Wednesday, October 30, 2013

+2 Bonus on Saves vs. Bad Type Combinations

Okay, so now that you've had a day or two to recuperate from being properly overwhelmed by Monday's post regarding all the various type styles within classifications, it's time to dig into today's post about type combining. BTW, if you have not ready Monday's post, I highly suggest you read it before continuing, or risk not knowing what the hell I'm talking about.

So Monday's post was really just in preparation for today's post, which was spurned by a response to Friday's post "Some good examples of bad type..." (which was, itself, prompted by a response to Thursday's post "A look at some old-school fonts..."), where in Keith Davies asked for advice on a sans serif typeface that I would pair Heuristica.

Instead of just recommending Archivo Black to Keith (which, BTW, I would pair with a great number of serif typefaces), I'm going to give you some general pointers on what does/doesn't work when it comes to combining typestyles, based mostly on the basic shapes of the typefaces (think Garanimals here) and tempered by personal experience.

A type superfamily has not only many variations in weight (and obliques and condensed/extended variations) but comes in BOTH serif and sans serif variations! Lucida/Lucida Sans and Museo/Museo Sans are a couple of examples. Unfortunately, almost nothing like this comes in a cheap, much less free, offering, especially one with an open license. So what makes this work? Simple. Both the serif and sans serif versions of a superfamily have the same underlying structure, so they work together. A piece of advice though... make sure to keep some weight contrast when combining serif/sans versions of a superfamily. If the weights and shapes are so similar that, at first glance, they appear very similar, ask yourself, "Why was I choosing a different version in the first place?" In the example below left, it's fairly obvious. In the example below right, not so much.

The goal is finding two fonts with enough difference that don't have the "too much the same" thing happening, but at the same time aren't so starkly different they just don't go together. For example, if I were typesetting a sci-fi ruleset, I might want something cool/funky for the headers. And while they would definitely contrast with a serif font, not just any serif font will do. So look for difference in appearance, with similarity in "spirit."

In the examples below, the contrast is strong in all four. In the top row, notice how the feeling of the Acknowledgement headers are works well with the Crimson body body (top left), but seems a "little out of whack" with the Open Sans (top right). By comparison, on the bottom row, notice how the feel of Orbitron works much better with Open Sans (bottom right) than it does with Crimson (lower left). This is not just structure at work, but theme/spirit as well. It's also proof that body copy doesn't have to be overly themed to support the feeling of a layout (see Richard's Tip #2, below".)

I know this is the part you're probably really looking for... a few equations for pairing. Please understand, these are only guidelines; they are not foolproof combinations, and that doesn't mean that other pairings don't work.
Old Style Serifs + Humanist Sans Serifs
(e.g., Crimson + Open Sans)

These pair well because they generally share an underlying structure (an "even" tone, with slight variations between thick and thin, which makes them very "warm") but still have contrast (like a brother and a sister).

Transitional Serifs + Geometric Sans Serifs
(e.g., Heuristica + TxGyreAdventor)

Transitional serifs have very strong contrast between their thicks and thins, while geometric serifs are known for their almost mechanically-even thickness (a nice contrast) while they both feel more structured as a whole than many other font classifications (the "visual glue" that makes them work well together). BTW, TxGyreAdventor is an open license version of Avant Garde, the typeface used in the first wave of D&D modules.

Modern Serifs + Geometric Sans Serifs
(e.g., Playfair Display + TxGyreAdventor)

Modern serifs have even more contrast than transitional serifs and, therefore, also pair well with geometric serifs. Because of this stark contrast, I don't think modern serifs are easy to read as body copy so I'm not even going to bother with an example for this one.

BTW, a bold/black classic grotesque sans serif (like Archivo Black) goes with almost all old style and transitional serif fonts. It can even work with modern serifs. But if you start to get too contemporary, it doesn't work. (Below left = old style; below right=transitional.)


1. Choose your header font first.
While the body copy is going to do a little something to bring visual flavor to your layout, nothing does this quicker than a great header font. In fact, you don't even really need an "overtly-themed" body copy typeface if the header font is impactful both in weight and theme/spirit.

