maandag 31 december 2012

Retrospect : Blogging in 2012

I started this blog in October of 2011 so the main brunt of my blogposts have happened in 2012. Time to take a look at what I've been doing so far.


One of my dreams has always been to have a website about my collection. Not that I feel I have such a large or important collection that it warrants sharing with the rest of the world, but it's a way of still staying connected to my books, since I don't have that much time left to actually play the game itself.

I started working on a wordpress site in the beginning and was adding blogposts to that but since that site was not online, I figured I could just as well already start putting those blogposts up on a free blog. In the beginning that meant copying all posts on both my offline website and on this blog but that soon changed to just this blog.

While the original idea was to have an actual website showcasing my collection, the blog was kind of only a thing on the side.


Let's take a look at the actual blogposts now. The target I set up for myself was to have 1 blogpost per week, meaning 52 per year. The result for 2012 is 39 blogposts. While in 2011 I easily achieved my target, I can see that as of September 2012 I pretty much neglected my blog. The reason for that being my evening course in graphic design for which I'm currently doing the 3rd and 4th year in one single year.

So what about the blogposts themselves :

  • Collection update : 5 posts
  • RPG news : 12 posts
  • RPG goodies : 5 posts
  • Kickstarter related posts : 12 posts
  • Campaigns & Adventures : 4 posts
  • Game fair : 1 post

So it seems the blog kind of defeats its purpose since only 5 of the 39 posts were about my collection. And it's not like I didn't buy new stuff. In fact, I even piled my new stuff on my desk prior to archiving (nice word for putting it in a box) it. So now I'm stuck with a huge pile of books on my desk as well. And if my camerabattery hadn't died on me and I hadn't misplaced my charger, I would have shared a picture of that at least but alas, no dice (except for the ones from the Rappan Athuk kickstarter which are in the pile).

I'm happy with the RPG news items. It's mostly things I pick up at the various forums I frequent and I try to give them a bit of a personal touch instead of just copy-pasting stuff.

The RPG goodies category was used for new releases which interested me or which were from lines that I collect. But since it was basically just me copying the release schedule for a number of publishers, I didn't feel that was much added value so I decided to scrap that idea (including the obligatory monthly blogpost which I had to replace with something else now).

Kickstarter. Well, hasn't that taken the RPG industry by storm! For those of you who are unaware of what a Kickstarter is, it's basically a way for a publisher to get money for printing in advance, thus lowering the financial risks. You put up a project, ask for pledges, add some nice extra items (preferably limited to the kickstarter only), set a financial target of what you hope to achieve, and go! When the target is reached, the money is debited from everyone who pledged and the publisher will have the necessary cash to go to print. If the kickstarter fails to achieve its target, no money will be debited from anyone's card. I've pledged to several kickstarters on various financial levels and so far I'm enjoying the concept. The kickstarters I put up on my blog so far have all been projects I've supported myself.

Campaigns & Adventures. Ah yes, this would be my personal favorite category since posts in this category mean I'm actually playing the game. The posts that are on the blog so far came from an idea at the end of 2011, where I would be playing in a one-on-one Pathfinder campaign with a longtime RPG buddy of mine. Unfortunately due to time constraints this campaign lasted only a few sessions. The character creation process and reports of those sessions can be found under this heading for everyone who's interested.

The Game fair category will be one that won't see many posts, simply due to the fact that there's not that many RPG-related fairs around. There's actually none in Belgium so if I would want to visit one, Germany and the UK would be the places to be. Only 1 post in 2012 which was about the Spiel fair in Essen and this is a general game fair, which does have a number of RPG vendors, but no actual playing. The big one missing here is the Kraken which I did attend but still haven't finished a report for. That's actually pretty bad because it was a great convention that I enjoyed immensely.


The stats tell me that 7 of the 10 highest viewed posts were made in 2012. That would be quite normal due to a higher volume of posts being made in that year.

Among the top 10 viewed posts are 3 of the 4 Campaign & Adventures posts and the Game fair post about Spiel (which I posted on a forum in addition to the normal Facebook sharing). The simple but oh so true conclusion from that is : original content ! I guess that's what's key to a succesful blog.

Traffic to the blog comes mainly from Facebook and Google. The facebook traffic is quite obvious since I share my posts on facebook. The google traffic however means that people are searching for something in google and happen upon my blog. I had a course in e-commerce in which the concepts of SEO were explained so I try to incorporate that a bit into the blog. I think an actual website with some serious tracking would give me better results, both in google and for analysis.

The visitors can be mainly seen as coming from the US and Belgium, with some smaller numbers coming from other European countries, and even some from Russia and Australia.


So the obvious target would be to get the actual website online. Other than that, more focus should go to my collection in the form of collection updates. And more original content should be added. I'd love to see more Campaigns & Adventures. Perhaps I should start adding reviews. Other ideas I have would be characters, character sheets, handouts and so on. Things that people could use in their games. But for that, it would be best to have the actual website online.

And of course, another main target would be to achieve 1 blogpost per week.

That leaves me to wish whoever reads this a very happy New Year ! Enjoy the festivities and the best of luck in all your endeavours.

zaterdag 24 november 2012

TSR is back !

There's been a lot of buzz in the community with the news leaking of a new gaming magazine called Gygax magazine, published by TSR. Forums were swamped by posts about intellectual property, the Gygax estate, legal issues and so on.

With the demise of Kobold Quarterly, I was quite happy to hear of a new gaming magazine, especially when I heard the names involved with the magazine were Luke Gygax, Ernie Gygax, and Tim Kask to name a few.

So what's all this buzz about ? On Dragonsfoot Tim Kask talks about Gygax magazine, stating the magazine's first issue will be released in December 2012, both in print and pdf format. The magazine will cover a wide variety of RPGs and strategy games, focusing on the games of today while preserving the traditions and history of the industry. The TSR trademark was registered in 2011 and refers to a new company, not associated with the old TSR of Wizards of the Coast.

On Gamers and Grognards Tim Kask reveals some of the contents of Gygax magazine stating the magazine will cover current independent and major publisher games such as Pathfinder, Savage Worlds, The One Ring, Shadowrun, Godlike, Labyrinth Lord, Marvel Heroic Roleplaying, Warhammer 40k Roleplay, Traveller, and others, as well as classic out-of-print games with a modern following, like AD&D, Top Secret, and Gamma World. He furthermore adds more names as contributors to the magazine : Phil Foglio, Jim Wampler, Jim Ward, Dennis Sustare, and many more.

Loremaster also has an interview with Luke Gygax about Gygax magazine in which Luke speaks of Gary's legacy.

A part of the buzz was also created by Gail Gygax distancing herself from Gygax magazine in a note on Enworld. Hopefully this will be something that can be worked out in the future.

You can click here to be notified of news about Gygax magazine.

zaterdag 3 november 2012

Gygax and Arneson collections fetch high prices on ebay

On the 23rd of September, a number of items from the Dave Arneson collection were put on ebay. The items come from an abandonned storage locker that once had belonged to Dave Arneson. The Dave Arneson collection was announced on The Collector's Trove.

On the 23rd of October, a new batch of items from the Gary Gygax collection were auctioned on ebay. The Collector's Trove has been authorized by Gary's widow, Gail Gygax to auction items that Gary has accumulated over his five decades of amateur and professional involvement with chess, miniature wargames, strategy games, board games, card games, and role-playing games, including several years spent as the head of TSR Inc. the company that founded the role-playing game industry. Previous auctions of Gygax's items took place in December 2010, March 2011, June 2011, November 2011, and December 2011.

