Monday, March 3, 2014

Terrain Kickstarters

Modern / Sci-fi urban - T5: (Tactical, Topographical, Table-Top Terrain): Tile City Ending Soon! Looks cool, I'm tentative (only pledged $5) only because I'm not sure I would use urban tactical terrain.

Old School Blue - Blue Dungeon Tiles – Wet & Dry-Erase, Double-Sided Map Tiles Plenty of time, but I'm still in at $60 double set. Love versatility.

Also, heard rumor that there's upcoming Dwarven Forge Caves! Kickstarter.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blood & Bone Draft Supplement

Here's the promised Blood & Bone Houserule PDF. Needs play testing, proofreading, formatting, some pics, etc.  Lacking equipment other than weapons. Feedback very welcome. Probably start campaign using it in a month or two.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

OwlCon 33 Old Skool Revolution

Only a couple more weeks and I'll be heading to Houston. Specifically to Rice University for OwlCon from Fri to Sun, Feb 21-23.  OwlCon is one of Texas' great game conventions and my third time attending  (OwlCon29 / game recap, and again for OwlCon30). Owlcon 33's theme is "Old School" which was enough to bring me back once more.

I signed up to run a couple games...

Caves of Chaos Sat 8:00pm

A reprise of my Labyrinth Lord debut at OwlCon 30.
Kill'm and take their stuff like they did in 1980, old school style. Can you survive the classic module "B2 Keep on the Borderland"? Quick, simple, fun, familiar rules. Gets us to the action, and of course loot faster. Join us and roll some dice! New and experienced players welcome. Latecomers welcome.

The Mutant Future! Sun 10:00

Centuries ago, the Ancient World ended in a swirling storm of nuclear fire, toxic bio-weaponry, and global upheaval. But life survived, albeit changed and warped. Mutants and humans live side-by-side in the ruins of Ancient civilizations. Twisted creatures roam the radioactive wastes, and poisonous storms scorch the lands. This is the Mutant Future! Old school Gamma World Retro-clone. Fast, fun, easy rules. New and experienced players welcome.

Other interesting (i.e. old school rules) rpgs at OwlCon

A Parliament of Owls (Andrew Solberg) Labyrinth Lord

Assassination at Grenton (Robert Chadwick) Cyclopedia D&D

The Breeking Pits of D'Nall Kalthurion (Doyle Tavener) DCC

Death on Signal Island (David Dnonhoo), The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Roy Williams), Old School AD&D (Steven Bryant) AD&D

The Dread Crypt of Skogenby (Roland Cooke) Torchbearer

Where's Harlod the Hedge Mage? (Mark Chance) Swords & Wizardry

Along with many miniature, board games and other events.

pre-reg ends Feb 14

See you there!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Glove and Boots do Monomyth

The Monomyth or Hero's Journey is bullshit. It's so vague and malleable. Of course you can interpret it to apply to most stories. This is how fortune tellers and psychics cons work as well.

Despite that, this was still damn funny.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fight On! #14 Arrived

Booyah! The OSR magazine returns. This issue is dedicated to Rob Kuntz.

With 86 pages of goodness including the Dark Troll Citadel level of the Darkness Beneath mega-dungeon, cool art, pipe weed, Mutant Future, mini-game, tables, hooks, items, monsters, encounters, and adventures.

Authors and artists include Lee Barber, Patrick Farley, Jeff Rients, Gabor Lux, Peitsa Veteli, Kevin Mayle, Douglas Cox, Chris Kutalik, Jennifer Weigel, Kelvin Green, Tom Gordon, Michael Curtis, Sniderman, Calithena, Richard Rittenhouse, Hudson Bell, Michael Mornard, Baz Blatt, Jonathan Linneman, Simon Forster, and many more!

Get your copy of Fight On! #14 from Lulu, now!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How Barrowmaze is Awesome

Barrowmaze Complete Indiegogo Project deserves your support. I have run Barrowmaze I and II (the basis of Barrowmaze Complete) in my home campaign. It was some of the most DM fun I've had. Here are some of the reasons Barrowmaze is great fun, great inspiration and a great purchase.

WARNING: Although, I tried to be vague there are still slight spoilers below. Nothing more than hitting locals up for a rumor or two would provide.

Barrowmaze Complete includes custom minis!

Unique Creatures

I guess pretty much every module / product has it's own selection of unique monsters. I really liked several. The Barrow Harpies, The Flagstone, Gemstone and esp Runic Golem (who leave behind runic tablets which may bestow boon or bane on those brave enough to read them), and the special servants / creations of the two human factions of Orcus and Set. All well suited for and reinforcing the flavor of Barrowmaze.

