Showing posts sorted by relevance for query tunnels and trolls. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query tunnels and trolls. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Ken St. Andre responds to James Shipman

Long time readers here know of the whole James Shipman debacle.  Briefly he stole art and content and is selling it as his own.  Here are some links to bring you up to speed.

Well there is new movement on this front, none other than Tunnels and Trolls' own Ken St. Andre.

Ken has posted and open letter to RPGNet

An open letter to James Shipman from Ken St. Andre:

I received your package yesterday with some surprise. Received six copies of the revised Gristlegrim Dungeon. This dismays me, as I told you to quit publishing it back in January of this year when I broke with you. If this parcel was an attempt at a reconciliation between us, then I appreciate the effort you took, but I reject it. Our friendship and partnership is broken and done forever. I do not wish to collaborate on Gristlegrim or any other project with you. Not now! Not ever again! You had no right to add your material to my work. You have no right to continue publishing and selling it. Please stop!

James, you no longer have any right to publish or sell my works. We have no written contracts. We have no formal accounting of royalties. Your habit of sending money and or copies of the items is no longer good enough. Any informal agreements we may have made in 2009 and earlier are terminated on my side of the deal. I no longer wish to associate with you, either professionally or informally.

Find some other outlet for your creativity. Leave me, and leave Tunnels and Trolls, alone. I am rejecting any further association with you.

I hope this is clearly understood. Do not publish anything with my name on it as author. Do not presume to collaborate with me on my projects. Do not keep attempting to infiltrate under false names--you are banned and unwelcome on that site. Do not attempt to rewrite the history of Tunnels and Trolls on Wikipedia or any other online sources. Do not send me money. Do not send me product. I do not want it from you. However, I am under no legal obligation to send back things that arrive unsolicited in the mail. I won't waste the money or the effort to send them back. I am not interested in theatrical gestures. I simply wish to terminate our association and to move on with other things in life.

I hereby reclaim my rights to anything I ever gave you to publish. In particular, I assert my right to the novel Griffin Feathers which consists entirely of my own work with some input in the short sections of the book from the members of Trollhalla.

I am forwarding the "royalties" that you sent me to Jeff Freels, the artist whose work you have re-used to illustrate this version of Gristlegrim. He deserves compensation for his work.

James, I am not angry at you, and I do not hate you. I simply will not associate with you ever again. For several years we were, I thought, very good friends. Outlaw Press did a lot for Tunnels and Trolls. You know why that time has ended. Let it go. Move on.

James, I will be publishing this letter in open forums on the internet, so that all the world can see how I feel, and how I react to what I can only believe are attempts to manipulate me and to gain control of Tunnels and Trolls. If you have no ulterior intentions, then forgive me for being suspicious, but I no longer feel that I can trust you.

James, you have your own unique style of creativity. Please go and do your own thing, and stop messing with me and with Tunnels and Trolls.

Ken St. Andre

He also posted it over on the Big Purple,

Monday, April 23, 2012

T is for Tunnels & Trolls

Tunnels & Trolls is another good game that I rarely got the chance to play.

It has spent it's entire life being unfavorably compared to D&D which, while somewhat merited, is disappointing all the same.   T&T was the SECOND RPG ever created.  It came right on the heels of D&D, written by amateur game designer Ken St. Andre. Ken saw D&D and decided that it was poorly done, so he went home and wrote his own rules.
You can read about his recollections here, but what I want to do is talk about mine.
I have talked about Tunnels and Trolls in the past, mostly dealing with the whole Outlaw Press affair.

I think one of the reasons my group avoided Tunnels & Trolls, other than the appearance that it was "D&D Little Kids" was the humor.  T&T had a humor about it absent in D&D.  Today I can look at it and appreciate it for what it is, but then that was too high a mountain to climb.  This roleplaying stuff was serious business to my 12-13 year old mind.  And there was the whole status deal.  I learned early that if you were not playing "The Right Game" you could get shunned.  Yes social elitism from a group of social outcasts (read: nerds) but it happened.  So even if I was so inclined to try T&T, I doubt if I could have gotten anyone to play it with me.

Looking back today I can say while I am disappointed that didn't give T&T the chance it deserved back then, I can certainly make up for lost time now.  I make an effort to go to the Flying Buffalo booth each Gen Con and buy something, even if it is something small. The T&T fan communities, Trollhala and Trollbridge are the two largest I know of, are very active.  Truth be told, maybe even more active these days thanks to the OSR.

Anyone familiar with D&D will recognize a lot in T&T.  Same sorts of creatures, same sorts of adventures. Players have levels, races and classes.  Plenty of weapons, spells that go 20th level and magic.
I would love to play this a couple of times with my kids, or even sit in on a Convention game.

You can still get official Tunnels & Trolls products from the Flying Buffalo website.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

More from Outlaw Press

So more Outlaw Press news. You might recal I talked about Outlaw Press and James Shipman stealing art and content from scores of people for his Tunels & Trolls publications. [1] [2] [3]

Well now I have heard from anothee one of the artists.  I have actually spoken to a few of them, many were shocked and saddened that their work had been stolen.  Let's be clear here; if this handful of people is correct then that means he has stolen at least from them. And theft it is. 
This new artist has asked if I can get more of the word out so more artists that have been affected can let their voice be heard, and to help prevent this from happening again.

I am only too happy to help.

-- Begin Included Message --

A small RPG Publisher (Outlaw Press, Inc. run by James L. Shipman II) that exclusively publishes Tunnels &Trolls RPG materials was accused of extensively using and publishing unlicensed art and text for profit by several artist and writers who own the copyright to the art and content in question. Some of the images used by this publisher are work-for-hire art copyrighted by big-name companies like Dreamworks, SKG; Games Workshop; Upper Deck/Blizzard; and Wizards of the Coast.

