Thursday, December 5, 2019

Castle Xyntillan now avaliable

This begins with a story, back in the 2000's a bunch of folks were organized by Necromancer Games to fleshed out Judges Guild's Wilderlands of High Fantasy. The project took a lot of work but finally saw the light of day.
One of the author involved was Gabor Lux (also known as Melan).

So as a follow up to the Wilderlands one of the project Necromancer Games was planning on was Tegel Manor and Gabor Lux was tapped as the author. We all knew him from his blog and other writings and was excited about seeing his take on the venerable adventure from Judges Guild.

But alas it was not to be.

Now flash forward a decade, Gabor Lux revisited his ideas for Tegal and made his is own haunted castle adventure, Castle Xyntillan.  You can take a look it yourself at his store front. It is $40 plus shipping. You can also read up what Gabor has to say about in this blog post.

Finally I did the cartography for the adventure.

You can get a sense of the detail and scale from the players maps that Gabor Lux provides Or this snippet below.


Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Thoughts on metagaming

Recently a two posts popped up on my feed related to metagaming in tabletop roleplaying campaigns.

What a horrible night to have a curse 
Role Playing, Metagaming, and Differing Opinions

The Nine and Thirty Kingdoms 
Is This Metagaming?

Both authors make good points including the individual in the video linked from the first article. I do find conversation bog down in an infinite loop of corner cases and exceptions.

The way I think about stems from my changing views on what constitute "proper" roleplaying. If you would have asked me in the late 1980s I would have said proper roleplaying is making a background and personality for your character and acting as that character.

When I refereed, I encouraged this ideal through how the experience mechanics worked and later by using systems that had mechanics for detailing a character's personality like GURPS. But I learned that not all hobbyist were interested in acting. Whether it was preference or ability, these players would up roleplaying a version of themselves with the abilities of the character.

For the sandbox campaign I ran, I found that was more than adequate. I learned that the all that required is for the player to act as if they are there in the setting as the character. The main thing I needed to do reinforce that was insist on first person roleplaying. A player doesn't have to do funny voices or act in anyway other than as if they were there saying what they are saying.

The reason for this is that first person roleplaying engages most people social sense and helps them be more certain of what they can do in a roleplaying situation.

Thus my definition of metagaming changed. Metagaming became for me acting as your character for reasons other than those as if you are there. Which seems to clarify the corner cases and exceptions for me.

Those damn rules
However there is an important corner case that comes up a lot, players gaming the rules to their character's advantage. I find this a non-issue provided one thing is true, that the rules being use reflect the reality of the setting. They don't have to overly detailed like GURPS vs. Microlite 20. But they do have to be accurate in regards how the setting.

That way it doesn' t matter what approach the players takes. Whether it is pretending you are there, visualizing my description, acting accordingly, and trusting me to use the rules to come up with a ruling. Or knowing the rules forward and backwards and using the mechanics to figure out the best option for the situation. Both players wind up in the same spot in the end if the rules reflects the reality of the setting.

Note the reality of the setting is the not the same as realism.

This was something hammered into me eading the Old School Primer and by my experience running LARP events. The use of live action made certain debates over what you can or can't do physically moot.

The Old School Primer goes into explaining rulings not rules. When coupled with my reading up on the early days of the hobby, I realized that the rulings being made are not arbitrary but rather based on the referee's understanding of history and sometimes sports.

This can be extended to cover the fantastic. The rules of SJ Games Toon are not realistic but they do reflect the reality of Looney Tunes cartoons. The record for a standing long jump is a little over 12 feet but on Barsoom with 1/3 gravity you can leap much further than this.

Tying this back to the metagaming and rules issue if the decision making process and procedures of the mechanic reflect the setting's reality then it not metagaming to think in terms of rules. In fact may make the campaign more fun for some hobbyists as it dovetails better with how they think of things.

Wrapping it up
For me the point of running a tabletop roleplaying campaign is to have fun presenting interesting places and people for the players to interact with. With the campaign being open ended this results in fun surprises happening every session as things unfold. Metagaming gets in the way of this as it introduces distractions from experiencing the campaign.

Some metagaming is necessary due to the limitation of how the campaign is setup. The most important of which is that there is only one referee and many players. But beyond a handful of items, it is a good thing to try to eliminate metagaming and focus on being within the setting as the character doing interesting things.

