Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Question: Trap Monsters

It's been a long week and it seems I say that every week.  But it's Friday, almost time for the weekend, which we are supposed to get another snow storm, but you'll have that.

My question today is what is your favorite 'trap' monster?

I'd have to say the mimic is my favorite because it can cover a lot sneaking disguises and catch the adventures off guard.

"I check for traps," say Mr. Thief.

DM nods.  "You find a trap.  The chest eats your arm."

Other party members cheer.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mini Rant Alert

Actually not so much of a rant as an annoyance.  And the thing that is annoying me wasn't directed at me, but it has happened in the past.  Here's my annoyance.  When someone describes some magical thing in their world, whether it be a place or thing or creature and then someone comes along and says its not logical or makes no sense.  They some how get caught up in the plausibility of something magical...


This flows over into other gaming things.  I'll use falling damage as an example.  Where some folks will argue that d6 per 10' is not what was intended and not realistic.  I've got no problem with someone doing the work and using it in the game their running.  If they want to figure out gravity and mass and squishiness of things, go for it.  But when they are arguing with someone else about it just makes me turn the channel.  In a game where you have armies of skeletons and fireballs a flinging they get caught up in the reality of a 10' fall.

I guess this relates to what +Ken H  wrote about in his post, You're Playing It Wrong.  Years ago, when I was mainly a GURPS player, I found this attitude pervasive through out the community.  I read the boards and the arguments that went on, surprised me.  GURPS does an excellent job of recreating a realistic simulation.  Almost to a fault. I only use GURPS as an example because I have experience with it.  I'm sure there are others.  But because of that attitude I saw on the boards//forums, I had no interest in joining or becoming part of the GURPS community.  Not everyone was like that, but enough that it turned me off to joining.

I see that less in the old school arena.  There is a lot more tolerance for different ideas on how to handle things.  I don't get into gaming to argue with others.  Unless its my gaming group, then its fun.  It's one of the main reason why I did decide to begin this blog almost five years ago.  Most of the time if there is a difference of opinion with gaming stuff (I won't go into the meta gaming crap that sometimes flares up) it's shared.  Only on occasion do you see a pompous ass argue that you are wrong and they are right.  In those cases you just nod and treat them like that crazy uncle you have that thinks a dog is chasing him when he gets drunk.  "Old Uncle Bob is at it again.  Pay him no mind, once he gets tired he sleep it off."

So I guess I need to go sleep it off.

Rant over. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Magic Item

Reading all these magic items for the OSR Superstar contest got my juices going.  The urge to create my own magic items was beset upon me.  I'm not sure if I'm using  beset correctly, but I'm feeling beset.  Anyway, this magic item comes from the game I ran the other week.  It's a variation of an oldie but a goodie. 

Ring of Holding
This ring acts like its big brother the Bag of Holding.  Actually they aren't related, but most get confused since they have the same last name.  The Ring of Holding has the capacity to hold very small thin items that weight less than a pound.  The players accidentally found a rolled up map in ring they found. 

These rings were often used to transport important documents in the old kingdoms, but as the rings aged they became more unreliable.  At times, what was placed within could not be retrieved, as if it were stuck.  Or if the person wearing the ring was jarred or fell, whatever was hiding within would pop or peek out of the ring.

Manor #6 Map

I've been working on the 6th issue of the Manor.  So far I have a pair of great contributions from +matt jackson and +Ken H.  I'm working on the last section of the issue and that will include a micro adventure.  The map above is something I drew for it, an abandon cabin along a lake.  Whose to say what the players will find inside.  Or outside. 

In the meantime I'm plugging slowly along on the magic items.  You guys are going to make it tough.  I've only begun and found a few I like a lot.

Monday, February 24, 2014

How I Plan to Judge You

l I will not be wearing a black robe, those are so cliche.  I got the idea from +Ken H on how to go about it when he judged the one-page dungeon contest a few eons ago.  I will give each magic item a rating, 1 - 5, 1 being suck, 5 being awesome.  I'll rate each magic item in three categories. 

