Monday, June 29, 2015

A Year of Patreon and The Bastard Baron

The Bastard Baron's Hideaway is my 27th micro-adventure released on my Patreon page.  I started my Patreon on June 11th of last year and it's been a lot of fun and given me a little more flexibility with giveaways and paying folks for participating in my zine.  Also has permitted me to buy a few gaming books I would have otherwise had to have passed on. 

While this is a fairly straight forward adventure, I think the Bastard Baron is bigger than the adventure itself.  To me he is a enemy of low level characters that see the results of his work and have had run ins with the Bastard Baron's men.  He is a great enemy for the players to transition from low level adventuring to mid-leveling adventuring.  Or he can just be the enemy of the week.  A sorry, philosophical villain who believes he is a good man.

All my Patreon adventures are free to anyone to download the PDF.  You can download them all!  However if you want a print copy of The Bastard Baron's Hideaway, join at the $5 level to grab all the laminated and zine-sized adventures.  If you join before the end of the month you'll also get a couple bonus adventures in the mail as well.

Thanks a ton to my patrons.  They rock! 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Little Help from My Friends for a Friend

Bear with me while I is what I want to do.  One of my co-workers who is a good friend of mine also was diagnosed with cancer.  Apparently it's one of the more curable varieties, but he's missing a lot of work due to chemo treatments.  At my work we are doing fundraisers for him to help cover the costs.  I would like to do my own fundraiser for him, a gaming one.

My plan is to load up a box of gaming materials, a bunch, guessing the value would be in the $150 to $200 range, then do a raffle.  I'd sell entries for $5 and $10.  I was going to do $1, but with all the fees that Paypal and/or GoFundMe take, it's not a viable option.

So my question, is there a better way to do something like this?  If you have a suggestion please share it with me.  I'd like to get this start within the week.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Map Day - The Bastard Baron's Hideaway

I've been working on this map most of the day, on and off.  It'll be my next Patreon micro-adventure.  I think.  Sometimes I start them and they stall out so instead of dwelling on it I move to the next map.  Then I always come back at a later date, do a face palm because all of a sudden I see how easy it was to finish and I do. 

I tend to swerve back into gang leaders or cults with some sort of bigger than life personality.  I always enjoy enemies like this, a group to go against who may be the problem or just a part of the problem.  It's flexible enough to suit either.

The premise of this one is there are a group of errant knights, self-dubbed knights, led by a guy who named himself The Bastard Baron.  They enjoy the mockery of nobility.  Their main hideout is located beneath a crypt.  In addition there is a Petty God I am going to throw in there as a little twist as to what's going on.  While I have this premise outlined in my head, nothing has been written yet. 

Two men sit around a campfire discussing the Bastard Baron over burnt bacon and bread they needed to soak in water to be able to eat.

Choke sat with his back against  the tree stump, he figured it would keep him from getting stabbed from behind.  Then Urians mentioned the night before they could swing a rope around the tree and strangle him with ease.  Choke kept looking over his shoulder.

"You're a goddamn child," Urians laughed as he stabbed at a grease dripping piece of bacon.  The edges were curled up and black.  He bit down and burned his tongue and made a hooting noise as he tried to blow on the bacon to cool it down, but would not take it out of his mouth.

"Serves you right," Choke wiped a layer of road dust from his leather vest.  "Why'd you have to tell me about the strangling.  I have a hard enough time sleeping as it is."

Urains managed to get two good chews in before he swallowed the bacon chunk.  "You afraid of that the Bastard Baron will come to get you?"  He shoved a wad of soaked bread into his mouth and managed to shape his words around it.  "Comes at night, him and his knights.  I heard they kill every man woman and child they meet, but they won't kill clergymen."  He twisted a to his right and reached into his pack and held up a vestment.  "That's why I got one of these."

"You ain't no priest.  You can't even read."

"So what, most preachers can't read either."

"Did you get one for me?"  Choke asked and looked behind him again.  The horses stirred a little.  While they were on the outside of the Manatine Forest he understood to let down his guard would be a death sentence.