The discussion about the whole matter of this publisher using unlicensed art started on this thread at RPGNet: (which is now 101 pages long, and has been closed). The thread started when it was brought to the attention of an artist, Kevin Bracey, that he was wrongfully credited with the cover art of a product that had actually been created by Mauricio Herrera and used without permission. Kevin Bracey was, however, the creator of the original cover for the product, which was changed when the work was made available in PDF format by Outlaw Press, Inc.

After repeated unanswered communications sent to the publisher by the growing number of artists who recognized their work as being used without a license, mainly as covers for his products, his Lulu and DriveThruRPG stores were taken down with all the questionable products removed. The products were also removed from his own website for a while, but soon afterward were re-listed without showing the cover art--the most readily recognizable and easily identifiable circumstance of copyright infringement. Moreover, Outlaw Press, Inc. removed their e-mail address from their main site, although the publisher’s actual contact details can still be found here: and here:

After many more unanswered communications to the publisher, some from past contributors requesting the removal of their freely contributed material from his publications (Tori Berquist, Simon Lee Tranter, Ken St. Andre, Gianmatteo Tonci, and M. E. Volmar included) as a result of their outrage and to show solidarity with the affected artists, the matter was still unresolved and being ignored by the publisher who continued to sell--through his own website, Lulu's Amazon Markeplace and Amazon's CreateSpace--products that were no longer just suspect (on a grand scale) of copyright infringement, but whose permission by the contributing artists and writers to sell their materials had been rescinded.

Some artists, prompted by a lack of answer from Shipman, resorted to leaving notes of art theft on the Reviews section of the products listed on And eventually, all but 5 of the roughly 130 listed items were removed from the and Lulu’s Amazon Marketplace stores at the request of the art’s copyright owners who were left no choice but to contact Lulu and directly. Of the 5 remaining products (which can still be found here:, 2 still present covers with verified unlicensed art--“Troll's Blood & Old Delvers: Tunnels & Trolls Anthology” with Jon Hodgson’s art, and “Lizardmen In Red Water Bay: A Tunnels & Trolls Fanpostal Novel“ with Allen Palmer’s art.

So far, the list of artists that have confirmed the use of their unlicensed art featured on the covers of Outlaw Press, Inc. products (without counting the 10+ contributors who have so far rescinded Shipman’s permission to use their materials) is overwhelming and growing (with around 20 or so other artists who are being contacted to confirm if indeed their art has been used without permission). These 30+ artists, some whose 70+ pieces of unlicensed artwork is featured on several of the publisher's products (see PDF file), include:
  • J. P. Targete
  • Sylvain Despretz
  • Simon Dominic
  • Mauricio Herrera                              
  • Jon Hodgson
  • Daniel Horne                                      
  • Michal Ivan
  • John Shannon                                     
  • Bill Corbett
  • Martin McKeown
  • Mats Minnhagen
  • Ursula Vernon
  • Jeff Lee Johnson
  • Henning Janssen
  • Zoltan Boros and Gabor Szikszai
  • Jhoneil Centeno         
  • Johann Valentin Andree         
  • Bera Károly
  • Alan Lathwell
  • Ken Jeremiassen
  • Jan Patrik Kresny
  • Fredrik Rahmqvist
  • David Lightfoot
  • Allen Palmer
  • Alejandro Guitiérrez
  • Daniel Falck
  • Storn A. Cook
  • Norbert Vakulya
  • Thom Scott
  • Darrenn E. Canton
  • Tibor Szendrei
  • Goran Josic
  • Per Eriksson
  • Kory K.                                                
One of the artists, Daniel Falck, wrote about the situation in his own blog:
Others have also written about the matter at:
The publisher was also accused of reprinting and selling without the author's permission a magazine called "Mazes & Minotaurs," which is offered for free on the author’s website. The details of this accusation can be found here:

Moreover, most of the art identified by the artists as used without a license is art featured on the covers of this publisher’s products, meaning that a thorough examination of the interior art used on his publications is yet to be undertaken, and that more artwork could have been used without a license by this publisher and more artists may be in reality affected by his practices.

The requests to remove freely contributed art and content, and the cancellation of the license to publish Tunnels & Trolls materials made by the makers of the Tunnels & Trolls game, Ken St. Andre and Flying Buffalo, Inc., have so far been completely ignored, and nothing close to an apology or explanation has been offered by the publisher to anyone--although he has appeared as Shipy (also his nickname on --Ken St. Andre's Tunnels & Trolls website) here:, (post 162 and 168) mocking the requests and comments about his practices made by the RPG community.

At this point, the publisher claimed that his art was bought from an art broker called David Levine (or David Levin) from the United Kingdom, of whom no record exists anywhere on the Web and to whom Shipman claims to have paid around $2000 for all the art used in his publications. Still, after having been repeatedly informed of his use of unlicensed art, the publisher tried to sell the infringing print products through his own website and made no effort to recall or remove the publications from any of his other still active sales outlets.
Subsequently, after the posts were made by Shipy on the Trollbridge, the publisher's website: announced on its homepage:

“All this month we will be having a X-mas sale. That means most of our T&T prices will be listed for half price or cheaper. So if you are looking to buy something, this month will be the best time to do so.”

And went on to boast about the money he was making off products that still featured all the unlicensed art in question.

“We have lots of new T&T items planned for the coming year (Novels, Solos, T&T Supplements and even a T&T Battle Dice Game Ken St. Andre created). Our sales have continued to grow with the site statics breaking down as such; roughly 3,241 people visit here each day, with 1 in 122 people making a purchase of $50 or more. We are shipping world wide and we continue to expand.”

It is also of note that the publisher sells a magazine called “The Hobbit Hole,” although the word Hobbit and its use is copyrighted to the Tolkien Estate, and highly unlikely to have been licensed to an obscure independent publisher such as Outlaw Press, Inc. and/or James Shipman.

