Friday, September 15, 2017

Basic Arcana

I was pleasantly surprised to get an email today from someone who bought my first product, Basic Arcana, and had high praises for it. He also asked about the possibility of a POD version. Honestly, I hadn't ever given that much thought.

Right now, Mutants & Marvels is the only product of mine that has a POD option, I believe.  And I don't think it has sold more than a couple of copies.  So, the idea of putting more products out there with that option kind of felt like a waste.

However, since I know I can probably get at least one sale, I'm considering it for Basic Arcana.

Now, as I am wont to do, I am wondering if there are any improvements I can make to the product before doing so. Any modifications that users would find useful? Maybe some new content to fill a gap?

As always, any changes I make will be reflected in the PDF version as well. So, if you bought that, you would be able to re-download it for free with the updated content.

Hmmm, things to ponder.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Bit of a change

You may have noticed a new link to the side for DMs Guild. That should lead to everything I publish there. Right now, it's still just the Martialist, but I have a few other irons in the fire.

Also, the Martialist is now PWYW. I did that because I noticed that most of the stuff of similar bent is priced that way. And I could use a boost in sales.

As I said, I have a few other 5E irons in the fire. But I'm wondering if maybe my time would be better spent working on non-5E stuff.  Or maybe even non-D&D (and/or clones) stuff.  So, is there a game you think I should look into?  I'm always up for trying new things as I can. And I seem to invariably find something I want to change or add to any game I play.

So, throw me some ideas, if you're so inclined.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I'm back with something new!

Hello all! I’m back. Been a while since I had the gumption to blog about gaming. I’ve been wanting to, but nothing inspired me. So, while the blog sat collecting dust, I did some things.

One of those things is a new class for 5E. Basically it’s a variation of the Monk, but with a Western-inspired theme, rather than an Eastern theme. From the description:

In some settings, having Asian-themed characters doesn’t always make sense. Whether it be the distance they would have to travel to get to your pseudo-European lands, or the fact that Asian-inspired cultures don’t currently exist in your setting, there could be a number of reasons why a DM would not allow the Monk class, as presented in the PHB, in his campaign. Which, will quite often upset at least one player at any given table. 
Presented here is an alternative class to the Monk. The basic principle is the same. A class that primarily uses unarmed combat, wears little to no armor, and can channel an inner energy to help them fight more fearsome and supernatural foes. Albeit with a western flair. 
Alternatively, if the Monk is allowed in your campaign, it might be fun to allow this class as well, just to add a new element to character options.

This is the first 5E product I’ve felt remotely comfortable putting out there, really (although I had previously shared the Kensai here, which was a portion of this that got replaced). I have a few other tidbits that I am considering putting out too. Mainly new races, so far.

One thing I decided when putting this out is that I needed to adopt a new way of doing things in order to handle my anxiety about my stuff. So, I dubbed all of my products as “living playtest” versions. What that means is that when you buy something I wrote, you are essentially buying a playtest version. And when I get some feedback about how things should be changed, I will usually integrate the changes I agree with, and re-publish the product. This works great for PDF products because, as a purchaser, you can re-download the updated version for free. This has worked well for a few of my other products.

Anyways, if you’re interested in the Martialist, it’s only $1.99 at DMSGuild. As it’s a D&D 5E product, I can’t list it at RPGNow directly.

Spread the word! I need the money to go to Gamehole Con this year!

Monday, December 12, 2016

Turtle Island

Some of you may have noticed the new game image to the right.  This is the game we are currently playing.  My wife’s Dragon Age game got put on hold for various personal reasons, and one of the guys in our group has been working on Turtle Island for a long time.  So, we just decided to jump in.

Basically, it’s 14th century “North America” (as in before it was known as such).  We’re all members of the Penobscot tribe (plenty of M*A*S*H jokes to be had every time the name is mentioned), living in what is currently the state of Maine.

It’s a fun take on D&D for many reasons.  Mainly, Native Americans (or Indigenous Peoples).  That right there makes it a cool idea.  And all that goes with it makes it a very unique play setting.  Things like no armor to speak of, no “uber” spells (like Fireball or Lightning Bolt), different kinds of classes, and unique takes on existing classes.

All of this is handled well by the DM who wrote a lot of new rules and variations to cover these ideas.  I’m pushing him to put it all into a publishable format.  I think this would do gangbusters at RPGNow.

Our group is kind of large, but with a wide variety of characters and character-types.  So far we’ve fought some bears, a giant snake, a giant lobster (this is Maine, after all), and a witch.  We’re still dealing with the witch, though.  She did a number on an NPC, and we are inclined to help her, and the village in general, out of this mess.

And once again, I have pigeon-holed myself into the role of hulking warrior.  So, to counter that, I’ve decided that my excessively large Brave (Fighter), who spent time among the Bear Spirits in the Spirit Realm, is very self-conscious about his freakish size and strength.  I imagine him being like if Andre the Giant had been an Indigenous.  His name is Sitting Bear, mainly because he has taken on a lot of the mannerisms of a bear, including just sitting when he is not active.