"No!"  Urians shook his head.  "I figure he could kill you and that would give me time to run away."

"You're a son-of-a-bitch."

"My mother was a whore, not a bitch.  That's different."  Urians corrected.

A loud horse snort made Choke jump.  He turned to see a pair of armored riders only a few feet away.  They wore the crest of a two decapitated heads, the Bastard Baron's men.  The one rider heft a spear and tossed it with ease and enough strength that when the spear struck Choke it slide through his ribcage out his back until the tip buried itself into the ground. 

Urians scrambled to put on his vestment.  He watch as the two men unhorsed and took everything of value that was in Choke's pack and the two rings he wore.  They did not look his way.  He was able to get his arms in the sleeves and pulled the vestment over his head.  He was still terrified.

"Baron wants to see you."  One of the men said without looking at Urians.

"The Baron wants to see me?  For what?  I ask with all respect and humility."

"Wants a new priest.  The old one isn't inspiring him."

"Inspiring?  I am not very inspiring myself."

The first man spun to look at Urians, his expression was enhanced by the scars down his face.  "We are not going to have a problem.  The Baron's wants a different priest and you are the first one we've come across.  So you can tell him yourself.  But don't mistaken that this is a conversation or that you have a choice.  If it were up to me I would run you through right now."

Urians heart raced and his mind searched for an escape.  He couldn't find one.

A large, brutish man walked into camp with a smaller man who face was bloodied.  He looked at Urians.  "I see we have our new priest."  He turned and hacked at the wounded priest separating his arm from his shoulder.  The Baron then pointed to Urians, "I guess this makes you my new priest."

Sunday, June 21, 2015

And The Winners Are...

There were an even 40 entries with the international entries counting as two.  I had Ivy roll the dice to determine the winners.  And as it so happened, the two winners are WAY across the oceans.  One way to the east.  The other way to the west.

The first copy won a one-way ticket to Australia.


Congrats David, I already have your address so I'll send it in the mail tomorrow.

The second one is scooting across the Atlantic Ocean to land to my homeland, Ireland.  

+Eric Nieudan Congrats on the win!

Eric please send me your address to elder(underscore)sensa(at)yahoo(dot)com.

I'm happy to see to folks who don't get a chance to take part in Free RPG Day get a little swag.  Thanks to all those who participated.  Don't give up hope, I'll be giving away more things in the future.

Free RPG Day Giveaway

Yesterday was free RPG Day.  I got some loot.  I got some duplicate loot and here is some of the loot I am going to give away.  It seems I have 3 copies of Better Than Any Man.  I think I got one when it came out, another very generous person sent me free RPG stuff last year when I didn't get attend Free RPG Day and I picked up a copy yesterday.  It's probably one of the best offerings from Free RPG Day that I remember.  Well I got 3 of them and I only plan to keep 1.  So I am offering two for the giveaway.  Here's what you have to do...comment.  I'll ship to where ever you live.  Postage is on me.

Those that live outside the US please put that in your comment because I know you guys and gals don't get free RPG Day so your comments are going to count as two.  For once, living outside the US in these giveaways, is going to be an advantage.

I might have a few other things to throw into the giveaway pool later in the week.  I need to do some reorganization.  These gaming products need a good home.  I should have made a video Sarah McLachlan song playing the background.

Happy Father's Day to those who have the honor of such a title.

 ADDITION: I'll determine the winners at 9pm EST tonight.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Free RPG Day, One and Done

Last year I passed on Free RPG Day because the two stores that were participating in the area just annoy the shit out of me.  This year I decided to return to one and give it a try and I'm glad I did.  First thing, in the past they only allowed you one thing from the box.  This year they allowed me to select three things.  I dragged the wife along to get a few more additional items.  Two, the guy who runs the gaming session is one I'm not a fan of and is the dipshit feature in this post.  However, this year he was friendly and I actually had a conversation with him.  The other cool thing is that they had stuff from the previous years to pick from. 

So here's what I got. 

