Friday, August 30, 2013

Friday Question

I'm keeping it simple to kick off my soon to be 3-day weekend.

What's the weirdest thing you've bought for gaming?

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Con Schedule

I signed up for Con on the Cob.  I'm registered for games on the 18th and the 19th.  I decided to do it ahead of time instead of waiting til the last moment.  I'm hoping to drag +Rob Conley and +Chris Bard along.  Don't be shocked that it is old school heavy.

9-1  Dungeon World
1-5  B2 Keep on the Borderlands
5-6  Game Design

10-2  Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz (Dylan Hartwell)
3-5  Ice Lord (Dylan Hartwell)
6-10 Sixth World (This one is a ShadowRun tutorial, I may or may not stay for
                          the entire thing)
What I purposed to the other guys is play during the day and then maybe after getting some food we get together and put a game together ourselves.  
If you're in the Ohio area or western PA check out the link and join in a game.  I should have my snazzy Gothridge Manor t-shirt by then.
Oh and before I forget Dylan Hartwell is running two of the games from products he released.  He just announced on his blog that he's got three of his most popular adventure back in print!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Campaign Story Lines/Plots

When developing a living campaign world it's important to have stuff going on.  Maybe there is a border war with another kingdom.  Orc raiders razing farming villages.  A cult of necromancers  littering the landscape with undead.  The point is, there is something going on when the players enter the scene.  There is movement to the world.  A life of events that exists beyond the characters. 

How much of that infringes on what the players do?  There is no right answer.  I guess the rightest answer for me is, as much as the players want.  Events will occur whether players chose to be involved or not.  Say those necromancers attack a town and the players have chosen to go after some rumored treasure.  When they return, a good chunk of the town is burnt to the ground.  Unloading all their treasure becomes more difficult.  So the attack affects them indirectly.

I'm developing a new campaign world (very slowly it seems) and I like to have a few over arcing story (plot) lines that are shaping the current landscape of the world; politically, spiritually and monetarily.  The players can chose to be as involved as they want.  The side quests/story lines/plots are usually developed during play.  I might have a vague shadow of an idea, but it's the players that flesh it out.  Players make the best story lines accidentally.

As of now, I've have some of the smaller things figured out, such as, developing a few interesting cultures and how they interact.  A little history to add some depth to the world.  If you're going to have ruins for the players to explore there should be a reason why they are there originally.  It helps shape the adventure.  Plus, I can add artifacts from past cultures or kingdoms.  I like adding that sense of history to a campaign.  I learned this important lesson from the Majestic Wilderlands.  Rob Conley has developed such a rich history that it is a pleasure to explore.  So I like to offer that same option to my players.

As I develop my campaign, and I might add, I am ripping off ideas from blogs left and right, I'll post some of what I'm working on.  No spoilers for the players though.  I need to do something like Trey Causey did with his Weird Adventure and develop an index.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Map Time!

The other day I was messing around with very simple maps.  Squares and squiggles. 

I think I randomly rolled he name using the Tome of Adventure Design.  I don't have anything written for the map.  When I'm watch a movie I'll randomly sketch something.  If I like enough I'll go to my programs and try to simulate what I've drawn or get out the hand legion of color of pencils and make it purdy. 

I think the idea for this one was to have a ruined underground village.  I don't think I got much further than that idea.

Sleestak Sunday

Richard67915 brings us The Sleestak of Light.  It looks like Enik is transcending his existence and has become one with the pylons. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Review: Aventures Dark and Deep: A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore

My latest +Joseph Bloch acquisition, Adventures Dark and Deep: A Curious Volume of Forgotten Knowledge.  Some how this one slipped past my radar, but not for long.  This is a curious tome indeed.  Joseph wrote this volume to expand the topics to work with Advanced D&D, OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord.  That's what it says on the cover.  I'm adding it to my mix of Swords & Wizardry Complete and Blood & Treasure mash ruleset.  

This is a general overview.  I haven't had time to read it thoroughly, but just to give you a clue, even though I haven't, I'm planning to use it in my game.

