Thursday, July 31, 2014

Quick Map

The scan kinda blows, and good luck getting across the ravine! I should put a underground tunnel or something.   I am the "boss" today, so of course I'm not actually working hahah.   damn GIMP, I added a WHITE background layer, and she turns out grey? WTF?

Play By Post

The last little while I've been strongly considering running a play by post.  My little "gloomwood" adventure might be perfect, albeit a touch big.  I'm tossing around the idea of either running Advanced Fighting Fantasy or a rules lite home brew of Swords & Wizardry.  From a DM's perspective I think that the S&W idea might be a bit easier to manage.  AFF is great to get me wrong, but as far as combat is concerned its starting to feel a bit daunting.  Combat Example....

Player Skill 7
Dagger 1 2 3 4 5 6
Roll      1 1 2 2 2 2

Leather Armor
Armor Roll 1 2 3 4 5 6
                    0 0 0 0 1 1

Bad Guy Skill 6 
Dagger 1 2 3 4 5 6
             1 1 2 2 2 2
Light Monster Armor
Armor Roll 1 2 3 4 5 6
                    0 0 0 1 1 1

So the gist of combat is the following.

Bad guy & good roll 2D6 and add that to their skill score

Good Guy Rolled 6 + Skill 7 = 13
Bad Guy Rolled 11 + Skill 6 = 17

Good Guy Rolls to see reduction of damage from armor (1d6) = 5 which equals 1 point less damage
Bad Guy rolls damage 3 which equals 2 points.

Good guy deflects 1 point of stamina damage and takes one point of damage.

Make sense?
Here's the errata for AFF

This versus S&W , roll iniative , roll 20 vs AC, roll damage 

I think at the table AFF is easier, but typing S&W probably makes a bit more sense.  thoughts?

In other thoughts....

So from what I gather PREP is your best friend when it comes to play by post.  Also using a mapper to show where everyone is is also quite a good idea.  I like the idea of using a shared google drive for character sheets, hand drawn maps of where you are etc.

Any other thoughts? I'm curious as to other peoples experiences with this.  I have been having a tremendous amount of fun playing in +Johua De Santo  current play by post game.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I love this artwork!
by RalphHorsley
Illustration for 'Into The Unknown'.
©Wizards of the Coast.

"You may think you control your own destiny adventurers, but really...'

I had great fun imagining the Illithid's (mind flayer) lair, aan his dungeon plan laid out before him. The perspective adds drama and interest, whilst the saturated light sources pull the eye around the image.

This painting was also jury selected for inclusion in Spectrum 19.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Expedient Note - Assassins Guild Playable Class

*Notice the change from quick to expedient LOL.   Anyways, I decided to finish up the background & story information regarding the Assassins playable class that I posted a few days ago.  Now that I have a better version of the OGL.  On my walk this morning my head was swirling with a few interesting ideas.  As soon as its up on drivethru I"ll let you know.  To the writing cave batman!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Coffee Break Map

Tried out some of my new birthday pens.  It was drawn on a lined piece of paper so I managed to get most of those out with some gimp trickery.  I think I may redraw the cave lines just so there is a separation.  Anyways.  yup.

Railroading and preplanning

I know that a good percentage of OSR DM's out there prefer to have modules with no real railroading, and a basic plot, room descriptions etc.  This leaves a lot of the game in the hands of the DM.  Personally when I've written adventures for my players, I tend to do a lot of pre-figuring as far as reactions are concerned.  It might be partially because I grew up on modules like "The Sword Of The Dales" era AD&D 2e, which was a helluva a railroad.  All this being said, I have a adventure I wrote called "Gloomwood Forest" which I've playtested already.  When I remember my hand written notes, I'm going to write it up correctly with stat blocks and throw it up for giggles.  I will of course pre face the introduction by saying "This is a bit railroadey".  The thing is the adventure is based around 2 maps of a forest, with paths that the PC's can follow (much like dungeon corridors, just a bit more scenic).  Within the adventure there is a bandit camp, a necromancer lair, a old wizards tower, and a few halflings fishing.  Obviously as I stated I have some pre-planned scenarios that happen, with text.  This can be thrown out the window I suppose.

I think I'm rambling....

I suppose the question that comes to my mind, is how much flavor text and plot do you like? I know a lot of guys/gals prefer "the room is 10x15 , there are 3 goblins in it", and leave it up to where the dice fall as far as surprise, morale and reactions.

