zondag 14 juli 2013

Free download Shadows of Esteren Book 0 Prologue

 No worries, this is a completely legal download. The kickstarter of Book 2 Travels has reached one of its stretch goals which has made Book 0 Prologue available for free download as of now. 

Book 0 Prologue provides an introduction to the setting of Shadows of Esteren, a quick overview of the rules system, six pre-made characters, and three introductory scenarios. 

It's a great way to get a feel for the setting, the rules, and the game's beautiful artwork.

donderdag 11 juli 2013

Shadows of Esteren Book 2 : Travels Kickstarter

The new kickstarter for Shadows of Esteren is online. Book 2 Travels consist of 196 pages of Shadows of Esteren goodness. I already have the pdf and I can tell you, this book looks as amazing as the others. Stunning artwork all over the place.

The first chapter Cartography takes a look at several noteworthy places of Tri-Kazel. It takes an in-depth look at Gwidre, Reizh, and Taol-Kaer but it doesn't stop until about 45 pages are filled with setting material and descriptions of locales the players can visit or encounter.

The chapter continues with information on travelling in Tri-Kazel, the meaning of several Varigal signs, and advice on storytelling a travelling scene. After overland travel, the chapter takes a look at sailing the seas surrounding the peninsula, information on different ships and navigation.

Chapter 2 Canvasses features five short scenario's for 2-3 hour play.

Chapter 3 A life choice is a short campaign about a Magientist mother who finds out her long-lost child and husband are now living in an ultra-traditionalist community in Taol-Kaer and organises an expedition to save her child from a dogmatic upbringing. The campaign is split up in different scenes with hints throughout on which music to use for a particular scene, tips to enhance the setting, indications on where to add (optional) gore or suspense, all illustrated with clear signs we've come to know from the previous books.

Chapter 4 Figures of Tri-Kazel takes a look at 18 memorable non-player characters the players can encounter on their travels through the land.

Finally chapter 5 Bestiary explores several common place creatures that can be encountered and 10 much stranger creatures from Loch Sniomh, the sea wyrm to the majestic Siren of the Taelderoth.

Check out the Shadows of Esteren Book 2 Travels Kickstarter !!

For those in doubt what to expect, check Martin from Grognard Games unboxing his package from the previous kickstarter.

dinsdag 18 juni 2013

Miskatonic River Press on indefinite hiatus

A few days ago Tom Lynch of Miskatonic River Press contacted Paul at Yog-Sothoth.com to talk about the fate of Miskatonic River Press. During their 45 minute long interview Tom explains the reason behind his decision to put Miskatonic River Press on indefinite hiatus.

I'm quite sad as this means one of the, in my opinion, top publishers of Cthulhu material will now cease to publish (except for a few projects which are near completion it seems). Although Tom and I have had our differences regarding customer service/the replacement of books damaged in the mail, I can only praise the quality of their releases. Both the gaming books and fiction anthologies have been great reads and are works I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone interested in the Mythos.

Be sure to check out a number of their releases :

zaterdag 15 juni 2013

Cthulhu Wars gameplay overview by Sandy Petersen

The Cthulhu Wars kickstarter ride has been wild! The initial goal of $40.000 was reached in little over an hour. I was lucky to get into the Father Day's special offer getting pretty much the best deal.

We're currently at $560.000+, all the current Great Old Ones have been unlocked, an expansion bundle and map bundle has been added as add-ons, and a mere three stretch goals haven't currently been reached yet.

If you're still on the fence on whether you'll like the game or not, check out Sandy's gameplay overview in which he explains the different stages and possibilities of Cthulhu Wars.

In addition to that you can also check the Cthulhu Wars Rules Summary and/or the Cthulhu Wars Rulebook.

Cthulhu Wars -- Kicktraq Mini
Looking at the Kicktraq website, a projection is made based on the current pledges and has the kickstarter end at $2.000.000!! While I think that might be a bit optimistic, I have no doubt that Cthulhu Wars will reach half of that, and by doing so unlocking the Dreamlands monsters and hopefully lots and lots of free Great Old Ones and additions.  

vrijdag 7 juni 2013

Cthulhu Wars kickstarter is live!

In my previous post about Cthulhu Wars, Sandy explained the basics of the game. On the Cthulhu Wars Facebook page, the team has been sharing beautiful artwork and miniature close-ups and then came the countdown.

The Cthulhu Wars kickstarter just went live and is already close to being funded. I'm a bit surprised they decided to start this one while the Call of Cthulhu 7th edition kickstarter is also still in full swing but hey, Cthulhu cultists are loyal fans and they'll eat dry bread and water to get these games.

Ok, so it has been funded while I was typing this. I'm sure Sandy is pretty excited right now !

Make ready for the end of the world and join the Cthulhu Wars kickstarter.

dinsdag 4 juni 2013

Call of Cthulhu 7th edition Kickstarter

A goal of $40.000 was pulverised in moments. The kickstarter is currently at $155.000+ and all the current stretch goals have already been reached. Suffice to say there's a lot more goodies coming.

Too bad the investigator pictures are already gone but the faux-Byakhee books will look quite nicely on my shelf as well.

Join the Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition Kickstarter.

vrijdag 31 mei 2013

Cthulhu LARP : The Auction

The 9th of May, some friends of mine organised a Cthulhu LARP called The Auction. The year is 1933 and the players had all received an invitation to a private auction by a renowned auction house in the city of Tervuren. Up for auction were a number of African and Asian treasures, pieces of art, writings, and a number of Celtic weapons.

