Tabletop Gaming Feeds

The Adventures of Indiana Jones Role-Playing Game

Sorcerer's Skull - Sun, 07/08/2018 - 14:00

TSR's Indiana Jones rpg from 1984 carries a reputation for badness. While tastes, of course differ, the only factual information used to support this claim is the decision to not include character generation rules in the basic game, the designers intending you to play Indiana and his cohorts. This decision was corrected in the 1985 Judge's Survival Pack in rules that take up one page. The one time I played this game back in the day, we were undeterred and made up our on characters anyway by modelling them on the existing ones.

I've seen other deficits or poor decisions asserted on line that aren't true. Even wikipedia claims "No formal system of hit points or determining actual character death is put forth, and instead is left to the referee as a role-play element." The lack of hit points is technically correct, but the rest of that sentence is completely false. Their are other similarly "true, but that gives a false impression" statements in the article.

So what is the game actually like? Well, in brief in resembles in broad strokes our TSR games of 1984-85, including Conan and Marvel Super-Heroes. It uses a percentile system and a color-coded chart in part of the process. It has skills, but it isn't really a skills based game. It is cinematic and fairly "rules lite" in a 80s way, in a pre-1990s way, which is to say not really rules lite by modern standards. More on the light side of rules medium.

It has attributes clearly derived from the D&D standard, but doing slightly different things. Strength is what you would expect, and Appeal is Charisma. Prowess is like Fighting in MSH. Movement is both speed and some of Dexterity, and Instinct is mostly Perception or Wisdom, but carries a bit of Intelligence's water, too.

Most actions are based on roll under attribute rolls. Like those other games, it has something of a unified mechanic, though it has not fully committed to this and has a number of special subsystems, which use the same sort of die rolls but in different ways. Attributes rolls can be modified to twice rating as a situational bonus or half or fourth rating for situational penalties. These are the only dice modifiers. Rolls of 96-00 are always "bad breaks" (critical failures), and 01-05 is a "lucky break" (critical success). Beyond that, there are levels of success based on the roll which have color codes and different meaning depending on which attribute is being checked.

It has the sort of rules quirks common in games of this era. It uses hit locations (different for various types of attacks) which are determined by reversing the numerals in the Prowess "to-hit" roll. The initiative system seems like it would either be fun or really irritating in play. It requires a sort of competition (using Movement rolls) among all those declaring they want to act at a given point. While interesting, I'm not sure what it adds over a simple initiative roll for everybody and seems like it would take up time.

It has "mook rules" of a sort with goons not accorded the same advantages that PCs and villains enjoy. Certain types of threats like drowning or falling are given "Danger ratings" that function like Prowess does in combat-style roles. Chases get almost a minigame all their own.

So what about the lack of hit points? Well, damage causes wounds light, medium, and serious, and wounds are applied to various body locations. Wounds are additive with 2 mediums equalling 1 serious, and impairing after a certain level. Three serious wounds carry a change of death or unconsciousness, and four serious wounds mean death.

All and all, it looks like it would work pretty well in play. Some systems are a little wonky or over-complicated but none look really unfun. Other parts of it seems like good choices, for a pulpy, lighter ruled game.

The Cursed Fairylands of X2 Castle Amber by Tom Moldvay - More OSR Clark Ashton Smith & Arthurian Commentary

Swords & Stitchery - Sun, 07/08/2018 - 06:10
"Trapped in the mysterious Castle Amber, you find yourselves cut off form the world you know. The castle is fraught with peril. Members of the strange Amber family, some insane, some merely deadly, lurk around every corner. Somewhere in the castle is the key to your escape, but can you survive long enough to find it?"My review & overview of Greg Gorgonmilk's latest Clark Ashton Smith bookNeedles
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Evolution versus Final Fade Out

Two Hour Wargames - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 19:28
Part One
Evolution streamlines game mechanics while keeping the same results. Here's an example.In SightWhen two groups come into sight of each other.Final Fade Out1 – Each figure rolls 1d6 per point of Rep looking for successes – score of 1, 2 or 3. 2 – Six modifiers to the number of d6 rolled. 3 – Figures act from most successes to least.   Evolution1 – Roll 1d6 on the Action Table to see who has advantage. 50/50 chance unless specified by the scenario.2 – Leaders roll 2d6 versus Rep. Want to be more detailed? Your choice, just roll for each figure.3 – Pass more whole group acts first. If tied, the side with advantage goes first.Reaction TestsFinal Fade Out vs. EvolutionReceived Fire – Now built into the Shooting Table.Man Down – Replaced with Will to Fight Test.Recover From Knock Down – Built into the Shooting Damage Table.Recover From Duck Back – Built into the Action Table.

Watch for Part Three.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

The Beholder Contracts

Ten Foot Pole - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 11:15

By David Whiteland
Fantasy Chronicles #3
Level 3

Eight pages of four column tiny font from an obscure Irish(!) rpg magazine from the 80’s that is ALSO a favorite of Kent? Sign me up! I finally tracked down a print copy of the magazine … well, two. The first was lost in the mail and the second came in from Uganda. I know. The things I do for love. We’ll pass on the usual wall of text and usability criteria for this one and just accept the limitations of four column tiny font in a magazine. That part blows.


I often talk about digging through boxes of junk adventures at cons and stumbling across a masterpiece. A hidden gem. That’s what this is.

