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Flashpoint: Storming the Castle

Lhye levitates up to peer over the curtain walls only to be approached by two apparent gargoyles who hop up onto the crenellations.  He has a conversation with them, paused in his levitation by their "halt" so that he can't yet see above the walls.  They respond to his questions only with: "Who goes there?", "Halt!", "No", and finally "Intruders!"  They could also say "You may pass" but as they didn't recognise them and they didn't say the correct command words the two constructs that appeared to be gargoyles never said it to him.

Proteus tried to distract them [...]

Join CAR-PGa (Committee for the Advancement of Role-Playing Games)

If you have ever been an advocate for the adoption and use of role-playing games, you should definitely consider joining this organization. Membership is "free", your "fee" is just that you need to be posting something related to the advocacy of role-playing games to qualify for membership. Check out the website for more information, and definitely consider joining.

If you are a blogger, journalist, or just generally active in promoting the use of tabletop role-playing games, you should definitely join.

The CAR-RPGa website: http://www.car-pga.org/

Carcosa Inspirations! Starblazers Comic Book Covers Over At The Monster Brains Blog

My brain is simply boiling over with ideas from the eye popping riot of stuff over at the Monster Brain blog! These comics came out in the 70s or early 80s. I remember seeing a selection of these bastards when I loved in Boston in the 1990s and not picking them up. I've been kicking myself ever since. There have got to be a metric ton of adventure ideas for Carcosa or any science fantasy game inspired by the 1970s!
Check these out over HERE!
 I [...]

REWIRED: "Rough Sketch 1"

For anyone interested, I’ve uploaded the initial “rough sketch” of the REWIRED core rules to my Dropbox account. Feel free to grab it here.

It’s very no-frills, but it’s a tidied up compilation of the pile of notebook pages, character sheets and make-shift tables we schemed up brainstorming for the base system. All you’ll see here is the base character creation, skills, weapons and combat system.

Would love to hear some initial feedback and thoughts. And as always, feel free to ask me anything related to the project.

White Dwarf Wednesday #48

White Dwarf Wednesday takes us to the end of 1983. For Christmas I got a copy of the Police's Synchronicity and I believe the Monster Manual II (and check out the ad for it at the end...if you have a copy).  Out of the shelves was White Dwarf #48.

This one of the cooler WD covers. Brought to us by Alan Craddock I for years thought it was a Chris Achilleos.

Ian Livingstone talks about bring out some RPGs to play with the family this Christmas, wondering what Granny might think of Orc stomping.

Up first is [...]

2012 Awesomeness

I used to do top 10s of everything when i was at uni. No time for that, here’s some stuff that I thought was awesome that was released in 2012: … Continue reading →

Four By Four Race Design

Continued from my previous post about races and design.

I’ve reached another milestone in the design & development process of my game system, which means that I’m ready to start building some more prototypes. You can probably guess I’m talking about player/playable races, and this time I have a better idea of what I’m going after, like specifically. Almost. Kind of.

In the past, I’ve tried to make a lot of things, “whole cloth.” This is a very taxing and time-consuming process, mostly because what I ultimately want to do is refurbish, not replace the various game systems in question. Now I’m [...]

Appendix N 1950s Science Fiction Trailers For Your Old School Space Opera

Here a quick selection of Appendix N Style 50s trailers to get you in the mood for your favorite Space Opera. 

Stay safe and keep watching the skies! There's more trailer madness over at the Dark Corner Blog right over HERE

"Archeology" of D&D

I just had pointed out to me earlier today a youtube video channel, called Grognard Games, which the narrator describes as "the History channel for RPGs."  Martin Brown, the narrator, seems like a nice chap, and as a fan of both history and archeology myself, I find the premise of the channel intriguing.  I haven't seen all of the videos yet, but I watched the first one (linked here in this post) and the Appendix N one.  Anyway, I like the premise, like I said, so I'm passing along the link.


