Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Wizards of the Coast Print On Demand: The Results, Part 3

Today is Tuesday so that means new releases.  Wizards of the Coast has some new classic D&D books up for POD today.  Be sure to check them out.

Today I want to compare the POD 3e Draconomicon to the one I bought my son when it first came out.
A bit of background.  The Draconomicon is a watershed book for the Brannan family.  I got it for my son because he loved dragons. Still does really.  Well he carried this book with him everywhere for years.  Needless to say it is in pretty bad shape.  I have wanted to get him a new one for years and I have seen many at Half-Price books and of course at my FLGS, but none have jumped out at me saying "buy me".  We I opted to spend some of the money from the sales of my own books on the POD version.  I splurged and got the "Premium Heavyweight" paper.

In the pictures the original print in on the left side of your screen, the POD on the right.


Side by side it is hard to know which is which.  The art on the POD version seems a little bigger.  You will notice there is a spot on the bottom where the cover doesn't quite make it to the bottom.  I have seen this before on other books.  Sometimes it prints like this other times it doesn't.


The Heavyweight POD is noticeably thicker than the original print.



The POD does not have the dragon art printed on the inside cover.  The images are repeated in the original printing but only one of each in the POD.  The POD actually looks more interesting.



Inside the books are remarkably identical.


My son was 6 when I got this for him.   He carried it to school for two years straight.


This is the LightningSource/OneBookShelf page added to all the books.   So no chance someone will mistake these for originals if they know to look for this.


Equally, the original features an ISBN barcode.  The the POD has a different one that is not an ISBN.


The spines are also very different. This of course is by necessity to accommodate the varying thickness of the paper choices.

In all I am happy with it.  It doesn't look like my original, but that is fine with me.  It makes it more of a "new" book in some respects.  Yes, just like the original I am giving this to my son for Christmas. Don't tell him.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Strange Brew: Book of Shadows

My next book out for Pathfinder is now out!

Strange Brew: Book of Shadows


From the blurb:

Legends say that witches keep their spells inscribed into a Book of Shadows that holds their accumulated wisdom and power.

Here, in Strange Brew: Book of Shadows, you’ll find magic drawn from real-world legends, mythology, and folktales, as well as pure flights of fancy. Within Strange Brew: Books of Shadows, you will find over 100 spells and a half-dozen rituals, enough to delight your characters, bedevil your foes, and make your witch (or other spellcaster, whether arcane or divine) a formidable opponent.

Witches are magical creatures.

All for your Pathfinder Role-Playing Game!

50 pages, full color.
Again. Special thanks to +Rich Howard  and +Robert Hudson  for helping me get this together. And of course my editor/publisher +Christina Stiles The cover art is by +Jacob Blackmon,  whom I have featured here many times.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Kickstart Your Weekend: Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #4: Vault of the Dwarven King

Mad genius +Mark Taormino is at it again!

Maximum Mayhem Dungeons #4: Vault of the Dwarven King


The 4th dungeon in the Maximum Mayhem Dungeon series is being Kickstarted.

These modules really embody what I think is best about Kickstarter.  Mark uses these to get to a wide audience to pay for his art and production costs, which are always top notch, and get them out to everyone despite being a one-man operation.

This adventure is for levels 4 to 7 so it helps round of the "missing levels" from the other three modules.  It's almost like he was listing to me! ;)
(for the record I know he was not, this is a logical level spread and my input was not needed.)

In any case, back this. You know you want too.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Pathfinder Strange Brew: Book of Shadows

My next book out for Pathfinder now has a cover!


Part of the Strange Brew line from Misfit Studios this book contains a few hundred spells for the Witch class (and others) for the Pathfinder game.

Special thanks to +Rich Howard and +Robert Hudson for helping me get this together. And of course my editor/publisher +Christina Stiles.  The cover art is by +Jacob Blackmon whom I have featured here many times.

The character on the cover is my iconic half-elf witch Taryn. Here she is seen casting the spell "Moonbow".

Not exactly sure when it is hitting the shelves but I'll keep you all posted.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

TIA(aNaAMU)AoBG&BB!*

*The Incredibly Awesome (and Not At All Made-Up) Adventures of Booster Gold and Blue Beetle!