Great Stories

Some of Barrowmaze's numerous tombs are unmarked and semi-generic. But, most have a backstory and many are whole interelated tomb complexes. From the simple, mummy stuck guarding treasure he doesn't really care about, or husband and wife being buried together. To the primeval hunter / hero where PC's are pitted against his famous "hunts" or the epic elemental tomb complex or chosen special resting place.

Some "stories" are fleshed out. Others are just hinted at. Allowing a creative DM to work his ideas into Barrowmaze. Also simplifying or even inspiring links to the greater campaign world. This is the type of flavor that immerses players and makes the dungeon seem like an ancient, living, "real" place.

Get Rich or Die Tryin!
Little Rule Systems

Barrowmaze has several of what I call little rule systems. A few paragraphs, probably a table, that detail some aspect of exploring the dungeon. From excavating barrow mounds and bashing up bricked up walls. To converting canopitic jars into healing salves or searching for grave goods. And the several page "create a barrowmound" appendix.

All add flavor and provide guidance to a DM on how to run Barrowmaze. Individually, they are fun chrome. Taken together they develop the atmosphere of the mounds through play. (rather than the pages and pages of exposition by "your guide" that got common with modern, i.e. 2ed and on, products. I bought an adventure not a freaking novella!)  Gotta dig up the entrance? Mounds are old! Knock down wall? Mounds are large, with separate areas and did whoever lay these bricks want to keep something out or something in? These little touches have inspired me to create similar systems for other dungeons and my campaign locations such as the "Big City".

Dynamic Factions

The differences between potentially boring hack & slash dungeon crawl and a proper mega-dungeon are two. 1) history and depth, covered above. 2) Factions. And not just orcs here and things that fight orcs over there. Factions with needs, goals, allies, enemies, story hooks, and most important; potential for player and referee exploitation. Based on the shenanigans that during actual play I can attest that Barrowmaze's factions are done right.

They are fleshed out just enough to be dynamic and inspirations. Not weighed down with complicated, easy to forget during play, structure or histories. Or worse, written up with a pre-determined plot that your players will never follow. To be sure Barrowmaze factions are meant to be taken and wielded by the DM. The fit this purpose well.

Compelling End Bosses

The "sub-bosses", leaders of factions, from what I remember have unique personalities. Although, I can't say much without spoilers about the big bad(s)? And my players haven't gotten there yet. They are a unique. Seem that they would be challenging for the players as well as for the DM (in a good way). 

Bring More Clerics!

In the end,

what makes Barrowmaze a great product is that it oozes with flavor and fun. Reading it you want to run it. You might think, "Oh, just another undead infested dungeon crawl". Until I psychically slap you upside the head, "You mean the best undead themed mega-dungeon of awesome". Really. 

I retconned a place to put Barrowmaze into my campaign and shamelessly encouraged players to go explore it. Because after reading through it I was that excited. It seems old, done concept; "undead and dungeons", oh my! But, somehow everything in it fresh and exciting.

Go get your copy now

Friday, January 31, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge

Not sure what a Blog Hop Challenge is, so I'm just copying what Tales of the Rambling Bumblers did. With my own answers of course.

Bluebox Baby!
1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first Character?

My dad regularly brought to the hobby shop. He went for HO scale model railroad stuff. It must of been on one of these trips that I got the Basic D&D Blue Dragon boxset. 30+ years later I fail to remember my first character.

2: First person YOU introduced to D&D? Which edition? THEIR first character?

Hm. Probably Andy, kid who lived up the street, blue box.

3: First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM.

B2 Caves of Chaos.

4: First dragon you slew (or some other powerful monster).

I probably cheated and killed some gods from DDG, who didn't? I've never really felt that slaying the big bad / "winning" is the point or fun aspect of D&D. Exploration, discovery, experiencing (or revealing if Refree) the wonder of a fantastic world. The journey and not the destination.

5: First character to go from 1st level to 20th level (or highest possible level in a given edition).

Never liked high levels, so never have done them. I like the struggle of 2nd to 5th levels or so. Haven't kept characters for very long. I have ADD.

6: First character death. How did you handle it?

Booyah! Opportunity to play something new.

7: First D&D Product you ever bought. Do you still have it?

I'll answer the first product ever bought for me. The original Rogues Gallery bought for me by my father. Despite not understanding what this D&D thing was and not very approving. He knew it made me happy and that was enough for him.

8: First set of polyhedral dice you owned. Do you still use them?

I've sold/lost/thrown away everything I've ever had several times over. The dice I had are long gone. My current dice are less than 5 years old. I'm not nostalgic for dice...

9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in.

Greyhawk. The Darlene maps thrilled my youngling imagination. I dig Mystara. But I've never really been able to "love" any setting like I do Greyhawk (pre-war). You never get over your first, eh?

10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc.).

