Thursday, October 29, 2015

Netherstorm Core Rules - Review!

Product Description. 
An open sandbox game where you have free reign over your destiny.  Are you a carpenter with dreams of becoming the leader of the largest merchant’s guild on Thelal?  A delinquent, destined to lead armies and conquer evil? Or are you a simple apprentice  to a priest in your small hometown, with designs on being the head of your order?
The choice is entirely up to you. Design any type of character you like, and enter the world of Thelal.

Get It here!  (It's currently on sale as of Oct 27/2015 for $8.00!)


Introduction: 
The world of Thelal is a harmonious place, well looked after by the deities that reign over it, although it is not always without strife. The world has faced drought, famine, blizzards, disease, and war as would be expected. Beyond these obstacles, however, lies a looming darkness. An evil foreseen by the Fae prophets…

Editors note:  This caught my eye right away!

Netherstorm combines mechanics & ideas that we are familiar with, alongside new concepts & dice rolling mechanics.  Get our your 10 siders and percentile dice!  The entire game is based entirely around those.  The book is beautiful!  clocking in at 128 pages.  Full color art, 2 column awesomeness.  The game is based on a point buy system.  Of which I've had some experience with.  

I've fallen in love with all of the different races that you can be within this game.  Here's a sampling: 
The Fae - In preparation for the Netherstorm, the Fairies magically adapted a portion of their population to better function with the other races. These adapted Fairies are called Fae.

Kentrona - First springing up in the desert regions, the Kentrona are a tough warrior race. Standing between 6’ and 7’, the muscular builds and four arms of the Kentrona are ideal for combat. Their obsidian skin, the small, straw-like white or pale blond patch of hair on their heads and their naturally expressionless faces all combine to make the Kentrona intimidating and fearsome.

as well as the Muera, Peuroma, The Sidhe , Wilderfolk & Humans make up the rest of the playable races within the game. The interesting thing about the races are that each race has advantages & disadvantages built in 

Normally when learning the mechanics of a game I roll up a Character and then create a few mock battles just to get the idea of how the whole thing plays out.  Which is exactly what I did, and which is partially why this review took a little while for me to finish.  I created a Kentrona Fighter, as they are well suited for that type of role within the game.  Character creation took a bit to wrap my head around.  However that is nothing against these rules, character creation in any system takes me a bit to wrap my head around, especially the first time.   (See beginning of paragraph about how I go about the whole process.  I still haven't quite wrapped my head around 5e lol). 

Once you pick a race for your character, you immediately jump to their backstory.  I like games that include this as it helps to ground your character into the world your playing in.  There are about 30 or so backstory attributes that you can add to your character, some are detrimental some are beneficial. The cool thing about the system is that it really allows you to create the character that you want to play. 

After that its time to roll up attributes, skills & spells (provided your a magic user). 

There are eight main attributes: Strength (STR), Agility (AGI), Endurance (END), Focus (FCS), Reason (RSN), Spirituality (SPR), Magnetism (MGN), and Physical Beauty (PHB).

Magic: 

Netherstorm has a somewhat unique magic system. One of the design goals was to make everything as customizable as possible and this extends to the spells. This section begins with an explanation of how magic works and how spells are used. After this, there is a section on Spell Creation. Instead of the game designers coming up with a few dozen standardized spells, a system was developed that allows the player (with GM approval) to make an enormous variety of spells.  The magic system begins with the understanding that spells are the focusing of spiritual energies to achieve a supernatural effect. Because of this, your spells rely on your Spirituality, which will play into both spell accuracy and strength.

Within the rules there are a few spell concepts, however its basically up to the player to create their own, which is infinitely cool in my opinion.  It goes to the whole keeping this game as open ended as possible! 


Then equipment, and there's a ton to pick from, pretty much anything you can think of medieval wise is covered within the equipment section.  

Then final touches: Finally, there are the miscellaneous details that round out the character. This information may seem like useless trivia, but it can be a significant part of role-playing. For example, how well-known is your character in the area where she lives?

The games includes about 30 or so monsters, with stats.  Some of which are familiar monsters and others are wonderfully new and enjoyable!

I suppose my only caveat is that the world of Netherstorm is briefly detailed.  While that isn't a huge issue for myself personally, I know that some GM's like to have a world in which to play in, that is highly detailed.  There is a few pages of the world, and deity's, etc.  I would love to see a campaign setting style book come out for this rule set.  I would hazard to guess that the guys at Thunderhead gaming are probably thinking the very same thing!