This is a good adventure. Adventure outline? Something like that. Imagine something like B2. We’ll call that a normal and/or standard adventure. Location, keys, etc. Then there’s those BS plot adventures. Lengthy, scenes, a series of locations, etc. Something like Stonehell, or other one-pagers, might be seen as an outline of the standard B2 type adventure. It tries to keep flavor and what’s important while minimizing the rest, all in an abbreviated page count. (I’m straining the example a bit, B2 is pretty abbreviated already.) Beholder Contracts might be seen as an abbreviated version of the plot adventure. It provides a general outline, specifics to add color, and lets you, the DM fill in the rest. You get more than the usual plot adventure because it leaves things out. By providing an outline it allows for more room to color outside the lines, avoiding the typical railroad elements. We might think of it as a small number of places for the players to visit all connected by some threads.

While healing, the party is approached by a henchman of wizard 1. He wants the party to go recover a lute stolen by a musician who was then captured by wizard 2. Wizard 2 knows nothing, but finds a reference to the lute pointing to some barrows. Visiting the barrows turns up a ghost of the musician. Seems wizard 1 steals peoples eyes … and wants to steal the parties eyes for what they saw in Wizard 2’s home. A visit to wizard 1 is in order …

And absolutely every little bit of that outline I just provided is WONDERFUL. You’re resting in a little monk grotto/gardens. The flavor is well communicated in the text. Wizard 2’s abode is great … high on top of a mountain … with a great view. Not a meany, just a wizard. The ghost? Not actually. Half alive and half dead, he plays on the lute to partially revive his corpse each day … before the effect begins to wear off. The wizards? Flavorful as FUCK. Bob the all-seeing collects eyes. Wizard 2 is a lightning. Their stats break ALL the rules. Treat as level 6, but only with access to level 1 spells. Except for lightning at level 12. They FEEL like idiosyncratic wizards … which is exactly how the fuck NPC wizards SHOULD feel. The PHB is for the players, dummy!

The supporting material is good. General maps, showing just enough detail to ground the DM. Stat blocks and magic items are easy to find. There’s an abstracted overland travel map that concentrates on JUST what the DM needs to run it. It’s 120 miles from a to b, add 20 if you are taking roads. Roll on the hills wandering chart in the DMG once a day. As Shao Kahn would say … Excellent!

The writing style is quite evocative. It’s sticky. It’s all free-form paragraph descriptions, not typical room/key. For most people writing I would suggest room/key and the one or two sentence evocative description. But that is not the only way, and I would never suggest it is. It’s just the easiest way for most people, especially amateurs. But you can do anything you want as long as its effective. I’m fond of quoting the description for Old Bay, the retired hill giant who LOVES giant crab legs. Once read you will never forget him. The descriptions here are more akin to that. Sticky. Plus, the amount of detail to be kept in the head is relatively short for the DM. At just four double-sided pages, the DM need only read a column or so of text to keep in their head, and they can run the nights game of just that. There’s probably enough content for, I don’t know … three or four sessions? Thus you read tonights section, it gets cemented, and you run it. It’s all general descriptions, the vibe and feel of a place, with the rest left up to the DM. It’s a perfect amount, and type, of content.

The NPC”s and places are all memorable. The magic items are great and unique. There’s a natural progression to the adventure that doesn’t really railroad players but still has a kind of plot going on.

Having said all of that … this will require a highlighter. Some bits are more important than others and they are all mixed in. Plus, you’re not gonna find this for sale. Haha suckers! I got it and you don’t! (Which is why I tend to not review older things and I’m shoving this in to a weekend “free for all” slot.) Some kind person should get the authors permission to rewrite it, keeping the spirit and flavor while ditching the limitations of four-column tiny-font magazine layout limitations. Whitespace, bolding, boxes and indents … Some layout would be most of what it takes to turn this thing in to a 9 or 10.

Bah! My google art foo fails me! There’s an illustration of a water nymph standing in a pool of water, clutching a garment to her, with adventurers next to her with a spear, I think. Classic D&D art, maybe in the style of those old turn of the century styles that everyone grabs for free for their OSR stuff. This reminds me of that. The feel. The richness of it. I’ve seen 2e is be good ONCE. When it is it feels like classic free-form OD&D. Rich beyond belief. That’s what this adventure is, rich beyond words.

I feel like someone I know has reformatted other older adventures that were kind of a mess. Maybe they would like to get the authors permission and bring this one in a more usable form also, so the world can enjoy it?

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Blackmoor & Greyhawk In OSR Games & Beyond - An OSR Commentary With Free Resources

Swords & Stitchery - Sat, 07/07/2018 - 06:13
  In every old school or OSR  campaign there's always been a Blackmoor campaign region. Don't ask me why but it has always come down in Greyhawk that Blackmoor existed there regardless of the history between Dave Arneson & Gary Gygax.  So I began the task of combing through the back alleys of The Black Moor Archive & came up with the article titled Blackmoor & Greyhawk. For most people some Needles
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Everything Evolves - ATZ Evolution Coming Soon

Two Hour Wargames - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 22:16
All Things Zombie won the Origins Award for Best Miniatures Game in 2005. From then until now gamers have changed and All Things Zombie has evolved with them. It's been six years since an update. That ends soon.
Want a game where you run around the table and kill Zombies?
If you do, then All Things Zombie – Evolution is not for you.
Think of all the great and not so great Zombie movies and television series. Remember how many Zombies the hero killed? I’m betting you don’t, but I bet you remember how they interacted with other survivors and how they finally overcame the obstacles in their way. In short, you remember the Story.
And that’s what All Things Zombie – Evolution is all about, the Story; your Story.
Watch for more info later this month. Part Two
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Ennies and the OSR

Fail Squad Games - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 16:04

The OSR (Old School Renaissance or Revival) community is comprised heavily of small indie publishers working multiple jobs, solo entrepreneurs who LOVE games, small companies scraping to get by, or giant companies with very deep pockets. WOTC and Paizo haven’t ignored the OSR as they release and re-hash old titles, so they are included. Of course Paizo had a major hand in making the OSR possible with Pathfinder’s divergence from D&D 3.0 pushing the limits of the Open Gaming License.

