Sunday, December 30, 2012

Attention all RPG Kickstarter Publishers

If you are going to chage for shipping make it CLEAR in your Pledge Description in addition to the front page verbiage. Also mention it frequently and abundantly in your update emails about estimated delivery.

Better yet just factor it into the pledge levels and if you think the freebies from the stretch goals is going to blow your shipping budget then learn to factor that in as well.

Nothing more will sour a kickstarter then having to make a second payment to get the items you been patiently and generously, waiting for.

And I am not naming names as the company in question has done outstanding work in all other aspects.

Note that the shipping payment is NOT automatic. In my case it was an email requesting that I pay via PayPal. So if you have an issue you will have some time to respond rather than seeing money out of your account.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Lulu Coupon Code

DEC26 will get you 40% off any Lulu order. Sorry about the late notice but holiday stuff been occupying my week.

Bat in the Attic Games on Lulu

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Making Christmas Gifts out of Hirst Arts molds

Most of my hobby time right now is spent writing up the English Civil War hexcrawl for James Raggi Lamentation of the Flame Princess. But with the holidays coming up I decided to put my Hirst Arts mold to good use. Especially after seeing what Dwayne of Gamers Closet did with his molds.

My sister lives in the US Southwest in the desert and I decided it would be cool to make her a little furnished adobe hut.

 The roof is a removable lid

And you can see the stuff inside much of it from a new mold that Hirst Arts had released.

A picture shot through the door.

Another door shot

A picture through the window.

Prior to building this I download the fireplace plans from Hirst Arts and built it. Took an afternoon to make and paint.

Now with the Christmas shopping and gift making complete it is back to writing out about Cavaliers and Roundheads.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Another Review of Scourge of the Demon Wolf

Over on The RPG Site is another excellent review of Scourge of the Demon Wolf. It by Brendan of Bedrock Games. He published an interesting Roman Era RPG called the Servants of Gaius.

Note that we do have a professional association in that I drew the maps for the upcoming Arrows of Indra authored by the RPG Pundit and published by Bedrock Games. Arrows of Indra is similar to my Majestic Wilderlands except it implements the original 1974 roleplaying game for mythological India. It includes classes, spells, monsters, races, and magic items designed to work with the India of Vedic myth.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Moldavy/Cook Combat Sequence

Over on the StackExchange RPG site somebody asked about Moldavy/Cook combat. I did a little digging and found a surprisingly straightforward system very similar to what I use in my own Majestic Wilderlands/Swords and Wizardry games.

On page B24 it gives five things in order to resolve
  1. Morale check
  2. Movement, except if you start in melee special rules applies (explained later) and you forfeit casting spells if you move
  3. Missile Combat
  4. Casting Spells
  5. Melee
It doesn't make note of arming oneself. If you look at the section at using oil or holy water they both don't make mention of readying the item. It seems the assumption that within 10 seconds it just happens 

On page B47 it notes that using a magic, except for weapons, armor, and protective devices, require concentration. While it could have been written clearer it probably means that using a magic item is the same as casting a spell. I.E. using a magic item is the only thing you can do in that round. This seems to apply to scrolls and potions as well.

With the exception of magic items and spells, you could generally abstract the above sequence into allowing the character to move and do one significant and time consuming action. Or to abstract it further the character can do two actions but only one of those actions can be an attack and only one of the actions can be a movement. So you can move and attack, but not move and move, or attack and attack. Casting spells and using magic items consume two actions.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

"Reply Hazy, Try Again" the future of tabletop RPGs

One of the classic Magic 8 ball answers aptly describes looking at the future of tabletop roleplaying games.

Some Long term trends I feel to look at for tabletop roleplaying games

  1. The Internet and related technologies most importantly PDFs, Kickstarter and Print on Demand. Because of this tabletop RPGs and hybrid forms are increasing in numbers and diversity. 
  2. The maturing of virtual tabletop technology which free gamers from having to physically get together to play table-top rpgs.
  3. The rise of the tablet and other hand held computer devices. One game change is  a large cheap flexible screen that is touch sensitive and can be unfolded/rolled out on any flat area to provide a interactive playing surface. 
  4. The ongoing development of novel boardgames whose mechanics can be reused in the design of tabletop games. 
  5. The renaissance of older tabletop games and older editions.
  6. Social network sites. For example Google Plus is being used for a lot of tabletop gaming. 
  7. The increase in importance of corporate and personal reputation.
  8. The collapse of the tabletop mass market in favor of increase in niche markets for various games and genres.
  9. The release of older tabletop RPG material in PDF or Print.

The main problem in developing a sense of where tabletop rpgs are going is the increase in diversity. What is happening depends very much on what news you keep up with.

For example over 350 products have been released for various older editions of D&D between January 2010 and May 2012. I only know that because I follows the news and forums for older edition D&D. Somebody who follows Paizo releases will have a completely different view. Likewise for Wizards of the Coast, SJ Games, Green Ronin, etc.

We live in interesting times.

Monday, December 3, 2012

AD&D as Family Heirloom

Here is a Reddit post from four month ago about a dad who did something really cool with his AD&D books. Clicking on the link takes you to a imgur site where you can see what he did.

The individual who created the book also has a high reputation on the RPG Stack Exchange site

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A excellent review of the Scourge of the Demon Wolf

Peter over at Dungeon Fantastic has written an excellent review on the Scouge of the Demon Wolf. It excellent not because he gave it a high rating, although that great in of itself, but he goes into its strength and shortcomings and explains WHY. As a small press publisher this kind of feedback is invaluable.

One of the comments led to a moment of "Oh shit, why did I forget to explain that?". Now I am posting this not as a defense but rather as what I hope to be an interesting look into the creative process.

Peter mentions why did the bad guy opt to run away rather than one of several other alternatives that he thought were likely. And he is right to question that as I forgot to provide any detail about the motivations of the bad guy.

Did I just forget to write up an important detail? Or was there another reason? Well I looked over my notes and turned out to be a little of both. I did have the motivation of the bad guy written down. But didn't right up the adventure from those notes. I wrote the adventure half from the extensive notes I made while playtesting the module. I figured it would be better than the originals as it would reflect what I used in actual play.

And as it turned out, despite a dozen playtests, it never came up once in the penultimate encounter. The bad guy always had enough time to overhear the PCs and act well before they found the person out.  So when I wrote up it, it got dropped. Because it was only briefly mentioned in the original notes, I overlooked it as far as the penultimate encounter goes. Although some of it appeared in the summary at the beginning of the adventure and other elements in the supplement half.

I wrote up a summary of the bad guy's motivations during the final encounter here and will update RPGNow bundle to include it. I also wrote up why the NPCs are so ready to shield bad guy from the adventurers.

One thing I will add this is that Scourge is a freeform adventure. The general approach I take is to setup the situation, hook the players into it, and then adlib it from there based on the circumstances and the movitations of the NPCs. What written in Scourge is a general account of me doing this a dozen times. The upshot is that if you think the adventure will benefit from certain NPCs act in different ways then you are most definitely playing the module as I intended it to be played.

Another point of interest is that Scourge was originally written as an adventure for 100 to 150 pt GURPS Fantasy characters back around 2000.  I played it through once using GURPS. A second time using Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 around 2002. Then starting in 2009 playtested nine more times using Swords and Wizardry plus my MW Supplement at game stores and cons.

Again thanks to Peter for his excellent review and please check out his many GURPS books.