Monday, July 21, 2014

QUICK NOTE - Caverns Of Ugard is back up for sale! (FREE!)

Includes original adventure, bonus material an updated OGL.  enjoy!

The Big Bang?

So I've been thinking a lot about the "History" of my planned mutant future campaign.  After reading thru the rules, there's a few ideas that sprang to mind.  On of which was the "incident with the super collider".  This could be a very real possiblility.   I've been slowly working on a hex map for the campaign, that will be based in my area, and so that I don't have to be exact as far as my measurements on the map and where the towns are placed, I decided on the following.

The year is 6014 AD, Earth.  In the year 2078 there was a accident at the Cern Large Hadron Collider. Something went awry, it could have been terrorists, lack of basic maintenance, the jury is still out.  When the accident happen, the world as we know it was literally turned upside down.  The resulting explosion started a chain reaction underground resulting in the swallowing up tectonic plates, land masses moved.  The Earth became 1/3 its original size.  As an example to travel from Pembina, North Dakota to Moscow, Russia (prior to the explosion) was 4753.22 Miles.  After the "accident" it is now only 1584.40 miles.

Because of the movement of the tectonic plates, whole countries & land were lost, being swallowed up into the inferno at the centre of the Earth.  The accident also caused extensive radiation thru out the planet.

Eventually the governments at the time reformed in what was as close to their original territory.  However disputes quickly started over land.   Wars broke out.  What was the U.S.A invaded what was left of Canada.

EDIT: This isn't completely done.  I should write a f**king book, where does this shit come from?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

1 day of radio silence what a goof I am.

Quick note, "Caverns Of Ugard" is in the process of being re-released with the correct OGL, as well *Bonus Material!"... applause.

I'll post up the link when its back up on

As always it will stay free.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Forced sabbatical for a bit

I am going into writing mode, so radio silence is going to begin now.  The closet explanation for radio silence is this blog.

Cheers! and keep them dice rollin!


OGL Help?

It was pointed out to me yesterday that I haven't quite got the OGL thing figured out properly.  At my job I spend a reasonable amount of time looking over and creating Mechanical Licensing contracts, record contracts, etc.  However the OGL is difficult to read and understand.  So not that I am looking for any lawyerly advice here, but exactly what needs to be put on my blog & any of my products to sorta cover my ass.  last thing I need is a lawsuit from wotc.  Any suggestions would be genius! Here is a quote from Jeremy from my post from yesterday, I have revised the OGL slightly in that post, but I still don't think I got it quite right.  I know that S&W has a really good section on how to do it properly which i will need to re-read shortly.

"You have to actually update Section 15. I realize many companies don't do this to the day (cough, Barrel Rider Games), but you have to include the Section 15 of every work you used, which at least would be the SRD and Labyrinth Lord (and the most recent versions of that have a few other things in Section 15), and then the name of your work, like say, "3 Toadstools Assassin. Copyright 2014"


Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Swords & Sorcery Anthology

Recently I had looked thru appendix N I believe it is.  Anyhow, I wanted to read some more Fritz Leiber stuff, when I was a kid, my Mom had a copy of the Grey Mouser and Farfhd.  I checked the library to see if there was anything by him and the only title that came up was this anthology.  It also includes a Conan story as well.  Here is the list of authors with short stories in the book.

Robert E Howard
Michael Moorcock
Fritz Leiber
George R.R. Martin
David Drake
Caitlin R Kiernan
C.L. Moore
Karl Edward Wagner
Glen Cook
Ramsey Campbell
Poul Anderson
Joanna Russ
Gene Wolfe
Charles R Saunders
Jane Yolen
Rachel Pollack
Michael Shea
Jeffery Ford
Michael Swanwick

Here is the link to grab it Amazon if your interested, I'll write a review when I finish it up.  Looks quite good

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Let's Talk About RPG Module Design

There seems to be 2 schools of though on Module Design, although I maybe wrong, this is how I see it.  There's basically the new school and the old school look/feel.  The Old School look for me harkens back to "Keep On The Borderlands" its straight forward, typed fonts, bold sections, easy to find, the whole damn thing is in black and white(including the limited graphics), and the cover has a very similar vibe to all those great modules that came out in the past (with the little triangle bit on the top left side with the module number or whatever there).

The New School is glossy, digital graphics, parchment type backgrounds for the paper, sexy fonts, easy to read and find certain things.  Some of the graphics almost have a water color feel (inside of some pathfinder books).

