Saturday, October 31, 2015

Zombie Museum Day Trip

Yesterday, Whisk and I drove to Evans City, a small, but busy place just north of Pittsburgh.  Why would I drive there?  Because they have The Living Dead Museum of course.  Evans City is also the home of Evans City Cemetery which was featured in the first scenes of Night of the Living Dead, the original zombie movie.  A few years ago Whisk and I went on the hunt to find Nicholas Kramer there and had a great day.  Since then they have rebuilt the chapel that was in the movie.  It was rebuilt with the donations from movie fans who wanted to see it restored.

Here are a few cool picture we got from the museum.

Today the Whisk and I are barricading the doors and windows with all the scrap wood we can find.  We'll watch scary movies all day and she'll make great food.  Perfect Halloween.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Party Failure

I've been thinking about and discussing what constitutes failure for a party.  During my latest session the party put themselves into a situation where they are most likely to fail.  They were given the task to find and item before the week was out.  It probably won't happen.  There was one point in the adventure where I almost fudged it a bit to help them keep on schedule, but I hate fudging and decided to see how it played out.  The ending will as much a surprise to me as it will them.  So while they may not get the item back in time, there are a batch of other possible outcomes. 

I finished my 3rd micro-adventure this month, The Remains of a Most Unfortunate Party.  I started writing it before the game session, but it tied in nicely to my thought process.  Here we have an adventure that has been 'used' so to speak.  An adventuring party fairly recent went through here to get an item.  There are bodies and evidence of their passing.  In the the end they got their item, but they also were TPKed.

A few days ago I posted another micro-adventure titled, Old Warren Castle.  I have a post half written about found locations and that's what I consider Old Warren Castle. 

Time to head to the zombie museum in Evans City.  Enjoy the adventures.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Prison of Gallus

I completed my 35th micro-adventure last night, Prison of Gallus.  My 42nd piece over all for my Patreon.  I finally cracked 70 patrons!  Ivy likes to let me know when I get a new patron. 

I often overwrite my micro-adventures which is easily done given the restricted space on a 4"x6" notecard.  Or if I go bit it might be on a half sheet, from and back.  Or my largest is a full sheet, folded, front and back.  Often times I need to rewrite an adventure, on average, three times.  I kept doing over and over again this past month.

I was working on this one idea, but the problem was I had a great title and great cover, but the adventure I wrote for it did not fit the...I don't know, the importance of the title and cover.  So I had to put that one aside to go at it another day because it wasn't clicking.  I've got a folder on my desktop full of partially written adventures to come back to. 

So to give my mind a rest I binge watch Netflix (and there are so many good shows on right now) and draw maps.  I think I've drawn 5 or 6 maps recently.  Fodder for later use.  The map above was one I drew while watching an enjoyable episode of Arrow.

To get things churning again I often have to dial it down.  Think more of an adventure situation than an adventure setting.  These micro-adventures actually can produce an amazing amount of ideas to rift off of.  With Prison of Gallus you have the following situations:
  • An unborn child was cursed to be a flesh eater, a living ghoul.  
  • The noble lord who is embarrassed and ashamed of the situation and uses his power to sacrifice others in the hope of curing his son.
  • The mysterious person who curse Gallus and what was the reason.
  • The criminals are vanishing from the dungeons, even those who are guilty of minor crimes.
  • The disappearances of people on the street.  
There are many strings to pull upon that are suggested in this micro-adventure.  These strings can be developed into much larger situations/adventures.  The seed, the beginning of something much larger.  That's why I like writing the micro-adventures because even though they are small, they can develop into many things.

Prison of Gallus is free for everyone.  Just hit the link and you'll be teleported to where you can do that.  If you are a patron or become a patron at the $2.50 level or above, you'll receive a laminated copy of the adventure in early November.  I huge thanks to my 71 patrons.  Their support has been a huge help over the past couple of months. 

It is Monday.  Time to make the doughnuts. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Trick-or-Treat Giveaway Winners!

I had 24 entries into the giveaway.  Here are the 6 winners!

+Andy Action wins Menagerie of the Ice Lord
+Peter Schweighofer wins The Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz: Extra Stout Edition
+Frank Turfler wins The Undercroft No.5
+Taylor Frank wins Demon Drums
+Jim White  wins The Stronghold No.2
+Mike Monaco wins Slumbering Ursine Dunes

Thanks to every who shared their Halloween stories, they were a lot of fun to read.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Trick or Treat Giveaway

I was sorting and changing around my gaming shelf and found some duplicates of some zines, new and old, and thought I would do a trick-or-treat giveaway.  Here's the list of prizes.

The Treats
Demon Drums by +Tim Callahan 
Blasphemous Brewery of Pilz: Extra Stout Edition by +dylan hartwell
Menagerie of the Ice Lord by +dylan hartwell
Slumbering Ursine Dunes by +Chris Kutalik
The Stronghold by +Boric Glanduum
The Undercroft by +Daniel Sell

All of these are fantastic.  And the only reason I'm doing the giveaway is I have duplicates and spreading good gaming around improves the world.

The Trick
So here's how this will work.  If you want to be entered into this random goodness, in the comments below, share your favorite Trick-or-Treat moment.  Or Halloween if that words better.  Extra points if you mention what was/is your favorite treat to get. 