I grabbed two Goodman Games products, the DCC GM's Screen.  I thought this was an excellent idea for the DCC folks.  Then I grabbed a 5th edition adventure Into the Dragon's Maw.  I've been playing in a 5e game on and off and I go back and forth about writing an adventure specifically for the system. 

Heirs of Olympus was a 2008 Free RPG Day offering.  I liked the look of this one.  or layout purposes.  I am attempting to educate myself on layout and improving what I produce in the future.  I grabbed this to check it out for layout purposes. 

A Nightmare at Hill Manor was a 2011 offering.  I got this because of my interest in Esoterrorists.  I thought I could mine it for ideas.  It looks like a well put together product and I think it'll be a fun read.

Better Than Any Man, that was two years ago.  Probably one of the better items produced for RPGDay.  I grabbed a copy of this one because I know folks overseas don't get a chance at these items so I basically got it to give it away to someone.  I'll post the giveaway here in a day or two. 

The final two products I got were Pathfinder books.  The first book is Dungeons of Golarion.  It's a book of short adventures.  Not much more to say.  heh.  And the last book is Battle of Bloodmarch Hill, book 1 of 6 of the Giantslayer adventure path.  I grabbed it because it was the first in the series and those seem the most difficult to get.

Overall, a good day for RPGs.  I didn't get a chance to play, but I'm cool with that.  Hit the bookstore after wards and got a little writing done.  Hope your Free RPG Day went well also.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Flash Sale: Starter Adventures 20% Off to Match Lulu's 20% Off

Lulu is celebrating national splurge day.  They are offering 20% off of all print books by using the code SPLURGE.  I have matched Lulu's discount and lowered the price of Starter Adventures by 20%.  This deal is only good today.  So grab a print copy of Starter Adventures

Manor #9 Begins

Over the past week I start working on issue #9 of The Manor.  I received contributions from +Simon Forster and +Rob Conley.  It's already looking like a cool issue.  I've got a couple things percolating in my brain for pieces in the next issue.  Something about a mini hex crawl keeps popping into my head.  I just might have to do something about it.

Once I get some more ideas onto paper and the content mo re organized it will be time to get some art.  This is one of my favorite processes and one of my dreaded ones.  I always think I won't find anyone.  So far, so good.  I've only had excellent artists donate their talents to my zine.

In the next day or so I'll post submission guidelines for The Manor.  Because of my Patreon campaign I can now pay for content.  It's not much, but you'll get some pizza money for your efforts.  Until then grab a copy of Issue 8 and get the best damn grappling article in the OSR.

Add caption

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Book Store Doodles and Not So Ancient Gaming Artifacts

I was at Barnes today at the bookstore.  I was working on something and dicked around a bit too long and my battery went dead mid-sentence.  I don't care how many damn time it warns me, I'm always shocked when it goes dead.  And of course I rarely remember to save.  I sorta special that way.  So after cursing beneath my breath because I did not want to teach the two little kids behind me new words, I grabbed my ultra-cool graph paper book I use to doodle in, maps, ideas, adventures or maybe just a room.  Today I just did simple graph maps.

I don't draw any details, just make lines and rooms.  Than I shade one block outside the map.  Mainly because I can't crosshatch like +Dyson Logos or +matt jackson.  I fuck it up everytime.  And I did not have the patience or elbow room to draw the artistic rubble that +MonkeyBlood Design does.  Mine is a poor imitation at best.  So I get out my 1st grader mindset and get to coloring.  So I colored and almost always kept within the lines.

But while I was looking through the book I came across two sheets of paper from Con on the Cob from two and half years ago.  Not the archeological find  +trey causey had earlier in the week, but significant enough.

