Tuesday, October 6, 2015

20,000 Leagues Under D&D

I recently started reading "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" By Jules Verne, and of course like anything that I start reading my head swirls with RPG ideas and scenarios.  For example "How in the hell do I incorporate a submarine into D&D?".  Well I remember reading a Dragon magazine article about "Sheens", or machines.  Of course wizards wouldn't call them just "machines". 

So the idea is, what if a Wizard magically creates this amazing boat, that not only can dive deep underwater, but also has a atmosphere within the ship.  It doesn't need to be made out metal, maybe just very reinforced wood.  Of course underwater there is a lot of pressure.  But magic will take care of that! (As most things in fantasy worlds).

Reading the newest DMG there's lots of wonderful underwater encounters that you can use for an idea like this.

I don't remember a lot of underwater modules or adventures, but the idea of doing that sounds like quite a lot of fun!

Here's a plot list of ideas.

1.  Githzeri pirates are chasing the wizard in the "subsheen".  Why?
2.  A underwater city, created by an ancient race of Mermen (so typical but still fun!).
3.  The "lost world" type island can play a part in the campaign
4.  A Island of Savages, that guard magical pearls on the shoreline.
5.  The entire voyage is based on not only adventure but exploration, "To boldly go where no human has gone before, or for that matter dwarf!".
6.  The wizard (ie Captain) has decided that he no longer wishes to be part of society's rules, and has since left the world of land.  Taking the PC's along for the ride.  Maybe there's a organization that he's running from.  A Wizards Guild, that needs to find him for some reason?
7.  The Wizard would like to parlay with a race of underwater giants.  Hilarity ensues when the Giants take offfence and start playing a form of football with the Subsheen.
8.  The search for the great Kraken of legend.
9.  The PC's travel to an island of Vikings, the raiders request help from the Wizard & the PC's on their raiding plans.
10.  When the world was young, the Dwarfs created a underwater mine.  The mine has since been abandoned. 

If you haven't read the book yet, you can grab it from the Gutenberg Project.

Friday, October 2, 2015

It's your turn Venger.

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

My aunt bought me the basic D&D magenta box when I was 10.  My cousin (slightly older) got some other boxed set or modules that I can’t remember.  We were young, ignorant, and impatient.  So, we described what we thought was the adventure (or an adventure) to each other without specific characters or dice, based on the pictures and our imaginations.  This “session” lasted about 10 minutes. We won.  It wasn’t until a friend or his older brother taught me the ropes that I started playing D&D like it was meant to be played.

2.  Tell me about your blog? How did it start?
I’ve been writing all my life – stories, poems, songs, scripts, essays, thoughts, ideas, adventures, lists, etc.  Before the roleplaying blog, I had a blog on the Cthulhu Mythos, black magic, Satanism, Fourth Way, the Left Hand Path, and so forth.  Once I began to get into RPGs again, it seemed the most natural thing in the world for me to start publicly writing about old school gaming on the internet.

3.   How and when did you discover OSR?
After D&D 4e, I kind of gave up on RPGs.  RPGs seemed to be evolving [well, we say “evolve”, but what we really mean is change] at such a gradual pace (from my perspective) that I couldn’t see how wide a gap there was between what I started with and what had ended my love for RPGs.

A couple years after that, I had heard about Dungeon Crawl Classics and that led me to certain blogs and old school enthusiasts, then Matthew Finch’s “Old School Primer”.  I decided to give RPGs, specifically D&Desque play-styles of the 70’s and 80’s another try before discontinuing the hobby altogether.  Luckily, I had tons of fun (that was playtesting Liberationof the Demon Slayer, by the way) and realized that I still loved RPGs – just not what some games had become.

4.  What was the first adventure you published? 
That would be Liberationof the Demon Slayer.  I just ran it again for a one-shot last week.  It was fun going back.  I know what fans are saying about it being a little rough around the edges or a “hot mess”.  But that’s part of its charm, too.  Oh well, you’ve got to start somewhere. 

