Showing posts with label print. Show all posts
Showing posts with label print. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Mail Call: Blue Rose Six of Cups

Getting a new book in the mail is always a joy. Getting one you helped create is even better!

I got my author's copy of Blue Rose Six of Cups.

Blue Rose Six of Cups

Blue Rose Six of Cups

The PDF has been available for a bit and now the print book can be ordered from Green Ronin's online store.

As I have said in the past I adore Blue Rose. I just love the world, the system, everything about it. It is such a refresher after decades of "grim dark" RPGs.

I am particularly happy with this one. It has a new character I am particularly fond of.  My homage to the Piasa Bird and places I used to frequent. Another distateful member of the less than pleasant Meacham family. But most of all it was a joy and an honor to write something for Aldea. 

The Storm of the Century

The project lead, Joseph D. Carriker, for this book posted in Green Ronin News a little about this book. In particular, he talked about the "Storm of the Century" theme.  This was not something I (or to my knowledge) any of the other authors tried to do. I was pretty much working in my silo just to get this done with my only contact being Joseph. Who, please allow me to add, was great to work with.

Here is what he had to say about the storm.

One of the things I asked of our authors was to send me proposals for their adventures and gazetteers. In short order, it became apparent that (perhaps inspired by the elemental association of Cups with water) no less than three of the stories feature a massive coastal storm. Rather than require some of the authors to change their ideas, I thought I could include them all to highlight one of the interesting ways to use generally unrelated adventures.

Finding a common thread to run between adventures is an awesome way of building a sort of “accidental” campaign. The tumultuous weather plays a role in all three of the stories, and they are not written as being interrelated. An enterprising Narrator might, however, come up with some connecting concepts to help tie them together. Perhaps these are all part of a single, major storm system of some kind, a sort of terrifying storm of the century to strike the southern coast of Aldis? Or, perhaps there is something (or someone…) nefarious at work, hurling storm after storm into the world.

I do love this idea and the thought of a great storm coming to the southern coast of Aldis is too good to pass up. 

Personally, I think this is one of Blue Rose's greatest strengths when compared to D&D.  D&D can do a lot of great things. But it is largely still a game about and centered around combat.  In Blue Rose, you could make an adventure where the central focus was protecting a small coastal town from the coming storm. Not by fighting some demonic force or elemental, but as the Sovereign's Finest playing the role the National Guard does here. Organizing relief efforts, building sandbag walls, and figuring out what to do. Fantastic role-playing opportunity.  

So my darkfiend Dorgogz is not the cause of this massive storm, but rather he is here because of it. 

The adventures are leveled from 1 to 8 (mine for example is level 2-4). A new adventure, say levels 8-10 called "The Storm of the Century" would be this giant coastal storm.  Hmm...I am getting some ideas here.  With this sort of build-up, one could see that there is something connected and nefarious here. 

Can't wait to try out the other adventures in this book. They look great.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

I'll Take a Pumpkin Spice, A5 size

You have asked and I serve them up. It's September, it's almost the start of Autumn and that means Pumpkin Spice Season!

The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Witch Tradition

Pumpkin Spice Witch, Letter and A5

And I am so pleased with it!

Much like my Craft of the Wise book this one now comes in softcover and hardcover options. 

A5 Witch books

The Softcover version is Letter-sized, 8.5" x 11".  This works with your B/X, BECMI, or other OSR books.

The Hardcover is A5 sized, 148mm X 210mm, (8.3" x 5.8").  This is the same size as the OSE books and roughly the same size as my Warlock book (which is Digest size 6"x9").

The content and art are the same for each, so the layout is different. Despite the size, this is still designed largely for Labyrinth Lord; so 20 character levels, and 8 spell levels. Though obviously it can be used with any "Basic Era" sort of game.

A5 Books

Pumpkin Spice Books

Same contents, different layout

With only 55 days left till Halloween order yours now and enjoy the magic of Fall!

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Mail Call: Print on Demand

I took advantage of the latest Christmas in July Sales at DriveThruRPG to get myself some Print on Demand deals.

Print on Demand

I wanted a new Dragonlance hardcover to replace the one my son absconded with when he was little. I have also been wanting copies of City System and A Paladin in Hell for a while now.  Cult of the Dragon and Minsc and Boo's Journal of Villainy are gifts for the aforementioned son.

