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My New Fantasy Game - I Want Your Input

I will be starting a few games soon. One will be a cinematic unisystem game set in my own Buffy/Supernatural hybrid setting. The second game will be a "D&D" game. I'm using D&D in the loosest term. While I love Pathfinder, I want something rules light. Dungeon Crawl Classics has been on my mind, but I wouldn't really call it rules lite.

Right now I am torn between Swords & Wizardry (with a heavy dose of Crypts & Things) and Castles & Crusades. Both systems look like they'd be fun and do what I like

I don't really [...]

Mood Music for Games: Three Lists and Personal Themes

I am out of town on a business trip this week, and so have decided to post something a little easy from my hotel room.

Jay Cartwright of Lemming Malloy
In my game world, the kiitar is a traditional gnomish instrument

This is not the first time I have posted about music at the gaming table. In fact, a search for "music" on this blog turns up about half a dozen posts. Over the years, I have played around with several methods for incorporating music into my game, and have also played in other game groups that used [...]

Last day to preorder Odyssey

Today is the last day to preorder Odyssey: The Complete Game Master's Guide to Campaign Management! When you preorder, you'll immediately receive the DRM-free PDF, EPUB, MOBI, and text versions of the book. Print books will ship in July. You can read six reviews or check out the 19-page PDF preview before you buy. My thanks to everyone who has preordered so far!

Steps Towards Releasing My Own Game

Here's a very quick peek at Girls Elsewhere, the upcoming expansion to Josh Jordan's Heroine.   I was fortunate enough to be part of the book and my contribution Gabi, the Isles of Night.    Gotta admit, this is a very lovely book and the game is pretty awesome too.  The fact the imagery always uses photos is a huge plus in giving the game a distinct feel.

Here's hoping you guys will all be supportive and grab a copy once the book is released.    I should get my full review of [...]

5 Quick Tips for Your Descriptions

"You see in front of you the entire city, trees full of green leaves watch the city. Many people go from place to place, making the city seem full of life and unresting. Large red areas fill the remains of the surroundings, as the enemy siege towers grow bigger and bigger as they come closer to the city..."
So, today I wanted to talk about a thing that was overlooked by me for many a years, and I'm still seeing it in many GMs' description: Exciting all the senses. Every literary character, and PCs are included there, has 6 senses: [...]

I don't know what it is, but I think I like it.

I've just been alerted to the presence of Kcymaerxthaere.

It seems to be an artistic project that reflects a parallel world onto our own.

There must be a few people involved with it, because it claim to have artistic installations across five continents (one of which is Australia)...personally, I find this hard to believe because the details for Australia on the map page are very sparse. It's obviously run by a North Amercian because there are paragraphs of text detailing each of the five North American subregions.

The quality of the work involved with this project looks [...]

Castles & Crusades, Maelstrom & Shaintar via Kickstarter

Castles & Crusades Return to the Haunted Highlands. Stephen Chenault hlt die Old School-Fackel weiter hoch. 3000 $ bis zum 25. Juli 2013 sind kein Problem.

“The C&C Return to the Haunted Highlands includes everything you need to start a game in the Haunted Highlands.


Return to the Haunted Highlands Kickstarter includes two books (and possibly more) and a Map.


The Castle Keeper’s Guide to the Highlands, 200+ pages: Includes all relevant setting material, adventures (DB1-DB6 expanded and updated), new monsters and more.


A Players Guide to the Highlands, 76+: includes racial variants, class specializations, new spells, magic and more (also includes expanded and [...]

Wandering Monsters: Big Beasts

Where last week's Wandering Monsters pertained to giant bugs, this week we get to look at giant entries from a trio of other biological classes.

I doubt most campaign settings concern themselves much with periods of prehistory development, extinction events (except maybe Forgotten Realms), and evolution, with only a passing glance at physics, biology, and ecology, so it is a wonder that dinosaurs seem to often be restricted to remote islands or the confines of dark jungles.

