Saturday, November 11, 2017

AcadeCon Day 2: Cryptworld Thralls And Dungeon Shirts

Good morning everyone and welcome to Day Two here at AcadeCon, the Dayton-based convention produced and run by The RPG Academy. It's 6 a.m. as I start typing up today's post, and I'm fueling up with a box of Entenmann's donuts and a cup of Death Wish Coffee before I head down for the day. The open gaming area is open 24 hours, so I'm curious to see how many bleary-eyed stalwarts pulled an overnight campaign. Let's go find out, shall we?
  • Today I got to wear my Old School Dungeon Map t-shirt at a gaming convention! This shirt is based on the Classic RPG Map cloth design I created that now adorns many dice bags. I had this made at Zazzle, and it turned out fantastic. (Oddly enough, I saw someone else wearing a dungeon map shirt, but his was the Tomb of Horrors, I believe. Wish I had gotten a photo...) Want one of your own? Check out my Zazzle store!
  • When I went over to the con floor early this morning, I actually found one game of D&D (5e, I believe) that went all night. The players looked a bit exhausted, but one still managed a weak "Yeah, got 'im!" fist pump as they took down yet another creature in the wee hours. Game on, my friends. Game on.
  • I had signed up to play a DCC RPG game this morning, but my throat was a bit hoarse this morning and I didn't want to blow it out yelling for four hours, so I bowed out. After trying (and failing) to find a pick-up board game in progress, I instead returned to my room and broke out my Kickstarter-fulfilled copy of Untold: Adventures Await and ran through a solo game. (Expect a review of this Story Cube-moderated RPG in the future!)
  • Returned to the vendor hall and discovered a copy of Kobolds Ate My Baby! Played this game years ago, and was pleased to find a copy for purachse! ALL HAIL KING TORG!
  • Sat down at a table to grab a bite and was joined by two friends who were also here for the first time. Speaking of first times, they also attended their first Gen Con this year -- the massive 50-year anniversary. "So, what'd you think of Gen Con?" I asked. "Crowded. So very, very crowded," they both said nearly simultaneously.
  • Holy crow, this afternoon, I had my first duel CRYPTWORLD player death in a convention-run game. Dying in a CRYPTWORLD game is pretty difficult, as you typically run out of Stamina and fall unconscious LONG before you take that last Wound. But I had two players who fell prey to a few Critical Wound results. As we played my adventure "Unquenchable" (available in the future "Burial Plots" supplement), one player was horribly (HORRIBLY) managed by one of the THINGs, and he began to transform into one of them during the game. Another player was down to a few Stamina points and one Wound due to a series of bad rolls, and he ended up getting strangled to death by another thrall. The transforming player, who missed a Willpower save, became truly evil and shot his teammates who then returned fire, nearly killing him. He was taken in by DAPA where he'll spend the rest of his short life being examined before he's dissected like a lab experiment! The players loved the horrific nature of the way the game ended (two survivors crawling out of the forest) while I was left with my jaw dropped as the sheer carnage that occurred!
  • And, with that, the evening comes to a close. Nothing really scheduled for the evening, so I returned to my room, played a solo game of Camp Grizzly, and am now retiring to bed. I'll be getting up early tomorrow to return home (meeting the wife for pancakes!), so I'll close out by saying "Thanks AcadeCon! I had a great time!"

