Friday, September 25, 2020

Revisiting Old Micro-Adventures: The Pig and the Ogre


I've been doing my Patreon since June of 2014. Yep, a way long time. The Pig and the Ogre was my 3rd micro-adventure. It was done on a 4" x 6" notecard that I laminated. My mapping style was basic with a flair of colored pencils. I was using a program called Xara to add the numbers and adventure title. What you see on the map is about the extent of what I could do. 

I used silhouettes to depict the monsters, and the pig in this case. I can't draw worth a shit and I didn't have a lot of money to buy stock art so I made due. And the system I used was Swords & Wizardry.

I present a simple situation where the crops are being damage by an ogre and villagers are afraid that they won't have enough food for the winter. I love my fake sleeping ogre and the fact he created a makeshift catapult escape plan. What could go wrong? 

I present you the adventure with warts and all. If you're interested in the PDF of The Pig and the Ogre you can grab it off my Patreon for free. 

An ogre was spotted in the forest outside the village. The northern crops were heavily damaged. If more fields are harmed the villagers will not have enough food for the winter.

1. North Field
The three north fields look like a giant pig routed around ground leaving large holes. Nothing to do with the ogre. Only a few plants managed to survive the onslaught. Also apparent is the large foot prints next to giant hooved prints. They are easily tracked into the dark forested area.

2. Forest
The forest is thick with large trees and heavy undergrowth. The ogre has left an easy trail to follow. Within the forest the party will need a light source. Fire light sources may cause a bit of extra excitement (a 1 in 6 chance of catching debris or dead branches on fire).

3. Pit Traps
The ogre has dug a series of crude, but effective pit traps. He’s trying to catch the boar. The pits are hidden by a few branches (4 in 6 chance of spotting it). Each pit is about 12’ deep with spikes at the bottom. Falling damage is 1d4 due to the soft earth, but if the player get impaled by a spike (2 in 6 chance) it causes 2d6 damage.

4. Giant Boar
Off the path the party hears loud snorting and huffing. A squeal erupts, and the under branches shatter as a giant boar smashes through and charges the party.

Giant Boar: HD 6+1; HP 30; AC 4 [15]; Atk gore (3d6); Move 15; Save 11; AL N; CL/XP 1/15; CL/XP 7/600; Special: Continues to fight for 2 rounds after it is ‘killed’.

The boar weights over 500lbs and if the meat is processed correctly, it can be sold for 2sp/pound. The pair of large tusks can be sold as a novelty/trophy item for 50sp.

5. Sleeping Ogre
The party comes to a ridge and they hear the loud snoring. Beneath a rocky outcropping is a sleeping ogre. The ogre is faking. He’s hoping to lure the party into another trap. He holds a rope that triggers six logs to tumble onto the trail. The logs attack as a 5HD creature and do 2d6 damage. The ogre will attack as soon as he releases his trap.

Ogre: HD 4+1; HP 20; AC 4[15]; Atk scimitar (1d10+1); Move 9; Save 13; AL C; CL/XP 4/120; Special: None. 

The ogre is armed with a crude scimitar and made a shield from the side of a horse cart. If he feels he may lose the battle, he will run for a tree he has tied down. He will lay on the tree, cut the rope and catapult himself on top of the ridge to escape (target roll of 12 (using a d20), if he misses he hits the side of the ridge taking 2d4 damage). There is one large sack made from a deer hide. Inside the party will find 23sp and 17cp loose, a small metal coffer (locked) with 100sp inside, two silver rings (10sp) and a silver ring with a ruby (50sp), a longsword, two wood axes and a battered helm.

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Artist Spotlight: Yuri Perkowski Domingos


I've decided to start a new series on my blog called Artist Spotlight. I'll feature an artist I've used in my adventures or someone's whose work I enjoy. I'm a bit of a stockart junkie so I shouldn't run out any time soon. The links to DriveThru are affiliate links to help me with my stockart addiction. 

Which brings me to my first artist, Yuri Perkowski Domingos. For those of you who don't know I run a Facebook group called RPG Zines. I wanted to create a cool space for people writing zines, creating artwork, and all the behind the scenes magic like layout and editing. That's where I first saw Yuri's work. I mean come on, a rot grub picture gets me every time. 