5.  Tell me a little bit about the last few projects you’ve produced. 
Crimson Dragon Slayer is the big one.  That’s my attempt at crafting an OSR type RPG with a few modern sensibilities while also making it a sort of parody of science-fantasy RPGs.  It tries to be so awesome that it also resembles something kind of ridiculous and occasionally god-awful.  Purposefully, though and with tongue-in-cheek; as though we’re playing it ironically from the get-go, instead of many years later and suffering through the game mechanics and art we dislike (hello, Rifts).  It’s not for everybody, but most that have tried it think Crimson Dragon Slayer is hilarious – even just reading the rules.

The Outer Presence is another one I’m proud of.  It’s one-tenth the level of gonzo, but uses roughly the same system as CDS – d6 dice pools.  It’s similar to what West End Games was doing in the 80’s with Paranoia, Star Wars, and Ghostbusters; yet borrows from 5e, such as Advantage and Disadvantage (truly an evolutionary leap).  Anyways, The Outer Presence is investigative horror.  I like to bring Lovecraftian themes and/or the Cthulhu Mythos into most of my creations.  The scenario makes up most of the book.  It’s like a cannibal exploitation film from the 70’s.  At least, that was the inspiration.

6.  What is your favorite OSR clone? 
I’m still a fan of DungeonCrawl Classics.  It’s a big book and big game.  I never use even half of it, but it’s still a good, weird time.  Each retro-clone has something cool about it, something it does especially well.  DCC and Fantastic Heroes & Witchery are the only ones I’ve used multiple times (Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea only once – but still love it), the rest I just borrow ideas from when Game Mastering. 

The case could also be made for 5th edition D&D.  It’s also a kind of modernist clone of original D&D, though aesthetically it seems “off” to me.  The artwork and layout is too polished and fancy while also occasionally looking chincy like the new CGI footage George Lucas shoehorned into Star Wars.  At first, you might be thinking, “Neat!”  But then the honeymoon is over and you’re like, “Man, that’s going in the wrong direction.”

7.  What are you currently playing?
Currently, I’ve just been running Crimson Dragon Slayer.  Months ago, I ran The OuterPresence a couple times.  Both of those as a Game Master.  I also played in a new zombie game that an acquaintance of mine is play testing and the Ghostbusters RPG.  Every once in awhile, it’s fun to just play, instead of running the game.

8.  Your such a fan of H.P. Lovecraft, what sets his writing apart for you?
You can tell that Lovecraft was a weirdo.  He indulgently wallows in the stuff he’s interested in, which most people aren’t.  He tries to fool you into thinking that he’s not obsessed with cosmic horror, black magic, and alien gods – but he definitely is.  Modern writers don’t have that pretense of not being obsessed – they just pile on the depravity, gross things, or blood.  There’s no subtlety.
I also think Lovecraft was a visionary.  He tapped into something that still resonates today, almost a century later.  That’s powerful stuff.

9.  What is your favorite published module other than yours? 

One of my favorite, recently published modules is Qelong Carcosa is also precious to me (it could use a lot more unusual tables, however), but it’s much bigger than a module.  I own a lot that I haven’t read through or ran because I’m constantly working on my own stuff, play testing that, and also being a husband, father, dude with a job, etc.

10.  If you could campaign in any world which would it be? 
 When I think of that kind of “world”, it brings me back to the 80’s and 90’s published campaign settings of TSR D&D, such as Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Spelljammer, etc.  I love a mix of sci-fi and fantasy, also post-apocalypse stuff.  So, anything like that but weird and gonzo… and Lovecraftian!  Basically, I write about what I love and everything I publish starts out as material I want to use.

11.  What are the plans for Torth your community campaign setting?  
I’m still waiting for the clamor of fans and stampeding herd of Torth lovers to force my hand and put out parts 2 and 3 (Revelry of Torth being the 1st).  Nothing yet, though.  Haha.  Soon after Alpha Blue, I’ll start working on more Torth stuff.  And I’m still cool with publishers taking up the Torth reigns and running with it.  There’s no license or restriction.  Go forth and Torth it up!

12.  When you get a chance to play a character, what type of PC do you like to play? 
I oscillate between my go-to character type and trying to widen my horizons – inhabiting or pretending to be a character I’ve never been before.  I like to get into character without being too actor-y about it.  But my usual thing is a magic-user who tends toward the dark side, probably an elf.  Occasionally, a rogue or thief type. 

