Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Adventure Design Booklets

Oubliette - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 12:48
I launched this little project last night. Simple A5 booklets ideally formatted for writing adventures for RPGs.

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The Hobgoblin Bride

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 11:11
By Megan Irving Aegis Studios O&O Levels 1-2

Urgoblins are an all-male hobgoblin subrace who have limited regeneration abilities. Most urgoblins live among other hobgoblins with no issues; however, some believe their abilities are a gift from Ragnar and a sign that they should be leaders of their clans. Some of these urgoblins have split from their hobgoblin clans and come together to create an all-urgoblin clan, focused on taking over and ruling the Untamed Gauntlet. To further this goal, they’ve kidnapped hobgoblin women with the plan of breeding more urgoblins to join their power-hungry army. Mara is one of these women, and she has recently managed to escape their clutches, leaving four others behind in her flight to freedom. Mara wants to rescue the other hobgoblin women from the cruel urgoblins. A kindly centaur named Ronan has brought her request to the clerics at Chandra’s Haven, where the party can accept it and attempt to rescue the kidnapped hobgoblin brides.

This eleven page adventure describes ten room hobgoblin hideout. It’s small, simple, and tries to add immersion through trivia, which is never a good idea.

So, yeah, hobgoblin woman wants you to go rescue some other kidnapped hobgoblin women from some regenerating hobgoblins. Ignoring this, let’s talk difficulty. There are fifteen regenerating hobgoblins in the lair, and a few more on the way there. That seems like a lot for level one? I mean, you can stealth, run away, etc, but, still … this seems like a lot even for level two’s? And they regenerate?

It’s another simple map, looks like Dyson. Two ways in/out from most rooms. Nothing too interesting except maybe the two outdoor areas that offer some vegetation, porches, elevation, and other features to spice things up. 

The writing format is not very good. The rooms themselves tend to be rather plain, with trivia descriptions, which follows for most of the hobgoblins also. I mean, yeah, they do get some personalities, especially the women, but there’s this focus on trivia that embedded in to everything and FAR more prevalent than any interesting or evocative detail. One room has some columns. Underneath the paint of one, it’s cracked. Uh. Ok. An Frank the builder constructed it, but that also plays no role in the adventure?

The bad guys gets weird descriptions. Hair tied in a bun. Shaved heads. Mean expressions. One has a goatee, another has a scar across his nose. Another has a vest made of goat pelts. I guess this is ok? I mean, it helps the DM identify them to the players I guess. “The one with the nose scar walks over to the door” and so on. It just feels out of place because there feels like there is very little room for that sort of play.

The rooms are just full of this trivia, all squashed together. What they do when on alert and not would normally be good information, but it’s all mixed up in text form in this. Highlighter time! Except I won’t do that; that’s the designers job, to make the text easily navigable/scannable.

And the treasure is quite light. Almost no loot. I guess maybe Gold!=XP in O&O? Which means it’s a plot RPG? Which means it’s, essentially, a setting for 5e with OSR stats?

This is just another in the long long line of forgettable published adventures. Also, I guess “The Hobgoblin Bride” sounds better than “The Hobgoblin Multiple Gang Rapes Sexual Assault Victim.” Yeah, they put a sexual assault warning on it. And then they humanized her. If you’re gonna do that then calling her a “bride” is kind of disingenuous, eh?

This is $1 at DriveThru. There’s no preview, so just fork over your precious dollar and take what they decide to give you! Fuck yo for wanting a preview anyway! What do you think you are, an informed consumer making a logical purchasing decision?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: Vermillion

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 11:00

Vermillion was a series from DC's Helix science fiction imprint created and written by the science fiction and fantasy author, Lucius Shepard. Like all the Helix line save one title, Vermillion was short-lived, lasting along 12 issues, published 1996-1997. (The one that had staying power was Transmetropolitan, which moved over to Vertigo.) Vermillion is a science fantasy about an eponymous endless city that is the entirety of its universe. Vermillion came after our universe and was created through the machinations of dark gods, the survivors of the universe prior to ours. Only Jonathan Cave remembers what came before and fights against the entities to restore his world. It bears some resemblance, perhaps, to John M. Harrison's Virconium (and maybe prefigures his Kefahuchi Tract, a bit). It is definitely not typical comic book science fantasy, even for the Vertigo 90s.