Already had some interesting RP moments with him.  He has an affinity with bears, so he doesn’t eat bear meat, and has a preference for eating a lot of fish.  This affinity came into play when he stopped his companions from killing a mama bear who was defending her cub by imitating a bear and turning on his party to “scare them off.”  And it worked!  The mama and her cub escaped into the woods unharmed (papa bear had already been killed, which upset Sitting Bear somewhat).

He also started an odd romantic involvement of sorts with an NPC who is physically deformed, which he identifies with.  It’s a long, complicated story, but it’s fun.

Probably won’t get to play again until after the new year, but I’m looking forward to seeing where this is going.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Orcspendibles and Gamehole 4

I have begun to lay the groundwork for my “Orcspendibles” game (which may end up being the actual title of the game).  I am definitely going to use the 5e rules, and I have made a preliminary list of all of the modifications I will need to make, and the extras I will need to add.

In a nutshell, the initial playable races will be Orcs, Half-orcs, and Goblins.  I will have a short list of Backgrounds that are relevant to the setting, most of which I will have to create from scratch.  But I like doing that sort of thing, so it’ll be cool.

There will also be some other stuff I will need to create and write up, including a set of rules I have in mind for randomly generating missions.  And I will most likely put it all together as a supplement book for sale at RPGNow.  Going to attempt to do all of the artwork myself as well.  Been getting back into drawing lately, so I can probably pull that off.  Though I wouldn’t turn down any art donations…

My latest decision, though, is to include minis at the table.  For that I will dig out my old copy of Gorkamorka, and paint up a few orcs and stuff.  If I can find my old WH40K army, I’ll have some goblin figures to paint up too.  I’ll probably enlist my wife to help with the painting.

I got some renewed vigor in my motivation during Gamehole Con 4 this past weekend.  Apparently I have until roughly the end of December to submit games to Gary Con.  So, I may end up running my first Con session there in March.  But only if I have the rules written and at least one playtest with my group before the end of the year.

As to the Con itself, another homerun.  And, as always, life had a way of not allowing to me to game quite as much as I wanted.  However, I can honestly say that ALL of the gaming I did was quality stuff.  Had a good time interacting with my fellow gamers, and saw many familiar faces, as well as new ones that will probably become familiar in the years to come.

The games were all pretty fun.  I especially liked the BareBones Wuxia game.  Got to play the brawler type of character that I always love in wuxia films.  The other fun point was playing with Luke Gygax on Sunday (yes, you can all be jealous).  He’s really cool, and it was fun to hear his stories about the games his dad would run for him when he was younger.  Of course, he and I are both Army and Desert Storm vets, so there were some in-jokes shared about that.

All-in-all, another great Con.  And though Gary Con can’t get here soon enough, I am very much looking forward to Gamehole 5 already.

So, anyone find themselves at Gamehole this year?  Did I game with any of you and not know it?

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Gamehole Con Level 4

Wow.  Been a while.  Anyone miss me?  Probably not.  :)

Anyways, next weekend is Gamehole Con 4 here in Madison, WI.  I'm looking forward to strutting around with "Level 4" on my badge.  As always, the wife will be there as well, and my daughter on Saturday.

This year is kind of a weird mix of games for me.  Instead of aiming for a genre theme or anything, I specifically went for stuff I'd never played, or don't play anymore.  I think I got a good mix.  The only game I have specific experience with is AD&D on Sunday:

Friday, 10:00 AM - Shark Riders of the Purple Plain (Badlands & Barbarians)
Friday, 2:00 PM - Shotguns & Sorcery Demo
Friday, 8:00 PM - ICONS: Urban Jungle!
Saturday, 8:00 AM - BareBones Wuxia! The Willow Blades
Saturday, 2:00 PM - Into the Unknown (Castles & Crusades)
Saturday, 4:00 PM - The Sea-Wolf's Daughter (Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea)
Sunday, 10:00 AM - The Cave of Wisdom (AD&D 1E)

I also have Saturday night free after 8:00 PM, so I might try to find an open game in the gaming room, or maybe just chill out for a bit.  I don't think my wife has a game at that time either, so we may do something together.  Especially since we are not scheduled together at all for the whole weekend.

Speaking of gaming, I am entertaining the idea of running a game or two next year.  I was thinking about Gary Con in the Spring, but it's already too late to submit games for that, I hear.  So, Gamehole 5 might be my debut as a convention GM.

The first game I am considering running is an idea that I am actually developing as a novel, and the one I am going to attempt to do NaNoWriMo with this year.  Inspired by Fantasy Flight games' old 3.x setting, Dragonstar, my game would focus on a team of orc mercenaries.  The idea was sparked by a friend who suggested I combine my love of orcs with my love of The Expendibles.  Thus "The Orcspendibles" was born.

