Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Looking for Advice on Adobe Indesign Alternatives...

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 15:25


+Zach Glazar laid out Swords & Wizardry Light.

+James Spahn laid out Swords & Wizardry Continual Light.

I'm looking to take over layout duties with the Torchlight Zine.

I've heard nothing but good about Indesign - except for its pricing. I think I'd be paying for more horsepower than I need and certainly for more than I'll make my money back on. While you don't publish RPG material to become rich, you don't want to become poor ;)

Scribus gets some good talk and it is Mac friendly although I tend to find open source software to lack a certain depth of documentation. The price is certainly right.

LucidPress looks very interesting. Online app accessible from all devices, you OS is irrelevant. Starts at $5.95 a month with a yearly sub.

I'm sure there are many others.

I'm looking for inexpensive publishing software with a small learning curve, preferably for OSX (although I can boot into Windows, I'd rather not). It will mostly be used for laying out zines of about 16 or so digest sized pages and occasional adventures about the same size.

If you have advice, I am all ears. I'm also all noob ;)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

1d4 Random Minor Treasures From Clark Aston Smith's Poseidonis Table For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 15:16
Some items & relics retain the memories of the places, ages, as well as the hands that used them. These items are a part of a lost or ancient history even when that history has sank far below the waves or is lost to the time & tides of myth or legend. These are objects tinged with the weight of ages & ancient forgotten days there is a thirty percent chance that they will try to return to the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Curse of Harken Hall

Ten Foot Pole - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 15:09


By Simon Todd
MontiDots Limited
OSRIC
Level 1

Clovis Harken, Lord of Highcliff Gard has but six months to live, at least if the family curse is anything to go by. His wife, Karlina is going frantic as he has forbidden any from investigating the curse. But he has gone on a hunting trip, and Karlina has sent word to the wayside Inn asking for investigators to explore a mysterious door hidden behind a mural in the oldest part of the manor. It’s easy money if it were but a simple coal store….

This thirty five page adventure details the dungeon behind a newly found secret door in the manor of a cursed lord. With twenty-one rooms over thirteen pages, the rooms are … expansivly encountered, with each rooms many features generally ALL having some sort of thing associated with them. It could use a hard organization overhaul to deal effectively with the organizational consequences of that dense content. It can also be a little bland in its treatment of treasure and goes overboard with DM advice and mixes setting data in through a repetition I found tedious. This adventure feels like … I don’t know. It feels like a good old-school basement adventure in which each room has a lot of stuff going on.

Every lord of the manor dies at forty, because of some curse you hear about from a bard. A summons to the manor from the lady reveals her husband is out hunting and will return in six hours. She wants you to explore a new secret door she found, thinking it may contain information on lifting the family curse. The house guards are loyal to her husband, who doesn’t want anyone poking around with the curse.

I described the rooms in the dungeon as expansive, or perhaps dense is a better word. The first room has maybe six different things going on. There are spiders in the ceiling joists, with big wiggling food sacks hanging. There’s a chest and a mound of burlap. There are banners under a sheet, and 7’ tall statue, along with a table and a rubbish/slurry pile near a locked door with an obvious key missing from the keyring next to the door. Don’t go poking in the rafters and the spiders keep to themselves, you may not even see them. Fuck with their food sacks and rats run out of the walls to investigate. The wet burlap has rats in it. The missing key is in the rubble at the foot of the door, along with some giant centipedes. And on and on it goes, to the tune of a page and a half. The writing is not exemplar in its use of terse & evocative language, but it’s not exactly full of garbage irrelevent history and backstory either. Well. Usually. It IS more verbose than I would prefer in places. “Inform the player that the spells are instantly readable by a magic user” is the advice when you find some scrolls in a chest. Or “A cleric, magic user or druid is able to identify the dried herbs as St. John’s Wort, a plant used as a ward against fae that can also be used as a bug repellent if burnt.” In the table description there’s “On the table are gauntlets and a battle axe with a leather cover.” and then “the battle axe is serviceable.” This sort of thing happens again and again. I’m not sure I would make the choices to include this information … but it’s also pretty hard to damn the product for it. Well, but for …

