Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Maybe you could win.....

THere's a giveaway going on right now to provide one lucky winner with boatloads of new RPG books. Visit: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/8fa474c514/?fbclid=IwAR3b5a5C83xsIC4TbewOKgQwq5fjoBan-vYSsTHUNZC2YkwrjM8cFFAepXg and find out more!

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Raising awareness about Querent

There's a great idea floating on the seas of Kickstarter right now that I believe you should support! It's called "Querent" and it is a role playing game that uses Tarot Cards for play! I've used Tarot ever since my Great-Aunt Jessica taught me how to read cards and auras in 1968! Here's the link to the project - they are a little below half way to thier final goal of $17,000 to produce an actual Tarot Deck that would be sold with the game! Here you go: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fatbirdstudios/querent-the-cartomancers-tome Thanks for watching my blog entries! Bruce

Friday, October 5, 2018

Querent? What is it?

Folks, I may have just found my favorite Kickstarter project of 2018! It's called "Querent" - and it is a way to use Tarot Cards in a Role Playing Game in many ways! There are ways to use Tarot for Character Generation with a "Personality Spread"! There are ways to use Tarot for your plot generation.... And, believe it or not, there are ways to use Tarot for SOLO gaming! I've never seen a project that so dovetails into my ideas this way! Here's the link to follow - let's all get involved and push this project over the $17,000 mark! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fatbirdstudios/querent-the-cartomancers-tome/description or use their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/querentgame/

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The Arcane Wonders

Hi fellow gamers! If you want to take a bit of the load off the GM's shoulders, this is a great resource: https://www.thearcanelibrary.com https://www.facebook.com/gurpsgm?hc_ref=ARTeqxA8ObDmixzR0Wgi-Q2dTaPnWhuu6nZp7nxItTZyg6YncW_HqoMyrNvdtQ1IF0k&fref=nf&__tn__=C-R https://twitter.com/gurpsgm These cards will be a great resource for GM's and handy, too, as they are much smaller that a whole book.... I did, and bought practically all of the https://www.thearcanelibrary.com/products/ and enjoy them very much! You probably will, too. Bruce

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Not just Towers of Adventure

"Towers of Adventure" by James M Ward Published and distributed by Troll Lord Games ISBN-13: 978-1-936822-92-8 In its mere 54 pages, ToA provide dozens, if not hundreds, of possible adventures and adventure seeds. There are only three chapters: "Book One: Illustrations and Maps", "Book Two: Hooks, NPC's, and Monsters", and "Book Three: Treasures and Traps". There are 15 pages in Book 1, which details fifteen different towers. These are simple Black and White one page illustrations, which have numbered rooms corresponding to the map and a map key. In the Map Key, however, are only slots for the GM to use for whatever happens to be in that location, if indeed there is anything at all. Some pages have a small number of rooms, the smallest of which was 11; and some pages have a large number of rooms - the largest of which was 31. There are 17 pages in Book 2. Part 1 of this has charts for assorted 'services' that a crafty GM could use to separate PC's from their gold; in Part 2 there are small adventure 'hooks' a potential GM could use for rumors (some of which might be true), and the largest section, Part 3, deals with NPC's; and finally monsters in Part Four. Finally, in Book 3, Part 1 deals with themed treasures, which are treasures geared to a specific class of character, and Part 2 has some diabolical traps a GM could spring on PC's - and, even better, ways for PC's to use those same traps to entrap their hideways against NPC's and/or monsters. This product reminded me of the good old days of Judges Guild, who produced many supplements for early D&D. It reminded me the most of the "Maps" series - a collection of booklets just detailing a group of maps (such as "Island Book I" or "Castles Book I"). This book is a great resource for potential GM's using =any= system that is based on a fantasy setting. Heck, on a =good= day, you could argue that these maps could exist on some strange unknown planet your Sci-Fi characters were exploring. The "Siege Engine" system of Troll Lord Games is incredibly easy to convert to any D20 based game, and most of this book could almost be used in any game - period. Considering the low price and the almost universal system, I'd highly recommend it to any of my D20 gamers, and at least recommend it to any gamer. Your Mileage May Vary.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Hellenica: Story of Greece