What does this have to do with the Ennies?

I’m glad I asked. The Ennies are the yearly awards at the worlds largest RPG convention, Gen Con. They recognize excellence in the gaming arena and there are a lot of nominees. However, it’s also become a “David and Goliath” battle. For the most part, many small indie producers take the nomination as an honor and check out. It’s difficult to wrangle votes for an indie publisher even for the best of products when you are up against huge markets, giant companies, and deep promotional pockets. Small press publishers don’t print 300,000 copies of anything, or have thousands of marketing dollars. And it’s not for lack of quality, it’s often for lack of voice. They also don’t have mailing lists and magazines that are 100,000 or more subscribers deep.

WOTC, Paizo, and other big players of course, do produce note-worthy products with mind-blowing art, writing, and production value. Again, they can afford to do this with dozens or hundreds of hired minds. When an OSR entrepreneur creates something of note however, they too deserve the recognition and reward of a glimmer of hope of achieving the notoriety an Ennie brings within the community. We shouldn’t ignore the small voice in a gale of the storm at sea. Consideration of these small OSR companies (Like Fail Squad Games) in these big oceans can make or break the scenario for some.

Who of note in the OSR  are nominees?

Some of the nominees taking on the goliaths are as follows:

These are all small press OSR folks producing quality gaming materials who are up against the goliaths of the industry for votes and attention. Being nominated for an Ennie is certainly an honor, but winning a category can truly shift gears for a small press. I urge all the Fail Squad Games readers and supporters to check out these entries to this year’s ENnie awards and consider them along side the others when you are voting.

Share their links and their products. They deserve a splash of the spot light. Trust me when I say – This isn’t an easy business to survive in, it takes LOVE of gaming to make it happen at all.


The post Ennies and the OSR appeared first on Fail Squad Games.

Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

On Classic Gaming for the first week of July

Hack & Slash - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 12:00
Happy explosion day! I pity the dogs.

New ReleasesOn monday, the exciting B/X Essentials Monsters dropped. Back in the golden days, it was suggested to cut apart your books and organize them by section so that basic and expert weren't split apart. However, in spite of the brilliant design, this never happened. Now we have Gavin Norman stepping in and giving us a real companion to the creature catalogue! It's all of the basic/expert monsters in one document!

That said, it's currently .pdf only, until the odious and publisher unfriendly process of getting the print version to people finally finishes. It's terrible and I feel for anyone trying to provide print copies from any onebookshelf user. That said, it is coming (even if it's weeks out).

I'm very much looking forward to the combined addition as well as some of the expansion books.

That's not all, the new release from Glenn Seal has finally dropped; The Midderlands Expanded is out. I've just recently gotten it and haven't had time to dig too deeply. At first glance it's filled with page after page after page of evocative description and setting information. The original midderlands covers the center of this twisted version of the british isles, and this covers some of the surrounding area. I can't wait for my hardcovers to arrive! I'm not a fan of the green art, but the line art is excellent and right up my alley.

It comes with a pile of bonus material and I'm loving digging through it. Glenn is turning out good work here, I may post a more detailed review if there's some interest.

There's so much terrible stuff out there. It's important to remember, that this isn't a critique, it's a highlighting of exciting things that have released and happened this week. If I reviewed something, would I say what I don't like about it? Yeah. I'm just glad there are so many people putting their best out there, even if it's bad.

Like, really bad. Laughably terrible.

Braver men than I. Moving on.

Patrick, author of so many wonderful products, notably Deep Carbon Observatory and Veins in the Earth finally got the chance to interview Bryce Lynch, the most prolific reviewer of gaming products, with over 1,500 posts and upwards of 2000+ reviews. Needless to say it's a pretty wonderful discussion. Check it out here: Patrick Interviews Bryce.

The biggest news of the week are the ENnie-Award Nominations and the resulting twitter drama about who meets the right qualifications to be the type of person who should be nominated for an award. Unsurprisingly, classic gaming is all up and down the list of nominees. Is it weird that Gnome Stew has like a repeating nomination? I've read the blog, and well, it isn't in my top five list of blogs. Is it really that beloved?

Remember. The ENnies are popularity contest, and classic gaming is paradoxically nearly the sole source of innovation in tabletop gaming. Since classic gaming has all the cool people, let's go win that popularity contest!

In all seriousness, there's a lot of new talent on that list, and a bunch of exciting stuff to check out.

