Showing posts with label community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

It's June!

The last couple of months has been really busy here at the ole' Other Side. I went from the "April A to Z"  right into SciFi month.  I think June is a great time to get back to the bread and butter of this blog; D&D.  Plus watching Season 4 of Stranger Things has really put me back into the mood.

June was always a great D&D month for me.  While in school it meant summer break. After I got married and had a house it was the month when the planting season was mostly over.  My wife has always had a huge garden (+2,000 ft2, that's a lot for the burbs) so in April and May, every weekend is spent outside working.

I have to admit that of late I have been in a sort of creative lull.  Oh I am still picking at the various Basic Bestiaries and I am collecting art for them. My goal/plan/desire is NOT to do a Kickstarter for it. So I am collecting and buying art as I can.  I have not done much if anything on the High Witchcraft book. I have been sorting through the 800+ spells I have written over the years and trying to figure out which ones need to be used.  Both of these projects will be generic OSR, so not tied to any one rule system. I will use my own Compatibility Logos on them.  But the ideas have not been flowing really at all.  Oh I have picked some Fey Lords and a few different types of Angels (both are also discussed in the High Witchcraft book) but that is about it really.   You may have noticed that outside of NIGHT SHIFT I have not produced anything during Covid-Times. You also may have noticed the uptick in reviews here vs. new content.

My friend and day-job co-worker Richard Ruane pointed me in the direction of something going on on Itch.io.  Itch.io is an RPG PDF storefront similar to DriveThruRPG but catering more to the Indie crowd.  All I know about it is the prices of the PDFs are usually twice to three times what I expect to pay on DriveThru, but whatever.  The thing he pointed out to me was the OSR June Jam

OSR June Jam
https://itch.io/jam/osr-june-jam

I have never participated in a Design Jam for RPGs before. I have done plenty at my day job. So I thought I should give it a go.  

This sounds like a fun idea really, and I do have two completely brand new ideas I could do with this. I will talk about them later since I am looking into some details now. But a hint for one is "Halfling Folk Horror."

It is hosted on Itch.io but I have to look at my contract with DriveThruRPG since I think I signed exclusivity. I don't know yet.  Submissions are due at the end of the month so that gives me 28.5 days to get it all in.

I will also use my Compatibility Logos above for these, but my target system is likely to be Old School Essentials Advanced Fantasy and/or Advanced Labyrinth Lord.   Though there are some logos on the site they recommend.

Maybe this is something I need to shake off the cobwebs in my brain.

In the meantime check out all the empty space on my Itich.io profile: https://timsbrannan.itch.io/

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Test Post: More Larina Art

Testing a few things on my social media manager, but I figure this is also a good time to show off the latest art I had commissioned from OdinDoesArt.   I am quite pleased with it, to be honest.

Larina by OdinDoesArt

Now to see how far and wide this one went!

Sunday, March 20, 2022

The Fall of the Empire of the Petal Throne

the Empire of the Petal Throne
The news came out this past week about M.A.R. Barker, the creator of Empire of the Petal Throne and Tékumel. Apparently, there is confirming evidence that Prof. Barker (formerly Philip Barker) wrote the book Serpent's Walk under the pseudonym Randolph Calverhall and published by the same neo-Nazi publisher that published The Turner Diaries.

This is fairly damning, to be honest.  The book is pretty much Nazi "fan fiction" by those familiar with it. While this might not be enough for others there is more.  It does seem that the Tekumel Foundation has known about this, and kept it quiet, for years.  Now you might ask how is a "Nazi fan fiction" any different than say Philip K. Dick's "Man in the High Castle?"  I guess the back cover of the book tells the whole story.  It was written as fulfillment fantasy of a group of S.S. officers' descendants "correcting the the wrongs" of the end of W.W. II.

Ok that is pretty bad.  Then to make matters worse, Prof. Barker sat on the board of editors for anti-Sementic, Holocaust-denial journal, "The Journal of Historical Review," as psuedo-scientific and psuedo-academic journal. It has been described as anti-Sementic by the Southern Poverty Law Center.   

The Journal is much like others of it's ilk; not peer-reviewed, pushing an agenda.  There was some uncertainty online about who this particular "Philip Barker, Ph.D." was, but honestly combined with the publication of the other book I don't feel that he gets any benefit of the doubt. 

Anti-Semantic tripe

What does that mean for me? 

Well.  Everyone has to draw their own lines somewhere. Like Lovecraft, Orson Scott Card, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and J.K. Rolwing, Barker has left a pretty dark mark on his legacy.  

For me, Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism are steps way too far. 

