Friday, January 18, 2019

The Winter Witch in Print!

Got home last night after a LONG day at work to a little brown box I have been desperately waiting for.  Inside was my print copy of The Winter Witch for Swords & Wizardry!


It looks gorgeous if you ask me.  And it looks great next to her "sisters".




 IF you ordered the PDF before now and want a print copy then please check your notifications on DriveThruRPG/RPGNow.  I sent you a discount code for $3.00 off the print price (to cover the $2.99 PDF cost).


Winter is Now!

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Featured Artist: Claudio Pozas

I got the chance to meet today's Featured Artist when he put out a notice for commissions.  Once I answered him and I got the details over to him I remembered where I had seen his work before.
Claudio Pozas has done some great work for Wizards of the Coast for both 4e and 5e.



Getting a commission of my witch Larina gives her a certain air of authenticity in the D&D 5 art style.

Here is Claudio in his own words,
Claudio is a fantasy illustrator from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. A gamer since 1987, Claudio worked in Advertising before switching careers to pursue his art, which he has been doing for almost 20 years. He did art and design for D&D 4th edition, and has been illustrating D&D 5th Edition since its launch in 2013.
He has done some really excellent work.







You can find Claudio Pozas on the internet here:

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Review: Dark Places & Demogorgons The UFO Investigator's Handbook

I am sitting here now trying to figure out why my DVR didn't record Project Blue Book on the History channel and it got me thinking about another book about UFOs. 
If you were a kid in the 70s and 80s like me and most of my readership then it likely you watched the late 70s show about UFOs and Project Blue Book called "Project U.F.O.".  Oddly enough a lot of people remember the show as being called "Project Blue Book" too.  More Mandella effect I am thinking.  I am also thinking that Josh Palmer was a huge fan of the show then.

Dark Places & Demogorgons The UFO Investigator's Handbook
This book is the latest (for now) book in the Survive This! Dark Places & Demogorgons line.  A couple of things jump right out at me.
First, the cover has dropped the "Survive This!" label.  It is still mentioned on the cover page, but I am thinking that the Dark Places & Demogorgons name has more visual recognition.
Second, that cover is fantastic.  It's a step up from the covers of past books (which are still great, this one is just better) and it invokes EXACTLY the feelings they wanted.  Is that a Whitley Strieber inspired cover? Fire in the Sky?  X-Files?  Yes. To all the above.

Ok, let's jump right in.
I am reviewing both the book and the PDF.  These were not sent to me, I bought them on my own dime.  Noticeable differences: The PDF cover is blueish on my screen (nod to Blue Book?) but the physical copy is more green (Little Green Books?) anyway.  Not important...moving on.
The book is 48 pages with an interior cover page and two pages of OGL.  The font is larger than say your average Swords & Wizardry book at the same digest size.  Color covers, black and white interior art.

The first section covers new classes. We get a good selection of the usual suspects; UFO Investigator (a class I resemble a little too closely at that age), Conspiracy Theorist, Alien Hunter, and Alien in Disguise (for your Starman types).  The UFO Investigator covers your basic Fox Mulder, Carl Kolchak, Scooby Gang, and others.  The Alien in Disguise is the most detailed with various forms and powers. 

Up next are a couple pages of new equipment including the UFO Investigator's kits.  Some adventure hooks, UFO terms, and some misrepresented UFOs.  Enough in a couple of pages to get you going really.

The really fun stuff is next Alien Encounters/Seeds.  Included are the Hexpost Monster, Alien Probers (we know what these guys are all about),  K.U.F.O.O. (an organization), Green Men Attack Gaslight, and the G-Men Come to Town (basically the Project Blue Book).   So if the hooks couldn't get you going these will.

We end with what is one of my favorite parts of all the DP&D books, the Recommended Reading and Viewing lists.  Interestingly enough "Project U.F.O." is not on this list.  Ok, Josh Palmer, this needs to be added to your watch list.

The book is excellent really. Great addition to the Dark Places & Demogorgons game.


