Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Game of the North Review

Note this is a friend of mines fantasy heartbreaker, so I may not be unbiased. I am also reviewing the deluxe Lulu print edition so it may not be same as the drivethrurpg .pdf (although the table of contents in sample file seems the same). The game is very old school in including a number of random roll charts. The game back story and name derive from travelers from the southern continent exploring a newly discovered northern continent. The book is illustrated with out-of-copyright clip-art. The author has graciously placed the work in the public domain. Things I liked best about it are its sense of whimsy, its random roll-up charts, and the experience point buy system. The parallelism between character, party, stronghold, and god attributes is intriguing. Things I like least are the free form negotiation for spells and the subdividing of the chapters.  I would have also liked a bigger map of the northern continent. Take a look! The drivethrurpg .pdf is only five bucks. Check out the Book of Ten Trillion Things as well. Chapter by chapter review bellow:


Act one Origins
This is a series of random roll-up charts to generate facts about your place of origin followed by a series of questions to answer about how you feel about your country of origin.

Acts Two Creation
This starts with the basic statistics (the standard six) number of dice you roll is determined by your race nominally 3d6. If you roll more than 3 dice you just keep the best 3. Stat descriptions are pretty standard although bonus cap out at +3 and there are no entries above 18. Next are race descriptions the standard lot plus orcs and goblins. Each race has experience point buy numbers to activate racial abilities. Next are adventuring skills everyone gets to pick seven of these. Mixed amongst the standard fare are a few intriguing ones including eat anything, overlooked, whistling, and my favorite atavism (the ability to build items out random trash and have them function as normal items). Alignment follows choices are chaos, law, neutrality, evil, and good. Astrological signs are next. Every One has five signs one sun sign and four moon signs. Experience is required to open each of the signs. The effect of the signs is undisclosed, but left to GM discretions. There is a long section of languages which is an interesting read, but kind of campaign specific. Wealth is based on a silver piece standard. Starting gear is based on random roll up charts. Although the charts themselves produce some interesting results, I am a bit concerned that random nature may leave some characters rather handicapped.

Act Two part b Rules System
This is a new section in the tab system but no new act heading. Attack is a d20 roll versus armor class. Damage is based on weapon rating from none (1d4) to heavy (1d10). Confidence is a charisma save. Defend determines armor class. Encumbrance is based on constitution, 1 equipment point per point of constitution. Impairments include blindness, deafness, lameness, fear, poison, unconscious, defeated. Mostly standard stuff ,but defeated allows you to accept permanent lameness, deaf or blinded instead of being killed. Initiative is based on your dexterity plus a d6. Influence determines your ability to persuade NPCs 2d6 plus charisma. Leadership determines how many henchmen you can have and their loyalty. Maneuvers introduced here but covered later, no more maneuvers than hit dice. Reactions base attitude of encounters to players, like Influence also 2 dice but ranges from 2d4 to 2d12 dependant how much they like you to begin with (I’d have lumped it with influence and used a d20). Spellcasting more later, note that’s spells take a full round to cast and don’t happen until the beginning of your turn after you cast them. Survival, how long you can last without food, water or sleep con based. Travel and speed, table by race speed in hexes per day. Visibility normal value is two hexes, obstruction of vision adds to ac, determines awareness, unaware characters when attacked must make a death save. More on maneuvers here, a negotiate with GM system ( I hate that).

Act Two part c Magic
This is a also new section in the tab system without a new act heading. Five types of magic prayers, shamanism, wizardry, tinkering, and glammers. Access is restricted by race. Dwarves and Halfings don’t get anything. Each section has base spells plus level modifiers and some samples. Glammer bas spells include:  Phantasms, and Compulsions. Prayer base spells include: Supplications, Invocations, and Benedictions. Shamanism includes: Shaping and Callings. Tinkering includes: Augments, Endowments, and Inventions. Wizardry includes: Transformations, Cures, Curses, Summoning, Animations, Motion, Perceptions, and Imbuements. Some alternates to the main magic include dwarfsmithings and whistling.