There is no evidence of this, as far as I can tell, within the pages of Tékumel.  But the shine on the books is gone for me. I know he is dead and won't benefit from anything I do or don't do.  I am not looking to boycott or raise a campaign about it, plenty of others will do that.  It is just sad of course that such an obviously brilliant man also has such vile and repugnant beliefs.  

Anyway, here are the relevant links. No I am not linking to the books. You can find them on your own.

Friday, March 11, 2022

Crowdfund Your Weekend!

Today's weekly KickstartCrowdfund Your Weekend looks at projects beyond Kickstarter. 

Mistletoe Massacre - Horror Comedy Slasher Film

Mistletoe Massacre

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/mistletoe-massacre-horror-comedy-slasher-film#/

I love Indie horror movies and this one looks like a lot of fun.  They are crowdfunding, which is also fun.  I have participated in crowdfunded projects like this before and it is cool to see your name on the screen under "thanks!"

Seriously though, check this out and give what you can.  I know a lot of you love horror films as much as I do. So help them out, get a fun new horror flick and some memorabilia too!  The signed poster looks nice. 

Bundle for Ukraine

Bundle for Ukraine

https://itch.io/b/1316/bundle-for-ukraine

Another RPG Bundle from Itch.io.  This time they are raising $4M+ for aid to Ukraine.

For $10 you get $992 pdfs/games from 733 creators.  That's a hell of a deal.


Both of these are very worthy so check them out!

Friday, March 4, 2022

TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas!

In a move that shocks no one, Texas (and it is always fucking Texas) Governor Greg Abbott signed an order to classify medical transitioning for transgender youth as child abuse.   Again, I am not surprised because just like his abortion doctor bounty of a while back the purpose here is not to protect the children (as a state that ranks 34th in k-12 education and 43rd in infant mortality they obviously don't care about real children) but instead about bein cruel. 

I say this and can't stress this enough, Fuck Texas

Thankfully there are still good people. And there are an absolute ton of them over on Itch.io

I don't spend a lot of time over there and I don't sell my RPGs through there.  It is a very indie sort of scene and I have found some good things there but I don't really "click" with the place.  That's fine we both can still live very happily.  But in this one case, we are in 100% agreement. 

Creators on Itch.io are offering up a bundle of TTRPG PDFs to support trans rights in Texas. 

TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas!

TTRPGs for Trans Rights in Texas!

https://itch.io/b/1308/ttrpgs-for-trans-rights-in-texas

You saw that price right.  For $5 you get 493 games!  That is just a fraction more than a penny a game.

If you find 10 in that lot that you like then it is still a deal.

The funds will go to support two organizations: Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT) and Organización Latina de Trans en Texas (OLTT).

Many, many kudos to Rue (ilananight) for setting this up.  

As you can see this is already past its funding goal with a month still to go!  Given the markdown of these games, I think it would be great if they got 10 times their goal!

So spare a Lincoln (that's $5 for everyone outside of the US) here and support a very worthy cause. 

Thursday, March 3, 2022

Happy Birthday to the Other Side from Laura Guldemond

While this week is not my "blog birthday" it is the anniversary of my first website called The Other Side, of which this blog is the continuation.  In celebration, I thought I would get myself something fun for it. 

So here is Laura Guldemond, lead singer of The Burning Witches to welcome you to my site!


I have to say Laura was an absolute sweetheart to work with!  I knew I wanted to get a Cameo of someone to mark the occasion this year and she popped up in my searches and I knew she was the one.

Laura Guldemond

I rather enjoy The Burning Witches and have featured them here before on a Friday Night Videos segment. 

So with that. Welcome again "where all witches love the Other Side!"

Links for Laura Guldemond

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Want a Book? Ask!

I posted this elsewhere, but I am super busy at work today.  So here it is here.

I get it. Books and Game PDFs are expensive and everyone is on a much tighter budget these days. SO to that end, if you want one of my PDFs and can't afford it just ASK ME. I'll likely send it along with a couple more to spare.

Maybe at least say somewhere that you thought it was cool/fun/informative or made you sick to your stomach, whatever. But at least ask, the worst thing that can happen is I'll say no (which leaves you where you were) or I say yes and you have a new PDF.

books



Tuesday, February 15, 2022

The Witch-Queen of Yithorium

I was cleaning up some links on my Witch Links page and I noticed a few I had from the Halls of the Mountian King, the blog of the recently passed Jason Zavoda. He posted a bit about Hyperborea, nee AS&SH, including the Witch Queen of Yithorium.  I also found a lot of material for his own Blackmoor Land of a Thousand Witches.

Jason was very well respected in the Greyhawk community and I thought it might be a nice tribute to expand on his ideas some, but more importantly, share his ideas all with you.  Up first, the Witch-Queen of Yithorium.

