Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Last Day for the LotFP Store Sale

Store is here.

Coupon code ENTOMBED gives 10% off an order of 100€ or more.

Coupon code CATHEDRAL gives 15% off an order of 150€ or more.
Coupon code NAPALM gives 20% off an order of 200€ or more.

Each coupon will expire after five uses, or at the end of the month, whichever comes first. A customer can only use a particular coupon code once. Discounts are on pre-tax and pre-shipping totals.

In stock:

Lamentations of the Flame Princess
LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing Grindhouse Edition
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
Grinding Gear
Hammers of the God
Tower of the Stargazer (just a few left!)
Weird New World (just a few left!)

Die Cast Games
Insidious

Expeditious Retreat Press
Advanced Adventures #1 - #17
Magical Society: Silk Road

Faster Monkey Games
Lesserton & Mor
Realm of the Technomancer
Re-Energizers
Skull Mountain
Wheel of Evil

Frog God Games
Fane of the Fallen
Hollow Mountain
Jungle Ruins of Madaro-Shanti
Splinters of Faith #1 - 5, 7, 8
Strange Bedfellows
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook
Ursined Sealed and Delivered
Valley of the Hawks
Vengeance of the Long Serpent
Winter Wood

Goodman Games
Dungeon Alphabet
Points of Light
Points of Light 2
Random Esoteric Creature Generator

Henchmen Abuse
Anomalous Subsurface Environment

North Wind Adventures
Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent

Pacesetter Games & Simulations
Circle of Fire
Death on Signal Island
Eruptor's Vengeance
Screaming Temple
Thing in the Valley

Planet Thirteen Games
Purple Worm Graveyard

Rogue Games
Under Pashuvanam's Lush

Running Beagle Games
B/X Companion

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Against the Giants Review: Keep on the Borderlands

"But I need bands out there wanting to make the perfect album, wanting to piss in the face of every Reign in Blood, every Paranoid, every Master of Puppets. Wanting to fuck metal up the ass rather than the other way around. And while I'd like to know there were hundreds of bands like this, I'll settle for hoping there are four or five."

"Much of my appreciation for metal is based around conveniently ignoring lots of things."

(these quotes from two different authors, taken from METAL #2: Reborn Through Hate, published 2001)

The laws that govern metal also govern RPGs, and thinking about metal leads to revelations about RPGs.

Let's stop ignoring things for a few minutes. Let's take an attitude not of respect but of skepticism. Let's take some old things and dissect them a bit, poke around their insides, not to see where they are strong, but to see where they are weak. Let's see what we can learn that doesn't just repeat the methods of success, but will allow us to improve upon failures.

Let's stop chasing the perfection of the Daughter and deal the necessary violence to her brothers.

Keep on the Borderlands is one of the classic D&D modules. Everything that people recognize as D&D is captured in this adventure.

The good stuff, and the bad stuff.

The good stuff is great: You have a home base filled with potential for intrigue and interaction, you have the assumed adventuring area, wilderness in between, and room for customization and expansion. The setting is generic enough (none of the people have names!) that you can set this just about anywhere with a roughly medieval technology (defined by the presence of plate mail, catapults, pole arms) without culture being assumed. It fits just about every campaign's culture!

Awesome!

... except that it hard codes several other assumptions as well. It's unavoidable in a module (and perhaps desirable - the point of a module is packaging someone else's gaming for your table). It's particularly unavoidable in Gygax's work because he obviously loved to pile everything on... the monsters, the treasure, the magic. It's his style, and damned if he should change it, even for publication, to suit anyone.

That isn't the issue and it isn't the problem.

The problem happens when someone looks at a module and decides "This is what D&D is supposed to be!" Like it's the untoppable ultimate example of anything.

Keep on the Borderlands creates that impression both for marketing reasons (it was the first adventure for perhaps millions of people) and its in-many-ways (but not all ways!) superior design.

This is a beginning adventure. Designed to begin characters' adventuring careers and players' role-playing careers. And it's not a one-shot tournament design, it's designed to be both a mini-campaign in its own right as well as the springboard to an honest-to-goodness genuine ongoing long-term campaign.

There are 21 different monster types in the module.

This includes humans and does not count the generic random encounter charts given in the advice sections.