2. Choose a body copy that compliments the header font... but is still inviting/easy to read!
Nothing irks me more than an RPG rulebook where the copy typeface is so overdone thematically that reading it is a pain in the ass! (This is one of those areas where I see the typeface Papyrus used over and over. IMO, it's bad enough that font sucks has a header font; as body copy, it's unforgivable.) Just a reminder, old style serifs are the most legible serifs, some transitionals can be tough, and unless my body copy is 14 points, I stay away from modern serif body copy altogether. (Stay tuned for a post on body copy choice & size!)

3. Make sure a body copy with good variations in weight as well as obliques/italics.
You're going to need it. I actually use three different weight levels of body copy in most of my layouts. For example, in The Ogress of Anubis, the body copy is the light weight of the font, the encounter place names are the bold weights of the font, and I use the demi-bold weight (in-between the other two) to call out monster encounters and magic items. And, of course, all spells are noted in the light italic variations.
QUESTION: Guess how many variations Papyrus comes in?
ANSWER: It doesn't matter because Papyrus sucks as body copy!

Next up in this type series... a closer look at body copy.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Digging deeper... into type.
(Or wherein I look at fonts right in their face)

In response to Friday's post "Some good examples of bad type..." (which was, itself, prompted by a response to Thursday's post "A look at some old-school fonts..."), Keith Davies asked for advice on a sans serif typeface that I would pair Heuristica. Unfortunately, I won't be directly addressing that question today (but will most likely get to it tomorrow). I realized that, to address the question effectively, I would have to make sure everybody was on a level playing field when it came to some type knowledge (which I would expect very few of you to know, unless you specifically have a background in design).

Before we dig in, I want to put serif and sans serif typefaces into some historical context. When the printing press was invented by Johannes Gutenberg in 1450, being a German, Gutenberg based his first typeface (that is, THE first typeface... EVER!) on the Gothic/Romanesque forms popular in Germany in use widely in woodcuts and manuscripts (including the fancy illuminated kind). As printing spread throughout Europe, and particularly into Italy (who were second as printers only to the Germans/Austrians), new typefaces were cast based on the old Roman forms. We're still talking right around 1500 here. It's not until the late 1700s the first sans serif font was cut, and it wasn't until the late 1800s that Roman-inspired typeforms really began to lose their serifs. So serifs pre-date sans serifs by 200-300 years.


Old Style

Old style typefaces (which date back to mid-1400s) are characterised by a diagonal stress (that is, the thinnest parts of the letters are at an angle, rather than at the tops and bottoms of the letterforms), a low line contrast (subtle, rather than pronounced, difference between thicks and thins), and a high level of readability. Additionally, the serifs are bracketed (sloping curves) and the head serifs are often angled (rather than perpindicular.) Being derifed from calligraphic forms, they are the most “humanist” of all the serif fonts, having both a “softer” and more traditional appearance than other serif forms, and provide a great legibility at small sizes (e.g., as body copy.)

Transitional (a.k.a. Baroque)

Transitional serif typefaces were the next evolution from the Old Style faces, with stroke contrast becoming more pronounced (between thick and thin) and with the serifs taking on a more tapered appearance. Additionally, the stresses on the strokes are more perpendicular than their predecessors, with the thinnest parts of the letters being at the tops and bottoms of the letters. Their balance of humanist form and high contrast tends to make them a bit austere. While they are suitable choices for body copy use, certain Transitional serif faces with a greater contrast in stroke weight can often be hard to read at smaller sizes.

Modern (a.k.a. Didone/Didot)

Modern serif typefaces are characterized mainly by the extreme contrast between their extremely thin horizontal lines and extraordinarily heavy vertical lines. Additionally, their serifs are almost “mechanical” in nature with little to no bracketing whatsoever. They are the most modern and progressive of the serif typefaces. While the stark nature of their contrasted forms can make for dramatic use at larger sizes (headlines, e.g.), it also makes them very poor choices for body copy and use at smaller point sizes.

