Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Noble Knight Wants YOU(r stuff)

Over the weekend, Noble Knight asked for a list of OSR Publishers and Products over on the Acaeum.

I shot them an email pointing him to The Underdark Gazette's weekly OSR News column to find out all about who's releasing what.

The response:

Holy moly, I went through the last two months and brain hurts. I sent out a few emails and then gave up. There is a LOT Of stuff coming out!! If you think of anyway to promote the fact that NKG is willing to carry pretty much any small press RPG's let me know. I'd like to be more involved in carrying them... I think it helps improve the image of my store and hopefully improve the image of those carried by me.

So here I am promoting the fact that Noble Knight is willing to carry pretty much any small press RPGs. I can vouch for the fact that Noble Knight is good peoples and pays what they promise to pay and on time.

Contact info for Noble Knight is here.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Promo Photo!

Marjut Mykkänen posing with the art she modeled for!

(that's the last I want to hear about the cover having unnaturally red hair...)

This Post is Pure Filler

Game today.

In-store game tomorrow at Tapoilan Pelikauppa, 4pm - 9pm.

Working on my megadungeon. Funny how this "use geomorphs for no-effort dungeon creation" has turned into a crafts project. Randomly rolling which geomorph to use, which way to turn it, and then drawing them on graph paper takes a long time. My pdfs are crooked so I can't just cut'n'paste them together. So now I've taken to printing them out and cutting them out and will arrange and glue them on a page. *sigh*

The treasure tables are about done though.

Room stocking charts will take forever.

But I hope to get level one ready for a September 8 start.

I very well may be publishing the work of two OSR types that you'd better think are cool or I'm sunk. :P

I have a new vendor in Eastern Europe that I'll formally announce when they get their shipment.

Everything's finally up at IPR, although some things still need adjusting but only if you're a retail buyer. Good choice if you're looking for print + pdf bundles, by the way.

Oh, PS: Every so often somebody new stumbles across I Hate Fun and links it around. Happening again right now. It's still a disturbingly effective traffic-grabber. :P

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Mike Carr Quote

"It is with a certain measure of pride that we at TSR bring you this second part of the new DUNGEONS & DRAGONS releases, the long-awaited MONSTER MANUAL for ADVANCED D&D. We are doubly proud of the format of this book - i.e., its special hard cover, a "first" in the gaming world and another step in our continuing quest for top quality products.


The success of DUNGEONS & DRAGONS has spawned a considerable number of imitations and spin-off products, perhaps inevitably. Some have merit; many, however, do not - and although we may concede their right to exist (however dependent they may be on D&D's audience), we would caution the prospective buyer to consider their true value and not to be confused with those items which bear the DUNGEONS & DRAGONS or ADVANCED DUNGEONS & DRAGONS name and constitute the official D&D family of products. As for value, let the others be measured against the standard of quality we have striven for - a hardbound encyclopedia of monsters, for instance, as opposed to a low quality collection which is poorly assembled and bound."

This from the Foreword of the Monster Manual, dated September 27, 1977.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Watch Me Kill My Customer Base Right Now

This Swords & Wizardry/Frog God thing.

The announcement (has it already been edited?). Some of the response (here and here and here) has been negative.

But in it's own too-honest-for-its-own-good way, the controversial statement in the announcement was in some ways necessary in order to grab the attention of the customer base they're hoping to get.

This is potentially a big step up, and if Frog God gets a quarter of the market penetration and fan adulation that Necromancer got, this will be huge news for Swords & Wizardry and (hopefully) the OSR.

To stand alongside and compete with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Fantasy Flight, and all the rest, you have to let the distributors, the retailers, and the potential customers know that every release will be quality from top to bottom. You can't appear be a hobbyist, people have to be confident that you're pro. And I suspect Frog God wants Necromancer's old spot in the industry.

I know for my stuff, I've done everything I can to keep the quality high. I fail in some places, some due to budget and some just because I'm a natural fuckup, but you better fucking believe I kick myself in the ass for every layout glitch, every typo, every picture that doesn't look as awesome as the most awesome thing I've ever seen. Every single thing I've ever released, I've looked at after the fact and thought, "Oh SHIT. This isn't good enough. The next thing has to be better."

Think about it. Just looking at production values, The original Creature Generator & Fantasy Fucking Vietnam-> Green Devil Face -> Death Frost Doom first printing -> No Dignity in Death/People of Pembrooktonshire -> Grinding Gear -> LotFP box... why do you think I've developed this way?

If I had the budget, every damn thing I release would be printed on solid fucking gold with unique Cynthia Sheppard work on every damn page. Not because it makes the writing any better, but because if I'm going to do something I want people to marvel at it. Hell, I want to marvel at it.

The OSR has in large part prided itself on things that perhaps it shouldn't. The fact is if you're going to charge money for anything, let alone $20 or $40 or *gulp* $65, you better make damn well sure you've done everything you can to make it special. To make it cool. To make it quality. For something to be special it's got to be something that not anyone could do.

The OSR has promoted the fact that anyone can contribute, and they do. But when it comes to commercial products, is that a good thing for breaking the overall RPG market and attracting players (and the dollars it'll cost for top-quality material)? I say no.