This is from the adventure run by Dylan Hartwell, he wrote the blog, Digital Orc.  Great guy.  We got to know each other over the net and worked together, Dylan provided me with some fantastic creepy art for my Knowledge Illuminated adventure and an adventure in issue 6 of The Manor.  Dylan is no longer blogging, but I believe he is still gaming.  I need to go back and look at his adventures.  He was killing it for a while.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Far Away Land Last Night

Last night the B-team led by +Erik Tenkar as GM, +Douglas Cole, +Peter V. Dell'Orto, +Joe D  and myself used the Far Away Land Quick Start rules to play.  Before I get too far into this, I am lousy at picking up new systems.  It takes me several playing sessions to understand the nuisances.  However, Far Away Land was very easy to pick up and run a game.

It didn't take long to grasp how the initiative, attack and defense rolls worked.  But there was one constant, no matter what system it is I'm still going to roll and obscene amount of 1s.  Although, in my defense, I got them out of my system early and rolled pretty well in the final fights. 

Joe was our 'guide' named Sir Hanky Panky.  I made that up.  Well, a guide in the "I don't remember much what happened because I was too drunk last time" kinda guide.  Which was pretty damn entertaining.  Doug was our sneaky spell casting thief and Peter played.....wait for it.......a fighter!  I think his name was Mr. McBashy Pants.  I made that up too.

We went to a witch, I got a cool arrow, Joe complained about the quality of the witch's potions, but took a new one anyway.  We decided we were going to go by a mountain that was now infested with gobos (?) (I think that's what they were called).  We got directions to the Temple of Zoko and off we went.

The gobos were led by a small giant (Peter asked, you mean a human?)  and with a surprise attack we nearly took down the small giant named Grumpy Tum-Tum (yep, made that up).  During the battle my guy, Harlan the Arrow (I did make that up, but that was really his name), got smacked pretty good.  But we managed to route the gobos.  There was some equipment inside so we restocked, rested and got back to business the next morning.

We found a group of gobos along the way looting dead elven pirates.  A few of the gobos from last night were in the group.  What followed was the worst attempt to extort money in the history of gobo-ton.  We shooed them off after they got testy.

We went through the forest and crossed a bridge to the Temple of Zoko we go.  But before we reached the temple so bleach we had to cross the snow (it was actually a lake, but that doesn't rhyme with go).  In the lake were scary handed ghosts that splashed water at us.  The witch told us not to stare at them, so we played gin rummy until we reached the temple.

The temple contained a lot of demons and left over bodies.  This is where my 1s left me and I started rolling good.  Although the first fight against the demons nearly took me out.  I was dropped to 3hp.  One of my flaws came into play, fear of fire, and they were fire-breathing demons, I was -1 to my roll.  We found a chest to break into in case of emergency, but Mr. Sneaky Thief could not tolerate carrying around a locked chest.  That simple would not do.  It was against everything he believed in as a man and as a thief.  It had a batch of healing potions which a guzzled down a pair.

Up to the top floor where all the big demons stay.  There were comments about the big demon looked like Captian Kirk sitting on a big fuzzy purple d6.  But he had a blue turtle neck not a gold turtle neck.  Yes, demons wear turtle necks, a little known fact, but once you think about it, it makes perfect sense.

So the big fellow seemed upset they we came there to kill him.  We peppered his ass, but good.  We rolled well and his defenses were lousy, "stop that" "ow, you're hurting me" "I'm getting mad".  His armor sucked also.  The final fight we made big demon go down quickly.  We looted and found a spear of rot.  Which was cool.  Although we all stood around and wonder which of us would take it.

It was a fun session and I love trying out new systems.  Far Away Land proved to be an excellent pick-up game system that you can grab the quick start rules and go at it. 

Here is Peter's take on the night.
Here is Doug's take on the night.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Even Wiggy Loves Mythoard Day

Mythoard day is when my package arrives from +Jarrod Shaw and his minions at +Mythoard.  Even Wiggy gets excited.

A little story first.

I go to the post office where I am fairly well-known.  I won't say why.  My lawyer advised me to say nothing.  There is a lady in front of me trying to figure out how best to ship a Xbox 360.  She is deciding what box to use and she's sad that wrapping job she did wasn't good enough.  Tick-tock said the clock.  And of course my post office has one and a half people working the desk.  The half-a-person is this lady who is very nice, but has a suspicious Valium gaze.  She went into the back to get some stamps and she never returned.  Maybe they needed to hatch a new one of her from a pod.

