Sunday, April 28, 2013

Keeping It Simple on a Sleestak Sunday Night

Not sure where I found this fine fellow, but I like it.  And its on graph paper.  I thought about hollowing out his head and making it part of my one-page dungeon entry.  I'd forgotten all about the one-page dungeon contest.  Completely.  I love that contest.  There are a lot of great prizes and holy crapola, a $300 anonymous donor. I think if I could win a prize (besides the cash) I would love PDFs of Land of Nod magazines.  I've got a handful, but one of the prizes is the entire run.  Color me wanting.  And of course I would never say no to dice.  There are not as many submissions this year as in years past.  I think the S&W Appreciation Day boggarted some of the energy.  April 30th is the deadline, so if you're going to get in better stop playing Black Ops...oh wait, never mind.

Also, make sure you go over to the Chronicles of Ganth and sign up for ERIC!'s giveaway.  The fifth tier in unlocked.  That means he's giving away $25 RPGNow bucks away.  If enough people sign up we can get ERIC! to shell out $50.  Let's put the screws to him and make him empty his pockets.  Join his blog, say howdy and I'll thank you when I win. 

Time to go work on my one-page dungeon.  I have NO idea what it will be.  I'll need to mull it over.  Mulling never gets me far though.  I do better when I just sit down and just let loose.  Draw a map, write something a bit snarky and with a bit of humor.  Well, at least I'll think its funny. 

Oh, and I wanted to thank everyone who wrote me emails about the Mini Manor.  It was fun to do and glad to do it. 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Question

I've been playing since '79.  B2 in the dining room with six-sided dice from a Yahtzee set.  However, its not B2 that I remember the most.  It was a borrowed module and soon returned to the owner.  Then I bought S1, Tomb of Horrors.  We played the hell out of that adventure.  Still not the one the adventure I think of.  The adventure that defined my way of thinking was X5: The Temple of Death.  My friend Dwayne would runs campaigns and this would be the final adventure for my character.  The reason being is most of my characters would die.  I would get off the skeleton boat and get killed by the spell, Finger of Death.  My characters never did saving throws well.  It wasn't until my one character, Slice Handler, survived after at least of dozen of my characters died before him.  There was an epic three-way battle.  Slice against the monsters within and then against his own party member who had taken on the eye and hand of Venca.  It came down to a handful of hit points and his last dagger that he had never used.  When I think of old adventures that's the one I think of and I believe the one that shaped my gaming philosophy. 

Is there an adventure that shaped your gaming style?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Top Secret Information Revealed...Look If You Dare!

After an exhaustive search that took me across 32 countries and cost several lives I've discovered the secrets of RPGNow.  Read no further if you value your life.  Think of your family, friends and pets.  All of them could be in peril should you choose to take a bite of this forbidden fruit.  I plundered the deepest vaults of the RPGNow dungeons and found it.  I found the secret of the medal count.
  • Copper: 51-100
  • Silver: 101-250
  • Electrum: 251-500
  • Gold: 501-1000
  • Platinum: 1001+ 
 The ghosts have escaped the ark and will now consume the evil.  Capone's tunnels have been opened and...well, that one didn't go so well. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

GM Games is Setting Up a New Booth

Great news.  GM Games is now on the shop.  My store front can be found here.  I'm excited to have another venture carrying my stuff.  I think that makes 5 in all, that includes myself.  That counts.  Yes it does.

I have to get better about this (having a central place for these), but here are all my store fronts.

GM Games of course. 
Noble Knight Games

Other news, Manor #1 hit Copper Status on RPGNow.  Wooo.  Golf clap.  I am going to email Matt at RPGNow and get the low down on the medals.  They seem to have a ephemeral quality about them.  When I sold Knowledge Illuminates I his copper status around 50 sales.  For the #1 Manor it was at 75 sales or there abouts.  I wonder what the numbers are?  Hmmm.  Time to get my Geraldo stash on!  I want to know the truth.  I can handle the truth!

Other news, I got my books from the Appreciation Day I ordered.  So I am going to go read them now.

GM Games Philosophy

Philosophy...snore.  I know.  I know.  But every company has them.  I really can't call GM Games a company, but a teeny tiny business.  Still, I try to keep it as professional as I possibly can.  If people are going to give me money I want to make sure they get what they pay for.  The following are a few of the ideas I keep in mind each time I see an order in my email.  And seeing those orders come in, never gets old.  I still give The Whisk a shout when I see them, "Sold two more" or "Wow, three order just came in".

I ship someone's order the next day 99% of the time.  I can count how many times I haven't over the past year.  With the Google+ connection, if I know the person from there I will also send them a quick message to let them know order received and on its way.  I can do this because I may get a few dozen orders when I release something, but the numbers have never been overwhelming.  If I received orders in the 100s then of course I wouldn't have time to send a message, I'd be glassy-eyed putting orders together.