I played the role of Ralph Deswert who, with his wife Katrien, had fallen on hard times. So we hustled our way back into a position of relative financial security. Our purpose for the night was to try and get as many people as possible caught up in a pyramid art insurance scheme. Oh and if we could steal some of the items, well that would be icing on the cake.

The evening started of with me and Katrien taking a look at the items that would go up for auction. Our ruse was us having only recently moved back to Belgium from the States and me being an art dealer. We mingled in the crowd, trying to size up the competition and other attendees of the auction.

I met with Hannelore Verdrengh, owner of the auction house who inherited the business after her husband passed away, and bumped into Steven Fazan, a middleman whose customers had donated a few items to the auction. Meanwhile Katrien was mingling with the local aristocracy. I also had a quick conversation with my brother Laurein Deswert who, very conveniently, worked for the auction house and was a big part of  our scheme to smuggle some items out.

Right when I was talking the owner of a local museum into my insurance scheme, the auction started and everyone took their seats. The bidding began quite stongly and Katrien and I were surprised about the amounts of cash that were thrown at items. Maarten Coorevits, mayor of Tervuren and Peter Deville, an armsdealer, got into a heated bidding war for a ancient dagger. Katrien bid on some African bowl and mask, and I myself bid on some artwork, trying to drive the prices up for the museum so they wouldn't have any cash left when the painting I really wanted went up for auction.

I even switched seats, locating myself directly behind the museum director, whispering in her ear about art values and how good a certain item would look in the museum, trying to influence things a bit in my advantage.

Then the auction took a short break in which the new owners were asked to already pay for their purchases. The break was disturbed when Michael Maderbacher, an employee of the auction house, suddenly fainted and needed the care of the local doctor. It turned out he had cut himself while handling the ancient dagger. The doctor was able to shortly improve his condition but unfortunately it deteriorated as quickly as it improved and Michael died from this seamingly innocent cut.

When people went looking for the dagger, it had vanished which caused quite a stir of panic among the attendees. And yes, soon after the first accusations of theft started flying from one competitor to the next.

All this commotion had unfortunately given three cultists the opportunity to use the dagger in some strange ritual to summon a dark entity into the building. All exits were sealed off and when the cultists appeared with the entity, a huge black mass of swirling tentacles, in tow, the panic really started with everyone running for their lives. The cultists went through the crowd methodically, driving everyone in a corner and forcing people on their knees at gunpoint so the creature could devour them.

When the cultists were momentarily distracted by the local priest (who died soon after), Katrien and I took our chances and ran right passed the cultists to another part of the building were we hid. Some more people were able to use that distraction to get away and I managed to snatch some of those Celtic weapons for myself and Katrien.

Don't ask me how but a few of the local aristocrats and the museum crew had found some cryptic documents and assumed it was the summoning ritual. They started decrypting the documents looking for clues to banish the entity that was still roaming the building. In the meanwhile a few of the other survivors had also taken up arms against the cultists and Katrien appeared with a bloody axe in hand, telling me she had just killed two of the three cultists (say what now ? ).

My first worry was survival so I tried to stay out of sight as much as possible, trying to figure out a way out of the building. The dark entity starting moving (slowly luckily) towards the area where the museum crew was still trying to figure out all the documents they found. So Katrien and I repeated sentences we had heard the cultists scream and it reacted to that so we could lure it away for a while.

It gave the others just enough time to prepare a banishing ritual and execute it. The entity screamed in horror, tentacles flailed in desperation until a black hole swallowed it and everything returned to normal. The few survivors headed out of the building leaving Katrien and myself to pick up quite a number of the auctioned items and all the cash the auction house had received during the evening after which we quietly disappeared into the night.

More than half of the people playing in this LARP were local schoolteachers from the school of which we had rented some rooms and had never before played a roleplaying game. And they did great ! The game mechanics had been simplified to the extreme and the sanity mechanic was even left out in order not to confuse the new players with rules and have them focus more on their roles. Everyone had a blast so I hope to see a good number of them returning to future LARPs.

The only unfortunate event was a lack of pictures during the game. Only a few pictures were taken prior to the start of the event but I'll add them below anyway.

Ralph and his wife Katrien 'The Axe-murderer' Deswert
Local aristocrats Raya and Marlies de Ruyat

Maarten Coorevits, mayor of Tervuren with his wife Hilde and daughter Hilde

The unhappy couple, Geert Deruiter, local doctor, and his wife Nina.

Local priest Sam Daneels and his maid Kaat

The museum crew : Katleen Paulissen (treasurer), Sarah Willems (director), Hanne Peeters (historian)

The cultists : Armsdealer Peter Deville and his wife Ann

Steven Fazan (middleman), Hannelore Verdrengh (auction house owner), MichaĆ«l Maderbacher and Laurein Deswert  (auction house employees)
Cultists An Deville and Patrizia Fagiano

maandag 20 mei 2013

Free RPG Day 2013 Preview

It's almost that time of year again. June 15th 2013 will mark the 7th incarnation of Free RPG day, an annual RPG event in which your local friendly gaming store gets to donate a number of introduction modules and rulesets to their customers. Here's a look at what's up for grabs this year :


