Sunday, October 30, 2011

Geomorph + wallet = The Ultimate Pocket Full of Peril!

I needed a new wallet and wound up getting a Dynomighty wallet.  Actually my wife picked it out while I was at work.  At first I scoffed...but...after using it for a week, it really is a kick ass wallet.  Looking more into them, I saw a design that every gamer on the planet should own...and personalize-the Graph Paper wallet!  These can be illustrated with permanent pen (think sharpie) and individualized!  Holy crap a Stonewerks or Dyson Logos hand drawn geomorph wallet would ROCK! Crap I need to do this even though my map skills stink on ice!  Maybe I will copy some of the B2 Caves of Chaos?

Anyway I had a gamer gift exchange idea here: You buy a wallet, you draw a map on it, and you send it to someone else for Christmas.  Hell you could actually make a mini adventure for the map you draw on the wallet! Kind of the ultimate OSR Christmas gift. Then you could scan the wallet (or redraw it, with the adventure) and put it on your blog.  Damn it is Pockets Full of Peril!

The wallets run $15, so with shipping you are probably out $20--but then someone would send you a handmade one back so really-it's a break even proposition.

Anyway it's just another crazy idea from yours truly.  More about the wallets below:

The writable surface can become a convenient note pad for your Frequent Flier, Car Rental and Hotel membership numbers without having to carrying a card around for each.

The Mighty Wallet® is tear-resistant, water-resistant, expandable and recyclable. Made from Tyvek® (think express mail envelopes), these cool wallets resist tearing because of thousands of interlocking plastic fibers spun in random patterns, giving them incredible strength.

The ingenious origami construction was and is the original folded Tyvek® wallet designed by Terrence Kelleman. The stitch less design reinforces the materials own strength and allows these very slim wallets to instantly expand and adapt to your own personal storage needs. The Mighty Wallet® will expand right before your eyes (watch the videos).

Because of the slim, lightweight and water resistant features, you can take these cool wallets anywhere. They make great "night out" wallets for a slender silhouette and the writable surface conveniently acts as a quick note pad on the go.

In time, the Mighty Wallet® will gradually soften and patina but, even after years of wear, it will still offer surprise and solicit intrigue.

Historical Oddity: Female Classes for D&D

It's 1976 and the World's most popular role playing game has yet to break out.  In this pupa stage of development, many interesting, if odd, ideas were still possible.  One of them being female specific rules for classes. The article from Dragon magazine #3 below is 4 pages and there are many interesting bits from a historical and gaming perspective. I won't pontificate my own thoughts as I think this speaks best on its own.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Pocket Full of Peril Module D2 now available for download

The second Pocket Full of Peril Module in the Dyson's Delve series is now available for download! Click on the Pocket Full of Peril repository image to your right to download it now.
I really like this format, and once I publish my fantasy game Roguish,  I intend on doing a few modules in this format for it.  This would be in addition to the regular Pocket Full of Peril quick adventures for it.

For Roguish, I'll expand on my Lunartics  and publish it as the first module.

As always your thoughts and comments are welcome.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trick or Treat?

As promised earlier this week, here is a new Pocket Full of Peril..but with a twist.  I am going to do a 4 module series using Dyson Logos' Dyson's Delve as the subject.

Dyson's map work has been the feature of past PFoP's and it struck me, while looking at a copy of Stuart Robertson's Masterful mini-module CITADEL OF EVIL, that this could be a cool mash up! A Pocket Mod module series? Truly a Pocket Full of Peril!

So click on the Pocket Full of Peril repository to your right and download the first mini module in the series.

Tip of the cap to Dyson of course for the great adventure to work with and to Stuart for the inspirational pocket mod module design.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Pirates & Peril

Well a busy day of writing produced 3 (holy crap!) new supplements for my Rogue Space RPG.  The new setting is Space Pirates and is set in an alternate 1930's setting after Worlds War One. (no, Worlds is not a typo).  This poster says it all:
Rogue Space: Pirates &Peril

Friday, October 21, 2011

D&D, what it is and where it is going....

