Friday, July 13, 2018

The return of the blue baron - live stream - part 1

Here's a youtube video of the live stream from last night. If you are like me and tied to a desk, it's fun to have on in the background.  Obviously there's a bit of explicit content.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

D20 starting locations other than a tavern

Just a few home base, starting locations

1. Rocs nest in a tall tree.
2. Basement of a castle
3. Orc stronghold in the mountains
4. Sewer (outhouse road stop)
5. Large horse stable
6. Roadside fireworks seller
7. A hut filled with gypsys
8. An old temple on a cliff
9. A valley filled with large mushrooms
10. A large crater
11. Aboard a sailing ship
12. A crash landed spacecraft
13. Back of a wagon, bound and gagged
14. Lost in the wilds
15. An old farm house
16. A grave yard
17. On the road between small towns
18. Lowest level of the dungeon
19. A wizards tower
20. At a jousting tournament in the countryside

Friday, July 6, 2018

RPG Art Links

Here are a few places I go to find art.  Most notably
The big trick with finding good stuff, is to obviously use good keywords, think outside the box sometimes, and edit the images a bit if need be.

Here's my list:

You can also search creative commons for images here: is a good resource however read the Terms of use

Here's another good article regarding the subject:

Keep in mind that in some cases, art is not always useable in a commercial project, Flickr is a good example.  Take a look to see what version of creative commons things are licensed under.

Obviously sites like have tons of great art, a LOT for sale.  I've often periodically checked the stock art area and then revised my search by price.  Here I made it easy for you, click on the link.

Good luck!

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Ran a "rusty" DCC funnel last night

So last night our old school group got together for a game,  We hadn't played in a LONG time.  I myself haven't GMd in over a year.  It was a bit of a fiasco. 

When I originally posted about playing I had mentioned that I needed to do some prep to run the funnel.  A few of my buddies were pretty cool about "Nah you'll do fine don't worry too much". 

I made a pile of Bad gming mistakes.

I still don't quite understand the saves and how they are reflected so I made it up.
I used the "read aloud text", which I'll never be doing again.  As soon as you read it, everyone looses interest.  The problem was, I was rusty, and honest I thought the writing in the adventure was very evocative.

I totally forgot about initiative, like literally forgot about it.
I did manage to kill off a few players.

I didn't railroad anyone however. 

Everyone did have a lot of fun though! Kurt's girlfriend showed up and drew the whole time we were playing, posted below are some of her pics with descriptions.

The adventure we played was the free rules for DCC rpg from free rpg day.  There's a section in the adventure where there's this big barbarian statue and it blasts hot flames at the party when they try and leave the room. 

(Pictured below is Mike Wazowski as a barbarian statue).

I'm not sure if I read it wrong, or if I just ran it correctly.  It made sense that it would blast players trying to leave the door they came thru, but all the rest of the doors? not sure.

All of the players were allowed to have individual attack rolls.  Any checks were done with their first player in the marching order.  Which went up down, left to right on the 4 page sheets I gave them.

However with the monsters, well in the case of the barbarian statue I just rolled once to hit and once for damage.  The case in point was Josh's characters were leaving, and the barbarian shot the flame at them.  There were four characters and one blast.  It didn't make sense in my head at the time to roll 4 times for the monster's one shot.  And in the book it just said it does one attack.  However there were 4 PCs leaving the room.  Maybe I should have ran it as "monster attacks one player".  In the way I did it, I killed him off in the first room, I did allow him a save, but he failed.  The way I looked at it is

" the monster turns and blasts a stream of fire at four PCs trying to leave,  the players fail a reflex save and take damage, it's one blast headed at all of them.  Not four blasts".

Whatever the case I cocked it up. 

About a month ago I had re-read the DCC rules and the adventure and I felt like I had a firm grasp of it.  Honestly I think I'm just getting older.  Give me rules light basic DND and I'm good to go.  Even the adventure, while written very well I still felt like my hands were tied a little bit.  I've talked about this before.

I must say everyone enjoyed DCC character creation, they really understood the made up way of doing zocci dice.  (using control dice).

So here's my brief non biased review of the Free RPG Day DCC rules.

The system and the free rules are great, I could see playing a ton of adventures with it.
The adventures contained within the book are wonderfully written. 
If you are into old school, and understand 3rd ed mechanics and gonzo awesome, DCC is a wonderful system. 

It's just not for me, or at least not for my players.

I haven't decided if we will run the next adventure in the book or not.

After we were done, I had the players roll up whitebox characters for the next game.  I am on the fence as to wether to write a hexcrawl my own world or run Isle of dread.  I do have a good idea for a starting point.  As usual we used my "plausible backgrounds table", which is always good for a laugh.

I'm rambling... Here's the pics that Amanda drew.  So awesome. 

At one point someone attempted to slide under the statue and get to a door.  They rolled a 1, so I made up that they cracked their head on the balls of the monster.  

My wife decided to keep these weird ceremonial bone masks and put them on her characters.

The ceiling and been broken so one player decided to jump on this weird alien crystal ball and jump down with it.  One of the other players had a large piece of fabric as trade goods.  This was the result. 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Cool DIY Things

Here are a few little DIY projects and coolness that I've noticed crop up on G+ that you may not know about.  Some of them might be helpful to you!

James Spahn wrote up a B/X Thief variant here

Samwise Seven RPG has been working on a OSR/D100 game called "Eighteen inches of blood"

The Old School Blue Podcast is back.  I laid down the theme song for that one.

Antonio Bravo did an actual play of Labyrinth Lord on youtube.

"They come but what are they" random cool table from James West

Great blog post from Pits & Perils (Olde House Rules) about playing "dumb characters"

Tales of the Jolly Roger Jaunty OSR Pirate Adventures in a Sea of Rascals

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Dark Thoughts

This post contains spoilers about the Netflix show "Dark". 

After we finished watching the show the other day (I can't wait for the next season!) I started thinking about running a time travel type D&D game.  As I'm not the best historian in the world, I was trying to wrap my brain around doing a game with 3 different time lines (like the show), set in a medieval world.  However I wanted to have guns in it, and I couldn't quite figure out how to do a future world. Part of it was "what technology is in the past thirty years, and or the future?"  Obviously I could have it set on the brink of gunpowder.  But what happens in the future?

In the TV show there are 3 time periods, 1953, 1986 and 2019.  Obviously there are changes in the way the world is between the time periods.  Certain things are constant however, like cars, phones, roads etc.  I realized quite quickly last night that doing a time travel game similar to the show would work extremely well with Dark Places Demogorgons!  Rather than try and pull off some kinda of typical D&D fantasy game.  The neat thing about trying something like this is you can have relatives in the time periods of the characters.

So using the dark mold I could easily start the thing in 1986 (because DP&D is set in the 80s!) and then time travel to now which is easy, and I love the 50's so that would be easy to write that as well.  I would think that have a central location like a Diner or a Bar would be handy.  Maybe the jukebox in the bar is bright shiney new in the 50s and barely useable in the 2020's with scratched records.