  • First category, is the item cool.  Because really, if you can't get past this gate you have little to no chance getting through the next two. 
  • Second, is the item well written.  Has the contributor explained his magic item well in a concise manner.  
  • And the last category is, would I likely use this magic item in a game of mine.  I think a good magic item should be useable.
I'll start going through the entries tonight. With 339 of them I hope to get through about 40 to 50 a night, but don't want to burn myself out too much because I really want to give each contribution a good set of eyes.  *Insert figure skating judging joke here*

I'll do a tally on the side of the blog of how many I've gone through.  Good luck to everyone who entered.  Either way this is going to end up as one awesome PDF.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Random Map Time

Another map in my series of index card maps.  This map was drawn on a slightly larger index card, the 8" x 5".  I wanted to draw a scene that was more wasteland, desert or just rocky terrain.  My maps are usually very green so I needed a change.  When I drew this I thought of a winding road through the rough terrain and around the mesas much like what you would find in the Badlands.

Other than the terrain I had no idea 'what was going on' in this map.  Other than a section of winding road through an unforgiving land.  Enjoy the rest of your Saturday.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Art on the Wall

A while back Jay Penn sent me the original picture he did for the 5th Manor.  I also bought some of his pictures during his art sale.  I found a couple of frames I liked.  They were in pretty rough shape.  Got them cleaned and polished.  I used some black cover stock as the matting for the background.  I thought it turned out pretty good.

While the art looks great my photos don't do them justice.  But I am happy to start my gaming art collection with these.

When a GM Plan Goes to Shit...Have Fun

Last night I finally got around to running a game for our Monday night group on Thursday night.  I'd rolled out the characters and a little of the game system I'm using.  One of these days I'll have to get more of it out of my head and onto paper.  I had three players set up and then a fourth to add, which was easy enough to do.

The plot was simple.  Or so I thought.  Instead of "you all meet in a tavern and glad hand one another", I decided to start them out separately and bring them together in a battle with a common enemy.  Or so I thought.  Here's a little of how it went down.  I'm sure I'm going to miss a few details.

Quick Cast of Characters
+Chris C. as Malcolm, a rogue which in my campaign means he's a tough guy, fighter thief guy.  A member of the Silent Knives thieves guild.
+Ken H as Hythom, a battle mage.  This class was pretty much ripped off from Hackmaster with a few changes.  I'm using a spell point system and Ken volunteered to my guinea pig.
+Rob Conley as Marrick, a ranger.  A local boy to the campaign setting.
+Dan as Arden, a duelist.  This class was inspired by +John Stater's class in Blood & Treasure.  He is a hired sword of the Silent Knives.

Okay, my simple set up was this.  Malcolm was assigned to free a prisoner and then transport him through the tunnel within the inn and trade the prisoner for a scroll.  The guards are paid off, just don't make a big scene and you'll be fine.  So Chris cases the area and then sets a fire to the hay at the lord of the manor's stable.

That did not have the desired effect so he went into the inn to drink.  There he met up with Arden who sorta announced who he was looking for.  He also met up with Hythom, who was inquisitive.  But it worked out and they got together to do this thing.  Or so I thought.

Instead, there was this little guard named Carl, who worked only part time as a guard because he drinks so much and to tell the truth Carl is not good at staying awake.  The party decides, screw taking the prisoner, we'll kidnap Carl, a guard, instead and trade him for the scroll.

They cover Carl in a cloak lead him through the tunnel and at the other end they meet the skimmer pirates.  Rewind a few minutes...........outside the tunnel, Marrick is in the trees resting when he sees a group of skimmer pirates land and take up positions around the entrance of the tunnel.  Marrick finds a good vantage point where he can see the guys in the trees to shoot them out if needed.  And a quick word about the pirates, they are the common enemy everyone had some dealings with in the past, the backgrounds that came with the characters.

The party makes the trade.  The pirates immediately know Carl is not the prisoner they were looking for.


A cool battle ensues.  The party takes some minor hits, but they are able to take the pirates down.  Now this is the event I thought would bring the party together and they would hold hands as one fighting force and sing sea shanty songs as they drank victory ale.


