Tabletop Gaming Feeds

Cryptozoic Will Offer Exclusive Collectibles, Trading Cards, and Rick and Morty: The Pickle Rick Game at San Diego Comic-Con 2018

Cryptozoic - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 13:00

Cryptozoic Entertainment, leading creator of board games, trading cards, and physical and digital collectibles, today announced that it will sell ten exclusive vinyl figures, several convention-exclusive trading cards, and Rick and Morty: The Pickle Rick Game for the first time anywhere at Booth #115 at San Diego Comic-Con 2018, July 19-22 . In addition, the company will release Series 3 of its popular DC Lil Bombshells figures, the Classic Harley Quinn figure, and the Harley Quinn Puddin’ Pop Statue at the show. Cryptozoic will have signing sessions with Harley Quinn co-creator Paul Dini on Friday, July 20 and Yoshinori Ono on Saturday, July 21.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Total Party Jam Kills the Blue Meanie

Sorcerer's Skull - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 11:00

Our 5e Land od Azurth game continued last night with the party re-united (after the explosive ending of last session) in the strange Blue Pagoda on the Misty Isle of the Meanies. They were faced with a door which they had been told would lead to the chamber of the Supreme Blueness. Inside, they found yet more of the guards, who they slaughtered pretty quickly after the obligatory attempt at deception, spoiled once more by the Meanies noting the musical instruments carried. The Meanies hate music.

Beyond that when was another door, and a larger Blue Meanie sitting in a floating egg chair. Again, the party tries to get information from his  and deceive him, and again the fact that the bard is still carrying his guitar visibly spoils the deal. The Meanies (again) hate music!

So, the party goes about killing the few guards here. A giant flying glove emerges from behind the throne to smack down Erekose a couple of times. Shade's rain of arrows softens up all their foes for the rest of the party to finish off. In the end, their is only the Supreme Blueness and his right hand Meanie, Max.

The leader laughs at calls for his surrender. He assures the party reinforcements are on the way. He also proclaims that he is utterly immune to their attacks and magic. The party claims to discount this, yet no one attacks him to prove otherwise. For a few rounds, their is a stalemate while the party tries to figure out what to do.

Then, Waylon the Thief, acting on a hunch, whips out his banjo and starts planning. His Supreme Blueness cries out and writhes in pain. Kully the Bard starts playing his guitar and Shade the Ranger her flute. Dagmar and Erekose begin singing (probably badly), and Kairon casts Thaumaturgy to create music at an amplified volume. Under this assault, the Supreme Blueness withers to nothing.

With his passing, the mists recede from the isle, and the people who were turned to stone are restored. The party finds a fancy, handle-bar mustache in a velvet box, and hope to locate someone who can point them in the way of the Land of Under Sea.

Actual Play: One in Darkness Part 2

19th Level - Mon, 07/16/2018 - 01:16

Based on the adventure of the same name by Doug Lyons with L. N. Isynwill, contained in the Chaosium anthology The Great Old Ones.

Part 1

[Note this writeup is a bit brief given the adventure was played several months ago.]

Boston; Wednesday, April 20 - Thursday, April 21, 1921


  • Earl Crowley - Antiquarian settled in Arkham
  • Jordaine Furst - Strasbourg-born Great War spy for France
  • Fredrick Tardiff - Great War veteran, Kingsport artist

Late in the night of the 20th, Crowley received the call that Eddie Clark had been spotted and rejoined his companions in apprehending him. After some severe questioning, they searched his flat and discovered it had records of a delivery to an abandoned brewery - perhaps where the Crimson Gang was hiding.

They made their plans to go to the hideout - with the knowledge that the Black Demon was searching for Malone as his ultimate target, they planned on using the tablets to bring the demon there - and then hopefully banish it.

While they did manage to get access to their hideout through guile, the encounter with the Black Demon was horrific. Furst, who had studied the banishing spell the most, was stricken mad by the horror as it tore through the Crimson Gang. Crowley and Tardiff fared little better, though their luck held out long enough to dodge the creature's attacks and for them to complete the spell, banishing the creature back from whence it came.

Furst recovered from her initial shock, though she would need time to recover fully . Crowley was a broken man and Tardiff realized his luck had just about run out and felt his days on the front lines were over.