Come Endless Darkness: Adventures in Coggle

The day is getting away from me. So my post for today will have to wait.   I am playing around with a new tool today at work.  Thought I might try it as a way to map out all my D&D 5 campaigns and games.



The tool is called Coggle and it used for multi-user mind-maps and flow charts.

You can click here to see the public version.

I'll add the characters then hyper-link everything to the proper resource (DriveThru, DMsGuild, D&D Beyond).  Build it up as I go.  It's a nice organizational tool and a way for me to keep track of various items, especially characters. Had a player lose his character sheet so we recreated what we knew but said he lost all of his equipment and magic items.

I can see a lot of uses for this.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Review: Dark Places & Demogorgons Cryptid Manual

If I have said it once I have said it a hundred times. I LOVE Monster books.  Any and all monster books. I even grab monster books for games I don't play.  So when Eric Bloat they head monster hunter at Bloat Games asked if I would be interested in looking over his new monster book (Kickstarting today) for his FANTASTIC Dark Places & Demogorgons I screamed HELL YES at my computer.

Now I promise to be fair here but a couple of words of full disclaimer.  First I was sent this book as part of an agreement for a review.  That is no big, I get a lot of books this way and I always try to be fair.   Secondly. Well, look above. I am predisposed to like Monster books and I already love DP&P and cryptids are a TON of fun.  So please keep all this in mind.

Dark Places & Demogorgons: Cryptid Manual is a digest-sized book weighing in at 90 or so pages.  Some bits look like redacted Governmental documents and blood splattered hunter's notebooks.  It's actually pretty cool looking if not 100% original (see Chill, Supernatural and Conspiracy X).  That being said though it is also 100% EXPECTED.  That's HOW I want my 80s monster hunting guide to look like.

The interior and the cover features two-color art (blacks and reds) on glossy pages. Now the gloss might just be my pre-copy version, or not. In any case the color, the art, and the layout are all a leap ahead in terms of style and look than all the previous DP&D books.  If this is the future of their books then the future looks good.

A little over 50 monsters fill this book.  They use the same stat block as DP&D so that also means they are roughly compatible with Swords & Wizardry (I'd say about 99%) and most other OSR-flavored games.  Given the size of the book it fits in nicely with my Swords & Wizardry Whitebox games, so I have another monster book now for that! Each monster gets a page. Some exceptions occur with the Bigfoots and the E.T.s, but still, it's a good bit for each one. 

There are also templates in the back of the book that work like the monster templates from 3.x.  So you can apply the Vampire, Werewolf or my favorite Radioactive, template (among others) to any monster.  Radioactive Bigfoots?  Hell yes!  There is also a table of enhancements and how they change your monster. So now it's Agile Radioactive Bigfoots!
There are some conditions ported over from 3.x (more or less) but very, very useful and I am happy to see them here.

Ok what are some of my favorites?  There is the Almasti, which I also used in Ghosts of Albion. They have a special place in my heart.  I'll likely include Almasti Shamen in my DP&D games like I did with Ghosts.   Old faves like the Bunyip and Chupacabra.  Holy crap there is a Crocoduck!


I have to admit I nearly shot coffee out of my nose when I first saw that.  Worth the price of the book alone in my mind.  Flatwoods Monster, all the various extraterrestrials (Nordics, Reptilians, LGMs, Greys), Hellhounds, the Hodag! (love those things!), Jersey Devils, Skin Walkers, and the Wendigo.  So plenty really and many more.  The monsters mostly come from modern cyptids, but there some classics from myths and local monsters.

This book is great really. While I may have been pre-disposed to like it, it really delivered and then some with me.  The art is great and fun. The layout top notch and the monsters are just too much fun. 

While reading it I could not help but think how well this would also work with White Star or other White Box derived game.   So even if you don't play DP&D (and you should really, it's just too much fun) you can still get a lot of enjoyment out of this book.

This book is currently in Kickstarter and you can get in for as little as 10 bucks.  Not too shabby of a deal really.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ericfrombloatgames/dark-places-and-demogorgons-the-cryptid-manual-tab

There is a lot more information on the KS page, but trust me. You want this.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Monstrous Monday: Melonheads for Dark Places & Demogorgons

One of my favorite games of 2018 is turning into one of my favorite games of 2019.