I'll randomly roll the winners from those who participate.  If there is a particular one you would really like to get, mention it.  Can't guarantee that's the one you'll win, but it improves your chances.  I'll determine the six winners Wednesday night sometime.

Enjoy this, the funniest of all the holidays, Happy fricking Halloween.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Starting a New Player

I've been reading various posts and the subject I've been drawn to lately are about starting a new game.  A new game with new players specifically.

There are several posts about easing a new player into a campaign world.  And others throw them in the middle of the pool of information and tell them to swim.  I prefer somewhere in the middle.  I've never been fond of extremes either way.  I prefer somewhere between the two positions and that somewhere may lie anywhere, depending on the player I am trying to introduce to the my game.

As I say in many of my posts, I will with this one, this is what works best for me and I am not saying if you prefer to use different methods that you are wrong.  I don't get paid to be the game police.

When I get a new player introduced into my campaign there a few factors that I take into account.
  • What is the player's gaming experience?  Is this their first gaming or are that a 30+ year tabletop warrior.
  • What is the player's age?  Once in a while you'll have a youngster join the party.  I would introduce a 10yr old into the campaign differently than a 40yr old. 
  • How far along into the campaign is the party?  If the new player starts with the rest of the party I will take more time creating something to introduce them to the world.  But if a new player come in at the middle (I don't like doing this, but at times I have done it), I will give them a sketch of what is the current situation, and notes focused on how the party came to be where they are.  I don't want to disrupt the flow of the game, by bogging down the party's momentum to explain why this happened or this is how that happened.  
  • Talk to the player.  If someone is going to join my game, I like to explain what the campaign is about and what kind of game are they looking for.  If they want a western theme, or a high powered video game experience I let them know they will be very disappointed in my game.  Plus, you want to make sure your new player isn't a dickhead.
I don't do much more than that.  If I have the time I'll do an outside session with them to develop their character and run them solo to get a feel for the background of the character and the tone of the campaign.  

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Tales from the Game Tavern [Review]

Look at the beautiful orange and black cover.  The adventurers out with there jack-o-lantern candy containers.   A Halloween zine.  Two of my favorite things.  +Grand DM is the curator of The Game Tavern zine.

This review is based on the print version.  Tales from the Game Tavern is 28 pages, which is a bit meatier than the typical 24 pages.  The beautiful orange, cardstock wrap around cover.  There is a mix of artwork, some by the Grand GM himself and public domain images.  And the last two pages are dedicated to the OGL.  Now let's dive into the issue.

The introduction is one of my favorite parts of a zine.  A little glimpse of into the mind behind the zine.  This one is no different.  Grand GM professes his love for everything fall and Halloween and my favorite stat is he runs I6:Ravenloft and that Strahd record is 9-1.

There are seven articles within and the first on is titled Flesh Golem Redux.  An interesting take on flesh golems using the Gothic influence of Frankenstein.   A trio of female flesh golems, or the Monster's harem.  At the end of the article are a handful of helpful GM tips.

Haunted Armor is the next article, four pieces of armor that do more than protect.  I like the way this one is formatted.  A paragraph of flavor text, the appearance of the item and its enchantments.  The second paragraph is how to use it in game.  I like this feature.  Plus, the items are interesting and playable.  I am one of those GMs who likes to have magic items have drawbacks, these quartet fit that bill nicely. 

Tavern Ghost, a quick 1d4 table of, what else, Tavern Ghosts!  Add a little flavor into your tavern.  There are plenty of tavern name generators, tavern weird food or weird drink tables, but this is the first one for ghosts. 

Grody the Ghoul is a low level adventure.  This one is accompanied by a fantastic looking map.  Also a clever use of the map are two random tables Worm Chow and Gnarly Finds.  They do not disappoint.  I like the adventure, a straight forward affair that can be completed in a night.  What I like about it though is I can see it as part of the local folklore of a small village.  At the end of Grody the Ghoul is a nice hex map and suggestions on how to expand the adventure.   I like these GM tips and suggestions at the end of each article. 

Alien Abduction is a series of random tables to produce a horror abduction of the Halloween kind.  These table I see more useful in modern settings, but an interesting interaction between the four table can create crazy outcomes.

Now this one is my favorite article of the issue, Malignant Scourge.  It deals with disease, an underused thing in gaming I think.  And zombies!  I like the ideas and how it plays out I plan to steal it for my own game.  The spread of the Malignant Scourge is deadly and fun and add a few social elements and half-truths and it turns this article up to an 11. 

To finish out the issue is recipe for Game Tavern Goulash.  Taste is you dare. 

+Grand DM has put out a fantastic Halloween themed zine.  It is a lot of fun and there is a lot of good gamable stuff in the pages.  You can buy a print copy from his blog, Ultanya.  It is $5 US, $6 Canada and $8 for the world.  And after you order your copy go check out his incredible gaming room.  It's fricking beautiful.  If you want a PDF copy, it's available at RPGNow for $2.99.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Random Map Monday: Ruins & Quarry

Worked on this map all weekend.  Still working on ruins and also thought I would try my hand at a quarry.  This map took more time because instead of being on a 4" x 6" notecard, this map was drawn on a full-size sheet. 

I've got a unformed idea for this map.  My brain has not been working well these days so very little production of anything.  I'm hoping my brain begins functioning again or I may have to call my home owners insurance and see if I can get a replacement.