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love stuff like the Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Norse, and all other mythologies. Now I have a chance to promote what looks like it's going to be a great 4X type game about Ancient Greece - "Hellenica: Story of Greece". This game will give players the opportunity to be Emperor of Greece! I've always loved 4x games (BTW: 4X stands for "EXplore, EXpand, EXploit, and EXterminate." starting with the very first edition of Civilization and all the way to the present day. It's the hundreds, if not thousands, of different ways that a group can act out controlling a civilization! There's a Kickstarter going on right now (Monday, Sept 03, 2018) that might do the trick. You have only three days to get involved! So - what are you waiting for? Here's the URL: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/532062403/hellenica-story-of-greece Funding closes on Friday Sept 7, 2018 at 5 PM EDT. I know I'm getting one..... Bruce

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Twilight Imperium 3rd Edition

Although the entry level price seems high, this game box contains ten available races to use, with over 200 (!) miniatures! I would recommend this, but there is a fourth edition now that includes not only this third edition, but the two expansions to the third edition as well. Even so, Twilight Imperium 3rd is an absolute blast to play! At its heart, it is basically a 4X type game. (BTW: 4X is an abbreviation for "eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate".) Any player may use any of the four types of actions. This is one of the main selling points of this game. Any race can do anything, including nothing at all! The bad news about this game is that even if you are an experienced user of TI, it can take at least three hours to play, all the way up to at least four hours, or more! However, this is allows for a lot of interaction by the players in this "Space Opera" style game! Not to mention that you better have a very large table to spread it out on! The good news is that with only the included ten races, it might take quite a few games for even one player to have played all ten available races! Each race has its good points, and its bad points. Some are better at one of the four types of actions than others, and some are worse than others at those same actions. And all four of those actions are in the player's control. I should mention that there are two expansions to the 3rd Edition: "Shattered Empire", and "Shards of the Throne". which can allow users to have as many as six players at a time! For a game with a high Space Opera feel, and huge replayability, you can't beat it!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Don't let mapmaking stall your game!

"How to Draw Fantasy Art and RPG Maps" by Jared Blando, should be required reading for any Game Master, whether Fantasy or Science Fiction, or somewhere in between!  In its 128 pages are more than thirty examples of how to put your dreams of a new gaming world to paper.  It really is step-by-step cartography for gamers and fans!

Written by Jared Blando, who is a professional cartographer and concept artist, it bridges a gap that allows even beginners to take the vision of their worlds in their minds and put them to paper.

Each example builds upon the foundations of the last.  You can use this book to begin, or build out, or complete, a real paper map of the world your players are adventuring in.

The main reason, I think, that you should do this, is to not only to give your world 'flesh' - but to make sure that you don't make the mistake of forgetting where your characters started, where they are now, and where you would like them to go at least.

I believe (and this has happened to me) that players might and probably will think about the places they've been, and expect those places to still be in the same locations, more or less.  It might cause players to lose interest if they believe that, for instance, your capital city is in the west, and then suddenly find that you now say that same city is in the east.

A map of your world can serve another useful function - what happens if your players go a completely different direction than the one that you so methodically set up?  Having a drawn map would make life a little easier if you know where more than one area to explore is!  And, if your players decide to go north when you wanted them to go west, a map should show areas around the current players location so that you and they don't go too far astray.

So what if your Northlands are an expanse of frozen wastes?  If the players know that's where they want to go, then with a printed map, you can provide details about this winter wonderland which may deter them from going there.  As a 1st level character, I don't know about you, but I'd probably not want to go north if you know in advance that the Northlands in your world are filled with Frost Giants, Dragons, and other deep northern denizens!

In addition, the rich illustrations in this book could conceivably be used as your fantasy world map itself!