The other thought I had was running a "Call of Cthulhu" game with this, however I'm not that well versed in the rules of the game, and I'm not really a horror guy.

Anyways, just some thoughts.  I think it could be interesting.

If you get a chance watch the show if you haven't already! It's wonderful.

I briefly discussed this idea on my podcast last night.

Monday, June 25, 2018

The Return Of The Blue Baron is LIVE

Welcome to "The Return Of The Blue Baron" Volume 2 in the "Blue Baron" Series of Collaborative Dungeons.

It is with heavy heart that I confirm the rumors which you must have heard by now.  My husband, Lord Gavanov Keiner, 23rd Baron Keiner, known to many as the Blue Baron, is no more.

Yet hope remains in the words of his final command, a rather unique funeral arrangement.  The Blue Baron dares all brave and adventurous souls who would risk death in trade for fame and glory to come forthwith to Einhornstadt, arriving no later than three days before moonrise.

My Lord Baron calls on you from beyond the grave. Ignore him at your loss and peril.


Maria Keiner

A collabarative dungeon for Blueholme Prentice & Journeymann Rules, for 4-6 players levels 3 and up.

The dungeon contains:

2 Levels

46 Rooms

New Creatures

New Artefacts & Magic Items

Please note: A POD version of this will be released soon.  It will be at cost.  As well a black & white printer friendly no art pdf will also be released.  We appreciate any feedback, reviews and errata information that you can provide.  Thank you very much!


We want to know about your experiences with "The return of the blue baron!" 
What do you think?  
Which conclusion did the adventurers play out?
Our Heroes Triumph
Inglorious Failure
If it was Bested, how did the adventurers escape the dungeon?
If Other, please do tell:
Anything else of note? This includes brief funny anecdotes:

Friday, June 22, 2018

Prep for tuesday DCC game

At some point this weekend, I need to start prepping for our first DCC game on Tuesday night.  I'm beyond excited.

My wife grabbed me a bunch of washable markers, and a large plastic grid sheet from the dollar store.  I intend to draw out the map on the table as we go.  I need to find these things, they are somewhere in our house..... ugh.

I'll be using d20s for any of the monsters (specifically the ones in that one room!).  As it's easy for them to say "I hit the orange one!".  Also at one point I may use other random dice.  In the case of lots of monsters, then it's "K i'm attacking the blue d6, or red d8".

I have to find my 8" tall plastic Mike Wazowski.  There's a section of the dungeon with a large head that shoots crossbow bolts.  That should be a riot

Character sheets are printed and ready to go.

I also need to re-read thru the module to see if there are any other nifty set pieces I can use.

Should be fun! 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Goslin - Mutant Future Creature

Goslin - Mutant Future Creature 
No. Enc.: 2d6 (8d10)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120' (Fly 240')
Armor Class: 4
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 3 (Acid/Wings)
Damage:  Acid 1d8, Wings 1d6/1d6
Save: L5
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: II
XP Value: 800

The Goslin, or "Goosemen" of the Northern wastes are a mutant cross breed of Humans and Canadian Geese.  The upper torso of the Goslin is that of a Goose, with a long neck and large heavy wings, the lower half has legs and feet of a human.  The Goslin's are evil creatures that hunt humans and non humans alike, they are particularly protective of their young.  In combat they will beat opponents with their large wings, and spit acid every 4 rounds (1d8).  The Goslins make their homes along iced water and streams.  They are semi intelligent, proud, and somewhat easy to outsmart.  As an escape they will fly away to live to fight another day.  They have developed a cold mutation over the years, so that the weather does not affect them, unlike their ancestors they do not fly south for the winter.  They tend to hoard shiny things.  Under no circumstances should adventurers get between the Goslin and their young.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Cool stuff and updates

Hey everyone, couple of cool things I've noticed in the last few days.

The Masters Hoard
A System Neutral Collection of 22 Magic items
Hopefully most of the items are fairly original and are often accompanied by a quirk or two!  22 magic items in 26 pages!  Cool stuff, and it's free! (But should be pay what you want). 

Genius way of getting new characters into the dungeon.  I'll be printing this one off.

Blog Post: Levels and the Old-School Brain

3 Toadstools stuff:
Apparently I have a bit of a perfectionist issue.  But don't fret! The pdf version of rotbb should be up on drivethru by the end of the week.  I've sent out a copy to all the authors for final approval and I have a few little details I need to fix up.  Shouldn't take me too long to do.  Also a few nitpicky things on my part.  I've realized that I'm good at details, I have a list that I need to run thru quickly and then it's ready to go.  Just latetly I was working on a CD production, and my client changed the lineup on the graphics, but didn't tell me.  I had to reburn the CD masters.  It's things like this that I catch (for better or worse hahah).  Hence why this is taking so damn long.  Another thing I realized is that I'm going to have to copy and paste text out of publisher directly into word for the "printer friendly BW version" of rotbb, due to the changes I'm working on.  Because the publisher file has become the "master"... k I'm rambling.

The intention is to put up the pdf and then if there's any little erratta bits I'll fix em.  After that I want to figure out a way to make it a POD, at cost.  The intention behind the baron has always been to A.  Have fun B.  Promote other authors & artists.  Hence "at cost".  A few people have wanted me to make a bit of money at it, but I honestly don't want to.  Part of the charm of working on this, is seriously bouncing things off of people, asking for a favour here and there, and having fun.  Example I talked to James West a few weeks back, I asked him if he would be up for drawing a cartoon for the book.  The idea was to have a 1e DMG joke in it.  James had a few other things going on at the time when we started writing, so he wasn't able to jump on board.  However he was able to draw an awesome cartoon!  Check out his profile to see a picture of it

Here's a thing I'm considering for the final layout for POD.  Let me know if you think it's silly or not.  The general idea is if your flipping thru the book you would be able to quickly see a room number.

Further here's a friggin awesome golem and puzzle by Denis McCarthy. 

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Bit of a fail

Last night when I got home I thought I might try and do another podcast with anchor. I had downloaded the app, figured I'd use my onboard mic from my tablet. Boy was I wrong! Talked for five minutes and listened back. Ugh. I'll have to go back to the drawing board. Thankfully I have a bit of audio gear at home. So I'll probably end up using a mic, small mixer and my laptop in the future. First two episodes were done at work (in a recording studio). At home this should give me the opportunity to learn reaper better.

As I stated in the first episode, I'll probably throw some funny commercials in on occasion. I've found a excellent source!

Next week the return of the blue baron will be done. I'll be sending it off to the writers first, and once it's approved it'll go up on as a free download. Then onto a new project.

I've got far too many ideas in the can. (I discussed this on episode three that got trashed).

