Monday, January 17, 2022

Openquest SRD released!


Today the Openquest SRD was released by Newt of D101 Games. Openquest is an D100 RPG based on the open content of the Legends RPG released by Mongoose. It has a small but growing community of fans behind it.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Happy New Year, Bat in the Attic Updates, and a bit of medieval trivia.

 Happy New Year everybody! Hope folks have a great 2022.

An update on my Bat in the Attic projects. 

Into the Majestic Fantasy Realms

I am currently working on Into the Majestic Realms which will be a four map set combining the Wild North, Blackmarsh and Southland. This will be formatted the same as Blackmarsh as well as set in the same world as Blackmarsh and the Points of Light series. 

The maps will be offered the 12" by 18" format that DriveThruRPG support. Unlike the Wilderlands where I had to divide the maps, Majestic Fantasy Realms maps will be designed around this size. In addition like my Wilderlands project these maps are cropped from a much larger whole. So as the series progresses in the coming years everything will overlap perfectly along with the option of printing the entire setting as a complete whole. The image is showing the four combined maps.

Scourge of the Demon Wolf Redux

Along with the above, I will be reworking the background of Scourge of the Demon Wolf to set it within the Majestic Fantasy Realms. Which is will hopefully address one of the common complaints of the original that the hexcrawl setting I included was a bit thin. This will also allow me to continue to offer the adventure after the Judges Guild license sunsets. 

The Majestic Fantasy RPG

After I get this out I will get the next volumes out for my Majestic Fantasy RPG. Unlike the basic rules this will cover all the levels and options. The volumes currently being planned are:

  • The Manual of Puissant Skill - covering character creation and combat.
  • The Legendarium of the Fantastic - a collection of monsters. 
  • The Domesday Codex - a collection of NPCs. 
  • The Tome of the Mundane, Strange, and Arcane - rules for campaigns along with magic items and other treasures. For example rules for playing merchants, and lists of herbs and potions.

Like the Basic Rules I will giving everything a sense of "place" that they exist as part of a larger world. 

Deceits of the Russet Lord

This will be the next sandbox adventure. Like Scourge of the Demon Wolf, it is a situation that can be resolved in a number of ways. What is it about?

The Deceits of the Russet Lord is an adventure involving star crossed lovers, corrupt monks, rebellious peasants, tyrannical lords, bloodthirsty orcs, and the one that orchestrated it all, the Russet Lord.


Further out

The above should occupy my release schedule for the next year and a half. I have several less developed projects most of them focusing on the Majestic Fantasy Realms. I do want try my hand at science fiction roleplaying at some point. I have a setting that I call the Majestic Stars centered around the idea that 65 million years ago the dinosaurs had a star spanning civilization that terraformed nearly every world in local galactic space. It was then wiped out leaving many of these planets including Earth to develop on their own.  I came up up with the idea to account why there were so many inhabitable planets when you use the Traveller world generation system.

Medieval Filing System

So recently I been watching a Discovery of Witches. Part of the series is set during 16th century Europe. Throughout this portion I noticed this in several places.


Letters hanging from cords or threads. So I dug into it and found that during that era and earlier, places that deal with a lot of paperwork and letters would punch a hole in them and thread along a cord. Related documents would go on the same cord. You can see some of this in this painting. Just zoom to the upper left corner to see the cord those letters are hanging off of.


Hopefully you find this useful as a bit of color when the PCs break into some medieval clerk's or noble's office.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Happy Needfest! The Digital Darlene Greyhawk Map

Over on the Flanaess Geographical Society facebook group, I noticed that Zach Henderson started to post a clean up of the original Darlene Greyhawk map. One of the things he did was to go through the map with Photoshop and removed all the hexes. A monumental task. 

I realized that you could digitalize that version and make a crisp clean copy of Darlene's original Greyhawk map. I started talking with Zach and it turned out he broke up his work out into layers. We exchanged files and I started to digitalize the text, fills, and symbols.