Why? This is a fantasy game, and I do not think that monsters should be written under the assumption that it should or [...]

Private Armies

Since the Pentagon has decided to cut the US Army by 10 combat brigades, it might be a good idea to brush up on your military mercenary knowledge.

Here's a quick link to the 9 largest private armies in the world. Stratrisks!

Its a time honored tradition that governments have done for centuries. It fell out of style with the massive national armies of the Napoleonic era through the 1980s, but since the fall of the Soviet Union, its back in style. Mercs have been commanding an ever larger role on the battle field, both behind and [...]

Apocalypse versus Fantasy

Not too long ago, I came across an article on Stargazer's Blog: "Is it just me or is the post-apocalypse much like a fantasy world?" Since many of the stories featured here take place after the fall of human society, its probably a good idea to chime in on this. Its late in the day of course, so excuse the somewhat disjointed format of the essay.
Its a matter of loss, knowledge, and recovery. 
There are certainly a lot of parallels between the two genres (Or if you want to take the Joesph Campbell approach - between all genres). Digging [...]

The Many Deaths of Bob the Fighter is awesome

This the spirit of how my characters die. Brian’s d20Monkey is a comic all gamers should read.

The Many Deaths of Bob the Fighter, by d20Monkey

Filed under: Uncategorized

The One That Got Away

Looking to spice up your game and get your players really invested in stopping a bad guy? Just tired of rolling up new villains that your PCs kill one after the other? Well, for both of these you can save yourself a lot of time and effort by simply introducing the concept of the one that got away. How does it work? Well, basically, before the villain gets grievously wounded to the point they can't escape, you have them leave the scene. They can then lick their wounds, recoup, and come back even stronger. Let's look into some ways to [...]

Barbarian Prince, day 2.

I decide to head back to Weshor.

I get there without getting lost, and decide that today I’m going to “seek news and information”. I get a bonus of +1 for my Wit and Wiles, and this time I decide to spend 5 gold pieces to get another +1 bonus (the rules actually say “5 or more gold pieces”, but there doesn’t seem to be any reason to spend more).

I rolled a 10, which becomes a 12 – “Secret informant offers valuable information for 10 gold.” I decide to buy it, and get the following: “The Lady of Aeravir Castle [in [...]

Magic for Savage Worlds

Hey all!

What do you  all say is the best magic supplement, or supplement that features as lot of magic, for Savage Worlds?

I am doing some research and not quite sure where to start yet.

How To Play By Email (PBeM) or Play By Post (PBP)

Playing games by hangout can be an absolute wonderful thing for people that live remotely or in small towns.  It can be a brilliant thing for people that do not want to get too attached to a group OR try a new game system.  Where play in person is not possible it seems to be the perfect solution in this day and age.  However, this is not always the case as circumstances may culminate in hangouts not being the perfect option for some people.

I started a PBeM in 1999 (they seem to be known as PBP now) when [...]

Tuesday Magic Item -- Gavel of Judgement

Lawmaster Konratten brought his gavel down. “The sentence is announced,” he paused, “the defendant is sentence to be taken from this place to the Island Prison of Savrossia, where he will work what jobs are required of him for the next sixty years. If at the end of that time, should he still be alive, he will be free to return to his former live.”

Gavel of Judgement

These gavels are made from wood taken from trees at least two centuries old that have grown on land tied to authority. Carved by masters and polished with rare oils, they are simple but [...]

The Mystery of the spinning Statue!!

My son pointed this out to me earlier, the strange case of the rotating Egyptian statue at Manchester Museum. If you follow the link to the video, you’ll see this ancient funery statue move 180% from it’s original position. There seem to be loads of theories of how this might be happening, but it’s only […]

Dangerous Encounter: The Battle For Wacky Valley

NOTE: This encounter will require a bit of preplanning on the part of the Mutant Lord. We have only provided a basic outline of the adventure's concepts and layout. It is up to you to fill in the blanks. 
This encounter should begin when the players are far from any populated areas. Not necessarily in the middle of a desert or on a mountaintop, but far enough away from any towns and cities to be virtually isolated. In the distance, the PCs will hear a SNAP, followed by a roar of thunder -- even if there's not a cloud in [...]