The special part of DIY is the personal attention is supposed to inject the work in question with a personal touch, a personal stake in a job well done and not just making a faceless bland piece of corporate crap. The special part of DIY is not that any old shit gets to be praised just because somebody bothered to do it. DIY is better because people will beg, borrow, and fucking steal to make the project as good as it can be because their pride is on the line.

Presentation matters. That old Creature Generator that I was selling for 4,50€ postage paid? 20 copies sold. FFV, what, a dozen? The Creature Generator got picked up by Goodman Games and has sold many, many, many times the amount I sold. I cleaned Fantasy Fucking Vietnam up and turned it into Green Devil Face #1 and it has sold many times the original version.

Coincidence? And guess which versions bring me greater pride now?

Frog God's put everyone on notice that they're here to deliver top notch stuff, from top to bottom. I know I'll be interested in their modules and will likely buy one or more. Guess how many purchases for personal use I've ever made from Lulu? One. (although to be fair, their blatant disregard for the work people sell through them has more to do with that than anything else. And actually, that one thing was something I requested as a present and so I actually didn't buy it...)

But damn, Frog God had better deliver.

Did your feelings get hurt because of their press release? Or this post? You want DIY to be respected?

Shut your mouth and go do something yourself that kicks the shit out of anything Frog God is going to release.

That's my plan, anyway.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

More Boring Updates

Grognardia reviews Weird New World here. My only comment is that for a piece of geography that big, the odd stuff had to be liberally sprinkled around, or else there is little possibility of players ever running into it...

A Paladin in Citadel looks at the LotFP Rules book here.

Clinton R Nixon's actual play report of Tower of the Stargazer is here. Always interesting when game designers play something I've done.

There's another Storygames thread here. For some reason I can't register over there (yes I've read the damn terms of service even if the software won't accept that I have...), but I want to comment on this sentence:

"So, on a meta level, my thoughts are: make a big fight in the party and run the adventure to a halt or accept the D&D paradigm of needing a complete party and we're just here to kill things and get the treasure and move on."

I honestly don't understand the thinking. "Grind the adventure to a halt" isn't grinding your adventure to a halt, it's just changing the adventure that goes outside the module's assumed parameters. And that's OK. Inevitable, even. Go for it.

The podcast recording with Trollsmyth and Oddysey lasted not quite FIVE HOURS last night. I hope their recording setup worked. How they're going to present it, I don't know. Not my problem. :) I'm sure there's a ton of filler that may or may not be amusing but was off the point (like my talking about a school Christmas play in Vaasa in a roundabout way of making a point about people not wanting to speak up and talk about themselves), but we really got into the creative process and inspiration for different things. I am not the master of a succinct sound byte, that's for sure, and I'm also sure I repeated several points as doing a Skype interview I can't see that anybody's registering anything that I say. We also had different ways to pronounce "Maliszewski" and I hope I'm not the guy that was getting it wrong the whole time. :)

I got the quotes back from a couple printers for a 128 book for several different bindings and paper types. Basically I took the Dungeon Alphabet and Cursed Chateau to show as examples of what I may want. No decision need be made for a couple months though.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Gaming Schedule

So then, Sundays are for continuing campaign play.

Starting on August 30 (one week from today!) at Tapiolan Pelikauppa (formerly Puolenkuun Pelit Espoo) I will have my first of a series of in-store games. I'll be crafting shorter "weird" adventures specifically for these.

But I want something different too. I want to resurrect the Wednesday games (or perhaps follow through on some plans I have not yet thought through well enough), but I want it to be different. So I'm taking the rest of this month to work on a proper megadungeon. The catch? Everything will be randomly generated. I have a shit-ton of A3 sized graph paper I got on my last Estonia trip and I've just put together a kludge of tables based on various random dungeon generators so I'll be drawing maps all day today and tomorrow. I'm coming up with a mish-mash of room content tables, including encounter tables that'll direct me to AD&D encounter tables, Labyrinth Lord encounter tables, of course the Random Esoteric Creature Generator, and the Mythmere Adventure Design Deskbook #2, plus my own complex treasure tables. I'll get this going for a few days, and then with all these charts and tables I'll be able to keep ahead of player activity with no fuss no muss.

Premise? "The city council was having this new area excavated to put in a new public bathhouse, but, ahh... we found a door. We sent some guards to investigate but we heard a scream and they didn't come back. So anyone who wants to go clear out the hole can do so, in exchange they keep any treasure found within tax-free."

Little does the city council know just how big this hole is!

Other scheduled events:

I have a podcast interview tonight that I have to be up at 2am to do. yikes!

Writing the Death Ferox Doom manuscript from the completed and playtested notes: September.

Writing the monster book from the notes and ideas and snippets of things I've used in my games over the past four years: Through October.

And possibly foreign conventions in September, October, and November.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

More Reviews

Grognardia reviews Tower of the Stargazer here. Yes, I had to look up "tyros." He's right about the layout. I was so darn insistent on it being a 16 page adventure and there wasn't a lot of time to consider things. If I could go back a couple months I'd go ahead and make it a 20 page module so all the artwork got its own space and everything could breathe a bit more. Still, I made the text the priority so some of that 'watermarked' art is unrecognizable because I wanted to make sure you could read what's over it.

I probably still would have had the black border though.

I like some of the layout tricks I tried out with the newer material, but going forward I'll keep it as simple as possible and not invade the text space with anything. Maybe a nice header and footer for page decoration but not much else.

