Friday, May 30, 2014

PRE-NTRPG SALE at the NBD Storefront. Get 10% off with the code NTRPG!

People asked that I run one of these sales at the beginning of the month (when they have more disposable income), and I wanted to do something to coincide with next week's North Texas RPG Con, so here you go. This weekend, get 10% off your order at the New Big Dragon Storefront (where you already save over Lulu pricing, and save even more on bundles). Just enter the code NTRPG at checkout (or the savings won't be applied). Get your order in by Monday, and I'll get it shipped before the con starts. Offer ends Monday, June 2, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.

And don't forget, once your order comes in with your email address, I'll send out links to RPGNow for complimentary PDFs for each title you order!

My deepest, sincerest thanks!

Today is the 5 month anniversary of the release of the d30 Sandbox Companion, and I am constantly humbled by it's continued success. If were to use this blog entry to thank each and every person that reviewed it, or mentioned it on their blogs or G+, this post would seem to go on forever. And I'm sure that as complete as I'd try to make that list, I'd surely forget somebody. So I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you all for its acceptance and resulting success. To those who reviewed, mentioned, bought, or simply used it... thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Prepping for NTRPG Con
& Dragon Horde Zine #2

I'm assuming that a few of you are wondering what's been going on with all the radio silence around this blog for the past couple of weeks. Long story short, I've been spending most of my time prepping for the North Texas RPG Con which starts next week. The majority of that work has been in wrapping up the 2nd issue of the Dragon Horde zine, which will premier at the con. There are just a handful of edits that need to be made, and one article that needs an overhaul. Time permitting, this should mostly be put to bed by late tonight, which allows me to get into the printing tomorrow night. The picture here is a copy of issue 1, and a test print of issue 2 (thus the "X" in the corner that tells me not to mix it up with the final issues, when printed).

So here's what's inside issue 2:
  • The Monster Roster: Linnorms - Oe/BX/1e info for 6 types
  • The Long and Short of the Viking Longhouse - includes an overview and sample map
  • Here's the Thing - an intro to using things/folkmoots in your adventures
  • The Volva: A New NPC Character Class - part seer, part shaman, all woman
  • Viffilmein - a beetle-infested adventure for characters levels 1-3
  • Dealing With Level Drain - guidelines for 10+ variants on monsters' level drain
  • The Houses of the Mark - an abundance of NPC encounters adapted from William Morris's The House of the Wolfings
  • A Trio of Norse-inspired Magic Items

The print copies of the 2nd issue will probably not be available at the New Big Dragon storefront until the con is over, and the PDF copies on RPGNow will be available the same day as the print copies. The print copies of the 1st issue will be available then as well.

Monday, May 19, 2014

KILLER weekend find!

Let me start by saying,

There seemed to be a lot going on in the DFW area this weekend... a HUGE gun show, a well-known food fest, and the biggest every Dallas Comic Con. So the vendors at the Cotton Bowl Trade Days (a flea market-y kind of event) were a little more than upset with the WEAK turnout for the weekend. My wife and I went Sunday (yesterday) after having spent Saturday Estate Sailing (sic). This beautiful piece (though it has a couple of blemishes here and there, but nothing I can't photoshop easily) cost me a sum total of $40. YES! JUST FORTY DOLLARS!

The name of the artist who signed it doesn't seem to produce any answers for me as to its origins after some Google searching. But a little digging did give me one theory on who it might be. If it's who I think it is, it was most likely done in the late 70s/early 80s as a student or portfolio piece before he embarked upon a 25-year stint as an industrial stylist/concept artist. I'm going to reach out today and see if he can confirm my theory.

Stay tuned...

UPDATE (05.19.14; 10:15 CST): Just received an email and confirmed my theory. The artist is Steve Ferrerio and it was done while he was studying at the Art Center of Pasadena in the late 70s. Ferrerio went on to become a stylist for Chrysler for 25 years, and did the exterior design for the "star car" of the TV series Viper. Ferrerio is now an independent artist in the Detroit area.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Estate Sale Finds Report: 05.17.14

Came across this big orange beauty at an estate sale yesterday. The smaller red one is from a big haul a while back. The red one is about the appropriate height for a smallish hill giant. But the new orange one, though it looks like a hill giant, is more the height of a cloud giant or storm giant.

I also picked up, at the same sale, several copies of Galaxy and Astounding Science Fiction magazines. I only bought a few copies, but the ones I bought have super cool interior artwork. I will probably share some of it later this week.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Valley of the Five Fires Microgame Update: Encounter Table

Welbo and I spent a good hour last night thinking and re-thinking the encounter table. We've been re-thinking it off-an-on for a few months now. The encounter table is critical. It drives the rhythm of the game. What works in theory (based on percentages and law-of-averages) doesn't always work in practice. There's a subtle shift that comes into play when you look at the dice combinations that will yield certain results. Theoretically, that shouldn't matter... but it does (or at least it seemed like it did). I think what was really happening was that even a few percent difference in one result coming up over an another made a huge difference on the game flow. So, after an hour, I think we landed on a table that felt like it yielded the results we wanted it to. Now we just have to get through the big hurdle of how encounters with Special NPCs play out and we should be in the home stretch toward the beta round of playtesting.

Friday, May 9, 2014

d30 Feature of the Week: d30 Blob Generator
(Jellies, Oozes, Puddings, Slimes)

When I posed the question the other day (via Google+) asking about d30 charts you'd like to see, I got a lot of good suggestions. Today's d30 download is one of those suggestions. It was a tough undertaking, and I'm still not sure I'm 100% happy with the results. It's a lot to get into a limited space, and still be roll-economical. I'm thinking that eventually this could be a 2-pager.