This week, and after having been contacted through e-mail by Shipman (who cited bogus publication rights and falsely claimed owning the copyrights to freely contributed materials whose copyrights were never given to him by the rightful copyright owners), Ken St. Andre terminated James Shipman membership at Trollhalla--St. Andre’s own Tunnels & Trolls fan club--after issuing the following statement:
“Because James Shipman has shown himself to be neither truthful nor courageous nor ethical, I declare that he cannot remain a member of Trollhalla any longer.”

Although the publisher’s website has now been down for a few days, he continues to sell his products on E-Bay under various user names including: jimship1, Hobbit_King, actionseller99 and selling4u2, using the PayPal account.

Still, a storefront for this publisher and most of his products (which still feature the unlicensed art) can be found by following the product links at the Noble Knights game store here:, although Noble Knight has listed the products as no longer in print and are probably just selling old stock.

Not only have the actions by James Shipman been damaging and disrespectful to many, including his contributors and the Tunnels & Trolls community, but his practices have muddied reputations, impacted artists and fans alike, and cast a bad shadow on the whole RPG community and on legitimate independent publishers. This situation needs to be exposed, if only in the hope of helping the affected artists and contributors who have been wronged by Shipman, and the RPG community and independent publishers alike.

-- End --

So yeah, the drama continues.  I am including this more or less as is since it is a good summary of the situation to date and also gives some more information.  This confirms things other artists have told me, so it is nice to have it all in one place.

I hope this all comes to an end soon and the artists get their due.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #76

White Dwarf #76 takes us back to April 1986.  The magazine feels a bit larger than past issues (68 pages now) and there is more color.  The cover features a could of eagle riders in a tie in with the AD&D adventure.The cover artist is Peter Andrew Jones, who I do not recognize.

The editorial covers the demise of such columns as Fiend Factory, Star Base, Crawling Chaos, Rune Rites and Heroes & villains.   But we knew this.  Also, and maybe they are taking a page from Dragon, they planning more "theme" issues.  This one is all about the AD&D thief with two articles and and an adventure.

Open Box opens up big this issue with 3 pages and 7 reviews.  Iron Crown Enterprises has some MERP offerings. The Riddle of the Ring board game (6/10) and Erech & The Paths of the Dead Scenario (9/10).  Alone Against the Wendigo is a CoC solo adventure. Surprising there are not more of these to be honest.  (8/10).   Send in the Clones is also reviewed. This is the only Paranoia adventure I have ever played myself, so I have nothing to compare it too.  Marcus Rowland gives it 6/10 and that matches my memory of it.  Graeme Davis LOVES Lankhmar, City of Adventure for AD&D (10/10), I'll admit it has made me want to read the Fafhrd and Grey Mouser books more than once.  Two Doctor Who RPG adventures are covered The Iytean Menace and the Lords of Destiny. I loved the Doctor Who RPG from FASA but I never played these. They get a collective 8/10. Finally Hero games gives Fantasy Hero, it gets an 8/10.

The first article on AD&D Thieves is up.  How to Make Crime Pay is for players in the form of a lecture from a guild master.  Once upon a time I would have eaten this up. In fact in 86 my favorite character was a thief turned assassin.  There is nothing in this article that screams "D&D only", it could be used with pretty much any fantasy game.

Accounting (no joke) is covered for Judge Dredd.
A scenario for Warhammer is up next.

The second article on thieves is up, this time for the DMs/Referees.   Again, useful, game-agnostic advice.  This one is more in the form of tips and tricks and advice rather than a narrative. Actually this would have been a good article to have back in 86 when I was working up the details of the various guilds in my game world.  Today I just hand wave that sort of thing away.

An article on running Golden Heroes is next.  There is also a lot of good advice here too for any supers game.  I think the next supers game I run there will be a tabloid, ala The Sun, involved.

Castle in the Wind is the next article on thieves and takes the form of an adventure.  This one in pure AD&D and the thief connection is a touch thin.  It's long and detailed and with a dash of Hayao Miyazaki it could be really, really awesome.  I might have to xerox this one for later use.  Plus I love floating castles in my D&D.

Treasure chest is still around, at least for now.  It has half-a-dozen new spells. Never can have too many of those.

There is this interesting ad for "Labyrinthe" LARP (it's not called a LARP but that is what it is) taking place in the London Underground.  At first I had to double-take cause it looked like an ad for Labyrinth Lord!

Not exactly, but you can see what I mean.  Granted EVERYONE used that Old Style font back then.  It was the Morpheus of it's day.

This followed by a lot of ads.
Tabletop Heroes covers painting with oils, part 2.
Large ads continue with some Doctor Who minis, the D&D Master Rule Set and the Tunnels and Trolls paperback fantasy/rule books.

The theme is nice for issue but it makes it feel like there is less content than there really is.  I used to think the same about Dragon when they did themes as well.  Though to be fair, when they did themes I enjoyed then the issue seemed much more full.
More than any other issue before it, WD#76 is the dividing line between the new and old White Dwarf.  

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #31

White Dwarf #31 covers months June and July of 1982.  Speaking of covers check out this great looking city. Good choice for the city article in a couple of pages.

The editorial is kicked off by Ian Livingstone celebrating the 5th birthday of White Dwarf.  The first 10 readers that send in a completed feedback form will get a White Dwarf t-shirt!  Also we are again promised a monthly White Dwarf.  Let's wait and see when that happens.

Paul Vernon is back and this time he is building towns for D&D.  The Town Planner starts it's run this issue with Part 1: Designing and Running Villages.  Again, a great, timeless/editionless article.  In fact there in nothing here that could not be used with any FRPG.

In an another return Ken St. Andre is back with a mini Tunnels & Trolls solitaire adventure.  How mini?  Well the first page of the The Mad Dwarf is taken up by an image of said dwarf.  The adventure itself runs along the bottom two inches of the magazine for the next 7 pages and then another 6 pages after a bit.  So a little more than two pages really. It is done like this due to the "programmed" nature of the solitaire adventure (ie if you do X go to A, if you do Y go to B).

