Showing posts with label DriveThru. Show all posts
Showing posts with label DriveThru. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New in Print: Mail-call Edition

When I get games or game books together; either via a con, or an auction, 2nd hand sale, or whatever I tend to think of them as "linked" products whether they are or not.  This is doubly true when I get a bunch books at the same time in the mail.  Like I did over the last couple of days.

Here is what the UPS man left on my door in three different boxes.


That is +Mark Taormino's latest Maximum Mayhem Dungeon #4 Vault of the Dwarven King, fresh from the Kickstarter.  The print proof of my own The Green Witch, which you can now buy in print AND while it is on sale at RPGNow's Christmas in July.   With +Gavin Norman's print copy of Theorems & Thaumaturgy Revised Edition. His PDF is also on sale.

Let's jump in!

First up is the fourth installment of Mark Taormino's Maximum Mayhem Dungeon series.  This time for characters level 4 to 7 it involves investigating a Dwarven mine.  But you know that is not all.

The mine cars and tracks look more like roller coasters and there are monsters breeding down in the mines.  I would say they are unimaginable, but in truth, they are EXACTLY the sort thing we probably imagined at age 13-14 when making our own dungeons.  Mark just has better production values.  Like the others in this series, this is pure nostalgia fueled gonzo fun.   Crazy mines, insane monsters, goblins with chain saws. Yup.  This module has it all, and what it doesn't one of the others in the series does.


OR order them this way to have The Maximum Mayhem CampaignTM for levels 1 to 14!


Makes me want to pull out my Basic and Expert books and do that!

If so then you can bet that I will be including one of Gavin Norman's Vivimancers in the mix.

Theorems & Thaumaturgy Revised Edition has been out for about 7 months and it looks like it is doing well.  That's great because this is completely kick ass little book.


Inside we have three new classes, The Elementalist (specialist in the volatile energies of nature), The Necromancer (master of death and restless spirits), and The Vivimancer (expert of cloning, vat-growth, and bio-sorcery).  All for you Labyrinth Lord or Basic-era game.
If you have the older T&T then Gavin has put up a blog post to explain the differences.


And of course, I will have to include a Witch in the mix.


The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry follows up my Warlock class.  These are witches that protect the wood.  Are they protecting it from humankind, or are they protecting humankind from it? Maybe both.

Like my other witch books, this presents a new witch Tradition which includes new Occult Powers and Spells.  It also has some new associated classes, the Green Knight (a paladin for witches) and the Huntsman (a pagan-inspired Ranger).


All my recent witch books are for Swords & Wizardry and written not only to be compatible, but also to have very little in the way of overlap.  Obviously, the Experience tables are the same (they are all witches) and some spells are shared by all witches (Bestow Curse is a good example).  I try to make each one worth your while and moeny to buy.



And right now it is on sale. In fact nearly everything for the witch is on sale now.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Adventures with Venger As'Nas Satanis

Somewhere in the depths of Hell...or the Midwest, hard to tell these days, +Venger Satanis is plugging away putting out material for his own style of Old School gaming.  I thought it might be fun to check in on some of his newest books.

I like Venger's stuff. It is the right amount of nostalgia, old-school charm, sleaze and high production values and often tongue firmly planted in cheek.

Full Disclaimer: Venger sent me copies of His Flesh Becomes My Key, High-Stakes Q'uay-Q'uar, and Stairway of V'dreen for review.  I already had purchased Stairway of V'dreen and I bought Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss a few days ago.

His Flesh Becomes My Key
18 pages, $3.00, PDF
A cool horror/noir murder investigation. While overtly made for The Outer Presence RPG it is mostly crunch free. So it could be used with 1930s Call of Cthulhu, 1970s Chill or even in the 2010s with any game.  Frankly I would like to try it with Witch: Fated Souls or even Majus.  It is that flexible.
Now putting this right out there, this one is less tongue in check sleaze and more gritty urban horror.
I will not spoil the ending, but it is part of what makes this adventure interesting and good to use with nearly any horror game.
Personally, I think it is great fun and would love to try it out under different systems with different groups just to get a different feel each time.  Come to think of it, there is something in the adventure where I COULD run it multiple times, with the same players and characters under different systems.
This adventure is Eldritch Pulp meets the ugly streets of New York or Chicago or San Francisco of modern day.  It is has a nice "old school" vibe to it.  It is H.P. Lovecraft meets Clive Barker.  I hope to see more like this.

