Saturday, December 31, 2016

A Savage AfterWorld Retrospective: Looking Back On 2016

And another year in The Savage AfterWorld comes to a close...

Every year since starting this blog, I like to close out the year by looking back at what gaming accomplishments and contributions I've made. I encourage you to do the same, as there's nothing like a bit of year-end introspection to make you appreciate what you've done and where you've been, as well as to energize you for the next year's gaming goodness. So let's take a look back and see what The Savage AfterWorld brought to the gaming community in 2016, shall we?

** Last  year with I lamented that my posts here at TSAW was a bit light -- only 117 posts for the year. This year beat that record with a paltry 47 posts. What is the cause of my fall-off of regluar posts? I guess I could chalk it up to the typical personal real-life distractions or perhaps that my Google Plus activity supplanted it. Or perhaps I just got lazy. I'll make a concerted effort to get more material placed here for your perusal in the coming year.

** In spite of the lack of posts, The Savage AfterWorld reached Post 1000 in 2016! So even though this year was a bit "shallow", there were enough posts made this year for this little piece of the blogosphere to reach a momentous milestone! Thanks to all of you who have stuck around over the years to see this blog hit that number of posts!

** The long-awaited Apes Victorious RPG was released by Goblinoid Games. I contributed a few things for this fantastic game of "astronauts stranded on a world of intelligent apes", and I'm very pleased to see how well-received this new game has been! I have a few ideas for adventures that I'd like to put together, so perhaps we'll see something in 2017.

** I've been trying to get some reviews up on the blog. I really do enjoy pointing out and discussing some games -- both new and classic -- that I've come to enjoy. Some of the stuff I've reviewed over the past year include Evenings of Terror for Chill 1e (with Elvira!); Quill: The Letter-Writing RPG;  Wayward: Adventure Board GameThe Fungus Forest; and The Advanced Mutant Companion for Mutant Future. I've got some new reviews already on the docket for 2017 including The Cthulhu Hack, Four Against Darkness, Riders: A Game About Cheating Doomsday; and Salvation Road and Last Friday board games. Look for these -- and others -- in the coming year!

** I offered up several new Cryptworld THINGs for use in your home horror games, including the Mirror Dweller, the Murdermatronic, and the Diabolic Structure. Some of these new creatures found their way into The Sketchbook of Grotesqueries -- a free-to-download compendium of new Cryptworld monsters! I used to offer this on an irregular basis, but now it's always available! Go grab it if you haven't yet!

** I entered the 200 Word RPG Challenge. My entry for Rule 1-2-3 was selected as a semi-finalist by one of the judges! I didn't make the cut to the final round, but it was a fun experiment and rewarding that my entry was chosen. Think YOU can write an RPG in 200 words? Try your hand at it next year!

** I'm still getting out to as many gaming events as I can attend over the year, and 2016 saw me get to two conventions. In June, I was able to return to North Texas RPG Con where the classic gaming folks meet to game and drink and game! This year, I decided to run only gonzo funny games, so I ran Ghostbusters and TOON for two crowded tables. Then, in October, the pendulum swung to the horrific end of the spectrum as I drove out to North Carolina for AVL Scarefest -- a convention that focuses on horror-related gaming! I introduced those folks to Cryptworld, which was VERY well received. Enjoyed it so much, I have plans to return in 2017!

** I've had some success with my Classic RPG Map cloth pattern I've had for sale on Spoonflower for a while. (Folks typically use this for dice bags and such.) Late this year, I decided to use this pattern (of my own design) to create a coffee mug for myself through Zazzle. Turned out so nice, I offered it up for sale on a new storefront. Then I created a tie using that pattern. And a T-shirt. And a notebook binder for gaming materials. And some wrapping paper for those OSR RPG gaming gifts you're givin'. And color me stunned, but these all seem to be a big hit! So thanks to everyone who's picked up one of these items!

So that's a wrap for 2016. As we head into 2017, I wish all of you the best in the coming year! See you at the gaming tables!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

[Cryptworld] New Thing: Diabolic Structure

A possessed property for Cryptworld


STR: NA --- WPR: 5 (75)
AGL: NA --- PCN: 6 (90)
STA: NA --- PWR: 140
ATT: 1/* --- WND: Special

Experience: 1,000

Once of the largest -- and deadliest -- supernatural threats ever encountered, a Diabolic Structure is often mistaken for a typical abandoned haunted house. But the truth is that the structure isn't haunted; rather it is a living, breathing, shape-shifting creature that preys and feeds upon those unlucky enough to find themselves within its walls.