Other lessons: Always have multiple editors. The material with multiple editors (the vast majority of the box) is getting little in the way of typo comments. The stuff with one editor (just the Weird New World module in the box) had stuff slip through. Also, have someone else look over the final layout too. A couple of tables have traveled a line or two from where I put them. Someone else looking at stuff after layout would have caught the hard-to-read text on the back cover of Hammers as well.

Geoffrey McKinney reviews the free PDF material for the game here.

The new Like Real Life blog talks a bit about the game here. For the record, the answer to "Who is this game for?" is "Me now and the me that got into RPGs by buying it at the store without knowing anyone else who played."

You can see what RPGNow reviewers think of the latest stuff here.


Fiddling with new blog layouts, so don't be alarmed if the blog looks weird for a bit.

At first I was all "I'm going to be OLD SCHOOL BLOGGER and not change, then I looked at the options and realized this was some of the stuff I wished I could have set up when I created the blog in the first place and so then I was all OH CRAP GOTTA CHANGE."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Carnifex Reviews LotFP: RPG and other Comments


My comments:

The price is what it is. It should cost $80 based on my costs, but I did not count art costs towards the final pricing. Short-run boxes are a bitch that way. I could have skimped on certain things and brought the price way down, but I had no idea if anyone was going to care and I feared I might have only one shot at it so I went all-out. No apologies.

Race-as-Class. If I were to change anything (and I'm not planning to in this case), it would be to remove the races so it's just the four prime classes. There's a sweet spot for character options and switches and for optimum game-play I fear I actually have too many. But I had to make Specialists and Fighters comparable to the spellcasters (and I toned down the cleric since they've always been THE CLASS in my campaigns despite having insanely low XP charts), so there ya go.

This reminds me of something else which is not connected but I think vaguely related: this post on RPG.net reinforces my thoughts on Traditional vs. New - or should I say my play style versus assumed playstyles. I really think 3.xe and 4e players look at traditional PCs and think of things entirely in terms of combat and combat options.

"Magic-Users get to cast one spell and then are useless all day" is the sign of either a shitty player ("Whatever else can I do if my mechanical advantages don't apply?") or bad refereeing ("This dungeon, like every other in the campaign, is FULL OF COMBAT and menace behind EVERY CORNER so ZAP ZAP ZAP!").

With Weird New World, and things in Death Ferox Doom and other ideas I'm working on, I certainly tried to pull back the focus from necessarily being on the "15 minute work day." Certainly I try to build dungeons to where combat efficacy is not the be-all and end-all (some exceptions of course, but there always should be some exceptions to any stance taken towards designing adventures) so everyone, even if they are theoretically playing the 0 level, 2hp torch-bearer, can contribute.

This isn't an edition problem (although later editions do cater more to the "I want something mechanical to do at all times" folks, obviously), it's a player expectation problem.

And the monster book, as I take notes, is quickly becoming a book of Monsters You Really Don't Want to Fight. Plot-monsters, whereas the Creature Generator was pretty much just for making monsters intended to be fought. Things seem to fall into place - for things you fight, you don't want the players to have encyclopedic knowledge of their foes as that makes it more a meta-gaming exercise ("Don't hit the Shambling Mound with the lightning bolt, but do burn that troll!") rather than an extension of exploration and discovery.

But for a monster book full of things to be fought against, rather than battled, a more standardized form can work, as player knowledge gives them something to work around. There will be standard, known monsters in this book (lycanthropes, unicorns, dragons, etc) because the folklore behind the actual physical beastie is too rich to not be used (which it isn't if it's just placed in Room 8e with some combat stats), but there will also be "familiar" things which I haven't seen utilized for game purposes too much (Prophets, Witches, Shadow People), literary swipes I haven't really seen used in these games (Serpent Men, Martians, The Observers), plus some areas where I just go nuts (The Evolved, Jackal-Born, Knights of Science full class writeup, etc).

As for how the game is doing - It hit #1 at Noble Knight and stays there over new Pathfinder and Dungeons and Dragons products, it peaked at #6 on RPGNow (damn superhero *PDFs grumblecakes*), and it seems to be doing well over at Troll and Toad. It still isn't up at IPR (I think that's my fault gumming up the works there). and I've had no word how well it's doing elsewhere.

I do know I have about 160 left here (print run 620), and it hasn't been a month since release. Can you believe I have days where I'm resenting the fact that they're not all gone yet? :P

I am sending a letter to the Finnish tax office to get a specific clarification about free PDFs with purchase of a print product. If that's going to open me up to greater tax liability, I won't do it. Can't. If they are reasonable people, then I will offer free PDFs with print purchase no matter where you buy the thing (proof of purchase required of course). It's the Finnish tax office, so I expect the answer won't arrive for months.

I'm spending way too much for art for the next two releases. Death Ferox Doom will have more than 50 full-page illustrations, designed to be shown to the players, and the adventure should fill at least three sessions, becoming its own campaign if you get into it enough. The monster book (I need a name, don't I?) is penciled in to be a 128 page perfect-bound book and I hope to have an illustration for every monster in the book. 18,75€ pricing for both ($23.83 according to today's exchange rates) is the general ballpark of pricing I'm looking at, but all of this is just random planning.