High-Stakes Q'uay-Q'uar
18 pages, $5.00, PDF + image file of game
I think most of Venger's adventures revolve around finding a dead body.  That's how this Alpha Blue adventure begins.  I am inordinately fond of Alpha Blue, so a new adventure is always welcome.
The adventure revolves around the game of Q'uay Q'uar.  It is a big deal in this area of space.  There was a Doctor Who episode, "The Wedding of River Song" that features something like this with Chess.  Now imagine that, only with purple and yellow pieces and none other than David "Space" Pumpkins as your host. Then you have an idea what is happening here.
There is alot going here with a lot of characters.  The PCs can compete in the Q'uay Q'uar challenge or they can be observers. There is a smuggling ring to stop (or join up with), a mercenary and a ton of other things to do here.
Included in the adventure is a PDF on how to play Q'uay Q'uar and an image file of a board.
I would be utterly disappointed to hear that Venger does not have his own Q'uay Q'uary game set up to play at home. I did something similar for Ghosts of Albion: Blight with a game of Fidchell. I did make a Fidchell board (well, really a Tafl board).
Like all of Venger's products, this one is heavy on substance and style, and light on crunch.  I could see this played under White StarStarships & Spacemen, or even the new Star Trek game.
I am going to use it in my Star Trek/Cthulhu-mythos mash-up for certain!

Stairway of V'dreen
19 pages, $4.00, PDF
This adventure for Crimson Dragon Slayer (or any OSR/Fantasy game really) starts In media res with the PCs needing to find shelter. Here they meet Doctor Ebzub and his almost completed experiment.  What happens next is ... well ... ok the PCs end up in V'dreen. But is V'dreen is left to some questions.  It feels like some in-between world where PCs encounter the remnants of gods that were, or could be.  V'dreen is a dying world. Not in the Jack Vance sense but in the "it is rotting right before your eyes" sense.  The PCs must either save it or euthanize it.
There is a fair bit of meta to this adventure and a lot more that can be added by any group.  This is the type of adventure that works best with a group that has been playing together a long time, but maybe the first time with these particular characters. The adventure can be played for bizarre laughs or as deadly serious.
Either way it will be a lot of fun.

Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss
14 pages, $3.00, PDF
Have you ever wanted to make your own adventures? Do you want to be like Venger and write them like a fucking boss?  Well, this is the book for you then.  Overtly the book is focused on people writing their own adventures for the first time, but the advice given is so solid that even old veterans like me kind find it useful.  Some of the advice is common sense, but never underestimate the value of stating something plainly.   There are no groundbreaking revelations here, no paradigm shifts and no occult insights. And that is perfectly fine by me.  Adventure writing is not supposed to be Shakespeare, it's supposed to be Poe.  The advice given though is rock solid, and it provides easily repeatable to create fun, entertaining adventures that don't feel like a railroad.
Honestly, I would package this up with his How To Game Master Like a Fucking Boss to give GMs a full toolbox of advice and tricks to help any adventure; whether they wrote it themselves or grab one off the shelf.   Venger really should bundle this with the Character book and call it the "Be A Fucking Boss Bundle".
I have a Trek game coming up. I know what I want to do with it, but I am going to run my ideas through this book and give them a test.  So far all the advice has panned out well and I believe that this will be a better adventure because of it.

Play Your Character Like A Fucking Boss
13 pages, $3.00, PDF
I picked this up based 100% on my reading of Adventure Writing Like A Fucking Boss.  In fact I did not even own this book when I started this review.  This book is great. Plenty of advice on how to play your character to get the most enjoyment out of it.  A lot of this I already do and have done for years.  In fact, I think playing in horror games made me a better player as well as a GM. I see a lot of that advice here too, but with a different focus.
I stand by my idea of the "Be A Fucking Boss Bundle".  Using all this advice will make you a better player and a better GM.

