Over on this post I gave my off the cuff thoughts on Rogueland and Caverns of Heresy hooked me up with this sweet print copy. What a great little game. I could seriously adopt this as a go-to for adventure gaming. Not sure why, but it hits the right beats.
Saturday, March 25, 2023
Sunday, March 19, 2023
THREE RULES FOR OSR GAMES
Just a quick set of house rules that sound fun and useful for OSR games. The idea is you can keep the rules as written as much as you like, but just add these as a final layer on top for players to use. These are all situation-driven, so there's no record keeping.
Let's call this set of three the SCL (Solid Crit Luck), for shorthand. Or maybe A-SEAL because it sounds like that when you say it. Doesn't matter.
1. Solid Hits.
This comes from GOZR. If you succeed on an attack by 5 or more, you get Adv on damage roll.
Fighters can choose to divide their damage between up to 3 adjacent targets, even though they only technically hit one of them. Example would be hitting a goblin and getting 10 damage. You could give 3, 3, and 4 damage to three of the gobbos.
If it is a saving throw, and if making the save still deals some kind of damage to you, then a Solid Hit on the save halves the already reduced damage.
If it is any other roll and you succeed by 5+ or by 25% or more, the GM may grant a small boon in some cases. Maybe just name a trivial benefit (see item 3 below).
2. Double Crit.
If you crit and then roll max damage, you have a double crit. Whatever effects your crit normally has, you double them. Obvious example is damage x2 then x2 again. But if you get a benefit, such as an extra attack on a crit, then you get another extra attack.
This one assumes you use crits, of course. If you don't... I cannot help you.
3. Lucky Number.
Roll 1d20. Whatever the result, this is your character’s lucky number. Any time you roll this number on any attack roll or save, you get to name a trivial benefit. The GM can veto or tweak it, of course.
Example: Your number is 11. You roll 11 on an attack. Not enough to hit! But you say “My attack throws him off balance.” The GM agrees and either grants you +1 to the next roll or penalizes the enemy by -1 on their next attack.
This one was inspired by Neoclassical Geek Revival, which I haven't played. So I don't know how it works in that game, I just know it has a similar rule.
Sunday, March 12, 2023
I've been watching a few art videos lately. Of course there's the magnificent Cartoonist Kayfabe channel with TONS of videos where Ed Piskor and Jim Rugg flip through various comics. But I think everyone knows about that.
Here's a cool one I found today called CUTE MKUltras explaining the use of some cheap markers they bought. Cool vid, fun, informative. Looks like this guy does mostly graffiti style art, which I dig. No clue about the name of the channel... "MKUltras" is weird for an art channel. Right? MIND CONTROL...!
Saturday, March 11, 2023
While we're on a GOZR kick, here's a new piece of art for the next book. Maybe for the comic, maybe for the game book. I dunno. I'm making all this up as I go along.
GOZR Comic Talk
Currently working on a comic book script for GOZR. I've had this idea since day one to use the hooligans from the cover as characters in a comic. Not sure when it'll get done, but I can say that the fires of inspiration are burning brightly and I have a complete story sketched out. Just need to smooth out the script, then draw it.
Oh, here's the names of the usual suspects. Right now only a few of them have distinct traits I can even speak about. Urkkol seems to be my lead character, with Aju as his right hand guy, Butter Jam as a kind of wild card ally, and Foz as the weird inscrutable wizard. The rest are revealing themselves to me slowly.
Some of them may die, but that is a sacrifice I'm willing to make.
So what is this comic about? Well, gooz, of course. The story I'm working on, titled "The Beacon", is about Orkkol leading his team of gooz adventurers on a mission to recover a lost artifact for a powerful gooz magistrate. I'm channeling my inner Richard Corben + Jack Kirby, if I can.
Friday, March 3, 2023
At long last, the Rock Hardy Book of Dwarfs is in the hands of a mighty layout artist known as Matt the Hildebrand.