Vermillion has an interesting set up, but the stories read like they were written by a prose writer rather than a comics writer. The art in the first arc is by Al Davison and is firmly of the 90s "the writing is the important thing" camp, so it can't come to the rescue. Shepard hits more of a groove in the second arc, and John Totleben and then Gary Erskine improve the art side, but it is perhaps too little too late.

Still, the setup up and universe is interesting, and Shepard gives us a sort of complicated protagonist for a comic in Cave. It has never been collected, but if you run across the issues for cheap it is worth picking up.

Commentary & Notes On Running RQ1: "Night of the Walking Dead" (1992) By Bill Slavicsek For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition Ravenloft Setting

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 10/09/2019 - 00:47
"In a rain-soaked graveyard, a small group of men stands round a coffin bound with heavy chains. 'We are here to mourn the passing of Jean de Cardeau, ' intones the village priest. 'Let us pray that his rest is eternal, and that he never returns.' As the pallbearers lift the coffin, something scrapes on the wood from inside. Quickly and without emotion, the attendants slide the casket into aNeedles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Review & Commentary On Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit & Kickstarter

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 10/08/2019 - 21:30
I was asked by Jason Vey the author of the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars Quick Start Kit. This is a part of an ongoing kickstarter for the Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars rpg. What  Night Shift: Veterans of the Supernatural Wars is a sort of  beer & horror game that is easy to pick up & run with; "Debuting the new Elf Lair Games house system, O.G.R.E.S., Night Needles
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A Sword & Sorcery Greyhawk Using Advanced Dungeons & Dragons's Greyhawk Adventures By James Ward

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 10/08/2019 - 16:25
"Enter this world and discover excitement far beyond your wildest dreams. Greyhawk is the place where adventure begins and ends?."James Ward usually gets the attention for Gamma World but actually he contributed to the second phase of Greyhawk back in Nineteen Eighty Eight. Greyhawk Adventures is a solid & very useful book to this day for both the old school dungeon master & the OSR Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Why You Should Play in the D&D Adventurers League (and a New 1-Sheet Quick Start)

DM David - Tue, 10/08/2019 - 11:15

If you want to play more Dungeons & Dragons, but can’t find opportunities, then you must try the D&D Adventurers League. The League runs an ongoing, official campaign for D&D. This campaign lets you create a character and bring it from table to table, game store to store, convention to convention. In online league games, I’ve joined players connecting from Germany, Russia, and New Zealand—and I only occasionally play online.

For most players, the league solves the problem of finding a D&D game.

Get the Dungeons & Dragon Adventurers League Season 9 Quick Start PDF

Many local game shops host regular league games. These programs thrive on new players and they welcome guests. Some business travelers who live on the road make a point of seeking games in the places they visit.

Most D&D games at conventions follow the league. For some D&D players, league games at one annual convention amount to all their D&D play for the year.

To start with the league, I suggest going to the Adventurers League site and looking for a game store hosting games. Then contact the store. If nothing is close enough, find a regional convention and make a weekend of gaming. Or play online.

Even if you prefer to find or start a home game with a consistent group of players in an ongoing campaign, the league makes a great place to start. In league games, you will meet players and dungeon masters whose style matches yours. You can find and recruit like-minded players for a home game.

While the league’s campaign rules create a certain consistency, the league aims to accommodate players who favor different play styles, whether role playing, story, or combat. DMs and players vary from table to table and they bring their tastes to the game. If one session doesn’t suit you, try a different DM or a different location.

The league operates in seasons matched to the hardcover adventures published by Wizards of the Coast. The 9th season, supporting Baldur’s Gate: Descent Into Avernus, launched in September. 

Until now, the league administrators have coped with troublesome players by weighing the campaign with more and more cumbersome rules. See The Adventurers League Campaign Rules Offered a Game. How Gamers Played to Win. This season marks a change of direction toward lightweight, elegant campaign rules. By season 8, the league required players with a stubborn commitment to mastering legalities. Season 9 makes the league more welcoming to casual players than ever.

The league offers an unmatched opportunity for DMs and adventure writers to boost their skills. For DMs, no practice works as well as running games for strangers. For adventure authors, running games for strangers gives you a better sense of the characters that players bring, the choices they make, and the tactics they adopt. No home game can bring the same experience. I suspect the best new authors penning Adventurers League scenarios bring ample experience running for strangers.

