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Free PDF: Burgs & Bailiffs!

Like the taxman, famine, war, or the Black Death, good things come to those that can wait.

Grim up your medieval RPG! Bring the worst of the Middle Ages to your Game! Abuse these Player Characters!

Burgs & Bailiffs is a collaborative project aiming to help you, discerning GM, make your Medieval Fantasy grimmer and more medieval. Warfare, Law, Medicine, Food, Cities from a more verosimile perspective.

Get Burgs & Bailiffs and unleash it on your PCs! 100% not peer reviewed!

Downloadtext, cover or a single handy archive.

Comments, as per use, on Google Plus.


RPG shelf, part 2

Follows part 1 here.

As I went to the basement I also took pictures of some boardgames, mostly because they occupy the same space.

Next to a tentacle-rapey box of Windows NT I must have obtained through an old client, some good boardgames. The two boxed still in their (opened) wrapping are Ogre Deluxe and GEV Deluxe. I love them to bits.

 

Yeah, boardgames.

Euro and USian boardgames pacifically coexhiston the same shelf here.

Then I noticed that a bunch of my games was mixed with related stuff, so I went for some context. Stuff on design, writing, game design and game writing. And hintbooks [...]

when is a PDF worth $1?

Question for our three readers:

I’ve got a convention-ready B/X adventure that includes a Dungeon, a Dragon, an Evil Wizard, a Castle, some Wilderness Environs, and, I suppose, a spare monster lair or two as one-pagers, along with a party of pre-generated characters. It runs to completion in about 3-5 hours depending on whether parties take certain shortcuts or get incinerated by dragon-fire. If you want all the Dungeons & Dragons stuff that Frank Mentzer promised you as a child, condensed into a four hour time slot, I’ve play-tested this thing 6 times and it’s solid.

It’s written for a party around [...]

On Dwimmermount, And Failure

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, maybe in the comments to this post about Gygax, Arneson, and a music video.My mom was a little girl when Hawaii became a state. She’s about the age of D&D’s original gangsters, and the vogue for Hawaiian shirts andhula hoops affected her the way Tractics did them. The world wasn’t changed by my mom’s lifelong devotion to hula dancing, but it did mean my childhood was surrounded by the paraphernalia of a hobby most people left behind decades ago.

In 2000, herhalao, a hula group made up of dancers who commuted between Houston, [...]

the hulk against the world

(This is a kinda-long AP post, but toward the end I pay my Joesky Tax by including some Civil War milestones that can be printed on Avery labels and stuck onto your character sheet.)

My first Civil War game was a one-shot conflict between the rampaging Hulk and the uncanny X-Men, played out with Tavis and his family. Owing to their schedule, a second session probably isn’t likely any time in the foreseeable future, so I put together a second group and started fresh.

Session One Scene 1: Yet Again With the Smashing

Again: we open with the Hulk all crazy, destroying (in this [...]

Massive Site Reorganization

Celebrating Two Thousand Posts (Jan 10, 2012)

Maybe it’s the new year, I don’t know. Recently I started working on a massive re-organization of the website’s content to make it more accessible. I haven’t really taken the time to pat myself on the back, but the site recently passed two thousand blog posts (not including the comic), which is about two entries every three days.

You’ll notice there are more menus up top, and that’s mainly to help people find things. I blog about a lot of stuff, and I do mean a lot. It isn’t so much that my blog lacks [...]

Hangin' with Oleg: the dramatic conclusion!

Let's see, where was I?  It feels like it's been forever since I last talked about this.

Aha! Yes! It was Sunday, and Oleg and I were meeting another friend & business associate of his: Harry Perrette, from Twisted Industries Inc.  TI is actually two businesses in one -- Twisted Industries is a machine shop that does specialty work, while right next door is Twisted Industries East Coast Customs, which does... some kind of car thing, I'm not exactly sure. Painting and body work, I would guess.

Anyway, we were there to look at a .22 caliber conversion [...]