Narrative? Check. Fast-paced combat? Check. Easily adaptable for design purposes? Triple check! (A Fate Core Review)

I thought it appropriate that as my blog posts up until this point have been revolving around adapting Time Heroes to the Fate system that I post a review of the Fate Core book that I've been using in this project. I am going to focus on what I consider the key concepts that I apply when looking at the playability of any RPG. Rules will be talked about, but not rated on any kind of standalone basis. At the end of each section I will include a "TL; DR" summary for those who just want to get the [...]

Do You Now or Have You Ever Suffered From "DM Stage Fright"?

I get the queasies every Saturday evening, sometime after dinner, when it's time to review my notes for the evening's upcoming AD&D game. Sometimes the feeling passes. Sometimes it stays until right up to the game. On rare occasions, my nerves get to the point I hope to get messages from players that they can't make the game, so I can call it off - but that has only happened once I think.

Just think, I've been DM'ing for the last 9 months, for the same group of friends. Heck, I started DM'ing way back in Junior High School. And I still get nervous.

Go figure ;)

It's a bit worse with the pick up games I occasionally run for folks via the [...]

Land of the (Undead) Lost spooks players with zombie dinosaurs

These miniatures were sculpted by a special encounter in a Pathfinder RPG. The GM’s wife was the creative talent, using Super Sculpey over a wire and aluminum foil armature to build the bodies from scratch.

Via Reddit.

Roasting the Racial Powers

Race, Clan, Tribe, Choice (Jul 18, 2012)
A Place for Race (Jul 5, 2012)

I did a quick search of my blog this morning and found to my surprise that I hadn’t touched on this subject before. In short, racial powers in Fourth Edition Dungeons & Dragons are kind of a crap shoot. I noticed over time that certain racial powers saw more use, and others inspired more “awesome” in games.

Recently, I decided to organize them into categories. The resulting information was intended for the Star Wars conversion my gaming group is developing, but it got me really thinking about the [...]

This Old Module: An Important Correction

Yesterday, as I was finishing up the post about "What Would Don Trumbull Do?" I realized that I didn't feel I was stating my case adequately, that something was missing from what I'd been writing. It wasn't until very late last night that I realized what it was.

I was dead wrong.

The question that I had been asking myself wasn't "What Would Don Trumbull Do?" but rather "Does this monster fit in the Fiend Folio?" Does it fit alongside the Adherer, the Kharghra or the mighty Flumph? Alongside the Githyanki, the Hook Horror or the Princes of [...]

It's done.

Bandits and Battlecruisers PDF is ready. It has 137 A5-sized pages (remember one of my first posts about it when I assumed that it will have about 50-70 pages? :D). It's possible that we will release it even tomorrow.

Daily Cosplay

13th Warrior, Not the Prayer Scene

This is one of the best scenes in the movie 13th Warrior, where the old hag throws the bones and calls for the party to gather.

"Who will be the first man?"

"I will be the first man!" says the King...though it sounds better in Norse. or Danish, or Swedish, not sure the language he speaks in.

Unklar Returns

The Great Empty, where Unklar the horned god was fashioned in the Days before Days, and to where he was banished. It seems that Darkness moves again . . .

Photo: ESO/F. Comeron

Art -- The Banks of the River

Web Clip Wednesday: The Saga of Biorn

Biorn is just a Viking who wants to go die in battle and go to Valhalla. But unfortunately his opponents keep rolling those Natural 1′s, [...]

Ninja -- Silent but Deadly! A new 'game' that aims to be inexpensive and fun and can be used as a simple prank or a years long challenge

Yesterday was an odd day for me. I experienced something that I hadn’t ever experienced before. I had the time, energy and creative drive to create an entire game, from concept to prototyping in exactly 13 hours. It started off as a joke and ended up with a $11 item that I’m hoping other folks will find entertaining enough to try out.

The joke

Yesterday on Google Plus I made a quick joke about a game called Ninja! It’s a nicely designed box that you present to a gamer friend. When they open it up, they find … nothing! It’s completely empty. [...]

