Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Cryptozoic Will Showcase Upcoming Collectibles, Trading Cards, and Games at Toy Fair Dallas 2019

Cryptozoic - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 13:00

Cryptozoic will showcase new and upcoming collectibles, trading cards, and games at Toy Fair Dallas, October 2-4. In Room #8400, Cryptozoic will display prototypes of Cryptkins Unleashed, the first 5-inch figures based on the company’s popular original IP, and the final version of the anticipated Wonder Woman: Princess of Themyscira Statue. addition, Cryptozoic will preview two trading card sets coming later this year: CZX Super Heroes & Super-Villains and DC Bombshells Trading Cards III. In terms of tabletop games, it will offer looks at Steven Universe: Beach-a-Palooza Card Battling Game, a 2020 release, and DC Deck-Building Game Crossover Pack 8: Batman Ninja, coming later in 2019. 

 

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

PRESALE: Black & Gold Batman DC Lil Bombshells: Series 3 Vinyl Figure (L.A. Comic Con Exclusive)

Cryptozoic - Fri, 09/20/2019 - 13:00

For his 80th anniversary, the Dark Knight is going even darker! This is your opportunity to own the Black & Gold Batman DC Lil Bombshells vinyl figure created exclusively for L.A. Comic Con 2019! You can make sure that you get this limited collectible by purchasing it now and then picking it up at Cryptozoic’s Booth #1731 during the event.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Bayt Al Azif #2: Unboxing Video

Zenopus Archives - Thu, 09/19/2019 - 14:37


Over on YouTube, MaxWriter* has an unboxing video of the print-on-demand of issue 2 of Bayt Al Azif. He pages through all of the articles, so at 4:33 in the video you can get a glimpse of the reprint of Holmes' 1983 review of Call of Cthulhu and Chris Holmes' new art that accompanies it. For more details see my previous post. 


Purchase link:

Bayt al Azif issue 2
(link includes my DrivethruRPG affiliate number)
*MaxWriter also has a long-running thread at ODD74, "Role Playing Journals", that details  game sessions he's run.

Bayt Al Azif #2 UnboxingThe second issue of Bayt Al Azif is out and it looks as amazing as the first. It's available as a softcover, hardcover, and PDF. Check it out. Bayt Al Azif Issue #2 - https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/246849/Bayt-al-Azif-2-A-magazine-for-Cthulhu-Mythos-roleplaying-games Hi everyone - I'm Andy and I've been doing Minecraft videos for some time in addition to IRL stuff and tabletop roleplaying games.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Three Policlubs of the City Gyre

Sorcerer's Skull - Thu, 09/19/2019 - 11:00
In conceptual realms like the outer multiverse, there are few armchair philosophers. In Gyre, the ring city at the center of the multiverse, policlubs are registered and tolerated organizations formed around philosophic principals with elements of street gangs, secret societies, and sometimes, organized crime. Here are three of them:

Annihilists (Doomsters)
Things fall apart, in the planar multiverse as well as on the mundanes. It's a cold fact more eternal than any promise of Law, and more certain than any ephemera of Chaos. You can deny it or even fight it, but you can't defeat it. The Annihilists choose to embrace it to varying degrees, some by taking the time (as it slowly ticks away) to appreciate, even revel in, its workings, others by actively joining in and hastening things along. What comes after everything crumbles to dust also divides the group. Some feel that only by the destruction of the current multiverse can make way for a new, better, one. Others hold that there will be a final oblivion, and the wounded Godhead will finally rest in peace.

The headquarters of the more action-minded wing of the Annihilist movement is the metal club Rough Beast, located in an abandoned industrial foundry. The official policlub's current leader is a young tiefling woman who sings lead for the house band, The Eves of Destruction.

The Free (The Wardens, The Jailers)
There is a harsh purpose to the multiverse and that is to confine souls. The Black Iron Prison, the Plane of Confinement, is just the maximum security section of a larger and more subtle prison. The Free's founder claims to have escaped the Black Iron Prison but only after achieving a sort of enlightenment while he was in solitary. He and his followers offer this enlightenment to the worlds, but it comes at price. None can truly experience the truth of it without first going through a great trial.

The Free are based in a prison in Gyre; both guards and prisoners are members. Their aim isn't punishment but the stern refinement of the souls in their charge.

Ontic Programmer Collective (Reality Hackers)
Everyone agrees that the mundane universes are essentially patterns in ether and the planar multiverse is a pattern vibrating in the astral manifold, but the question of what structure supports those patterns has been left up to theologians, who obviously have no consistent answer. The OPC believes that the answer is nothing less than the Godhead, and the name of the Godhead is math. The OPC plan is to obtain power beyond even the so-called gods by understanding and manipulating the computational underpinings of the multiverse.

The OPC is an eclectic group of academics, corporate programmer wage slaves, and gifted dropouts. There main need is etheric network time and bandwidth, and they are quite willing to acquire it by almost any means. They seldom rumble in the physical realm with other policlubs, but have been known to make things very difficult for rivals by their machinations on the net.

5150 Working Grave - Out Friday! Here's a Bat Rep

Two Hour Wargames - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 20:40








From start to finish it took 30 minutes, much of it writing the report. Just to be sure that everyone knows, this can be played with miniatures or counters, the Battle Board will work with minis as well.Look for 5150 Working Grave to be released this Friday.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

DC Bombshells Trading Cards III: Sketch Card Preview, Part 2

Cryptozoic - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 16:00

Please enjoy the second preview of Sketch Cards from DC Bombshells Trading Cards III

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Wednesday Comics: New Episode! Lois Lane #114

Sorcerer's Skull - Wed, 09/18/2019 - 11:54
There's a new episode of the Bronze Age Book Club podcast available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or right here:

Listen to "Episode 5: SUPERMAN'S GIRLFRIEND, LOIS LANE #114" on Spreaker.

PRESALE: Golden Goddess Wonder Woman Movie Collectible Vinyl Figure (New York Comic Con Exclusive)

Cryptozoic - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 14:55

This gal is truly golden! Get ready for your opportunity to own the Golden Goddess Wonder Woman Movie Collectible vinyl figure created exclusively for New York Comic Con 2019! You can make sure you get this limited collectible by purchasing it now and then picking it up at Cryptozoic’s Booth #244 during the event.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

(Review) Saving Throw Fanzine

Ten Foot Pole - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 13:02

Jim Kramer is the guy behind Usherwood Publishing. Several of his adventures appear on my Best & Regerts list, including Arachnaphobia and most his Bone Hilt campaign series. He does EXCELLENT maps and, doing layout for a living, his layouts are top notch. He’s a behind the scenes guy, doing layout work for many things, including Knockspell and OSRIC. This 64 page fanzine was put together by several folks as a fundraiser to help with expenses after his third(!) brain tumor. I’m going to review the adventures. You should go pick this up because you’re not an asshole. And, also, because the adventures are quite good. Also, there’s a lot of OTHER content in it, beyond the adventures.