A Diabolic Structure does not spontaneously "appear". Rather, a pre-existing structure is possessed by demonic forces and animated as the demon's new host body (see Demon, CRYPTWORLD rulebook, pg. 57). For a demon to create a Diabolical Structure, some great evil act must occur on the premises (typically several murders). Once the property has the demon's attention, the process of possessing of the house takes several decades to accomplish. Any residents are driven away via unexplained noises, unsettling visions, and weird "accidents" that befall those who live there. Once the house is abandoned, the demon can truly take over the building, creating the Diabolic Structure. The Diabolic Structure has near-complete mastery over its entire "body" as it can see and hear nearly anything that happens within its walls.  Once transformed, the demon has a new purpose -- to feed on the willpower of unsuspecting victims.

The Diabolic Structure feeds on the willpower of its victims by creating horrific visions that saps the very lifeforce of those trapped within. The demon uses its reconstruction power to manifest situations that will trigger Fear Checks in the victims. Any Willpower lost via failed fear checks are absorbed by the Diabolic Structure where it is converted into the thing's Power. (EX: If 13 WIL points are lost, 13 points are added to the creature's PWR score up to its maximum of 200 points.) As long as the Structure remains demonically possessed, this Willpower loss is PERMANENT. If the demon inhabiting the Diabolic Structure is driven away, any lost WIL will be restored to the victim at their usual recovery rate. The Diabolic Structure will toy with the victims as long as possible before outright killing them as its the fear that feeds it -- not their death. It's been said that some victims have been kept alive for years by a Diabolic Structure, letting them rest and heal within their "prison" before starting the horrific process again.

The only way known to defeat a Diabolic Structure is to banish the demon within the house by speaking its "true" name. As part of the demonic ritual of creating a Diabolic Structure, the demon must place its true name someplace visible within the house. It can be as subtle as an artist's signature in a painting or a title on a book's spine in the library. If a victim recognizes the name for what it is and identifies the demon by saying that name aloud, the demon will be driven from the home permanently.

Diabolic Structure Powers
Reconstruction: The demon possessing the Diabolic Structure can reform any surface (wall, floor, or ceiling) to suit its demonic purposes. It will use this ability to scare and frighten its victims. (The CM should determine the Fear Check level for each new fright -- typically on column 3 or 4 for mild frights and column 5 or 6 for horrific visions.) And WIL lost will be absorbed into the thing's PWR score, replenishing any spent PWR. Each use of its reconstruction power costs 10 points of PWR

The Diabolic Structure can form new doorways or remove existing ones. New pieces of furniture or objects can be formed. Foul nightmare creatures can be created and animated. Stairs can become a slide. Floors may open up, dropping victims into the basement. Mouths may appear on the walls, taunting the victim, or a large eye leers at them from the ceiling. However, because any new constructs must be formed from part of the Diabolic Structure's "body," the creature cannot create any "free-standing" illusions; in other words, there must be contact made with a surface of the Diabolic Structure. So a giant spider crawling along the walls is possible, but a bat flying through the halls is not. If anyone tries to pick up or lift an object within the Diabolic Structure, they will find the item "struck" in pace. (In actuality, the item is part of the Structure itself.) The Diabolic Structure will endeavor to hide its nature, as its the uncertainty that causes fear in its victims.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Apes Victorious RPG Now Available In Print At Lulu! "damn dirty apes" are ready to take their place on your hardcopy gaming shelf! Goblinoid Games’ newest RPG, "Apes Victorious" is now available in hardcopy paperback format at Lulu! If you've been waiting to hold a physical copy of this thrilling new role-playing game of astronauts trapped on a planet where apes are the dominant species, now's your chance! The paperback hardcopy of Apes Victorious is just $12.99 and is also available in PDF for less than $5.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Attack Of The NaGaDeMon (National Game Design Month 2016)

It's November 1st and time to get your Great Gaming Project underway and completed! While others churn out a novel during NaNoWriMo, I prefer to focus my efforts during the National Game Design Month, or "NaGaDeMon." In 30 days, you are encouraged to imagine, design, write, and play a game of your own design. It can be anything: a board game, a video game, a card game, or an RPG.

I always look forward to NaGaDeMon as it pretty much forces me to focus on some long-ignored project and get that Bad Boy wrapped up and in your hands. For this month, I'm focussing all of my efforts to get Issue 2 of the Creepy Comic Conversion wrapped up and in your hands:

 And once I've finished up this Cryptworld offering (which should only take a day or so of focused "get'er done"), I plan to finish out the month with Issue 3 hot on its heels. And here's the planned cover/concept for the third CCC:

So sound off in the comments if you plan to participate this year! It's always great to see who's working on what. And NaGa DeMon is a great way to get motivated to actually produce something for your favorite game!

And here are a few places you can go for more information:

The NaGa DeMon website
The NaGa DeMon facebook page (NaGa DeMon's founder)

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sketchbook Of Grotesqueries Updated And PERMANENTLY Available!