I'm starting to think that we should start writing the third volume for the baron now lol. Since it took me six months to get it done. That said I need a break. Plus it's summer here! Yesterday was thirty degrees Celsius, with a crazy amount of humidity.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

It's been almost one year

It's been almost one year since my first FREE RPG DAY.  I picked up the quick start rules for DCC, and my wife grabbed a copy of "Vagina's Are Magic".  Which she was delighted about.  I also managed to grab a copy of the 1e DMG. 

I've been slowly planning on running Isle of Dread for an upcoming session of the "old school group", however we had a change of plans.  I messaged the group about how a "Funnel" works in DCC and they are stoked.  So that's the new plan.  Last Tuesday of June (which coincidences with my birthday week as well). 

I am still going to keep working on ideas for Isle of Dread and flesh it out.  A few brief thoughts on it.

Inspiration:  Well obviously "Lost World", but also the movies "The Mummy" and of course some Indiana Jones.  I'm going to throw in a great ape for good measure.  I'm thinking he might be a problematic issue for the Phanatlons, or alternatively the Rakasta have been proving their metal against him for years.  As well Pirates of the Caribbean.  I sort of like the idea of random undead milling about on the Island. 

Modules:  I think I'm going to include dwellers of the forbidden city on one of the near by Islands.  I am also thinking of sticking "B4 The Lost City" somewhere on the island.  As that might be fun.  I just have to draw a line with the original inhabitants of the Island, and the people who live in the lost city.

For the DCC adventure, I'm going to use a piece of vinyl my wife bought me from the dollarstore, I can use erasable markers on it.  I intend to run the war wizards funnel from the starter rules.  For monsters I'm going to use different coloured dice.  I also want to find some mini's for the statues in one room, and some very big head for another room.  I have a mike wazowski toy, that should do the trick for that, and get some laughs.

For Free RPG Day this year, I intend to grab a copy of "Eldritch Cock" and possibly Goodman games "fifth edition fantasy" module if I can.  I'm hoping to also go searching thru their treasure trove of old school TSR stuff.  See if I can't get my hands on a 1e monster manual, or PHB.  I remember seeing a copy of "Horror On The Hill".

As usual, my A.D.D. gets in the way, and I change my mind about what adventure/system i'm going to run 10 times.  I'm hoping to slowly prep the mini campaign of Isle of dread, etc for when and if we get up and running again.  I'll have to go and grab a notebook. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Crowd source weirdness table for Isle Of Dread

I put this up this morning:  Hey everybody I need your help with a random table for isle of dread. After reading the adventure and doing some research online, I found a few ideas however a bit more fuel would be helpful.

So basically "locations, things on the ground, possible dangers" etc:

Thanks to everyone whose contributed so far, this has given me enough to keep the fires stoked!
Goblins Henchmen, Mark Grehan, Johua De Santo, Glenn Robinson, FM Geist

1) large wooden head
2) net trap
3) stake with a emancipated human tied to it
4) rolling boulders
5) large rock with strange writing on it
6) treasure map in an old shoe
7) Small cave, empty but with a fire pit and a lingering smell of recently cooked meat.
8) A leather pouch containing only a bent iron nail.
9) Crushed lantern containing one pint of oil.
10) Belt buckle with image of local deity of healing.
11) Pages from a diary rolled up inside wooden tube the diary is of a mans last day on the island may have useful information or just be the mad ramblings of a man dying of thirst.
12) A cache of obsidian spear heads
13) A leather bottle containing what appears to be wine.
14) A small empty bottle marked with a skull.
15) A human skull which has had a hole drilled into the side of it. The inside has been etched with intricate writing in an unknown language.
16) A scrap of cloth torn from a cloak just visible is a devotional prayer to the gods.
17) Paw prints in the rock which if followed disappear after fifty metres or so.
18) A small and narrow pile of earth roughly Five feet in length. A white stone has been placed at one end.
19) A collection of soot blackened skulls hanging from a tree which clatter together in the breeze.
20) A silver ring marked with waves and set with a pale blue stone which has one use of create water left in it.
21) A rough draft copy of chapter four of Volos guide to monsters written on cheap parchment and with many sections crossed out.
22) A pile of good outdoorsman clothing on the beach just above the high water mark.
23) A structure built into a tree if checked it contains a wooden chest, a crude sleeping mat and a wooden face crudely carved in blood soaked wood, the masks teeth are real and have been hammered into it from whatever creature/monster fits.
24) A small nest of friendly Kobolds who worship someone called Krasnack Navy The bringer of items. They believe the more gifts given by someone the more powerful that person is.
25) An intricate music box carved out of wood the music played acts as a sleep spell.
26) A large pit rimmed with wooden stakes the bottom of the pit is covered by dark foul smelling water but occasionally glimpses of something shiny can be seen in the waters depths.
27) The Dungeon master sunning himself in a hammock a drink in one hand and a half completed list in the other.
28) A dead tree with shrunken heads dangling from every branch. When approached all the heads will look toward those who approach. If any of the heads are taken the taker will begin to have nightmares of being hung by a noose every night, giving them a -2 to all rolls. The dreams continue until the head is returned to the tree.
29) Stewpot, grime crusts the inside of the pitted cast iron.
30) Cyclopean hands of basalt, they beckon motionlessly
31) Entrails strung through a thorn tree; birds peck and squabble over it. Feathers litter the ground
32) A flat stone surface, gouged with the marks of tools, blackened with ash
33) A toothless muleskinner grins and waves
34) The delicate crunch of paper-thin rusted gears underfoot
35) An obsidian bowl filled with teeth, some with viscera still on

Friday, June 8, 2018

The fire I needed!

WOOO!  As you may know I've taken a somewhat sabbatical from playing elf games, and more importantly DMing.  Just had a lot of things going on in the last while and I couldn't wrap my brain around doing anything.  I decided to take a good step last night and email my old school group for a possible one shot.  It's scheduled for the week of my birthday.  Normally we go camping that weekend, so we are shooting for the Tuesday! 

Now of course, my head is running thru far too many ideas!

First adventure:  I originally thought maybe i'd run Isle of dread because I've honestly been dying to.  However this may not end up being a full campaign, possibly just a one session thing.  The nice thing about possibly doing isle of dread is that I'd have a lot of prep to do!  I've decided instead to run "Palace of the silver princess" because it's also been on my to do list.  If they survive and want to keep playing, I think I will do the following.  Have the players guard a caravan, and then use the intro for isle of dread from that point.  I'm thinking I will have the POTSP happen around the town of Luln in karameikos. 

Rules: gal darn I've got a LOT of rules kicking around the house.  I'm going back and forth between running straight up b/x or whitebox.  They both appeal to me.  I know the players like having variable weapon damage, but they are not big fans of descending ac.  If I run whitebox, I think for ability checks I'm going to do something super simple.  Roll 10 or higher. As I've stated before we usually end up having a few drinks while playing, and I feel like whitebox might be the best bet. 

Level:  The module is for levels 1 -3, I think what I'll do is have them all create 2nd level characters, along with possible henchmen NPCs.  Looks like I'll have at least 3 players, possibly up to 5.  In which case I'll increase monsters and the like.