The other thing is Blogger and Comrade Beloch has engaged in a mission to improve our community. From organizing reviewers to posting public domain art to putting people in touch with each other, it's a real grassroots movement!
Do you want to make a meaningful contribution to the OSR? Something that will stand out from yet another blogger writing about yet another house rule that nobody will ever use? Something that will make the community better? According to yesterday's thread, here's how you can do that, sorted from least to most effort. Here's a link to the list.Here's a request for people to help with "Blogs on Tape";  It's good and exciting stuff. But now it's the weekend. There's Drawing Dungeons, today and Dungeons and Dragons after work. Hope you have a great weekend, and we will see you on Monday!

This post is Patreon supported, and I really want to be able to pay my rent next month. Almost there. support me or tip me!
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More Superhero Art and A Table of Contents

Sorcerer's Skull - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 11:00

This first piece is still a bit of a work in progress (coloring-wise). It's the Cosmic Knights by Dean Kotz, of which Earth's hero, the Cosmic Knight is but one.

We're playing on two "issues" of characters and stats. Here's the projected contents of the first issue done up in the appropriate style. It may be subject to minor changes.

The Uninvited Fairy: Henry Justice Ford Monster Manual

Roles & Rules - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 07:08
Eric Nieudan over G+ has crowdsourced a most excellent project: to stat up monsters from the lively and terrible illustrations of Henry Justice Ford. Here's my contribution, based on what is certainly one of the weirdest designs given the title.


Armour class: as plate
Hit dice: 4
Move: fast walk, slow swim
Attacks: Two claws, 2-12 each
No. Appearing: 1, possibly unique
Morale: 8
Treasure: 2000, magic
Alignment: Chaotic

Polite elfin society has named this fey pariah, for the aspect it has taken on: a massive crab, shell the color of the deepest purple bruises, that can flex its legs eight feet tall. It smells of deep loam and perpetually trails wisps of fog, clacking as it goes. It can see all spectra of energy and speaks in a buzzing, down-pitched tone.

The Carcinos Fairy haunts and lurks in dark places at the edge of sylvan idylls: the back of the grotto, the mine in the glade, the sinkhole in the swan-marsh.  Profoundly narcissistic, it would never change an iota to fit in, preferring to play aggrieved victim. It haggles with humans to the detriment of the conventional fey, hates elves, and often gathers dark and embittered minions to its cause, impressing them with magic. The Carcinos is shameless in soliciting praise for its beauty (one must be creative to comply) and ruthless in punishing any equivocation on the subject.

The main strength of the Carcinos is its magic. At will it can use: suggestion, invisibility, dancing lights, faerie fire, water breathing, stinking cloud, and fog cloud. Once a day it can use each of: bestow curse, polymorph other, charm monster, wall of ice. It takes half damage from cold and weapons, and resists all magic (even if no save) on a d20 roll higher than the caster's level/HD. Cold iron weapons do double damage to it.

If the Carcinos is killed, it slowly turns into a tall, beautiful faerie warrior clad in crumbling chitinous armour.
Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

Into The Wastelands With Clark Ashton Smith's Zothique & Xiccarph Collection Edited By Greg Gorgonmilk - An OSR Review & Commentary

Swords & Stitchery - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 05:57
So Greg Gorgonmilk approached myself & a bunch of other OSR folks about doing a Clark Ashton Smith Zothique & Xiccarph book. I contributed some input & comments but he when above & beyond putting the whole affair together. I asked for a review copy because I'm a huge Clark Ashton Smith fanatic. I'm more of a Clark Ashton Smith reader then HP Lovcraft which seems to come with time. The book Needles
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Talomir Tales - Character Creation and Recruiting Your Band

Two Hour Wargames - Fri, 07/06/2018 - 01:36

The nice thing about Talomir Tales, regardless of which Full book you get, they can be used with ALL of the current and future scenario books. Talomir Tales is all about the Story, your Story, so we've streamlined Character Creation to get you going with little work.

Character Creation
Only seven things are used to create the Character requiring only one 2d6 roll (Random Attribute), you choose the rest.

  • Star or a Grunt? Your personal Character is a Star.
  • Race? I'll take a Human.
  • Attribute? Stars can have 3;  one you choose, one rolled randomly from the 30 Random Attributes, and one for the Class.   I roll Swordsman (melee) and choose Smooth (interaction).
  • Alignment? I choose Neutral over Red Sun or Black Moon.
  • Reputation? Stars are Rep 5. I decide to use Skills too. People Skill is 5, Savvy will be 4 - based off of Rep.
  • Class? Nine to choose from, I'll take Thief. Gives me the Clever Attribute.
  • Armor Class? Three types, lowest AC 2, highest AC 6.
So -Billy Pink (Human).Rep 5 Star.Clever, Swordsmen, and Smooth Attributes.Neutral Thief.AC 2.
Recruiting Your BandYour Band can be as large as your Rep, including yourself. So when your Rep goes down you have to cut a member loose. When it goes up, you can recruit another.You can't have Grunts with a Rep higher than yours and if theirs go up or yours goes down, they will leave.You have to meet Grunts to recruit them and this is done by Interacting with them during an Encounter/Scenario.