To help you start with the league—and to help veterans bring new players on board—I present a 1-sheet, quick start guide for the league’s new Season 9. My thanks go to Adam Corney, who did the heavy lifting of updating the sheet for season 9.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Half Ogre PC's with The Dragon #73, May 1983

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 10/08/2019 - 05:25
  There are times when I want to take a break from the normal run of OSR stuff to concentrate on some things that I really love & one of those is half orges. Half-ogre PC, by Timothy Truman, from the article “The whole half-ogre: The best darn door-opener there is” by Roger E. Moore, Best of Dragon Magazine Vol. IV, TSR, 1985.  (Article without illustration originally from Dragon #73, May Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Infernal Evil For Advanced Dungeons & Dragons From The Dragon Issue #42 & How to Counter It OSR Style

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 10/07/2019 - 17:17
So last night I dragged The Dragon issue#42 out in into the light. This issue has some fantastic stuff for the dungeon master looking for something spooky but all of his or her players have memorized every Ravenloft & monster manual around.The issue only runs about sixty pages but these are solid additions to any dungeon master's tool box; " The Mansion of Mad Professor Ludlow - A spooky AD&D Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

No Rest for the Wicked

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:11
By J. Stuart Pate lotFP LotFP Low levels

The year is 1632 and the wars of religion engulf Europe. Can you imagine it? A war so total, everywhere you have ever known and everywhere you might know is touched by it. It’s taken friends and family members. Maybe it swallowed your village whole. Perhaps it even took you, conscripted by a King or an Emperor or a Pope you have never met. […] So, when you seek an inn to stay for the night, why are you so surprised to find the war has arrived ahead of you? 

Hey, there’s a patreon link at My goal is $152,000, at which point I can pay off my mortgage. Seems reasonable to me … 

This 32 page adventure is an outline of a situation that is going to go down in an inn. The party may involve themselves in The Troubles. It is, essentially, an orc baby adventure. It’s pretty well organized, if longer than need be. 

I’ve been on a Lamentations hiatus, burned too many times by Raggi. I saw the “Hell is other people” tagline and, sucker that I am, bit immediately. Insane in the membrane I am. (Again, Hexstatic Cocaine sample.) Have you ever wondered why those three fucks in No Exit don’t just bend a fucking little in order to make eternity more tolerable? I’ve known two people in my life who were intractable and they both, to varying degrees, were self-destructive because of it. Content to watch their life burn down around them rather than reframe. Then again, if our room occupants could do that then they wouldn’t be there, would they? I digress. 

Let’s cover the orc baby situation first. Do you like adventures with orc babies? IE: do you like moral quandaries that can split the party. I don’t. I played in a Mountain Witch game once in which some famous RPG dude was also in. They found the game emotionally unfulfilling. I thought it was kind of fun. If I wanted to play some indie game exploration of death or a crumbling relationship then I’d go watch On the Beach again and get my misery that way. As the Tom Tom Club would say, Fun, natural fun. And before you fucks freak out, I AM a new wave boy, but I know this from Hexstatic Cocaine samples. Anyway. Fun, Natural Fun. I digress.

This being Lamentations, it’s set in the Catholic & Protestant wars in Bohemia. That don’t matter though, you just need a human warzone for it to work. You stop at an inn. There’s a family in the common room. The innkeeper comes riding up (he was gone) and says there’s an army coming. The family go and hide in the basement and the party is urged to not know anything. Some mercenaries show up to stay in the inn … who are actually advance spies for the army. Around 2am an army search party shows up, looking for a deserter who burned down a town. Seems he’s got his family in tow. Motherfucker, my ‘C’ songs suck. After Cocaine it switch to a bunch of shit before I figured out it wasn’t on shuffle. Frankie will have to do. I digress.