[DriveThruRPG] Pathfinder Compatible Game Aids 40% Off

Right now a huge selection of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible merchandise from several publishers --- including Asparagus Jumpsuit --- is on sale for 40% off! This is a sale you can’t afford to miss! This sale is only going to last for a few days, so act now and pick up great stuff for your game at fantastic prices!

Take me to the sale!

I day in the life of Solanyr, my #dndnext #Simic and #Dimir character!

My dear DM Gonzalo asked a cool thing before starting the campaign. A write up of a typical day in the,life of our characters. Here I go with the first, which won't be the last...

"Dawns are always extra foggy around Zonots, and I always wake up at dawn, always in my Zonot. Screening for my krasis wings is mandatory each day, and within my "beloved" Crypsis clade, screenings and briefings are always scheduled for early morning. A stupid contraddiction since we work mostly at night, but then again the Simic are drowning in contraddictions, much more than [...]

Excerpts from Pazoodle's Modern Lexicon

When you make up silly words, ask your eight-year-old to define them, and then extrapolate to try to make that fit in your D&D setting, you get something like this.  Kudos to the Boy, Mrs. Wampus for playing along, and the Plus Squad who suggested more words when we ran out.

a very fashionable frontier dictionary

slangamok - noun or verb.  Onomatapoeic representation of the sound of a sword or axe colliding with the head of a giant; or, verb form of same.  Used today by some youths as a synonym [...]


Grindhouse Games will be starting a Kickstarter on August 1 to create a new version of INCURSION.

Actions Speak Louder...

I tend to move around alot as a GM (and as a player).

When I do get up off my fat ass and start acting things out, I can sense my players engagement rise. I don't just tell them how the viscous but slow fire zombies are shambling to attack; I shamble on over and show them. If the PCs are being interviewed by a bored official, I stand in front of the players, slouching, and read off a series of form questions in a nasally, annoyed voice. I might even record their responses on my clipboard. Getting up [...]

My Favorite NPC, That Never Got Very Far

Little while back I was running a Star Frontiers game with a table top group. We were running the classic Volturnus Campaign with some changes and new plot twists.

I decided to introduce “Jimmy” named after Jimmy Olson of Superman fame. He was a lowly and relatively unskilled crewman from the ship that crashed on Volturnus but had made it to an escape pod. The player characters found him dehydrated and out of his mind in the desert. He was intended to be a tag along that would not really contribute much.

The reality was that he was crafted after a character [...]

[d20pfsrd] Huge Sale on Pathfinder Compatible Merchandise

Right now a huge selection of Pathfinder Roleplaying Game compatible merchandise from several publishers --- including Asparagus Jumpsuit --- is on sale for 40% off! This is a sale you can’t afford to miss! This sale is only going to last for a few days, so act now and pick up great stuff for your game at fantastic prices!

Take me to the sale!

Filed under: roleplaying games Tagged: asparagus jumpsuit, pathfinder, rpg

Pouring a Forty for Me Droogs

Because of the imminent demise of Google Reader, I decided to extract my watch list and give it a good scrub-down.  An excel sheet with over 650 blogs in it can make you cross your eyes.  A lot.  But I learned a few things.
  1. I watch a lot of blogs.
  2. I watch a lot of dead blogs.
  3. Despite all the cries of the G+ blogapolypse, there are still over 300 Old School Gaming blogs that are active in my list.
  4. I need to get rid of these 150 dead ones.

So, rather than just pressing delete, I'll give them a wake.  So, hey [...]

Tunnels & Trolls Contest Time - Signed, Limited Edition T&T 1e Reprint With Typo to be Given Away

Take a close look at the cover of this Tunnels & Trolls 1e Reprint and you'll notice a typo. There are only 10 such copies in existence and thanks to the generosity of +Jason Paul McCartan I have two such copies. One is personalized to me by the great +Ken St. Andre (that's mine) and the other is signed with a note from Ken.