What happened next was battle part two.  Marrick was still unsure of the group.  Said something about needing to turn in the pirates to the lord of the area.  The party didn't want to have anything to do with that.  Marrick insisted.  Hythom put a magic missile in Marrick's ass.  Marrick shot back and ran, Hythom caught him with one more magic missile for good measure.  It was at this time Arden struck Hythom from behind sending him into the after life.

I haven't GMed for a couple of years not.  Within the first hours of the first session I've got two guys running into town, one guy limping through the forest and one guy face first in the dirt.  I laughed and informed them "They blew the shit out of what I had planned."  Onward we go.  We were having a great time.  Dan laughed so hard at one point I think he peed himself although I cannot confirm that.

Arden and Malcolm return, carrying the loot from the pirates. They get an earful from Fenton for deviating from the plan, for setting a fire of the lord's stable, for getting a guard involved and bringing a stranger along.  The players were not interested.

Then they encounter the little higher up guy named Torp, he runs the only store in the village.  Malcolm and Arder dropped off their loot to sell.  Torp pushed a single silver piece across the counter, "I'll offer you one silver for the lot and I guarantee it will best offer you'll get this side of the lake."  Torp told them how it works in the guild.  How they need to work together and need to trust one another or it doesn't work.  And maybe, just maybe, listened to those who've been doing this for years.  He told them to learn from this, and do better next time.

Meanwhile, the wounded ranger, Marrick, went to the guard and reported what happened.  The guard investigated and discovered one of the pirates was one of the wanted captains and there was a price on his head.  100sp.  This brought on cries of outrage and moans of anguish from Chris and Dan.  Marrick collected his reward and got to meet a few of the folks who run the village.

The sudden demise of the mage, Hyroth, was assumed.  Little did the party know that the crazy cleric of Ballor, one of the nine gods of the dead, watched and took the Hyroth to his temple.  The cleric has large pustules that he picks at and doesn't bother to wipe it off.  He marked Hyroth with his god's symbol and gave him a quest to 'close the gate'.  Hyroth agreed to do the quest as long as the cleric stopped touching him.

We ended there.  Four characters in three very different places. 

So my plan worked out well....

We had a blast.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Appendix N+

A while back I had an idea to do a fiction anthology.  New fiction from gamer dudes to add their own flare to an Appendix N style stories.  While I considered the idea I didn't do much about it.  Then +Sean Robson asked if he could run with the idea.  Absolutely.  Collecting and editing a fiction anthology takes a ton of time and dedication.  Since I've been working on The Manor and adventure I didn't have near enough the spare time, nor the skill set to make it successful.  Sean took it upon himself to make it happen.  Titanic effort.  Libram Mysterium is the result.

Inside you'll find 13 stories of dark fantasy.  And the stories are accompanied by artwork from +Chris Conklin.  The result, it has a pulp era feel is, I believe, what Sean was going for.  The stories are good, very good.  All enhanced by the deft eye of the editor.

There are dozens of new gaming supplements that come out every week.  They get support in varying degrees.  I'd like to see some people get behind Libram Mysterium and support new fiction that is written with Appendix N in mind.  Sean is offering it in PDF format and in softcover print.

If you like weird, dark fiction (if you don't I'm not sure why your reading my blog) then grab a copy or two of Libram Mysterium.  Then spread the word.  It's worth talking about.

You can find Pulp Mill Press here.  You can find project updates there.  I believe this was the first volume of three to be released.  So if you have a fiction bug check out the page for announcements of the next volume. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Three Levels of Campaign Description

One of the skills I'm trying to hone as I am developing my campaign world is editing it.  Leaving out details while they may be cool, not necessary at this time.  Keep it focused and develop the cool stuff in small quantities so the players are not overwhelmed with information. 

When I write up information for my world it tend to come in three different levels.

First, is the the overall definition. 

Gorsdale - A mining village in the heart of the Formas Hills.  It is run and protected by the merchant lord Tyberius. 

Formas Hills - These hills are rough and unforgiving.  The deadly, silver serpents make their home here, but because the ground is rich with ore people risk it all to find riches.