I started this review a couple of days ago, since that time OneBookShelf started their Christmas in July sale.  So ALL these titles are on sale now.  Grab them, now. Make them yours.  Your Players will thank you.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Review: Blue Rose 2nd Edition, Part 3

Wrapping up my review on the AGE version of Blue Rose.
Part 1 covered Character Creation and Part 2 covered the World of Aldea. Today I am going to discuss the Narrator's Section.


Chapter 8, The Narrator's Art is the GM’s section.  Again, I much prefer the term “Chronicler” to “Narrator”. “Chronicler” also implies that the characters are doing something worthy of Chronicling.

The chapter covers some very pragmatic issues of Adjudicating the Rules and Running the Game to the creative Creating Adventures and Planning the Series.  The space in between this is the "Art".
What is particularly useful is the very old-school like table of 100 Adventure ideas.  Need an idea? Roll a d100. Each one of these can be expanded into an adventure. This flies in the face of any notion that Blue Rose is a limited game.   There are guides for roleplaying situations like Romance and Intrigue. Again, while situated in the Blue Rose and AGE systems, they could be used for any game.  There is a section on how to run Intrigue (great for me!) and how to do it when the Characters have the potential to read minds or have access to other Psychic Arcana.

There is also a bit on the physical location where you play. Given as a means to manage all the information coming at you the Narrator, and also as a means of setting the mood.  Blue Rose is a "well lit" game as opposed to horror games which need a dark tone.   The book also has some forms here and in the back for Narrators to print out and use to track all the goings on.  So bonus point to the PDF for this one.

There is advice on knowing who your group is too. I think this is more important for a game like Blue Rose that is very Character focused.  Using these group dynamics in the real world can also inform the group dynamics in the World of Aldea.   The chapter as a whole has some pretty good GM advice. Some we have seen before and others we have seen, but applied new to this game.

Chapter 9 details the Blue Rose Series.  If chapter 8 is general GM advice, then this chapter is very Blue Rose specific.  This chapter starts out with a note about consulting the players. I think this is good advice in general, but certainly more so for the Character focused Blue Rose. That is not to say you can't have an Adversarial GM (it is one of the options discussed in fact in the last chapter) but if that is what you are doing make sure that is what people want.  If so, great!
We get into various Series Styles next.  While the game is Romantic Fantasy, there is a lot of room in that broad term.  Discussed are Dark Fantasy, High Fantasy, Horror, Low Fantasy, Swashbuckling Adventure, and High Romance.   All of which work well within the Blue Rose frame.
Taking this advice we get some Series Frameworks of potential campaigns/series.

The default, and the one that most people associate with Blue Rose, is called "For Aldis and the Queen!".  This is what you would have if a young Mercedes Lackey was your Narrator. It does pretty much what it says on the tin. "On the Road" is more of the style of the later Romantic Fantasy authors. It is also closer to the type of adventures you find in a D&D game.  Put them on a boat and suddenly it is "7th Sea".  "Coming of Age" are your Harry Potter or Narina stories. OR as the book points out, even the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon.   "Game of Thorns" (bad, bad Green Ronin!) are your darker court intrigue tales. The nobles that don't trust the queen or her new husband.   I could make something of that easy.

There are more. The Quiet Knights, the Wedding Planners. But reading through these all should give you your ideas.  A special shout out though to "Blue Rose on the Red Planet".  That's not what it is called, but the art and the description support that.  I'd play that in a heartbeat.



Chapter 10 is the actual Running the Game.  The first bit we get to is Mastering Ability Tests.  If you have any familiarity at all with d20, True20 or a host of other "Target Number" style games then you know what to expect here.   Basic tests and Opposed tests are covered again.
Considerations are given for Minor and Major NPCs, handling different sorts of combat situations, Roleplaying vs. The Rules, and Hazards.

One thing that is quite interesting is advice on how to deal with divinations and how to work them into games.  This time the authors DO mention the Shaowscapes Tarot by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law as the perfect resource for your Blue Rose games. I have a set and it is great.


I am going to spend some more time on the Tarot, Callings, Fates, and Destinies.