The Witch-Queen of Yithorium

There is not a lot of text on who the Witch-Queen of Yithorium is except for what she wants now.

The official Hyperborea forum has a little on her background.  She is a nod/homage to Howard's witch Salome in "A Witch Shall Be Born." She rules from a 100’ tower of alien origin that immediately reminded me of Clark Ashton Smith. She is immortal, ever young, and has ruled Yithorium for nearly 700 years.  She obviously knows what to do.  

Jason provides the most information about the Queen herself in his post.  He uses a picture of Judith from the Bible as his inspiration.  Much like Salome (the namesake of Howard's witch) Judith is known for her association with a decapitated man. John the Baptist for Salome, Holophernes for Judith.   We gather from his post (and others) she was a beautiful woman, small but voluptuous, with long raven tresses.  Naturally, I think of Sarah Douglas.  

We know she is a witch and uses a type of magic unknown to her lands. We learn it is blood magic and that no one in the City-State of Yithorium knows where she learned it.  I am going to say, given the work that Jason has done, that she learned it all in Blackmoor

There are no official stats for the Witch Queen of Yithorium in the Hyperborea books.  She doesn't even have a proper name really. 

The Witch Queen of Yithorium
Female Witch 12th level
Chaotic Evil

Race: Human
Secondary Skill: Torturer

Abilities
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 18

Casting Ability: 12
Fighting Ability: 5
Saving Throw: 11

Hit Points: 36
Alignment: Chaotic Evil
AC: 9

Powers
Brew Decoction (x5), Familiar, Read Magic, Scroll Use, Scroll Writing, Sorcery, New weapons skills (3), Dance of Beguilement (5th level), Effigy (5th level), Enlist Henchment (6th level), Animate Broom (7th level), Lordship (9th level).   

Spells 
First: Alter Self, Charm Person, Detect Magic,  Shocking Grasp, Unseen Servant
Second: Darkness, Ghoul Touch, Infernal Tounges, Ray of Enfeeblement, Witch Fire
Third: Dispel Magic, Exploding Skull, Phantasm, Summon Dæmon I
Fourth: Black Tentacles, Mirror Mirror, Sorcerer Eye, Summon Dæmon II
Fifth: Anti-Magic Field, Summon Dæmon III, Summon Elemental
Sixth: Gelatinize Bones, Transfer Youthfulness


Hyperborea Witch


The Witch Queen of Yithorium

Female Witch, Blood Tradition 13th level
Chaotic

Abilities
Strength: 12
Dexterity: 12
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 18
Wisdom: 16
Charisma: 18

Hit Points: 36
AC: 9

Occult Powers
Familiar: Raven
7th level: Evil’s Touch 
13th level: Detect Bloodline

Spells 
Cantrips: Black Flame, Chill, Daze, Ghost Sound, Inflict Minor Wounds, Object Reading
First: Bewitch I, Darkness, Feel my Pain, Ghostly Slashing, Glamour, Silver Tongue
Second: Alter Self, Disfiguring Touch, Ghoulish Hands, Scare, Share My Pain, Suggestion
Third: Clairaudience/Clairvoyance, Dispel Magic, Lifeblood, Summon Spirit, Witch Wail
Fourth: Divination, Phantom Lacerations, Polymorph, Spiritual Dagger
Fifth: Bewitch V, Dreadful Bloodletting
Sixth: Spiritual Dagger, Summon Nightmare Steed
Seventh: Wave of Mutilation 

For this witch, I am using a combination of the Family, Maelific, and Mara Traditions. 

While I am perfectly happy to keep her nameless, or only as "The Witch Queen," I am thinking of giving her the proper name of Miriam, to keep with the Biblical theme I have established here. Of course, no one besides her would know that. 
 
The Witch Queen

Hyperborea has always been a large part of my plan for the War of Witch Queens, at least in terms of how witches are presented.  At one point it was going to be my system of choice for the campaign, but I have since settled on OSE.  Still, Hyperborea has a lot to offer me. 

I typically mix in a fair amount of Barbarians of Lemuria into my Hyperborea games. So it might be fun to have Miriam, the Witch Queen of Yithorium be the rival of Methyn Sarr, the Witch Queen of the Fire Coast.  Each thinking the other is the lesser witch while worried that the other might have access to some magic they do not.  They seem to be cast from the same mould, that of Salome of "A With Shall Be Born," but one taking to fire magic and the other blood magic.  I don't think they were/are sisters in the biological sense but maybe they are former coven sisters. Once allies or even friends and now bitter, hated rivals.  If Sarah Douglas is my model for the Witch Queen of Yithorium, then my choice for Methyn Sarr would have to be Emma Samms. Not too far of a stretch since she was the uncredited performance/body model for Princess Teegra in Ralph Bakshi's "Fire and Ice." 

