Monday, January 26, 2015

Last Few Hours For Grimtooth's Ultimate Traps Collection -- All Stretch Goals Reached!

Like most DMs worth their salt, I had a copy of Grimtooth's Traps close at hand when I designed my deathtrap dungeons. Those mechanical menaces from the trap-designing troll were always inspirational, and I picked up a few of the other Grimtooth offerings over the years as well.

Now, in one fell swoop, you can own ALL SEVEN of Grimtooth's books wrapped up into one monstrous tome. Folks, there are now less than 40 hours to pledge your support to Grimtooth's Ultimate Traps Collection!

At $130,000, the Kickstarter blew past its final stretch goal, so this has become a trap-laden cornucopia of horrors! What's in here? Take a gander at this:

  • The hardcover books (gold foil and leather bound versions only) will encompass all seven of Grimtooth's tomes: Grimtooth's Traps, Grimtooth's Traps Too, Grimtooth's Traps Fore, Grimtooth's Traps Ate, Grimtooth's Traps Lite, Grimtooth's Traps Bazaar, and Grimtooth's Dungeon of Doom! The softback books and hardback printed case contains the first five books listed. PDF only levels are also available that encompass all seven. So you can get the entire Grimtooth library in one big damn 600-page book!
  • New material such as interviews with the original writers and artists, the submission process, and new traps never before seen!
  • A color cover art gallery of all of the books as well as versions around the world!
  • An index of all of the traps in the book so you can track down that ellusive player-killer in this massive tome.
  • A Grimtooth boardgame will be tucked inside for those downtime between quests!
  • Hardbacks will include printed endsheets, a satin bookmark sewn in, and a retro dustjacket of the original book cover!
  • An art print of Grimtooth and a poster of Grimtina are in there too!
  • Fat Dragon Games is providing Mechanical Traps PDFs from their E-Z Dungeons line!
  • And finally, a new DCC RPG adventure featuring Grimtooth and his traps is being written and will be available as well! (Included in the PDF, but a print option is available for an extra $10!)

If you're a fan of the terrible troll (and who isn't?), you need to climb on board as the Kickstarter comes to a close. I'm in for the gold foil version myself, plus a little extra for the print module. And you can expect Goodman Games' usual first-rate production and fulfillment on this return of a classic series!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Want To Read Some Unproduced "Night Stalker" Scripts?

As I mentioned in foreword to Cryptworld, Darren McGavin as Carl Kolchak was a huge inspiration for me growing up. I loved “The Night Stalker” and “The Night Strangler” movies and “Kolchak: The Night Stalker” regular TV series, and I still bring out the DVDs and watch them on occasion. While doing some research this morning, I was amazed to find out there was a THIRD Carl Kolchak TV movie scripted out that was titled “The Night Killers”! Here is what Wiki says about this movie:

Entitled "The Night Killers" and set in Hawaii, the script had Tony Vincenzo hiring Kolchak to work for him. Once again Kolchak discovers a cover up—this time involving a mysterious UFO, a nuclear power plant and important people being murdered and replaced by androids. Kolchak ties all of this together believing that the aliens on the UFO landed on Earth intending to set up a colony and replacing key government figures with these androids to assist them in their secret colony.

Excited by the discovery, I went online and found the script for this unproduced movie at! So I wanted to share this with other Kolchak fans out there. Click on Carl below to be taken to the Unproduced Night Stalker Scripts page:

On this same page are the plot synopsis and rough scripts for the three unproduced episodes for Kolchak: The Night Stalker TV series too! Read further down the page for the manuscripts for the lost episodes “Eve of Terror”, “The Get of Belial”, and “The Executioners”!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mutants, Monsters, Time Travellers, And Ghosts Coming To Iowa's Gamicon Omega Next Month

In 30 days, the 2015 convention season officially starts for Your Friendly Neighborhood Sniderman! First stop of the year -- Gamicon Omega in Iowa!