It's quite late to be organizing it, but I'm going to try to be at Stockholm Spelkonvent September 17 - 19. Not word yet on whether I can get to Essen for Spiel in October.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

When You Listen To Fools

The Mob Rules

When faced with opposition outnumbering them at least 5:1, engaged PCs will automatically be hit by at least one of their opponents.

If none of the opponents hit, then the "automatic hit" will be from the least-damaging opponent.

Henchmen/hirelings/retainers do not count for purposes of determining the 5:1 ratio. For example, if 4 PCs are accompanied by 5 men-at-arms, The Mob Rules come into effect when facing a mass of 20 or more opponents.

If the opponents are firing missiles, then all possible targets are considered engaged.

(What do you think?

This would be used in place of the common "Fighters get 1 attack per level against opponents of 1HD/under 1HD, but on the other hand is in the spirit of the Angry Villager rule.

Inspired by those Conan comics where he's attacked by 39248723984 people and they eventually wear him down and capture him. Numbers matter, even if individually the mass of opponents have no hope of hitting their foe.

You thought this was going to be one of those internet drama posts when you saw the title, didn't you?)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A New Monster Book?

Printing Death Ferox Doom's going to be expensive, and my printer gives me a break if I print a whole bunch o' stuff at once. And Hammers of the God has sold faster than any of the modules so far, in no small part because it was a very easy combo to get with the box set.

So I'm entering parallel development!

I did a Twitter poll the other day. "What do you want to see from me?" One interesting response was "Things that can fit into any campaign." There was more to it than that, but that's the part that stuck with me.

Monsters are good I think. I've been having ideas for a new monster book.

But not an ordinary monster book. And not a "core" LotFP: RPG kind of release.

I find that most monster books are simply a catalog of things to kill, but of course my monster book isn't going to be that way. I don't know if it's fair to say that it'll be a catalog of things to kill you, but the idea is that every single monster has the potential to be a game-changer. Not just stuff you drop into Room 2b when you're in a hurry and need a little help stocking the old dungeon.

So I'm trying to put together a book of monsters whose very existence in an adventure or a campaign is an indication that things just ain't right. A monster book fully of scary stuff, hopefully to the reader of the book just as much as to the characters in a campaign.

What do you think?

Monday, August 16, 2010

To the Royal Commission of Colonial Affairs:

I fear I bring grave news. it displeases me most greatly to report that The Royal Blade of Arms, Great General Mortimer Coleridge and Imperial Archmage Shelton Farrington's expedition to discover the El Corazon de Oro in the jungles may have met with disaster.

We discovered another of these primitives, but one more savage and bestial than any encountered thus far. Our guide says he was from the deep interior of the jungle. He was spying on us, climbing through the trees like a monkey, until one of our expert men crippled him with a fine crossbow shot.

The brute was wearing one of the Great General's monogrammed kerchiefs as a loincloth! He also had a strange pendant made of some substance we have not been able to identify, but it terrified our guide. We interrogated our prisoner, but the thing could not speak a word of Common. My word, even goblins learn a proper civilized tongue! What manner of beasts are these that live in these parts?

Have you any freelance adventuring fools on retainer at the moment? Our garrison is busy enough controlling the domesticated natives and providing for the security of the settlers. I fear we may need aid in discovering the fate of Coleridge and Farrington.

Your Loyal Servant,

Alphonso Guttierez
Captain, Fort Coronado

PS. Father Ortiz bade me mention to you the only intelligible thing we could identify from the prisoner's gibberish. It was a phrase, or a chant, that he kept repeating. Does this mean anything to you?


(art by Amos Orion Sterns, DFD logo by Matt Johnsen)

More Reviews

Reviews from R'Lyeh reviews Hammers of the God

Mondbuchstaben reviews the box set in German! Well, this is the first part of a bigger review I think.

A Paladin in Citadel reviews the box too! In English! No idea if there are more parts coming!

Here's a Youtube review on The Random Esoteric Creature Generator!

And finally...

Best. Picture. Ever.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Kill with Power!



Ahhh, Jalometalli! Experiences were had, musical performance was witnessed, memories were burned in.

And upon returning, I had over 250 emails waiting for me. Most of those were subscribed responses to the latest hot thing to argue about. My opinion: If this guy infringed upon trademark or copyright, I hope Wizards Takes Steps, just because I do think such things are important. If he didn't, I hope they don't. Either way, I don't see how it impacts me one little bit. (for the record, if I ever get a nastygram from Wizards, I will review the letter with the aid of a lawyer to determine its merits. If I've fucked up, I'll bend over backwards to make it right by WotC. If I haven't fucked up according to legal counsel, I will fight. Finland's a loser-pays-winner's-expenses kinda place.)

So then, Jalometalli. There were lessons to be learned concerning role-playing. Metal's great that way.

First thing: Shirts. I need to do up shirts. Everybody there was wearing a band shirt. Or had a denim vest covered in band patches. We need to get in on this action. The shirts I make will be short-run prints so doing the full color cover image would be too expensive, but some cool line drawings with maybe a little red is doable for a decent selling price. But they need to be cool. Nobody's going to pay for a shirt if it's just an advertisement. But if it's wicked in its own right? People will wear those. So I am going to do two. One you could wear out, and one you couldn't. ;)

But I need cool ideas and little slogans. Tell me. If I use yours, you get one, of course.

