Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Would They See Monsters?

Once upon a time, there was an adventuring party who went down a hole and never came back....

So began our tale of the Monteport megadungeon crew, a cast of characters that has evolved over a year of exploring the endless expanse.  Our combination of curiosity, glory seeking and greed have plunged us 28 miles below the surface of a world we no longer remember.  We have become citizens of Monteport. Small pieces in a massive, living thing. 

Twenty-eight miles below, we have living death.  My weapon seeks to destroy these abominations that seem to saturate earth.  But my arms grow tired.  I've forgotten what it is to look upon a tree.  I've forgotten what it is to feel a breeze.  And I'm losing my ability to find purpose.  My god's words once pounded in my ears like war drums, exciting and inciting.  Boiling the blood.

Now, only whispers.  

I wonder what another adventuring party would see when they looked upon us.  Would they see monsters? 

                                          Adzeer Mattui, Hunter of the 3rd Circle

Monday, December 29, 2014

Random Monday Map 2

Another offering to the Random Monday Maps.  I drew this one for my Patreon, micro-adventures, but haven't got around to using it yet.

In my first offering I shared a region size map.  This is the other size map I do, which I call an area map.  These can include geographical locations like the confluence above, could be a homestead, section of a village or a chunk of a tiny dungeon.  These are my most common size maps I draw.  I don't use a grid of any sort usually on these.  Not sure why.  Unlike my area maps where the hexes are 12 miles, in the area maps they are as bi as I need them to be.  With the map above it can be the merging of two large rivers flowing into one and the scale would be a a mile an inch.  Or it could be a could of good size creek merging, and the scale drops to a 100' inch.  Either way it could work.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Manor Sale was a Big Fat Success

On December 9th I decided to do a $1 a Manor sale on RPGNow.  I saw how many folks had them in their wishlists and shopping carts and thought I would give them a nudge.  When I did the sale, in my mind, the number of 100 sales popped up.  Okay, seems unlikely, but what the hell.  In the 16 days The Manor PDFs were on sale, I sold 198 of them...

Thanks folks for the support.  Issue #8 has got some fantastic pieces lined-up.  Hope to see you there.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Gifts at the Manor

I'm not sure if you know, but it's Christmas.  I heard it on the news somewhere.  I wanted to show you the very cool stuff the wife got me.  Some of the gaming stuff I knew, because with gaming books, its sorta like her cooking stuff, its just better to let the person pick it out so you can get the right one.  Speaking of which...

I got my DMG finally!  I will spend some quality time with it during the weekend.

I got the final book of the Green Ronin's version of Thieves World.  This is one I've been wanting to get for a long time.  Recently found it on-line for a good price, snagged it, then thanked Ivy for her savvy shopping and getting me exactly what I wanted.

I got two sets of Micron pens, the different sized black and some colored ones.  Many of the big map makers swear by them.  Ivy remembered and here they are.  Then she got me two other sets of pencils I'm very curious to use.  Watercolor pencils?!?  Apparently you can use them like normal pencils, but add a little water and I guess they become water color paint kinda sorta.  The last batch are brush markers.  They have very fine tips.  I am super excited to try these on my maps.  My artistic ability is very limited so I hope to have enough chops to use them for cool effect.

And lastly....

I got another BIG ASS PRINTER.  Looks like a spaceship.  This badass does edge-to-edge printing AND can print full spread, up to 13" x 19", which means I could do a full sized Manor.  So far so good.  We'll see how it performs when I give it a full workout.

Christmas at the Manor was a huge success.  Ivy did incredible.  I feel like a kid with all these new toys.  We've been very frugal over the past 4 to 5 years, but this year we decided to just have fun with it and we did. 

Here's my new printer next to my other printer.  Both will be used, but my shredder is now homeless.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Last Day Sale for The Manors!


Final night of the $1 Manor sale.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  The sale has been a big fat success.  If you want to grab the Manors for cheap do it now.  Everyone have a fantastic holiday.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Random Map Monday 1

I thought I would start participating in Random Map Mondays.  I draw enough maps.  When I watch Netflix or even while I am gaming, I'll draw an outline of a map or some idea of one.  I'm one of those folks that likes sensory overload so I can focus.  Yeah, I know, sounds like complete bullshit.  Probably is.

Anyway, I usually do three different levels of maps.  I don't tend to do world maps.  My largest map type is above.  A region map.  I always draw those using a hex grid.  I draw the maps on 3" x 5" index cards, scan them into the computer.  Then, for the region maps, I open the map in Paint.net and add the hexes.  Works fantastic, you can control the size of the hex and line thickness.  What color and so on.  Perfect for this kind of thing.  They also have one to add square grids.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Manor Sale Topped 100

http://www.rpgnow.com/browse/pub/3430/GM-GamesHey Guys, thanks a ton.  Since I put The Manor PDFs on sale for a $1 each, I've sold more than 100 copies since the 9th of December.  To be more exact, I've sold 121 Manor PDFs.  For a small time publisher dude like me it's fun to see those orders come in on email.

