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

Monday, February 11, 2019

I am Going to Talk about Zak Today and Then Never Again

Yesterday Mandy Morbid, the former girlfriend of Zak Smith/Sabbath, and one of the members of his group of D&D players made famous by his blog and his show "I Hit it With My Axe" posted a letter to Zak on her facebook page.

You can, and should, read it here: https://www.facebook.com/amandapatricianagy/posts/10215845527064252

It's long but read the entire post. Come back here when you are done.

Back?  Good.
Or maybe not good. That is not a post that should make you feel good at all.

I want to say upfront I believe and support Mandy, Jennifer, and Hannah in this.
I wish them all nothing but the best and healing. They deserve that and more.

Now I have defended Zak in the past. I have lauded his works here and on social media.

Well, now I condemning him for his abusive behavior and his violations, both physical and mental in terms of trust.

I apologize to you all, my readers who take the words I put down here and trust that I have vetted and verified them all.  I try, but in this, I failed.

Mostly I want to apologize to Mandy herself for giving support to someone that used that support as a means of coercion or control. Had it not been for people like me giving him vocal support he likely could not have done the things he did for as long as he did.

Don't expect to see any more support for Zak here.  I only wish I had seen all of this sooner and done more. I won't mention him here on these pages after this post.

We need to do better as a community. So I am starting with me.

Edited to Add: Satine Phoenix, who was/is friends with both Zak and Mandy has posted this.
Edited to Add 2: Vivka Grey has also added her experiences and how they confirm Mandy's side of the story.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Alas, Google+

Sort of a non-RPG post today.  But like a thief in the night, Google took away all of the Google+ Blogger integration.

If you are getting ready to post something today you will be greeted with this message:


The Learn more link takes you to their page explaining it in detail.

Gone are badges, the Google +1 buttons, and circle widgets.





Also gone, and this is a much bigger issue, are all the comments people made IF you moved over to the Google+ comment system.

I didn't here, but I did for my atheism blog, The Freedom of  Nonbelief.  So all of those comments are gone.  I know others did as well and had many, many more comments than I had there.

Of course, this is just the start of the end for Google+.  This along with the URL shortener Goo.gl are going away and it will have an impact on many of us in the Blogger community and the OSR community.

To the right I have a script that displays different books I have done.  The script is affectionately called "GoRando.js" but it uses the Goo.gl url shortener to work.  So I need to fix that right away.

We also have a ton on communities in Google+.
For me it means closing down my own Victorian Gamers Association: Role-playing in the Age of Victoria group and moving back over to the Facebook version.

I hope the communities on G+ do find new homes, but there will be an inventible splintering.   I have heard a lot of people saying they "won't do Facebook" and that is fine, but my communities and groups are there, so to pick up and try to build a new one elsewhere would take a lot of work.

If you are a fan of this site then I also suggest you check out my Facebook page for it. https://www.facebook.com/OtherSideblog/

I also created a MeWe group for this blog and my books.
https://mewe.com/group/5c598927dc9a663c488557e9

Where ever we all go, hope to stay in contact.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

10 Years (sorta) of The Other Side!

It's December and I am celebrating 10 years here at the Other Side.

Willow & Tara join the Justice League Dark by Jacob Blackmon
Sort of...

My first post called intelligently enough First Post, was made on April 27, 2007. But I didn't do much with my blog at all in 2007.   My next real post of substance was not till December 23, 2008.  In that post, I talked about some projects I was working on at the time.
Project #1 never came to pass, the IP owners pulled out.  BUT I am happy to say that the adventure I wrote for it then is now in the hands of a new editor and I hope to say something more about that soon.   Project #2 of became Eldritch Witchery.   Since that time I have gotten 25 or so books out and appeared in a few others.

In any case, I figure December should be the 10 year anniversary of this blog.  It has been a crazy ten years too.  Yesterday was my 10 year anniversary on Facebook too, so I hit Social Media big in 2008.

This blog started out as an extension of my then website, also called The Other Side.  But the site got hacked so many times I dropped it.  I was growing tired of Message Boards where I could talk about Game A, but not Game B or I could talk about Games A and B but not Topic X.  I wanted more freedom to talk about the games I loved and the topics I cared about.  That site and this blog gave me that freedom.