Some new Traveller material in the form of Prior Service from John Conquest. An aside, I never quite understood why any sword type is considered to be basic training in some of the Traveller military.  We always played it off as the same reasons Marines get a sabre with their dress uniform.  Oddly enough the Marines in Traveller don't get a sword, but the Navy gets Cutlass-1.

Open Box has some cool SciFi entries this month.  Task Force Games brings us Federation Space, the Federation controlled area of Starfleet Battles.  John Lambshed gives it a 8/10 and says it is a must buy for Starfleet Battles fans.   FASA releases four Traveller books this time, Ordeal by Eshaar, Action Aboard, Uragyad'n of the Seven Pillars and The Legend of the Sky Raiders. They are generally well liked, but have their issues.  Bob McWilliams gives them 6, 5, 8, and 8/10 for novices and 7, 6, 8, and 9/10 for experts.
Thieves get some love in two books by Gamelords, Thieves Guild (I-IV) and The Free City of Haven.  Lewis Pulsipher generally likes them and gives them 9, 7, 7, 8 and 9/10 respectively.

Letters focuses mostly on questions from/about the DMG.

Lewis Pulsipher is back with another article that made that big packet of articles I was reading about this time.  Arms at the Ready takes all the weapons tables in AD&D and shuffles them up.  Now you can look at a weapon and then see how the attacks are by character class and level.  This might not seem to be such a big deal today, but back in the AD&D days various weapons had different attacks versus different ACs.  For example there might be no change at all to AC 5 but AC 4 had a +1 to hit.  Of course this is because it was called "Armor Class" and not "Defense Score", AC 4 was a different type of armor than AC 5.  A point Lewis makes in the article.

RuneRites is back again for Runquest.  This time Geoff Winn has Crime and Punishment on the mind.  This really is a good companion piece to the city rules above.  Sure is for Runequest, but it is also generic enough to work with any game, with some tweaks.    The great thing about the early days of gaming was how free everything was.  I remember using the RuneQuest demon rules from WD a lot with D&D.  This article would work even better.

Starbase has your Traveller needs covered. That is if your need is Additional Deflector Systems.  If it is then Antony Cornell and Martin Barrett have you covered.  I can easily see this converted over to Star Frontiers, in fact that is what I was starting to do around this time (though SF does not grace the pages of WD till later on).

Treasure Chest has more Amulets & Talismans, this time sent in by readers.  Some interesting items too.

Fiend Factory is still doing themes.  This time it is a theme+adventure.  In Search of A Fool is described as a "D&D" mini adventure. The stats are D&D and not really AD&D, though odd bits of AD&D are mixed in. The monsters this time are all faerie creatures like the Daonie Sidhe (fae), the Leanan-Sidhe (vampire, and different than my own), Lorelei Willow (plant, sounds like something I'd come up with) and the Dendridi (a type of gnome).  The adventure is very brief, but great for a side trek.  Honestly I read it and it sounds like something I could drop into a 4e game in the Feywild with no modifications.

News, classifieds and ads follow.

All in all this issue felt more "80s" than previous issues.  Great content that worked well together.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #83

White Dwarf #83 comes to us from November 1986.  Just to put things into my gaming perspective we were running our final end-game game.  The war that would change our game forever. Why? Well we were all going to college and though we didn't know it at the time 2nd Edition was on the way.
The cover art to me always looked like a painting of miniature figure than the typical fantasy painting. Not sure why.
Paul Cockburn discusses how hard at work the WD staff have been and how next month will be bigger magazine, 8 more pages, with no extra ads and no extra charge.

Open box kicks off with the D&D Immortals set. Graeme Davis calls it an interesting and well thought out addition to the D&D rules, but not an indispensable one.  The infamous Warlock of Firetop Mountain Boardgame is reviewed. Infamous at least to me since I have always wanted to try it out but can never get my hands on one and they go for big bucks at my local auction.  Spawn of Azathoth for Call of Cthulhu is next. Peter Green says it has some nice ideas but lacks the "Oommph" that would make it a classic.  The 2nd Edition of ICEs Middle Earth Role-Playing is also covered.  Graham Stapplehurst calls it a better introduction to new players.  I will admit to not knowing very much about the 2nd edition.  Continuing on the 3rd page we get a new idea, GURPS Basic Set from Steve Jackson games.  Marcus Rowland calls it ambitious but can't recommend it.   We also get a number Open Box "Quickies": Cities by Chaosium, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, Revised Recon, Talisman the Adventure and Introduction to Star Fleet Battles.

Big two page ad for Warhammer Fantasy.

Critical Mass covers the Postman before Kevin Costner got a hold of it.  More interesting to me is the review of William Gibson's Burning Chrome. Funny how Gibson's work is looked at these days.  28 years ago it was science fiction, today the review sounds more like the review of a modern day spy novel.

A Day in the Life Sector 255 is a Judge Dredd "Patrol Adventure".  Reading this over I get a much better idea of how the game should work.  I have no idea if this is a good adventure or not, but it is unique and it tracks with what little I know about Judge Dredd. Followed by a strategically placed ad. I might need to give this game a try one day.

20/20 Vision covers some movies.  In particular is a favorite of mine, Big Trouble in Little China.  This would make for a great game and I have though so for years.  Of course the best system to use for this is the Army of Darkness RPG with Jack Burton taking the "Schmuck" Quality.  Aliens is also reviewed. Saw that movie a hundred times at least.  Vasquez and Hudson would late make appearances in my big end-game mentioned above as Katrine and Kiev, two fighters that hated each other in the roster of NPCs I created for the war.  They died fighting side by side and were recorded as having loved each other.  The idea was I'd use them to haunt other characters as ghosts until their bodies were separated in their shared tomb.