Yuri brings an intense amount of detail to his pieces. His work jumps off the page. He has several pieces that include horrible things that happen to adventures, like our poor man-at-arms above, but also some crazy cool monsters and architectural pieces.

I love this one. If Joey Ramone was a troll this is exactly what he would look like. 

I used his lighthouse piece for my cover on my Lighthouse of  Corban Cove micro-location. It immediately invoked a desperate community living off of tired traditions to remain intact. That's what I look for. Pieces that tell me a story. 

Yuri has a fantastic selection of work to inspire your next adventure, your next zine, or whatever your working on. If you need strong artwork you can find Yuri on DriveThruRPG (I still call it RPGNow). His prices are affordable. You can pick up a lot for just a few bucks. His prices range from $1 to $3 with a few at $5. Most are at $2. 

Allow me to make a suggestion, his 38 Creature Pack is only $20! You get, yes, 38 creatures of varying horribleness, but you also get two versions of each, one with a white background and the other with a transparent background. As a publisher this saves me time having to create one. 

Here are links to Yuri's other internet presences. Follow Yuri to keep up with his latest work. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Hunters in Death Available in Print!!!!

Where are the hunters going?

Now that the Kickstarter has been fulfilled I've got a few copies of Hunters in Death available for sale for those who missed out. When you buy a print copy make sure to add your email that you use for DriveThruRPG so I can send you a coupon for a free PDF. Paypal sends me an email automatically, but if your DriveThruRPG account is connected to a different email let me know.

Here is a video by Joe where he gives an overview of Hunters in Death. 


Saturday, September 12, 2020

Hunters in Death PDF Now Available on DriveThru RPG


I posted Hunters in Death for sale on DriveThruRPG. I haven't posted anything new on the site for years. It was interesting navigating the new setup. I think it they improved the process. How do I know? I didn't swear once. Now that's an improvement. 

For those who don't know, Hunters in Death was my first Kickstarter. I spent a lot of time on this and had a lot of great help. It is filled with artwork from Jim Magnusson. I love his style and it fits the aesthetic I was look for. 

It's 32 pages with additional front and back covers. The first section is a description and particulars of the hex crawl of the Komor Forest, and Hounds Head, a hamlet as a base. Second section focuses on the large random table for travelers in the Komor Forest. To create random barrow mounds that populate the area. Then three adventures to test your party's mettle. 

If you are interested you can grab Hunters in Death on DriveThruRPG. Thanks for taking the time to read my post and if you purchase the PDF, double thanks!

Friday, September 11, 2020

My First Kickstarter Experience

In the Beginning
I started this in January of 2020. Kickstarter promoted their 2nd annual Zine Quest. I remember reading about the first one, but didn't get my shit together quick enough to take advantage of it. I mean Zine Quest is built specifically for someone like myself. A small game publisher with help from friends with little to no money having a time of it. I'd never attempted a Kickstarter. I'm always looking for different ways to share my stuff. But Kickstarter was intimidating. It had brought larger and more popular publishers to their knees. I'm not talking about the scammers, the folks that honestly wanted to write a gaming book and get it out into the public. I told Ivy what I planned and she helped me get my head wrapped around the process. 

The Concept
I dug up a concept I wanted to develop a few years back, Hunters in Death. I wanted to flesh out a hex crawl with an array of adventures that were discovered more then hooked into. Because these adventures shared an area with the other adventures there were connections. Also, during travels there were hints, some subtle, some obvious, of a nasty evil that lurked in the Komor Forest. The idea of the big bad was present through out, but not fully realized until their source was discovered. 

Getting My Art Guy
When Zine Quest 2 reared its head I jumped in with with the idea of Hunters in Death. I already had the setting mostly written. I'll come back to this later. I contacted Jim Magnusson for one of his killer pieces. I wanted to start with a killer cover. Jim delivered. His cover was a huge part of the success of the campaign. I hired Jim to do all the art for the zine to keep a cohesive theme. Jim thankfully agreed. Check out the cover and back cover. I thought the quote from Ernest Hemingway was perfect for the zine's concept. 