  • Pathfinder RPG : We be goblins too - Paizo Publishing (15 per box)
  • Swords & Wizardry : Hall of Bones - Frog God Games (15 per box)
  • LotFP : Better than any man - Lamentations of the Flame Princess (15 per box)
  • Cosmic Patrol Quickstart - Catalyst Game Labs (10 per box)
  • Shadowrun/Battlerech Quick start rules - Catalyst Game Labs (10 per box)
  • Star Wars : Shadows of a black sun - Fantasy Flight Games (10 per box)
  • Steampunk d6 dice - Q Workshop (10 per box)
  •  Free RPG day dice - Chessex (5 per box)
  • DCC RPG/X-Crawl : The Imperishable Sorceress/The 2013 Studio City Crawl - Goodman Games (5 per box)
  • Vampire The Requiem : Reap the Whirlwind - Onyx Path Publishing (5 per box)
  • Tunnels & Trolls : Fire Dwarves of Zorr - Flying Buffalo (3 per box)
  • Neo Exodus : Temple of the Forbidden God - Louis Porter Jr Design (3 per box)
  • Castles & Crusades : A pot of broken bones & Halfling broth - Troll Lord Games (3 per box)
  • Unique Dice Tower - Blue Panther (1 per box)
  • Savage Worlds : Tunse'al Quick start - Obatron Productions (1 per box)
  • Free RPG day shirt - Off World Designs (1 per box)
If you're in Belgium, head over to the Oberonn, Kempischesteenweg 27, 3500 Hasselt. They might just be the only participating store in Belgium. 

zaterdag 11 mei 2013

Island of Ignorance - The Third Cthulhu Companion Kickstarter

I haven't posted a Kickstarter in a while but this one I wanted to share. Especially since it will have a picture of me in it.

This is the first project by Golden Goblin Press, founded by Oscar Rios, known for his work for Miskatonic River Press.

Head over to the Island of Ignorance - The Third Cthulhu Companion Kickstarter and check that beautiful goblin statue.

vrijdag 26 april 2013

Lovecraft - Fear of the unknown documentary

I recently discovered this 2008 documentary about the life and works of HP Lovecraft. Featured in the documentary are luminaries such as Ramsey Campbell, ST Joshi, Robert M. Price, and Guillermo del Toro. It can be watched for free on youtube :

donderdag 4 april 2013

Cthulhu Wars, new boardgame by Sandy Petersen

After the failed Cthulhu World Combat Kickstarter, Sandy Petersen has now turned his attention to a new boardgame called Cthulhu Wars.

In below interview he explains the game's basics and hints at the kickstarter which should be online somewhere this month.

Sandy will be hosting playtests at the North Texas RPG Convention which I hope to attend this year.

Oh yeah, and check Sandy's insane gaming library in the background ! SAN loss anyone ?

zondag 24 maart 2013

Interview Ed Greenwood

Pretty much from the beginning when I started roleplaying, the first setting I got into was the Forgotten Realms. My first games all took place in that magical world and since I was a dungeon master from the start, I bought a lot of Realms stuff. Back in those days it was for actual use in a campaign.

These were the pre-collecting days. But when I did start considering myself a collector, the Forgotten Realms was already a big part of the collection. There's currently about 200 Forgotten Realms items in my collection which is the 3rd most after generic D&D and Call of Cthulhu.

I was therefore very happy to stumble upon an interview with Ed Greenwood, the creator of the Forgotten Realms so I thought I'd share it with everyone.

I feel so honored that I could do this for people and that people are having fun. If I lift someone's spirits, if I give them a couple hours of fun, and if I give them an excuse to get together with their friends, or make new friends and spend their time gaming, that's my real reward - Ed Greenwood

zondag 10 maart 2013

Pathfinder character: Dolgrin Rogargun, blood of Blackforge, dwarf foehammer

Dolgrin Rogargun comes from a very traditional and religious family that traces its ancestry to a legendary dwarven smith known as the Blackforge. With such an ancestor, worship of Torag the Father of Creation was self-evident. Growing up in Rolgrimmdur combat, tactics, and engineering were as much part of the program as rigorous physical exercise. At age 40 his gladdinggarsun sent him into the bowels of the Darklands, looking for the gladdringgar of his great-grandfather Grimm. It took him three months and several encounters with his hated duergar kin to locate Grimm's name-rune and chisel his own to the right of it.

Upon his return in Rolgrimmdur, his succesful rite of passage was celebrated and Dolgrin received the family heirloom, a masterwork warhammer crafted by the Blackforge himself. The warhammer's head depicts an adamantine inlay of Blackforge's and Torag's sigils and has been wielded in countless battles over the centuries. In addition to his warhammer, Dolgrin also carries the traditional dorn-dergar, a 10-foot-long chain weighted at the end by a fist-sized metal ball.

His rite of passage complete, general Hayla Sagginsdottir sent Dolgrin to Five Kings Mountain's capital Highhelm as a mercenary to help reinforce the battlements and share his knowledge of siege engines. Ten years later he was reassigned to the city of Kovlar for more mercenary work, guarding the Anviler's Guild's shipments towards Highhelm.

Halfway into this assignment he has been recalled to Rolgrimmdur. His new mission: travel to Absalom to look for trade and mercenary opportunities and to establish a link with dwarves residing in the city at the centre of the world. This presents quite a challenge to Dolgrin since his connection with the earth and its stones is so great that he distrusts any means of transport besides his own two legs. He refuses to use mounts due to a 'complete lack of control over one's movements', and even riding along in a wagon has him shifting from one side to the other uncomfortably. The true test of his resolve he will face in Andoran's capital city of Almas, where a ship awaits him.