The timeline of events is handled on a couple of pages. It is the core of the adventure and it’s just about all you need to run the thing. It’s supplemented by a bunch of words that describe various things the party could do, generally who they help/what they do, and how the NPC’s react to that and it changes the situation. This is almost like a designers notes section, or an outcomes section for follow-ups to the adventure. I really appreciate that sort of thing to get me kickstarted in a direction that I can run with at the table. There’s also a brief description of the inn which is, appropriately, kept short in a non-keyed description. This ain’t an exploration and you just need the barest details of it to run what is, essentially, a social adventure. There’s also a couple of pages of simple inn maps and NPC descriptions. It does a good job giving you a short summary of the adventure up front and then the several page timeline is perfect for actually running the thing. I do not digress.

I might note that I found the NPC descriptions worthless. Well, not worthless, but inadequate. Given the map and the timeline then what this needs is a one page summary of all of the NPC’s; their quirks, looks, motivations, etc. Then you could run the thing without the book at all. Similarly, I might take some of the features mentioned in the inn room descriptions and add them to the map. The sword and gun in the common room, and so on. Maybe some notes, etc, with pointing arrows. This would make the book even MORE superfluous to running the adventure. By now it should be obvious how much I enjoy taking notes and highlighting things in order to run an adventure. If this thing did those two points then it would be pretty great in the “run at the table” department.

It’s ok. I like the drop in nature of it. I might have also appreciated a little more going on, for more chaos, but, as far as orc baby adventures go this one is pretty light on the morality. It just makes you feel like shit no matter what choices you make. Is that fun? I’m gonna regert this, even though it has orc babies.

This is $8 at DriveThru. The preview is five pages and shows you the VERY brief outline of the adventure. That’s a great orientation of whats to come in the more detailed notes. A page of that more detailed timeline, a page of the inn, a page of the outcomes all would have supplemented the preview better than the generic title pages/intro would have.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Weird Revisited: Gill-Man vs. Wolf-Man

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 10/07/2019 - 11:00
This post was originally presented in October of 2010, part of a series on the Universal Monsters.

The gill-man and the werewolf. Both are zoanthropes, and perhaps as such, both represent fears of nature or man’s own animalistic side, though at that point the similarity seems to end.

The gill-man is elusive. His appearances in media are more rarified, no doubt due to his proprietary, rather than folklorish, origins. In addition to the Creature trilogy, stand-ins make appearances in The Monster Squad, and Monsters vs. Aliens--where interestingly he’s grouped with decade-appropriate monster stand-in colleagues rather than the Universal monster old guard.

The proto-gill-men of Lovecraft’s "Shadow Over Innsmouth" have miscegenation fears in their DNA, which seem absent from Universal’s creature--unless his attraction to human females is a hint at this. In some ways, the Lovecraftian angst underlying the Deep Ones makes them more interesting than a fish King Kong. That’s part of the reason D&D’s Kuo-toa (more Deep One-ish in character) have always been more interesting to me than the other evil fishmen, the Sahuagin (Gill-Men).

I guess Dr. Who's Sea Devils and Silurians might be mined for gill-man inspiration. Anything might help. Gill-man’s got a good look, but little else to give him real monster memorability.

Neil Gaiman has a short-story called “Only the End of the World Again” where Larry Talbot, the Wolf Man, winds up in Innsmouth and tangles with Deep One cultists. This may be as close as media has given us to a Gill-man-Werewolf bout.

Werewolves seem to have what it takes for urban fantasy fiction. Werewolf sex probably seems even naughtier, I suppose, than lovin’ the living dead. In fact--Teen Wolf aside--there’s always been something a little “adult situations”--maybe even exploitation--about werewolves. They don’t just strangle like the mummy or Frankenstein, or give a killer kiss like a vampire--they rend and tear and chew. Werewolves are as much serial killer as wild beast.

Is it any wonder that werewolves are almost as likely as vampires to get the grindhouse treatment? I would suspect only “almost” because vampires maybe give more excuse for nudity, and blood effects are cheaper than wolf prosthetics. But the wolf man gets by, and whatever budget.  Paul Naschy’s got a whole series of werewolf movies where the werewolf's origin involves being bit by a Yeti, and he fights Templars--how’s that for game inspiration! Then we’ve got a werewolf biker film (Werewolves on Wheels), a werewolf women in prison effort (Werewolf in a Women’s Prison); and, if Rob Zombie had his way, a werewolf Nazi-ploitation film--Werewolf Women of the S.S.

Werewolves: the most gameable of monsters, whatever your genre.