All in all those this is a pretty cool system! and its worth giving it a try.













Wednesday, October 28, 2015

You should know about this - Secret Of Cykranosh

Wayne Rossi just put out this new module called The Secret Of Cykranosh.  Here are 2 reviews about the module, I am going to start working on one as soon as I have some time as well.

http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.ca/2015/10/review-commentary-on-pay-what-you-want.html

http://frothsofdnd.blogspot.ca/2015/10/review-secret-of-cykranosh-by-wayne.html

Product Description. 

Venture beneath the forbidding Mount Vormos in this OSR Compatible module for 4-6 players of levels 1-3. Bandits have been using a cave as a base to raid caravans, but the learned know that ancient secrets lurk beneath the mountain, and that it was where the ancient sorcerer Eibon was last hiding before his disappearance to far-distant Cykranosh. Unearth the secret!
Inspired by the fiction of Clark Ashton Smith, the Secret of Cykranosh is a module that will work with any OSR game of your choice.


In case you missed it

Here is the teaser for my current collaboration project with +Thaumiel Nerub of +Doom Products.  The plan for the adventure is that its going to be a sandbox hex crawl based around a city.  Rather than the usual country side type hex crawl.  Of course there will be keyed areas, and a general plot line.  BUT! Don't Fret! its a sandbox, you can throw out the plot and create your own.  Hmm maybe I shouldn't have said plot, what I meant to say is that there's a wonderful list of rumors, a great back story and a list of a bunch of different factions that are competing within the city.  At this point the setting is a medieval city, however a great GM can switch this to whatever time period feels correctly.  Dark sun it up if you like!  How's about an oriental adventure, go fer it!

Within the module I plan to use some awesome art from Thaumiel, as well as +Frank Turfler 's awesome stuff.

And of course we have a city map by Mr. +Dyson Logos as the show piece to Barcombe.

I read the other day that "Rather than compete with people, its infinitely better to collaborate".   That I believe is the essence of our community.  Once we get this thing completely cooked, I am hoping we can have an open playtest within a community on G+.  Any and all suggestions will be taken, and revisions will take place.   Afterwards, this one's going to be a PWYW product.  And then... drumroll, Thaumiel and a friend are going to convert the entire thing to Finnish!  Seriously I fucking love the internet.

Here's the hex grid thus far.




Monday, October 26, 2015

A.D.D is a pain in the arse!

Taking today off as I'm not feeling quite right.  I tend to get these wonderful panic attacks that creep up on me.  Yesterday was one such case.  However that's besides the point.  Since I'm taking a "take a break day", I plan to spend an inordinate amount of time working on some mapping and writing.  The last little while my brain has been filled with all kinds of random project ideas.  Of course there is projects I haven't finished yet.  What I've decided to do is to basically allow my brain to flow when these come up.  Rather than beating myself up that "I should do this before I start this", I've decided its far easier to just start working on the new something and take it to the farthest point that I can, and then move on.

That said I've got an idea for a bunch of Samurai's and I have to finish drawing 3 more sewer maps for my project with +Thaumiel Nerub

So that'll be the plan today.



Saturday, October 24, 2015

It's your turn Frank! - Interview with Frank Turfler from Middle Kingdoms Adventure and Trading Co

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

I got started in 1981 with Moldvay Basic D&D, I was 11. I remember being in a game store in the Whiteflint Mall in Montgomery County, MD. and the first thing that caught my eye was the AD&D DM's Guide on display behind the coolest miniatures. That day I bought my first mini and shortly after my Grandmother bought me the Basic Boxed set. I didn't know anyone else who played D&D at the time, so it was just me, my younger brother, and Nana trying to figure it all out. It wasn't until a few years later 1982 or 1983 after moving to Western PA that I started playing AD&D regularly with a group of friends. Most of us still keep in touch today.

Franks original minis! still in use today.

EDITOR NOTE:  Nana playing D&D is friggin awesome!

2.  Tell me about your art? How did it start?

I've always been drawing something for as long as I can remember. It probably started with the introduction of solid food. I got serious though at 12 when a friend and I started our own comic book. I continued drawing comics and fantasy art through High School and then later attended Parsons School of Design in NYC. Paying bills as an artist didn't pan out so well for me so much of that creativity was poured into editing movies and TV shows.