Friday, November 10, 2017

AcadeCon Day 1: Tackling A Chaos Lord And Fighting Off Killer Bunnies

Howdy gang, and welcome to the official first day of AcadeCon! Although this is my first time at this event, this is the fifth year for this Ohio gaming convention produced and run by The RPG Academy. ("If you're having fun, you're doing it right!") As usual during these travelogues, I'll be stopping by my room off-and-on to post my observations and thoughts as the event goes on. So read on for today's highlights!
  • On the drive here, I stopped at a Dollar General store in some small never-before-heard-of small town. And there, on the shelves, were 10 cans of super-sugared, super-caffeinated Jolt Cola. Looks like I'll be gaming like it's 1985!
  • I reached my hotel next to the Dayton Convention Center where AcadeCon is being held. Handed my keys to the valet and entered to check in. Oops, forgot to get my luggage out of the trunk. Valet brought car back around. Tipped valet big due to the hassle. Went to room. Oops, left my cell phone in the car. Valet brought car back around. Tipped valet extra-big due to the extra-hassle.
  • Cool, my room is right next to the walkover concourse to the convention center! From my room to the convention takes all of 4 minutes. Convenient!
  • AcadeCon is a newer convention being run by folks who are passionate about the event. It shows. The staff really is going out of their way to make sure everyone is having a good time. I appreciate the extra attention they give the attendees.
  • Conversely, I overheard one of the organizers explain to an attendee that they didn't have hardcopy event schedules here, as it was a mess to clean up last year and everything was online anyway. That's great and all, unless -- like me -- you're a Luddite without a smartphone. If I wanted to see what table an event was scheduled for, I had to return to my room and look it up on my laptop. And if I had some spare time and wanted to see what events were open, I had to return to my room -- again -- and look it up on my laptop. Although it's probably a great convenience to others, it's a royal pain in the neck for me. 
  • Vendors were still setting up when I got here, so shopping is a bit sparce Friday afternoon. But I did score a full set of Impact glow-in-the-dark dice, which will get a lot of use in future Mutant Crawl Classic games! Speaking of that system...
  • At noon, Nick, Mike, Andrew, and I played in the classic DCC adventure "Sailors on the Starless Sea" run by Tim Grunkemeyer. Each of us played four characters in the funnel, so we felt pretty good with the odds in our favor. However things didn't go well for us. I'll keep spoilers minimal, but here's how my cast of PCs met their ends: Broderick - absorbed by a gelatinous tar creature; Abner - killed by my own party after becoming possessed and attacking my teammates (sorry Mike!); Trinion - dragged to a watery grave by a tentacle from nowhere. My glorious death though was Brennon, who charged a newly-formed Chaos Lord and (burning all of my Luck) tackled him, carrying both him and my PC into a lava crater, killing them both. It was suicide, but it ended the resurrection of a Dark Lord. So "Yay me!" Thanks for the game, Tim. It was fantastic!
  • However, I didn't have anyone sign up for my 5 p.m. game of Cryptworld, so it looks like Experiment TB-4 is left running rampant through the lonely halls of Vinton Hills Metropolitan Hospital for the last time at any convention. (Although YOU can try to stop the creature when Burial Plots for Crypworld is released this December!)
  • Came back to the room to relax a bit and chug a Jolt Cola. While taking a look at the events run
    later this evening, one caught my eye being run by a designer I recognized -- Craig Campbell of Nerdburger Games, known for the recent Murders & Acquisitions RPG. He was playtesting his new RPG: Die Laughing, The Horror Comedy Storytelling Game. I raced to the con floor and grabbed the last open chair. In the game, the players are typical horror movie archetypes trying to survive the B movie forming around them. The movies and scenes grow organically as the players take turns as the "stars" of each scene as well as becoming the director of someone else's scene. In our game, I played the jock, Brock Van Johnson, who found himself at the local Renaissance Faire (huzzah!) as weird stuff began to happen. With Brock was Arnold the nerd, Tommy the preppy, Bo the gearhead, Stacy the cheerleader, and Benny the class clown. As people started screaming and racing for the exits, we discovered that mutant rabbits had spawned in the nearby hills, which were descending on the Faire, consuming everybody. (This, after all, is a COMEDY horror movie.) Brock didn't believe any of this was real (it had to be one of Benny's stupid jokes) and he picked up a rabbit and stuck his finger in its mouth, daring it to bite him. It did, taking his finger CLEAN OFF. Due to a series of bad rolls, Brock bled out, dying in a most non-heroic way. Though dead, I (as the player) then became a producer of the movie, able to alter and change the script as the still-alive players struggled to stay alive. Each new death brought in a new producer who screwed with those still living as the comedy of errors increased. In the end, Benny survived (still wearing a salvaged suit of armor) in the movie titled "The Day There Was No Joust". Fantastically funny game, and I'm looking forward to the official Kickstarter for it next year.
  • As the day winds down, so am I. I have a Cryptworld game tomorrow with players signed up, so let's see how they do against the horrors of "Unquenchable" as it's played for the last time in a convention setting! Stay tuned for tomorrow's post from AcadeCon 2017!
And, in closing as I always do, here are some photos of Things Of Interest:
AcadeCon tables as they were earlier on Friday before the games really got underway.