Chapter 11 covers Rewards.  The beauty of Blue Rose is that there are many ways to grant rewards to characters beyond just level advancement. Though that is not understated here.
We start with Honorifics. Which I am TOTTALY going to steal for D&D 5.  These are accolades and acknowledgments.  Titles like "Lady Aerin, Dragonkiller" (if you have read that book you can smile with me), or "Champion of Justice" and others.  These confer a small in-game bonus as well.  The criminal types all have to make Willpower tests at -5 around our Champion of Justice for example.  Given these examples, I can come up with a lot more.   The next section mentions who can give out these honorifics in each country and under what circumstances.


Next follows Memberships and then Companions. After this are Special Items and Equipment.  Often these are heirlooms, not necessarily magical.  In fact, Arcane items are next and even then Arcane Weapons are listed last.   Listed very last, and even very least, is wealth.  So the things that motivate the average D&D character are the least motivating for the average Blue Rose character.  In fact, Wealth only gets 3-4 paragraphs total.

Chapter 12 gives us Adversaries.  We lead off with NPCs.  Blue Rose characters are more likely to run into other people (Rhydan are "people"; just ask them).
For monsters, "Beasts", there are some familiar names here but don’t automatically assume you know what these creatures are about.  Griffons, for example, are given more emphasis and intelligence here than in their D&D counterparts.  This is completely due to how they are treated in the Romantic Fiction novels, in particular, the novels of Mercedes Lackey.
Also, unlike the novels, there are a lot more creatures here than what I recall reading.  So there are plenty of creatures that can either guide, beguile or challenge the characters.  There are about 70 or so creatures here. They are grouped by type, so all Rhydan, all Darkfiends, all Unliving, and so on.
Adding more would be easy, really TOO easy to be honest.   Most creatures need have a good reason to be in the game/world. For example, there are no Manticores here. You could make a very good reason for them to be there as something like anti-griffon or even a magical race the bred true to fight griffons.  Maybe they were created during the Shadow Wars or even before in the Empire of Thorns. They are rare now since most were killed.

Now I do have a copy of the Fantasy Age Bestiary and there are a lot of great new monsters that can be added to Blue Rose.  I just want to be careful on how I do it and where I do it.  Same would be true for any monsters I'd add from DragonAge.


There are slight differences in the stats between creatures of the same name in the various books, but not enough to make you think they are different creatures.

The last chapter is an adventure, Shadows of Tanglewood.

There are pages with Stunt References, Actions, and Quick Reference Cards. We also get a nice full-color character sheet.  Points again to the PDF.  You can get these as part of the Blue Rose Narrator's Kit.

The index is fully hyperlinked.

What can I honestly say at this point? This is a great game. Well designed with beautiful art and an absolute joy to play.  The AGE system is the first system I have picked up in a long time that I really like.

This is the best game of 2017.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Review: Blue Rose 2nd Edition, Part 2

Yesterday I spent some quality time with the Blue Rose Character Creation rules. Today I want to move to the next section of this huge book and cover The World of Aldea section.


Now when it comes to game-changing events I can make due with changes in power or in the way certain rules have been handled.  It is the events in the next few chapters that will have me scrambling for the pencils to re-do my campaign!  Well, Green Ronin never asked me what I was doing in my game and I never reached out to them to make sure they were not invalidating several sessions worth of my games ( +Chris Pramas, we will just have to talk in future! ;) ).

Chapter 5, What Has Gone Before, is still roughly the same as what we saw in the True20 version. If anything things are clearer now.  The art, of course, is better and some things, like the rise of the Darkfiends, are clearer.
As before we get a history of the World of Aldea, from the Mythic Age (when the Gods were created) to the Old Kingdom (the “Golden Age” of the world), the Empire of Thrones (or the rise of the evil Sorcerer Kings) to the present age in The Rebirth of Aldis.  The history of the world is given from the creation of the world by the four greater gods and then into the creation of the lesser gods, demons, and mortal races.

I think it is the goal of every RPG writer, either professional or just sitting at home, to create a mythology for their world.   These myths feel more like The Silmarillion than it does say the Bible or Greek Myth.  Though there is a fair appreciation for Greek Myths and Pagan beliefs in this.  In makes for an interesting world to say the least.  It has been asked more than once in my groups what gods do they believe in in the other parts of Aldea. Are they same with different names (likely) or they different ones altogether (a tantalizing idea)?  We see bits of how this could work in Chapter 7 where the different lands worship different aspects of these same gods.


