals have met their end.  You'll find the No Tomorrow Tavern serving the thirsty crowd on hanging day.  A pair of peddlers selling until the rope goes taut.  And an executioner who is very particular about what rope he uses. 
What you'll find inside:
  • A hand drawn, colored map of the area.
  • Descriptions of the people and area.
  • Extras that include superstitions and a few game mechanic additions.
The map and idea came from the post I did yesterday.   But then I started fleshing it out more and thought it was a cool locale.  If your interest you can grab a copy for free or if you feel like tossing a quarter into the tip jar it would be much appreciated. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mini Map Time!

I messing with maps again.  On the left is your typical 8.5" x 11" sheet of paper and on the right I've started making mini maps on 4" x 6" blank index cards.  My map style remains the same, just smaller and a lot less area to color in.

Here's a close up of what this one looks like.  A crossroads area.  To the north you have the gallows where they hang the most vicious criminals.  The smaller house is where the hangman lives.  He's responsible for the upkeep of the gallows, making sure the ropes are in good condition and that no one cuts down the bodies until the proper time has passed.  The larger building is a tavern, the No Tomorrow tavern.  Four tables, a standing bar, two types of ale and no food.  It gets business from travelers passing through the crossroads, but its primary income is during the hanging days.  Crowds show up to watch and bring coin to drink the house specialty, the Execution's Ale.  Nothing special about it except the name.  One wall on the outside is dedicated to the people hung here and a list of their crimes.  The patrons piss all over the wall as a tribute.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday Question

Like all heroes and villains in the movies they have theme music.

What would your theme song be for your current character?  Or if you prefer, what would the theme song be when you DM?

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Campaign Development Progression

I've been working on a campaign for a while now.  What I thought would be a simple...well, not simple, but a little more simple, I would draw a map of the immediate region.  Hex crawl style.  A handful of villages, maybe a town, ruins (gotta have ruins), a few lairs and places of interest.  Write them up.  Go.

Something happened along the way.  I decided to do an extensive house rule game.  My foundation of the game is Swords & Wizardry Complete and Blood & Treasure.  I've included a small skill system because the GURPs side of me always likes to see how much you succeeded and failed by.  Probably the biggest challenge has been the spell system.  I'll be using a point system with for spell casters.  And with that I've created different types (classes) of spell caster.

Clerics are a little more easy.  But I've been creating a vast amount of deities to meddle with them stink'n lesser races.  That inspiration came from Petty Gods project and showed me I could have a lot of fun with them and I have.

I created a handful of adventures that were made specifically for the campaign area.  Easy to write, adds to the color of the local lore.

The other part of the campaign that has been taking up time is the back story, the history.  I've always done a generalization, but not this time.  While it won't matter to the player at first (or maybe at all) they will find things that hold significance to another time and place.  And with that knowledge they will understand what is valuable.  Or where to find things that are.

I'll share more down the line.  Not too much.  I have players who will peek.  I plan on running games after the New Year on Google+.  I'll run games for my home group, but would like to explore it with others.  When it gets closer to me running a game I throw out a ad and see who is interested.  I'm fine with playing with just two people and I think i would cap it at four.  Seem anything over four players and a GM the noise factor starts to increase drastically.  If you think you might be interest email or IM onGoogle+ so I can send out a specific invite and see if you are able to make the time, 6:30pm to 9:30pm EST, is game time.  I usually get on a half hour early to answer question or BS for a bit.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Magic Item You Might Find in My Campaign

Lately I've been working on my campaign in between times and spaces.  The pace is slow, but I'm enjoying the process.  Those of you who have read a few of my things know I try to make my magic items unique.  I don't like using canned magic items unless I can mess with them.  Since tonight I was working on the campaign again I thought I would create a magic item.

Hag's Eye

History: Merrick was a seasoned alchemist whose fascination with the dead caused him legal problems in the form of grave robbing, assault and his final act of murder saw him hung from a ironwood tree at the crossroads.  Before the authorities could raid his home, his assistants managed to escape with his formulas.  Many of the potions were failures that did very little other than make the imbiber sick...except for one. 