What has the Other Side seen in 10 years?  Well as of right now, I have had 3,744,607 visitors which averages out to about 1,024 hits/visits a day.  I have made 3,848 posts and only 663 have overtly been about witches.

I have spilled a lot of digital ink (electrons? photons? photons) on witches, vampires, witches, Willow & Tara, Zatanna, the OSR, superheroes, my favorite games, witches, games I have written, sometimes about my hardcore left-leaning liberal politics, witches and games I played with my kids.

With this blog, I have participated in blogathons, blog carnivals, and blogfests.   Reading challenges, post-a-day challenges and theme posts.  I have seen a lot of great blogs come and go and a lot of my contemporaries still posting right along beside me.  I have made some good friends and some people I love to work with.

To memorialize this anniversary Jacob Blackmon (my first Featured Artist) created what might be the ultimate "Other Side" image:  Willow and Tara being welcomed into the Justice League Dark by Constantine and Zatanna.   Pretty much captures everything this blog has done in 10 years!

What next?  More Featured Artists, more Black Star, the return of This Old Dragon and One Man's God (OMG).  I hope to bring even more.  So let's get on that next 10 years, shall we?

Thanks, everyone!  You are what makes posting here worthwhile and I hope to keep being a place you can come too for your RPG and pop culture entertainment.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Swords & Wizardry

It has been a GREAT time on TV for witches!  We have Charmed, another Vampire Diaries spin-off, Constantine has joined the Legends of Tomorrow and we got a Salem episode Monday night.

The big star of this Halloween season is The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina


Anyone expecting the old ABC Sabrina the Teenage Witch is going to be in for a surprise. This is an honest-to-Satan hit and sometimes creepy as hell.  The cast is amazing with stand out performances by Kiernan Brenna Shipka as Sabrina Spellman, Lucy Davis ("Etta Candy" from WW) as Hilda Spellman, Miranda Otto (Éowyn) as Zelda Spellman and the true, true treat Michelle Gomez as Mary Wardwell / Madam Satan.  We also get Richard Coyle as Father Faustus Blackwood who is better known (by me anyway) as Jeff from Coupling and the originator of the Giggle Loop.

You can read more about the show over at Tim Knight's fantastic blog, Hero Press.

Going into this show with the Melissa Joan Hart series and the classic comic in mind I thought she would make a perfect Swords & Wizardry White Witch.  But...well I won't spoil the show for you, but Sabrina as a White Witch...well it doesn't really fit. 

This is, however, a great chance for me to bring up a topic.  How can I use a Basic Witch with a Swords & Wizardry Witch?

Say my player, let's call her Kiernan (she's a cousin on her mother's side)  REALLY wants to play a  Diabolic Witch from my Witch book, but I am running a Swords & Wizardry White Box game.

The answer is simple, use all the rules and tables from the White Box and the Witch for Swords & Wizardry White Box, but grab the Diabolic tradition from the Basic book.  I have made all the of Experience tables the same and the witches all get Occult Powers at the same levels.  I will also grab some spells from both books to flesh her out more.  Now Kiernan is happy playing the character she wants and I am running the same I want.

Halloween is Sabrina's 16th birthday.  She has not had formal witch training but has had extensive training by her aunts at home.  We see cast glamour, remove curse (or dispel magic) and maybe Vanquish.  But I am going to say she is still pretty low level.  1 or 2 tops.

Sabrina Spellman

2nd level Human Female Witch,
Malefic Witch Tradition (using White Witch rules)

Strength: 10
Dexterity: 15 (+1)
Constitution: 13
Intelligence: 12
Wisdom: 12
Charisma: 17 (+2)

HP: 8
Alignment: Neutral (Good Tendencies)
AC: 9 [10]
Saves Base: 14

Occult Powers
Familiar: Salem (Cat)

Spells 
Cantrips: (5) Arcane Mark, Black Flame, Call Bats, Toads, or Spiders, Ghost Sounds, Summon a Witch (Ritual)
First: (2) Glamour (from Basic Witch), Mind Obscure (as a Ritual)

So mixing these works well.  I had to fudge a bit to get the Mind Obscure spell.  But I figure that was a ritual she learned from her aunts to protect herself.

