Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Submissions Open: Fate Codex

Fate Codex is open for submissions. Rate of Pay is 5 cents/word. Though admittedly my-own, "Fate-Fu" is a bit rusty... Especially in regards to creating content, I 'm thinking those better versed than I (which is just about everyone) might consider it. Judge me if you must, but I can count on one hand the times I've played Fate, which isn't conducive to the idea of writing content for Fate.

A link to the submission guidelines an in-web pitch page is: here
A link to the Patreon is: here
The drivethrurpg.com page to check out the various issues of the Codex is: here

Friday, April 21, 2017

RPG Gag Comic: Cloudy Origins

In my utter neglect of this blog, I'm posting another comic. This was the original concept I came up with for (KoDT) Parting Shots, before I ran the contest. Admittedly, it's a bit lame and Johnathan Richard's dialog was much better.

Needless to say, I've been busy. I've had a good couple of weeks. A few rejections and a few things, which might actually be accepted. I've also been doing some site maintenance, which is about as exciting to explain, as is watching paint dry. Even worse would be to ask you to read about it.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

RPG News: Aces & Eights Reloaded Live on Kickstarter

The original Aces & Eights won the Origins Award in 2007 for Best Roleplaying Game and was a four-time ENnie award nominee and Silver Award winner in 2008 for Best Game.

Don't get caught squatin' with your spurs, on! Click on the link here, or one of them pretty pictures and get on over to Kickstarter. And get, while the gettin's good.

Cowboy-isms aside. This looks pretty good. Kenzer & Co. is reliable company, known for creating high quality RPG products. The creators of the HackMaster RPG and the multi-award winning comic style magazine, Knights of the Dinner Table (KoDT).

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Making a Thing!: Part Three & General Updates

Making a Thing, continues…

Though honestly, these last two weeks zero effort has been put forth on my OSR style adventure, Trouble on the Road. Instead, the D&D Basic (1070 Black Box) has kept me a occupied and our bi-weekly game over on Fantasy Grounds continues, as we interpret the wonky-wonderful abridged version of Rifts; otherwise known as, Savage Rifts.
In the meantime, Kenzer and Company is officially launching the Kickstarter for Aces & Eights Reloaded on Thursday.

In other news, the Rifts Board Game is yet to launch. Something about the Rifts Board Game is this interesting vid (below), which I found on YouTube recently. Randomly pressing internet buttons can sometimes be fruitful. Note: the vid was posted 2009, so who knows if it will have any relevance to the "Official" Rifts Board Game.

 A bit of progress has been made on Forest Keep. My newest (and perhaps last) Map! Creation. Also interesting was what happened on Fantasy Grounds when I loaded up (though I forgot to take a screen shot) a Map! product. These maps are really huge! I'm going to spend some time before Map! Forest Keep is released and create a zip file for each product, which will aim to be more (less pixels) Fantasy Ground friendly.  


And on the Freelance side of things I’ve written two small articles outside of Kenzer & Company and pitched some writing on a third project, which I really love the premise of. When I know more I’ll be sure to toot my own horn.
Disclosure: The banner/ad below are products of my own guile and include my drivethrurpg.com affiliate identification. If you purchase something from the landing page I receive % of your purchase. Believe it or not, but Map! products are 100% made in the U.S.A. Crazy, I know!
Made in the U.S.A.!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

RPG News: Why only one crowdfunding cookie jar, when two (and four months apart) might do?

End Transmission Games (ETG) raised $8.6k with Kickstarter, for their Systems Malfunction RPG November 17, 2016. In what some are speculating as a suspicious twist, a second System’s Malfunction crowdfunding campaign recently popped (or at least, was noticed) at Indiegogo. The new Indiegogo campaign was started (approximately) four months after the original Kickstarter campaign funded. And most pointedly, is seeking to gather additional funding, before the first is fulfilled.

Luckily my crack team (which consist of me, myself and I) of button mashing internet sleuths is on the case! But before I slap myself on the back for a job half done, the real credit goes to the Kicksnarker Community over on G+. Credit where credit is due and all that… You won’t find a better community, interested in keeping each other in the know, in regards to questionable crowdfunding projects.
We don’t have access to the last Kickstarter update (backers only), but I suspect that it's asking for backers of that project to spread the word and support the one over at Indiegogo. There was an additional theory over a Kicksnarker that the Indiegogo campaign might be fraudulent (as in not being run by ETG) or run by a poser.