That actually doesn't sound so bad (my last play-through of the Keep took 5 sessions of play to complete, so we can do a bullshit calculation to average out to about 4 monster types per session). It does take the idea of "monster-infested caves" and crank it up to 11 (of course this cavern includes gray ooze, of course there's a random minotaur in the middle of this mini-society of humanoid mini-tribes), but most of it makes sense on the local level.

I mean, there are little stylistic bits I might quibble with (those bandits and lizard men seem awful close together in the wilderness, I'd drop one or the other, that sort of thing). But if you must have the minotaur, the fire beetles make sense otherwise there'd be a lot more predatory interaction between the minotaur and the rest than the adventure assumes, for one example.

But looking at the big picture, there's effectively an apartment complex of different creature types that doesn't make sense as a whole. It's kept together with chicken wire and duct tape. (quick, someone stat up a Duct Ape, right now!)

I would think that the Chaos Shrine wouldn't want to be so close to the humanoid creatures unless it had a master-slave relationship over what would be their troops... but that obviously isn't the case according to the the Tribal Alliances and Warfare section. It's too small of an area to handle all the infighting that obviously didn't begin the day before the PCs come into the picture, and those weaker humanoids who "hope to be forgotten by all" wouldn't live right next door to those who would presumably kill or enslave the weak, would they?

But it has to be a fractured environment or else the Caves aren't suitable for levels 1-3.

So there's a bit of a conflict there between gameability and... well, what? Showing off D&D's possibilities like it's a catalog listing?

I don't buy that people in 1978 were somehow less creative or easier marks for plain illogical concepts. I could buy that they were less jaded than fantasy and RPG fans are now, but with that assumption I would expect the situation to be reversed... "You know, those quaint 70s RPGers may have made do with two factions back then, but people have seen it all so now our 2010s Keep reboot needs 8 factions to keep people's interest!"

Of course, over-explanation is no good so going more in-depth about the relations between the factions is not the answer; it's boring and much of it gets glossed over or outright ignored in actual play, because who wants to read and internalize all that stuff? It's a bit of a conflict, but in this case the conflict can be solved by simplifying the whole thing and not having eight factions squeezed into a small ravine. Either cut some of the tribes (and thus decrease the number of different monster types) or don't make the Caves of Chaos be scrunched all together. Spread them out on that wilderness map. If the module could include maps of the guild and reprint charts from the basic rules, then it could have done this.

If things had been more spread out, it could still satisfy those who want their gonzo D&D while reinforcing the exploration aspects of the game (the module already expects/assumes PCs to poke around the wilderness and find things scattered within it), and at the same time those who want a bit more grounded approach wouldn't be forced to change details to have it all make sense, or hope PCs didn't ask inconvenient questions about it all...

Hindsight is, especially nearly three and a half decades on, 20/20, but Gygax had at least a half-decade of experience playing and running D&D at this point, had read far more fantasy and history by 1978 than the majority of people reading this blog post in 2011, not to mention all that keen game-logistics thinking he honed from being an avid wargamer. The art of module design may not have been mature in 1978 but Gygax himself was a mature and experienced gamer.

Oh, I forgot to mention...

There are 69 magical items found in Keep on the Borderlands.

(probably a few more, I likely missed a couple... bundles of magic arrows count as 1 item, as do scrolls no matter how many spells are on a particular scroll... and not counting all those amulets of turning resistance and protection from good medallions which would add dozens more to the number)

Even for a near half-dozen sessions of play, that's a fucking lot for what is assumed to be the start of a long term campaign, isn't it?

But that number doesn't begin to describe the situation.

The majority of the permanent (non-scroll/potion) magic items are in the Keep itself! Sure, that cuts down significantly on the amount of items the PCs are expected to gain for themselves, but what the hell?

I wonder if I did a treasure count if I'd find that there's more treasure in the Keep than outside it... oh hell, let's do some addition!

The Castellan's Chamber has nine magic items (one of which is so unimportant it is used as decoration) and 6200gp in treasure (not counting coins!).

But maybe he's just the example of what a successful adventurer can aspire to, and so a bad example of "The good stuff is already where it needs to be!" Fine.

The loan bank's vault has 26,965.5gp worth of treasure in it.