I decided this book would be part of my Doomslakers Adventures series, which started in 2014 with Howler. I've long neglected doing modules and it's high time I got back to it. This isn't an adventure, but more of a setting, though it does include a short adventure at the end of the book. It's a book that outlines life in the Rock Hardy Mountains among the dwarfs (see Black Pudding #7 gazetteer).
It'll be something like 24-28 pages, 8.5x11 module size. Whereas the first two in the DSA series are specifically Labyrinth Lord compatible, I think this one will fly solo. I could slap an OSE label on it, but I'm kind of leaning toward just a general "BX" vibe. Obviously it is fully compatible with OSE, LL, BFRPG, etc.
This is the cover art, but not the final cover layout.
Here are the first two modules:
Saturday, February 25, 2023
I've updated my website to finally include some comics. Because, y'know, I used to do some comics back when I was young and stupid. Now that I'm older and growing stupider by the day, I'm doing some comics again. Yay comics! If fuckin' love comics.
So go read Eggsuckers, First and Last Love, Red Path, and more!
THINKING OUT LOUD
I have been pumping myself up to publish a comic book again. I'm not sure what the plan is, exactly, but perhaps I'll do an old fashioned black and white. I have at least 18 new pages for it, after all, and more to come. Time will tell, as it always does.
Sunday, February 19, 2023
Delivering the Mail
I wanna take a moment to appreciate the raw wizardry of Hank Van Brunt's comics. I have no idea what these comics are about other than a gritty crew of space faring adventurers jetting around doing cool stuff with sick looking space vehicles. He posts panels on Instagram that feel, to a casual observer like me, quite random.
If you like comics, space comics, sci-fi, fantasy, and European style gritty, grimy, hodge-podge ships then you need to check it out.
Oh... and glorious hair.
What I love about Hank's comics, besides the theme and imagery itself, is just how confidently casual he is with them. Or appears to be. Maybe he obsesses over each line. I don't know. But the vibe is spontaneous, instant, elegant, but also quirky and awkward in every good way. He colors outside the lines.
I’m 52 years old and I’ve been drawing since as long as I can remember. My earliest memory of drawing was in first grade when I was drawing a monster truck*. I remember this moment because someone said I was a “good artist”. I don’t remember before that.
The first comic I remember drawing was around 1980 and it involved the Thing, Hulk, maybe Spider-Man. It was on typing paper, folded in half like a book. But I didn’t seriously draw another comic until 1987 when I got started drawing comics and publishing them in the small press scene. I was very active in that scene all through the 90s, even attending a few conventions (not normally my bag… which I’ll get to shortly).
The first time I was paid to do art was in 1988. A local poet paid me to draw a few pieces for his poetry zine, Promise. In 1994 I got some work published in a fantasy prose zine, the name of which escapes me. And all during that time I was collaborating and drawing for other small press publishers.
In 2000 or so, I stumbled upon the budding indie TTRPG scene and started drawing art for RPGs. I don’t remember which was the first one, but it was likely Adept Press or Clinton R. Nixon Games. At this time I was still publishing comics and then I started to publish gaming material as well. I write a few games, such as The Pool and The Questing Beast.
In 2005, I had my comic Pan-Gea published by Ape Entertainment. I call this my first professional comic book because it was printed professionally and listed in Previews. I was very proud of that moment.
Then I had kids and I dipped out of the scene, more or less. I spent most of the rest of the 2000s and 2010s kind of in my own little world. I was drawing a lot, mostly doing webcomics like Zyn Dweomer and drawing a lot of sex comics and stuff.
It was around 2012 or 2013 that I discovered there was this whole OSR scene going on. I was amazed. I wish I had been tuned in to it earlier because I would have been ALL OVER IT from the start, had I known. But I didn’t.
So from around 2014 I started publishing my own OSR RPG books. In 2016 I started publishing Black Pudding, which was the most successful thing I had done at that point in the RPG scene.