Alright, so unless i change my mind, which is bound to happen!  I think its going to be the "palace of the silver princess" with whitebox rules.

I'm off to go and print some character sheets!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

A look at "Retribution" By Raging Swan Press

I recently received a copy of Retribution by Raging Swan Press, written by .

Here's the publisher blurb: 

In the frozen depths of winter, murderous winds mercilessly batter the crumbling Priory of Cymer. Within, trapped by their duty and the heaped snowdrifts that render travel near impossible, the few remaining faithful huddle together and tend the sacred places of their forbears. With the weather worsening, nerves fray and tempers snap as the wind howls its mournful dirge for the forgotten dead of a fallen time. But the worst is yet to come. One of those trapped within holds a murderous grudge that only blood can expunge and as the storm reaches its savage height terrible revenge is wrought amid the frigid halls and faded glories of a bygone age.

It appears this was the first adventure that Creighton ever wrote! You can read a interesting article about it here

This adventure was written for Pathfinder, however it's crazy easy to convert it to a OSR type game (which I intend to do).  I love the premise, the adventurers get caught in a snow storm on the way to a monastery.  The cool thing is as the adventure goes you get to rachet up the mysterious, things going bump in the night, etc.  It's got sort of a Ravenloft kinda vibe to it (at least that's how I read it).  

I was actually working on a similar idea for an adventure, a bunch of PCs delivering goods to a monastery (only to find it burnt to the ground...)  However, I think I may pull a few of my ideas and Retribution and amalgamate them. 

First off, there's a lovely little detailed town called Swallowfield   (Love the map!) and the adventure takes place on the Lonely Coast (dig that map too!) 

The art in this book is fantastic b/w, the lay out is easy to read (the font is a bit small for older eyes).  However great presentation.  The book is filled with Pathfinder stat blocks (obviously cuz its for PF), however I found a tidbit of information that would help me when running this adventure in an OSR environment.  Tactics! For each encounter there is a list of tactics that the monsters will do.  Now obviously this throws reaction checks out the window sorta, but still handy for me.  Example "the goblins will fire arrows, while a few try to escape".  I mean i could have thought of that, but having it right there is handy.  

This module is an "adventure path", ie it's a bit of a railroad.  Not in a bad way though, there's a story and there's ideas and reasons for finishing up the story.  If complications arise, there's ways of dealing with them.  However the core of the adventure can easily be ran by a open minded old school DM.  Especially if you are good at thinking on your feet. 

The middle section of adventure is where everything ramps up, with interesting encounters.  Most are there to increase the intensity!  Not all of which are deadly, or combat related. 

Rounding off the book is a big section of incredibly detailed and awesome NPCs. 

I have a few more raging swan books that I intend to review.  I'm hoping I can take them all and plug them in to one mini campaign (which seems rather easy to go).  Creighton makes references to the ease of putting these adventures into your own campaigns.  That being said, there's a wealth of world building on the Raging Swan site.  

I'm slowly looking thru this and the other adventures, and making notes on bad guys (converting them to Whitebox).  

The other thing that struck me while reading this, is that it would be a almost no prep 5e adventure.  All the DC's are there.  References to "specific skill type checks" are easily convertible to 5e skills, and in some cases are named the same.  This is another thing rolling around my head for whenever I get back into playing again. 

Pretty cool book.  If your a PF fan, I'd say this is a must have!  If your a OSR fan, and don't mind a bit of a "story" to go along with your possible TPK then I think it's a pretty good adventure.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Mental Health Checkup (not really RPG related)

As the title says, "Mental Health Checkup (not really RPG related)".  So roll for Insanity 

I've noticed a few people in the OSR being open about their anxiety, stress and mental health, I figured it's about time I do the same.

I've been dealing with a lot, and I've been holding it in until it breaks, that's not a good idea.

From an outward appearance you'd think I was a happy go lucky guy right? (well other than in the winter, which i"m pretty sure I suffer from a bit of SAD).

After a recent breakdown, I started really trying to put things in perspective and to write things down (journal if you will) and it helps.

This whole depression has been on and off for awhile now.  I think it really started to hit me about 2 years ago. (thanks almost mid life crisis! I appreciate being down).  90% of it comes from my work situation.  It is the top the thing I need to change to get on with my life.  Obviously there's a pile of fear and anxiety that go along with that.  There are seriously whole days where I procrastinate and just sit at my computer.

As time has gone on,by the time I get home I'm so friggin bagged that I can't pick up a pen to draw or write in the evening.  Let alone my guitar.  I've even started to pull back "outings", my current D&D group, band practice, doing things on the weekend.  These are not good things.

Plus I've had a few panic attacks in the last few years, mostly while driving (yeah that's fucking scary isn't it?).

After my last breakdown, which was about two weeks ago, I finally decided
"Fuck it I'm going to see a therapist"

I finally went the other day, and it was wonderful.  I'm not on meds yet, I actually wouldn't mind being on them for a bit, I guess we will see.

In the meantime I'm working thru it.

If your feeling down, talk to someone!  

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

A review of Swords & Wizardry Continual Light

I received a copy of *Swords & Wizardry Continual Light from a friend of mine just lately.

(*From now on SWCL for the purposes of I'll spell Continual wrong for the rest of this post, also the guys who wrote this use SWCL as a way of abbreviating the game).

Publisher blurb:
You remember, don't you? The sounds of battle heard through the clatter of dice? The shuffling of character sheets? The war stories shared with fellow campaigners?
There is a longing in the soul of every adventurer and though it sometimes fades to a whisper, you still hear it. Swords & Wizardry Continual Light marks your return to fantasy roleplaying - or if you're curious what fantasy gaming is all about, this is the perfect introduction.
This book, a twenty-sided die, and a few six-sided dice are all you need to return to the table, recall those halcyon days of heroism, and forge brand new legends! Welcome back!

For those not familiar with Swords & Wizardry, the game is based on the original 3 brown books, or OD&D, there are a variety of versions of Swords & Wizardry (Complete, Core, Light) and a number of variations of Whitebox, included thematic games like Dark Places & Demogorgons, WW2 Operation Whitebox, White Star, The Hero's Journey (Note I haven't seen a post apoc whitebox game yet? And I've been thinking about it!).  All of these games are retro clones of "the world's most famous roleplaying game" and a lot of them only need 2 dice, 1d20 and 1d6.  Personally I`m a big fan of S&W, it`s a great pickup game, and its infinitely hackable!

About a year or so ago Erik Tenkar (yes that Erik, the one that runs the famous Tenkars Tavern) got a few people together to release Swords & Wizardry Light, which was a 2 page rule set.  When I first saw it I was like `Yes this is going to be so damn handy at the gaming table`.  My only issue with that game was that the downloadable version was crazy high quality (talking DPI here), It looked fucking amazing don`t get me wrong.  It just took forever to download and to print.  I believe it has been revised.  (I`ll check).  The other nifty thing that was released was character cards, with a character class basics, that you could just fill your stats in.  these were also handy.  I`m sort of imagining a nice present for someone in a cardboard box with all these niceties, and of course SWCL and a few sets of dice.  (Hint hint).  It would make the perfect gift for a gamer.