Happy Halloween! Last year on this date, I unveiled my Sketchbook of Grotesqueries -- a Cryptworld mini-supplement that collected the things that have appeared here at The Savage AfterWorld in 2015. The Sketchbook was available only on rare occasions -- maybe once or twice over the year. However, starting today, the Sketchbook is now PERMANENTLY available for download! I have also updated it, adding TWO NEW THINGS to the supplement!

The Sketchbook of Grotesqueries now contains these 19 unique monsters for your Cryptworld campaigns: Bones
Bloody Mary
Carnivorous Swarm
Mirror Dweller
Screaming Skull
Slender Man
Smiley Face
The Tooth Fairy
White Noise

Feel free to download and share this free Cryptworld monsters supplement! I hope you enjoy it, and Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Trick-Or-Treat Giveaways! WINNERS ANNOUNCED!

Happy Halloween folks!


I have a few items here in the Snider-Cave that I've been hoarding for a special occasion. I figured Halloween was as good a time as any! I've been taking entries (in the Comments below) and the following folks won the following prizes!

Copies of Battle Slots go to Allen Bray and Matt Schmeer!

The PolyHero Dice Set goes to Scott Mob!

And the Insanity Dice from the Dark Cults Games goes to Peter Schweighofer!
Folks, send me your mailing address to gameagain at gmail daht cahm and I'll get your prizes in the mail! Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2016

AVL Scarefest Day 3 And Wrap-Up: Final Thoughts On My Horror-Gaming Weekend

Howdy gang, and welcome to my final thoughts on AVL Scarefest, North Carolina's horror-themed gaming con I just got back from. Scarefest ran through Sunday with more gaming goodness offered to folks, but I had an 8-hour trip back home I needed to complete, so I left a bit earlier Sunday morning, missing on on any events for that last day.

One thing I thought was a great idea I'm sorry I missed was the Sunday Gaming Brunch -- breakfasty goodies were provided that Sunday morning while the various judges and refs ran 1-hour mini-adventures and boardgames, giving the attendees a quick "taste" of games and RPGs they might not otherwise try for several hours. There were samples of D&D 5e, Dread speed-rounds, Call of Cthulhu, many boardgames, and other "try-em-you-light-like-em" offerings. I would have liked to try my hand at some of those, but needed to cut out early.

I'm thrilled that my games of Cryptworld were as well-received as they were. I had two (nearly) full tables, and everyone who played really grasped the Action Table System pretty quickly. By the time Scarefest ended, I had several folks tell me they were going to pick up and run Cryptworld for their own home games. Glad to hear it! In fact, the Scarefest organizers were kind enough to post this to Facebook:

So how was Scarefest? It was awesome. It is one of the smaller events I've attended, but it's only in its second year, so it's still growing. It's fantastically organized and Amie and Michael Tracey put on a fantastic show. The location is beautifully amazing -- a secluded valley surrounded by mountains in the fall? The atmosphere was astounding. There was plenty of stuff to play with a great variety of games and systems. The boardgame check-out selection was fantatsic, and having an Artemis starship sim for folks to try was a nice touch as well. Scarefest was like going to a fantastic Halloween party -- WITH GAMING. How can it NOT be fantastic?

If I had anything to suggest, it would be the scheduled blocks. The games were scheduled in blocks of 5 hours, which (to me) is a LOT of time to run a typical game. Most other cons run them in 4-hour blocks which is adequate. Plus, with 5-hour blocks, you lose one whole extra game period. (5-hour blocks roughly run 8a-1p; 1-6p; and 6-11p; whereas 4-hour blocks roughly run 8a-12p; 12-4p; 4-8p; and 8-midnight.) However, Amie explained that, since this was originally a Pathfinder Society event, these 5-hour blocks are necessary for the games they run. Anyway, this is an incredibly minor point and the only issue I thought was odd, but hardly problematic to my enjoyment of the weekend.

In closing, AVL Scarefest absolutely deserves your attendance next year. It's a tightly run event with lots to offer and lots to do. The location is beautiful when the sun is up, and unsettlingly atmospheric when the sun goes down. And with every game having a horror theme during the Halloween fall season, it was a FANTASTICALLY fun time for a horror hound like myself. Totally worth the 8-hour drive, and I'll be there next year as well.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

AVL Scarefest Day 2: The Shambling Un-Dead And Unquenchable "Things"

