Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Secret Santicore 2014 Is Underway!


I've missed out on this in previous years, but not this year, buddy-boy! Secret Santicore 2014 is now underway, accepting requests for your deepest role-playing desires. Want a new monster? A new race? An adventure hook? A random table? Climb up on Ol' Santi's lap and let him know what you want. Then, in a twist on the classic gift exchange, YOU'LL be given a request from another requester. You fulfill a gift request by creating what that person asked for and, come December, everyone gets a newly created RPG element for the holidays! (And all of this OSR DIY open content goodness is compiled into one big ol' book for everyone!)

Move fast since you only have through September 14 to get your request in! Later that week, you'll get your own gift request to create, and you have until October 13 to get it done and submitted. Then Santicore's Paindeer take over the editing, proofing, compiling, formatting, and general hammering into shape.

So why are you still standing there? Go sign up! And don't forget: "He sees you when you're sleeping, and he knows when you're awake."

Monday, September 1, 2014

Classic D&D Walkthrough Prints Now Available For Pre-Order

I'm sure many of you have seen and enjoyed the classic D&D module walkthrough maps posted over at Wizards of the Coast. Well now pre-orders for prints of those amazing works are now being taken over at Mockman Press!

The prints cover many of the classic module maps, all drawn up in an amusing cartoon-like manner. All of the major encounters are noted, and the detail is amazing on each one. The adventures illustrated include:

The smallest of the prints looks to be around 13" x 18", whereas the largest are around 18" x 36". Print pre-orders are from $20 to $30 depending on the map and size, and you can pre-order all seven for $150. I plan on picking up Tomb of Horrors for my own gaming room, as it was the the first module I ever ran as a DM. (Yeah, my players were thrilled about that first TPK.)

Saturday, August 30, 2014

[Labyrinth Lord] Savage Menagerie: Floating Ooze

No. Enc.: 1d8
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 30' Flying: 60'
Armor Class: 6
Hit Dice: 4
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d6 + Special
Save: F2
Morale: 12
Hoard Class: None

Floating Ooze is a dungeon-dwelling slime encountered deep underground where no natural light is found. The slimy organism is pale white and about 8 to 12 inches across. The Floating Ooze also emits a foul odor that fills any area it resides in. Although repellent, the scent is not dangerous.

When first encountered, the Ooze lays motionless, appearing from a distance to be a small colony of underdeveloped Ochre Jellies (LL rulebook, page 88). However, when it senses movement in the area, Floating Oozes will inflate an internal gas-bag and launch themselves into the air. They are able to guide themselves toward the intruder accurately and, when above a victim, they will suddenly deflate and drop onto their prey.

A Floating Ooze is coated with a paralyzing secretion. If it successfully falls on a victim (treat as an attack), the victim should make a saving throw versus paralyze, or become paralyzed for 2d8 rounds. The Floating Ooze will also begin dripping a dissolving enzyme that will begin dissolving its prey's flesh for 1d6 hit points of damage each round.

Floating Oozes take normal damage from fire and lightning attacks and double-damage from cold-based attacks.

NOTE: Today's monster was created using straight rolls on The Random Esoteric Creature Generator.

Friday, August 29, 2014

November's U-Con Features An "OSR Track" Of Games, Guests, And Seminars!


This fall's convention season is shaping up to be an active one for me! My gaming schedule is in place for October's Con on the Cob in Hudson, Ohio. And now, I'm finalizing my plans for the  U-Con Gaming Convention to be held November 14 - 16 in Ypsilanti, Michigan.

This year, U-Con is launching an "OSR Track" featuring games and seminars with an old-school focus. And due to my contributions to the OSR, I've been asked to participate as a special guest! I'm pretty stoked about that.

Once again, I'll be manning the Goblinoid Games / Pacesetter Ltd booth in the Vendor's Hall with plenty of Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future games and supplements. The Pacesetter RPG line will also be available, and I'll be running one-on-one scenarios at the booth for those who want to get familiar with the Action Table System.

My gaming time will be tight, but I have two games on the schedule as part of the OSR Track: 

Mutant Future
Gimme Shelter III: Down to Earth
Friday, 8 pm--Midnight

NOW HIRING: Barter John needs six apocalyptic scavengers to investigate last month’s meteorite impact crater. Rumors of extraterrestrial infestation are to be ignored. Any retrieved Bygone artifacts will be split 60-40. Tools and transportation provided. No mants or boulderoids need apply.