Links

Thursday, December 9, 2021

NotTSR sues Wizards of the Coast

Kinda busy with work and other projects this week, so this will be a fast one.  

File under, "Gods, Not these Idiots Again?"

So the New, New TSR, also 3SR, or TSR3, or NotTSR by me, have decided in their infinite wisdom to sue Wizards of the Coast.


Yup.

Wizards of the Coast/Hasbro (the makers of Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons) is being sued by TSR (the makers of well...nothing actually).

You can read the filed suit here: 

Now that is the text of the suit and details exactly what is being asked of the courts. This is a copyright and trademark dispute.

The copyright one is completely bogus as Wizards owns (and has all the receipts) of the copyright to all of TSR, Inc.'s former copyrights.  This has been repeated multiple times by Ryan Dancey, the Wizards of the Coast employee charged with investigating and authorizing the purchase of TSR, Inc. (and the spearhead of the OGL), by Shannon Appelcline the RPG historian who has covered the history of D&D/TSR, and most recently by Benjamin Riggs who writing a book to cover the purchase of TSR, Inc. by Wizards of the Coast. 

Reading through this document this is about NotTSR wanting to have free and clear use of the old logos that Wizards had owned but the trademark licenses elapsed.  Currently, it looks like the use of the "Man in the Moon" logo has cancelation pending

Given the language in the NotTSR's IndieGoGo's page (which I am not linking and will get to in a bit) makes the claim that Wizards of the Coast are "bullying" them to give up the logos and maybe even the name. This is what I thought they had done anyway back in July with the whole "WonderFilleD" name.

While the text of the actual suit says one thing, their IndieGoGo page says something else.

The crowdfunding effort on IndieGoGo makes it sound like they are taking on WotC to reclaim D&D and get them to remove the disclaimers on older products (including ones produced and published by WotC themselves).

delusional nonsense

There is a whole lot of nonsense here to unpack.  Where to start?

TSR, Inc. is not New TSR.

There is a lot of conflating of the two (well there were three) TSRs.  LaNasa here is trying to make a connection between the TSR that dissolved in the 1990s to the new "company" he created.   That conflation is something he has been doing for the last few months.  I am wondering if he is actually starting to believe this himself. 

IndieGoGo and not GoFundMe

Then there is the issue of IndieGoGo vs. GoFundMe.  GFM is the go-to platform for things like this. So why IGG? I think it is because there are few consumer protections against fraud that GFM was specifically designed for. IGG is great, but this is not what it was meant for.

The Suit vs. What the fundraiser page says

The suit covers a trademark dispute.  The IGG pages leads you to believe that they are also going after Wizards to get the language on the DirveThruRPG/DMSGuild pages changed.

Extra delusional

Keep in mind that NotTSR has no legal leg to stand on here. WotC owns those products lock, stock, and barrel. They can do whatever they want to their own products.

I said it 18 months ago, and I revisited it 6 months ago, but those disclaimers are not coming down. It doesn't matter what the older, tiny subset of fans, many who also claim never to buy the products, want.  If anything it increased the sales.  Do you honestly think Oriental Adventures was going to go to Mithril seller on its content alone?

NotTSR and LaNasa do not have that sort of power. Not even if their Fundraiser ran at its current levels for the next 10,000 years. 

Libel and Slander?

Good thing that this wasn't in the actual suit.  This is a perfect example of someone not knowing what the legal terms Libel and Slander actually mean. I would even argue that LaNasa has MADE money since those disclaimers went up.  Also, WotC can also show that no harm has been caused to their own livelihood since they went up.   This is the weakest of all his claims. 

So what is the point of all of this?

Simple. I have talked to a lot of people that are part of the RPG industry and the overwhelming consensus is that is nothing more than a cheap cash grab.  It is a grift to get money from the old-school gaming crowd. 

LaNasa is promising the return of "old TSR" but not only is Old TSR gone, it is gone forever. The copyrights and IP are held by a multi Billion dollar company (Fortune 500 rank #494).  The principles and the creatives are all for the most part dead. The ones that are still alive have nothing but contempt for this cash grab.  Don't forget that "good old TSR" was not always so good. Gygax tried to screw Arneson of money he was owed (it was Wizards of the Coast that made Dave Arneson was paid finally, not TSR), it was TSR that fired Gygax from his own company, and it was TSR that threatened to sue anyone that so much as talked about D&D online back in the early 90s.   The whole "Make TSR Great Again" is a smokescreen for a blatant cash grab and to hide the fact they still have no products out.


