Showing posts with label kickstarter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label kickstarter. Show all posts

Friday, April 15, 2022

Kickstart Your Weekend: Adventure! Romance! Chaos! Horror!

Lots of new Kickstarters out there.  So many in fact. Let's have a look!

Mini-Adventure #1: Shadow of the Necromancer 1E/5E & Box Set

Shadow of the Necromancer


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/marktaormino/mini-adventure-1-shadow-of-the-necromancer-1e-5e-and-box-set

Mark Taormino and Dark Wizard Games has another gonzo adventure for us, this time for both 1st Ed and 5th Ed D&D. As always it looks like great fun.

Swords & Chaos

Swords & Chaos

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blackspirefantasy/swords-and-chaos

Swords & Chaos is powered by the SIEGE Engine, the same system in Castles & Crusades. Looks like it is cut from the same cloth as AS&SH or Barbarians of Lemuria.

Tome of Adventure Design

Tome of Adventure Design

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/adventuredesigntome/tome-of-adventure-design

A revised and updated Tome of Adventure design for 2022.  I have the original and it is really useful to whip up something in a pinch.

An Unexpected Wedding Invitation (5e)

An Unexpected Wedding Invitation (5e)

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/midnight-tower/an-unexpected-wedding-invitation

A bit of change here is a Jane Austin-ish-inspired wedding mystery for 5e. Looks like a lot of fun.

Shield Maidens: A New Viking/Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG

Shield Maidens: A New Viking/Cyberpunk Tabletop RPG

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1990654819/shield-maidens-a-new-viking-cyberpunk-tabletop-rpg

Ok, this one sounds interesting.  Mixing cyberpunk, pre-apocalypse, and Norse myth.  There is also a free preview to get your first shield maiden built.  It is its own system, but it still looks fun.

The Art of Ménage à 3

The Art of Ménage à 3

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pixietrixcomix/the-art-of-menage-a-3

Now for something completely different.  Ménage à 3 was a fantastic webcomic about three roommates hopelessly in love with each other.  But that did not mean things worked out! It also launched the career of  Gisèle Lagacé.  This has art from the comic and new pieces.

Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game

Old Gods of Appalachia Roleplaying Game

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/montecookgames/old-gods-of-appalachia-roleplaying-game

Dark weird folk horror from Monte Cook? YEAH! Sign me the hell up! It is the Cypher system and you know the production values will be high.

FAST Core Rulebook - Multi-Genre RPG System

FAST Core Rulebook - Multi-Genre RPG System

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/563681582/fast-core-rulebook-multi-genre-rpg-system

A new multi-genre system that looks like it has a LOT of potential.  I like multi-genre systems since I tend to mix a lot of things together in one game. 


Swords of Cthulhu

Swords of Cthulhu

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/brwgames/swords-of-cthulhu

Another cool one from Joseph Bloch who has a stellar Kickstarter track record.  This one brings the Lovecraftian mythos back (or back again) to AD&D/OSRIC.


Lots of choices!

Friday, March 11, 2022

Crowdfund Your Weekend!

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

Mistletoe Massacre - Horror Comedy Slasher Film

Mistletoe Massacre

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

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

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

Bundle for Ukraine

Bundle for Ukraine

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

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

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


Both of these are very worthy so check them out!

Friday, February 25, 2022

Kickstart Your Weekend: Zweihänder, Sands and Old School Fun

A bunch of great Kickstarters this week so let's get to it.

The Valley Out of Time series for S&W DCC MCC

The Valley Out of Time series for S&W DCC MCC

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/science-wizard/the-valley-out-of-time-series-for-sandw-dcc-mcc?ref=theotherside

This one looks like a lot of fun. Has a whole "Lost World" vibe to it and I love that shit. It was already planned for DCC, MCC, and S&W and now with the first stretch goal Pathfinder 1st Edition.

Zweihander Fantasy Horror RPG Starter Kit

Zweihander Fantasy Horror RPG Starter Kit

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/zweihander/zweihander-rpg-starter-kit?ref=theotherside

I don't know a lot about Zweihänder. I know it is a clone in a sense of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplaying.  So I have been told to try this instead of Warhammer.  Creator Daniel Fox also takes credit for (rightly or not) taking down The Trove so that is a good thing in my mind.

This starter kit looks like a lot of fun and I think I am a good choice as a customer. 

The Sands of Despair: a D&D 5E and PF side trek

The Sands of Despair: a D&D 5E and PF side trek

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/dlimedia/the-sands-of-despair-a-dandd-5e-side-trek?ref=theotherside

Recent seismic events unearth a long buried tomb in the desert, and the locals fear that a long dead tyrant's last words may come true.

Sounds fun to me! Plus I have been wanting to do more desert adventures. 

And the big one of the week!

Old-School Essentials Fantasy RPG Box Sets

Old-School Essentials Fantasy RPG Box Sets

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/exaltedfuneral/old-school-essentials-fantasy-rpg-box-sets?ref=theotherside

Ok we all know what this one is. It's the biggest kid on the OSR block right now and after 2-3 days it is sitting on half a million dollars.  Not too shabby really.

I have everything for this already. But damn this is attractive.

Enjoy!

Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Legend of Vox Machina

My family finished watching the Amazon Prime series "The Legend of Vox Machina" from Critical Role and honestly it was a lot of fun.

The Legend of Vox Machina

It was funny, exciting, and really just a lot of great gamer humor without feeling like gamer humor.