Second thing: Manowar. No, they didn't play, but Ross the Boss did. The crowd enjoyed the new songs played, as did I. But when Scott Columbus came on stage to play drums, the entire mood of the room changed. We weren't enjoying some cool metal with a nod to the old days, suddenly we were in church. It seriously turned into a religious experience as Blood of My Enemies, Hail and Kill, Kill with Power and more were played. Chills ran up and down my spine for the first time in a damn long time at a concert.

There were new bands that played old styles at the fest, but they seemed to have this self-aware kind of sarcasm going on. When Ross the Boss played a seemingly ridiculous song like Gloves of Metal, there was no sign that this was anything other than the most serious and inspiring song that had ever been written. I think there's a reason why people completely lost their shit watching Ross the Boss in ways they didn't even consider doing when Dream Evil played, and it has nothing to do with musical ability or catchy tunes. It's attitude.

Now people keep asking if we're going to change
I look'em in the eye
Tell'em no way
Stripes on a tiger don't wash away
Manowar's made of steel not clay

Third thing. Angel Witch. Their debut album is thirty years old and is the only important contribution that Kevin Heybourne really made to heavy metal. But he's kept it going, putting out demos and singles (and endless live albums) and really milking That One Thing. And when they played last night, the crowd was with them, even though there was no interaction from the stage beyond tersely calling out the song titles. But when The Song was played, the crowd went nuts. And even when the music had stopped and the lights had come up, the crowd was still singing the song. On and on and on. At first it was funny, then somehow a little inspiring. People wouldn't stop. And when they put music over the PA to stop it, stepping outside people were still singing it.

One little thing can last forever if it's good enough. And we're talking decades in the music industry in a form of music usually directed at teenagers. And it wasn't just the crusty old farts participating in the things I describe here. Doesn't matter that they weren't headlining on the big stage. People recognized.

I dragged my wife along, and she doesn't give fuck-all about metal or music really. She had never been to a concert before she met me (and so her first concert was Cynic - she'll owe me bigtime forever for that!), so she goes to these things and observes people.

She said she noted several distinct types of people at these shows. One group is really into the bands. Really into the bands. They'll ignore the current band playing on the other stage just so they can be in front for the bands they like, basically camping out there 30 minutes, 60, 120, or even sitting there for a few bands just so they can be up front for the ones they really like. These guys then go nuts, fists in the air, headbanging, singing along, having the time of their lives.

And then there are the people who are there because it's loud, and this is their time to run around and yell and be wild. It really doesn't matter who the band is. They hang back and wait to see if the band creates the excitement down front. If it does, only then they swarm in to take part in the good times.

We are the first type of people, speaking about our gaming. And one of the reasons to publish and network and publicize is to get the second type of person over here with us. They're not diehards and it's all the same to them, but when they're not there the floor is kind of sadly empty.

I have a lot of administrative stuff to do and lots of real emails to respond to, but I tell you this: Fun stuff is coming tomorrow. TUNE IN TO THIS BLOG TO SEE IT!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Tons of LotFP Reviews and News Snippets

Boxes continue to land at people's doorsteps. Multiple reports of people receiving their games yesterday, so hang tight if they haven't arrived yet.

Frank Mentzer has been spotted in these parts. Not sure if he received his (comped) box yet and I'm still worried whether he'll find it to be a cool tribute or a shameless rip-off. That post is so cool because not only is Mentzer (writer of the most clearly explained version of D&D) in the comments, but so is my best friend from the 80s, some of my current players as well as customers and readers from across the globe - all within 17 comments. Sometimes this blogging and publishing thing is just too cool.

We're #2 at Noble Knight with LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and the three new adventures are in the Top 50 at RPGNow (apparently the Adult Content setting for the PDF of the game itself keeps it out of the rankings...! It'd be in the top 15 otherwise).

Do note that the PDF layouts are not the same as the layout of the printed books. The PDFs are designed specifically for on-screen viewing.

Various reviews and commentary have come in from Grognardia, Redbeard's Ravings, Dungeons and Digressions, There's a Bugbear in My Kitchen, Aeons and Auguries, Stuart Robertson has left a review at RPGNow, there's threads over at Story Games and RPG.net. More reviews are certainly to come, from Reviews from R'lyeh and The Escapist among others, plus several of the reviews noted above will have follow-ups.

If you can read Finnish, Arkkikivi's webstore has perhaps the most comprehensive reviews of the new stuff currently available. That's here. Google Translate can be your friend but it comes out with pretty funny phrases.

Oh, and B/X Blackrazor talks about Death Frost Doom here.

Have I missed anything since last update?

I'm currently struggling to make a nice ad for the back cover of the next Fight On! and am putting an ad out on RPGNow soon (as soon as their email server stops thinking I'm spam...). More of OneBookShelf's Featured Reviewers have downloaded the game than any of the modules so there might be more attention to come...

August 30 I'll be running my first in-store game down at Puolenkuun Pelit Espoo (name soon to be changed to Espoon Pelikauppa). I hope to make that a regular thing and I hope to take that on the road around Finland at the various stores stocking my game.

I've emailed the GenCon people asking for a judgment on the cover of my game. I have until January to make a final decision, but I want to do GenCon next year. And not as an attendee. "If you want something done right..." and all that.