I read the following article 3 times to drink in all of its goodness, and I am still a bit in awe.  Think about when this was written, in late 1978 or early 1979 before the D&D rocket really took off, right as it was leaving the launch pad really.   AD&D was new, the DMG not even out yet, Holmes Box Set was D&D Basic, and the LBB's were still a core part of the product mix.  A time of transition, consolidation, clarification and anticipation.  Read for yourself, and be amazed (p.s. folks in charge of D&D @WotC, especially you!). This was published in the February 1979 issue of The Dragon #22

by Gary Gygax
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS® pioneered role playing in the gaming hobby. It brought fantasy before hobbyists, and it set before them a game-form most had never heard of. Perhaps 150,000 persons now play D&D®, but it was by no means an instant success. 1,000 boxed sets, hand assembled and labled, took eleven months to sell, another 1,000 of the same took only five or six months to sell (and Tactical Studies Rules was thrilled). Finally a third printing of 2,000 sold in five months. So from January, 1974, to December, 1975, only 4,000 sets of the original version of the game were in circulation. (Of course, I have no way of knowing how many pirated copies of D&D were in existence, but some estimates place the figure at about 20% of the total sales, some as high as 50%. In any case 5,000 or 6,000 sets was certainly nothing to set the gaming world on fire, or was it?) Today the “Basic Set” sells 4,000 copies per month, and the sales graph is upwards.
A month has not gone by in the last two years when I haven’t been interviewed by one or more newspaper writers or independent journalists who want to know all about D&D. I have likewise been interviewed by radio and TV news media, generally for the same reason. At the risk of claiming too much for the game, I have lately taken to likening the whole to Aristotle’s POETICS, carrying the analogy to even more ridiculous heights by stating that each Dungeon Master uses the rules to become a playwrite (hopefully of Shakespearean stature), scripting only plot outlines however, and the players become the Thespians.
Before incredulity slackens so as to allow the interviewer to become hostile, I hasten to add that the analogy applies only to the basic parts of the whole pastime, not to the actual merits of D&D, its DMs, or players. If you consider the game, the analogy is actually quite apt. DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is like none other in that it requires the game master to create part or all of a fantasy world. Players must then become personae in this place and interact with the other populace. This is, of course a tall order for all concerned — rules, DM, and players alike.

Relating a basic adventure, an episodic game session in the campaign, to a trip in an underground labyrinth does help the uninitiated to understand the simplest D&D fundamentals — discover an unknown area, move around in it by means of descriptive narration from the Dungeon Master, overcome whatever obstacles are there (traps, problems, monsters), and return with whatever has been gained during the course of the whole. The DM takes the part of everything in this fantasy world which is not operated by a player. While this should not mean it is then a game of DM versus the players, it does mean that DUNGEONS & DRAGONS is a co-operative game where players must interact successfully amongst themselves first, and
non-hostile portions of the campaign milieu thereafter, in order to be successful. The Dungeon Master is incidentally against the players when he or she is operating that part of the “world” which is hostile, or potentially so, but in general the referee must be disinterested.

At about this point I am always asked: “Well, then, how do you win? who wins?!” The answer is, EVERYBODY — providing that the game is well run. The DM gets the satisfaction of testing his abilities against those of the players, the fun of taking the non-player parts, and the accolades of participants when a particularly well-done adventure or series has been completed. Players enjoy the challenges of each situation and have the prospect of continuing adventures and puzzles to confront them, each with his or her game persona. Thus all taking part in the campaign get something besides a momentary diversion. 