Slab Serif (a.k.a. Egyptian)

Slab serif typefaces generally have uniform strokes (little to no contrast), a bold, rectangular appearance, and the serifs are often as thick as the vertical lines themselves, with little to no bracketing. The underlying character shapes are often similar to sans serif typefaces so are often described as “sans serif fonts with serifs.” While they are considered modern, they tend to have a vintage (specifically American West) personality. They the boldest, brashest and most masculine of the serif classifications.

Wedge (a.k.a. Glyphic)

Wedge serif fonts are marked by their wedge-shaped (e.i., “chiseled”) serifs. The junction between the serif and the stem are generally a diagonal rather than a bracket. Wedge typefaces with a more geometric or diagonal junction can often have a modern appearance, while Wedge typefaces with a softer slope to the serif can have a more traditional appearance (with the feeling of engraving or stonework.)



Grotesque typefaces were the earliest form of sans-serif designs and, therefore, bear the greatest resemblence to serif fonts in terms of their form. Generally, the rounded letters (c, e, o, p, etc.) have a gentler curve to their shape, and the strokes have a slight/minor variation in thickness between the thicker downstrokes and the thinner cross-strokes. These typefaces, originally developed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, have a more traditional appearance than other sans serif faces.

Neo-grotesque (a.k.a. Transitional or Realist)

Neo-grotesque typefaces were the next evolution in sans serif type design. While they do have a more modern appearance than their Grotesque forerunners, they also have a relatively plain appearance, being relatively straight in appearance and having less line width variation than Humanist sans serif typefaces. Because of their plain appearance, Transitional sans serifs are sometimes referred to as “anonymous” sans serifs and are most responsible for the assumption that all sans serifs are “plain” and “boring.”


Humanist sans serif typefaces are more calligraphic than other sans-serif typefaces, meaning they have a greater variety both in the variation of their stroke thickness, as well as the general form and angles of their strokes. Often, the curved letters will have a “boxier” appearance (less gradual slope) than Grotesque or Neo-grotesque typefaces. The more calligraphic form of these typefaces provides both a more contemporary appearance and a greater legibility in print (especially as body copy.)


Sans serif typefaces of this classification have a significant contrast between the thicks and thins of their strokes, and often feature tapered terminals on the open curved letterforms. Contrast fonts are among the rarest sans serif forms, and tend to be slightly more elegant or formal than most other sans serif fonts. Contrast fonts are particularly popular among fashion and cosmetics brands.


Among all the classifications, Geometric sans-serifs are the most closely based on geometric proportions (rather than the visual/aesthetic proportions of the roman letters that acted as the precursor to the earliest sans serif forms.) The width of the strokes that make up the letterforms appear even in terms of thickness, and the curved letterforms are based on perfectly circular shapes. Geometric sans serifs have the most modern appearance of all the sans serif typefaces and, depending on size and form, can be difficult to read when used as body copy.

Squared Geometric

A sub-set of the Geometric classification, Squared Geometric sans serif typefaces are distinguished by a mechanical appearance, and their curved features have been squared, which gives them a more industrial look. Like the larger Geometric classification, their strokes have an even width. While Squared Geometric typefaces are modern in appearance, this “modernity” can often appear too mechanical or “futuristic” for certain applications.

Rounded End

Another sub-set of the Geometric classification, Rounded End sans serif typefaces are distinguished by one outstanding feature, all the terminals are noticeably rounded. This has a tendency to give them a more childlike (or “less mature”) appearance.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Some good examples of bad type...

Tim Shorts made a request in regards to yesterday's typography post, asking what differences to look for between poor and professional quality fonts. Really, there are just two main issues, but I'm lumping in a third (mostly because it irks me as a type purist).