Gary Gygax Collection

  • Lost Tamoachan is a tournament module that was originally published for Origins 79 and was later published by TSR as C1 Hidden Shrine of Tamoachan. Next to 300 numbered copies, also 50 dungeon master copies and 25 staff copies were printed. This is the first 'Complementary copy' to surface. Ex-TSR employee Frank Mentzer commented at the Acaeum that he had never seen a complementary copy before. This copy sold for $9.100.

  • Lost Caverns of Tsojconth was the second D&D module ever written and was released as a tournament module at Wintercon V in 1976. It was later also released by TSR as S4 Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth. An estimated 300 copies were printed. Gary's copy sold for $5.655.

  • TSR D&D Player & Endless Quest Reader Profile Study 84 is a detailed demographic study of the players of D&D game books and of such players in general. It includes tables of data from a survey of thousands of individuals. The study sold for $1.225

  • TSR World of Greyhawk Gord Saga of Old City Poster 1985 is a poster used to promote the TSR book of the same name as well as the Gord the Rogue series of novels set in the World of Greyhawk. The poster sold for $1.009

Dave Arneson Collection

  • The Domesday Book was a newsletter founded by Gary Gygax and published by the Castle & Crusade Society as of 1968. 13 issues of this newsletter were distributed, while issue 14 was produced but never distributed. As the society at its peak had about 80 members, you can imagine how rare these newsletter are.

    • Domesday Book #13 (July 1972) - First mention of Dave Arneson's Blackmoor campaign : $4.355
    • Domesday Book #5 (July 1970) - Contains the LGTSA Miniatures Rules, the foundation of Chainmail, a precursor of D&D : $4.203
    • Domesday Book #7 (September 1970) - Whose Rules are These? by Gary Gygax, more foundations for Chainmail : $3.706
    • Domesday Book #8 (late 1970) : $3.673
    • Domesday Book #12 (June 1972) : $3.156,65
    • Domesday Book #10 (April 1971) : $3.050

For more information on these items, please visit the Acaeum.

dinsdag 30 oktober 2012

Shadows of Esteren : Book 0 - Prologue Kickstarter

After a succesful kickstarter for their Book 1 - Universe, the Forgesonges Collective and Studio 2 Publishing are back for the release of Book 0 - Prologue.

Book 0 will be an introduction to the Universe of Shadows of Esteren, contain a summary of the game system, 6 sample characters, and 3 adventures. And it will feature beautiful artwork.

Sure this is a dark and gritty low fantasy setting, full of gothic horror and Cthulhu influences, what really drew me into supporting the first kickstarter was the incredibly beautiful artwork.

I met author Nelyhann and illustrators Gawaine and Chris at Spiel Essen this year and they are incredibly nice people with a genuine love for the game. They've worked really hard on getting these books out in English and I for one, will support their work.

Please support the Shadows of Esteren Book 0 - Prologue Kickstarter

donderdag 18 oktober 2012

Spiel Essen 2012 (1)

I traveled to Spiel 2012 in Essen, Germany today. It's a yearly tradition to visit Europe's biggest gaming fair and even though many people are saying it gets less interesting every year, I still manage to find nice deals.

I've only visited Hall 6 which is where the RPG goodies lie in wait. Below an overview of my loot for the day.

Malcolm's booth is one of the reasons why I go to Essen every year. I knew beforehand that he had bought a big Call of Cthulhu collection and he was kind enough to send me a list of all the goodies so I could check what was interesting. While I was going through the boxes of Cthulhu books, he just kept piling up one boxed set after another. "Oh Ralph, I also have the 2nd edition boxed set, ah yeah and also the Gaslight boxed set. Oh and here's another stack. You can't make a choice until you have seen all of it..."

  • PAG5004 - A guide to the Cthulhu cult (1998)
  • Necronomicon Press - A history of the Necronomicon (6th print 1992)
  • CHA2324 - Call of Cthulhu 4th edition (1989)
  • CHA3302 - H.P. Lovecraft's Dreamlands (1988)
  • CHA2312 - Alone against the dark (1985)
  • CHA2344 - Keeper's Compendium (1993)
  • CHA2346 - Investigator's Compendium Volume 2 (1994)
  • CHA8804 - H.P. Lovecraft's Kingsport (2003)
  • CHA2377 - Before the fall (1998)
  • CHA2373 - Dead Reckonings (1998)
  • CHA2361 - The Complete Masks of Nyarlathotep Hardcover (2006)
  • CHA2314-X - Cthulhu by Gaslight (1986)
  • CHA2009-X - Call of Cthulhu 1st edition, 2nd printing (1982)
  • CHA2301-X - Call of Cthulhu 2nd edition (1983)
  • TRIAD0003 - Whispers in the dark (1993)
  • CHA2317-H/004411 - Call of Cthulhu 3rd edition (1986)
  • 178301 - Call of Cthulhe 2nd edition (1983)

I picked up some Pathfinder books I was still missing. I didn't get the biggest of discounts but it still beats the regular prices at the FLGS.

  • PZO1002 - Rise of the Runelords Anniversary edition (2012)
  • PZO1114 - Game Mastery Guide (2010)
  • PZO1115 - Advanced Player's Guide (2010)
  • PZO1118 - Ultimate Combat (2011)
  • PZO9407 - Cheliax, Empire of Devils (2009)
  • PZO9413 - Orcs of Golarion (2010)

I happened upon a booth where I saw a number of cheap books and scenery all stacked in boxes. Then suddenly my eye fell upon a rack of novels with a 1 euro tag on it. 1 euro for hardcover novels is too good to pass up on.

  • TSR 8483 - The Dark Elf Trilogy Book 3 - Sojourn (1991)
  • TSR 21799 - Songs & Sword Book 3 - Silver Shadows
  • WOTC 177590000 - The Hunter's Blade Trilogy Book 3 - The two swords (2004)
  • WOTC 886250000 - War of the Spider Queen Book 3 - Condemnation (2003)
  • WOTC 177260000 - War of the Spider Queen Book 6 - Resurrection (2005)
  • WOTC 888520000 - The Legend of Drizzt Book 2 - Exile (2004)
  • WOTC 963620000 - The Legend of Drizzt Book 3 - Sojourn (2004)
  • WOTC 950167200 - The Legend of Drizzt Book 6 - The Halfling's Gem (2005)
  • WOTC 955497200 - The Legend of Drizzt Book 9 - Siege of Darkness (2006)
  • WOTC 959237200 - The Legend of Drizzt Book 10 - Passage of Dawn (2007)

Here's some more 'bin' material. The D20 stuff came from a 3 euro bin, the 4E Power cards were 1 euro per pack so I just got a full display case. The Shadows of Esteren book obviously doesn't fall under the category 'bin material'. I supported their kickstarter and got the limited edition of their Book 1 - Universe that way. I picked up the regular version at their booth.

  • WOTC 251080000 - Arcane Power Power Cards Display (2009)
  • WOTC 242960000 - Player's Handbook 2 Power Cards Display (2009)
  • AEG 8506 - River of Blood (2002)
  • MYG 0201 - Arcane Mysteries - Blight Magic (2002)
  • WW16003 - Sword & Sorcery - Beyond all reason (2002)
  • WW16142 - Sword & Sorcery - Arcana Unearthed - DM's Screen and Player's Guide (2003)
  • AGA10001 - Shadows of Esteren - Book 1, Universe (2012)

I also got a Shadows of Esteren t-shirt through the kickstarter and since that's the only gaming related shirt I have, I decided to wear it to Spiel. When I showed up at the Esteren booth, Nellyhann, one of the authors, immediately greeted me and asked if I had brought my book so they could sign it. He introduced me to illustrators Chris and Gawain and we had a chat about the game. This is Chris' piece in my limited edition version of the book. Nellyhann was kind enough to personalise it as well.