Some folks have special requests and I try to accommodate the best I can.  One guy likes to have his wrapped in plastic because his mail often comes beat up and rained on.  Whisk has a roll of cling wrap or I use zip lock bag from her stockpile. Some request a cardboard support be placed within to help keep it from bending.  This one is a bit tough just because some of the mail carries will charge more if its a 'stiff' package.  But other wise I haven't had any problems.  One of my customers told me their zine got damage badly in shipping so I sent another.  Again, I can do this because my business is so miniscule.  I've gotten to know many of my customers on an individual basis.

Create a product as good as possible.  No product is going to be perfect.  And even with the fantastic proofreaders I have something is going to be missed or I just screw up what they suggested.  The latter is more the problem.  I've learned to be more patient with the process.  Before I would complete a manuscript, do my own once over and read through and thought it was done....not even close.  All I did was regret the stupid mistakes that were still included.  Then I would have to take it back and do it again.  Proofreaders are worth their weight in miniatures and not compensated enough for their efforts.  More on them later.  I also hope the product I put out is useful and fun.  If its not fun, hell I don't want to do it.  And I also hope it has a twist on it to make it a little new or fresh.  This is tough to do with so much coming out, so much that has come out.  This ground is well tread. 

Compensate the people that help me.  The artists are the only ones I pay.  I call it pizza money because that's about all you'll be able to get with it.  But I still make sure I have money set aside for them and get them print comp copies.  PDFs are okay, but really I think if someone helps getting something completed, print is a proper way to go.  Proofreaders, while I don't pay them any pizza money (I hope I can change this in the future) I offer them comp copies of the zine/adventure.  Print copies.  A good proofreader is worth his or her weight in miniatures.  I know I said that already, but its true.  They can increase the value of a product by getting rid of the errors and enhancing the cool stuff.

Freebies are important.  I know when I first got back into the d20 gaming I went onto RPGNow and went mad crazy downloading all the free stuff they had to offer.  Most of it I deleted quickly, but there was some great stuff included also.  Then I went back and bought more products from that person/company.  Plus its just cool to have a freebie to hand out to someone.  I recently sent out copies of the Mini Manor in print and everyone has been very appreciative so far.  I'm doing this to have fun first and make a little money second.  The money I make goes back into the zines or lets me buy the newest coolest gaming product out there...or invest in another Kickstarter.

Reliability.  There was a reason why I took off the subscription option for The Manor.  Once I got hit with mass amounts of work at my job it was tough to get my mind into writing a zine when I got home.  I didn't want my subscribers to think I'd forgotten the faith they put in me by paying upfront for the zines.  The gap between #2 and #3 was so long that some of my subscribers forgot they had already paid me and ordered an issue.  While I was flattered by their buying an issue it also reminded me about how long it had been.  You see people getting frustrated by Kickstarter delays and here I am taking money for future products, that I don't know when they be done.  If I was doing this kind of thing full-time or even part-time I could get int a regular schedule, but that's not possible at this time.  So now I just offer them for sale as they come out.  Less pressure.  And folks get what they pay for.

I'm very open about my business and the money I make, the units I sell and the costs involved.  If anyone has a question about anything in my business I will let them know.  The one thing I won't discuss is how much I do pay my guys.  That is their prerogative to share that information.  It's not up to me.  Part of it for me is they are amazingly talented and offering their services to me for a mere pittance.  They do it because the love to game.  They love seeing their art in the games.  But its still not up to me to divulge that information.  At least not at this time.  But if you ever have any questions on how I do things, how much I make doing something, how many sales I make or whatever, I give you as accurate info as I can.  I am a lousy bookkeeper.  I'm considering taking an on-line course for that kind of thing.  Then I can dazzle you with spread sheets.

That's about all I can think of at this time.  GM Games is a hobby that makes me a little scratch to buy more gaming stuff.  It allows me to interact with people I would haven't maybe met or spoken to.  It's a fun activity for me and there is nothing more exciting than seeing an order in my email and shouting out to the Whisk, "Got another one," as I reach over for an envelope and a creepy butterfly stamp. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Map Time!

I spent some of my day cleaning out the shed and part of it making this map.  When I make these kind of maps I use paint.  I just need simple lines and sometimes I get all fancy smancy with details within the room, but leave that to the pros.  I rolled up the title using the Tome of Adventure from Frog God Games.  It's a great book.  In my opinion I believe its one of the best, if not the best supplement for designing adventures.  Anyway, the map is your is you like it.  I encourage you to steal and stat it.

Back to the shed.  I'm not done yet and I could so easily just sit hear for another couple hours making another map. 