The registration booth was always humming, and the Play to Win game booth had a lot of great games you could win.

This year's official t-shirt and swag as well as my official ID for the con.

 Jolt Cola chillin' in my room fridge.

Even though I "seeded" the area with Cryptworld posters and Comic Conversion Issue 2, I had no Cryptworld players on this first day.

Nearly every table was filled with gaming as the evening wore on.

Craig was good enough to sell me his only hardcopy of Murders & Acquisitions as well as a work-ion-progress copy of Die Laughing. (I plan to run this myself!) I also picked up a set of Impact glow-in-the-dark dice.

And they REALLY GLOW. (Taken in the darkened bathroom of my hotel room.)

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The NaGaDeMon Strikes Again! (National Game Design Month 2017)

It's November, and while others churn out their Great American 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.

NaGaDeMon is a fun exercise for some folks, as they endeavor to create a new game whole-cloth within one month. However, I use the occassion to wrap up and release some long-ignored project that I've been noodling around with during the previous 11 months.

This month, I'm focusing on my Creepy Comic Conversions for Cryptworld. Issue 3 is nearly done, and I have one or two other issues in mind as well. And, if I get lucky, I might have time to compile and release the first Creepy Comic Conversion COMPENDIUM!

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)

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

[CRYPTWORLD] "Burial Plots" Origins Of Horror Part 5: "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear"
As the Kickstarter for Goblinoid Games' CRYPTWORLD adventure compilation Burial Plots enters its last 24 hours, I thought it'd be fun to explain where each of these horrific scenarios came from. (These reflections will be full of spoilers for the adventures within, so if you plan to play in any of them, proceed with caution!) The fifth adventure I wrote, "It Came Upon A Midnight Clear," was a macabre Christmas gift to Cryptworld fans...

Like a lot of people, my two favorite holidays are Halloween and Christmas. And anything that can combine the two diametrically opposite seasons is very cool in my eyes. I especially love horror films that take place on Christmas. No, not "Nightmare Before Christmas" (though that happens to be a holiday favorite). I'm referring to such fare as Jack Frost, Santa Slays, Black Christmas, Silent Night Deadly Night, Krampus, etc. (And I have a special place in my heart for Tales From The Crypt's killer Santa in "…And All Through The House".) So a few years back, I decided to create my own "Scary Little Christmas" for readers of my blog.

For my bit of Merry Mayhem, I didn't want a killer Santa or snowman to terrorize the players. Instead, I decided to use a THING that doesn't get enough attention: the Puppet Master. During the holidays, homes are decorated with numerous figures and likenesses of Santa, snowmen, reindeer, gingerbread men, dolls, and nutcrackers. Now imagine if all of these toys came to life at the behest of an evil entity! (For added evilness, you could also animate the nativity set under the tree, but having the Three Wise Men attack the PCs is too horrible for my tastes!) Once I decided who the Puppet Master had been in life and why she was turning the holidays into a murder scene, the rest of the scenario fell nicely into place.

As we wrap up, please consider pledging for Burial Plots and discover the horrors lurking within!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

[CRYPTWORLD] "Burial Plots" Origins Of Horror Part 4: "Death In The Dust"
As the Kickstarter for Goblinoid Games' CRYPTWORLD adventure compilation Burial Plots enters its final week, I thought it'd be fun to explain where each of these horrific scenarios came from. (These reflections will be full of spoilers for the adventures within, so if you plan to play in any of them, proceed with caution!) The fourth adventure I wrote, "Death in the Dust," was my effort to create a horror adventure taking place in one of my favorite settings -- The Old West...

The basic idea behind "Death in Dust" came years ago, when I decided that I wanted to run a western-themed CRYPTWORLD game at a convention. Other than the Wild West setting, I really didn't have much of an idea as to the plot. I considered having giant mutant tarantulas as the THINGs infesting the town of Weaver (get it?), but I had pretty much covered the "giant bugs" angle in some other scenarios. I also didn't know how I was going to "prompt" the players into visiting an Old West ghost town in the middle of the desert. What would be the reason? Thoroughly idea-less, I let the concept simmer.