The density of the rooms, combined with the organizational style, makes the extraneous data stick out more than usual. There’s just SO MUCH that you start looking for ways to manage your way through it. More than the detail I think this is an impact of the style. The rooms almost always start off with a read-aloud. In the case of room one it’s two paragraphs long. It’s pretty fact based, which I generally rail against, but it also touches on nearly every thing in the room to investigate. If you believe that the DM should feed “follow up” hints to party, for them to inquire further about, then this is the read aloud for you! Here’s the read-aloud section for the spiders and cocoons: “The rafters, 10 feet above your head, are coated in cobwebs. There
are seven cocoons about two feet long at intervals dangling from the ceiling. They twitch erratically.” Other read-aloud bits mention the table, statue, sheet covering something, the doors, and so on. Actually, the cocoon read-aloud is not bad for evocative imagery, but the rest IS pretty fact based. The various sections are then bolded out in the text. IE: “The Table” is a bolded section heading, as is “The Banners” and “The Chest and Mound of Burlap” and “The Statue” and “The South Wall.” Note the disconnect between the section headings and the read-aloud. Banners? No banners mentioned in the read-aloud. They are under a sheet that IS mentioned. The South wall? That’s the door on the south wall. Then there’s an entire section of text after the read-aloud and before the first section heading which describe a pool of seeping water, a stairway, the wall symbols the walls are painted with, the cocoons and spiders. Then the monsters are bolded in the various section, in a slightly larger font. It really needs slightly better organization. Consistency in the section headings, the monsters maybe indented instead of bolding with larger font, and the section heading being consistent. I recall another product I just reviewed that had a kind of bullet point layout. That format, I think, would have worked wonders to help group and call out the content in this dungeon. None of which means it’s BAD, just that it could be better.

The whole thing FEELS like a classic dungeoncrawl, even if the map is really just a couple of rings of corridors/rooms. The content of the rooms leads to this exploratory vive that’s going on. You can interact with stuff. Search the garbage for a key. Peel back peeling paint to find a door. Fuck with the statue. It’s quite interactive and some rooms, like the first room, are bursting with interactivity. More than anything else it feels like those old 1e DMG example dungeon rooms, with the holes filled with wood, the trapdoor, and the stream with a skeleton and scroll case in it.

Loves of B2 will rejoice knowing that the manor gets a small write up also … along with its considerable treasure and magic items contents. Murder Hobos, Represent! The adventure does get a little heavy in places, especially prior to the dungeon proper, with setting data. It tells you about 200 times that demi-humans and humanoids are called Erle Folk, clerics are multi-religion, and MU’s can brew potions. Maybe it’s the repetition, but the setting info felt a little too much, even though it does have a kind of interesting Ars Magica/Harn-ish vibe to it. More fantasy than those two settings but still skewing more in that direction than most adventures do. The treasure is generally pretty good. The magic items skew towards the book variety but they do have some decent details, like a +1 dagger with an ivory handle with inlay in the form of a sinister faun. (Which fits in to the “alien fae” theming as well.)

The exploratory nature of the dungeon as well as the variety in non-standard encounters (floating skulls shooting magic missile! Trapped fae spirit!) makes this one of those rare cases where I think it’s worth pulling out the highlighter. My impossibly high standards do a disservice to these journeyman works. One day I should collect them all on a second page. In any event, this is good enough to make me want to see more from the publisher/designer. Expect to see some more in the near future.

You can find this on DriveThru, but we warned the preview is pretty useless in determining what’s up with the actual useful content. (Ha! A new area for me to bitch about! “The preview doesn’t show a useful page.”)
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/192981/The-Curse-of-Harken-Hall

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Mighty Meeples #1: What is a Meeple?

Cryptozoic - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 13:00

Mighty Meeples have just released as part of Cryptozoic Entertainment’s new line of collectibles. But you might find yourself asking, “Dekan, what is a meeple anyway”? Well, a meeple is a small, androgynous, stylized humanoid figure made of wood and shaded a specific color. The name meeple...

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: Storm: Pirates of Pandarve

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 11:00
My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Pirates of Pandarve (1983) 
(Dutch: De Piraten van Pandarve) (part 5)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

After recruiting the other slave miners to their side, Storm and Nomad lead them to the elevator out of the mine. Along the way, they defeat more guards and bring ever more slaves to their side.