Included in the book five classes; Bard, Jester, Mountebank, Mystic and Savant.  I plan on adding the latter three classes into the game.  

An interesting take on acquiring Secondary Skills.  If you want a secondary skill you need to spend your experience points.  I like this take.  I'm not sure if I'll use it, but I like it.  This book is all about presenting options for your game so you can pick and choose what you like.

There are alternate treasure rules that I plan on taking a closer look.  A lot of good random tables are included.  Especially for mundane/luxury items. 

The next section covers rules for ships and waterborne travel.  I have to admit, this is an area I shy away from.  For some reason I've never ran a water based adventure.  I am very interested in these rules.  Maybe I can wrap my head around doing a fun adventure at sea.  

This book is full of great ideas and tables.  Joseph continues to impress me with the quality and usefulness of his work.  I give his all thumbs up on this effort.  I think I'll be spending a lot of quality time browsing through the pages.  If you want a copy of Adventures Dark and Deep: A Curious Volume of Forgotten Knowledge click this link and head over to RPGNow and snag a copy.  The PDF will run you $9.95, but plop down another ten so you can get a soft cover print version along with the PDF.  That's the version I bought.  But if you are into hardcovers $29.95 will get you just that and the PDF.  

Now I am impatiently awaiting for the Monster Tome for Adventures Dark & Deep. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Question: Con Question 2

With GenCon concluded what cons are you planning to attend, if any?

I'm considering going to two. 

Erie Days of Gaming (or EDOG), is in Erie on October 4th and 5th.  I usually go up on Saturday.  There are very few to zero vendors there.  It's main focus is on board games, but each year we manage to get in some old school gaming.

Con on the Cob, is one I've never been to.  Located about 2 hours from me in Hudson, OH.  It runs October 17th through the 20th.  This one looks to have an interesting mix of activities, including a fairly strong showing of some old school games.  I will go n the Saturday and if I can find enough interesting things, I may go on Friday. 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Burn it to the Ground, Burn it All

In every group there seems to be a pyromaniac.  He's the guy who has more flasks of oil than healing potions.  A dedicated lot.  Zealots of the flame.  Fire freaks.  Combustible mamas.  Whatever you want to call them, you'll find one in the group somewhere.

We have our pyromaniac, Chris from Clash of Spear on Shield, is ours.  He plays Dante...hmm, I wonder if that's a coincidence?  Anyway.  His guy has kegs of oil.  He doesn't piss around with flasks.  Flasks are for sissies and people who like to drink with their pinky sticking out.  Dante likes to burn things.  Dante likes to burn people.  Dante likes to watch the flame crawl over and envelop and feed.  He's a flame psychopath and I approve.

Because of his passion for the flame and our constant need to look up the flaming oil damage rules I went through a bunch of rulebooks and collected the different rules for systems I could find.  If you know of another rule for another system please put it in the comments so I can add it. And please add any house rules you use in your game. 

Adventurer, Conqueror, King: Dealing 1d8 points of damage for 2 rounds. 
Adventures Dark & Deep Roll d20, 18 or less breaks. If it bursts on the target, 2d6 first round, 1d6 on the second, then burns out. If it bursts on the ground, 1d3 to everyone in 3' radius. All assuming that the vial breaks as above, and if the oil is ignited. Pg 92-93
Ambition & Avarice: 1d8 damage to anyone directly struck and 1d4 splash damage
Bare Bones Fantasy: three damage grades: mild (1D), moderate (2D), or severe (3D). Flammable objects have a 50% chance to catch on fire and continue to cause 1D damage each turn 9(...) Factors such as (...) dousing in oil may modify the roll. (p.33)
Basic Fantasy: Oil does 1d8 for two rounds (p. 49).

Blood & Treasure: Burns for two rounds and deal 1d4 points of fire damage. 
Castles & Crusades: Could not find information about oil damage.

Crypts & Things: Could not find information about oil damage. 
Dragon Age: Could not find information about oil damage.