Drums of War In The Desert - Cha'alt & Breaking The House Campaign Plus The Dragon Magazine

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 10/06/2019 - 18:45
"The Black Pyramid is like nothing you've ever seen before.  Unique design, purpose, feel, magic items, NPCs, monsters, factions, motives, agendas, strangeness, the works! There's a decent amount of setting detail besides dungeoncrawling - space opera bar, domed city, mutants, weird ass elves, desert pirates, a city ruled by a gargantuan purple demon-worm, and much more!"There's beenNeedles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Running The Free OSR Module ZA7: Temple of the Ice Gods By Joseph A. Mohr With The Lion & Dragon Rpg

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 10/06/2019 - 06:29
"Long ago there were rumors of strange lights in the skies over the Barbarian Lands to the north of Zanzia. These rumors have been ignored as natural phenomena such as the “northern lights” known to exist in some arctic areas. But these rumors persist. There have also been stories, passed down for generations among the barbarian tribes that live in that frozen wasteland, about a powerful tribeNeedles
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Kickstarter samples are in!

Two Hour Wargames - Sun, 10/06/2019 - 02:00
Received samples from the printer!
Color map.
Rules book.
Poker size playing cards.

Might launch at end of month. 8 games or so to be offered.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

[REVIEW] Tower of the Moon

Beyond Fomalhaut - Sat, 10/05/2019 - 21:24

Tower of the Moon (2019)by David PulverPublished by Night Owl WorkshopLevels 3-6
Towers adventures are hard to design. Limited by their shape, most are linear, small affairs that don’t really offer many exploration opportunities; the exceptions tend to experiment with fantastic architecture (The Ghost Tower of Inverness, Sision Tower), add extra areas below or near the tower (Citadel of Fire), or both (Dark Tower, which is cheating a bit). To its credit, Tower of the Moon makes good use of the simple tower format: it presents a complete, 23-area mini-dungeon in as many pages.
Tower of the MoonThis is a “fairy tale gothic” ghost tower, featuring a heavy werewolf theme. It describes what was the sacred place of a neutral/good-aligned goddess associated with wolves, love, dance and hunting. As the premise goes, the tower fell after Mordark, a magic-user whose very name must have evoked the denizens’ trust, betrayed the tower’s high priestess and destroyed the place with a powerful curse. Now, of course, the haunted ruin is active again, and a young local noblewoman has disappeared inside along with a company of adventurers. The tone of the adventure is more 2nd-edition era high fantasy than murderhobo stuff; at points, it is unabashed gothic romance, and it is built on assumptions which would be better fit for a heroic 2e campaign than something more mercenary. In that respect, it uses both the werewolf theme and the romance element skilfully.
Hewing closer to 2e (where gold is no longer the main source of XP), the module has little in the way of treasure: its monetary rewards are almost comically meagre, with loot like 20 lbs worth of cooking implements valued at 10 gp, two glass goblets worth 2 gp each, a well-aged bottle of white wine marked Hawkwood Estates (4 gp), or a 200 gp throne weighing 400 lbs. This is agreeable as long as you use either a gp or an XP multiplier – I would use at least ×10 here, and still drop some of the junk loot. Then there is inexcusable stuff like 3 silver pieces in a giant rat nest, or a 25 gp crescent moon amulet “in the bottom of the muck in the chamber pot beside the nest”. It is hard to think of this stuff as “treasure” in any meaningful sense.
The encounters are an even mixture of the straightforward and the fantastic. The module is at its weakest when it goes into describing “cabinet contents” barracks rooms and storerooms in too much detail – there are worse offenders, but this is an area where the module could have been easily tightened up significantly. But there are also entries which show promise; the tower features multiple well-designed, creepy lycanthrope-based traps (although also a few poison needle traps too many – don’t bring Black Leaf on this expedition), innovative curses, and some fine custom magic effects. This is where the module clearly shines, and even the treasure gets slightly better.
There are some severe organisational problems in the module text. The room entries are written in a haphazard order where trivial details are followed by way more important stuff. Right in room 2, we learn about a lot of clutter and junk in the room before learning that there is, also, a cockatrice behind a barrel. In some places, the text actually jumps back and forth, in addition to hiding the room’s most important and utterly obvious features after an in-depth description of historical books on a dusty shelf (22B). Fixing these mistakes would have been a question of basic editing.
Altogether, Tower of the Moon is a mixed bag. The beginnings of a good module are there in the text, and I think the author’s next project could be quite good if he focused on the things he does well (good high fantasy adventure, interesting magical things to mess with), and fixed some of the mistakes. There is nothing fundamentally broken in the module, and a sequel could easily focus on its present strengths without doing something significantly different.
This publication credits its playtesters fairly.
Rating: *** / *****
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Free Appendix N Download - Oriental Stories v01n01 [1930-10/11] For Your Old School Inspiration