3.  How and when did you discover OSR?

I got started in 1981 with Moldvay Basic D&D, I was 11. I remember being in a game store in the Whiteflint Mall in Montgomery County, MD. and the first thing that caught my eye was the AD&D DM's Guide on display behind the coolest miniatures. That day I bought my first mini and shortly after my Grandmother bought me the Basic Boxed set...

But seriously, after High School, there wasn't much time for D&D so I took a brief 22 hiatus, coma really, and when I came back to gaming 3 or 4 years ago, I just opened my old AD&D books and started playing again. I was running a game for my teenage daughters (at their request actually) and in my search for new adventures I found Dragonsfoot.org and it probably snowballed from there.

4.  Tell me a little bit about the last few projects you’ve worked on. 

I'm always working on something. Although it’s been a while, I try to contribute as much as I can to the DCC zine “Crawling Under A Broken Moon” and the AD&D Magazine"&". Much of my time currently is spent working on illustrations for Genius Loci's Pyramid of the Lost King, Cartography for Darksmile Games' "Fae Nightmares" for Savage Worlds, Cartography for Obatron Productions new Savage Worlds setting "Retribution" witch is currently running a Kickstarter. As well as illustrations and maps for my own projects.

Pyramid Of The Lost King

Crawling Under A Broken Moon


5.  What are you currently playing?

I run a semi-regular Labyrinth Lord (B/X) Barrowmaze game for my family and occasionally I have time, I play with my local group of friends in a 5E home brew campaign. I also get an occasional Savage Worlds one shot in and there are SO many other games I'm itching to play.  When I came back to the gaming world a few years ago, I was amazed at how the entire landscape had changed. There were a lot of new games that i had never heard of and new ones seemed to be popping up every day. Since then I've been collecting RPGs and reading them like novels. Just a few that I've been itching to try are Fate (both Core and Accelerated), Dungeon World, Numenéra and the Strange, and Beyond The Wall, but that probably only scratched the surface.


Editors note:  I just checked out beyond the wall for the first time, wow! this looks like fun.

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

If it wasn't my own home brew world, it would have to be Greyhawk.

Editors note:  I asked about Franks home brew world…
Well it's in a galaxy far far away...
or maybe some inter dimensional pocket? Maybe its just all in my head. ? GET IT OUT! GET IT OUT!

Seriously though, I used to make these epic worlds like Egeszfold, a world where the original race of Egeszfold, the Deému, were created by the god Egysten to tend Egeszfold as his garden, but in time the Dému grew proud and began to tend to the garden for their own pleasure ignoring Egysten and seeking to become gods themselves. They erected five towers to rip a hole in the fabric of space and time and open the very doors of heaven itself, but when they did they created the Sundering and opened doors to great cosmic horrors that exist in the universe that had since fallen into a deathlike sleep— horrors that were never meant for this world. Egysten chose to save his creation from the evil they unleashed on themselves and destroyed the towers in a great cataclysm. With an ancient evil now present in the world and the world in chaos, Egeszfold fell into a dark age.

Xanadu, a hedonistic utopian society established by pilgrims on the Asteroid, Shakespeare 2112. There the pilgrims built a shining city in the heavens, a marvel of technology and order. To maintain order and balance, the Founder created a quasi-religion. A large part of this new religion is that a person's maximum age is strictly legislated. When people reach their final day they participate in a ceremony known as Inception. Not everyone however participates in Inception, over time there have been some who have been elected by The Founder's Ghost to remain. This elite group is known as the Paternals. The Paternals act as a governing council and high priests of the Founder’s Order. No one is allowed to see a Paternal directly and as such their actual existence is shrouded in myth. Of course not everyone in Xanadu believes in the doctrine of doctrine of The Founder’s Order and for those who do not believe there is only one way of avoiding Inception RUN. There's one catch; no one is allowed on or off Shakespeare 2112.

More recently I've been interested in small local worlds—like the size of a large rural community or an area contained by major geographic borders like mountain ranges, seas, or weather phenomena like dense fog or violent storms.

7.  How is your Patreon going?

My Patreon is going rather well. I like to think of myself as an accidental cartographer. Making maps was never something that I thought I would be doing outside of notes for my own adventures. When I came back to gaming, I started buying miniatures and needed terrain and battle maps to go along with them. I discovered DMScotty's and TheDMGinfo's Youtube channel and started making custom and modular cardboard tiles. When I realized that I could just create my own custom maps and print them out, making them available for everyone was the natural next step. 