To compare, the entire Shrine of Evil Chaos complex has 18,504.34gp worth of treasure in it (assuming maximum values of coin in the Gelatinous Cube). The minotaur cave has 4,185gp in treasure, the gnoll cave has 1743.02 (again, assuming maximum values of coins), the bugbears 1797.8gp.

If you completely looted the four most difficult caves (which in D&D logic would carry the most treasure), you still wouldn't have as much treasure as the bank vault in the Keep, and the Castellan keeps as much treasure as any two caves not including the assumed final one.

Holy shitballs.

This is genius if you take the position that it creates a very open module where role reversal is possible and evil parties can ally with the humanoids and/or raid the Keep. Or if you assume some sort of corruption at high levels within the Keep. But neither of those are the intent at all. Proof of that is not only the printed background material, but also suggestion alliances with Keep authorities and giving PCs extra experience for destroying evil artifacts in the Shrine of Evil Chaos yet having no equivalent bonus for screwing around in the Keep. And good luck to a low level party assaulting a fortress with a unified garrison, even with 100 humanoids in tow.

So we have a very large fortified garrison (157 soldiers, many in plate mail, plus all the warhorses and catapults, and that's not counting the curate or others in the chapel, or those in the inn, or the merchants and their guards, or the lackeys and pages... just the armed garrison of the Keep) that's better organized, better equipped, is better protected, has more magic, and has more valuables than the evil critters out in the Caves of Chaos.

And fortresses like this aren't for hiding away and locking the door, they are for projecting power. Which Gygax knew well as a student of military history.

So what's the story of this squabbling collection of inhuman tribes so close to the Keep? Seriously, if a small group of adventurers who fell off the turnip truck yesterday are supposed to be able to conquer the Caves of Chaos with a series of clever incursions, how easy would it be for an organized, well-equipped force with high level characters on hand to just wipe all that shit out? The Castellan is "a very clever fellow, but at times he can be too hasty in his decisions," so why is there a single living thing left in the Caves?

It seems utterly ridiculous that a place out on the absolute fringes of civilization, expected to be an adventuring environment menaced by evil, would be so wealthy and this secure. What, then, must the heart of civilization be like? The areas where the evil forces of chaos aren't less than two miles down the road? How must it be when this armpit of a stronghold directly in harm's way is so filthy stinking rich and well-stocked?

So the PCs could clear out the Caves of Chaos, rid the wilderness of all the threats lurking there... and what will they have accomplished? They'll still be returning to the Keep which was never realistically in any danger to begin with, and any appreciation given by those in charge will be for just doing the job they couldn't be bothered with. All that loot they got still won't make them seem hot shit in the Keep because the place is overflowing with riches (yet I bet the rank and file soldier will resent them for taking their share of loot from when the Keep would have gotten around to dealing with the problem) and half the officers seem to be equipped with magic anyway so bully for you and your +1 doodad.

Shit, if that's all "gold and glory" is worth on the borderlands, might as well stay home and milk cows.

I would think the entire setting makes more sense, that the impetus for the PCs to act is much stronger, that it better matches the written background description and develops the atmosphere described in the module, if the Keep is weak and ill-equipped compared to the menace outside its walls.

... and here I should put some sort of summation or closing bit for all this, but frankly, I think I'm rather done with this...

Monday, August 29, 2011

I Saw Underworld and I Went to the Zoo

I went to the zoo on Friday. Looking through the glass/plastic/whateveritwas door of the lion pen, I saw a female lion walking around with its cub. I waved at it. It got pissed, ran at me and jumped against the door. Being about six inches away from an angry lion was, ahhh, interesting. My immediate thought (after the reflex jump back) was "five hit dice is not enough." Oh crap, the weight tables in LotFP would have this at 4HD.

But... normal humans are d6hp, so less potential hit points than a 1HD monster. I am not a class-and-level individual nor a prime physical specimen, so I'm not even 6hp. Hell, the d6 normal human hit point range assumes a rougher, more physical life, so the average "works in an office and watches TV and gets physical exercise at the gym, not from life" is probably d4 hit points. So I'd likely be, what, 2? Maybe even 1 if my reaction to paper cuts are any indication.