To wrap up then, I have found this book an invaluable resource for Fantasy and other role playing game map creation.  If you have ever held the thought that you might like to actually see what your world looks like, this would be one of my first choices.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Imagine Player's Guide

It seems almost like everyone thinks that this is yet another D&D clone of some type.  If it were truly a clone, I'd agree with you.  But I do not believe that this game is a D&D clone.  There are, for instance, only four major stats: Endurance, Perception, Affinity, and Fortune. 

Then, each of those stats are broken down into three sub-categories:

For Endurance (or Physical), you have: Strength, Agility, and Vitality.

For Perception (or Mental) you have: Intelligence, Wisdom, and knowledge.

For Affinity (or Personal) you have: Appearance, Charm, and Social Class.

Finally, in Fortune (or Mystical) you have: Aura, Piety, and Will Force. 

I purchased these in a trade for some of my old stuff - and I must say I could not be happier!

Sure, this system has some problems.  But, what systems don't?

But, this game I like a lot!  For instance, the Character sheet has a very nice hit location slot.  You shouldn't use it all the time, but for criticals, it's almost indispensable.

Plenty of room to grow with skills, weapons, spells (or invocations).

There are, believe it or not, even character sheets for Centaurs, and Lizard-folk.  On the main character sheet are also places for the Bird-folk Wing stats!

In its 330 pages there are (among other things) a real Table of Contents, and a "Table of Tables" that allow you to look up a table you want quickly.  The Appendix has two pages of quick info, a Glossary, and a very comprehensive Index!  This book is a hardcover and very easy to lay on the table for use, 

Sure, the disclaimer on the back cover is a little overbearing, but the info you really need is there too: 12 Attributes, 18 races, 26 classes, over 340 skills, 450 spells and incantations, over 150 different weapons and armor, and over 500 items of equipment!

I'd like to rate this at least four stars, or even five!  I know I'll be using it very soon.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Rappan Athuk Extras

If you got your copy of Rappan Athuk by investing in the Kickstarter, you may have one or more of the following extras.

1) Necromancer Games Note Pad.  Just a folio of blank pages with a silver Necromancer Games Logo and a title of "Frog God Games".

2) Rappan Athuk Player's Guide.  Although called a "Player's Guide", this supplement is really a 16 page folio of notes that canny GM's will introduce to the players when the time is right.  Most of the material is about the town and it's residents - and the stories they can tell to the PC's.

3) Rappan Athuk Bestiary.  This is a 32 page folio (although a couple of the pages at the end are blank so that a GM can put other creatures in). This folio contains 35 monsters that are unique to Rappan Athuk or the surrounding area.

3) Rappan Athuk - Cyclopean Deeps - Part 1: Down to Ques Querax.  This 24 page folio also has a couple of blank pages that cold be used by a GM to add their own touches.  Note that later, Frog God Games printed a =much= larger book for part one.  Pages three through ten are guides to wandering monsters, and mentions that these deeps are even below the usual range of such underground dwellers as Drow.   Pages 11 thru 16 are either maps, or keys to those maps.  Pages 17 through 20 are new monsters for these realms. 

4) Rappan Athuk - Cyclopean Deeps - Part 2: Cult of the Khryll.  Although on the cover, it says: "Part 2: Cult of the Khryll",  the real subtitle should be: "Eye of the Titan".  This 20 page folio lays out the basics of Underdark lands even below Rappan Athuk!  There are 11 pages devoted to the Eye of the Titan and the remaining four are devoted to catacombs even lower in the Cyclopean Deeps.

5) Rappam Athuk GM's Screen.  This is a four panel regular height GM's screen.  It only has a large picture that faces towards the players on the front - but, on the other side, is valuable info for the potential Rappan Athuk Gamemaster.  On page 1 is a map of the area around Zelkor's Ferry showing the river and other features, including the infamous Mouth of Doom. A rumor chart fills up page two with 66 rumors that characters can hear in the town.  The GM could roll a dice, but I feel they would be better advised to take the rumor that the players might follow up on.  The 3rd panel Shows all of the connections from one level to another including almost everything from Area 3 to area 15.  Finally, on the 4th page is a map of the area around, not just Rappan Athuk, but also of the wilderness fairly far away from the mega-dungeon.

