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Mayday Mayday! Traveller RPG Day 2020 - Part 14 - The Crew

Cyborg Prime - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 01:25

The seventh live Traveller player panel for Mayday Traveller RPG Day 2020.  The Crew discusses more Traveller character backstories.

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Mayday Mayday! Traveller RPG Day 2020 - Part 13 - Matthew Sprange

Cyborg Prime - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 01:19

The seventh Interview for Mayday Traveller RPG Day 2020 is Matthew Sprange of Mongoose Publishing.  We discuss the origins of Mongoose and the Mongoose Traveller 2nd Edition.

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Mayday Mayday! Traveller RPG Day 2020 - Part 12 - The Crew

Cyborg Prime - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 01:11

The sixth live Traveller player panel for Mayday Traveller RPG Day 2020.  The Crew discusses more Traveller character backstories.

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Mayday Mayday! Traveller RPG Day 2020 - Part 11 - Mike Leonard

Cyborg Prime - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 01:00

The sixth Interview for Mayday Traveller RPG Day 2020 is Mike Leonard of El Cheapo Products.  We discuss Traveller RPG Paper Minis, starship deck plans, and other great sci-fi expansions.

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Mayday Mayday! Traveller RPG Day 2020 - Part 10 - The Crew

Cyborg Prime - Sat, 05/16/2020 - 00:53

The fifth live Traveller player panel for Mayday Traveller RPG Day 2020.  The Crew discusses more Traveller character backstories.

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Lions, Dragons, Dinosaurs, & Slavers - Wrapping the Campaign World Setting Up -Tegel Manor Session Zero Play Report Part II

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 18:05
Off the California coast strange prehistoric beasts have been seen. The locals are trying to mount an expedition but there's been rumors of strange lights, 1400 century pirate ships,etc. Alright so I converted my old copy of X1 Isle of Dread over to my current Castles & Crusades campaign. I'm getting a real Valley of Gwangi feel about this version of X1 in the campaign setting so I'm Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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Post-Apocalyptic Greyhawk

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 11:00

A great deal of change separates the North America of the 21st Century from the future age of the Free-City of Greyhawk, sitting on the ruins of ancient Chicago. The upheaval around the Anthropocene Thermal Maximum lead to mass migrations and alteration of the landscape. Four emerging peoples would be largely responsible for shaping civilization of the Greyhawk era.

The ancestors of the Bakluni were sea nomads and climate refugees from Asia who had settled on the southern Pacific Coast of North America. Pressure from groups fleeing north from the Tropic of Cancer led their culture in a more warlike direction--and also pushed them both east toward the Rockies and northward.

The Pacific Northwest was the domain of the Suel culture. It evolved in the main from separatist groups with racial supremacist leanings during the fracture of the United States and Canada. An upper-class of "pure-blooded" nobility ruled over a "mixed race" lower class in a feudal society. The inbred ruling class commonly displayed a unique mutation in melanogenesis that led to pigmentless skin and hair, and violet eyes.

The underclass of the Suel was similar (and indeed often derived from) the peoples of diverse ethnic origin that were the primary cultural group from the Rocky Mountains eastward. These were collectively known as the Flan, though they did not initial share any real concept of national identity. Most Flan lived in small, nomadic or semi-nomadic tribes.

The final group, the Oeridians, were a people of less certain origin, but they seem, like the Suel, to be derived from North Americans of European descent, but with genetic markers indicating a significant contribution from Native American ancestry. They were a tribal people known to both the Bakluni and Suel--and employed by them both as mercenaries.

Cha'alt 1870's - Tegel Manor Session Zero Report Part I

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 05/15/2020 - 04:16
So tonight I got out the twins & began to go back over Cha'alt. I've owned Venger Satanis's Cha'alt now for a few months as a physical book & its been one of the best OSR gonzo Science Fantasy books on today's market. The PC's have over the last year made some really nasty enemies within the walls of the black pyramid. Those Lovecraftian  enemies are well aware of the PC's movements & Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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Back To The Manor Baby! Tegel Manor Session Zero Play Report

Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 18:51
One of the ideas that's been kicking around my head has been using Castles & Crusades with the older 3.5 Ravenloft books but twisting it around Tegel Manor. But there's far more to my version of Tegel manor. But that could wait as we dive back into Tegel Manor's long & storied history in my OSR games.  Sorry folks but I've been a wee bit absent for the last day & a half but campaign Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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The Ruined Tower of Zenopus Goes Gold!