Good evening everyone, and welcome to Day 2 of my blog reports from Scarefest here in North Carolina! Today started bright and early at 8 a.m. with wholesale slaughter in DCC RPG, with the carnage continuing in my early evening Cryptworld game. And here we go...
  • Got up this morning, got ready, scampered down for breakfast, and headed over to the convention facility. Very uneventful, and nothing to report there. But the fact that I didn't have any problems of goofy stuff happen was noteworthy, so I shared it with you here.
  • The Dead Character Graveyard had claimed another victim during last night's games, so there were about 7 or 8 character sheets posted in memorium of those who perished. We were about to shatter those figures... 
  • My first game today started bright and early, with the DCC RPG game "The Shambling Un-Dead." In this tournament game, our village had been cut off from The Outside World by a series of ley lines. And the dead had crawled from the grave to attack the hapless villagers. We got our zero-level characters, and my PC had a single hit point. We rolled initiative. I was to go last. The judge rolled an attack, and got me for three points, killing my character. So I died without getting a chance to do ANYTHING. And that pretty much set the tone.
  • By the time the game ended, we had fought an undead crocodile in the sewers, worm-gorged possessed priests, undead babies, and lots of lots of zombies. Each of us went through 5-6 characters, and the Dead Character Graveyard was a bright goldenrod in color by the time the game ended. Fantastic game and great fun!
  • Walked back to the room to drop some stuff off. Again, nothing to report. Snapped a few photos of the surrounding mountainsides. Beautiful location!
  • Needed to hurry back, as I had a group of Cryptworld investigators ready to brave the forests of Ohio to rescue some lost hunters in "Unquenchable." None of the players were familiar with the Pacesetter Action Table system, but they took right to it as we got started. I've run this scenario several times, so I won't recap the plot. But one of the more interesting events was when a player VOLUNTEERED to roll a fear check although it was unnecessary. Although he had encountered the thing before, he felt he was still shaken enough to merit the check. So I allowed it, he failed HORRIBLY, then ran screaming in a random direction, directly AT the thing that freaked him out. Another player opened fire on the thing to save his partner, and managed to accidentally SHOOT said partner in the leg, dropping him at the feet of the thing, which moved in to attack. Wow, THAT was an intense encounter. (They also learned that if you shoot a backpack filled with grenades, it'll make short work of everything without 100 feet.)
  • When we ended the game, I had several new Action Table converts. One had won one of the Cryptworld game packages and was eager to learn how to play. He had a great time, in spite of being shot in the leg. (Yup, same guy.) The other players also enjoyed the game, with one wishing to know more about Majus. More Pacesetter converts join the fray!
  • After the game ended, it was going on around 7 p.m. Stopped by the dining hall to grab a quick bite and came back to my room to relax for a bit and hammer out this blog post. I had plans to drop back and play a boardgame or something, but I think I'll hit the sheets early tonight to get up early tomorrow to prepare for the roadtrip back to Ohio. I'll stop by in the morning to say my goodbyes, play a quick game, and head out. So it's likely that this will be my final post direct from Scarefest. I'd like to thank the organizers for a great time, and I had an absolute blast gettin' my gaming scares going!
And here are a few final photos from Scarefest....

The board game selection was pretty amazing. No time to check it out today, but may find time tomorrow morning before heading out.

The Dead Character Graveyard, where players were encouraged to tack up the character sheets or a memorial page for the PC who died during the event. My Dread character from yesterday is in the upper left corner.

Our team of DCC players as we settle in to confront The Shambling Dead.

 By the time the game ended, we had FILLED that Dead Character Graveyard with more than 40 0-level funnel characters. It was a slaughter.

 And the winner of the tourney made it through four encounters without dying. Yes, living through four consecutive encounters was enough to take home the trophy!

Just thought this photo of the mountains from the inn was pretty amazing. Gorgeous location.