That second one is the one I'm giving away.

What do you need to do to one this rare piece of Tunnels & Trolls memorabilia?

Simply tell us why YOU deserve it. Be entertaining. Make it fun, as that is certainly what T&T is.

I'll leave this post's comment section open for your entries until midnight, Friday June 28th, [...]

Bathsalts zombies: A year on.

I’ts been a just over a year since the bathsalts zombie phenomena first came to our attention through the media, when on 26th May 2012 bath salts user Rudy Eugene tried to eat the flesh off homeless Ronald Poppo‘s face, while high on the synthetic drug. While you might think things are quiet on the […]

Stars Without Number, Strawberries, and Mid-Session Inspirado

I ran another session of Stars Without Number set in Persephone Sector this past weekend. The heroes explored an ancient, pre-Scream lab complex beneath the surface of a desert planet. It was essentially a sci-fi dungeon-crawl. I designated one of the rooms as an artificial garden---a large chamber full of overgrown plants, trees, and vegetables, diligently tendered by a stalwart little gardening

Its all about the company you keep - Part one

The doctor rarely travels alone and when he does he ends up meeting someone who would be able to save the doctor from his greatest foe....Himself. Look at what happened during the water of mars episode, with no around to temper the  Doctor he did something he would never do- He broke a rule of time. Everyone is Special in a Different way Each of the companions possess a trait that the doctor himself lacks - sometimes (rarely) its a skill like adric's math ability or its just the ability to show compassion [ Rose took the warrior 9th doctor and helped [...]

Dark Tales IV -- The House

It’s always darkest just before the lights go out entirely.

The voice is that of a youthful maiden, a furtive whisper without a pause for breath.

Every city has them – the shunned and abandoned places, where even beggars do not go. The places where tortured deaths have stained the world, where nightmares bloom in darkness, and where things from beyond await a whispered word to grant them passage.

Not so far from here is one of the worst. Gather now ye who dream, and hear my words. Let us peer into the past, across the veil of some two centuries. There burns [...]

Transcript of Microscope game 25-06-13

Had a quality game of Microscope with friends this evening.

Transcript can be found here.

Fantasy Race: Aasimar

Campaign World: Fianyarr.

Nicknames: Sweetlings, holytouched, angelics.

Origins: There are otherwordly creatures who are sweet, compassionate and gentle with the children of the First.  Such creatures sometimes save and protect small communities and have even fallen in love with individuals and spent the mortals' lifetime by their side.  There are many tales of such beings and though they can all look quite different their offspring with the children of the First look rather similar.

Appearance: No matter the appearance of their supernatural parent, the offspring are all winged children with strangely coloured eyes, gentle voices and silky [...]

How Important is Art in an RPG Product?

Yeah, I know this is a very individual taste type of question, but then most opinion questions are.

When I look at released from Godman Games or LotFP, one of the things that really stands out is the art. It's not just good or damn good, frequently it's of the "holy shit I want a print of this to fram and hang on my wall" type of quality.

Good art isn't cheap. Well, it can be, but not if you are paying something close to what it is worth. Art will certainly effect the bottom line of a product.

So, when it comes to art in the RPG products you by, how importnat is it to you compared to the rest of the product?

WOTC Taking A Step Back To Move Forward With Their "Living Campaign."

The Examiner has an interesting article up regarding D&D Encounters, here.  According to this, the new  Encounters season, which will be using Murder In Baldur's Gate as it's backdrop, will not only be compatible with "Next" rules, but will be backwards compatible with both 3.5 and 4E.  While this doesn't quite hit my gaming sweet spot, it is showing that they do have some of their players' interests in mind, whether it is only for the sake of sales or not.  If this trend continues, and moreover if they bring yet older editions into the mix, it could cause some deal of change in [...]