When Storm reaches the surface, he finds Rann just about to buy back his freedom from the mine owner.  That's all unnecessary now as the battle is joined between the former slaves and the owner:


The slaver breaks out some shuriken:

Before the mine owner can have his monster throw Storm in the pit, Nomad pushes them in. The monster tries to climb out, but Storm shoots the rope.

Storm has trouble keeping his army under control. They run wild in the street, looting and burning, as he attempts to lead them to the harbor. They force the ferryman to carry them into orbit, where they promptly commandeer a ship, sending the crew down to the planet.

Nomad poses a question to Storm:


THE END OF PIRATES OF PANDARVE

Through a Glass Unsidedown Further Thoughts On - Dark Albion, Stranger Things, EX2 Beyond The Magic Mirror As Old School Campaign Setting Set Up

Swords & Stitchery - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 05:08
The War of the Roses continues on & now we look into the deeper end of the weirdness of the Dark Albion setting with some unexpected connections! So while I've been sick we got hit with a nice little snow storm with the unlikely name of Eugene. Anyhow let's dive into the deep end of Dark Albion & Cults of Chaos along with The  War of the Roses once again. This time let's turn up the Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

White Star and the White Star Companion go Pay What You Want - PDF & Print!

Tenkar's Tavern - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 01:06

The gaming community just funded +James Spahn 's trip to NTRPG Con this June thanks to a GoFundMe set up by +James Shields . As a thank you to the community that has gifted James with the opportunity to be present when the Three Castles Award is announced (James was nominated this year) James is pricing White Star and the White Star Companion at PWYW pricing. There is no minimum price for the PDF but there is an "at cost" price for the print versions.

Here's what James posted in the NTRPG Con Facebook Community:
Je Shields was kind enough to start a GoFundMe in an effort to get me out to North Texas RPG Con this year. That in and of itself is an act of amazing generosity. What has been even more generous has been the fact that a plethora of folks from the OSR community chipped in and made it happen - and in less than four days! I kept silent during the funding, but wanted to now say "Thank You,." This whole experience has been quite humbling and has left me in shock at the kindness shown by everyone. So, I'd like to show some kindness in return. From this point forward both *_White Star*_ and the _*White Star Companion*_ will be set at a Pay-What-You-Want price. This includes PDF, Softcover, and Hardcover. For hardcover and softcover, you will still need to meet the cost to cover production - but that's it. I wanted to do this as a way to show a small measure of appreciation for all your kindness. So, I guess the only thing left to say is: I'll see you at North Texas RPG Con!Thanks to +James Shields , +Pete Spahn , +Jacob Ross and everyone else that made this possible for James.

Because of the generosity of this community James is a winner no matter what.

Oh, and BTW. Because of you all, the first issue of the Torchlight Zine will be PWYW too. Well, PDF only. Print will be hand assembled and PWYW isn't feasible ;)
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Cryptozoic and Cartoon Network Enterprises Release Digital Stickers & Trading Cards for the Quidd Platform

Cryptozoic - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 21:28

Cryptozoic Entertainment, leading creator of board games, trading cards, and collectibles, and Cartoon Network Enterprises today announced that they are working together...

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

TSR Tuesday - New Print on Demand Title - Villains' Lorebook (2e)

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 17:54
I'll be honest. I don't recall the Villains' Lorebook from my earlier days of gaming. There were so many Forgotten Realms releases covering just about everything you could imagine, this one escaped me back in the day.

I thought I read a lot of Forgotten Realms fiction back in the day, but the the list that Appelcline gives includes a bunch of characters I simply do not recall:





The Moonshae Trilogy. Cyndre, Hobarth
The Druidhome Trilogy. Deirdre Kendrick
The Icewind Dale Trilogy. Artemis Entreri, Dendybar the Mottled
The Legacy of Drizzt. Jarlaxle
The Finder's Stone Trilogy. Cassana, Flattery Wyvernspur, The Mouth of Moander, Zrie Prakis
Masquerades. Victor Dhostar
Prince of Lies. Fzoul Chembryl
The Cleric Quintet. Aballister Bonaduce, Ghost, Kierkan Rufo
The Harpers Novels.
Red Magic (#3). Maligor the Zulkir of Alteration, Szass Tam the Zulkir of Necromancy
The Ring of Winter (#5). Kaverin Ebonhand
The Shadowking Novels (#6, #11). Lord Cutter of Iriaebor
Song & Swords. Elaith "The Serpent" Craulnober, Kymil Nimesin
King Pinch (#1). King Manferic III
War in Tethyr (#2). Baron Faneuil Hardisty
Escape from Undermountain (#3). Halaster BlackcloakAh well. I guess I don't know the Forgotten Realms as well as I thought I did.