Happy Halloween!
You can also check out Justin Isaac's version of Sabrina for Dark Places and Demogorgons on his site, https://punverse.blogspot.com/2018/10/chilling-adventures-of-sabrina.html
And my Unisystem version for modern times and an older Sabrina at Sabrina, the Middle-Aged Witch.
Thanks again to Tim Knight at Hero Press for sharing the word.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Save Versus All Wands: Witches in Early D&D

+Oakes Spalding has a great post over on his blog about Witches.
Save Versus All Wands: Witches in Early D&D


It is worth checking out and is the kind of analysis I do on my own but should really post more often because it is interesting. 

The post, like most of what Oakes does, is OD&D focused. So don't expect a lot about Dragon #43 or Dragon #114.

Still it's a good analysis and post and I enjoyed it.

This comes from his research while working on SEVEN VOYAGES of ZYLARTHEN.
The game is a "cleaned up" version of OD&D or a clone.
You could use his witch along with my own Swords & Wizardry witches in particular my "White Box" witches and ones directly influenced by OD&D such as Eldritch Witchery.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year! Tell What You Have/Do/Make!

So I started this posting on Facebook today and it is really taking off.



So I want to continue it here.

I know so many wickedly talented and smart people. A lot of them read this blog.

So in the comments below and/or on Google+ please share what you are doing, making, selling or otherwise want people to know about. Share.  When I get back from my meetings today I'll also share some, but don't wait on me. Toot your own horn!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"Much Maligned"? I don't think so.

So I got this email from RPG.Net the other day and there is a section near the bottom.
Dungeons and Dragons Fifth Edition has been much maligned in RPG circles (including by yr. humble editor, to be fair), but the game does have its undeniable good points. For some positive discussion of the latest edition of the grandaddy of RPGs, check out "Why 5e Is Good."
Much Maligned?  By who? Where?

RPG.net is blocked at work, so I can't get into the thread itself.
I know there is a certain segment of the RPG population who disliked D&D5 based on (what it seems to me) the involvement of +Kasimir Urbanski (RPGPundit) and +Zak Sabbath and wished it would fail.  Well, that never happened and now almost 2 more years in I notice some of those (vocal) one are now playing 5e.


Then there are also these articles.  Not exhaustive, or even 100% representative but they do make a point.   Read them, but for the purposes of this illustration, the titles will suffice.


I could go on but hardly needed.

No I think this is much, much more a reflection of the point of view of the editor of this newsletter, "Iustum". (I admittedly have no idea who that is.) Also trying to push a particular narrative.

RPG.net lately has been more a place of cliques and overly draconian rules on what can and cannot be posted.  Granted that is their right. They pay the bills they can say what they want there and control what others say.  But that doesn't really make it true.  

Sorry RPG.net. but D&D5 is not much maligned. Not even by die hard Grognards.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What are RPGs Worth?

Been a lot of talk about this on the old internet lately.

http://www.enworld.org/forum/content.php?3410-Why-We-Need-To-Pay-What-Games-Are-Worth-Not-What-We-Think-They-Should-Cost#.VzH7TnErKVM
http://www.tenkarstavern.com/2016/05/what-are-games-worth-follow-up-to-chris.html
https://plus.google.com/+GregChristopher /posts/4ScbaXYPFnv
http://trollsmyth.blogspot.com/2016/05/whats-it-worth-to-ya.html (edited to add)
http://therpgpundit.blogspot.com/2016/05/incompetent-game-writers-demanding-we.html

Some advocating more expensive books and/or better pay for the work they do.  Others saying let the market decide what something needs to be charged and/or paid.

I guess to me the issue is really what is an RPG worth to me.

I am very fortunate. I get to write RPGs, the stuff I want and I get to be choosy about it.  I have a day job that I am really good at and pays me well.  I can afford to buy the things I want and even get the occasional luxury item.  So my personal calculus for what I will pay is different than yours or someone doing much better than me.

The questions are "What should RPGs cost?" and "What are RPGs worth?".  The logical extension of these questions are what should a professional game designer be paid?

These are two VERY different questions.

Let's look at the breakdown of price (money), cost (money and time among other things) and value or worth.