I'm keeping the sale up through Christmas.  If you want to grab a bunch of Manors for cheap you can still grab them for a $1 each.

Also, Starter Adventures has been doing very well.  My expectation were fairly minimal for this product due to the fact it is a higher sticker item and the print version is only available at Lulu.  I know when I shop at Lulu it's usually with a coupon.  But despite that, I wanted to sell at least 20 copies before the weekend and I reached that this morning.  I should be getting my comp copies from Lulu soon and I'll send those out to my helper dudes after Christmas.

I haven't done a sales report for the past couple months.  Not sure why.  Just forgot I guess.  I'll do a catch-up post and reveal the numbers.

Again thanks for the support, have a great weekend and get those gifts now man.  In fact, I gotta run.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Starter Adventures for Sale

Yesterday I received my copy of Starter Adventures from Lulu.  I was pleased with the way it turned out.  This is my first experience dealing with POD.  I tried RPGNow first, but found it difficult to navigate the print side of things.  Lulu was more user friendly.  Easier to get your book setup. 

This project took a long time.  Mainly due to me getting distracted by a different project or just plain laziness.  +Jason Sholtis and +John Larrey did all the the artwork you'll find inside.  They did an awesome job.  This was actually the first project Jason and John helped me with and these guys really went to town.  The cover was done by Jason.  He sorta tossed it at me and asked if I could use it for anything.  I looked at it and said, "That's my cover."  I love the twilight lighting, the orcs searching and the PC hoping whatever is in the bottle is going to help.

I had another OSR all-star assist me with this project, +Rob Conley did the maps.  I think I had him do six different types of trees for the one map.  I think he was ready to hit me with one of those trees.  His maps are always fantastic and pieces of art themselves.

Starter Adventures was thought up after a night of gaming with my wife.  I wrote it so folks could use it to introduce someone into the RPG hobby.  There are four adventures for each of the four main classes (cleric, fighter, magic-use and thief).  I wrote Starter Adventures to teach a person what die to use, some of lingo, that combat is not the only option, using magic items and so on.  Also inside is Red Bear Tavern.  Every adventuring group needs a place to hang out.  It's a pretty cool tavern if I do say so myself.  And the final entry is a full-fledged adventure to put those newbs to the test.

If you have any question, feel free to ask in the comments or email me. 

Lulu Print Link
Lulu PDF Link


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Review: Mischievous Monsters

If you don't know who Simon Forster is, you should.  He creates fantastic maps, adventures and he is an overall cool dude.  A few weeks ago, Lulu did one of their big coupon deals and I picked up a few books that included Mischievous Monsters.  I've been a big fan of Simon's from way back, but I couldn't remember him releasing this adventure.  I mentioned something to Simon about his lack of pimping this adventure and his reply was, "That Mischievous Monsters is old and nowhere near as good as it could be now, which is why I don't tend to promote it."

With that statement I should add to the list of Simon's qualities, he's full of shit.  I just finished reading Mischievous Monsters and this adventure is excellent.  I've read Simon's other adventures and I enjoy the way he constructs the scenarios and the simple mechanics he applies to add to the experience of the adventure.

Let's get some of the regular stuff out of the way.  It is a low-level adventure compatible with the Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy RPG.  Which means, it adapts to any OSR system with a small bit of effort.  I bought the print version, paperback, digest-size, 28-pages long, and a left and right justified single-column.  Good sized font which makes for easy reading.  The cover is a default from Lulu with an inset picture.  There is no other art in the book.

Onward, to the adventure.  A simple premise, the party stays at The Dancing Donkey Inn with some other folks.  During the night, stuff gets stolen.  The layout is very nice, a roster of who is staying at the inn is given in a simple table form so referencing is easy.  Above, I mentioned simple mechanics that add to the experience of the adventure, here's what I am talking about.  During the night when the thieves are thieving, Simon provides a simple table of what happens, what turn it happens and the chance of the party waking while it's happening.  This simple mechanic at the beginning of the adventure can change the course of the adventure in many ways.  I dig this kind of thing.

Everyone in the morning is boo hooing that they lost their stuff and ask the party to get it back.  A great role-playing opportunity.  There are rewards to be had,  all simple, but useful.  This is a trait I enjoy about Simon's adventures, his adventures are understated.  Hyperbole is tossed in the bin. 

Another simple mechanic Simon has employed is a simple timeline.  Depending on how fast the adventurers react to the situation, things are moving in the background.  There is a countdown, this adds tension to the situation.  Because the players are unaware of these behind the scene activities, it will make certain 'happenings' unexplainable and mysterious. 

The meat of the adventure is when the party attempts to retrieve the stolen goods.  The things the party encounter and how the adventure unfolds are very cool.  I won't go into too much detail because you just need to get a copy yourself.  At the end, there is a great little magic item that has a history and makes sense.  It's not just a randomly rolled item cookie-cuttered in.

In the back of the adventure are three new monsters you'll run in the adventure.  Again, Simon makes this section very usable with a random table of treasure and items they might carry.