$18.99 for the POD
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Box Breaking 205: Myth Shores of Kanis Expansion

Gamer Goggles - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 12:32

In this Box Breaking Matt Takes a look at the first part of his kickstarter pledge for Myth, the Kanis box set.  Watch as Matt checks out the the set.  If you are Myth lover this is for you.

Click here to view the video on YouTube.

 

Many of you might know this but the models are beautiful.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Some Thoughts On Dark Albion, Alice In Wonderland, EX1Dungeonland & EX2 Beyond The Magic Mirror As Old School Campaign Setting Set Up

Swords & Stitchery - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 06:38
So today I got a chance to crack open Dark Albion & Cults of Chaos; I looked into the War of The Roses a bit more closely today. One of the defining things of the conflict was the fact that both sides gained & lost the advantage multiple times. This basically puts the action of the War of the Roses center stage for the entire conflict. But center stage for whom? We'll get to that in a moment.Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Torchlight - How the Genre Themed Issues Will Work (SWL)

Tenkar's Tavern - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 03:11
Art Copyright Claudio Casini

I've been asked how the "genre themed" issues of Torchlight will work. This is the current game plan which I'm sure will get revised as we get closer to showtime.

  • Classes - will be designed as the optional classes in SWCL, meaning that the "crunch" will be defined with one or two tricks or gimmicks added to a core class. Class description will define the classes more than the crunch.
  • Settings - thought is a localized sandbox with location highlights and hooks. If we are looking at 8 or 10 pages of the issue for the genre hack, 4 of those pages should be setting and map.
  • Magic / Tech - Items unique to the setting
  • Monsters / Creatures / NPC - Because settings need their bad guys
  • Optional rules - If the setting has no magical healing, some non-magical healing needs to be included. If the setting is in space, space combat rules. All taking into account that the rules need to be "light"
Here's an example for a "Barbarian"class for a Swords & Sorcery type setting.
Barbarians. Natives. Berserkers. They are called many things, but nothing defines them more than their distaste for civilization and magic. Well, perhaps their loyalty to their friends and their enmity towards nearly everyone else. Fearless on the field of battle, many have been known to work themselves into a rage in combat, throwing themselves at their enemy with only one thought - death to their enemy. Sometimes, when all the enemies are vanquished, they have been known to turn on their friends. Nothing personal, you know, sometimes battle gets the best of everyone. - Barbarians may "enrage" once per day in battle. They will discard any shields and rush their enemy. For the next 5 rounds they are + 3 hit and + 3 damage. If there are no enemies left standing at the beginning of a round (within the 5 rounds) they must roll a Save (bonus of + 1 for Wisdom 15+) or attack a random ally at + 3 hit and + 3 damage until the 5 rounds have passed.That's a quick peek. I'll be outlining the first few issues as the week goes on. Which theme or genre comes first will depend on what writes itself ;)


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Update - Free Operation: White Box PDF With $5+ Pledge - There is a Fund to Send James Spahn to North Texas RPG Con

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 23:05


I know I posted about this on Saturday, but +Pete Spahn (no relation to James) has sweetened the pot. Now, every pledge at $5 or more gets a copy of Operation: White Box - the OSR rpg set in WWII. Normally 8 bucks in PDF (currently on sale for $5.59 for about another 12 hours) this is a great deal for a great game to help send a great guy to an amazing OSR Con that he his is in the running for an award.

Did I mention +James Spahn is a great guy?

Here's the link to the GoFundMe. Go ahead. Make James blush. I DARE you!  :)


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

25% Off Sale Now through March 31st

Two Hour Wargames - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 17:23

Use the coupon code

25off

and get 25% off of your entire order.

