Wednesday, August 31, 2011

It Came from Beyond the Still - Cover Art Finished!

Here's the cover art for the upcoming game of Hillbillies versus Aliens - It Came From Beyond the Still!

Cute and Deadly

Taking a cue from Christian over at Destination Unknown in his today's blog of Freakish Menagerie I have decided that the next game session will feature a soul-eating Teddy Bear with a heart balloon. The heart is an actual heart of the Heartless Teddybear who lies in wait and forces unsuspecting adventurers to hear his dreadful lullabies.Kudos to you Christian. I think DMs everywhere will appreciate your savage cruelty.

OSR Challenge of September Short Adventurers

I have decided to take the challenge posted to me by Porky. I am participating in the OSR Challenge of September Short Adventurers. It breaks down to one super-short adventure every day for the entire month of September.

Since this is such a very large scale challenge I have decided to break up the campaign settings throughout the month and put some in the world of When the Navy Walked, some in Ravenloft, some in Forgotten Realms, one in Dragonlance, one in Darksun and some in the World of Darkness. This should be a heck of a journey! Enjoy!

I will be using the Get Ready, Get Set, Go adventure layout developed by AHP. Below is the format I will be using for all adventures.

(Title): A Get Ready, Get Set, Go! (Game System) adventure set in (Campaign Setting)
Fill out the title, what game system you are using and what, if any, campaign setting you're using.

Get Ready:
A short, two-sentences maximum situation description. It's your elevator pitch opportunity to tell us about your adventure.

Get Set:
Add more information here, including why the PCs are involved, more details on the situation, and some starting NPCs and why they are doing what they're doing.

Here's where the PCs are getting to the meat of the problem. Include twists, turns and additional complications to the situation.

Notable NPCs:
Provide a detailed, yet short, NPC stat block. Include any special abilities as well as any notes for further play if the adventure is part of a continuing campaign.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Airships and Skypirates Cover

Take your battles to the skies and beyond with this upcoming expansion of WTNW that introduces an all new element of air-to-ground and full fleet scale battles! Coming in Winter 2011 (December).

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pics from apocalypse game.

Today at borderlands they were playing a HUGE game of 40k Apocalypse. There were titans, stompas, more titans, baneblades, shadowfists, greater demons, demon engines and more dreadnoughts and terminators than you can shake a stick at. It was quite impressive!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Flash Fearsday - 140 Character Horror Story - No Peace

Lunching on Lamias has continued where Porky left off. Write a horror story in 140 characters or less. Here is my submission for today.


Today there is nothing except blood. Outside it rains death.  There is no peace. Yesterday was more of the same. Humanity failed and sorrow has its victor. Death comes.

Your Old Friend from the Ezine Days

You know me. That's right you really do. I've been writing to you in one form or another now for many years. I was lucky enough to be involved in the development of Obsidian Studio's project RPG called CORE. It was Sean Patrick Fannon's brainchild Shaintar that really took off out of it though and during those years I really got to know some good folks. I have since been in the industry and have at times helped write parts of other RPGS. I can say that much of my material on the Goblinesh was used in Shaintar. I also have credits with Ambush Alley Games and am currently developing several lines under my company The ArmChair General. What can I say? I was born to design games, tell stories and write!

What you might not know is that I also wrote for several EZines years ago among them Silven Trumpeter and TempesT's Lore. I am looking for said EZine issues in which I contributed. One, since they are now out of print I would like to put the articles on my blog here as DM Help and two I am putting together my writing portfolio. So if anyone out there can help me with this task if you have any of the aforementioned articles laying about please send them to me so that I might find the old stories about Arris Braxis (Bio of a Madman), Making NPC Fun, Alternatives to Experience Points (Several articles), Monsters of the Sands and others.

Also keep an eye and several teeth out for It Came From Beyond the Still (Aliens versus Hillbillies), Black Flags and Merchantmen and the upcoming When the Navy Walked: Airships and Skypirates!


Tuesday, August 23, 2011

It Came from Beyond the Still - Rules Nearing Completion

I stayed up last last night writing the rules for each faction for the game. The game is nearing completion at my end. All that is left for the factions are the McCoys, the Authorities and the "Others". Then I will write up some scenarios then its off to the layout artist with the fine artwork from Scrying Eye Games and Eli Arndt. You will have to wait and get the game to see what the 'Others' might be. As a special treat here's a sneak peak at a little of the introduction to the game.