8.  Tell me about the middle kingdoms blog, what’s going on over there!

The MiddleKingdoms blog was started as a diary of my efforts to learn how to design, write, publish and market a style of adventure module that would fit my gaming lifestyle—not enough time for prep and only 2-3 hours of table time per game.  Since then it has grown to include Free Map Friday where I try to produce a location map or battle map every week (I do miss a week here and there when life gets busy.)




9.  Have you written any adventures that we should know about?

About a year ago I helped my then 7 year-old son publish an adventure, "Raiders of the Forgotten Treasure" it was a blast. He designed the entire dungeon crawl encounter complete with several monsters which he designed himself. I helped him put it into words and of course did all the maps, art, layout, and design. 



I'm still working on the serial adventure project that kicked off on my blog, and in May I got the White Star bug and started writing a Gothic Horror/ Sci-fi adventure, Heart of Darkness—my take on a Ravenloft Space Opera.  Heart of Darkness is just about finished I just need to play test it (any takers?) and finish all the art and cartography. Its a bit of a different take on traditional OSR modules in that I drew a lot of inspiration from modern games like Dungeon World and Numenéra in the presentation of information. I wanted an adventure you could pick up and run with very little prep and doesn't get in the way of YOUR story. In the process, with help from Eric Lamoureux it's also been converted to Savage Worlds.  I truly do have some big plans for the Heart of Darkness adventure (the horror/Sci-fi adventure) I'd like to make it into an interactive PDF with a soundtrack, sound effects and some visual treats too. Here's a little soundtrack I threw together for a promo I'm planning to produce. 



10.  I noticed that you work with the Phoneix Children’s hospital, tell me about more about that?

When I was setting up my Patreon I wanted to use some of the money to help others in need; my son was in the hospital, phoenix Children's Hospital actually, and while sitting in the hospital I asked my family what charity I should give some money to. Their response—Duh! The Phoenix Children's Hospital Foundation. I have a goal to be able to run some games there in the future.

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

While the personalities of my PC's tend to be very complex, the type of PC I play is usually pretty basic—Fighters usually. Once in a while if I'm feeling adventurous I may play a Dwarf (Eastern European accent though; none of that Scottish nonsense.)




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

There's just so much out there it’s hard to pick. I still get excited to play all the old stuff, but I'm really looking forward to playing some Cypher System games, running a DCC funnel for the family, and that new Goonies inspired RPG. What, there isn't a Goonies inspired RPG? There should be. Who wants to help me make it?




13.  Sushi or Dim Sum?

When given a choice of either or I always pick both. BTW you gonna eat those pierogis?


Editors note:  The local church in my area has a fundraiser once a month, its all you can eat perogys! I'm going next week.  If you've never had a perogy, go find some! They are delicious. 

14.  What are the plans for Middle Kingdoms Adventure and trading co this year?  Anything in the works?

There's always something in the works and there is currently a top secret project in the works. 




15.   And of course anything else you'd like to add to this interview?

I could add so much more, but right now my wife is staring me down because I need to help with dinner. :)

Editor’s Note:  I seem to have this same problem. 
https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Creative ways to keep your PC's poor.

I remember giving away far too much gold as a GM.  Then reading an article about keeping the PC's poor.  The reasoning of course is adventure! Just simply robbing your characters while they are away is just so blah and basically a dick move.  That said, if the PC's are sitting on a pile of gold why would they leave their house?  Obviously you've got your PC's with Keeps they are building and a work force that they have to pay for.  Then you got the guys who live the lavish lifestyle with girls fawning them with large random plants, cups made out of gold.   Wizards just outright buying magical items, Yah get the gist.....

1.  Upon returning home the PC finds a group of 15 long lost relatives that have decided to make themselves perfectly at home in the PC's home!  Provisions are needed!

2.  Some spell has gone awry turning all the gold in the house into large pigeons.

3.  All the PC's non magical armour has rusted away from lack of use.  The PC must re-outfit his entire armoury.

4.  The local government has outlawed older gold pieces as currency and has in turn created a new currency based on limestone.  The exchange rates are horrible to the say the least.