Lastly, the map.  I got to know Simon by his maps.  The map is fantastic!  He's got an overall map with three connected cutaway maps included and in one glance you can reference all four maps.  It works well with the adventure.

Overall, I think Mischievous Monsters is a great adventure and glad I added it to my collection.  This is one I can see running.

The paperback version of Mischievous Monsters can be gotten at Lulu for $10.78.  The PDF version is all yours for $2.36.  I would tell you to buy the PDF, but put it towards the print version.  It is a handy adventure to have in your arsenal when running a campaign or a one-shot for the evening.

Well done Simon.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Quick Thought on Adventure Description

I've been writing adventures for as long as I can remember.  A good mix of fun ones and shitty ones.  I can't remember who said it, but it went something like "You need to write through the crap to get to the good stuff".  If you ask some of my long time friends (yes, I have a couple of those) and they can vouch for my compulsive adventure writing.  I've got 100s of them.  All in various states of finish.  There is a lot of crap in there also, but a lot of it can be salvaged, but would need a huge rewrite.

One of the major considerations when writing an adventure is simply how much detail to include.  An age old question.  I tend to default to, when writing a room-to-room adventures, is to detail two things within the encounter area.  Any more than two tends to clutter the page.  If you have an orc standing sitting in the room and he's throwing a hand axe into a halfling corpse hung upside on the wall, you're probably good.  First detail is the orc.  The second is the corpse of the halfling.  There might be more in the room, but the initial viewing and reaction is going to based off the orc and what it's doing.  You could go into more detail, like some furniture or a chest, but I add those as a secondary description.

So the party comes in, nails the orc to the wall next the halfling, then the secondary description can come in.  Describing furniture is always thrilling (NOT!).  Give a few details.  There's a bedroll, sack and dagger on the floor.  Dagger is a dagger.  Bedroll is infested with tiny critters.  The sack has few silver pieces hidden under two dead rats.  Very simple.  And even that could be pared down to the sack.

If you keep your prose terse, GM can pick up the details quickly.  And the OSR has a herd of folks that are outstanding GMs.  Give them a small seed and they can grow a tree.  With these quick details they can create a scene that is memorable and unique.

Some adventures I am good at following this rule and other times I blow it out of the water.  I tend to write in a wide range from in-dept levels of description.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

A Buck A Manor Sale

Click to magically teleport to the sale. 

I'm running a $1 a Manor sale over at RPGNow.  If you've been wanting a copy now's a great time to grab one or all seven issues. 

Done and Not Done

With the final touches done on Stone Fields of Azoroth, I am in printing mode and trying to find a good box to ship them in.

In the meantime it looks like I have abandon the blog.  My brain can only work so many hours in the day.  It's pooped out right now.

Still, as I am printing the books, I'm thinking of other ideas and projects.  Some projects that have stopped and started over the years.  Time to start them again and get going on the next projects.  In fact I am uploading files for one of them right now.

Just ordered a proof copy.

The waiting begins.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Magic Items of Praxus

Putting the final touches on Stone Field of Azoroth.  I thought I'd share a few of the magic items I created for it.  I also created a new god, Praxus, God of Imprisonment, but that is for another time. 

Imprisonment Stone
Imprisonment Stones are created by the priests of Praxus.  The can come in various forms, but most are made from granite.  It is imbued with every magical spell known that immobilizes a creature.  It takes one month to complete one Imprisonment Stone.  This will bind a single creature of 10HD or below for as long as the stone is intact.  Great Imprisonment Stones take three months to construct and can bind a single 15HD creature or below.  There is rumor of more powerful Imprisonment Stones, but they are made with rare materials and would be considered an artifact level.
If an Imprisonment Stone is broken, the magic contained within will explode the stone showering those within a 50’ radius with stone shards doing 6d6 damage.  A Great Imprisonment Stone showers a 100’ radius, doing 12d6 damage.  A successful save will halve the damage.

Swords of Praxus
The Swords of Praxus is a pair of short swords.  They are imbued with +1 to hit and damage.  One a successful hit, the target will need to make a save or be held.  The victim is immobilized for 10 minutes.  Each sword can ‘hold’ one target at a time.  The wielder can chose to release someone who is held to target a new victim. 
Requirements to wield the Swords of Praxus are a strength of 15 or better.  These are heavy swords, weighing 35lbs a piece.  To keep the swords powers active, the wielder will need to make a blood sacrifice (4hp of his own) once a week.  Each time this is done, there is a 2% chance that Praxus will notice and send him on a quest (no save).  The GM should think of something horrible the character will have to accomplish to complete the quest.  At the end of the quest the character may receive a boon.  This may include a bump of 1 to any attribute, bonus experience or money. 

So far so good.  Finished up this last part.  Let it sit for a day.  Do a read through and some edits.  Start printing and mail them to Jarrod.  I'm probably making him very nervous pushing this to the final days.  Sorry Jarrod! 

Hoping you guys who got in on the Mythoard box enjoy my contribution.