Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Random Map Monday... errr Tuesday: Trying to Add Some Texture


Here is the map I was working on yesterday.  I've gotten away from the blob forests with the heavy shading on the edge.  Although I still go back to that now and then.  I've been working on a different way of coloring the trees, like I did with my lava and reefs.  I take three colors of varying colors,  in this case different shades of greens and blend them into one another.

I am no artist.  Never took an art class and I don't have any concept about shading, textures or some other words art people use.  Contrast!  I think that's another arty word.  So my attempts are clumsy, but I do like where its going.

What helps pull this look off is the undulations.  I used to do smooth outlines, but the more jagged out line the more I can play with the colors.

The top map is one that came off straight from the scanned.  I usually use that version.  Sometimes the colors are a bit muted, but generally its a look I like.  Below is a version of the map when I hit the enhance button.  It brightens the colors.  In this case I think I prefer the enhanced version. 

I kept the features to a minimum because this is the next micro-adventure map, Oswalt's Village.  A fey forest.  I have to do some research, but generally I think I know how it write.  The feature in the bottom right bottom corner is supposed to be a thick layer of fog.  So anyone trying to get a view of what lies below will only get the quickest of peeks. 

I'll know more once I start writing it.  I hope to have it done before the end of the week.  I'm looking forward to another trip to the bookstore, another caramel drink and getting more writing done.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Patreon: MA#25 Denizon's Folly

https://www.patreon.com/creation?hid=2489562

Denizon's Folly is my third Patreon release this month, my second in two days.  I'm on a streak.  This adventure introduces the fey.  Inspired by the Celtic mythos.  A group of locals leave a Summer Solstice celebration searching for adventure.  They haven't been seen since.  Or the party could be traveling a rarely travel road or traipsing through a forest and find the unfinished tower.

I like these kind of adventures.  They are a change of pace from the hack and slash and loot.  The possible hostile encounters are more subtle than a fireball of a great axe.  The Yellow Mummers are my favorite in this one.  Fey creatures so small they appear as specks of light when they are feeding or appear as particles of dust when not.  They consume memories and form intricate patterns.  Most of the time their exploration is subtle, unnoticeable.  It manifests itself as a temporarily forgotten name or date.  Something has slipped your mind or its on the tip of your tongue and you can't quite get it out.  But should the yellow mummers become hostile they consume one day's memories in a single hour. 

This adventure could possibly take the players into the fey realm.  Be it to find the lost locals or possibly an encounter with the trickster who has stolen away something important.  That will be the second part of the adventure.  It is called Village of Osmolt. 

Denizon's Folly can be download by anyone.  There is a PDF of the adventure, a GM and players map also.  I always include a blank map for on-line play.  That's where I do most of my gaming these days.  Ir you can use it for your own personal game.  Those that are at the $2.50 or higher pledge level will receive a laminated version of this adventure.


Here a picture of the unlaminated version.  I'll print a small batch of these out and then slip them into something a little more comfortable. 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Shadow of the Executioner


Shadow of the Executioner is my 29th contribution to my Patreon.  This is a free form  adventure.  I present the place and situation, introduce the bad man and its up to the GM to use him within the situation and setting.  You can grab a PDF copy of the adventure at my Patreon.  There is a player and GM map available for download also.

I reached 60 patrons today which is fantastic.  I wasn't sure if my foray into the world of Patreon would become anything, but I've got no complaints and really enjoying the process.  If you like colored maps, short adventures and have a tolerance for typos, my micro-adventures might be for you.  They are free to anyone, those that pledge the $2.50 level get the 4" x 6" (my most used size) and 5.5" x 8" adventures in laminated form.  Those that pledge $5 and above get the laminated adventures and those that come in full sheet or zine form, plus they get discounts on other products every now and then. 

I have another micro-adventure almost done already.  My brain seems to be in hyper creative mode.  I'm on vacation so there isn't the usual brain drain from my job.  I hope to get another one released in a couple of days. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Winner is...


Wow.  I don't think I have ever gotten so many in-depth answers.  You guys out did yourselves.  If oyu haven't had a chance check out all the comments.  A lot of good stuff there.  Thanks to everyone who participated. 

Now on to the winner.  With a single roll of the die +Michael Prescott came up the winner for the dinged up copy of Starter Adventures.  I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Settings or Rules or Both and Why Not, Another Giveaway

+Erik Tenkar, the trouble maker over at his tavern region, posted a question based on a comment that +Michael S wrote in a response to a post about someone's critique of +James Spahn's very successful White Star (by the way James when is it going to be in print?).  The question is Where Should the Innovation Be - Rules or Settings?  Which was a response to Michael's comment,
Move beyond White Star for a moment... how do we encourage the next EPT? The thing that really goes beyond the same "orc and pie" or "dusty corner with 2000cp" ad nauseum? When do we get away from the D&D that has been trod and retrod and just "small changes" and really push for the stars? How do we encourage that, grow that? Do we focus on the reskins or do we take those really unique finds and give them the limelight?
Great questions.  As in all cases on this blog I can only answer for myself and what I prefer.  As is the entirety of the OSR we are all smart enough, creative enough to make the choices that suit us best.