Sleestak Sunday

Here is a painting by Shannon Shea.  He's got a shop on Etsy and only asking $20 for this beautiful painting.  I would jump all over this if I hadn't blown all my cash on the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.  But should you want to get me something for my birthday next month...

I seriously need to get some wall space for some fantasy art.  I used to have some, but that was long ago and I miss it.

Speaking of S&W Appreciation Day, it seems to have finally subsided.  Lots of after reports.  Ton of great content I am still finding.  My Mini Manor was downloaded 116 times since I posted yesterday.  I'm not sure how many times it was downloaded from Dropbox on its original release day.  I would have been curious to know that number.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Off to the Post Office

All the Mini Manors are disguised as innocent white envelopes.  Little do the folks receiving them know the horribleness inside.  *insert Vincent Price laugh here*

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mini Manors Are Invading Mailboxes

Last night I got 34 copies prints, cut, stapled, folded and enveloped.  Today they are in the mail to various dudes.  I don't believe I sent any to dudettes.  The great thing is Whisk helped, we sat here making an assembly line.  She even made most of the envelopes.  So even those are homemade.  They're better than the ones that were left over from the greeting card.  I'm going to churn out another batch tonight.  That will probably be it then.  I send out most of those and keep a small bunch to send out for whatever reason.  All these are going out as gifts.  Freebies to cool gamers.  

After this weekend, I'll finish up the 4th issue of The Manor.  It's nearly complete, I just need to apply ass to chair and not get distracted by appreciation days or Black Ops or whatever the newest release is on Netflix.  

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Post S&W Appreciation Day

I wish I could have had a little more time and energy going through all the blogs.  I got through a ton of them, but I'm sure there were some I missed.  People are doing it all week, some did several posts and they were everywhere.  I got to giveaway a few Manors to some very cool bloggers and one lucky guy (ERIC!) won the PDF of the S&W Complete ruleset.  A good day and a huge success for +Erik Tenkar who coordinated this giant blogfest.  +Matt Finch must have been feeling the love for his baby.  +Frog God Games +Bill Webb +Rachel Ventura and all the others must be feeling pretty energized after seeing all the outpouring for S&W.

I am not one to waste a perfectly good coupon, the Whisk sees to that.  So when I get a gaming coupon I am going to use it.  I mean 25% off how can I not.  So I rolled over to Frog God Games and picked up copies of the hardcover and PDF of the Black Monastery  and a print copy of Fane and the Fallen.  I was eyeballing a copy of Rappan, but I didn't have quite enough scratch to cover it.  Plus I would want all the other stuff that goes with it. 

Then +John Reyst had a 25% sale over at his d20pfsrd shop.  Well I couldn't let that one go to waste either.  So I got a copy of Valley of the Hawks and The Troll Hills.  Both belong to the S&W Hex Crawl Chronicles.  Where I think I could do a hex crawl while napping I really like to see how others do it so I can steal from them. 

Tonight I'll be printing out the Mini Manors and sending them out.  It'll be a limited number I'm making so once their gone they are gone...unless I print more.  I underestimated the time it took me to get through the blogs last night.  I thought I was going to do both.  BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ, wrong answer, but thank you for playing.  Don't let the rice-a-roni packets hit you in the ass on the way out. 

The wife is going help out.  We'll get an assemble line going and shooting them out tomorrow morning. 

That's all for now.  Great work to those who participated yesterday.  It was a lot of fun. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

And the WINNER is...

After an amazing day of support for the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day it's time to wind down and get some rest.  But before I head out for the night I have a free PDF of the Swords & Wizardry Complete ruleset to giveaway.  Interestingly enough there were 20 entries into it and so I shall roll my trust d20 to see who the winner is.

And like any old school GM worth his weight in salt their will be no fudging.

The winner is ERIC!...his name already is written as if he knew was going to win.  ERIC! I will give Tenkar the information and you should get a coupon from him soon.

Thanks to everyone who commented and joined.  Trust me, I wish a had a handful more to giveaway. 

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day and Giveaway

Coupon!  Cheers resound here at the Manor when that word is spoken.  Whisk will be very happy that I'll be using one today.  Everyone else, if you're on the fence about getting something, do it.  It's a use it or lose it coupon.  Frog God Games has excellent products.  You can't go wrong.

You probably read that GIVEAWAY word in my title.  I have been fortunate enough to have been selected to give away a PDF of the Complete S&W ruleset to one of my commentors.  Tenkar has the blessing power and I was one that got whack in the head by his tankard.  So if you comment on this post and you would like a free copy of the Complete S&W ruleset just let me know in the comment section.  I'll randomly choose someone.  If you already have a copy then just say you are already cool and any more coolness would freeze you into place.

John Reyst reminded me he is having his own 25% S&W sale today at his d20pfsrd store.  So this is two good products you can get for super cheap.