I said what I said

Edited to Add: Here is a brilliant takedown of the complaint by a lawyer who does this stuff all the time.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

These are the Soul Cages

I know I am running behind on this one.  Super busy at work and the last few posts here have been ones I have been sitting on for just this time.  But I am going to pause on today's scheduled post to do this one instead.  Plus the Internet is down in the Chicagoland area as of this writing, so I might as well do this.

Back on Halloween, the news came out that Pathfinder Drops Phylactery From In-Game Terminology. Instead of using "phylactery", It is a Greek word to describe the Hebrew word "Tefillin" which Jewish people will keep small scrolls of the Torah.  They have decided to go with the term "Soul Cage."

Maybe not these Soul Cages exactly.

As you can imagine the RPG folks on the internet freaked out.  Especially it seemed to me people that at the same time claimed they don't or no longer play Pathfinder, let alone Pathfinder Second Edition, the game, and the only game, this effects.

Personally, I find it confusing that so many roleplayers out there have so little imagination.

Nor do I even see what the trouble is.  So a company, Paizo, drops a term they are uncomfortable with.  THEY feel it is disrespectful.  At no point have I heard they changed due to a complaint. They did it as a creative choice.  Are some gamers now suggesting that a company can't change the terms they use to better suit their products/games?

No. This is fake outrage from the same lot that gets mad any time anyone decides to deviate from the holy writ of Gygax. 

Personally. I have been using Soul Cages for years. I was even talking about it with liches and succubi over a decade ago and as recently as this past year. I am likely to keep using them too. 

Don't like the term? Fine. Don't use it.  Want to keep phylactery? Fine, keep it. It likely isn't going to change in the game you are playing now anyway. But honestly, unless you are playing Pathfinder Second Edition, why do you even care?

Sunday, October 24, 2021

She Kills Monsters or "Is it 1982 again?"

It is not often that I bring my Atheism into my posts over here.  I mean in D&D my preferred classes to play are clerics, druids, paladins, and witches; all pretty much the exact opposite of my own beliefs (or lack thereof).   So my blog reading is fairly split between RPG blogs and Science and Atheism blogs. 

It's nice when they combine. 

Case in point with the latest "scandal" with the play "She Kills Monsters."

She Kills Monsters

Briefly, the play, written by award-winning Qui Nguyen,  centers around a recently orphaned girl, Agnes, who wants to learn more about her younger sister Tilly by playing the D&D adventure Tilly had written.  In the process, she learns more about her sister and Tilly's struggles with being bullied for being gay.  The play happens both in the real world of Agnes and the game world where Tilly was Tillius the Paladin.  People from the real world are also represented in the game world. For example, Tilly's girlfriend Elizabeth "Lili" becomes "Lilith" in the game. Cheerleaders are Succubi, and so on.

She Kills Monsters

This in and of itself is worth talking about.  A well-received play featuring how a young woman comes to know her late sister a little more and her friends from playing Dungeons & Dragons. It is sweet and actually wholesome.

So, of course, some religious asshole is going to have a problem with it.

Enter said asshole, Jeff Lyle, and his cult at Good News Gathering

I found out about his fuckery from Hemant Mehta over at The Friendly Atheist. I guess for "God" reasons, Jeff Lyle wanted the play canceled. Because that is what religion does.  And he succeeded.  Sot of.

Here is a local news report discussing it

It is 2021. Why are LGBT issues still being censored?  Why are Dungeons & Dragons-themed media still being attacked by the right-wing members of the religious community?  

When I say "politics" are an important facet of my gaming THIS is what I mean.  The optics here are...well EXACTLY what we have been seeing forever.  Some white, hetero male sees something HE doesn't like, especially since it is a.) female focused, b.) has magic /occultism/demons involved, and SHOCK c.) might have a LGBT character in it HE decides that NO ONE ELSE can see it either.

That's original fucking cancel culture right there.  

But, just like all great D&D games, when our hero is down the party comes in to save the day!

In this case, the "party" is a Go Fund Me page set up to take the play off-campus so they can still perform it.   As of this writing, it has raised $13,762 of its original $5,000 goal! That is great!

So yeah. If you have a couple of bucks and want to send the message that this is not the Dark Ages, nor the 17th Century nor even 1982 anymore, then give it to these kids.

The Go Fund Me is here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-she-kills-monsters-hillsboro

Thursday, October 7, 2021

No, 5e Devils are Not Misunderstood. But Alignment Is.

It's October and one of my favorite things to talk about are devils, demons, and all sorts of fiends.

You know what I don't like talking about? Alignment.  

Why? It is boring and tedious and so many people get confused with what is written down in the rules and what they understand it to be, or not to be.  And frankly, the conversations are never very interesting. 

Conversations about alignment in the pages of Dragon actually predate The Dragon and go all the way back to The Strategic Review.  Very little new light has been shed on the topic ever since.

