Friday, September 22, 2017

Dice Roll Zine #1 in Print & PDF!

Dice Roll Zine #1 is now available in print and PDF!

Dice Roll Zine is a 36-page old-fashioned home-printed zine for OSR RPG games written by me and illustrated by some of the best OSR-influenced artists around.

Contents of the premiere issue include a barbarian class for B/X games, a different way to turn undead in B/X games, a trippy sci-fantasy adventure location called The Purple Mushroom Inn, a chaos mutation die drop table, random dungeon stuff tables, and more!

PRINT: Please look over on the right-hand column to buy safely via PayPal. On mobile devices, please scroll to the bottom to buy via PayPal. $9 USD for Canada & USA (postage included), $10.50 USD everywhere else in the world (postage included). For multiple copies, please email first for postage rates. (hogtowngamesosr AT gmail DOT com)

PDF: The PDF version of the zine is now available at Tabletop Library, DriveThru RPG, and RPGNow. $3 USD. For three measly bucks you get the zine PDF as well as a choice of covers, and all of the map files (.png format) for the issue: 7 maps!


Zine sample photos below.











Wednesday, August 23, 2017

RPG-a-Day 2017 - Catching up and Finishing Ahead of the Month!

Here is my next post, long overdue, for RPG-a-Day 2017!

All the remaining questions in one go, plus the first 5 copied in (from my first post) at the beginning for completeness. :-)

1. What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?
Toon. Because I've had some really fun and crazy games of Toon in the past and I'm feeling like I need an outlet of fun and crazy cartoon hi-jinx right now. :-)

2. What is an RPG you would like to see published?
Mine. My own, My precious... (I'd want to do it a bit differently than any of the past--or current--versions, with "dynamic" words of power spellcasting and invoked auras and legacy-building items and who-knows-what else...)

And as cheesy as it may sound, I'd like to see a really fun, quirky, and intellectually-challenging Harry Potter RPG designed for kids. I think that that kind of feel would fit well with the source material. I would probably do the design as a melange of very basic trad RPG and action/event card-board game.

3. How do you find out about new RPGs?
Word of mouth or select "social media" reviews and commentary. Typically online via G+ gaming circles and occasionally blogs I follow. I don't do Twitter-piddle, Instagroaner, or Facialbook tho.

4. Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016?
Pathfinder. Rise of the Runelords campaign. It's kind of funny because as a DM, I'm almost exclusively a grognard old-school game system fellow, but one of my buddies (who alternates as DM with me) wanted to give it a go, so we played... for a while. The crunchy nature of the ruleset combined with playing over the Roll20 platform became a bit too much fiddly and not enough fun, so we have since switched to Swords & Wizardry. :-)

5. Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?
The Moldvay-Cook Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets. Erol Otus. Can't beat them. Hands down.

Second best is probably the 1st edition Call of Cthulhu boxed set. So creepy. I love it.

6.  You can game every day for a week. Describe what you'd do!
I would run a mini-campaign with a game system I've never GMed before. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea would top the "want to run" list, although that might be a bit influenced by its AD&D roots. Although I favor OD&D- and B/X-based games these days, I still have a strong love for AD&D.

Following AS&SH on the want-to-run-but- never-have list is probably Traveller (original), White Star, Gamma World, and Crypts & Things.

7.  What was your most impactful game session?
My first session, no doubt. It was in the basement of Miltos' house (or mine, I forget that part) and Mark was the DM, and Gary, Mike, Miltos, another Mike, me, and one other person (I forget who...) were playing. It certainly wasn't the most memorable game (although I do remember Mark cackling A LOT!), but without that first Basic Dungeons & Dragons session in 1981 -- me as Merlin the magic-user (how clever!) with his hold portal spell and dagger, and dying in his first fight -- there never would have been all the others over the decades.

8.  What is a good RPG to play for sessions of 2 hours or less?
Any RPG can be played in 2 hours or less. However, if I were forced to choose which RPG works best when kept to an under two hour timeframe, I'd say Toon. (That's two for Toon on my RPG-a-Day list!)

9.  What is a good rpg to play for about 10 sessions?
See above. Anything. Except Toon, actually. 10 consecutive sessions of Toon are probably too much for any reasonably sane person.

10.  Where do you go for RPG reviews?
Reviews posted on G+
Reviews from R'lyeh
Ten Foot Pole
And, of course, recommendations made to me personally.

11.  Which dead game would you like to see reborn?
I don't grok the question. Once a game is published, it is forever. There is no "dead" game as long as people are playing it somewhere.

But that's just me being a semantic asshat. I suppose the real question is which currently unsupported game would I like to see supported again with regular supplements by a publisher?