Keeper Notes:

This adventure was a lot more dangerous than I'd anticipated. At the end of it Furst had her first full bout with madness, Crowley was down to 1 sanity point, and Tardiff's luck was down to single digits. We decided to take a brief break from Call of Cthulhu after this as we ready for a game with Furst now moving from new character to grizzled veteran and Tardiff and Crowley moving to NPC/support status.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

G.I. Joe Role-Playing Games

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 14:00

I've mentioned before on this blog that I made a G.I. Joe role-playing game (based on the 80s incarnation) back in the day. Revisiting the era of the action tables with Indiana Jones brought that to mind and got me interested in just what was out their in terms of unauthorized Joe role-playing. Here's what I found:

Technohol 13 has statted ip the Joes, COBRA, and even the Oktober Guard in FASERIP. He's broken them down by year (presumably of release of the toys).

Jay Libby has done this one based on the FUIZON system (remember that from the late 90s?). It's pretty comprehensive, as well.

Finally, here's one Ben Lathrop did using Mutants & Masterminds.

There are a couple of games that are G.I. Joe-ish but nor G.I. Joe, so they could be officially published. Crafty Games did Real America for its Spycraft. They have a bundle of other cartoon-themed Spycraft conversions, misnamed "Saturday Morning Spycraft" because most of the cartoons they are homaging were syndicated afternoon fare.

Strike Force 7 by Super Genius Games is for Savage Worlds. It appears to be not as direct a pastiche as Real American, but the G.I. Joe inspirations is still clearly there.

Beyond B2 The Keep On The Borderlands - OSR Adventure Commentary & More Free OSR Resources

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 06:15
I'm always interested in different takes on classic TSR era modules especially B2 Keep On The Borderlands By Gary Gygax. There's something about its design & writing that echoes post warfare era of the module where the tides of war are coming back to the shores  of the keep itself. Its my belief that the keep location is the source of the ripple in the pond of war with T1-4 Temple of Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Kelly's Heroes for NUTS

Two Hour Wargames - Sun, 07/15/2018 - 00:49

There's been some interest on TMP so here's the NUTS version of the classic movie, Kelly's Heroes. By the incomparable John Paul "Italy After Normandy" Bakshoian.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

the 5e monster creation guidelines are wrong

Blog of Holding - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 23:11

While messing around with monster creation, I started comparing 5e Monster Manual creatures with the 5e guidelines for creating monsters (DMG page 274). Based on my number crunching, it looks like the DMG’s central monster creation chart, “Monster Statistics by Challenge Rating”, isn’t in line with the Monster Manual, and if you try to follow it you will get monsters that don’t look much like Monster Manual monsters.

This may be widely known and only new to me, but I haven’t found anything definitive or official on it. A fairly cursory search only turns up a few argumentative message board discussions and some pretty good Howling Tower posts (such as where Steve Winter graphs the discrepancies but backs off the conclusion that the DMG chart is incorrect.

In this post, I’ll try to show the data that suggests to me that the chart is wrong.

Note: the process of creating a monster stat block is long and convoluted: according to the DMG it’s a 20-step process (!) and one of the steps involves executing another 4-step process detailed elsewhere. So there’s lots of room for error, and I could have a lot of things wrong. But the basic process is: figure out the monster’s Defensive CR, which is primarily determined by HP but modified by AC, resistances, and some traits; figure out its Offensive CR, which is primarily determined by average damage over three rounds of combat, modified for burst damage, area of effects, and various traits and abilities, and also by attack bonus or spell save DC; and then average the offensive and defensive numbers to get the final CR.

Hit Points

The first clue that the DMG​ chart is wrong is in the hit points column of the chart. According to the chart, for instance, a CR 1/4 monster has 36-49 HP. However, let’s look at some CR 1/4 monster hit points. Boar, 11 HP. Goblin, 7 HP. Skeleton, 13 HP. Wolf, 11 HP. The CR 1/4 monster with the highest HP is the mud mephit, with 27 HP, still significantly less than the low end of the DMG-suggested hit point range.

Here’s a chart of the DMG-suggested Hit Points versus the average hit points per level from the Monster Manual: purple bar is the DMG’s Hit Point recommendations by CR, blue bar is the actual average HP from the Monster Manual.

That weird dip at CR 18 is because the demilich is the only CR 18 monster. And in fact, there are so few data points above level 10 that any analysis above level 10 should be taken with a grain of salt. Even ignoring the demilich and the dearth of high level data, you can see that the Monster Manual Hit Points skew way low.

