Saturday, June 10, 2017

Markets of the Ethonggobees

The Ethonnggobee Matriarchy is keeping an isolationist policy and is wary of those involved in external struggles.  Prices are based on the worst standing between locals and the colonial forces. Goods originating from a market you do not have access two are double the price.  If a market is destroyed, its goods will persist for ?d6 weeks.

Combat Equipment


Pike
5 silver
Large, piercing, pole weapon.
From: Devil's Mountain


Throwing Blade

10 Silver
Small, slashing, exotic, throwing, versatile
From: Devil's Mountain


Silver Tumi

100 silver
availability: ?d4
Small, slashing, exotic
From: The Citadel of the Empress and Devil's Mountain

Crossbow


5 silver
Medium, missile, piercing, armour piercing
From: The Citadel of the Empress

Guard helm


15 silver
Helmet
From: The Citadel of the Empress

Elite Mask
120 silver
?d4 weeks
Turns a guard helm into a full helm with Ornamental tag.
From: The Citadel of the Empress

Leather Plated Shield

3 silver
Medium Shield.
From: The Outer Village

Royal Mail

150 silver
?d4 weeks
Mail armour.
From: The Citadel of the Empress

Long Bow


30 silver (arrows for 1 silver each)
Large, Piercing, Missile weapon.
From: The Outer Village

War Blade


8 silver
Medium, slashing, exotic
From: The Citadel of the Empress


Cotton Armour












3 silver
Partial Bulky Light Armour
From: The Outer Village


Supplies

Basket of Peanuts












30 copper
4 dots for 12 days
From: The Outer Village

Pemmican Brick















10 silver
1 dots for 4 days
From: The Outer Village

Coffee Pouch














5 copper
1 dots for 10 days (no food value)
From: The Citadel of the Empress

Monday, May 22, 2017

Veins of the Earth

So Patrick Stuart (who wrote Deep Carbon Observatory) and Scrap Princess (Who did art for the Gem Prison of Zardax) have joined forces once again and produced a LotFP book.



Its a good book, its the big black book that will be a major LotFP flagship for awhile.  As big fans of both of them, it took some effort not to promote their work immediately and join the din (Its a good book from a company with high production values so go for it though),  but I wanted to wait 6 weeks or so for the initial rush to die down and target a different group than those who love Scrap and Patrick's unique styles of art and writing (they collaborate frequently),  to reach out to those who don't run games in their style.

You should really read their work BECAUSE it goes against the grain of your game.

A little background of my own involvement with those two.

I used to game with Scrap pretty frequently in the early days of ConstantCon,  we were both mainly in Reynaldo Madrinan's game.  This was great because Reynaldo didn't run a setting like any Scrap or I would create,  it added a real sense of wonder towards figuring it out and interacting with it.  He's also coming out with an RPG  called Break!! soon, I should also encourage you to look into that. In one post-game conversation Scrap and I mused about how opposite our aesthetics were.  A magic sword she placed in a game might be living crystal that is obviously magic.  I would put a wicker bassinet that had obviously magical effects.  A different style.  This means that I rarely end up writing something which her art would suit (and why I like the Gem Prison so much, it was a good excuse for me to collaborate with Scrap).

Later I was reading Patrick's blog and loved his description of the Cave Giant. His blog was not full of things I would naturally add to my own games. He hadn't put out any adventures, and I thought that was a shame, because I knew he would write an adventure that would never naturally fit into my campaigns and that is a great thing.  So I put my meager money where my mouth was and commissioned him and scrap to write an adventure and put art to it, my main request being that it include the cave giant he had written up.  Note this wasn't me paying him to write one for me, it was still going to be their adventure, I just wanted to see him write one and scrap add art to it.  I also helped get Alex to provide some basic layout for it as my wallet allowed, but I was otherwise hands off.  I didn't want Patrick to write an adventure that I would want, I wanted him to write an adventure the way he wanted knowing it wouldn't fit in my campaigns.

Then I forced it into a game I ran.

It didn't fit, I had to spend like 3 hours trying to find internally consistent ways to link his work into my own world, creating new content out of thin air to make the the two great tastes of BBQ Pulled Pork and Caramel Sundae go together. It is a great mental exercise to get the creative juices flowing. That in and of itself is valuable,  but that isn't the end goal. I could use a random generator to get the same effect as that if a little less detailed.