Going to Class

Not much to report today.

Staying away from computer to be honest.  It's a day off for me and I don't want to even be remotely tempted to take a peek at any work related material.

Though one thing I am doing for work is taking an online course through Coursera.
What I am taking is called a MOOC, or Massive Online Open Course.
I am taking the one on Science and Super-Heroes.
https://www.coursera.org/course/scientificthinking

It starts today and it should be fun.

Rarely do I get to find something that marries my professional education interests and [...]

Cartography: Maps of the Unknowne Lands

This stunning map was created by Ramah, an established and popular member of the Cartographer’s Guild.

It depicts a magical land, similar to Shangri-la or Brigadoon. Time and death have no meaning on this land. It is an land that will float through the seas until the remaining three warrior kings cast down their differences, and unite under a single monarch.

Roll20 Passes 100,000 Users

Today the folks at Roll20, the Virtual Tabletop, put out a press release announcing they had passed the 100,000 user mark! Here is the press release in its entirety:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

ROLL20 "VIRTUAL TABLETOP" PASSES 100,000 USERS

Wichita, Kansas (January 21st, 2013) Just under a year ago, Wichita, KS programmer Riley Dutton had grown envious about the gaming joys of his former college roommate Nolan T. Jones, now of Las Vegas, NV.

"We'd talk on the phone, and he'd talk about how much fun he was having getting back into tabletop roleplaying games. And I realized how much I wanted to play with [...]

Dead AGE: The Mothman

For the last 13 months, strange lights have appeared all over Starling, MA and along the Miskatonic River.  Hundreds of sightings have been covered on local news, newspapers and blogs.

Many have worried that something dreadful will happen in Starling, just as it did in Point Pleasant, Mexico City, Chernobyl and Raccoon City.

As 12/21/12 approached, tensions rose to a fever pitch, but as 12/12 dawned an eerie calm filled the city.

No one xpected the biological attack on the city.  None of them except the Mothman.  And they didn't heed his warnings.

____________________

Graphic Novels Challenge: Detective Comics Annual No. 7



I read comics when I was a kid - Daredevil, Silver Surfer, and G.I. Combat, picked from the spinner at our local 7-11, purchased with change earned by scavenging empty soda bottles and turning them in for their deposits. Yes, I'm that old.

Roleplaying games actually supplanted my interest in comics - my comic book money went to buying lead minis instead, and I didn't really pay them much attention until I was working in a bookstore after high school and discovered Frank Miller's Batman: The Dark Knight Returns. It was, for me, a revelation, like I imagine it was [...]

Ruthless Google+ Hangouts Concert Series Numero Uno

Support musicians in our gaming and geekery community.

Put World Cafe, NRPs Tiny Desk Concerts, and VH1 Storytellers in a blender and you have…

The Ruthless Hangout Concert Series #1

Intimate:
Private Hangouts, Only eight seats available for each show

Awesome Artists:

February 28/10PM-11PM EST
BRENNEN REESE
http://www.brennenreece.com/music/

March 19/9PM-10PM EST
HELLO, THE FUTURE!
http://www.hello-the-future.net/ and at http://hello-the-future.bandcamp.com

June 4/9PM-10PM
DEVO SPICE
http://hello-the-future.bandcamp.com

ONLY FIVE DOLLARS (OR MORE IF YOU PREFER) PER SHOW! PAY FOR ONE, PAY FOR ALL. ALL MONEY GOES TO THE ARTISTS.

HOW?
1) EMAIL ME AT RUTHLESSDIASTEMA AT GMAIL DOT COM
2) SUBJECT LINE: WHICH SHOW OR SHOWS YOU WANT A SEAT FOR
3) [...]

Deadly Princesses

Reynaldo Madrian made up a pair of D&D classes (Battle Princess, Murder Princess) for Barovia. I asked if I could adapt them for Fictive Hack for the Breathing World. He said yes. So here you go.