The DMG monster creation rules have lots of adjustments to be made: monsters with lots of resistances and immunities are to have their “effective HP” adjusted upwards; and defensive abilities, such as damage transfer, regeneration, or magic resistance also adjust the effective HP. However, on examination, these adjustments don’t actually account for the extra HP in the DMG chart. In fact, they don’t do much at all. Examine the following chart:

In the chart above, “mm no defenses” means those monsters with few resistances and no significant defensive abilities. You’d expect these monster to have the highest hit points. “mm low resistance” are the monsters with few resistances, whether or not they have defensive abilities. “mm high resistance” means those monsters with more than 3 resistances or immunities: you’d expect these monsters to have the lowest hit points. (Many of these bars are broken because there are CRs at which there are no monsters which meet these qualifications.)

In fact, below level 12 – where we have enough data points to do reasonable analysis – there are no significant hit point differences between monsters with high special defenses/resistances/immunities and those without. At high levels, it is plausible that high-immunity monsters may have lower hit points, though we really need more data points to be sure. However, the overall trend lines are clear: none of these groups of monsters has anything like the hit point totals recommended in the DMG – even the no-defense brutes.

Conclusion: In the Monster Manual, hit points are much lower than the values presented in the DMG. Furthermore, special defenses, resistances and immunities don’t seem to be related to hit points.

Armor Class

Now let’s add armor class into the analysis. In the DMG, hit points and armor class are both used to determine “defensive CR” so perhaps it doesn’t make sense to analyze one without the other.

First of all, a simple analysis of real Monster Manual AC versus expected DMG AC.

Apart from high levels, Monster Manual and DMG ACs are close: usually within a point of AC.

Could Armor Class solve our Hit Point problems? Perhaps low-AC monsters have proper DMG Hit Point values?

Here is a chart of the average hit points of monsters grouped by AC.

“Low ac hp” is HP of the monsters with AC lower than the DMG AC value. You’d expect these guys to have high hit points. “High ac hp” have higher than average AC and theoretically should have lower than average hit points. “Target HP” are the monsters whose AC exactly matches the DMG AC expectations.

As you can see, below level 11, there is no significant difference in HP between those monsters with high and low HP. Above level 11, things are swingy as usual because of fewer data points, but there is no obvious through line that suggests that there is any relationship between AC and HP.

Conclusion: In the Monster Manual, AC values are on par with those presented in the DMG. Hit points and AC do not seem to be correlated in any meaningful way.


It takes quite a few steps to calculate a monster’s “average” damage according to the instructions in the Monster Manual. The process is: figure out the average damage for the first 3 rounds of combat. Assume that all monster attack hits and all hero saving throws fail. All area attacks hit two people, and all ongoing effects (like being swallowed) last for one turn. Effects like Charge or Pounce happen once.

After all these calculations, here are the Monster Manual average damages by CR, compared to the DMG expectations.

(The gap in the blue line is for the demilich, the only CR 18 monster, whose max damage is hard to calculate.)

The Monster Manual damage is fairly close to the DMG expectation, though generally 10% to 20% low. This is odd: Monster Manual hit points are too low according to the DMG rubric, and damage is low too? It seems as if Monster Manual monsters are just weaker than the DMG suggests. But let’s do some further analysis to damage.

Perhaps monsters have a higher “effective hit points” because of special attack modes. If this is the case, those monsters with special attack modes should have lower hit points than simple monsters. To test this, I’ll separate out those monsters with powerful attack modes that don’t do direct damage, like charm, stun, paralysis, and instakill abilities.

As usual, below level 11 where we have the most data, there is no damage difference between monsters with and without special attack modes. At high levels, there are variations, but there is no clear winner.

Maybe there is some relationship between damage and hit points? Perhaps monsters with lower hit points do higher damage, and vice versa?

To test this, I’ll graph the damage dealt by below-average-HP monsters and above-average-HP monsters separately.

Again, below level 11, there is no difference at all between the damage output of beefy and glass-jawed monsters, and at high levels the correlation isn’t clear. If anything, there may be a slight reverse correlation with beefier monsters doing more damage.

Conclusion: The damage output of Monster Manual monsters is slightly lower than the DMG expectations. It’s not correlated with special attack modes or with hit points.

Attack bonus

We have another important value to look at: attack bonus. How do the monster manual attack bonuses compare to the DMG values? And do they correlate to any other monster stats?