Egregious Type Transgression #1: Bad Form/Shape
Most often, this happens because some jackass with a scanner and a freeware font editor thinks he knows what he's doing. Look at the Quentin examples above. The commercial version is clean, has smooth curves, and (most importantly) has evenly spaced stroking!!! (Compare the white "inline" spaces around the outer edges.) I have no doubt that type offender of this free version below was not intending to create a "grunge" version of this typeface. But that's what you're getting if you download the freebie of this one. A great commercial version of this typeface is available for only $19.95.

Egregious Type Transgression #2: Bad Kerning Pairs
First, I want to make sure you understand the difference between tracking (a.k.a. letterspacing) and kerning. Tracking/letterspacing is the overall spacing between letters for an entire word or line of copy. Kerning, on the other hand, is the spacing between two individual letters. A good way to judge whether a word is kerned well or not (that is, the individual letter pair spacings look good or not) is to look at the spaces between letters and imagine pouring water into the space. For example, the left-hand side of a lower case a" indents a bit, it would hold "a slight bit more water," and the space should be adjusted accordingly. Two lower case l's on the other hand, would not have the same issues. In the Thalia example above, not only is the bad/freebie version guilty of Egregious Type Transgression #1, it's also a victim of bad kerning pairs. Look at the commercial example... notice how the letters are spaced to have an appearance of even spacing (even though if you mechanically measured them left-to-right from letter-bottom-to-letter-bottom they would vary slightly). Now look at the bad example on the bottom... what the hell is going on between the "a" and "l"? (And, no, I did not make it look like that; all I did was type the word in Photoshop.) Most places charge $39.95 for a good version of Thalia. I did, however, find a good commercial version of Thalia for $19.95.

Egregious Type Transgression #3: Artistic License?
I have to admit, I'm a bit of type purist and all-around type nerd. I'm also one to respect an artist's original intentions. I'm not going to go changing stuff just because I can. Let me give you an example... Claude Garamond (designer of the original Garamond typeface) spent his entire life crafting and perfecting his type. In fact, the quality of Garamond's type was so good, he is credited with the elimination of Gothic/Romanesque styles from compositors’ cases all over Europe1. So, here's a man that dedicated his entire life crafting his typeface based on historical Roman forms, but any jackleg with a computer but no typographic training can "on a whim" decide to F up a man's life work in seconds by condensing it to 50%! Messing with type on the computer is like wearing spandex... just because you can doesn't mean you should. So where am I going with this? Look at that T! Otto Eckmann crafted the type he wanted, and it didn't have that style T. Change the font if you want, but change the damn name would you!? I don't know... call it "Eck-Man" or "Eckmannn" or "Eckmon" for all I care, but don't try to pass off your uninformed decision as some other man's work! Especially if does not share the same finesse as the original. Compare the subtleties of the letterforms' curves. The commercial version (directly from Eckmann's original work) is artistic and aesthetically pleasing. The bad freebie is clunky, slightly misshapen, and most importantly, it's not Eckmann. The reason I called this transgression "artistic license?" (with a question mark) is that there is nothing artistic about this designer's license. An "officially licensed" Linotype (the 127-year-old type company) version of Eckmann Schrift is available for $29.

Quality Free Fonts
When it comes to free fonts, I generally avoid dafont (and similar sites). They are upload-driven and have no quality control whatsoever. The best resource for free fonts on the Web is Fontsquirrel. They hand-select the fonts available for the site, and have a great track record and growing collection. I suggest checking out the following fonts:
- Orotund (European, semi-Gothic, calligraphic)
- Molot (a sort of 70s/80s pulp sci-fi-ish vibe)
- Uncial Antiqua (a synthesis of Roman inscriptional capitals and Carolingian writing)
- Heuristica (great versatile serif typeface in 4 styles: regular, regular ital., bold, and bold ital.)

1. Meggs' History of Graphic Design, Philip B. Meggs and Alston W. Purvis, 5th edition, 2011.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

A look at some old-school fonts...

Let's take a step back to the late 1980s for a moment...