Elric: Fortress of the Pearl

I actually like Moorcock’s later Elric stories, those written after the completion of the two original trilogies and squeezed into the cracks of those tales, better than the early stuff. Not that I don’t love the early stuff too, but I think Moorcock had grown as a writer. He had things to say, so his … Continue reading »

The God of Storms Mythender Fate

Okay, so, I know I’ve been posting these From the Archives posts, but Mythender has gotten me really excited. So excited, in fact, that even though it only debuted yesterday, I’ve already made up some new content for it! I present you with: The God of Storms Mythender Fate. (Mr. Macklin, I’d love to work with you on Mythender stuff if you’re looking for contributors in the future.)

God of Storms

Who makes the very earth tremble [...]

Creating a GURPS Character Part 4

In this video I talk about Disadvantages. They use the same categories as Advantages and are Mental, Physical and Social. Then sub-categorized again into Exotic, Supernatural and Mundane. Another aspect to them are self-control rolls.

The definition of Quirks make an appearance.

As always more information about Steve Jackson Games and GURPS can be found below.


Armor Up

 Pegaso Models

Filling in holes...

I was giving some thought to my setting and rules last night while laying in bed waiting to fall asleep.  Some of this is stuff that I've said before, but forgive me if I'm restating to get the foundation laid for where I'm going.  Plus, it helps to restate stuff from time to time, not only because blog posts tend to be somewhat ephemeral (not that they're gone, just that they're forgotten and "left behind" as the years march on) but also because it helps me to hone the edge on what I want from the setting and game.  Since I'm giving [...]

All The Atom Could Give

What's happening to Kickstarter?

So, I pledged to the Malifaux RPG kickstarter last week...only to find that my pledge has been cancelled because of a payment issue. When I go into Amazon payments it says that the pledge is still active...but as an Australian, I find it odd that my address is now considered somewhere in the USA, and there is no place to change my country back to Australia. 

I've previously pledged and paid for projects through Kickstarter and Amazon payments, so this hasn't been an issue [...]

Wednesday Wyeth

Tar Pit

A tar pit occurs when, bitumen, a natural asphalt, rises to the surface. The lighter components in the bitumen vaporize and the remnants, a thick viscous material linger. The bitumen is formed, like most petroleum from living organisms. Upon death they are crushed by the fires of the earth and the weight of time until the undead molasses of their creep is created. Creatures unfortunate enough to fall into the pits rarely escape as the clinging nightmare refuses them life.

Davis had this model when we were youngsters. I loved this thing, stared at it for ever. [...]

Cut! A Mechanic For Ending Conflicts

Clapperboard by KUHT via Wikipedia

As I recently mentioned, I’ve been reading through the Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Basic Game. I noticed the other day that it includes an interesting mechanic. The GM, or the Watcher in MHRP terms, can pay to end an Action Scene (encounter).

It took me some time to figure out exactly why I found this so interesting. At first, I thought, “can’t the GM just do that whenever they want anyway?” Then it hit me. No, they really can’t.

Why End?

First off, why would you want to end a conflict before it’s technically over? The answer, more or less, [...]

Ship of Fools

Ship of Fools This pdf is 52 pages long, 1 page front cover, 1 page editorial, 1 page ToC, 3...

EZG reviews B6: Cry of Ill Omen

Today I’ll take a look at Ronald Corn’s first contribution to Adventureaweek.com,   Cry of Ill Omen This module is...

EZG reviews BASIC-1: A Learning Time

Today I’ll take a look at AaW’s first foray into BASIC-Pfrpg with their module   A Learning Time This module...

d6 Shooters: Days 14 and 15.

6 2 6 4 6 1 2 - 4 5 - 4 - 1 - - 6 - - - - 6 4 6 4 4 1 1

(one less red dice than usual, because of the ‘prisoner’ event).
Used one 4 to cancel two 6s, and the other 4s to travel.

January 16, 1873: Day 14 of our journey. Another furious day of pursuit. Thankfully we suffered no more losses. However in losing our foes we also lost the trail. It was getting dark, and searching would only get us further lost, so we camped for the night.

January 17, 1873: Day 15 of our journey. We found the trail and continued on our way. But we are, I think, getting somewhat behind schedule. I am beginning to suspect [...]

Midgard Campaign Setting (EZG review #1000)

Today is a day to celebrate, at least for me: This review commemorates my review no. 1000 on Paizo, so...