Where it really pays off is with the players.  If you GM with people for awhile they get to expect your natural inclinations for how adventures are structured.  How likely are statues to come alive, how likely are those skeletons on the walls to be undead, how are traps and puzzles likely to work.  When you can smoothly bridge into another GM's adventure that follows a radically different style it helps add back in a sense of wonder.  This is unfamiliar territory, this is something the players don't expect and it ratchets up tension and stress.

This works especially well for transition areas.  If you GM mostly land based games find some other writer with very different styles and use their methods of ocean travel.  When a party of landlubbers foray into an ocean adventure it will put that unease of "you are not from here" into the players hearts. It will seem unfamiliar on an instinctual level.

This is what makes Veins of the Earth so useful.  It makes the players aware that they are going somewhere alien, unfamiliar, and uncomfortable when they go deep, deep, under the earth. Keep using TSR rules and ideas when they are on or near the surface,  but if they ever venture deep below the surface, make sure they know that standard rules don't apply.

Get Veins of the Earth here

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Slums of New Tortuga - The land of Xan Than Du

Ships Available:

Gunboat:
Cost: 2000 silver.
Availability:  Constant
Seaworthiness: 2
Capacity: 500 dots


Sloop:
Cost: 15000 silver.
Availability:  ?d4 weeks
Seaworthiness: 4
Capacity: 2000 dots



Galleon:
Cost: 50000 silver.
Availability:  1
Seaworthiness: 6
Capacity: 20000 dots


Combat Equipment

Cutlass
10 silver  
medium, slashing, defensive

Ducksfoot Pistol

40 silver
Small, devastating, armour piercing, complicated, loud, burst

Blunderbuss
50 silver  
medium, armour piercing, complicated, loud, burst

Grenade

10 silver.  Used as a power level 3 "blast" spell when thrown and lit. Goes off in ?d2 rounds.


Swivel Gun

750 silver.


Demiculverin


2500 silver.  ?d4 weeks.

Sword of "Genies"

Limit 1.  1500 silver. Rumoured to be haunted.



Matchlocks and Pistols may also be purchased for the same prices as in Guam-Yaiv (though using Pirate Standing)

Supplies

Barrel o' Grog

4 dots. 4 silver. 12 days worth.


Bottle of Rum

10 silver. 1 dot.  Can be used by any character while at sea (regardless of origin).

Fresh fish

2 copper a day, 1 dot.

Box of Hard Tack

1 silver for 3 days. 1 dot.

Animals

Sassy Parrot

100 silver

"Trained" Monkey

50 silver

Tortoise

20 silver.


Friday, April 21, 2017

The road diverged... Two expeditions in Xan Than Du

The two rival expeditions took two sharply different turns.


The online group agreed to escort a group of French and English catholic settlers across Kuvo territory to set up a new town.  The two leaders of the settlers were Victor (who was French) and Michael (who was from London).  They had the usual difficulties leading a trail of covered wagons, a crocodile ambush when their scouts went across a river,  swarms of bugs, that sort of thing.  They did encounter a Kuvo charioteer scouting but just tried to avoid it.

Things began to go south.  Shortly after they encountered a light war party of Kuvo youths who began to threaten their passage with what locals consider a wardance.


Using a combination of warning shots and theatrics they managed to scare off the war party.. who carefully continued to follow them just out of gunfire range.

Then truly terrible luck befell them, which was amazing luck for me as a GM to figure out what the hell would occur.  One of the reasons I love seed tables is I have no idea how they will turn out.

The party encountered Haille the Storm Queen, a Kuvo Demi-Goddess.

A pun related problem is that Michael from London and Victor the French were Michael Landon and Victor French in a combination Little House on the Prairie/Highway to Heaven reference that is the exact type of stupid I like.   Michael was (unbeknownst to the party) an angel roaming the lands of Xan Than Du.  So he grabbed a hand plow from the back of one wagon and transformed it into a flaming sword.   Cue mass combat between The Storm Queen and her bodyguards (being backed by the previously encountered war party who reinforced them)  and the Party and an Angel swinging a flaming sword.

The end result was the storm queen was killed by a PC bullet,  and with various daring do the party was (barring a few crippling injuries) able to escape with the settlers.  Poor Michael was disabled protecting a PC and had been dragged off by the Kuvo victors,  being taken to the "House of the Conquered Gods" deep in Kuvo territory.