First of all, the attack bonus numbers:

Attack bonuses are WAY off. Monster Manual values are consistently too high compared to DMG values throughout – as much as 5 points too low at level 24 (+12 vs +17).

This is starting to make sense. I think the DMG values are an early draft of the monster formulae. I bet that at some point, the developers decided that they needed to raise the accuracy and lower the damage of monsters, aiming for the same total damage. The DMG chart never got updated.

While we’re here, let’s just check for a few more correlations. Do high-accuracy monsters have lower damage output, or have fewer hit points? My guess is no, since we’ve hardly found any correlations yet.

Not only does attack not balance anything out, there may be a reverse correlation: hi-accuracy monsters also tend to be slightly higher-damage and higher-hit point than normal. In other words, within a given CR, some monsters are better all-round than others.

Conclusion: Attack bonus in the Monster Manual is way lower than in the DMG chart, and doesn’t correlate with any other monster attributes.

Save DC

Since we’ve come this far, we might as well look at the last column in the DMG chart: save DC.

The save DCs in the Monster Manual are quite different from those in the DMG chart. The DMG DCs are much flatter, ranging from 13 to 23, while the actual DCs range from 10 to 24. I don’t think I need to do a lot of analysis on DCs.

Now what?

It seems clear to me that the Monster Statistics by Challenge Rating isn’t the up-to-date version of the monster creation formulae. I bet it was accurate as of some iteration of D&D Next and never got fully updated.

It’s also apparent that there is not a lot of correlation between any monster stat and any other stat. All the complicated DMG steps involving adjusting and averaging don’t actually hold up to examination when we look at the Monster Manual monsters. The actual process seems to be something like

1. Start with appropriate numbers based on CR
2. Adjust any stat or two up and down, and add any trait or feature, based on story. Don’t make any further adjustments.

Which is great for us! This two-step system is way easier than the 20-step DMG version. We can even do it on the fly! All we need is an accurate CR-to-statistics chart.

Give me a few days: I’ll try to come up with a new monster-creation chart that will match Monster Manual monster math, and that is small enough to fit, say, on a business card.

In the meantime, here is a copy of the monster-stat TSV file I used to generate these tables. Please feel free to validate the monster stats, validate or invalidate my calculations, correct my assumptions, prove me wrong, or whatever else you want to do with this stuff.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Blog to the Future

3d6 Traps & Thieves - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 17:14
When I started this thing, it was with largely frivolous intent. There was no real plan. Just a place to chronicle some of my gaming pursuits. Well, some of those pursuits panned out and caught on. Avremier became a published property and Mothshade Concepts became a business entity.

From here, things are due to change. I want this blog to be useful. And interesting. Something that reflects the full spectrum of what Mothshade Concepts is meant to be. Yes, there is more than just Avremier...and more than just 0E.. It is my intention to make this blog a more regular and reliable thing. As the initial Avremier 0e project draws to a close with the looming publication of the fifth supplement, I will be diving into other projects and even more Avremier...much more Avremier.

This blog will have editorials and articles. Possibly an occasional review. Definitely some ongoing features. This will be where I address some of the excellent questions I receive from time to time regarding my projects and process. Sometimes, social media just doesn't provide the right forum. This is Mothshade's Lair. You are welcome - and forewarned.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

To Bring Down the Sky

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 11:12

By Benjamin Gibson
Coldlight Press
Level 4

The overcast sky and dusty road are working in concert to make for a truly dismal day. It’s almost a relief to hear something out of the ordinary, like a wailing cry of panic and a harsh, coughing roar. Looking up to the clouds, a thin human figure hurtles down, chased by a savage beast with reptilian wings. But looking up past the two is an even stranger sight…three mighty isles loom out of clouds, impossible and yet somehow real.

This 49 page adventure, with about four actual adventure pages, takes place on three islands floating in the sky. The party travels there to recharge a feather of mass fly, and ends with fighting an quantum ogre. It’s terse, got good encounters, has a couple of interesting product concepts, and delivers on the “everything you need for one night” promise that so many other products fail at.

Normally, a 49 page adventure with four pages of content would arise my ire. This is PWYW, with a price of $1. I can pay a $1 for four pages. But wait, there’s more! This promises everything I need for a one shot/one night of adventuring. So many products do that. I’m pretty sure I’ve yet to see one deliver. Except this one. All of those other pages are support material. Blank character sheets. Party handouts. Pre-gens. Gear lists. A one page primer on how to play. 25 pages of battle maps. Some printable mini’s. I’d have a hard time imaging how someone could do better than this.