Obviously there are variations on the two above, and there is a lot of DIYer's out there that push those boundaries and change things up a bit, which I adore.

For me it never comes down to "Judge a book by its cover", however I'm sure that happens for some people.  Does the look of the book's cover change your view on wether to buy it or not?

I was toying with re-working "Caverns Of Ugard" to be a little more New School looking, and while it is sorta turning out, I am still quite happy with the original old school feel.  I am currently working on my enormity project, and I am quite sure that its going to have the old school feel, B&W everything.  I quite doubt that I will afford any graphics for it, but I do plan to do some pencil drawing's to highlight certain pieces of equipment etc.  I may even draw up a little whispy footer for all the bottoms of the pages.

New Magic Item - Pouch Of Tracking

Inspired by Terry Brooks - The Druid Of Shanara.

Pouch Of Tracking

The pouch is quite small, able to only hold a few coins, and other small items.  It is made of leather, old runes are inscribed upon it.  The runes glow blue when in the presence of the undead.  The bag also carries a wonderful bit of magic, when the bag is not with its rightful owner it will send a telepathic message to the owner showing them a vision of wear it is located.  This bag can be very helpful if you are trying to track a specific individual.  Simply place the bag on the person (wether in another bag, or tie it gently to their belt).  It is said that the original Pouch Of Tracking was created by a Arch mage for the king of the thieves.

Monday, July 7, 2014

5e "pre" thoughts

After reading thru a few reviews, so far it seems that the reaction to 5e seems to be on the overall quite positive.  I am going to try and download it at some point today and check it out.  From what I gather its missing monsters & magic items etc.  Of course what do you want for free.  That got me thinking, when I first got the 2e PHB & DMG, I also got a module (rather than the monster manual).  Viola monsters! and a few magic items.  Sometimes its best to let your imagination run wild.  I even went back to kotb at the time and grabbed some stats from there.  If you really wanted to be on the cheap, I'd suggest the above, grab the basic free pdf and whatever module comes out and there yah go.  Obviously though it is smarter to grab everything if you plan to go "all in".  Anyways, that's my 2 cents, I'll be downloading it later today just to check it out and see.  In the meantime i've been reading thru Mutant Future and quite loving it.  The only issue so far is that a lot of the monsters are quite powerful.  I think the first adventure I run I"ll have to have a few hirelings "meat" around just to help out the odds a bit.  I've been looking for a decent rumor table that I can modify for post apocalyptic adventure ideas, I have yet to find anything very interesting.

PS that was a bunch of A.D.D.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

New monsters from an old Terry Brooks novel

Currently reading "The Druid Of Shanara" by Terry Brooks and I stumbled upon to possibly interesting monsters.  One is the "Rake" or "Cleaner" its a part machine part insect that's gigantic.  Its sole purpose in life is to clean the streets of an abandoned city of anything that is living.  It can get very small and sneak into buildings, it is extremely fast.  When I read about it I thought of the "Cleaners" from Labyrinth Movie.  I suppose it can be construed as a bit steampunk and a bit Shadowrun.  (I'll see if I can come up with some stats).  The second monster is Maw Grint, the child of the Stone King, which is in the form of a gigantic worm like creature that turns to stone everything in his path.  The Maw Grint is a elemental, it was created by its father, and was originally humanoid in appearance, but the Stone King has changed its shape over time to fulfill his needs.  Part of the problem is that Maw Grint has become so powerful that he is challenging his father.  

The city where this takes place is Eldwist, (since I haven't finished reading the book yet) it appears that Eldwist was once a modern day city.  First thought was Star Wars, "Long time ago in a galaxy far far away" kinda thing.  Both of these monsters could be very interesting in a RPG campaign.  

Side note, I've had a terrible time trying to get thru these books, I read the Triology of Shanara a few years ago, and I didn't mind them, other than that they were very similar to LOTR.  I picked up the next 4 books at a book markets, finished the Scions of Shanara very quickly, then I jumped into the Druids.  3 years ago I took the book with my Cuba, I am just know finishing it.  It started off a bit slow, and there was a ton of characters to attempt to follow.  Brooks is a great author, but he is one of those authors were you have to really involve yourself in the story, if your mind wanders you are buggered, and have to go back a few pages to catch stuff. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