My requests to you:
  • It's not in a big fancy box, but give some attention to Hammers of the God. I haven't heard very much talk about that and I consider it the best module to date. Of course I thought No Dignity in Death was my best before that, and people don't agree... :P
  • Talk about the game! I appreciate the emails and it does the ego good, but this is still a small-press effort and it needs attention. It's done well enough not to fail, but it hasn't succeeded yet. Reviews submitted to websites are a wonderful way to help.

I'm on the lookout to release a convention-friendly (able to be played in 4 hours) module - or a module of two or three such adventures - but I seem incapable of writing anything that's short and good. I can do short, I can do good, but it seems I'm shit at combining them. I'm accepting pitches and interested in publishing other peoples' work, but this con module thing is of particular interest to me right now.

First teaser of Death Ferox Doom should be ready soon. Not sure if that means before or after I leave for Jalometalli (I'll be offline Thursday afternoon - Sunday night again... Angel Witch! Carcass! Lord Vicar! Destruction! Demilich!). I expect the module to be ready in early November, but who knows. More than 50 art pieces to be done for it. It'll be the biggest module yet, but hopefully the presentation and gaming usefulness of having the illustration booklet will be worth it to you guys. A bit of a risk since this will be in many ways an unpleasant module and I guess I shouldn't admit that I'll be disappointed if it doesn't gross anybody out to the point of receiving strong complaints, but it should be quite unique and I'm going all-out to do it right. If I aim to release something other than the Same Old Shit that means taking chances.

The best and the wildest is yet to come.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Village Elder: A Quest-Giving NPC For Your Next Rural Adventure

(PCs hear rumors of missing young people in a close-by farming village… sounds like an adventure hook! Traveling to the town, they are directed by the barkeep at the local public house to the Village Elder, who is the father of the local blacksmith. Following the clink of the smith’s hammer, they find the right place in no time. Once the blacksmith, a big, burly man fitting his profession, realizes the strangers are not here to see him, he shouts in a rather unmanly manner: “Daaad! DAAAAAAAAAAAD! You’ve got visitors! DAAAAAAAAAAAAAD! He’ll be right out. DAAAAAAAAAD! Hurry up!”

(in a few minutes comes an ill-dressed ancient man, spine curved horribly and staying upright only with the help of a knotty old cane)

“That’s enough of that shouting! I’m old, not deaf! Now what do you want… oh, strangers. What do you want? Don’t you know how rude it is to visit unannounced? I see you’re not from around here, that might explain why you don’t have the good graces that the gods gave a worm. Well what do you want? Spit it out, don’t stand there with a look on your face like a bee’s just stung your bits. Spit it out!

Missing young people? Yeah, I heard those rumors, but I wouldn’t believe them. See, all those rumors were started by the shepherds out in the hills, and I don’t trust those shepherds. They are not honest men. If they were, they’d work their land instead of just walking all over it. If you ask me, I think they’re all just looking for an excuse to screw sheep all day long. Awfully suspicious that these people would disappear into the hills with no human companionship, hmmm? And they get so jealous when you touch one of their precious sheep. Yeah, they’re always looking to say something that will distract you from the truth.

But they say that some young people have gone out for strolls into the hills and have not come back. Some of the women around here just won’t shut up with their wailing about their poor Johnny or Cecilia or whatever dumb shit names people are giving their kids these days going missing. Well if they are, it’s their own damn fault!

People their age should be working all day, not going off for long walks. Certainly not with members of the opposite sex! My goodness, can you believe what young people do these days? In my day we had proper courtship! We’d look nervously across the crowd at each other during festivals, and then the man would work up the courage to go serenade the young lady underneath her window one night, only to find out it’s the wrong window and you’ve scared the lass’ younger brother to death so their father comes out and kicks the shit out of you. The mother gets worried that her husband’s almost killed someone so they take you inside to nurse you back to health and it’s the original girl’s ugly-ass sister that takes care of you and BAM, you marry that one!

That’s how I met this useless piece of flesh’s mother, and that’s how it should be done.


Oh shut up boy, you’re the worst blacksmith alive today, and you know it. The only reason you have the job is you’re the only one with arms big enough around here to use a hammer at all. But your brain is too small to learn to do it properly!

Where was I? Oh, these kids today. Back in my day, we never ran off to the hills to “frolic” or whatever code-word these snots use today. For one, the hills were dangerous! All sorts of monsters and bandits and assorted evil kept us in our homes with our windows shuttered tight when we weren’t in the fields risking our necks to feed our families! “The hills” were just another word for DEATH!

Not to mention how improper it is! In my day, a young man would never be alone with a woman before marriage! You wouldn’t even get to hold the woman’s hand until your wedding day and you liked it that way because that meant you were being proper and honorable! Take this waste-of-life’s mother, for example. You couldn’t find a more frigid woman. We had marital relations just one time, on our wedding night, because she was proper and honorable enough to fulfill her obligations, and she kept telling me to hurry up the whole time!