Then the adventure does something else interesting. There’s a DCC adventure that you can use when someone dies. You go off to the underworld to save their soul, if I recall. Blades Against Death. You pull out the adventure when someone dies. At that time I called it a whole new genre, the SItuational Adventure. You pull it out when a certain situation arises. I’m not sure I’ve seen another one in that genre since I reviewed Blades in 2013. Until now. This adventure gives you a magic feather that has, essentially, a mass fly spell. If your party needs to get a long distance, fast, then you can whip this one out. At the end they will have an item that can take them a long distance quickly.

Of the four pages of actual adventure you might consider two of them background. You read those ahead of time, once. They provide some background, a general overview, some clarification of wider goals, the preamble, hook of the adventure, and so on. Then there are two pages that are used during play, one a map and one a key. The map, isometric (I love isometrics for larger/complex places! DL1 to the rescue!) contains a few other pieces of information as well; some personality overviews and some stats.

Those personalities overviews are something Ben has done before/frequently, and I love them. He gives an NPC a three word description. The apprentice wizard on the isle is helpful, curios, and panicky. The old caretaker couple is dour, scared, and nostalgic. These perfectly communicate what you need to know to run the NPC and integrate them in to the adventure in a fun way. Panicky and curios gives you ideas. Nostalgic and scared gives you ideas.

The adventure uses a lot of techniques that I’m willing to call The Ben Style. Centered around a one or two pager, or a series of them, these short NPC descriptions, terse stat blocks and key descriptions, and some background information that is generally read-once orientation. It’s a great format. He also does things like give adventure follow-on suggestions, social mind maps for NPC interactions(Yeah!), and gives location reference in the text descriptions so you know what/where to look for things.

The encounters, proper, are interesting as well. The halfing couple are trapped in their house, with wyverns in the barn … along with the calf they don’t want to leave behind. A bridge pulls away from the main island. Wyverns lie sleeping, gorged. Bathing an artifact in the quantum ogres blood recharges it. They are interesting and make sense.

There ARE a few things that annoy me. The bridge that pulls away, it does that 30 minutes after the players arrive. That could have used some bolding or otherwise some sort of standout text instead of it being in the key description. Likewise, the monster descriptions are a little light. There’s at least one sentence/thing I don’t understand at all: “Pass to second isle exit is behind secret door.” Huh? The isle is connected to the main one by ropes … how can there be a second exit?

Is this one of the Best? I would say it has done as much as you can with with the format of the one/two pager. A little light on monsters descriptions, or evocative text. But … it’s a one pager. There’s a limit, I think, to the amount that can be accomplished with this format, and I think Ben has pretty much reached it. This is, absolutely, an acceptable level of adventure writing. If you were looking for an adventure and picked this up you would be satisfied, both with the adventure and with the claims it makes. It’s a good, solid performer. This goes against my absurd desire for every adventure to be an evocative tour-de-force, which is stupid. This is a good adventure. Ben would be my go to for 5e/Pathfinder content, at this point.

This is Pay What You Want at DriveThru, with a current suggested price of $1. The preview shows you the main four pages of the adventure, all of the actual content. How can you ask for more than that?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Review & Commentary On The Free OSR Adventure Resource - ZA1: The Temple Of Chaos by Joseph Moar For Your Old School Campaigns

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 07/14/2018 - 05:19
I'm eternally on the look out for ways of getting the maximum utility out of classic old school modules. Is it because I'm a cheap or shabby gamer? Well in fact no I'm not a gamer at all but an OSR  hobbyist. What's the difference? The hobbyist is always looking to expand the hobby & the gamer is always in the middle of the infinite sea of play & product that washes around the shoals of the Needles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Now available - all 12 Battle Boards!

Two Hour Wargames - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:45
Use them with all of our Fantasy games!
12 full color Battle Boards playable with Talomir Tales or any THW Fantasy rules. Heck, you can even use them for ANY set of Fantasy Rules. 
These 8" x 10" color card stock boards replace the terrain on the table when you want a quick sand easy game or are pressed for time. 
You'll find the following Battle Boards:
  • Alley. 
  • Banquet Hall. 
  • Camp. 
  • Cemetery. 
  • Dungeon Passage. 
  • Ford. 
  • Market. 
  • Street. 
  • Swamp. 
  • Tavern. 
  • Treasure Room. 
  • Woods. 