Next - Interaction or Intimidation? Dealing with Grunts/Non-Player Characters

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    The Free B4 The Lost City Sourcebook & Blood On The Desert Sands OSR Commentary

    Swords & Stitchery - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 15:19
    So last night was full on Fourth of July with neighbors with fireworks & what not. I got called over to a friend's house whose a vet (thank you for your service Bill) for moral support. We drank a beer or two & as usual the topic turned to Dungeons & Dragons related stuff. It usually does with my crowd up here in the Northwestern corner of Connecticut & it seems to keep the personal demons Needles
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Cryptozoic and Warner Bros. Consumer Products Announce Release of Harley Quinn Puddin’ Pop Statue

    Cryptozoic - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 13:00

    Cryptozoic Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products today announced the release of the Harley Quinn Puddin’ Pop Statue at San Diego Comic-Con, July 19-22, followed by a full retail release after the convention. The second in Cryptozoic’s series of hand statues depicts Harley Quinn’s gloved hand holding a lollipop with The Joker’s face on it. 

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    On the Terrible Tragedy of Adventures

    Hack & Slash - Thu, 07/05/2018 - 12:00
    Since I've begun my journey of self-employment, I've been investigating things out of a desire to stave off the pendulum of entropy. What keeps my bank account from degrading?

    So this leads to some investigating into what sells and why. I've been producing these art-heavy designed modules in the form of Megadungeon. We're somewhere around 200 rooms in 3 issues? So that's easily 40 or 50 hours of play. The art is helpful and necessary, providing tools for the Dungeon Master to run the module quickly, enabling his own personal skill at running games. But it's not narrative. It's an adventure environment with lots of useable tools and widgets.

    But the problem is, people aren't interested in modules to run. Gabor Lux says:
    "People know and it is blatantly obvious that most of the adventures out there which are being published are not being thought to be played or run. They are reading materials. . . A lot of people just read it as sort of a fiction and maybe as a source of indirect inspiration to get the examples and ideas." He continues, "That's where a lot of adventures fail, . . . is that they are not written with games in mind but with reading material in mind. They are bits and pieces and cannon. You can never even run them because it's a railroad and it would fall apart in your hands, but people buy it for their shelves or for daydreaming about being gamers."This isn't difficult to tell. It's part of the insight I had while writing the Gygax module comparison. The modules are written so that the twists are hidden. That way the reader experiences surprise when it's revealed. As a tool, do I want such an important detail deep in the text?

    And that's it really. I was eating with family and friends, and one said "I didn't enjoy it when I played D&D in the army." I perked up and immediately drilled down. "Why?" He said, "All they do is go from one fight to the next."

    It's easy right? You're busy, no time to prep. Everyone wants to play, just follow though the dungeon, read the text and fight the fights. There. You played D&D.


    There's no way all the adventures that are sold are played. I play D&D a couple of times a week and have campaigns that run 50-80 sessions with people I've known for years, but most people don't. You'd have to play a lot to get through all that. Dragon Queen and Tiamat took upwords of 50 weeks. Long past the publication date of the next two 5e releases.

    Joseph Manola says on his blogAgainst the Wicked City:

     "Bryce often points out that the vast majority of adventure modules are written in a way which makes them almost useless for their supposed purpose of 'running a game in real-time at the table'. This is so obvious, and so trivially demonstrable, that its continued persistence strongly indicates that this is in fact not what most adventure modules are being used to do, and probably not even what most of their purchasers want them to do, even though it's exactly what most of their authors assert they are actually for."RPG books written like novels proliferate not only because many people have no idea how to write useable adventure modules, but because that's precisely how they will be read by a large segment of their target audience. For such readers, reading the book, and imagining what the experience of playing it at the table might be like, takes the place of actually playing the game.
    Bryce the erudite reviewer at 10 foot pole who searches the sewers for diamonds says:
    "No one wants the wrong thing. I would say that it's easy to go with the flow. Adventurer's League, show up on Wednesday night and play. WOTC pushes an adventure to the DM every week, almost no prep. And if you try and run something NOT Adventurers League, or D&D, or the most current version of D&D, then you face additional hurdles. I'm not sure that 'Apathy' is the right word, but a lot (a majority?) of folks are happy enough. I'm guessing that just enough of their sessions have just enough fun to keep them strung along, as they chase the high. It takes effort to seek out something different. It takes effort to get out of your comfort zone. When I'm at my best I want every thing in every day to always be awesome, and everything else isn't worth my time."It's a little bit like enlightenment. One commenter on a thread said, "Surely lengthy published adventures/campaigns have to be broadly railroad by design, however well disguised that is." Because he's never seen blue, it's not possible for blue to exist. Can you describe color to a blind man?

    The problem with this is, Megadungeon, and other things that are designed as tools to be used at the table are both a lot more work then a linear series of fights and not nearly as fun or interesting to read. Great, gripping, narrative literature it ain't. It's a tool to hold in your hand so you can run a game.

    The list of platinum items on DriveThruRPG isn't filled with art objects. The majority of the platinum sellers are some core books, but there's a lot of items from Raging Swan Press and other small-press blog post like releases. 2$ for guildhall urban dressing. 4$ for "What's this Exotic Mount Like, Anyway". All of these type of aids lacking covers, and almost art free, and contain about 1,000-3,000 words of content. That's what's selling.*

    But because it's designed as a tool for play, and isn't as enjoyable to read, it's less appealing to the majority of people who buy modules. And really, if that's what they want, we should give it to them, right?**

    *I am not casting any aspersions on Raging Swan Press. Bully on Craig for finding success.
    ** Obviously not, it is a labor of love, but I'm going to have to slow down the pace because it takes each issue quite a while to earn back the art costs from producing it.