Dungeons & Dragons, 1st Ed: 2d6 damage the first round, 1d6 damage the second round. 
Dungeons & Dragons, 3rd Ed: 1d6 on a direct hit, 1hp of damage for splash damage. 
Dungeons & Dragons, 4th Ed: Oil burns for 2 rounds and deals 1d3 points of fire damage to each creature in the area. 
Five Ancient Kingdoms: A flask of oil may be set alight or hurled at an opponent with a normal missile attack roll (a hurled flask cannot achieve a "bulls-eye" result). Success indicates the target takes one hit of damage, and an additional hit every round thereafter until the flames are extinguished. A flaming torch may be used as an improvised melee weapon (see Brawling) but will not set a target aflame unless extremely flammable (for example, already covered in oil).

GURPS: If it bursts on the target, 3d burning, then 1d burning per second. If it hits the ground, 1d-1 burning per second to everyone in a 1 yd radius. Either way, it lasts 10d seconds and DR protects at 1/5 (unless sealed). p. 411
HackMaster 4th Ed: Oil causes damage only when it is lit. Sometimes this requires a two-step process, such as when tossing oil into melee with allies. Step one is soaking the target in oil. Step two is hitting him with a torch, candle, open lantern, Fireball or the like. Thus, using flaming oil often requires two successful attacks. Another method is to light a soaked piece of cloth tied to the oil flask. . . Use this method when there are no friendly troops involved or when you dislike your allies. A direct hit from flaming oil burns for two rounds, causing 2d6 points of damage the first round and 1d6 points of damage in the second" Page 137
HackMaster Basic: Oil cannot be used as a weapon. 
Labyrinth Lord: 1d8 for 2 rounds.
Lamentations of the Flame Princess: 1d4 points of damage. If the damage roll is 4, make a save vs. breath weapon or take 1d4 more damage on next action. If that roll is a 4 as well, character is engulfed in flame, taking 1d8 damage per round. (p. 61)
Neoclassical Geek RevivalCould not find information about oil damage. 
OSRIC: "A mummy is susceptible to fire as follows: a hit from a torch will deal 1d3 hp damage, a flask of burning oil causes 1d8 hp on the first round and 2d8 hp on the second round, and magical fires deal +1 for each die of damage." (p248 OSRIC - A5 2013 Version)
Pathfinder: Oil burns for 2 rounds and deal 1d3 damage to those within the area.
Swords & Wizardry Complete: 1d4 damage on a successful hit, and 1 more point of damage per round for the next 2 rounds.
Swords & Wizardry Core: see S&W Complete
Tunnels & Trolls: Could not find information about oil damage.
As you can see there are a lot of systems I couldn't find the damage or it there was a ruling on using oil.  If you know it let me know.  One of the more surprising things I found was how HackMaster didn't allow it.  The game that has 142 different fireball spells.  All of a sudden wanted to go realistic with the oil.  Thought that was a bit amusing.  The deadliest is still AD&D.  Devastating weapon. 

These are all the systems I had available on my shelf.  I'm not sure which version of T&T I have.  So if you play and know the rule for another system let me know.  I want to be the definitive place where you can whip a flask of oil and know what to expect.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Getting Lost

Another successful dungeon crawl session last night.  A few more trinkets in our pockets and a few more gold bars to weigh down our cave goats.  We are going farther into the mega-dungeon than ever before.  Last night something happened that can be a killer in a mega-dungeon, we got lost.  After a dead body and peeing experiment into a glowing green ring, we all stepped into the one-way teleporter (we did not know it was one way at the time) and now in a section of the dungeon we've never been. 

Although I don't think we are too far off.  Many of the same creatures and same mushroom crops are in the area.  The mega-dungeon has an functioning ecology system we are only beginning to understand.  But there are sections dedicated to certain races.  I was pleased not to be teleported over a 100' pit. 

Along the way we are finding bits and pieces of a larger culture/belief system in the elements.  Everything seems to be tinged with evil.  Also along the way we are finding evidence of a older culture, possibly the creators of the dungeon who have a mysterious way of scribing their magical language.  After talking to one mage, he gave us more information about that ancient race, but still most of the things we come across, we are guessing as to their purpose. 