Sorcerer’s Stone – by Keith Sloan [No Level Given]

This five page adventure describes a dungeon with about forty rooms. On top of a hill is a ritual site where a cult gathers to … perform rituals and make human sacrifices. Underneath is the dungeon with a couple of evil priests (who think the cultists are amateurs) and a traditional “ogres, spiders, etc” dungeon. The map is good with decent complexity, same level stairs,pits, some water features and the like. Decent loops. Each room gets a bolded room title to orient the DM, a good touch. It is, essentially, a minimally keyed dungeon. “2. GUARD CHAMBER: This old guard chamber is empty.” and “A Carrion Crawler has made its way into this room.” tend to be the extent of the descriptions beyond stats and treasure. This does allow for about 24 rooms per page, but I would have preferred to see four or five more words, or, perhaps different words, in each room description. Instead of a carrion crawler moving in (and, as an aside, a lot of the descriptions are like that “X moved in”) I’d like to see something like a carrion crawler hanging from the ceiling, or munching on a goblin or something. A more active description. The cult activity outside is done well but could be organized better with bullets and bolding, and non-monster interactivity is a bit low. One more pass through to make the rooms active, clean up the outside, and insert a little more interactivity  and this would have been top tier.

Perladon Manor – by Gabor Lux – Levels 3-5

This delightful five page adventure describes fifteen rooms of a ruined manor over three-ish levels. Melan uses a single-column paragraph form, but arranges the sentence/text order well to put First Things First and then expand on them later, with good use of bolding. The encounters are great examples of the non-standardized style of D&D, with stabbing frescoes causing shadows damage, hypnotic patterns caused by magical loadstones, and inscriptions providing hints leading to more adventure. High interactivity and a fantasy vibe that is not constrained by the rulebooks provide a great adventuring adventure in a small page count and room count. 

The Tiled Labyrinth – Guy Fullerton – Levels (It’s got a minotaur)

This two page mini-dungeon is a labyrinth with about fifteen rooms. It provided three maps of the level and a small set of rules (close the incense burner) on changing from one map to another … which basically means the rooms stay the same and the hallways/doors switch layouts. It’s a clever idea for representing a labyrinth layout … minotaurs traditionally have a hard time in D&D having their lairs represented in anything other than “you’re confused at intersections” mechanics. Guys descriptions are good, with the details focused on player-oriented things and activities. Rich soil, copper watering cans, inset stone shelves … Guy slaps in the extra adjective/adverb to spruce up his descriptions well. One of the incense burners is a vented statuette of a heroic man holding decapitated bull head … with a lever to open/close the vents. Plus there’s a red meteoric long sword of sleek, angular design. Sweet! A good, if small, entry from Guy.

Lizard Man Lair – by Steve Smith Levels 5-7

This fourteen page adventure describes an outdoor lizard man lair. It’s complex, in a way these things usually are not. There are multiple factions, other race NPC’s, slaves, animals, varying terrain. Guidelines for several different approaches are offered up. It is, perhaps, more complex than can be handled in two-column magazine format, something that I sometimes thought in Dungeon Magazine. Meaning that it’s deep and complex but that the 2-column format doesn’t work well for this. I’m not saying it CANT, but that it would be a lot of work. As a standalone product it is both of limited scope (one lair) and better suited for a more leisurely layout/format that could be targeted to its complexity and depth. Good ideas in it.

The Mere Beneath by Guy Fullerton, Allan T Grohe jr and Henry Grohe – Level 5

This six page adventure details about 25 locations in a dungeon level with a large water feature. A great adventure in a fanzone full of great adventures. The map is interesting, complex, and offers on-map details to encourage creativity and help the DM. The wanderers are doing things. The creatures in rooms are doing things: bloody-faced from finishing a meal or tearing apart something. Writing is evocative with small little room text written so as to be more than the sum of their parts, inspiring the DM to greatness and to build upon them. Zones and multiple levels themes are well used. Creatures are just a bit from norm with ghouls and ghasts wearing bone masks. It all combines to give that non-standard OD&D vibe that I love so much. I might put this in my Darkness Beneath binder, as a sublevel from the waterfall in the Crabmen level. (And perhaps the level title implies a relationship to Darkness Beneath? The tone matches well.) A solid marriage of usability, interactive, and evocative.

This is $13 at DriveThru. Go get it!

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/288750/Saving-Throw-fundraiser-fanzine-for-James-D-Kramer

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

How Much Talk at Your Game Table Reaches Into the Game World?

DM David - Tue, 09/17/2019 - 11:06

Suppose your players aim to stop raiders somehow able to slip past the town’s defenses. They meet the woman who leads the city guard. Mid conversation, the rogue’s player says, “I’m sure she’s behind the raids. We should just kill her.” In your game, did the rogue really say that out loud? If not out loud, did he whisper to the other characters? What does the guard captain make of the troubling whispers?

Or suppose the players offer to give a dragon a magic item in exchange for safe passage, but the negotiation scene pauses as the players debate which item to trade. Does the dragon hear their talk of a cursed sword?

In a battle, when the players discuss the best way to maneuver their foes into a fireball’s area, do their foes overhear the strategy?

How much discussion at your game table carries into the game world?

At many tables, none of the discussion at the table reaches the game world unless it suits the players—sometimes after a dispute over what happened and what was just a joke.

Scott “The Angry GM” Rehm settles the disputes and answers such questions with a convention he calls the murky mirror. “The players and the characters are reflections of each other in a murky mirror. They aren’t perfect reflections. But they are synchronous. If the players are sitting around and talking, then so are the characters. They are saying basically the same things, though they might be using different words.

“For example, when the player says, ‘My character refuses to help because he thinks the orcs are all savages because he saw them murder his parents,’ his character is probably saying something like, ‘Scum like you butchered my parents and I’d rather have every one of my fingers broken then lift one of them to help a monster like you.’” By the convention, whether players talk about their character or in character, they communicate a similar message in the game world. When players at the table exchange jokes and banter, characters in the game joke and banter. So when a non-player character named Elmo causes the players at my Ghosts of Saltmarsh table to erupt into a round of joking, the heroes in the game find the name just as funny, but for different reasons.