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 10/05/2019 - 17:14
When it comes to the obscure Pulp magazines few outside of certain collectors of the Pulp esoterica have heard of 'Oriental Stories'. For me this was a semial series of the pulps because it contains one of my all time favorites by Robert E. Howard. No not Conan but a modernish Pulp ballad known as 'The  Voice of El-Lil' . This little tale of Babylonian survivals in an African lost world Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

(5e) The Webbed Herring

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 10/05/2019 - 11:14
By David Stapleton, Michael Looney, Keegan Brown LNC Sages 5e Level 3

Deep within the forest there are rumors of fell canyon, a place of danger. A small stream runs out of the forest. It is said that following this stream will lead one to this canyon. Whispers have come to the ears of the party of dark crawling things, ancient cults, and shrubbery.

Uh …

This eleven page adventure features seven “rooms” in a small canyon that are described in three pages. It’s just combats, with not even the pretext of a plot. It baffles me how these things come to be. 

That into up there at the start, the publishers blurb that I attach as the first thing in all of my reviews? That’s all there is to this as an intro. That’s your hook, and your reason for adventuring. 

There’s a small canyon with high walls and a stream flowing out of it. Inside are seven chambers. Each one is, essentially, the exact same. You go in. The DM reads four or five sentences of some read-aloud that is meaningless. There’s an obstacle where you have to do some kind of check or fall prone. When you fall prone then either spiders or plants rush out and attack you. Next room is basically the same. And the next. And so on.

I must say, the dedication to “check for fall prone” is quite unusual. I wonder if the designer knows there are other things in D&D? In fact, I note that this wondrous work too the efforts of THREE designers. 

I can’t get over this thing. How ridiculous it is. There’s window dressing. Fish bones. A symbol, broken bones and an axe in a tree. They have nothing to do with the adventure. Because there is no adventure. It’s just go in a room, check for prone, and have a fight. 

Tactical mini’s. This is it. This is what people think D&D is. No wonder. No exploration. No roleplay. No interactivity. Just this. 

I remember a comic. A collection of frames, much like Far Side. One had a goldfish bowl. Two fish inside were looking at another who had flopped out on to the table. “Freedom. Terrible terrible freedom!” says the one on the table.

This is the internet. This is DriveThru. This is lower barrier to publishing. This is the ability of everyone to share their enthusiasm and creativity with everyone else. For better. And worse. 

There are a wide variety of play styles, but, is there some essence that makes D&D what it is? Some platonic form that can be pointed to? This is D&D. This is not D&D. 

Is everything meaningless?

This is $2 at DriveThru. There’s no preview. Otherwise you wouldn’t buy it.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Free Appendix N Download - Fantastic Adventures v01n01 [1939-05] For Your Old School Campaign Influences

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 10/05/2019 - 04:19
My own experiences with Fantastic Adventures began when my uncle gave me a stack of these magazines to read when I was in the hospital & my experiences with Khor an adventurer from Crete began.Robert Fuqua / Ziff-Davis Publishing - Fantastic Adventures, May 1939The contents tell the appenix N influence & shows the Pulp draw of the material: Fantastic Adventures [v1 #1, May 1939] (20¢, 100pp, Needles
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Holloween OSR Adventure - H.P. Lovecraft's The Case of Charles Dexter Ward & Free Lovecraft Download

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 10/04/2019 - 17:36
"The essential Saltes of Animals may be so prepared and preserved, that an ingenious Man may have the whole Ark of Noah in his own Studie, and raise the fine Shape of an Animal out of its Ashes at his Pleasure; and by the lyke Method from the essential Saltes of humane Dust, a Philosopher may, without any criminal Necromancy, call up the Shape of any dead Ancestour from the Dust whereinto hisNeedles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Opinion: Feast of Legends (Fast Food goes Dice)