A quick search and we’ll put that theory to rest. First is this post over at RPG.Net

Second, is this post over at the Facebook page of the Director of Sales for End Transmissions Games.

Third and likely the most important is the language over at the Indiegogo campaign itself. While It’s a bit obscure as far as what “already funded,” implies and doesn’t link to Kickstarter, it clearly states…  
“This amazing RPG has already been funded and is in production - but we need your help to take this rulebook and its stunning art from black and white to full color.”
This is the exact line; mentioned twice.

So we have a claim. The reason for the additional funding is to make a black and white product, available in color. In my mind the problem here and why others are showing concern is legit. If you’re an associate of End Transmission Games, or you’re a company planning a future crowdsource, consider it food for thought:

First and it has to be said, is that It is bad form to start an additional and most relevant nearly identical crowd sourcing campaign before the first is concluded and delivered. You took your shot, successfully funded and instead of completing and delivering the project, you’ve chosen to divide some attention in order to run a concurrent project on another platform. In the least sense this is like getting a loan, then getting a second loan before you pay the first lender back. It could go a lot deeper than that, as to "reasons," but we'll leave it there.
Second, the original campaign funded for $8.6K in the second campaign you're asking for 3.5k or in total 12.1k to produce color. Why? The original KS goal to reach color was, "Ding!"
20K? Scroll back up and let's look at that RPG.net post again.
"It funded, but we landed well, well short of the full color stretch goal. After readjusting our expectations (read: Devon and Mikaela decided to put more of their own money into the game) we realized if we just got $3,500 more we'd have the full color book we've wanted this whole time."
Now we have a statement and can imply that either the original asking price for color was over estimated... Or you've just pumped $8K of you're own money into the project. Or we can split the difference and say you over estimated and pumped $4k into the project. I hate speculation The thing is as I look more closely at this, other things don't mesh. If you wanted to produce a color project you should have raised the bar in what you were asking for or created a tier for PDFs in color. You may be asking for color, but essentially you are creating a patch project to make the first.  It could be the problem in how you structured the art contract as well, but I am getting off point. I would like to ask...?

In what did you pump more money in exactly? And why? Especially since it seems that the money you (allegedly) put in, didn't get you the result of color books. Call me crazy but I don't put half of my money on something... then walk around outside, in the hopes that I can convince a passerby to come into the store with me, to pay for the other half. I pay money and I get something. What did you pay for? If I was a backer I would certainly ask this.

End Transmission Games might just be socially inept. It is not impossible that everything is and will be on the Up and Up. But the more I look at this the more doubt is beginning to creep in.

The Indiegogo hasn't funded a red cent, so ETG might already have an answer, forget the vanity of color and produce the game that you promised and received funding for. That is my (not that you asked) advice. There is always next time for those that produce.

This post is titled with a question: Why only one crowdfunding cookie jar, when two (and four months apart) might do?

We don't know the answer yet, but I suspect we will-

Disclosure: The banner below includes my drivethrurpg affiliate identification. I receive a token % if you purchase something from the landing page.

Zombies! - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Submissions Open: EN World RPG News & Reviews

EN World is actively seeking freelance content writers/columnists, for the RPG News & Review sections of their site/forums. The guidelines are here. Priority will be given to writers who are interested in producing two or more 400-500 word articles per month. Rate of pay is 4 cents/word.

I have a lot going on as of late, but I certainly need to put together a few pitches. I could at minimum put together some (very) short reviews.

EN World Forum Post

Submissions Open intends to be a freelancer's resource for the RPG Industry. If you're a publisher or game creator and interested in promoting a need for freelance writers or artists, drop me a line and I'll post your company data here on this blog. If you're a writer/artist looking for gigs click away

Disclosure: The banner below includes my affiliate identification. I receive a token % if you purchase something and doing so supports this humble blog-thank you.