I was in college majoring in graphic design and, unlike today, there wasn't a Mac on every designer's desktop. In fact, I almost quit the program my Junior year because I'd been hand-lettering the type on a letterhead mockup for three hours straight, continuing to mess up and curse life because I knew if we would just get some damn computers I'd have been done in ten minutes!!! In 1987/1988 (my sophomore year), I knew that the Mac would be the wave of the future and had to take some Communications electives just to get a chance to work on the macs (I think maybe 4 hours for the entire semester). In 1989, there still weren't any Macs (or computers of any sort for that matter) in the art department. The school paper did, however, have a Mac setup (two SE's and a Macintosh II)... but the paper only had them because I (as the Art Director in cahoots with the Editor-elect) told them to get rid of the old Agfaset. Back in the old-world-ways of the art department, we were still putting copied pages from Letraset type sample books in a photo-enlarger-style Art-O-Graph projector and having to hand-letter that shit for hours at at time. Utterly ridiculous by today's standards when I think that stuff that used to take me an hour or so to hand-letter can now be accomplished in a few seconds.

Granted, the variety of fonts on the Mac at the time were rather limited. The system-standard fonts were the ones mostly named for cities (New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Geneva, et al.) Additional postscript fonts were available, but expensive and also limited. By contrast, the Letraset catalog had all these really great fonts, though many of them were sadly out-of-date for the late 80s, but still available as rub-down transfers (the heart of Letraset's offering) and were, therefore, represented in the catalog. Nowadays, we take the landfill-sized variety of fonts for granted. In the late 80s, only those of us with access to these kinds of graphics resources (e.g., architects, designers, etc.) knew what was there. That Letraset book began my love affair with type, particularly those of the funky persuasion.

My late-80s edition of the book "died" years ago from mis-use; it was spiral bound and the pages just didn't stand much of a chance. But I do have a 1981 edition that I bought several years ago as a shelf reference; it's perfect bound and, therefore, not subject to the same issues as a well-handled spiral book. What's below are pictures from that 1981 edition of some of the fonts that I've long been in love with, but that also fit in to the old-school RPG aesthetic.

Just a warning... many freebie versions of the fonts listed below are bad/clunky conversions/copies of the originals, and suffer from both compromised forms and bad kerning pairs (kerning is the space between two individual letters, and in bad type faces, these kerning pairs are largely ignored, leaving "gaps" in words when typeset).

The cover of the 1981 edition of the Letraset catalog.

Galadriel. Designed by Alan Meeks in 1975. Named (I assume) for the LoTR character. There are freebie forms of this, but a decent version is available for about $30.

Marvin.There are bad versions available of this font, but if a decent commercial is available, it's possibly got a different name.

Arnold Böcklin. This baby goes back to 1904; the Art Nouveau influence should be obvious. Corel draw came with a version named Arabia so people assumed an Easter/Oriental influence, though it's very "French." And, yes... it is the typeface White Dwarf magazine used during its early days.

Tip Top. The original version of this font was released by a German type foundry in Leipzig. Again, this is an Art Nouveau era font, but I think 60s pulp fantasy when I see this one.

Hunter. This is another one I've seen used in the past on books, but can't seem to find a digital version at all, much less a bad one.

Quentin. We should all recognize this one. However, it is a victim of poor conversions and the freebies really suck. However, a decent version is available for only $20.

Souvenir. This is the BX typeface, and the font family I've adopted as the house typeface for my Oe/BX/1e compatible stuff (Old School Adventures). Luckily, this is one of the first digital typefaces I ever owned. It's never really gone out of style, but was still pretty commonly used in the early 90s when I started building my Postscript type collection.

Futura Display. A great 60s pulp sci-fi feel. Or if you want to see uses of this one that are more general, check out this link.

Company. The problem with finding a copy of this one is the name. I guarantee that putting the word "company" in a Google search doesn't do a damn thing for finding this face.

Thalia. This is the DragonQuest typefaces. And it's probably the best example of being the most poorly converted (even worse than Quentin).

Pretorian (aka Pretoria). I've really been looking for an occasion to use this one. In fact, I want to use it so bad, I would consider naming and designing an adventure just to fit the personality of this typeface. (Hey, I'm sure we've all created adventures around far smaller kernels of an idea than that.)