In LotFP a 4HD monster hits an active unarmored man on an 8, and will take a 6hp man to 0hp or less half the time on a single hit. A maximum hp lion can take over five times the damage of a maximum hp normal man, and a maximum hit point lion can take over nine times the punishment of the average normal man.

gaahhh...

Underworld was on TV last night. What a shitbag of a movie. There was not one single thing about that movie that allowed me to believe in it, not one single thing that I thought was cool or exciting, and I fear my IQ dropped a few notches after watching it (my wife liked whatsherface's boots, which is why it was on) and I don't have any more to spare. I want to punch the people who made this movie, but whoever wrote that dialogue deserve strangling.

Trying and failing for cool is much worse than keeping your head down and going about your business in a workmanlike manner (if you fail there, you're just bad, not fucking awful), which I much appreciated the previous day when I finally saw the first episode of The Walking Dead. It was absolutely nothing new. But it was good.

I've seen a billion zombie movies, and most of them suck. All sorts of gimmicks and trickery, both with the zombies ("These zombies jump like acrobats!") and "exciting" filmmaking techniques make most of them rather pointless and just fuckin' dumb.

But The Walking Dead keeps everything basic and simple. It's the same old Romero zombie (I hope the rest of the season doesn't fuck it up...), there were no "cool action shots" or jump scares or anything of the sort. In fact, the episode didn't seem to care about trying to scare the audience at all. Everything made sense and started from square one and slowly built the feeling of dread and menace, so when the shit does hit the fan it doesn't come off as cheap or as an artificial adrenaline rush, but rather something that was just as natural and logical in the setting as the guys talking about photo albums in the house.

The existence of zombies is enough on its own if you're not an idiot, you know?

While trying to mentally retreat from the awfulness that was Underworld, I couldn't help think about how it applies to D&D.

A million monsters. Standardized!

A million magic items. Standardized!

I don't understand how the world of Underworld is supposed to work outside the immediate situation of this vampire vs werewolf feud and every extra absurdity added just breaks the world even more.

I don't understand how the world of D&D is supposed to work outside the immediate situation on a bunch of adventurers exploring a megadungeon.

Much of what I've done with LotFP is an equal mix of "The basics of the system are sound, why mess with it?" and "The world can't make any sense if all this crap exists." This is not new information, but I'm becoming increasingly unwilling to tolerate standard D&D setting assumptions at all.

All the magic items and monsters and races seem more and more to me like acrobatic zombies and ultraviolet bullets - not in a "I prefer something different" sense, but in an absolute "This is crap" way. (or, "I prefer this and can't see why you prefer that at all.")

Perhaps I'm thinking about this way too much, but to me thinking about these things is the glue that holds a campaign together.

... and I think I now have an idea for a series of posts that don't have anything to do with flogging my stuff. (and there was much rejoicing)

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Friday, August 26, 2011

My First New Campaign in 20 Years? House Rule Ideas!

So I'm starting up my new campaign at the end of September.

(If you're in Helsinki and you're free on Sundays, I'M LOOKING FOR PLAYERS!)

It's going to be the first time since the very early 90s that I'm not using my own setting for the adventures (I even tied in my HERO supers game from 2007 into the setting), so I guess you can say it's the first totally new campaign since then.

(to me, a campaign goes beyond the characters or even players that participate in it...)

This calls for NEW HOUSE RULES!

I've been thinking of a few different things... let me know how stupid and game-destroying these would be...

Instead of an Attack Bonus, a character has a generic Combat Bonus every round. This bonus can be applied to the attack roll, AC, and/or the initiative roll for the round (must be declared before initiative is rolled, of course).

No spell levels. All spells will be re-jiggled as level one spells that scale up as the character gains levels. Magic-Users can cast as many spells as he has levels. (research and scrolls and writing in spellbooks would need rejiggled info as well) (I guess I'd have to do this with clerics as well?)

Demi-humans will be reconfigured to be new human classes. This thread on the LotFP board has a lot of ideas from different people. Not sure what I'll do with the Halfling and Dwarf, but the Elf can become some sort of fae-touched person... one possibility is that they don't have to memorize/prepare specific spells at the beginning of the day (if they have it in their book they can cast it), but to counteract that I'll have "metal doesn't exactly agree with them" limitations.