More info
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Purple Laiden Faction of The Fisher Men of Ti Sung For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 16:37
The seas around The Islands of Purple Haunted Putrence in my campaign needs another sea going faction. So while I've been down with the Flu I've been thinking about & I came up with something old that's new again. So way back in '87 I had a faction in my Gamma World game that I decided to dust off & update since I've been down with the crawling crud aka the Flu. Ti Sung is a quiet littleNeedleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

[REVIEW] Beyond the Ice-Fall

Beyond Fomalhaut - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 15:34
[REVIEW] Beyond the Ice-Fallby Joseph D. SalvadorPublished by Raven God Games
Winter has been hard on the small Viking villages of the Skallafjord, wolf attacks have been on the rise and a supply ship has gone missing. The player characters – either locals or visiting travellers – are asked to investigate. This is the premise of a beginning (level 1-3) adventure module based on two pulp stories, Algernon Blackwood’s The Glamour of the Snow, and Robert E. Howard’s The Frost Giant’s Daughter. Like almost all modules which try to turn pulp stories into RPG scenarios, it is heavy on the mood and light on the actual game content. The whole package consists of 28 pages, but while what we get is generally good, it is very little. Some of this is due to thanks to the airy layout (with rather good-looking interior illustrations, some by the author), but the real issue is the adventure’s limited scope.
Attack of the Ice BintWhat we get is a hook (missing ship), a broader mystery (the heavy winter the Vikings have been enduring), and a bunch of rumours that are ripe with further adventure potential. Of these, only the first is explored in this module. Which is a shame, because the author almoststarts detailing a small wilderness setting that could have a lot of potential to realise these promises, but stops in his tracks right after the beginning. We get the descriptions of two villages, presented in fairly broad strokes – they have their interesting NPCs, local adventure hooks, and just the right amount of well-presented information to make them feel distinct and engaging – but little is actually done with them. This is followed up by a wilderness trek that inevitably leads to the adventure site, bolstered by a small but well-done random encounter chart (the entries are given descriptions which elevate them above “2+1d6 wolves”) and all of two wilderness locations (one of which is the entrance to the dungeon). They are cool (the first site is really powerful), but this isn’t really exploration, because there is nowhere else interesting to go.
Then we get an eight-location mini-dungeon beyond the ice-fall, and it almost becomes interesting again. There are some challenges related to navigation and movement in the hazardous icy environment, and there is some damn fine imagery representing the best of the pulps. Icy passages, cursed slave warriors enthralled by the main antagonist, a guy frozen in a block of ice along with two interesting magic items, a spectacular ice tree, and the crown jewel, an underground cavern with an iceberg floating above a bottomless rainbow abyss that’s actually a dimensional gateway. Damn spiffy! Unfortunately, imagery it remains: things mostly remain on the decorative/treasure/fight/trap level, and you can’t interact much with these wonders (although, again, that iceberg... that’s something). The good classic adventures tend to have a depth of interaction with their magical enigmas, and that is missing. There are the obligatory new monsters, which over-explain things a bit, two cool magic items, and three spells everyone already knows from AD&D. Also, a random table for Viking names.
There is almost something here, and there are the beginnings of an interesting Nordic-themed mini-setting in the text. The individualised monster encounters are a major feature of the adventure, and some of the wild imagery – even if not really exploited – is to die for. There is an undeniable style to it all that could sustain more than the product really offers. If this wasn’t just a glorified lair dungeon, but a collection of three or four mini-scenarios and a dozen smaller wilderness sites centred on the Skallafjord area, and was a bit more tightly packed, it would be going places. As it is, it is almost worth three stars thanks to the execution and attention to detail – but that’s just another almost.

Rating: ** / *****
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

OSR Picks for the GM's Day Sale, Part IX - Last 24 Hours and Counting! Last post in the Series!

Tenkar's Tavern - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 15:14
Yep, we are under the 24 hour mark for time remaining i the RPGNow GM's Sale. These will be my last picks. That doesn't mean if something didn't make my pick list that it wasn't good - it probably means I ran out of space.

It also means time is running out at these sale prices. Next major RPGNow sale will probably be Christmas in July.

