…is this mini-game I made. It is on sale now right here, but I want to take this place to talk about the game and the design. I really like reading things in an interview style, or FAQ style, so that is how i am going to write this post. Read more after this huge sampling of art and layout from the book.
Today Insupposable Instruments is released on DriveThru RPG. You can nab it here. Rob tasked Nat Webb, Jerry LeNeave, Andrew Follet, and myself with writing the Demon Lord item book. The 2e book of artifacts is one of my most favorite RPG books of ever, so I jumped at the chance. In my head I was like “I got this shit” and the four of us got on some Facebook chat and basically decided it would be a free for all; we’d write all of our shit and then meet up later for high fives and milk shakes and Rob would shower us in money.
What happened is everyone met the month deadline just fine, but instead of splitting up the word count Rob asked for, each of us wrote nearly the word count independently. I originally only wrote like 5 items and danced past the word count waving my middle finger around like Mr. Bean driving through LA. Because I had never written for any kind of professional anything I was anxious to impress and I included a random, wandering merchant table. I assumed it would get cut, along with my items, and that would be out of the book but it would be a cool thing to hold on to anyways. I wouldn’t have written it otherwise. Writing the table was a lot of fun, and my items were super loquacious but lots of fun to write as well. In my head I figured everyone else on the project had writing creds, so I needed to impress them and be a hero. I assembled everyone’s stuff and sent it to Rob, who made some changes and sent it back to us. All my items had been cut. He wanted more items and a few other things like owning businesses and property. In the revised manuscript all but one of my items were gone; not because they were bad but because they were outside the scope of the project. Rob wanted something like a ledger of things, and I was writing forbidden and gnarly artifacts forged in the bowels of the earth or something. They were too complicated, too wordy. The lesson I learned here is that it is okay to ask questions about shit. Get all of your questions answered before you sit down to write; it isn’t because you don’t write good but because it doesn’t matter how well you write if you’re writing the wrong thing.
But he really liked the table of merchant situations! He asked me to expand it a few more entries, and we added a bunch more items to the book and that’s what you get today. So yeah, my main contribution to the book isn’t even items. But hey, the book is full of really cool stuff for any RPG and not just Demon Lord. It even includes some simple business/property owning rules you can stitch into your elfgame campaign. Check it out, a lot of good stuff went in and the gents who worked on it are very good looking and run very fast. And they can dunk.
I am a little jaded about Free RPG Day this years. The first reason is that my LGS didn’t participate. Another reason is because I didn’t have a baby sitter, and trying to keep a four year old calm while you pretend to be in a murderhole is really hard. The real reason is because, long story short, after the comic book day RPG event I got a hold of Free RPG Day to see if the library could get a kit. This was their response:
“Libraries don’t sell RPGs. The kits are meant as sales tools to help drive purchases through those stores that carry the products promoted in the kits.”
That is the message they sent me. I decided not to send the dickhead response I had spent an hour writing up and let it go for now. Then all of a sudden a few days before FRPGD everyone in the scene is talking about how FRPGD kind of misses the point, and I agree. I do not think Free RPG Day shouldn’t be trying to bring more sales to stores, but I think the whole thing is misguided.Continue Reading
The eye fly is commonly found in the most unkempt of places; the inn with the worst reputation, the brothel under the docks, the king’s secret and personal torture chamber hidden in the walls. If you spend at least eight hours sleeping in an exceptionally dirty location then you are likely to fall prey to an eye fly crossing the surface of your face. Roll 1d12, on a 1 you have played victim to the eye fly’s searching.
An eye fly will lay a dozen microscopic eggs in the left most canthus of your eye, where your tears rest and have the sweetest taste. In a day they will hatch into eye flay maggots. It will take them 1d6 days to eat out the surface the inner eye socket. Eye fly larvae are marked by a grey, stiff body covered in oily black hairs that will scrape and tear all it touches, causing a penalty to checks related to seeing clearly. In the middle of that infectious period the larva will chew through the nerve stem of your eye, severing the connection and letting loose your eye to roll across the floor.
On the final day of the infection the larva will have completely aged into adulthood, and fly from the socket of your eye like bats from a bell tower at twilight.
I was going to try to have this finished before today, but my workload for june is just way too damn high to work on personal projects. It is the WIP cover for an adventure that will be coming out sometime this month.
The adventure is called Haverston: The Village At The Middle Of The World and it is about a sleepy village in the middle of all worlds.
Friday, at 11:10PM CDT I will be running a portion of it for Roll20Con. I’ll be using the Sword & Backpack rules (adventure is system neutral) and as a thanks for “playtesting” everyone who plays will get a PDF copy of the adventure when i release it!