So the lady continues to contemplate her 360 dilemma.  The clock is telling me my break is winding up quick and I still haven't gotten anything to eat, but I'm not going any where because I got a yellow slip in my PO box and that means I got a package.  And I KNOW its Mythoard day.

The 360 lady chirps  "That's too much money to send it that way, is there another way."  I may have said something like "UPS".  Maybe not.  And I'm thinking if you like the kid enough, get him an Xbox One, not a system they stopped making games for. 

I finally get to the counter and trusty Mike knows what I'm there for.  He goes into the magic package room where all my stuff appears from and there is it, The Mythoard box.  Fricking lady wasted 15 minutes of my time I could have spent with the contents of the box.

So here's a tip, do not open you Mythoard box in the car.  Especially if you drive an Impala and the box contains dice.  Here's why.  When I opened the box the dice fell out in between the seat.  Shit!  Impalas have seats that were not built for you to lose dice under because its near impossible to get your hand under there.  I dug and dug, and suffered a massive hand wound.

I managed to get all my dice back though.  Cool red ones from Chessex.  They were lose in the package. I imagine Jarrod has a couple hundred empty, plastic containers in his house.

No dice were harmed in the retrieval process, but that fricking four-sided was a pain to get.

Some of the other small items that were included was a small tablet thing with skull & crossbones.  It's tiny.  I guess you can use it as a hit point tracker.  Also in the pack was an upside down lich token, they always come in my package upside down for some reason.

I found these cool cards I'd never seen before.  They are set up for Pathfinder, but I can definitely find a use for these.  These cards are exactly why I love Mythoard, I didn't know about them and if I did I probably wouldn't have bought them because they are set-up for Pathfinder, but I am glad I h ave a deck because I know I can find a use for them.

The next thing is becoming a staple it them Mythoard boxes, a single sheet location with a random table.  This one comes with a map of a tavern you can use in game.  I used my upside down token to demonstrate.  I am demonstrating how the token casts a light spell in the tavern.

At the bottom of the box there are still more goodies.  Like +James Spahn's Omnibus.  I already have a copy, but it is good to have a second copy for the table.  Or I might just do a random giveaway, but I doubt it.

 The last thing in the box is another regular feature in Mythoard these days, a Judge Guild book!  I love getting these.  I have a small collection of JG books from when I was an early twenty something.  This issue of the Dungeoneer made me late for work.  I got to reading some of its articles, it is jammed full.  So between Xbox lady and the Dungeoneer I was late getting back from lunch.  The one upside, is all my bosses are late for everything also and they were later than me.  

Another great Mythoard box.  Jarrod was already showing sneak peeks at June's box and now I want that one.  It's a great service.  Jarrod is about as cool a dude as they come.  Throughout the post you can click on any Mythoard and you'll be transported to where you can sign up for a month, three months, six months or just have an on-going subscription. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

My Secret Doors

This is a continuation of what you'll find in my head while I GM a game.  I keep things as simple as possible.  But I do like to add small details to give something ordinary a new slant or make it a bit more interesting.  This time I look at secret doors.  Most of us have a way of doing things and this is mine. 

Standard Detection (with a twist on dwarves)
Most systems state that you have a 1 in 6 chance of detecting secret doors.  Unless you are an elf or a half elf, then you get have a 2 in 6 chance.  Some even give them a 2 in 6 chance for being near it.  A passive check.  For secret doors, there is always a need to for an active search to find one.  Concealed doors can be found without an active search.

Dwarves are not given an advantage for detecting secret doors, I always thought they should.  But there is something in their natural abilities that I believe applies, the ability to detect sliding or shifting walls (I include floors and ceilings).  I apply it to detecting secret doors.  Dwarves have a 4 in 6 chance now.  Unless there is something other than construction keeping the door secret (such a magic) then dwarves get the standard 1 in 6 chance.