Be sure to enter coupon code SWAD252013 when ordering and HAPPY S&W Appreciation Day!

I will also be checking out all the other blogs that are participating and giving away 5 PDF copies of the Manor, if you win you can choose which issue.  I'll have to do this after work so you might not hear from me until tomorrow. 

Okay, all those goodies are done.  Now on to my little offering, The Mini Manor adventure, Screams Without Faces.  It's done in a quarter page zine format.  I even bookmarked it.  I'm trying to get into a habit of doing that.  It's simple enough, but I forget.  Click the link, download and enjoy.  And I have a limited print run going out to a few folks.  I'll be shipping them out tomorrow. 

I even downloaded Dropbox for this day.  I hope I did it right.  Enjoy the day.  Please don't forget to use the coupon.  And please go over to Tenkar's Tavern and give Erik a virtual pat on the back.  He's worked his butt off for this.  Even took the day off to monitor the blogs and to watch Dr. Who on Netflix.  If that isn't dedication to gaming, I don't want to be a gamer.

The real cover for the Mini Manor.  Art by Jason Sholtis!

Monday, April 15, 2013

A Side Effect of S&W Appreciation Day

I've been hanging out at the tavern, Tenkar's Tavern that is, to pursue all the blogs contributing to S&W Appreciation Day.  I discovered I wasn't aware of a lot of them.  I've been going through and adding as many as I could to my blogroll.  I'm looking forward to reading more of those blogs.  The interesting thing is I know most of them by seeing their names on Google+ so I am starting to see the reverse effect kick in for me.  Google+ then blog instead of the other way around.

Mini Manor is at the proofreaders.  Remember how I said it was 16 pages?  You don't?  Ah good, forget I said anything.  It's at 20-pages.  For now.  By the time my proofreaders finish scratching out all the crappy stuff it may be a one page dungeon.

Here's a look at the adventure map inside.  A simple hand drawn special, pencil on graph.  About as old school as I could get without having carbon copy duplicates.  Remember how valuable those dark blue sheets of carbon paper were?  Fricking blue gold man.

Enjoy your Monday.  The only thing that saves my Monday is game night tonight.  It will be our 5th session delving into Monteport megadungeon.  We left off by heading to town and getting resupplied and rested.  And to drop off the carnival act we collected along the way. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Map Time!

A map I was working on yesterday while I zoned out watching a movie.  It's a sinkhole mini crawl.  I imagine this being in a wasteland/desert setting and it is an oasis 100' below the surface.  There are small mesa like features (the green and brown thingies) two of which have caves, a cabin, stream and the black squares I haven't figured out.  A series of obelisks?  A graveyard?  Small black boxes?

If you figure it out let me know.  I'd love to know. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Friday Question

It's a rainy here.  It's Friday.  It's time for a question.

Since Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day is coming around on the 17th I'm curious what yunz (a little Pittsburghesse) are planning to do? 

I'm doing a mini zine, but not sure what others are doing.  Looking forward to seeing what everyone creates. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Progress on the Mini Manor


Whew, I'm whooped, but I've gone through the Mini Manor once. For being so small there were a ton of stuff I needed to fix.  So I'm going to give a go through again before I hand it to the wife and +Ken Harrison to defile.

I changed the cover.  At the bottom I included the OSR logo, thank you +Stuart Robertson and the Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day logo.  Cause that's what I'm doing it for.  As you can see my yellow ink monster is back, but I'm leaving it in.  It's a mini zine.  I'll just say its supposed to be like that.  No one will know the difference.

I got it to the 16 pages I wanted. 

+Jason Sholtis is doing the artwork.  Increase the coolness times Sholtis.  I'm super hyped at what he's going to come up with.   Two pieces of art.  One is for the title page of the adventure and the other will be a full page piece featuring the villain. 

I weighted the zine and it comes in at .7 ounces so I can mail it without special postage.  I'll send out a limited number of issues.  And come April 17th I'll offer it as a PDF download.

Having some minor problems with the stapling part because I'm not used to the smaller size.  It goes all wonky when I staple it.  Attempting a new technique. 

That is all.  I'm very curious at what others are creating.  I'll be downloading a bunch that day. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Random Middle of Work Question Cause I'm Tired of Doing Paperwork

Quick, if you were a monster what would it be and why?

 I know its not original or that interesting, but its all I got.  The one I like the best I'll send a mini manor for your trouble.