I bought the AD&D 1st edition hardcovers back in the 1980s.  Money was tight for me then. Even a $15 or $20 book represented a significant number of hours of me working at the time.  So their value started out as higher than their price might indicate.  The worth of those books to me is incalculable. Not just the time I spent with friends playing, or reading them over and over, but the things I do now with my own kids.

I bought the 3rd Edition hardcovers when they first came out.  I keep the receipts as bookmarks so I know when I got them and how much I paid;  9/11/2000 (interesting date) and I spent $18.00 plus tax (in Cook County Ill that is about 9%).  These books cost far more to produce. The cost was a bout the same to me, but the amount of work this total represented 20 years later to buy them was far less.  Also, their worth to me is still great since this was the system I taught my kids how to play.

So value and worth is not something I can easily quantify.  Does Skip Williams deserve to be paid more or less than Gary Gygax did?

I have had the pleasure to work on some truly wonderful games.  I spent hundreds of hours doing research for Ghosts of Albion. Not just on the primary material, but on the Victorian time, names, economics, how long it took to load a gun, world leaders, countries, disputes. Hell I spent an entire day doing nothing but looking up the most popular names of 1838 and 1839!  Should it have been more expensive to make than say Army of Darkness? A game with the same rule system?

I am going to say no.

Why?  Well lots of reasons really. Army of Darkness, the movie, is more popular than the Ghosts of Albion books. There is a certain gamer-cool vibe to Army of Darkness too.  Plus Victorian games, as popular as they are, are still a small niche inside the RPG community.
I spent that time in research because it was what I chose to do. I wanted to give you a better game.  I wanted to give you the best Victorian game I make and the best Cinematic Unisystem game I could make.  In both cases I feel like I did my best.  Hey it's 8+ years since publication and I still get people telling me how much they love Ghosts.

To someone else the value of Ghosts vs. Army is the same.  The cost certainly is for the consumer.  I am privy to many of the behind the scenes costs for both books, so I am not going to get into the issue of which one was more expensive to make.

I also spent hundreds of hours working on The Witch. The typing, the layout and the research alone goes back decades. I also bought a bunch of art for it and bought advertising on my own dime. I sell it for $5.00.  I bet I could have charged $10, but 5 felt better to me.  If I were to be paid let's say minimum wage on the work I did, well...I'd likely never see that money based on sales alone.

But that is not why I do it.

There is a quote that is often attributed to Kevin Siembieda's ex-wife Maryann, "If you want to make a small fortune in the gaming industry you need to start with a large fortune and work your way down."

There is a sad truth in that.

I am not saying we couldn't or even shouldn't pay game designers more.
But they will be paid what the market allows for.

There is a price that a book will sell at, but my knowledge of micro- and macro-economics is not MBA level so I have no idea what that is.  We have thousands of games, hundreds of professional and amateur designers out there, and unfettered access to all.  This new golden age of access to RPGs has a price.

We just don't know what that price should be.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

The Witch Game

Jonathan Becker of the excellent B/X Blackrazor posted this to my Class Struggles post yesterday:

Have you considered (or run) a game where witches simply replaced magic-users?

Reading this post and your earlier ones, I'm struck by the idea that the "witch" (which I've written several times myself) may need to be something setting-specific, rather than an archetypal class. So much of the witch...and version (folkloric, historical, literary)...is intimately tied to its particular setting, mainly with regard to culture. Sure, they do magic...but that magic varies from source to source (I know you're an expert on the subject, so you can draw references from tons of sources). Real witchcraft is extremely personal to its practitioners, and in a way that parallels the media depiction of witches: each filmmaker or TV producer or book writer has their own personal interpretation of the abilities of a witch. There's a shit-ton of differences between Bewitched and the film Warlock and those Harry Potter books...and a galaxy of difference between any of those and Baba Yaga!

The real defining thing about witches is their (sub)culture, not their powers. They are outsiders from normal society. They are close-knit (have shared ties) with each other. They're feared and often persecuted (or shunned if too powerful...see Baba Yaga). Even so, they can be helpful to non-witches. They seem to have an appreciation for the natural world, especially animals and plants. Their "natural world" also includes forces that mundane folks see as "supernatural" (whether you're talking about spirits, sympathetic magic, or whatever).