Eckmann Schrift. Designed in 1900 by German Otto Eckmann to reflect Japanese calligraphy (Japanisme ran rampant during the Art Nouveau era).

Serif Gothic. This was designed by typography mastermind Herb Lubalin in 1974. The typeface Lubalin is best known for is probably Avant Garde (the typeface used by TSR on the first wave of adventure modules).

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Monster Index: Oe/1e/BX Stats for 58 Golems
Free PDF Download - Monster Index: Golems

I know Halloween is not until next week, but here's a little something to get you in the mood... a Monster Index of Golems!

So before I get into it, a note: The same day I previewed the illustration for this index, Mike Monaco blogged about Frankenstein's monster not actually being a flesh golem (at least not in the original book).

If you're relatively new to this blog, and unfamiliar with these Monster Indexes... what I attempt to do, is put together a fairly exhaustive list of monsters that have a great variety of types (like lycanthropes, or giants, or spiders, or snakes), and present the monster info in a stripped down presentation that can be easily adapted to Oe, BX, and 1e (sort of like the old Monster & Treasure Assortment books did). Sometimes, the variants come from newer editions (particularly 3e and 3.5e), but I always try to infuse any newer creatures with an old-school vibe.

So today, you have at your fingertips a resource of 58 golem types, including the requirements for creating them (spellcaster type and level, materials cost, and spell knowledge required). The other stuff is there of course (HD, Attacks/Damage, and the like).

Click here for the free MediaFire download of the PDF
Old-school Adventures™ Accessory MX5, Monster Index: Golems.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A Look Inside My Crowded Head Sketchbooks

About the time I started this blog, Borders book store was liquidating itself, and I picked up a shitload of Picadilly Essential Notebooks sketchbooks (BTW, this particular line was sold exclusively through Borders, and my horde is dwindling.)

So, here I am, about a week past the two year anniversary of this blog, and I thought I'd take a look back through my sketchbooks and share some pages. I'm always interested to see the way others work, and thought many of you might be interested in the same.

From Sketchbook I...
this is one of the pages where I was working out the gem values for the d30 DM Companion.

From Sketchbook II...
I was watching one of those Syfy or Discovery Channel specials when I statted up the Crimson Death Worm.

From Sketchbook III...
a Ziggurat I drew up, but which never went any further than a few pages of half-formed ideas. I'm sure we all have plenty of those.

From a sketchbook labeled "Illustration" that eventually just took its place as Sketchbook IV...
A drawing of a creature based on some results generated from Appendix D in Dungeon Masters Guide, "Random Generation of Creatures from the Lower Planes." I think I might have took some leeway here; I don't remember. Almost a year-and-a-half later, I'm still trying to decide whether I'm going to use it for something or not (though if I do, I already know where).

From Sketchbook V...
A monster I obviously statted up, but never did anything with. Particularly, I never sketched/illustrated it. I recall thinking it would be generally crab-like (but I guess the name "Snipper" and a "pincer" attack pretty much imply that).

From Skethbook VI...
This was the final rough version of "The Stupa of Divine Madness" from The Valley of the Five Fires. This went through several iterations before being refined into this very-close-to-final version. Some additional refinements were made when the map and encounters were committed to final form.

From Sketchbook VII...
This is the rough introduction I wrote for the Lost Catacombs of Kadmos. (BTW, I'll be starting this up in Roll20 soon, and looking to recruit some online players.)

From Sketchbook VIII (which is only about half-full so far)...
This is a chart I was trying to work up that, with the roll of 2d6s, would determine a player's character class (using BX classes). It's workable, but not flawless.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Playtesting Cubed

Over the weekend, I had a chance to do three things...

First, I had a chance to run a rough/partial playtest of the adventure from the upcoming second issue of the Dragon Horde zine. I, constructed the space to be entered from three different entries. The party found one of the two "back ways" in, and (in the process) skipped a lot of information about what was in store for them. However, on the fly, I turned a wandering monster encounter with an NPC cleric into a chance to both put the PCs on their toes and reveal a lot of backstory. Enough so, that I'm reworking the write-up to provide for this eventuality (should the DM choose to use it).