As convention season neared, I revisited the ghost town of Weaver. But what if it wasn't a ghost town anymore? "What if," I thought, "the town had been revitalized as a tourist attraction?" Now I had my reason for the players to visit. Plus, I had inadvertently incorporated another favorite setting -- "the haunted amusement park." I then looked at the name of the camp: "The Weaver Sterling Silver Mine". It was the word "sterling" that jumped out at me. What if that wasn't an adjective, but rather another name? Perhaps a someone who co-founded the town? But if this were the case, why was the town now known as "Weaver"? What happened in the past to erase this person from the historical record? And what would this restless wronged spirit do to those who now celebrated the return of Weaver to its "former glory"?

For the answers, please consider pledging for Burial Plots and discover what other horrors lurk in Weaver, Arizona!

Friday, September 29, 2017

[CRYPTWORLD] "Burial Plots" Origins Of Horror Part 3: "Unquenchable"
As the Kickstarter for Goblinoid Games' CRYPTWORLD adventure compilation Burial Plots is underway, I thought it'd be fun to explain where each of these horrific scenarios came from. (These reflections will be full of spoilers for the adventures within, so if you plan to play in any of them, proceed with caution!) The third adventure I wrote, "Unquenchable," is a hex crawl where my own personal demons stalk the players in a setting where they instead hold all of the cards...

Many of my previous CRYPTWORLD adventures take place in a confined, claustrophobic space: an abandoned hospital, a jetliner in flight, the rotting farmhouse outside of town. So for my next adventure, I wanted to break out of that genre trope and have the setting be eerily "calming." So I created an outdoor hex crawl that takes place in the middle of the day. The sun's up and the players can see for miles. The players are both armed and in constant radio contact with the authorities. How could I take this setting -- where ALL of the advantages are in the hands of the PCs -- and twist it so they instead find themselves faced with a living nightmare? All you need is a good monster -- and lots of them.

They say "Write what you know," so I decided to dip into the well of Sniderman's Personal Fears. You see, spiders terrify me, as I have severe arachnophobia. Monster films featuring spiders -- no matter how low-budget and cheesy -- give me the willies. (In fact, I used this phobia earlier when I wrote "Tangled Threads" found in CRYPTWORLD's first supplement, Monsters Macabre.) So the Tarantulords were to make a comeback. But I wanted these to be even more horrific. More frightening. More dangerous. As I mulled a new hybrid of "werewolf spiders" or "zombie spiders," I chanced upon the concept of  "vampire spiders," and realized with a shudder that THOSE ACTUALLY EXIST.

And thus the protagonists of "Unquenchable" came to horrific life.

I don't want to spoil everything, so please consider pledging for Burial Plots and discover what other horrors are found in the woods!

Monday, September 25, 2017

[CRYPTWORLD] "Burial Plots" Origins Of Horror Part 2: "Condition Critical"
As the Kickstarter for Goblinoid Games' CRYPTWORLD adventure compilation "Burial Plots" is underway, I thought it'd be fun to explain where each of these horrific scenarios came from. (These reflections will be full of spoilers for the adventures within, so if you plan to play in any of them, proceed with caution!) The second adventure I wrote, "Condition Critical," features my favorite forgotten monster archetype…

Most horror RPGs (that are not Lovecraftian in nature) have several standard monsters the players have encountered -- those I call the Halloween Monsters: vampire, werewolf,  ghost, mummy, witch, zombie, etc. But my favorite "standard" monster is a 50's B-movie staple, one that defy classification...

--The Blob--

Not sure what is so appealing about the giant flesh-ingesting amoeba, but maybe its inability to be defined is what makes it such a great creature. It's a mobile pile of goo that just wants to eat. (And eat and eat and eat...) I was thrilled to see "Space Blob" listed as a new THING in CRYPTWORLD, so it was only natural that I bring this monster to pulsating, slime-coated, flesh-dissolving un-life in one of my adventures. At Ohio's Con on the Cob in 2013, "Condition Critical" was run as the first CRYPTWORLD game at a gaming convention.

For me, there's nothing creepier than a place that would otherwise be bustling that is mysteriously empty and abandoned -- especially if that location is typically clean and antiseptic, the exact opposite of the creaky run-down ramshakle house on the edge of town. So an abandoned hospital became the setting, and my blob -- Experiment TB-4 -- now runs amok within. Where did it come from? Well, that's a mystery you'll need to discover for yourself...