Ingredients: The base of the potion calls for the liquefaction of a corpse's brain no more than a day old.  Quoted directly from Merrick's notes "The man must not have been an idiot in life.  The brain must be intact and not scarred."  The recently deceased must have had a Wisdom of 13+.  A mixture of grave dust, a night hag eye and ten viz* harvested from undead creatures.

Imbuing: The mixture should be left over a high flame.  The brew takes very little time to become effective.  The hag's eye will absorb the liquid and viz, but remains the same size.  If it breaks during the process, it is ruined.

Using: The person wanting to use the Hag's Eye must consume it whole.

Powers: The person under the effect of the Hag's Eye can see into the world of the dead.  Can see and speak to spirits (like the spell).  It allows the imbiber to strike undead creatures with any weapon, even those requiring magic weapons.  It also allows the imbiber to interact with incorporeal undead as if they were a corporal form.  These powers last 1d4 hours.

Side Effects: The user takes double damage from silver or iron weapons during the duration.  After the duration ends, the imbiber will be blind for 2d6 hours (save will halve the duration).

Game Night

Game night, last night.  We plundered further into Monteport.  +Ken Harrison shared his most recent map reveal in his post of Session 22.  And for the more humorous side of the session +Chris C. has posted his now infamous Sound Bites of the session.

I like Monteport more than I did before.  Last night's session has gotten me all jazzed up for next week.  The group fought a a pair of fairly nasty demons.  I really thought we were going to get killed, but we worked well as a group and manage to take both down in less than four rounds.  I was impressed.  I thought it was interesting that both demons wore belts, but no pants.  Such a fashion statement.  We found a few trinkets of loot.

Then we wandered a little farther and this is where things got real interesting.  We encounter a temple/holy place.  Only I was allowed to go into the room because in the previous session I found a Belt of Dwarvenkind.  This belt did not come with pants either, but I have my own.  I'm not going swing like a demon.  There was a pair of pools, altar, a block and statue.  The statue seemed to be imbued with the power of a dwarven goddess.  I've forgotten the name.

She wants revenge against the 'flesh eaters'.  She has hidden warriors in pools within the enemies territory.  In the block was 30 vials that contained the essence to recall her warriors.

That's where the session ended.

Pretty fricking cool.

This is what I like about Ken's Monteport, there are secrets and surprises.  Things that don't make sense may down the line.  While Ken has no intentions of publishing this adventure I think I'm going to encourage him to start thinking in that direction. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Lulu Quick Six Picks

Lulu is having an up to 30% sale if you get your order over $80.  I thought would pimp my Manors and say go get some PDFs on the cheap.  If you buy all five its like 1.5 free.  Okay my pimping time is over.  I wanted to list a few of the gaming books I've gotten over the past year.  These are in no particular order and not a complete list. 

Magical Theorems & Dark Pacts by +Dyson Logos 
Love this book.  Using it to help me build my own spell casters in my campaign. 

Goods and Gear: The Ultimate Adventure's Guide by +Brian & Mark Plemmos
This is one I forked over the money for the PDF and liked it so much I bought the print version.  Well worth the money.  I use this one a lot. 

Swords & Wizardry Monster Book by +Matt Finch 
Probably my favorite monster book.  Simple and to the point.  This is another one I started with the PDF and needed to get the book quickly after.

Scourge of the Demon Wolf by +Rob Conley 
An excellent sandbox adventure from the sandbox master himself, Rob Conley.  This is a great adventure with lots of twists.  And he provides a lot of details for the Majestic Wilderlands.  

ASE2-3: Anomalous Subsurface Environment by +Patrick Wetmore 
hehe, what can I say about this adventure.  G-O-N-Z-O!  Yeah, this one has got a little of everything and Pat manages to bring it all together in a megadungeon.  This one is a great read.

Advanced Adventures Compendium 2 by +joseph browning 
 This is collection of 10 adventures.  I love the hardback editions.  I have the the first one and plan on grabbing the 3rd compendium.  Expeditious Retreat Press puts out top notch products.

Peace my brothers and sisters.  Game on!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Game Book Haul

I treated myself to a few buys.  While I did not take advantage of any grab bags, and let me tell you that was EXTREMELY difficult, I was able to take advantage of some great sales.  That glorious stack above is what I managed to collect this week, not including PDFs.