When I returned to pick up my limited edition, I also bought a copy of the regular version and Nellyhann insisted it should be signed too. Gawain took care of the illustration in this book and while he was drawing, Nellyhann and another volunteer went through my Cthulhu purchases together. The Esteren staff was as excited as me about the Cthulhu boxed sets. I can recommend this game to everyone. The book are filled with stunning artwork and these guys are incredibly kind, thankful for the support they get, and big fans of roleplaying games.

maandag 27 augustus 2012

Secrets of TSR

Paizocon 2012 featured a panel of ex-TSR employees talking about the good all days.

Join Jeff Grubb, Pierce Watters, Rob Lazzaretti, Dave Gross, Wolfgang Baur, and Stan! as they share stories about how they were hired, how they fucked around with the bankers, and the story of the D&D sausage license.

woensdag 22 augustus 2012

The future of D&D

D&D Next is coming. At several gaming conventions in the US, Wizards of the Coast has been hosting panels and Q&A's regarding the newest edition of the world's oldest roleplaying game.

2012 Gen Con Keynote Address

The Future of D&D Panel at PAX 2012

Anyone interested in providing feedback to Wizards of the Coast can join the D&D Next Open Playtests.

maandag 20 augustus 2012

Horror on the Orient Express Kickstarter

Chaosium also jumps on the Kickstarter bandwagon that's so popular in the rpg world. They are looking to rereleasing 1991's Horror on the Orient Express boxed set.

Horror on the Orient Express contains a massive adventure for the Call of Cthulhu roleplaying game. Beginning in 1920s London, the investigators journey to Paris and then to the ancient city of Constantinople.The campaign is made up of four legs of the journey, each contained in its own book: Through the Alps, Italy and Eastern Europe, Constantinople & Return, and Strangers On The Train. Take part in this epic adventure either as gamemaster or as an investigator, either way you are in for a harrowing and exciting adventure!

This reprint will contain all of the content of the original campaign, plus an expanded roster of NPCs, and a new afterward by the original authors. Booklets will have improved cardstock covers, will feature additional art, and the handouts will be expanded to include a matchbox, similar to the one included in their very first boxed campaign Masks of Nyarlathotep in 1984.

Horror on the Orient Express has won the 1991 Origins award and has been fetching high prices on ebay. This is your chance to own one of the landmark Call of Cthulhu campaigns by supporting the Horror on the Orient Express Kickstarter.

The chance to be immortalized as a pre-gen has already passed but you can still get an NPC named after you or a piece of Chaosium history. Other rewards include Orient Express limited edition tickets, tote bags, t-shirts, dice and so on.

Looking forward to seeing this one in print again.

dinsdag 7 augustus 2012

Swords & Wizardry Kickstarter

Swords & Wizardry Complete Rules is a simulacrum of the original edition of the 1974 fantasy roleplaying game written by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Now everyone can play this ENnie award-winning re-creation of the original rules without paying hundreds of dollars for the original books.

Frog God's purpose is to be able to fund the printing of the Swords & Wizardry Complete Rules in a signature-stitched hardcover binding for distribution.

And since the second bonus goal has already been reached, the book will feature a cover by Erol Otus, the godfather of old school artwork.

Still in doubt ? This is what Gail Gygax had to say
"Frog God Games has a new Kickstarter project: the reprint of the Swords & Wizardry Rules. Everyone is talking about it! These old school rules are right in line with Gary's vision of the game. It is good to see them continuing the tradition started in 1973 and keeping the flame alive. I am so appreciative of the added efforts of Frog God Games to donate a portion of all book sales to the Gygax Memorial Fund. Several other companies are similarly providing support to include, True Dungeon, Wizards of the Coast, and many others. It is wonderful to see our industry coming together to make Gary's memorial a reality."

Now head over to the Swords & Wizardry Kickstarter page and support another cool Frog God Games product !

donderdag 2 augustus 2012

Inside Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition

On the website of the Unspeakable Oath, Shane Ivey talks about the Call of Cthulhu seminar held at Continuum 2012 where developers Paul Fricker and Mike Mason discussed the 7th edition of Call of Cthulhu.


That’s the first thing to take away. Paul and Mike say clearly that what they’re describing is what they sent to Chaosium and what they hope will be the shape of the game, but that’s in Chaosium’s hands.

Chaosium’s Dustin Wright echoed that in a separate email: The rules are likely to change, maybe a lot, by the time they are published.

Dustin said Chaosium expects Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition to be published in 2013, but there’s no firm date yet.


As Paul and Mike put it together, Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition includes a core rulebook, a “slimmed-down” version of the core rulebook, and a separate players book with rules particular to player characters.

They restructured and rewrote the rules from the ground up. They revised everything to fit together more coherently than the 6th Edition, which was built out of the original rules as they evolved over time and a lot of individual rules and chapters that appeared originally in scenarios and campaign books.

Paul and Mike set out to strip the rules down and build them back up again, while keeping the game backwards-compatible so players don’t have to abandon 30 years’ worth of Call of Cthulhu publications.

“It’s the same game,” Mike says of the revisions, “and you’re making the same rolls, more or less, but it’s how you interpret those rolls and the rolls you can make.”


Characteristics in 7th Edition are strictly percentile scores. There’s no Intelligence 12 with an Idea roll of INT x 5 or 60%; you have an Intelligence score of 60% and that’s your roll.

Skills have been reworked entirely, many of them consolidated, particularly combat skills. A single Fighting skill covers Fist/Punch, Kick, Grapple, Head Butt, and hand-to-hand weapon skills. A single Firearms skill covers Handgun, Rifle, Shotgun, and so on. Fast Talk is gone; Charm and Intimidate are in. The rules will include conversion notes to use old characters in the new rules.

Importantly, the 7th Edition rules call on the Keeper and the players to be explicit about what a skill roll means and what will be the consequences for succeeding or failing. That’s usually good advice in Call of Cthulhu, but it’s crucial in the system Mike and Paul have built.

In their system a player can “push” a failed skill or characteristic roll, getting a chance to try again by agreeing to more dire consequences for failure. If you push a skill, failing the retry won’t just mean you don’t get what you want, it means you also might encounter some new threat or dangerous trouble. Player-Keeper communication is key when the players have to decide whether it’s worth pushing a failed roll.

All the minor penalties are gone. Instead there are three levels of success and the Keeper says which one the task requires: success at a standard roll with the full rating, success at half the rating, or success at one-fifth of the rating. Each value is meant to be recorded on the character sheet for each skill and characteristic for easy reference in play.

Interestingly, the hoary Resistance Table is gone. Instead, in opposed tests the Keeper sets the difficulty based on how good the opposition is. If your opponent has about a 40% skill or characteristic rating, you’d roll at your full skill rating to overcome. If your opponent has something like 90%, you need to roll one-fifth your skill to overcome.


“Pushing” a skill or characteristic isn’t the only way to turn failure to success. In 7th Edition, the Luck roll becomes a resource you can spend to adjust the results of skill or characteristic rolls.

Let’s say you need to roll 60 or less and you roll 63. You can spend three points of Luck to boost your odds enough to succeed after all. But now your Luck score is three points lower — if you need to make a Luck roll it’s that much less likely to succeed.

The 7th Edition rules mean to make the the functions of the Luck roll more explicit. Paul says, “It’s strictly for external circumstances beyond the player character’s control. So, you’re in the old house, you hear something upstairs. ‘I’m going to run to the kitchen. Are there any knives there?’ It’s a Luck roll.”