A big problem I have with most gamer-related fiction is you can often, as I say, "hear the dice rolling in the background."  Not so with this.  Yes there are the expected name drops, the occasional mention of a power (Grog wanting to "rage") or a spell (Keyleth saying she can only do that one once a day) but that all took a backseat to what makes any bit of fiction good; good story and characters you can care about.

I have not listened to any of the Critical Role episodes, but my oldest LOVES them.  So we backed the Kickstarter and honestly, we have been very pleased.  He let me know later how the animated series differs from the actual play episodes.  So now I do want to go back to those older Campaign One episodes and listen to them all.

Also not since the Dungeons & Dragons cartoon has D&D seen this much success in a televised medium.  Amazon already renewed it for a second season before season one even premiered.

It has met with critical success, including a 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a 94% audience score. 

Whether you are a fan or not one thing is certain, Critical Role is one of D&D greatest achievements in terms of getting more people interested in our little game.  Born out of an odd combination of Pathfinder and D&D 5 the World of Tal'dorei has also seen quite a bit of success in the D&D 5 printed world with three (soon to be four) books.

Critical Role books

In addition to the series, the actual play episodes, and the gaming material there are comic books, action figures, clothes, and gear.  There is even a 1/6th scale statue of the characters Vex and Vax from Vox Machina coming out.  You know for a fact if there were statues of Keyleth and Jester coming out they would never be able to keep them in stock. Yes even at the nearly $200 price tag.

When was the last time one of your campaigns did all of that?  Ok. I do have 1/6th scale versions of two of my own iconic witches. No, I am not going to share how much I spent on them.

So the show was a lot of fun, maybe a touch adult for some, a lot of swearing some nudity, lots of gore. But seriously, does no one remember gaming when they were 14? 

I wish them the best of luck and hope for their continued success. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Review: Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy

Old School Essentials
Arguably one of the biggest success stories of the late OSR movement has been the publication of Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy (2019) and Old-School Essentials Advanced Fantasy (2021).  Indeed I feel that OSE has supplanted Swords & Wizardry, the darling of the middle OSR movement as the old-school game of choice.  It is the old-school game of choice here in my home game, alternating between it and D&D 5e, and seems to be the most talked-about game in the old-school discussion areas. 

This is all with good reason.  OSE is well designed, superbly organized, and has wonderful art.  There is a minimalist approach to the rules and presentation that does not detract from the experience, instead, it rather enhances it.   You can see my enthusiasm in my review of the Old-School Essentials Classic Fantasy Boxed set back in 2020.   So imagine my surprise when I learned I had not given OSE Advanced a proper review yet.

I have detailed my introduction to D&D many times here. But briefly, my "first" D&D was a poorly copied version of Holmes Basic with an AD&D Monster Manual.  My first "true" D&D, the one I could properly call my own was Moldvay Basic/Cook & MArsh Expert (commonly referred to as "B/X").  I would over the course of a year or so add in elements of AD&D.  Most importantly the Deities & Demigods, the Fiend Folio, and a copy of Eldritch Wizardry.  *My* D&D was always a mish-mash of Basic D&D and AD&D.  I later discovered that my playstyle was not at all unique.

Old School Essentials Advanced Fantasy Edition really strikes at the heart of what this sort of play was like.  The familiar and easy Basic/Expert rules with AD&D layered on top.  Layered is the right word, AD&D had a lot of situational rules and rules used in tournaments and rules designed to cover what looked like medieval realism.  As real that is in a world where half-elves fought dragons with magic.  OSE-AF strips this down back to the B/X style rules found in OSE-CF and then adds in what people used the most from AD&D.  No weapon speed factors, no tournament scoring, just D&D-style play.  

OSE-AF is divided into two books, the Player's Tome and the Referee's Tome.

I am a sucker for a book with a ribbon

For this review, I am considering the hardcover books I got via the Kickstarter, the PDFs from DriveThruRPG, and extra copies of the Player's Tome I picked up at my FLGS.  All books were purchased by me and none were submitted for review purposes.

OSE-AF Player's Tome
OSE-AF Player's Tome

Hardcover. Black and White and color interior art and covers. 248 pages. Bookmarked PDF with hyperlinked table of contents and index. $40.00 for the hardcover print (retail). $15.00 for the PDF.

The Player's Tome covers everything an OSE-AF player needs to know. The book details a lot of the same rules that are found in the OSE-Classic Fantasy (or read: Basic) rules.  This new book though integrates the "Basic" and "Advanced" material together with some notes on the "Advanced Fantasy" sections. One might be tempted to say that this book is not needed if you have the OSE-CF book, but that is not really the case. While there are certainly more classes, and more monsters in the case of the Referee Tome, there is still quite a lot of new material here.  Enough to make AF twice as large content-wise as CF.   

The main feature of this book, and indeed all of the OSE line, is the layout.  All material is laid out so that everything you need to read is on facing pages.  So a character class always takes up two pages (even and odd) so that when laid flat everything can be read at once and easily.  There are very few exceptions to this rule and it gives OSE it's unique look and feel. Add in the art, sparingly but effectively used, the feel is elegant, if minimalist, efficiency.   This is the same design that made D&D 4e a joy to read.  The same feeling is here.

Advanced Fantasy follows its Advanced namesake and splits character race and character class into two separate things. Basic combined race and class so you got Clerics (always human) and Dwarves (always fighters).  Here is the option that most folks want in the "Advanced" game.  In addition to the four classes and the four races of Basic, this book introduces six more races and nine more classes.

In the OSE-AF book, we get: Acrobat, Assassin, Barbarian, Bard, Cleric, Druid, Fighter, Illusionist, Knight, Magic-user, Paladin, Ranger, and Thief.