This post is Part VIPart I ,  Part II , Part III, Part IV,  Part V Part VI Part VII and Part VIII are linked. Remember, 5% of your purchase goes to support The Tavern and associated costs for projects like Swords & Wizardry Light and the upcoming Torchlight Zine.

Slumbering Ursine Dunes - I think someone else said it better than I ever could - "Want a healing potion? No generic shit in this, you’ll instead be drinking the pure white soul of someone who has drowned in a pond." - Bryce Lynch, Ten Foot Pole - There ya go ;) - "Run, play or splice up 66 pages of mayhem and weirdness in this Slavic mythic-inspired (with an acid fantasy-twist) mini-sandbox for Labyrinth Lord or the well-aged fantasy rpg of your druthers. What You Will Find Inside: • A 25-site pointcrawl of the otherwordly Slumbering Ursine Dunes region. Beyond the big ticket adventure sites you will find along the way a Polevik-haunted rye field, a Zardoz head-living hermit, bearling pilgrimage site, antediluvian beaver engineers and other assorted madness. • Two separate “dungeons”, the bio-mechanical, lost-in-time Golden Barge and the faction-contested Glittering Tower, with enough detail and portability to be slotted into an existing campaign. • The Chaos Index, a dynamic events system for modeling the mythic weirdness of the Dunes. Actions of the players in the sandbox will escalate or de-escalate the levels of events. • Four competing factions operating inside the Dunes, plus guidelines for their mutual interactions. • Unique player classes, spells and magic items compatible with Labyrinth Lord. • 15 new and unique monsters, many drawn from Slavic mythology (with a twist or three, naturally)." $9.00  $6.30


The Wizardarium of Calabraxis - some of my picks are downright cheap. amazing quality and price. grab this now! - "17 pages of fun, built around a core of an easy to run 2 page overview. The Wizardarium of Calabraxis starts off with strangely behaving apemen, but players who start to explore the cave where they reside will soon discover there is a lot going on: ancient civilizations, the mad experiments of a forgotten wizard, and a couple unique magic items are guaranteed to provide a lot of bang for your buck to your players. This module has stats for the DCCRPG, but if one wants to work around the weird dice, this module is probably at home in just about any OSR rules system. Characters of almost any DCC level will probably have fun in this adventure; just adjust some numbers until the exact right number of PCs are dying ;)" $1.95  $1.50


Ruins & Ronin - Ah, did you think I was done with the awesome and inexpensive selections? Well, you were wrong. Maybe medieval fantasy isn't your style. Maybe you want to adventure in the orient. Maybe you want your non European setting rules to be Swords & - Wizardry derived - "A complete set of rules for playing an old school fantasy game (Swords & Wizardry compatible) in a medieval Japanese-like setting.  What's inside: Unique player classes and races. Japanese-styled weapons, equipment and magic items.  A complete 32-page bestiary of monsters and spirits."
$2.00  $1.40