The murky mirror usually applies to scenes, the parts of the game where characters with a goal face obstacles to overcome. See How to Use Scenes and Summaries to Focus on the Best Parts of a Role-Playing Adventure.

In D&D, a 6-second combat round may take 20 minutes to play out, so the synchronization must allow plenty of latitude. In practice, the party can’t limit discussion to six seconds or less. Still, players can’t pause a round for a 10-minute strategy discussion.

This murky mirror convention can benefit the game in a few ways:

  • Raised stakes. The players’ actions in the real world trace to consequences in the game world. When someone says the wrong thing, they can’t backpedal and claim they intended an out-of-game joke.

  • Immediacy. The game world and the game table both live in the moment.

  • Immersion. Players stay closer to their characters.

  • Faster pacing. Even loose synchronization between the real world and the game world adds urgency to fights. “If I see my group stopping every turn in combat to discuss every action, I will stop them and force whoever’s turn it is to make a decision,” Angry writes. “You only have a few seconds to act. What do you do?”

The murky mirror suits games where players dive into character and strive to prevail through skillful game play.

Most game tables settle for an informal convenience where players drop in and out of character, often only affecting the game world when it suits them. The banter and joking stay out of game.

This represents a looser, beer-and-pretzels style where players aim to spin a yarn for some laughs. Or possibly a style where storytelling takes the focus. Some players who favor narrative compare the forgiving style with a writers’ room. Most TV shows come from a team of writers who gather in a room and imagine story arcs and character beats.

A game like D&D differs from a room-written script because the screenwriters look for ways to thwart and test their characters—an essential part of storytelling. In most roleplaying games, only the GM intentionally complicates the characters’ lives. (The players unintentionally complicate their lives when they suggest murdering the guard captain while in her presence.) Games focused on storytelling may include mechanics that encourage players to add trouble to their characters’ lives.

In the loose style of most game tables, when players stop a scene to decide whether to accuse the guard captain or what magic item to trade, we assume that the actual discussion happened earlier. Or we assume that the characters’ time together leaves them with unspoken signals or a mutual understanding. After all, heroes in the game share experience in the imaginary world that players cannot match.

Introduce the murky mirror at a campaign’s launch or just before key scenes. Marty “Raging Owlbear” Walser says, “Occasionally for a very important scene, I tell the players, ‘You are now live.’ No out-of-character talk.’ It can really ramp up tension.”

Most of the time, the murky mirror just requires in-game reminders that, say, players in the tavern overhear the players’ argument. For dangerous lapses, the GM should remind players and allow a do over. If a player blurts, “I’ll bet she’s behind the raids. We should kill her,” then ask, “Do you really want to say that?”

“After all, the point of the murky mirror is to make things easier and more fun and less bitter and fighty for everyone. You shouldn’t be using it to gleefully pounce on a player who makes a stupid mistake,” Angry writes. That seems forgiving for a GM who makes a brand of raging. As players learn the convention, such lapses will become rare.

I see one potential downside to the murky mirror. Players who know they cannot freeze time to make plans may weigh the game with too much advance planning. As a dungeon master, I love when the players pause to plan—it shows an appreciation of the game world’s stakes and obstacles. But advance planning for every possibility delays diving in and playing. That’s the heart of the game.

To adopt the murky mirror while still allowing some flexibility to stop time and strategize, consider allowing flashbacks. The flashback mechanic borrows from roleplaying games like Blades in the Dark and Leverage. Players can announce flashbacks to recall planning they did in the past. It gives players a formal way to stop time and spin strategy. Players can only flashback from a situation they could have planned for.

An informal flashback can come from the GM. If the players stop a scene for the planning they could have done earlier, you can jump in and frame the planning as a flashback.

I still want to know. How much talk at your game table reaches the game world?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

[NEWS] Saving Throw: A Fundraiser Fanzine to Help James D. Kramer

Beyond Fomalhaut - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 21:40
Saving Throw
While Echoes #06 is undergoing some essential fine-tuning before release, I would like to draw your attention to a recently published fanzine. Saving Throw has been assembled and released for the benefit of James D. Kramer. You may know James from his illustrative work, which is found in various adventure modules and game supplements. You may have handled his editing work if you have browsed through a copy of Knockspell or OSRIC. You may know him as a publisher and author of fine adventures through his Usherwood Publishingimprint (which also sells an A5 version of the OSRIC rules). You may know him as a family man, too.
As you may also have heard, James has been fighting a malignant brain tumour for a while, and has had to undergo multiple surgeries in the process. Saving Throw – sold for the auspicious price of $13.00 – is a fanzine whose proceeds will go to Jim and his family in this trying time – and it is also intended as a thank-you note and as a gift to cheer him up. In 64 pages, Saving Throw contains a wealth of articles written by members of the old-school community. Therein, you will find six complete mini-adventures (I wrote one of them); random inspiration tables to generate fantastic islands; variant rules; maps to great treasures; new monsters and NPC parties; and more.
Saving Throw is currently available in PDF from DriveThruRPG, and a print version is also forthcoming (sold at discount to those who purchase the PDF). Buy yours today!
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Your help is needed for Jim Kramer of Usherwood Publishing

Bat in the Attic - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:52
OSRIC along with the Basic Fantasy RPG ignited the OSR as we know it today. Jim Kramer is part of the OSRIC community and through his company, Usherwood Publishing, offered a print version of the OSRIC rules as well as his own works.

Jim and his family need your help. The OSRIC community explains,
You may know Jim Kramer from his Usherwood Publishing modules & supplements, or his work helping produce works like OSRIC and Knockspell. You probably didn’t know Jim had multiple brain surgeries to remove tumors, and the battle has gotten much harder. To help Jim and his family during this difficult time, a group of his friends, collaborators, and first edition enthusiasts banded together to make this fundraiser fanzine, where all royalties go directly to Jim and his family.To this end the Saving Throw fanzine was created.  You can look over the table of contents and buy the Saving Throw fanzine from this link. Or look over his store and if something interests you buy something from there.


Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

5e Inspiration: a DM app

Blog of Holding - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 14:42

Over the past year or so, I’ve been working on a phone app. It’s a DM tool: it’s meant to be a sort of Random Dungeon Generator as a Dungeon Map for your entire campaign world. I’m tentatively calling it “5e Inspiration.”