Importantly, spent Luck points don’t come back on their own. You can get them back only by calling on a new attribute called Connections during play.


Connections are things that are important to the character. A Connection could be anything — a person, a place, a thing, an abstract idea. “It might be your dear old mum,” Paul says. “It might be the house you grew up in. It might be your dog. If you want to play it, it might be your trusty .38 revolver. Faith in the Lord. Abstract concepts. Whatever is important to your character.”

You can call on a Connection to refresh Luck points, but only once in a given game session for each Connection. The amount of Luck you can refresh by calling on a Connection depends on the length of the game session, one point per hour of play. Or for a one-off, standalone game session, a flat five points.

Each character starts with three Connections. You can gain more through play, mostly by experiencing indefinite insanity due to catastrophic Sanity loss. Each indefinite insanity adds a Connection: Fear of Rats, maybe, or some kind of delusions. You can invoke that Connection, playing up the insanity, to regain Luck points.

But you can have no more than five Connections. And once you hit five, if you suffer another insanity, rather than adding a new Connection it corrupts or perverts an old one. So your Connection to dear old mum might get warped and ugly as your sanity erodes.


Insanity is often played for laughs in traditional Call of Cthulhu games, but Paul and Mike want insanity in 7th Edition to feel increasingly dark, not silly. At the same time they wanted to codify more explicitly what happens to characters who go insane.

With an indefinite insanity, not only do you gain a Connection for that insanity after you recover from the initial, short-term breakdown — the Bout of Madness, as Paul and Mike call it. You also are subject to further breakdowns, further Bouts of Madness, any time you suffer SAN loss later.

As for the shape of insanity in the game, they deliberately set out to take cues more from fiction than from medical manuals, delusions being more interesting to play than, say, catatonia. The form of a Bout of Madness depends on the circumstances. The rules include guidelines for the Keeper.


The Idea roll is still in the game, but it’s used a little differently. As Paul puts it, “It’s not, ‘Make your rolls. Oh, you failed. Give me an Idea roll. Oh, you failed that. Oh well, I’ll just tell you anyway, then.’”

The players can always ask for an Idea roll to gain a clue if they feel stymied. If the Idea roll succeeds, they gain the clue. If it fails, they still gain the clue — but the way they gain it puts them in danger.

Advice in the book about scenario design helps the Keeper set up the clues in such a way that the Idea roll won’t often be necessary.


It sounds like the combat rules have gotten a pretty serious overhaul. The traditional exchange of attack roll and defense roll is gone. Attacks are opposed skill rolls. The default result, if the combatants’ rolls are equivalent — both succeed, both fail, both succeed at 1/5, whatever — is that both take some damage. A lopsided result, where, say, you succeed at 1/5 but your opponent fails, means less damage for you and more for your opponent.

Grappling is gone as a separate skill or subsystem. Paul explains, “There are rules that cover things you might want to do, but there’s not a generic Grapple skill. It’s just Fighting with setting a goal.”

The Dodge skill is still there, but it’s mainly useful for trying to get out of the encounter altogether. You can attack or dodge, not both.

Characters are a little more resilient in 7th Edition. Death occurs at a negative hit point level equal to the HP score. If you have 11 HP, you die when you reach -11, not at zero. Along the way you become incapacitated and might be bleeding out, but there’s a larger buffer before death.

The core rulebook includes advice for the Keeper on considering the ramifications of how readily you kill characters. You’re encouraged to think ahead on what your goals are and how that should affect your scenario design.


The motivations for player characters putting their lives in so much danger gets deliberate attention in 7th Edition. The players book includes a chapter on building investigator organizations as a reason for characters to work together, a common motivation for them to investigate supernatural horrors, and a way to bring in replacements. It includes a number of examples.

On a more personal level, of course, Connections can be used to motivate characters. And the players book includes advice for players on designing characters to suit the game and to facilitate them becoming Investigators.

In the core rulebook, a chapter on scenario design includes advice on writing scenarios to motivate characters.


Paul and Mike say the monsters of the Cthulhu Mythos are essentially the same, though their combat stats are changed to reflect the new rules.

Monsters are presented with advice for the Keeper on using them in play and adjusting them to suit the needs of the scenario and the campaign. Mike and Paul stress that it’s the Keeper’s job to decide what’s right for the game; the Keeper ought to take ownership of the game just as the players should take ownership of how they play their characters. “You’re the Keeper,” Paul says, “make it how you want.”

Mike says the longstanding monster categories are gone: “We’ve taken away descriptors like ‘lesser servitor race’ or ‘greater independent race.’ They mean nothing to me, and I’m certainly pretty sure they meant nothing to Lovecraft. There’s some sort of hierarchical system of codification of races that . . . make no sense in the Mythos. So we just took those away and now it’s like, a mi-go’s a mi-go.”


For 7th Edition they stripped out a lot of the spells that crept into the rulebook from scenarios over the years but weren’t crucial to the game. (Mike: “Our favorite is Call Fish.”)

Each spell has a baseline description. But each includes guidelines for making it more powerful. Spellcasters with higher Cthulhu Mythos skill and lower Sanity scores, and nonhuman monsters, can do more with magic. But it’s up to the Keeper to set the overall power level of magic and to decide how accessible it will be to the player characters.

As a rule of thumb, using magic costs Sanity, which makes you more prone to picking up new insanities, which become new Connections (“Can’t resist ancient arcane tomes”) that redefine your character in play.


“It’s still Cthulhu as you know it,” Mike says. “It still plays the same, in a sense. What we’ve done is hung some bells and whistles, and tweaked some bits that we felt didn’t work so well. It’s the same game. We didn’t set out to write a new rulebook. We set out to refresh the rulebook.”

Paul adds, “Sandy Petersen wrote a great game. We’ve just tried to help it along.”

Paul and Mike will run 7th Edition games at GenCon in August and at Concrete Cow in September.

dinsdag 3 juli 2012

Shadows of Esteren: A Medieval Horror RPG Kickstarter

Kickstarter seems to have really caught on in the RPG world.

Shadows of Esteren is a French roleplaying game which will now be translated into English.

It's being described as a mixture between Braveheart, Sleepy Hollow, Ravenloft, and Call of Cthulhu. Well that certainly had my interest peaked.

From what I can see on the Shadows of Esteren Kickstarter page, it certainly is going to be a beautiful book.

I chose the Farl collector pledge which contains a limited edition version of 300 copies.