Murder Princess Template Battle Princess Template

I think he is totally tuned into the Old School vibe of taking a rule chassis and bolting on things that flavor it to what you want to do. It’s not about pedantic argument and dissection of rules so much as grabbing a system, tricking it out, and roaring on to good time with your friends. Go Rey!

Okay, some system [...]

Two Kickstarters I Could Not Resist--Instantprep!

So, you like preparing your games fast?

What if you could draw some cards and have your unique tavern ready to go, where the adventurers start? A few more cards, and you have the lair, the monsters, and a hook to get the party there?

Look, I’m not the sort that has trouble coming up with stories, monsters, and lairs. However, I love the intellectual and social challenge to the wits, of weaving together random elements to be a story that is smooth and sensible. The uniqueness of bringing together things I would not have thought to combine on my own is [...]

Pride and Prejudice

I want to get G+ gaming worked out so I can game more often and with a wider group.

This will not replace my tabletop group; I am fortunate to have reliable people who come and mostly have a good time. I do not take them for granted, and I know how easily game groups can fall apart when a few people get busy. I don’t want to be left game-less if that happens. And, there are some things I want to play that my tabletop group does not want to play.

The most sensible thing would be to get my B/X [...]

Cleaning the Desk

Cleaning the my office table again.  Maps and half written adventures and crap I don't even remember getting it amongst the piles.  Sorting and organizing, throwing away and filing, lifting and wiping.  I've got pieces of the next Manor all over the place.  I have managed to pull together all my files for Starter Adventures, but found I have lots of work to do.

First off, I apparently used 9 font for the first half and a 10 font for the second half.  That irritates me to no end.  The wife says the font is still a little small.  [...]

Foedread - 4e Legacy Weapon

I always liked Legacy Weapons, and have been trying to think of a nice, simple way to bring something like them into 4th Edition. I hope this is good enough!
Foedread - 4th Edition Legacy Weapon

Classic Minis Revisited - Viking (Wizards & Lizards)

This is one of my earliest miniatures that I bought as a kid.  I'm guessing around '83 or '84, the Viking is from Superior Models fantasy line "Wizards & Lizards".   Being a "Son of Thor" I've always been interested in Vikings and Norse mythology, so naturally I had to pick this up at my favorite FLGS at the time Royal Hobbies in Rockford, IL.   They are still in business by the way, they've been around for almost as long as I have been alive, which is awesome since a lot of the classic hobby and game stores have [...]

What I Learned From A Writing Marathon

I am the Warden!!

The first draft of Fires Across the Plains is nearly complete and by nearly, I mean the gamebook itself has a complete first draft. All that remains is touching up the appendix (there will be rules for creating half-breed characters, such as half-orcs, half-elves, half-goblins, and half-giants) and provide an prologue detailing a rough layout of the landscape.

Capping off the gamebook's draft, however, required a shitload of catching up. When I originally signed up for this project, I figured there was enough time on my plate to get it done in roughly three [...]

Reroll Powers And Dice Pools

Roasting the Racial Powers (Jan 16, 2013)
Classes, Skills, and Dice Pools (Jan 20, 2012)
The Dice Pool Versus A Single Die Roll (Jan 8, 2012)

Over the last couple years (particularly since picking up Elder Sign), I’ve thrown around the idea of using dice pools for character actions in place of single rolls, ’cause rolling lots of dice is fun. It’s also fun when you’re given the opportunity to “reroll.” ‘Cause rolling dice is fun. It’s especially fun to reroll lots of dice.

“More is better,” after all.

Sometimes you don’t really want to reroll though, ’cause it isn’t like you’re really [...]

Three Again

Tribe 8 -- RPG/TRPG Session Run by Chris (alcoholandaphorism) Tribe Members; Lady Quinn – Me Brhyannon – Jason (jymmijamz) Aulderush – Will CHAPTER FIFTHTEEN Setting the Wheels in Motion Aulderush and Lady Quinn are forcefully removed from Dain Hadis abode by her vicious tongue. Aulderush has something crossing his mind, feeling that the synthesis used [...]

