Jul 12, 2024

What does D&D smell like?

 So I stumbled across this Kickstarter that is selling a "scent machine" that you load with smells to enhance your D&D game, like Ogre, Elf, Red Dragon, and so on.

Part of me says this is a terrible idea, another part of me wants it.

Is this an awful idea or a great one?

Scent Machine Kickstarter




Jul 10, 2024

D&D 2024 Stat Block

 This little tidbit has been leaked showing what the stat block will look like in 2024 D&D.

Not a whole lot different from 5th edition, perhaps a little more legible and an easier layout.


via Bob World Builder

Jun 28, 2024

Gunslinger RPG - Now Available

 It is official. The final full version of Gunslinger RPG core rules are now available on DriveThruRPG.

https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/435804/Gunslinger-Roleplaying-Game

It was a wild ride, and it is a relief to finally have it out there. I hope you all enjoy it.







Gunslinger Week - Final Preview

 Gunslinger goes to press today.

In this final installment of Gunslinger Preview Week here are a couple of the never before shown full page illustrations for the book. This will give you some kind of idea of the kinds of adventures you will go on in the game. This first one is "Bug Hunt" where a couple of daring gunslingers abscond with some giant wasp eggs to sell to the Smithsonian, hopefully for a good sum.

The second illustration, a native overlooks some gunslingers exploring mysterious ruins found in a hidden canyon. Could this lead to the fabled Arizona Underworld?

And in the last one a gang does a fast getaway after robbing a bank, will you go after them for the reward money? Or is your party of outlaws one of the gang members?!





Jun 27, 2024

Gunslinger - Apache Wars

 You need to read about the history of the Apache Wars.

Truly, one of the most fascinating chapters in American history. Like many Americans I was vaguely aware of it. Of course I'd heard of Geronimo, but didn't know much else. Even though I'd grown up in Arizona, I think I slept through much of Arizona History class.

We think the Afghanistan war went on a long time, well the Apache Wars went on longer, and were a much tougher fight. The Chiricahua Apache had mastered guerilla warfare, they'd strike, and melt into the Arizona hills. They gave the US Cavalry hell for decades. And for the Apache this was after years of war with the Mexicans before US purchased the Arizona territory.

One of the most legendary fighters was Lozen. She was part of Geronimo's elite inner circle of warriors, and fought as hard as any man.

Generating NPC's is one of the more time consuming tasks for the game Referee, so pages of NPC's based on historical figures are included.

Gunslinger is an "open world" campaign, in terms of the Arizona Territory being presented as is, but there are many adventuring locations spelled out: abandoned mines, ghost towns, caves, and then some more "pulpy" locations added such as ancient ruins and a vast underworld. With the Apache wars as part of the backdrop.



And I've posted the Brave class before, but this is the final art and text:


Jun 26, 2024

Gunslinger - Strange Science

 One of the features of Gunslinger is Strange Science. To those familiar with Gamma World (or the classic Expedition to the Barrier Peaks) you'll recall how exciting it was to find some weird unknown piece of technology and trying to figure out how it works. Sometimes to great effect, and other times to disaster!

And since Gunslinger doesn't have magic* this is the closest thing to it. As Arthur C. Clarke famously said "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." That is certainly true in the Arizona Territory in the 1800's where strange science is involved.

For those fans of the genre, there are a lot of Easter Eggs in here I'm sure you'll appreciate.


Closing in on those last little details to send Gunslinger to press this week.


*There is a "Mythic West" appendix in the back for those who want a little supernatural in their campaign.





Jun 25, 2024

Gunslinger Week: Critters

 Another preview of the final text and art from the Gunslinger RPG.

I mentioned previously how much art went into the making of this game, well a huge amount of that went into the critters section. During research for the setting of the 1800's Arizona Territory I came across quite a few interesting legends. Many of these made it into the book, with some modification to make them useful for your own wild west (with a bit of strange science!) campaign milieu. 