0% preparation, 100% inspiration

5e Inspiration is a tool for populating your game world with people, locations, monsters, and treasure. It can be used to supplement, aid, or even replace your game prep.

I’ve been using it to suggest random encounters, random NPCs, and random treasure to fill out my high-level, story-based, plane-hopping D&D campaign.

On the other hand, my buddy Rory has been using Inspiration for the past 6 months to randomly generate entire dungeons and wilderness treks in a procedurally generated West Marches campaign. Rory can both DM and play a PC because he has no foreknowledge about what the party is going to find when they leave town or descend into a dungeon.

5e Inspiration can also be a sort of an “in emergency, break glass” option for when you just don’t know what to do next. Maybe your players just wandered off the edge of the map. Or they just came back to town and are staring at you, waiting for the next adventure hook. Maybe it’s time to reveal the campaign villain and you lost the scrap of paper with his name on it, and the only name you can think of at the moment is “Smerdley.”

5e Inspiration also enables true solo D&D. With the app as DM and you as player and referee, you can play a complete game of D&D on your own. You can spelunk dungeons, wade through swamps in search of lost idols, pick up rumors in town, and race across city rooftops pursued by angry guards. The app provides the dungeons, swamps, rumors, and rooftops.

5e Inspiration also includes a dice roller and a built-in SRD reference, so you can DM with only your phone.

what this app is not

5e Inspiration is NOT an index of dozens of random generators. As a DM, I don’t want to browse or navigate through menus to find the table I want. You know what’s not fun for players? Watching the DM play with their phone.

In my vision, EVERYTHING YOU NEED IS ON THE SCREEN WHEN YOU LOAD UP THE APP: map, terrain, monsters or NPCs with their own agendas, and treasure, all suitable to your party’s level and location. If you don’t like the suggestions, reroll for new ones.

This app is NOT a D&D Beyond competitor. D&D Beyond is a complete D&D rules reference, aimed at both players and DMs, with an ever-expanding library of official content.

While my app includes a searchable SRD reference, its main function is to suggest D&D scenes that you can drop into your game session. It’s purely a DM tool. And it’ll have an ever-expanding library of unofficial content.

The app is NOT a strict recreation of the 5e random NPC, random encounter, and random treasure rules. That would be a useful app, but it would be a weekend project, not my obsession for a year.

Those 5e tables were a starting place. I’ve expanded and varied each of those, through obsessive brainstorming and editing every day for months, until the original rules are perhaps a tenth of the content in the app. I’ve created something that’s probably too big to be printed as a DND book.

For example:

  • the 18 pages of character name tables in Xanathar’s Guide are nice, but my name list is about 4x longer. Besides NPC names by race and class, you can also use the app’s name generator to come up with villain names, noble names, magic item names, ship names, books of forgotten lore, etc.
  • I’ve taken each Monster Manual SRD monster and added lots of details that can help you run an unplanned encounter: clues that they’re nearby, what they’re doing now, who’s with them, and tables of monster-specific details like alternate vampire weaknesses, bandit gang names, and the like. It’s sort of like having an extra page to each Monster Manual entry: something like the information in this mockup I made for hags. For every monster. 10 signs of nearby hill giants! 15 variant mages! 60 kobold behaviors! 10 fomorian deformities!
  • What’s more, I’ve added more than a hundred new monsters.
  • While I was at it, I wrote lots of new traps and wilderness hazards to complicate your journeys.
  • I’ve taken each of the 350+ SRD magic items in the DMG, and I’ve given each of them variants; I’ve created an average of 6 variants per magic item. Some items, like the generic +1 magic weapon, have more than 50 new variants. Each time your players find a treasure hoard, they’re likely to find something they’ve never seen before.

  • I have insanely detailed random encounter tables that can produce an astronomically huge number of distinct encounters, because repetitive encounters are boring. A party could probably spend their adventuring career in a single niche terrain, like tundra or desert, and never find an encounter that felt “samey”.

    join me!

    Over the years since I started this blog in 2008, I’ve posted hundreds or thousands of dnd things: new magic items, spells, monsters, house rules, rules analysis. If you like any of that content, this app is the mother lode. There’s probably more in the app than I’ve posted in 10 years on this blog.

    I’m unreasonably excited about this project.

    And it’s going to be free.

    It’s the DM tool I need, and I hope you find it useful too.

    Over the next while, I’ll post samples of the content in the app, along with my design notes.

    If you’re interested, you can sign up for the beta test. Sign up here!

    Here is more to read about the Inspiration app:

  • Dungeon exploration in the Inspiration app
  • Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    The Village and the Witch

    Ten Foot Pole - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:14

    By Davide Pignedoli

    Daimon Games

    LOTFP

    Levels 2-3

    This fifteen page supplement has some tables in it that lets the DM generate a witch, a village, and some opposition to the witch in the village, as well as some witch events. It’s not an adventure but rather a situation-builder (in fact, I think the designer uses almost the same words.) I think it’s good at what it does.

    I only review adventures … but sometimes I buy the wrong thing, mostly because it’s in the wrong category on DriveThru and I don’t really read the descriptions. And sometimes I’m feeling curious and go for something adjacent. Like this supplement.

    A theme I haven’t touched on in awhile is how different adventures have a need for different sorts of organization. Exploratory things, like dungeons and so on, fit the room/key format really well. As free text they work less well. And room/key doesn’t necessarily work well at all in other, non-exploratory situations, like a social adventure. Understanding what sort of adventure is being written, or what a specific portion of the adventure is trying to do, is key to getting the right format … which in turn is key to helping the DM run it, a major goal of the designer.

    And that’s what this supplement is doing: it’s providing the DM the tools they need to build a situation in a village that has a witch in it. There are seven or so tables that describe what’s going on in the village, organized via die drop. The die drop helps determines the layout of the village with the results of the dice being the structures and situations involved. Thus we get a little information about the village, the basic layout of the place, major features, the witch details, and who opposes the witch. The tables, taken together, are excellent as inspiration and for building a situation. And that’s what they are trying to do: build a situation. This ain’t Seclusiums “they have green eyes” bullshit. It recognizes the dynamics required to create tension, and therefore adventure. The booklet tells you several times that Things Have Reached A Boiling Point. The tables help with that. The opposition is dynamic on the tables. The witch events are dynamic. The tables are designed to strategically locate open gas barrels in a village where everyone lights their cigarettes with a blowtorch they carry. This is not passive. It’s meant to create a situation FOR PLAY and create a situation it does!