Gamicon Omega will be held February 20-22 in Iowa City, IA, at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel. This year's event is the 24th for the longest-running Iowa gaming convention, featuring RPGs, card games, board games,an auction, cosplay, dealer's hall, game library, and more! Dan Proctor of Goblinoid Games / Pacesetter and fantasy artist Tyler Walpole are this year's guests of honor at the event.

Yours Truly will be co-manning the GG booth as well as running numerous games at the convention, so be sure to stop by and sign up! Here's what I have planned:

Postage Due: Timemaster
An undelivered letter in mid-1800 America has thrown the timeline into chaos. What does this single piece of correspondence contain that makes it so critical to future events? Time Corps agents will be dispatched to the point of incursion to ensure the mail goes through!

Condition Critical: Cryptworld
Dr. Howard Eastman has called a press conference at his remote research facility to announce a medical breakthrough that will “eradicate human illness and suffering forever.” But what if the cure proves to be worse than the disease? 

Weed World: Mutant Future
Within the last month, the growth of all forms of vegetation has visibly accelerated, threatening to overrun and choke off your tiny post-apocalyptic village. Does an Ancient children’s bedtime story of “The Devil’s Greenhouse” and the mutated plantlife lurking within hold the key to surviving this floral horror?

Ragnarok-A-Bye Baby: Ghostbusters
Judgment Day may be at hand!  In the center of all the chaos and destruction, one place seems untouched – The Wee Tots Nursery School. Could this be the Antichrist’s day care center? The Ghostbusters are mobilized to save the world (and perhaps change a diaper or two)!

And Dan will be running Mind Masters of Zeta Herculis for Starships and Spacemen 2E as well!

As always, I'll be live-blogging from the event so be sure to stay tuned to The Savage AfterWorld next month for daily "you are there" missives from Gamicon Omega! (And if you're nearby, stop by and toss some dice with us!)

Sunday, January 18, 2015

[Review] Classic Game Review: Mayfair's Encounters

When my brother and I were in high school and junior high, respectively, we used to play a "fantasy combat card game" for hours upon end. At some point, this game we owned was lost or trashed or given away. (Not sure what happened to it.) And, over the years, I tried to remember the name of that game in hopes of one day getting a new copy of it. A couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a random entry on Board Game Geek, and a rush of nostalgia hit me. Placed an order with Noble Knight, and I now have this cherished game back in my hands.

The 30-year-old fantasy card game from my youth is Mayfair's Encounters.

Encounters is a very simple game based on fantasy combat. Each player has a fantasy party of Heroes that the other players are trying to kill of with the Monsters in their hands. They are also trying to outfit their Heroes with better weapons and spells, while also banking treasure. At the end of the game, whoever has the most treasure banked wins.

The game is played with two decks of cards (Hero and Monsters/Magic) and a pair of dice. Each player draws seven cards at random from the Hero deck and places them into two lines of defense. The Heroes can be Elves, Dwarves, Knights, Wizards, Clerics, Men-At-Arms, and Paladins, and each has a specific Ability Score depending on their strength.

The players then draw seven cards from the Monster/Magic deck for their hand.The Monster/Magic deck contains Wizard and Cleric scrolls (usable only by the appropriate class), weapons and magic items (again, usable only by specific classes, but can also be banked as treasure), and treasure (for banking know...treasure). The remainder of the deck consists of a selection of fantasy monsters like Giants, Demons, Vampires, and -- of course -- Dragons.

 On a player's turn, he draws two cards, then plays two cards if he can. You can bank treasure (placing it aside where it cannot be lost during the game); grant treasure (giving it to your Heroes for combat bonuses, where it can be lost to a successful Monster attack); and attack an opponent (by sending a Monster to attack the player). In this picture, the defender has banked some gold, and given his Elf a bow in the rear line and his Man-At-Arms an axe in the front line. The attacker has sent a Giant to attack a Knight in the front line.

Combat is resolved by each player rolling one die for his Hero/Monster, then adding the Ability Score on the card (as well as any modifiers bestowed by granted weapons). High roll wins, with ties going to the defender. Monsters can only attack the front line unless they have the flying ability (letting them swoop down upon weaker Heroes in the rear ranks). Before combat, Wizards can cast spells (if a scroll is held); Clerics can try to turn undead; Elves can fire bows at any attacker even if they're not targeted; etc. Meanwhile, the attacker can send Dragonfire down upon the defender; have a Demon's curse placed upon the Heroes; and even summon the specter of Death himself to vanquish a particularly troublesome foe.

