Oct 12, 2021

Game Wizards - The Epic Battle For D&D

 The early history of Dungeons and Dragons is every bit as fascinating as any story could be about young creatives with a great idea and finding success. Jon Peterson, author of the excellent Playing at the World, has written another book about a part of D&D's history we don't know as much about: the insider business.

This is a part of the history of TSR and D&D I've long wanted to learn more about, and it appears Jon Peterson has done the deep research to uncover what happened behind the scenes.

Pre-orders are available on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles

You can read more at his blog. https://playingattheworld.blogspot.com/2021/09/game-wizards-my-new-book.html

Oct 11, 2021

PotRP Design Diary #26 - Princess of the Red Planet - On the Arizona Hills

The prequel to Princess of the Red Planet is almost complete. The first draft has been sent off to be edited by my esteemed colleague David Pulver

I've set up a preview page on the Night Owl website. Just a few images for now, but it will get fleshed out as the time for the Kickstarter gets closer.


Having read through the Mars series by Edgar Rice Burroughs several times I think what stands out about the first novel and helps to really make it special, besides it being a great rip-roaring story, is the way it starts out as a traditional Western. The mundaneness of the Old West sets the stage and contrasts with all the fascinating weirdness of Barsoom. And I really wanted to capture that contrast. Thus Gunslinger is a traditional Western RPG, with a little bit of strangeness (the strange science part) until the characters find themselves somehow on the Red Planet. You can follow the book exactly or let the players discover and explore things and create their own story that gets them there where they can meet the strange denizens of the Red Planet.

Why Kickstarter? I've resisted crowdfunding and have instead just made my fun little books as Print-on-Demand available at a reasonable price for everyone. Well, if a Kickstarter is successful then the quality of the printed books can be much higher than POD. Also it helps to increase awareness which means more players which means more support the games can get. This book has been a considerable investment in time, research, writing, play testing, editing, and of course art. I want to make it as good as I can. A Kickstarter will allow this.

Stay tuned as more details are revealed and the time for the Kickstarter is revealed.

Oct 2, 2021

OSR Blog Index

 Here is an index of OSR blogs. It isn't 100% complete (could any index be?), but it is filled with great treasures to explore.


(courtesy of Necropraxis https://www.necropraxis.com/ )

Sep 28, 2021

Raiders! The Martial Artist

I don't post that much about Raiders, though it is a genre every bit as interesting as Swords & Sorcery, Superheroes, and Sword & Planet. When designing Raiders one of the challenges was what classes to keep. There were a little over a dozen in the first draft, but it was whittled down to the four basic classes that made up the sort of ideal Raiders adventuring party.

I stumbled across this blog that has been posting some interesting content for Raiders, including a new class: the Martial Artist.

The new Marvel film Shang Chi was much better than the trailers advertised. It would be fun to put some of this action and storytelling into a Raiders campaign.

This class can fit well into pulpy archeological adventures in the early 20th century. At the time from what was considered the "mysterious Orient". Before Bruce Lee martial arts were a little known peculiar fighting style that the West didn't know much about. 

This interpretation is more of a sort of specialized Mercenary, a pretty good approach to maintain the simplicity of the Raiders RPG. Check it out:


Sep 17, 2021

Hawkmoor Beasties: Arctic Tortoise

 The bitter cold air raked our throats like a Sinderan witch's claws with every breath. We'd trekked across the bleak tundra for a week now without a single living thing in sight. Not even a bird. The land was cold and hard, each step on the frozen ground shot icicles of pain up our legs. We were famished, our supplies depleted days ago.

The ground began to tremble, the icy field cracked open and a giant shelled monstrosity burst out of the ground. "Get back it's a naesehorn!" I yelled, using the native name for the hungry arctic tortoise that was snapping at us.

Narrowly avoiding having a leg removed by the razor sharp jaws, I pulled my battle-axe out, bit my shield to engage my inner rage and charged the beast. My only hope was to sever its head by landing a blow on its neck, the only vulnerable part of the hard shelled scaly foe.

Behind me I heard Valgris reading aloud her runes to summon strength to empower my axe-arm. The arcane energy surged through my muscles and in a howling rage I unleashed the full fury of my blade upon the fell beast. My axe cut through scale and sinew, thick blue-green blood spewed across the tundra as the beast's head fell to the ground and the shelled carcass collapsed. I stumbled back, feeling the drain of fatigue caused by having stirred my rage.

"Good news is we have meat to eat. The bad news is I can't stand turtle flesh. Aah well, hunger is the best seasoning." I remarked while standing over the remains.

"Tortoise" Valdris corrected as she pulled her hunting knife out to begin carving the creature up for dinner.

- - -

NAESEHORN (Arctic Tortoise)
Large beast, neutral

Armor Class: 21 (shell)
Hit Dice: 6 (36hp)
Speed: 30ft
Morale: 12
Treasure Type: A

STR     DEX     CON     INT   WIS    CHA
27(+8)  10(+0)  11(+0)   2(-4)   3(-4)    8(-1)

Senses: Tremorsense 8
Languages: none
Challenge: 3/24 (125 XP)

Cold Resistance: half damage from all cold based attacks.
Burrowing: The naesehorn can burrow into frozen ground by heating it, and sinking just low enough to cover its body. This takes 3d6 turns. The ground will then freeze again. It does not travel underground.
Surprise: a burrowed naesehorn cannot be detected by normal means, it senses prey on a Tremorsense check within 20’ and can burst out of the ground to attack.

Bite: Melee Attack: +6 to hit, reach 10ft, one target. 2d6 slashing damage.
Stomp: Melee Attack: +6 to hit, reach 5ft, one target. 4d6+8 bludgeoning damage.

Native to the northern sub-arctic regions of Sinder and the tundra wastelands, the naesehorn (nay-seh-horn), or arctic tortoise, is a giant hard-shelled tortoise adapted to freezing temperatures. It appears to have a hair like mane and tufts, these are just very thin long scales that trap air and insulate the creature. It remains very sedentary but is capable of uncanny bursts of speed that belie its massive size.

- - -

I'm experimenting with the creature stat block for the monster listings in Hawkmoor. It is inspired by every edition of DND in some way. The main goal here is to provide all the information readily available without burying important details in text blocks. I'm still considering adding terrain or something about its ecological niche.