Shh, time to get back to paperwork.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Help A Friend of the OSR

Boric G of The Dwarven Stronghold blog asked me to share this post with everyone.  The son of a friend had a bad accident and needs help.  Boric G is a long time supporter of the OSR and a very good guy.  Please read his post and if you are able join in the Book Bomb.  You'll get some great book out of it and help a good cause.  If it helps at all I will add a print version of my new Mini Manor coming out.  All you will need to do is if you get in on the book bomb on the 10th, email that you did and I'll put you on the list for the limited run of Mini Manors.  No proof needed just let me know that you did and your address so I can send it out.  Thanks ahead of time for reading through this post.

*   *   *   *

I don't normally cut in on my A-Z April posts (for one thing, it's usually tough enough to post once a day for me) but today's is in a good cause.

You have probably heard of the author Dave Wolverton. He also writes under David Farland. Well, he's a friend of mine and last week his teenage son suffered a longboarding accident and is pretty badly injured. He has been in a coma since it happened; there's head trauma, lots of broken bones, internal bleeding, etc. He's currently stable, but a long way from "out of the woods."

David is a good guy; he's taught classes for years at the university level, and teaches a lot of private writing classes as well. He is a mentor to a lot of young, aspiring, and rising-star authors. He does a lot to help others. Well, now's our chance to give a little bit back to him.

The medical bills for his son are likely to be astronomical, so some of his students have arranged a book bomb, set for April 10, 2013. I would highly recommend his Runelords series, as well as his most recent book, the YA novel, Nightingale. Anything you can do to help out would be appreciated.

Ben Wolverton, age 16, was in a serious long-boarding accident on Wednesday the 4th, 2013. He suffers from severe brain trauma, a cracked skull, broken pelvis and tail bone, burnt knees, bruised lungs, broken ear drum, road rash, and is currently in a coma. His family has no insurance.

We are having a book bomb on behalf of Ben Wolverton, who is the son of author David Farland.

You can learn more about Ben’s condition, or simply donate to the Wolverton family here:


A Book Bomb is an event where participants purchase a book on a specific day to support the author, or, in this case, a young person in serious need: Ben Wolverton.


David Farland’s young adult fantasy thriller NIGHTINGALE has won SEVEN awards, including the Grand Prize at the Hollywood Book Festival--beating out ALL books in ALL categories. It is available as a hardcover ($24.99), ebook ($7.99), audio book ($24.99), and enhanced novel for the iPad ($9.99).

You can purchase it on Amazon:

Barnes and Noble:

on the Nightingale website:

or, you can get the enhanced version complete with illustrations, interviews, animations, and its own soundtrack through iTunes:


Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness. Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know. Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.


Authors such as James Dashner (The Maze Runner), Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn), and Paul Genesse (Iron Dragon series) all PRAISED it. Nightingale has 4 and a half stars on Amazon. Read what other people are saying here: Or, purchase the novel and find out for yourself.


If you are a writer, you may want to consider purchasing David Farland’s MILLION DOLLAR OUTLINES. It has been a bestseller on Amazon for over a month and is only $6.99.

As a bestselling author David Farland has taught dozens of writers who have gone on to staggering literary success, including such #1 New York Times Bestsellers as Brandon Mull (Fablehaven), Brandon Sanderson (Wheel of Time), James Dashner (The Maze Runner) and Stephenie Meyer (Twilight).

In Million Dollar Outlines, Dave teaches how to analyze an audience and outline a novel so that it can appeal to a wide readership, giving it the potential to become a bestseller. The secrets found in his unconventional approach will help you understand why so many of his authors go on to prominence.

Get it on Amazon:

Or on Barnes and Noble:
Read one of the 26 reviews here:


You can donate money to Ben here:

(Or you could purchase a book as a gift for someone else.)


The best way you can help is by spreading the word of Ben’s donation page, and/or this book bomb. Share it on facebook, twitter, pinterest, your blog—anywhere you can. Invite others to the event.


David Farland has been keeping everyone posted on facebook. Subscribe or friend him to get up-to-date information: At the moment, Ben is stable and appears to be improving.

Thank you!
Ben and his family greatly appreciate your support, and so do all who love and care about them.
As I said, anything you can give would be appreciated. And please, pass the word along, would you?

Mini Manor 1st Draft Done

Finished the 1st draft late last night.  I think it turned out pretty good.  There are some inconsistencies that I may address, or I may not, depending if they are fun inconsistencies.  I'll put it aside for today and then read through it tomorrow.  After that I'll give it to my proofreaders.  It will be ready for S&W Appreciation Day. 

It looks like its going to come in at 16 pages.  It's over that now, but I'm sure with some vicious edits I can get it to fit.  I'm going to offer it here as a free PDF and to a number of you I'll be sending a print version.  It will fit in a normal envelope and should stay under the weight requirement for regular postage.

With S&W Appreciation Day, Petty Gods really churning up and con season upon us, it looks to be an active few months.