So alignment has largely been one of those things I give lip service to because pulling out would make a bunch of other things break.  Like the spells Detect Evil or Protection from Evil are just two examples.  There needs to be something in place so they work.  Swords with intelligence and ego. Other magic items on the small scale and the planes of existence on the larger scale.

Most of the other RPGs I play don't have alignment. D&D is the only holdout.

I am not saying I don't want universal Good or Evil, or even Law and Chaos, in my games.  I do.  I want my devils to be evil, or even better yet, Evil, with a capital E.  Demons? I want creatures that make the Devils go "whoa, hold on there dude."  But I also have creatures Beyond Good and Evil.  Not just in a Nietzscheian way, but in ways that are unmeasurable and unknowable by mortal kind.   

So when the "new" publisher (they have been publishing D&D for longer than the "old" publisher) wants to try something new like say "Unaligned" or "Typically Chaotic Evil" then I applaud the effort.  When they want to do something really interesting like remove monster alignment altogether my response is "interesting, tell me more..."

But of course, there are going to be those that freak out about it and claim ridiculous notions that "Devils are no longer evil."  This is of course a complete stretch of what the D&D 5 team, and Jeremey Crawford actually said.  Plus the examples given are NOT for all of D&D nor even for the upcoming 5.5 or 5r, though they could be.  In this case, these only apply to the optional adventure The Wild Beyond the Witchlight.  

Typically
My 2e books list them as Neutral

Still Chaotic Evil
Still Chaotic Evil, 100% of the time

Will we see some of these ideas in the upcoming D&D 5 update? Most certainly. Will we see them all in this exact manner? Maybe. 2024 is still a bit off and WotC has demonstrated they want to take in fan feedback and the editing process is a pain in the ass.  Tasha's Cauldron of Everything dropped alignments (and they were not missed) Witchlight brought them back.  So obviously they are still experimenting.

This is nothing new.  We saw this in the early days of AD&D 2nd Ed.

Monsters and Alignment

Monsters and Alignment

Monsters and Alignment

But let's say for the sake of argument they drop alignments from all monsters.  What does that mean?

In 5.5/5r it means monsters won't have an alignment.  

That is the absolute sum total of it.  It does not affect my Basic-era-B/X-OSE games.  It does not affect NIGHT SHIFT games. And you know what, it doesn't even affect my current D&D 5e games. 

They are not doing anything terribly new or innovative here. Even by adding "typically" to the alignment they are still only explicitly doing what we implicitly knew or at least did anyway.

Devils will still be evil. Demons will still be evil. Maybe, maybe there will be an odd Devil that seeks out redemption or maybe even understanding to the point where they are not evil anymore.  Or not.  I don't care about redeeming devils, I only care how quickly my player's characters can put the fiends down.  

Seriously though the only people online complaining about this are people who loudly and often will exclaim with pride that they "never bought any WotC D&D and never will."  Fine. Whatever. It's ok not to like the newest version of D&D.  It's fine to prefer older versions.  But if you complain every single time WotC does something with D&D I am going to assume your hobby isn't playing D&D but rather complaining about it.

I am reminded of the Chicken Littleing that went on last year about Oriental Adventures and the big pile of nothing that happened after.  

Friday, October 1, 2021

October is Horror Month

RPG Blog Carnival
Hello and WELCOME to The Other Side.  October is a big deal around here.  I spend the month talking about horror.  Both in terms of horror RPGs, horror movies, and anything else that strikes my interest.

This month I am honored to be hosting my first ever RPG Blog Carnival.  Of course, I am going to be talking about horror and all the great things you can do in your RPGs.

All this month I am going to be talking about adding horror elements to your games. Whether you play D&D or Kult or Bunnies & Burrows, any game can have elements of horror to them.  I hope to give you the means to add these AND also provide you a place to discuss your own horror elements.

How to Participate

Simple. Write a blog post, vlog, social media post, tweet, or what have you.  The topic can be about horror, about adding horror elements to a game, or even as simple as what you are going to do for a Halloween game.  Have a scary RPG-related story? Post it and post the link below!

I do have Comment Moderation turned on to help keep the spam out, so if you don't see your post just give me a bit and it will show up.

Come back here all month long to see what others are posting and linking here.

Come back to my blog all month long to see what I am posting as well!

Here's the Spookiest month of the year and my favorite time of the year.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

The Six Million Hits Man

At some point earlier this morning I hit a new milestone; 6 Million hits.

6 Million Hits

I was not expecting this until sometime tomorrow.   I had some ideas planned for posts, but they were fairly vain navel-gazing, and self-aggrandizing. So instead let me just thank everyone for coming back all these years and reading my strange little corner of the internet.

