Monday, September 25, 2017

Stepping back in time

So, as many of you may know, Gamehole Con V is coming up. It was iffy about whether I was going to be able to make it this year. Money is tight, and real life crises keep popping up. I was offered a way in for free, and I was glad to have that as a backup, but I still wanted to buy my ticket and be a player all weekend. To me, that’s where the fun is.

Well, long story short, we decided that, since Gamehole and Cary Cons are basically the only “vacations” I get each year, we would prioritize them. So, when the funds were available, I bought my ticket and registered for games. Which makes me a happy gamer.

This year, I wasn’t able to get into any of the “high end” games (I really wanted a Conan and/or Star Trek game), but I did fill my days with a lot of cool stuff. Below is my schedule.



A lot of familiar games, so that’s nice. But, the one I am most excited for is the Werewolf: the Wild West game.

Back in the mid-90’s I had moved to San Diego after getting out of the Army, and started school at a local community college. While waiting for class to start one night, I was reading a Forgotten Realms novel, and a guy asked if I played [D&D]. I said I did, but I was new to the area and didn’t have any friends to play with. He invited me to join his group who were playing something similar, but not D&D.

That weekend I was introduced to some people who would become some of my best friends, and to the World of Darkness, in the form of Vampire: the Masquerade. I gave it a good try, and it was fun, but I had a hard time wrapping my brain around vampires as “heroes.” Later, I was introduced to Werewolf: the Apocalypse, and I immediately fell in love. THAT was my kind of game! Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to play it much, as our core group changed membership often. But, I still kept up with the WoD games, and pined for giving them another go for years.

Last year, I had the idea of running a Werewolf game at Gary Con, but that fell through (mainly because I’m horrible about getting things written on time). I was going to put it off and do it at Gamehole, but the same thing happened. However, my idea gave my wife the WoD bug too, and since she loves running Con games, she decided to do an old-school Vampire game. Last night, our current gaming group gathered for a break from our D&D game (mainly because a few players were unavailable), and made Vampire characters for her to use as Pregens.

I was originally planning on joining in on her Vampire game, but I discovered that during her time slot there was a Werewolf: the Wild West game with openings. I am so excited for this. Mainly because Werewolf. Plus, it’s the Wild West (which has become a new passion since I started reading a lot of westerns lately). And the premise just sounds too cool to not do:

"It is 1859. A Garou has gone rogue, and is leading a pack of Bagheera through the South, killing humans, in complete violation of the Litany. The Litany is the law, and no Garou is above the law. Your pack will have to find the renegades and bring them to justice..."

Does that sound wicked awesome or what???

Yeah, I’m excited for this Con. But, I’ve never had a “bad” experience at Gamehole, so it’s to be expected. Anyone else going? This will be my fifth.

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?