Anyways on to the review.  First off Erik and James Spahn wrote it.  The art in the book is fantastic BW.  The layout works, it`s not overly `layoutey`for the sake of being that way. You can find things easy enough, and that`s good enough for me!

SWCL is easily convertible to regular SW, or any other OSR game, adventure.  It contains ascending AC and descending.  So that old module that your uncle has lying around in his basement, that`s purple in colour with a keep on it, you can play that.  I`m sure your uncle won`t mind, his copy is pretty beat up and he should probably order a reprint anyways.

The game has your standard four classes, and four races.  There are class restrictions in play.  I really like the neat little tidbit that is thrown in to get players to use humans.  (You`ll have to grab a copy).  The book contains rules for optional classes (written in honestly one sentence, but it works!) and they are great!  A lot of thinking went into getting this book trimmed down to pure essence of what you need to get rockin and  rolling.  Oh another cool thing when rolling up the standard 6 abilities, if you have a charisma bonus you also get a torchbearer (Henchmen, Goon, possible PC if your character dies).

Each class comes with some standard equipment and then there`s some optional stuff you can get as well.  The nice thing about this, is that you can get up and running super quick.

The leveling system is smart, it`s not based on experience it`s based on adventures completed!  Something that I am totally going to steal (err borrow).  The classes goto level 7, and after that you can receive perks.  Which is a pretty nifty way of doing this.  These perks (feats) are not game changing things, they are extra spells, higher attack damage, higher hit points etc.

There are four levels of spells for Magic Users, and three levels for clerics.  I should note, that Clerics do not start off with a spell at first level.

The one thing I should note, is that this book is written from the point of view of someone who has played an RPG before.  Meaning that it does not contain the usual `what`s a role playing game``, it doesn`t have a ton of advice about running a game in it.  Which is entirely fine.  However if this is a kids first game, given to him or her by some one who isn`t teaching them about gaming, then it might be a difficult thing to grasp.  That being said my first real RPG was 2nd edition and it didn`t cover a ton of this stuff either.  Obviously we live in the age of the interwebz and people can look up how to play games.  K here`s the thing about Swords & Wizardry, and SWCL, it`s not a beginners game.  It obviously can be, but so can a whole lot of other RPGs (pretty much every brand has it`s starter set).  I would consider SW Light a beginners game, at the very least a rules light getcha going game.

My only grump on this game is there isn`t the spell ``Continual Light``.  There are a few other little things, that are not worth mentioning here.

The book is twelve pages, and fits perfectly in my backpack.  It`s a standard 8x11 book, the cover is a sexy glossy with a illustration by James Shields.  The book contains a few extra white pages, that you can use for notes, and house rules.  (or to write your own crit tables!)  Of course you can add in some monsters you made up as well!

I intend to run SW Whitebox next game, and now that I have a copy of SWCL (and a extra copy of WB) these will be the players reference copies which will be super duper handy! In fact I may end up using SWCL for the first few levels.  I am definitely going to use the leveling system.  And just to be a gritty old grognard, I`ll use the crit tables from DCC.

The other wonderful thing about this game is, that its a great game to write for.  Of course if your not into writing, there`s a ton of great resources and adventures for it already!


Check out Tim`s Patreon is filled with awesome adventures for SWCL. Aswell check out `the manor`

Beneath the fallen tower - An adventure by Denis McCarthy (who also contributed artwork to SWCL)

Wizardry Unearthed - Extra character classes, monsters, optional rules.

The Witch character class for SWCL

Skyships of Smazah 

The Chasm Of Crasmere 

The Forests Shadow 

Beyond the demon webs 

The Orb of the Undying discord

The Horn of Kardos 

Coincidentally after I wrote this, I started surfing youtube, and this review came up!

Friday, June 1, 2018

Vacation Day Today

I decided to take a day off today, of course the bosses were like "well if you get bored you can come in".  Really?  Anyways, I do have a plan for today.  First and foremost, I need to sit down and do a bit of personal writing.  Then I have to make some supper (a nice slowcooker soup recipe).  After all that I need to spend some time cleaning up my room, as we have a bit of a leak in the roof and I'm worried about important things. 

On the docket for RPG related things today, I really need to re work Dusty Door, I have some wonderful art I need to add to it.  It should hopefully be up a little later today.

The Baron is very close, I am however doing it in my spare time at work using publisher.  Porting files back and forth to home and work is a major pain in the ass.  Of course if I was using a USB stick that would be handy.  It's coming along. I have to spend a bit of time today finding some art for the book.  Scott found a pile of great stuff!  He ended up sending me a clipart file of like 100 images.  I do however need a few sorta specific things for rooms.  I get to surf for a little while.

Of course I did have a discussion with someone about running a game today.  I should really get something prepared for when I actually have time to do so.  The other day I was looking at the 1e dmg adventure (well map basically) and I wouldn't mind fleshing that out at some point. 

As usual I have about 100 other projects on the go, and I will probably spend sometime either working on or thinking about them.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Politics and war

Elerd is more of a benevolent God than an actual dictator. The thing is he's been around forever. Because he's a vampire. He built his keep long ago. He keeps his citizens happy, and doesn't kill them or rule over them with an iron fist. People are safe. Elerd doesn't have a army per se, but he has allies in the world.

And you thought this was a post about whatever hub bub was going on.

You might be wondering, how does this whole Elerd thing work? Why doesn't he kill the townsfolk? Ever play oblivion? There's a town with a vampire lord, and no one knows. He just goes about his business. In the grand scheme, he might be comparable to Louis (Anne rice).

In case you are even more confused, I'm writing a bit of detail about my campaign setting. Which I've mentioned I should do.

Obviously you may have clicked on this because of political reasons.

On the other end of the spectrum is the "big bad" gralag the hob goblin warlord. (why do I always use a g for bad guy names?

Gralag comes from North of the wyvern tooth mountains. He has assembled a massive army. He intends to destroy and dominate everything to the south. For reasons (mostly he's a dick).

Gralags army is moving on the elves in autumn wood, another force moves towards elerds keep. Small scouting bases are setup in the forward positions to help supply troops.

He hopes for a quick victory. But he's spreading his army to thin.

There are rumours at the keep that elerd has met with some unsavoury looking types. Is this a possibility of trying for a treaty perhaps.

Somewhere in the wild there are three witches who have the gift of prophecy.

One of them wakes from a disturbing dream, the Son of a barbarian slitting his father's throat. In the background is a shrine to Zeus. The rain pours down.

Another has a dream about Gralag and the destruction he will cause. She makes preparations to seek out a demon, to try and find answers.

The third rides for elerds keep.