Winning no more applies to D&D than it does to real life. The successful DMs and players gain renown via their campaigns or their superior characters. To enthusiasts of the game it is far more satisfying than triumphing in a single game or whole series of games. Simply stated, D&D is a multi-player game of fantasy role playing, where the rules give systems of resolution for common game occurrences, lists and explanations of things which are not actual (monsters, spells, magic items, etc.), systems for interaction, and suggestions as to how to put this into the campaign, i.e. create the milieu. Once begun, the campaign continues until the DM and/or all of the players decide it should end. As with any exercise in fantasy it requires suspension of disbelief. Those who find the game interesting will soon enough thereafter create their own sort of involvement and belief. But why is such a game (and similar fantasy role playing games, for that matter) so popular? What is its appeal!?
Our modern world has few, if any, frontiers. We can no longer escape to the frontier of the West, explore Darkest Africa, sail to the South Seas. Even Alaska and the Amazon Jungles will soon be lost as wild frontier areas. Furthermore, adventures are not generally possible anymore. The frontiers are receding into memories, modern communications make all of the world available to casual travellers, and the most backward places are becoming more and more civilized. Certainly it is still possible to go scuba diving, mountain climbing, auto racing, sky diving, and so on. These are expensive and risky for no real purpose in most cases. One can also have adventures as a criminal, or possibly as an agent of the government (if one is sufficiently qualified), but the former is distasteful to say the least, and the latter is most unlikely. Americans, with more leisure today than ever, crave entertainment. Some desire adventure and excitement. Obviously, various entertainment media are doing big business — TV, motion pictures, spectator sports, recreational vehicles, sporting goods, book publishers, and game manufacturers are all growing. “Escape fiction” sells better today than ever, and witness the success of the recent science fiction and fantasy films.
Looking towards space and the future for new frontiers and adventure is logical. The universe has fascinated mankind since recorded history, and today it seems quite probable that within a few decades numbers of us will live off of the earth, and in a century or so we will travel to the stars. Perhaps there will be frontiers and adventure enough then for all who care to test their mettle. But it is no less surprising for us to look into the realms of fantasy for imagined adventure. Most literate people grow up on a diet of fairy tales, Walt Disney, and comic book superheroes. We somehow relate to stories of young princes going out into the world to seek their fortune, of knights rescuing maidens in distress and slaying dragons, of dealings with wicked magicians and evil witches. The myth of all peoples contain great stocks of such fantasy lore. If nothing else, the desire to believe in such seems to be innate in humanity. Whether or not there are parallel worlds or places where fantastic creatures actually live and magic works is not germane, for most of us are familiar with the concepts as if they were actual, and we have a desire to become involved, if only vicariously, amongst such heroic epics of magic and monsters. It is therefore scarcely surprising that a game which directly involves participants in a make-believe world of just such nature should prove popular; and had I reasoned out the enthusiasm it roused amongst the first few who played it, it would have been evident that D&D was destined to become a very popular game indeed. (Naturally, hindsight is usually a 20/20 proposition, and the fact is I wrote the game for a small audience of devoted miniatures players . . . )
If millions take to the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien, and nearly as many follow the heroic feats of Conan, the market potential of a game system which provides participants with a pastime which creates play resembling these adventuresome worlds and their inhabitants is bounded only by its accessibility. Access has two prominent aspects; availability is the first; that is, are potential players informed of the fact that the game exists, and are they able to physically obtain it; and difficulty is the second, for if once obtained the game is so abstruse as to be able to be played only by persons with intelligence far above the norm, or if the game demands a volume of preliminary work which is prohibitive for the normal individual, this will be recognized and the offering shunned even if it is available. D&D failed on both counts, and still its following grew. Today we are putting D&D onto the track where it is envisioned it will have both maximum availability and minimum difficulty. This is best illustrated in the “Basic Set.”
Well over two years ago we recognized that there was a need for an introductory form of the game. In 1977 the colorfully boxed “Basic Set” was published. It contained simplified, more clearly written rules, dungeon geomorphs, selections of monsters and treasures to place in these dungeons, and a set of polyhedra dice — in short all that a group of beginning players need to start play with relative ease. Later editions have cleaned up most of the flaws in the first, and the newest will do away with the geomorphs and list of monsters and treasures in favor of a complete basic module, so that difficulty will be reduced even further. This should broaden the game’s appeal to a base in the millions, and then the major factor becomes availability. Popular demand always increases availability, and D&D has been blessed by its enthusiasts most generously in this regard. Coupled with the work being done by TSR to publicize and promote the game, the availability factor will also be maximized over the next few years. Finally, to maintain interest, a series of new and interesting modular dungeon and outdoor scenarios, as well as more playing aids, will be made available periodically. The number of D&D players should certainly continue to mushroom for several years.
Fanatical game hobbyists often express the opinion that DUNGEONS & DRAGONS will continue as an ever-expanding, always improving game system. TSR and I see it a bit differently. Currently D&D is moving in two directions. There is the “Original” game system and the new ADVANCED D&D® system. New participants can move from the “Basic Set” into either form without undue difficulty — especially as playing aid offerings become more numerous, and that is in process now. Americans have somehow come to equate change with improvement. Somehow the school of continuing evolution has conceived that D&D can go on in a state of flux, each new version “new and improved!” From a standpoint of sales, I beam broadly at the very thought of an unending string of new, improved, super, energized, versions of D&D being hyped to the loyal followers of the gaming hobby in general and role playing fantasy games in particular.
As a game designer I do not agree, particularly as a gamer who began with chess. The original could benefit from a careful  reorganization and expansion to clarify things, and this might be done at some future time. As all of the ADVANCED D&D system is not written yet, it is a bit early for prognostication, but I envision only minor expansions and some rules amending on a gradual, edition to edition, basis. When you have a fine product, it is time to let well enough alone. I do not believe that hobbyists and casual players should be continually barraged with new rules, new systems, and new drains on their purses. Certainly there will be changes, for the game is not perfect; but I do not believe the game is so imperfect as to require constant improvement. 