Daily Cosplay

Hubris Player Classes- Fighter

Last post I described the playable races of Hubris. I also laid out the themes I was using in developing the world. The most important of these being: Sword and Sorcery, Weird, and Grim. I also wanted this to extend into the classes as well.

The available classes are going to be: Fighter, Rogue, Ranger, Barbarian, Sorcerer, Warrior Priest, Druid, and Witch.

My ruleset is a hack of Trent B’s Old School-style rules, which is where my heart lies.

I wanted to keep the elegant simplicity of Trent’s system, but add a few abilities, etc that could make each class slightly more “varied.” [...]

The Dhow

Today's post is an adaptation of a map from this blog's first adventure, providing a deck plan for a dhow or fishing boat.

-Nate





The DhowWhile bigger ships are a crucial component of the quintessential scenario for action at sea, trading broadsides, smaller vessels are also important. After all, they can be used for running up rivers into unknown lands, making small-scale raids and the like.
Refer to the appropriate map for the layout of the ship. Unlike larger vessels, [...]

Lynn Willis, RIP

On Friday afternoon the notices began to circulate in gamer social media that designer and publisher Lynn Willis had passed away.

Ken Hite wrote a short yet moving overview of Willis' legacy, including work on BRP, co-designing the Ghostbusters RPG, and the dice pools of Shadowrun and Storyteller. I was struck at this observation:
Every Call of Cthulhu product you've ever loved from the first edition to 1999 exists because Lynn Willis made sure its text was coherent, made sure its gameplay was sound, and made sure it got to print. And there's a strong possibility that the thing you like best about it was added or correctly shaped by Lynn, not by the credited author.This was a surprise to me. I didn't know. The hows and whys of publishing are still a mystery to me sometimes. If asked about my favorite published [...]

Weapon of the Week

The tomahawk comes from the Algonquin word "tomhikan" which referred to the short hafted axe that many of the natives bore into battle. The axe was stone, later metal, and attached to a haft of hickory or ash or other stout hardwood. The haft was about 2 feet long and the blade not more than four inches.

The tomahawk was used for melee combat as well as a thrown weapon. Its simple design and balance made it ideal for both.


A more modern variant . . . the  M48.


Dungeon Alphabet Review -- Expanded 3rd Printing

I’ve been a big fan of Goodman Games for some time, especially since they came out with Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG, but before they galvanized the OSR movement, they created some great system-neutral supplements and resources such as PC Pearls, GM Gems, and the awesome Dungeon Alphabet.

Recently they released an expanded third edition of the popular supplement complete with new art, new entries for some letters, and a limited edition gold foil cover. I had previously owned a PDF of the original alphabet, and had raved about it earlier, but with a new expanded limited edition, it was enough for [...]

The Wasting of Duny Slough

By Thilo Graf

The first installment of Headless Hydra Games’ Viridian Legacy AP for the Mor Aldenn campaign setting is 40 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD and 1 page advertisement, leaving us with …

Settling Catan With Chiefs

Chieftains of Catan Rules (Jan 18, 2013)

It might not look like much now, but give it a couple turns and we’ll see how it develops.

Over the weekend I speculated a bit on how a game using the Chieftains of Catan rules I designed might play. For example, using the rules for knight movement to relocate a chief (and from a narrative perspective, the village), it would take at least four “years” (rounds) to construct a settlement in a four-player game with no trading.

I broke it down into resources as acquired on a “seasonal” basis, ignoring “trading” season because our hypothetical [...]

Ruthless Hangouts Concert Series Numero Uno

Support musicians in our gaming and geekery community.