The gaming system is described as follows

  • A Detailed Character Creation. The creation of a PC goes through ten steps. The Characters are designed “inside-out”: you determine his psychology with 5 Ways that define how the Character sees and affects the world. Thus, there are no attributes such as Strength, Dexterity and so on, but there are Combativeness, Creativity, Empathy, Reason, and Conviction. By default, all the Characters are equally strong, fast, good-looking, etc. However a Character can purchase Advantages and Disadvantages to flesh out some of these physical attributes (“Strong”, “Weak”, “Hawkeye”,etc.), or provide him with allies, extra funds, etc... Skills are then picked according to several stages of his life (youth, professional training, miscellaneous activities).
  • The System of the Ways. The Ways are characteristics that determine the major traits of the Character’s personality: the Player allocates the scores 1,2,3,4,5 among the 5 Ways. Ways are rated from 1 to 5: 1-2 is considered Minor , 4-5 is considered Major. Therefore, a Character will have 2 Major Ways, 2 Minor Ways and an average one. This makes it possible to roughly determine the way he thinks, his emotional tendencies, etc...
  • Additionally, there are five Faults, one for each Way: Passion (Combativeness), Subversion (Creativity), Influence (Empathy), Doubt (Reason), and Guilt (Conviction). The main aim of these characteristics is to give references for role-playing, but the Leader (GM) can ask a Player to make a Test roll in one of his Character's Major Faults to see if his Fault gets the better of him in a heated situation. Also, a Character chooses 1 Flaw and 1 Quality based on his Major or Minor Ways (a Major Way can imply both a Flaw and a Quality). As shown in the example below, a Major rating in Combativeness can result in an Optimistic behavior, but also an impulsive one. Example for Combativeness
    • Quality:
    • Major Rating: combative, optimistic, dynamic, brave, pugnacious, etc. Minor Rating: calm, phlegmatic, cool-headed, peaceful, etc.
    • Flaw:
    • Major Rating: impulsive, presumptuous, prideful, stubborn, arrogant, boastful, etc. Minor Rating: pessimistic, spineless, sad, weak-willed, fearful, self-conscious, coward, etc.
  • A Resolution System Based on a D10. When a resolution roll is required, the Player adds the Character's rating in the appropriate skill + his rating in the associated Way + 1d10, and must beat a given Threshold. The margin determines the quality of success or failure. There are critical successes and failures as well. This resolution system is used for every aspect of the game, from fighting to using skills and calling upon mystical powers.
  • Quick and Violent Combats. Combat is clearly deadly. Fighting attitudes have been designed to define how the Character fights. Moreover, the amount of Health Points defined at the creation of the PC (which is most of the time the same for every Character) does not increase as the PC improves in the various skill fields. The basic principle is that the human body is fragile: for example, close combat remains dangerous, no matter how good a PC is in a given domain.
  • A Complete Sanity System. Dying is not the only danger that threatens the PCs: their psyche can be sorely tested, and they can even sink into madness. This is an important aspect of the game: where the combat system has been summed up in only three pages, the sanity system plays a much more important part and provided several tools to embody a psychically unstable PC. From the creation of his Character, the Player chooses a latent pathology for him, which may come to light if mental traumas become too heavy.
  • Three Types of "Magic". Although Shadows of Esteren is defined as a low-fantasy universe, supernatural elements still exist. Magical powers are meant to be most often rare, but powerful, and their use is never without consequences. The game system details the Demorthèn arts (druidic/animistic tradition); the Miracles of the Temple, granted by the One God to the Elect; and Magience, a science using “Flux”, a fuel harvested from nature.

zondag 24 juni 2012

Collection update : Pathfinder (2)

To celebrate more than 1000 views on this blog, I present you with another collection update. The friendly local game store had a 50% off sale on all their rpg material so I couldn't pass up on that and picked up quite a lot of their Pathfinder shelf.


  • PZO1112 Bestiary is the first of three monster manuals published by Paizo so far. First published in September 2009, the Bestiary is a hefty tome of 327 pages detailing monsters from the Aasimar up to and including the Zombie. The monster entries are followed by 14 appendices detailing monster creation and advancement, animal companions, and encounter tables among others.
  • PZO1120 Bestiary 3 is the third installment of the monster manuals currently published for the Pathfinder RPG. It was first published in December 2011 and with 319 pages it's only slightly lighter than the original Bestiary. Bestiary 3 lists creatures from the Adaro to the Zuvembie and like its predecessor those entries are also followed by more than 10 appendices.


  • PZO9405 Taldor, Echoes of Glory describes the country of Taldor and its capital Oppara, in addition to the Lion blade prestige class, magic items, and more.
  • PZO9403 Osirion, Land of Pharaohs is a sourcebook for Egyptian-themed adventures. It presents information on the nation of Osirion, its capital Sothis, along with a prestige class, new feats and magic and more.
  • PZO9406 Qadira, Gateway to the East describes the country of Qadira and its capital Katheer. Like the other nation books, it adds a prestige class, spells and feats for characters headed from this region of Golarion.
  • PZO9409 Andoran, Spirit of Liberty details living in Andoran, its slavery battling Steel Falcons, history, cities and more.


  • PZO9418 Faiths of Balance presents an overview of the neutral aligned deities in the Golarian Universe, along with a number of minor deities, feats, spells, and magic items.
  • PZO9420 Faiths of Corruption presents an overview of the evil deities in Golarion. Like the other faith companions it also presents a number of minor deities (even great old ones like Cthulhu, Hastur, and Nyarlathotep can be worshipped), new spells, feats and magic items.


  • PZO9410 Adventurer's Armory is the go-to sourcebook if you're looking for gear. Weapons, armor, alchemical items, you name it. And most of it within the price range of 1st level characters. Did you know a slave costs a mere 75 gold pieces ?!
  • PZO9422 Pirates of the Inner Sea gives an in-depth overview of six major pirate organisations. It also includes new pirate weapons, archetypes, a prestige class and a look at Besmara the Pirate Queen.

Campaign Setting & Chronicles

  • PZO9228 Inner Sea Poster Map Folio are four maps which in their totality show the Inner Sea region of Golarion.
  • PZO9232 Rival Guide presents 10 fully detailed rival adventuring groups, including backgrounds, fully statted NPCs, and the usual addition of new feats, traits and spells.
  • PZO9211 Seekers of Secrets details in great depth the Pathfinder Society, how to join, its history, famous Pathfinders, three prestige classes and more.
  • PZO9205 Guide to Absalom includes the different neighbourhoods, Absalom's history, the movers and shakers of the City at the Center of the World and more.


  • PZO9417 Humans of Golarion presents an overview of the major human ethnicities, a map of historical migration, information on Aroden and lost empires such as Azltant and Thassilon.
  • PZO9411 Gnomes of Golarion provides descriptions of Gnomish history, folklore, the major gnomish settlements, and more.
  • PZO9408 Dwarves of Golarion provides details of the dwarvish history in Golarion, information on the Five Kings Mountains, obscure magic of the Dwarven gods, and more.

1st level adventures

  • PZO9508 Hangman's Noose is an urban-based adventure wherein an unjustly executed man haunts the courthouse of Beldrin's Bluff in Absalom.
  • PZO9520 Crypt of the Everflame is a dungeon adventure set in Nirmathas. Kassen's youngsters are sent to a nearby crypt to retrieve the Everflame as a way of passage into adulthood. But these days, evil runs rampant in the crypt.

2nd level adventures

  • PZO9501 Crown of the Kobold King is a dungeon-based adventure in which five children have been dragged off into a cursed dwarven monastery.

3rd level adventures

  • PZO9522 Masks of the Living God is a adventure taking place in Nirmathas and can be used as a sequel to Crypt of the Everflame. Is there a link between the cult of Razmir and the culprits that raided Kassen's crypt?
  • PZO9533 Feast of Ravenmoor takes the player character to Ravenmoor in Varisia to look for a tax collector that has gone missing.

4th level adventures

  • PZO9510 River into darkness is a wilderness-based adventure that takes the adventurers to an outpost in the jungles of the Mwangi Expanse.
  • PZO9512 Flight of the Red Raven takes the party to the Fog Peak Mountains in Galt in pursuit of the notorious Red Raven.

5th level adventures

  • PZO9506 Carnival of Tears is an event-based adventure that brings a carnival to Falcon's Hollow for the party to enjoy. Then suddenly the nymph queen wants a word with them.
  • PZO9521 Carrion Hill takes place in the city of Carrion Hill in Ustalav where the original inhabitants of the place where cultists worshipping the Old Gods. Or how H.P. Lovecraft makes an appearance in Golarion.
  • PZO9524 City of Golden Death is the final chapter in the Price of Immortality trilogy, in which the adventurers follow the cultists of Razmir to the Isle of Terror

6th level adventures

  • PZO9505 Entombed with the Pharaohs pits the adventurers in a race to be the first to plunder the Veinstone Pyramid in Osirion.
  • PZO9525 From Shore to Sea sends the adventurers to the coastal village of Blackcove in Cheliax where horrors from beneath the waves hunt down innocent villagers.