There are also the "race as class" variants of: Drow, Duergar, Dwarf, Elf, Gnome, Half-elf, Halfling, Half-orc, Human, and Svirfneblin.  The level maximum is 14 for humans and variable for others. All race/class combinations are detailed.  This covers our first 80 some odd pages.

What follows next are guides for character advancement, equipment, animals of burden, transportation, and crews.

The next biggest section is Magic and this covers all the spells for the magic-using classes. Since the max level for any human is 14, spells are limited. Divine spellcasters are limited to the 5th level of casting and Arcane to the 6th level. The advantage here is the clerics and druids are on more equal footing with each other and so are magic-users and illusionists.  Unlike their Advanced namesake, this book does not require spell components nor are their other details given.  The spells are firmly in the Basic format.

The book wraps up with Adventuring, Hirelings, and building strongholds.  

The feel is solid B/X Basic with enough "Advanced" added in to make it feel just a little different. Or in other words, exactly how we used to play it from 1980 to 1983.

OSE-AF Referee's Tome
OSE-AF Referee's Tome

Hardcover. Black and White and color interior art and covers. 248 pages. Bookmarked PDF with hyperlinked table of contents and index. $40.00 for the hardcover print (retail). $15.00 for the PDF.

This book covers how to run an OSE-AF game.  Some of the details here are the same as OSE-CF but there are enough rules additions and clarification to make it worthwhile to anyone that has OSE-CF.

The first part covers running the game and adventures along with designing a dungeon and wilderness areas.

The next section, Monsters, makes up the bulk of the book.  All the old OSE-CF favorites are here and most of the Advanced era monsters.  In 107 or so pages we get over 320 monsters.  Again the art is light, but it is there.  We do not get any Demons or Devils, those are coming in a future book from my understanding, but it is still plenty.

The next largest section is Treasure which includes intelligent swords.

We also get sections on monster tables by terrain, strongholds, and NPCs.

The main feature of this book, and indeed all of the OSE line, is the layout.  All material is laid out so that everything you need to read is on facing pages. This is less obvious here as in the Player's Tome, but it is still a solid feature.

The two-volume set might just be the ultimate in expression of the time period in which I was doing my earliest D&D play.  There are other Basic/Advanced hybrid games out there and they all provide a good mix of their sources, but it is OSE-AF that is the closest to what I was playing then. All of the fun of Basic with the options in Advanced I loved.   The modularity of OSE also allows for expansion.  While the 1 to 14 level range covers most of what people will play there is no reason why there can't be an OSE-Companion to cover higher levels.

OSE-AF Carcass Crawler #1
OSE-AF Carcass Crawler #1

PDF only, 32 pages. Color covers, black & white interior art. $7.50 PDF.

The sometimes zine for OSE and named for the OGC version of the infamous carrion crawler.

This issue adds the new races to the Advanced Fantasy line, the gargantuan (like Goliaths), the goblin, and the hephaestan (logical, elf-like beings).  I am particularly happy with the Goblin.

New classes for Classic and Advanced fantasy are the acolyte (a type of spell-less cleric with healing), the gargantuan (race-class), the goblin (race-class), the hephaestan (race-class), the kineticist (psychics), and the mage (a spell-less magic-user with magical abilities).

There are new rules for fighters and thieves as well as black powder guns.  I like the fighter talents, help give it a bit more to do really.  They are at every 5 levels, but I might make them every 4 instead. 

OSE-AF Fantasy Reference Booklet
OSE-AF Fantasy Reference Booklet

PDF only, 32 pages. Color covers, black & white interior art. $4.00 PDF.

This handy guide covers all the major tables found in the OSE Advanced Fantasy line. For $4 it is a great little reference.

Through out all these books and the entire OSE line the art is both evocative of the old-school style and still modern enough to please new audiences.

This is the game of choice for me to introduce old-school style play to players of modern games. My regular 5e group took to it like ducks to water. They love it. They still love their 5e games, but they also like to do this one.  None of them had ever played B/X prior to this and it was a huge success.

I know that Gavin Norman and Necrotic Gnome have more material to give us for this, I hope it all lives up this new gold standard I set my OSR book to. 

Friday, January 28, 2022

Kickstart Your Weekend: Monsters, Classes and Raven Hex!

 Ok. The day job is really busy this week so this is going to be a complete drive by.  But here are three new Kickstarters I am excited about.

Tome of Beasts 3: Full Throttle 5th Edition Monster Mayhem

Tome of Beasts 3: Full Throttle 5th Edition Monster Mayhem

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/deepmagic/tome-of-beasts-3-full-throttle-5th-edition-monster-mayhem?ref=theotherside

I make no secret of my love of monsters!  Kobold Press' Tome of Beasts are among my favorite 5e books and monster books.   This one should also be great!

SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons Class Compendium

SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons Class Compendium

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ericfrombloatgames/survive-this-dark-places-and-demogorgons-class-compendium?ref=theotherside

I mentioned this one a couple of weeks ago, but it bares repeating.  The Class Compendium is a great collection for DP&D game.  I highly recommend it.

And finally one from my good friend Jim Balent and Broadsword Studio.

Jim Balent's Raven Hex Saga

Jim Balent's Raven Hex Saga

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jimbalent/jim-balents-raven-hex-saga?ref=theotherside

Raven Hex is the older sister of Tarot.  She is evil...sorta.  She really just wants a world where witches are not feared or mistreated.  The first Raven Hex book I picked up was a fun romp with Raven sick and feverish from a virus while Tarot read her bed time stories.  The comic was her fever dreams.  It was a lot of fun and very tongue and cheek and a lot of insight to two (Jim and Holly) super fans of Disney. 