EDITORS NOTE:  Venger wrote a cool class - The Baleful Sorcerer Of Tsathag'kha

13.  What are you most excited about in the RPG scene currently? 
The hope that paper & pencil RPGs see a huge resurgence that will bring in way more people, media attention, talent, technology, and money.  I feel with that will come competition, which will make all of our respective jobs harder but ultimately, force us to evolve or die.  And by “evolve”, in this case, I mean get better, make progress, etc.
Just imagine if role playing products and the people who played them were as ubiquitous as i-pods/pads/phones.  The influx would make companies, groups, and people compete.  The bottom of the barrel would be avoided and the cream would rise to the top.  Instead of celebrities bringing notice to games like D&D, we might live in a world where D&D would make a GM, player, designer, or artist an actual celebrity (in the real world, not a celebrity within RPG circles).

I mean, why shouldn’t RPGs be that popular?  When done right, it’s like watching an interactive movie or reading a choose-your-own-adventure book – except socially with your friends!

14.  Rum, Bourbon, beer or none of the above?
Mountain Dew is my poison, though I’m trying to cut back.  I also like Grape Crush a lot.  Every once in a while (like 2 or 3 times a year) I’ll have a couple beers or glasses of wine, but mostly it’s soda, water, or milk.

15.   I love the 33% mechanic you came up with (and I use it often!)  How did you come about this?
During a game, players would ask me things like, “Is there some kind of symbol or design on it?”  Maybe it was a tapestry, sword, altar, or something else.  Doesn’t matter.  They saw something potentially awesome in their mind’s eye and were asking if I might be seeing it the same way.  
I’m not the kind of Game Master that just says, “No.” if I don’t have to.  But I’m not always going to say, “Yes.” either.  Obviously, I thought, there needs to be a mechanism for saying yes and no without me giving it serious thought every 10 or 15 minutes something like that comes up.
It’s not just player questions, either.  Sometimes an idea will come to me, something devious, craft, super-weird, or tangential.  Should it always be up to me to decide?  What if I’m torn between several options? 
I just decided in the moment one day to give something a 33% (or 2 in 6 if I’m feeling d6ish that day) of occurring.  It worked really well, and I decided to keep doing it ever since.

Watch Venger explain it here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=afhRMSNbfz4

16.   Tell me about Draconic Magazine?
Basically, it’s another blog like my old school gaming one via google.  My personal blog is just me typing away about actual play experiences and what’s going on with Kort’thalis Publishing.  Draconic Magazine covers more role playing content, reviews, interviews, etc.
Originally, I planned for Draconic Magazine to draw gamers like some of the more established gaming hubs with forums and the like.  It doesn’t do that.  It also doesn’t make any money.  But it looks cool and gives me another place to post cool shit, so I keep it around… plus, it’s paid for.  Might as well use it.

17.  Who does your art for your books? It’s awesome!

Thanks!  I use several great artists.  My latest find is a man named Bojan Sucevic.  But over the few years I’ve been doing this I’ve had luck acquiring illustrations from Zarono, Randy Musseau, Terry Pavlet, Monstark, and many more.  Looking outside the RPG community allows me to include artwork that’s a little bit different than what you’d find everywhere else.

Also, Faustie and HELMUTT have both done several of my covers. 

This give me the friggin creeps - http://mrzarono.deviantart.com/

18.  What are the plans for Kort’thalis Publishing this year?  Anything in the works?
I just finished another little module for Crimson Dragon Slayer (and O5R systems – that’s what I call OSR and 5th edition D&D).  It’s called NoEscape from New York.  It’s silly, dark, sleazy, strange, and ridiculous at times.  Never a dull moment.  The adventure details what might happen if a group of adventurers suddenly got warped into New York City, circa 1983.  Not the real one, but an alternate reality.  More great artwork by Bojan Sucevic in that one! 

Now, I turn my attention to AlphaBlue.  As one Kickstarter backer insight fully revealed, it’s my take on a 70’s porn film named The Satisfiers of Alpha Blue.  But, this being for a RPG, it’ll have a bit less XXX and more campy, screwball fun like the Ice Pirates and Heavy Metal films.
Here’s the (possibly NSFW) KS link for Alpha Blue:  https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1575519826/alpha-blue

19.  You've had a lot success with Kickstarter.  Why do you think that is?  What have you learned from the process?
Here’s the key to being a modest Kickstarter success…

1.        Don’t be a fuckup. 
2.        Only promise what you can accomplish.
3.        Listen to your backers/customers/audience.