Dolgrin Rogargun
Male dwarf foehammer 1
LG Medium humanoid (dwarf)
Init +1; Senses Perception +8

AC 18, touch 11, flat-footed 14 (+5 armor, +2 shield, +1 Dex); +4 against monsters of giant subtype
hp 13 (1d10+2, +1 favored class)
Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +2, +2 against poison, spells, and spell-like abilities

Speed 20 ft.
Melee mwk warhammer +7 (1d8+4/20), Dorn Dergar +5 (1d10+4/20), heavy spiked shield +5 (1d6+4/20)
Special attacks Hatred (+1 against monsters of orc and goblinoid subtype)

Str 18, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 12, Wis 14, Cha 8
Base Atk +1, CMB +5, CMD 16; +4 CMD to resist bull rush or trip when standing on ground
Feats Endurance, Weapon Focus (Warhammer)
Traits Deep Marker, Guardian of the Forge
Skills Climb -2, Craft (Siege Engine) +7, Intimidate -1, Knowledge (Engineering) +6, Knowledge
(History) +6, Ride -5, Survival +3, Swim -2; +2 Craft or Profession checks related to stone and metal; +2 Perception for traps and hidden doors in stone walls and floors 
Languages Dwarf, Common, Orc
SQ Darkvision
Combat gear -; Other gear masterwork warhammer, dorn dergar, heavy spiked shield, scale mail, backpack, bedroll, flint & steel, grappling hook, rations (1dag), hemp rope (30 ft), traveller's outfit, holy book Torag (Hammer and tongs: The forging of metal and other good works) bound in metal

dinsdag 5 maart 2013

Remembering Gary Gygax (1938 – 2008)

On the 4th of March 2008, the world said goodbye to one of gaming's greatest, Gary Gygax. It's been five years already since and I thought I'd share the views of some of Gary's greatest friends Tim Kask and Frank Mentzer.

When he learned that Gary has passed away, Tim wrote the following :

"My world has been lessened; my friend and one-time mentor is gone. But, unlike the overwhelming majority of us, he will not be forgotten any time soon; he touched too many lives while on this planet.
Several years ago, whilst sitting in the dark enjoying Peter Jackson’s second hobbit opus, The Two Towers, I experienced a quick flash of pride that once I had been a very small part of the cultural phenomenon that had eventually led to this image flickering on the screen before me. Before D&D, the only “fantasy” movies were Harry Harryhausen’s Aladdin and Sinbad movies. (I always regarded the monster movies like Godzilla and Rodan and the like as a separate genre; and never cared for them at all.)

“Before D&D”; that’s like saying “before steam engines” or “before internal combustion engines”, because that’s what D&D was—the driving force behind a veritable revolution in fiction, in movies, in culture and without question, in gaming. The only thing even slightly rpg-like before D&D was Diplomacy; that’s a little like saying that before Gutenberg there were woodblock cutters.

D&D started a cultural tsunami that changed the face of all it inundated leaving nothing the same in its wake.

I first met Gary pre-D&D, through Chainmail. I called him up out of the blue in late ’73 or very early 1974 to talk about medieval miniatures and rules. My call was answered by a most genial and gentlemanly fellow that was the soul of kindness and courtesy who took no offense at being called at home one evening by a stranger. In fact, I got the idea that he admired my initiative in tracking him down. There were other calls, trips to a fledgling convention called GenCon in ’74 and ’75 where we met in the flesh, and eventually I moved to Lake Geneva with my wife and daughter to go to work in his brand-new company publishing his dream.

Gary was very well read, erudite and prone to writing in a style that hearkened back a generation to when writing well was a prized art and good writers were known for their ability to “turn a phrase”. Oh, Lord, could he turn a phrase. My job was to take his writing and edit it down into something more easily digestible by readers not as skilled as he. It used to kill me sometimes; I felt at times that I had to “dumb it down” so less well read readers could understand it; kind of like “Homer for Dummies”. And I mean no slight to those early readers; they were already part of an elite reading audience that had cut their teeth on Vance, Anderson, de Camp and JRRT. They were our first market.

I think back to the times we sat in his study in those early days, smoking a good cigar and sipping some vino. Yarning about the possibilities ahead of us, I don’t believe that either of us envisioned what was ahead for D&D, RPG’s, gaming in general, the miniatures industry or any of the rest of it.

Throughout the entire rollercoaster ride that followed, I never knew the man to put on airs or to get a larger-than-life sense of himself. He remained “just Gary” and was somewhat bemused by the whole phenomenon as it developed. Look how many quotes attributed to him say that what he thought about something wasn’t that important in the cosmic scheme of things. I never knew him to be short or curt or nasty with anyone at any convention. He shunned that kind of limelight.

Gary’s nature was such that he never looked for the bad in anyone; an argument can be made that that trait was a failing and led to getting involved with some people that did not share his decent nature and later betrayed him or sold him out. Be that as it may, he was at heart a very decent and moral man throughout his life. He strove mightily to be a good father and husband. He was a great boss and collaborator, and a pleasure to edit.

Think about it: decent and honest, talented, well read, imaginative and strove to be a good father. Can any of us wish for more to said about us at our passing?

And to top it all, his imagination and creativity, his visions and work have influenced three generations of people in a positive and profound way. What more can any of us strive for? What more can any of us hope to have said about us after we are gone?