First off I already mentioned the fantastic gift that +Tim Knight send me.  Dungeon World and three little accompanying books.  I've spent some time with the main rule book and trying to wrap my head around the mechanics.  I'll read through it, but I know in the end I'll need to play a few sessions to truly understand it.  But I like the idea of it.

Then you can see that slim green zine up there I did a review in the previous post about issue 8 of Crawl!.  I am gong to grab a copy of Hack!  I will need that just because.

At the bottom you can see that beautiful piece of gaming ass, Hackmaster Player's Handbook.  I took advantage of a sale on Amazon for that one.  While I've only flipped through the pages it looks amazing.  One of these days I need to conjurer up a small campaign and use this system.  I always look at and wonder how it plays, but haven't done anything about it yet.  I think I scored it for $25 and that included shipping.

Advanced Players Guide is another Pathfinder book in my collection.  Never played it, but really like the books.  I'm using this one for inspiration.  A lot of stuff to look at and take apart.  I got this one at Barnes, used a 30% coupon, got an additional 10% for being a member, so it was a good price.

The nine gaming books above the Pathfinder book at from Pazio's Great Golem Sale.  All those were a buck a piece.  I also got plot twist flashback card for five buck (not pictured).  I bought two copies of Thieves of Fortress Badabaskor because it was one of the first projects +Rob Conley and I worked on together professionally.  He'd been doing other stuff, but it was my first time fiddling with gaming books.

+Green Ronin Publishing is a company I've recently been more and more impressed with.  I'm a collector of their Dragon Age RPG and what I can get of their Thieves World books.  So I grabbed Testament, the biblical RPG and Races if Renown: Blade and Bow.  Whisk wondered why I got an biblical RPG and I said for a buck why not?  There's a lot of cool stuff in the Bible and I think it would be a great source of inspiration.*

I'm happy with my haul and slowly reading through them.  Still, when I see those Frog God grab bags I twitch a little. 

* If you are thinking of leaving me a negative comment about my references to the bible and RPGs please don't.  I'll just delete it unless it is very entertaining.  This is happy place so don't shit in it.

Review: Crawl! No. 8: Firearms!

I received my copy of issue 8 of Crawl! last week and I was very impressed.  First off, people were showing pictures of the cover, but this is a wraparound cover.  +Jason Sholtis is credited for this fantastic cover.  You have to see it in all its glory.

Being a zine man myself I really appreciate how this issue is put together.  The cardstock quality, the paper quality is all excellent.  The print and pictures are crisp and defined.  Font is a good size, easy on the eye.  Inside there is 15 pieces of line drawn art that reflect the topics well.  The layout is simple and easy to read. 

Content by article:
Firepower!  by Reverend Dak aka +Dak Ultimak
I found this article to be the center piece of the zine.  Dak provides a lot of interest rules/options when introducing firearms into your fantasy campaign.  He plays with the DCC ruleset to his advantage.  His critical hit rule could be a game changer.  I like it enough to add it as a critical hit option for my own game.   This is a fantastic article that provides the GM with the information to add firearms without unbalancing the game.

From Gold to Guns by +Mike Evans and that Dak dude
In this article you get more into the crunch of that stats of the guns.   Mike provides a little flavor/history for the firearms.  They are broken down into four eras.  The first era has black powder weapons, the second is old west style guns, third era takes on modern weaponry and the fourth era is the future of guns.  Each weapon is stated out, damage, rate of fire, range and cost.  Excellent and complete article.

Invasion by the Dak dude again.
This is an article where Dak provides you a toolkit introduce firearms into a DCC campaign.  Any fantasy campaign really.  He provides you five tables to use your weird Zocchi dice.
1. Who they are!
2. Where they come from!
3. What they want!
4.Who they brought with them!
5. What they brought with them!
Five dice rolls and you've got all sorts of new trouble and tech to introduce to your players.

Appendix I: Invaders! by Mike Evans
Mike provides you with five types of invaders stated out that you can plug in to your DCC campaign and he did the work.

Appendix R: References
A list of RPG references to check out if you want further inspiration for firearms in your game.  Boothill is one I've never played, but one I always wanted to try.

Appendix S: Submissions
The Six Shooter by +Austin Schaefer
A magic revolver with random bullet effects.  There is a random table to determine what occurs when the trigger is pulled.  I would not want to be on the receiving end of that puppy.  It's a good example of how to meld the technology of firearms with the realm of magic and whimsy.