There you have it!  Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, January 21, 2022

Character Creation Challenge, Kickstart Your Weekend style

Something a little different today.  I am interrupting my regularly scheduled Character Creation Challenge posts with a Kickstart Your Weekend style review.

SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons Class Compendium

The Kickstarter for SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons Class Compendium has begun and Bloat Games offered me a sneak peak.  I am providing a review of their new book, and a link for their Kickstarter.

The Kickstarter

I am a huge fan of Dark Places & Demogorgons

As of this writing the Kickstarter has made their initial goal. They are now heading to the next Stretch Goal of new art.  After this more stretch goals will be announced.  The lowest level to get in $6 and that gets you the PDF.  Not a bad deal really.

The Book

The current version of the book is all complete with layout and art.  Stretch goals will replace some of the art, but right now it looks great.

The book is digest sized, 210+ pages, color cover and black & white pages.  If you are familiar with any SURVIVE THIS!! book you have a good idea of how it looks on the inside.

The book contains all the classes that have appeared in every Dark Places & Demogorns book, all in one place.  The new classes include  Archery Enthusiast, Badger Scout,  Horror Connoisseur, Hot Shot,  Snoop, The Source, Sweet Baby, Thespian, and new psionic classes, Animal Wrangler and The Forgotten. So 56 classes and 10 new classes for 66 in total.  There are also new spells for the magic using classes.

Most classes cover two to three pages.  Everything you need to know about each class, but no rules for play. You still need the core rules for that. I am reading through and the classes do look expanded.  For example the Goth in the core Dark Places & Demogorgons book tops of, as all classes do in that book, at 5th level.  The Goth in the Class Compendium advances to 10th level, and there are archetypes of the "Mopey Goth" and the "Supernatural Goth."

The new classes are fun with the Horror Connoisseur toping the list of my favorites.  Though I knew a lot of "Sources" back in High School and they would also be a fun class to play.  Though the Magic Classes are still my favorite.  So I am quite pleased to get a bunch of new spells.

Skills are also updated.  The game moved up and out from the core book so new skills need to be defined and there are revised skills as well. 

There is even some space given to fighting threats from "The Otherside."  I'll try not to take that one personally! ;)

Really is a fun book and a must have if you are playing Dark Places & Demogorgons.  It should even work for We Die Young to be honest. 

So yeah, this is a Kickstarter worth backing.

The Character

Again, I think I need to go with my Drosophila melanogaster of playtesting magic classes and see what my dear little witch Larina was doing in the 1980s (1984 to be exact).  She was my big experiment in my Modern Occult Horror RPGs post a bit back, but let's have a look at her in detail.  I am also including my NIGHT SHIFT character sheet as well.

Click to see larger. 

Larina for Dark Places & DemogorgonsLarina for NIGHT SHIFT

I love how these two games work well with each other.  Each providing me a a detail I did not have before.



Friday, December 10, 2021

Kickstart Your Weekend: Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland

There are few things I love more than Creepy Folk horror and one of those things is creepy Gothic Horror.  I was quite pleased to see that Free League Publishing of Sweden was doing a horror Mythic Britain and Ireland, you know it has my attention.

Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland

Vaesen RPG – Mythic Britain & Ireland

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1192053011/vaesen-rpg-mythic-britain-and-ireland?ref=theotherside

I picked up Vaesen based on solid recommendations while I was at Gen Con this past year.  The game is gorgeous, but I have yet to play it.  But this?  This looks like it was tailor-made for me.

Once again the art looks amazing and the game itself?  Well, I am hooked and already thinking of a game I could run with it.  

Check it out and throw them a Krona or two.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Review: Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Lore

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Lore
Last week I reviewed that new monster book from BRW Games, Book of Lost Beasts.  Today I want to review the companion book from the same Kickstarter, Book of Lost Lore.  I went into this one less excited than I did with the Book of Lost Beasts, but not due to anything on the part of this book.  I am always more enthusiastic about monster books. I just have to make sure that I am not making unfair comparisons.  I will be making a lot of comparisons with this book and others, however.

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Lore

For this review, I am considering the Hardcover I received as a Kickstarter backer and the PDF from DriveThruRPG.  BRW does their print fulfillment via DriveThru, so I conveniently have my PDFs where I expect them and I know what sort of product I am getting in terms of Print on Demand.

The book itself is 134 pages, full-color cover, and has black and white interior art.  The layout and art are a tribute to the "2nd covers" of the AD&D 1st Edition line. So it looks nice with your original books and other OSR books designed the same way. 

Like the Book of Lost Beasts, this book carries the Adventures Dark & Deep banner, but it is not made for that game.  It is material from that game ported "Backwards" to the AD&D 1st Edition rules. So again like Book of Beasts, some of this material has been seen before, though not all in 1st Edition format/rules.  

Lost Beasts and Lost Lore

Much of the material does come from Bloch's "What If" game, Adventures Dark & Deep, and in particular, the Players Manual which itself was derived from BRW Games' very first product A Curious Volume of Forgotten Lore (now discontinued).  This is all acknowledged in the Preface of the book.  The selling point of this book is that it is all revised and edited for the "First Edition of the world's most popular RPG."  Not to mention the layout now favors the 1st ed feel rather than the Adventures Dark & Deep feel.

Though as we move on you will see that the biggest comparison that needs to be made is this book to the AD&D Unearthed Arcana.  

On to the book proper now.