The other party went the opposite route and got involved in local politics.  They ended up picking a side between two feuding monasteries who wage a constant battle of philosophy and morality with a yearly martial arts duel. The party warrior diligently trained to assist in this tournament and then during the beginning of the tournament reminded them that he was a former British soldier and simply began shooting all of the opposing martial artists while the party thief was clandestinely robbing their own friendly monastery to plunder it of treasure.  All in the name of the Queen of course.

The road diverged, but it ended back up in the same place.

Monday, April 17, 2017

The Roots of Bitterness, a new adventure for NGR or OSR roleplaying games

So I am part of a boardgame kickstarter (Pioneers of Mars) , and its going to fund but I want to get more backers as they are a bit fewer than I would like...



To that end I going to do a very limited release of a small adventure titled "The Roots of Bitterness".  Its 20 pages of OSR/NGR goodness (as most of my releases) with art by Chris Huth.

 Please put $5 in the bucket


I will not be releasing this PDF through Drive-Thru RPG.  The only way you will get a copy beyond future piracy is to back the kickstarter and send me an email.

There is a five canuck dollar backer level(~$3.75 US), so I hope to see those backer numbers rise.
(and yes, if you already backed you get a copy, just send me an email)

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The Expedition to Xan Than Du: Bartering with the Kuvo Empire

Continuing with the expedition to Xan Than Du, the online group set out into the unknown to explore a pass through the northern mountains.  They wandered through the badlands, meandering through gulleys and avoiding  tumbleweeds. At one point they were attacked when some form of "reptilian ape" with hypnotic eyes attempted to drag off one of their expedition at night, but a solid round from a brown bess (and some repeated bayoneting) allowed them to overcome it.  They wandered south into the savanna encountered hardships,  contracting a  terrible fever from flies and nearly being trampled by a herd of stampeding water buffalo.

Bedgraggled they stumbled upon a village/war camp of the Expansionist Kuvo Empire.   Their Interpreter managed to score access to the village through a combination of grovelling, warning of curses, and bribery with trade guns.  They now have access to the following market (prices are assumed to represent trading powder and trade guns between games, in game they only accept firearms and hard liquor):


Kuvo Stockpiles   

Combat Gear

Hide Shield

1 silver.  Large, Light Shield.

Club








2 copper. Medium, Blunt.

Simple Sling






5 copper.  Small, Blunt, Simple, Missile weapon.




Lion Claw Noble's Sword








100 silver, Medium, slashing, vicious, versatile. ?d12 weeks.

Lion Pelt Noble's Armour












250 silver.  Partial Ceremonial Light Armour and Matching Leather Cap. ?d12 weeks.


Tools

Chariot










50 silver. ?d4 weeks


Supplies

Sack of Popped Popcorn











6 dots. 3 copper for 10 days.

Animals

Trained War Quagga













80 silver.  Will not allow being ridden.

    

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pioneers of Mars Kickstarter is now live

Thank you for your support!

For the last two years and change I have been working on a boardgame and found a company to help produce it.   All the art is completed and I have a working prototype in arms reach as I type this.  But to get bulk pricing it has been put on Kickstarter to try and gain the help of backers.

I've mentioned Pioneers of Mars before so I won't bore you with repetition,   but if you are a fan of any of my work I would really appreciate your support in bringing this boardgame to life.

Thank you,

Click HERE

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

The land of Xan Than Du: A Pirate's Life

The rival expedition (online group) became the first to have to roll on the dreaded Shipwreck Table.

They took a break from robbing dirt grubbing tree worshipers to attempt a rescue of a shipwrecked "Privateer" sloop that had become beached along the shores of the Jungle of Snakes and was besieged by an angry tribe, at least according to the lone injured pirate who stumbled into the mission to seek their help.

The left with supplies and navigated through treacherous terrain to reach the shore, where scouting reported that the pirates were still alive, but unable to leave their ship to gather wood.  The party waited until nightfall and drove off the tribal sentries with a hail of gunfire before enacting a quick repair.  Surprisingly quick,  as if the blessings of the catholic missionary they brought with them aided their repairs.

With a loud hurrah they took their fairly seaworthy crafted and sailed back,  the only risk being a cut across open water.  What are the odds they would have three results of worsening weather on three rolls (1 in 64).   So anyway they rolled on the shipwreck table.