Each session we get a little peek.  Sometimes we understand more, sometime less.  But getting lost helps because now we can't just back out of the dungeon when things go wrong.  Now we need to understanding the dungeon.  To learn its laws.  Learn its ecology.  And once we do that we can force it to give up its secrets.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lazy Photo of a Canival Idea I Have

This one goes out to you Ken.

Sleestak Sunday: A Flurry of Enik Graffitti

He's out there.  Enik, it out there.  Waiting.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Lazy Saturday Photo

I've always wanted to run some type of game where the players were members of a traveling carnival.  Strange locations and people.  Strange traditions and folk laws.  I look at this picture and nod a little, thinking this would be my opening scene for the game.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Friday Question: Cons

GenCon is in full swing and I'm not there again.  Al least I am very consistent.  I've missed every year.  Each year I saw I've got to plan to go, but it just never happens.  But I won't give up, maybe next year I'll take the trip.  But at the same time I think I would really enjoy going to the North Texas Con and the OSRCon.  Crap, now I need to make a list.

My question for this Friday is, what was/is your favorite con that you've experienced?

+Rob Conley and I went to Origins a few years ago and that was fun.  But it was mainly a shopping trip.  We did get to game with +Ken St. Andre, but that was the only game we played.  We were there for about 8 hours.  It took a long time to go through all the vendors.

Probably my favorite con experience was my first.  Somewhere in a mist of the late 80s a group of us went to a con in Butler, PA.  I forget what it was called.  I think there was four of us and we all won some great stuff.  My favorite part was when we enter the Steve Jackson Illuminati game.  There were three of us who joined and there were twelve players overall.  We came in separately.  Sat apart.  And it wasn't until the end that the other players figured out we were working together.  The realization was priceless.  They scrambled to gather together, but it was too late.  We crushed them under our heel. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Crafting in Game

Years before World of Warcraft I played a game called Ultima Online.  Spent way too many hours on that game.  Probably the reason why I don't play them any more.  What got me hooked on the game was the crafting system.  It was a blast.  Go mine up the ore, find a forge, smelt the ore, find an anvil and forge a sword.
I found the mining and collecting of leather very calming.  I was a collector of rare materials in game.  I also ran my own shop.  The game, when I first started, had a very real economy.  It was a blast trying to figure out what people would buy.  Player crafted weapons and armor were highly sough after.  That is until the made it easier for the casual gamer and screwed the game forever.

This is an area in RPGs I rarely explore myself.  I've played a blacksmith in a campaign.  My job was to steal secrets from a rebellious baron.  So fighting was not primary, blacksmithing was the focus.  It was a unique campaign.

Imagine running a campaign where the player or players are craftsmen and their job to to create items to sell.  Dealing with getting raw materials and developing a market for their goods.  I think it would work well with a one-on-one campaign.  I think this type of campaign would work well with a points based system.

Even if you have a system to make the crafting challenging you still need to make it interesting.  Interesting enough to last over a length of time.  I think it could happen.  Granted, there would be a lot of fetching quests.  The player would need to go get this or that to make their item more powerful.  Conflicts with business rivals, possibly a local gang pressing for protection money and of course you can always throw in some political mumbo jumbo.

In the campaign I'm building crafting will be apart of the game.  The players can of course choose to indulge in it as much or as little as they choose.  But I think it adds a depth to the world and to some of the adventures.  Those who've read my adventures there is always a little thing in there that can tweak the effect of a spell of potion.  Find a large spider web and cut the center out to see your web spell double in area.  Those little red berries when added to a healing potion increase its effectiveness.  These of course can be added without going into detail, just interesting bits the players can use, but when used with a crafting system then I think it become more interesting.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Where is Margesh Blackblood?