6) Pregenerated Characters.  A comprehensive look at 12 possible characters that GM's could allow their players to use instead of their own.

7) The Battle Maps.  These are detailed maps of the lower areas of Rappan Athuk.  First, Area Zero has 1 page. Then area 1A-4 has 1, then area 3A-8 has 2 more, area 3C-30 has 2 more, then area 4-9 has six more, area 5-6B has four more, areas 7-3 and 7-4 come in two parts, area 9-C-19 has two, 9-D to area 9 K has three more.

Wait!  But there's more!

Area 10-19 has 4 more, area 10-C3 has 2 more, area 11-4 has 2 parts, as do 11-6.  Area 12-6 has 2, and finally, area 13 B8 covers B8-8, B8-9, and B-10, and concludes with area 13C.  Prospective GM's should copy these maps and put the related sections together before starting.  1" per square is the standard throughout.  The Chessboard,  BTW, has a Harry Potter like feel. as you move humanoid characters the correct way to defeat your opponent. 

The full kit also includes a dry erase map making board, and a large sized diagram of the huge mega dungeon showing the levels and how to get to them..

As I look at this super sized campaign, I am reminded of the fact that it grew from a series of three modules from the old "Sword and Sorcery" system - R1 - "The Dungeon of Lost Graves - The Upper Levels", R2 - "The Dungeon of Lost Graves - The Middle Levels", and R3 - "The Dungeon of Lost Graves - The Lower Levels".  The three modules, combined together, come nowhere near the total for the entirety of Rappan Athuk.  In the R3 series, there were only 224 pages.   But in the "final" version of Rappan Athuk, there are (counting the new improved Cyclopean Deeps) 1,284 pages!   BTW, there are two =more= booklets - "Level 7B" and "Rappan Athuk Expansions 1".

I cannot recommend this any higher!  My heartfelt congratulations to the whole Rappan Athuk team - and especially, its author, Matt Finch.  I know I'll be using this in my Pathfinder campaign, and Frog God Games is doing a Kickstarter for a conversion to 5th Edition D&D.  Absolutely one of my very highest recommendations!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Mega Dungeon? This is a Super Dungeon!

This incredible book (and several minor booklets), create what just may be the single largest Mega-Dungeon ever!  At a retail price of $100.00 it's not cheap, but the sheer volume of material is worth every penny.

Clocking in at 672 pages (counting a few advertisements), its very hard to believe that this entire series was based on three ordinary modules by Necromancer Games - R1 = "The Dungeon of Graves - Upper Levels" at 48 pages, R2 = "The Dungeon of Graves - Middle Levels" at 64 pages, and R3 = "The Dungeon of Graves - Lower Levels" at 112 pages.

15 main levels to Rappan Athuk, and a number of side quests and supplements, which were released on their own.  I'll mention those in separate reviews.  The layout and design of Rappan Athuk is very good, and the table of contents in the front is a big help.  There is no index.  To be fair, at this size of scope, I did not expect color art. 

The wilderness areas outside the dungeon should only be attempted by a party of at least an average of level 4 or better.  The chart about levels of Rappan Athuk is a big convenience.  A lower level party just traveling through the area on the way to something else should simply mark the danger(s) on their overland maps and come back prepared for anything. 

The outer area of the main dungeon consists of three areas to start in - 1st Level 0A = "The Cavern of the Kraken" or Level 0B = "The Cloister of the Frog God", or Level 0C = "Zelkor's Ferry".  A more sadistic GM would use either level 0A or 0B.  Even on Level One of Rappan Athuk, there are three sub-quests.  There's almost always a sub-quest or two in every level, except for Level 15 - "The Chapel".  There are 53 quests and sub-quests, and seven appendixes. 

I won't spoil the fun, but any Game Master worth his salt could possibly use this mega-dungeon from the PC's starting at level one and then all the way to level 20.  A few new monsters, a couple new classes, some new magic items, the Gods and Demons of Stoneheart Valley, some very good pre-generated characters, a few battle maps, and the final revelations. 