Thursday, September 21, 2017

[CRYPTWORLD] "Burial Plots" Origins Of Horror Part 1: "Forget-Me-Not"
As the Kickstarter for Goblinoid Games' CRYPTWORLD adventure compilation "Burial Plots" is underway, I thought it'd be fun to explain where each of these horrific scenarios came from. (I'll endeavor to stay as "spoiler-free" as I can, but read with caution.) The first adventure, "Forget-Me-Not," began -- appropriately enough -- with a nightmare…

I had the dream back in 2012. It was startling enough to make me sit bolt-upright in bed when I woke. I didn't remember much about the situation or setting upon awakening, but one image was burned into my subconscious: a phantom with long blades for hands. The spirit approached me, a scowl on its face.

"Who am I?" it asked.

I could tell the question was not one of identity. The ghost knew who it had been in life. No, rather the spirit wanted to find out if *I* knew who it was. I had never seen its face before.

"I'm sorry, but I don't know you," I answered. The spirit grimaced and sneered. One of its bladed hands pointed accusingly at me.

"You did this to me," it hissed. "You should know who you've killed. again, WHO AM I?" It swung the blade at my head. I was in a panic.

"I don't know! I don't know who you are!" I pleaded. The spirit looked sad -- disappointed, really. Then with a shriek, it swung at my neck...

And I woke up.


Later that year, as I prepped to attend my first Gary Con, I wanted to run a series of old-school RPGs for the Dead Games Society. I scheduled games of Ghostbusters and Timemaster, but I also wanted to run a horror scenario. One of my favorite old-school RPGs was Pacesetter's "Chill" horror RPG. I remembered the image of angry wraith, and the adventure "Arbor Day" -- to later become renamed as "Forget-Me-Not" -- spilled forth. At the convention, the players encountered a scene literally from my nightmares, and I saw both horror and excitement in their eyes as the scenario unfolded.

And I knew more horrific adventures would follow...

[Cryptworld] "Burial Plots" Adventure Compilation Now On Kickstarter!
The Kickstarter for the new CRYPTWORLD adventure supplement "Burial Plots" is now underway! CRYPTWORLD is Pacesetter's game of horror investigation and survival, and "Burial Plots" places your players face-to-face with monstrous THINGS in five full-length scenarios:

Condition Critical
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?

Three days ago, a group of hunters failed to return from their annual deer hunt near Akron, Ohio. Your team of expert trackers and investigators has been brought in to assist in the search. But there seems to be an undercurrent of unease amongst the police who whisper of a disturbing discovery they’ve made. Is there something sinister lurking in the forest?

Death in the Dust
In 1888, the silver-mining boomtown of Weaver, Arizona, was abandoned after a series of unexplained disasters, and the town was left to crumble in the desert sands. Today, the former ghost town has been revitalized as a historical attraction. Is history about to repeat itself?

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?

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear
The Christmas season is typically a time of peace on Earth and goodwill toward men. But one THING has decided to make this year's Yuletide visit to relatives a horrific holiday from Hell.

"Burial Plots" has a modest goal of $1500 to fund, but if $4000 is reached, a new CRYPTWORLD Crypt Master's screen will be designed and released! And those folks who have not yet picked up CRYPTWORLD, the core rules are available as an add-on, as well as the entire Pacesetter RPG line including TIMEMASTER, ROTWORLD, and MAJUS. (And if you want CRYPTWORLD'S first supplement, "Monsters Macabre," that's available too!)

During the funding period, I may revisit each of these five scenarios and give you a bit of background on how these horrors came to life. Stay tuned...

Thursday, September 14, 2017

[Cryptworld] "Creepy Comic Conversion" Issue 2 Now Available IN PRINT

Issue 2 of the "Creepy Comic Conversion" series featuring "The Fleshless Ones" from Worlds of Fear Number 10 (1953) is now available in print from Magcloud! This 24-page mini-comic book takes a horrific tale from a classic horror comic and converts that story into a thrilling adventure for CRYPTWORLD!

In "The Fleshless Ones", Rookie patrolman Perry Mahoney was recently found dead in his apartment from unknown causes. Earlier in the week, he was acting strange, claiming he was being pursued by horrific living skeletons! Was Mahoney’s death caused by paranoia run rampant, or had he stumbled upon a grisly hidden conspiracy to subvert and control mankind?