Still, it is a nice milestone to hit. 

Friday, September 24, 2021

#FollowFriday: Ginny Di

It's Ginny Di!
I gotta admit I love the shirt!
Kinda burned out on Kickstarter right now.  So it's another #FollowFriday!

I will admit, I adore Ginny Di.  She has unbound enthusiasm about D&D and all things related.  I know she is young enough to be my daughter and I have characters older than her, but I still think she is great.

It is so refreshing to come to her Twitter or YouTube pages and see how excited she is over something D&D-related.  I'll read the posts or blogs of some of my contemporaries and wonder when the fun died in their lives leaving them as bitter old husks.

Plus she seems to irritate the right people, so that is a bonus all on its own. 

The fact that she also loves her witches has almost nothing to do with it. Well...maybe a little. 

I have already posted about her or her projects in the past.

This week Ginny is back with Morelia the Wood Witch in a POV roleplay. It is a fun little bit video, but it really helped me cement the idea that Morelia would be a great NPC in my War of the Witch Queens. 

Content Warning to Bitter Old Grogs Who Are Dead Inside: The video features a shop where an NPC Witch SELLS POTIONS! Gasp, the Horror! The audacity! The cheek of it all! 

Anyway. She is fun. She is funny. She has a ton of enthusiasm and I think she is great. In fact, I even sought out items she has been sponsored by at Gen Con because she made them look really fun.

So check her out. If you don't like her ask yourself, when did I die inside?

Ginny Di online

Give her a follow or a like or something.

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Seasons Change...

But I am still here doing what I do! 

Today is the Autumnal Equinox for the Northern Hemisphere and the Vernal Equinox for my friends in the Southern Hemisphere. 

For me, this brings the march to darkness and of course my favorite time of year.  The spooky season of Halloween.

And do I have a lot in store for you all this year!  Starting off with a couple of hosting I am doing all October.

October Horror Movie Challenge

I have been doing the October Horror Movie Challenge n for years now.  I just got a new DVD in the mail today of one I have been searching for forever so I thought today would be a good day to announce that this year I am hosting my own Horror Movie Challenge.  

I am not doing anything wildly different than in previous years, and I am largely following the rules as set out by Krell Laboratories.

You have 31 days, October 1st to October 31st, to watch 31 Horror movies. At least 20 of these need to be first-time views.  

Currently, I am working on my list of movies.  I wanted to do a Lovecraft film fest.  But I am finding that there are quite a few Lovecraft-themed movies I just don't have access to.  So I am going to expand my list a bit.

I have even created a new banner image to use.

2021 October Horror Movie Challenge

If you want to copy this to your own posts then here is the HTML code!

<div class="separator" style="clear: both; text-align: center;"><a href="https://bit.ly/OctHorrorMovie" imageanchor="1" style="margin-left: 1em; margin-right: 1em;" target="_blank"><img alt="2021 October Horror Movie Challenge" border="0" data-original-height="687" data-original-width="563" height="400" src="https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-HChDOvCcaE0/YUuGbeVKj1I/AAAAAAABe-c/HzukajBzTkAZRMqNPfdI8vTJ0DxBjHsuACLcBGAsYHQ/w328-h400/October%2BHorror%2BMovie%2BChallenge%2B2021.jpg" title="2021 October Horror Movie Challenge" width="328" /></a></div>

Just copy and paste that into the HTML editing window of whatever you are using to post.

But that is not all that is happening here. 

RPG Blog Carnival
RPG Blog Carnival

This October I am also hosting my first ever RPG Blog Carnival.  This October will be all about Horror in RPGs.  So kinda what I like to do anyway, but now you can join me.   I will have an official post going up on October 1st for you to see all the details and link your blogs/vlogs/social media posts back.

You can check out the details at Of Dice and Dragons the home of the RPG Blog Carnival.

I plan to talk a lot about horror and how you can use it in your games.  I am also going to spend quite a bit of time with other horror games and how they can be mined for ideas.

Once again October is going to be a very busy time here.  Hope you all join me!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Where I Stand

Lots of talk about lists. Red ones, Green ones, Yellow.  Talk about Neutral zones or somesuch.

While it should be obvious I'll restate it for those in the back.

Statement by The Other Side

Adjust your buying preferences accordingly. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 31 Thank

RPGaDAY2021 Day 31

This one might be the easiest one in the series.

Day 31 Thank

I want to thank everyone that read my posts, posted replies, and interacted with me on Social Media. 

I also want to thank Dave Chapman for doing this every year.

Thank everyone.  Now I turn my sights to October and Halloween!






RPGaDAY2021


Monday, August 30, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 30 Mention

RPGaDAY2021 Day 30

Almost to the end!

