Saturday, June 20, 2020

COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Advance

The Covid pandemic has caused severe economic disruption which impacted businesses across the United States including those involved in publishing the tabletop roleplaying industry. Particularly hard hit are those of us who make a lot of our sales from conventions. I am personally am out a significant amount of money as result of Garycon being cancelled and North Texas Con being held on a restrictive basis. But my plight isn't hard as others impacted by Covid-19.

During the early days of the pandemic, Congress passed a bill that made the entire United State eligible for disaster relief. This includes small businesses. You can read for yourself the various options the small business administration has for disaster relief here.

One of the things offered is the ability to apply for a emergency grant and a loan. When I saw this being made available in March I immediately applied. Then I didn't hear anything for a long time until the middle of April. The Small Business Administration approved my grant and sent me a $1,000. Which was slightly more than I was asking for. As near as I could tell the SBA simply looked at how many people were involved and multiplied it by $1,000. In my case that was one. The SBA will approve grants of up to $10,000.

Keep in mind these are grants not loans that have to be paid back. It not free money either. You have to have filed taxes either as a corporation or using a Schedule C profit or loss from business attached to your personal income tax form.

Now I didn't write about this because shortly after I received the money the SBA closed the application process for all business other than agricultural. Apparently the flood of applications was so great they they fear the program would run out of money without fulfilling the ones they had.

The good news they reopened the program for all small businesses.
If your publishing or game business was impacted you can apply here.

The process doesn't end with the grant. Eventually they will send you a loan offer. Again appears to be based on the number of people involved. However this is a loan that has to be paid back over 30 years at 3% interest. So keep that in mind if you get into this part of the process.

Hope this help and stay safe. I wasn't expecting much and was pleasantly surprised to have received the grant. I feel this will help many of us who have lost sales as a result of the pandemic.

Update
Matrox in the comments points out an aspect of the process that I forgotten about.
Anyone else out there who this might help, the process is very easy, the only quirk is you need your total gross receipts and cost of goods sold from 2-1-2019 through 1-31-2020. If you gather that info ahead of time and have your EIN/SSN handy you should be all set.
Note that you can get most of your gross receipts and cost of good sold from your corporate tax return or your Schedule C. You will have to figure it out for the month of January 2020.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Black Lives Matter Charity Drive

The job isn't done. Borrowing from the words of Martin Luther King used in his last speech, we have crested the mountain and descended part way down the slope but we as a nation and society still have not reached the promised land for black americans or ourselves.

Now is the time to complete the journey as one nation to fulfill the promise of our Declaration of Independence. That all are created equal. That everyone's unalienable rights are not denied. That all enjoy life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Onebookshelf has reached out to myself and other publishers about a charity drive to support various organization dedicated to civil rights. Three charities were offered, Black Lives Matter, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, and the National Police Accountability Project.

I have opted to contribute the Wilderlands of High Fantasy Maps as part of the charity bundle for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.  Keep in mind the Wilderlands map comes not only with the map PDFs but the PDF for the guidebook as well. The charity drive also features individual products made by African American authors on DriveThruRPG. This is the link for the entire charity drive if you are interested in contributing to one of the other bundles or authors involved.

This only a small effort given the larger events happening. However the mighty river is born of numerous small streams. If each of us contribute what we can when we can, we will all reach the promised land together.

Black Lives Matter.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Adventure Record Sheet for Champions & Hero System

I always been a fan of the Hero System and Champions. While I moved on to other system for fantasy roleplaying it is still my goto RPG for super hero campaigns. I am starting up a campaign for some friends who are interested in playing some super heroes. One of the things I used in past campaigns is a form from Champions II from way back in the 80s to track PCs and NPCs in combat.

However it has issues where that it doesn't have many lines for characters and splits the information for a character into different sections. I used to use the one in Fantasy Hero but it small. So I made a new one.


Download it here

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Some Fantasy Trip Goodness

Douglas Cole at Gaming Ballistic has a new kickstarter up called More Perilous Journeys.

It is a collection of five adventures for The Fantasy Trip RPG by SJ Games. Like classic DnD, the Fantasy Trip is a minimalist RPG that focuses on labyrinth i.e. dungeon adventures.

In addition to his work on Dragon Heresy (a DnD 5e variant), and Dungeon Fantasy RPG (GURPS). Douglas also been supporting the Fantasy Trip along by publishing materials from several different authors. He built quite a team putting out great material for TFT coupled with a high production value as you can see from the cover below.


Monday, May 11, 2020

Charity Bundle at Drivethrug RPG

The situation with Covid-19 virus has effected all of us. Some more than others. As the crisis was developed One Bookshelf sent out an email asking for contribute to a charity bundle. The publishers were given a choice of one of three charities: Doctor without Borders, No Kid Hungry, and World Food Programme.


Kelly Anne, my wife, and I talked it over and went with No Kid Hungry with the Majestic Wilderlands as my contribution.