5.  Your horse not only needs new horse shoes, but basically a whole new horse, there are nags that can move faster than this guy.

6.  A rather strange new holiday is coming up, "Turkey giblets and pie".  You've been assigned by the local church to come up with enough gold to help pay for most of the parishioners meals.  As well you must also find a turkey.

7.  A very large animal, possibly a dragon has stomped down most of your garden and nice shrubbery, you must pay for a gnome landscaper to re plant everything and build a higher fence.

8.  You receive a note demanding you pay back guild dues in the amount of 10,000 gold pieces including interest!  The thing is you've never heard of this guild, yet the letter is addressed to you.

9.  While you were away, a good portion of the town/city that you live in was burnt to the ground, with it your dwelling.  All of your worldly possessions are gone.  Chest of gold, melted to nothing.  To bad you didn't take up the offer from that strange door to door wizard who wanted to sell you nothing for something.  Insurance...

10.   You currently owe 500 GP's for next year's subscription of "Medieval Babes In Chainmail" (alternatively for female PC's, the "Knights Of the Round Table").



DIY RPG Publishers Anonymous

Hi my name is Shane W, its been 6 weeks since my last confession, I currently have writers block & procrastination.  

Are you having issues with your DIY RPG project? Computer not working strongly considering throwing it off the balcony? Got 2 rooms of a mega dungeon idea and drawing a blank?  Can't quite figure out how to sell stuff on OBS? Need a playtest? 

DIY RPG Publishers Anonymous community on G+
https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/117562401573522019076

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Ra Ra Ravenloft!

This Saturday afternoon we are going to play some Ravenloft.  There are a few firsts that are going to happen for me.  First I've never played Ravenloft, although I have read about it.  I am rather excited to try out the world as I know that's not the typical D&D LOTR type world that I've normally played in.  Secondly its going to be my first time as a player playing 5e and my first time as a player in a long while.  I plan to be overly flamboyant.  (take that as you will).  It appears that the evening is going to be a one shot, and then we will either continue finishing up the starter set, or switch DM's and play "Out of the abyss" (of which I also get to be a player!).  Apparently I have to go out and find 10 candles for the evening.  I am highly curious as to how this is going to work out within the game.

PLEASE NO SPOILERS IF YOU KNOW WHAT THE DAMN CANDLES ARE FOR!!!!!

As well, I had a recent trip to Costco and got 2 extremely large "family" sized bags of Cheezies.  Score.  And I'm not talking a typical family of 4 or 5, I'm talking "18 kids and counting" sized Cheezies! Now to find a keg of Mountain Dew and we will be all set for any sort of Apocalypse that might happen.

I'm also bringing random dice this time.  No matched sets, just random colors and sizes.  Just cause.  Apparently we are getting pre gens at 7th level, so I maybe re-rolling dice a lot.

I'll keep you posted on how the game turns out sometime Sunday afternoon once I've recovered from having been scared.

Oh and the ear worm in the title......



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Learning game mechanics

How do you learn a game as GM? 

What I've done is start by creating a character, going thru that process, and then creating mock battles for myself.  

After that the role playing part of it is child's play. 

Do you just jump in and go? 

Monday, October 19, 2015

No Escape From New York - Module Review

Right from the first paragraph you know that your in for a f**king ride.

You'll be adventuring in a parallel world of New York City, circa 1983. After a short but calamitous global thermal nuclear war, the urban landscape became a burned-out wasteland of ruin and mutation. Survivors congregate in the city that never sleeps, making it their nightmarish playground.. a shit hole of degeneracy & and wickedness.

As the author states, running a Crimson Dragon Slayer campaign " If it's possible to imagine whatever's going on in some late-night, low-budget 70's or 80's flick, then said thing is appropriate for Crimson Dragon Slayer. Appropriate?  Nay, encouraged! The more ridiculous, the better."  Which perfectly sets up this module! (I need to run this game man!).  Considering I did add a little thoughts here & there to the development of Crimson Dragon Slayer.

That being said this game isn't for the faint of heart, or for that matter "typical role players".  When I say that, I mean you need a group of players that are into this type of fantasy world.  Not the usual damsel's in distress (more like damsels in a state of undress!), Orc's, Wizards, Elves! BAH make em purple with tentacles and slime and your getting closer.  etc.  Crimson Dragon Slayer is meant to be a fun, engaging alternative to the usual role playing tropes that we hold near and dear.