The biggest changes do not come till much later in the chapter.  At some point between the True20 timeline and the AGE timeline. Queen Jaellin decided that she was "officially done with Jarek's shit" and invaded Kern via the hidden ShadowGate under the palace. The present day of the True20 version was 310 (Aldin calendar) to the new current day of the AGE version of 320.   A lot has happened in ten years.
I read this and was like "whoa" what happened here?  Personally, I'd love to have some scenarios where the PCs/Cast are part of that battle and raid.I think that would be a blast.
Also this was the last time anyone has seen the Golden Hart.  The mystery here, of course, is whether or not it used up all it's magic in this last battle.  We come to the "present day" in the game with political factions in an uproar, relations within and without in question and a Queen that has made some choices that many of her own court and people do not agree with.
Basically, it is like Valdemar at the end of the Winds of Fury.
Expanded from the True20 book this new chapter also talks more about the Great Rebellion that started Aldis in the first place.  I mean wouldn't that also be a great time to play?  The years leading up to Queen Seltha's reign.  Heck, the art of the Undead armies is enough to make me want to give it a try.

Chapter 6, Kingdom of the Blue Rose then picks up with Aldis proper and discusses what is going on.  We get background on the various races living in Aldis; human, sea-folk, vata, night people, and Rhydan.  Why do all these people get along? Well... they try to. The Rhydan wanted a land that all were equal and free and queen Seltha ran with that.
We get a section on the Royal Court of Aldis.  I REALLY wish I was good at running Court Intrigue. This would be the game for that.  A carefully balanced dual of wit, manners and subtle backstabbing.  This game makes me want to be better at it.  There is just too much potential here and frankly it is not my strong suit.


Anyone who ever thought that a Kingdom that was accepting of all peoples lacks intrigue has never really read or played this game.  Aldis is not just the idyllic land that some have depicted it.  It is “enlightened” but there are still internal strife, crime, the odd sorcerer or even a leftover gates from the time before the Sovereigns, and the ever-present threats from inside and outside. A number of threats to Aldis and Aldea are detailed. Various unscrupulous merchants, a very effective criminal organization known as “The Silence”, fallen nobles, bandits, defective shadow gates,  and the remains of various shadow cults.   In a handful of pages we get plenty of ideas for characters to do.  Plus we now have a Queen that may or may not be trusted by all her people. And the Golden Hart? Gone. Hasn't been seen since the raid on Kern.  Something new is happening here.
There is a section on gender, sexuality, and marriage. Much less that you have been lead to believe mind you. Frankly, it could do with a bit more in my mind. This is Romantic Fantasy after all.
Religion gets expanded a bit as well.  I like the new art for the Gods of Light, but I had to number them on my print out to keep track of them. I still rather like the Exarchs of Shadow. It helps solves the age old philosophical question of "From whence comes evil?" It gives a good explanation of how good gods such as these would have created evil beings. Plus in this version, they are more detailed with each exarch equated to a deadly sin.   I might not be able to do court intrigue, but I can do horror like nobody's business.
The real expansion though comes in the form of the City of Aldis. Note if you are used to the map in the True20 World of Aldea book (page 18), this one (page 161) is rotated 90 degrees clockwise. It also looks like the city has grown some more in the last 10 years.
Other areas of Aldis are detailed as well. These include the Pavin Weald (Magical Forest) and refugees from Kern that have not quite integrated into Adlean society known as The Trebutane.  If you want your spot to create Aldea-as-Valdemar and need a place for Holderkin Talia to be from, this is it.


Chapter 7, Lands Beyond deals with the lands and countries surrounding Aldis.  This includes the Theocracy of Jarzon, the Khanate of Rezea (the Kaled'a'in/Tayledras from the Valedmar books, or the Kingdom of Damar from The Blue Sword), the Roamers (also Kaled'a'in Shin'a'in), the Shadow Barrens (just a bad place), The Forest Kingdom of Wyss (a new place, not in the True20 version), the Pirate Isles (more information here, can Freeport Blue Rose be far behind?), Kern (the really, really bad place. Mordor to Aldis' Gondor) and the Matriarchy of Lar'tya (basically Themyscira.)