A Message from the Aliens

“Greetings earthling, I am Neuron, what you pathetic mammals would call a gray alien. Somehow, don’t ask me how, but you’ve managed to score a copy of these rules and with them all our secrets and weapons. If you try really hard I expect you can put it to good use in your inevitable deaths. Who knows, maybe you can use it to make one final pathetic stand against what will ultimately prove to be the extinction of your species but first you need to know this… we’re watching.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Hillbillies and Aliens

Wrote up a quick game today that takes about an hour to play. It's Hillbillies and Aliens although the game is so simple it would work with just about anyone and Aliens. I'll put it together and put a nice cover on it and put it up as a couple dollar download on Wargamevault. I think small cheap games might be a nice way to get some of these ideas out there that I've had. Special thanks to Dan Van Horn and Rick Weaver for some of the ideas and of course Aliens, Farmers, Hillbillies and cows everywhere...

 I played the McCoys and the Hatfields and Rick played the aliens watched from their cabin nearby. I guess they didn't want to get their shiny new truck damaged by the alien robot or the alien's ray guns. The Aliens objective was to get five samples from the critters or stunned humans and the humans objective was to survive and to eliminate as many aliens as they could.

Turn one had the Aliens landing and sending out search parties for pigs and chickens. Cousin Bob the drunk heard the aliens but no one would believe him until jim saw the robot walking in the distance.

Turn two we had a little bit of ray gun versus shot gun exchange and each side took some hits.

Turn three Rick got his first and second sample from pigs and a stunned and out of the game grandpa who before he went down took one of the varmits with him with his double barreled shot gun.

Turn four had Suzy taking on one of the aliens (the aliens had names but I cannot remember them because they mind wiped me) but unfortunately for her she was out gunned and went down after firing her shotgun.

Turn five had the aliens getting another dna sample from the pigs and taking one from poor suzy. The robot was charged by Jim and Cousin gary provided pistol cover as Jim slammed the metallic monster with his 2x4. The robot's claws tore into Jim causing him to retreat.

The next turn the robot used his heat ray to destroy drunk bob and sadly only mom remainder with sonny boy and baby. The chase was on as they chased the aliens who had acquired their ill-gotten samples back to their ufo and escaped to the sequel.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Black Flags and Merchantmen - Playtest English Vs Pirates

Commence the fighting lads! We played a marvelous game of Black Flags and Merchantmen on Wednesday 8/17/11 this week. The Jacksonville Garrison folks were there to support my new endeavor and they were more than happy to aid in rolling dice, moving ships and shooting each other (in the game of course)! 

Even though I am planning to have this game span the gambit of pirate activity, I have decided to work up the main rules using one period first before moving to others. The rules will have a core mechanic and plugins that will be available depending on the genre you wish to play. For my main period I am using Golden Age of Pirates.

To that end each person was given 100 gold to spend on ship, crew, cannon and weapons with the exception of John Murk who played the English settlement complete with heavy cannon and a sloop of his own.

Almost everyone picked a sloop for their maneuverability, speed and cost but a few picked schooners and one enterprising fellow selected a brig. I cannot remember which ship everyone chose but the game was a lot of fun although we only played for two hours because people had to leave.

Pirates: Joey Caso, Joe Caso, Edgar Pabon, Brent Rogers, Rick Weaver
English: John Murk
Pirates Win!

The first and second turn had people attempting to maneuver with the wind and get into good positions with their boats. There was a little cannon play but for the most part it was quiet. The third turn had Joe Caso bombing the English settlement and the English returning in kind while Rick Weaver and Brent Rogers snuck up around the island to attack the English hand to hand (and shot each other’s ship up along the way).

The next round had the pirates going ashore and a massive bloody melee that took place followed by an all out route by one of the pirate crews. Joe Caso and John Murk continued to fire at one another while John’s boys on the leeward side of the island kept up the good fight against the dastardly pirates.

The final round had Edgar and Joey trading shots and a collision (intentional ram) by Edgar across the sweet spot along Joey’s stern. As the bow sprint smashed into the broadsides of the sloop Edgar’s schooner smashed into the smaller ship causing the two to become befuddled and lose rigging. No matter that though onto the broadsides where the cannons tore into the hull almost causing waterline damage and the crew quickly assailing one another.

That same turn Joe turned grapeshot (canister) onto the English and tore into the English crew on the island whilst the dastardly pirates of Brents (who had to leave) and Rick (who also had to leave) were taken by me and charged headlong into John’s English (and into a part of the story that is yet to be told…)
After the game I spent about an hour parlaying with Edgar over the finer points of the Age of Sail. His tactical experience and nautical acumen will be an asset to the development of this game.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

WTNW Figures First Look

We have posted a first look at our figures for the British, Germans, Americans and French over on The Miniature Page.