Note:  The opening mentions the home world of "Thule".  I hazard to guess this is the world of Crimson Dragon Slayer.  Since I can't quite find my copy of the rules, I am going to go with that.  Having said that the premise of the game is an alternate reality, so feel free to dream up your own world to run this campaign in.

Conversion notes:  If you want a more traditional Armor Class, all you have to do is add 10 to what's listed. For the Attack Bonus, simply give a +1 for every Hit Die. Everything else should be interpreted by the Dragon Master as he sees fit.

Having read & played a few of Venger's modules, they are relatively easy to convert to any Old School system.  For me this screams Mutant Future, or a 5e mashup.  That said I'm sure it was written with Crimson Dragon Slayer in mind originally.  Although advertised as "Best of all... this is more or less compatible with any OSR game that uses Hit Dice, Armor Class, etc.  No Escape from New York is 85% of a full-fledged micro-campaign just waiting for your grimy, crimson-soaked fingertips.  Caress this PDF if you dare!"

Random note:  Venger, why didn't you call it Crimson Demon Slayer?  Every time I write CDS I screw it up and have to go back and revise.  hahaha

File under best name for a random table ever:  REASONS WHY YOUR BUDDY IS A DARK SIDE JACK-HOLE

As much as "Keep on the borderlands" is a perfect starting point module for Basic D&D, No Escape From New York perfectly suits trying out CDS for the first time.   It throws you into the twisted mind of the author and the game.  After running thru this module you will have perfect jumping off points to continue your campaigns within the CDS system.

The way the module is laid out, there are all kinds of random things that can happen, and a set of "events" as I'd like to call them.  Jumping off points to move the story along.  Obviously the GM can follow the chosen path (although its not a railroad whatsoever), or take a hard left turn and go off on some other wildly extreme tangent (preferably with tentacles!).

The module contains amazing BW art that we have come to expect from all of Venger's writings.  The evoke the world that you are playing in.  And as a GM they help to get you right in the zone.

There isn't really any kind of maps of New York, as the author states its good to start off small when building a campaign.  There's enough going on within the module to get you there without a map of the area.  That said even a cross section street view with a few area's of interest would have been handy.  Easily solved by googling old city maps of New York.

I'm totally in love with all of the 80's references, including the "Gang of three".  Nope I'm not telling you who is in the gang.  Buy the module and find out! 

Any module that includes references to the "Ultimate Wet T Shirt" contest is awesome in my book!  The whole premise of this adventure takes you on one helluva a crazy ride.  In all honesty if I was running this, I'd make sure the PC's were pretty tough, just so I could get them thru the whole thing!
The module includes 3 new spells for Old School & CDS play.   As well there's a bunch of awesome tables, including ones for hilarious character name generation.

All in all, this is a great adventure!  Clocking in at 24 pages, it leaves me wanting a bit more.  But I know if I was running this I'd start adding all my own little flourishes to make it even that much better.  Which is the idea of a module isn't it? We can't think of everything as publishers.  And a system like CDS really allows for the imagination of the players & GM to take over and make it theirs.

Buy the module here.

Get the rules












What happens when hockey season starts

Here's what happens when Hockey season starts in Canada.  A whole lotta nothing! I know I've been quiet.  However that's not really an excuse is it.  Here's what's been in the works.

I'm currently writing with +Thaumiel Nerub  of +Doom Products a fun little hex crawl.   We've been slowly working our way thru it.  I have to draw a few maps for this one!  As well we may use a few +Dyson Logos CC maps within the adventure as well!  Another thing I'm quite excited about is that Thaumiel can draw really well, so hopefully we can fill up the pages with some awesome.

I have 2 projects that I want to review, one of them is this awesome ruleset called Netherstorm.
Product Description:
An open sandbox game where you have free reign over your destiny.  Are you a carpenter with dreams of becoming the leader of the largest merchant’s guild on Thelal?  A delinquent, destined to lead armies and conquer evil? Or are you a simple apprentice  to a priest in your small hometown, with designs on being the head of your order?
The choice is entirely up to you. Design any type of character you like, and enter the world of Thelal..

So far after my brief read thru, I'm diggin it!  The graphics alone are awesome.  It has a definite old school feel!  