My answer is Dune: Chronicles of the Imperium. I have yet to be able to get my hands on this limited release game from back in the day (2000?) of the final throes of Last Unicorn Games after they were acquired by Wizards of the Coast.

12.  Which RPG has the most inspiring interior artwork?
Same as answer #5. The Moldvay-Cook Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets. Erol Otus, Jeff Dee, et. al. I am still inspired to this day by the amazing artwork.

13.  Describe a game experience that changed how you play.
My Dark Sun campaign circa 1992. I ran a game with the regular group, but we all consumed various substances, both legal and illicit ... and we had an awesome session! Totally free-form, combat encounters were brutal and fun, rules were adhered to but almost meaningless, and the roleplaying was sublime. Atmosphere was great with music and player banter, but admittedly everything was a bit confusing and very tangential at times. We sorted it all out though. :-)

It taught me that my improv skills were way better than I ever realized, or imagined they could be.

14.  Which rpg do you prefer for open-ended campaign play?
I don't have a preference, but I will say that my longest campaigns have been run using the two editions of Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

15.  Which RPG do you enjoy adapting the most?
Like many folks, no doubt, I enjoy adapting every game I play. But the most? Probably Swords & Wizardry White Box. It's just so flexible and easy to modify without upsetting the apple cart, so to speak. Unless, you wanted to upset the apple cart. But you could also easily do that with White Box, if you were so inclined.

16.  Which RPG do you enjoy using as is?
Warhammer Fantasy Role-play. First edition. I have virtually no "mechanical" house rules for this game, other than extra bits and stuff added on.

17.  Which RPG have you owned the longest but not played?
Rune. A rotate the GM-type hack-n-slash RPG of viking mayhem written by Robin Laws and based off a video game of the same name. I got it as soon as it came out in 2001 but have yet to play it ... 16 years!

18.  Which RPG have you played the most in your life?
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Hands down.

19.  Which RPG features the best writing?
Two-part answer.
For rules clarity and flexibility? Moldvay-Cook Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons.
For rules clarity and flexibility plus fluffy stuff plus general reading enjoyment? Star Trek RPG (really anything from the three series lines -- TOS, TNG, & DS9) by Last Unicorn Games.

20.   What is the best source for out-of-print RPGs?
I mostly use eBay. There are no decent sources like Noble Knight to order from up here in Canada, not that I know of anyway. I sometimes just roll-the-dice at the local game stores and see what they have when I visit.

21.  Which RPG does the most with the least words?
The original Dungeons & Dragons. I mean, seriously, what can beat original D&D for the mostest with the leastest? It started all this RPG shit and spawned two entire entertainment genres -- tabletop RPGs and computer RPGs. That's a lot of most!

Risus the Anything RPG would be my second pick. :-)

22.  Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run?
Any TSR-era Dungeons & Dragons game. The rulebooks and modules are really interchangeable.

23.  Which RPG has the most jaw-dropping layout?
One of the most gorgeous books I've seen (but not yet held in my hands) is the Swedish RPG Symbaroum by J√§rnringen. The English print version is available from Modiphius here.

24.  Share a PWYW publisher who should be charging more?
There are quite a few, but I will single out James V. West's Black Pudding zine.

25.  What is the best way to thank your GM?
Showing up at their games on time and letting them know you have a lot of fun and appreciate all their hard work. Show you care by being attentive and involved while playing. It really is as simple as that.

Maybe bring them their favorite beer or beverage. Perhaps offer to cook a dish to bring to the game, if you have cooking skills. If you are the gift-giving type, giving a gift card or something you know for certain they like (i.e. game books) is a classy move.

26.  What RPG provides the most useful resources?
Basic Fantasy RPG has an awesome support and downloads page. See here.

27.    What are your essential tools for good gaming?
Good people. A table (or chat room or whatever online). Dice (or dice roller). Imagination.

Seriously. Everything else is details and gravy.

28.  What film/series is the biggest source of quotes in your group?
And now for something completely different...

Monty Python, by far. Second biggest is probably Lord of the Rings.

29.  What has been the best-run RPG kickstarter you have backed?
The Mystery at Port Greely and the 3-pack of AS&SH adventure modules (Ghost Ship of the Desert Dunes, Forgotten Fane of the Coiled Goddess, and Beneath the Comet) by Jeff Talanian of North Wind Adventures.

30.  What is an RPG genre-mashup you would most like to see?
I don't like mashups.

Unless it's the ultra-chauvinistic-fantasy-titties-n-beer/weed Sabrina the Teenage Witch-Charmed-Call of Cthulhu-Hackmaster RPG mashup I've had simmering on the back burner for years now...