Once all players but one have all of their Heroes destroyed, the players add up their banked treasure. The player who had heroes remaining is given a 1,500 gp bonus. High GP value wins. My brother and I would instead play "Last Man Standing" where we'd attack each other until there was a victor. (We didn't really bank treasure when we played.) As you can see, the game is incredibly simple, but there's a bit of strategy involved as you organize your lines of defense and arm your party for the onslaught. It's a great little game -- a fun beer-and-pretzels diversion. Apparently there was a later CCG version of the game, but the original version will always have a place in my heart -- and now, a place on my game shelf.

Friday, January 16, 2015

[Cryptworld] Hansels and Gretels: A New Monster Hunting Society

Hansels and Gretels

The fairy tales and fables are true. Those legends and myths read about in picture books and presented as bedtime stories are based on true events that occurred many generations ago. Even now, a crone may be luring children into her brightly colored "candy" house where she cooks and eats them. A large wolf currently stalks the local park, attacking any women who happen to wear red. A dwarf has been spotted stealing babies from those parents unable to guess his true name. And, yes, boogeymen lurk under every bed and in every closet.

And for every storybook monster, there is a storybook hero.

Every generation, a handful of those "attuned" to these mythological monsters are born -- fewer than 20 every 100 years. These few are somehow aware of the true nature of these legendary creatures and are compelled seek them out and destroy them. In obscure texts of forgotten myths, these heroes are referred to as "Hansels and Gretels", named after the first legendary monster hunters who dispatched of a troublesome witch.

Hansels and Gretels are often unaware of their talents until after reaching puberty. At that time, they may start to take notice of clues and signs that others don't pay attention to: a shadow that moves independently; eerie howling in the distance; a footprint that couldn't possibly be made by any living thing. As they grow older, Hansels and Gretels begin to realize that monsters are real and they're everywhere. And as the only ones aware of the vil, it is up to them to act.

Just as they can sense the undercurrent of the supernatural, Hansels and Gretels are able to recognize one another as "attuned", and they often band together to draw upon each others' skills and abilities to root out and destroy these legendary monsters. One interesting side effect of this attunement: Children younger than 10 are also somewhat attuned to the nature of mythological monsters, seeing through the veneer of the banal and recognizing evil for what it is and where it lurks. However, as they age, they eventually grow out of it and are unable to "see" these monsters for what they are. Also, children are able to identify Hansels and Gretels for who they are. Children will often seek out the assistance of these monster fighters to combat the things they've seen.

"The grown-ups don't believe there's a monster watching the playground, but you know they're real," they say.

Because the monsters of fairly tales and myths are adept at keeping their true nature away from the eyes of the world, Hansels and Gretels must also keep their monster hunting activities hidden. Hansels and Gretels who are identified by the supernatural denizens often find themselves hunted by these creatures. And if a Hansel or Gretel is caught assaulting "that nice old lady who lives at the edge of town", they'll be hard-pressed to justify their actions by claiming she's a witch.

(This society is inspired by the movies The Brothers Grimm and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, and the TV show Grimm.)

Monday, January 12, 2015

[Mutant Future] Savage Menagerie: Arachnobull

No. Enc.: 1d4 (1d4)
Alignment: Neutral
Movement: 120' (40')
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 3
Attacks: 1 (bite, gore, or trample)
Damage: 1d6, 2d6, 2d8
Save: L2
Morale: 7
Hoard Class: None

Although they physically resemble spiders, Arachnobulls are actually mutated multilegged bovines. They are the size and shape of a large bull (6 to 7 feet tall at the shoulder weighing well over 1,000 pounds). However, Arachnobulls stand on six legs, each ending with a hardened "claw" (actually, they are horns, much like the ones found on their head). Archanobulls have no other mutations except for their multiple limbs, which may startle and frighten other mutants, as they may think the creature has spider-like abilities it doesn't possess.