Act Three In the Party
A bunch of reputations and traits based on the overall party. Party reputation is gained in Glory, Reputation, Secrecy, Influence, Membership, and Devotion. Party reputation and alignment allow it to gain traits which provide some advantage in the game. Badges, Banners, Codes, Emblems, Initiations, Mystery, and Rites may be purchased to gain special features.

Intermission Followers and allies.
The usual stuff.

Act Four the stronghold
Build a base. Bases have the following: Diplomacy, Fortification, Reconnaissance, Development, Might, Justice. A good list of hirelings is here as well.

Act Five Apotheosis
Ascent to Godhood. God attributes include Compassion, Patience, Grace, Authority, Wrath, and Peace. Once you are a God you must act indirectly through other characters
Coda Alternate Character types
A bunch of Character archetypes (best for NPCs and Quick Characters). Rules for monster adventurers including Vampire, Werewolf, Zombie, and Elementals. A series of monster abilities similar to adventurer skills.

The book ends with a bunch of character sheets.

Friday, March 3, 2017

GMs day sale at Drivetrhurpg

Having successfully procrastinated my February post of my November games into March, I figured what better thing to do than procrastinate further. My fellow blogger Tenkar pointed out the sale at Drivethrurpg and mentioned the over 900 Old School Renaissance (OSR)  products on sale (Use the link at Tenkar's Tavern to help a fellow gamer out). I, of course, had to check it out. Using the keyword OSR and sorting by price I discovered a cache of free and pay what you want products (if its already free, is it realy on sale?). Although I own a great deal these I was able to add 73 more to my collection (that's even with skipping character sheets, pod casts and foreign language products) before Drivethru suggested I checkout before my shopping cart exploded. Will have to download them tomorrow. My "to read" stack gets even larger. I am mastering the art of "Tsundoku" (it's Japanese look it up) although she-who-must-be-obeyed insists that the bulk of my stacks remain virtual.

P.S. Might even get around to looking at the OSR products which cost money but are cheaper.
P.P.S. had to finagle Tenkar's link to get to drivethurrpg instead rpgnow (I like red better than blue). Not sure my spending exactly $0.00  put much in the tip jar anyways.

Saturday, January 21, 2017

New Game New Year versus the Rulenomicon

A list of games for sale at DriveThruRPG in their "New Year, New Game" not listed on my Rulenomicon page. Count is 175 after filtering for Fantasy and removing expansions and supplements. At an estimated cost of $5.00 my completionist heart is breaking. Hurry sale ends tomorrow.