31.  What do you anticipate most for gaming in 2018?
Me writing more stuff for games. :-)

And tons of better stuff being written by tons of cooler folks than me in the OSR gameverse!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

RPG-a-Day 2017 [Yes, I'm Doing This Damn Thing Too!]

RPG-a-Day 2017
Questions 1-5

I'm getting a leg up, giving it a go in 5-question chunks, since I know there's no way I have the patience to do this every day for the whole month! lol

1. What published RPG do you wish you were playing right now?
Toon. Because I've had some really fun and crazy games of Toon in the past and I'm feeling like I need an outlet of fun and crazy cartoon hi-jinx right now. :-)

2. What is an RPG you would like to see published?
Mine. My own, My precious... (I'd want to do it a bit differently than any of the past--or current--versions, with "dynamic" words of power spellcasting and invoked auras and legacy-building items and who-knows-what else...)

And as cheesy as it may sound, I'd like to see a really fun, quirky, and intellectually-challenging Harry Potter RPG designed for kids. I think that that kind of feel would fit well with the source material. I would probably do the design as a melange of very basic trad RPG and action/event card-board game.

3. How do you find out about new RPGs?
Word of mouth or select "social media" reviews and commentary. Typically online via G+ gaming circles and occasionally blogs I follow. I don't do Twitter-piddle, Instagroaner, or Facialbook tho.

4. Which RPG have you played the most since August 2016?
Pathfinder. Rise of the Runelords campaign. It's kind of funny because as a DM, I'm almost exclusively a grognard old-school game system fellow, but one of my buddies (who alternates as DM with me) wanted to give it a go, so we played... for a while. The crunchy nature of the ruleset combined with playing over the Roll20 platform became a bit too much fiddly and not enough fun, so we have since switched to Swords & Wizardry. :-)

5. Which RPG cover best captures the spirit of the game?
The Moldvay/Cook Basic/Expert Dungeons & Dragons boxed sets. Erol Otus. Can't beat them. Hands down.
Second best is probably the 1st edition Call of Cthulhu boxed set. So creepy. I love it.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday Map [15]: The Mazeverse of Nubraxas Unhinged [CC-BY-4.0]

Today's free map is The Mazeverse of Nubraxas Unhinged.

Inside timeless halls I wander
Within the deepest thoughts I dwell,
Under ancient earth I slumber
Until the Worms of Madness swell.

Into the darkest hearts I shine
The searing madness now begins,
Penumbral shades of sanity
Mazeverse of Nubraxas Unhinged.

---

This year, the maps appearing in my Friday Maps blog feature are being released for free under a royalty-free personal and commercial license. So you can take these maps, use them as is, modify them, change and abuse them as you will for your personal games, even stick them in your commercial products if you want. The only thing you have to do is credit me, +Steve C, with the original cartography (or maps, blah blah) in your product.

If you should require it, the map on this page is also released by +Steve C under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [CC-BY-4.0].

Downloads:
The "Mazeverse" hi-res .png

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Friday Map [14]: Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten [CC-BY-4.0]

Today's free map is titled Von Unaussprechlichen Kulten.

From darkened caverns and blackened halls creep the Children of the Night, worshipers of ancient Ghatanothoa. Wretched beings, they writhe forth from their hideous lairs shapeless, untouchable, unbreakable, unknowable ...

This year, the maps appearing in my Friday Maps blog feature are being released for free under a royalty-free personal and commercial license. So you can take these maps, use them as is, modify them, change and abuse them as you will for your personal games, even stick them in your commercial products if you want. The only thing you have to do is credit me, +Steve C, with the original cartography (or maps, blah blah) in your product.

If you should require it, the map on this page is also released by +Steve C under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [CC-BY-4.0].

Downloads:
The "Unaussprechlichen Kulten" hi-res .png

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Friday Map [13]: Catawombs of the Charnel Priestess Salacia [CC-BY-4.0]

Today's free map is titled Catawombs of the Charnel Priestess Salacia.

The undead horrors Salacia births into the world of the living are eternally secured in the broken minds of those corrupted souls who lustfully enter the forbidden womb-crypts in search of her glorious treasures...

This year, the maps appearing in my Friday Maps blog feature are being released for free under a royalty-free personal and commercial license. So you can take these maps, use them as is, modify them, change and abuse them as you will for your personal games, even stick them in your commercial products if you want. The only thing you have to do is credit me, +Steve C, with the original cartography (or maps, blah blah) in your product.

If you should require it, the map on this page is also released by +Steve C under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [CC-BY-4.0].

Downloads:
The "Catawombs" hi-res .png

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Friday Map [12] Darkened Shrine: Halls of Saurian Entombment [CC-BY-4.0]

Today's free map is titled Darkened Shrine: Halls of Saurian Entombment.