Put World Cafe, NRPs Tiny Desk Concerts, and VH1 Storytellers in a blender and you have…

The Ruthless Hangout Concert Series #1

Intimate:
Private Hangouts, Only eight seats available for each show

Awesome Artists:

February 28/10PM-11PM EST
BRENNEN REESE
http://www.brennenreece.com/music/

March 19/9PM-10PM EST
HELLO, THE FUTURE!
http://www.hello-the-future.net/ and at http://hello-the-future.bandcamp.com

June 4/9PM-10PM
DEVO SPICE
http://hello-the-future.bandcamp.com

ONLY FIVE DOLLARS (OR MORE IF YOU PREFER) PER SHOW! PAY FOR ONE, PAY FOR ALL. ALL MONEY GOES TO THE ARTISTS.

HOW?
1) EMAIL ME AT RUTHLESSDIASTEMA AT GMAIL DOT COM
2) SUBJECT LINE: WHICH SHOW OR SHOWS YOU WANT A SEAT FOR
3) [...]

Dredd: How To Game It

Pictured: THE LAWSo, because I was ill as fuck over the weekend, the girlfriend's flatmate picked me up a copy of Dredd on DVD to cheer me up.

I loved the movie. It managed to perfectly recreate the look of the comics - I wasn't all that convinced by the choice of South Africa, at first, but it turns out that Cape Town pretty much looks exactly like Mega-City One. It mixes ultra-modern, sleek aesthetics with junker vans and slums, and even has those wonderful mixes (like the futuristic flyover built from concrete, cutting through a regular "Americanised" street, [...]

Midgard: Player's Guide to the Dragon Empire

The second of Midgard Player's Guides from Open Design is 31 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 28 pages of content, so let's check this out!

Four Emperors, The Isle of

The Isle of Four Emperors is a large island directly south of Delivals and to the west of Syflanis. The Isle is used as a refuge to pirates who sometimes raid the merchant ships who are returning to Syflanis from Delivals. Pirates rarely attack ships that are bound for Delivals, as the Ungoza green crystal is far more valuable after it has been worked by the artisans of Polaris.

The Isle gets its name from a legend that long ago, it was ruled by a mad man, who each day would travel to one of four large cities on the island. [...]

Desert Planet

Its becoming increasingly evident that Mars was once possessed large oceans. The image below, courtesy of Nasa, shows the McLaughlin crater and evidence that it was once filled with water. Composite minerals at the bottom of the crater show that it was once filled with water, possibly fed from ground water.

Its possible that the Freman up there have vast stores of water, kept in secret underground reservoirs . . . .

Wait I think I got Dune confused with Mars . . . . Nasa for more.

Unleashing The Trollenburg Terror! Actual Play Report Over At The Dark Corner Blog


Inbetween work and everything else I was able to sneak in a game. I used a stripped down version of Mutant Future to run an adventure based on the Trollenburg Terror! You can read  about it right over
HERE
 

Armor Up





Secrets of Card & Salt

This supplement for the Gypsy and Ritualist-classes from Dreadfox Games is 33 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page SRD, leaving us with 30 pages of content, so let's check this out!

Solo Games

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?672420-Which-of-these-games-to-play-with-one-player Most of the time i have one player (My wife). she’s happy to play most things, as long as we play rather than me faffing about what system to play. I care, she doesn’t really. Of these options (my

The Cthulhu Mythos in D&D in the 1970s

1975 cover by Bruce Pennington for Panther paperback reprint of Tales of Cthulhu Mythos (1969), including Lovecraft's "Call of Cthulhu" and Mythos strories by others
A chronology of early references to the Cthulhu Mythos in Dungeons & Dragons:

Feb 1975
Greyhawk Supplement by Gygax and Kuntz
Description of the Gate spell: "Employment of this spell opens a cosmic portal and allows an ultra-powerful being (such as Odin, Crom, Set, Cthulhu, the Shining One, a demi-god, or whatever) to come to this plane" (pg 28)

July 1976
God, Demi-gods & Heroes Supplement by Kuntz and [...]