This book is split between a Players' Section (close to 98 pages) and GMs' section (36 or so pages).

Players' Section

Dwarf blacksmith
This section covers new races, classes, and spells among other topics that I will discuss. 

Up first, the new races.  Here we are given three "new" races for player characters. These are the Centaur, the Forrest Gnome, and the Half-Drow, of which we get Human-Drow and Elf-Drow.  Those unfamiliar with AD&D 1st ed might be surprised to see level limits and ability limits for the races.  Some are pretty obvious, centaurs tend to be stronger but can't climb walls as a thief. Others are culture-based, drow women can advance more in most classes than their male counterparts due to their matriarchal society, but not as much as wizards since that class is not valued.  While back in the day we really ignored all these rules in AD&D (and they do not exist in 21st Century D&D) they are consistent with the rules and anyone who plays AD&D 1st ed exclusively will take to these easy.

The races seem balanced enough.  The centaur is a nice addition and one that really could go into AD&D well enough.  I personally have never had a desire to play one, but they do seem to work.  The forest gnome is also a good choice and a good option for people more familiar with 21st century D&D gnomes.  The coverage of the half-drow is very interesting and the stand-out of the three.  Given some other things I have crossed my awareness this past week or so I am wanting to try out a half-drow now.  I will need to come back to this one later on. 

Classes are likely the top feature of this book.  They are also the ones that we have seen before.  There are Bards, Jesters, Skalds, Blackguards, Mystics, Savants, and Mountebanks.  Let me repeat. While we have seen these before in other BRW products they are presented here as 1st Edition characters classes and as subclasses of existing 1st Ed classes. Except the Bard, the Bard is it's own class with the Jester and Skald as sub-classes of the Bard.  The Blackguard (or Anti-Paladin) is a subclass of the Cavalier to give you an idea where this book would "fit" into the AD&D 1st Ed lineup. 

It should be noted is a usable single Bard class.  No more advancing as a thief, fighter, and then druid to get to the bard, this is a straight out bard class.  The bard also has some nice powers too. The mystic class seems closer to the BECMI/RC version than it does to the monk.  It was also the focus of one of my very first "Class Struggles" features.   I am a little surprised we didn't see versions of BRW Games'  Necromancer, Witch, or Demonolater classes. Likey to keep these with the Adventures Dark & Deep game. 

From Classes, we move on to Secondary Skills. AD&D 1st Ed has never really been about skills outside of what your character class can do.  While back then I saw this as a problem, I am less inclined to think so now.  Still, a good selection of secondary skills are listed here and how they can be used. 

The next 35 or so pages are dedicated to new spells. Mostly these support the new magic-using classes, though some spells are cross-listed for other classes. 

The last part of the player's section is given over to combat and new weapons and armor.  The arms and armor described here do show an appreciated level of research.  One that would have made Gary and his 6 pages of pole-arms very happy.

Game Masters' Section

This section is not as large but still has gems; figurative and literal. 

making magic items
Up first are some guidelines for social encounters including reactions.  There are some alternate treasure rules that uses the same Treasure Type classification but breaks it down into different categories.  Both the original system and this system can be used interchangeably, even within the same game, with the Game Master deciding what works better at the time. 

There are some new magic items, with updated tables to include them. 

Finally some discussion on the game environment including ability checks. 

Honestly, the only thing it is missing to be "Unearthed Arcana II" is an appendix on the gods of the Centaurs.

Unearthed Arcana and Lost Lore

Some art has appeared before in other BRW books but all of it captures the Old-School gaming feel.

So. Who is this book for?

The obvious answer is for anyone that plays First Edition AD&D.  It should work fine with OSRIC, since that cleaves so close to AD&D, but not sure if players of Advanced Labyrinth Lord or Old School Essentials Advanced will get the same benefits. For example, both of those other games have a Bard class that works about the same.  That is not to say they would not get benefits from this book, it's just the base design principles are not 100% the same.

If you are a player of Adventures Dark & Deep then there is likely nothing new here for you.  But if you have those books and still play Advanced Dungeons & Dragons first ed. then there is enough here for you even if you can convert easily between the two games. 

If you play AD&D 1st ed then this is a great book and it will sit nicely on your shelf or on your table next to your other AD&D books. 

One minor point, the book was not released under the OGL.  Doesn't matter for play or use only if you wanted to reuse a class or spell elsewhere.  Though given the use I have seen of the OGL over the last 20+ years this is also likely not an issue. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

Kickstart Your Weekend: Horror in Many Forms!

I have some great-looking Kickstarters for your consideration going into the weekend.  So's let get at it!

SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons RPG Hardcover

SURVIVE THIS!! Dark Places & Demogorgons RPG Hardcover

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ericfrombloatgames/survive-this-dark-places-and-demogorgons-rpg-hardcover?ref=theotherside

This is not for a new book but rather a hardcover option for the fantastic Dark Places & Demogorgons RPG. For this the original red hardcover art from the first Kickstart is available and the blue softcover art in hardcover format.

I have the blue in softcover and the red in hardcover, so I have to admit that the blue hardcover is very, very tempting. 

Moonlight on Roseville Beach

Moonlight on Roseville Beach

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/r-rook/moonlight-on-roseville-beach?ref=theotherside

Now this "Queer Game of Disco & Cosmic Horror" has my attention.  I have known the designer, Richard Ruane, for many, many years. We have worked together in our days jobs at various companies for a while. He does great work.  He was one of the developers for White Wolf and worked a lot on their Mummy line. 