20.  A lot of publishers have been using Patreon, have you considered it? 
Yeah, I’ve considered it.  I guess I’m just not there yet.  I don’t need a tip jar for the stuff I’m already getting paid for.  Although, it would be nice to get something for all the freebies on Draconic Magazine.  On the other hand, posting that stuff gets me noticed and gets my books into gamers’ hands… and that stuff gets me money. 

So, I definitely don’t need it.  It almost feels like double-dipping.  I’m not comfortable with doing it myself even though a lot of awesome and creative people are and it seems to be working well for them.

Thanks for asking me for an interview, hoss.  Happy gaming!

You can follow what Venger is up to 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Extremely weird dream last night.

Weird dream last night:  The world had suffered a major apocalypse, and the oceans have heaved flooding 95% of the world.  I was living in a underwater complex, and was doing some routine work outside of the base.  Obviously in the water.  At some point during the course of human history we gained the ability to slightly breath underwater.  Combined with new tech we are able to spend vast amounts of time under water.  Whatever the case I'm out there doing my thing, and manage to basically fall asleep.  When I wake up I'm at the bottom of the ocean, and that's when panic sets in.  You know about breathing underwater panic right? Yah that's what happened.  ieyeye.

Totally gameable however!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Ladies & Gentleman Mr. Dyson Logos

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

My cousin's friends played D&D in the basement of their home back in the late 70's. It was old school down there, with a sand table from the old war gaming days and everything. 

At 9 years old in 1979, my cousin and I both roll up D&D characters and sit down to play for the first time. The group has a map to an old tomb and are excited to be the first ones to loot it. But some goblins also have managed to acquire a copy in the previous session and we are racing them to the site. 

When we arrive it is obvious that they have beat us there. So we rush into the tomb and in the second antechamber we run into a small squad of goblins setting up camp and stowing supplies while their leaders are up ahead figuring out the traps and tricks of the place.

We don't surprise them, but we do win initiative the first round. My cousin and I rush into the fight (playing twin elven brothers). My cousin misses his attack, but I get a solid blow in, killing a goblin. However, as I was trying to disentangle my sword from the scrawny marauder, another goblin rushed up and hit me for 2 damage.

That was the end of my character. First character, first session, first round of combat.

I was hooked for life.

The game itself was mostly classic OD&D with a binder of house rules. This was before the 1e DMG had come out, so they weren't using the options from the 1e PHB yet, although a few of the players had the PHB already. I played with that group for two years - I didn't run my own first game until 1981 after buying the Moldvay / Cook B/X rules sets.

2.  Tell me about the Dyson Logos Blog? How did it start?

It started something like six years ago when I decided to go through my collection of RPGs and make at least one character for each game (aiming to make one starting and one experienced character for each game - or roughly 500 characters). At the time it was called "A Character For Every Game" and the URL of the site still reflects this (rpgcharacters.wordpress.com).

Somewhere along the way it became a general RPG blog, and from there it became an old school DIY blog with a focus on fantasy RPG maps. It evolves and changes as time goes by. It's basically a non-social version of my google+ stream with two new maps a week these days.

The name changed in 2011 or 2012, I'm not sure exactly when. I was still putting out Dyson's Dodecahedron (my 12-page mini zine) at the time and decided to change the name of the blog to match since I had stopped posting characters to the blog.

3.  When did you start drawing maps? And how long did it take you to get your trademark style?

I started drawing maps sometime early in 81 just before getting the 1981 Moldvay / Cook B/X sets. I remember that spring in grade school drawing a multi-level mega dungeon with twisting slides down from pit traps between the levels, and that summer drawing a castle map based on the map elements from Keep on the Borderlands but that was six pages of graph paper in size and I insisted on mapping each level... so about 36 pages in total.

My trademark style is a lot more recent. I experimented with crosshatching earlier, but I didn't really figure it out until late 2008 when I saw someone else's hatching and map designs and decided to try my hand at it again. 