While I am interested in new rulesets, recently I have been reading Torchbearer, I need to give Dungeon World a look, Heroes & Other Worlds, Basic Fantasy and I recently received a copy of The Burning Wheel RPG.  That's five rulesets I have sitting in a small pile behind me.  I've have dozens more sitting on my groaning bookshelves.   Even my favorite system, Swords & Wizardry, has different rules systems (Core and Complete) and within them there are different editions.  So for me, new rulesets is not what I'm looking for. 

A picture of someone else's groaning book shelves.
 However, I am always looking for ideas to improve the ruleset I prefer.  There are a few things in Torchbearer that I might try to staple onto my S&W game.  But will I run a Torchbearer game, probably not.  It's interesting, it's innovative (to me), but I'd rather stick to a system I am familiar with and add on to it.  Does that mean people shouldn't create new rulesets?  Absolutely they should.  There is a reason why my shelves groan with all those different RPG rulesets.  I read them like fiction.  For ideas.  And to see what goes on behind their GM screen. 

To me it's an artform.  Folks can draw a maps of the same place, paint a picture of the same object or write a story about the same event and all of them will be different.  To me, the interesting thing is to see other folks' interpretation.  I know when I am looking at other maps I steal from them all the time.  While I will never have the artistic talent of +MonkeyBlood Design, +Pär Lindström, +Gus L+matt jackson, +Dyson Logos or +Simon Forster, I try to learn from them.  See how they do things.  Hoping to improve my own style.

That's what rulesets do for me.  Teach me another way of looking or approaching a ruling.  Options are always good to have.

Setting are something I value.  Again, not as a whole.  Even when I was a snot-nose kid with a head full of hair and still figuring out if the Weapon Speed rule was stupid or was I missing something.  I love new settings.  Again.  Read them like fiction.  Again.  I pick things out of them I like and place them into what I'm doing.  When I find a cool culture or religion I try to integrate it into my setting.  I've been connected with two recent Kickstarters that feature settings and backed a couple more.  And I'll probably back others as they come out.

Here's the thing.  Back when the original neckbeards were creating their thing there were very few of them doing it.  So if someone popped out a setting or ruleset it was significant.  Even through the 80's if something new like that popped up it was like a shiny new thing.  But today, and this is especially true of the OSR, people are creating innovative settings and rulesets all the time.  Can we see it clearly?  No.  So much comes out it is nearly impossible to find and them all.  The subject of White Star that started this conversation, James created something that has been lingering for a while, but he was the one who was able to grab this amorphous idea and mold into something usable for a lot of people.  That is all you can ask.

Alright, now to the giveaway.  I recently ordered a batch of Starter Adventures and one of the copies got a little dinged up in transport.  Here's how this will work, might make you work for it a little.  If you give me an opinion about the subject you'll get entered twice for the giveaway.  If you don't want to give an opinion, comment and you'll get a single chance. 

I'll keep the window open for entries until tomorrow morning sometime.  Say 12 EST on the 22nd of May.   I will then randomly roll to determine the winner.  


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mail Call Explosion!

Alright.  Where to start?  I've gotten a ton of great material in the mail over the past week.  With vacation starting tomorrow after work, it's perfect timing.  Let's start off with the zines...I make no apologizes for playing favorites.


The Undercroft! by none other than +Daniel Sell.  There are some fantastic pieces in this zine.



Zine #2 is issue #2 of +James Maliszewski's The Excellent Travelling Volume.  I am getting my Tekumel education from James.  Looking forward to digging into his second offering.



Okay, now something very cool.  I often sing the praises to the OSR and the people within.  This week +Andy Action gets my Coolest Dude in the World award.  He sent me some of his CDs.  I've had a chance to listen to a few songs on the Apes & Androids CDs.  I'll be listening to his stuff as I write over vacation.  Should prove some interesting inspiration. 


And also sent me a couple of issues of Gygax magazine.  I went from having none, to three issues now (counting the one from last Mythoard).  He said he just wanted to show his appreciation for me sending out stuff.  It is a thrill to get these kind of mystery boxes in the mail.


I order these two from +Annah Madriñan.  She has a big batch of gaming stuff for sail and I scarfed up these two.  I'm still collecting Ravenloft stuff just because.  I'm not sure what I plan to do with it, but somewhere in my mind it all makes perfect sense.  It is just not telling me yet.  Thanks to Annah for making a easy, fast transaction.