A Party of Wizards
A Week in the Life of a Lv. 1 Slime [Solitaire RPG]
Abney Park's Airship Pirates
Abstract Dungeon
Accolade
Adventuring! Company
Against the Dark Yogi: Mythic India Roleplaying
Age of Sorcery RPG
Albion
Alien Worlds
All About th' Booty
Ancient World (EGS)
Annalise Final Edition PDF
Archetype
Argor Fantasy Role Playing Game
BARBAREN! (English)
Barbarians, Booze, & Battle Axes!
Barons of Braunstein
Battleblade
Beast: The Primordial
Belly of the Beast RPG
Black Books: Tomes of the Outer Dark
Black Death
Blade of the Iron Throne B&W Edition
Blood & Honor
Brass & Steel: A Game of Steampunk Adventure v1.5
Brute Squad
Bushido
Cairn RPG
Cards & Quests: An Innovative Fantasy Role-Playing Game
Carmine: A Role Playing Game of Alchemical Fantasy Version 1.1
Centurion: Legionaries of Rome
Clockwork: Dominion Core Rulebook
Cogs, Cakes & Swordsticks Collected Edition
Control: The Game of Absolute Corruption - Revisionist History Edition
Crestfallen RPG
Crimson Blades 2: Dark Fantasy RPG
Crone Manual
CRUSH the REBELLION
Crying Blades: volume one
Cryptomancer
D6xD6 RPG Expanded Edition
Dawn of Arcanus RPG
Dead Age
Demon Realms
Deviant Decade
Dies Illa
Digital Heroes
DnDizzle: Dragons in the Hood
Do: Fate of the Flying Temple
Doodle Dice Monsters
Dungeon Romp
Dungeon Scum
Early Dark Role-Playing Game
Ehdrigohr: The Roleplaying Game
Eternal Contenders
Eternity Realms
Fae Noir
Fantasy Adventures For Kids
Fantasy Dice
Farewell to Fear: A Progressive Post-Fantasy RPG
Fate of the Norns: Ragnarok
FateLess
Fiend Wake Elite Rulebook
Fight! The Fighting Game RPG
Fortune's Fool
Hero Kids - Fantasy RPG
Heyoka Core Book
Honor + Intrigue
Honour Core Rules
Hoodoo Blues the Role Playing Game
House of Cards
Hunters of Alexandria
Hyperborean Mice
Intrepid: A Storytelling Adventure
Irrepressible!
Kevin and Kell the Roleplaying Game
Kids, Castles & Caves
Kintsugi
Kiss My Axe
Labyrinths & Lycanthropes
Lair Of Sword & Sorcery Core Rules
Leagues of Adventure - Core Rules
Little Wizards
Lost Days of Memories and Madness
Magical Kitties Save the Day
Magic'Pocalypse - Full Game
MagicQuest
MajiMonsters: The Monster-Catching Role-playing Game
Manbot Warriors
Masks of the Mummy Kings
Mechanika: Empires of Blood & Steam
Melee: Culture Crafts Combat
MIGHT-Fantasy Role-Playing System And Setting Guideline Manual
Mistborn Adventure Game Digital Edition
Mundus RPG
Mystos: The Role Playing Game
Mythras
Nefertiti Overdrive
New World: First Era
New Years Fray 2016
Noggle Stones
Of Dreams and Magic
Of Gods & Heroes
Ogres and Underworlds
Once Upon A Time: The Fairy Tale RPG
OneDice B Movies
OneDice Pirates & Dragons
Open Fantasy
Other Worlds
Perfect Unrevised
Perilous
Pirates & Dragons Core Rulebook
Polyhedral Dungeon
Project Paradigm
QADD: Quick And Dirty Dungeons Deluxe!
Quactica: Battles for the Soul of Middle Aesopia
Quest of the Wizards
Questing Heroes Role Playing Game
Realms of Adventure
Reign of Terror
Retrostar Rulebook
Roan - Role Playing Game
Rocket Amoeba
ROLF: The Rollplaying Game of Big Dumb Fighters
Savage Kingdoms core rulebook
Scarlet Heroes
ScreenPlay
Shadow, Sword & Spell: Basic
Shadows of the Ninja: Lite Ninja RPG
Sharded Fantasy RPG
Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells
Sinister Stories
Sins of the Father
Slayer
Sojourner's Quest A Fantasy Role Playing Game
Spaces of the Unknown
Spark Roleplaying Game
Spelldancer; Revised
Splinter
Steam World (Core Book)
SteamCraft
Swashbuckling Adventures Core Rulebook
Sword Noir
Swords & Sandals
Swords and Savagery
Tephra: the Steampunk RPG
The Crying Hack
The Dance and the Dawn
The Daughters of Verona (Print and play)
The Glory of Kings 7th edition core rules PBM / PBEM
The Rabbit Playing Game
The Runed Age Corebook
The Veggie Patch
The Zero Edition (Zebra) Hack
The Zorcerer of Zo
Titan Killers
Troika!
Umbra & Mirn
UnderWorld: An Adventure Game of Subterranean Fantasy
Usurper - Claim to power: A game of lords, rogues and adventurers
Valhalla Adventure Game
Valley of Eternity (English)
Voodoo Pirates
Vow of Honor RPG
Waverley - Ash Can Edition
Westward Premium Edition
Wizards of the Three Moons
WIZARDS' WORLD (Original 1983)
Wolsung: Steam Pulp Fantasy
Word Wizards
World of Dew
Wormwood, A Game of Angels
Wreck Age: A Post-Collapse RPG and tabletop game
Wu Xing: The Firebrands

Monday, January 9, 2017

Kickstarter End-of-Year report 2016

Thought it be a good time to review the kickstarters I have signed onto and see how they are doing. Need to do this every so often as I always find something that was e-mailed six months ago I forgot to download.