  • Available in both PDF or Printed form. PDF included with your Print order!

  • Battle Boards!
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Not Going to Historicon Sale - 25% Off through the 22nd

    Two Hour Wargames - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 21:31

    Since I stopped going to Historicon (great convention BTW) I've run this annual 25% off sale. Use the coupon code


    and get 25% off of your entire order.


    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Son of Breaking Through with G.E.V.

    Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 16:34

    The thing about G.E.V.’s break through scenario: the first few times you play it, you are just not that likely to break through. That harsh learning curve in the context of an otherwise simple system is going to be a real kick in the teeth for an entire class of gamer, too. I’ll tell you, though, the ones that stick around for a few more sessions…? They will experience some of the best gaming of their lives. No foolin’!

    But before we take a look at that, let’s highlight the some more of that profound agony that goes with those first few humiliating defeats.

    Having witnessed entire squadrons of G.E.V.s get eaten by a handful of infantry in the swamps on the northeastern section of the board, our intrepid Combine player decides to take a stab at blitzing up through the western side of the board. The Paneuropeans meanwhile has chosen four heavy tanks and two missile tanks for defense:

    What could possibly go wrong? The only thing impeding the G.E.V.s’s escape is this river. How bad can it be?

    The G.E.V.’s are in a hurry, so the risk crossing the river with five of their units, hoping to clear a way for the other seven.

    Unfortunately for the Combine, they only succeed in disabling one heavy tank. They are now in a critically exposed position, set to be swarmed by angry defenders!

    The defense kills a whopping six G.E.V.’s and disables two others. The Combine picks off one measly heavy tank in exchange. This is a disaster!

    And once again, the G.E.V. player fails to move a single unit off the north side of the map.

    There will be no breakthrough today! If anything, there will be a breakdown.

    And then there are the inevitable recriminations: Who designed this game, anyway? This thing is completely imbalanced. The G.E.V.’s are too weak! I would have had a chance if I didn’t roll so many ones!!!!

    It doesn’t have to be that way. Because maybe… just maybe… it’s not the scenario. Maybe it’s not the dice, either. Maybe it’s your tactics that are completely broken here. And the only way you’re going to find out is by picking yourself up, dusting yourself off, and running yourself through yet another meat-grinder!

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    GURPS Dungeon Fantasy and the Hall of Judgment

    Bat in the Attic - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 12:27
    The latest from Douglas Code is a kickstarter for an adventure for GURPS Dungeon Fantasy called the Hall of Judgment. It is an adaptation and revision of his earlier adventure Lost Hall of Tyr for the GURPS system. It is noteworthy because in part it is an experiment by SJ Games to see how 3rd party publisher support will be received by the fans of GURPS and how it will work out in the long run.

    So far the kickstarter has been a success and it is now in it's last 24 hours. If you are a fan of GURPS and fantasy I recommend checking it out. Doug has a passion for Viking myth and legend and it shows in his previous works giving them a distinct feel. He knows GURPS inside and out and the mechanics side of the adventure will be solid. Finally he mastered the tricky art of making full color layouts and his books are a treat to read.

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    On Classic Gaming the Second Week of July, 2018

    Hack & Slash - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 12:00
    What a busy week. Those of you who join me for my chill Twitch streams know that I've been hard a work on an exciting project (explaining the dearth of posts so far this week) but rest assured, I've got plenty of stuff in store. This week's a doozy and time is moving pretty fast, so lets get right into business!

    New releasesFaux Pas is out!

    Disclosure, I'm a big fan of Nick's and he's been my friend for years. This is his first release that he's charged for. It has an audio recording of the module along with it. That's exciting.

    "The first symptom is a popping sound from the belly. It can
    happen at anytime, and the afflicted never feel it coming.
    They’ll be having a friendly chat one moment, then pop, and
    now they’re trying to kill people.
    Thus begins Faux Pas, the first in a series of adventures from HOCUS publishing. . . .Faux Pas features the art of Anxy P., and layout from no less a figure than Christian Kessler (of Fever Swamp fame). I also got a lot of help throughout the process from Jarrett Crader (editor of numerous LotFP publications), and OSR luminary Evey Lockhart.
    Faux Pas, A system neutral adventure. The players discover a town beset by a mysterious illness with symptoms worse than death. It breeds violence, madness, and mutation. It turns people into things that are no longer themselves.
    The Inquisitor General has been warned. He’s on his way here. When he arrives he’ll burn every building to the ground and torture everyone living until they confess to the devil worship that obviously brought this evil into the world.
    Will the players discover what’s really going on, and how to stop it, before the Inquisitor arrives? Or will they just loot the place and run away?"