Because other products by Frog God Games are mentioned (such as "Stoneheart Valley" above) this super dungeon gets even bigger!  With the additions of the remaining Frog God products, I suspect (because I'm still missing one or two) that there are =well= over a thousand pages of material!  I can't recommend this any higher!  With the addition of the supplementary material, I don't have to move my PC's at all unless they want to leave the area!  This has got to have one of my very highest recommendations!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Choose Your Own Adventure

The Tome of Adventure Design claims to be "A comprehensive adventure creation sourcebook for Swords and Wizardry and the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game."

Let's take a look...

There are only four sections: Book One - Principles and Starting Points, Book Two - Monsters, Book Three - Dungeon Design, and Book Four - Non-Dungeon Adventure Design.

Basically, this book is a book of nothing except tables allowing you to create and populate an adventure.  There are hundreds of tables of various types - everything from the Villain's Master Plan, a great selection of monsters and creatures, a giant sized book of tales for dungeon design, and a fairly large section about building castles, cities, underwater and waterborne adventures, some material about wilderness such as deserts, forests, hills and mountains, and swamp bogs to slog through.  There's even a small section on planar worlds and realms, and also alternate worlds. 

I've been a Dungeon Master for a very long time - and you can believe me when I tell you that this book is one of the best aids for quickly and easily constructing an adventure on the fly.  Even on the back cover, this book exclaims: "It's Friday night, 6 p.m.  You haven't prepared an adventure and you still need to get to a store and buy snacks.  The rest of your group is heading over to game in two hours.  What do you do?"  I wish I had a book like this many years ago.  It reminds me greatly of products that were created by "Judges Guild" in the 1980's. 

There are seemingly hundreds of tables covering everything from locations for starting points, missions, the Master Villain and his plan(s?), and even the minions and Lieutenants of the Villain.  Animals ranging from beasts, to constructs, to Draconic, and after several more you arrive at vermin.  Basic elements of adventure design, designing the adventure and map(S?), various (non-dangerous, and dangerous) tricks you can use on the PC's, Traps the party can set off, and a huge section on miscellaneous items.

In all, I believe that there are over 400 different tables you can consult when creating an adventure quickly, or when you are stuck at a point from which you don't know where to go.  THis book has absolutely one of my very highest recommendations, and I believe that every Game Master would love it. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Review of "Shadizar - City of Wcikedness"

This four piece boxed set from Mongoose details a lot of information on a little explored area of Conan's world - The City of Shadizar - also known as "The City of Wickedness".  This set is meant for the GM's eyes only!

Coming in four pieces - Book I - "Games Master Guide", Book II - "Secrets of the Streets", Book III - "Dark Dens of Iniquity", and a large fold out map.

Book I - The largest of the three, in its 86 pages are four major sections. 1 - "Into the City", 2 - "Districts of Depravity", 3 - "The Nature of the Beast", and 4 - "Venturing Abroad".  There are also pages for the Credits, an Introduction, and the usual OGL.

In Section One, "Into the City", a very large group of crafts and professions (no less than 108 different), then my personal favorite section of this booklet, comes nine different tables of sample NPC's your characters could meet in this city.  This is a very well fleshed out section that details some of the flavor. 

In Section Two, "Districts of Depravity", we look at the geography of Shadizar and the many districts within.  From the City Gates to areas near the city, this section is chock full of good info for GM"s.

In Section Three is a very well thought out part about Game Mastering Shadizar, its natures and campaigns, its conflicts, plots, religions, and deals.

In Section Four, is a very small set of adventures in and near the city.  Laws and crimes, Political intrigues, Dark Mysteries, and some sample starting scenarios and adventures.

Book II - Secrets of the Streets" is a smaller, 32 page booklet about potential foes, secrets to discover, a small bestiary, and a nice NPC prestige class ("The Professional"), and one new race ("Kezankian Hillman").