The elves of autumnwood are in good relations with the hobbits of brymassen. However The Queen of the elves distrusts elerd. The hobbits of course are oblivious to the world around them.

And the dwarves are nowhere to be found, except underground.

Yeah my campaign was basically lotr wasn't it

Monday, May 28, 2018

Music and lighting a fire.

A few months back I talked with some friends of mine who are in the "Ash-Hats" and "Silent Dissonance" about possibly writing some music for me.  They are always looking for things to do.  At the time I was really working on a adventure sandbox, and my sorta idea was to create a video trailer for the adventure, and then when it was complete do a full length video detailing the whole book.  A lil bit of marketing and obviously fun for everyone! Two fold really, makes me do some video editing which I don't do often and gets the guys writing some music.

Fast forward to yesterday evening:  I haven't had a lot of time to do writing on this project, because I've been up to my eyeballs working on the blue baron (Which btw is getting very close, I have level 1 layed out, and I'm starting on level 2 today).  I however had this sandbox idea rolling around in the back of my head.

I get a call last night from the guys, conference call, three of them on the phone.

"K Shane, explain the adventure, and how much music do you need?"

Me: "Well I thought about doing a 1 minute trailer thing and then a full 3 minute video".

Guys: "Alright so we kinda thought what we be cool if it was like baroque acoustic metal, and then it sorta hits this bit, where it's like you are sliding down these crazy slide into darkness and then WHAM! it hits".

Me" Fuck yah".

I then go on to explain the entire premise around the adventure, and that I don't have everything quite concrete but that its fairly dark, etc.  There's lots of umms and ahhhs, and just "well this is sort of the idea, but it might change here", basically the coles note.

What I get when I finish...


And I laughed so hard, and then said "well I'll need some playtesters, but its gonna be old school, you will die".

note:  one guy has played old school, the others have played 3.5 and 5. 

So now I have a fire.  After rotbb is complete it's full speed ahead on this project.

So I better get my shit together, cuz there's music coming for it! hahaha

photo credit:

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

d100 Tavern Name List

Contributors John Hattan, Scott Charlton, Jaye Foster, As If,
1.  Balding Minotaur
2.  The Snakes Coin purse
3.  Guards Arms
4.  Stinkin Needle
5.  Happy Rhino
6.  Witches Wisdom
7.  The great bastion
8.  Red Road
9.  Knicker Fire
10.  Straw Sox
11.  The Sticky Parakeet
12.  The  Fluffy Weasel
13.  The Gerunding Noun
14.  The Snake and Arrows
15.  The Golden Cricket
16.  The Steamin' Demon
17.  The Glitterhole
18.  The Salamander
19.  The Reckoning
20.  Arumverax Bill's House of Sorrows
21.  The Sleeping Scorpion
22.  The Hangman's Daughter
23.  The Drowning Dog
24.  The Badger and Elbow
25.  The Winsome Cheese
26.  The Blue Ship
27.  cavern club
28.  hags stache
29.  flying tankard
30.  rusted wagon wheel
31.  dark nights
32.  grinning gatekeeper
33.  flogging madame
34.  nine outta eleven
35.  dry dock
36.  flint hearth
37.  noble nan
38.  glittering ladle
39.  steaming pot
40.  buried taxman
41.  The Secret Cellar
42.  The Maidenhead
43.  The Devil's Dew
44.  The Squeaky Wheel
45.  Pennywhistle
46.  Hard a-Lee
47.  Herringbone
48.  The Velvet Couch
49.  the yellowed yeller
50.  town crier
51.  The Craven Raven
52.  Ed's Head
53.  Morgan's Tarry
54.  Gutrot's
55.  The Stinky Eye
56.  Jack Jigger's
57.  The Dog & Grog
58.  Scrumptious Delights
59.  The Rat's Legbone
60.  Now Or Never
61.  End of the World
62.  Betty's Soup And Sleep
63.  God's Calling
64.  Devil's in the details
65.  Story teller's Loft
66.  Toodle's Poodles
67.  Salty Air
68.  Bard's Lost String
69.  Baker's dozen
70.  Nettle & The Stick
71.  Purple Tabard
72.  The Bastard Son
73.  Nowhere Road
74.  The Inn Of The Last Dance
75.  The Boglin's Goblet
76.  Patchworks!
77.  Waxed Angel
78.  Nev'r Do Well's
79.  This' Ain't Your Mama's Tavern
80.  Penny Parade's
81.  The Strikin Viking
82.  High Skirt Saloon
83.  Brisket & Bone
84.  Garden's Shine
85.  Sinful Sword
86.  The Alley
87.  Elf's Dream
88.  Bullrush & The Bog
89.  The Capn's Eyepatch
90.  The Pumpkin Patch
91.  Arena
92.  Bath and the bullfrog
93.  Alice's Hearth
94.  Night's dark mourning
95.  Rhino's stance
96.  Plaid Bachelor
97.  Ol' Ninety Seven
98.  Harry Hobber
99.  Swordfish and the fight
100.  Lights out

Monday, May 14, 2018

D30 folksy rumours of treasure locations

1 the bottom of an old well
2 the tallest tree
3 the last farm before the swamp
4 North of the giant skull
5 where the wind doesn't blow
6 the glass spire
7 in the burnt out ruins of the thieves guild
8 the UN pickable chest
9 in the boot of a statue
10 in the captain of the guards attic
11 haunted stable
12 secret compartment on the gate of a castle
13 below the nearest island
14 wreckage of ship stuck on a cliff
15 lost in a public library
16 follow the clues on the paving stones
17 the dream labyrinth
18 in “plain sight “ the tavern of the same name.
19 buried with a Siamese twin
20 wrapped in a blanket on the bank of a river
21 inside a lute
22 inside a keg of ale
23 on the left hand of a old priest
24 a cold meadow in a large forest, ringed with evergreens
25 the location is drawn in a painting on the wall of a chapel (roll again)
26 unmarked grave on a mountain path
27 the basement of a house of Ill repute
28 tied under the dock
29 a puzzle using the last names on headstones
30 invisible map tattooed on a horse.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Mashup Campaign Idea

I've been watching a lot of TV lately.  Just finished up West world season 1, The Alienist, and season 1 of the Frankenstein chronicles.  All of which are really good! I highly recommend them.

So here's the idea, I've always been a HUGE fan of the old horror movies, Lon Chaney, Bella Lugosi, Boris Karloff, Claude Rains, the list is never ending honestly.  Another movie I absolutely loved when I was a kid was Monster Squad! Of course you can throw in some Penny Dreadful into the mix as well.

Setting: Early 1800's English Countryside, and England (well sort of).
System:  Lotfp (with black powder guns), or maybe Call of Cthulhu.  I just realized this could totally work for DP&D as well!

The PCs are in a virtual environment, much like West World, It's England in the early 1800s.  They are fully aware that they are in the environment, it's an escape from everyday life in the year 3000.  The evening is foggy, the oil lanterns burn low in the tavern.  There is a scream from outside, the PCs rush to see what happened.  Lying in the street is a prostitute, her body is crumpled, head twisted almost all the way around.  No human could do this.....