    Also, there's a couple of Kickstarters tearing things up.

    NGR, Neoclassical Geek Revival has been tearing up some lists. Asking for about 600$, it's currently sitting at nearly 12,000$. It's got some pretty big draws. As well as being a classic retro-clone, it also collects all of Zzarchov's many very high-quality adventures together in a book for print. You can also have your choice of illustrated versions of the game from Alex Mayo, Chris Huth, and Dyson Logos. Really, it seems like a great deal, for a collection of good stuff, and giving work to a great group of people.

    Then there's woodfall, a small setting that can be dropped in your setting. It's got a neat aesthetic and the little graphic of "Your setting" with a hole in it, with woodfall fitting right in.

    Goblinoid games is also running a fully funded version of a new Advanced Labyrinth Lord guide. With the existences of Basic/Expert for sale, as well as B/X Essentials, I have the ruleset I like.
    Hot takes of the weekGavin Norman made a huge announcement of a new partnership with Quality Beast! I'm pretty sure it means higher quality and faster releases from Necrotic Gnome. I don't know, we'll have to wait and see.

    Patrick conducts another interview with one of the most creative minds in classic gaming. Ben L. talks about early proto-childhood gaming and how the memory affected his creativity today.

    This Lamentations/Basic D&D conversion of Dark Sun rules has been making the rounds, and it's pretty impressive.

    Drama at the Ennies, isn't there always? Did the wrong people get nominated? Is the Old School Renaissance a Voting Bloc? Rule changes about judges are coming. A publisher hires a bodyguard for Gencon. Big money is on the line for the winners. It looks like we're finally big enough, we're getting a taste of that civilization movin' in from out east.

    This post is Patreon supported, and I'm almost halfway to covering rent!. support me or tip me!
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    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Kung-Fu Post-Apocalyptic Ravenloft

    Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 11:00
    I have enjoyed Into the Badlands on AMC much more than I thought first saw advertisements for it. The fight scenes are well choreographed (much better than Marvel's Iron Fist) and it's vaguely Western post-Apocalyptic setting is more intriguing than expected.

    Anyway, watching Into the Badlands the other night, I thought it not be cool in a mashup with Ravenloft. Perhaps it was the hint of 19th-Century that made me think of it, but you could replace Into the Badlands' barons with Ravenloft's Dark Lords and stir in some Vampire Hunter D seasoning.

    This seems like it might work particularly well in 5e where the greater number of character powers/abilities would be easy to translate to a wuxia sort of thing.

    This is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but it has martial arts, 19th Century stylings, and supernatural stuff too

    Some OSR Thoughts On Using B10 Night's Dark Terror, B2 Keep On The Borderland, & T1-4 Temple of Elemental Evil As The Basis For A Campaign In Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Second Edition

    Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 00:55
    Barely one day's march from Kelven, the uncharted tracts of the Dymrak forest conceal horrors enough to freeze the blood of civilized folk. Those who have ventured there tell how death comes quick to the unwary - for the woods at night are far worse than any dungeon. But you are adventurers, veterans of many battles, and the call of the will is strong. Will you answer the call, or Needles
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Colonial Twilight: A Different Kind of War

    Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 21:26

    A good game forces you to learn something in order to play it well. Colonial Twilight has quite a bit to offer in that regard and it can take several plays to get the hang of it.

    The guerrilla forces are of course the most attractive aspect of the game. They fight differently than conventional forces. They have different capabilities compared to conventional forces. They have completely different objectives than they counter-insurgent government player.

    But here’s the thing….

    If you try to go head to head against France’s elite troops with them, you’re going to get blown away. It doesn’t matter that you can ambush them, subvert Algerian police and troops, and rally new recruits faster than the government can kill them.

    Even an experienced wargamer is likely to spend far too much time and materiel playing the sort of game the guerrillas are ill-suited for. But a novice will compound this by neglecting the much more significant battle for the hearts and minds of the civilian population.

    Which means that when the second propaganda card turns up, the game can come to a very abrupt end with a very early and very decisive government victory:

    Better luck next time!