    Do you like Megadungeon? If you support me or tip me it will help me continue to produce it! Also, there's HD ready maps for Virtual Table Tops available on the Patreon!
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    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    [REVIEW] The Secret Garden of Lord Vyre

    Beyond Fomalhaut - Wed, 07/04/2018 - 18:49

    The Secret Garden of Lord Vyre (2018)by Nate L.Published as a blog post1st level
    Yes, that's the mapCreativity does not need production values. The essence of role-playing is DIY, and self-expression manages to do fine without worldly concessions like interior art, layout, or formatting. This review is about an adventure published as a blog post, with a map that’s a mobile photo of a notebook page, complete with the author’s thumb (the map itself is a collection of interlinked boxes, untidy scrawl, and hard to decipher numbers). It is the cat’s meow. As the author describes it, “I made this for my first level players, who stumbled into it while poking around the start town and avoiding the other dungeon I made. It's hidden under a statue in city hall, so they have to do a little sneaking or run a scam every time they want to go in. It's not too lethal, there's a moderate amount of treasure, and it's not too big.” It seems to be written for 5thedition (this is only an educated guess), but it converts easily and it is as old-school as it gets.
    Lord Vyre, former ruler of Fishtown, had constructed a secret underground garden under city hall, first as a retreat for Franndis, his elemental lover, then as her prison when their love went sour. Now, a hundred years later, the place has gone both wild and strange, inhabited by unlikely creatures and enigmatic garden ornaments. It is a surreal underground garden setting with a strong sense of the fantastic: nothing is by the book, and everything is magical in a lush, dreamlike way. Dangerous topiary; temporal distortions; poisonous gemstone flowers; a dream tiger smoking cigarettes of scented herbs; the grave of an elf “who committed suicide by staring at a poisoned star for a year and a day”; a giant tree with three mould-covered corpses crawling among its roots. There is also a killer peacock that’s a lot like mine from The Garden of al-Astorion. Simple and powerful imagery that combines effortlessly with organic puzzle design: in their odd, otherworldly way, the encounters make sense and make for fair puzzles. The adventure follows its theme scrupulously, but also demonstrates the principles of good old-school dungeon design.
    The Secret Garden of Lord Vyre is a reasonably open-ended scenario in its 37 keyed areas. The layout is mostly open, but the range of possibilities is mainly thanks to the range of NPCs you can befriend, avoid or fight. The NPCs, encountered randomly or in their lairs, are a colourful lot: a black cat who knows secret paths and doors, but “[o]nly the first thing he says in any conversation will be true.” A troupe of dancing, merry skeletons preceded by their songs as they get closer (they will kill you without mercy). Faceless men who are excellent chess players and who serve the garden’s more powerful beings. All (well, most) of them have both interesting ways to interact with them, and imaginative special abilities if it comes to a confrontation. This is all new stuff.
    I am pleased with the writing. In a recent conversation with Patrick Stuart, we were discussing evocative vs. opaque writing. This is an adventure I’d bring up as a good example of how good writing can combine colour with descriptive clarity. It is more a collection of notes than flowing prose, but it does a proper job communicating the feeling, function, and purpose of the encounters. One NPC, the King of Flowers, is described as “(…) a blue-robed man, his hands are bright red, he wears a crown of roses. He can hear through any flower in the garden. In his footsteps bloom flowers.” The main antagonist “plays solitaire and knocks tunes on a painted and hinged turtle shell, which thumps in heartbeat”. It is not overdone, but it is neat.
    Once again, this is not a published module in the traditional sense. What you get is somebody’s raw game notes with minimalist explanations, but it is fairly easy to understand after giving it a good read. It is advisable to spend some time with the map, whose numbering is rather counter-intuitive (with related things appearing out of logical order), and which is hard to read. I would just redraw it to commit the thing to memory.
    All in all, it is great. It does something original while also being well-designed. Grab it, put it in a document, format it a bit and print it for your home game – or encourage the author to turn it into a published adventure. It deserves wider exposure.
    Rating: **** / *****
    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


    Gamer Goggles - Wed, 07/04/2018 - 15:47



    Game adventures and accessories take players from pubs and villages to distant dimensions.


    REDMOND, WASHINGTON (June 28, 2018): Paizo has released seven new game products for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Roleplaying Game and Pathfinder Adventure Card Game to expand the boundaries of your imagination. These products are available for purchase at game retailers and now.

    • Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures
    • Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms
    • Pathfinder Adventure Path: The Reaper’s Right Hand (War for the Crown 5 of 6)
    • Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village
    • Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Pub Crawl
    • Starfinder Adventure Path: Empire of Bones (Dead Suns 6 of 6)
    • Pathfinder Adventure Card Game: Ultimate Equipment Add-On Deck

    Pathfinder Roleplaying Game: Planar Adventures

    From Heaven to Hell

    There are worlds beyond the one we know: Planes of Fire and Water, Heaven and Hell, Dimensions of Dreams and Time. These are the realms of angels and demons, gods and goddesses—entire new realities where anything can happen!

    Planar Adventures expands the world of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and transports your characters and campaigns into uncanny new worlds rife with both perilous dangers and unimaginable rewards. In these infinite planes of reality, characters will test more than just their mettle against the daunting challenges that confront them—they’ll test their very souls!


    Planar Adventures includes:

    • All-new archetypes, feats, magic items, and spells to give plane-hopping PCs a bounty of options during their travels.
    • A presentation of the 20 core deities of the Pathfinder RPG, including divine gifts they can grant their faithful.
    • An exploration of the major planes of existence and several strange demiplanes from the Pathfinder campaign setting.
    • Nearly two dozen new monsters, including three new races appropriate for use as player characters.
    • … and much, much more!