Still love it even after looking at it constantly for the last nine months. 

The Write Up for Hunters in Death
First off, I needed to write the information about Hunters and Death and what it was about. The concept. Sometimes I write things as if the reader is supposed to know what I'm talking about. And they don't. Ivy kept nudging me to rewrite it. It didn't sound like me. I hate when she says that. First, because that means I needed to rewrite it again. Second, because she's right. After doing as much as I could do with it, Joethelawyer volunteered to give it a much needed edit. Not only did he clean it up, he injected it with a big dose of steroids. His help was also a huge part of the success of Hunters in Death.

Figuring Out Pledge Levels and Pricing
I wanted to keep it simple. A pledge level for the PDF. A pledge level for both the print copy and PDF. Done. I get annoyed at multiple pledge levels. They confuse the shit out of me. But then there was the matter of pricing. Here was my math with no science or research involved. 

I figured I'd get 50 to 100 people to pledge. So I averaged it at 75 who'd take an interest in my zine. I went back and forth on my goal. I started thinking I should have a $1000 pledge level. So that meant the average pledge needed to be at $13.33. That wasn't going to happen. I finally settled on my PDFs at $4 and Print copies w/PDF at $8. In my head I figured a third would want PDF only and two-thirds print. So using my mind bending logic...

From PDFs I estimated: $100
From print I estimated: $400

Boom! Done. I set my goal at $500. I felt comfortable that I could hit that. And like Ivy said, if you don't reach your goal you'll still do it. She was right. Again. 

The Launch
There was some discussion before hand of when to launch. Zine Quest is run in February and could run for 14 days. Some took the strategy of waiting, to allow some of the deluge of zines to subside. I wanted to get involve as soon as I could. And I am glad I did. It seemed as the month went on more zines kept coming in. Plus, people's wallets aren't endless so I wanted to be in the front of the zine mall. Not in the back.

I was in the first batch of zines in Zine Quest 2. Not only that, Kickstarter selected me as one of their favorites. So my campaign spent a significant time one the front page. 

1st Day
The first day of the launch was on a Sunday. I was glad because if it was Monday, I would have missed a lot of the excitement. My expectations were shattered before the first day was over. It...was...fantastic. I whooshed passed my goal by a bunch.

The Campaign
It was a hell of a ride. While I was at work friends were texting me when I'd hit a pledge or backer milestone. By the end of the campaign I had nearly 600 backers and nearly $5300. While of course seeing the money is good to see, I admit I was more interested in the number of backers. Wow.

What I Didn't Know
When I created my pledges I had people pay for their postage. A $2 mailing charge for US backers and $4 for the rest of the world. When Kickstarter collected their pledge they counted the shipping into the pledge total. I wouldn't do it like that again. It makes sense that Kickstarter would want this to happen. First, it increases the chances of campaigns to fund and second, they get a bigger slice. But knowing this now. Yeah, I won't include shipping in pledges.

I decided at the beginning I was going to print all the zines at home. I have a Patreon where I print about 60 to 120 zines a month. To put it in perspective though those are usually one page, folded zines. 

Hunters in Death is a cover and 8 pages. With contributor copies and backers I needed to print 450 copies. And I wanted to print an extra 50 for those damaged during mailing and selling for those who missed the Kickstarter. That's 4500 pages that needed printing. Without mistakes. 

I needed to order more paper...and a lot more ink.

Don't Go For Cheap Ink
I'd been using this cheaper ink on Amazon for a while. I had a single Epson cartridge left. It looked so much better. So no cheap ink. I think we burned through eighteen cartridges. I lost count. It was worth it. Made the zine look much better.

Back to Joe. My editor for this project. After figuring out details Joe really helped hone Hunters in Death. He was quick to get back to me. He was as enthusiastic about the project as I was. His contribution was invaluable. And he tried to sneak in his character as much as possible. A little Easter egg, you'll find Joe's guy in there twice. A big thanks to Joe.