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    How many magic items should the party have at each level?

    Blog of Holding - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 18:35

    If you’re playing by-the-book 5e D&D, how much magical treasure is a party likely to find? Is it less than other editions? Is that wererat’s immunity to normal weapons a big deal?

    The DMG and Xanathar’s Guide offer some guidance: “Over the course of a typical campaign, a party finds treasure hoards amounting to seven rolls on the Challenge 0-4 table, eighteen rolls on the Challenge 5-10 table, twelve rolls on the Challenge 11-16 table, and eight rolls on the Challenge 17+ table.” That’s 45 rolls, roughly two per character level: three per level at CR 5-10, because level advancement slows there because that’s the game’s “sweet spot”. (I’m assuming that most fights are intended to be against a CR equal to character level, which may be a big assumption, but which looks borne out by this treasure distribution.)

    Xanathar’s Guide has a further table, Magic Items Awarded by Tier, which specifies the number of major and minor items the party should expect to collect. For instance, during character levels 1-4, it says the party is supposed to accumulated 9 “minor” items (mostly expendable items like potions and scrolls, plus a few low-power permanent items) and 2 “major” items (like magic swords and shields and ioun stones and the like). During character levels 5-10, the party should find 28 more minor items and 6 more major items.

    Because I like to check math, I decided to, well, check the math, and I found that the Xanathar’s chart is close to, but not 100%, accurate. For example, let’s take the number of major items collected during levels 5-10. Xanathar’s says 6 items will be accumulated over 18 treasure rolls. Let’s compare this to the Dungeon Master’s Guide treasure tables.

    In one treasure roll for levels 5-10,, you have a 14% chance of getting 1d4 items from Magic Item Table F (an expectation of .35 items), a 4% chance of getting 1d4 items from Magic Item Table G (an expectation of .1 items), and a 2% chance of an item from Magic Item H (.02 items). Over 18 rolls, that’s 8.46 major magic items. Not a big difference from 6 – 40% off, which is in the ballpark – but if the Xanathar’s table is at all useful to you, you may like to have a more accurate version of the table.
    My more detailed (broken down by level) and accurate chart is below.

    I’ve also added a column for Magic Weapons: this is how many of the party’s major items can be expected to be magic weapons, based on the percentage of magic weapons on each treasure table. This is useful if you want to know, for instance, how big of a deal it is that gargoyles are resistant to, and lycanthropes are immune to, nonmagic weapons.

    Magic Items Accumulated By Level

    Level Minor Major Magic Weapon 1 2.75 .75 .21 2 5.5 1.5 .42 3 8.25 2.25 .63 4 11 3 .84 5 14.4 4.85 1.29 6 17.8 6.7 1.74 7 21.2 8.55 2.19 8 24.6 10.4 2.64 9 28 12.25 3.09 10 31.4 14.1 3.54 11 35.5 15 3.76 12 39.6 16 3.98 13 43.7 17 4.2 14 47.8 18 4.42 15 51.9 19 4.64 16 56 20 4.86 17 60.85 21.6 5.38 18 65.7 23.2 5.9 19 70.55 24.8 6.42 20 75.4 26.4 6.94

    The discrepancy in numbers between my chart and Xanathar’s may be nothing more than rounding error in the Xanathar chart: despite different estimates per level, we end up in the same place. Xanathar’s Guide says that over 20 levels, a party will find “roughly one hundred items.” According to my calculations, the party should find 101.8 items – pretty damn close to 100. Of these, 75 will be minor items, and only 7 will be magic weapons.

    Conclusion 1: Use my chart instead of Xanathar’s if you are a fan of unnecessarily high precision.

    Conclusion 2: Magical treasure is given out rather sparingly in 5e, apart from minor items, which are given out like candy. Let’s take a 6-person party, three of whom are weapon users. Each character won’t have his or her own major item until level 6, and all three weapon users won’t have magical weapons until around level 9. That means that that CR 2 Wererat (or CR 1/2 jackalwere), will probably be an annoyance for some time.

    Caveat: This treasure distribution doesn’t match my game, and it probably doesn’t match yours either. In fact, it may not match any real-world game at all. Are there any DMs who provide purely random treasure, and at the by-the-book rate of distribution? I know that when I DM, the monsters drop minor magic items at a much lower rate, and major items at a much higher rate. Another DM may be much stingier than me. But if you are striving to play by-the-book, this may help you.

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


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