Saturday: 8 pm--Midnight
Horrific axe murders recently committed in Oregon's Tillamook State Forest are identical to those committed by the legendary "Paul Bunyon Butcher" 40 years ago. However, the original killer – now elderly and feeble – remains behind bars. Has a copycat killer surfaced, or is this the work of something even more sinister?

I might try to squeeze an early-morning Thundarr game in there too, but I'm already gonna be burning the candle at both ends while I'm there, so I need to really give that some consideration. (Plus, it's the only time I have open so I can play something myself!)

Looking forward to seeing everyone this fall!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

[Review] Coin Age By Tasty Minstrel Games: The Area Control Game That Fits In Your Pocket

One of my favorite genres of boardgames is the "capture the most area and win"-type games. (Risk is my personal go-to game.) Late last year, I stumbled across a Kickstarter for a new area management boardgame, and the second I saw the video and the pitch for the concept, I tossed right in. The selling point to me was the portability. After all, how many boardgames can fit into your wallet and are played with the spare change you have in your pocket? Folks, I present "Coin Age" by Tasty Minstrel Games.
(The Coin Age coin purse shown here was a separate purchase I made and is not included with the game. But it's a keen carrying case for everything!)

Coin Age is played on a single world map about the size and shape of a credit card. If you already know the rules, you can stick the board in your wallet and -- with $1.56 in change -- you can play this game anyplace. The Coin Age Kickstarter bundle came with a bunch of additional stretch goals, but the only thing required to play is the map, the rules, and a handful of coins.
The Kickstarter ended with the two double-sided game boards (with a total of four different maps to play on); a plastic "credit card" of the original map for wallet portability (as I discussed above); some cardboard double-sided punch-out coins (not pictured here as I don't use 'em); stickers to apply to real coins if desired (which I've done here, though you can play heads/tails rather than silver/gold if desired); and the rules booklet. The game arrived the other day (though the original estimated delivery was April) and my friends and I have been getting a lot of gameplay out of it already. Waiting for our meal to arrive at a restaurant? Play a few games of Coin Age. Between frames during bowling league night? Play a few games of Coin Age.
To begin, each player gets 1 quarter, 2 nickles, 3 pennies, and 4 dimes. One plays heads, and the other is tails. (I prefer the gold/silver stickers supplied with the game as shown here.) Larger coins (in size, not denomination) are worth more points, but the smaller coins are "stronger" strategically. Smaller coins can cover/capture areas held by larger units, but they're worth less at the end. The map is divided into regions of different sizes. (On this map, there are four regions of 1, 2, 3, and 4 spaces each.) If you hold all or a majority of an area, your coins score double at the end. Game goes until all areas are covered or someone runs out of coins. The points are then totaled. And that's about it.

On your turn, you take one of each coin you have (a quarter, nickle, penny, and dime), shake them, then slam them to the table. Coins that show your side up are playable that turn. And the number of coins that are "your side up" gives you the actions you can perform. If you match all four, you can place two or pay one coin to your opponent to place three coins. If you match two or three coins, you can place two on the board. Matching one coin allows you to place that coin then move any stack on the board to a neighboring area. And finally, if none of the coins are yours, you can capture any opponents piece from the board, then move a stack on the map. So you can see, there are a lot of strategic options. On the turn shown here, gold played a nickle (3 points) and a penny (2 points) and the two "silver coins" were returned back to his pool.

On silver's turn, he turned up a nickle and a penny. He placed the nickle and, since his penny is smaller than gold's nickle, he used it to "cover" gold's nickle, taking that area away. He returns his unused coins to his pool, and the game goes on from there -- place coins, moving them, covering your opponent's coins when possible, and on.

Once the last area is covered, or someone's coins are all used, the game ends, and the points are totaled. Here, silver wins with 25 points, barely beating gold's 20 points. Scoop up the spare change and play again. A game takes about 5 minutes to play.

Coin Age was just sent out to the Kickstarter backers, though Tasty Minstrel had copies available at Gen Con, so I'm uncertain of the commercial availability at this time. (A few overpriced copies have popped up on eBay if you feel like paying triple.) But once you can get your hands on this clever little game, I suggest you grab it. You never know when you might find yourself with some downtime, a handful of change, and a conquering opponent!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

[Cryptworld] Deadly Destination: Crybaby Bridge

An eerie area for Cryptworld


A “crybaby bridge” is a general term used to describe a bridge haunted by the spirit of a baby, child, or the child’s parent(s). A baby’s cries are usually heard at the location giving the bridge its nickname, though adult screams and wails could also be experienced. The bridge is often the scene of a past crime as the original victim either accidentally fell to their fate or was violently thrown into the waters below.