The default setting of most editions of D&D don't really leave room for this culture of the witch. People don't shun and persecute magic-users. Magic-users are prone to secrecy and isolation in order both to guard their power and to prevent every Tom, Dick, and Jenny from banging on their door asking for help with some quest or village plight. The evil ones go crazy and live in dungeons and command legions of orcs and monsters. The helpful ones are out on adventures, fattening their purses, getting in knife fights, and acting as magical artillery. I don't know...for me, there's just nothing "witchy" there (culturally speaking).

To really do witches, you need a specific campaign setting that works with their culture. After that, most any spells or abilities will work (and there's plenty of inspiration to draw from). But without the right setting? I don't see a real place for witches in the D&D game.

Jonathan knows his stuff. He also did a very excellent witch in his Complete B/X Adventurer. He makes a lot of excellent points.

Let me dive in, in detail.
>>Have you considered (or run) a game where witches simply replaced magic-users?

I am currently in one now and have played some in the past. In general the witch is less powerful than a same-level wizard, but has some advantages the wizard doesn't have, such as healing.

>>There's a shit-ton of differences between Bewitched and the film Warlock and those Harry Potter books...and a galaxy of difference between any of those and Baba Yaga!

Oh yes. That is part of the problem, and part of the fun.  I  could find some similar differences in say a thief. Like Robin Hood vs. The Grey Mouser vs. The Stainless Steel Rat and others.  D&D only models a particular type of reality.  I have often said I'd kill to do a Harry Potter game, but damn if I know how I would build Hogwarts in D&D yet.

>>The real defining thing about witches is their (sub)culture, not their powers. They are outsiders from normal society.

There is a ton of good in these two sentences. It also concurs with things I have said in the past, repeating what Tom Moldvay has also said.   One thing to consider is that one man's cleric is another man's cultist.  So often a "witch" really could just be a wizard, cleric or some off-the-wall druid.
It really does give weight to the idea of a "magic-user" class.

>>I don't know...for me, there's just nothing "witchy" there (culturally speaking).

Which I think is why the witch has traditionally been an NPC class.

>>To really do witches, you need a specific campaign setting that works with their culture. After that, most any spells or abilities will work (and there's plenty of inspiration to draw from). But without the right setting? I don't see a real place for witches in the D&D game.

For me though I think this can be handled in right role-playing environment.
Pathfinder does a good job makeing their witch very different from their wizard.  D&D4 had a different take on their witch, but it was still fun.  In both cases there is a lot of "background" to help seperate them from the other spell casters.  I tried to do this with the Traditions.

I see your point that the differences between a witch and wizard are largely cosmetic (my words) or cultural (your words); but even the "wizard" as an archetype has a lot of variety. I mean is Hermoinie a D&D wizard or witch? She is called a "Witch" but her magic seems more "Wizard" to me.

Heck. In some ways your B/X Witch is more "witchy" than mine!

In any case I like that these points are made.  
I do like the idea of a specific campaign setting that supports a witch.  I suppose in many ways that is my "default" game setting.  But "my D&D" tends to have healthy doses of horror in it as well, so the witch, potentially a person that deals with these elements from beyond, is more of an outsider.

But you have given me some material to consider and I appreciate that.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

RFI Podcast

You can hear me today as well as read me.



The Roll For Initiative Podcast I was a guest on is up now.

http://rfipodcast.com/show/2016/02/10/volume-5-issue-174-round-table-talk-community-hot-topics/

If you are interested in the Victorian Gamers Association I mentioned on this the link is here:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/117617184004/

Thanks to +Vincent Florio and +Erik Tenkar for a great time.




Monday, February 8, 2016

Weekend Wrap-up

Busy weekend!

Started off by guest posting over at Angry Hamster Publishing, home of the fantastic new game WITCH: Fated Souls.   I posted my top 5 witches.  Have some you like? Post them there!

I also played a LOT of Pathfinder Deluxe Munchkin this weekend.  Didn't win a single game, but I still enjoyed it.

Sunday I was part of the next Roll For Initiative podcast.


I hung out with +Vincent Florio and +Erik Tenkar of the eponymous Tavern while we talked about social media, blogs and boards, Pay to Play DMs and Kickstarters.  I'll post a link when that is live.

In other news the proofs of "The Sisters of the Aquarian Order" are on the way.  That should be going live soon.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Greatest Pen and Paper RPGs

I know it's silly, not at all accurate, not really an indication of anything really.
But it is fun.