Each section of the nation/land deals with the history of the lands, their rulers, religion, and people. Larger cities are discussed but never in the detail we got with Aldis.  Some important NPCs have sidebars and their history, but no stats, are given.  The lands also all have rough equivalents to the organizations found in Aldis.  For example, the counterpart to the Rose Knights in Jarzon are the Knights of Purity and in Kern are the Knights of the Skull.

Of the lands, Jarzon and Kern are the most interesting.  Jarzon is an interesting place where it could have been just like Aldis save for the intolerance of the Theocracy.  I suppose then it is no surprise then that it lies south of Aldis.  I could see a Jarzonni based game dealing with various heretics.  Heck a fun game would be to play part of the Jarzonni Inquisition to discover a new threat to the whole world!
Kern is Ravenloft. Or maybe it is Thay. or Iuz. Or "The North" for the "Blue Sword" fans.  I KNOW I can't be the only one to have thought in reading this new version of the game that when Jaelin killed the Lich King that the "Shadowed Seven" would be an even bigger threat.


Think of Thay without SzassTam or Apokolips without Darkseid. There is a lot of adventure ideas here. Play these evil regents off on each other. Or imagine their machinations if they ever decided to team up.   I'd love a game where characters need to face off against these foes.  That might be too "D&D" or even too "Buffy" but it would still be a lot of fun.

So advancing the timeline and story by 10 years is cool but it completely WRECKED my older Blue Rose game I was calling Black Rose. Eh. No worries. I can come up with some new ideas and maybe even resurrect some of the Black Rose ideas.   Plus it will give me a good chance to pull out one of my old NPCs, Zenaida a Rezean Witch.

If you had the old True20 World of Aldea book then a lot in this section will feel familiar.  There is a lot more material in the current AGE book and of course moved up 10 years.

Next up is the Narrator's Section.

Friday, June 9, 2017

The Warlock goes Copper!

I just logged onto and noticed that just at six weeks that The Warlock for Swords & Wizardry has gone Copper Best Seller at RPGNow!



I am so pleased!

The Warlock joins such worthies as The Witch (Silver on DriveThru), Eldritch Witchery (Copper), Sisters of the Aquarian Order (Copper), and Ghosts of Albion (Gold on DriveThru and Silver on RPGNow).

Thank you all for supporting me over the years.

I hope my next book, The Green Witch, is just as welcome.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

New Releases Tuesday: Covencraft

It's Tuesday and that means new releases!

Out today the next book in the Strange Brew series for Pathfinder, Covencraft!


Strange Brew: Covencraft for the Pathfinder RPG

Witches can be--and often are--portrayed and represented as solitary individuals, practicing their craft alone in a cabin (gingerbread or otherwise) in the wilderness or in the scary house on the hill that children avoid. But what if they gathered in groups, forming a coven? What then, would be different about them, and how would those groups look and act? What tools would they craft and use in their rituals?

Strange Brew: Covencraft answers those questions for you, taking you inside covens and detailing how they work and how to integrate them into your character’s story and your campaign. Sample covens are provided, along with discussions of the benefits of a coven, types of covens and roles for characters within them, example ritual tools, ceremonies, and more.

Magic items to follow!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Monday, March 20, 2017

New Releases: Hedge Witches and Prestige Witches

Today is the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere, also known as Ostara.
To celebrate this time I have not just one, but two new releases today.

First up:

The Witch: Hedgewitch for the Hero's Journey RPG


Presenting the Hedgewitch for The Hero's Journey Fantasy Roleplaying game. Can be used with HJ or Swords & Wizardry Whitebox or Complete.

Included in these 66 pages are:

  • New Race: The Gnome
  • New Professions
  • The Witch class and Hedge Witch tradition
  • 80 spells new to The Hero's Journey
  • 15 new monsters

Fully compatible with The Witch, Eldritch WitcheryThe Witch for Swords & Wizardry Light and The Witch: Aiséiligh Tradition for Swords & Wizardry.  In fact, all are designed to work together as a complete whole.  Getting these various witches to work together in your is another matter entirely.

A softcover print version is in the process of heading to the printer.  I am just waiting on OneBookShelf on this, they are taking longer than expected.