Okay, work time.  Game night tonight.  We are going farther into the Monteport megadungeon with Little Larry the kobold, 3 cave goats, a boat, a freed female captive, two hired swords and how many of the party shows up for the night.  Looking forward to it.  I think we may discover more about the dungeon's secrets tonight...or we may just get killed.  Either way, I'm rolling dice.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

A Note About Morale

I've decided I hate morale checks.  Never saw the point of them.  The man behind the screen can decide when something runs or fights or surrenders or plays dead.  I'm not sure I ever played in a session with morale checks (Ken, this is not an invitation to use them tomorrow night).  Not sure why I needed to write this, but I have and now I feel better.  My morale is better and I did not need to roll to see if it increased.  Okay, that's it. 

Sleestak Sunday

Check out this badass version of Enik by GizmoGremlin77.  This Enik would bot be the kind that would put the Marshall's into nets and dangle them over a pit.  This Enik would walk up to them plant a crossbow bolt into their sternum and push them into the pit before their bodies hit the ground.  Gone is the Rita Moreno dress.  Now he's got a sash, man. 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Working on Appreciating S&W

April 17th is Swords & Wizardry Appreciation.  I'm really enjoying these appreciation days.  +Erik Tenkar is machine, he's been working tirelessly to organize this shindig.  Who knew he had the time to organize this and slap around Kickstarters?  There looks to be a lot of great prizes for some of the participants.  Currently there are 108 blogs participating.  I'm sure that will increase.  Here's a quick list of prizes.

Frog God Games will be giving away a PDF copy of Monstrosities to the blog post deemed "the best of the blogfest" by Matt, Chris and myself. You can also hit Frog God for snazzy graphics to show your support of the S&W Appreciation Day. 

+Jon Marr , also known as the main man behind Purple Sorcerer Games, is putting 5 PDF copies of The Ooze Pits of Jonas Gralk and 5 PDF copies of Perils of the Sunken City into the gift pool. While written for the DCC RPG, Jon will be posting an article on how to use DCC adventures and resources in your Swords & Wizardry game.

Spes Magna Games is giving away a $10 RPGNow gift certificate to a random participating blog.

Tenkar's Tavern is throwing in 1 $10 gift certificate and 3 $5 gift certificates to random participating blogs. As we have surpassed 100 participating blogs, I'll also be throwing in 2 $5 gift certificates to random commenters on the S&W Appreciation Day blog post that goes up on this blog on the 17th. If the winning commenters are also members of the 2,000 Coppers G+ Community, I'll double their gift to a value of $10.

 +matt jackson hinted the Chubby Monster Games may be participating.  He's a tease.

I'll be throwing in 5 PDF copies of The Manor to the blogs that I think are fantastic.  They can choose which ever issue they like, including the forth coming 4th issue.  And a bonus.
I'm sure there will be a few more prizes before it's all over.  The one indisputable fact of the OSR community is that they are generous with their time and stuff.  Assistance is never far if you give a shout out. 

I wanted to give you a peek at what I'm working on for S&W Appreciation Day.  The idea came to me at Hobby Lobby when I was cardstock shopping.  I picked up some small cardstock and bam.  Ivy said, "You got that look.  You're going to make something new aren't you?  How much money is it going to cost?"  That and recently enjoying Matt Jackson's Edge of Space booklets combined to give me the idea to do this...

It's a quarter sheet sized adventure zine. 

Here's a comparison shot.  It will be constructed just like an issue of The Manor.  Cardstock cover, 16 or 20 pages inside staple together.  The map and random encounters are on inside of the cover.  I've really enjoyed the project so far.  He's the blurb on the back.

Inside is a mini-adventure called, Faces Without Screams.  I've written the adventure using a 2nd person narrative to give it more immediacy.  The other thing I'll say this is more adult oriented material and its got a bit more attitude.  I'll offer this in PDF format for S&W Appreciation Day, but I also plan on sending out a limited number in print form for free.  I'm estimating a 25 at this time.

Have a great Saturday.  I think Spring has finally landed in NW PA so I am going to go grab my wife by the ass and see what kind of trouble we can get into.  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Papa's Got a New Dice Chest

Went to Hobby Lobby today to get more cardstock.  Found out all the cardstock was 50% off so ended up emptying the shelf of the kind I wanted.  But I also found something very cool, a new chest for my dice.  Ivy bought it for our tenth anniversary.  Yep, bona fide dorks.

It's a lot bigger than my old one and I think it looks fantastic.

A side view of the handles.

Inside it has a wine colored lining.

This is comparison of my old dice chest to the new one.  I'll show you why I needed to upgrade.

I got no room to grow.  My new dice are ready to fall out and I can't even get my dice boxes inside.