While watching the big "Heroes vs Aliens" crossover event last night on the Flash my boys and I were commenting that this latest batch of DC shows have really, really been great. Even their down moments are better than anything I had growing up as a DC fan.
I love Supergirl, Flash, Arrow and yes, Legends too.  BUT we have other DC shows on too.  Preacher, Lucifer, Gotham, Vixen, and even I Zombie.


How cool would it be to play a mini-series game where you can interact with all these shows?  Maybe even throw in Supernatural.  Hell, given that super-Producer Greg Berlanti also does Blindspot I might work that in as well.  Jane Doe is kinda like a super hero.

I have knocked this idea around for a while; a short run series using DC Adventures (M&M) or DC Universe (d6).  I wanted to do something where the heroes went up against a foe so powerful that it took them all.  I was thinking something like Dracula.  Yeah I can make that work.
But that would be a grim-dark setting. Fine for Arrow but would not fit the Supergirl feel.

We were all talking and decided that if these shows can make "Vibe" look cool then they should be able to do the same for Booster Gold!

So here is the idea we came up with this morning.
Do a tour of the DC-TV universe, each adventure would be a different show.

The boys would play the characters of Booster Gold (and Skeets) and the Ted Kord Blue Beetle.

I also have to admit I do see Nathan Fillion and Alan Tudyk as Ted (Beetle) and Mike (Booster) respectively.  (And I HATED, HATED Firefly!!)


The premise is simple Ted and Booster are travelling around the country looking to be (good gods help me...) "big damn heroes" and maybe make a buck or two while doing it.

Their misadventures land them in each super city where something is going on.  They help out the main cast.  I am thinking of taking episodes from the shows (out of order is fine) and retelling them as if Booster and Beetle were there. What we saw on TV was not the "true" story since Booster and Beetle were "edited" out; thus the "and Not At All Made-Up" part.  The feel I want is the JLU show "The Greatest Story Never Told".

I would start with the Big Four; Supergirl, Flash, Arrow and Legends.  IF it went well include Lucifer, I Zombie and Gotham.   So 4 to 7 adventures with a "Season Finale" at the end.  I would also HAVE to include Fire and Ice.  Just because.


Interestingly enough, Michele Hurd (above) who played Fire in the aborted 90's Justice League series, plays Jane Doe's adopted Mother on "Blindspot".

The notes I wrote for the Buffy RPG on how to do a "Sweeps Week" set of episodes would work great here too.

Dracula would not be good for this, but maybe something else.  Not Vandal Savage...been there. Hell no to Reverse Flash. Darkseid is too...Darkseid.  Comedy is important here.  These are light-hearted episodes.  Not undeadly, but not grim either.  More 4-color.

Given my source material I think the natural choice is Maxwell Lord.  But he doesn't inspire a lot of fear does he.  Unless his plan is to discredit supers everywhere to have his own group to come in.  We have seen that plot though many times.

Still. Sounds like it will be a lot of fun.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Review: Calidar, Beyond the Skies

+Bruce Heard, formerly of TSR and of Mystara and "Voyage of the Princess Ark" fame, has been working on his new world Calidar for a little bit now.  I reviewed the premier product, Calidar in Stranger Skies, a while back and I really loved it.  I have used bits and pieces of this world in my own games now for a couple of years; building up to something a little bigger.   The great thing about Calidar, and what Bruce is doing with it, is it can be added to any game world or campaign with only a little bit of fuss.  OR you can go whole hog with it and have it as your game world.

The newest book out, Calidar, Beyond the Skies, really helps with either plan.

Ethics in Game Reviewing: I received a copy of hard bound book in exchange for a fair review.  All links are affiliate sponsored links.  Further disclosure: I was planning on reviewing this anyway, I just moved it up a little bit.

Calidar, Beyond the Skies is part campaign book, part cultural reference and part guide to gods.  There is only minimal stats in this book.  This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. The obvious disadvantage is of course judging the power levels of the various gods.  I am going to say right now that this REALLY is not a disadvantage.  Gods are not Monsters.  Even in Calidar where the Gods often interfere in the affairs of mortals, those mortals are not going to pick a fight with them.  Relative powers are given and that really is enough.
The advantage is a true advantage.  Playing old school D&D? Great! Playing Pathfinder? Great! D&D5? Equally great!  But I am getting WAY ahead of myself.