Explosives and Bombs by  +Christian Sturke  "Rorschachhamster"
This needed to be in here.  Gunpower without explosions is like pizza without cheese.  My players would cry if I didn't let them blow up things...and people.  Chris provides very simple and playable options to introducing bombs and powder kegs into your game.  Add some nails into your keg and have a party.

Appendix T: Firearms Critical Table & Firearms Fumble Table by +SA Mathis
A critical hit and miss tables for DCC.   Lots of inventive nastiness in these tables.  One of my favorites is 'Target is shot in the face.  Jaw is dislocated.  Add +1d10 damage and the target takes 1d4 Personality damage."  Ouch.

This issue of Crawl! is amazingly packed with a ton of information.  I could easily get guns into my campaign with this issue alone.  Most of you already have a copy, but those who don't please head on over CRAWL! and grab a copy for $3.99 for US, $4.99 Canada and $5.99 for the rest of the world.  Print is always best, but if you are one of those tablet, PDF reading monkeys you can grab a copy at, RPGNow.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Map Time! and a Question

Another cave map.  I'm going to write up a 'concept' adventure for this map.  Probably not an original concept, but one I've given thought this week.  Hoping to get it written this weekend.

And just a side question.  I offer my maps for free on my blog.  Grab them and use them for whatever you like, but do you think if I put like ten of them in a bundle on RPGNow there would be any interest?  I'd put a suggested price of $1.00 and put it in Pay What You Want.  Gather a few more dimes for other cool PDFs I'm trying to keep up with.  What do you think?

My Kickstarter List

Normally I leave the Kickstarters to +Erik Tenkar.  But once in a while I do like to take a look back and check out the Kickstarters I've backed.  There is a reason I haven't backed any in a while.  I've added a my status at the end to give my impressions of the projects.

This was the first Kickstarter I joined.  I got in on the $60 level.  I wanted the separate map book.  No need to go into details on this one.  Although when Tavis and the others took it over they asked if people wanted refunds.  I planned on getting a refund, but spoke to Tavis briefly and decided to stick it out.  Its been so long now I don't care.  I'm tired of hearing about delays and reasons why this or that hasn't happen.  I know a lot goes into creating such a large project, but there comes a time when you max out on excuses and need to move on.  I've moved on and don't even read/listen to the updates any longer.  If it ever arrives it will be pleasant surprise.
My Status: I no longer care either way.  Just stop sending 90-minute update videos.

Barrowmaze II:
Delivered on time.  Overall the product was good, but the chopped up map in the back is unusable.  I needed to kick in another $20 and bought the map poster.  Still would have liked some sort of usable map in the book.  The best you can do is print out the maps in the PDF version and tape them together.  So much care was put in every other aspect of the book, but the failure on how to present the map is a big problem.  This is a megadungeon after all. 
My Status: Delivered on time.  Great product, but needs a better way to display the map.

Appendix N Adventure Toolkits:
Another one of those projects that have been lingering in Neverland for a long time.  I got in on the $30 level.  Two copies of each adventure sold me and a lot of bonus goals were reached.  I guess John is shipping them out.  Some have already gotten theirs.  I have not.  This is one of two Kickstarters I got into because they backed the DCC system.  But neither has fully delivered.
My Status: Still hoping to get these, but getting to the same point I am with Dwimmermount.  

The Crawler's Companion:
While the app was deliver and apparently is a huge help while playing, I haven't had a chance to use it, the reason I got into this was not the app, but the four adventures in a hardback book.  This was promised at the $50 level.  Back in August there was an update that the books might be sent out soon, but like most updates you might as well wipe your ass with them because they don't mean much.
My Status: Barely giving a shit if I get the hardcover at this point.  It seems to be a forgotten artifact.

Tabletop Forge:
I have no real idea what happened with this one.  I know they combined with Roll20 or something.  This one is confusing to me.  I backed this one for $20.  I know he struggled with people taking money and leaving, but he did his best to get things together and deliver something.  I'm not sure what my rewards were going to be.  I think I got more than I expect, but again I'm not sure.
My Status: No clue what happened.  I know I didn't get them the way that was explained in the project.