This year, the maps appearing in my Friday Maps blog feature are being released for free under a royalty-free personal and commercial license. So you can take these maps, use them as is, modify them, change and abuse them as you will for your personal games, even stick them in your commercial products if you want. The only thing you have to do is credit me, +Steve C, with the original cartography (or maps, blah blah) in your product.

If you should require it, the map on this page is also released by +Steve C under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [CC-BY-4.0].

Downloads:
The "Saurian Tomb" hi-res .png

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

CONTEST FOR A FREE WHITEBOX MODULE!

I'm tying in a Hogtown Games giveaway with this map. If you email me at 'hogtowngamesosr' at-that-gmail-thingy-dot-com and tell me where I stole the name for this map from, I will put you in a draw to receive a free print copy of Golden Eye of the Kobold King, my 34-page Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox module for 1st and 2nd level characters. Please put 'Map Name' in the email subject line.

On Wednesday Feb 15 at 18:00 (Eastern Standard Time), I'll randomly determine a name from those who give me a correct answer. Within a few days, I'll go to the post office and mail that person a copy, anywhere in the world. I'll send it as cheaply as I can, for obvious reasons, so don't expect it too quickly if you live overseas from Canada. :-)

Cheers!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Golden Eye of the Kobold King Updated [v1.1]

I have updated Golden Eye of the Kobold King, my first Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox release from last summer. I made some very minor text and stat updates and corrections, I added a "referee's notes" page at the back, and I added some very cheesy black & white images in a few places.

Check out the links over there on the right for all the kobold slaughtering goodness!

If you are interested in a softcover print-on-demand version, it's available at Lulu here for under $3 ($4.99 in Canada).

On RPGNow/DriveThruRPG you can get the softcover POD here or here for $2.99 USD (which includes a free PDF). If you just want the PDF, it's free.

You can also download the PDF from Tabletop Library for free here.

Cheers!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Friday Maps (11): Warrens & Tomb [CC-BY-4.0]

Well it's about damn time I posted some maps. Here ya go, two little maps for today, The Festering Warrens Full of Stinking Rat Bastards and The Tomb of Khad-Mazar II of the Nicely Marbled Stone Balls Clan.

This year, the maps appearing in my Friday Maps blog feature are being released for free under a royalty-free personal and commercial license. So you can take these maps, use them as is, modify them, change and abuse them as you will for your personal games, even stick them in your commercial products if you want. The only thing you have to do is credit me, +Steve C, with the original cartography (or maps, blah blah) in your product.

If you should require it, the maps on this page are also released by +Steve C under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License [CC-BY-4.0].

Cheers!




Downloads:
The "Warrens #1" hi-res .png
The "Tomb #1" hi-res .png

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Troupe-Style D&D Play? What Am I Even On About!

Do you use troupe-style play, or varieties of it, for your OD&D/OSR campaigns?

For definition purposes, I'm thinking of troupe-style play in one-half of the Ars Magica sense -- wizard (or magus) as prime character with supporting cast to handle certain types of adventures -- not as the rotating referee style play that some Ars Magica groups employ.

I find this is kind of how OD&D works already. You have your character and you have your retinue of henchmen and hirelings and so forth. The latter, of course, are beholden to the former. Pretty much the same as in Ars Magica -- unless my memory fails me -- excepting the obvious differences in the contexts of the two gameplay experiences.


Personally, I'm growing increasingly fond of a hybrid troupe-style mode of play in my group's OD&D games where players have a small retinue of characters to choose from for adventures, typically 3 to 4. We only ever have 1 referee for our campaigns.

In this "hybrid" version of troupe-style, all of the characters are on the same "playing field" to start at 1st level (not beholden to or employed by another character), but the frequency of participation in adventures ultimately determines their rise to prominence within the party. Typically all of the characters are linked in some way -- from the same family, friends from a village,  children of former adventuring companions, whatever works for the player and campaign setting. Each character in a player's roster also develops his or her own retinue of henchmen and hirelings and so forth, just as a regular character, at least in as much as the player desires to do so.

My home group is very small (3 people) so we're finding this mode of play helps to cover not only all kinds of tactical situations that come up in adventures, but can lead to some interesting dynamics (competitiveness, alliances, favors owed, butt of humor) within the party, and it keeps everyone's play experience varied and interesting as you never know if you're playing a fighter or wizard or cleric (or maybe all three!) in the next adventure. It also helps us deal with the relatively high mortality rates among characters in older edition D&D games. Not that it's hard to make a new character on the spot, but it's kind of nice to have one or more characters ready to go that already possess ties (even if minimal or sparsely detailed) and are at least known to the adventuring party.

So, do you use this or a different mode of troupe-style play? Do you just play multiple characters and leave it at that? How do you handle small game groups and multiple characters?