Oh shut up, boy! Your mother was colder than a yeti’s balls and she was proud of it! And I loved her for it, because that’s the commitment I made. Kids these days, they don’t have that kind of respect. “Oh, love is a natural thing, it should be given freely!” The very thought of it makes me sick! They were probably stealing off in the night to go elope in the nearest big town or something, because they don’t care about proper standards or morals in those town things. Nobody in those places does a proper day’s work, you know that? Here we work with our hands and we work the ground. In towns there are people that get paid to count things and write down what they’ve counted! Can you imagine? Getting paid to do that? That sounds like woman’s work, if women would be allowed to have anything to do with money or business.

So yeah, these missing kids probably ran off to the city to engage in a life of endless orgies and lotus sniffing and other meaningless, frivolous things. They were probably screwing the whole way and those pervert shepherds sat there watching them. I’ll say one thing for those dodgy shepherd folks, they may be sheep-fuckers, but at least they’re not defiling the honor of an honest-to-goodness woman with their wicked ways.

But even a blind man hit’s a bulls-eye once in his life so there is a remote possibility there is something to all this talk. I doubt it, because you know how women gossip, this is probably blown all out of proportion, but if these kids have been going out among those hills there, hmmm. I do recall years ago there was some trouble up that way. Some sort of cult or another taking up by the lake and causing trouble. You people don’t look like you have any honest work to do so maybe you could trouble yourselves to take a stroll a few hours’ walk that-away and make sure everything’s the way it should be – deserted!

What? Reward? You want a reward for doing this? What kind of adventurers are you? Back in my day, you couldn’t take two steps around these parts without tripping over some do-gooder who was begging to solve all your problems! ‘Are there fair maidens in need of rescuing?’ ‘Is your cat stuck in a tree?’ ‘If you had a problem, the adventuring lads of yore would be there to help. They had honor. They had stones.

Look around you. Look over there. What do you see? Fields. Over there. Look. See that? Fields. And over there. Look closely. More fields! You want a reward? Really? We’ve got onions, carrots, and celery. If you want to drive a hard bargain I suppose someone around here could give you some beets. We’re a farming village you dolt! You think we have big piles of money sitting around just to give away to strangers? Don’t be such an idiot!

Think about it! Cultists – and it’s always cultists – are morons. Why else would they put on fish masks and dance around some idol in the dark? “Ohh, oooh, I’m dancing and being blasphemous! I’m sooooo evil!” Why in my day I’d go give them what-for for the fun of it! I didn’t need no reward! But say these youngsters have been kidnapped instead of just running off to endless screwing and snorting and that sort of urban life. These cultist idiots always have some sort of golden junk or another.

That just proves how stupid they really are! Why, if I were young and aimless and without the good upbringing a farming village gives you and I came across a big hunk of gold, I’d buy some land. Gold can buy a lot of land, and a lot of security against bad harvests. I could provide for a large family quite easily for the rest of my life with a good chunk of gold! But no, what do these dullards do? They make some Golden Guppy to worship. “Ooohh, hear our pleas, oh Great Golden Guppy.” Idiots! How wasteful! That gold isn’t benefiting anyone! It’s not feeding anyone, clothing anyone! It might as well be a polished turd for all the value it has sitting in a room not being looked at because these pinheads avert their eyes from the object of their worship.

Oh if I were only a few years younger, I’d march up them hills and kick all their asses just for being stupid! And then I’d kick all their asses again for messing with our young folk!

What? Rambling? Show some respect! I see you’ve got one of those pointy-eared bastards with you. Have you ever heard one of their poems? They take weeks to finish! I’ve been there, in one of those mosquito-infested parks they call a homeland. Lazy shits never mow their lawns, I tell you that! And we were the “honored guests” for one of these songs or poems or whatever the hell it was. I think to this day it was a treacherous betrayal and an assassination attempt because I was damn near bored to death! “Oh, look at me, I’m all skinny and ageless but I have great sorrow and I will now warble on for six weeks about twigs and weeds and the majesty of the stick insect!” Don’t you tell me I’m rambling, boy, you don’t know the meaning of the word!

Oh, look at this. I’ve gotten all excited and I’ve pissed myself. And it’s time for my nap. You’ll be wanting to go past them hills, there’s an old ruined church that these fish-heads used as a home base years ago. The geniuses around here said they burned the place down the last time there was trouble, but the damn thing’s made of stone. Stone don’t burn! So you can prance up them hills and since you’re all obviously greenhorns that don’t know your asshole from a hole in the ground, you’ll probably all get killed, but if not, you bring some of those cultists back alive, you hear? No need murdering them all through stealth, since you’re probably too cowardly to stand up to those pricks in a stand-up fight. Get some of them back here so we can give them some good old-fashioned country justice! We haven’t had a decent hanging around here for weeks!”

Monday, August 9, 2010

New LotFP Stuff on Sale from US Vendors; PDFs on Sale Too!

The Weird Fantasy Role-Playing box set, Hammers of the God, and the new Death Frost Doom printing, are available from Noble Knight and FRPGames right now; IPR and Troll and Toad very soon, I do believe as soon as they are done processing the shipments. More to come on this front, and remember your local game store can order it from Warpath Games (or IPR if they are in the IPR retailer program!).

Sphärenmeisters Spiele sold out of their first batch of the box, and more are on their way. Copies are also screaming towards Leisure Games so keep a look out there as well.

In Finland the boxes remain available from all the places listed there on the upper right.

If you find LotFP material for sale at any shop, physical or online, that isn't listed over there on the right, let me know and I'll add it!