Swords & Wizardry: The Actual 1st Edition Roleplaying Rules:
I'm so glad this one was successful.  I would have really been pissed if it hadn't.  With all the previous KS not performing I really wanted this one to work.  I went in at $125.  I wanted it all.  This one delivered.  Well worth the money.  The only complaint I have is FGG always screws up my address and I have to wait longer. 
My Status: This is one KS I'm glad I joined.  There was a lot of value for the money spent. 

Tavern Cards:
I got into the $60 party pack, six decks of these things.  It is seven months late.  Again, delays and sicknesses and what not have kept it from completion.  The latest update (see above what I think about KS updates) says all the art is finally done and proofs are back.  So waiting on second proofs.  Hoping to get these soon.
My Status: Hoping to get these soon.  If they don't show in the next couple of months I will write them off as a loss.  But I think Hannah won't let this one fail.

Dungeon Deck: Quests Expansions:
I originally got into this one at the $40 level, but kicked in another $10 to double my rewards.  I already have a deck of the originals I bought at Origins a few years back.  I liked the cards so if they were going to do expansions I wanted in.  This one is late to, mainly because of the art I believe.  They said they are shipping out, but not sure since I haven't seen them yet. 
My Status: Like the Tavern Cards, hoping to get these soon.  Jim and Debbie are very enthusiastic about their product.  They say they have been mailed so I'm excited to get them.  But I'm not holding my breath.

My Overall Status on Funding Projects:
This post may seem a bit on the negative, but it reflects the lack of success with the Kickstarters I've backed.  I no longer fund projects, I fund people.  Just because it looks cool I'm not diving in.  Too many things get screwed up.  There are certain companies, like +Frog God Games and people +Joseph Bloch that I would back without hesitation.  They have a proven track record and produce great value for the money you spend.  My attitude these days is to wait.  There are many projects that look great, but if they get funded I'll wait until it gets released to the public.  I know for myself I wouldn't do well if I ran a Kickstarter campaign unless I had it all written and needed the funding for art and upgrades in the production.  While I am still willing to back projects I am much more cautious these days.

Okay, one more snarky thing and then its up to Tenkar to continue his KS police work.

Friday, December 6, 2013

What I Love About the OSR

This isn't going to be one of those, 'let me count the ways' kinda post.  Eww.  But seriously, as a whole, the OSR is made up of some very cool individuals.  Many are doing their own thing, being creative, producing amazing stuff.  Others supporting, helping and being generous.  Look at the recent support that Mandy Morbid received and is receiving from a bunch of people from the OSR.  It makes is a pleasure to read and support others in the group because of this.

Recently I was the beneficiary of a act of generosity.  I'm not sure what spurred it on, but wow, I appreciate it.  +Tim Knight sent me a copy of Dungeon World and some little Dungeon World booklets.  Look at those pretty books.

Dungeon World is one of the games I've been wanting to get for a while, but for some reason never got around to getting.  I was looking forward to playing a game last con I attended, to check out the system, but missed the session.  Now I've got brand new copies of the rule book and those little books.  I remember seeing them, but haven't looked at them closely enough to see exactly what they are.  They remind me of +matt jackson Edge of Space booklets.

Thank you +Tim Knight for such a generous gift.  I appreciate you taking the time and effort.  I'll be reading through these over the weekend.  I got plans for these bad boys.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Map Time!

I was going to do a thought provoking post that would change the foundations of how we all role-play, but I decided to pace myself and start out a little smaller.  Here's a map instead.  A small one I drew in Paint, I think.  I don't remember what I drew it for.  I know somewhere there are a bunch of words that go with this map, but not sure where they ran off to. 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

GM Baptisim

Last night we adventured into Ephemera, I was Sidwin Butterbotom, stereo typical halfling thief with a bumpkin personality.  I was accompanied by Bo, stereo typical human fighter with a bumpkin personality.  The adventures are retold as our GM's blog, The Clash of Spear on Shield+Rob Conley who played Bo, wrote a weird song about out adventures called, Ballad of Bo and Sidwin.  I'm not sure if we qualified for a ballet since we lasted slightly less than a virgin on prom night.  Maybe a jingle or a ditty.