    Product Link:


    Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms

    Planar Urban Sprawl


    Before the first inklings of civilization rose up upon the mortal world, magnificent cities already existed within the vast corners of the multiverse.  Distant Realms offers a look into six of these extraplanar cities that are ripe for exploration by planar travelers. Each entry includes a full-page map and a stat block for the city, a history of the city and its current major players, and a gazetteer of the city’s most interesting locales. Within these pages, you’ll find details about the following cities, and more:


    • The darkly perfect city of Dis, home of the First King Dispater and his fiendish court.
    • The isle of Yulgamot, a haven of flowing time within the ageless seas of the Astral Plane.
    • The trade hub of Shadow Absalom, lit by the mysterious Glare and ringed by an ocean of dust.
    • The philosophical haven of Basrakal, where outsiders aid each other to defy their own natures.


    Pathfinder Campaign Setting: Distant Realms is intended for use with the Pathfinder campaign setting of Golarion, but it can be easily adapted to any fantasy world.


    Product Link:


    Pathfinder Adventure Path: The Reaper’s Right Hand (War for the Crown 5 of 6)

    The Grace in Your Eyes


    When no one sits upon the Lion Throne, all shall try! As a final act of vengeance, High Strategos Pythareus’s agents release evidence that the entire Stavian family line may be illegitimate, and now every noble in Taldor is willing to risk civil war to stake a claim to the crown. Can the PCs discover the remains of the First Emperor’s tomb and seek his blessing to prove Eutropia’s fitness to rule? And if the spirit of Taldor’s founder cannot answer their prayers, can they answer his?


    This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path continues the War for the Crown Adventure Path and includes:


    • “The Reaper’s Right Hand,” an extraplanar Pathfinder RPG adventure for 13th-level characters, by John Compton.
    • A gazetteer of the district of Sayashto, an upscale neighborhood in the infinite city of Axis, by John Compton.
    • A look at Thamir Gixx, the Silent Blade, the wicked halfling god of murderers and assassins, by Jason Keeley.
    • An overview of the major noble lines of Taldor, by Crystal Malarsky.
    • Five creatures born to the absolute law of the planar metropolis of Axis, including the high-minded impariut inevitable and the cosmic majesty of the edict dragon, by John Compton, Nathan King, and Greg A. Vaughan.


    Product Link:


    Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village

    It Takes a Village


    Whether your players are exploring some far-flung desert market or defending a village nestled within the hill country from a horde of rampaging orcs, Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village has you covered. Unfolded, the mat is 27” x 39” with 1” squares on each side. With an area that’s 45% larger than normal Pathfinder Flip-Mats at their disposal, Game Masters can now dream even bigger! This massive gaming accessory provides a pair of large villages ready for discovery, defense, exploration, and maybe a bit of shenanigans and larceny. It’s all up to you and your players.


    Don’t waste your time drawing every hovel, path, and wall. With Pathfinder Flip-Mat: Bigger Village, you’ll be ready next time your players want to seek out danger, excitement, or profit in a sizable village!


    Product Link:


    Pathfinder Flip-Mat Classics: Pub Crawl


    Paint the town red with Flip-Mat Classics: Pub Crawl, a gorgeous double-sided battle-scale map of two tavern-filled street scenes! One side features several bars and taverns in a nice part of town, while the flip-side extends the scene on Flip-Mat: Warehouse to flesh out the seedier side of town! Both sides show interiors and exteriors, for when the inevitable brawls spill out onto the city streets!


    The most-popular Pathfinder Flip-Mats in history return! These fan-favorite maps feature versatile adventure settings—city streets, forests, ships, taverns, and more—and now they’re back for a repeat performance. Durable and lavishly detailed, these essential adventure set pieces are sure to bring excitement to your game table for years to come!


    A special coating on each Flip-Mat allows you to use wet erase, dry erase, AND permanent markers with ease! Removing permanent ink is easy—simply trace over any permanent mark with a dry erase marker, wait 10 seconds, then wipe off both marks with a dry cloth or paper towel. Each Flip-Mat measures 24″ x 30″ unfolded, and 8″ x 10″ folded.


    Product Link:


    Starfinder Adventure Path: Empire of Bones (Dead Suns 6 of 6)

    A Near-Death Experience


    The undead Corpse Fleet has appeared in orbit above the Gate of Twelve Suns, intent on seizing the ancient alien superweapon called the Stellar Degenerator. The heroes are massively outgunned, and their only hope to defeat the Corpse Fleet is by infiltrating the fleet’s flagship and taking control of the vessel’s bridge. Only then can the heroes pilot the ship on a collision course with the superweapon in a desperate bid to end both threats at once. If successful, the heroes can destroy the Stellar Degenerator, but they’ll need to escape the carnage to live to tell the tale!