And that brings us up to current. I’m still making Black Pudding and other game books. My jam right now is creating art and RPG stuff as the mood strikes and making it into books.
Looking back over all this, I would say if there is a through-line it is that I am a maker of books. I just love the idea of making a book and I’m always thinking about how it will look, feel, and be read. Even when I’m just randomly sketching I’m often thinking about how the sketches might fit a book page. It’s a bit of an obsession.
*And it was 1975 so I’m not sure it was a “monster truck” or just a truck.
Saturday, February 18, 2023
I Opened My RPG Folder and it Shot Acid in My Face
Yet another journey into looking at random RPG PDFs and commenting on them without reflection or preparation of any significant kind because that's how you get the real shit. Like this one.
Rogueland is a 40 page PDF by Caverns of Heresy (I don't know who this is!) with some art from LF OSR, HODAG!, and Gnarled Monsters. These are all presented as "@" handles. Maybe it's my age, but it's jarring to not see "real names" like Sputter McFly or Nattie Doolittle. But that's cool.
The game looks really good. It starts off by giving a tip of the hat to Knave and Ars Magica as well as some old computer games like Zork.
You can tell something about a game by just browsing the table of contents. Here we see that it kicks of with a map, then straight into character creation. This is my preferred way of creating and experiencing RPGs, personally. If I have to page through 80 pages before I get anything about character creation or mechanics I'm likely not gonna make it.
Um... we see learn the game comes at page 10. Then rogue magic, the bazzar, encoutners, adventures, locales... I can see what's going on here. This is one of them adventure games. I like it.
"This game uses player-facing, roll-high, d20 mechanics, and is best played with 1 to 5 players and a game master." My favorite kind of game.
There is a lot of Knave in here. Lots of roll tables for characteristics, equipment, etc. I like how meat and potatoes this is, honestly. Straight to the point.
The magic system is ala Knave as well, with a combination of action plus object to create spells on the fly. There are no spell descriptions. If you can cast Conceal Medicine... well... that's what the spell does. I actually really really love this system, honestly. One of things about D&D spells that I dislike are spell levels. Firstly because many of them feel arbitrary... like why is Sleep level 1 but Levitate is level 2? Fuckin' Sleep is a murder spell but Levitate lets you float up.
Oh wait... they do include a d100 table of pre-described spells. But they are so simple, I dig it. This is how I did it in GOZR so I must approve. Example: X-Ray Vision: You gain X-Ray vision. BAM.
There's a bestiary and magic items section, and a beefy exploration/adventure section. The game's main focus is definitely on exploration adventures. Also my favorite genre of RPG. And god damn there's a lovely section of very simple adventure locations with nice little hex maps and a brief description. Then a section of specific dungeons you can plop into them.
Cool character sheet on the back. I see the Usage Die getting some love.
This is tops. Looks great, it's a breezy read, and honestly looks to be god damn useful. I want a printed copy of this. I would 100% use this to run D&D-style games.
Willow: A Grim Micro Setting is an OSR sandbox adventure by Lazy Litch and it looks really cool. Great maps and art. The thing is just a module for use with games like Labyrinth Lord, so there isn't much to talk about in terms of system. Lots of NPCs, location descriptions, rumors, etc. I see crow folk and rat folk... and lots of cool looking relationship maps. Looks like something you could pick up and run with pretty easily with your game of choice (maybe Roguelike!).
Dungeon Reavers is a pocketmod game by Gnarled Monster (hey, didn't we just read about them above?). I'm not sure what it is but it looks like maybe a Knave-style game presented as economically as possible to fit the format. Looks cool.
I don't have a problem with these kinds of very lite games at all. But I do wonder if they are every used? I love 'em for their inspirational value. I would just like to print this off and look at it and maybe make characters. But would I RUN it? I dunno. I can easily run adventures with B/X, or OSE, or whatever. I don't need this. But it's cool anyway. We do need cool stuff, so please keep making cool stuff.