On of my favorite things in gaming is playing on other people's worlds.  Learning how they GM, how they use or not use rules.  Finding out what is important to their world.  GM always favor a mechanic and its interesting to see how they use their style.  For example, +Rob Conley gets his battle boards out, intricate designed maps and well crafted miniatures.  Combat is tactical and brutal.  If you ever have to good fortune of getting in on one of +trey causey's games you won't ever see a battle board.  Combat is abstract.  He is more into concepts not rules.  Both GMs value RPing, both are great at fleshing out NPCs.  Both are great GMs and have their own distinct style.

Last night was +Chris C.'s first game he'd GMed in real time for 20 years he said.  For having about three inches of dust on him he did an excellent job.  He has a great concept world.  Nothing to gonzo, something post apocalyptic with his own flare.  Something we could identify with immediately without needed to learn a history or extensive background.  You can jump in with both feet and go.  He apologized for the TPK, but it was a blast.  I told him he wasn't a true old school GM until he had a TPK.  "You've just been baptized.  Welcome to the fold." 

Monday, December 2, 2013

New Characters, New GM

Tonight our gaming group shifts into a new world, Ephemera.  A world created by +Chris C. from the blog, The Clash of Spear of Shield.  It is a post apocalyptic fantasy world.  So it is set up as Points of Light campaign.  Sounds like fun to me.

I rolled up two guys last night.  Chris said always have a back-up prepared.  The body count is going to climb.  We used the 3d6 straight down the attributes then you could exchange two scores if you wanted.  My dice were very average last night, my first guy 2 - 11s, 2 - 12s and 2 - 8s.  I made him a halfling thief, Sidwin Butterbottom.  My second guy scored just as average, 1 -12, 3 - 11s and 2 - 9s. I made him a human mage named, Conner.  I rolled his spells and he only learned three Charm Person, Protection from Evil and Read Languages

While not impressive in anyway I'm looking forward to exploring a new world and this will be the first time Chris GMs our group.  I like that part the best.  I always enjoy seeing how others GM.  Because it is Monday, Game Night is the only saving event.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Free Gem Generators

A while back I wrote about gems and for some reason found myself on that post again.  I'd forgotten about the gem generators I found.  I thought I'd share the two I use.

The first is from PBE Games, they have a Gemstone Generator where you select the value of the gemstone and variance.  I believe the variance is there to narrow or expand the value of the gemstones generated.  You generate 10 gemstones per push of the button and you get a nice  description of each one.

huge cracked blue jasper (60 GP)
small dull black jasper (50 GP)
tiny pink rhodochrosite (32 GP)
tiny discolored pale blue tourmaline (100 GP)
large white jade (250 GP)
pale yellow amber (400 GP)
tiny green chrysoberl (150 GP)
huge chipped purple amethyst (100 GP)
large flawed deep green jade (100 GP)
blue azurite (10 GP)

The second generator is from Chaotic Shiny Productions, home of the best gaming generators.  +Hannah Lipsky created her own Gemstone Generator.  This generator is different from the one that is part of her Treasure Horde Generator.  Still my favorite generator of all and still using it to this day to help with inspiration when creating treasure.  This gemstone generator allows you to select how many gems you'd like appraised.  Instead of giving you a value there is information about the gem.  Like what people have come to have it represent or where you are most likely to find them.  If a GM says there are five gems in the chest and wants to give them a little more detail, push the button and you'll get something like this...

The gem is forest green. It is rare. It is prized for its religious associations. It is associated with courage, stress, optimism, wealth, and rejuvenation. It is primarily found in the west.

The gem is striated cerise. It can also be found in shades of red-violet, fuschia, white, and heliotrope. It is relatively uncommon. It is commonly cut with many facets. It is prized for its hardness. It is associated with a specific bloodline, psychic abilities, fortitude, a certain historical figure, and communication. It is primarily found in the desert.

The gem is peach. It can also be found in shades of blood-red, yellow, amber, and yellow-orange. It is commonly cut with many facets. It is associated with masculinity, doubt, a certain religious figure, strength, and physical strength.

The gem is vibrant lavender. It can also be found in shades of persimmon, red-violet, and heliotrope. It is uncommon. It is commonly cut marquise-style. It is associated with earth, harmony, and peace.