Issue 2 of the "Creepy Comic Conversion" series is now available in PDF at Drive Through RPG, and in a print-on-demand format at MagCloud. I'll also have copies available at AVL Scarefest and Acadecon this fall, so be sure to look for them. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

[Cryptworld] "Creepy Comic Conversion" Issue 2 Now Available

After nearly 2 years, it's the return of the Creepy Comic Conversion series for Cryptworld!

I love horror comix, especially the long-forgotten ones that have entered the public domain. As a way to bring these amazing terror tales back to life, I’ve grabbed one at random and converted one of the stories as a mini-Cryptworld adventure. In this full-color 24-page zine, you first read the short comic story, then the back-half is that same tale now fleshed out and statted up for an evening’s gaming.

So here is Issue 2 of the "Creepy Comic Conversion" series featuring "The Fleshless Ones" from Worlds of Fear Number 10 (1953). (Cover from Adventures Into Darkness Number 10 (1953)):

In "The Fleshless Ones", Rookie patrolman Perry Mahoney was recently found dead in his apartment from unknown causes. Earlier in the week, he was acting strange, claiming he was being pursued by horrific living skeletons! Was Mahoney’s death caused by paranoia run rampant, or had he stumbled upon a grisly hidden conspiracy to subvert and control mankind?

Issue 2 of the "Creepy Comic Conversion" series is now available in PDF at Drive Through RPG. I'll also have print copies available at AVL Scarefest this fall, so be sure to look for them.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Sketchbook Of Grotesqueries Updated -- Now With 21 THINGS For Cryptworld

(Today's my birthday, but YOU get a present!)

I have updated The Sketchbook of Grotesqueries yet again, and it now contains 21 unique monsters for your Cryptworld campaigns! Bones
Bloody Mary
Carnivorous Swarm
 Diabolic Structure
Mirror Dweller
Screaming Skull
Slender Man
Smiley Face
The Tooth Fairy
White Noise

Saturday, July 8, 2017

"Quill Quest: The Warlord's Downfall" Now Available -- New Quill RPG Scenario Supplement

A year ago, I wrote a review for Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player. In my positive review for this enjoyable game, I mentioned that I had some ideas for some new mechanics for this fun creative writing RPG. I also said that I thought a Quill scenario placed within a fantasy setting would make for a fascinating game. In fact, my exact words were "I can see myself cobbling together a few scenarios of my own to share with the Quill-playing public in the future!" And so, after a year of noodling with the rules and designing the setting and scenarios, I have released my very own Quill supplement!

Your homelands are in turmoil.

Ten long years ago, Gorkill the Ruthless and his armies invaded The Empire of Edhen. The kingdom was unprepared for such swift brutality, and the crown was overthrown within days. Princess Elyn, the remaining heir to the throne, barely escaped the carnage thanks to the quick thinking of Sir Erik the Bold, the palace’s last-surviving champion.

For 5 years, Sir Erik has been formulating a plan to take back the kingdom, and it’s finally time for action. For his gambit to work, he requires the services of four persons with very specialized talents: a warrior stout of heart, a rogue deft in slight-of-hand, an expert underworld explorer, and a sorcerer of immense arcane powers. You are Sir Erik’s scribe, gifted with a flair for language; Sir Erik has passed the responsibly for recruiting his team onto you.

Your research has revealed four individuals who would be perfect for Sir Erik’s quest. You now need to convince each of them to join your master’s crusade to reclaim the lands of Edhen from the grips of Gorkill. And so you now sit down to write four very important dispatches to four very powerful adventurers…

In Quill Quest: The Warlord's Downfall, you’re responsible for writing four letters in an attempt to recruit four adventurers to Sir Erik’s cause: Britha the Warrior, Kamron the Rogue, Roinan the Dwarf, and Bartholomew the Wizard. After receiving your letters, will they join your quest? Have your words motivated them to offer additional benefits to the team? Or have your words insulted and enraged them so much that they are driven to sabotage any future letters you’ve written? 

Quill Quest: The Warlord's Downfall is now available in PDF at Drive Through RPG. (A copy of Quill: A Letter-Writing Roleplaying Game for a Single Player is required to play.) Both Quill and Quill Quest are available as Pay What You Want releases, so try before you buy, if you prefer. Also, Quill and Quill Quest have both been released under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.