Concealed Doors
The biggest difference for me between a secret door and a concealed door is detecting a secret door requires and active search while a concealed door can be found by just being within the room.  A passive check of a concealed door is the same as it would be for detecting a secret door (1 in 6 chance or 2 in six for the pointed ear folk).  If an active search is made then I increase the chance to 2 in 6 or 3 in 6 for the elvenkind.  And the dwarves, should the situation apply, increase to 5 in 6.  

Difficulty of Detecting Secret Doors
Each secret door has a simple difficulty rating, because not all secret doors were created equal.   I use a simple three tier system.  The bade die is a d6 in most cases, but if the creator of the door is master at what he does or magic is involved in the concealment, the die rolled could be a d8 or as high as a d10.  The number the players have to roll under remain the same.  So an elf detecting a very difficult secret door would have a 2 in 10 chance of detecting it.

This little addition I found on pg. 97 of the 1st edition DMG.  I still find stuff in that book.

Secret door builders tip, keep the hinges on the inside.
Opening a Secret or Concealed Door
Most of the time if the players find the door they can open it, but every once in a while there is a trick to getting a door open.  Maybe they need a key or there is a fail safe to opening it.  It's fun to watch the players reaction when they put a key in the door and you ask something as simple as "Which way do you turn the key?" and watch them pee themselves a little.  In games I don't see enough trapped secret doors.  I would think if you went to all that trouble to hide something you might add a little extra protection. 

The other approach I have is I'll describe the door and immediate area in a little detail and its up to the player to ask questions to get more details.  Then they will have to decide what to do.  Maybe the push the stone that is sticking out slightly farther than the others.  To push that stone locks up the secret door, now only magical intervention can gain the party access.  It was the stone to the left that would have released the door.  Simple things like that help keep the players engaged in what can be a boring task. 

Monday, June 8, 2015

Taking a Popular Setting and Making it Your Own

+Charles Akins wrote a post called, Standards Turned on Their Heads.  The post is about the problem with running established settings.  Settings that people are very knowledgeable about and love.  And how difficult it is to run a game where expectations, either by the GM or the players, can hamper someone's creative process.  Not to mention players calling out inconsistencies.  I wrote a long comment that didn't quite satisfy my gaming brain. 

The first time I ran into this was back in the 80s.  Dragonlance.  You had a couple of camps, those the read the books and those that had not.  Those that read the books basically wanted to reenact the books.  The railroad style of play the Dragonlance adventures are notorious for only encouraged this.  You play the characters in the books and go through the adventures they went through in the books.  So this camp wanted to play the PCs as closely as the books as possible. 

Those who did not read the books did give two shits in a basket about Tanis being a good leader, Strum being an honorable man and they all wanted to nail Goldmoon.  The railroad nature of the adventures drove these guys nuts.  I have no idea how many times I would hear "But Tasslehoof would act like that" and other variations. 

Add that all together and its a tough way to have a good time adventuring because of the expectations of the setting interfered with the natural creative outlet of the game. 

The few times I GMed where I used a well known setting were Camelot and Thieves World.  Love those two settings and many people know them well.  To avoid the problem of people's expectations of 'this is how it's supposed to be', I simply moved the timelines ahead of where the stories ended.  The players found themselves in familiar settings, with familiar names and legends, but the story framework was not there.  I could use the setting, use the power of the name and the emotion it evoked without being constrained by what was supposed to happen.  The players know the Camelot when Arthur was around, but put the timeline ten years after his death, things change.  Players get more invested because they want to see what Camelot looks like now and what happened to it and so on.  It proved to be very efficetive.

With Thieves World you almost have the same situation, not nearly as known as Camelot and there was no central driving figuring of the mythos, yet there is a lot there to pay with.  Because it deals specifically with a city, Sanctuary, the city really is the biggest character in the books.  With Thieves World I had a little more latitude with the timeline.  This time I started the players a few years before the first book.  And before we started I told them this would be their chapter in the book.  They went out hunting familiar names and places.  And while they interacted with some of the book people they discovered their own storyline within Sanctuary and stopped worrying about Shadowspawn and Tempest and Durbo.  And focused on their own thing.