The gem is pale white. It can also be found in shades of ochre, tan, yellow-green, green, and bistre. It is associated with sleep, creativity, and magical abilities.

Both are fantastic tool to use in your game.  I highly recommend going through Chaotic Shiny's list of generators.  They are lot of fun and can be a valuable to a busy GM. 

GM Games Sales Report: November

November turned out to be a great month for GM Games.  I believe it's the first time sales exceeded 100 without being associated without a store sale or Kickstarter.  Issue #5 of The Manor was released for sale on the 21st and the driving force behind the sales.  I know before I got into this, I read books about having a fairly regular release date because it will help the sales of earlier products.  After doing this for a short time I can attest this does happen.  Most of my titles hit double digit sales.

Alright, here are the numbers.

November 2013
Knowledge Illuminates: released February 16th, 2011, print version released October 29th, 2012
PDF: 8 (12)   Print: 0   Total Sales: 394 (155)

The Manor, Issue #1: released May 5th, 2012
PDF: 11   Print: 2   Total Sales: 309 

The Manor, Issue #2: released July 4th, 2012
PDF: 11   Print: 2   Total Sales: 226 

Cave of Seiljua: released September 9th, 2012
PDF: (12)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: (507)
The Manor, Issue #3: released released February 7th, 2013
PDF: 10   Print: 2   Total Sales: 132

Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams: released April 19th, 2013
PDF:  (7)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: (251)

The Manor, Issue #4: released July 28th, 2013
PDF: 3   Print: 8   Total Sales:81
Where is Margesh Blackblood?: released August 12th, 2013
PDF: 4 (10)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: 14 (153)

The Manor, Issue #5: released November 21st, 2013
PDF: 16   Print: 41   Total Sales: 57

Total Sales for November 2013
PDF: 66 (41)   Print: 50   Total Sales: 116 (41)

Total Sales
1211 (1067)
116 sales in a month.   It's very cool and exciting.  Issue #1 of The Manor hit over 300 sales and Cave of Seiljua now has over 500 free downloads.  Thanks to all those who have supported GM Games.  I've gotten several very kind notes about my products and I'm trying different things to keep them coming and having fun with it.  I've had 5 releases this year, didn't even know until I looked at the list.  I'm hoping to get another one out before the end of the year.  With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas steamrolling closer I hope to find the time.  Again, my thanks for your support.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Manor #5 Review

Erik Tenkar was the first to write a review of Manor #5.  And I didn't not even have to bribe him.  He's been a big supporter of the zine from day one and I appreciate the time he took to do a post.  Issue #5 got into second position on RPGNow's hottest items and seems to be lingering around number five.  Thanks to the folks who have bought PDF issues.  Those that bought print issues they are speeding your way.  Thanks again Erik.

Review: Tombstones of Terror

Tombstones of Terror is written and illustrated by veteran adventure writer +Dylan Hartwell.  This is a fantasy adventure using Labyrinth Lords ruleset and for character levels 7th thru 14th.  This review is based off the print version of the adventure.  Dylan also has a PDF version available.  The print format is a cardstock cover and he uses every bit of space in the 28 pages and inside covers.

Dylan, as I mentioned above, did the illustrations for this adventure like he's done with all his previous offerings.  The image above graces the cover and I think sets the creepy tone.  His pictures, with their heavy grays and blacks, have always had a creepy look which is perfect for Tombstones of Terror. 

The overall goal of the adventure is to lift the curse that is consuming a the town of Brot.  The curse, of course, seems to centered around the town's graveyard.  Simple enough plot, bad things happening.  Adventures asked to stop the bad thing.  Find bad thing.  Stop it.  Everyone happy until next bad thing. 

But this is a Dylan Hartwell adventure so it ain't easy.  He's got the adventure broken into seven different mini adventures.  Within these adventures there are puzzles and original bad guys.  It could take months of in-game time to find the correct answers to the puzzles.  If you know Dylan's  blog, Digital Orc, you know he loves his puzzles and these are good ones.  Difficult enough to require thought and ingenuity, but easy enough that a party will not get frustrated and walk away.  Also, I don't believe Dylan has ever used a 'canned' critter.  He creates original creatures to throw at the adventurers.  So the party cannot assume the power level of their opponent by its name. 