Tyberius - A merchant lord, friend of the king on sits on the council of the merchant guild.  He is responsible for most of the mines in the southeast region of the kingdom. 

Second, I get a little more specific with the information.  Someone who has had some dealings with the person place or thing would know.

Gorsdale - This mining village is populated with slaves.  Tyberius has the gold mine surrounded with his hired army, fortifications have been erected to protect from attack.  No one is permitted entry.

Formas Hills - Some of the smaller hills are hollow and that's where the silver serpents make their home.  Their skins are highly valued at the market and their poison is highly valued on the black market.

Tyberius - The merchant lord has no scruples about keeping and increasing his wealth.  He owns a small army that he uses to intimidate others to get what he wants.  Those who oppose him disappear or become very agreeable.

And the final stage I write something is more intimate details.  Only those who have been there or dealt with the person for an extended period of time.

Gorsdale - Just as many wagon loads of corpses come out of Gorsdale as gold.  The bodies are dumped in a pit a few miles away.  Some of the corpses are marked with red.  The pickers go through the corpses to find the marked bodies.  It's inside these bodies that Tyberius hides the gems.  The pickers gather the gems and bring them into town.

Formas Hills - There is a shrine in one of the hollowed hills.  Its an ancient shrine with cryptic writings, but should some take the time to study they will find they no longer need to fear the silver serpents. 

Tyberius - The gems he is smuggling out from his mines are what allows him to pay for his army.  He sells most of his gems to the sea kingdoms as to not bring any unwanted attention.  With his increase of power he's gotten a little sloppy and isn't focusing on his businesses and instead trying to become friends with nobility.

Not the best examples, but I think they demonstrate the different levels of information in a campaign.  Some people and locations may only have two levels.  A farmer in a village may only have one level, My name is Hank.  I'm a farmer.  I work the fields.  His next level may be he works the north fields on odd days and south fields on even days. 

Writing information like this helps me keep the places and people mysterious and have some depth.  Players can assume, but it won't be until they start investigating that they'll find the next level of knowledge.  And if your a good GM, they may regret knowing it.

Monday, February 17, 2014

On Judging the OSR Superstar

I just read over at Tenkar's there are 339 entries in the OSR Superstar competition and that the first round of entries is in the books.  Wow.  It's impressive, a book load of magic items.  I can't speak for the other judges, but sifting through that many entries is intimidating.  I have no idea what will catch my eye and what won't.  I imagine myself as a fantasy guy on Hoarders.  I have this mound of magic items I need to organize.  I'll have my no pile, good pile and the winner pile.  There might be some criteria as to judge them, I'm not even sure of that yet or if the judges need to get together and bring to the table our favorites and discuss which ones get in.  Should be a lot of fun.  +Rob Conley I've known for a million years (give or take a few months) and +Mark Gedak I've never met or spoken to except for a few exchanges on Google+.  Now I wait for the grump dwarf to get the items organized and sent to us.

Random thoughts on it as I look at the numbers

I certainly glad the opening round was expanded to 16 winners.  That mean 5% of the entries will make the playoffs. I imagine since you were permitted to submit 3 magic items most of you did.  There never seems to be a shortage of creativity in the OSR.  So I am guessing that there are 113 individuals who submitted.  Which means 14% of the people move on.  Even in the NFL 37.5% of the teams get to play in the post season.  And the generous prizes that people have donated...another example of why the OSR is a fun and supportive community.  Prone to spats, but in the end we're here to game, promote gaming and encourage others to share their gaming.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Characters for the Campaign

A couple of days ago I wrote a post Beginning of a Character.  I plan on running my first session this Thursday.  I finished the template of how I'm presenting the characters.  I think it turned out pretty good.  Here's +Ken H character.  He's playing a battle mage.  I'm using a Frankenstein system where I'm just bolting on what I like.  Ken is going to be my tester for spell point system I put into place.  I think I've simplified it enough, but I won't know until we start rolling dice. 

Here's Ken's character, Hyroth.