Each bundle has dozens of titles and for $20 you get a several hundred dollars worth of product. By a strange coincidence, Columbia Games contributed Harnworld to the same bundle. So if you are interested in the Harn by my recent series of post on Harnmaster, you will not only get Harnworld but my Majestic Wilderlands as well.

You see all three bundles at this link.

Hope you can contribute if you can. Stay healthy and stay safe!

Sunday, May 3, 2020

A Walk through Harnmaster - Treasure and Bestiary, the final sections.

First the Harnmaster Boxed Set kickstarter is on its last day.

Treasure

This is a 24 Page Article

This article is in part commentary on the value of things and a catalog of treasure. I found the first part very useful and adopted it wholesale for the Majestic Wilderlands as it fleshed out a mundane treasure a lot. The latter part has a lot of flavor but it is more tied to Harnmaster and the Harn setting.

The Value of Items

The advice is not give out the "value" as what the PCs get for it will be part of a subjective appraisal than a straight conversion into coin.

Treasure Register

Given the above the referee is advised to keep a secret treasure register where the generated value and characteristics are record.

Treasure Age

As part of this the age of the treasure is generated. While a bit fiddly, Harn does a good job of structuring it time period into something more managable than usual. There are seven time periods each a very distinctive time in Harn's history. The unclearest are the differences, between Modern, Middle , and Anicent. A better way to look at it would be Current Kingdom, Early in the Kingdom's history, pre-Kingdom history.



Treasure Condition

Next is the condition of the treasure when it is found. Pristine or corroded badly?

Personal Possessions
Next a useful series of tables to generate the possessions of a NPCs. I suggest making a possesion roster for common types of NPCs as it something you don't want to do during play. Possession can consist of Clothing, Armor, Silver/Gold, Usurer's Notes, Gems/Jewelry, Trade Goods, Misc Items, and Camping/Equipment.

Next are the detailed listing and treasure generation for different types of treasure.

Potions and Elixirs

Harn relies more on potions made from natural herbs than the traditional magic potion. For those of you who play classic DnD, I created my own take on this.

Gems and Jewelry

A detailed system for generating jewelry or unmounted gems. Very useful for other RPGs.

Written Works

Harnmaster put some emphasis on written works as mundane treasure. The result can be flavorful and sold to the right party can net the party quite a bit.

Mystic Tomes

Generating works of a magical nature. The main mechanical effect is improving one or more skills.

Armor and Weapons

This section generate armor and weapons as treasure. Focusing on the mundane effect like adornments and weapon quality.

Artifacts

These are the magic items of Harnmaster. They are divided into two groups, major artifacts and minor artifacts. Major artifacts invariably have personalities although not all of them are sentient. Major artifacts have multiple powers while minor artifacts have only one.

The rest of the article about artifacts talkes about the different type of personalities (artifical, natural). How does Harnmaster Magic work with artifacts. A summary of some Harnmaster Magic spells that could be part of a major artifact so you can make them without owning HM Magic. How some artifacts need mental attunement which in-game is a empathic bond with the artifact and not some artifical treasure limitation. Some ways to invoke the artifact powers. Finally how Artifacts are powered by magical charges.

Artifact example.


Earthmaster Artifacts

The last section, 3 pages, are a table and list of Earthmaster artifacts and their abilities. Earthmaster are the enigmatic precurser race found in Harn and left several extensive ruins.

Earthmaster Artifact example.


Bestiary

This is a 8 page article

While the Bestiary is only 8 pages the Harnmaster RPG comes with three additional article fully fleshing three types of creatures Gargun (Harnic Orcs), Ivashu (Divinely created monstrosities), and Yelgri (Harnic Harpies/Gargoyles).

Bestiary Stats

This this section explains how creatures are presented and what their attributes means. Like Runequest, GURPS, D&D 3.X and many other system, creatures have the same attributes as character. However due to the article format that Harn uses there also an abbreviated one line stat block also used especially in the Bestiary article itself.

Rather than go blow by blow it just easier to show by using the Yelgri statistics



Creatures have a Description, Attributes, Skills, Armor rating, and often a custom strike location chart. Somewhat similiar to Runequest.

This section also has notes on Ethereals or non-corporeal creatures. Basically only enchanted weapons and spells can effect them.

It also gives notes on making your own creature using charts like the below.


Special Cases

This section covers special attacks and abilities including: Acid, Attacks on Ships, Charging Attacks, Crushing Attacks (constrictors), Tangle Attacks, Tossing, Venomous Bites/Stings.

The remaining 5 pages of the article are series of landscape charts giving the short stat blocks of many mundance and magical Harnic creatures.


Gargun

This is a 12 page article detailing Gargun or Harnic Orcs

Gargun appeared relatively recently in Harnic history. Created or summoned by Harn's only empire building mage, Lothrim the Foulspawner. After the fall of Lothrim's empire, his gargun servitors fled into the wilderness where they thrived after a fashion. Competing with barbarian tribes and isolated realms like the Dwarven kingdom of Azadmere.