From the Kickstarter:

Moonlight on Roseville Beach: A Queer Game of Disco & Cosmic Horror is a tabletop roleplaying game that brings together the supernatural investigations and monster hunting of the weird fiction tales of the 20s and 30s from pulp magazines like Weird Tales with the queer romance and adventure of the 50s, 60s, and 70s novelists like Ann Bannon and Joseph Hansen.

I would like to say "I was there" when Richard came up with this idea.  He was talking a lot about Ann Bannon online so I asked about her stories.  As per our normal conversations, the topic went to RPGs.  

In any case, I backed this one and threw in some extra cash so copies can be donated. 

Red Shoes: An Urban Fantasy Novel

Red Shoes: An Urban Fantasy Novel

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/red-shoes-an-urban-fantasy-novel#/

This is not a game, but a new book Satyros Phil Brucato one of the lead designers (or really THE designer) of White Wolf's Mage. 

From the Indiegogo page.

After a friend’s mysterious death, Genét Shilling delves into the world of Red Shoes, a drug whose effects alter time, space, and form. That journey challenges all she thought she knew about herself and reveals how strange her world truly is.

Propelled by wide-eyed attitude and inspired by its author’s experiences with music, dance and metaphysical subcultures, Red Shoes presents an urban fantasy tale set in the Appalachian town of Riverhaven, where magic hides just out of sight.

Time warps. Modern bards. Sexual confusion. Grief and revenge.  

A dance begins.

The dance of Red Shoes.

It sounds fantastic. 

LYLITH & MARA Comic Book

LYLITH & MARA Comic Book

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/620209721/lylith-and-mara-comic-book?ref=theotherside

Now this is right up my alley!  

From the Kickstarter:

“LYLITH & MARA” are twin sisters and the original Vampire and Succubus from who all other vampire races were evolved from. Born and raised in “The Dark”, their destiny seemed clear cut until on the age of their “becoming” when something within them stirs. A conflict between power and desires struggles with a morality of a soul they didn’t realized existed.

This also looks like a lot of fun.  Sure some of the cover art is cheesy, but I think it is cheesy, or cheese cakey, on purpose. So that is fine.

It looks like something that would work well with my Mara witch book.

Monday, November 8, 2021

Monstrous Monday Review: Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts
Joseph Bloch at BRW games is really the model of how you should run a Kickstarter.  When I look at a Kickstarter I want to know that the person running it has experience.  The Kickstarter for Book of Lost Lore & Book of Lost Beasts was back in July. We were promised the books in March of 2022.  I believe I got mine in late September or early October. Was there padding? Maybe, but I don't care. Getting books just a couple of months after pledging is still pretty good.  Not to mention this has been true for the other five I have backed from Joseph/BRW.

Plus I also like to see that the person running the knows what to expect. So I look to see how many they have backed.  If it is a low number, or worse, zero, then I stay away. That is not the case with BRW Games.  

That is all great and everything, but does the book hold up to all this excitement?  Let's find out.

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts

This is one of two books that were part of BRW's Summer 2021 Kickstarter and the one I was looking forward to the most.  The reasons should be obvious to anyone who has read my reviews over the years; I love monster books and consider the 1st Edition Monster Manual to be one of the greatest RPG books ever written.  Sure there are better-written ones, but few that have had the impact of this one. 

For this review, I am considering the Hardcover I received as a Kickstarter backer and the PDF from DriveThruRPG.  BRW does their print fulfillment via DriveThru, so I conveniently have my PDFs where I expect them and I know what sort of product I am getting in terms of Print on Demand.

The book itself is 132 page (about 128 of pure content), full-color cover and black and white interior art.  The layout and art is a tribute to the "2nd covers" of the AD&D 1st Edition line. So it looks nice with your original books and other OSR books designed the same way. 

Old-school cool

Old-school cool

Adventures Dark & Deep Book of Lost Beasts is a collection of 205 monsters for the AD&D 1st Edition RPG.  The book feels familiar (in more than one way) and can easily be added to your AD&D game.  The monsters are alphabetically listed. At the start of the book, there are some details about playing Monster spell casters (Witch-doctors or Shamans) as well as some other minor rule changes/alterations.  These chiefly involve whether a monster has psionics or not, and how an undead creature is turned.

Additionally, there is more detail on the monster's treasure. While a Treasure Type is given it is asl broken down between Treasure Value and Magical Treasure.  Monsters all get a Morale bonus listed to indicate if they will flee combat.

In the Preface, Bloch gives us a bit of history on his Adventures Dark and Deep RPG.  While this book carries that heading, it does not use the Adventures Dark and Deep RPG rules except as noted above. IT uses the tried and true AD&D 1st Ed system.  Also it is noted that many of these monsters presented here already appeared in his Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary, which I reviewed here.   The Bestiary is 450+ pages and has monsters from the SRD plus more in the Adventures Dark and Deep RPG format.  So you could convert them back to AD&D 1st Ed if you wanted.  But this current book, the Book of Lost Beasts, has the new monsters from the Bestiary plus a few more already converted.

The brings up a good question.  Should I buy this book? 
I am going to say yes, but here are some caveats. If you have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary AND you are comfortable enough converting then maybe you don't need this.  If you play AD&D and want more monsters then you should get this.  If you don't have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary and like monsters then you should get this.  If you are like me and just love monsters and already have the Adventures Dark and Deep Bestiary then you should get this.  I hope to make these points a little better below, but do keep in mind that some people have seen these monsters before.