Does this mean that D&D will be at a dead end when the last of AD&D® is published? Hardly! Modules and similar material will continue to be released so as to make the DM’s task easier and his or her campaign better. Quite frankly, the appeal of D&D rests principally upon the broad shoulders of the hard-working Dungeon Masters. The rules never need improvement if the DM is doing a proper job, but of course he or she can do so only if the rules are sufficient to allow this. With refined rules and modular additions, all aspects of a long lived and exciting campaign will unquestionably be there for the DM to employ. Will D&D dead end when its novelty dies? That is impossible to answer. It is my personal opinion that the game form is a classic which is of the same stamp as chess and MONOPOLY® ; time will be the judge. No doubt that there is a limit to the appeal of the game in any of its current forms. If tens of millions play a relatively simple, so- cial sort of a game such as MONOPOLY, it is a sure thing that a far more difficult game such as D&D will have a much more limited audience. As the game cannot be simplified beyond a certain point, we look to another means of popularizing it.
DUNGEONS & DRAGONS can be played on a computer. Computers are most certainly a big aspect of the near future, particularly the home computer. Non-programmable computer games are already making big inroads into the toy and hobby market. They will grow still more, and soon programmable games will join this trend. D&D program cassettes plugged into a home computer would obviate the need for a DM or other players. Thus the labor of setting up a campaign or the necessity of having a fairly large group to play in it would be removed. The graphic display would be exciting, and the computer would slave away doing all of the record work and mechanics necessary to the game, giving nearly instantaneous results to the player or players. Computerization of D&D has many other benefits also, and such games would not destroy the human-run campaign but supplement game participation. This is the direction we hope to make available to D&D. Let’s see if my foresight is as keen as my hindsight.
All that being so, what is the purpose of this column, the reader may justifiably inquire? Well, as I make no claim to perfection, no such claim can be made for ADVANCED D&D or D&D for that matter. This column will cover controversial rules or systems, problem and so-called problem areas of D&D/AD&D, and consider new material as well. If the games are not to be continually changing and “evolving,” neither is it envisioned that they have reached such a state of perfection so as to become immutable. What appears herein is discussion which will sometimes lead to alteration, amendment, or expansion of one or the other system. Initially, what you read here will be direct from me, but all DMs — and players also — are invited to submit article material of high calibre. A glance at the introductory sections of all of the works comprising the D&D/AD&D systems will show that many individuals contributed to the designs. The list in the forthcoming DUNGEON MASTERS GUIDE is longer still. All of these individuals, and the audience at large, are cordially invited to submit their thoughts and opinions on pertinent matters. If I am not to be “the great god gygax,” a claim I have never made nor supported, there must be input which presents argumentation and systems which are meaningful alternatives to replace or augment existing rules and systems. This is not to say that anyone’s favorite variant, even if well designed, is likely to become D&D/AD&D, but at worst reasons for why it is unacceptable will be given, and the possible results could be a major change in the game. So here is your forum. Let us hope it becomes a useful and meaningful exchange!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Quick updates...the Walking Dead

1) Sorry I was traveling out of town last weekend so I was unable to update the site.

2) I think I found a middle road for Roguish combat that meets my hopes and expectations.  Thanks for the feedback,  I ran through it with the wife last night and she thought it was really good and  easy to grasp.  More testing needed, but overall it works well.

3) With the wife out of town this weekend, that means I will be able to get a lot of creative game stuff done.

4) Look for a Space Pirates expansion for Rogue Space this weekend.

5) A new Pocket full of Peril will show up here this weekend.

6) I put up a Far Trek site RPG site.

7) Last, I loved the first episode of The Walking Dead season 2, try out my 8pg Zombies Attack game if you are in the zombie mood

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Combat in Roguish, a fork in the design road

Now that I have character creation sorted, I have one more design fork in the road.  Dynamic or passive combat resolution.

Both have merit, and play testers are split.  As a referee I like rolling as well as in combat players...but in the wrong hands that mechanic could lead to a "versus" feeling between referee and players...

Here are the options and reasons as I see them

Dynamic Combat
Attacker: Roll 3d6+stat bonus + ability bonus ..VERSUS
Defender: Roll 3d6+ armor bonus + ability bonus

If attacker’s total is higher than the defender roll for damage, if not-no damage done.
·         Positive: combat feels more dynamic in play both for players and referee
·         Negative-a lot of dice rolling and it does lengthen combat.