His maps using a “square cross-hatch pattern” (three horizontal lines, three vertical, three horizontal, and so on). They totally threw me into a time warp, flashing back to the maps from old Chaosium products and other magazines from the 70’s and 80’s before we started using digital and coloured maps. It’s not the same retro look as the classic blue maps from the old TSR adventures, but I was never a fan of those maps to begin with. These remind me at some level of the maps from Elric! And Stormbringer and other fantasy games - but it is specifically the whole Elric vibe that tickles the cockles of my heart because that’s the kind of fantasy games I love to run instead of classic high fantasy.

4.  What was the first adventure you published? 

May 26th, 2009 - The Tomb of Dûrahn Oakenshield

Embarrassingly I hadn't read Lord of the Rings or the Hobbit since 1980, so I THOUGHT I had come up with the Oakenshield name on my own as something that sounded good and dwarven.

I drew up a map and wrote up a nice little adventure for the 2009 One Page Dungeon Contest and got an honourable mention as the "Best Introductory One Shot".

Later, in August of that year, I released the first adventure PDF that wasn't for a contest - Goblin Gully. This adventure remains one of my all-time favourites and I consider it an important piece of reading for anyone getting into one of my campaigns who hasn't actually played through it. Mainly because it is a level 1 adventure with a 10HD Black Pudding as the "boss monster". 

5.  How’s the Patreon going? If I remember correctly you were on their main page for awhile. 

The Patreon Campaign has been pretty steady, if in a little bit of a decline lately. 

The reality is that the Patreon Campaign changed EVERYTHING for me. It paid my rent through all of 2014, and has covered all my bills through 2015 so far. My patrons are the most generous and awesome people ever - they are giving me the opportunity to keep working on my maps and skills while being able to survive in a hostile capitalist environment.

Without the support of my patrons, my skills would not have grown the way they have in the last two years. I owe them all a huge debt of gratitude and love because they are the people who make the current iteration of the Dodecahedron blog possible. Without them I'd be slaving away at a desk somewhere NOT drawing maps, and that would be a sad thing indeed.

I'm a Patreon success story - in 2014 I was one of the 100 top earners on Patreon and one of my maps is hanging on the wall of the new Patreon HQ. For a long time the Patreon front page was static, and the day they started changing up the mix of stuff on the front page I was up there, but not for long.

The campaign itself has sat at around the same level of support for about six months now - and has been slowly declining month-by-month for the past few months and is currently at the lowest level it's been in the last six months. Which is to say it is still incredibly healthy and pays my bills.

6.  What is your favourite OSR clone? 

I'm a purist. What most people call retro-clones I call retro-games because they don't clone. In fact, the only two games that I really feel count as retro-clones are OSRIC and Labyrinth Lord. Every other game includes too many house rules or changes from the core game (S&W's single save, for instance). True, there are some oddities even with Labyrinth Lord (clerics casting spells at level 1), but it's as close as we've come to a clone of B/X D&D so far - which is still my game of choice.

Now if we are talking my favourite retro-game, then I am a little more torn. I really love Dungeon Crawl Classics but I think of it as a modern game with a few old-schoolisms in the mix. Labyrinth Lord combined with the AdvancedEdition Companion brings us close to how I use to run AD&D1e back in the 80's (because I really didn't like a lot of the more complex rules from AD&D like segments, 1 minute combat rounds, weapon vs armour type tables, etc), which makes me happy.

So yeah, it keeps coming back to Labyrinth Lord. Although Lamentationsof the Flame Princess has the most kick-ass selection of additional weird materials out for it.

7.  What are you currently playing? 

I'm running a D&D5e campaign that is currently going through the classic "Dwellers of the Forbidden City" module (the conversion has been dirt-simple, I just replace the monster stats from the module with the same or similar monsters from the 5e Monster Manual). I would name the next module in line for this campaign, but I figure at least one or two of my gamers will read this article.

I'm a player and DM in a rotating DM game of Dungeon Crawl Classics. We take turns as DM running an official DCC module and then when the adventure is over we swap out the job to the next DM who has to figure out a storyline that removes his or her characters from the group and brings back the characters of the last DM. We've got characters in that game spread between levels 1 and 3 now.

I've got a game of Labyrinth Lord going to playtest the Dyson MegaDelve. We'll see how that goes.

I'm a player in a classic 1975 Empire of the Petal Throne campaign being run by James Maliszewski which has been going for 20 sessions so far and has been a lot of fun - my first experience with the Tekumel setting.