A unrelated side note
I posted a minor update to the Majestic Wilderlands Basic Rules. I omitted some spell descriptions referenced on the spell list namely Magic Missile, Mirror Image, and Monster Summoning I

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Deal of the Day for the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.

Today I put up the Wilderlands of High Fantasy Maps as the Deal of the Day over on DriveThruRPG.  The deal will go live at 11 am Eastern Time.

Note that buying this will get you the Guidebook PDF as well. There are 18 maps to the Wilderlands divided into four sets of guidebooks and maps. This deal is for the first set of five maps including the City State of the Invincible Overlord.

The guidebook has an introduction and map commentary by me,. Each map in the guidebook is detailed with the following listings: Villages, Castles & Citadels, Idyllic Isles, Ruins & Relics, and Lurid Lairs. Any statistic or rule is compatible with Swords and Wizardry and various classic editions of the original roleplaying game.

This deal on the first set, is a good way for folks to see if they like the series without having to invest all at once. You will be credited the cost of the PDF if you decide the buy the PDF bundle later. Finally if you decide to buy print, I include the PDF of maps and guidebooks at no additional charge. The print version of each map is two 12" by 18" poster maps. They also have a generous overlap to make joining the map easy or to track features across the map boundaries.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Been working on the Wild North

Been working on the updated Wild North. A small snippet of something I just wrote. The map is the same style as Blackmarsh and has been revised to adjoin it to the north.

Niveny River (Hex 1516)
This river is the traditional border between Orenberg (Hex 1313) and Suzdal (Hex 1720). The river valley has long been a debatable land between the two cities and is currently dominated by Orenburg. Regardless of which power is dominate a thousand gold pieces are given as an offering to the Vodyan (10 HD, Triton) every year. The offering is given after the first thaw to the river king is to appease him so river travelers are left unmolested during the summer season.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Last day for some Viking Adventures

Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistics and I have gamed together and since he started publishing often wound up chatting on the same podcast. He has created a distinctive fantasy Viking themed setting called Nordlond. Along with doing work with GURPS, The Fantasy Trip, and his own 5e variant Dragon Heresy.

His latest kickstarter is expanding Nordlund with a series of adventures. It now in its last 24 hours and like all his projects looks to be fun, and interesting. This version is for the The Dungeon Fantasy RPG by SJ Games which implements the GURPS system as a standalone fantasy RPG. I hope you check it and get in on the kickstarter. Douglas has delivered on all his kickstarters and spares no expense on the production values.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Evocative Maps

While Google+ was a thing I posted this map from my Majestic Wilderlands campaign

The party talked to the dragon Mori (center and up) and succeeded converting her to their cause. In turn she explained what she knew about the forest. But rather than write a description, I described it visually with the above map. Figuring that it was more effective in visually conveying the highlights of what could be found.

Recently I did another for the current Swords & Wizardry campaign I running using my Majestic Fantasy rules. In this case it is about the Valley of the Dead Queens northwest of Viridistan.

As with Dearthwood, the characters were able to have a long discussion with allies knowledgeable about the region. I felt it was easy to convey the information visually. In the valley you can see the towers of the Dead Queens along with the Obsidan Tower and the Serd Worms.

Keep in mind the scale of the Majestic Wilderlands is 12.5 miles per hex not 5 miles hex. So the maps are larger than the original counterpart. Which is why villages are now castles or towns. 

Below is how the above looks on the main map I drew for myself.

Finally here is the first poetic map I drew. It was for the last GURPS campaign I ran in the Majestic Wilderlands

And the written summary It is written from the point of view of the rebel giving the information.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Your help is needed for Jim Kramer of Usherwood Publishing

OSRIC along with the Basic Fantasy RPG ignited the OSR as we know it today. Jim Kramer is part of the OSRIC community and through his company, Usherwood Publishing, offered a print version of the OSRIC rules as well as his own works.

Jim and his family need your help. The OSRIC community explains,
You may know Jim Kramer from his Usherwood Publishing modules & supplements, or his work helping produce works like OSRIC and Knockspell. You probably didn’t know Jim had multiple brain surgeries to remove tumors, and the battle has gotten much harder. To help Jim and his family during this difficult time, a group of his friends, collaborators, and first edition enthusiasts banded together to make this fundraiser fanzine, where all royalties go directly to Jim and his family.
To this end the Saving Throw fanzine was created.  You can look over the table of contents and buy the Saving Throw fanzine from this link. Or look over his store and if something interests you buy something from there.