Up next is a Paranoia adventure.  Paranoia is a game I can only take in small doses.  After a while the jokes get really thin with me.

Carl Sargent goes over the costs and the role-playing of training between levels. The central thesis here is that with the advent of the "new" proficiency system that training between levels is more important than ever before.  I get what he is saying here and it was certainly something "in the water" back then.  I remember our group suddenly becoming very aware of training and no longer leveling up midst-game, but only after games.  We did spend some time seeking out trainers, which became interesting when our characters were in the 30th level range (it was the 80s) and we did not know anyone higher level.  Sargent's system is very detailed but for me these days I prefer something a little simpler.

The Crude, The Bad and The Rusty is a Warhammer Battle and it is up next.  I have no experience to judge this one by.  It has a set up and a map.  Maybe that is all you need?  I think it is.  I do *GET* why games like Warhammer are popular and by that extension any war game with minis.  Then I never had the money to put into these games properly and now I don't have the time or the skills at painting to do it right.

Everything Went Black has some rule options for Call of Cthulhu.  House rules mostly.

Up next our Warhammer Fantasy/AD&D adventure. The Black Knight is an interesting beast. As a Warhammer Fantasy adventure it seems to have more dungeon delving than I normally associate with WF.  As an AD&D adventure, more fighting.  I guess that is fitting when you think about it.  Course it has me wondering was a Warhammer/Tunnels & Trolls adventure might be like.

Psionic Combat expands on the Psionic articles from WD #79. I have always wanted a good psionic or even magical battle system.  This one is good, but no where near simple.  D&D combat is simple really, even AD&D. Roll your d20 and see what happens.  That is a feature of the game. Psionic/magical combat should be the same.  This one isn't but it certainly works with the bolted on psionics system in AD&D1.  I will admit I am not a fan of mixing my psionics and magic.

Ads...Thrud...'Eavy Metal. The pages for Eavy Metal are not in color which strikes me as odd.  Granted nothing is painted in this one so maybe they were saving the color pages...for the Wilderness Survival Guide ad.

More ads.  The letters page has a splash of color. Odd.
Fracas covers Games Day 86.

We end with ads.

Again, not a terrible issue, and actually a good one.  We are getting into the age where the complexity of AD&D is beginning to weigh it down.  More books, more optional rules more opinions.
Not a mention of Traveller or Runequest really.  Though AD&D and Call of Cthulhu rule the roost still, other games like Judge Dredd and Warhammer are seeing more and more space.  While I knew players trying out Warhammer and Paranoia at this time, not really anyone one in my little corner of the world was playing Judge Dredd.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Kickstarters

I really need to kick my Kickstarter habit.

Maybe later.
All of these are already backed.

First up is an update to the Ron Edwards classic Sorcerer.

And what I described as the Kick-Starter of the Year, the new Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls

Not sure if I am going to pledge in either yet, but both are games I have enjoyed in the past and I am happy to see them get some cash for some high end production value.

There is also the new FATE Core rules.

That one is so ridiculously funded that it doesn't need my help really.  It is even linked on the front page of the Kickstarter home page. But you have to give Fred and Evil Hat credit (and kudos) for having such a successful campaign.  Plus for a buck you have access to the draft rules right now and a physical book for only 30 bucks.  Also, and lets be honest, cybernetic Kung-fu gorilla on the cover?  How can that not be cool?

The trouble with all three of these games is I don't need anymore games. But there they are, out there, taunting me.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

White Dwarf Wednesday #53

White Dwarf #52 comes to us from May 1984.  Our cover this time is an army of orcs ready for battle; a tie-in to the Warhammer scenario coming up and a D&D article about orcs.

Ian Livingstone discusses the growing pains of the hobby.  Sure it is nice that so many people are now interested in it, and it is too bad that so many people are now interested in it!  So the exclusivity is gone.
This is the time of "Red Box D&D" (see last page).  Was this something you noticed in your games?  Many reading came to the hobby before this time, what were your thoughts then?  I grew in a small town where I knew everyone my age that gamed.  Or mostly everyone.  There was a feel of "get off my lawn" to some of the newer gamers.  Which of course is funny because there was the generation of War Gamers that looked at us the same way.  This is reflected in Livingstone's editorial.  We are now seeing the first glances of a generational effect in the Edition Wars.  Livingstone though gives some sage advice then and it is still good now, it is up to us (the older player) to help the newer player along and teach them "the old ways".

Marcus Rowland is back with Part 2 of his introduction to RPGs.  Continuing where he left off on D&D he moves to other Fantasy games for beginners starting with RuneQuest. Rowland is obviously a fan, and RQ gets the lion's share of the article (but still less than D&D).  He follows up with other games such as Tunnels & Trolls, Chivalry & Sorcery, Warhammer and Men, Myth and Magic.  Though these only get a paragraph or two each.

In our new full color section we get Minas Tirith, the Battle of Pelennor Fields for Warhammer. It's a long one, described as a Mega-Scenario. If you are a Tolkien fan then this is cool. Honestly few battles are as iconic to the Tolkien/Rings saga as this one, save for the Battle of Five Armies.

Our color pages continue into Open Box.  Up first Richard Meadows reviews Game Workshop's Caverns of the Dead.  The first in a new line of dungeon aids.  It gets a 7/10 noting that it compares less favorable to D&D modules.   We also get the 6th and 7th Fighting Fantasy books from Ian Livingstone, Deathtrap Dungeon and Island of the Lizard King. Both get an 8/10 from Marcus Rowland. Andy Slack gives us more Traveller material in the form of Book 6: Scouts. It gets an 7/10 overall, but the component ratings are all 8s and 10s with only one 7.  Not sure why it was rounded down like that.

Thurd the Barbarian is in more trouble. It looks like his biggest problem was that he was drawn by Rob Liefeld. Ok, in this context it is supposed to be funny.

We get a short (one page) Gothic tale from Chris Eliot and Richard Edwards.