Using popular settings is difficult.  Especially if you have well versed players.  God forbid if I tried to run a Game of Thrones game with my crew.  They know it way better than me.  But if you can manipulate the setting to remain familiar, but yet making it your own, you've got a great chance of having a memorable game.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Review: Temple of Greed

 "Greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge..."
 The quote above is from the movie Wall Street, these words spoken by Gordon Gekko (not the little salamander dude).  Read those words and you'll know what kind of attitude your party needs to have before setting foot into the TEMPLE OF GREED.  Temple of Greed was created by Daniel "+Thaumiel Nerub" Neffling.  Daniel had a great supporting cast helping him such as +Tim Snider, +Dyson Logos, +Edward Lockhart, +Jeff Russell and +Shane Ward.

This review is on the paperback version.  It's 23 pages long.  It has a mix of hand drawn illustration (I believe these were done by Daniel), public domain pictures, both drawn and photos and the map was done by Dyson. 

I like the introduction.  How to get your players involved?  One word: TREASURE!  Do you need anything more than to tell player characters the story of this greedy, now dead-and-forgotten god and all the treasures left behind when the temple was sealed?  If that is not enough, maybe this adventure is not for your players.

This is a trick and trap and puzzle dungeon crawl.  I will not go into details about them as not to spoil them for anyone.  The only helpful advice I will give is the pious and humble will not do well in this.  Thieves and brigands should have the perfect mindset.

The dungeon has 13 rooms and I think could be completed in a single evening.  And like I mentioned about it is a thinking adventure, not a hack and all.  The puzzles and traps presented are tough enough to be challenging.  Daniel deftly avoids the problem with most of these types of adventures, where the puzzles are too difficult or the answers too abstract that the players get frustrated.  All the puzzles are very manageable if the party does a little problem solving.  It makes it fun.

I really like what Daniel has done with this adventure.  It is something I struggle with, so I respect when I see others develop a dungeon around puzzles and traps.  Plus, the background of the place makes sense to the adventure.  Adds some depth to it.  And I haven't checked, but I think Daniel's god of greed would make a perfect Petty God.

In addition to the adventure +Edward Lockhart created a class that is dedicated to the God of Greed.  It fits perfectly with the adventure and I think could be a fun add-on to someone's campaign.  It would be easy to put into a campaign.  Unless you have one of those worlds where people hold hands and get along all the time...that would so suck.

A huge thumbs up from me.  My only complaint would be that some of the public domain art pieces did not fit.  Daniel did illustrations for the book that were fantastic, I would have liked to see his interpretation of the pictures.  But that is a minor point.

You can grab a copy of The Temple of Greed at RPGNow.  The PDF is only a $1.70 and the print version is a mere $4.47 and you get the PDF with it.  Well worth the price of admission. 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Map Comparisons: What Do You Think?

I was messing around with one of my more recent maps.  The one pictured below.

One of my typical maps.  But then I ran it through program using Distort then Dents.

I like how it blends in the gray mist area with the cliff and how the water and trees get dispersed.  It looks a little more realistic to me in a way.  I don't know, just thought it looked cool. 

Thursday, June 4, 2015

GM Games Sales Report: May '15

This month GM Games released The Manor, Issue #8 which helped drive sales.  The Flayed King was downloaded over a 100 times.  Here are the total sales of the month of May.

The 8th Manor sold 93 copies in the first month which is incredible.  After I crunch the numbers and see how the other Manors sold, I think issue #8 is going to be at the top or near the top in first two months available.  However, this release of the Manor so a large decrease in the number of back issue bought.  In the past when I've released an issue, there would be a small surge of back issue sales, but it didn't translate into that this time.  I'll have to check back and check the old number and come back with something more concrete that we can compare.

Because of Issue #8, it was a great month.  GM Games sold 71 print units, sold 58 PDFs and there were 206 free downloads for a total of 129 paid sales and 334 total sales.  I'll take it.