There are several varieties of Gargun: Arak (Small Orc), Hyeka (Brown Orc), Khanu (Black Orc), Kyani (White Orc), and Viasal (Red Orc).

They have a unique biology in that each tribe is descended from a single queen who lays eggs that eventually hatch a gargun. The article goes into their history, culture, religion, and the different tribes as of 720 TR.

Ivashu

This is a 6 page article detailing the different varities of Ivashu. These are monsters created by the Harnic God Ilvir who is said to dwell in a tower in the center of the island. There are different varities along with unique creatures. This articles details the five most common that are encountered.

They are Aklash (the choking wind), Hru (Rock Giant), Nolah (Dank Stalker), Umbath (Bearer of the Mask), Vlasta (Eater of Eyes).



Some like the Nolah are reminiscence of a DnD monster like Trolls some like the Vlasta are their own special form of Harnic terror. However they all have unique spin due to their back story of being created by the god Ilvir.

Yelgri

This is a four page article.

This creatures is nicknamed the Harnic Harpy. It readly more like DnD's gargoyle but more mundane in origin. They are semi-intelligent and inhabit the mountainous regions of Harn.



Below is an example a naturalist style inhabited range chart that nearly all the creature articles use. This one is for the Yelgri


Wrapping it up

So that it for my walk through Harnmaster. Hope you enjoyed it, found it informative and will try out the system some day. It pricey but the quality is there and been the same since the mid 80s.

The previous post was Campaigns.This is the final post in this series.

Saturday, May 2, 2020

A Walk through Harnmaster - Campaign

The Campaign

This is a 16 page article.

First the Harnmaster Boxed Set kickstarter is in its last 48 hours.

This article has little in the way of general philosphy. Most of that was outlined in the Introduction. Instead this article focus more on the nuts and bolts of managing time and having things happen while the character travel around, have adventures, and live out their lives.

Calenders

Central to many of the routines is the Tuzyn Calender. A year is divided in 12 months of 30 days each. The full moon falls on the 15th and the new moon on the 30th.



The current year is 720 TR (Tuzyn Reckoning). While there are events in Harn history that happens 10,000 years ago or a 1,000 years ago. The most relevent are within the 700 years timespan of the Tuzyn Reckoning. Even within that "modern" Harn history is the past 200 years. This helps a lot with understanding what going on.

Another interesting aspect of the Harn setting is that the setting been pegged at 720 TR since its first release back in the 80s. I showed pictures of my collection in 2010 versus 2020 and despite that expansion anything set in the "present" is always referencing 720 TR. This allows Harn material both past and present to have a high degree of compatibility.

Finally while there are 24 hours in a day. Most of the following use 4 hour watches.

Day to day life in a Harn campaign involves determining one or more of the following.

  • Environ: Urban, Rural, Wilderness, Highway, Underworld (rare), River, Sealanes, Open Sea, Safe Environ (downtime)
  • Timetick: Normally the four hour watch, but can be 10 seconds for combat, 1 minute for Underworld or Urban
  • Weather Generation: More about this later but Harn has the best weather generation system of any RPG.
  • Encounter Generation: Roll to see what happen or who is encountered.
  • Movement: Where the players are going within the time tick.
  • Maps and Mapping: To aid this Harn product often have blank outlines or player view maps included.
  • Each of these section in Campaign gets explained along with relevant tables presented.


Maps and Mapping

Harn has several different types and scales of maps.


Poetic a in-game map.



Regional



GM Atlas map



Local map



Interior Map

Campaign Time

This one page section is about how to manage time within a campaign especially if you have multiple groups playing different session. While most referees are just refereeing one group at a time this type of advice is not commonly found anymore and is interesting to read.

Future History

Some advice and tables on how to generate events going forward from the 720 TR start date.

Movement Rates

Here we are given movement rates for different terrain and whether it is on foot, using a cart, a wagon, or on horseback. Harn measures distance in leagues where 1 league = 1 hour walking across level terrain or 2.5 mi/4 km. From long experience this is incrediably useful and I adopted it use for all my fantasy settings.



Transportation

This 2 page section gives advice, costs, and details on various forms of transporation like porters, wagons, and barges.

Caravan and Baggage Trains

There are several important long distance trails on Harn (Genin Trial, the Salt Route, etc). Caravans are a common occurance on these trails and this sections gives advice, costs, and details on how they work.

Encounters

This section is a series of encounter tables and their mechanics. At first glance it doesn't look too different than what found in most RPGS. However it much more concerned about the life of the setting and less on encountering monsters to fight.


Forms

The last two pages are two forms for use in running a Harn Campaign. The first is a 30 day calender with space to note what happens during each four hour watch. The second is a 12 month calender with six columns allowing you to note events happening in up to six locations for an entire year. Of the two I find the first the most useful as a campaign log even when I am not using Harn.

The previous post Psionic, The next post Treasure and the Bestiary.