Also released is the next book in the Strange Brew series for Pathfinder.

Strange Brew: Mystical Paths & Prestige Classes


From the book:

Witches and warlocks come in all shapes, sizes, genders, philosophies, alignments, and focuses. Many of these concepts are expressed through archetypes, but some concepts require a bit ... more ... to fully be expressed.

Here are 23 Prestige Classes for your witch or warlock, allowing them to focus on specific aspects of being a witch or warlock, or a specific type of witch or warlock with more control than an archetype gives you. With them, your witch isn’t "just" a witch, she’s a Tempestarii Storm Raiser, or he isn’t "merely" a witch, but an Occult Scholar.

Help find the true destiny of your witch or warlock!

Also included are some of my favorites, the Imbolc Mage and the Queen of Witches.

Regardless of what game you prefer, I have a class for you.  Time to make some magic!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Kickstart Your Weekend: Awesome Returns and More Passion!

It's the weekend folks!  Or very nearly anyway.  What does Kickstarter have for us?

+Venger Satanis is back with another Kickstarter of Awesome.

Trinity of Awesome Returns!


Venger is back with, huh, a vengeance to give us more gonzo adventures.
He has hit his target funding but more money means more awesome right?  Well, he has a "blank" stretch goal at $2,000 so it will be interesting to see what people come up with if he hits that.

VS has done a great job with his Kickstarters so far; he delivers what he promises and usually gets things to people before the deadline.  I think I ended up with Alpha Blue 3-4 weeks before the promised date if I remember right.

Bottom line you know what to expect here; gonzo D&D of the Heavy Metal magazine meets Weird Tales variety and it getting done on time.

Couple weeks back I mentioned the Book of Passion from Misfit Studios.


Well, the project has been funded and they are headed to the stretch goals.

They do have a few add-ons already.

From their Facebook page:
Because of your support you've unlocked the 200 backers level which means all $20+ level backers will receive an exclusive Impassioned version of the Talented Bard.
Also we're now less than $500 away from our next big stretch goal! Tell your friends and share this project, because if we can reach our $13,600 goal then that means you'll get SIX additional class options (Anti-paladin, Gunslinger, Magus, Ninja, Samurai, & Vigilante).
There is also a free preview up on DriveThruRPG if you want to check it out.

Personally, I am enjoying the new "Love" oath for Paladins and the material on Agrat bat Mahlat.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New Releases Tuesday: I9 Day of Al'Akbar

One of my favorite old-school adventures has finally made it to PDF at OneBookShelf.

I9 Day of Al'Akbar.


Gotta love that 80's hair.

Of course, back then we always called it "Day of Admiral Ackbar".

Now my PDF collection is complete for my "Second Campaign".

N1 Against the Cult of the Reptile God, levels 1-3 (novice)
U1 The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, levels 1-3
U2 Danger at Dunwater, levels 1-4
U3 The Final Enemy, levels 3-5
I1 Dwellers of the Forbidden City, levels 4-7
I3 Pharaoh, levels 5-7
I4 Oasis of the White Palm, levels 6-8
I5 Lost Tomb of Martek, levels 7-9
X4 Master of the Desert Nomads, levels 6-9
X5 Temple of Death, levels 6-10
I9 Day of Al'Akbar, level 8-10
Gary Gygax's Necropolis, levels 10+

Each day I think Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea is the best choice for this one.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Releases Tuesday: AD&D 1 in print

Last week saw the release of the AD&D 1st Edition Core books in POD at DrivethruRPG.

Monster Manual
Players Handbook
Dungeon Masters Guide

This is a pretty big deal really.  This means for the first time ever 1st Edition will remain perpetually in print.

Today even more 1st Edition goodness was released.

A1 Slave Pits of the Undercity
A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords
H4 The Throne of Bloodstone




Soon every adventure of my "Come Endless Darkness" campaign will see print.

Looking at H4 it is only $12 for a POD version.  No idea if it has the giant fold out map (I highly doubt it), but you get the PDF with it and can printout the map on multiple pages if you need.

Throne of Bloodstone has always gone for top dollar on eBay.  I am not sure what this will do to the aftermarket since there are many that will want that map.  I do know that in many cases when PDFs of TSR/WotC products first came up the aftermarket took a hit.