Labyrinth Lord: Revised Edition - sure, you could grab the free art PDF, but where is fantasy gaming without awesome art? -"Enter a world filled with labyrinths, magic, and monsters! You can take the role of a cleric, dwarf, elf, fighter, halfling, magic-user, or thief on your quest for glory, treasure, and adventure! This is a complete role playing game. All you need are a few sheets of paper and some dice. Welcome back to a simpler old-school gaming experience. The Labyrinth Lord awaits your arrival. Can you survive the dangers of the labyrinth?" $5.95  $4.17
Rats in the Walls - you didn't think we'd get through this without referencing "rats" did you? besides, its an excellent adventure - "An adventure in HYPERBOREA designed for 4–6 characters of 1st through 2nd level. For use with Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea™ and other traditional fantasy role-playing games. In the City-State of Khromarium, a dockside tavern called the Silvery Eel is plagued by rats of a most unusual breed. These abominable rodents have ruined the tavern keeper’s business and his life. The man is desperate, and he offers a substantial reward for the elimination of his horrific problem." $4.29  $3.00
White Box Gothic [Swords & Wizardry] - this is the type of fantasy / old school horror that I really enjoy - not to hack it for SWL ;) - "White Box Gothic brings gothic horror to your Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox campaign! Inside this terrible tome you'll find a horde of horrors! - Six New Classes: From the deadly Monster Hunter to the damned Dhampir. - Thirty New Spells: Speak with the dead, defile the land, and bind spirits to your service! - Twenty-Five New Magic Items: Draw undead servants from your Bag of Bones, learn the secrets of the Book of the Damned, and draw hope from the Symbol of Piety! - Fifteen New Monsters: The lowly Cultist, the mysterious Breath Stealer, to the powerful Vampire Lord! - Optional Rules: Corruption, Dread, and laying Curses! - Inside these fifty pages you'll find all manner of dark and dire secrets to vex your players and defy the undead! $4.99  $3.49
Feast of the Preserver - A horror adventure for the DCC RPG? Its like chocolate and peanut butter -"Feast of the Preserver is a survival horror adventure designed for a group of 5 to 8 characters of levels 3 to 4. Something is amiss in the isolated village of Barrowton. Only courage, skill and a lot of luck can aid the adventurers in facing the horror that has taken hold of this once idyllic place. Can the adventurers save the village from a terrible fate or will they become the Feast of the Preserver? Features: Mystery and excitement compatible with Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG but easily converted to other systems - Over 40 pages of blood chilling suspence and horror - Beautifully rendered isometric maps by Brian Van Hunsel - New evil magic to destroy or be destroyed by" $4.99  $3.49
Cryptworld - Back in my college days of gaming, I really enjoyed Chill! Then they made a hardcover book for it and I didn't enjoy it anymore. I enjoy Cryptworld, the spiritual successor - "CRYPTWORLD is a horror role-playing game in which you investigate and hunt the forces of the unexplained. The Crypt Master may design any world of horror he desires. Classic horror, slasher horror, alien menaces from the stars and interdimensional monsters. These horrors and more may greet you in CRYPTWORLD! - CRYPTWORLD is a role-playing game complete in one volume. - In this book you will find: - Rules for character generation - Optional paranormal talents - Creatures covering multiple horror genres - Advice for running horror games - An introductory adventure... and more!" $7.95  $5.57
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

DC Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 5: The Rogues Announced by Cryptozoic and Warner Bros. Consumer Products

Cryptozoic - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment, leading creator of board games, trading cards, and collectibles, and Warner Bros. Consumer Products, on behalf of DC Entertainment, today announced...

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DC Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 5: The Rogues — Preview

Cryptozoic - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 13:00

As we all know, there is no honor among thieves or, in this case, Super-Villains. Get ready to check your honor at the door when you add the DC Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 5: The Rogues to any base set of the DC Deck-Building Game!

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Beast That Waits

Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 11:19


By Curtis Lyon
Three Sages Games
Swords & Wizardry
Levels 1-3

Welcome to Graven, a quiet and peaceful little hamlet. Or is it? The Baron hasn’t come down from his keep in three years. Bandits and worse have been stalking the road. People have been disappearing down by the river. The mine has become unsafe since a recent earthquake… And something has started killing villagers in the night. There is a need for brave adventurers…

This is a 52 page region in trouble with various little things to do scattered throughout, and interconnected. It’s not really enough to call it a regional sandbox; more of a description of the lands around a village. It needs a little more ‘going on’ for the DM to throw in and suffers from a word count issue … but mostly because the sheer size of the product. IE: It’s more of a usability issue than a wall of text issue. It’s ALMOST where it needs to be to be a good product.

The “adventure” is really just a description of various locales around a village. The village proper is described, along with a dungeon and a barons keep and three or four wilderness regions. Supporting this is an appendix with a name generator, rumors, bestiary, and a couple of pages that offer solutions to the various more open-ended mysteries found in the village … larger mysteries than the ones explored in the adventure proper.