Stolen Engine


Report by: Warrant Officer Jacob Boxer

Position: Field Engineer, Juliet Company

Assigned Objective: Restore mobility to one of the company’s E-Suits

Purpose of Mission: Protection of allied forces near the surface

Progress Report:The Company’s resources are severely depleted while we wait for a new teleporter from a remote ops station.After losing a number of the Company’s assets in action, one of our E-suit’s engines was damaged beyond repair. My orders were to find a way to restore function to the vehicle by any means.

With no other viable options I was able to extract a Chezbah Zero Point Engine with the help of some of [...]


Well, I tried to type this in the comments to a post on another  blog.  It's not working.  Apparently I'm too long-winded or something.  So, I'm posting the comment here, and I'll link to this post.

For those of you who read my blog otherwise (Hi, Mom--I know you're my only reader)... just ignore this post or something.  Sorry.  The post I'm responding to is here:  http://talesofthegrotesqueanddungeonesque.blogspot.com/2013/01/martin-brown-on-appendix-n.html#comment-form

I liked watching (or listening, I admit that I opened up some other windows on top of it and did some work) for it's own sake. Sure, reading and listening/watching are [...]

Placing Treasure

Art from “Excerpts: Hoards” posted by Wizards of the Coast

In the comments to yesterday’s post, regular commentor Jimmy asked:

“I'm bad at placing treasure. Any advice on that?”

You’re not alone, Jimmy. I’m bad at placing treasure too! I even wrote about it just a few months back:

“I also have a bad habit of being a great deal more generous with treasure than I ought to be, because I'm worried about keeping my players engaged in the adventure if they don't feel suitably rewarded.”

It hasn’t been long since I wrote that, but if I do say so myself, I think I’ve improved a great deal. I’m sure many GMs would scoff at how wealthy I’ve allowed my players to become. But I no longer feel as though treasure “gets away from me.” A lot of different elements come together to support this, so I’ll go over them and hopefully some of what has helped me will help you.

Traditional Dungeon Crawling.

Like many young GMs, the dungeon crawl for which the game was named didn’t interest me when I began crafting adventures. Its only within the last year that I’ve reflected on my own gaming history, and realized that I’d avoided many of the fundamental experiences of D&D which are commonly considered “played out.”

My first real dungeon crawling experience was a mere 6 months ago when I began playing in Vaults of Pahvelorn. Since that experience, I’ve worked similar dungeons into my own games. Dungeons with fifty or a hundred rooms, each of which must be navigated slowly to avoid traps, and carefully examined for hints.

The traditional dungeon crawl is limiting in a good way. It reduced the game to its core elements: the players want treasure, and the environment wants to kill them. The rooms are puzzles where failure means death and success [...]

Fight! The Fighting Game RPG: A What the What? Review

What the What? Reviews offer a quick overview of various smaller, OOP, or Obscure RPGs.

An engine for emulating fighting video games such as Tekken, Dead or Alive, Battle Arena Toshinden, and King of Fighters.

They fight. While there's some room for character development and personality, the game focuses on conflict- especially physical conflict. It distances itself from manga and anime tropes which combine fighting with character relationships and interactions (Ikki Tousen, Kenichi). Characters have obtained superpowered abilities and fighting talents through some means. That has drawn them into a world of [...]

Dragons in Echelon, Part 1: Introduction

I was prompted by a couple conversations on Google+ to delve a little into how dragons might be implemented in Echelon. I originally looked into this a couple years ago at my other siteand it’s long past time to revisit the topic. There have been a number of changes since then that will affect how they might be implemented, especially with regard to the number and types of talents — I didn’t even have cornerstones and capstones at that point, or even a full Basic tier!

As with many things, it looks like it’ll be either easy, or hard, and the difference lies in having good definitions.

I asked “what makes a dragon adragon?” and most of the definitions I received amount to, in Echelon, “high tier”. Tough, dangerous, a threat to everything that they want to threaten… but that describes high-level demons, wizards, and — I am aiming for — fighters as well. This would make it hard.

On the other hand, if we look at other characteristics, it might be easier. William Mims provided a list:

  • serpent- or reptilian-like
  • breath & flight optional, independent of structure
  • almost certainly magical, even primordial elemental, in aspect
  • extremely long lived if not nigh-immortal
  • inclined to gather occluded secrets and [...]