Character Creation and Limitations on Character Creation

            How often have you shown up to the first session and been confronted by a group of players with their characters already built but they have nothing in common?  One player has brought a Gangrel who impersonates werewolves.  Another player has a Tzimisce that is the priest of a pack of Black Hand.  A third has built a Baali intent on "watching the world burn."  The fourth player got confused and built a Wereshark for some strange reason.  As the storyteller you're left sitting there wondering how to bring these four characters together into a coherent [...]

Bunkers and Badasses

I talked a while back about Borderlands 2, which is a pretty fun game. Anyways, they released their new adventure today and it's basically a parody of a fantasy RPG. Except my gunzerker isn't exactly a paladin. Don't get me started on BabyBat's psycho... although her toon wields a badass axe.

Instead of all the post-apocalyptic baddies, this adventure is filled with orcs, dragons, skeletons, golems, and other fantasy tropes. Throughout, Tiny Tina is narrating as the GM (and making plenty of funny mistakes). Like she accidentally kills you, and then brings you back. Which is really 2 [...]

Teen Titans - Episode 7 "Override" Report

Hey, readers!

So, after a long hiatus due to international studies and trips and things, I finally managed to wrangle the team back together to run a good old game of Teen Titans using the Marvel Heroic system. I've been waiting to jump back into this for a while, as people who have read some of my early posts can probably tell. Hopefully, we'll be able to make this a weekly thing, which means you guys have one more game to hear me rant about!

Except, this time, you'll see it from a GM's point of view rather [...]

A Field In England...

A Field In England - They're over here Devil! from Rook Films on Vimeo.

A Field In England conjures images of that very British sub-genre of rural horror that embraces The Wicker Man, Blood On Satan's Claw and their ilk.

With this retro-grindhouse trailer, it also looks as though it could be a cinematic realisation of James Raggi's Lamentations Of The Flame Princess!

Missing Magic for PFRPG

Inspired by the treasure tables, magic items and artifacts of the 1st Edition fantasy roleplaying game, Missing Magic offers potions, scrolls, rings, miscellaneous magic, weapons, armor, and more! New feats allow for the creation of potions and wands crafted from higher level spells! Thoroughly bookmarked and now enhanced with links to the Pathfinder System Reference Documents, Missing Magic is compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game!

Available at d20pfsrd

Available at DriveThruRPG

Available at RPGNow

Filed under: published work, roleplaying games Tagged: pathfinder, rpg

Traveller Tuesday: Modular Mass Transit

Still phoning it in here, as it is taking me longer than expected to recover from travel-lag and get things put away. But hey, at least this is a post.

The Modular Cutter, as players of Traveller know, is a common workhorse of the Imperium. Those who know me well know that I am especially enamored of the ungainly Lego-tech ship, as I can appreciate the efficiency and coolness factor of being able to swap out mission modules.

Plus, it kind of looks like a Sikorsky Flying Crane, and those are always cool.  I guess [...]

Campaigns I'd Like To Run: Exiles In Eden

I woke up this morning having had a really interesting spot of dream logic where my mind was trying to suss out how I'd like to run a RuneQuest game, despite knowing remarkably little about the Glorantha setting. RuneQuest is, like Traveller, one of those games that I didn't play back in the day (sure, I played Call of Cthulhu, based on the same BRP system, but everything about it is completely different) but that I've gotten into in my old age. I'll admit that my exposure to RQ rules didn't come from any actual RQ materials, but the recent [...]


By Michael "Maverick" Chamberlain Snowdonia, released last year, takes as its setting and theme the endeavours of the Snowdon Mountain Tramroad and Hotels Company Limited (mouthful and a half) in the final years of the nineteenth century to build a railroad from Llanberis to the top of Mount Snowdon. Snowdonia is a worker placement game [...]

Beyond the Westwall - Session 2 (6/5/13)

At the end of the first session, the party once again encountered a yellowish-green slime creature (or at least half of said creature) below the town of Westguard. They were running from a group of orcs, which had somehow dug their way to a secret entrance in a mysterious burial chamber that the group had discovered. Note [...]