Lastly, I bought the Field Guide of Creatures Malevolent and Benign.  Hell, it was less than $4 and its a monster manual.  Unfortunately the postmen decided to cram it into my PO box and bunged it up.  Grrr.  Sometimes I think postmen are evil aligned. 

As you can see my mail box was treated me well this week. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Random Map Monday 18: Neutral Ground


I always like the combination of elements.  In this case, the mining tunnels combined with stone worked rooms.  The stonework rooms are reinforced where supplies are kept and what I imagine would be a safe zone for miners.  Or some diabolical creature.  I'm not sure yet.  This map is in the cue to use in the future. 

I tried to use a feathering effect for the trees to give them a softer look.  I'm not a fan on how it turned out.  And I need to use more distinctive browns when coloring in the areas between ground and tunnels. 

It's the Monday before I go on vacation that starts on Friday.  I believe that is called an eternity.  I hope to get another micro-adventure done this week.  Did some research and preliminary work on it yesterday at the bookstore while some guy behind me whistled loudly to the Frank Sinatra collection that played through the store speakers as he thumbed through Fortune magazine.  I sat there with Seether blasting in my ears thumbing through my Fiend Folio deciding which way to kill your characters.  Different cultures, bookstore cafe, neutral ground. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Oubliette Winner!

I'm going to take a guess and Edward didn't expect me to do this.

Friday Feature: Obuilette #9 and Giveaway


Oubliette is one of the first OSR magazines I read years ago.  Before I even got the idea of doing my own.  +Peter Regan is to blame for this little zine of goodness.  A print copy was included in April's Mythoard and it has been on the top seller list at RPGNow for a few weeks. It's been a while since Peter's put out an issue and I'm very glad he did.

The traditional creepy heavy ink style of the art give Oubliette its distinct look.  There is a lot of original art in this mini 20 page zine.  It's made of a glossy cardstock, all the pages are.  It is little, but it is mighty.

The first feature is an adventure, The Fella in the Cella.  This adventure was build for Labyrinth Lords ruleset.  This is a cool short adventure that features a interesting and a bit funny antagonist.  Love the maps, nice and clean, easy to read.

Next is The Book of Lost Spells.  Four new, useful spells to add o your game.  I really like Bird's-Eye View.  Very helpful spell.

The third offering is Found Familiar.  Peter takes an in-depth look into a bat familiar.  This is exactly the kind of thing I like.  Taking a gaming thing and putting a microscope on it to get the details.

Fourth is These Boots Were Made For...  Probably my favorite piece.  A collection of four magic boots with some peculiar powers.  Army Boots are going into a adventure.  All of them are great.

Fifth is Monster Club #17 featuring the Titanboa.  This big,  badass snake can swallow a horse and have room for jello.

Pool of the Titans is another mini-adventure with great maps.  This adventure may or may not feature a certain snake. 

Lastly, on the back cover is D20 Hit Point String Generator.  Roll a couple d20s and its a random, random way of rolling hit point for critters. 

Giveaway Part
Yeah, I'm getting to the giveaway part.  I have two copies of Oubliette, Issue #9.  One I got in the Mythoard, the other I received from Peter directly.  We swapped mini zines.  But I want someone else to give it a good home.  It is really cool and must be shared.  So if you want to be in the giveaway just comment here or in Google+ and then I'll randomly determine who gets the copy...unless I don't like you then I will just roll again.


Have a good Friday folks and do yourself a favor, head over to Peters Squarehex Store and look around.  He's got a lot of cool gaming items to buy.  All of them are useful for any game.  And grab the back issues of Oubliette.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

April '15 GM Games Sales

I checked, September was the last time I did a sales report.  I've been slacking.  Here is last months report.  Since September I've released Manor #7 (and #8, but that won't be on this report since it was released in May), Stone Fields of Azoroth and Starter Adventures.  Oh, and the Flayed King.  I'm glad to see the different products because I always think I'm not doing enough. 


I don't have any grand totals because I have to calculate the previous months.  I post something about that later.  Last month highlighted The Flayed King that was released for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day.  Over 600 PDF downloads and I sent out about 150 print copies.

Starter Adventures had a nice bump in sales because of the Lulu 30% discount and then I had cut the price by 30% also. 

The Manor sales were anemic, but those sales really feed off of new releases.  I believe the 7th Manor was released in August '14.  So over eight months between new issues will flatline your sales. 

So it looks like I sold 38 units and had 669 free downloads.  I'll have more details once I calculate the numbers and do a retro sales report. 