Jun 24, 2024

Gunslinger Week

 This week Gunslinger goes to press!

So, I'll post a little preview of final art and text each day this week. Let's start with our main character, the Gunslinger. I like to think of him as the "Paladin" of the game.


This will be your last chance to get the Gunslinger RPG (PDF) at the "Beta Edition" rate, once the full final version is posted it will go up to regular price. https://www.drivethrurpg.com/en/product/435804/gunslinger-roleplaying-game

Jun 19, 2024

D&D 2024 Classes

 Information is beginning to trickle out on what is in D&D 2024. Here are the classes and sub-classes that will be in the Player's Handbook.



The posted release dates for the Core Books:
2024 Player's Handbook – 17 September 2024
2024 Dungeon Master's Guide – 12 November 2024
2024 Monster Manual – 18 February 2025

Here are the 48 subclasses to appear in the 2024 Player's Handbook.

Barbarian:

  • Path of the Berserker
  • Path of the Wild Heart (Previously Path of the Totem Warrior)
  • Path of the World Tree (new to Dungeons & Dragons)
  • Path of the Zealot

Bard

  • College of Dance (new to Dungeons & Dragons)
  • College of Glamour
  • College of Lore
  • College of Valor

Cleric

  • Life Domain
  • Light Domain
  • Trickery Domain
  • War Domain

Druid

  • Circle of the Land
  • Circle of the Moon
  • Circle of the Sea (new to Dungeons & Dragons)
  • Circle of the Stars

Fighter

  • Battle Master
  • Champion
  • Eldritch Knight
  • Psi Warrior

Monk

  • Warrior of Mercy
  • Warrior of Shadow
  • Warrior of the Elements (previously the Way of the Four Elements)
  • Warrior of the Open Hand

Paladin 

  • Oath of Devotion
  • Oath of Glory
  • Oath of the Ancients
  • Oath of Vengeance

Ranger

  • Beast Master
  • Fey Wanderer
  • Gloom Stalker
  • Hunter

Rogue

  • Arcane Trickster
  • Assassin
  • Soulknife
  • Thief

Sorcerer

  • Aberrant Sorcery
  • Clockwork Sorcery
  • Draconic Sorcery
  • Wild Magic

Warlock

  • Archfey Patron
  • Celestial Patron
  • Fiend Patron
  • Great Old One Patron

Wizard

  • Abjurer
  • Diviner
  • Evoker
  • Illusionist



Update: Just got a preview of the Character Sheets.





Jun 10, 2024

Gunslinger - Lots and Lots and Lots and Lots of Art

 June is the month Gunslinger goes to press. Come hell or high water it is getting finished. So I imagine I'll have to do a postmortem at some point to pinpoint why it took so long and how to make future projects more efficient. 

Looking at the art folder there are over 200 art assets.

Over...two...hundred...art...assets.

This is a one man operation, I did have some help editing and playtesting, but the writing, design, graphics, layout, and art are all my responsibility. Just back of the envelope math if each art asset took 4-6 hours to make (some took a lot more, a few took less). That is 1200 hours of work.  I have a full time job, and I'm a dad, so that had to be done between life responsibilities. And that doesn't include the writing, editing, playtesting, research, and design where the bulk of my time was spent. This project got to be a little ridiculous. I thought it was going to be a quick little OSR western. If I had been smart about it that is what Gunslinger would have been, but nope.

The book itself is clocking in at 134 pages. The kickstarter version is a little longer because it includes a prelude chapter to the Princess of the Red Planet adventure. By RPG standards 134 pages isn't huge, but note that it is the cream of the research and playtest efforts. Not a lot of drivel in it, like most RPG's have.

In the end nobody cares how long something took to make. The product stands or falls on its own. All I can say is I did my best on it. This month, June, the book goes to press. Fin.


For some reason I thought illustrating every critter was a good idea.