Roll 1d8, 1d6, 1d4


You washed ashore on:

1: Guam-Yaiv Bay
2: Van De Groot Bay
3: The Southern Wastes
4: Pirate Island
5: The Southern Jungle
6: The Reptile Jungle
7: Castaway Island
8: The Southern Cliffs (and likely your death)

Where you are found by:
1:  Fisherman
2:  Merchants
3: No one 
4: Pirates
5: Hunters
6: Carnivorous animals

Suffering from:
1: no major injuries 
2: dehydration causing d6 disease
3: a loss of d6 dots of equipment
4: d6 damage of grievous injuries 

Trips:
1: You are rescued by the people of Zann-Thorr and returned to that city.
2: You are rescued by servants of the big game hunter Adriaan Van de Groot and brought to his estate
3: You are captured in the night by unknown assailants who lock you in a ships brig
4: You are not found by living pirates, but wash ashore to see their dead skulls on spikes. The volcanic rumbling or TERROR ISLAND sounds in the distance.

Dubs:
5: A swarm of escaped slaves drag you in bondage to a SECRET TEMPLE for nefarious purposes
6: You are plucked from the see by a giant TERRORDACTYL and brought to its nest

Max:
 You end up in the belly of a great white whale.

Runs:
1-2-3 You had been saved by a helpful pod of dolphins who brought you to shore
2-3-4 You wash up with a fellow survivor of those storms. He thinks you saved him and becomes a henchman.
3-4-5  The surf , or perhaps those who found you, has uncovered a chest of pirate gold (500gp)
4-5-6:  Your actual location is the island of the Ghost Elephant

Thursday, March 2, 2017

The Docks at Zann-Thorr

Ships available:

Fishing Boat:
Cost: 200 silver.
Availability:  Constant
Seaworthiness: 2
Capacity: 120 dots




Dhow:
Cost: 5000 silver.
Availability:  ?1d2
Seaworthiness: 3
Capacity: 500 dots

Junk:
Cost: 20000 silver.
Availability:  ?1d6
Seaworthiness: 4
Capacity: 3000 dots



Weapons:

Local Anti-Ship Cannon
Cost: 1000 silver
Availability: ?d4
Weight: 100 dots

 Projectile:  10 silver,  8 dots.

Friday, February 24, 2017

The Continuing Adventures in the land of Xan Than Du

Our intrepid expedition has been cut off from one of their members who was last seen on the island of Mr DeGroot, big game hunter.   Unfortunately there is no safe route for them to rescue him as Dal-Ga the lion demon still patrols the land and the Ottoman Slavers still hold the old Andorran Fort on Pirate Island.

So they purchased a fishing boat in Guam-yaiv and attempted to sail the rough seas there,  camping at night on the jungle peninsula where they had run ins with villages of escaped slaves and snake cults. They then island hopped from the isle of the ghost elephant, to tiger island where they picked up a shipwrecked British Citizen,  Hank Thompson.   Despite all their trials and tribulations they then set out on their final leg to Pirate Island,  a hop to an ominous volcanic island and then on to a stealth mission to Pirate Island to regain their lost treasure and gear.

As their sailed to the island they saw a shipwrecked dhow from the city of Zann-Thorr, currently sealed off from outsiders and of uncertain allegiance to the French Colonial Government.  After some debate they stopped to help them build a raft to tow them to shore.  The handful of survivors warned them that this island ,  Terror Island, is cursed.  The party was undeterred and helped build the raft, completing it by sunset, but deciding they would wait until first light before attempting to sail.

At first the volcano rumbled and strange flying shapes were seen in the sky.  The party was unafraid as the shipwrecked soldiers quivered.   Then came the drums and the sound of people moving through the jungle towards the shore.  The soldiers screamed the party was mad and should flee, the brave party scoffed as if British citizens (especially heavily armed ones) should flee.  They began trying to count torches in the jungle.  Round by round they rolled to see how many they could see so far.  10, 15, 25...still more, 35..uh oh,  45.. surely that is everyone?  Technically yes I said, there are 40 torches, but more than 5 large beasts moving as well.

Moving past the tree-line were forty locals in two units.  10 front line soldiers with palm leaf shields, wooden animal helms, and bamboo torches.  Behind the front rank were 10 archers with glistening obsidian arrows.   Also present were 7 massive terror birds being ridden by warrior priests of in feather armour with bamboo lances.  As the soldiers fled with a few half-hearted pot shots and vehement urging for the party to do the same the PC's tried to hold their ground as the enemies tried to cross a few zones of open ground.  Despite their superior firepower,  a pair of mounted terror birds managed to make it into their midst and cause great havoc. They bought enough time for the wave of warriors to approach.  After losing two of their number (with a third on fire) the party raced to the shore and jumped into the sea and climbed onto their waiting fishing boat.