If anyone has any questions about my sales or curious about the behind the scenes activity just IM or post a comment.  I open with this business and like to share what I'm doing and my experiences.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

BACON! Do you worry about it?

How often do you have a party keep track of food?  Do you make them take supplies for a two week trek they are about to begin?  Or is that something you just hand wave?

In the past, I've only took food in consideration when it added an interesting element to the game.  And if I planned to make it a thing in game, I told the players ahead of time so they can prepare.  I've had a handful of experiences where the GM never worried about food and all of a sudden he would ask how many rations we had.  Since it was never an issue, my attention (and coins) were else where.

It can become tricky introducing that type of thing into game unless it goes along with your adventure.  The adventure I ran where food was just as important as weapons and armor, found the party escorting villagers that were displaced because the area had been overrun with a barbarian tribe and a small army of humanoids (basically these two sides were warring against one another and their battle moved into a 3rd party).  They needed enough food for themselves, horses and the the villagers.

The players were smart about it and immediately assigned one of the players to be the food accountant.  He figured out how much food was needed each day.  Once the food was depleted villagers slowed the progress and got sick.  It also would deny the party a full night's rest.  Without food they could not recover from wounds or earn back spells.

The cleric in the party all of a sudden found use for his Create Food and Water spell, which saved their bacon (pun intended) a couple of times.

It added another element of tension to an already tense situation where you have a party escorting a group of non-combatants through a war zone.  It worked exceptional well.  but it also is one of the few adventure where I would make food an element of the adventure.

So do you worry about bacon in the game?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Mail Call with a Graphic Image NSFGT

After my Dragon Age tragedy.  Look at the pictures if you dare.  This picture is NSFGT, Not Safe for the Gaming Table.  I warn you, the image is graphic.

Aww gawd, the horror!  The crumpled corners! 

I sent it back and ordered a new one. 


But today was a good Mail Call.  Noble Knight Games had a sale (might still be going on) so I picked up some odds and ends.

I got at least one Dragon Age product without a gory end.  Another Lankhmar product.  Like Ravenloft, Lankhmar is another line of products I am trying to collect.  O was happy to find this one.  The Deck of Illusions was a whim buy.  Not sure what it is, but for a few bucks I thought I'd get it.  And the final book is from Expeditious Retreat Press series of digest sized monster book broken up by location.  I have Underground and March & Aquatic already on my shelves, so Forest can join them.  I think these are an under appreciated set of monster books. 

Oh and I also got...

The Ravenloft core book for my collection.  I say collection, but I read and use these puppies also.  So the mail have been very good to me today.

Random Map Monday

This is the same map as the one I used last week for Random Map Monday except with the location details.  This map is for my next micro-adventure, Village of Osmolt.  The problem I'm having is that it wants to be larger than a micro-adventure.  I've edited the details on the map about a half-dozen times.  I had two write-ups started, but both of those were turning into hex crawls.  My adventure needs to be focused and funneled.  While play outside the primary adventure is good, there is very little room for it.  So I began writing a 3rd version and this time I think I have the scope correct.

I detailed the map in a program I have called Xara.  I've had it for years and its a fantastic program that I know how to use about a 1000th of its abilities.  I went with Hombre font.  To get the white layer beneath it, I copy the text, change it to white, then use the beveling tool to expand the text slightly.  This makes the text pop out from the map and almost gives it a 3D effect.

I continue to use my silhouettes as map symbols.  The little faerie symbols are locations where some of the faeries live.  These won't be detailed, but rather will be determined by a random table (this is my idea right now, might change).

I also put the map into to give it hexes.  There is an add on code that allows you to add hexes and adjust the size.  I did that for this map to give the GM some sort of size of the area.  However in the introduction of this adventure no everything is as it seems and its likely to change.

Lastly I beveled and rounded the outside edges of the map.  I'm not sure it adds to the map, but I like the effect.

No time to dick around.  Vacation is dead, long live the grind.