Lew Pulsipher brings back Lew's Views. This time it is about demons, devils and pacts.  Something that would work well with the new lot of demon summoning and binding spells that seemed to be popular at this time (Module S4, Unearthed Arcana).  Still useful today in any game to be honest.  Don't like demons? Or you game has robots instead?  No big, the rules are really more "programmed" of any sort of guardian creature. So it could be a robot, a sphinx, a ghost, a curse or a golem.  Whatever you need.

Next up is The Naked Orc.  A new look at Orcs in D&D.  I think I have read this one before cause my own write-up of orcs is similar.  It's a good read and have some very interesting ideas.

Crash Course is our Car Wars column written by the American Steve Jackson.
Part 2 of the Castle of Lost Souls is next.  Not as long as last months.

More fawning over the changes in letters.
Starbase has some Traveller NPCs.
RuneRites has some spells based on celtic Druid myth.  These are pretty interesting to be honest.  Of course I look to them for conversion for D&D.

Tabletop Heroes has some more minis, but they don't take advantage of the color pages this time.  More is the pity to be honest.

Fiend Factory has some creatures and mini-scenario. The creatures are good for the scenario and maybe some eerie woodland area.
Treasure Chest has an odd collection of random treasures.

The News section under goes another makeover.  This time looking like a Bulletin board; a real one with tacks, not a virtual one.  Of interest is the upcoming "Dragonlance" which is listed as an RPG in the same breath that Marvel is listed as an RPG.  Was there a plan back then to have Dragonlance be a self contained game?

Color pages are next again and they are saved for the ads.  We have a few pages of those and then end with a full color ad for the new Red Box D&D Basic game.

For lack of a better word this issue feels like a "reboot" of the magazine.  No surprise that now it is available in a wider market they want to make sure it is accessible to all sorts of people.  There are still some interesting things going on, but not the same sort of things that were being printed prior to 83.  Still though, quite a fun read just nothing (other than the orcs) that jumped out at me.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday Issue 2

Welcome back to White Dwarf Wednesday.  Today I will talk about Issue #2 from Aug/Sep 1977.

This is an interesting issue if for one reason alone (though there are more), the editorial.  Ian Livingstone talks about the superior attitude being taken by the old guard war gamers against this "New" hobby of RPGs, though called throughout the editorial as SF/F gamers.
It is interesting reading this piece where D&D is the new kid on the block and defending itself against, well, the Grognards.
It is also interesting since none of the arguments have changed in 35 years. Substitute the names of the games and you have the same post you will see on any blog or message board.

Following that we have more details on Competitive D&D. A review on Asgard Miniatures by Ian Livingstone. Lewis Pulsipher gives us a three page review/article on The Green Planet Trilogy game by Richard Jordison. He doesn't particularly like the games and invites the author to write White Dwarf to clarify some rules.

An interesting tid bit is an article by Hartley Patterson called "Before the Flood" where he describes a game called "Midgard" that according to him, had many resemblances to D&D. He contends that there was no way that Gygax and Co. could have seen these rule beforehand.  The original manuscript had been written in 1972 by Will Haven and then rewritten by himself. I have never heard of it.

The regular Open Box feature gives us reviews of new games such as "OGRE", a new craze called a "micro-game", TSR's "Lankhmar", and a game called "War of the Star Slavers".  OGRE got an 8 total, Lankhmar got a 6 and Star Slavers a 3 due to the poor rules and counters.  There is also a review for a D&D enspired or rip-off game called Tunnels & Trolls (eek!), but no numerical rank is given.
We continue with the Monstermark system with a look at dragons, other fire breathing monsters and other "nasties". From what I can tell nearly every monster  from OD&D is listed here.

The Treasure Box feature gives us new crunch. We get a new magic item, a needle that can be anything it needs to be, and a new class the Scientist.  The Scientist is just plain weird. It is actually two classes, the Scientist (with level titles like Ph.D. and Polymath) and the Anti-Scientist (with level titles like Luddite, Jehovah's Witness and Football Supporter).  I can't tell if they are trying to be funny with it or not.

Finally we get to some crunch we can actually use, five new monsters: the frog-like Spinescale, a constructed bottle creature, The Ning, a Giant Caterpillars, the Blood Hawk, and the Dune Stalker which survived nearly unchanged save updated to AD&D from the OD&D here in the Fiend Folio.  None of the new monsters have a Monstermark score themselves just yet.

The issue ends with part two of "How to Improve D&D" and a letters section with people already writing in and telling them how do things different.  Gamers have never changed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Art and Content thief Jim Shipman back

You all might remember Jim Shipman; the thief that has been stealing art all over the internet and putting them on Tunnels and Trolls products and selling them as his own.

Well he is back at it.

Now he is trying to lie behind some bullshit disclaimer that the items are "second hand" and not published by him and he therefore has not responsibility over their content.

Can we please shut this asshole down once and for all?

Thanks to Tran Eskoor an Doon for this information.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #30

White Dwarf #30 covers the months of April and May 1982.

Cool cover art this issue with some weird bat-like creature.

This issues' Ian Livingstone editorial talks about the new Dungeons & Dragons electronic labyrinth game from Mattel and the Intellivison video game.  I had the post of the dragon from the electronic board game (till my ass college roommate ripped it up) but I never owned the game itself till a few years back.

Roger E. Moore gives us another of what I consider the "Classic" Traveller articles for me.  That is, this one of the ones that we had access too as a big xeroxed packet.  Androids in Traveller tells us all about artifical humans, replicants and your plastic pal that's fun to be with.

Designing a Quasi-Medieval Society for D&D is back.  Paul Vernon presents Part 2: The Economy Mercenaries and Resource Owners.  Again, this is quite in-depth (for a gaming magazine) and has a lot of useful information.  What is most useful though were the presented incomes of NPCs.  In our age and in 1982 I think it was hard for everyone just to understand how little people lived on. A group of adventures coming in to town after slaying a dragon is likely to throw the local economy totally out of whack.