Using a variety of tools managed to turn nearly everything on Darlene into a vector. This allow arbitrarily small or large maps to be made from the file. Plus you get a smaller file size for various resolutions.

I then added a few requested bells and whistles like 6 mile hexes, and a black and white version.

I was able to export as SVG file containing most of the map. The only thing that didn't come through are the forest and mountain drawings. The digitization of those layers did not translate well into a SVG  file. But I managed to export the rest and sort it into proper layers usable with the free Inkscape  illustration software and most other illustration and mapping programs.

This is released under the Wizards Fan Content Policy and the few original elements I have are released under the CC-BY-SA-NC 4.0 license.

The main file is a layered PDF. In testing this I found many PDF readers to be hit or miss on their ability to turn layers off and on. Adobe Reader definitely works. 

Digital Darlene Greyhawk Map (PDF and JPGs)

Rob's Note: I been received errata on the map. I uploaded the fixed PDF. It is Rev 12b. Appreciate everybody who sent me errata on Christmas Eve. 

Rob's Note #2: I applied more errata. Fixing up settlement symbols because of the lack of clarity in the original scan. Also restored the missing i in White Fang Bay. Finally I sorted out the issue with the mountain and forest fills in the SVG file. They are now present. The PDF and SVG are now Rev 12c. The JPGs been all updated.

Here is a jpg export of the full map.

Digital Darlene Greyhawk Map (JPG)

Everybody have a happy and safe holiday and Merry Christmas to one and all.

Original Darlene Style

Six Mile Hexes

Greyscale version

Friday, November 26, 2021

GURPS Nordlond Bestiary Kickstarter


Douglas Cole of Gaming Ballistic is having another GURPS related kickstarter. This time it is a bestiary for his Nordlond setting for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG. Nordlond as setting is centered around the culture of Norse Vikings. Normally a RPG supplement like this is fairly setting specific. Some of the creature that Doug has preview have norse origins. But he also repurposes many common DnD style fantasy monsters give them a viking twist. Making this work useful for expanding the number of creature the referee has for a Dungeon Fantasy or GURPS campaign.

Doug explains it best.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG is purposefully generic: It is Powered by GURPS, after all. The Norðlond setting is not generic, borrowing from the literary tradition of the Viking culture. The sagas of looting, pillaging, and raiding for wealth and fame made a natural match for a game with a tag-line of “Smash Evil for Fun and Profit.”

Even with that in mind, the monsters here can be—and should be—repurposed and transplanted to other campaigns. Many of them are thinly disguised transplants from other cosmologies anyway: The nautamaðr is clearly based on the Minotaur; the Blóðughúfa, or “bloody hat” is the redcap, a fixture of Northumbrian folklore, perhaps derived or parallel to the Irish fear dearg, meaning “red man,” said to wear a red coat and cap.  Animals—normal, giant, and dire—don’t require any work to move between campaigns. Much as the player characters pillage loot, GMs should pillage the worked examples here to make their lives easier when running games in any campaign.

My view that this type of work for GURPS needs to be support and encourage. GURPS is great as a toolkit however it needs the same range of support as other similar types of RPGs for referee who don't have the time to sift through all the options. The Nordlond bestiary helps a lot with this.

The Nordlond Bestiary also has a enemies section of NPC characters to use in a campaign.

Nordlond Bestiary and Enemies


Friday, November 19, 2021

3D printed Miniatures and a JE Shields Kickstarter

 James Shields has been drawing art for the OSR and RPGs for a while. I have used several of his pieces in my projects and backed several of his kickstarters

He is always trying new things. For example a project creating stock art that allows you to mix and match different elements to create science fiction art. 

His latest kickstarter is also about something different, Uncommon Monstrosities It offers 3D model files suitable for 3D printing but with the miniatures sculpted in JE Shields' distinctive style. 