This is what the dice look like in my new chest, including the dice containers.  As you can see, PLENTY of room for NEW dice.  Sorry ahead of time Ivy.  You can see the coins in there to.  I use the one dollar coins as gold pieces and I have Jersey Turnpike tokens I use for silver.  Half dollars sometimes for silver.  I use them for effect during a game.  In the containers there are the blue dice I got from Frog God Games Kickstarter.  They are Tardis blue and come in a great little container.  The wife's frosted pink dice and then some swirly green dice I bought last St. Patrick's Day.  Sorta become an unoffical holiday thing I do, get new dice on St. Patrick's Day. I'm also planning on storing my dicebags inside.

Is my new dice chest cool or not?

Oh one more thing.  The wife scored pretty good tonight too.  And she wants me to tell you that the cashier paid her eighty-one cents to take all this girly crap out of the store.  Now it's in my box.  I don't like that very much.  Well, maybe the chocolate can stay.

Horror Comes in Little Packages

I'm not sure about all of you out there, but it's the small things that creep me out the most. Zombies have become a 'how many cool ways can we kill them' past time. Skeletons were never very scary to begin with. Vampires get more moody as the years go by and are more annoying than frightening. Dragons are now a staple at arts & crafts shows. Not so scary. And all those goblinoids that make up the majority of the enemies in a fantasy campaign are trees waiting to be chopped down. But what about the small enemies? Enemies small enough that a sword or mace is useless. These are the enemies that crawl inside of you. Become a part of you. They cause the most horrible and agonizing deaths.

I'm talking about the Ear Seekers, small insects that search for a warm place to lay their eggs. Ears are their favorite place, but an open wound will do nicely also. While you sleep they lay 9-16 eggs and in less than a day the eggs hatch and start feast on the flesh around them.

And I'm talking about Rot Grubs. These little beauties burrow into your skin and tunnel through your body until they reach your heart. It takes1-3 turns for these grubs to finish the job giants could not do.

Here is the problem I have. In both cases the MM says both can be rid of by a Cure Disease, but neither is a disease. The PHB describes disease as a parasitic, bacterial or viral nature. Even though both would qualify as parasitic in nature I don't see as they qualify as a disease. The remedy is already give in the MM that rot grubs need to be burned off and some sort of similar thing I believe would need to be done for the ear seekers. A steady handed player with a red hot needle plunging into the infected player's ear.

These creatures are more difficult to deal with because of the harm that comes with defending oneself from them. The difficult part as a GM is using these creatures and having the possibility of having one of the players die because insect eggs in their ear. Depending on the realism you promote in your campaign this might not be an option. Heroic campaigns don't want their heroes dying from disease or infestations, but leading a battle against insurmountable odds. Not dying in their bedroll the night before the battle.

It's good to change up the expectations of the players. Any group can prepare to go against a stronghold of ogres, but have them go against the creepy crawlers and you'll see those same big badass heroes screaming like little girls running for the door.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Review: Moleskin Maps 4

Volume Four of Moleskin Maps by Chubby Monster Games from the hand of Matt Jackson.  If you read this blog, on Google+, read nearly any gaming blog Matt's maps are there.  His map style looks so simple and eloquent. Like the rest in the series there are 10 maps included with 10 adventure sheets to go with them.  These focus on underground maps, one with ruins.  All the maps are useful.  A quick flip through the book and its easy to come up with ideas on the fly to fill these caverns.

A few weeks back I needed something to get my brain going and I was drawing for crap, so I got one of Matt's maps out, numbered the encounters and soon I was going full tilt on a mini adventure.  I don't know about most of you, but for me, the map comes first.  It helps me develop the adventure.  Sometimes I know what I want ahead of time, but its good practice to use other's maps to exercise your adventure writing skills.

The 4th volume of Moleskin Maps is fertile ground for ideas.  And I've praised the utility of the adventure sheets in the past.  I like the no nonsense layout.  You get your maps and a tool to use with your map.  Done and done.

So if your interested in getting some maps here's the other cool thing.  Volume 4 can be had for only $2 on RPGNow.  The other three volumes are currently priced at $1.  So for $5 you can get 40 awesome maps.  Go get them.

Three Goats, a Boat and Kobold named Larry Walk into a Mega-Dungeon

Monday night we had our third session in Ken Harrison's, Montporte mega-dungeon.  This time around we only had two brave souls able to wander the potty lined dungeon.  We had a few NPCs to back us up, but our ranks would soon swell. 

Bard, from The Clash of Spear on Shield, joined the group.  We had a lot missing due to emergencies, video games with their child and work.  So I dusted off Adzeer Mattui, Monster Hunter of the 1st Circle, and in we went.  Farther into Monteporte than ever before.

Mattui was in a smooshing state-state-of-mind.  His mace only had dried blood upon it and that is never good.  A monster hunter should always feed his weapons with fresh blood. 