Ivy supported me through the entire process, but she really got this project done. First of all she is the one who made me do read thrus when I didn't want to. And each damn time I'd find something I could tweak to make better. "Yes, this is good, but you can make it better." And we did. 

She took over the entire production process. I was struggling with getting the zine to print properly. I have been using MS Publisher for a long time. And it was dropping pictures randomly. I'd print ten copies and the last two would have a picture missing. Or drop the last sentences in text cells. Frustrating me to the point I was ready to punch my printer into pieces. I am not exaggerating about this part. She came up with another way to do the printing process and we switch programs to Affinity Publisher. No more problems with pictures or sentences coming up missing. She pulled all-nighters printing and assembling the zines. 

Then she helped organize the mailing. Much better than I ever would have. At the end I ended up getting sick (I know, a Kickstarter creator cliche), and she got the postage taken care of the delivered it to the post. 

Amazing lady.

440 some copies of Hunters in Death are now spread across the globe to 33 different countries. I still have about five people I don't have addresses for. I'll try one last time to reach out to get them their zine. I'm taking a break from it for a while. Then I'll put the PDF for sale on RPGDriveThru and offer the print copies I have left for those who missed the Kickstarter. 

I have nothing to complain about. I learned a ton from the process. I'm glad I did Zine Quest and will probably do it again and do Kickstarters in general again. So many people were supportive and their excitement helped me get it done. So you'll see future projects from me, but not right now. A little time to breathe.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Kickstarter: For Coin & Blood 2nd Edition

Another Kickstarter I wanted to bring to your attention. Gallant Knight Games has written a second edition to Coin & Blood RPG. It's already written, artwork is done, and as soon as the KS campaign is done it looks like the PDF version is ready to go. 

One of the things I like about this Kickstarter is the simplicity of their pledges. One for PDF at $10 and one for print and PDF at $25. The print version comes with a hardcover they ship and the PDF. And now at both pledge levels you you get a POD coupon for a B&W softcover copy through DriveThruRPG. You can't beat those pledge prices. 

Here are a few excerpts from the campaign text to get you interested in taking a look.
Playing assassins, cult leaders, blackguards and more, For Coin & Blood is a different look at the other side of the coin of fantasy roleplaying games.

While most roleplaying games hide their murderers under the mantle of “hero” (I mean, what “hero” invades underground complexes in search of treasure and murders the denizens because their whole species is “evil?”), For Coin & Blood makes no pretenses about what it asks you to be. You’re the villains that other campaigns fight. You’re the cult leaders, assassins, fallen nobles, murderers, mercenaries, necromancers and thugs.

If that doesn't interest you I have no idea what you're doing reading my blog. I grabbed the first edition when it came out and like the concepts. Plundered the books for the ideas I could put into my campaign which wasn't that difficult since I have a similar philosophy. I'm looking forward to what the second edition For Coin & Blood has to offer. You've got less than 2 days to get on this! Go!

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Kickstarter: The Majestic Fantasy RPG


So there is this guy, let's call him Rob, because that's his name. He's got this Kickstarter. It's called the Majestic Fantasy RPG. It's a standalone RPG & supplement for Swords & Wizardry. It covers 1st thru 5th levels. 

Rob and I have been friends for more years than I can count. I've played in all his variations of his campaign through the years. Basic, AD&D, GURPS, a brief stint of 3.0, Runequest, and most recently 5th edition D&D. I'm sure he snuck in Harn for a few weeks. 

This version however is his own creation. One where he's taken his decades of experience of running his campaign and solidifying it into a system that uses Swords & Wizardry as the chassis. I've  had the pleasure of seeing his system develop and play in games to try out the different rules and they work. They work fantastically well. Many of his ideas I've adapted for my own game. 

He's got 5 days left as of this writing. I hope if you haven't you consider joining his campaign. The buy in price is low at $8 for the PDF and $12 for the print. In addition you get a coupon to get a print version of Blackmarch which is the BEST hex crawl product out there. I'm bias, but I know my hex crawls also. 

The Majestic Fantasy RPG Basic Rules is waiting for you.