Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 NTRPGCon

It's spring! Blue-bonnets are blooming, birdsong fills the air, and butterfly's and it is again time to drive to Dallas for the orgy of old-school we know as NTRPGCon. June 5th through June 8th.  Booyah!

I've gone to many previous NTRPGCons. It is my favorite since moving to Texas.  So when registration opened yesterday, I did not dally and got right in on the good stuff.

B10 Night's Dark Terror Pt 1 & 2

ref: Steve Winter

"Night's Dark Terror" is a huge D&D adventure from 1986 that spans the Basic and Expert sets. The action starts at a remote castle under siege by goblins, moves into the wilderness of the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, and delves into the mystery of the Iron Ring bandits and slavers. We won't finish this huge, classic adventure in one sitting, but we'll push as far along the trail as we can.

I've thoroughly enjoyed past NTRPG games with Steve. Very much looking forward to an epic adventure.

Rapscallions of Denethrix

ref: James Aulds

Come explore the Anomalous Subsurface Environment world in an open hex crawl based on whatever rumors you chose to follow, be it down into the belly of Mt Rendon or out into the Livid Fens. Pregens specific to the world provided, light hearted Gonzo Super-Science fun.

OMG ASE RMSO (rocks my socks off) double-plus good, jizzed my pants, etc. Only thing better than super-science, is gonzo super-science.


ref: Allan Grohe

"Aliens: This Time It's War!" is a fast-paced and easy-to-learn miniatures war game set in the universe of Alien, Aliens, and Prometheus. You portray Colonial Marines trying to save the missing Hadley's Hope colonists of LV426. Children are very welcome to play. I supply the minis and terrain; bring your own d10s and Pulse Rifles! I run four different scenarios, which we can select from at the table: "The Reactor" (a good introduction to the game; escape-oriented), "Operations and Air Ducts" (another escape scenario, very challenging), "Rescue Newt" (recover the missing Newt and escape back to the elevators), or "Hunt the Queen" (a brutal scenario pitting Ripley and the Colonial Marines against the nigh-unstoppable Alien Queen). In space, no one can hear you scream!

Game over man! Finally fitting in this fantastic visceral mega miniature / board game.

Cattle Drive to Hell

ref: Steve Willett

It's fall at the Stinson Ranch near Lazarus and time to drive the beef to New Echota and the rail head. Eighteen-hundred of these fattened beauties should turn a nice profit barring catastrophic disasters along the way. It's going to take at least seven cowboys to handle a herd this size. It's a hard trail and there's always some loss of stock on the hoof and sometimes of men as well. Assuming the range boss is able to get his boss's herd to market, what awaits is not the New Echota to which you cowpokes are accustomed. The cattle are restless, folks look scared and it's not business as usual in this normally bustling city. There's a new gunslinger in town and his name is Darkness. Some say that's true, some say it's just people's fright findin' a target. Something sinister is here, y'all can feel it and Old Man Stinson ain't gonna turn no profit if the auction yard is shut down. Can you solve the mystery before the cattle starve or go mad? Can you solve it before you go mad?

Aces & Eights (awesome) / Call of Cthulhu (wgah'nagl fhtagn).  Six-guns and tentacles, I am so there! Really excited to play A&E, a game I have but have barely looked at cause it'll just make me sad that no one in my game circles wants to shot clock cattle rustling varmints. (some might want to be the varmints though).

Night in Wham-Ar Castle

ref: David Cook

The superstitious bumpkins of Wham-ar Village swear the local fortress is haunted but Lord Gard knows a war party of orcs drove his men off. With such craven troops he needs brave souls he can rely on to recover the the keep and secure the border once again.

More BX, which I don't get to play much at home. And another great referee. 

Annic Nova

ref: Mike Kelly

In the cold darkness of space a mysterious abandoned ship is discovered. The salvage rights alone are worth million of CR - will this wreck bring riches to the players or will they find something terrifying out in space. Find out in this - the oldest and most award winning SF RPG adveture ever published - Traveller is the most award winning RPG published in the 70s written by Mark Miller and first published in the early 70s..Classic Traveller – the best and oldest SF Role playing game comes alive in this adventure.