Right now I am leaning towards using a modified version of D&D 5e for the rules.  Though I might go with something else if the inspiration hits.  Basically, I want something simple and fast, and something that the majority of people will already know.

I may also run a game of Mutants & Marvels.  It's still getting a little action over at RPGNow, selling at least a couple of copies each month.

So, any of my faithful readers going to be there?

Monday, August 29, 2016


When last we left off, the party had just defeated the wight guardians in their magical chamber, and had moved into the short hallway beyond. Here they took a short rest, while the rogue investigated the double bronze doors. They were locked, with a large keyhole on this side. Beyond he periodically heard guttural voices and movement.

Having not found a key, the rogue picked the lock, and was rewarded with the a satisfying click. Preparing for whatever lay beyond, the barbarian and cleric positioned themselves at the door, ready to charge in, while the rest lined up behind them

As they shoved the doors open, the party entered a large room carved from obsidian. The floor was lined with six, large pillars, and there was an altar at the far end. Standing on the altar was the obsidian and marble likeness of an ancient god with one large eye and six splayed arms. However, none could ponder the identity of the god, as there were five bugbears and a half-ogre waiting for the party.

The barbarian got the drop and charged in, swinging wildly at the first bugbear. Then all hell broke loose as spells were casts, arrows were fired, and weapons were swung. The battle was brutal, and loud, as Shatter spells did much damage to the bugbears, as well as the statue, which lost two arms, and nearly half of its head.

With most of the bugbears down, the barbarian had the half-ogre cornered. The wizard slammed her flaming sphere into the being, causing him to finally fall to the floor. But, just as she was about finish him off with a well-placed spell, a voice boomed in their heads…

(This was read aloud to the players at this point)


Suddenly you all feel yourselves compelled to stand still, your weapons dropping to your sides, the words to spells being cast dying on your lips. In front of the cyclopean idol appears a man. He is of medium height and build, with dark, angular features, and flowing black hair. He is dressed in simple black clothing of indeterminate design. He gazes at you appraisingly, as a smirk creeps across his face. He begins to casually walk among you, hands clasped behind his back, as he speaks in a casual manner.

"So, you are the current pebbles in my boot." He stops and gazes at Graz and Colette’s holy symbols. "Impressive. I see that the All-Seeing One is doing well. And though I do not know her personally, the Wise Warrioress also seems to be well-established. Good, good." He paces about a bit more.

"When we were first brought to this world, I had thought to maybe re-invent myself. After eons of my old ways, I thought perhaps I would ‘turn over a new leaf,’ as you say. Start fresh. Entice followers, and gain divine glory. Become a force the others might respect." He pauses to chuckle to himself. "But, I suppose old habits die hard. Besides," his grin widens, "this is so much more fun!"

He grows a bit more serious. "Be that as it may, you have successfully thwarted my plans for this region. Well-played, adventurers. Well-played. Let it not be said, however, that The Sly One does not have a sense of fairness. I shall concede to you your victory here. You shall no doubt receive accolades for averting a costly little war, and saving hundreds of lives." He pauses and furrows his brow in thought for a moment. "I foresee a great future for you all…." He pauses for a moment, then smiles. "Well, most of you, at any rate. The future is always so unclear, even to us."

He stops pacing in front of the half-ogre's body. He looks down on the half-ogre, and his face grows a bit more stern.

"This one, however, is mine. You shall not harm him further." He looks at you all, and his visage softens just a bit. "He is a dumb brute, but he is useful." He pauses and smiles, as if recalling a pleasant memory. "In fact, he reminds me a bit of my dear brother." He waves his hand and the half-ogre disappears in a flash of light.

He gazes at you all again, and his amused expression slowly turns to one of annoyance.

"You know, if word gets out that I simply let you walk away without exacting some kind of ‘punishment’ on you…well, let’s just say I have a reputation to uphold. So, on that note, enjoy your walk home!"

He waves good-bye, and the world disappears in a brilliant flash of light.

The light fades to black, and your senses slowly begin to return to you. You first realize that you are laying on warm stone. Then you sense that the air is much more warm and humid than you last recall, and smells strongly of vegetation. You hear the sounds of abundant wildlife, and a breeze rustles through trees. As you slowly peel your eyes open and groggily sit up, you see that you are in an empty, square room, approximately 30 feet on each side. The walls, floor and ceiling are all made from rough cut bricks of dark, somewhat greenish stone. There are crevices between several of the stones in the walls, and from one side beams of sunlight pierce the darkness. On the side opposite the sunlight is an arch leading into a hallway. You have all of the equipment you were carrying.

Thus ends the first chapter of this arc. Where are they? How will they get home? And what perils will challenge them for their very lives? It should also be noted that the barbarian and ranger appear to be missing.