Rank your favorite RPG!

The Greatest Pen and Paper RPGs

Vote for your favorites. Add something that isn't on the list.
Oh and if possible, spare a vote for Ghosts of Albion! ;) Thanks.

Monday, January 25, 2016

A to Z sign up is Live

The sign up for the 7th annual April A to Z blog challenge is now live.



I am participating again this year.  Last year was a challenge for me to be honest.  But I hope I am better organized this year.  I already have an idea for my posts, I just need to check my Y and Z posts.

I do encourage others in our little corner of the internet to participate.  It not only helps grow your readership and blog, it also helps grow our hobby.  I won't lie, sales of my books go up in April.  People read what I have and they get curious.  My book plus Labyrinth Lord or my book plus Basic Fantasy is enough to get a newbie going for under the price of going to the movies.

Think about and join me if you can.


Thursday, January 14, 2016

Reading Challenges

I am going to participate in a few reading challenges again this year.

Once again I am participating in The Witches & Witchcraft Reading Challenge at Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf.

2016 Witches &a Witchcraft Reading Challenge

I doubt I will do as well as I did last year, but I am going to give it a try.

Also I "read" a lot of audio-books.  So this year I am also going to participate in the Book Nympho's 2016 Audiobook Challenge.  This one I expect I will do well on.  I have to commute everyday to work so I have lots of time in the car.

I have already started on both.

Another one I would like to do is the 2016 Victorian Reading Challenge.  But I don't currently have anything in my TBR piles that qualifies.  Except for games really.

Belle's Library

Still.  I enjoy these and it is a fun way to talk about something I was going to do anyway.

ETA: A few more.

2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge




Retellings Reading Challenge 2016



2016 EBook Reading Challenge



Flights of Fantasy Reading Challenge




2016 Horror Reading Challenge




New to You 2016

New To You Square

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

D&D 5th Edition SRD and OGL. Oh..and you can now write for the Forgotten Realms too.

Well no one suspected THIS I can tell you that.

Wizards of the Coast released the D&D 5th edition SRD along with the OGL 1.1 today.

http://dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/systems-reference-document-srd

They have also opened up something they call The Dungeon Master's Guild.
https://www.dmsguild.com/index.php?affiliate_id=10748



You can now release material under the OGL for 5e using the SRD.  OR if you want to say, write Forgotten Realms material, then you can do that too.

The SRD is nearly 400 pages of D&D 5th ed rules.

If you are a publisher and have something ready to go, you might want to consider your D&D5 options now.

So I have to ask.  Anyone interested in a 5e version of The Witch?

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review: The B/X Rogue

I love new B/X classes. If I have demonstrated nothing else here it is that.  So when +Gavin Norman of the excellent City of Iron blog and Necrotic Gnome Productions came out with a new B/X class, well I had to get it.
Gavin has already given us some great classes in his Theorems & Thaumaturgy and The Complete Vivimancer. Now he takes on the thief archetype in The B/X Rogue.

I say archetype because what this book tries (and succeeds, but more on that in a bit) to do is create a Rogue class that encompasses all of the various "sub-classes" we have seen on the thief over the years.  How he does it is both very elegant and very, very basic, if not Basic.

Like the thief the rogue has a number of talents at his/her disposal.  Instead of a percentile (or d20) roll the rogue is assumed to be fully proficient in their talent.  The differences lie in the choice of talents and some of the talents themselves.  The example given is the iconic Remove Traps.  If a rogue has this at 1st level then they can remove or disable a trap 100% of the time.  However the types of traps are now changed.  The rogue can only disable small mechanical traps. Not huge pits in the floor.

The rogue class begins with 4 talents. This increases by 1 per level.  Some talents have prerequisites and can only be taken at 5th level (Expert Talents, love the split of Basic and Expert Talents here).  Outside of that the class it remarkably like the B/X thief.  

The bulk of the book describe the 36 talents a rogue might take.  This allows for near infinite (or close enough for the amount of character sheets I'll print out) rogue types.  There are even magical talents for the Bards and Arcane Tricksters out there. Of course I immediately went to the magic section and quickly figured out an Occult Scholar, a rogue that raids tombs and libraries for bits of arcane knowledge and some spells to help them out. Won't help you when you need an orc killed, unless he has a scroll for it.