Ending 2014 NTRPGCon with some Serious Sci-fi, balancing out ASE's gonzo earlier in the week. I only wish we were rolling up characters at the table. Hell I'd sign up for a session that was *only* rolling up Traveller characters. It's that much fun / I'm that much of a nerd.

It's not too late for you to register for NTRPG Con 2014: Many great games are still open.  Confirmed guests include Jason Braun, Chris Clark, DARLENE, David 'Zeb' Cook, Jeff Dee, Jeff Easley, Kevin Hendryx, Jennell Jaquays, Tim Kask, Doug Kovacs, David 'Diesel' LaForce, Steve Marsh, Frank Mentzer, Erol Otus, Sandy Petersen, Lawrence Schick, Dr. Dennis Sustare, James M. Ward, Steve Winter.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Terrain Kickstarters

Modern / Sci-fi urban - T5: (Tactical, Topographical, Table-Top Terrain): Tile City Ending Soon! Looks cool, I'm tentative (only pledged $5) only because I'm not sure I would use urban tactical terrain.

Old School Blue - Blue Dungeon Tiles – Wet & Dry-Erase, Double-Sided Map Tiles Plenty of time, but I'm still in at $60 double set. Love versatility.

Also, heard rumor that there's upcoming Dwarven Forge Caves! Kickstarter.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Blood & Bone Draft Supplement

Here's the promised Blood & Bone Houserule PDF. Needs play testing, proofreading, formatting, some pics, etc.  Lacking equipment other than weapons. Feedback very welcome. Probably start campaign using it in a month or two.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

OwlCon 33 Old Skool Revolution

Only a couple more weeks and I'll be heading to Houston. Specifically to Rice University for OwlCon from Fri to Sun, Feb 21-23.  OwlCon is one of Texas' great game conventions and my third time attending  (OwlCon29 / game recap, and again for OwlCon30). Owlcon 33's theme is "Old School" which was enough to bring me back once more.

I signed up to run a couple games...

Caves of Chaos Sat 8:00pm

A reprise of my Labyrinth Lord debut at OwlCon 30.
Kill'm and take their stuff like they did in 1980, old school style. Can you survive the classic module "B2 Keep on the Borderland"? Quick, simple, fun, familiar rules. Gets us to the action, and of course loot faster. Join us and roll some dice! New and experienced players welcome. Latecomers welcome.

The Mutant Future! Sun 10:00

Centuries ago, the Ancient World ended in a swirling storm of nuclear fire, toxic bio-weaponry, and global upheaval. But life survived, albeit changed and warped. Mutants and humans live side-by-side in the ruins of Ancient civilizations. Twisted creatures roam the radioactive wastes, and poisonous storms scorch the lands. This is the Mutant Future! Old school Gamma World Retro-clone. Fast, fun, easy rules. New and experienced players welcome.

Other interesting (i.e. old school rules) rpgs at OwlCon

A Parliament of Owls (Andrew Solberg) Labyrinth Lord

Assassination at Grenton (Robert Chadwick) Cyclopedia D&D

The Breeking Pits of D'Nall Kalthurion (Doyle Tavener) DCC

Death on Signal Island (David Dnonhoo), The Haunted Halls of Eveningstar (Roy Williams), Old School AD&D (Steven Bryant) AD&D

The Dread Crypt of Skogenby (Roland Cooke) Torchbearer

Where's Harlod the Hedge Mage? (Mark Chance) Swords & Wizardry

Along with many miniature, board games and other events.

pre-reg ends Feb 14

See you there!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Glove and Boots do Monomyth

The Monomyth or Hero's Journey is bullshit. It's so vague and malleable. Of course you can interpret it to apply to most stories. This is how fortune tellers and psychics cons work as well.