They sailed away defeated under a hail of arrow fire, having lost some very expensive supplies. But their rescue of soldiers from Zann-thorr has given them an "in" to the city.

As their main characters healed (this is an expedition based game), the parties second line characters decided to head out to find some treasure to loot/relics to bring back to (private) museums for proper care and study.

They set out North to the cloud rainforests where they heart tale of a village besieged by panthers of demonic intellect.  After a tough (and expensive) slog through the jungle, beset by panthers themselves, they arrived in a small outpost of the remaining free forces of Xan-Than-Du.  After proving they weren't French,  they heard rumours of an ancient city in the jungle that was cursed by the gods.  Running low on time they made a quick expedition to find the city and in doing so they encountered tzetze fly swarms and more ghostly panthers.  They quickly looted a crumbling structure of some copper and gold valuables before returning to the village and trekking south to safer areas (to avoid rolling on the table).

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Another look at the Pioneers Of Mars

So what type of game is Pioneers of Mars?

The short answer is its a 1-4 player competitive worker placement game with a focus on base building.

The longer answer is that it is a game of juggling limited resources and action spaces in your quest to conquer the martian surface and have the highest score when the game randomly ends.

The game lasts for 12-15 rounds (its random) in which players take turns placing workers on action spaces.  Each turn a new action space is revealed.  Control of these action spaces can give prestige (used to determine the winner),  life support to have more workers, an accumulation of resources, or the ability to construct your own personal martian base.

Constructing your martian base is done by depleting a shared pool of structures such as windmills, habitats, and hydroponic farms and paying the appropriate resources.  If one player builds all the windmills, there are none left for other players.  So it becomes a juggling act of accruing enough resources to build a larger base without allowing another player to gain a monopoly on key structures.

The larger your base,  the more options you may have over other players.

It will start to look something like this in play:



I'll be doing a series of posts about this game inter-spliced with my usual fare, so I won't go too far into the details in just the second post.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Pioneers of Mars : A Board game

Over the past few years I have been working on a secret project unrelated to my RPG work. I mean, its not unrelated unrelated.  Its not like I was designing a new type of wood stove or teaching cats how to knit.   It is still RPG Adjacent in that sense.

Its a board game.



Pretty snazzy title block eh?

Its a Euro style board game about colonizing the red planet.  Its primary mechanics involve base creation and worker placement.  Players juggle the needs of power, resources, and life support as they fight for prestige to become the first leader of an independent Mars.

You already know this is going to lead into an ask in some for of crowd sourcing plea..  but first lets go a little more into where we are.  In my local area I have been playing this game for a couple years, along with a few other groups of people, to play test the heck out of it and ensure it is a smooth machine.  Look at this glorious picture by Chris Huth.



Its one of nearly a hundred different pieces we commissioned for the game.  This particular one showcasing the work of an engineer.  You are probably skeptical about the timeline of completing such a large amount of art for any future kickstarter.  That could be a recipe for unending delays.  Which is why before I said anything about the board game to my readers I made sure they were all completed.

Here is another fine example from an action space ,  “The Survey”.




Still, fancy art does not a functional product make.  You have to actually source all the bells and whistles and get an actual game assembled. Something that fits in a fancy box and can be handed as a complete package to a customer.   We had our prototype delivered just after Christmas last year.  After confirming everything we've just ordered a few promotional copies and expect them soon.

Here is one of my favourite pieces, one of the Spaceports in the game:



So if  we have long finished designing and testing the game, we have all of the art completed, we have sourced the components and have working copies,  why are we going to have a kickstarter?   Bulk. If we can guarantee enough copies we can lower the per unit cost to a more reasonable level and throw in some stretch goals.

The kickstarter won't go live for another month or so,  we wanted some time to gauge support and do some of the boring business background type things required.  But when it does go online, I would like any of my readers who are fans of euro-style board games to consider backing it.  I have you have seen enough of my work to know I don't produce crap and I legitimately think this is a fantastic board game that will enter into your regular rotation.   I have been able to play it weekly for years without finding it stale.