Zenopus Archives - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 16:43
Updated image for the product page
Interest in the The Ruined Tower of Zenopus has remained fairly steady at DMs Guild over the last few months, no doubt aided by the forced increase in screen time everyone is subjected to during these days of quarantine, and (in the last week) the sale at DMs Guild I posted about earlier this week. As a result the adventure has now hit another DMs Guild milestone: Gold Best Seller...!

As a thank you to everyone who has purchased the adventure, and to help it be more useful for on-line play during these dark days, I will soon be adding a re-drawn map as a separate file. DMs Guild allows redrawn maps as long as they support a product rather than being sold alone. Everyone who has already purchased the product should be able to download the new map for free.

This map is derived from the map I made in Gridmapper a few years ago and posted here. I've tested and found it very suitable for import into Roll20, and have optimized the size for aligning with the grids in their interface. I've also made DM and Player versions, so there will actually be two map files of this sort. Here is a preview of the Player's Map, with room lettering and some other features erased:




I've also been working on a hand-drawn map that will be more printer-friendly than the original or the Gridmapper map.

Product Link:
The Ruined Tower of Zenopus on DMs Guild

Click here to read reviews of the RTOZ by various bloggers
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Weird Revisited: Scavengers of the Latter Ages

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 05/14/2020 - 11:00
I think I might right another follow-up to this post, so it was worth revisiting from the distance past of 2018...

Art by Bill Sienkiewicz
Here are some further refinements/elaborations on the idea I presented in a previous post for a 5e (or any sort of D&D really) game that was actually far future science fiction replicating fantasy.

  • The Distance Future: Millions of years certainly, though exactly how long is obscured by the mists of time and the humankin's fickle devotion to data storage formats. It is possible that biologic humanity even disappeared at one point but was resurrected by its nostalgic offspring. Scholars are aware that more than one civilization has come and gone and the Height was long ago.
  • A Neglected Garden: Earth was once an intensively managed paradise, maintained by nanotechnology and AI that were integrated into the natural world. Most of the animals were heavily modified by genetic engineering and technology, and some were of exozootic stock. Even humans were integrated into this network, and everyone born still carries the nanotechnological  system within them. Though technological spirits and godlings still live in nature, they no longer heed humans on any large scale, at least in part due to the fact that few humans can activate the necessary command codes.
  • Diverse Humankin: Through genetic engineering, different clades of human-descended biologics have developed. The reasons for the modifications from baseline seen in these "races" may not always be apparent. Perhaps some were just art projects for some creative god?
Art by Laura Zuccheri
  • The grist: Commoners speak of "magic users" in dim memory of the fact that everyone of Earth is a "user" in the computer science sense, but wizards know there is no such thing as magic, only grist (or maybe mana), the shells of nanotechnology that envelope the world. Everyone uses it to a degree, but few have the aptitude to develop the skill to employ the grist to work wonders.
  • The ether: The underlying grid of spimes and metadata, which supports the nano and once integrated it with the internet, is known as the Etheric Plane or Ether. Wizards and other magic users are aware it plays an important part in their spells and also in the powers of gods and incorporeal intelligences, but they are like mice within a palace, ignorant of its total function and potential.
  • The Outer Planes: Civilization at the Height was not confined to the Primal Earth, but extended through the stars. Some of the posthumans that went to other stars disassembled planets to convert to computronium, then huddled close to stars for power. Their civilizations sometimes became very strange, perhaps even went mad. Many of their networks still connect to Primal Earth through ancient but robust relays. Humankin of Earth are often in grave danger when they venture into such places.
  • Treasures Underground: Earth's current society is built on the detritus of millennia. Current humankin seek to exploit it in rudimentary ways, and more advanced civilizations of earlier times sought to do so in more advanced ways. The tunnels they dug still exist, but so do the guardians they put in place and the dangers they encountered.

The Bare Bones of An Upcoming Adventure Using Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters book & Frog God Games Glades of Death

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 16:27
So I've been going through Castles & Crusades Classic Monsters book & setting up wilderness campaign encounters for an upcoming Victorious rpg campaign. Work has had me on the ropes for some time now but some how I've squeezed a few ideas into the campaign mix. The Classic Monster book basically has a rework of many of the Fiend Folio favorites in it Behirs and Boggarts cavefishers,  Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

A Few Things

The Splintered Realm - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:53
An assortment of things:

1. Erik Tenkar (of Tenkar's Tavern fame) has shared that he has some health issues going on. I am praying for him, and hope you do, too. He's a good guy, and I hope he has a speedy recovery.