Oh, I'll also remove every single direct damage-causing spell.

Kill the Intelligence stat. The idea that it's player skill and I don't give any real consideration to INT as a stat during play. Make Charisma the "adjusts saving throws versus magic" stat with the idea that force of personality is what affects magic, and Wisdom stays as the "world awareness" stat that adjusts non-magic saves.

Just ideas, don't know which will be implemented or which will stick around if I decide to try them.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Garble Garble You Don't Care About

Got back from vacation early (bugs were too much and we almost set the place on fire...), but had the new computer ready and waiting to be picked up, and setting that up has taken awhile. And with my great handiness with technology, I haven't yet figured how to get my email archives from the old computer to the new one yet... so if you're waiting on something from me, you'll get it, just not yet. (I look up store orders directly online so no delays there)

I should do an adventure called Mosquito Bytes, yeah?

Anyway.

Got lots done on Dancing Queen in Yellow and Monolith while I was away, but all that needs to be transcribed since I wrote it down in notebooks.

Since the game I've been playing in has petered out, I'm going to be starting up my own campaign again. Actually, I guess you could call this a brand new campaign...

6+ months away from running my own games has given me a backlog of things I want to try out.

First adventure will be The God that Crawls, from there it'll move to a more open format I think where it isn't broken up into "adventures," (if they're unlucky they'll wander into the Monolith or Queen in Yellow areas) I'll start that up the weekend after I return from Stockholm, and my goal is to have at least half the group be people I've never gamed with before.

And then the killing will begin.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Art Preview Post Through Time!

I made this post five days ago... yet here it is, just now! How odd.

You know what would be odder? If I got in a car crash on the way to the cottage or if I was eaten by a mink once I was there or if I got hit by a meteor or something, and then I'd be dead, and then this would be A BLOG POST FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE!

Here's a Carcosa piece by Rich Longmore. Did I hear someone say they wanted Kirby-inspired robots? Why yes, I think I did.

Screw you, FLAILSNAILS! We've got... what the hell is that?

Maybe I should show you something a little more normal... oh bloody hell.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Isle of the Unknown monster pics by Amos Orion Sterns)

Isle of the Unknown mage by Jason Rainville:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Carcosa + Isle of the Unknown Art Preview!

Since I'm already gone for the week by the time you read this, I should put some pretty pictures here. 'cause that's how I roll, and other embarrassing catchphrases.

A Carcosa piece by Rich Longmore:
An Isle of the Unknown monster by Amos Orion Sterns:

An Isle of the Unknown mage by Jason Rainville:


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Wait, I Haven't Shown You Any Carcosa Artwork Yet?

My bad.

Thought I'd show you something maybe a little different than you were expecting.

Art by Rich Longmore.

LotFP World Tour Adds Stockholm Dates in September!

I'll be off to Stockholms Spelkonvent on September 16-18. LotFP's been doing well in Sweden, thanks in no small part to favorable reviews in Fenix magazine.

I'll also be off to Tampere Sept. 3-4 for Tracon.

I'll be bringing a selection of goods from the webstore (not bringing everything, so if you have requests, speak up!) and also running games...

The Dancing Queen in Yellow for sure at both conventions, Monolith from beyond Space and Time in Stockholm.

I'll also be doing some online playtests for Monolith next month... I need to run it for 0 level, 4th level, 7th level, and 50th level groups... "For Levels 0 - ∞" will be no joke, and the plan is to not change a single stat or result or description to keep PC levels in mind.

I'm going out of town tomorrow afternoon and will be gone an entire week and will be offline. Any store orders made while I'm gone will not be processed until I return (so get your order in by 1pm Friday Helsinki time if you don't want to wait a week for it to be sent), any email sent will not be seen until my return.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Found the Best Website EVER

You want horror reviews?

1000 Misspent Hours and Counting has your horror reviews.

"El Santo" offers thorough and intelligent views on movies that are all too often not very thorough or intelligent...

Disappear for Two Days and Look What Happens!

First, the important stuff: I was at Jalometalli over the weekend. Was down front and center for Cathedral, playing a 90 minute show on their farewell tour. Saw Entombed. NAPALM DEATH! Fun time.