I have been given the pleasure of an advance copy of the newest book in the Dark Places & Demogorgons catalog, the Cryptid Manual.

It is not out yet, the Kickstarter begins on January 16, but it might be the best looking DP&D ever.

The book is digest sized, 90 pages and full of great illustrations.  The crew at Bloat Games really outdid themselves with this one.  The book reminds of a Chill or Conspiracy X monster book and that is a really good thing.

Expect a full review from me later this week. In fact expect a lot more DP&D goodness this week as I spend some more time with it and my Sunny Valley, OH setting.

Since today is Monster Monday. Let's find a Cryptid worthy of this book and something my Sunny Valley cast could encounter.

One of the features of the original series was the Monster of the Week episode.  This notion came from spirtual ancestor of both the show and this game, the X-Files. So going back to Mulder and Scully is never a bad plan.  For this episode, though I wanted something new, something we have not seen a lot of in the past AND something from Ohio.

Please allow me to introduce you to the Melonheads.
These creatures have been terrorizing people (reportedly) in Ohio, Michigan, and Connecticut since at least the 1960s.  Really they are kind of perfect for this.

Found in the woods in and around Ohio these creatures appear as small emaciated children with giant bulbous heads.

One legend has it that a deranged doctor (Dr. Crowe) and his wife near Kirtland, OH took in some hydrocephalic children to care for. In truth, they did strange experiments on them.  Eventually, the children fought back killing the doctor and his wife and burning down the home.  They escaped into the woods where they still live to this day, terrorizing anyone that comes into their territory.

Melonheads
Armor Class: 10
Hit Dice: 2
Move: 12
Actions: 1
Morale: 4/8
Terror: 13
HDE: 2

Attack Damage: Claw (d4)
Special: Dark Vision, Hunt in Packs
Bonuses: +5 to Spot, +5 to Stealth, +2 to Listen

Pack Tactics: Melonheads are rarely encountered alone. When they are their Morale is 4. In a pack of 6 or more their moral jumps to 8.  They will attack en masse with three being able to attack a single victim at once.  Their attacks are not very effective, but with multiple creatures, they are sure to land a few.

Melonheads are not particularly strong or very bright.  They attack anything and everything that enters their territory.   Melonheads are only active at night.

Using typical 80s monster logic they mostly attack teenagers making out in the woods.

Sunny Valley, OH Episode: It's a Shame About Ray
(*Someone will appreciate that title)

The episode begins with a missing teenager, Ray. He had been out in the woods walking with his girlfriend Shanon last night. Before they got out of the woods though he was attacked by a group of Melonheads.  His girlfriend describes "creepy, dirty children with giant heads".  It is now up to our cast to find them.

The only way to stop them is to close up the mine they have been using as a home and hiding place.

Read more about these weirdos here:

Friday, January 11, 2019

Kickstart Your Weekend: Start of 2019 Edition!

New Year and a whole host of new Kickstarters to talk about so let's do it!

Retro 1E & 5E Fantasy Mini-Adventure Set 2


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/563681582/retro-1e-and-5e-fantasy-mini-adventure-set-2

More adventures from the Folio line.  But in truth, they had me at 1e & 5e.

The Streets of Avalon


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/encoded/the-streets-of-avalon

A Gothic Mega-City for 5e?  Sign me the hell up!  I love urban adventures and never get enough of them to be honest.  This one looks perfect.

Cha'alt


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vengersatanis/chaalt

Venger Satanis is back with another adventure.  This one is also designed to be 1e/OSR and 5e.  A pyramid mega-dungeon.  Venger is always pretty good with his Kickstarters so this one should rock as well.

Kingdoms of Hell

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/292543184/kingdoms-of-hell

Part RPG and part miniatures skirmish game this one looks pretty awesome too.  Frankly, I am in it for the minis.  This only includes the files for 3D Printing, not the minis themselves.  But that is fine I can print as many as I like.

To quote Lzzy Hale, "a little evil goes a long, long way."  And there is plenty of evil fun here.


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