May 20, 2024

Geirdriful - Valkyrie of Flinging Spears

 The OSR version of Book of Valkyries is slowly nearing completion. I've enjoyed digging into Norse, and greater germanic mythology for research. The stat blocks I've been using are closest to BECMI (because of the expanded ability score table) with a few modern touches such as ascending AC and including a Base Attack Bonus, and also dual axis alignment.

Geirdriful
Valkyrie of Flinging Spears

Demi-Goddess, Medium Humanoid, Neutral Good

Armor Class: 18
Hit Dice: 10 (45 hp)
Base Hit Bonus: +7
Attacks: 2 spears (1d8+3 dam. each)
Move: 60' (20') / 180' (60') flying
Save: D12 W11 P10 B13 S14 (F10)
Morale: 11
XP: 2,500
TT: D
Str: 18/+3 Dex: 16/+2 Con: 15/+1
Int: 14/+1 Wis: 16/+2 Chr: 18/+3

Spear Mastery: Geirdriful can throw her spears with perfect accuracy up to 120'.

Divine Resilience: Immune to charm and fear effects.

Geirdriful (“Spear Flinger”) has golden hair and gleaming armor as she soars through the skies. Her eyes, sharp and focused, miss nothing in the chaos of battle. Geirdriful wields a half dozen ornate spears, each imbued with the power to strike true from any distance.


May 13, 2024

Formidable Fighter

Ever wondered what the fighter on the cover of the red box Basic D&D book looked like? Has Wizard's recent shenanigans caused some confusion? No worries, his face was already shown in this toy released last year!


 

May 6, 2024

Gunslinger Update #18

Incredible progress! We're well on our way to wrapping Gunslinger up.

Here is where everything stands:

Writing and editing are complete. Much thanks to those who participated in the review and gave us feedback and caught some typos. The core rulebook has been complete for sometime now. Though I reread it everyday and always find some little phrasing to tighten up. This is normal and happens all the way up till the moment I hit send to the printers. You can never reread it too many times.

Maps are done (whew)! 

Horse colors! So I added a page in the back that describes colors for your basic mounts with full color illos. This is unique to the Kickstarter edition.

Still working on the art. I peg it at 90% complete. I tried to create a blend of action, adventure, and spontaneity. Those who backed the Artist Edition Tier will be getting a well crafted original pen and ink drawing.

The full  rulebook is up on DriveThru and has been given to all backers, it will be updated with final art when that's done. Physical books will be shipped then. 

What's left? The included adventure: On The Arizona Hills is nearly done, it got a little bigger than expected, it is chock full of locations, NPC's, and opportunities for adventure, enough to keep your player's entertained for quite some time.

The question you all want to know; when will it be shipped? I keep blowing past the dates as the project kept getting more ambitious than intended, and I kept wanting to make it better (a friend once told me "better is the enemy of done!" its true). I've worked on this game virtually everyday but Sundays since the Kickstarter closed, it has been a great lesson in what to do and not do! If I do another KS I'll be sure the project is 100% done first so I can hit send to printers the moment the crowdfunding finishes.

Ok, that date? June. It will be done, shipped, in June this year.

Happy trails pardner.

Apr 29, 2024

2nd Edition Monster Super Compendium

2nd edition AD&D has its advocates and critics. As a long time critic I've slowly moved into the advocate  column. In particular the Campaign Settings during that era were fantastic. Something else TSR did well were the many, many, many monster books. 

And someone collected all of them into a searchable database. All. Of. Them. Over 3000 monsters!

Yeah, this website is crazy. Easy to navigate, and it has virtually every monster ever made for 2e AD&D, including from the magazines and various sourcebooks and campaign settings. One of the very good things about 2e was how complete the monster stat format was, almost too much. So it works for any edition of the game you want to play.

Check it out:


https://www.completecompendium.com/

Apr 19, 2024

Tower of Xthar'Drim in Isometric

 Here is the Tower of Xthar'Drim drawn in isometric. Looking at the flat top down maps wasn't always clear on how they interconnected, even with the help of the sideview. This should help.