2. Aldo created a fantastic fillable character sheet for Sentinels of Echo City. It's linked to the left. You'll want to download that :)

3. If you are having any trouble with your discounted copy of Tales of the Splintered Realm, please let me know (mtdesing at roadrunner dot com). If you purchased the pdf, you should be getting the print edition for a base price of $10. In the 'thank you' message from drivethrurpg, there is a copy to the direct link for the discounted version. If you cannot find that, I'll send you the link directly via email. For some reason, drivethru is not super excited about helping me sell games on a different site. I would use their POD builder, but the last time I tried I found it impossible to use. Maybe it's better now...

4. I am VERY grateful for the all of the enthusiasm and support people have shown for my projects over the last few weeks. It's been a lot of fun to log on every day and see what people are doing with the games.

5. I am THIS close to being done with my doctorate in educational leadership. I am on the FINAL review stage, and have one more set of edits to do to my dissertation and I should be truly and absolutely done with that beast. Whew.

The Tomb of Raven Darkmore

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:11
By Joseph Mohr Old School Role Playing OSRIC Levels 9-12

Raven Darkmore is the legendary Grandfathr of Assassins. He has ruled the night for the last forty years. Now he has been laid to rest. The location of his tomb has been a mystery until recently. A pair of thieves have found the location. Unfortunately, one of them died, trying to explore the tomb. His partner decided that he needed a little help. He has contacted the party offering to lead them to the tomb for a share in the treasure. But not everything is as it appears. The thief leading the party to this tomb is not trustworthy. And the tomb is not as empty as it might seem.

This 27 page adventure describes a small 23 room tomb dungeon with a “central star” layout. It stuffed full of high level baddies, all living in harmony, waiting to kill the party. And is in single-column format. And is dull.

Do you think your life has meaning? Let us assume you were locked up, today, in solitary confinement for the rest of your life, with little to no agency in your life from now on. Let us contrast that to the life you have now, or, perhaps, what you imagine to be #BestLife. Is one more meaningful than another? Can the choices and outcomes of either life be declared to be meaningful … because there can be no meaning, making everything, essentially, the same, and the struggle against the absurd what brings value? But, what if there is no struggle? What if you are not aware of it? Sometimes, reality has a way of slapping you around and challenging those beliefs of your. Reality, in this case, in the form of The Tomb of Raven Darkmore.

Blah blah blah. Grandmaster of Assassins dead, buried in a tomb, thief dude finds it and recruits to you help him loot it. He will, of course, betray you and, of course, the GM isn’t actually dead but is hanging out inside with all of his assassin buddies. As in, there are ten 10’ squares with ten high-leve dudes in the room, about half assassins. If you follow the DM advice then they just backstab instead of doing their assassinate strike. Oh, and then there’s the ghost that hangs out in the tomb. And the two bad-ass vampires running around. And the mummy lord priest. And the Death Knight. All in a small tomb complex laid out like a central star. No one really cares that you’re there, or hunts you down, or really cares that anyone else is there either. They just hang out in their little rooms, waiting for someone to come visit so they can attack. 

This is the problem with tomb adventures. This is the problem with ihg level adventures. A static environment with unintelligent undead for low level adventurers is not the same as a high-level adventure with intelligent (super intelligent) undead. If this were a low level adventures, returned, then it would just have the “I am a boring tomb adventure” problem to solve. But, as a high level adventure, is has to solve all of the high level adventure problems also, and it just doesn’t try at all. They are all just there, waiting. 

And I didn’t even mention the two assassin patrols or the black pudding or the hang of displacer beasts wandering around. There are, of course, a lot of traps. 

It’s all in single column. It’s gots continuity errors. The ghost loves his wife, but I guess he never leaves his own tomb to go find her missing bones? Plus, her tomb is LITERALLY on the other end of the room, an open room. And her locket is in her crypt. But he’s never gone over there to find it? And then, when her bones DO show up, later in the adventure in another room, they are labeled as HIS bones, not hers. It’s like no one tried.

A chapel to a forgotten god. A tomb with an alter to the same god. That’s the detail you get. Nothing special. All abstracted. Everything boring and generic, when it exists at all. The descriptions are all facts and mechanics. Both doors are locked with extremely complicated locks (-50% to picking.) Of course. “The coffins of the king and queen lie side by side in death. Dominik and Eliza were king and queen of a minor kingdom that once existed in this area. They died nearly 400 years ago during a war that engulfed this region.” That’s your room description. Enjoy. Abstracted detail. Non-existent detail. This is like a randomly generated dungeon. Just roll on the DMG chart and put the monsters in and slap a trap down in each room.

This is not D&D. Oh, I know, one true-way-ism and all that fuckery. Why bother writing an adventure when you could just randomly roll on tables to produce the same thing? 