Now I need to finish +Rob Conley and +Chris C. characters.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

eBay Pewter Figurines

Ivy has been cleaning out the office, when she takes a break from putting girly stuff on my blog.  I found my old pewter figurines I was collecting in the 80s, maybe early 90s.  Well I don't have room for them so I thought I's put them on eBay and see if they'd sell.  They are under the title of 11 pewter figurines and quartz rock.  The quartz rock is pretty cool, I used to pose the figurines on the rock.  So if you are a pewter person give it a look.

So I Woke Up This Morning and This Happened

I'd like to thank Ivy for attacking my blog with her girly stuff...and don't try to blame it on the dogs.  She said the name of the font is crafty girl.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Double Mail Call!

Looks like my Valentine's Day present arrived.  All three shiny Castle of the Mad Archmage books.  A mega-dungeon, a separate map book and the little guy in front is the illustration book.  I'm looking forward to kicking back and reading this one.  +Joseph Bloch seemed very excited about getting this puppy out the door so I'm intrigued.

I also got a brand new copy of Torchbearer off eBay.  It's still in the plastic wrap and the reason for the solar flare in the center of the picture.  The one I'd heard rumblings about, but not sure exactly what it is.  I'm going to use the word intrigued once again because I am.  Love a name.  To me it would be like naming a science fiction game Red Shirt.  You know you'd buy it.

Beginnings of a Character

One of the things I like to do when I start a game/campaign is to provide the players pre-gens.  Pre-gens tailor made for each person.  I ask a few questions ahead of time like what class they would like to play and personality.  Then I create the characters around what they want to play then, I take the time to construct a loose background, give them information about the world they are about to explore so they are not going in cold.  I provide them with allies, family and enemies. 

I've done this in the past and it has worked very well and the players seem to like it.  It provides a character backstory before they get started, helps them get an idea of the world, provides knowledge footholds of villages, people and businesses.  I send them their characters a few days ahead of time so they can read through and they can ask any questions.  If time allows I have in the past run them through solo sessions.

During the first night the players all should have had their characters and read through them enough to know the backstory.  I always have connections or hints at things during the session that refer to their backstory. 

Next Thursday night I'll be running a session with three, possible four players and tonight I'll be working on creating them.  I'm looking forward to actually playing it instead of writing about it. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Convention Game Study and a Giveaway

Dylan Hartwell over at his Digital Orc blog would like to do a study for games you've experience at conventions.  He only wishes you to answer one question...
What are some of your favorite convention games in which you have played?  Describe them in as much detail as possible.
I think this should be very interesting study.  I'm not exactly sure what Dylan is looking for and I think he is being purposely vague as not to skew the answers.  He's talking about doing spreadsheets, algorithms and DNA scans.  Well, he was talking about doing spreadsheets.  He did not specify whether if it had to be a face-to-face con, so if you had a great game during an on-line con please take a few moments to answer in the comment section.

As an incentive to those who participate, I'll be giving away a PDF of my newest game book that I'll announce later in the week to a random participant.  So if you have the time, give some details on what your favorite con game and why.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Modernizing a Fantasy Adventure

I was happy to see +Erik Tenkar reported he'd used my adventure from The Manor #3.  I'd playtested that adventure a few times and liked it.  It is the first of a three part adventure series.  But I've only completed the first one.  Any way, +Douglas Cole wrote a post about the game over at Gaming Ballistic.  A concise retelling of the adventure.  It sounds like the players had smoking hot dice.  Usually its the GM that clobbers the players.  And I just saw that +Peter V. Dell'Orto posted a recap on his blog, Dungeon Fantastic.

The one thing from the report is I need to include an on-line friend map with the PDF versions.  A map that is not labeled with numbers or shows where the secret doors are.  When you know where a secret door is then it's just a door.  

Douglas mentioned that he wanted to take the adventure and modernize it.  I'd been thinking of redoing another adventure of mine in the same way.  I think that would be a cool exercise.  And being Douglas is a GURPS guru and I'm not to shabby myself, recreate it for a different system.   I hope I get a chance to do this.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Friday Question

There are a lot of cool products being released and activities going on.  I panned on making a list of some of the cool items released this past few weeks, but I lost the list and I don't have enough time or brain power to remember them.  But there are some cool activities I do remember.