A few years back I wrote this for the one-page dungeon contest and thought I take a look at it again.  This version I added the Swords & Wizardry Complete ruleset and redrew the maps.  I made it up in a mini zine format and have put it on RPGNow.  It's in the free section, but I added the PWYW option.  The print version is free to whom ever wants one.  I'll probably be throwing them into Manor envelopes as freebies.  I kept the layout simple.  No art.  No fancy fonts.  Just maps and words.  If you want a copy of Where is Margesh Blackblood it's waiting at RPGNow.  Enjoy.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Paint by the Numbers Sleestak Sunday

Sleestak, paint by the numbers brought to you by PopParty from Etsy.  If you wanna get your Bob Ross on you can get this paint by numbers and paint your own sleestak masterpiece. 

This is what it looks like underneath.  I darkened the lines and number so you can see it better.  But doesn't it look like a cool map?  A topographical map.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Space Vikings!

Needles over at Swords & Stitchery - Old Time Sewing and Table Top RPG Blog did a quick write up on one of my free adventures Cave of Seiljua.  It's an interesting write up on how the adventure could be used with Stars Without Numbers and become a space viking adventure.  I love the idea.

Click to download the adventure.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Friday Question

Lately I've been splitting time between issue #5 of the Manor and developing a campaign setting and a ruleset to go with it.  Most of what I'm doing with the ruleset is a pick and choose of what I like from other systems.  The most mine in the creation will be the class concepts based on the culture they come from.  Even then I am stealing from every article/supplement/post I can find.  There is no shortage of class variant information.

The world itself will be about 80% mine and 20% borrowed.  This will help with time on my part and because people have better idea than I do at least explain them better.  So if you find a great concept why try to over think it.  Use it.  I've started building my campaign influence page.  There will be blog posts, articles and products I am using.  I'll write a few sentences to describe how I'm using it and/or why I like it. 

So my question to you is do you have a favorite campaign setting?  Homemade?  Canned?  Fantasy?  Cyberpunk?  What setting gets you to salivate?

Without a doubt mine has been Judge Guild, City-State of the Invincible Overlord.  Primarily because +Rob Conley has run me through his campaign world through the years.  I enjoy wandering the streets of City-State because I always seem to find new things and get into the same old trouble.  It's a blast.  In addition I know the history and understand the interaction between cultures and classes and a bit of the history.  Some of the old characters helped define some of the history.

So what is your favorite setting?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cool Ass Chart

I wake up this morning and find this...

The chart was created by Mr. Blue at The Cobalt Kobold blog. 

First impressions were the time gaps between issues, I am doing a little better than I thought.  Well, except the forever between two and three.  I'm not sure what the Chinese symbols mean.  Might not even by Chinese, but there is a exclamation point at the end so that gotta be good...right?

This made my morning Mr. Blue.  Made me laugh.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Developing a Campaign

Over the past few weeks or so I've been tinkering around with developing a campaign.  This one will use a system that I've put together.  Nothing new, mainly me taking bits and pieces of what I like and gluing them together.  I'm not sure if everything will work, but that's part of the fun.  I plan to inflict it on my group in a couple of weeks.

I've been using a lot of help from blogs and supplements so I don't have to do all the heavy thinking.  I want to make a page to show which products and whose blogs I'm using.  I am nearly finished with the initial village in which the party will be starting.  This includes 11 detailed buildings, right now 25 NPCs, a handful  of geographical locations and possible adventure sites.  So a mini hex crawl is what I'm developing.  While I have the village map I don't have a hex map yet.  I'm getting some of the details worked out in my head before drawing the map which is opposite of how I normal do it.

One of the biggest changes I'm doing is classes are shaped by the culture from which the character comes from.  This is borrowed from Dragon Age RPG and a few supplements.  Each culture will have their own version of a fighter, mage, cleric or thief class.  Some may have multiple versions.  Especially with clerics, I haven't defined the gods.  While I have some they are a long way from being detailed.  My guess is I'll complete a batch and run with them, have a batch of other names not detailed and then make up others as needed.  More on this later.