7th level adventures

  • PZO9503 Seven Swords of Sin lets the player characters hunt down a sorceress that has stolen seven swords and ran off to Kaer Maga, the city of criminals.
  • PZO9514 Treasure of Chimera Cove sends the adventurers on a quest to brave the underground tunnels of a secret pirate complex in search of a weapon terrorizing the local shipping lanes.

8th level adventures

  • PZO9509 Crucible of Chaos sends the adventuring party to the Mwangi Expanse in search of a crashed sky-city.
  • PZO9516 The Pact Stone Pyramid is an adventure in which the adventurers have to stop an Osirian noblewoman from bringing back the ancient pharaohs and ruling beside them.
  • PZO9529 Cult of the Ebon Destroyer is an adventure written by the RPG Superstar 2010 winner Matt Goodall in which the adventurers have to stop a feared cult from assassinating Jalmeray's ruler.

9th level adventures

  • PZO9519 Beyond the Vault of Souls sends the player characters across the planes in search a magical soul gems stolen from the goddess of death.
  • PZO9532 The Harrowing sends the characters into the Harrowed Realm, a demiplane within a harrow deck in which certain creatures are looking for power and an escape into the real world.

10th level adventures

  • PZO9517 Clash of the Kingslayers was written by RPG Superstar 2008 winner Leandra Christine Schneider from Germany. The adventure takes place in the dwarven city Glimmerhold that is under attack from supernatural forces.
  • PZO9526 Curse of the Riven Sky is set in the Land of the Linnorm Kings where the players are looking for a cloud giant's arcane knowledge and need to stop the Storm Queen to get it.

11th level adventures

  • PZO9507 Guardians of Dragonfall has the characters travel to Dragonfall, the fabled graveyard of dragons, where its guardians are out of control.
  • PZO9511 The Demon Within presents the players with the problem of a bloodthirsty demonic horde that has overrun its guardians.

13th level adventures

  • PZO9531 Academy of Secrets is an adventure in which Korvosa's magical academy invites the party to try and infiltrate its own Hall of Wards.

14th level adventures

  • PZO9530 Tomb of the Iron Medusa sends the adventurers to a mysterious necropolis to clear the name of one of its builders.

15th level adventures

  • PZO9518 Blood of Dragonscar is an adventure in which the party travels to Dalaston in Taldor, where a wedding festival is ruined by a rampaging dragon and children rise from the dead.

17th level adventure

  • PZO9527 The Witchwar Legacy has the party discover a tomb in which the Mother of Witches Baba Yaga entombed one of her wayward daughters.

- Previous collection updates -

donderdag 21 juni 2012

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea

This is the introduction found on the Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea Kickstarter.

The project was already funded in January but I figured I could mention it here anyway. The author is Jeffrey Talanian, known from a number of Castle Zagyg products which he worked on under the guidance of Gary Gygax himself.

Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea will come out in a boxed set with two manuals, dice, a map, and charactersheets.

The boxes have already arrived at North Wind Adventures as can be seen below. The latest kickstarter update I received end of May stated that the dice were in as well. Character sheets were ready for print, covers for the Referee's Manual and the Players' Manual were at the printer, and the manuals were in layout. On The Acaeum Jeffrey confirmed recently however that layout was pretty much done and a final review was up next, followed by printing and shipping.

maandag 18 juni 2012

North Texas RPG Con 2012

Well, if there's one convention I would love to go to, it's this one. The North Texas RPG convention is old school gaming heaven. With an allstar cast the likes of Frank Mentzer, James Ward, Erol Otus, Sandy Petersen, Jeff Dee, Jennell Jacquays, Steve Winter, Dennis Sustare, Diesel LaForce, Jason Braun, Tim Kask, and the complete crew of Frog God Games attending, running and playing in games, this is a must-attend for all with some love for the TSR days.

Besides gaming the con also awards the Three Castles award which was won by Kevin Crawford's Stars without numbers, has a number of seminars (Origins of Call of Cthulhu w/ Sandy Petersen & Steve Marsh, Origins of 2E AD&D with Zeb Cook & Steve Winter, Art Seminar with Erol Otus, Dave LaForce, Jeff Dee, Jennell Jaquays & Jason Braun), holds a raffle in which you can win a lot of nice items (Dragon Magazine # 1, Dungeon Magazine #1, Castle Zagyg - Upper Works, DCC #51 Castle Whiterock boxed set (in shrink), and even a free trip to NTRPGCon 2013), and an auction where the super rare Greyhawk goldenrod sheets were auctioned off for $1350.

Games played amongst many others were Call of Cthulhu by Sandy Petersen, OD&D by Frank Mentzer and Dennis Sustare, Paranoia by Ben Burns, Metamorphosis Alpha by Jim Ward, Castle Greyhawk by Allan Grohe, Runequest by Jennell Jacquays, Swords & Wizardry by Bill Webb and Matt Finch, Cavemaster by Jeff Dee, a Chainmail scenario "The Battle of Lonely Mountain", Circus Maximus and much much more.

One of the nice features was an allstar game in which attendees could win a spot through the auction and raffle. The players included James M Ward, Steve Winter, Jennell Jaquays, Tim Kask, Sandy Petersen, and Frank Mentzer. Below you can find their adventures.

Below a question and answer session on the origins of Call of Cthulhu with Sandy Petersen and Steve Marsh, followed by The good old days with Jim Ward, Frank Mentzer, and Tim Kask. Then there's a seminar about the origins of AD&D with Steve Winter and Zeb Cook, and Gonzo Gaming with Michael Curtis and Tim Kask.

vrijdag 8 juni 2012


Dallas, TX, (June 7th 2012) – FROG GOD GAMES, the makers of roleplaying games and books, today announced that they are acquiring Necromancer Games, the award-winning publishing house known for Necropolis, Rappan Athuk, City of Brass, Tomb of Abysthor, Crucible of Freya, Tome of Horrors, and many other famous titles.

The purchase of Necromancer Games considerably increases Frog God Games’ influence in the tabletop gaming industry. “The merging of the companies made sense,” said Bill Webb, CEO of Frog God Games. “As primary developer of the Necromancer line of products, I created Frog God Games with the same aesthetics and design principles in mind. We are all about capturing that hard-edged Retro feel in both our Pathfinder Roleplaying Games and our Swords & Wizardry product lines.” The acquisition will provide Frog God Games with the use of Necromancer Games extensive intellectual property, allowing re-imagination and expansion of existing work, as well as new products under both labels. Frog God Games will maintain a separate product line of Necromancer Games products, which so far has included the Tome of Horrors Complete and will soon include Rappan Athuk.

Frog God Games will re-animate several of Necromancer Games’ products in the future to provide its customers with revised and expanded products for a variety of tabletop editions. “The integration of both companies will take place over the next few months. Our customers will continue to receive the same high quality books which they have come to expect” stated Webb.

Necromancer Games, which will continue to operate under that name, is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Frog God Games. The company has not published new material since 2007, although it produced nearly 100 titles from 1999-2007. The Company’s other founder, Clark Peterson will remain involved in an advisory capacity, and will continue to contribute to the company’s success.