The wilderness sections are presented in about two pages each. A short paragraph overview and then a couple of wandering tables. There are no “set” encounters in the wilderness areas; everything is on the wandering table, which is an interesting idea I can kind of groove on, given the minor significance of the the locales on the table. The wandering tables are generally something like: “If you’re in the road in the forest”, with day & night options, and then also “if you strike out off the road in the forest”, with day and night tables. This is followed, mostly, by the stats of the creatures encountered, with little no extra context text. EXCEPT when there is. And then it goes on a paragraph. These are generally NPC encounters or some kind of encounter related to the various little things going on. “The Red Lady” in the woods is a ghost, with a little data on her (mostly things important to the game at the table!) At the end there’s a little section on “Clearing” the region. If you do certain things then the region becomes safer, here’s an XP bonus, and here’s how the impact on the regional/village. It’s a nice touch. It’s also the case that clearing a region generally requires some exploration of one of the OTHER regions. IE: the ghosts body is somewhere else. These little things are the primary points of the adventure. Hmmm, no, that didn’t come out well. Each one of those little things (a few per region, maybe six regions total) end up as a kind of To Do list for the adventurers, and that To Do is the primary adventure in this product. Arg! I still don’t think I said that well. I’ll table it. More on that point later.

The three major non-wilderness areas are the village proper, the old mines, and the barons keep. The later are both primary adventure locales, with above average maps (but not exploratory-dungeon type maps) having some elevation changes and other non-generic features. The keep is full of bandits … and maybe a werewolf, while the mines have gnolls and undead. There can be some social interaction in both areas, and MAYBE even some allies/faction play a bit with some evil folk. There’s not a lot, really only a couple of words for two people, if memory serves me right, but it’s there. While I’m on the social, let me say that this play is CRAWLING with potential hirelings. The village, the wilderness areas, and the keep … you could have a small army of followers. That’s a nice non-traditional resource and/or reward for the players, and goes a long way to showing that their actions have an actual impact.

I feel like I could write about two dozen pages more on this adventure, both positively and negatively. The villagers refer to the primary monster as “The Beast that waits” (although I’d shorten it the the beast), which is much better than “a couple of trolls been giving up trouble.” The brigands are part of a gang, with a name. There are tips about things the party will want, like silver weapons. The villagers, like the little adventures, have a few interconnections to other villagers. The “boss fight” in the mines is fucking ROUGH! The treasure is abstracted in some places and the magic items boring book shit. The imagery is sometimes useful (in the mines in particular) and mostly not. There needs to be some quick villager quirks/events to liven things up and get them going. I think though, I’m going to expand on only two more issues, both negative.

First, the adventure is a little … oh, I’ll say verbose. The issue is that the NPC’s all have personalities, goals, and descriptions, over a couple of paragraphs each, and they are all at the locations they are usually found at. I think this is a cumbersome way to present information FOR ACTUAL PLAY. Either keep the current descriptions and provide a 1-page summary of all of the NPC’s (“Farmer Ted: Short, limp. Hates his father. Loves his mother like norman bates. Location C16”) OR reworks the descriptions in to something that MUCH easier to scan during play. I don’t mind a paragraph or two for an NPC (when it’s full of gameable data) but I HAVE to have something to use at the table, and text paragraphs of NPC’s don’t fit the bill. That means a highlighter, at best. And Fuck You, how about you, the designer, highlight for me since I’m paying you? Hmmm, that came off a little strong for the degree of sin, but, the point remains.

Second, there is a REAL lack of motivation for the party. To be fair, the designer points this out as being key. The party MUST be engaged in the village. But the hooks provided (the most mundane of hooks at that) just get the party TO the village. Why they would want to get involved in ANYTHING is not covered at all. “Because”, I guess? This lack of motivation (other than the usual do-gooding …) Makes things rough. You could strike up a love interest, I guess. But what’s really missing is what the designer correctly points out in the notes in the appendix: why the fuck does the party care? There’s nothing present in the adventure to help on that one crucial point. Marrying them to the locations, literally, or perhaps figuratively, would be what’s needed. Maybe the king appoints the lands to THEM, or they are rightful heir, or some such. That would give them a reason to clean up this one horse region.

This is a decent little regional area and reminds me of Scourge of the Demon Wolf … except without the motivation events that Demon Wolf had. I was not expecting much and was pleasantly surprised with what I ended up with. A second edition, solving the problems, or perhaps two pages of free errata/expansion, would serve this product quite well. A few more events, a few more colorful villagers, a reference sheet of NPC’s, some better mundane & magical treasure, a reason for the season … this could be a great little product.

This is on drivethru. Check out the last page of the preview for a look at the wilderness format.
http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/134360/The-Beast-That-Waits–Swords-and-Wizardry-Edition

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