+Timothy Brannan is participating in a Live Chat on #RPGNet. Friday Night at 8:00pm Central time.  I asked him to remind me today because I wasn't going to remember, but hey, even I have the capacity to 'member something.  I think I'm going to listen in on it, but I've never been on RPGNet for more than a few minutes total.  Here's the link

+ConTessa is kicking off this weekend.  +Stacy Dellorfano is leading the way for this on-line convention.  You can find the event list at +Tavern Keeper.  I want to join in a game, but weekends are usually lousy times for me to play.  I'm hoping to sneak into one of the panels about Game Design.  Should be interesting.

+Gasp Games is having a game day tomorrow in the Pittsburgh area.  Another activity I really want to take part in as it's only 90 minutes away.  +Brianna Sheldon is going to have her hands full between +ConTessa and game day.  I'd like to go down there one time and check to see what its about then maybe run a few games.  I'd really like to get back to running a game now and then.

+Erik Tenkar is kicking off a significant contest.  The "So You Want to be an OSR Superstar?" competition.  There are some very cool prizes available.  The first stage is create a magic item using Swords & Wizardry Complete ruleset.  I imagine most of you already have cool magic items made, dust them off, polish and enter.  Erik asked me to be one of the judges.  And before you ask, yes I do accept bribes and my currency is gaming books.

+Douglas Cole has got a 2 hour interview with +Kenneth Hite.  You can find it on his Gaming Ballistic blog.  I've been reading Ken's gaming books for several years.  The guy knows his stuff and Douglas does a great job with the interview.

So my question to you is, doing any gaming the weekend?  I'm hoping to get in a few of the above.  So much great stuff going on.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Cross Section of a Big Dungeon

I forget why I drew this.  One of the blogs had a contest of drawing a cross section of a mega-dungeon.  I went into Paint and slapped this one together in about 15 minutes.  I found it again and considering using it for something.  I think there is some usable stuff there.  Oh wait, I think it may have been what it would look like it there was a city built upon the ruins of an older city.  I think.

Charnel is the name of the city above and it is slowly sinking into the ground.  Once it become too dangerous they rebuild a top the old layer.

Still feeling horrible, but off to work I go.  No rest for the wicked or those of us who have no chance of having a stay at home job making big dungeons for a living. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

An Orc Reviews The Manor #5

Dylan Hartwell over at his Digital Orc blog took time out of his schedule to do a review of The Manor #5.  He gives a great overview of the zines flaws and what he enjoyed.  I cannot deny these flaws and my run on sentence...which after he wrote about I'm thinking one of my editors (I had two read through it) mention that long rambling sentence and for some reason I ignored or forgot their suggestion.  See another run on sentence.  I do that.

The one thing he mentions that I have complete control over is the appearance quality.  I had a batch of Manors where they looked like they were wearing pin-stripped suits.  I thought I had put those aside to toss out, but apparently I didn't and in my carelessness they must have made it back into my pile on zines.  If anyone else had a zine arrive all mucky, let me know and I'll ship out a fresh one.  Without the streaks.

Should you be so inclined, head over to Dylan's corner of the blogosphere and read the review.  He has also has some good things to say to you know. 

Using My Tavern Cards

Yesterday I wrote about my Tavern Cards from the same named Kickstarter.  I thought I'd use them to create a tavern on the spot.  Somewhere I thought I saw someone using a Tavern Card Spread, but can't find it or I may just have made it up in mind.  So I'm creating my own Official Gothridge Manor Tavern Card Spread (OGMTCS).  I have no idea what that means.  I'm off sick from work today so I may be a little delusional.

Here's how the OGMTCS works.  You shuffle the cards and then lay out four of the cards in a square...  What?  Did you expect some Tarot Card fancy smancy spread.  Not here.  Not now.  So make a square with the four cards.  The top two will be the name.  The bottom two are features you will find in the tavern.  Now I need to find the camera because this is going to need visual aids. 

This is what a shuffled deck of Tavern Cards should look like.  While they may look exactly like an unshuffled deck I assure you they are shuffled.  I'm a trained professional.