I could go on for a very long time about this, but I won't.  I'll set up a page soon to direct you where my inspiration is coming from.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

All The Manors in the World

A few folks have asked for a one click button if they want to buy all The Manors.  Since four is a fairly good number of issues (Ivy would say it is the best number in the entirety of time and space) I have a bundle button for the print issues over at my GM Games site on the right hand column.  And I did a bundle package on RPGNow for all issues.  The PDF version has a nice price break so that you're getting one issue for free.

Print Bundle available at GM Games.
PDF Bundle available at RPGNow.

See what you've been missing!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Quick Review: Rory's Story Cubes - Voyages

Last week I grabbed a set of Rory's Story Cubes - Voyages.  I have the other two sets and I think they are fantastic.  They're weird dice and I'm easy for dice.  No hard sell needed for me. 

I believe this set is the best one yet.  It has more fantasy elements in this one than the others. 

Honestly I still don't have an idea of what I'll use them for, but I'll think of some random thing.  Look at those dice.  Stunning.  Look!  Even a Cthulhu critter in the upper right.  Seriously, the best set yet. 

Enjoy your Saturday.

Friday, August 2, 2013

July Sales for GM Games

It's been a month or two since I'd given my state of GM Games address so here is how July looked.  On July 29th Issue #4 of The Manor was released in print.  The PDF did not hit until August 1st so those numbers won't be included.  That was the only significant activity for the month.  So here are the numbers for July.

Knowledge Illuminates
RPGNow:   3
Lulu:           0
Print:           0

Manor #1
RPGNow:   0
Lulu:           1
Print:           2

Manor #2
RPGNow:   0
Lulu:           1
Print:           3

Manor #3
RPGNow:   0
Lulu:           1
Print:           3

Manor #4
RPGNow:  N/A
Lulu:           N/A
Print:           45

In addition to these I have two free products that continue to see activity on RPGNow.  Also I will include how many times Knowledge Illuminates was downloaded for free since it a a PWYW.

Cave of Seiljua - 14 (361)
Faces Without Screams - 16 (258)
Knowledge Illuminates - 15 (86)

Future projects include of course the 5th issue of The Manor.  I've already received some excellent contributions from +Chris Bard and +Sean Robson and I've completed one article so it has a good start.  The next project though that I will complete is Starter Adventures.  I plan to release this one in PDF, soft and hardcover versions using Lulu and RPGNow.  I am also working on another adventure, but that one is still in the beginning stages.  

On a separate item, +Pulp Mill Press is one month into accepting submissions.  We would like to see more stories.  The deadline for submissions is September first so if you have a great story send us a copy.  Sean Robson, our editor has really been doing an incredible job.  

Friday's Question is Tenkar's Question

I was going to do a Friday Question, but Tenkar already asked a very good question, Which Has More Lasting Effect - Shocking or Disturbing Imagery?  I remember this question being asked back in the 80s (which Tenkar uses Nightmare on Elm Street as an example) when all the slasher films were popular.  Recently I've seen it turn from the torture porn movies of Saw and Hostel to more creepy, paranormal films.

I think shocking is popular because it is over the top, Kabuki theater.  Most of them just came up with fancy was of killing things.  It's not serious.  A lot of times it's so outrageous its funny.  But there is the danger of coming off juvenile, Beavis and Butthead snickers, mouth breather entertainment.

Similiar dangers occur for the disturbing content.  If not done correctly can be boring.  If over thought becomes an intellectual morass of justification and self-righteousness.  I see this happen a lot with serial killer flicks.  Hannibal being the first that comes to mind.  But, if done correctly it gets stuck in your head.  You think about it unexpectedly.

I am way more in the camp of disturbing.  Shocking does very little for me.  Even when I was a teen-ager the slasher films bored me.  I like the spooky stuff.  The things that are unseen.  The thump in the dark corner just as you go to sleep.  And more serious stuff like I remember the disturbing imagery from Schindler's List more than I ever did any Jason/Michael Myer/Freddie Krueger/Jigsaw scenes.  I prefer to read Ghost Story by Peter Straub than The Books of Blood by Clive Barker.

It's a matter of taste.  Which side do you fall on or like a true libertine, you'll find pleasure in both.