Dragon around issue numbers 60-70. I distinctly remember the chessboard covers. Bought my own subscription with Lawn Mowing income. A big deal for a 13 year old. IRRC it came in a brown paper wrap. Highlight of the month.

11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.

I hate splatbooks. 2e splatageddon drove me away from D&D and the hobby for years. I don't need some publisher to tell me and limit what I can do. This is a game of imagination. Create it yourself!

12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?

Oh, no idea. Some hobby shop in or around Vienna, VA. Probably at Tyson's Corner.

13: First miniature(s) you used for D&D.

I never used them back in the day. First use was in early 2000's re-purposed MageKnights bought in bulk off Ebay for my "The Gods Themselves" 3.5 campaign.

14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play? (Or just post a randomly generated monster in protest of Valentine’s Day).


15: What was the first edition you didn’t enjoy. Why?

2ed, cause it sucked balls. All the modules are linear railroads authored by failed fantasy authors who wrote novellas instead of adventures. Art went from inspiring, abstract, funky cool, appx N pen and ink to high-fantasy realistic oil. Too heroic, not enough murder hobo. Splatbook hell. It was obvious TSR only cared about shipping as much crap as possible to suck the most money out of fans. Isn't this also when the changed demon and devil names cause of bad press? Fucking cowards.

In retrospect (and having run it recently for a ToEE campaign) 1st ed blows too. Too complex (without benefit) and inconsistent.

A Type II Demon sans Balls
16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win?

The even numbered editions (assuming 0 is not even) suck giant Type II demon balls. There are no winners only soul-crushing despair for the survivors of their evil.

17: First time you heard D&D was somehow “evil.”

Long, long after if was a fad to call it such. In one of those kick ass over the top Chick Cartoons. When I saw that Tom Hanks movie, I didn't connect game they played to D&D, cause it wasn't. (Although I tried to create illuminated kick ass magic tomes like from that movie). Nor did it make me think "play rpg" leads to going crazy and trying to fly off building. Cause duh! 3 out of 4 players didn't do that. And it is obvious crazy dude was crazy and playing RPG didn't some how make him crazy. 18: First gaming convention you ever attended.

DunDraCon in Northern California which was totally awesome and made me into a "convention goer". Never been to the big one though.

19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

12 year girl at OwlCon who was way too fucking hyper and wouldn't ever shut up about Harry Potter. I am an acknowledged cranky, old, curmudgeon. Still, if you'd been there you would not fault me.

20: First non-D&D RPG you played.

RoleMaster! Although I had Star Frontiers and Traveler first I didn't play SF until last year, and have never played Traveler (except with myself). I've played many other systems over the years. Mostly just one-shots, it always being impossible to find players.

21: First time you sold some of your D&D books–for whatever reason.

Mid 90's I sold all of my MERP collection (and MTG cards + other stuff) to fund 9mo trip around Germany and Czech Republic. Don't regret it. Other than that I've mostly given away or lost books. I now have 4 large bookshelves filled with RPG books and boxsets. Recently bought bigger house so I don't have to get rid of any and have space to acquire mor!

22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)

I don't think I have ever read a D&D novel. But I played the old SSI series and the modern totally awesome despite what reviewers might say ToEE which actually brought me back into playing Pen and Paper RPGs.

23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

"How Heavy Is My Axe" cause of cause I feel same way listening to that song as I do when really in the groove playing OD&D and cause of Pornstars.

Although these days, my games have more Appx N "Fire Lances of the Hyperzephyrians" in them.

24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

"Conan the Barbarian" only cause it's the first movie that comes to mind when I'm thinking fantasy. "Conan the Destroyer" is more D&D like (A mixed party, thrown together by DM fait, (er I mean Queen), a couple of dungeon locations, random bad guys to fight, and of course betrayal). Another totally D&D movie is "Legend".

25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you’ve been in.

Rarely lasted a year. Although I've played in a campaign that had existed for over 20years, but only for 9mo or so. That ADD again.

26: Do you still game with the people who introduced you to the hobby?

I introduced myself beyatch! Although, I still play with people I've introduced.

27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?

Hell yeah, I was 12 or younger. Knowing I'd have to write this someday I would have kept notes. Kept everything (my notes, characters, maps, etc). Would have embraced DIY/OSR/Jeff Rients from the start. Flirted with girls more. Many other things.

28: What is the single most important lesson you’ve learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons?

Have fun, the rest will work itself out.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Owl Skin Rug Mini

Posted by Jolly Blackburn in the HackMaster Forums, "Every Manor Needs One". Indeed!

Good luck gettin one the hard way...

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Great Kingdom D&D Documentary

Rob Cortingino alerted me to the trailer for what appears to be an interesting early days TSR Documentary. Interesting in that it seems very well put together and written to engage the non-game history nerd audience.


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