Friday, October 21, 2016

AVL Scarefest Day 1: A Killer Tape Dispenser And The Tower Of Dread

Howdy gang, and welcome to the official first day of Scarefest! As usual during these travelogues, I'll be stopping by my room to throw a few thought down whenever I get a chance. The event goes until midnight tonight, so this post will likely go live after most of you have gone to bed. Those still up, read on!
  • Remember how I whined yesterday that my room was missing a surprising number of amenities? Well, another missing item was a standard writing desk. Two chairs, two dressers, and a bed -- no desk. I'm currently using my bed as an ersatz desk with a chair pulled over to it.
  • Note to self: Get rid of my nearly-spherical travel alarm clock. It went off, I swatted it, and it fell off the nightstand and rolled under the bed where it continued to buzz and chirp until I got out of bed, pulled the bed away from the wall, and retrieved it. Although, that DID get me out of bed, so perhaps it's by design?
  • Met Amie, one of the con's organizers, for breakfast and we chatted while discussing our respective real-life jobs. She's a web designer and I'm an editor, so we both are in the business of taking a person's rough ideas and making them into something better. So we commiserated on that for a while, sighed heavily, then walked down to the event center.
  • This afternoon I played in my first game of Dread as Andy ran our party through "Beneath the Full Moon." Dread is the RPG that used a Jenga Tower as its resolution mechanic. Anyway, our team of novice river rafting college students found themselves stranded in the middle of the Grand Canyon's Colorado River after our guide was horribly mauled by some animal in the night. So it became a struggle for survival as we tried to rescue our Guide, Gary, while avoiding the monstrous beast that followed us. With each close call, we pulled Jenga tiles, and the tower became more and more unstable. (Toppling it is a death sentence.) While returning from gathering firewood, I found the creature in my path. I tried to pull a tile, but the tower wasn't having it and down it crashed, as the werewolf ripped my throat out. I really had a great time with Dread. Later tonight, it's MY turn to put Andy through his paces as he's signed up to play in my Cryptworld game!
  • Stopped by the inn's dining hall and used my Meal Ticket to feed myself a big plate of chicken stew over rice with fresh biscuits, followed up with a slab of both German Chocolate Cake and Boston Cream Pie. Yeah, this beats fast food by a mile, and was a good additional add-on to my Scarefest admission!
  • This evening, we had five brave reporters and researchers who visited Vinton Hills Memorial Hospital who braved the horrors of  "Condition Critical," one of my favorite Cryptworld scenarios. I've run this adventure a half-dozen times, and I'm always surprised by what the party does. This time, after viewing the horrific footage of What Went Wrong In The OR, the party explored the facility only to be ambushed by an animated skeleton at the same time Experiment TB-4 decided to slither into view. Much chaos was had as they tried to stay alive on two fronts. The game ended when one player threw rubbing alcohol onto the creature, then tossed a lit cigarette onto the flammable beast. The trick didn't work as the cigarette didn't catch the alcohol on fire. Then, another player hurled a TAPE DISPENSER at the cigarette, making a critical hit! This drove the burning cigarette into the alcohol, setting the monster -- and the hospital -- ablaze! And once again, the world is safe!
  • So tomorrow's day begins bright and early at 8 a.m. when I plan to take a few Cryptworld players into the forests as they explore the horrors of "Unquenchable." Then, I'll take my chances in the DCC RPG funnel "The Shambling Un-Dead." Gonna be scary fun, folks!
And, in closing as I always do, here are some photos of Things Of Interest:

The convention center is in full Halloween decor mode!

This must be where the first PC death occurred...

If I had known a giant spider web was going to be on the wall behind where I was running my games, I would have run Tangled Threads from Monsters Macabre!

The room for the Starship Artemis simulator. The white wall is where the screen is projected, and each workstation has light-up neon mice. This looks much cooler in person.

The wargaming table set up with rules to review and sign up sheets for tomorrow's events.

The back half of the center is filled with Pathfinder Society events. It's quite the event for PFS, but the organizers have many more gaming systems represented this year,

Andy gives us a rundown of the situation  at hand during our Dread game.

The tower moments before I made my fateful last pull before the tower toppled. Take a look at it. I was doomed.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

AVL Scarefest Day 0: A Mountainous Drive And "Not A Single Luxury" (In My Hotel Room)

Good evening gang, and welcome to "Day Zero" of my daily missive from Asheville, NC, (actually the nearby town of Montreat) as I attend the horror-fueled gaming convention "Scarefest 2016"! I've been looking forward to this convention for a while, and now that I've arrived and settled into my room, I'm ready to get started on the live reports from the newest convention on my docket.

As always, keep in mind that these reports are my random thoughts and what I've experienced as the event progresses. Also, since the convention doesn't truly get started until tomorrow, today's report is a summary of the trails and tribulations of getting here. So here's what Sniderman was up to as he winged his way from Ohio to North Carolina...