Nerd Numbers: Terminal Outcomes

As a game nerd, there are a lot of interesting things to explore and enjoy about games. There are so many types of games and so many elements that go into a game’s design and development. Math and numbers are are one of those things that get explored, examined, brainstormed, evaluated and evolved an awful lot over the course of a game’s development. As someone who has the fortune to be both a game hobby enthusiast as well as a game designer, I look at numbers in a wide context.

When developing roleplaying games, one math & number concept that kept cropping up was the concept of Terminal Outcomes. Over the course of my 30+ years of roleplaying, I have never been satisfied with purely binary results. Pass / Fail is fine for college courses, but in my roleplaying games, a dynamic table with rich story and compelling narrative are just [...]

Champions Complete Coming Soon!

From ICv2:
The Champions role-playing game, one of the longest-running superhero games ever, will soon be released as a new core book.  Champions Complete has finished printing and will soon be available in both print and digital versions.
The latest version of the game, Champions Complete, will be a 240-page softcover book with black and white interiors and a full-color cover by Sam R. Kennedy. The book was written by Derek Hiemforth.  This single volume core rulebook will include all of the rules needed to play the game.  The suggested retail price will be $40.00.  A PDF version will [...]

Loosely Illustrated Reviews By A Gamer Dad: LEGO Games: Lava Dragon

As a kinda geeky board game playing father of two preliterate children I am always on the lookout for a game that might be fun for us to play together. So, a few months back, I got "Minotaurus" hoping that my kids and I could have fun building the board and playing the game. Turns out my two and four year oldsaren’told enough to do the building LEGO "correctly" thing and the concept of moving the number of pegs they'd rolled seemed to incite pain in their little brains. It seems like it would probably be a lot more fun [...]

Dwimmermount Thoughts

By now, I'm sure most people reading this are aware of the hullabaloo surrounding the Dwimmermount Kickstarter campaign, occasioned by a comment by Tavis Allison (link will only work for supporters of the original KS), whose Autarch company was deeply involved in managing the Kickstarter campaign itself, although James M. was ultimately responsible for getting the book into the backers' hands. 
First off, I think it's unfair to say that James has absconded with the money, or that this was a "scam" (which is the exact term some unfortunate over at the Autarch message boards used), etc. Yes, it's late, but [...]

Finding a New Path

I’m moving from “D&D 3.x” to Pathfinder as my base. The material is much more accessible and better structured for my use.

I don’t expect the changes to what I’m doing be all that big, really, since the differences between D&D 3.x and Pathfinder are generally smaller than the changes between either of them and Echelon… but I thought it might be worth mentioning, in case the question comes up.

If there is a rule not described in Echelon, look up the related point in Pathfinder rather than the Revised System Reference Document.

Special: Django and the Hobbit


Larry Elmore Feature

Over on techzwn.com is a new feature article on Larry Elmore and his 40 years of making fantasy artwork.  Read more here!

Four More Mass Effect Foes for Stars Without Number

These four creatures wrap up my series on Mass effect foes for my SWN hack. Once again, the descriptions are lifted from the excellent Mass Effect Wiki. Adjutant AC 14 HD 5 AB +7 Dmg 1d8 + Special energy blast or 1d8 claws Skill +2 Group 1d6 Save 13+ Move 40', Leap 50' Morale 10 Adjutants are a terror created by the terrorist organization known as Cerberus based seemingly on technology

Movie Review: Mirror Mirror

There were 2 Snow White movies that came out last year. Snow White and the Huntsman with Kristen Stewart, Thor, and Charlize Theron, and Mirror Mirror with Julia Roberts, Lily Collins, and Armie Hammer. I still haven't seen Snow White and the Huntsman (I'm waiting for the Special Effects Only edit) but I did catch Mirror Mirror on Netflix.

This is a fairly lighthearted retelling of Snow White. It's a little bit silly, clearly aimed at a younger audience, and feeling that this takes place in the same sort of universe as Hercules and Xena (about 2,000 years [...]
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