The PDFs are available right now from RPGNow and Your Games Now, and will be available from Paizo and IPR as soon as they get all get back from Gencon and do their processing.

The free PDF versions of the Rules and Magic books are available here. The free version is art-free (covers included though!); the for-sale PDF has all the material included in the physical box. The PDFs are laid out in single-column A5 format, handy for viewing on your newfangled ebook things, or so I'm told.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Gamer vs Gamer

I see all sorts of "problem gamers" threads on message boards, from talking about catpissmen to munchkins and rules lawyers to anti-social types at game stores and awful people obsessed with realism or the military or dual katana wielding ninjas. If there's an excuse to crack on fellow gamers, people will take it.

Now that's different than edition wars or playstyle talk on the internet. When we're posting, whether on message boards or blogs, we're not gaming, we're talking about gaming. So theory and philosophy talk and argument should be expected. Frankly, I think that's what all this is for, really. When I'm not trying to sell you something, anyway.

And I'd sit down and game in real life with any of the people I've had dust ups with. It's just the friggin internet, you know? But I see a lot of bitching and moaning that sounds really personal. Like the person writing it is the only normal person and it's everyone else in the hobby that's just awful.

Anyway, I just had my first gaming session today in almost two months (business got in the way...). Between that break of the routine and the fact that much of my group is out of the country on summer holiday, only two regulars could make it.

Instead of playing a board game or canceling, one of the players got on the phone and in 15 minutes found three other people to come play. I didn't know any of them. I'd seen one of them working at a local game store, but that's it. Didn't even know any of their names. Certainly didn't know what games they liked or had experience with, or what playstyle they preferred, or anything. And they were coming to my house to game.

If I believed the gamer vs gamer horseshit on the internet, I'd think I needed to lock up the valuables and coat the place with plastic before they showed up and be ready to throw people out at a moment's notice.

So anyway, I whipped up an adventure in an hour's time (obviously continuing the campaign's previous events with 1/3rd the old crew and mostly new players wouldn't be appropriate here), the wife baked the pie and prepared the ice cream before she ran off to work, and then the people came over and we gamed.

Had a fine time. Not my best work, but not my worst. I do believe all three of the new guys will be returning if their reactions are any indication.

So you know, we all have our soapboxes here on the internet and we might become ideologues and we state our opinions and what have you, but I really hope at the end of the day when it's time to game that people really aren't paranoid about their fellow gamers as internet babble would indicate. I hope away from the keyboard people just get together and play the friggin game.

(My game hopefully, but ya know...)

Saturday, August 7, 2010

One Thing I Don't Get...

... when other people run my modules, all I hear about are massacres and difficulties.

... but with rare exception, there weren't any fatalities when I originally ran the adventures. Certainly no mass slaughter.

You all going easy on your players when not running modules or what?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Non-LotFP OSR Bundle Offer for Europeans!

The wife wants this space cleared out!

New, not used items.

300€ including taxes and shipping for the lot - email me at lotfp@lotfp.com if interested:

From Fight On!:
Compendium #2 (Issues 5-8) Limited Edition hardcover

From Mythmere/Black Blade:
Eldritch Weirdness Compilation Books Three to One
Ice Tower of the Salka
Knockspell #1
Knockspell #2
Knockspell #3
Knockspell #4
Mythmere's Adventure Design Deskbook Volume Two: Monsters
The Spire of Iron and Crystal

From Pied Pier Publishing:
Dungeon Set #1
Dungeon Set #2

From Northwind Publishing:
Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent

XRP's Advanced Adventures line:
AA1 The Pod Caverns of the Sinister Shroom
AA2 The Red Mausoleum
AA3 The Curse of the Witch Head
AA4 The Prison of Meneptah
AA5 The Flaming Footprints of Jilanth
AA6 The Chasm of the Damned
AA7 The Sarcophagus Legion
AA8 The Seven Shrines of Nav'k-Qar
AA9 The Lost Pyramid of Imhotep (banged up corner)
AA10 The Lost Keys of Solitude (uneven binding)
AA11 The Conqueror Worm
AA12 The Barrow Mound of Gravemoor
AA13 White Dragon Run
AA14 The Verdant Vault of Malakum

From RC Pinnell:
BB1 The Pearl of Pirate's Cove
G4 Sanctum of the Stone Giant Lord (Anniversary Edition)
G5 Curse of the Cloud Giant Queen
G6 The Forge of the Fomorian Smith Lord

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Any Canadians Receive Their Box Yet?

Reports are coming in from everywhere else that copies are landing.

None that I can identify as Canadian thus far though, and at least one seems to be quite delayed. I remember all the horror stories about Canadian customs from bands, labels, and mailorder houses from my metal zine days.


Back from Humppila (and Reviews!)

Yeah, I was in Humppila since Sunday, without any internet connection. We traveled all over empty parts of Finland, visiting places called Krapuranta and Vampula.

Rural Finland is odd.

Anyway, I'm back and glad to see that the non-priority orders are starting to arrive in mailboxes.

Some reviews have also popped up! There's this review of the box at Rolang's Creeping Doom, and Tenkar's Tavern looks at different things here, here, and here. Have their been any others?

Any else I've missed? Big release announcements, the newest flame war I'll be needing to fan, stuff like that?