    A couple of quirks about the supplement. It doesn’t go out of its way to get the party involved. It’s more like “you see a mob” or a burning building, ro someone complaining, or so on. Thus the hook tends to be curiosity, although the motivations of the witches allies and of the witches opposition may also lead to them trying to get the party involved. It feels natural … but it’s also one of the more … reachiest reaches in using the tables for inspiration. It’ also could have used a summary sheet of the tables. They are spread out over the book, one or two per page. The surrounding fifteen pages of text and art do a good job of adding content to the tables and setting up the appropriate vibe to get the DM in to the mood, as well as providing some examples of how, say, the village priest is an ally to the witch. That’s all great. But, if the core tables were on one page then it would pretty trivial to crank out a village on the fly when the party reaches it. Or even attach it to my DM screen or put it in my binder. Which gives me an idea … what if EVERY village had a witch in it with things boiling over? What fun! 

    I don’t have a problem with tables. I love The Dungeon Dozen, the rear of  the 1e DMG is great, and I use tables sometimes to generate ideas for an adventure or a room. The brain tends to work best, IMO, if given a couple of things to work from. “Make a village to adventure in!” is a big ask. But, if you seed the task with a few random rolls, well, the brain is good at making connections between things. This recognizes that and takes advantage of it.

    I’d have no problem paying for this as a supplement. It’s not an adventure, so I don’t feel I can slap a Best on it, but it’s certainly worth checking out if you want a village generator that gives you not Tavern Names and General Stores but playable situations.

    This is $3 at DriveThru. The preview is five pages and shows you some intro/framing pages and then all of the core tables for the die drop. You’re seeing the core of the generation in the preview. 

    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/251586/The-Village-And-The-Witch?1892600

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Ain't No Gods in Gyre

    Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:00

    Belief is a virus. On the levels above those of heavy matter, the multiverse is an ideaspace, susceptible to co-opting or conversion by belief alone. The Outer Planes and their competing attempts to rebuild the Godhead are engines of it, and the City at the Center of the Multiverse, Gyre, is the one place with no agenda in the big game It has to keep their seductive memes suppressed at all costs, or the strange loop that enforces it's existence would broken, and possibly the stability of the entire multiverse with it. Again.

    That's why Gyre's real ruler, not the corporate committees or the concerned citizen boards or even the occasional winners of the city's haphazard elections, works hard to keep belief out. There is a strict "no gods" policy, for instance. Gods are strange attractors for belief. The lost, outcast, or psychological vulnerable, have been known to fall for them on sight. So they're all banned. There have been attempts by rogue theists to instantiate a god in the city (in one case the smiling cat mascot of a fast food restaurant), but the Lady was on to them before they could power it up. Four manifestations of her twisted the whole block into a Klein bottle and tossed it into the Astral manifold.

    The thing about sentient beings is they tend to want to believe in things, and even the Lady can't be everywhere. So registered policlubs are allowed. These tamed belief systems, whatever their intentions, only serve to strengthen the city's loop because they wouldn't exist without it. If one steps out of line despite the safeguards, well, they get disappeared too.

    Though Gyre's citizenry complain about the policlubs, they are also a source of entertainment. Most have some sort of media presence from talk radio to slick television shows. Major street clashes between clubs tend to be televised events associated with gambling. 