I am reviewing the hard cover version of the book.  It is 248 full color pages on decent weight paper and full color covers.  I put the production values at the same level of the best of WotC's D&D or Paizo's Pathfinder.

The book begins with discussing the common abilities given to all divine beings and a discussion on what they are and do.  This follows a brief overview of the "planes".  This is a section worthy of the best of the TSR-era Manual of the Planes and right next to the 3rd Ed Manual of Planes.  I have to admit I love seeing the "energy" planes configured like a d10.  Totally using that one.

Since this is system free there is section on how to convert your system to something the book uses.  The easiest of course is a percentage system.  Depending on your game's chosen system there is a conversion here.

All of that and we are now into the "meat" of the book.  The map of the Great Caldera is given again with the countries and cultures highlighted.  This is important and a page I found myself coming back to as I read each section.  There is a great table on pages 14-15 that has every god, their cultures and their area of interest.   I was happy to see some overlap and missing areas.  Gods are not supposed to be neat and tidy things.  Some interests are over-represented, some have none at all and some gods stretch across more than one culture.
Ok at this point if you have ever read any "Gods" or "Pantheon" D&D book you can easily start making sense of things.

After this we cover the different pantheons and cultures.  We cover 10 such groupings of gods along with chapters on Rewards, the World Soul of Calidar and various godly trappings.

This is a book that takes full advantage of color.  Greater gods are in bold, evil gods are listed (title only not text) in red and benevolent gods are likewise in blue.  So a greater evil god is in bold Red.

When each grouping of gods is introduced we get the names and interests (spheres) of all that pantheon.   Common attributes for all the gods are given (what they have in common) and an overview of their Genesis story with a timeline.  We then get into some really interesting material.
A kind of flow chart is given on the relationships between the gods of the grouping.   This is best seen in the Gods of Nordheim, which are "imported" from Norse myths by travelers long ago.


After this each god is listed with a stat block of interests, allies, cults, foes, centers of faith and holy days.  Lots of details really.

There is so much in this book that I think it is going to take some more readings to digest it all. Each section also contains neat little bits like various temples, the gods' personal symbols, other bits to round out the faiths and make them feel like they real. In some, like for example the Gods of Meryath, weather (and in particular rain) are so important that the seasons are also discussed in relationship to the gods.

The last sections also detail various Elemental Lords, demons and mythological beasts and other near-divine beings.
 
There is a lot going on in this book.  If you are a fan at all of gods, myths and using them in your games then is a great addition.  Even if you don't play in the Calidar world this is a well thought out collection of myths.  I found this just as enjoyable as reading D&D's "Gods, Demigods and Heroes" the first time.   If you need some good, new-to-you-and-your-players gods then this is a must buy.

The art throughout is fantastic (that's Soltan of the Narwan on the cover) and really sets this book above others of it's kind.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Monstrous Monday: Campaign Idea - Monster Naturalists

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter universe. The books, the movies, pretty much everything.  So it was with great joy I went to see the new "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" movie.

So happy in fact I went back and this last weekend in 3D.


Between this, playing a lot of Pokemon with my kids and this past weekend's gaming I came up with an idea.

Why not have a D&D-ish game (it really could be any system) where the characters are not out to be murder-hobos and instead be something else.  The characters can work for a mage school or something similar with high ideals, to collect various magical creatures and bring them back to their employer.

I am thinking that the entire idea revolves around the premise that these creatures are to brought back alive for study and care.  So not killing them and not even really seeing them as evil; more as something that would be collected and studied.  I would include monsters like Owlbears, Basilisks, Leucrottas, Perytons and the like.    I would certainly use the Baby Bestiaries vol 1 & vol 2; the books are too good not to use.

I'd have to figure out some non-fatal means to capture monsters.  Magic ropes, cages and the like.  Plenty of hazards would be manifest too. Bandits, other monsters, not to mention the competition from other groups hired by the same employer or competition.

Sounds like a lot of fun to be honest.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...