And finally I'm playing in a Star Wars: Edge of Empire campaign that's only had a few sessions but has been a lot of fun to play and to learn the system.

I also had the opportunity recently to play in one of Zak Smith's MarvelSuperhero games which was a lot of fun.

8.  I’m a big fan of the two “RPG a Day’s”/ 48 hour, that you did, tell me about the contest and the process? 

Ah, the 24 hour RPG Contest. 

I first discovered the 24 hour RPG Contest through a game called AssassinX - 24 pages of murder and mayhem where you play assassins and hit men. The writing was jarringly rough, the layout aggressive, and half the game was tables for rolling what kind of mission the PCs get given.

1km1kt.net runs an annual 24 hour RPG Contest now (since the original seems to have died off) and more recently RPGGeek also runs one. The goal is to design, write, and produce a full RPG in 24 hours - throw in 6 hours for sleep and it is a pretty tight deadline. It was originally based on the 24 hour comics which had the goal of producing a 24 page comic in 24 hours, but most of the RPG contests drop the 24 page target.

In 2009 I wrote Geodesic Gnomes. That year the contest at 1km1kt had a limited selection of game concepts / titles to work from, and that particular title triggered memories of the high tech low life living in the dome superstructures over the city in Johnny Mnemonic. I used a very simple system (2d8, roll under your stat + skill), and then wrapped it in some of my best writing from years of playing and running Cyberpunk RPGs. It has some faults (a death spiral mechanic where taking damage results in being less able to fight, which means you will likely take more damage), but it works. Heck, it works well enough that Mark Chance of SPES Magna games released a commercial adventure for it that he ran at conventions (Metro Gnomes).

Geodesic Gnomes didn't win. It lost out to a game by Matt Jackson.

I ended up skipping a few more contests before trying my hand again in 2013, with A Flask Full of Gasoline. The rules that year required that the game be formatted in PocketMod format, and that it not use numbers. I pounded out a game inspired by that moment in The Crow where T-bird and his crew are shouting "Burn it up! Burn it up!" while washing down bullets with shots of vodka.

In the end, it turned into three pocket mods (one for the players, one for the GM, and one with an adventure) that I had a LOT of fun doing the layout and design on as well as the writing. It uses bullets, booze and matchsticks as resolution mechanics. It is pretty tongue-in-cheek and violent.

A Flask Full of Gasoline didn't win. It lost out to a game by Fred Bednarski.

The process of the 24 hour contest is a bit rough. For me it involves a one-hour brainstorm to start with and if nothing REALLY jumps out at me in that brainstorm, I drop the whole thing. If something clicks though, I take a few notes on paper about the mechanics and theme, fire up PhotoShop and InDesign and start working on layout and graphical elements right away - then start writing.

There is no time for editing - trust your guts and write to fit the space you've given yourself. It is a hell of a grind trying to get the whole thing together under deadline, which is why I start with the layout instead of finishing with it as you would with a normal published project. You don't eat properly, you don't sleep properly, and you probably ingest too much caffeine (and ephedrine). I would seriously consider finding a source of speed before launching on another 24 hour RPG contest entry.

But of course, I am planning to get involved in another 24 hour contest in the next week or so. Maybe I'll finish this interview first, maybe I'll do the contest first. We'll find out and try to keep you in the loop (and you can have some of my speed too).

9.  What is your favourite published module other than yours? 

A Thousand Dead Babies by Zzarchov Kowolski.

It has knocked my own Goblin Gully off my list of important 1st level adventures for a new group. It is twisted and fun and twisted. And it's investigative without ever getting boring as there are SO many leads in such a small setting that there's no way a party won't want to follow at least three of them at any one time.

I'm not going to spoil it with an in depth review, but if you haven't read it yet, you NEED to. This is gold.

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

Something like Transhuman Space, otherwise Cyberpunk 2020. I don't read fantasy books, I am a science fiction junky. When I discovered Transhuman Space I read every rulebook and sourcebook cover to cover, skipping only the game rules stuff (because it's GURPS, so the rules don't matter to me). I was 100% enthralled and in love. 

I like near future science fiction, I love cyberpunk but the genre feels pretty dated most of the time (I would love to play a SHORT Cyberpunk campaign, but an extended campaign these days would probably wear me down and the CP2020 system really needs some modernization).