The Disoriented Ranger - Fri, 10/04/2019 - 14:57
I saw this, saw everyone lose their shit and thought I'd throw in my 2 cents: prolific fast food chain Wendy's published a complete RPG with campaign, clocking out at 97 pages and is giving it away for free. This just up front, I'm having a blast right now. Genius. Beautiful. And rotten to the core ... I have opinions on that. Let's have at it.
Not a review ...
I've heard people state that this is a complete rule book and functioning. That is, to say the least, bullshit. No DM advice, no play examples and you only need to read the first page of the adventure/campaign to see that this is hollow and bad (also full of advertisement). That said, you could drop this into almost any D&D derivative of your choice (3e/Pathfinder/Basic Fantasy seem great fits) and it should work (no guaranties, though ... nobody says that this had seen testing for balance or what have you).
Might need some work, but could be fun. Maybe. Once. And you have to have experience DMing.
[source]So it looks nice and crisp. Proper layout, nice illustrations, inspiring maps. It is great at mimicking to be a complete game and yet, it is decidedly not. So, no, I'm not investing time in writing a proper review. This is an artifact and in its understanding on what makes a rpg tick just as deep as you'd expect from someone selling pressed sugar mixed with sad excuses for meat as food. Compared to proper RPG this is what a hamburger is to Beef Wellington.
As I said, it is an artifact, at best. Something that is nice to have. I'd buy this as a book, just to have it in my collection. A RPG it is not, though.
Here's why it's funny
This coincides with another article I've read today, something about why successful subcultures are doomed. It describes how innovation draws consumers and sociopaths until a subculture goes full bloom in mainstream and goes away to die afterwards. I don't necessarily agree with the piece (which should be discussed in another post, I guess), but it gets the basics right and this here is a great example what the process could manifest like. 
I admit, 'funny' is a bit of a stretch. However, it has to be obvious at this point that this is nothing else but a marketing ploy to get some (well deserved, imo) buzz. It's well played and it works. The reactions are as you would expect: people hate it, people embrace it and the more money oriented folks already offer twitch sessions. This draws flies like an old burger in an alley (pardon the bun).
Way more funny, though, is that they treat our hobby like publishers already do for years now. Nice to look at, some variation to well known ideas and a new-game-hype every other week. Just a buck, just a little kickstarter, just something to put into the shelf and forget. We brought this unto us, and we deserve it ... It is how those things tend to play out, and yet, there is an irony to it all.
Here's why it's not funny ...
It's not all fun and giggles, though. We not only have to see this for what it is (a fun promo for unhealthy food), we also have to understand that this is IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM different to what D&D under Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro is: a vehicle to sell product. Sure, you don't have to buy a burger in real life to gain a bonus in the game, but the principles at work are very much the same (and junk food has been a huge part of the gaming experience, so ...).
Splat books, miniatures, editions, merchandise ... the rules are designed with selling additional material in mind. Arguably more so than actually being playable (high level gameplay from D&D 3e onward, if you need an example). D&D's triumphant parade into mainstream shows more and more how they need to divert from the original concepts that spawned our little hobby towards something more .... superficial. It becomes something like a theme park of an adventure compared to the real thing. The difference between reading War and Peace and getting it retold to you by a 3-year old ...
I need to stop. Either way, this is where it's at.
It's not all bad (some will say)
If someone enters the hobby because Wendy's gave it some exposure, it's all for the better. It also does show others that variations to D&D are possible, which is just as well, considering D&D becomes more and more synonymous for RPG in general (while changing and watering down significantly for mainstream appeal ... see above). In all that, the ad is a good (and bright) marker and reminder what mindless consumption will lead to.
That's the morale, if you need one. Big Money will have its way with RPGs, if we want that or not. And while it's certainly good for most people, as it offers new and exciting forms of mindless entertainment, it leaves those behind who took the whole thing a bit more seriously. As with all dying subcultures.
If you need to know what you can do about this, I'd say: built on that to be prepared for the decline. Innovation is what creates new spaces, as they say, and when the whole fad has run its course and D&D is nothing more than a theme park, those looking for more will find plenty. And that's the nice thought I want to close this with.

Guess what I'll have today [source]
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