    This volume of Starfinder Adventure Path concludes the Dead Suns Adventure Path and includes:


    • “Empire of Bones,” a Starfinder adventure for 11th-level characters, by Owen K.C. Stephens.
    • Advice on how you can continue your campaign past the final encounter and details on the devastation inflicted on the galaxy should the heroes fail, by John Compton.
    • Technological specifications for starships of extraordinary size and power, by Owen K.C. Stephens.
    • A collection of starships from the dreaded undead navy known as the Corpse Fleet, by Jason Keeley.
    • An archive of new creatures, including a plethora of undead monstrosities and a crystalline humanoid that can redirect blasts of energy, by Owen K.C. Stephens and Larry Wilhelm.
    • Statistics and deck plans for a massive undead flagship, by Owen K.C. Stephens, plus an introduction to a planet constantly wracked by energy storms, by Larry Wilhelm.


    Product Link:


    About Paizo

    Paizo Inc. is one of the world’s leading hobby game publishers. Since 2002, millions of players have joined the goblin army by playing the Pathfinder® and Starfinder® roleplaying games across tabletops, at conventions, at their favorite local game store, and digitally on virtual tabletops. is an online retail hobby destination for millions of gamers that carries the latest products from top hobby game publishers. Players also find accessories, like dice and maps, miniatures, T-shirts, goblin plush toys, and the newest releases to quickly replenish those adventuring supplies for the next dungeon run.


    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    15mm Painted Ancients for Sale

    Splintered Light Miniatures - Wed, 07/04/2018 - 15:45
    Greetings.  I am helping a friend who is near death sell some of his collection.  Everything sold as is and shipping will be actual cost--probably $14 for medium flat rate box.  I will wrap everything well and am also happy to meet someone with 1-2 hours of Atlanta, Georgia for face to face delivery.

    Set 1: Carthaginian Army--roughly 200+ infantry, 65+ cavalry, and 11 elephants $250

    Set 2: Republican Roman--Roughly 250 infantry, 9 cavalry and 2 bolt throwers $250

    Set 3: Gauls--Roughly 240 Infantry, 6 cavalry, 6 chariots $250

    Set 4: Random ancients stuff in various states of painting and repair $40

    Set 5: Random Dark Ages (?) stuff painted $30

    I would be happy to do a deal and sell all of the above for $700 plus shipping.

    Also, he has a bunch of what I think are chariot racing stuff

    Chariot Set 1: 10 chariots $100

    Chariot Set 2: 6 Chariots $60

    Chariot Set 3: 6 unbuilt chariots and 2 completed chariots $50

    Please email me at if interested.

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs

    Magic: The Gathering to Celebrate 25 Years at Gen Con

    Gamer Goggles - Wed, 07/04/2018 - 15:05

    Magic: The Gathering to Celebrate 25 Years at Gen Con

    INDIANAPOLIS (June 28, 2018) Magic: The Gathering will commemorate its 25th Birthday on August 2-5 in Indianapolis at Gen Con, North America’s largest and longest-running tabletop convention. Making an international splash at Gen Con in 1993, Magic: The Gathering has become a worldwide phenomenon with more than 100 booster releases, printings in eleven languages, and more than 20,000 unique cards. At Gen Con 2018, Magic will give back to the gaming community with a host of planned events, tournaments, and surprises.

    “We are thrilled to see Magic’s exciting plans for 2018,” said David Hoppe, Gen Con President. “25 years ago, Magic’s debut at Gen Con changed the course of gaming history, and we’re eager to see not only what they have planned for this year, but for the next 25 years of Magic: The Gathering.”

    Magic’s 2018 presence at Gen Con will include hundreds of events, including Learn-to-Play programming, competitive drafts, and signature offerings that highlight the 25th Birthday of the original tradeable card game.

    Events include:

    ?     Magic’s 25th Birthday Championship- Eight qualifier events, open to all attendees, will take place over the weekend that will culminate in a Sunday eight-player event which will feature Beta boosters from Magic’s first year of existence.
    ?     Magic Panel- Attendees can learn about Magic’s history and glimpse its future at a ticketed, free panel.? Celebrate Magic’s 25th birthday with its creators! Come join us and members of Magic’s R&D team as they talk about their personal history with the game and where they see it in the next 25 years. Get a look behind the scenes at Wizards and learn about their journey from being fans of the game to creating it. Stick around for a Q+A session with our guests!
    ?     Multi-Player Events- The more players, the more fun! Multiplayer events will include Battlebond 2HG, Wizards Tower, Trios, and Grand Melee. These are great for parent & child teams!
    ?     Constructed Events- Great prizes await at Standard, Modern, Legacy, and Vintage events.
    ?     On-Demand Programming- Round-the-clock Magic including Core 2019 Drafts, Chaos Drafts, 2HG Drafts, Commander play, and TURBO TOWN events.
    ?     Weekend-Long Surprises- The Wizards of the Coast team will have some surprises in store all-weekend, and gamers should keep on the lookout for giveaways on social media, around the convention center, and in Magic’s play areas.

    About Gen Con LLC
    Gen Con LLC produces the largest consumer hobby, fantasy, science fiction, and adventure game convention in North America, Gen Con, The Best Four Days in Gaming!™. Founded in 1968 and acquired in 2002 by founder and former CEO of Wizards of the Coast, Peter Adkison, the company is headquartered in Seattle and takes place each August in Indianapolis.

    About Wizards of the Coast
    Wizards of the Coast brings people together through their shared love of games. Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons & Dragons, and other Wizards games are enjoyed by friends around the world, both at gaming tables and on digital platforms. We bring together world-class creators in game design, worldbuilding, fantasy art, and interactive events to create unforgettable moments. Wizards of the Coast is a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS). For more information, visit

    Categories: Tabletop Gaming Blogs


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