Apr 10, 2024

Sanngríðr - Valkyrie of Violence

Time for another peek at the Book of Valkyries

Sanngríðr
Valkyrie of Violence

Demi-Goddess, Medium Humanoid, Chaotic Good

Armor Class: 2 (Mystical Armor and Shield)
Hit Dice: 12 (96 hp)
BHB: +12
Attacks: 2 attacks per round (1d10+5x2, magical battle axe Skjótt Högg)
Move: 60’, 120’ (fly)
Save: D4 W5 P5 B5 S8 (F12)
Morale: 12 (Unshakeable)
XP: 10,000
TT: F, G, H

Str: 18/+3 Dex: 17/+2 Con: 16/+2 Int: 14/+1 Wis: 15/+1 Chr: 20/+4

  • Magical Axe (Skjótt Högg): +5 to hit and damage, returns to hand after thrown.
  • Magic Helmet (Ofbeldis Hjálmr): Grants infravision and immunity to charm and fear.
  • Battle Cry: Allies within 30 feet gain +1 to attack rolls and saves against fear.
  • Divine Resistance: Resistance to non-magical weapons and spells of 5th level or lower.

Sanngridr is the Valkyrie of Violence, her name means "True Violence.” She is a towering figure of divine war and glory. Her presence on the battlefield inspires awe and fear. Clad in her mystical armor that shines like the northern lights and wielding the legendary axe Skjótt Högg (Swift Stroke), she is a force to be reckoned with. Her long, golden hair flows behind her like a banner of war as she rides into battle, her piercing blue eyes reflecting her divine origin. Known for her fierce loyalty to her allies and her mercilessness to her foes, Sanngridr is not only a fierce warrior but also a wise and fair judge of the fallen warriors, choosing who shall ascend to Valhalla. Her commanding voice echoes across the battlefield, bolstering the courage of her allies and striking fear into the hearts of her enemies. Despite her fearsome reputation, she carries a sense of honor and dignity, embodying the spirit of a true warrior.

Apr 9, 2024

Tower of Xthar'Drim

A Sword & Planet adventure for Warriors of the Red Planet







Xthar'Drim was a rogue Jedak who defied orders and broke away from Helium to form his own city state. He took the tallest tower in the ruins of an ancient city whose name is long forgotten, but is called Kith Drangor by the locals. There he began to build his kingdom, recruiting any scum and villainy that would join his ranks. He captures and enslaves others to throw into the dark pits under his tower, he uses these poor unfortunates in macabre gladiator games.




Apr 3, 2024

Rift of the Elemental Lord

 


Rift of the Elemental Lord

A rift to the elemental plane of ice has opened nearby that leads to an Elemental Lord's abode.


Apr 2, 2024

Rough Hewn Tomb

 A tomb to a long forgotten god-king was hewn out of solid rock. Is it filled with treasure? Or death? Most likely both.



Mar 25, 2024

Remnants of Galik Mon

 This was originally designed for a Sword & Planet adventure for Warriors of the Red Planet. I'm still working on the encounter key, but here is the map. The idea is a remnant of an ancient civilization live in the ruins of their ancestors, they've forgotten how to use the highly advanced technology that fills the place.



Mar 11, 2024

Cleaning House

 I've been going through boxes in storage and pulling out lots of classic gems, old school TSR products and other gaming and interesting rare and precious items. My daughter is helping to sell on eBay to earn some money. If you are interested in completing your collection or finding new (old) treasures, we are uploading new items nearly everyday until we've cleaned out our storage.

Sample only, there are a variety of items


eBay Auctions


Mar 7, 2024

D&D 50th Anniversary Minis

Wizkids just announced 25 new minis based on classic D&D characters and creatures. 

The upcoming #DnD 50th Anniversary miniatures feature 25 timeless characters and creatures, each sculpted in both their original and fifth edition forms.

And you can collect 10 secret rare minis. Four have been revealed so far. What could the others be?