While that was getting printed and shipped to me my youngest was 3D printing my Sagarassi minis.  

Sagarassi and Dragonlance

They are a little hard to see, here is a close-up.

Sagarassi minis

Yeah, still a little hard. Here is what they will look like painted.

Sagarassi sea-elf

Sagarassi octo

I am pleased with how the prints turned out.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Mail Call, Part 2: Another Return to Ravenloft

Ravenloft Print on Demand
Well, I had forgotten I ordered this, but I am glad I did.  Waiting for me on my front porch after getting groceries today was a Print on Demand copy of I6 Ravenloft

It was not very expensive really, just under $9 for the book. I had bought the PDFs when it first came out so I just grabbed the Print on Demand version this time.  Getting both is $2 more than just the print but still cheaper than getting them separate like I did. 

It was about $4 for shipping and a buck something for taxes.  All in all, it came in just $15.   Sure more expensive than my original, but relatively speaking still cheap.

The scan is really nice. Not exactly what I would call crisp, but perfectly clear.

The maps are in the back of the book, as the pictures below will show. So not really useful. But when you buy it with the PDF you can print them out.  

Ravenloft Print on Demand

Ravenloft Print on Demand

Ravenloft Print on Demand

It's not like I needed another copy of Ravenloft.  I have ran it so many times now already I don't think I'll run it again as is.  But it is nice to have this.  It does compare well to my original edition and my 25th-anniversary edition.

Ravenloft three different printings

Not to mention the AD&D 2nd Edition House of Strahd, the D&D 3rd Edition Expedition to Castle Ravenloft, and the 5th Edition Curse of Strahd.  All of which are essentially the same adventure with tweaks to their respective systems.

All versions of Castle Ravenloft

I am likely to give my new copy to my oldest son who LOVES Ravenloft now.  This kid hated anything horror growing up and now can't get enough.

Maybe one day I'll run it with a distaff Strahd.  OR maybe Darlessa?

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Review: Spelljammer, AD&D Adventures in Space

Cover of the Spelljammer book
Come back to me if you will to a time just right before the Internet.
(Ok, technically the roots of the Internet were here in ARPANet and what I was using BitNet at the time. But you know what I mean.)  

The time is 1989 and the game on my table is AD&D 2nd Edition.  Well, it is really Ravenloft, because, in college that was my setting of choice, AD&D just happens to be the system that ran underneath it all.  So a couple of points already.  I was playing AD&D 2nd Ed and really all I had the money for at the time was for one setting and that was Ravenloft.  There were a lot of great settings in the AD&D 2 days; Forgotten Realms loomed large and impressive, and maybe a little intimidating.  Greyhawk and Mystara only had some minor entries, much to my disappointment, Al-Qadim and Kara-Tur both looked like fun, and then we would also get Planescape. But there was one out that seemed so strange to me that I wanted to know more but yet could not bring myself to buy.  Until now. 

DriveThruRPGs Print on Demand has been a fantastic opportunity for those of us who want to go back and look at some of these other systems and games of our youth.  While I have relied mostly on the aftermarket to get myself up to speed on the Forgotten Realms (and enjoying it) I recently picked up the hardcover POD version of AD&D's Spelljammer.  And I am so happy I did.

Now don't get me wrong. I wanted to play SpellJammer back then.  We ever started a new campaign where all the characters were in a navy, so they all had 3 free levels in fighter, and then they were level 1 (or 4 for the fighters) in whatever other classes they were going to be.  Using the AD&D dual classing rules meant they could not act as fighters until later. But it boosted their HP.  They were going to spend some time at sea, but eventually, they were going to turn their ship into a SpellJamming one.  I named the ship "The Black Betty" after the Ram Jam song because every time I heard "Spelljammer" I thought "ram jam" and the Black Betty was a good name for a ship.  Sadly we never got very far. I was at University and my DM at the time was at a different school and the other players were also at yet another school. Meeting only over the summer was not helpful for a long-term campaign.

Fast forward to today.