This is what an Official Gothridge Manor Tavern Card Spread (OGMTCS) looks like.  Please don't let this intimidate you.  And please don't get frustrated if you can't do it correctly the first time.  it takes practice and patience.  If you need assistance you can email me for instructions.

So the we take the top two cards for the name.  The one on the left has a verb/adjective on the left side of the card and the top right card has the noun on the right side of the card.  For beginners left is this way < and right is this way >, unless you are standing on your head, then reverse.  The name of our tavern is The Thirsty Mare.

At the bottom part of the OGMTCS are a couple of features of The Thirsty Mare.  It's got cheap rooms and burly bouncers.  It's like magic.  I now have a tavern that the players can enter and burn down later in the session.

The Thirsty Mare
The Thirsty Mare was once a high end tavern where rich merchants mingled with young nobles.  Their libertine activities were accompanied by an influx of the criminal element.  When the novelty of the Drinking Mare wore off, the merchants and nobles left, but the criminal element remained.  It is now a place known to be run by the Shadow Merchants, a guild of thieves and thugs.  While they run the tavern as a regular business there is a lot of side tranactions going on.  Fights rarely happen at The Thirsty Mare because the bouncers use poisons and toxic powders to quell conflicts.  Any damage done to the tavern has a street price set, it averages to be 10x the amount of the actually cost of the damage.  If you destroy a chair that costs 3sp, you'd better deliver 30sp in a timely manner or you may find yourself mugged, home looted or your favorite pet nailed to your door.  The place is run by a man called, Grist.  He bears the ritual scarring practiced by the mad shamans that live on the Porvose Reef.  He is a large man with unusual powers.  Many come to him for counsel.

I think its not a half bad tavern.  Definitely something I can use.  All inspired by Tavern Cards and the use of the OGMTCS. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Mail Call, Tavern Cards Are in My Grasp

Today when I went to the PO Box and inside was a yellow ticket.  That means they have a package for me.  So I go to the desk and I trade my yellow ticket for a package.  I really like seeing yellow tickets in my box.  I get my package and I open it up and what do I see???


I went for the six deck option.  Oh yeah.  +Hannah Lipsky came through in a big way.  I really like the final product.

This is what they look like spread out in a neat line.  Lots of color.  Bold pictures.  And fun way to instantly develop a tavern.

Here's what they look like messy.  I like the messy look better.  It shows off the colors and some of the art.  Each card has a verb or adjective on left side and a noun on the right.  So you can pull two cards and get tavern names like....Violet Stableboy....The Charming Harlot....The Jumping Rogue.  Then each card depicts something about the tavern.  A few examples are...minstrel...gaming round of drinks.  So with a few cards you got yourself a playable tavern.

On more serious news.  +Erik Tenkar is a bad person.  Don't be fooled by his giveaways and his contests.  It's all a cover.  The man is malicious.  He used his powers of persuasion and lured me into the evil grasp of another Kickstarter.  I just get one in the win column and "he pulls me right back in".  I've joined the ranks of the Scarlet Heroes Kickstarter.  +Kevin Crawford is about as solid as they come.  And I think he's running this Kickstarter intelligently.  Plus he knows how to write a kickass game.

Oh, but wait.  I'm not quite done.  I snuck in something else...I bought a copy of Torchbearer RPG.

I bought it off eBay so I will wait for another one of those yellow tickets to appear in my post office box.  I'm not sure why I was fascinated by this one, but I was and found it for a decent price. 

Time to go deal out a few taverns.

Valentine's Day Present

So Whisk asked me what I wanted to Valentine's Day.  Normally we don't pay attention to it, but this year we've come to even the goofy holidays with a new attitude and decided to enjoy them.  Our new attitude these days is, "You only get a certain number of these so you might as well enjoy the ones you can".  So that's what we're doing. 

Our gifts are not going to be surprises, but rather I pick out some I want, she picks what she wants.  She wants baking stuff.  I want gaming stuff.  Shocking, I know.

So here's what I selected.