Gold Star Medal of Honor

Adventure Quarterly: A Pathfinder Periodical. (Rite Publisher Steve Russell  killed in a car wreck. Kickstarter was completed by his estate. Now there are no excuses!)

Done

Advanced Races Compendium
Bards Gate
Godbound
Scarred Lands
Dungeon Solitaire
Heap of Creeps and Peeps
Tome of Beasts
Aihrde (I was sweating bullets on this one. Signed up for the create your own by pledging a $1 and adding things through Backerkit, However, this seemed to put me off the delivery schedule radar. Fortunately a quick e-mail put things right.)

Chugging away (not done but not overdue either)

Operation Unfathomable
Salt in the Wounds
Barrow maze 5e
Trudvang
Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying
The domes of Ishaq-Zahur
Holy Crap
Widower’s Wood

Getting there

Symbaroum Thistle Hold (Core complete stretch items to come)
Storypath Cards (Have Hope, Horror and Intrigue missing adventure Morality and Whimsy)
Robert Howards Conan (Pre-Print pdf of core Adventure book still pending)
Death & Taxes (Have the OSR version, Pathfinder still pending)
Rhune (a couple more story arc adventures to go)
Slumbering Ursine Dunes (I think there's one bonus adventure still owed)

Never ending Story

Ryuutama (basically done but pledge contains permanent electronic updates)

A bit late

Kurt Hills Fantasy Atlas
The Blight
Marmoreal Tomb

Long time coming

13th Age in Glorantha (original date July 2015)
Whats O.L.D is N.E.W (original date August 2015)
Five Moons (original date August 2015)

Please come home, I still love you baby(way past due, I still want the item).

50 sHAdes of VORpal (just grab the 100 pages of notes and doodles and slap them on the scanner, that's all I ever wanted)
Throne of Night (What you sent out was cool! Wish you'd write some more)


Saturday, December 17, 2016

El Raja Key Archive review

Rob Kuntz has finally published his collection of maps and notes from the early days of D&D. It is available from Three Line Studios as the El Raja Key Archive. From the blurb on the website:

The El Raja Key Archive is an interactive, searchable, fully indexed, virtual museum of roleplaying game artifacts from the dawn of the Dungeons & Dragons game! Contained within the Archive are over 1,000 high resolution scans of adventures, maps and keys, campaign notes, character sheets, and manuscripts from the Original GreyhawkKalibruhn, and Blackmoor Campaigns. That's right, from the very creation of Dungeons & Dragons! Includes all maps & some keys for Rob's Castle El Raja Key, the dungeons where Gary Gygax cut his teeth as Mordenkainen; Rob's manuscript for his lost Dungeons & Dragons Supplement V: Kalibruhn; maps, keys, and notes for over 40 adventures from the Original Greyhawk and Kalibruhn Campaigns including, maps & some keys for 16 of Rob's Original Greyhawk Castle levels, the map for the first ever D&D demo, the Machine Level, at GenCon VII in 1974, and the map for the first ever D&D tournament, Sunken City, and notes, NPC cards, and adventure maps and keys for the Original City of Greyhawk!
Given my love of old maps from the seventies, this was a purchase I wasn't going to pass up. I ordered the DVD standard edition, which showed up promptly in my mail box a few days after my order. I chose the standard because it contained all the old maps which were my primary interest, although i am missing out on the new adventure included in the Deluxe and Collectors editions. I have posted a sample copy of  a typical map at the top of the page (so as not to reveal too many secrets I have used the same map Rob posted to his webpage). True to its billing it provides large quantities of maps and notes from Rob's early days. I liked finally seeing at least some of the actual Castle Greyhawk (Rob only includes the levels he drew), including the infamous Black Reservoir (subject of a Gary Gygax play report). I am not that enthused with the woodgrain/notebook paper .html interface, but much of the material is directly accessible as .jpg files as wel. I wish more of the levels had the key as well as the map. After looking at Castle Greyhawk I was a little disappointed  to discover that El Raja Key is most of the same levels just arranged in a different order. It will require some intense study of  Robs scratchy handwriting to decipher the contents of the El Raja Key supplement. It seems to be in the floating charts and tables style of the original books, as well as the Greyhawk and Blackmoor supplements. I am grateful to Rob for getting this stuff out in his lifetime, rather than taking his secrets to his grave like Gary did. I much more interested in seeing stuff as it was in the day, than waiting for a modern polish to suck the life out of it (TEKUMEL SOCIETY LISTEN UP!!). For me this purchase was money well spent.