Saturday, April 1, 2017

RPG Review: Lamentations of the Flame Princess & Death Frost Doom

Welcome to a review of Lamentations of the Flame Princess (LotFP), by James Edward Raggi IV and a brief look at the adventure supplement Death Frost Doom (DFD), revised by author Zak S. LotFP is published by, Lamentations of the Flame Princess (link to publisher page). This review concerns the PDF versions of these products, which were supplied free of cost for the purpose of this review. I purchased the slim, sleek physical copy of LotFP and Zak S. A Red & Pleasant Land, shortly after I wrote this review for KoDT.

Disclosure: This review includes affiliate links. I receive a token % if you purchase something from the landing page.
Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Player Core Book: Rules & Magic & Death Frost Doom can be purchased at Amazon, DriveThruRPG.com, and RPGNow.com in PDF. If at conclusion of this review if you prefer an actual book; you can order it direct at the LotFP store here. The company is based in Helsinki, Finland, so if you're here in the states Amazon (this is how I purchased these books) might be a better option.

When I first contacted James Raggi about reviewing LotFP, he requested, that I review the recently revised DFD adventure supplement as well. The hope being that I would be able to better understand the “feel” of LotFP, as an RPG. Or that which is beyond its own subtitle, “Weird Fantasy Role-Playing.” Besides the fact that had no reason to refuse such a generous offer, I agreed and for the most part Mr. Raggi was right.

In regards to system, LotFP doesn’t necessitate a game play dynamic or seem much different from any other Old School Renaissance (OSR) retro clone that uses an Open Game License (OGL). The Tolkien inspired setting has many of the familiar elements with its hand in the proverbial Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) cookie jar. Yet-there are defiantly features which distinguish it as a system and LotFP accomplishes something I’ve found rare among retro clones, it really does stand out. How it stands out is one focus of this review.
Fans of D&D and/or OSR works in general, will defiantly appreciate the author’s efforts. If you consider yourself in either of these categories, it’s safe to say that you should have this RPG. “Lamentations,” is worth your CASH.

Some of the features that I appreciate about LotFP are in my view, subtle improvements to D&D, but it also has to do with how “Lamentations,” applies the old school game in concept. As I’ve noted in other reviews I’m not a sage of D&D, so forgive me if I miss something vital. And while you’re doing that, also forgive my chosen format for this review-as it is more of a highlight piece of what I found most interesting-and what I found unique, rather than my typical format.

The first thing that struck my eye with LotFP is how alignment is presented and so following how magic is viewed within game context. LotFP; Alignment, PG 8:
“Alignment is a character’s orientation on a cosmic scale. It has nothing to do with a character’s allegiances, personality, morality, or actions. Alignments will mostly be used to determine how a character is affected by certain magical elements in the game. The three alignments are Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic.”

Alignment for LotFP breaks the typical handcuff of character morality. To paraphrase a later passage, morality is something that a player has to role-play in regards to character. If I had a gold piece for every time I heard a Referee (Ref), question a player: “Yeah, but does that action follow your character alignment?” I’d have a dragon’s hoard. I’ll bet most of us would.
I’ve never been in favor of how alignment has come to work in most games, or I should say, how it is applied. You may not be in favor of it, but at the very least, LotFP presents something different.

Character classes for the most part follow with the tradition of D&D, but LotFP has done a bit of hammering and a little beveling. The classic demi-human races such as the dwarf, elf, and halfling are presented as a class; with human classes being the cleric, fighter, magic-user and specialist.
The traditional thief class has been replaced with the specialist class. Specialists have a few more options available to them than the traditional thief and receive points upon character creation and at each new level, which they can spend towards nine (thief like) skills. LotFP has done away with a percentage as a base and in turn skill progression determined by character level. A specialist gets to choose how they allocate these points and all skill checks utilize a D6, with a point increasing a skill by one point out of a maximum of six.

Optional: Black Powder
The fighter class is the only class which is awarded attack bonus upon creation and as they progress levels. For the human classes this is design gold, though it leaves my beloved dwarf a bit out in the cold in regards to combat. While most of us are accustomed to the idea, “Yeah-we’ll give every class a bonus to hit and kill stuff-but the fighter will have even more…” From a design standpoint I thought this was an innovative approach to what essentially can become a number crunching dilemma. LotFP strips this away and says, “fighters, fight-and are good at it.”   
Clerics are required to be of lawful alignment, while magic-users and elves must be of chaotic alignment. Though with the understood changes, this is not such a restriction, as it is in other games; but a cosmic philosophy if you will.