    The Good End, Part 1

    The Disoriented Ranger - Sun, 09/15/2019 - 14:22
    It's rare these days that I wake up with time on my hands and have a blog post waiting at my fingertips. I still didn't for this, as I really should be writing something else today. However, it actually is a topic that occurred to me on several occasions this year alone and I guess I have an opinion on it. So the topic for today is: what makes a good end for stories and what are the machinations for it? Let's see where this will be going.
    Lots of bad endings ...
    The appliance of this topic for role playing games are obvious. However, where it really hit home for me the last couple of months was with a book that read really, really well for all its 1000 pages and fucked up really hard in the last 50 pages or so. I felt betrayed. It was the cruelest thing. Up until that end I would have recommended it to friends. How the author decided to end it, though, killed the whole experience for me.
    Maybe I should go into an analysis of why I thought that ending was bad (or what book we are talking about), but for now, a specific example of something that is not universally hated as bad would make the argument anecdotal and that would be of no use here, right? You all know what I mean (if people are interested, I can share specifics in the comments, though).
    That said, there are a bazillion examples in pop culture right now, most popular among them would be the last episodes of Game of Thrones. So bad, that millions of people signed a petition to re-shot that hot mess. Or the end they are producing for the original Star Wars saga. That would (arguably) be another great example (my guess is they'll kill it for good with The Rise of Skywalker). The third season of Glow also qualifies as it had NOTHING to do with the original show and was a waste of time so cringe-worthy, it cemented my decision to cancel my Netflix account for good.[source]My impression is that this is a trend for the worse right now. Maybe the decades-long pop cultural rehashing of the same old themes finally proves to be a downward spiral (who would have guessed?). Or the capitalist impulse to always produce new content actually forces creatives to start at ground-zero zeitgeist every time and hinders innovation in a way that popular stories stopped growing in mainstream and stagnation always carries the danger of running foul (or rather, nothing stagnates ever ... if it's not moving for the better, it starts moving for the worse).
    Whatever the reason, it is a phenomenon worth analyzing or at least talking about. I get weary when I start seeing a new tv show and like it, because the end could ruin it for good. It's gotten so easy to produce a frame that makes content just, well, bingeable, that we not only created a new word for the process, we also started neglecting the messages stories transport and the end is always the tell in that regard.
    Going by the above, there are several reasons for endings to be received as "bad" (or even where endings begin, for that matter) and all have the obvious common theme that the [drum roll] Suspension of Disbelief is disrupted to a degree, where the experience ends up being disappointing.
    The good end no one liked
    Let's start with the low hanging fruits, the movies or books or tv shows that run over long times and maybe even with lots of time between parts or seasons. Something you will see or read over long periods of time. Notable examples would be the Matrix trilogy, Star Wars Episodes 1 to 3, the third season of Twin Peaks or the last books of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea books (originally a trilogy, the author went ahead and wrote a sequel 6 years later, where she tried to re-write the original and changed the tone significantly).
    And people don't like it. Or rather, popular opinion is against them although, in those cases, the results aren't necessarily bad, just different. If something popular has too much time to fester in the pop cultural mindset, the perception of it changes. Or maybe ownership of the ideas changes. The artist gives something to the public and it keeps developing from there on.
    So when the artist picks up a story years after it's initial release, he'll have to challenge the new beast that the story is with his own interpretation. There's a couple of popular examples where this worked once or twice (Terminator 2 and Aliens 2 come to mind), but usually, the result is hated and only reception over time will show if a sequel like that has merit or not.
    In a sense, it means that the sequel is banned to the fringes again, away from mainstream, and people willing to invest the time to analyze and talk about a sequel like that, will dig for the nuggets and carry them back into mainstream consciousness.
    Staring down mainstream since 1990  [source]The Episodes 1 to 3, for instance, weren't as bad as the initial reaction may have you believe, the Matrix trilogy is a coherent story, just not the one people wanted and Lynch's Twin Peaks is so far away from the mainstream perception of it, that it will take years to digest what he did in season 3 and Le Guin changed as a person and arguably didn't write a sequel but used the world of Earthsea instead to express her new world view, but reception was good nonetheless.
    See, these works have merit, but you have to take a closer look, you have to work with the artist here. Some people think, that just because they consumed a work often enough that they can consume it without investing further thought, it must follow that sequels will be just as easily digestible. Those are, however, two different versions of reception. Maybe this deserves a little excursion ...
    Consuming versus conscious reception
    This is the most important distinction you will have in this argument. It's the two ends of a spectrum we succinctly call entertainment. It describes not the level of commitment (as people can get very committed about just brainless consumption), but the level of analysis you are willing to invest into something.
    There is no judgment either, sometimes you just need to see a well-scripted show about baking. Done right, it is a form of meditation. Or you like just aspects of something, so you see it just for those bits. I've had run shows in the background, giving them maybe 20% attention while doing something else, just to get the whole picture.
    However, when I sit down to see something and I like what I see, I tend to be on the other side of the spectrum. I will give it my full attention, not chatting, not  checking my mobile every ten seconds, I'm all over the thing: analyzing, connecting, interpreting.
    The mindset with which you go into the experience is what will form your opinion on it (consciously or not). So if you go to see the next Tarantino with the expectation that you will get a rumination of Pulp Fiction, or if you go to see what Tarantino did next, makes worlds of a difference (and is a stigma many authors and writers have to overcome after their first success).
    The problem is, we tend to fall more to the consumption side of the spectrum the more familiar we made ourselves with a certain oeuvre. That's where, in its extremes, fandom makes an entrance, that's where stories change ownership, in a sense. Music is another good example for this, with a way higher overturn. Once a musician is pinned down to be successful at a certain type of music, they'll have a hard time doing something else with the same success.
    We need to be aware of this pattern to understand how reception works and what a response to something means in its context. Or rather, how the level of introspection and objectivity changes the perception of a work and therefor has to be judged within that spectrum. In other words, trust the critique that shows thought beyond the assumption what an artist should have done to succeed as he did with his previous work.
    You don't even need to know where the artist is in his life right now or what person they are, you just have to accept that they most likely moved on and will express that in their work with the form they found to express themselves. Only then you can have an attempt at a proper interpretation if the work is successful or not (not commercially, though, that's a different story yet again ...). It's also a good way to create a position towards other opinions you may encounter.
    Your perception will furthermore change over time, obviously, so there is  lot to be taken into account before getting a true grip on what works and what doesn't (for you and in general).
    Okay, end of excursion. Where were we ...
    The bad end
    A bad end constitutes that independently of where you are at the spectrum described above, you end up being disappointed. Like, you could be just on the consumption side of the spectrum and it rubs you wrong for some reason. But then again, as you shift your perception towards a more conscious reception, you may find yourself coming to an understanding after all. If that still fails, however, you might have a bad ending on your hand, getting worse as others chime in to express the same opinion (because to a degree this is still about taste and level of cognition).
    Ultimately, the general insight if something is bad (or good) is the result of multiple shared efforts over time, especially if the continued progress of a work is geared towards innovation instead of mirroring the success of a former work.
    The question is, now, what we can learn from decades, nay, centuries of documented reception. Because we don't always have to start at the beginning, we can (should) stand on the shoulders of those who successfully took a closer look and shared their insights. We can see what went wrong and take a stab at guessing what went wrong and where. Considering all the above, we can also make fair assumptions as to what constitutes a bad ending in general and why.
    I've named some popular examples at the beginning. We also see J. K. Rowling right now revisioning her past work for the worse. It's a good example how not knowing when to stop can also make for a bad ending.
    Common themes here are (1) rewriting of the established work (in a sense the attempt of the artist to prevent his story from being changed or advanced by the public), (2) the ignorance of the established which then changes the experience significantly (a really common theme there is establishing characters as intelligent and then having them make very dumb decisions, another example would be ignoring established archetypes ... Han Solo, anyone?), and a third big mistake would be (3) to make the final message of a story a lie.
    The third point is the most tricky one and the hardest to catch. It's those endings that just "don't ring true", as the saying goes. It's where the antagonist is beyond humanity and acts in a way that fits, for instance, an effort of propaganda (How To Train Your Dragon 2 is a sad example for this).
    It's also when the Suspense of Disbelief is kicked to the curve and the end is not authentic in the way the story was set up. It's where external forces (like the studio or organisations) change the arc of a story for, say, commercial reasons (like, every cut down version of a film ever) or to fit a certain ideology (Disney had Rogues One changed and re-shot significantly after they felt that the original result had been too much of a war movie).
    [source]The thing is, we grow up with stories, among them stories that are successful for thousands of years and there are reasons for that success. We recognize as a collective whole if something is worthy or not, and with more success the more time we have to take a look. You see right there the default line of failure: to be commercially successful you have to turn stories fast without paying too much for it.
    Rather new, inexperienced writers, then seasoned but expensive writers, rather starting from scratch and hoping for a quick success than building and expanding something established with innovation ... I could go on. And if something works, it needs to stay the same, it needs to be "All Ages", as if it is a good thing that stories can't grow with us.
    There are so many misconceptions how stories have to work just based on capitalist assumptions that favor a short success over a true success, it shaped whole industries, and we see it fail more and more often. As I said, over time those things will be recognized as lies (or half-truths, if you will).
    But it gets worse. You have read so far, but it was all to set up this one, final point (I've already hinted towards it): we have become so well versed in making things easily consumable. The right filters, the right music, the right tone, the right people, a symphony of the recognizable REGARDLESS OF THE STORY BEING TOLD. And that's very dangerous. Look at Harry Potter (glorifying a superiour elite as the better people) or Glow (turning full woke) or 13 Reasons Why (glorifying mental illness) or Ready Player One (blatant nostalgia cash grab) or even the Marvel movies (idk ... empty and unproductive entertainment to print money, I guess). Just lean back and let it happen. It doesn't matter what we are telling you, just enjoy the how.
    That's a really ugly trend and a lot of ugly endings for lots and lots of famous franchises. Right now everything that Disney touches seems to turn to shit, Netflix seems to be in trouble for spending shit-loads of money for inferiour quality, Doctor Who is losing its fanbase, mainstream comics have a hard time right now ... I could go on and on and it always comes down to bad storytelling and bad endings.
    Anyway, I guess I made my point.
    The good end
    It's been a long time that I went off the rails for that much of text without having a clear picture of the pay-off it all could have. Of course we are still talking games here and how to make the endings in the stories we tell more satisfying. The whole tirade above is to be understood as an attempt to show the patterns that form opinions about stories as well as misconceptions about creating them in differentiation to what we can know and should use to tell stories. As I said before, we don't need to invent the wheel everytime.
    So, with having all that on the table, we can talk about how to create good endings. Or better yet, how to bring a story to one of its potential conclusions ...
    Holy shit, I don't know how to end this. The irony.
    I thought this'd work out for sure ... [source]Actually, that part deserves a second post, because we need to come at this from another angle when talking about games. For one, with role playing games the ones creating the story are also the audience and what constitutes a bad end for a lot of people could work for a select group of friends. The focus shifts and with that the problems or how to address them.
    This post, however, should help you recognizing bad endings and bad storytelling and how all that connects or how you stand towards all of it and conclusions you could draw from that. I guess that is something (if I actually managed it). If you have any thoughts on this, I'd be happy to hear them. Don't expect that second part very soon, I'm afraid. It'll take me a while.