Second, I finally got to try out Roll20. I'm still learning how everything works, but even on the fly it allowed me to quickly map some areas while play was on a restroom break. And the fog of war feature is truly invaluable. It's still not as seamless for me using a dry erase marker and miniatures on a laminated grid, but I know that I'm also not using Roll20 to its full abilities yet (e.g., tracking player stats, etc.), but I'll get there pretty quickly (I figure another couple of sessions and I'll be up to full steam). This brings me to...

Finally, this was my first real opportunity to use the "beta" version of my BX DM Screen. I was afraid the text might be a tad small, but so far legibility has not been an issue.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

d30 Sandbox Final Stretch + Other Goings On/Updates

So first, an answer to the questions, "Why haven't you been posting much lately?" and "What the hell is up with the d30 Sandbox Companion?" My client workload has been the major culprit in eating/sucking my free time. But I've also been working on a lot of things in the background, without constantly posting about them or pulling snips from them to talk about.

d30 Sandbox Companion
I've finished up the drafts of the final 2 items for the book... the Wilderness Mapping Key (below) and the "How to Use this Book" section (which covers the pages in the book for the Hex Crawl Worksheet, Settlement Worksheet, and NPC Record Sheet.) That just leaves Welbo and I to finish proofing/editing. (BTW, it looks like there may 2 blank pages in the book, so I might have to develop a couple of new items to go here -- possibly other worksheets of some sort.)

Other Goings On
I have not been slacking in my blogging absence:
I have finished the writing on issue #2 of the Dragon Horde Zine. I just need to run a couple of playtest sessions for the adventure. Be on the lookout this week for a more complete update... including the possibility of offering #2 IN PRINT!!! (As well as the possibility of doing print back issues of #1.)

I've created a microgame based on my module Valley of the Five Fires. Again, just need to run a playtest or two of this internally before recruiting a few playtesters and sending them copies (counters/chits and all!) Again, stay tuned for information.

And, finally, I've started work on a "Golem Index," similar to my other Monster Indexes. Hope to have this posted next week.

Now here's a peek at the Wilderness Key from the d30 Sandbox Companion.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

New Oe/1e/BX Monster: Pukwudgie

Pukwudgies are nasty, magical creatures standing 2'-3' tall and appearing as humanoids with enlarged noses, ears and fingers. Their smooth gray skin glows during night-time hours with a brightness based on the cycle of the moon—having the radiance of a lantern during a full moon, the radiance of a candle during half-moons, and no radiance at all during a new moon.

Though pukwudgies were once friendly with humans, they now hold a deep hatred for them and are generally preoccupied with wreaking havoc upon them. In random encounters, pukwudgies will attack humans on sight (no reaction rolls necessary). In their hearts, however, pukwudgies are particularly sadistic, having a fondness for kidnapping and torture, as well as simple mayhem (e.g., burning villages, pushing people off cliffs, luring victims into their own deaths, etc.)

Pukwudgies are normally armed with short bows and arrows tipped with a poison that (on a failed saving throw vs. poison) kills in 1-6 turns. There is a 50% chance a pukwudgie will be additionally armed with a spear, and a further 50% chance the pukwudgie will be carrying a dagger.

Pukwudgies possess a variety of magical abilities. They may turn invisible at will, they are able to control undead (as potion of undead control) up to 3 times per day, and possess and use spells as a 6th-level magic-user. Furthermore, they make saving throws as a 6th-level magic-user.

Pukwudgies speak only their own language.

MOVE: 15"
% IN LAIR: 25%
Individuals: T; in lair: A, C
Saves as 6th level Magic-user
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic evil
SIZE: S (2'-3' high)
Attack/Defense Modes: Nil

HIT DICE: 6+3**
MOVE: 150'
DAMAGE: by weapon
SAVE AS: Magic-user:6
Individuals: O; in lair: A, C