I think it is a neat idea. With 3D printing becoming more popular I figured that folks to know about this. Recently I made some figures with Heroforge and paid for a couple of stl files. A friend of the mind, Josh, had a 3D printer and made the models. The results were acceptable. 


Yeah I know the shield is bent weirdly but having the rest of the mini exactly how I wanted it was great. The shield issue resulted because you have to consider proper support when the model is printed partway. Anyway thank to Josh for printing this for me! I am in the midst of painting them and will show them off once I am done.

Best of luck to James and his Uncommon Monstrosities kickstarter  and hope it works out great!

Thursday, October 28, 2021

The original release of Dungeons and Dragons was a supplement.

It occurred to me recently that the original release of Dungeons and Dragon is best viewed as a supplement. Not to the Chainmail Miniature wargame but to the unwritten rules, systems, and methods the miniature wargaming community of the early 70s were using.

After reading Playing at the World, Hawk and Moor, and other accounts of early miniature wargaming I had a better understanding of why the 3 LBBs of ODnD were organized the way they were. It makes  sense to me to view it as a supplement to what folks were doing at the time. And why everybody else who got a hold of it was scratching their heads over the missing parts.

What got me thinking about this was thinking about my Majestic Wilderlands Supplement. This was written for Swords and Wizardry. I didn't bother explaining what hit points, armor class, and levels were. My target audience was hobbyists playing Swords and Wizardry and other classic editions. I assumed that they would "get" the stuff I left undefined. I did receive a few criticisms and comments early on about where was rest of the system was. I explained that it was a supplement to another game. Luckily for me it was free to download.

With all the interest generated in the history of our hobby with the Game Wizards, I figure this would a interesting insight when weighing the original release against later editions of Dungeons and Dragons.

Friday, September 3, 2021

Concerning the OSR, Everything is All Right.

Over the summer and recently I seen posts and opinions on the direction of the Old School Renaissance or OSR. Just keep in mind that due to how it came about. A result of discussion and sharing on the Internet combined with judicious use of open content like the D20 System Reference Document. Because of this, differences in content, tone, and feel are not only expected but inevitable. 

Everybody has equal access to the foundational material and the situation is such that one can do quite a bit within the time one has for a hobby. Even when it something more involved like getting a work in shape for publication. 

The result is that the OSR is confusing kaleidoscope of many voices doing their own things. Which is a good thing in my book as this ensure that your voice will be heard if you have the interest and time. Plus thanks to digital technology it only take a few hundred folks interested in particular take to keep it going.

The downside is that if you have a specific interest and it not being handled by anybody then the only recourse available is to do it yourself. Encouragement or promotion might work but the only way to ensure that something gets done is for somebody somewhere to pick up the available tools and starting making stuff.

Which why what I said back in 2009 is still true today, the OSR belongs to those who do.

Finally remember what you see, including myself, is just a slice of a much larger effort. With nearly 8,000 items on DriveThruRPG alone, I would not trust anybody's assertion that the OSR is about anything in particular other than it that probably originated in a theme or set of mechanics associated with the various classic editions of the world's most popular roleplaying game. 

But if you look at specific groups and specific individuals, like myself, then that will not be the case, and that there will be a specific focus. For me it been mostly about sandbox campaigns, hexcrawl formatted settings, letting players trash settings ,and when needed using rules based off of Swords and Wizardry. Other folks have their own focus.

One particular thing I want to mention that matured quite a bit since 2009 are virtual tabletops. Even after face to face gaming resumes it former place, the development of VTT software, like Roll20 and Fantasy Grounds continue to allow people separated by geography or circumsantces to get together and play the games they like and love.  And the best part you can switch easily between a VTT and face to face when time and circumstances permit. Both start with the same material and require pretty much the same type preparation although there are differences in how the session are handled. 

As always Fight On! and have fun with the stuff. It yours to do as you will whether it is playing, promoting, sharing, or publishing.