Despite that, this was still damn funny.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Fight On! #14 Arrived

Booyah! The OSR magazine returns. This issue is dedicated to Rob Kuntz.

With 86 pages of goodness including the Dark Troll Citadel level of the Darkness Beneath mega-dungeon, cool art, pipe weed, Mutant Future, mini-game, tables, hooks, items, monsters, encounters, and adventures.

Authors and artists include Lee Barber, Patrick Farley, Jeff Rients, Gabor Lux, Peitsa Veteli, Kevin Mayle, Douglas Cox, Chris Kutalik, Jennifer Weigel, Kelvin Green, Tom Gordon, Michael Curtis, Sniderman, Calithena, Richard Rittenhouse, Hudson Bell, Michael Mornard, Baz Blatt, Jonathan Linneman, Simon Forster, and many more!

Get your copy of Fight On! #14 from Lulu, now!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How Barrowmaze is Awesome

Barrowmaze Complete Indiegogo Project deserves your support. I have run Barrowmaze I and II (the basis of Barrowmaze Complete) in my home campaign. It was some of the most DM fun I've had. Here are some of the reasons Barrowmaze is great fun, great inspiration and a great purchase.

WARNING: Although, I tried to be vague there are still slight spoilers below. Nothing more than hitting locals up for a rumor or two would provide.

Barrowmaze Complete includes custom minis!

Unique Creatures

I guess pretty much every module / product has it's own selection of unique monsters. I really liked several. The Barrow Harpies, The Flagstone, Gemstone and esp Runic Golem (who leave behind runic tablets which may bestow boon or bane on those brave enough to read them), and the special servants / creations of the two human factions of Orcus and Set. All well suited for and reinforcing the flavor of Barrowmaze.

Great Stories

Some of Barrowmaze's numerous tombs are unmarked and semi-generic. But, most have a backstory and many are whole interelated tomb complexes. From the simple, mummy stuck guarding treasure he doesn't really care about, or husband and wife being buried together. To the primeval hunter / hero where PC's are pitted against his famous "hunts" or the epic elemental tomb complex or chosen special resting place.

Some "stories" are fleshed out. Others are just hinted at. Allowing a creative DM to work his ideas into Barrowmaze. Also simplifying or even inspiring links to the greater campaign world. This is the type of flavor that immerses players and makes the dungeon seem like an ancient, living, "real" place.

Get Rich or Die Tryin!
Little Rule Systems

Barrowmaze has several of what I call little rule systems. A few paragraphs, probably a table, that detail some aspect of exploring the dungeon. From excavating barrow mounds and bashing up bricked up walls. To converting canopitic jars into healing salves or searching for grave goods. And the several page "create a barrowmound" appendix.

All add flavor and provide guidance to a DM on how to run Barrowmaze. Individually, they are fun chrome. Taken together they develop the atmosphere of the mounds through play. (rather than the pages and pages of exposition by "your guide" that got common with modern, i.e. 2ed and on, products. I bought an adventure not a freaking novella!)  Gotta dig up the entrance? Mounds are old! Knock down wall? Mounds are large, with separate areas and did whoever lay these bricks want to keep something out or something in? These little touches have inspired me to create similar systems for other dungeons and my campaign locations such as the "Big City".

Dynamic Factions

The differences between potentially boring hack & slash dungeon crawl and a proper mega-dungeon are two. 1) history and depth, covered above. 2) Factions. And not just orcs here and things that fight orcs over there. Factions with needs, goals, allies, enemies, story hooks, and most important; potential for player and referee exploitation. Based on the shenanigans that during actual play I can attest that Barrowmaze's factions are done right.

They are fleshed out just enough to be dynamic and inspirations. Not weighed down with complicated, easy to forget during play, structure or histories. Or worse, written up with a pre-determined plot that your players will never follow. To be sure Barrowmaze factions are meant to be taken and wielded by the DM. The fit this purpose well.