The other review that I'm working on is +Venger Satanis "No Escape From New York".  A post apocalyptic module for Crimson Dragon Slayer

Product Description:
Look what the cat dragged in!
This is New York City as only Crimson Dragon Slayer could imagine it.  Filthy, funny, and fucking weird... No Escape from New York is the second mini-module for the old school, gonzo science-fantasy RPG Crimson Dragon Slayer (Descent into the Candy Crypts is the first).
The book is a dark, smutty love letter to the rotten apple circa 1983, when Times Square and 42nd Street were doing it up right.  You'll see a dozen or more of your favorite films and TV shows given the homage/parody treatment.
Best of all... this is more or less compatible with any OSR game that uses Hit Dice, Armor Class, etc.  No Escape from New York is 85% of a full-fledged micro-campaign just waiting for your grimy, crimson-soaked fingertips.  Caress this PDF if you dare!

Rolling around my head lately is the following: 

*  I'd like to do a post apocalyptic module, based entirely on Canada.  As some of you may have noticed I have a fairly good sense of humour regarding my "home & native" land.  Throw a bit of Venger gonzo into it, and you might end up facing some Zombie Mounties! A little while ago I created a Canadian RPG and a Canadian Character Sheet.  

I just picture everyone playing a Casey Jones type character in the adventure.  (+1 Hockey Jersey anyone?).  Maple syrup healing potions! 















Deathtrap Dungeon Idea: 
I had posted this up on the OSR forum, but it was met with a whole lot of nothing! So I think I'll try and find some time to create it myself. 

Random idea, based on "deathtrap dungeon" from fighting fantasy.  the premise of which is "Deathtrap Dungeon is a fantasy scenario set in the trap-filled and monster-infested labyrinth of Fang.[1] The player takes the role of an adventurer who decides to enter Baron Sukumvit's "Trial of Champions" and brave "Deathtrap Dungeon". Competing against five other adventurers, the player must defeat monsters, navigate the maze of dungeons and collect certain gems, which are the key to escaping and winning the Trial." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deathtrap_Dungeon

What I'm thinking is create a community fed dungeon based on the above premise, however with one slight modification, every player plays 5 PC's (like the DCC funnel) none of them getting any more than weapons that do 1d4 damage (hoes, shovels, etc) 

We can call it "Cannon Fodder".  the prize is 10,000 Gold and a house in the city. 


Thought Eater Contest

Zak S started running an awesome essay contest about a month back.  Great idea!  However I haven't written an essay in about 14 years or so.  I actually had to google "How to write an essay".  Apparently there are prizes involved (Yes I really want a copy of R&PL and now I am going to grab the pdf).  Now that the results are in and I didn't make it thru, I wrote the 2nd post for "realism".  This contest was a great idea, its been so long since I wrote an essay. http://dndwithpornstars.blogspot.ca/2015/10/thought-eater-1st-round-winners-rules.html?showComment=1445177535874#c2404922361350624239

Hockey! 

1st game of the season! The return of the Manitoba Moose.  The Moose filled the void while the Jets were gone from Winnipeg (11 years).  When the Jets came back the Moose were unceremoniously moved to St Johns (which was awesome for them, the town really got behind the team).  However that last season was my first as a season ticket holder and I really got into it.  Whatever the case, I am super glad they are back where they belong.   #gomoosego  #ihopetheystay  (The Moose are the AHL affiliate of the Jets - Hockey). 




Review & Commentary Free Adventure The Lizardmen of Illzathatch - Swords & Stitchery Blog

BIG THANK YOU TO +Eric Fabiaschi for his awesome review of The Lizardmen of Illzathatch!

There's something to be said for dealing with a straight forward adventure at times; sure everyone might be looking for the clever twist to your old school. The menace here is very well thought out and gives a DM an opportunity to play around with some of the older edition monsters and give his PC's a run through with all of this adventure's setting pieces and menaces a run through. Be warned this adventure isn't a cake wake or push over stupid players are going to pay with their character's lives. Another clever inclusion is the per-generated player character roster that's included. These PC's could be used as survivors of previous encounters with the adventurer's menace, or as fodder for future horrors that might still result from some of the adventure elements that have been left behind by those that cane before.. 

You can read the full review here.  http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.ca/2015/10/review-commentary-free-adventure.html

The Lizardmen is Pay What You Want over at drivethrurpg.com




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.
http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2488

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 
http://draconicmagazine.com/
http://vengersatanis.blogspot.ca/