About Frog God Games
Founded in April 2010, Frog God Games publishes resources for the tabletop roleplaying games Pathfinder Roleplaying Games and Swords & Wizardry. Its products are known for their grand adventure settings and high quality production values. “If our hardcovers won’t last you a lifetime of use, we have not made a high enough quality product”, said Webb. Frog God Games currently serves over 2500 customers in USA, Canada, Brazil, Europe, South America, China, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, and has produced over 70 books for Pathfinder Roleplaying Games and Swords & Wizardry in the past two years. The writers of Frog God Games have won numerous ENnie Awards. For more information about Frog God Games visit its website at

donderdag 7 juni 2012

Appendix N Adventure Toolkits for DCC RPG Kickstarter

John Adams of Brave Halfling Publishing has obtained a license to produce content for the Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG. The first adventure is called 'The Ruins of Ramat' and true to the Dungeon Crawl Classics style it starts at 0th level.

I must say John has put together a very nice deal with this one. A mere $20 gets you the 'Ruins of Ramat' adventure, a limited edition adventure 'The Witch of Wydfield' which will not be available in pdf or retail version afterwards, and a print and pdf copy of any of the bonus goal products. So in it's current state this would mean another two adventures called 'The Crumbling Tower' and 'Danger in the Sulyndri Forrest'.

If the kickstarter reaches $6000, another adventure called 'The Revenge of Abudakar' will be added. $10000 will bring a limited Appendix N Adventures Game Box to the table and in a recent update, John revealed that reaching $15.000 means the release of 'The Old Isle Campaign Setting', material that he was working on with none other than Gary Gygax before his passing.

zondag 3 juni 2012

RPG Goodies April

I'm running waaaaay behind on this stuff and now of course it's more complicated to figure out which interesting items were released back in April.

Wizards of the Coast

  • Halls of Undermountain presents a ready-to use dungeon detailing over eighty locations. The adventure for characters of 1st to 5th level offers a way for Dungeon Masters participating in the recent D&D Encounters season, The Elder Elemental Eye, to extend the adventure. In addition, this book provides all the ingredients to run a classic dungeon delve, including enticing treasures, deadly traps, a wide assortment of monsters, and two double-sided full-color poster maps.

Paizo Publishing

  • PZO9055 Adventure Path Skull & Shackles book 1 - The Wormwood Mutiny launches when the adventurers wake to find themselves press-ganged into the crew of the pirate ship Wormwood, the vessel of the nefarious Captain Barnabus Harrigan. They’ll have to learn how to survive as pirates if they’re to have any hope of weathering rough waves, brutal crew members, enemy pirates, ravenous beasts, and worse. But when fortune turns to their favor, it’s up to the new crew to decide whether they’ll remain the pirate’s swabs or seize control and set sail for adventures all their own.

  • PZO9535 The Midnight Mirror is a horror and investigation adventure for 4th level characters written by the 2011's RPG Superstar Sam Zeitlin. The outbreak of a virulent and fatal disease and a number of mysterious disappearances have left the people of Karpad paranoid and fearful. Even Baron Stepan has been acting strangely, and now the tenuous balance of racial tensions between Karpad's human and fetchling populations stands on the verge of collapsing into total anarchy. Can the PCs uncover the root of Karpad's problems and put an end to the deadly virus, the terrifying disappearances, and the miasma of fear and distrust that threatens to overwhelm the region?

  • PZO9244 Isles of the Shackles details the vast and untamed island chain known as the Shackles. Throughout these isles, undead cyclopes guard eons-old treasure vaults, lycanthropic pirates maraud the waterways, and cannibalistic natives sacrifice trespassers to their otherworldly god-queen. On the treacherous seas surrounding the Shackles, a bold sailor may even rise to become one of the realm’s infamous Free Captains, second only to the bloodthirsty Hurricane King himself—though the rapacious pirates who raid the archipelago’s ports ensure that only the cunning and swift survive for long.

  • PZO9423 Blood of Fiends presents a look at tieflings, tainted individuals thrust into a world that has learned to both fear and despise them. Whether they openly display their freakish ancestry in settlements known for their tiefling populations or hide such shameful attributes through either mundane or magical methods, all tieflings know that they are different.

donderdag 17 mei 2012

Campaigns & Adventures: Pathfinder - Session 4 : Morilla's Mansion

~ Fireday, 5 Rova, 4711 AR ~

Another morning in Absalom when Henricus wakes up. Or better another noon. As he'll visit the Morilla family today Henricus decides to ditch the adventurer's outfit for some more fashionable clothing. After grooming his beard to perfection, he leaves the room and finds Reidan seated at the bar. Reidan's breakfast consists of a big mug of dark ale it seems. They both order a warm meal and talk about their plans for the day. To Henricus' amazement, the innkeeper tries to charge for the meal while the night before it was clearly stipulated that the meal would be included in the room price.

Reidan provides Henricus with his address in Absalom. Henricus in turn tells him to just ask for him whenever he's in Oppara. When they say their goodbyes, Henricus offers Reidan a bottle of brandy as a parting gift. He then has his horse readied and heads for the Petal District after asking the way to the city guard. The roads are busy with traffic heading in both ways over the main arteries throughout Absalom. Somewhere half way towards the Coins District, Henricus notices he's being closed in by a rather large group of beggarlike types. The group walks very closely next to his horse, restricting its movement and considerably slowing it and its rider down. With no guards or Ulfen warriors in sight, Henricus is left to his own devices.

Henricus slips his hand in one of his pouches, gathers a few pennies and flings them over his shoulder, and at the same moment tries to spur his horse forward. The coins don't have the desired effect and Henricus notices one of the beggars has his reins in hand, while another is going through his saddle bags. Henricus draws his dagger and slashes his assailant across the arm and face. The beggar drops Henricus' drawing set from the bag as he recoils from the attack. Henricus then rears his horse to free up his reins and places the horse over the fallen drawing set. During this maneuver one of the beggars dives for the drawing set, gets hit in the head by the horse, and falls down bleeding. This causes the beggar crew to disperse and disappear in the numerous alleys of Absalom.

Henricus loads his hand crossbow and dismounts to pick up his drawing set. One of the bystanders checks the beggar's vital signs and shakes his head. Then whistles are blown and the crowd clears to let the guards through. Henricus is interviewed by the captain of the guard and when his story checks out with the story of some of the bystanders, he's free to go. The beggar's body is loaded onto a cart and hauled off. Henricus decides to have his crossbow at the ready for the rest of the trip.

The trip brings him to the Grand Bazaar in the Coins District which he circles around to avoid having to ride his horse through the massive crowds of the market. The route continues towards the Ascendant Court with its preachers, wanna-be chosen, and of course the Starstone Cathedral. The trip has taken Henricus more hours than expected so he decides to take in the views another day and continues to the Petal District where he's stopped by the Lotus Guard and asked the purpose of his visit. After explaining the reason for his visit, he receives an escort to the Morilla mansion. The neighbourhood here is definately for the most wealthy of Absalom and reminds Henricus of home.

At the Morilla mansion the maester of the house confirms Henricus's claim and the guard returns to the gate. Henricus requests to be allowed to freshen himself up prior to being presented to the Morilla family and is clearly insulted when maester Gaspar offers to enter through the servant's entrance. Also the fact that his horse is not taken from him until they reach the front door of the mansion bothers him. Clearly Taldan servants are far superior. Henricus is led to one of the guest chambers and is told that there's a party going on in honor of Lady Morilla's birthday. A serving girl is sent to his chambers and ordered to prepare a bath. After freshening up and donning his richest clothing, Henricus is ready to meet the Morilla family and is led towards the gardens.