I am going to miss the quiet breakfasts we had planned for his porch at LGGC; I had to suck it up to face attending in his absence. But I will always treasure the memories that I have. I must content myself with the thought that God had need of a great storyteller and DM to run games in heaven, and Gary is there now, on a wonderful screened in porch, with a gentle breeze to waft away the cigar smoke, but not strong enough to blow his notes around, beguiling and challenging the great minds around him to step into his world and have some fun. My life is better for having known him, and I will miss him greatly."
And below Frank talks about Gary and his legacy. 

vrijdag 1 maart 2013

Ernie Gygax loses house in fire

Last month Ernie Gygax, son of Dungeons & Dragons co-creator Gary Gygax, lost his house and all his possessions in a fire.

On Facebook, the Ernie Gygax Fire Relief page was set up to coordinate a relief effort.

Through the Gygax Magazine website, you can find Auctions for Ernie, Ebay auctions to financially support Ernie. On that website you'll also find a Paypal donation button if you would like to support the relief efforts directly.  

donderdag 28 februari 2013

1977 Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set cover art found

On his blog Steve Winter mentioned that the cover art of the D&D Basic Set from 1977 had been found. The painting had been found in a WotC warehouse during a clean-out of old boxes. 
This painting by Dave Sutherland served as the cover art for the 1977 Dungeons & Dragons Basic Set. 
Oh how I would love to spend a day digging through boxes at the Wizards of the Coast headquarters/warehouse. 

For more information about the Basic Set and its different printings, visit the Acaeum.

For more information about the Basic Set and its editor J. Eric Holmes, visit the Zenopus Archives website and the Zenopus Archives blog.

zaterdag 23 februari 2013

Wizards to reprint the original D&D white box

It seems Wizards of the Coast have found a new cash cow/flow in reprinting previous edition materials. 2012 saw the reprint of 1st edition Player's Handbook, 1st edition Dungeon Master's Guide, 1st edition Monster Manual, 3.5 edition premium Player's Handbook, 3.5 edition premium Dungeon Master's Guide, 3.5 edition premium Monster Manual, and the Dungeon boardgame.

2013 started off with the release of chunks of the TSR catalogue in pdf format at Dndclassics.com. In addition to this the Wotc release schedule shows future reprints of 1st editon Unearthed Arcana, the S-series Dungeons of Dread, the 3.5 edition premium Spell Compendium, the 2nd edition premium Dungeon Master's Guide, the 2nd edition premium Player's Handbook, the 2nd edition premium Monstrous Manual, and the reprint of the A-series Against the Slavelords.

Added to all this, for release by the end of this year, is the reprint of the Original D&D white box. This reprint will feature the 3 booklets found in the original box, Men & Magic, Monsters & Treasure, and Underworld & Wilderness adventures. In addition to the original booklets, the box will also feature dice and a reprint of the four supplements Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Eldritch Wizardry, and Gods, Demi-Gods & Heroes. The whole package comes in what seems to be a fancy box with an equally fancy retail price of $150.

vrijdag 25 januari 2013

Call of Cthulhu and Shadows of Esteren win Diehard gamefan awards

Diehardgamefan.com is a website that covers all sorts of gaming from console games over boardgames to RPGs. On the website you'll find gaming news, reviews, and columns covering all aspects of the above games.

Seeing their awards makes me feel I'm collecting the right games. Or at least, that other people are just as exciting about some of these games as I am.

As you might know, I have a sizeable Call of Cthulhu collection and thus was very pleased to see that the game won several awards:

  • BEST RE-MAKE/RE-RELEASE: Cthulhu by Gaslight, third edition
  • BEST ADVENTURE (SOLO): Age of Cthulhu Vol. VI - A dream of Japan
  • SYSTEM OF THE YEAR: Call of Cthulhu

Alright, Mythic Iceland is technically not Call of Cthulhu but it's Chaosium and Pedro is a nice guy who I met at the Kraken so I don't mind plugging the book.

If you follow the blog (yeah right), you will have noticed I was pretty excited about Shadows of Esteren. I met some of the illustrators and authors at Spiel in Germany and I'm very happy to see the hard work of these superfriendly gamers is being appreciated.

  • BEST ART: Shadows of Esteren: Book 1 - Universe
  • BEST NEW GAME: Shadows of Esteren
  • BEST CORE RULEBOOK: Shadows of Esteren: Book 1 - Universe

And since I also collect Dungeon Crawl Classics, the DCC RPG won the award for BEST OLD SCHOOL RENAISSANCE TITLE. It's nice to see some love for the old school rpgs as well.

For a full report on Diehardgamefan.com's tabletop awards, just follow the link.

vrijdag 18 januari 2013

Rest in peace Lynn Willis

From the Chaosium website

"We are sad to announce the passing of Lynn Willis, a pillar of Chaosium, Call of Cthulhu, and of the roleplaying community. Lynn had been combating aging and illness for several years, and passed while in a hospital for treatment. He is survived by his partner Marcia, and a community of friends and admirers.

Lynn began in gaming as a board game designer, and entered Chaosium with Lords of the Middle Sea. He was the third employee of Chaosium, first as an editor and then as the mastermind behind the entire Call of Cthulhu line, as well as other projects, for the decades that he was with us. He loved his work and brought all his abilities to the job. He was incredibly smart, astonishingly widely read, detail oriented, and capable. He is largely responsible for the high quality, playability, and popularity of the leading horror RPG in our field.