The highlight of the adventure is Ghosty McGhostface, who will help you, maybe, in the final fight, maybe, if you find his wife’s bones. Maybes. There are essentially no room descriptions. Maybe one room has “murals of his best assassinations.” Everything else is backstory and trivia, when it has descriptions at all. 

Love bland descriptions with an emphasis on mechanics? Do I have an adventure for you!

And, of course, there’s no level range given on the cover. Or in the product description. Why bother? Three stars on DriveThru. Ouch!

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru, with a suggested price of $3. The preview is six pages. For that, you get to see the level range, on the title page, as well as two pages of wandering monsters in the wilderness. Bad preview. Previews need to show you something of the meat of the encounters, what you will actually be buying. 

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/310981/The-Tomb-of-Raven-Darkmore?1892600

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: The Fourth World Reread Week 3

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 05/13/2020 - 11:00
I had intended to talk about Mister Miracle #6 and Funky Flashman this week, but I just read Forever People #8 (on sale February 1972), and I feel like that better encapsulates the oddness of what Kirby was doing with the Fourth World saga.

There is a lot going on in this issue. A man known as Billion-Dollar Bates lives out in the desert with a barrier and deserted town guarded by para-military private security. He's involved with a Satanic cult called "The Sect" who has a ritual space beneath his mansion and wears weird looking masks. He's holding a group of prominent citizens against their will with some "power."

If that isn't enough, someone is infiltrating Bates' compound, wearing the masks of the Sect, and killing his guards. Then the Forever People show up.

Ultimately, we discover that Bates (like time-lost Sonny Sumo) has the "Anti-Life Equation," the innate ability to control minds. Unlike the virtuous Sumo, who worried about ever using the power, Bates has made himself wealth and powerful--and still has the desire to gloat to others about his deeds. It ends badly for him:


The inflitrators are Darkseid and his minions. And accident keeps Darkseid from the Anti-Life Equation: bullets through Bates. This is the second time Kirby has introduced the Equation in the flesh, and the second time he takes it off the table. Presumably he feels if it's ever here to stay he's reached the climax of his story.

With his ribbon tie, big cigar, and jowled face, Mister Bates is a rich man caricature. His very name hints at the self-gratifying nature of his use of the power and the way he has lived his life. He also fancied himself a "wheeler dealer," he tells his captives, but then the Sect revealed the true nature of his power. His life blessings almost literally derive from Satan.


The weirdest thing in this issue is, when confronted with the Forever People, Darkseid starts sort of playing drill sargeant and lines them up to berate them. Later Darkseid reveals it was a ruse to throw the Forever People off-guard, suggesting he fears them a bit. It's not at all how Darkseid is portrayed in the modern DCU.

The Ruined Tower of Zenopus is on sale this week

Zenopus Archives - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 21:51



DMs Guild is having a "Play It Forward" promotion through this Sunday (May 17th), which gives each author of a purchased product 100% of the revenue instead of the usual 50%. Furthermore, many products are 20% off, and the Ruined Tower of Zenopus is one of these selected items, which means it is currently only $1.59!


Product Link:
The Ruined Tower of Zenopus on DMs Guild

Click here to read reviews of the RTOZ by various bloggers


Ad design by the 1000 Foot General
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New Video - What's a Possible Enemy Force ?

Two Hour Wargames - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 19:38
PEFs; what are they and how do we use them?

PEF Video
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

LULU Update

The Splintered Realm - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 17:35
The print editions are live on Lulu - and just FYI, Lulu has a 15% off print editions coupon ONEFIVE that ends at midnight on 5/14, if you want to take advantage of that, too.

Enjoy.

Print Copies In Hand

The Splintered Realm - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 15:52
A few print copies of Tales of the Splintered Realm arrived at my doorstep this morning! I will be reviewing it and setting up the discounted copy today, creating the codes, and contacting people who have purchased the pdf with a direct link for the $10 version. This book is gorgeous. I'm so happy with it.




Review & Commentary On AX4: Ruined City of Cyfandir by Simon Forster, & AX6: Sepulcher of the Sorceress-Queen (SoSQ) crowd funding effort by Autarch For The Adventurer,Conqueror, King Rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 05/12/2020 - 14:52
"Two hundred years ago, the elven capital of Cyfandir fell to the savage assault of the Great Dragon Aisoth, self-proclaimed goddess and sovereign of the lizardmen who followed in her wake. The elves, occupied with the Argollëan War, were unprepared for the attack and the city fell swiftly. The elven residents fled, many dying at the claws and teeth of the lizardmen who waited in ambush in the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
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