I still have have a copy of H4.  I had a couple in fact adn sold one a while back for 30 bucks.

I played Throne back in the day. Soon after it came out in fact.  It is a killer module and it took us all summer to complete it but it was worth it. I played it the first summer I was back from college. So in between working two jobs I tried to squeeze as much gaming in as I could.

I would love to use this as the capstone to my Come Endless Darkness game, but I need to figure out how to get the characters there.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New Releases Tuesday: Black Box BECMI Supplements

The mid 90s were an odd time of gaming for me. I started out very excited about the new AD&D 2nd Edition game, moved completely over to Ravenloft and in the end had left D&D completely in favor of games like WitchCraft and Mage.   Consequently, I started the 90s as a college kid and ended the 90s a house, a wife, a kid and ABD on my first Ph.D. so I saw a lot of change.

What that all adds up to is that there were a ton of D&D-related releases that I not only didn't experience or play but also never even heard of till much later.   "Black-box BECMI" was one of those.  Again, as I mentioned, I was into AD&D2 pretty hard and then left D&D, so BECMI was not something I paid attention too.  Fast forward to the mid-late 2000s I started to discover these boxed sets.  In some ways they seem so retro; a boxed set with board-game like pieces in a world edging towards glossy (and thick) hardcovers.

At a +Games Plus auction I was able to pick up these,



They are a ridiculous amount of nostalgia and I REALLY want to use them some time as the start of a pure BECMI campaign.

Well today we got two new releases in this line on DriveThruRPG, The Dragon's Den and The Goblin's Lair.

I have no idea how the scans are. The box interiors have quite a lot of pieces.


So it will be interesting to see how they scanned all of this.  At $5 a piece, that is not too bad of a deal really.   The "Black Box" is not available on DriveThru yet, so you will need to use the Rules Cyclopedia for these.

I don't have a campaign in mind for this at all, outside of knowing I want to use Quest for the Silver Sword as the next adventure after these.  I am always a sucker for a haunted house adventure.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Krampus for your OSR/5e Games

It's Christmas eve so you know what you need?  More demons!

Here are a couple PWYW products for your Christmas games.










Have a great Christmas, Holiday, Yule and New Year.

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.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wizards of the Coast Print On Demand: The Results, Part 2

I received a few requests for some more pictures of the Shady Dragon Inn.


Here is the spine.  It is Perfect bound. No staples.




Various shots of the text.  It appears the same as the early editions.  Maybe a touch fuzzier, but nothing that I consider a deal breaker.  Barely noticeable in fact.


How can you tell this is a new print versus a really, really well kept original?  This page. This is the same sort of page found in all DriveThru/OneBookShelf/LightningSource books.
Note how the bar code is not an ISBN one.

Hope this helps.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Wizards of the Coast Print On Demand: The Results

Yesterday I got a surprise in the mail from DriveThruRPG/OneBookshelf/LightningSource.


My copy of the Shady Dragon Inn came in.  It looks fantastic.
I don't have an original one to compare it too, but inside it looks great.




The maps are part of the book, not detachable, but that is fine really.



They are set to 1" = 5', so D&D 3, 4 & 5 standard.
They do not print out to 1" exactly, but when you buy the pdf you get the maps as files to print on your own.

The characters inside can be converted to 5e easily enough.
Ignore the saving throws, and recalculate the base to hit as 20 - THAC0.  I find that 22 or 23 -THAC0 actually works out a little bit better for 5e.

Plus $8 is better than the $30 or so it can go for on eBay.

I do kind of wish now I had grabbed something that I have an original of just to compare.

The quality is very good; what you would expect from a high quality print of a high quality PDF source.  Though the source of that PDF is a scan of the original that has been seriously cleaned up.
The results are something fantastic for the table or reading, but no collector will be convinced it is an orignal.  That's perfect for me really.  I am a collector, but a pragmatic one and a "playing" one.  I like to have these books, but their value to me is not on my shelf, but my game table.

 DriveThru has promised us new Wizards of the Coast Print on Demand updates each week.  So check back on every Tuesday to see what is new.  In fact they have new items up today.

Bookmark this link to check back on what's new each week.

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