This method gives the attacker a bonus based on natural ability and specialized skill. The defender is also seen as actively avoiding being hit by also using dice +abilities to defend.

Net result: This method leaves much to the randomness of dice, or fickleness of fate if you prefer.  This randomness is somewhat mitigated by the bell curve of using 3d6 instead of complete randomness of a d20

Passive Combat
Attacker: Roll 3d6 + stat bonus + ability bonus
Defender: Armor Protection + any applicable ability total.
If attackers total exceeds defender AP + ability total, damage is rolled against defender.  If not defender is safe.
This method follows a more modern d20 style of play.

Positive: simple to adjudicate and quick to resolve.
Negative: lacks dynamic feel in combat as player juts waits to see if hit or not.  3d6 bell curve also means heavier armors make players/foes much more difficult to hit.  This makes that armor very valuable and sought after which also means in game economics, there is a good reason for very high prices.
Net result-well if you have played the reverse (modern) AC system then you know what to expect here.

Below is the play test chart I have used for Roguish if you’d like to have a go, let me know your opinion.

Small Shield
Tower Shield

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Pocket Full of Peril #10-Rising of the Wickerman

The druid Alfius Gruun was once a noble and trusted man.  As time went by he changed, secluding himself and hiding away from those seeking his knowledge.  Many years later, word came of local masons and men being hired to dig a tomb for Alfius.  His wife and daughter, sombre and thin, hired the men and work was done in secret as none of the men ever returned.  Search parties were created, adventurers hired and eventually many years later on a bleak and withered hill a tomb door was found with one word--WICKERMAN inscribed upon it.  None could figure out how to enter and a large hangman's tree is the lone sentinel guarding the entrance and  marking the spot.

Download the PDF of the full adventure to your right in the PFoP link. Tip of the cap to STONEWERKS for the map!

Also note I published my Zombies Attack! Pocket RPG today.  If you liked Buckshot or Rogue Space, you'll like this too!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Far Trek Update

Just a quick update of the PDF text cleaning up a few extra bugs I found in there.  Note I have NOT updated the printed version and will probably just remove it altogether as an option shortly.  For those who have taken time to download and give it a spin, let me know what you think.

Also if you are like me and really dig minis, I HIGHLY recommend you check out Captain's blog as he makes 15mm trek-esque minis.  I am not just a pitch man, I own some!  I am really hoping klingons, romulans and other conversions he has made of his original figs become guys I can order. (BIG HINT).  Check out the coolness below:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A quick retrospective in pictures

So in the midst of all my work on a lot of different games and projects I thought it might be fun to share some images of my work.  In no particular order here are some pictures of some work I have done.
Some notes on the pictures:
Akratic Wizardry is a booklet I made using Akratic's house rules and adding my own pictures as an RPG reference
Collapse is my apocalypse, fall of civilization RPG
Far Trek is my Star Trek based RPG based on Mike Berkey's Where no man has gone before 2.0 rules
The Microlite 74 booklets I bootlegged this weekend myself, they have the new 3.0 rules.  It's funny a lot of my ROGUISH RPG ideas are in here, except I am only using 3d6 in my game.  Still highly recommended.
The Rogue Space menagerie are all of the pocket mod books I have made (so far) for my Rogue Space Game.

Much is done--and more to come!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pocket Full of Peril #9...Now available, and corrected!

As promised, since the Halloween adventure book fell through, here is the first in a new weekly series of Pocket Full of Peril adventures for October.  This Village map is actually from STONEWERKS blog.  It's a killer blog I have pulled lots of maps and inspiration from! I visit it a lot...but its been awhile since he's posted so hopefully we will see more soon!  Maybe I can use some of his stuff to do a Far Trek Episode of Intruigue series? I still recommend highly Dyson Logos site! I recommend you bookmark both sites and visit them often, lord knows I do!

Bleak Water Village is something a bit different than previous PFoP adventures.  Now you have a setting and I think (unlike a dungeon romp) it could lead into a larger adventure possibly.  Play it and see what you make of it.  You can download it to your right, along with the previous 8 adventures.

For those new to it, Pocket Full of Peril adventures are index card sized mini adventures which give you a skeleton script to start you, and a lot of flexibility to add, change, and to make it your own.  Drop them on your map wherever or use as a one night adventure.  You have to do some work to use them like figuring out spells for the wizard or full stating the opponents, but there is enough there (I think) to give you a springboard and room for creativity.

Anyway, I hope you dig it and my apologies again to AJ @ Stonewerks for mis-attribtuing his "werk" on the original post.