There is also a very useful table to help you with your archetypes.  Want an assassin? Great, take back-stab, hide, garotte, move quietly at 1st level.  There are 10 of these, so a d10 will also get you up and going fast.  Don't want a magic-one? Easy. Roll a d8 instead.

The PDF itself is 26 pages; a front cover, a back cover and two page OGL, all for a $1.50.  Not a bad deal at all really, especially when consider how flexible this class is now.

If you are a fan of the theif class, B/X or Gavin's other classes then this is a must buy.

Plays Well With Others
With the options of adding magic to the Rogue to come up with other classes (Bards, Dabbler's and Arcane Tricksters) you can add other powers to make even more classes.

Grab +Richard LeBlanc's Basic Psionics Handbook and use some of the wild talents for rogue talents to create a Psychic Dabbler or a Charlantan with some actual clairvoyance.

Take the Arcanve Dabbler and replace the magic-user spell at 1st level with a witch spell and then a minor or least occult power at 5th level and now you have a Hedge Witch.

I could go on and on, but for cheaper than a 20 oz Mt. Dew at the gas station you can have this book and make up your own!

I can see this replacing the theif in my B/X games easily.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Mythic Russia

There are tons and tons of great mythic stories in the world.  One of the ones I have always found to be interesting, though I know very little about them, are the Russian myths and fairy tales.  In particular Baba Yaga and Koschei the Immortal.  I found these pictures online from Amok Amokov.
https://www.instagram.com/amokrus/
https://www.facebook.com/amokanet

These pictures really capture what I think the Russian fairy tales should look like, or at least how they should be in my world.

Baba Yaga

Vasilisa the Beautiful

Vasilisa the Wise

Koschei the Immortal

Ilya Muromets

Alyonushka and Ivanushka
Elena the Fair
I certainly like this version of Elena the Fair, certainly worthy of the title Queen of Summer.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Diigo upgrade - Come join me!

I upgraded my Diigo account.  The "OSR Blogs" social bookmarking tool is now public.

Anyone can now add their own blog to the list.




If you want to add this code to your own website, just copy and paste.

<script type="text/javascript" src="https://groups.diigo.com/user_mana/link_roll_data?group_name=OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites&icon=true&width=350&count=20&title=Group%20OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's%20best%20content&tags=&token=" ></script><noscript><a href="https://groups.diigo.com/group/OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites" >Group OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's best content</a></noscript>

The red highlights are values you can change.

Join me and help increase this list.
I am also going to add more features as the week goes on.

Let me know what you think!

Edited to add: Adding another group to my "Witch Links" page.
http://theotherside.timsbrannan.com/p/witches.html.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Organizing via Diigo

Doing some research for my day job and I came across Diigo.  It's a social bookmarking site that allows users to bookmark and share websites, pages, articles and so on.  There is more to it than that, but I am just getting going on it.

I thought it might be fun to create a group where we could all share various OSR and RPG blogs and sites.  There is very little RPG on Diigo so far (at least what I could find) so this would be helpful.

To that end I created a group and I am inviting everyone to join and link your sites or site you like.


Right now there is only me.
I am on a free account but I am likely to upgrade to a full professional account if this works half as nice as I hope.  Once I do that then the group will have some more features.

I have added some blogs. Mostly those from my own blogroll starting from the bottom up, but I would love it if you all added your own and commented on the ones added.  Just keep it nice, we are community here.




You can even add this to your own blog or website.

<script type="text/javascript" src="https://groups.diigo.com/user_mana/link_roll_data?group_name=OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites&icon=true&width=250&count=10&title=Group%20OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's%20best%20content&tags=&token=03f4ad7c34cfe7a31674868e9a7499eb" ></script><noscript><a href="https://groups.diigo.com/group/OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites" >Group OSR-Blogs-Groups-and-sites's best content</a></noscript>


I know we have sites out there that list all of these blogs, but this is something we can all contribute to and help maintain.
Plus it is kind of fun.

Edited to add: I just discovered I can "auto-post" from Diigo to here. So as we add things an automated posting can go out say every Sunday.

Monday, September 21, 2015

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