That is just one of the ways this book feels familiar.  The other way really lives up to its name of the Book of Lost Beasts.   This book feels like Bloch took the Monster Manuals I and II (and to a lesser degree the Fiend Folio) and set out with the goal of "What monsters are missing?" and got to it.  For example, the Quasi-Elementals are more filled out.

Another great example of providing us with "what was missing" AND giving us something new are the ranks of nobility of the Dao, Djinn, Effrti, Madrid, and Rakasha. While these creatures are found in the Monster Manuals and expanded on in the ADD Bestiary, they get a longer and more detailed treatment here. 

After the 205 or so monsters there are appendices on Treasure Types and a random Creature for the Lower Planes generator. These were very popular in the pages of Dragon Magazine if you recall

The PDF is currently $9.95 which is a good price for a PDF of a monster book, and $24.95 for the hardcover.

One minor point, the book was not released under the OGL.  Doesn't matter for play or use only if you wanted to reuse a monster in an adventure.  Though given the use I have seen of the OGL over the last 20+ years this is also likely not an issue. 

If you are looking for a new monster book for use in your AD&D 1st Edition games then I can highly recommend this one.  Plus it will look great sitting next to all your other AD&D 1st books.

BRW Games Lost Books

 

Friday, October 15, 2021

Kickstart Your Weekend: Magical Artifact and Lazy DMs

A couple of Kickstarters came my way this week.  One is perfect for Halloween (and this blog really) and a collection of DM's tips.

Dice, Runes, and Magical Artifacts for RPG's and Witchcraft

Dice, Runes, and Magical Artifacts for RPG's and Witchcraft

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ravenstead/dice-runes-and-magical-artifacts-for-rpgs-and-witchcraft?ref=theotherside

This one is kind of fun.  A bunch of dice, rune stones, a wand, and more that can be used for an RPG or for ritual work in WitchCraft.   I already see a lot of use for these in my "War of the Witch Queens" campaign and the metal wand is rather cool. I think the pendulum is the coolest, however.  

You can find the creator, and his work, on Twitter or his Instagram page.

Up next is a well-known name.

The Lazy DM's Companion

The Lazy DM's Companion

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/slyflourish/the-lazy-dms-companion/description?ref=theotherside

Mike Shea, aka Sly Flourish, is back with The Lazy DM's Companion.  

From the Kickstarter:

This Kickstarter launches the third book in this series: The Lazy DM's Companion. The Lazy DM's Companion includes guidelines to help streamline your 5e D&D games, and inspirational generators to help you build your own D&D adventures and campaigns. Each set of guidelines makes it easier to focus your game on the fantastic stories shared with your friends, while the generators help you break out of creative ruts and build unique adventures and campaigns.

I have a few of these books on PDF.  They are good guides. I still prefer my trusty AD&D DMs Guide, but these are also quite great.

Obviously, there is a need or a want for these, he is sitting at over $260,000 right now and was fully funded in 20 minutes.   Maybe I should do a review of the ones I have.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Saturday, September 4, 2021

Zatannurday: TFIHS THGIN rof annataZ!

Zatannurday

It's been a bit for this. I thought with the Night Companion Kickstarter in its last few hours a NIGHT SHIFT version of Zatanna is in order.

Zee is obviously very powerful in DC Comics, or to quote Felix Faust, "You're the only one here that's really a threat." Bear in mind the others in the room were John Constantine, Etrigan the Demon, Deadman, and Batman.

How would she fare in Night Shift? For starters, I am going to shift her prime from Wisdom (for witches) to Intelligence.  In fact, I borrow a rule from my co-author's, Jason Vey, other game Amazing Adventures, and allow my witches to take whichever mental stat they need for their Primary/Spellcasting.

In the comics, we Zee practicing, sometimes with flashcards even, how to say words backward. It takes her practice to learn and do.  That is more aligned with the old-school D&D magic-user really than a witch and that means Intelligence.

Zatanna
Zatanna made with HeroForge
Zatanna Zatara
20th level Magician (Witch)

Base Abilities
Strength: 13 (+1) 
Dexterity: 13 (+1) 
Constitution: 16 (+2) 
Intelligence: 20 (+4) P
Wisdom: 16 (+2) s
Charisma: 18 (+3) s

HP: 83 (10d4+18) +40
AC: 5 (stage magician's outfit, with benefits)
Fate Points: 1d10

Check Bonus (P/S/T): +8/+5/+3
Melee bonus: +7  Ranged bonus: +7
Saves: +8 against spells and magical effects
Arcana: Command, Telepathic Transmission
Innate Magic: Magical Missile, 

Hair: Black
Eyes: Blue

Spells
1st level: Command, Cure Light Wounds, Detect Magic, Inflict Light Wounds, Magic Missile, Protection from Evil
2nd level: Cause Fear, Continual Flame, Lesser Restoration, Levitate, Suggestion
3rd level: Clairvoyance, Fly, Haste, Invisibility 10', Protection from Evil 10'
4th level: Arcane Eye, Confusion, Dimension Door, Hallucinatory Terrain, Restoration. 
5th level: Commune, Domination, Telekinesis, Teleport
6th level: Anti-magic Shell, Control Weather, Disintegrate, Feeblemind
7th level: Ball of Sunshine, Death Aura, Wave of Mutilation, Windershins Dance
8th level: Antipathy/Sympathy, Discern Location, Mind Blank, Wail of the Banshee
9th level: Astral Projection, Breath of the Goddess, Mystic Barrier

Even at 20th level, she is still not super powerful. Oh, she will kick your ass, but you might still get a hit or two in.

--

Want more?  Back the Night Companion on Kickstarter!