P.S. The job of cross indexing these scans with clandestine photos of Gary's notebook, and the other pieces of Castle Greyhawk in published  modules is left to others for now. I can tell you the levels presented do not match the maps of Greyhawk Ruins at all, and although the style is somewhat similar to Grodog's Greyhawk the levels are different.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Death of Lone Wolf author Joe Dever





From EN world

We are sorry to be the bearers of such tremendously sad news, but our father passed away peacefully at 10:15 yesterday morning. This follows twelve years of an illness that he kept secret to all but those closest to him. We appreciate this news may be a shock to many.

He died as he lived - with colossal bravery and dignity - and held by those that loved him. He was working on the final three Lone Wolf books until Monday evening. His thoughts were with his work and thusly his fans until the last possible moments. His work clearly meant a lot to his fans, and your loyalty meant everything to him.

It is with enormous honour and great responsibility that these notes for the final three books of the saga, and the legacy of his incredible universe, are passed to us to complete.

Please allow us time to attend to the family, and his personal affairs. We will be in touch via this page and his website with further news about a memorial service that we hope to arrange for late January. We will also share how you can apply to attend the memorial, with full details of the time and location.

With love,
Ben Devere & family


Joe and I in happier times

You can find a great deal of his work available for free at the Project Aon website. One of his latest and perhaps last project (although the obituary mentions three more books in the works) the Lone Wolf Adventure Game is available from Cubicle 7 .


Friday, November 25, 2016

Post Turkey Update

Dear Reader,

Just a quick post to try and catch up.

My Tuesday night game has been perking along. After assaulting the drow army (which provided just the cover the white kobold needed to slip into and grab the artifact the party was after); they escaped the drow hit team sent to extract revenge; Signed on as met cutters to help carve the Tarrasque (Totally borrowed from Salt-in-the-wounds blog); discovered a secret door inside the Tarrasque leading to a plane of ice and snow; recovered a 3' cube which seemed to be blowing snow and ice everywhere ( another of my artifacts); Traded this cube to a weird elf guy in exchange for a magic item each; and are currently working for the elf guy to grab the sphere (the last remaining artifact in the set). I'll try and put the story about the cameo of the fire lich and the nightmare up in it's own post.

Recent purchases have included:

A bunch of pay what you want adventures from the DMs Guild

El Raja Key Archive

A realy good look into the maps and notes one needed to play "Old School" DnD. Contains the levels Rob Kuntz drew for Castle Greyhawk (about half of them) including the infamous Black Reservoir.  Big on maps, map keys and content not so much.

Zodiac Campaign Setting

Kickstarter I didn't sign on for, but they had hardbacks for sale at Con-on-the-Cob

And of course, Volo's Guide to Monsters

Cons attended:

Con-on-the-Cob. Only there Friday and Saturday, less gaming stuff in the dealers room than last year, and not as many name brand artists. Had a nice demo of a game to be released next year, and played in my friends "megagame" Night Falls (semi RPG semi Parlor game similar to "mafia"). My vampire cult team won, but somehow our allied villager team managed to come in last out of four teams.

If  I get ambitious this weekend I may expand on some of these, but that's it for now. 


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