Drag Queen chosen as best American McGee's Alice

Spicy Horse Games, the creative force behind Akaneiro: Demon Hunters and American McGee’s Grimm, announced today that the winner of its Alice costume contest is drag queen, comedian and RuPaul’s Drag Race fan favorite Pandora Boxx.

“I’m a huge fan of anything Alice in Wonderland,” said Pandora, “And when I first discovered American McGee’s Alice, I was enthralled. I loved his re-imagining of that world. Then with Alice: Madness Returns I fell more in love with the twisted Wonderland that American has created. Part of the appeal of being a drag queen is being able to create anything you want for your shows, so I had the Alice costume made by Dallas Coulter Designs and brought her to life on stage. When I heard of the contest, how could I not enter? Especially since I had an amazing homage photo shoot by Jose A Guzman Colon to enter with! I am over the moon that I won the contest! It’s a thrill and a great honor to be chosen by American to represent his vision.”

“The first time I saw Pandora’s picture, I was struck by the mad intensity in her eyes,” said American McGee, CEO of Spicy Horse Games. “We asked [...]


Birgit Stock, a German indie development team, today announced thatHoppetee!, its first mobile game, is now available for download on iOS devices for $0.99.The game chronicles the story of a brave little grasshopper named Hoppetee who finds himself in a bind -- not only is he smaller than his friends, but he's also unable to jump as high as bigger grasshoppers. Upon discovering a ball one day, Hoppetee finds a new way to navigate through the game's whimsical world and suddenly we get Mario with the Easter Bunny. It is fun and addictive and not a bad game at all.

InHoppetee!,players use different colored balls to make Hoppetee run, jump and float to pass through the level. In addition to collecting fireflies to lighten the night [Unknown A1], players must also score points to activate useful power-ups, fueling Hoppetee's flow with musical notes to get into the grassland groove. Enjoy the title’s harmony, Hoppetee’s cute laughter and the game’s very uplifting message:"Use your opportunities and discover the beauties of your life!"

Founded in 2004 by Birgit and Rainer Stock, Birgit Stock is a German independent video game developer located in Rottach-Egern, a small town close to Munich. With experience in animation and [...]

Cyberpunk 101: The Anthologies

In a few weeks I am going to be starting up a Cyberpunk 2020 game on G+ Hangouts. In addition to boning up on the rules (I don't think that I have read the Cyberpunk rules in at least 6 years), I decided to dust off some fiction on my bookshelves and reread the source material. Ever since my first paperback copy of William Gibson's Neuromancer, I have been a fan of the genre. I remember

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Dawn: Rise of the Occulites Kickstarter

Darwin Games new KS is now live, and I for one really dig these great looking mini’s. Sculpted by industry veteran Bob Olley, they are highly original and fun. Note to self: add some of these figures to my wish list. I did have a look at these before and thought they were fabulous figures, […]

Meet 35, Adv 3, 6/15/13

This was the unofficial soft-start of the 3rd adventure I called "All the King's Horses". It was to be a mostly town adventure, much needed from the constant d20 sword rattling and dungeon crawling we had been in as of late.

One of the things that came up was the introduction of the new character Auri, a femal half-orcish fighter - played by the same player who had recently lost Tempi. There was a sort of expected, "hey, welcome," time and intro but during the role-playing, it morphed into a wedding between the dead former character and new character [...]

Collaborative World-Building and Gaming

ON THE PANELConTessa, the online gaming convention by women for everyone, wrapped up successfully yesterday. We had a weird schedule between games and other obligations so I didn't get to play in anything, but watched several cool panels and bits. You can find numbe rof the videos on the site there and on YouTube. For me the highpoint was the Collaborative World-Building and Gaming panel arranged and moderated by my wife Sherri Stewart. I had the amazing chance to participate on this panel with some amazing designers. Meguey Baker's done unique work with A Thousand and One Nights: A Game of Enticing [...]
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