The L5R 4e Resource Guide: Night of a Thousand Screams & The Way of the Lion

THE L5R 4E RESOURCE GUIDE
The set-up of the new 4e L5R more easily allows the use of materials from earlier editions and eras. That raises the questions: which of these products should an L5R 4e GM bother picking up? Which of them offer new insights into the pre-Clan War period (and beyond)? Which of them offer more universally useful setting material? This series aims to answer those questions. Note that I leave aside any and all mechanical material and questions for purposes of these reviews.

NIGHT OF A THOUSAND SCREAMS
There's debate about how much a game can [...]

A Tomb of Kings

My map for the Tomb of Kings - it is a 'dead end' level (see what I did there?) with several crypts and a large ornate chamber at the far end. #MondayMap

CCP Licenses Mind's Eye Theatre to By Night Studios

New license for Mind's Eye Theatre returns the World of Darkness to Live-Action Roleplaying

By Night Entertainment, LLC, has signed an exclusive worldwide license with CCP Games to produce a new product line for popular live action game franchise Mind's Eye Theatre.

White Wolf's Mind's Eye Theatre debuted in 1993, helping to usher in an entirely new era of immersive and interactive entertainment, and adding a vibrant, interactive dimension to the roleplaying game hobby. Legions of Mind's Eye Theatre fans around the world have been waiting patiently for an updated version of their favorite Live Action game -- and now they'll get [...]

Which RPG Product Has Been the Most Influential on the OSR?

As we are conducting our list of Essential Free OSR 3 Packs  I thought I ask: "Which RPG product has been the most influential on the OSR and why?" I ask, because I can't think of a single one - I have a handful.

Castles & Crusades, as it opened the door that led to the OSR, even if it didn't know it was doing so at the time.

OSRIC, which firmly planted the flag to which other retroclones followed.

LotFP Weird Fantasy, a game that showed you could be true to your roots and still change things up. It also showed the importance of high quality art, and pushed the line of what's considered acceptable in RPG art.

I guess each one [...]

Gaming Smorgasbord: Too Many Games, Too Little Time

I really love RPG’s. They’re my fun go to hobby to chill out, have fun and generally relax. They’re escape. But my little problem is [...]

From the Archives: Shorter Games Are More Cinematic Games

Note: This post originally appeared here. Having children really limits your time. Once I’m able to get gaming again, I assume we’ll be on the same schedule as I talk about here.

The Game Knights get together once a week (Friday or Saturday) for gaming from 8 pm to about 10-10:30 pm. Of course, it usually takes a little time for everyone to look over character sheets, grab some snacks and drinks, and finally settle down [...]

Menagerie of Mischief: Part 1 -- Ammunition

Hey everybody I wanted to drop this in here for everyone to check out, I’m not sure how many slices they’ll cut this manuscript up into but I wanted to point you guys to it because I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope that some of this stuff can find its way into your games. Perhaps even your D&DNext games since the system is so flexible. Behold my Menagerie of Mischief!

The piece starts off with some ammo which was heavily influenced by one of my favorite video games growing up, Thief. Funny story about Thief, I [...]

Martin Luther King Jr. Day!

Well, it's that special day of the week again, but this one is a little better than most. Today is a day that we here in America commemorate one of the greatest speakers and the most influential people of the 20th century. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a great man who was fighting a monumental tragedy in this country and helped heal race relations as African Americans fought in many places for equal rights, and to be treated with common decency and respect. The scars of slavery and segregation have been long healing in the United [...]

Balrog Upon Gondolin

Neanderthal Rise!

Harvard Geneticist George Church has called for someone to carry the seed of primeval man, the neanderthal. We know only what the bone record tells us. The neanderthal's diverged from our common ancestor some 400000 years ago and roamed north. Their bodies were well adapted to the glacial cold of the period, short and stocky. They achieved adulthood by 15 and had superior tool making abilities. Their diet consisted of a great deal of meat. They used largely stone tools, not advancing to bone or other tools. (this reminds me of a study of north American Indians where clay pots, [...]
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