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    The SF Reconquista: Muscular Christian Science Fiction, the Deus Vult in Space… Cruci-fiction!

    Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 14:54

    Deus Vult in Space (Jon Del Arroz) The Craziest Day Of My Career — “Justified is officially a break out hit. It’s doing the numbers the big boys sell. I’m not completely surprised at how well it’s doing, as an action-packed military science fiction with a strong male lead, promoting Christianity, is something that is a universal truth in what people desire. Heroism. Bravery. Honor. Loyalty. Love. Chastity.”

    Deus Vult in Space (Brian Niemeir) A Sea Change in Science Fiction — “There is a vast underserved market of predominantly male, Christian readers who’ve been ignored by the witches in oldpub, the nihilist nudniks in newpub, and the milquetoast Boomers in Christian fiction for decades.”

    Deus Vult in Space (Bradford Walker) “Justified” & The Pulp Reformation — “This is not just the return of the Pulps, but their full restoration. Read the old stuff and you’ll see the very Christianity on display, but not explicit as having a Templar as the hero. All of the morality, the conflict, the temptations, and so on are built off of a robust and thriving Christianity assumed as the norm for Civilization.”

    Deus Vult in Space (Liberty Island) An Author Interview with Jon Del Arroz — “The way we transform culture is talking about the culture we want the culture to transform to.”

    Deus Vult in Space (Alexander Hellene) Cruci-FictionSo what is ‘Cruci-Fiction’? Nothing short of unabashedly Christian fiction that still has explosions and fights and guns and blood and guts and action all of that good stuff. What it doesn’t have is a groveling, mewling, weak depiction of faith, or an embarrassment on the part of its writer for being a Christians and featuring Christian themes and characters.”

    Deus Vult in Space (Rawle Nyanzy) I Am Proven Wrong (by the Almighty) — “There are more Christians and Christian-adjacent folks than weebs. Weebs and mech fans don’t read novels, so it was a mistake to try and market to them. There is a vast difference between an untapped market and an uninterested market.”

    Westerns (JD Cowan) The Prince Returns — “The most fascinating part of the book to me is that it is more or less completely unknown despite its obvious quality. I have found no reviews online for this. There has never been an adaption that I’ve been able to track down.”

    Appendix N (New Pup Tales) John Carter: A Cornerstone of Pulp — “While I could see how Burroughs would come up with some of the Red Martians technology, their airships seem like a logical leap from the airplanes and blimps of 1912, I was blown away by the fact that Mars had a factory to produce its oxygen.”

    Reconquista (Brian Niemeier) A Confident Masculine Christianity — “Even if you’re not a Christian–even if you’re an atheist, only God-fearing artists who hope in Christ have a chance against the NY and LA death cultists who spread the Left’s anti-faith.”

    Commies (LA Review of Books) Mutate or Die: Eighty Years of the Futurians’ Vision — “A single writer cannot make change alone, but must be supported, along with other writers, by the institutions of publishing: magazines, editors, readers, and people putting their money behind publishing houses, book reviewers, cultural taste-makers, bookstockers, awards…”

    Clown World (The American Catholic) John W. Campbell Was Not a Fascist — “Beyond the usual SJW insanity this silliness demonstrates a complete forgetting of why we honor people. We honor them not because they share in the common virtues and vices, opinions and prejudices of their times, but because of something notable they accomplished.”

    Appendix N (Castalia House) Sensuous Science Fiction — “There is a narrative that sex in science fiction did not exist before Philip Jose Farmer came along. Sensuous Science Fiction blows holes in that narrative. Seven stories contained therein including stories under pseudonyms by Edmond Hamilton and Jack Williamson.”

    Weird Tales (RMWC Reviews) Pre-Tolkien Fantasy: The Abominations of Yondo and The Voice in the Night –“What’s been most interesting to me about this exercise has been in how the lines of what is ‘Fantasy’ get blurred the further back in time you go. Weird fiction, horror, ghost stories; those are all integral parts of what Fantasy is…. The problem arises from those who wanted to be the next Tolkien. Ponderous doorstoppers with twenty book series that lie unfinished at their creators’ deaths, Dry and dusty histories of the world and long names with gratuitous hyphens and apostrophes chained within them.”

    Short Fiction (Cirsova) Realities of Short Fiction Economics — “The scarcity of short fiction comes in name recognition, not the fiction itself. There are a gorillion amazing stories, but for instance, there is only one Sky Hernstrom–with only one Sky Hernstrom creating a limited supply of Sky Hernstrom stories, the value on those stories becomes a premium. If I can pay Sky more for a story than another guy because I want to be the pub carrying Sky Hernstrom stories, then that’s where the value comes into fiction, not through the slush pile of great undiscovered and unpublished fiction we see every year.”