Magic-user and cleric spells offer both the familiar and the not so familiar. If anything captures the essence of LotFP it is this section. One interesting choice is to make Turn Dead a spell rather than an automatic divine privilege for clerics. Magic-user and cleric spells are weighted more as tools rather than offensive firepower (which more is typical in old school games). Magic descriptions are quite good, feeling a bit fast, while anything but loose. Again some of these will be familiar, but most if not all have been tweaked (some to the weird) to a few degrees.

Let’s talk, Death Frost Doom. 

Death Frost Doom 2014

According to the PDF, the original Death Frost Doom was released by LotFP in 2009. The one I have is a 2014 revision of James Raggi’s original. Tweaked and made creepier by author Zak S. The cover art is the work of Yannick Bouchard. The black and white illustrations, cartography and interior images are the work of Jez Gordon. The art for this supplement is excellent, many of which are full page black & white illustrations and perfectly serviceable as game aids.

While I’m perfectly comfortable comparing LotFP to its origins, I hesitate to compare Death Frost Doom to any other adventure module or supplement. Certainly, it has the classic elements of a dungeon crawl, but it also offers such a dark and foreboding environment, it is more akin to a Call of Cthulhu scenario. I’ll leave it there and let’s take a brief and muddy crawl down the rabbit hole:
“There is a mountain that no-one climbs. It dominates the landscape like fear and the memories of what once lived there. But memory recedes and rumor breeds-and the rumor is a rumor of gold.”

“Someone will be the first to scale the white mountain: it will be someone who is greedy, stupid or fanatical— but also, perhaps, lucky…” (DFD: Pg. 8)
Through to a graveyard, which rests at the top of a snow and ice covered mountain, there is a cabin. Below the cabin, within the bowels of the mountain is a cursed tomb, one with unique enchantments and evil. However, it’s actually much-much worse than that.

If the player character’s survive, they will likely turn out to be the catalyst of this adventure, releasing the evil of the tomb upon the world. Death Frost Doom is not only an adventure supplement, but offers the potential of a campaign. Assuming the player characters will want put right the evils they have unwittingly rerelease upon the world. If they survive...
Traps in DFD are of the magic variety though they are very unique in their application. They might not even qualify as traps in the classical sense. They are not the typical, step here and enact a poison arrow trap. The traps require more interaction such as moving the hands on the clock creates a time warp (forward or backward in time) while playing notes on the organ creates a random effect none of which are particularly beneficial-outside of the fact of making the player characters aware that indeed this place is magically cursed.

Encounters don’t begin until near the end of the tomb delve. DFD doesn’t provide a table to roll for random encounters. And this makes sense because nothing random would inhabit such a place. The tomb itself is what is at play here, each room being an encounter unto itself; the discovery of how deep and dark the rabbit hole goes. The tomb is one hell of a creepy place. The writing is really excellent with ideas and options for the Ref to play with and consider.
(Disclosure: This review is property of Kenzer and Company, published here with permission. The writing may have been slightly tweaked from the original.)
Overall, I found Death Frost Doom refreshing and unique in its approach to the “Dungeon Crawl.” If you wouldn’t use it in full you could use many of its elements to create your own ideas-and run with them. Though it’s obviously designed with LotFP in mind, it’s serviceable towards any OSR system.
Added Post: I've read some recent commentary that DFD is known as a negadungeon. Or that the best thing the characters could do would be to ignore the place entirely. While I certainly see the point, what makes this product a true gem in my mind is the content of ideas being presented. I myself rarely run straight from the script, so when I get a product like this, what I'm really buying it for, is ideas. And which, this product has plenty of.   

Lamentations of the Flame Princess encapsulates old school, yet it doesn’t do it idly or rest on the laurels of D&D. The art is spectacular, though I would recommend it towards mature viewership; featuring old school black and white goodness as well as an inlay of color art. Did I mention the art is spectacular? The book offers a concise layout of game rules and tables. The writing is succinct and to the point.
No game I’ve reviewed yet, has done it better.