The rabbit hole leads the PCs to all the great monsters from the horror movies, Frankie, Dracula, Werewolves, etc.  It's up to them to find out what's happening and stop it.

It's going to be campy, just like those movies, it's going to be scary.

The twist of course, unlike West World, and much like Total Recall the PCs can die in the world.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Halfway to layout city and goodies!

Alright, so we have basically finished editing "the return of the blue baron" ie volume 2.  I had originally named it "part deux", but figured that might confuse a few people.  Note that there is the Queen's English in the document however, examples include "Armour".  In those instances you should know that a Canadian may have written that section. 

As we were doing some editing we were also doing some last minute writing.  I am almost positive that there maybe a few little rewrites happen while I work on the layout.

I've sent off a copy to Michael at Dreamscape Design, to basically rules lawyer it.  I mean he's the guy who wrote the blueholme rules, so it's our best bet to get it right!

I would like to thank Scott Charlton for majorly stepping up to the plate and basically editing more than half of this! As well for coming to the table with a lot of rooms, ideas and the general concept.  If it wasn't for him, this would not have been done.  at all. 

Here's a screen shot of the cover.

Yesterday, I had a crap day.  Then I got home, and I had more crap to deal with.  It was just one of those days.  I finally walked to the front and opened up the mailbox and to my absolutely surprise, I found a package waiting for me!

This wonderful person, sent me a copy of Whitebox FMAG and Swords & Wizardry Continual Light!

Thank you very much wonderful person! That made my day.

I will be doing a review of SWCL in the next week or so.  I'm sure both of these books will find room at my table.  Thank you again!

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Detailing my home campaign

It's been forever since the old school group got together.  They last left off trapped in a dungeon by a demon, attempting to rescue a witch.  Sound familiar?

After reading a few blogs detailing peoples home campaigns, I think I may spend some time and effort and work on detailing our old school world.  Mostly for the sake of writing, and archiving for future use.  As well for coming up with a few new ideas! 

When we started the game we played thru "Beneath Brymassen" a BFRPG adventure.  After that the players did my "Lizardmen of Illzathatch" and "Tomb of Gardag The Strange".  The story arc I wrote detailed an invading hobgoblin army from the north, with world ending consequences on their minds. 

I briefly wrote a post about Elerd's Keep here

The rest of the play reports can be found here.

While this is a nice map, I think I may create a hexcrawl version of it.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Last half. #Aprilttrpgmaker

13. Biggest influences?
Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone of the fighting fantasy game books. I love the world they created.

14. What are yer dreams and plans?
Egad,so much. I want to try and put out more than one adventure a year! I would like to release a adventure module for mutant future, a D100 tables book, a hexcrawl, and a compilation of all my stuff in pod.

15. Do you design in public or private?
I suppose both, sometimes I post here and it becomes something. More often than not I work on things while having lunch.

16. Any designer partners?
Lots! I bounce ideas off Johua Santo and frank Turfler all the time. All the cats involved in the blue baron series. My wife, my gaming groups.

17. Favourite form of feedback?
Constructive criticism.

18. Current inspiration?
There is so much. The heroes of Olympus series, old captain America, Oceania by the smashing pumpkins, he-man.

19. Game that is most essential to your design?
Probably Holmes and b/x dnd.

20. Favourite design tools?
Browning images on art websites, Inkarnate and, obviously publisher, word and font sites.

21. How many playtests?
Most of my stuff comes from home games so it at least gets one test. I wish I could do more somedays!

22. How do you document your ideas?
Google docs and drive! It's getting full.

23. People who have helped you?
See #16, plus all the wonderful people who have reviewed my stuff.

24. Most notable achievement?
I'm not sure if I have anything notable yet?

25. Being a ttrpg designer means?
Never falling asleep early, always having something rattling around your head.

26.  Blogs, Streams, Podcasts? 
Myself personally I do not have any podcasts.  Obviously this blog.  However here's a list of places and things that I watch and read.


Uncle Matts D&D Studio
God Emperor Leto II
Eric from Bloat Games
Samwise Seven RPG

Heros Brew
Roll for initiative 
Save or die
Hobbs & Friends

27.  Feature a TTRPG Designer?
Tim Shorts over at Gothridge Manor makes some awesome stuff!

28.  Favourite Interview? 
I've done a pile that I really enjoyed.
Old School Interviews 1
Old School Interviews 2 

29.  Your Community? 
The OSR Community on G plus 
The Blueholme Community on G Plus

30.  Top tips and advice?
Not sure if this is supposed to come from me or I am supposed to provide a link? My top tip is DO NOT OVER PREP! Because the players will always blow holes in whatever you write! Have a bunch of handy tables ready to go to help you out when you get stuck in a jam.  Including a good list of Names for NPCs, because that happens so friggin often!

Friday, April 27, 2018

It's your turn! - An Interview with Zak S.

1.  How did you get your start roleplaying? What system did you use? 

I got the Red Box and a copy of the original Unearthed Arcana when I was like 10 or something but I think my first actual game was Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Road Hogs--you roll your character randomly so I was a prairie dog who was a "natural mechanical genius"--he could fix the van without even trying but if he was too far away from it, the whole thing would break down again.

2.  Tell me about Playing DND With Pornstars Blog, when did it start? 

Well I'd been reading Jeff's Gameblog, Grornardia and Monsters & Manuals for a while--I was interested in RPGs from an art/writing standpoint (Why were these things written for kids still in my head after all these years?) and then Satine Phoenix--we were friends, we met in a threeway with Sasha Grey--was like "hey I wanna play D&D" because she'd played as a teenager. Plus my gf was often too sick to go out so this was a good way to get friends to come to us--like a poker night. And then suddenly after a few weeks this was The Thing To Do and half our friends were playing. And all of them were porn people--except the stripper. 

3.  Tell me about “Frostbitten and mutilated”.  What was the writing process like?

James typically comes to me with a Really Lotfp Idea (like Red & Pleasant Land was "I want a girl with her legs spread in striped stockings and it says 'Eat Me' on the cover") and then I make it respectable and pretentious and awardwinning.
So his idea was this Conan cover of Conan surrounded by zombies and he said "Like this but with women instead of zombies and we call it 'Amazons of the Metal North'. And I go "Well for a modest advance..."
Like most things I write, the book was largely just permission to type out things that were already in my campaign. From the beginning the country around Vornheim was frozen doomforest--so I just wrote that up then added in the Amazons, who were based on basically the elf barbarian Kimberly was playing plus a barbarian tribe generator I'd made years earlier, then subtracted out a lot of the fantastical D&Disms like elves and dwarves because LotFP is a lot more like "Normal 1600s, then horror" than my home game.
Also I thought about format: I want each new book to share a new way of making the book format work for a GM. So I thought up the thing where each area on the map contains the entire area description. That 2 page spread is the formal crux of it: if people start copying the "paragraph crawl" format then that book is doing its job. (Well even if its not, I used the book on sunday so its still doing its job). 
The rest of the material was importing the Vornheim approach to cities to a wilderness crawl.
Artwise, I got the girls together, painted them like black metal warriors and they all posed and we took photos and I painted them--along with all the animals and monsters that kind of environment implies and we decided somewhere along the line that the aesthetic should be like a black metal album. So: we did that.
Also my mac crashed 10,000 words in and I had to rewrite all that. So that was part of the process too I guess.