  • Gotta warn you up front, the Wifi at this location can generously be described as "Spotty". It took me two hours to get this post saved and sent, all the while the signal would cut out at random intervals. So, just in case this series disappears until I return on Sunday, you'll know why. Soldiering on...
  • To get myself into a proper gaming mood for this convention, I loaded up my flash drive with Midnight Syndicate and Nox Arcana MP3s and plugged it into my stereo for a proper scare-event soundtrack. I then plugged in a Gain-scented air freshener, and I was ready to motor out!
  • When I left Ohio this morning, it was overcast, rainy, and foggy. "PERFECT weather for a horror-themed convention," I told my wife. However, she then pointed out that North Carolina was about 500 miles away. "Not only will it not be raining, it'll probably be a bit warmer," she said. She was right. It's about 40 degrees warmer here than Ohio. So my denim jacket isn't going to get much wear.
  • The route from my house to here is as follows: Take 71 South, which becomes 75 South. Take 75 South until you come to 640 East. Take 640 East to Asheville. So, when you look at the Big Picture. I really just had to make one left turn to get here.
  • Wow, I kinda forgot what it's like to drive through a mountainous area. For 50 miles as I meandered through the Smokies/Appalachians, there wasn't a straight section of road with speeds limits of no more than 45 mph. To my left was a sheer cliff face I was staring at. To the right, a dropoff. And straight ahead, big-ass mountains. However, everything was EXPLODING in fall colors, making it a very pretty white-knuckle drive.
  • Upon getting to Asheville, I visited The Wyvern's Tale -- the FLGS and location of the first Scarefest in its upper gaming floors. Over time, the gathering outgrew the store, but I wanted to stop in and see what they had to offer. This place has an AMAZING amount of material in a relatively small amount of space. (Plus their used RPG section had a lot of good stuff.) When the manager found out who I was and what brought me to the area, he said that they carried Cryptworld and were currently sold out! (Neat!) I managed to snag two games I've been looking for while there. If you're in the area, definitely stop by.
  • Next stop, was to get out here to the Montreat Conference Center. The event is being held at this Christian college campus tucked into the NC mountains. This place just LOOKS like it was established and founded in the early 20th century. As I walked up to the Assembly Inn where I was staying, I was struck by how gothic it looked. Very atmospheric.
  • The inn advertises itself as a place to "refresh and renew". That must explain why my room had no television. Or radio. Or phone. (Kinda like Gilligan's Island; "Not a single luxury.") There are apparently no "distractions" for guests. However, the inn has Wifi, so apparently watching Netflix and noodling around on the Internet is fine. (EDITED TO ADD: Ok, so the Wifi must be super-taxed because it keeps cutting out. Everybody here must be hammering the server. Maybe if we had TVs in our rooms....just sayin'...)
  • I swung by Freeland Hall where I met the organizers for about an hour as they set up for the event. Lots of Halloween decorations and other spookifying decor were being put up. I helped out for a bit, but I needed to get back to my room to put this blog post to bed, work on some freelance work, and turn in early 'cause it's been a LONG DAY.

That's it for the trip here. I'm meeting Amie -- one of the organizers -- for breakfast tomorrow morning, then we'll head over to the event for Day 1 of Scarefest! Stay tuned as I report live on the gruesome gaming and horrific happenings over the next few days! And here are some photos of what happened today:

The weather in Ohio set the tone for the entire trip...until I arrived in North Carolina where it's sunny and 80 degrees.

A stop by The Wyvern's Tale was on my to-do list, and I'm glad I made the extra sidetrip to visit!

The gothic look of the Assembly Inn as I walked up.

Scarefest decorating in progress...

The Assembly Inn at night. Whoof....scary indeed...

And a few items I've gotten thus far. Picked up the new expansion for Betrayal at House on the Hill and Heroes Wanted -- a superhero themed game. While I helped decorate, I was given my badge and souvenir T-shirt! Ready to start the scary stuff tomorrow!

Now On The Road To Scarefest!

Right now, as this post goes live, I'm driving cross-country to AVL Scarefest, the horror-themed gaming con in North Carolina. Really looking forward to playing a bunch of All Things Scary. In my head, this is what I imagine it'll be like entering the convention center...

(And stay tuned for daily missives from the event!)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

AVL Scarefest Starts In Two Days! So Much Fun, It's Scary!

Hey gang,

Just a reminder that Year 2 of the AVL Scarefest starts this Friday in Asheville, North Carolina, and runs through Sunday. This is the furthest I've driven for a game con (matched only by my road trip to Gamicon Omega in Iowa). I'm really looking forward to this horror-themed RPG event, as I have a full plate of terror-fueled gaming to look forward to, including:

  • Friday afternoon, I'll be playing in a game of Dread, the Jenga-run horror RPG. It'll be my first time with the system (although I'm an old hat at Jenga) so I'm looking forward to my attempt to survive "Under The Full Moon." Then later that night, I'll run the first of two Cryptworld games. Will the players survive their visit to Vinton Hills Hospital in "Condition Critical"?
  • On Saturday morning, it's DCC RPG as I and a team of stawart heroes tries to hold off wave after wave of "The Shambling Un-Dead." Then it's into the forest as I run my second game of Cryptworld as a party of rescuers tries to locate a lost hunting party in "Unquenchable"...before something else finds them first!
  • Sunday morning, Scarefest offers up a Sunday Bruch Gaming Social. Eat some breakfast while trying out a variety of RPG mini-scenarios and boardgames. A great way to get a taste for games I might not have time for or those I've wanted to try out in a bite-sized serving.
  • During my downtime, I plan to stop by the local FLGS, The Wyvern's Tale, and see what treasures await! (Plus, I hear they have a section of classic used RPGs, so I'll report on what I find there.
  • The Scarefest organizers will also have a room set up to run Starship Artemis. I've been wanting to try out my abilities as a Starfleet Ensign, so I'll try to squeeze in time to fly into "The Final Frontier."
  • And, of course, I'll be sticking my nose into any drop-in games I can find! And with three days of gruesome gaming at hand, who knows what I'll stumble into?