If you’re interested in playing, you can use the link here to join up:
If you’re not sure about Sword & Backpack, don’t worry! We will go through character creation and the rules and it will only take 5 minutes tops. I’m looking forward to it, suckers.
It is here, dear reader, The RPG Zine for Kids Who Read Good And Do Other Stuff. I called it PERIL though, and I painted in it spooky letters to put on top of the cover art. Yes, I used some paint to do something I could have done fine with a marker, font, or leaky octopus. But it is about the process, isn’t it? More on the process in a later paragraph. You may notice also, dear reader, that I gave it a number. 00. This is a good number to choose if you plan to do a 01, but no one will notice if you don’t. I also did not paint a spooky 00 to go on this one (but if I did, the zeros would have super evil lines crossing them diagonally so you would know they were a zero and not an o). That way if there is never a 01, no one will notice. It doesn’t lock me into doing spooky numbers all the time either, because numbers only look spooky in red and should look elegant otherwise. It has just short of enough content to get kids inspired. Some advanced S&B rules, die drop tables, monsters, a dungeon, and whatnot. It is written more like an activity book than a zine, really.
So no promise on ever having a PERIL 01, but here is PERIL 00. But before you click your grubby mouse all over this pristine new thing, I would like to tell you about how this zine almost didn’t happen. You may have to click a read more button to read this story.
tl;dr: the ballad of how This Zine That Was Supposed To Be Community Made But Almost Didn’t Happen And When It Did Happen It Broke A Printer And Is Basically Just Stuff I Grabbed Off My Own Website.
You may have read that I am doing all that RPG stuff at the library this weekend. I hacked up a kid friendly version of Sword & Backpack by Gabe Soria to fit on one single page to give out to the kids. I’ll also be running a multitude of S&B games for kids and young adults all day, using these rules. Each kid (up to like 150 kids) is going to get a booklet, and a d20! How fun is that. Hopefully we’ll get a bunch o kids into RPGs and off the hard, relentless Murfreesboro streets! You can download the PDF of the rules right here. Print it out front and back on a single page, cut the thing in half (hamburger style, you) and fold to two pieces in half. Insert the bottom half into the top half, and stab some staples up in the spine and you got yourself a tiny little RPG!
I ended up changing the rules a bit to make them a little less ambiguous and a little bit more grounded. For instance, you add 5 to your d20 rolls if it suits you. Fighters get a d20+5 when attacking, wizards +5 when magicking, and rogues +5 when theifin’ around the dungeon. Let me know what you think! It is the first time I’ve “hacked” a thing. There are some more pictures hiding beneath the read more link.
Sometimes books, like the one pictured to the right, creep quietly into the world and no one pays attention or notices or even gives a shit. But there are people out there in real life who are making some very playable arts and the people I am talking about aren’t typically people who would be recognized in the OSR scene, or even the RPG scene. The person I am talking about this time is a one Sam Bosma, who is a fantastic illustrator, and prior to last week was someone I didn’t know of or have the mental faculties with which to even comprehend. Last week, with a pure and serendipitous happenstance, I came across this little book he made. This particular book is the one you see here on the right, it is called Inventory v.1 and it is actually little- sizing up at 4.5 by 5.5 inches. It showed up in a tiny package and in all manner of tiny glory to my mail box today while I was at work.
On the cover of this lilliputian tome is an adventurer gal. She is wading into the darkness with a pack full of stuffs and it is a wonder anyone can fight holding anything, including heavy ass swords, but she is making it happen. The interior of the book is risographed onto creamy paper that mutes the art in a way that softens edges and vanquishes what would be glaring contrast. Whatever Bosma picked as the cover material is the softest paper I have ever fucking touched. It has some kind of texture on it that just works.Continue Reading
where i went wrong
Back in February I was asked if I wanted to review the upcoming OSR book “The Dreams Of Ruin” by Geoffrey Grabowski. Naturally I was instantly flattered that someone had actually been to my website and I said yes. They gave me a PDF copy of the book, and I said thanks and then that night went to the laundromat (full disclosure, a lot of the material on this website starts at the laundromat [so much that I almost called this website laundromaps.com]) and started reading this goddamned book. This goddamned book starts with a poem, and I hated it. I couldn’t make it through the poem. I showed it to my friends who play games and my friends that don’t and they all agreed it wasn’t a good poem, and that is a bummer way to start to develop a review. If you buy this book skip the poem. So that night I thumbed through the book and read excerpts and looked at the art and generally liked what little else I read at the time. But my retention of material in PDF form stops at maybe 20 pages. That is my fault, I am a fucking simpleton and I am okay with it. This isn’t a review, this is a discussion I am having with myself.