Monday, August 15, 2011

SG1 Rise of the Sun - Character Creation

I just finished reading the full campaign book and some of the System Lord book two. I am really excited about char gen this week and getting to really get into it with the players.

When I run I like to create an easy sheet for character creating so that all players have their options readily spelled out to them. I have done so for this SG1 campaign which I am calling Rise of the Sun.

I am basically allowing the players use any macro specality and species except the Asgard and any Goa'uld or any jaffa other than Shol'va. This will allow players the choice of Shol'va Jaffa, Tok'Ra, Reol and near humans like the Cimmerian or Tollan in addition to Tauri. This should be very interesting indeed! I am posting the guidelines here for reference and for your own use.

Step by Step Guide to Creating Your Character for the Rise of the Sun campaign.
I. Assign abilities: 10,11,12,14,16,18 (assign these scores as you see fit)
II. Race: Decide if you want to be human (Tauri), Near Human, Shol’va Jaffa, Tok’ra, Reol.
III. Base Class: Choose a basic class (Explorer, Guardian (Jaffa Only), Pointman, Scientist, Scout or Solider.
IV. Select Macro Specialty/Macro Species:
a. Air-Force – Air Force Officer, Air Force Technician, Enlisted Air Force Recruit, Pararescue.
b. Army -  Army Officer, Army Ranger, Army Technician, Enlisted Army Recruit.
c. Marine – Enlisted Marine, Force Reconnaissance, Marine Officer, Marine Technician.
d. Navy -  Enlisted Navy Recruit, Naval Officer, Naval Technician, SEAL.
e. NID – Restricted for this campaign.
f. Civilian Specialist
g. Diplomatic Corps
h. Engineer Corps
i. Russian Unit
j. Asgard – Restricted for this campaign.
k. Jaffa – Shol’va Rebel
l. Near Human – See DM to build.
m. Reol – Alien Observer, Fugitive Reol, Reol Mole
n. Tok’Ra – Tok’ra Undercover Operative, Tok’ra Warrior
V. Figured Stats: Calculate and record Fort, Will, Ref, Vitality, Wounds, Intuitive
VI. Select Skills and Feats
VII. Answer these questions both what and why.
a. Name three traits you would like to see in your character
b. Name three traits your character doesn’t like in someone else
c. Where was your character born, and when?
d. What is your ideal character’s specialty?
e. What does your character look like?
f. Does your character have any quirks?
g. What does your character love most?
h. What are your character’s favorite things?
i. What was the most important event in your character’s life?
j. What does your character think of the Stargates?
k. What is your character’s motivation?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Upcoming SG1 Villain

Next Saturday we will sit down and make up characters for the Stargate SG1 game and then watch the Stargate movie. It is my intention to have the characters newly recruited to replace the former SG3 who disappeared on P3X187. They will be completely new to the Stargate Command and will not know about operational procedures or anything else for that matter. This will give me a good amount of leeway in roleplaying General Hammond and the other SGC personnel.

For the first game I am going to have them approached individually and offered the chance to join the SCG. It will be very cloak and dagger. A black sedan pulls up to their house or place of work and a couple of people get out and tell the character to come with them. Then they will be escorted offsite.

Once inside a room they will be asked some questions to gauge their mental acuity and ability at which point their dossiers will be pulled out and tossed Matrix style on the table and they will be asked once if they are interested in joining a special operation that is of the utmost importance to the security of the USA and the world. After that they will all meet in a secured facility and be flown out to Cheyenne Mountain and introduced to the SGC. There they will be assigned the designation of SG3 and they will build their team. 

The beautiful thing about Stargate are there are so many villains out there already.  My thought is to use the history that is steeped in ancient Egyptian tradition and use the pharaoh Akhenaten as the main villain. Obviously he will be a gou'uld but there is just so much here that will be useful. For one thing he could be on the run from the System Lords since he was literally shunned by his people in real life. He worshiped Aton the sun and was generally despised by all those that followed.

Any ideas on what I could do to make Akhenaten stand out among the others and not just be another Gou'uld (as fun as that may be).

Stargate, SG1 and stargate logo are the property of MGM.