And, as always, I'll be live-blogging directly from the event, so stop by The Savage Afterworld for the next few days and see what's going on in the North Carolina mountains. It'll be so much fun, I might not survive the weekend!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

"Apes Victorious" RPG Now Out! Adventures On A World Gone Ape! Games’ newest RPG, "Apes Victorious" has been released! This thrilling new role-playing game places your players in the roles of astronauts who have crashed upon the surface of a planet where apes are the dominant species. Inspired by classic "ape planet" movies and TV shows, Apes Victorious also provides rules for playing intelligent apes (four species!), savage feral humanoids, and mysterious psionic underdwellers.

The game initially takes place in an Alternate Future of the 1970s, where FTL travel and interplanetary exploration is already underway. This gives the game an interesting "retro-future" feel where technology is both incredibly advanced (cryopods, interstellar spaceships) and primitively dated (room-sized computers, silver spacesuits).

Once the players are thrown into this world, you may think the genre of humans vs. apes would be limited. Instead, Apes Victorious offers several adventure prompts and ideas for the Ape Master (AM). What will be found in the Forbidden Zone? What mysteries are located in a long-forgotten ruined city? What are the bomb-worshipping underdwellers planning? And what will ape society do to the players once discovered? There is even an introductory adventure included with the game, so you can throw your players into a thrilling adventure immediately! As discussed in a thorough review of the game at Swords & Stitchery, the genre may appear narrow of focus, but the gameworld is wide open and can go in numerous directions.

Although compatible with Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, and Starships & Spacemen 2e (complete with conversion notes), Apes Victorious is a self-contained, complete RPG. You can mix and match material from the various games by introducing intelligent apes to your LL fantasy games, or drop your future mutants into an ape-dominated society! Apes Victorious is also covered under the OGL, so creative types are encouraged to produce and release new material!

Apes Victorious is 122 pages, and is currently available in PDF for less than $5. A print version will be released in the coming weeks, so watch for that. Sniderman says check it out!

Monday, October 17, 2016

[Review] "Advanced Mutant Companion" Supplement For Mutant Future

Those who frequent my blog know that it started as a Mutant Future resource. (The supplements I've released for it are testament to that!) Although my focus and tastes have changed over the years, I will ALWAYS support and trumpet any product that builds upon the gonzo post-apocalyptic goodness of Mutant Future. Today, I'm examining the Advanced Mutant Companion -- a Mutant Future supplement by A. Hagen that offers new rules and additions to the armageddon anarchy of a mutant gone wild!

Unlike other Mutant Future supplements I've seen (and personally written), the Advanced Mutant Companion doesn't give you new creatures and encounters for your game's world. Instead, the Companion presents new ways to build up your initial player characters. Within the 39 pages of the supplement, you'll encounter:

  • Five new character races, including cyborgs, aliens, and wasteland wanderers who are MUCH more twisted than normal. The Companion also offers some new twists for your starting mutants and pure humans.
  • All PCs had to have started somewhere, so an interesting Backgrounds system is introduced. What your character did before The End will benefit him with new skills and abilities that may come in handy in the Badlands.
  • Speaking of skills, a Feats system is also presented that offers more benefits and role-playing chances. There are several subcategories of Feats, including Combat, Survival, Prestige, Resource, Dramatic, and Mutation. A handy Advancement Chart takes the Backgrounds and Feats into consideration, for the ML who implements these into their own games.
  • Speaking of mutations, there are 74 new mutations to warp and twist your PCs! And rather than having these as separate abilities, the new mutations have been placed in the original Mutant Future mutation tables, so you can roll on one all-encompassing mutation chart for even more degeneration!

I'm pretty pleased with what's here, as I've often thought a rules supplement to Mutant Future was a product long missing from the product line. There is enough here to inspire Mutant Lords who are looking to add some new twists to their home games. And the product is only $2! Sniderman says check it out!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

[Review] "The Fungus Forest" Adventure For OSR-Compatable RPGs

I'm always on the lookout for a good adventure -- one that encompasses an unusual setting and give me as a GM plenty of options to vex and befuddle my players. One such megasetting is The Fungus Forest, a PWYW OSR-compatible adventure setting by Lee Reynoldson and Carl Nash. One note: Carl was kind enough to send me a review copy of the adventure to peruse and review.