Spelljammer: Adventures in Space

For this review, I am considering the Print on Demand hardcover and the PDFs from DriveThruRPG.  There may be things true of these versions that are not true for the original boxed set and things that might be the other way around.  I can't speak to the boxed set since I never owned it.  

Spelljammer is a whopping 278 pages.  Jeff Grubb is our primary author with art by Jeff Easley, Jim Holloway, Dave "Diesel" LaForce, and Roy Parker.  Easley is responsible for our cover, and indeed many of the covers from this time.  The interior art is Jim Holloway who really set the tone and feel for what I consider the 2nd Ed "style" of that time.  The interior is largely black and white with some color illustrations.  Mostly the pictures of ships, what were covers in the separate boxed set books, and some maps.  The scanned pages are not crisp, but they are easy to read.

The book is divided into two large sections that correspond to the two 96-page books that came in the boxed set, Lorebook of the Void and Concordance of Arcane Space.

Lorebook of the Void

We are introduced to how Spelljammer, AD&D in Space, came about.  We also now know that this was the first of new boxed set settings to come out for AD&D 2nd ed.  More would follow and make 2nd Ed more famous for their settings rather than their rules.  The goal for Spelljammer was overtly a simple one; AD&D in space, connect all the main AD&D worlds, and make them work together without changing what makes each one unique.

This section covers the basics of Spelljamming and operating a spelljamming helm.  We get a good overview of the types of spelljamming ships and that various races that can be found in Arcane Space.  We learn that gnomes and halflings for the most part avoid Arcane Space since they are too closely tied to their planets (makes sense) but Krynn's Tinker Gnomes are not so tied to their world in the same fashion so they are very much at home in Arcane Space. We even get a bit on goblinoids.  

The next third covers the various monsters and creatures you will find in AD&D 2nd Ed Monstrous Compendium format. We are given new details on the Beholders (they take the place of Daleks in Arcane Space) and the Neogi. Mind Flayers also get new treatments.  

The last thrid covers the three main AD&D game worlds, Krynn (Dragonlance), Oerth (World of Greyhawk), and Toril (Forgotten Realms).  The problems begin to show here since the cosmology of Krynn is tied very much to their gods.  This is not the fault of Spelljammer or Dragonlance, but rather one of trying to fit the divine into a scientific worldview.  I will admit I do like how the spheres are covered here.  It reminds me a little of how the solar system of Urt is covered in the D&D Immortals Set.  One could take that information and drop it rather cleanly into this book.  It was not done of course because at this time Urt/Mystara was considered part of D&D and not AD&D.  Even discussions online close to the time described AD&D as one universe, maybe even in the same galaxy, and D&D in a different universe altogether. 

Concordance of Arcane Space

The second major section of the book covers the rules part of Arcane Space.  The first chapter describes some basics of how Arcane Space and the Phlogiston work.  Chapter 2 covers some changes to the AD&D rules.  The first change, Lizard Men are now a playable race.  There are changes to some spells and how clerics can talk to their gods. We also get some new spells.  Chapter 3 covers the ships. How they are made, flown, and the capabilities (armor, weapons, storage) of examples.  Combat is covered in Chapter 4.  Ships are a lot like characters in they have an Armor Rating and Hull Points.  Damage by large ship weapons can deal hull damage and/or hit point damage. Chapter 5 covers celestial mechanics, or how systems are made. While in real-life astrophysics we know that forces like gravity will produce round (or oblate) planets and stars, there is a wide variety of things found even nearby to us.  Arcane Space should be just as diverse if not more so.  Oerth (Greyhawk) is a Geocentric system, Toril and Krynn are heliocentric. There are other systems that can be and should be, even stranger.  We learn that there is a flow to the Phlogiston and that some worlds might easy to travel to, but harder to travel away from.

We also have several appendices.  The first covers how magic spells and items work in space.  Appendix 2 covers travel times with Earth and the Solar System as an example along with Krynn, Toril, and Oerth.  Mystara/Urt can be substituted for Earth easy enough.  Flow can affect travel times.

The last section of the book are the color deck plans of various spelljamming ships. Maps and cut-out-and-fold ship minis. Best get the PDF along with the printed book so you can print these on your own.  A large black-hex map would work great for movement in space. 