E. Varley writes about Unarmed Combat in RuneQuest.

Open Box has some items that gamers today still love.  First up is Thieve World from Chaosium.  It gets a 10/10 for very good reason.  I was a huge TW fan back then and I still have my copy of this.  Champions from Hero games makes it first appearance here along with a scenario/adventure The Island of Doctor Destroyer.  Dave Morris likes the game, but doubts anyone will run a Champions campaign.  He gives it 7/10 and 8/10 for game and adventure.  Adventurer from Yaquinto Publications gets a solid 8/10.  Anf finally another Traveller board game that convinced me I'll never understand Traveller, Invasion: Earth gets 8/10 from Andy Slack.

"Griselda Gets Her Men" is the sequel to Lucky Eddi from last issue.  I have been told they are worth the. Maybe I'll give them a try.  After all it is only a page long.

Letters follow next.

Phil Masters presents The Curse of the Wildland, a cool looking adventure for 4-7 characters of 1-2 level in AD&D.   A couple of pages long and featuring a new monster, the Hsiao.

Starbase looks far a field for more ideas for Traveller Referees.

In what was/is one of the more interesting articles from the time we had "The Apocrypha According to St. Andre" by Ken St. Andre himself.  He explains a bit about himself and his game Tunnels & Trolls.  A very interesting read about one of the early pioneers of the gaming world.

Fiend Factor is back again.  This issue's theme are creatures that are often found with other creatures.   The Stirge Demon, found with Stirges has no treause but his Stirge Summoning necklace.   There is also the Weresnake.  The Muryans are giant ants that walk around on their hind legs.   The next page the monsters improve significantly.  The Sprite Knight is a larger sprite that protects other sprites.  The Vampire Wolf (or Coacula) is an undead wolf that serves a vampire.  Other wolves are mentioned, but not detailed.  Finally the Minidrag is a minature dragon like creature.

Treasure Chest has a collection of spells.

We come next to 10 pages of ads and the back cover.
Again, not a stand out issue, but certainly a fun one.  The Ken St. Andre article is a great highlight and the AD&D adventure is a good one too.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Putting my money where my mouth is...

So I spent a lot of time and text ripping into Outlaw Press, James Shipman and his art stealing ways.

So I have decided to put my money where my mouth is.
I am going to buy a copy of Tunnels and Trolls directly from Flying Buffalo this week at Gen Con.

I have no idea what edition, what book or anything.  But I want to show my support this way.  It looks like 7 (or 7.5) is the most up-to-date edition.  But maybe an older edition would be cool to have too.

If you are going to Gen Con and want to support one of the true pioneers of our hobby, then I suggest you do the same.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

White Dwarf Wednesday #18

It's April/May 1980.  Bon Scott has been replaced with Brian Johnson in AC/DC, Ronnie James Dio is in for Ozzy in Black Sabbath and a photo of the USS Enterprise has replaced fantasy art on the cover of White Dwarf #18.

This is issue is full of big news.  First off, though in the form of an ad, we see that TSR Hobbies has arrived and is open for business in the UK.  They open their doors on March 31, 1980.  Don Turnbull will be in charge.

The next full page ad is one for Tunnels & Trolls.  Like so much else in this OSR world this ad could run right now and still work.

Ian Livingstone asks "Why do people like playing role-playing games?"  It is interesting because now we are getting more "RPGs" and less "SF/F Games".  American influence I am thinking.

Next up we get a fairly detailed minatures game for Star Trek the Motion Picture. No idea if they got the permission to do this or not, but it is a pretty detailed game (4 pages).  You do need the minis to play, but those were new from Citadel Miniatures,  so easy to get.  The game assumes you are using these, but they also state others can be used.

We have some reviews in Open Box.  A psychic battle game based on the Darkover novels (9/10).  Swordquest from the new Task Force Games gets a 6/10. Dra'k'ne Station from Judges Guild for Traveller gets 8/10.

Albie Foire gives us a very detailed (6 pages, 3 new monsters) mini-adventure for D&D, The Halls of Tizun Thane.  Oddly enough this lists 3-6 players with 6-12 characters.  This is the only adventure I have seen where the assumption is people will be playing more than one character.

Treasure chest gives us some very useful tables on weather conditions by season.  As well as some random NPC generators.

Fiend Factory gives us four also-ran monsters; Mandrake People, Hounds of Kerenos, Phung, and the Couerl.  All have Monstermark ratings and all come from various Sf/F novels.
We also get the top 10 and bottom 5 FF monsters as chosen by the readers.

Top 10
1. Necrophidius
2. Russian Doll Monster
3. Svart
4. Needleman
5. Hook Horror
6. Githyanki
7. Imps
8. Volt
9. Urchin
10. Dahdi

Bottom 5
1. Nas Nas (the worst)
2. Dahdi (both lists)
3. Withra
4. Stinwicodech
5. Pebble Gnome

The Magic Brush is back with mini painting tips.

Finally 6 pages of classifieds and ads.  Ending with a new ad for TSR's Top Secret game.

The type seems denser and the quality of the work seems better than the last couple of issues and I think we are entering another growth period for WD.  Looking forward to the rest of 1980.

BTW here is that T&T ad.  Still works today.

Monday, November 23, 2009

RPG Net Discussions; Pirates and Witches

So there are two threads I am currently actively following on RPG.Net.

Normally I don’t air the dirty laundry on other sites, but the issues of these two discussions need a wider audience.

The first is something that I think more people need to know about.

Outlaw Press, known for selling Tunnels and Trolls products, has been stealing art and publishing material they do not own.

It is worth reading for a few reasons. One, to know if anything you have done might be there (though I think all the artists have been identified). Two, as a cautionary tale, if you steal someone else's work you will get caught. but also discussed in my T&T centric places,

The other is a discussion on Princess Lucinda Nightbane from Witch Girls Adventures.