In 1982 I would have been so excited to see these in stores. Now, I think I'm getting burned out on the nostalgia mining. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll probably buy them.

After seeing the press release I went to the Wizards website to check this out and see they have all kinds of 50th anniversary minis being released.

https://www.dndmini.com/collections/pre-order-today/products/d-d-icons-of-the-realms-50th-anniversary-8-ct-booster-brick



Mar 6, 2024

Alternative to Spell Points

The Vancian spell casting system of D&D is a tried and true proven system. Since the beginning there have been complaints about it, but no better system has yet been devised.

Alright, that's a pretty strong stance. That's my opinion on the matter.

I am still fascinated by alternate methods, and have yet to see a Spell Point system I'm fully convinced is better than classic D&D Vancian magic.

Here is an idea that is perhaps one of the simplest expressions of a spell point system, it is somewhat half way between Vancian and Spell Points.

You get X levels of spells to cast per day. X is your character's level + modifiers (ie. INT 14/+1)

A 1st level caster could cast a 1st level spell.

A 3rd level caster could cast a 3rd level spell, or three 1st level spells, or a 1st level and a 2nd level.

 This does give access to higher level spells before classic D&D does, but I think at a cost that somewhat balances it. You could add some sort of exhaustion system to further balance it, but I haven't fully thought that out yet.



Wizard Tower of Deth Daekas

 




Deth Daekas was the student of an Eldritch Lord, but he never achieved the level of proficiency as his master. So he sought other methods to increase his power by finding and modifying artifacts. He passed before completing his work, his tower is said to be filled with unique magic items of immense power.

Mar 4, 2024

Rolling Ability Scores

There are many methods for rolling ability scores. And judging by the DM's Guide and Unearthed Arcana Gary enjoyed making up new ways. Ultimately my favorite method is 3d6 in order, no altering. However, today it struck me to add one option to that: swap any 2. This gives just a bit of autonomy to the player to create the character he or she wants, while maintaining the rigidness of 3d6 in order.

This thought led me to wondering if it would be possible to boil all the methods of rolling scores down to their essence. And then I wrote this up:


A. Roll them:

1. Roll in order.

2. Choose where to put them.


B. Roll:

1. 3d6.

2. 4d6, drop lowest.

3. Standard array, choose a set and place them. No rolling.

4. Point buy. No rolling.


C. Alter:

1. No altering (you get what you get).

2. Swap any 2 rolls (ie. a high CHR for a low CON).

3. Subtract 2 from one to add 1 to another.


Standard Arrays

“Hero:” 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16

“Generalist:” 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15

“Specialist:” 6, 8, 9, 14, 15, 17


Point Buy

All ability scores start at 6, you get X points to add where you want them. Max 18 in any 1.

Low Power Level: X = 18

Mid Power Level: X = 24

High Power Level: X = 40


Feb 14, 2024

Einfaldur Dungeon

 


The Einfaldur dungeon is a maze of corridors under the city, some of which have been abandoned and are now home to rats and other vermin. The adventurers must make their way through this labyrinth, avoiding or confronting both guards and criminals, to find and rescue a captive ally.



Feb 12, 2024

Under the Citadel of Odasfib

 It has long been rumored that the ruins of the once mighty citadel of Odasfib the Terrible sat over a labyrinth filled with treasures and traps.


Feb 9, 2024

Frazetta Friday

 Happy Birthday to the greatest artist of the 20th century. Frazetta Friday



Jan 31, 2024

Temple of Mallist

 

Mallist was an evil high priest in service of a minor god of corruption and pestilence. Cultists built a new temple for him. Darkness has fallen on the nearby lands.


Jan 30, 2024

Grotto of the Ungrateful Fiend

 

The child of an arch-devil didn't appreciate what his parents gave him, so they built a grotto to send him to for a few centuries until he would become grateful for all he'd been given.