11.  What are the plans for the future of Dyson Logos? 

I've got too many irons in the fire at once these days, and some projects are thus doomed to never be finished. With how much I suck at following through on things, I think I've figured out how to make this all work for me. 

I'm currently writing up a campaign setting that I ran back in University called Snail Lords of the Salt Flats. In order to avoid being in charge of illustrating, laying out and producing the final game, I've arranged for Paolo Greco of the Lost Pages to take care of all that stuff and for him to publish it.

If that works, I'm seriously considering a series of similar projects - taking material from my older games and hammering it together and passing it on to other publishers to bring to market for me. "Dyson's Basement Files" or something like that. A series of unrelated projects and books published by various different publishers, but all in the same product line.

While I think that the old Dyson's Dodecahedron zine is dead, I have a few adventures that are half-finished that need to be completed - Dyson'sMegaDelve, a revised and expanded version of Challenge of the Frog Idol, and The Cursed Dwarves of Shibole. 

I'm also working on a series of maps to go with Zak Smith's Red andPleasant Land that we're hoping to collaborate on turning into a booklet that could be a companion to that lovely book. And I got tagged recently by Marc Miller of Traveller fame to work on a series of maps for that classic setting.

And of course, 2 maps a week on the blog for the foreseeable future.

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

In my youth I was a fighting wizard. Figure out how to make a wizard with a sword, and that was what I wanted. Elves from classic D&D, Melnibonean noble sorcerers, psychic warriors...

Now... now it really depends. I'm usually found playing someone with a fairly high Charisma-type stat - either a rogue-type (in any game) or a cleric-type (if appropriate). In the Empire of the Petal Throne game I'm a wanna-be barbarian warrior (ex-military with a death wish) who isn't too bright. In the Star Wars game I'm running a hovering gun-droid. And in DCC I've got a halfling gentleman and an axe-mage (who runs around basically naked with a black leather hood over his head).

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

DIY awesomeness. 

I've got a huge pile of zines that keeps growing. I spend $50 a month on books from Lulu because the DIY RPG scene just doesn't stop publishing awesome stuff.

The entry point to have the tools and technology to self-publish is at the lowest point it has ever been. If you have the imagination to put something together, then it can go to print at almost no cost to you.


14.  Donuts or Pizza?

Yes. Although lately the pizza doesn't have tomato sauce anymore - I've had to switch to lower-acid pesto-based pizza... and it has been a DELICIOUS transition for me.

15.  Your such a community minded guy, what draws you to this awesome OSR crowd?

I'll be honest, the OSR turned me off initially. The list of "zen moments of OSR gaming" reminds me every time of some of the worst games I've ever played, and seeing them touted as the keys to the scene turned me off almost as much as grognards actually engaging in edition wars in real life at the gaming store.

It's the DIY thing that has me here, combined with it being a place where I'm not the only person who loves B/X D&D in the crowd. It's the cheering on you get when you put something cool out there, instead of the nit-picking. 

It's also the whole community vibe. I am very community-oriented. I release as much as I can for free while still being able to feed myself and put a bit of gas in the truck. When I have a game on my shelf that I know I won't be using, I give it away to someone who will use it. And people know this - so when I go looking for something, the community opens up and sends me stuff. It's like a giant lending library in that way.

As with any community, I would be happier with a little less drama, but that's something you can't seem to manage anywhere. 

16.  Since you've stopped doing Characters for the blog, have considered doing some new ones? Now with the release of Fifth Edition.  How about an Alice character? 

Yeah, I've even got a few half-completed characters in the drafts folder of my blog, but I never get around to finishing them. 

At some point I would like to make a couple of Alice characters using the Lamentations of the Flame Princess system it was designed for - one level 1, because that's what I do, and one at level 9 to see how it stacks up against the Lamentations version of the thief class. 

Other games I should be posting characters for:

Empire of the Petal Throne
Cyberpunk 2020 (and maybe make a month of Cyberpunk on the blog - characters for all the major Cyber RPGs, maps to go with them, etc... that's an idea I should really get behind)
Into the Odd
A Flask Full of Gasoline
James Bond


So many games on my shelves...

17. Senators or Leafs?

I don't really follow basketball. :)

Also, Habs.