Friday, June 30, 2017

[Cryptworld] New Thing: Gutpile

An "Organic" Monster for Cryptworld

STR: 6 (90)--- WPR: 3 (45)
DEX: 2 (30) --- PER: 1 (15)
AGL: 2 (30) --- PCN: 1 (15)
STA: 5 (75) --- PWR: NA
ATT: 2/60% --- WND: 15
MV:  L 100

Experience: 600

When a large number of animals are slaughtered and gutted, hunters and butchers alike usually dispose of the internal organs into a charnel pit of some kind. Sometimes these cast-off tissues will fuse together and, when exposed to arcane rituals and/or toxic chemicals, a humanoid nightmare will arise from the castoff remains.

A Gutpile is a human-shaped creature composed of various internal organs that have fused together: stomachs, brains, hearts, lungs, intestines, and various other cast-offs from meat-processing. A Gutpile varies in size, depending on the amount of tissues that were in the pit at the time of its resurrection, but they stand on average about 6 feet high. The Gutpile's surface is constantly oozing and dripping with various fluids, blood, and ichors. The creature doesn't speak or make any noise, except for the wet "sloshing" of its body as it lunges along. The Gutpile also reeks of decay and decomposition; its odor usually is detected long before the creature arrives.

The Gutpile is constantly in a state of agonizing pain as its nerve endings are on fire. (Imagine having all of your skin removed, your organs exposed, and being unable to scream.) Due to this, what little intelligence it may have is blinded by agony, and it lashes out in a constant insane fury at any it encounters. The Gutpile attacks with its two bulbous "fists" for two crushing attacks per round. Also, due to the rot and decay that permeates the diseased THING, there is a chance that a victim will contract the Flesh-Eating Bacteria disease (CW rules, pg. 42). Upon a successful strike, a victim must make a specific check versus a potency 8 illness to avoid contracting the disease, which will slowly begin eroding parts of the body.

When a Gutpile is encountered, the most humane thing to do is to put it out of its misery as quickly as possible. While it "lives," it will rampage wildly, killing and infecting all in its path. Once destroyed, the charnel pit that spawned it should be set ablaze lest the same event occur again.

NOTE: This "living charnel pit" originally appeared here as a Mutant Future creature. But the idea of a writhing, walking mass of organs was horrific enough to convert the concept to a Cryptworld THING!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Do-It-Yourself Lovecraft/Cthulhu Picture Dice

In my last blog post, I lamented that there wasn't yet a Lovecraft-themed set of Rory's Story Cubes. After all, they have many different sets available, as well as licensed sets like Batman, Doctor Who, Scooby Doo, and Adventure Time (later this year). So why not some Story Cubes based on the brain-melting horrors of The Great Old Ones?

So, as I usually do when I want something that doesn't exist, I made it myself.

My Lovecraft picture dice is a mini-set of three cubes with 18 iconic images of a Cthulhu-esque nature. I went online with a list of icons I wanted to find and, sticking to simple black-and-white line art, found some suitable artwork to use. I created a template of 20 1-inch squares, and fit each of the 18 images within. I had a set of spare white 6-siders that were 1/2 inch across, so I shrank my template by 50% (so the squares were now 1/2 inch across), then printed it out on a sheet of label paper. I cut out the squares, adhered them randomly to my spare dice, and now I have my own set of Lovecraftian picture dice to use with my Story Cubes. (I also plan to use them with Untold: Adventures Await upon Kickstarter fulfillment.)

Here's the image I created. I'll leave the descriptions of what each represents up to your imagination:

Oh, and if you wish to create your own set of Lovecraft picture dice, you can either grab the image above of download the original PNG file from my Google Drive at this link. Print it off, cut it out, and glue the 18 images to three spare dice. Then roll up some Lovecraftian nightmares of your own!

Untold: Adventures Await -- The Rory's Story Cube Adventure Game Now Kickstarting!

Hey gang, long time no see!

I've mentioned my love of Rory's Story Cubes in a previous blog post. These nifty little iconic dice are a fantastic imagination jogger, giving you a million ideas and inspirations all from a toss of these picturesque cubes. I've often thought that these would make a great basis for a simple RPG-like game system. Well, the folks at The Creativity Hub have been working on such a project for a while now and Untold: Adventures Await is the result. The game is now Kickstarting, in fact.