CREDITS: Chaosium Dude since 1978; co-creator of Call of Cthulhu. Other credits include BOARD GAMES: Dragon Pass, Lords of the Middle Sea, Stomp, Reich, Raiders and Traders, Panzer Pranks, Arkham Horror. ROLEPLAYING GAMES: Basic Roleplaying, M.U. Graduate Kit, Keeper's Kit 1, 2, Engage & Destroy, Vive l'Empreur, Thieves' World, Thieves' World Companion, Worlds of Wonder, Ringworld, Ringworld Companion, King Arthur Companion 1, 2, 3, RuneQuest 1, 2, 3, etc., Apple Lane 1, 2, etc., Snakepipe Hollow 1, 2, etc., Cults of Prax 1, 2, etc., Cults of Terror, Borderlands, Pavis, The Big Rubble, Questworld, Stormbringer Companion, Demon Magic, Cities, Carse, Tulan of the Isles, Elric, Melnibone, Fate of Fools, Bronze Grimoire, Atlas of the Young Kingdoms, Seas of Fate, The Unknown East, Cthulhu Live, Call of Cthulhu 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 5.5, 6, Shadows of Yog-Sothoth, The Asylum, Cthulhu Companion, Fragments of Fear, Masks of Nyarlathotep, Alone against the Wendigo, Alone against the Dark, Cthulhu by Gaslight, Dreamlands, Spawn of Azathoth, Terror Australis, Great Old Ones, Cthulhu Now, Arkham Unveiled, At Your Door, Fatal Experiments, Blood Brothers, Blood Brothers II, Horror on the Orient Express, Cairo Guidebook, Dark Designs, Fearful Passages London Guidebook, King of Chicago, Miskatonic University, Taint of Madness, Compact Arkham Unveiled, Booke of Monstres 1 and 2, No Man's Land, Horror's Heart, Complete Masks of Nyarlathotep, Resection of Time, Secrets, Dreaming Stone, Before the Fall, Last Rites, Beyond the Mountains of Madness, M.U. Antarctic Expedition Pack, Unseen Masters, Keeper's Companion 1. FICTION: Castle of Eyes, Hastur Cycle, Singers of Strange Songs, Complete Pegana, Nightmare's Disciple, Percival, Bear of Britain, Book of Dzyan, S. Petersen's Field Guide to Cthulhu Monsters, S. Petersen's Field Guide to Creatures of the Dreamlands.

He will be missed. We trust that he is at peace. We give Marcia our thanks and blessings for her devoted love and support for Lynn, and wish her joy, happiness, and success in her future endeavors and memories of the past.

Charlie Krank, President Chaosium Inc.
Greg Stafford, Founder Chaosium Inc."

zaterdag 12 januari 2013

Frog God Games Razor Coast Kickstarter

"The Razor Coast has drawn men to madness and slaughter since the world was young. Tulita natives, born from the same fire as this jagged coast, claim the Razor existed long before the world’s other lands. It is a crucible of flame cooled by the ocean’s caress and its mountains, reefs and lightless depths teem with as many terrors as they do lustrous spoils. The Razor bucks the trappings of civilization in much the same manner the storm-tossed sea spurns the men who dare mount her. This is no place for the weak-willed. Untested souls are food for its storms, its fickle gods, its ancient spirits and the evil predations of unfathomable creatures. No less dangerous are the men who make the coast their home and whose dark desires put most horrors to shame.

Every year another colony of hopeful settlers springs up, only to be silenced by the unforgiving landscape or butchered by fearsome tribes of monsters lurking just beyond the tree line. Yet still the colonists come in their hundreds, lured to the coast’s riches: its kava, its jocas fruit and koa wood, to name but a few. All treasures worth twice their weight in gold and all ripe for the picking along the Razor. Mossy placards emblazoned with the bold names of these colonies’ founders are the only testament left to their brief, prideful existence. The last chapter of their story is now told in dust and ash.

Port Shaw is the only survivor. The town clings to the coast like the sea’s most stubborn barnacle, impossible to scrape from the Razor’s edge. At times it limps along, vexed by demons, angry gods, cannibal tribes, dread pirate armadas, and worse; but at present the city thrives as foreign vessels flock to its harbor, their holds hungry for whale oil and other treasures.

Port Shaw menaces and delights in equal extremes. Treasures and pleasures abound in this whaling boomtown, but evil and abandon take almost every soul who comes her way. This playground of pirates is ruled by the crushing fist of the Municipal Dragoons and filled with both the ancient curses of the coast’s Tulita natives and dark secrets of its own. It is an easy place to die, and a town where countless legends are born.

- From the Journals of Reiker Glassgrinder, naturalist and historian

After a failed attempt to publish Razor Coast through his former Sinister Adventures publishing company, Nick Logue of Paizo/Pathfinder fame, has now teamed up with Bill Webb of Frog God Games for the release of the long awaited Razor Coast swashbuckling campaign setting.

Razor Coast isn’t just an adventure, it’s part setting, part adventure path, and part toolkit to build your own unique campaign. It's filled with corrupt municipal Dragoons, dastardly smuggling rings, weresharks, desperate naval battles, oppressed tribes craving heroes, witches, cursed islands, legendary treasure troves, an impending apocalypse or two, demon pirates, retired assassins, undead worms, gator men, failed heroes waiting to be redeemed, dark conspiracies brewing in the oceans depths, vengeful ghosts…oh – and mutating cannibal pygmies. Who doesn’t like those?