Day 30 Mention

I thought I might mention some D&D-related content I am looking forward to.

From Wizards of the Coast

Some great-looking books coming up.

The Wild Beyond the Witchlight reminds me a bit of the Ravenloft Carnival product for 2e. Likely that is how I am going to use it.  Love the idea of a traveling carnival from the Feywild.  Plus the chance for the return of Warduke, Kelek, and Skylla?  Yeah, sign me up!

Fizban's Treasury of Dragons.  Ok, I am not looking forward to this one per se, but I am looking forward to seeing my oldest, dragon-loving, son get it.  Though it does look like it has a lot of cool things in it.

Strixhaven: A Curriculum of Chaos. Seriously. How could I know be excited about this one? 

From Goodman Games

Original Adventures Reincarnated #6: Temple of Elemental Evil. I never played or ran the ToEE back in the day. I have planned on using it as the penultimate adventure for my D&D campaigns when they all end.  This two-volume set looks fantastic is exactly what I need for my campaign.

So yeah. I am sure there is more, but these are the ones on my mind right now.

Don't forget NIGHT SHIFT The Night Companion is nearing its last few days.  Give us some support. If we hit the stretch goal I will give a new Night World and this will keep me out of trouble for a while.


RPGaDAY2021

Sunday, August 29, 2021

#RPGaDAY2021 Day 29 System

RPGaDAY2021 Day 29

We can see the end from here!

Day 29 System

I feel today is going to be a lot about what sort of game system people prefer. Things like "d20" or "BRP" or a favorite of mine, "Unisystem."

Those are all good choices.  But today I want to talk about one that might not yet be yours or anyone's favorite. Not yet anyway.

Today I am going to talk about O.G.R.E.S. and a little bit about O.R.C.S.

The "S" in both stands for "System," so it is redundant to say "O.G.R.E.S. System" or "O.R.C.S. System" just O.G.R.E.S. and O.R.C.S. is fine. 

O.G.R.E.S.

O.G.R.E.S. stands for Oldschool Generic Roleplaying Engine System.  It is the system that powers NIGHT SHIFT.  It sits somewhere between the "rulings not rules" freeform of OD&D and the simple mechanics of d20.  The end result is something that feels very familiar and new at the same time.  

O.G.R.E.S. features three main subsystems as described by my co-author and designer Jason Vey. They are:

  • Percentile checks
  • d20 checks
  • The Rule of 2

The first two are likely self-explanatory, but here is Jason explaining all three in detail.

Percentile checks are used to check anything that requires a straight probability. Some class abilities use percentile checks (thief skills, for example, and the ranger's tracking). Other class abilities (the druid's nature lore ability) simply work. For the most part, however, any class ability requiring a check will use percentile dice. Also, just about every table in the game (with a few exceptions) uses a percentile roll.

d20 checks are used for anything combat-related. To hit rolls, saving throws, and turning undead are rolled on a d20.

The rule of 2: this is my name for a sub-system in D&D that has never been precisely codified, but is buried deep in the bones of the game. Any time a situation needs to be adjudicated in D&D for which there is not another system, throw a die, and on a result of 1 or 2, it happens. Listening at a door (and not a thief)? You hear noise on a 1 or 2. Looking to notice a secret door (and not a dwarf or elf)? Roll a d6 and you find it on a 1 or 2. Surprise? 1 or 2. The only thing that changes, for the most part, is the type of die--rangers, for example, use a d8 surprise die--and some character types may adjust the probability (elves noticing a secret door without searching is a 1 on a d6).

Three very simple subsystems.  Of course, all of these can be reduced to d% rolls.  But really it is all simple.  That is the point. In a game like NIGHT SHIFT action can happen very fast and you don't want a system of dice rolling to get in the way.

There is a hierarchy here of sorts.  Most things will be a d%, followed by combat-related actions with a  d20, and finally the Rule of 2. For everything else.

The Night Companion will expand on this and give you more options for play.

O.R.C.S.

O.R.C.S., or Optimized Roleplaying Core System, is the new version of the system that powers Spellcraft & Swordplay.  This system is heavily inspired by OD&D and other old-school play styles.

The core of O.R.C.S. is the 2d6 task resolution.  Much like the earliest form of D&D BEFORE the d20 was introduced.

Everyone talks about how Swords & Wizardry is the closest thing to OD&D, but they obviously have never played Spellcraft & Swordplay!

I am hoping we will see a lot more of O.G.R.E.S. and O.R.C.S. in the future.

Don't forget NIGHT SHIFT The Night Companion is nearing its last few days.  Give us some support. If we hit the stretch goal I will give a new Night World and this will keep me out of trouble for a while.


RPGaDAY2021