The urban legends surrounding the local crybaby bridge are usually well-known by the citizens of the town, and everyone will have a personal “ghost sighting” that they’ll be willing to share. Some of the more common accounts include:

  • The crying/wailing happens only at midnight when the full moon is up. The screams go on for several minutes, then are cut off as a “splash” is heard in the waters below.
  • If baby powder is sprinkled on the bridge surface, the footprints of a child are revealed. If followed, the footprints walk up to and over the edge.
  • The ghostly spirit of a distraught parent who lost their child at the scene stands silent watch over the waters. If approached, they will disappear.
  • On the anniversary of the victim’s death, any vehicles passing over the bridge will stall out and refuse to start. Only if the vehicle is towed or pushed off the bridge will it start again.


Recently, the crybaby bridge has been the scene of a series of violent murders. Each of the killings has occurred late at night, and the bodies have been found either on the bridge or down in the waters below. Due to the rumors and legends surrounding the location, the players are brought in to investigate whether the supposed “haunting” has taken a violent turn.


  • The crybaby bridge is haunted by the ghost of a parent who lost their child on the bridge, either by accident (vehicle collision or an accident fall over the rails) or on purpose (the murder/suicide of a child/parent). Though peaceful over the years, the ghost has become enraged, and it seeks justice for their child’s death. It stops and demands answers from those who cross the bridge at night, and attacks any who cannot satisfy it.
  • The bridge is not truly haunted per se, but rather it has become the lair of a Hell Spawn. The demonic child-thing learned of the urban legend surrounding the bridge and has been using the folklore to mask its murderous games. Eyewitnesses claiming to see a “child” on the bridge only help to support the legend.
  • A demon was responsible for the initial deaths at the bridge, and now it is somehow “anchored” to the location. Every 6 years, the demon requires the blood of the innocent or it will be banished from the physical realm. It uses its Demonic Powers to lure the unwary and curious to the bridge, feeds on their lifeforce, then disposes of the body, making it look like yet another crybaby bridge suicide.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

October's Con On The Cob Features New Games Of Cryptworld and Cartoon Action Hour!

Getting my gaming schedule in place for this October's Con on the Cob, Northern Ohio's four day celebration of games, art, freaks, and fun. The Con will be held October 16-19 in Hudson, Ohio.

This year, I'll be representing Goblinoid Games / Pacesetter Ltd in the Vendor's Hall! Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future games and supplements will be well-represented, of course. And for those who want to get reacquainted with the Pacesetter RPG line -- or those who have always wanted to check it out -- stop on by and I'll run you through a quick one-on-one scenario to show you how the system works.  Cryptworld, Rotworld, Timemaster, Majus -- they'll all be on hand! (Plus lots of other games, supplements, swag, and niftiness!)

Due to my time being taken up by the Vendor's Hall, my gaming time will be somewhat limited. However, I will be running two new games written for the event. The first is a new Cryptworld adventure written specifically for the con.

Death In The Dust
Thursday: 8 pm--Midnight
In 1901, the gold-mining boomtown of Weaver, Arizona, was suddenly abandoned by its citizens after a series of unexplained disappearances, and the town was left to crumble in the desert sands. Recently, however, tourists are flocking to the former ghost town, which has been revitalized as a historical attraction. Is history about to repeat itself?

And one of my new obsessions is the new edition of Cartoon Action Hour that captures the feel of those 1980s action cartoons we used to love. (And the action figures they spawned!) I have a new "series" for the game I'm launching at Con on the Cob that I'm pretty excited by. My elevator pitch would be: "What if the kids from the D&D Animated Cartoon found themselves in the world of Ravenloft rather than the Forgotten Realms?"

Cartoon Action Hour: Season 3
Transylmania Ep. 1: “Arrival in Darkbourne”
Friday, 8 am--Noon

Six teens are transported to the haunted lands of Darkbourne, a world where monsters, ghouls, and nightmares are real! Rescued by the kindly librarian Dan Helsing, they become the Mighty Monster Fighters: chosen by fate to defeat the evil Count Vladula and his monstrous minions! If they want to get back home, the teens must bring hope back to the realm of TRANSYLMANIA! It’s 1980’s cartoon action!

Any other free time I can find, I'm gonna try to get on the other side of the table and chuck some dice. In fact, I'm arriving on Wednesday -- a day early -- specifically to play in the "unofficial" pick-up games that occur. (And maybe a few drunken games of Drinking Quest if my KS package arrives in time!) Looking forward to seeing everyone this fall!