WTNW: Earthin and Venus/Mercury

I know that our fan base is still somewhat small but with the release of the new miniature line and the update to the rules I am expecting it will only continue to grow. As my core fans and friends you should all know that we are currently finishing up Airships and Skypirates the second supplement for When the Navy Walked. I have pushed for three books a year and to that end we have started on the Earthin supplement covering the Inner Earth and the Fallen as well as the Venus/Mercury supplement featuring the Venus mentioned in The Aethergraph's latest issue at Victoria's Boys in Red.

For those of you who are new to When the Navy Walked you can check out the reviews yourselves at The Porkster, Board Game Geek and at War Game Vault.

When I started off with this project I decided from the very start that I wanted to have something that would be usable by everyone for their own worlds as well as have a concrete universe built that contains enough history and information to be playable but not too much to detract from the game.

To this end we are starting on the third and fourth supplements to the core rules. Have you ever wanted to take part in world building? Well now's your time to chime in and be heard. What would you like to see in Earthin? What would you like to see in Venus/Mercury. At this point I do have a strong idea of where I would like to go but the beautiful thing about fantasy and VSF is that it can be altered. If your idea is used you will be credited in the book.

Thank you

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Frozen Planet Boards

Yesterday I got a present from Brad over at Frozen Planet. I had him do these for me so I could get an idea of how he does things. I am VERY impressed! There are four 2'x2' boards that are about 1" thick. They are made of fiberglass and bar coating and are industrial strength. They are resistant to chipping unless dropped and are very sturdy. In the words of Brad "These boards could be used as flooring." They are somewhat heavy which helps them lay flatter on the surface of a table.

The boards area double sided. One side features Red Mars complete with red clay and hills, valleys and rifts and the other side features a gray crater landscape with green pools of liquid. I have to say I am very impressed and I will be using him to do some swamp boards, think Nurgle.

The boards themselves are balanced really well considering that they are double sided and Brad did a fine job of them. I did a double sided board though so that I could bring one set of boards to the gaming cons and not have to bring two. I would recommend that you only do one side normally.

What do you think?

Friday, August 5, 2011

CoTS - World Stone - Session V

The evil illithids and beholders are still working to sunder the World Stone. As our heroes venture deeper into the caverns can they find enough treasure and potions to sustain them as they take on the villainous mind flayers and beholders and stop them from destroying the World Stone and thereby save Faerun from a second cataclysm!

The world stone is in the far right corner with the Ice Beholder.

Edit: In a climatic battle in which several almost met the grim fate of death and more than one was returned from the brink they won. They defeated the grimlocks, beholders, Eye Tyrant, Illithids and their Hook Horror servants as well as the Illithid Savant named Baihir and stopped them from sundering the world stone. So ends the seventh campagin for the Chronicles of the Six. They all leveled and will be retiring their characters for a while. Ariadine Moonshadow settles down with her library taken from the Illithids and her travels in a tower just outside of Silverymoon.

Grusk takes up the mantle of Kelemvor and is charged with aiding the mission of the Doom Guides in ensuring souls are delivered to their rightful places. He is given this task along with several high ranking doom guides.

Kreek and Marcus settle down and return to Silverymoon to raise their family. Kreek opens a winery and continues in her father's name while her husband becomes a world-reknown bard entertaining the masses.

Lavindra N'Toth returns to her keep and to the Queen Brennon of the Dales and rules with a just wisdom of the celestial host.

Farkus returns to his order of Knights of the Hawk and teaches the young knights the art all the while regaling them with stories of how he defeated the Hook Horror in one fell blow.

Jaraxthus and Chicory return to Waterdeep and open a college of mentalists. They are quickly approached by Kalban and adopted into the Watchers of Waterdeep.

Lance's story is told in the annals of the lords of Lathander. In the Spires of Morning his tales are regaled and revered by those that knew him as he fell fighting the dark evil of Dracula.

Xula is reunited with her people although the Shadowlords have taken a portion of the Anaruch desert and begun to transform it into their own paradise of shadow her people are at least safe from the slavers of the Zhents.

The woman from Chult and the princess from Calimshan continue to make out their existence in the realms never knowing that their world was almost destroyed.

Therin continues to serve as Mask's emissary and spy and every now and then checks on his friends in Faerun.

Daldoth returns to Obold Many Arrows to tell of the tales of the brave heroes from Silverymoon and to warn of further attack against the Lady of Silver. Daldoth remains devoted to doing Gruumsh's dirty work.

The Rot Lord and the 13 necrolords wait in another realm for 1,000 years to be reborn to once again challenge Kelemvor's rule over the dead.