This sizable adventure is 71 pages long and is compatible with Original, Basic, and Advanced versions of "the world's most popular fantasy RPG," so you can pretty much run it with any classic RPG or the myriad of clones and remakes we now have available. (Heck, this could be used for an awesome Mutant Future adventure as well.) The Fungus Forest takes place in a sprawling underground complex of caves, caverns, and crevasses created by a rushing underground river that has shaped the tunnels and rooms over thousands of years. Inside this complex, mold, mildew, and fungi of every size and shape have take root, bestowing the nickname found on the cover of the adventure. This place is HUGE. It encompasses more than 100 areas to explore covering well over 1 million square feet. (I did the math, and it checks out.) Just take a look at the map...

(The image here is deliberately small and out of focus to keep spoilers minimal.) 

The reasons the players might stumble across The Fungus Forest are left to the referee. In fact, a handy Rumor Chart might give them the impetus they need to seek it out. (But do the players ever really need a reason to go delving?) Once in the depths, there are plenty for them to investigate:

  • There are seven different factions warring for control over the underworld kingdom: the fey, the goblins, the shroom-folk, and more...
  • There are unusual and unique creatures to thwart or befriend (mostly thwart)...
  • Fabulous riches await the brave and foolhardy, including the key to immortality!

My favorite adventures have always been the underground cave ones, but I've often found them to be somewhat lacking in "stuff to do." That isn't a problem with The Fungus Forest, as there are plenty of opportunities and encounters to last your players quite a while. (I'm deliberately avoid spoilers in this review, so excuse the vagueness.) And, in keeping with the fungus theme, there is also a Random Fungus Generator for a GM to create a new interesting 'shrooms on the fly (as well as the magical properties they may possess). Eight pages of unique creatures fill the back pages of the book, and a sizable fold-out map of the complex is also included.

Oh, and did I mention that this sprawling complex is pay what you want? So just a few dollars in donation will net you a 70+ page megadungeon. (Or download for free and pay later once you've had a chance to see for yourself!) Sniderman says, go check it out by clicking the link here or clicking the cover above!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Wizards, Mutants, Lazer Pistols Issue 7 Now Out!

After a two-year hiatus, one of my favorite independently-created RPG 'zines is back! The long-awaited Issue 7 of Wizards, Mutants, Lazer Pistols is now out!
Picking up when Issue 6 left off, in this issue you'll find:
  • An interview with Jennell Jaquays about the early days of RPG zine production!
  • Part 7 of the mega-dungeon Beneath the Ruins, where the players will explore The Pools of Pus!
  • A quick-fast DM city map of Duren!
  • Magical Items of Interest to enchant and vex your PCs!
  • And a new character race, the mysterious Tong!
Issue 7 of Wizards, Mutants, Lazer Pistols is $5.00 shipped in the U.S., $6.50 to Canada, and $8.00 international. Although Issues 1-6 are sold out, you can score a compilation of the entire WMLP library at Lulu in both print and PDF. Sniderman says, "Getcher copy right HERE."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

[GameHack] Improved Character Playing Pieces For Wayward Board Game

Here at The Savage AfterWorld, I'm always coming up with little DIY projects for my favorite boardgames. I refer to these projects as "GameHacks". This weekend's GameHack is for one of my favorite boardgames of recent years, "Wayward: The Choose Your Own Adventure Boardgame," which I reviewed earlier this year.

One element I really admire is the look of the game. The gameboard is a thing of beauty with myriad colors and details shining throughout the artwork. Just take a look at a few rooms of the dungeon:

But although the gameboard is amazing to look at, the playing pieces -- although nicely sculpted -- are a bit too bland for my tastes. Each of the players are the exact same sculpt, with the only difference being the color. Also, each player's gold-tracking piece is identical to their gameboard piece which feels a bit flat to me.

See what I mean? 
I wanted player pieces that were just as exciting as the game itself. Figures that looked like they came from a fantasy adventure game. Then it dawned on me -- that's precisely what D&D 4e was all about: nifty-looking figures moving around on a gameboard of sorts. So I went to Noble Knight, and bought a small assortment of single loose D&D 4e miniatures -- the ones made of plastic and pre-painted. Once they arrived, I painted the ring around the base with a unique color. Then, stopping by the dollar store, I bought a cheap chess set and painted the pawns with a matching color to act as the respective player's gold-tracking icon. Here's the results:

Now my game's playing pieces are as dynamic as the game itself. I think I paid less than $2 for each figure and the pawns were literally one dollar. I already had the paints at home so, all said, this project cost me less than $20. The D&D figures work well with the game, and I can see them being repurposed for other games of a similar theme. So look for me with my Wayward game set at a convention near you!