The customizable storytelling game is structured into "acts" or "scenes", with each act revealing more of the story as the game progresses. Each tale starts with a Danger that is established (the reason your character is involved in the story), followed by Intrigue (the plot twist), Confrontation (the PC swing into action), Revelation (the true motivations of the NPCs come to light), and Showdown (the final epic ending). The system may seem a bit structured, but that's to emulate the same structures found in television episodes and/or radio plays. Although the players get to choose the genre or "type" of story they wish to participate in, the adventure grows organically through the random tossing of the story cubes as well as the flowchart-like story board of Untold as the game is played.

I'm being a bit vague as to how the game works as I don't want to give away all of the secrets in this blog post. (Plus I have another story cube-related post coming after this one!) The Kickstarter page has a How To Play video posted that shows you how the game works, and a live playthrough was just held this evening. (A video should be posted in the next day or so.) Still not sure? How about if you download Untold's Print and Play set and give it a try? (Story Cubes not included so you gotta use your own.)

You can use any set of nine Story Cubes you want, and you can even mix them up from various sets to create even more variations of tales. I plan to use the Fright Set along with the Clues Set to play some investigative horror games later! It's just a shame that there isn't a set of Lovecraft/Cthulhu Story Cubes!

(Or is there? Stay tuned for my follow-up blog post!)

Sunday, January 15, 2017

A Sneak Peak Into My "Gaming Projects" Notebook

Many of you who know me or have hung out with me have no doubt seen me toting around my little black notebook (pictured here). I have carried this notebook -- or one like it -- for years. I have it with me at work, at events, in my car, and resting on the table next to me as I hammer out this post. Inside my "Gaming Projects" notebook is a collection of notes, scripts, ideas, and works-in-progress for a variety of games and systems.

Today, I went through my notebook and did a bit of organizing. I thought it'd be a fun "glimpse" for you if I were to make a quick listing of things and projects currently in the works.

(Don't ask me to expound on anything here, nor ask me what my timeline is for any of these. I work on them as the mood hits, and release them when they're done. But here's some stuff you can look forward to one day in the future.)

(CW = Cryptworld; TM = Timemaster; MF = Mutant Future; DCC = Dungeon Crawl Classics; HOPE = Our Last Best Hope; Fiasco = Fiasco; Anything is "quotes" is the working title of a scenario/adventure in the works)

CW - "Speed Demon" - Driverless vehicle terrorizes small town
CW - "Final Voyage of the Golden Dawn" - Abandoned ship found floating off shore.
CW - "Last Call/Wasted" - Zombies attack a remote tavern. Players are barflies.
CW - "The CW Atlas" - Worldwide locations of supernatural interest.
CW - "Expiration Date" - PCs cheat Death. He's not happy about it.
CW - "The Coldcreek Conspiracy" - Based on a Cryptworld adventure-writing exercise.
CW - "Kid Stuff" - Adults in a neighborhood disappear. Creepy kids terrorize the area.
CW - "Maul Be Home for Christmas" - A department store Santa is found murdered after hours in a locked-down mall.
CW - "Lost Vegas" - Unexplained murders in a Vegas casino.
CW - "Untitled Solo CW Adventure" - A one-person solo adventure to learn the system.
CW - "The Century of the Dead" - A village of the undead reappears for 24 hours every 100 years (Brigadoon-inspired).
CW - "Deadfall" - Collyer Brothers-inspired trap-laden house -- and something lurks within.
CW - Helltown, Ohio
CW/ROT - "Knights of the Living Dead"
CW - THINGS to stat uup: Drauger; Computer Virus; Worm That Walks; Succubus/Incubus; Tsukumogami; Bog Mummy/Salt Mummy/Ice Mummy; Pollo Maligro; Zombeak
TM - Jenny Everywhere
TM - "An Apple A Day" -- Millions of deaths due to the lack of a single piece of fruit.
TM - "Postage Due/The Day The Sky Fell" - Compilation of TM adventures I've written.
MF - "Dead In The Water" - Written; just needs to be assembled and distributed.
MF - "World of Korgoth of Barbaria supplement"
CAH - "Transylmania"
DCC - "The Scourge From Beyond Infinity"
DCC - "Escape From Vulture Gully"
HOPE - "Virus"
FIASCO - "Small Town Ink"