Reading it today I can overlook some of the flaws that would have bothered me in 1990.  

Print on Demand Book

The Print on Demand book is hardcover, mostly black & white with some color art inside and color covers. It is a hefty volume on premium paper which makes it a little thicker than you expect a 278-page book to be.  It is very high quality. 

Covers of the Spelljammer bookCovers of the Spelljammer book


Interior of the Spelljammer book


Interior of the Spelljammer book

Interior of the Spelljammer book

Interior of the Spelljammer book

Interior of the Spelljammer book

Converting to 5e

In the first chapter of the first section, some advice is given about converting older AD&D monsters to use with Spelljammer since in theory every monster could be found somewhere.  The example given is the Grimlock from the Fiend Folio, a monster they describe as not likely to be updated to 2nd Edition.

Well. We know now the Grimlock. And updated to 3rd and beyond.   So there is no good reason to assume that Spelljammer will "Never" be updated.  In fact with D&D 5's desire to embrace the past and every world of D&D in their products it is reasonable we will see some Spelljammer at some point.  A spelljamming ship was already placed on a level in a 5th edition adventure. 

But converting to 5e based on the material in this book? Well really there are two main areas of focus; monsters and magic.  Many of the monsters have newer 5e writeups now, so this is less a question of conversion and more of replacement.  Magic, in particular spells, would need some more work but the guidelines are in place.  Similar spells should change in similar manners.  Combat can be swapped out for 5e combat, which not terribly different. So yes, if you are playing a 5e game then you can get a lot of use and play out of this book.

If you have ever been curious about Spelljammer but did not want to pay the aftermarket prices then the PDF is an absolute steal.  If you know about it and want to give it a go again (or for the first time) then the POD version is equally cost-effective.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Mail Call: B7 Rahasia, Print on Demand

Got a nice treat in the mail last week.

Module B7 Rahasia

Rahasia is one of the next adventures I will be running in my War of the Witch Queens campaign for Basic-era D&D.  I have a copy of the original B7 version, but I thought a Print on Demand would be nice to have as well.  

I was not wrong.

Interior of Module B7 Rahasia

Interior of Module B7 Rahasia

Interior of Module B7 Rahasia

Interior of Module B7 Rahasia

Back of Module B7 Rahasia

As with all the PoD modules from the TSR era the maps are not printed on the inside covers but rather as pages.  Not a huge deal to be honest, just make sure you buy the PDF as well and print them out at home.


I had hoped that Rahasia's letter had been cleaned up.  It hasn't. But the source version was difficult to read as well.  I had to retype it so I could have it ready for my War of the Witch Queens game.  

To get this once rare and hard-to-find adventure for just under 12 bucks (I paid $11.99 total) is a really great deal, to be honest. 

Rahasia Links

Saturday, June 27, 2020

More BECMI Print on Demand

Another round of mail call for Print on Demand items.  This week a couple to help finish off some ones I have been wanting for some time.

I have something special planned for this one, so $18 for print and PDF I couldn't say no.




It looks fantastic really.  I might wait till July to do this one some more.

And I picked up the last X module I need.  X5 Temple of Death.






I already had a beat-up old copy of X4 Master of the Desert Nomads.


It is out in PDF but not POD.  If I need the maps from X5, I'll just print them out.


Saturday, June 20, 2020

GAZ 3 The Principalities of Glantri Print on Demand

BECMI Month continues here at The Other Side with an early Father's Day gift for me.

The Principalities of Glantri, Print on Demand version.


I reviewed the PDF and my original print version some time ago, so if you want to check that out it is here.

The PoD is fantastic really, and great to have since this is the one Gazetteer that sees the most use out of all my Basic-era books.


My original signed by Bruce Heard.





The original Gaz 3 cost $8.95 back in 1987.  This one set me back $7.66. 


Yeah, no shipping since it is part of a multi-shipment.  Part two should be here next week. I hope so, I have a lot to say about that one.

The maps are attached to the spine, so not as useful as they could be, but getting the PDF is part of the PoD, so I can always print them out if I don't want to use my originals. 

For the price being able to put up my original and have one I can use daily if needed is a steal really.

Each PoD has been getting better and better. This one seems to be best so far.