MF premise

Couldn't sleep last night as I had the premise for my Mutant Future campaign rolling around my head.  First off I"m going to try and create a fairly low level Hex crawl, with a reasonable amount of findable tech in it.  Just so the players can feel like they are making some headway as it goes on.  (Thank god for Anyhow, the start of the premise is the following:

Either the adventure starts in a Slavers Jail with all the PC's locked up, or the players have just escaped with the help of a friendly medic Android named J.O.R.G.E (I have to figure out what the acronym is going to be) but he will have a fun Mexican accent :)

The world/hex will be based on just south of me, into the what was once the United States, basically Pembina North Dakota, which is a fairly small border town.  (It actually is this is where we buy booze on our way back from the states.)  Obviously there's going to be a few military installations stateside, that I"m not aware of, but there is also the Canadian forces base "Shilo" which isn't that far from where I am (Winnipeg).  The plan for Winnipeg is that its going to be the hub of Slaver / Morlock activity.  Which I"m going to work on a little later.  The plan is to not have it on that actual map quite yet.

Anyways, at this point that's the plan, although I'm sure there  will be a few tweaks.  I'll throw up the finished "module" lol on the blog when I get it cooked.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Blueholme - Retro Clone Review

I decided to start doing reviews of Retro Clones, this will hopefully be a ongoing series.  Obviously this is not a new idea whatsoever, but its something I'd like to do.  I've talked a lot about different clones & systems over the course of this blog.  If you have been a regular reader you know that I've had some difficulty even deciding which clone to run, as all of them are fantastic.  So without further ado, here is my review on Blueholme.

First off, a little background information from me, I did not grow up with B/X, Holmes or any original versions of the "world's greatest role playing game".  My background is AD&D 2ed.  The first thing I love about Blueholme Prentice Rules, is its like 60 pages, a quick and easy read.  Having not been entirely familiar with the Holmes version of D&D, I had a few surprises, which I quite liked.  Remember I grew up with THACO, and Variable weapon damage and initiative.  The weapon speed thing and all damage being d6 only, totally threw me for a loop.  But this is the way holmes wrote it, and the way it was faithfully covered in Blueholme.  I like it cuz its deadly! But it also can give the hero's a chance.  ex 4 PC's (1d6) are up against a dragon, the most damage the Dragon can do is 1D6/1D6 + Breath Weapon.  Now obviously if you start off as a lowly Wizard (1d4 HPs) sure you might die in the first encounter.  But from what I gather the whole point of Holmes was not so much the hack n slash, but how could the PCs go about getting the treasure without having to always resort to violence.

Another thing that I adore is the same attack table for all classes.  This is crazy easy compared to having to look up THACO by Class and Level that I was used to! (2e).

I absolutely love the following: 

The layout and artwork
The Monsters (these are all basic monsters, a lot from myth and legend)
The treasure tables (they are easy to use and easy to look up - side note I need a PC with an "Elfin Cloak And Boots"

Blueholme Prentice rules covers levels 1 - 3.  Dreamscape design (the creators of blueholme) are presently working on hard on the compleat rules - see their blog for more information on this.

You can't make everyone happy or do I write system agnostic? #projectenormity

I've been working on project enormity for awhile now, and its slowly coming along.  I've redrawn my original maps, and I've started working on some more.  The biggest problem I'm running up against is what system to write for? I know the old adage of "You can't make everyone happy" but there has to be a line there that will work for everyone.  Here is what's on my mind so far...

Swords & Wizardry - this system seems to appeal to a lot of people, I personally like the 1 saving throw thing, and the fact that it includes ascending and descending AC its awesome for writing.  I tend to wonder, has anyone who plays Basic/Lab Lord used a S&W module with any issues?

LL - I love this, and although I didn't grow up with Basic D&D, its a lot of fun.  My only problem with it, is the race/class thing (Race as a class?) whatever the case, I know if you personally grew up with it, its not an issue.

Holmes/Blueholme - The more I re-read this awesome little blue book, the more I love it.  The d6 damage thing threw me for a loop at first, but it makes sense to me, and its fast and easy to read.  and to write for! This is the way I"m leaning right now, however it brings up the "If I write for blueholme will it be playable for other systems".

I suppose the alternative is to just put stat blocks in for all 3 right?



All the stats are the same across the board,

Here we go.

Blueholme Orc
AC 6 HD 1d8 Damage 1d6  DEX 10.

LL Orc
Same! Ac 6 HD 1d8 Damage 1d6

Ac 6 HD 1d8 Damage 1d6

doesn't matter what system I use :)