    Weird Tales (PulpRev.com) Thoughts on Jirel of Joiry — “In Jirel’s stories we see reflections of the classic feminine virtues: adaptability, stoicism, emotional intelligence, reckless daring in facing overwhelming odds for a higher end, devotion to faith and duty.  Jirel of Joiry embodies the greatness in women. Her femininity is front and center, the core of her being. It is an approach utterly alien to the fiction of Current Year….”

    Old School Gaming (Daniel J. Davis) The Implied Apocalypse of Dungeons & Dragons — “It’s interesting reading through the AD&D rulebooks now. Like I mentioned last week, I don’t have any personal nostalgia for this edition. So it’s not like I’m viewing it though rose-colored glasses. Even so, it’s hard not to come away with a feeling that something incredibly cool was lost in the transition to the slicker, more polished game I grew up on.”

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Spiral Isles

    Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 09/14/2019 - 11:36
    By Jere Hart, Shane Walshe Stygian Studios 5e/OSR Dead PC's

    The adventure is designed to give dead characters a chance to return to life, or as the framework for a campaign into the underworld.

    This 57 page pointcrawl details an underworld location in which the party can attempt to return to life. It’s large, with locations having as much detail as a Wilderland hexcrawl. Like Wilderlands, the DM needs to bring significant abilities to bear to flesh the locations out. But it DOES provide the sort of unified cohesion that is missing from many hexcrawls. This place is themed and consistent. It’s easy to recommend … if you know what you are getting yourself in to.

    There are 21 islands in a little spiral island chain. Each island has three or so locations on it. There are some ferrymen that will follow certain routes between islands, generally each island being connected to three or so other ones in this manner. Oh, and you’re dead and a ghost. If you manage to collect enough lifepoints you can, at the last island, make it through the magic door and come back to life. And there are a lot of other spirits between you and there to beg, borrow, steal, and kill you to take your lifepoints away. And a few to help you.

    I always got a bit of a baroque vibe from Blue Medusa. If you lighten up with that vibe a little and combine it with Planescape and Sigil and turn THAT setting down by about a factor of five or ten then you’ll have something akin to what’s going on here. And maybe some Hunger Game Capitol turned down some also. 

    You wake up in the middle of an island. It’s PACKED with other souls. Shoulder to shoulder. Too much jostling and the people on the edge fall in to the void, forever lost. If you stand still enough, they say, you will be rescued. One end has a small coral with some mindless people in it. Eventually it fills up and a large Spanish galleon shows up and hauls them away. You can see some ferrymen off shore … you’re told not to trust them. Crowded, crammed in, ignorant, this is how you start. But of course you were adventurers and not like the people on the island. As you work your way up the island chain you encounter thugs, villages, towns, cities, the mob, rebels, rumors, cultists, swindlers, and just about the whole gamut of society. The further you travel, the more lifepoints you must have, the “wealthier” you are, and richier/more cosmopolitan the islands become. The goal is the last island, which has a door you can pass through if you have enough, bringing you back to life. 

    Along the way are factions. Thugs. Thug rebels. Rich people galore with their motives. Governors of the regions, organized guard groups, cultists, The Real Rebels, and Mayor, pulling the strings. It is from this, the factions and dynamics, that a significant tension is created. A wants X and B is trying to stop them. Who are you helping? Are you joining a faction? Are you working against another one? Or are you just trying to ignore them all and keep them from manipulating you so you can get your loot and get out. Hey … they all have a lot of loot … (loot being a way to gain lifepoints.)

    It’s a city adventure with all of the massive social intricacy and subplots that bring. It’s a hexcrawl/pointcrawl, with the openness that brings. It’s pretty fucking kickass, and reminds me a lot of that Mothership adventure I reviewed recently, Dead Planet.

    The ideas presented, the settings and scenarios, are great, with the writing a little flat. It a bit too workmanlike in its descriptions, not trying hard enough to really convey the evocativeness of the situations encountered. That makes it a little harder than I’d prefer to really run with and make my own. Still, it’s got terse writing and it’s easy to grasp the overall situation of the many locations easily. 

    There’s a myriad of little mini-systems and other details that pop up, all pretty well handled. At times it does seem like some weird heartbreaker of a system, but it doesn’t go too far overboard. 

    I would note, that for a huge expansive setting, the NPC table only has about twenty entries. You’re gonna need to think fast on the fly or do your own NPC table ahead of time in order to come up with the, inevitably numerous, NPC’s the party tries to interact with. Flavour is the name of the game here and some serious margin work to include more on most of the pages would have been a nice touch and an opportunity lost.

    It’s a hexcrawl-type product, in hell, that does the planes better than just about any other product, even if it’s not really a planes adventure. If you go in expecting a hexcrawl type product then you should be satisfied. it’s also got a lot more in common with OSR type adventures than it does the bland railroads that seem to dominate 5e. It’s got conversion notes for both 5e & OSR.

    This is $10 at DriveThru. There is no preview. Naughty designer! No cookie for you! How are folks supposed to know what they are buying? You can get an idea of the layout, in miniature, from the kickstarter pages but it’s not enough to see the actual content. Major miss.

    https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/279703/Spiral-Isles?1892600

    (And I’m not a gonna mention the fact that the Armory is missing a list, however brief, or its contents … when turning weapons in to mana/lifepoints is one of the major themes of the adventure.)

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Further OSR Commentary On The Free 'Old Mars' Downloads For Your Old School Campaigns

    Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 16:31
    So I'm making some notes and doing some adjustments to my Old Mars material, this means cracking open one of my favorites by Leigh Brackett, Clark Ashton Smith, and C.L. Moore. Here's some thoughts and ideas for background on my next cycle of 'Old Mars' adventure setting material. For me cracking open a copy of Sea Kings of Mars from Thrilling Wonder Stories v34n02 (1949 06) is pretty much Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    OSR Commentary On The Basic Dungeons & Dragons Adventure 'M4 Five Coins For A Kingdom' By Allen Varney For Your Old School High Level Campaigns

    Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 09/12/2019 - 15:16
    "In an instant, the city of Lighthall vanishes from you very midst! In its place come five coins of amazing powers - power to transport you to a realm of fantastic worlds and incredible magic. In this realm, islands float in air and vast armies battle at the brink of oblivion. The return of Lighthall depends on the defeat of one man: the evil enchanter, Durhan the Conqueror.Surrounding himself Needleshttp://www.blogger.com/profile/11243274667834930867noreply@blogger.com0
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

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