Onward we went.  We found a dining room with prayers on the walls.  Nothing to smoosh, nothing to eat.  This room serves no purpose to me.  Onward.

The scurrying of some big beetles.  We chased them down.  While the defeat of insects it low on the ladder of glory it was all I had to work with at the time.  We chased those beetles down and smooshed them.  I believe we found another potty, but there were no skeletons inside, no boom booms, no treasure.  Onward!

The next scene we encounter is the bodies of gynomes (undead gnomes), kobolds and goats littering the room.  Little arrows were everywhere.  We found three cave goats still alive and burden with much food and drink and little floatie devices to help Mattui get across the water.  And one little kobold boat.  It was then I found the blood trail and followed it to a barred door.  After a short conversation with a wounded kobold he bravely came out yet another pooper room.  I had no idea dwarves need so many boom boom rooms.  Mattui wanting only to kill the best meat, healed him fully and asked him to dine.  While my intentions were to smoosh the kobold after a good meal, he told us his name was Laramore.  So we called him +Larry Moore, or Little Larry.  So I kept him.  Onward!

Little Larry shared a map with us.

Larry is a horrible map maker.  We found out the orcs were back the way we came and probably where out prisoners were being kept.  While Mattui wants to save the prisoners it is the smooshing that is the important thing.

We back tracked a bit.  Found a room with spiders, Dante attempted to immolate some spiders, but he throws like an owlbear with peckers for arms.  Little Larry and Dante rushed in as Mattui stood beside and smooshed the horrible spiders.  It was there we found yet another pooper room and Dante found a silver bar in one of the bowls.  He pulled it out and exclaimed, "Not much poop on it either."  There is a fine line between being brave and being foolhardy. 

It is there were we stopped for the night.  Our party grew by three goats, a boat and a kobold named Larry.  I would say it was a very successful night.  Smooshing was had.  Silver and treasure was found.  And Mattui may have found his first convert to the Monster Hunter religion.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

New Dice

I traded Noble Knight Games some Manors for some store credit and I went shopping.  I felt like getting some dice.  Once in a while I just get the urge to splurge on dice.  From left to right:

  1. Monster Dice from Flying Buffalo Games.  I've seen these guys many times.  I decided it was time I get a set.  It has a die for easy monster, one for harder monsters and then a third for the tough monsters.  Then there is a die color coded to correspond with what level of monster die you roll.  And the last die has faces on it to determine the reaction of the monsters. 
  2. Orc dice.  They got orcs on them instead of ones.
  3. Friend or Foe dice.  Its got a large warning in the bag that I may choke on these dice.  I'm afraid to take them out of the bag.  If they land on foe do they choke you out?
  4. And the last die is a pewter d100.  Metal dice.  Gotta love the way they crack those stupid glass tables and dent the wooden ones.  And if all else fails they work wickedly well in a slingshot.  
So that's it.  Time to work on the manor....or avoid all work and get killed on Black Ops 2.  And to answer Tom's question the other day.  Yes, may exuberance while playing is often laced with colorful words that I have learned to string together in long streams that I've inherited from a Irish heritage.  

Monday, April 1, 2013

GM Games End of March Sales

Here's another addition of "A Peek Behind the Veil of GM Games" or "This is where I tell you how much I sold this month".  This month was fairly calm.  Sales were steady in one venue while they tailed off in all the others.  There were no new releases or reviews that I can think of this month.  I've been spending my time split between working on the 4th Manor and getting my ass handed to me on Black Ops 2. 

Here's how the total sales look this month.
20 - Manor #3
8   - Manor #2
11 - Manor #1
18 - Knowledge Illuminates

Here's how the sales broke down.
  • I sold 5 print copies of #3 Manor and Knowledge Illuminates to Noble Knight Games.
  • Personal print sales, 1 of Manor #1, 2 of Manor #2 and 3 of Manor #3.
  • Lulu, 1 sale of Manor #3 and 2 sales of Knowledge Illuminates.
  • RPGNow, 11 sales of Manor #3, 6 of Manor #2, 10 of Manor #1 and 11 of Knowledge Illuminates.
So despite not having a new release and reviews I still sold 57 units.  Which I will take any day.

On tap for next month I plan on releasing issue #4 of The Manor.  It will be larger, better quality paper, more art and with all this a bit more expensive.  Right now it's looking like it will be $5 for US, $6 for Canada and $7 for the rest of the world.  The mini-monster manual looks great.  I'm formatting them to have a cohesive look.  And I'm finishing the adventure.  It's coming along slower than I want, but so far I like it.

Enjoy April 1st, I know I will be bombarded at work with 'Your shoe is untied' and the classic 'You got something on your shirt'.  I'm excited to get that kind of jovial spirit started.  If I was a woo hooer I would woo hoo right now...but I'm not.