Jan 29, 2024

Dungeon of Ro'Ahgna'a




Ro"Ahgna'a the half-demon built a dungeon under the cathedral to hide from the holy forces of the church of light, he is biding his time until a false priest can take control and he can unleash his horde of infernal demons upon the empire.

Jan 24, 2024

Valkyrie Character Class

This is a new NPC class in the OSR Book of Valkyries. It is designed for demi-goddesses, so a bit overpowered compared to a regular character class.

Valkyrie

Prime Attribute: Wisdom, 13+ (+5% XP).
Attribute Requirement: 17+ Charisma
Hit Dice: 1d10.
Starting Hit points: 10 (1d10).
Armor/Shield Permitted: Any.
Weapons Permitted:  Any.
Alignment: Any but Evil.

A Valkyrie is chosen by Odin. Only a virgin human woman is given this honor. In rare circumstances Odin may choose a female duergar (dwarf), an elf, or even a Jotun. She is empowered by the All-Father with certain gifts and responsibilities. 

If a Valkyrie is slain while performing her duties she is resurrected and fully recovered in Valhalla the next day.

Valkyrie Statistics

Bifrost Travel: At will the Valkyrie can instantly travel the Bifrost rainbow bridge from any place on Midgard to Asgard and back. She can carry one person with her.

Spells: At 2nd level the Valkyrie is given a draught from the Mead of Poetry, wherein she gains the power to learn Seidr up to the 4th circle (level). She may choose from the Magic-User list.

Unseen: The Valkyrie is effectively invisible to mortals unless she chooses to be seen. She can be detected by means of seeing the invisible such as a Ring of True Sight or See Invisibility spells.

Swan Suit: At 3rd level she is given her Swan Suit that allows her to transform into a swan at will. Some Valkyries may be given a hawk or raven suit instead.

Helm of Truesight: At 4th level she is given a helmet that has the power of truesight.

Horn of Calling: At 5th level she is given a horn that will allow her to call other Valkyries, Einherjar, or Sturmwolves to her aid.

Winged Horse: The 6th level Valkyrie is given a winged horse from Valhalla’s stables personally by Odin.

Extraordinary Beauty: The Valkyrie gains +5 to Charisma.

Fylgur: At 8th level Odin may give a Valkyrie a personal spirit companion (see below).

Personal Hero: At 9th level the Valkyrie gets a personal hero she is responsible for, but who will also do anything for her up to and including giving his life. If she falls in love and marries him she loses her status and abilities as a Valkyrie and becomes, once again, a mortal woman.


Fylgja 

A fylgja, meaning "follower," is a magical spiritual companion typically appearing as a small animal (such as a fox, squirrel, or raven) that is usually visible only to the person it accompanies, in this case, a Valkyrie. However, the fylgja or the Valkyrie can choose to make it visible to others. By focusing, the Valkyrie can perceive through the fylgja's senses, including sight, hearing, and smell. If the fylgja is injured, the Valkyrie will feel its pain but may not necessarily suffer any physical harm. The fylgja's personality mirrors that of its Valkyrie.

Each fylgja possesses the standard characteristics of its animal type along with one of the following abilities:
  1. Aura of fear - Projects an intimidating presence to ward off adversaries.
  2. Protection from Evil - Shields the Valkyrie from malicious forces or beings.
  3. Purify food and water - Removes impurities and contaminants from sustenance.
  4. Cure disease - Heals the afflicted of various ailments.
  5. Cure light wounds - Mends minor injuries.
  6. Precipitation - Manipulates weather to cause rainfall.
  7. Gust of wind - Generates a strong gust to repel or disperse objects or creatures.
  8. Remove poison - Neutralizes harmful toxins in a person or object.


Jan 23, 2024

Fortress of Amarath

 Amarath the bandit lord took over the northern fortress and made it a base of operations for his gang.






Jan 19, 2024

Vault of the Shadow Mage

The shadow mage has kidnapped an important NPC and taken them to his stronghold. The party must infiltrate the vault, rescue the NPC, and escape.