Compelling End Bosses

The "sub-bosses", leaders of factions, from what I remember have unique personalities. Although, I can't say much without spoilers about the big bad(s)? And my players haven't gotten there yet. They are a unique. Seem that they would be challenging for the players as well as for the DM (in a good way). 

Bring More Clerics!

In the end,

what makes Barrowmaze a great product is that it oozes with flavor and fun. Reading it you want to run it. You might think, "Oh, just another undead infested dungeon crawl". Until I psychically slap you upside the head, "You mean the best undead themed mega-dungeon of awesome". Really. 

I retconned a place to put Barrowmaze into my campaign and shamelessly encouraged players to go explore it. Because after reading through it I was that excited. It seems old, done concept; "undead and dungeons", oh my! But, somehow everything in it fresh and exciting.

Go get your copy now

Friday, January 31, 2014

D&D 40th Anniversary Blog Hop Challenge

Not sure what a Blog Hop Challenge is, so I'm just copying what Tales of the Rambling Bumblers did. With my own answers of course.

Bluebox Baby!
1: First person who introduced you to D&D? Which edition? Your first Character?

My dad regularly brought to the hobby shop. He went for HO scale model railroad stuff. It must of been on one of these trips that I got the Basic D&D Blue Dragon boxset. 30+ years later I fail to remember my first character.

2: First person YOU introduced to D&D? Which edition? THEIR first character?

Hm. Probably Andy, kid who lived up the street, blue box.

3: First dungeon you explored as a PC or ran as a DM.

B2 Caves of Chaos.

4: First dragon you slew (or some other powerful monster).

I probably cheated and killed some gods from DDG, who didn't? I've never really felt that slaying the big bad / "winning" is the point or fun aspect of D&D. Exploration, discovery, experiencing (or revealing if Refree) the wonder of a fantastic world. The journey and not the destination.

5: First character to go from 1st level to 20th level (or highest possible level in a given edition).

Never liked high levels, so never have done them. I like the struggle of 2nd to 5th levels or so. Haven't kept characters for very long. I have ADD.

6: First character death. How did you handle it?

Booyah! Opportunity to play something new.

7: First D&D Product you ever bought. Do you still have it?

I'll answer the first product ever bought for me. The original Rogues Gallery bought for me by my father. Despite not understanding what this D&D thing was and not very approving. He knew it made me happy and that was enough for him.

8: First set of polyhedral dice you owned. Do you still use them?

I've sold/lost/thrown away everything I've ever had several times over. The dice I had are long gone. My current dice are less than 5 years old. I'm not nostalgic for dice...

9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in.

Greyhawk. The Darlene maps thrilled my youngling imagination. I dig Mystara. But I've never really been able to "love" any setting like I do Greyhawk (pre-war). You never get over your first, eh?

10: First gaming magazine you ever bought (Dragon, Dungeon, White Dwarf, etc.).

Dragon around issue numbers 60-70. I distinctly remember the chessboard covers. Bought my own subscription with Lawn Mowing income. A big deal for a 13 year old. IRRC it came in a brown paper wrap. Highlight of the month.

11: First splatbook you begged your DM to approve.

I hate splatbooks. 2e splatageddon drove me away from D&D and the hobby for years. I don't need some publisher to tell me and limit what I can do. This is a game of imagination. Create it yourself!

12: First store where you bought your gaming supplies. Does it still exist?

Oh, no idea. Some hobby shop in or around Vienna, VA. Probably at Tyson's Corner.

13: First miniature(s) you used for D&D.

I never used them back in the day. First use was in early 2000's re-purposed MageKnights bought in bulk off Ebay for my "The Gods Themselves" 3.5 campaign.

14: Did you meet your significant other while playing D&D? Does he or she still play? (Or just post a randomly generated monster in protest of Valentine’s Day).


15: What was the first edition you didn’t enjoy. Why?