An Arachnobull attacks in one of three ways: It can bite for 1d6 hit points of damage; gore with either the horns on its head or ones on its legs for 2d6; or trample a victim for 2d8 points of damage. The creature's true power comes from its size, weight, and unnatural speed due to it's many legs. However, Arachnobulls have the same temperament and morale as any other bovine. Herds of Arachnobulls can also be raised for food purposes, although an Archnnobull stampede is one of the most dangerous hazards to face.

Mutations: none

Thursday, January 8, 2015

So What's Going On At The Savage AfterWorld In 2015?

Hey gang! Well, I pretty much dropped off the face of the planet over the last few weeks, eh? Admittedly, from mid-December through now, I've been dealing with the holidays, a vacation, two fairly bad illnesses, and the usual real-life stuff that waylays us all from time-to-time. So now I'm picking up the pieces, sorting out where I left off, and getting back on the horse (if I can toss out a few cliches.

Anyway, for this first post of 2015, I figured I'd take inventory of all of the projects I have in the works, and share with you all a "snapshot" of what you can expect to see here at The Savage AfterWorld in the coming months.

** My planned Christmas-themed Cryptworld adventure "Maul Be Home For Christmas" is written, but it never got assembled. But the idea/concept is too good to let stagnate, so you might see it released at some point in the next few weeks, even though the holidays are over. Or I might save it for next Christmas. Or it might appear in a future issue of "Pacesettings." Speaking of which...

** Issue #1 of "Pacesettings", the zine for the Pacesetter Action Table system, is in the works. The first issue will have a historical figure for Timemaster, a couple of magical artifacts for Majus, a new adventure hook/location for Rotworld, and a mini-adventure for Cryptworld. I'm pretty excited about getting this launched, so expect it very soon.

** Also, stay tuned this year as two new supplements for the Cryptworld RPG I had a hand in writing/assembling will (fingers crossed) be released. Text for both is written, edited, and in the can. Expect an announcement about those in the near future.

** And I might just have a Timemaster adventure supplement in the works as well...

** There's also this jiffy-keen fantasy-based card game I've designed that I'm dying to try out at the gaming table. (I teased it here last year.) I have a (very) rough prototype that's been played a few times locally, and now I need to cobble together something a bit more "formal-looking" for further playtesting. I plan to bring this to a convention or two this year to test it out.

** Conventions? Yup, so far, I have plans to attend three conventions in 2015. Gamicon Omega in Iowa City, IA, in February; Nexus Game Fair in Milwaukee in June; and Ohio's Con on the Cob in October. I might try to squeeze one or two more in there, but these are the confirmed events. Be sure to track me down!

** I discovered some old notes from a LARP I used to play back in The Olde Dayes. These texts and manuscripts can be easily converted over to a host of other RPG systems. (I might do a retrospective of the IFGS too, and my experience with the live-action game system.) Thus far, I've discovered a complete adventure I wrote ("Insanityland"), as well as a fully realized religious pantheon for a cleric I played for years. I think The Temple of Divine Sight might be an interesting faith for DCC, in fact.

** Speaking of DCC RPG, I have ideas for two new adventures for Dungeon Crawl Classics. One is a zero-level funnel that places the PCs in the roles of prisoners trying to escape after being wrongfully imprisoned (a jail break!), and the other is a 3rd-level adventure where the Laws of Time have been usurped. The trick is finding time to write these up, but I'm pretty excited about the concepts.

** Here's a list of new creatures of Cryptworld soon to grace this blog: Scarionette; Drauger; Computer Virus; Bloody Bones; Succubus; Shade; Tsukumogami; The Boogeyman; and Cut-Ups.

** And finally, anyone want to take a roadtrip to The Most Haunted Place In America with me? At some point this summer, I plan a roadtrip to Helltown, Ohio. This place has "Cryptworld inspiration" written allllll over it. (Might be cool to write up an adventure placed on a real location!)

So those are the plans and projects for the coming year. Lots to write, lots to share, lots to do. Let's get started, shall we?