Book III - "Dark Dens of Iniquity" is a 32 page booklet of mostly small adventures using Shadizar as a location.  "Dark Dens of Debauchery in Shadizar", "A Tavern of Merchants", "The Noblewoman's Estate", "Into the Tunnels", "The Guild Hall", "The Temple of Bel", "The Inn of the Three Crowns", and two major NPC's.

In my upcoming "Primeval Thule" campaign, I can't think of another product that has set the bar higher for the largest and almost certainly, most evil, city in my world.  If you are a GM and would love a evil city for your players to visit, live in, and perhaps even rule, this is it.

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Demonology 404

"The Deluxe Guide to Fiend Summoning and Faustian Bargains" is probably one of the only books I would not want certain people to buy.

Within its 180 pages live a lexicon of 72 Devils, Daemons, and Demons - from page 49 to page 177, chock full of the very thing that Anti-D&D people talk about.  It gives =game= directions for summoning, binding, and dispelling creatures of evil intent.  Even the front cover, which depicts an upside down pentagram, is kind of disquieting.  This book is not one that I would recommend giving to anyone who might just be a little off kilter.  Supposedly, it has rituals for summoning these 72 creatures, the necessary components of the ritual, and even a sigil in the background of each monster's summoning sign. 

If there =ever= was a book that I hope the Christian Community does =not= see, it's this one.  By "Necromancers of the Northwest", it would make a great resource for Necromancers and other evil mages.  There's only a scant 29 pages of info on summoning the fiends in this volume, as well as bargaining with them, dispelling them, and the types of payment(s) they accept.

I can only recommend this book to gamers who are =very= mature, and take a good look at it to see if they want this type of detail on what amounts to NPC's in your game.  Although I own a copy, I cannot see myself ever wanting to use this in any campaign.  Remember - you have been warned!

Friday, January 5, 2018

Review of "Jade Magi"

Jade Magi, a 72 page module for the D20 system (and thus D&D 3.5) is a "Dungeon" crawl through the sewers for fourth to sixth level characters.  Normally, I generally do not buy modules.  I enjoy making up my own world more.  But this offering from Monkey God Enterprises allowed me a quick way to introduce an oriental themed area into my world.

I suspect any character with sinus problems will never want to go on this adventure, because the sewers under the town are still in use.  (Everybody say: "EEeeeeeewwwww!")  In it, the party members will find the town has recently had a minor earthquake.  The quake caused a long hidden magical pool under the city to crack open.  The properties of the pool's water were allowed to enter the sewers.  This caused many of the normal sewer inhabitants to mutate and become Dire Animals and Monsterous Vermin.  Can the party help defend the city from the attacking creatures, go into the sewers and roust out remaining monsters, and seal the pool before it can cause any more mutations?

There are full page black and white maps of the town and the main sewers, and two half page maps that detail major encounters while exploring.  There a couple of "mandatory" encounters that set the stages for adventures, and details of both the city and the sewer encounters. 

There is an amazing amount of material crammed into the 72 pages available.  Three in town adventures, and three sewer encounters.  I feel like Monkey Gad has delivered a quality product for a reasonable price for any GM to begin to present an oriental themed area of their world.  Recommended.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Inner Sea Races expanded?

Paizo has hit another home run with the this add-on book for Pathfinder.  I did not buy Inner Sea Races as quickly as I normally buy Hardcover Pathfinder books because I believed that it would just cover a lot of the races on their world of Golarion.  But, I got an extended look at it in my local BAM, and decided to get it.  I was not disappointed!  This book takes the races we already know and love (heck, such as Humans, for instance) and breaks them down much further.  Humans can be created in 12 different types based on the tribe that they are from!  There are many other examples.  Including the now expanded Humans, this book covers 37 races rather thoroughly, and also has a few other smaller entries.  I particularly like the Catfolk - because I have a regular player that would make one up as soon as I told them Catfolk were acceptable.  In fact, this book pleased me so well that I went out and got the 'companion' volume - "Inner Sea Gods". A good GM, of course, should take a look at the races that are presented and make sure that they would "fit" into their campaign.  This book has my recommendation for any GM using Pathfinder.