2ed, cause it sucked balls. All the modules are linear railroads authored by failed fantasy authors who wrote novellas instead of adventures. Art went from inspiring, abstract, funky cool, appx N pen and ink to high-fantasy realistic oil. Too heroic, not enough murder hobo. Splatbook hell. It was obvious TSR only cared about shipping as much crap as possible to suck the most money out of fans. Isn't this also when the changed demon and devil names cause of bad press? Fucking cowards.

In retrospect (and having run it recently for a ToEE campaign) 1st ed blows too. Too complex (without benefit) and inconsistent.

A Type II Demon sans Balls
16: Do you remember your first edition war? Did you win?

The even numbered editions (assuming 0 is not even) suck giant Type II demon balls. There are no winners only soul-crushing despair for the survivors of their evil.

17: First time you heard D&D was somehow “evil.”

Long, long after if was a fad to call it such. In one of those kick ass over the top Chick Cartoons. When I saw that Tom Hanks movie, I didn't connect game they played to D&D, cause it wasn't. (Although I tried to create illuminated kick ass magic tomes like from that movie). Nor did it make me think "play rpg" leads to going crazy and trying to fly off building. Cause duh! 3 out of 4 players didn't do that. And it is obvious crazy dude was crazy and playing RPG didn't some how make him crazy. 18: First gaming convention you ever attended.

DunDraCon in Northern California which was totally awesome and made me into a "convention goer". Never been to the big one though.

19: First gamer who just annoyed the hell out of you.

12 year girl at OwlCon who was way too fucking hyper and wouldn't ever shut up about Harry Potter. I am an acknowledged cranky, old, curmudgeon. Still, if you'd been there you would not fault me.

20: First non-D&D RPG you played.

RoleMaster! Although I had Star Frontiers and Traveler first I didn't play SF until last year, and have never played Traveler (except with myself). I've played many other systems over the years. Mostly just one-shots, it always being impossible to find players.

21: First time you sold some of your D&D books–for whatever reason.

Mid 90's I sold all of my MERP collection (and MTG cards + other stuff) to fund 9mo trip around Germany and Czech Republic. Don't regret it. Other than that I've mostly given away or lost books. I now have 4 large bookshelves filled with RPG books and boxsets. Recently bought bigger house so I don't have to get rid of any and have space to acquire mor!

22: First D&D-based novel you ever read (Dragonlance Trilogy, Realms novels, etc.)

I don't think I have ever read a D&D novel. But I played the old SSI series and the modern totally awesome despite what reviewers might say ToEE which actually brought me back into playing Pen and Paper RPGs.

23: First song that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

"How Heavy Is My Axe" cause of cause I feel same way listening to that song as I do when really in the groove playing OD&D and cause of Pornstars.

Although these days, my games have more Appx N "Fire Lances of the Hyperzephyrians" in them.

24: First movie that comes to mind that you associate with D&D. Why?

"Conan the Barbarian" only cause it's the first movie that comes to mind when I'm thinking fantasy. "Conan the Destroyer" is more D&D like (A mixed party, thrown together by DM fait, (er I mean Queen), a couple of dungeon locations, random bad guys to fight, and of course betrayal). Another totally D&D movie is "Legend".

25: Longest running campaign/gaming group you’ve been in.

Rarely lasted a year. Although I've played in a campaign that had existed for over 20years, but only for 9mo or so. That ADD again.

26: Do you still game with the people who introduced you to the hobby?

I introduced myself beyatch! Although, I still play with people I've introduced.

27: If you had to do it all over again, would you do anything different when you first started gaming?

Hell yeah, I was 12 or younger. Knowing I'd have to write this someday I would have kept notes. Kept everything (my notes, characters, maps, etc). Would have embraced DIY/OSR/Jeff Rients from the start. Flirted with girls more. Many other things.

28: What is the single most important lesson you’ve learned from playing Dungeons & Dragons?

Have fun, the rest will work itself out.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Owl Skin Rug Mini

Posted by Jolly Blackburn in the HackMaster Forums, "Every Manor Needs One". Indeed!

Good luck gettin one the hard way...

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