Thanks to those who support my stuff.  I hope its fun and useful.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Random Map Monday 17


I drew this one in the middle of last week and it became the map for my latest micro adventure, The Last Shrine of Kyuss.  I've been trying to introduce different ground elements.  I think right now I have two, the boulder/rock and the bushy looking thing.  These break up the open spaces a bit and give the map more character.  Here's what the map looks like for the adventure.


I labeled seven locations on this small area map.  In The Last Temple of Kyuss I included both a blank map and a GM map.  The blank map is for folks who play on-line like myself and need something the players can romp around on.  It is free for anyone to grab a copy.  I like this one turned out because of the no so subtle twist.  The players can help a pair of merchants who claim to have been robbed of their goods by brigands.  Once the party investigates they may well find out there is a lot more going on that has nothing to do with stolen weapons. 

I've added new goal levels.  I've almost reach the $150 level.  I'm hoping to upgrade some of my programs which are getting older.  Or a new printer.  I've run mine through the ringer these past few years.  And then I added a Dyson level at $300.  Like I say in the description, if I reach this level I may fall on the floor and flail around a little.  Someone asked if I would post a video of that.  I just might.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mythoard Kicks Down the Door

Yesterday I received my new favorite thing of gaming in the mail, Mythhoard.  This box was jammed pack of cool stuff.  Old stuff and new stuff.  I enjoy it all.


This array of fantastic gaming stuff come from +Peter Regan and his company Squarehex.  He's done a bunch of Kickstarters for his adventure mapping pads.  He gives you some cool sample of what you get.  And a copy of the 9th issue of Oubliette.  Peter has been doing Oubliette way before I even thought of doing a zine.  I don't think Peter gets enough credit for being one of the first folks I knew that put out an old school zine.


This is the second time +David Guyll and Melissa Fisher from Awful Good Games has been in the Mythoard box.  I couldn't find a link to their store...if anyone has one please let me know.  Lichfield expands on the Mythoard Exclusive world.  It is written for Dungeon World, a game I've never played, but I am interested to try.  But even if you don't like DW, this adventure is a lot of fun.  I scimmed through it and has a few ideas right away on how to convert and use it.


Grrr, this sideways picture of For Rent, Lease or Conquest comes from AAW, which stands for Adventure a Week.  This is one of the aspects about Mythoard I enjoy, being introduced to new gaming companies.  This is a well done, full-color adventure.  I love the look of this book.  I'll have to give it a thorough read through.


+Johua De Santo from Genius Loci Games penned Tower of the Everflame.  Another entry into the Mythoard exclusive game world.  I love the form of this.  Last month +Jarrod Shaw did the same for one I wrote.  I like that they can be placed in a 3-ring binder.  Joshua gives you a creepy weird place to drop into your game and another fantastic entry into the Mythoard world.



Lastly a couple of old Judges Guild products.  I can never have enough of these.  And these are still in the shrink wrap.

+Mythoard knocked this one out of the park...again.  I believe this is the 5th offering and everyone I've gotten has been fantastic.  I hope it continues on for a long time.  

Thursday, May 7, 2015

A Manor Day: Zine Business

Yesterday was a fun day with the release of the 8th Manor.  Heck, I even made it to the #2 spot on RPGNow.  While I know we aren't supposed to care about those things, I like it when it happens.  All the print orders went out yesterday with the help of my lovely assistant.

I used to do my sales report and that's fallen off.  I plan to get into doing that again.  I don't even know how many I send out yesterday.  That's something I plan on writing more about, the zine business.  A while back I did a break down of costs and equipment to make my zine.  I plan to do another because so much has changed since I began this a couple of years ago.  When I first started the zine I can only think of 3 or 4 that were active and now there is more than that active in just the DCC line. 

In the past couple of years people have been getting involved in zines.  It's been very cool to see how it has evolved and how its expanded.  I've gotten to know a good batch of folks who've asked advice from my limited knowledge.  I think I learned more trying to answer the question than the information I gave them.

Thanks to all those who support not just my zine, but any of the OSR zines out there.  It's really become its own subculture.  I hope to have enough brainpower in the next couple days to create a PDF about zines and getting going.  I hope to get input from a batch of other guys out there also.

Until then, worship the long-armed stapler...it can change the world.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

The Manor Issue #8 is For Sale


Where is it going?


Or you can purchase the PDF of Issue 8 at RPGNow or at Lulu.


This issue is filled with kick-ass stuff.  Douglas Cole and Peter V. Dell'Orto wrote a fantastic piece, Old School Grappling.  They present a set of rules that will make all those tavern brawls a blast.

Trey Causey gives us a sneak peek at his incredible Strange Stars.

And I have added my own spin on Hirelings.  A simple way to make hirelings more interesting and useful.

And the final article, I turn up the Torchbearer to 11.  And if a torchbearer turned up to 11 isn't enough, there are eight different torches to add into your game!