Razor Coast will be released for both the Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry ruleset. "I think the two traits that links Swords and Wizardry and Pathfinder for me are these: First there is an adherence to the wonderful traditions of fantasy roleplaying that have defined two generations enjoyment of our hobby and second, a commonly shared sense of adventure. Anyone who has ever played in a game I’ve run knows well that rules take a back seat in my sessions unless they contribute to and enhance the spirit of adventure, daring, danger and drama that fuels our imaginations as gamers. Pathfinder and Swords and Wizardry both deliver the goods.", says Logue.

In addition to Nick Logue, a team of veteran designers is working on Razor Coast, such as Lou Agresta, Adam Daigle, Tim Hitchcock, and John Ling. As cherry on the cake, Frank Mentzer, author of the famous D&D Red Box, has agreed to write an adventure to be added in the kickstarter rewards.

Click here to support the Frog God Games Razor Coast Kickstarter.

donderdag 10 januari 2013

Adventure Seeds : The Diamond Sanctum of the Loathsome Daughter

Seeing that I've come to the conclusion that original content is what makes a blog tick, I decided to think of a few new categories which I could add to the blog.

Adventure seeds are always nice to have. You see an idea, adapt it a bit, and you're ready to go. So here's my first attempt at such an adventure seed. I'll keep it free from setting material as much as possible so it can be easily inserted into any campaign world.

The mission

The characters are sent to mercenary captain Rane Colworth to acquire the services of him and his men. Rane however, has a mission of his own that needs fulfilling. He's hunting down a half-orc warrior named Rhaga, who has been raiding villages with her band of orc followers, and during a recent raid has kidnapped Rane's 12 year old son. The mercenary company has been able to track the orcs to an abandoned diamond mine. If the party can bring back his son Taro and Rhaga's head, Rane will provide his services at a serious discount. Harren Ligger, Rane's most trusted lieutenant, will accompany the party into the mine.

The background

20 years ago, Rane's first wife Elisa was taken prisoner during an orc raid on their native village. Rane only learned of the raid months later when he returned home from a mission. A man possessed with as sole focus revenge, he spent the next sixteen years hunting down the orc tribe responsible for the raid. When he finally located the orcs, he set up a raid of his own and completely wiped out the tribe. To his amazement, his wife was still alive. To his horror however, she clutched to her breast a 15 year old half-orc girl named Rhaga, born from multiple unwanted matings with her orcish captors.

Prideful as he was, Rane could not live with the shame of his wife having born orcish offspring so he ordered them both killed. Rhaga fought valiantly to protect her mother but she couldn't hold her ground against the trained mercenaries and was forced to flee. Elisa Darfour died that day and both Rhaga and Rane vowed to not rest before the other was dead.

Over the years Rhaga changed into a powerful and fierce warrior and rose up in the ranks of her tribe. Eventually she challenged the tribe leader and killed him easily making the tribe her own. Travelling back towards Rane's native village, she assembled quite a host of orc followers. When raiding villages she does so using her mother's maiden name Darfour in the hopes of encountering Rane's mercenary company to oppose the orc invasion. Prominently displayed around her neck is a silver medallion she received from her mother. The back of the medallion reads "To my love Elisa Darfour, Rane".

Rane, hearing rumours of a Rhaga Darfour raiding villages, assembled his men immediately. His scouts have been able to track Rhaga to an abandonned diamond mine. At about the same moment, the adventuring party meets up with Rane looking to secure his services. Rane makes up the story about his son being abducted, and sends Harren Ligger along with clear orders to kill Rhaga at all cost.

Rhaga can be reasoned with but seeing Harren, one of Rane's men, among the party will make her initial reactions quite hostile.

dinsdag 1 januari 2013

Collection update and goals 2013

As per the Acaeum's essay on collection ins and outs I set up a number of collection goals for 2012.

It would be only proper to have a look at those goals and see whether I achieved them or not and to set up some collection goals for 2013.

2012 Short term goals review

The first goal was to keep my Legend of the Five Rings collection complete. This goal I would say I have achieved. I found 8 of the 9 4th edition limited edition books. The only missing so far is the one with the Dragon cover. Also the regular releases have been followed with purchases of the books of earth and air and Second City boxed set.

The second goal was to complete my Godlike collection. Another goal achieved, the GM screen and Black Devils Brigade are in my collection as well these days.

Third goal I failed. Keep my Fading Suns collection up-to-date. I still haven't found the Shards hardcover and softcover (haven't looked for them either). Other than that I decided to include the deckplan supplements into my collection as well so those I don't have either.

Fourth goal I achieved again. Keep my Delta Green collection complete. Strange authorities was added to the collection in both soft and hard cover. I also purchased the softcover of Through a glass darkly but it got waterdamage in the mail so I'll have to replace that one. This goal won't be repeated for 2013 since it basically falls under my Call of Cthulhu goals.

Fifth goal : Keep my Pagan Publishing collection up-to-date. That one is pretty easy seeing Pagan's release schedule so Bumps in the Night was added (a few times) to my collection. The Bumps in the Night Kickstarter also enabled me and a few friends to share a number of RPG sessions with Scott Glancy which is awesome ! The sessions are still ongoing so who knows, maybe they will turn into a blogpost one day.

Sixth goal : Keep my Frog God Games collection up-to-date. This one I would say I didn't quite achieve. It's largely due to some Frog God Kickstarters in which I invested some nice sums of money. This has kept me from buying all the new releases but I still increased my Frog God collection with quite some new books so this one is a work in progress.

2012 midterm goals review

Number one : Pick up easy to find Cthulhu books. Yup did that and then some. I think I added about 70 books for Call of Cthulhu alone.