The iconic monsters of Ravenloft continue to be taunted by the dark powers never knowing that their own fate rests within their own selfish ambition.

For our heroes there is rest... For our villains there is justice... The world is once again a somewhat lawful and peaceful place.

EPIC STORYARC - The Chronicles of the Six

  • Ariadine Moonshadow - Silver Elf Archmage of Mystra
  • Grusk - Monk of Kelemvor (Demigod)
  • Kreek Tellune (Eveningstar) - Ranger of Melikki
  • Marcus Tellune - Chandothan Bard/Ranger
  • Lavindra N'Toth - Drow Mage/Divine Channeler
  • Lace - Chandothan Radiant Light Cleric of Lanthander
  • Jaraxathus - Illuskan Master Enchanter
  • Xula - Fighter of the Bedine Tribe
  • Farkus Frakus - Warrior of the Hawk Arts
  • Quia - Chultian warrior and guide
  • Therin - Gnome Shadowdancer
  • Daldoth - Orc warrior of Grummsh
  • Whisper - Gnome Rogue/Mage from Kartakass
  • Vortigern the doppelganger (ongoing until about Chult)
  • Orc Alliance
  • Dungeonland (Alice and Wonderland like setting)
  • Yuan-ti and the Orcs
  • Chult Campaign against the Yuan-ti and Naga
  • Chult Campaign against the Wolf Lord
  • Ravenloft and the Adult Black Dragon
  • Ravenloft and the Riddle of Harkon Lucas
  • Escape from Ravenloft and the Beastlands
  • Dreamlands
  • Return to Chult
  • Journey to Calimshan
  • Thick and Thieves
  • Battle of the Rot Lord
  • World Stone
Our campaign lasted from March 2009 to August 2011. The highest level was 18th and the lowest was 16th. So ends the first tales of the Chronicles of the Six.

DM help - Right Tools

WOW! Two DM Help articles in one week!  Last article I talked about using your voice to give your NPCs distinctive speech patterns, accents and tone. This article will discuss some of the tools that are available to DMs.

The other day I had a buddy of mine over and we were cutting the large 12x6 foot table in the garage down to  6x8 and 4x6 tables. I noticed we needed a lot of tools to cut the table in half - saw, hammer, nails, screws, ruler, balance, zawzaw, etc. and as I looked around at my cornucopia of gaming paraphernalia it got me started thinking about what tools I might have accumulated over the years that I've used in gaming. What tools I collected that I still use and which tools have fallen by the wayside and made way for bigger, badder and more appropriate tools.

What's a Good Tool?
What makes a good tool for a DM? Well for starters a good tool needs to have some kind of relevance for a game and something that is easily accessible and serves a purpose. So let's go over some of the tools and if you think of others feel free to reply to this post. I know my list is not exhaustive by any means.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

DM Help - It's in the Voice

Voices can make the campaign world. What do I mean by that? Well what is the first thing you think of when  you think of Braveheart, Zorro, Inigo Montoya, Fezzek, Conan, etc? I’ll bet that you think of a quote and you think it in your head as they would say it including their manner of speech and their accents.

While every player intimately knows their characters - how their characters will react, think, look and sound, you are the DM and it is your job to try to be the rest of the world. If that mountain dwarf Grendel of the Far Clan is going to have a gruff accent with a Scottish undertone, it is up to you to convey it in your voice. If you want your players to role play their characters then you should expect that they will want you to roleplay your npcs.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

SuperDungeon - Session VIV

Session VIV - 8/2/11
In Town
Quinlan reads the letter. This is a personal letter to his mother and is out of character but fun for his player Jaz to share. The party talks with Don Julian to discuss setting up a base of operations and a business to sell goods. They are told that they will be required to pay taxes to the local government and to the Baron of the region and to register with the guild. Approx a 5% monthly tax on their establishment, 2% local sales and 5% state sales tax paid monthly.

SuperDungeon - Session VIII

Session VIII  7/25/11
Return of the Heroes
That night the party returns to the town to a welcoming village. Tyne is welcomed and tended to by the acolytes of AO Sonja and Vera. The party is given a warm reception and provided a hot meal and hot baths where they consult with one another and Meg tells them about the conversation she overheard regarding the meeting of Kol and the female 'Ducat'.

Dr Who Poll

The Doctor Who poll has closed. Surprisingly Tom Baker and David Tenant tied for first place! What was your favorite Dr Who Episode? Who's your favorite Dr Who villain?