4.  Other than elf games, what are your other favourite role playing games to play?

I really like horror and superheroes. Call of Cthulhu and a FASERIP hack I created. Oh and 40k.

5.  What was the first adventure you published? 

Vornheim I guess. Unless "published" includes blog entries, in which case I think I entered a halloween adventure contest with a thing called Wolves In The Throne Room.

6.  You are doing a patreon for “demon city”, how is that going? 

It's wonderful! People are so generous and into it. I just showed a ton of the Demon City art in my gallery in NYC and the show's selling really well. It's fun to do a game from the ground-up that's totally new but that uses an OSR sensibility. And playing at home is a blast.

With each module I was thinking "What's not in a city book/megadungeon/setting book that should be?" this time I get to go "What's not in a basic RPG that should be?"

There's the traditional indie game approach which is: solid simple rules plus a lot of advice on what to improvise. And there's the mainstream approach which is tons of rules threaded throughout the content. And then there's what I want to do: Solid simple rules plus a mountain of optional but gameable content to plug in. Why shouldn't a basic game include a Mad Libs First Adventure Kit instead of those shitty starter adventures they give you?

7.  What is your favourite OSR clone? 

I think picking is stupid, honestly. As Jeff Rients' said, once you start doing that you are playing into the idea that these are different games and honestly: all these games are just variations on a pretty good game and they're all within a stone's throw of each other. I like the OSR-ified 5e hack I wrote on my blog bc it fits my current game group, but only the way you might like a shirt because it's in your size. There's no real hierarchy, I just happen to have players who like race and class separate and probably appreciate having their specific skills spelled out. 

8.  What are you currently playing? 

Oh jeez: I'm currently visiting NYC for the aforementioned art show so I'm playing Frostbitten here with my New York friends. They fought the Fibbing Troll. When I get back home we're playing D&D of course (right now we're doing a scenario which has Hot Springs Island as an island near Eliator from Maze of the Blue Medusa) and playtesting Demon City.
Online I'm playing a Dark Heresy game tuesdays, Warhammer Fantasy some thursdays, Matt Finch's Old School 5e on Mondays (its youtubed), Nightwick Abbey D&D with Evan Elkins once in a while and Jeff Rients' D&D game when I get the chance. Jesus, that's a lot now I look at it...but when you sit at a desk painting all day thats a lot of time to roll.

9.  What is a Call of Cthulhu scenario you like running?

I write my own. I have a Weimar-era one where there's an Idea That Will Destroy The World and it expresses itself in different ways: a virus, in dadaist poetry, in a painting. All my Cthulhu scenarios are tied to my Thomas Pynchony and art-history enthusiasms I guess.

10.  Who is an artist that we should be checking out, that we don’t know about?  


11.  When you set out to create an art piece, do you have a RPG thing in mind? Or does it depend on the situation?

Usually I have an idea but the less of an idea I have the easier it is.

12. What is one of your favorite adventures other than something that you’ve released (or worked on)?

I really like the Secret Wars scenario for FASERIP they did: a big map, heroes plunked down in one part of it, a series of events that happen in order (if the heroes don't stop them) and a series of events that can happen randomly each day.
TSR was a mess, but a lot of their modules experimented with format in a way that display a lot more options than the Railroad vs Open Setting dichotomy people imagine. Frostbitten & Mutilated takes a little of this and expands on it.

13.  If you could campaign in any world which would it be? 

Uh...the one I spent most of the decade writing books about and playing and doing blog entries about?

14.  When you get a chance to play a character, what type of PC's do you like to play? 

I roll randomly. But all my guys are the same at the core: tactical and sneaky and they tell a lot of jokes. This can be a cleric a dwarf a paladin whatever. But I have more fun if I'm trying to Kobayashi Maru every situation.

15.  What is a seriously underrated monster?

Flail snail of course.

16.  You play a lot of Marvel FASERIP, do your players tend to create simulacrums of the superheroes we all know and love, or do they create something new and fresh? Further, tell me about a typical superheroes game you run.

I tend to get like one high concept ("Assasinate the Evil Justice League!") and then run a session or 3. Characters in superheroes games are rough: SOOOOOO much of the appeal and expression of a superhero is how they look and most ppl can't draw. Often the default is to go "Ok, today we're the X Men, pick one". I did a Man InThe High Castle type one where people made their own heroes based on the high concept they were superhuman antifascists. We had an alien Ubermensch who escaped Nazi control, a mad scientist gone good, a Question-type mystery man, and the Shocker from Spiderman who becomes a resistance-hero car thief.
If I could solve the visualization problem for superhero RPGs in a commercial product that'd be pretty great. It might require computer support, like City of Heroes does.

17.  Do you have any current favourite RPG and fiction authors? (ie what are you reading).

Right now reading Borges poems. I usually don't read RPG stuff unless Im using it or someone pays me. Also halfway through Gormenghast. I haven't cracked the latest Pynchon--Bleeding Edge.

18. What are you most excited about in the DIY RPG scene currently?

I'm honestly just really happy it exists and is thriving and people are making stuff like crazy and doing patreons and kickstarters and just putting stuff out. Stuff I've never heard of and never will that's self-sustaining: awesome! The snarky Let's Sledgehammer Anyone Being Creative In a Way We Don't Like thing from the early 20teens seems to have finally fallen apart--all the people who used to do that have either put out their own stuff to zero applause and crawled back under their bridges or have self-destructed or fans have just learned "Oh, whatever people are most loudly complaining about it the good thing". It's wonderful. I think the next big leap will be when some other publishers start to consistently publish stuff that combines stylishness and experiment like LotfP does. Hydra Collective is getting there and Mike Evans' DIY RPG looks like it's leaning that way.
Like the new literature of the midcentury needed Barney Rosset at Grove Press but it also needed City Lights and New Directions. There needs to be a robust bank of people willing to experiment on a decent budget.

19.  Would you rather be a red shirt or a wookie?

I'd rather have sex so whichever one gets to do that?

20.  Scotch, Mountain Dew or a nice tea?

I never had Mountain Dew or if I did I can't remember what it tastes like and tea is so boring I always forget I'm drinking it so Scotch.

21.  What are the plans for the rest of the year?

Finish the best horror RPG in history. Sew up the holes in my jeans.

22. Where can we find you on the web?
ihititwithmyaxe on twitter

Thanks Zak! That was a lot of fun - Shane