Friday, September 3, 2021

Kickstart Your Weekend: The Night Companion

LAST BIG PUSH!!

The Night Companion

The Night Companion

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jasonvey/the-night-companion?ref=theotherside

This sourcebook for Night Shift: VSW RPG blows the doors off! New classes, species, magic, monsters, core system options, and more.

Night Shift has been a labor of love for Jason Vey and I.  It has been a chance to use the rules we love (Old-school D&D) and bring it to a modern supernatural setting like the licensed products we have worked on in the past.  If you liked any of my work regardless of the system used then this is a great fit.

Here is what the book is right now:

  • Four new character classes: the Divine Warrior, the Mystic Martial Artist, the Psychic Gunslinger, and the Spirit Rider
  • Rules for playing supernatural species including Celestials, Driven, Ghouls, Infernals, Lycanthropes, and Vampires, expanding upon the "Supernatural Race" option in the core rulebook
  • New options for generating ability scores for normal, gritty, and cinematic games
  • Rules to convert your game from class-and-level to entirely point-buy
  • An alternate Alignment system focused on good, evil, light, and dark
  • Guidelines to convert your game to a unified mechanic: both d20-based and percentile-based options are covered
  • Enhanced combat rules: variable weapon damage, range increments, weapon classes, grappling rules, jumping, drowning, suffocation, poison, disease, and more
  • New Arcane Powers and spells, plus enhanced rules for ritual magic 
  • A GM section that goes behind the scenes of the system, talks about keeping track of your play style options, gives guidelines for creating cults and secret societies, and discusses tropes of sub-genres of horror and how to use them in your game
  • Dozens of new monsters, enemies, and NPCs for your game
  • New art by industry notable Bradley K. McDevitt, commissioned just for this book. At first, it will be the new classes and species, but more may be added depending on how well the Kickstarter does (see Stretch Goals). 
At the $5,000 stretch goal, I am going to provide a new Night World!  And I am quite excited to bring you this one.   AS of right now we are only $18 away from that.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Kickstart Your Weekend: Weirdly World News (Night Shift)

Rat Baby

What is in store for you when we hit the $5,000 stretch goal of The Night Companion for Night Shift?

A LOT!

Long-time readers might remember an idea I had for a Tabloid RPG called  "Scoop! The RPG of Muckrakers, Tabloids, and Yellow Journalism."  But there was an RPG with a similar name and purpose out there.  Granted it was never published for sale as far I know.  I still didn't want to compete with a product with the same name.

Prior to that, I had ideas for a different sort of game I was calling "The Front Page" which was also about being part of a newspaper, but more in the vein of Kolchak: The Night Stalker.  It had a more serious tone since it was about normal people, not so much as fighting against the darkness but certainly confronting it.

That game also grew out of my time of working with newspapers in high school and college. In college, I was the editor for a semester of The East Side Story, the campus newspaper for the east side of campus, and I had been the editor of our High School newspaper. This was a time when these sorts of things were still in print.  It was a lot of fun and I even very, very briefly flirted with the idea of going into journalism. 

At the $5,000 stretch goal for The Night Companion, I am going to bring you the "Weirdly World News."


Poor WilburRat Baby News

In WWN you will play the part of a normal human, more or less*.  You are not the Chosen One, or some road weary hunter, or powerful witch.  You are just a reporter working for hire for the Weirdly World News the Nation's Greatest Newspaper! So your character can be anywhere in the country. You can travel to any place you like to get your story, as long as you keep your receipts and don't go over your per diem.   Your Editor (the GM) helps you find the story, you figure out what to do when you get there.

Whether you stop the threats is up to you.  The goal here is to provide a very low level, no magic, "normal humans" vs "the monsters" sort of game.  

Of course, not all monsters are more powerful than you.  Are the reports of strange nearly-human creatures (goblins) living in the sewers of Sheboygan true?  Well, that sounds like a story to me! 

And some are more powerful, but they are really human. Like poor Wilbur above, not his fault that an evil cult of an Elder God needed his body for...reasons.

*Now I say this, but one of my playtest characters was a vampire working the...huh...the Night Shift, at his local newspaper.  I based this character on Stuart Townsend who played Lestat in "Queen of the Damned," Dorian Gray in "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," and Carl Kolchak in the updated, critically panned, and short-lived, Night Stalker from 2006.

Originally I wanted to use the Fudge system for this (not FATE) but I never really got it all the way I wanted.

With Night Shift and the Night Companion, I can finally get this out to you.

You can play the Weirdly World News just like any other Night World.  You can even mix it in with any other Night World that features the Supernatural-is-Real-but-Hidden aspect.  So it works great with Ordinary World (in fact it is the opposite side of the same coin) or any of Jason's Night Worlds.

You can play it straight, say like the newer Night Stalker where the enemies are powerful, evil and you are way, way outmatched.  Or with an air of comedy. Sure the vampires, werewolves and whatever are all still dangerous, but they are NOTHING compared to dealing with accounting and that $20 you overspent!

I imagine most folks will want to play this with the harder edge.  Night Shift is the best system for this and I have tried it in a few now!  You have no magic, no powers, and everything you are against is a lot more powerful than you.  

I have also played this as independent reporters like bloggers (wonder where that idea came from) submitting stories to WWN.  At GaryCon I ran a version of this called Spector Detectors! where everyone was part of a "U-Tube" ghost hunting show. 

So, there is a lot you can do with this.  The stretch goal lets us pay for some more art.

Who knows.  Maybe YOU will hear the awful squeaking in the night of the legendary Rat Baby!

Rat Baby