Click here to download a free PDF of this
d30 Blob Generator from MediaFire.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Dragon Horde Zine #2: Sneak Preview

There's still a lot to do on issue #2 of The Dragon Horde zine (e.g., a couple of rounds or proofing, some illustrations yet to be done, a couple of run-throughs on the adventure), but the pages are there. Here's a sneak-preview of what turned out to be a "Special Nordic-themed Issue."

BTW, issue #2 will be available in print (as will issue #1), and they will be exclusively available through the New Big Dragon storefront.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

d30 Charts/Tables Wish List?

In response to Friday's post about the possibility of future d30 books, Hareton mentioned wanted tables for women, law, and prospecting. Which brings up an interesting question...

What d30 charts would you like to see? And please add some details. For example, if you want to see law d30 charts, do you want to see list of laws with punishments? Or tables for resolving legal disputes and criminal cases? Also, let me know if others list things that you'd really like to see as well, or if you think they sound too campaign-specific for your regular needs.

Friday, May 2, 2014

d30 A-to-Z Update: "You should compile
your 27 entries into a single download."

In regards to my A-to-Z d30 posts this past April, the question/request keeps coming up about combining the 27 entries into a single PDF for download. I actually mentioned a couple of times (in response to posts, so I did not expect everyone to see this) that I really feel like several different kinds of material had been developed over the month: 1) encounter-related material (like monsters and NPCs), 2) location-related material (like the altar generator, the village generator, the necropolis generator, etc.), and 3) treasure-related material (like the coin generator, or the intelligent sword generator).

Many of you knew that the d30 Sandbox Companion took a very long time to be published from the time I announced it. Honestly, a good portion of time (months, in fact) went into the order of the book's contents—grouping the right things in the right order, and placing those categories in the best order possible. IIRC, the order of the book went through 4-5 major overhauls. And what Welbo and I came out with on the other end was (what we believe to be) the "ultimately usable" version of the book.

While I could "slap together" April's items into a single PDF, I do admit it would be a single convenient PDF, but I also believe it would not work the way a DM needs it to work for him/her at the gaming table. I also believe it would be terribly incomplete. For example, April saw encounter charts for forests, jungles, and swamps. But what about hills, mountains, and plains? April also saw encounter charts for dwarves, elves, goblins, hobgoblins, kobolds, and orcs. But what about bugbears, gnolls, gnomes, halflings, and lizard men? April also saw encounter charts for magic-users, paladins, and thieves. But what about bards, clerics, druids, fighters, rangers? And don't even get me started on all the various monster charts I would like to see here (something like a snake generator, to go along with the plant monster and giant generators, and troll mutations pages I've done in the past). I'm sure how you could see that, when these charts were added, it would be enough to fill it's own book (and quite possibly be even longer than the d30 Sandbox Companion)... something like a d30 Encounter Companion.

Now let's take a look at the other types of charts I've done this past month... the location- and treasure-related ones. If I had a page for every idea that I had but didn't do, I'd have two more books... a d30 Location Companion and a d30 Treasure Companion.

PLEASE UNDERSTAND THIS: right now, there is no schedule or plan to release these three additional d30 books. There are only the following thoughts: 1) any "compiled" PDF I would put together right now would be something that I felt did not live up the promise it seems to hold, and 2) I will continue to produce more and more d30 charts (at least 1 per week) from this ever-expanding list of ideas. So, in a weird way, any PDF I released would technically be outdated 1 week later. What I can offer you right now is this... a promise that I will continue to produce d30 charts that you can download into a folder on your desktop, organize however you see fit for your DM'ing needs, and know that at some point I will think they're ready to be compiled, I will most likely do that.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Free Oe/1e/BX Mini-adventure: The Hanging Garden
(for characters levels 1-3)

Now that April is officially over, and I'm not bound to the A-to-Z schedule (or commitment for that matter), I can finally get back to some non-d30-related stuff. (Don't worry, Fridays are still "d30 Download Days" 'round these parts.)

I mentioned a couple of weeks ago on Google+ that I'd finished my entry into the One Page Dungeon Contest, and that it was inspired by an Arthur Rackham illustration from Malory's Arthurian stories, showing the fallen grail knights hanging from the tree. Honestly, my goal for this year's OPDC was not to win overall, but simply to earn "most macabre" (or something similar). The adventure I designed starts off innocent enough (orcs kidnapping locals and dragging them off into the woods), but something pretty gruesome awaits our heroes. (The title of the adventure should be your clue).

What's linked below are both the one-page version that was submitted to the contest, and the "expanded" 4-page version. There aren't a ton of differences between them, but they expanded version provides some additional color/aid to the DM. For example, a certain encounter in the one-page version simply says "dozens and dozens of carnivorous plants (some ambulatory)." By comparison, the 4-page version provides a 1-page plant monster generator (converted from the d30 Plant Monster Generator I posted a couple of months back on the blog), that allows the DM to quickly create a roster of plants monsters for the encounter. If the Þrymjahellir adventure I posted back in 2012 is any indication, downloads of the the expanded version should outnumber 1-page downloads approximately 2-to-1.

* For the expanded (4-page) version of The Hanging Garden - click here
* For the official OPDC (one-page) version of The Hanging Garden - click here