Castle of the Mad Archmage by +Joseph Bloch.  Ordered it this morning.  While it is shipping media mail I probably won't exactly get it by next Friday, but maybe.  Now with this ginormus adventure you'll need to get the Map Book and the Illustration Book.  There has been some minor bitching about there being three books, only minor, but those that have complained about it apparently haven't run an adventure, especially a large one, where the maps and illustrations are in the same book.  Too much flipping around.  I think it was very smart of Joe to separate it into different books for easy reference.  The cost of all three plus shipping was $39.34.  To me that's good value for your money.  And, you get all the PDFs included.

Time for work.  I have a yellow card in my PO Box and I've heard rumbling that Tavern Cards are beginning to appear.  I'm hoping I have my six decks waiting for me.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Game Night

Tonight Adzeer Matiu takes his new black sword of demon slaying into Monteport.  The sword is a normal against everything except demons.  Against demons it turns into a death machine.  It is +6 vs Demons.  It does 6d6 damage against demons.  Then it deals 6 points of damage vs. the wielder on a successful hit.

I think this is a great weapon.  While Adzeer has a few hit points, those 6 points of damage will add up quickly.  +Ken H built a great weapon.  Can't wait to use it and figure out a strategy.  There are a few larger demons we needed to run away from last time.  Maybe with this new sword we'll be able to finally get through the beasts.

Yesterday may have been the Super Bowl, but tonight is game night.  And we're much funnier than the commercials.  At least we think so.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

GM Games Sales Report: January 2014

 Nothing new released this month at GM Games.  Still manages to squeak in a few sales.  It's amazing how a new release can sell products in your back catalog.  I've been playing around with laminated maps, note card sized, mainly for my own amusement.  Issue #6 of the Manor is halfway done with the aide of +matt jackson's contribution.  I've got a few pieces pending and need to figure out what I need for art and find someone to art it.  

Upcoming projects.  I'm planning on releasing a Compendium of the first 5 issues of the Manor.  I've got +Johnathan Bingham on the hook to do the cover.  He and his wife Daisy do some incredible covers for others I though I'd shoulder my into the fray.  I think it will be cool to have a hardback version of the Manors.  Even if I'm the only one who snags a copy.  I plan to go through the all the Manors, clean up some of the typos that slipped through and possibly add a few pieces.  I'll be releasing it on RPGNow and Lulu. 

The other project has been a long standing project I've had on the back burner for too long.  This project is the capable hands of +Tim Snider who is probably slashing away at my prose with more glee than Joffrey Baratheon smothering his first kitten.  All the art is done, +Jason Sholtis and +John Larrey have went above and beyond on this one.  And +Rob Conley added his artistic flare for maps.  I'm not ready to announce it yet, because I don't want to jinx it.  So I'm staying hush until I have went through the final edits and figured out how the whole POD thing works.

Onto the numbers.  Thanks for the interest and those of you who were brave enough to buy one or more products of mine.
January 2014
Knowledge Illuminates: released February 16th, 2011, print version released October 29th, 2012
PDF: 0 (16)   Print: 0   Total Sales: 399 (189)

The Manor, Issue #1: released May 5th, 2012
PDF: 1   Print: 1   Total Sales: 321

The Manor, Issue #2: released July 4th, 2012
PDF: 1   Print: 1   Total Sales: 238

Cave of Seiljua: released September 9th, 2012
PDF: (12)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: (533)
The Manor, Issue #3: released released February 7th, 2013
PDF: 1   Print: 1   Total Sales: 144

Mini Manor: Faces Without Screams: released April 19th, 2013
PDF:  (7)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: (264)

The Manor, Issue #4: released July 28th, 2013
PDF: 1   Print: 1   Total Sales: 92
Where is Margesh Blackblood?: released August 12th, 2013
PDF: 0 (11)   Print: N/A   Total Sales: 14 (178)

The Manor, Issue #5: released November 21st, 2013
PDF: 1   Print: 2   Total Sales: 76

Execution Corner: released December 15th, 2013
PDF: 5 (9)  Print: N/A  Total Sales: 22 (103)
Total Sales for January 2014
PDF: 10 (55)   Print: 6   Total Sales: 16 (55)