The second goal for completing the Forgotten Realms, well let's say I didn't achieve that one. I did pick up a number of books, but haven't really been actively trying to complete the Realms. And I doubt if I ever will. If I would want the Realms to be complete I'd have to pick up all the RPGA Living Forgotten Realms modules which are quite hard to come by. And well, there's 'a few' novels too.

Pick up Pathfinder stuff regularly was my third midterm goal and another one achieved easily. For this one again, 70-something books were added. By the way, Paizo peeps if you're reading this, your release schedule is insane! If you collect only Pathfinder, it might be manageable but if you're like me, collecting pretty much all over the place, it's nuts.

Number four was picking up missing DCC modules. This I did although I'm nowhere near completion. Especially since the release of the DCC RPG means new books are being released for this line on a regular basis. And Goodman Games feels the need to publish limited edition versions of everything but the kitchen sink.

And the fifth and final midterm goal was to collect everything Necromancer Games. I didn't actively set out to achieve this goal but I did manage to pick up a shrink-wrapped Rappan Athuk Reloaded, limited edition boxed set of 1000 copies.

2012 lifelong goals review

Collect everything D&D/TSR. I must have failed a sanity check when I wrote that goal. But since it's a lifelong goal, I'm working on it. Slowly.

Another lifelong goal was to find rare Call of Cthulhu stuff. I would say I did a good job there. I picked up a few items of licensed Cthulhu stuff from the 80-ies. I also picked up several of the early boxed sets including the 2nd print of the 1st edition, the 2nd edition boxed set, and the Gaslight boxed set. Also I was able to play in an RPG session with Sandy Petersen, author of Call of Cthulhu, which definately has to count for something.

The last lifelong goal would be to collect everything Pagan Publishing. Maybe this one is the most achieveable of the lifelong goals. I've been working hard on this one, that's for sure. 2012 saw me adding Courting Madness to my collection, in addition to the player aid kits for Realm of Shadows and Walker in the Wastes, Killer Crosshairs and one of the prints of the Weapons Compendium. And I got my hands on a pre-publication of Unspeakable Oath number 1. So I aced this one.

I can honestly say 2012 was a great year for my collection. And for me as a Call of Cthulhu fan. I was able to play in games with Sandy Petersen and Scott Glancy. It will be hard to top that one in one year.

2013 goals

  • Short term goals
    • Keep my Legend of the Five Rings collection up-to-date: The only thing I'm missing is the 4th edition limited Dragon clan book.
    • Complete my Fading Suns collection: The deckplans are readily available. The Shards I'll have to see where to pick those up.
    • Keep my Pagan Publishing collection up-to-date: I'm unaware of Pagan's release schedule for 2013 but this one should not be so difficult.
    • Keep my Frog God Games collection up-to-date: This one will depend on how many Kickstarters Frog God is going to do. They currently have one online for Nicolas Logue's Razor Coast setting. I haven't decided yet whether I will jump in on that one. Another thing is that Frog God releases everything for both Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry so if I want this one complete I need to buy pretty much every book twice.
  • Midterm goals
    • Keep my Godlike collection complete.
    • Pick up the easy-to-find Cthulhu books I'm still missing
    • Pick up Pathfinder stuff regularly
    • Pick up missing DCC modules
    • Complete Necromancer Games collection.
  • Life long goals
    • Find the rare Call of Cthulhu stuff
    • Collect everything Pagan Publishing
    • Collect everything D&D
    • Collect everything TSR
    • Complete the Forgotten Realms and associated settings like Kara-Tur and Al-Qadim

Where I'm at

Here's I'll give a short overview of the number of RPG items per setting/game/system. Between brackets is the number at the beginning of 2012

  • Birthright: 9 books (4)
  • Call of Cthulhu: 276 books (204)
  • Dark Sun: 9 books (8)
  • D&D (including a handful of small press items): 353 books (329)
  • DCC: 73 books (59)
  • D20: 149 books (131)
  • Dragonlance: 40 books (30)
  • Dragon Magazine: 100 books (91)
  • Dungeon Magazine: 91 books (85)
  • Eberron: 21 books (16)
  • Fading Suns: 43 books (42)
  • Forgotten Realms (and associated campaign settings): 200 books (182)
  • Frog God Games: 57 books (29)
  • Godlike: 10 books (8)
  • Greyhawk: 13 books (12)
  • Hollow World: 4 books (1)
  • Iron Kingdoms: 44 books (44 includes Warmachine, Hordes, and No Quarter)
  • Judges Guild: 20 books (20)
  • Kingdoms of Kalamar: 8 books (8)
  • Lankmahr: 7 books (6)
  • Legend of the Five Rings: 115 books (99)
  • Mystara: 1 book (1)
  • Paizo: 155 books (71)
  • Planescape: 4 books (1)
  • Ravenloft: 19 books (17)
  • 7th Sea: 30 books (30)
  • Spelljammer: 13 books (9)
  • Spycraft: 19 books (19)
  • TSR Non-D&D: 32 items (6) (Boardgames, Boot Hill, Indiana Jones, Marvel Superheroes, ...)
  • Unknown Armies: 11 books (11)
  • White Wolf: 15 books (16)
  • Others: 40 books (32) (Ars Magica, Free RPG Day, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, OSRIC, Qin, ...)

This means I have passed the 2000 item milestone. To some that might sound quite insane. But there's collections out there that are waaaaayy bigger than mine. Now if only I would find a house to buy so I could start a game room to showcase my collection, now there's a goal for 2013.