Now each of the adventure parts has a main bad dude.  And I think this is one of the shining spots in this adventure.  These guys are bad.  I could easy pluck them from the pages and place them in my campaign to use as a villain.  Each one has an angle/theme the players must figure out and eventually defeat. 

In the back half of the adventure are the maps and room descriptions.  The layout is very friendly to use in game.  Descriptions on the left page, map is on the right.  So there is no page flipping.  And here's another thing I like about Dylan's adventures, they all interact.  Well the later ones interact with the earlier adventures.  I like it when I see a reference to the Veiled Invocation or the Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz

Overall, this is a great adventure that can be used as a whole or could easy be used in sections, taking a couple of the tombs and running them on their own would be more than enough for a night of adventure.  I think this is Dylan's smartest and strongest adventure so far.  I like all the elements he infused which enhances the playability and over fun of the adventure.  Oh, and almost forgot, there can be an alternate ending if you wish.  The option is deadly, but I like it.

I high recommend the adventure.  I think it's fantastic.  And better yet, if you ever get a chance to have Dylan run you through one of his adventures, do it.  It is obvious the guy loves DMing and puts a lot of himself into his work.  And man, do I wish I had some his energy.

You can buy a print copy of Tombstones of Terror at his Digital Orc blog.  He has a video where he goes through the adventure so you can see what it looks like.  I love that idea and wish I did something like that, but no doubt all anyone would see is me dropping the camera as I turned pages.  The print version will run you $4.99, the price includes the shipping and the awesome.

And of course there is a PDF option over at RPGNow for $3.99.  Like me, Dylan is a gamer dude who pretty much reinvests his profits, and then some, back into other cool gaming products. 

Please check out his latest adventure.  It is excellent.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Game Night!

Everyone bailed.  No game.  Sucks.

But I'll be alright.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sleestak Sunday Future

I found this picture over at the Creature Spot.  They remind me of an evolutionary type of Sleestak.  I really dig the lava lamp brains.  If these guys were in Call of Duty they would look like bobble heads running around.  Brain pan splash.  Can you tell I got CoD: Ghosts?  I've been sucking bad and swearing a lot, but I still have my original controller intact.  So that's something.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Manor #5 for Sale

Well, the printer is churning out issues #5 of The Manor.  Ordering a shiny new print version is only a button smash away.  Here's the link to to get one of those paper miracles from above.  

You can find the PDF version of Manor #5 at RPGNow.

If you are wondering why there are two covers here's why...The gray card stock is a 110lb.  It's almost a board.  While last night my printer had no problem with it, this morning it gave me attitude.  Lots of it.  So I switch to a 65lb card stock, that's the tonal brown one, and it has gotten along with my printer.  I'm all about peace with technology because those are battle I can never win.  

Friday, November 22, 2013

Friday Question: Diseases

Disease is a minor threat in games.  It usually comes up when a character gets hit with a disease ridden creature and has to make a save. 

The question I pose is do you have multiple diseases in your campaign? 

Do you implement them in everyday situations where a population is suffering? 

And if you do have a cool disease, please share.

I've rarely used diseases in game.  With magic at hand Cure Disease spells (usually around 3rd level spell) and if you have the vaccine machine paladins running around, diseases get less dangerous.  But lately I've been collecting gaming diseases for various settings and situations.  Blood & Treasure has a nice handful of diseases.  But there is always room for more.

Friday folks.  That is a good thing.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Address Check

Hey folks, Issue #5 is ready to print tomorrow.  Just a few tweaks to go.  I just wanted to check with those who are subscribers if there have been address changes.  I have a few that were changed previously and wanted to catch it ahead of time.  I want the Manor to find its proper home.  Just throw me an email or Google+ me and let me know.  I'm setting up the mailing labels.  Yup I am all high tech.  I have stickers.

I wanted to thank everyone who did the pro-order so far.  I few are waiting for PDFs.  I received 32 orders last night and today.  Love it.  I'm looking forward to begin the printing and folding and stapling.  Again, thanks for supporting the Manor. 

A tease of what's inside.  Jay Penn drew this one.  You'll find Brom Shatterstone in the Vineyard of Villainy.  A zealous follower of Nillium, who would gladly sacrifice all of dwarvenkind to his god.  May the light never reach your eyes or the dust settle in your breath.