That one has to be read to be believed. But I do find it a tad hypocritical that people playing games about their characters killing things and taking their stuff can get so bent out of shape when it is a little girl doing the exact same things.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

This Old Dragon: Issue #72

Another one I have multiple copies of. Sadly none of them have the cover or the File 13 game.

Dragon Magazine Issue #72 takes us back to April 1983. Let's see...I would have been in 8th grade then.  So for me that was the start of my AD&D 1st ed years and the waning of my B/X years.

Now I have a confession. I HATE the annual April Fools issues of magazines. Maybe hate is too strong of a word. But I admit that even the small (very small) amount of humor I find in some of the issues is off-set by the loss of what could have been good material.  Last week though reminded me that even when they had a full magazine to devote that not all the material was good.

This issue is an exception. There is one other coming up (if I even have it), but the humor here is mild and the other material makes up for it.

Let's start with this wonderful Clyde Caldwell cover.  We have two excellent cavaliers fighting a cool looking dragon.  Ties in nicely with the Cavalier class.  I am also surprised that there is no bare thigh in sight!

Kim Mohan's editorial really typifies why I hate the April Fool's issues. You are actually better off not reading it. You can save time and get to the exact same issue by reading the Letters.
The Letters section is full of bemoaning of how the magazine is getting too big (80-88 pages) or too expensive ($3.00).  Here I am in 2017, nearly 35 years later thinking that we don't have enough Dragon these days.

There is an ad for the Science Fiction Book Club. I had joined a couple of different time over the course of my years.  I wonder if they are still around? ( they are!) I am pleased to see I had read a good number of the books advertised, but there are few more I'd love to get my hands on again.

The big article of this issue is the Cavalier.  I always had a soft spot in my heart for the Cavalier. I liked the idea of a knight in shining armor, but who wasn't a Paladin.  There is a lot to like here and a great example of the long-form article that I really enjoyed from Dragon.  This is of course from Gary himself.  I also love that art from Keith Parkinson.  Too bad that playing a female elf cavalier riding a unicorn is WAY beyond the scope of the rules they are with!

Following this is, believe it or not, one of my favorite Ecology articles.  The Ecology of the Piercer. Seriously. Though the article has less content that I recalled (or I could be missing more pages) we decided that Piercers are a delicacy in my world, much like escargots are  in this world.  People collect young piercers for food and are worth a lot of money.  The older the piercer the less fresh they taste, so only the young are prized.  Piercers fed a steady diet of deer, elk or other game they would not normally get are even more prized.  Piercer farming has not worked out well, but adventurers are set on the task of collecting the little ones, all while avoiding the big ones!

The article on Gems is interesting, but I would rather have gone to a science book.

The Katherine Kerr article on The Real Barbarians is not one I read a lot of back then, but find very interesting now.  Easily one that should be paired with the Barbarian class that either will show up soon or just did.  Worth reading again to be sure.

Something that is an artifact of it's time is The PBM scene.  Playing by mail is a concept that I think most gamers would never think about these days. Oh I am sure if you look around you might find one or two still going.  Likely a Diplomacy, Tunnels & Trolls or a Traveler one.  It is a long ass article too.  I am not sure if I know anyone that ever did a Play By Mail game.  I considered it, back in the day, but never got around to it. Plus I could not bring myself to pay a buck every turn.

I get to the "behind the scenes" of File 13. Which made me realize I don't have a copy of the actual game.

Ugh... we get to the April Fools section.  I'll make this one fast. Valley Elf song? pass. I have the Frank Zappa album that Valley Girl came on and I got more D&D ideas from that then I do this song.
The Jock. Pass. More Sex in D&D humor.

I am jumping ahead to the book reviews.  Ok. Lots of really cool things here. In particular, I am drawn to Philip K Dick's "We Can Build You".   I remember the book since I was then and now something an armchair Lincoln scholar (what? I can layers.) but what strikes me the most these days is how much the fiction of Philip K. Dick shaped the world we live in now.  I think that is something worthy of a post on it's own someday.

The comics feature Phil n' Dixie doing their normal shtick.  Wormy is interesting though.  The wizard creating the portal is some of the best "portal" art I had seen up to that point.

The ads were good, lots of cool memories. Nothing really in the way of computer games yet.
Nice nostalgic issue.  Not a lot I can use today except maybe the barbarian article, but still fun.

Want to know what I was saying about White Dwarf from the same month? Check out White Dwarf Wednesday for issue #40.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kickstarters of the Week

We are in the final hours of the Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe Kickstarter.

We are also at the start of Bite Me! The Gaming Guide to Lycanthropes.

Both are worthy projects and I'd like to see them both on my shelves someday.

Tenkar tells you about the late and/or dead ones, I let you know about the new ones!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Jim Shipman (content thief) is at it again

The industry's biggest art thief and all around douche-bag Jame Shipman is trying to take his stolen wares to a smaller-yet-still niche.

Ed and Joe over at Esoteric Murmurs posted this:

Basically Shipman is now using his email list as a way to sell his stolen content.
If you need some more info on who Jim Shipman is and why he is a thief then read these:

But  most of all, read this one:

If you want to buy Tunnels & Trolls then only support the company that makes Tunnels & Trolls, Flying Buffalo:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Old Games

Contrary to some belief I am not an obsessive collector of games.  I have things I like and genres I follow and I usually stick to that.  Outside of those I am pretty much open.

This week the Games Plus Fall auction begins and I still have some time to get some of my books in.
I am planning on selling of some of my more recent Tunnels & Trolls purchases as well as the last of the True20 material I still have laying around.

I figure anything I have not played in 5 years is good to go and anything I am not likely to play in the next 3 is also good to go.  

Do ever pare down your collection?
If so, how do you decide what to sell and what to keep?

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