At the party Henricus is introduced to Vors Morilla, his future brother-in-law, and his younger brother Enver. Vors is a shining example of Taldan nobility, while Enver is a bit more unpolished and carries the scars of a brawl too many. Vors then introduces his mother Ravissa, an extremely beautiful woman, and his sister Calysta, the youngest of the bunch. After all the formalities, Henricus is quickly led to other prominent visitors for some more formal banter. A few hours later the party ends and Henricus is joined by the brothers Morilla for a strategic game popular amongst nobles. After the game, there's a small meal and Henricus is informed that he'll be able to speak to Lord Celedo the next day. The family then retires to their chambers except for Enver, who gets on a horse and disappears in the night. In his room Henricus works some more on his sketch of the drowning woman on the Trident. Tomorrow Lord Celedo awaits.

Memorable moments of roleplay
  • When Reidan provides Henricus with his address in Absalom, Henricus tells him that whenever Reidan visits Oppara, he only has to ask for him. "So you're well-known over there?" "That was the point I was trying to make, yes".
  • The first combat session and the very promising rolls I made during it. GM: "Roll a d20 and don't roll a 1". Rolls a 1. Ok give me a perception check. Fail. Any guards in sight ? Nope. How about an Ulfen warrior ? Rolls. Nope. Roll a d20, the higher the roll the more valuable the item they're stealing. Rolls a 16. I'm already happy I chose the Improved Initiative feat so at least I got to act first. The only roll that worked for me was to check if my drawing set would break during the fall.
  • When the DM tried to figure the damage a horseshoe does to the head, I suggested 2d50.
  • Realising my horse has killed more people than me.
  • When Henricus tells the servant at the Morilla mansion that he wants to bathe prior to meeting the family, the servant suggests entering through the servant's entrance. Euhm no we don't!

The story so far

<< Previous session: Pathfinder session 3: Aching for Absalom Next session: Pathfinder session 5: >>

donderdag 10 mei 2012

Pathfinder Online Technology Demo Kickstarter

Kickstarter is getting hotter and hotter in the industry. And now Paizo Publishing and Goblinworks Inc. jump on the bandwagon as well.

Since Paizo's announcement of Pathfinder Online back in December, we've all been quietly waiting for a first glimpse of what this new MMO would look like. It seems the next step for Goblinworks Inc. is to raise enough money to develop a technology demo in order to get more investors interested in the Pathfinder Online project.

So if it's not the full game you're backing, what's in it for you ?

Well the pledge rewards go from a pdf over a Goblinworks t-shirt all the way up to dinner and a game with some of the Paizo and Goblinworks crew.

The interesting part for me is the Thornkeep book of which you can see a cover mock up below.

Thornkeep will be a 64-page book detailing the Thornkeep and surrounding area in the River Kingdoms. The first part of the book will be all official Pathfinder lore, the second half of the book presents a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Pathfinder Online.

Lisa Stevens, Paizo's CEO, commented on the forums that the only sure way to get a hardcopy of the book, would be to support the Kickstarter. Paizo has to print a certain number of books, if they are all gone through the kickstarter project, only a pdf will be available afterwards. If not, I assume they'll sell the remaining stock.

Support the Pathfinder Online Technology Demo Kickstarter here!

vrijdag 4 mei 2012

Monte Cook leaves Wizards of the Coast

Last week Monte Cook announced his departure from Wizards of the Coast on his blog. Under the title 'Change of plans' we writes: "Last week I decided that I would leave my contract position with Wizards of the Coast. I am no longer working on Dungeons & Dragons, although I may provide occasional consultation in the future. My decision is one based on differences of opinion with the company. However, I want to take this time to stress that my differences were not with my fellow designers, Rob Schwalb and Bruce Cordell. I enjoyed every moment of working with them over the past year. I have faith that they'll create a fun game. I'm rooting for them.

Due to my non-disclosure agreement, as well as a desire to keep things on a professional level, I have no intention of going into further detail at this time. (Mostly, I just hate drama, and would rather talk about more interesting things.)

As for what I'll be turning to next, I hope you'll stay tuned. I plan on having an interesting announcement in that regard in the near future.

In Mike Mearl's response to Monte Cook's departure we can read : "I am surprised, and frankly saddened, by Monte’s decision to leave the D&D Next design team. I’d like to thank him for his contribution, and we all wish him well."

Since Monte remained vague on the how and why of his departure, the internet speculations quickly took over. One of those speculations was why Monte mentioned Rob Schwalb and Bruce Cordell in his blogpost, but not Mike Mearls. This in turn led to another blogpost called 'Praise and criticism' where Monte replies to some of the speculations regarding his departure : "Praise for one person is not criticism for another. Singling out one does not automatically imply exclusion of another.

To be certain, I enjoyed much of my time working with everyone who's been involved with the new edition of D&D: Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Bruce Cordell, Rob Schwalb, Miranda Horner, Tom LaPille, Rodney Thomson, Greg Bilsland, Matt Sernett, Rich Baker, James Wyatt, and everyone else. The WotC RPG R&D department is full of talent.

Bruce and Rob were the guys I spent each and every day with, though. They were my team. I'll miss the daily doses of their creativity and friendship.

A lot of people don't see this as a good sign for the next version of D&D, to lose one of the big forces behind their third edition. On the 24th of May, the open playtests will start and we'll see how what direction D&D will take for the next few years.

Rappan Athuk Kickstarter

I spoke of Frog God's announcement of Rappan Athuk already back in October of last year. Well it has arrived in the form of a Kickstarter.

The Frog God is determined to get Rappan Athuk, the legendary mega-dungeon by Necromancer Games updated for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game and the Swords & Wizardry rules. Mama frog has put her foot down - the personal checks papa frog is having to lay out are getting kind of scary. Mama frog said "no more!". Capped at a personal investment of $10,000 they need to come up with an additional $25,000 to print and illustrate the book in just 60 days!.

Your pledges could yield the following:

  • Your name at the back of the book as a Kickstarter supporter
  • Your name on a tombstone in the book at the entrance to the dungeon
  • Finished PDF Copy of Rappan Athuk in all its glory
  • Frog God Games T-shirt: "Adventurers taste like chicken....errrr, flies"
  • Faux leather-bound, signature stitched book (textbook bound for a lifetime of durability) with either a red cover (for the Swords & Wizardry version) or black cover (for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game)
  • Unpainted Reaper Miniature
  • Professionally Painted Tsathogga miniature by Reaper Magazine Artist
  • Exclusive Bonus module "Level 7B Caves and Caverns of the Ancient Gods" that will never be released for sale
  • You name a monster in the bonus module!
  • Exclusive Frog God Games battlemap laminated for dry erase
  • Color Scanned Copies of the 1970s & 1980s original notes, texts, and maps
  • Out Of Print Original Rappan Athuk 1 - The Dungeon of Graves, Rappan Athuk 2 - The Middle Levels, Rappan Athuk 3 - Lower Levels
  • Extremely Rare Shrink Wrapped Reloaded Box Set
  • Special invitation to join Frog God Games in Dallas at NTRPG Con. Admission, Hotel, Food & Beverages all paid
  • Special invitation to join Frog God Games in Seattle at Paizo Con. Admission, Hotel, Food & Beverages all paid
  • BOTH NTRPG Con and PaizoCon. Admission, Hotel, Food & Beverages all paid for both
  • Bill Webb will personally fly to your home, hand-deliver EIGHT total hard copies of the signed and numbered (#2-#9) Rappan Athuk hardcover, and play a game for 2 FULL 8 hour sessions with you and a group of up to 8 of your friends

After the huge Tome of Horrors limited and unlimited versions, this is going to be another kick ass release from Frog God Games !

Support the Frog God Games Rappan Athuk kickstarter here!