The funny moment: One of the musicians I knew from over the weekend (who shall remain nameless for his own protection!) came up to me and gave me a great big hug... and then gives my wife a great big hug and starts speaking to her in Swedish. He hadn't gotten the memo that my current wife isn't the same woman I was with when he met me in 2005. aaawwkkkwwaarrrdddd

Got the "Are you Jim from Lamentations? OHMIGOD" treatment from someone with exhortations to release another issue. I really should, if I could shit more time for myself. I'd get into all these festivals for free, receive more free CDs from the people that actually still send free CDs to zines, and get some death threats going again since you role-players seem to actually like what I write. You bastards.

While in Oulu I also did an interview for a Spanish RPG zine. Rodrigo's going to transcribe the interview and translate it for his audience. That's hardcore.

The life of a famous person on the road, you know? I need a bigger entourage.

I now have a close-to-finished Carcosa layout in my possession... still need to go through and assign final illustrations based on that layout. Current estimate is going to be about 45 pages of art over 288 pages.

Isle of the Unknown's artwork is finished barring a couple of revisions. I have a feeling layout for this one is going to be a nightmare.

Signs of life and new samples from Exquisite Corpses in my mailbox!

I have a feeling all of these are going to get finished at once and I'll either have to gamble on 30000€ in printing at once or then artificially delay some of the books...

ahhh, almost-finished Monolith cover art. What a busy bunch of minions I had over the weekend. :D :D :D

I'll be at some remote cabin from the 19th to 26th and will not have internet access. Store orders made during that time will be shipped after my return. Assuming the wife and I aren't butchered by some maniac in a hockey mask during that time, I'll return with a completed The Dancing Queen in Yellow manuscript since there's going to be fuck all else to do there.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Vornheim 1000

Got the GenCon sales report last night...

Including both PDF and print, Vornheim: The Complete City Kit has broken the 1000 sales mark.

The first (but not last!) LotFP release to do so.

(I track the Deluxe and Grindhouse versions of the rules separately, but if taken together, including PDF and print, they've moved over 1400 copies)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Big LotFP Store Sale!

Cash flow: The bane of any small business. Lots of bills coming due in just a short time.

To persuade you to give me a bunch of money right away so I don't have to sweat it, I'm offering the following coupon codes to the LotFP Store:

Coupon code ENTOMBED gives 10% off an order of 100€ or more.
Coupon code CATHEDRAL gives 15% off an order of 150€ or more.
Coupon code NAPALM gives 20% off an order of 200€ or more.

Each coupon will expire after five uses, or at the end of the month, whichever comes first. A customer can only use a particular coupon code once. Discounts are on pre-tax and pre-shipping totals.

Spread the word, if you would...

(I'm hitting a metal festival this weekend, if you are curious as to where the coupon names came from...)

In stock:

Lamentations of the Flame Princess
LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing Grindhouse Edition
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
Grinding Gear
Hammers of the God
Tower of the Stargazer (6 left!)
Weird New World (8 left!)

Die Cast Games
Insidious

Expeditious Retreat Press
Advanced Adventures #1 - #17
Magical Society: Silk Road
Malevolent and Benign
Sorcery & Super Science!

Faster Monkey Games
Lesserton & Mor
Realm of the Technomancer
Re-Energizers
Skull Mountain
Wheel of Evil

Frog God Games
Fane of the Fallen
Hollow Mountain
Jungle Ruins of Madaro-Shanti
Splinters of Faith #1 - 5, 7, 8
Strange Bedfellows
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook
Ursined Sealed and Delivered
Valley of the Hawks
Vengeance of the Long Serpent
Winter Wood

Goodman Games
Dungeon Alphabet
GM Gems
PC Pearls
Points of Light
Points of Light 2
Random Esoteric Creature Generator

Henchmen Abuse
Anomalous Subsurface Environment

North Wind Adventures
Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent

Pacesetter Games & Simulations
Circle of Fire
Death on Signal Island
Eruptor's Vengeance
Screaming Temple
Thing in the Valley

Planet Thirteen Games
Purple Worm Graveyard

Rogue Games
Shadow Sword and Spell Basic
Shadow Sword and Spell Expert
Under Pashuvanam's Lush

Running Beagle Games
B/X Companion

Monday, August 8, 2011

Isle of the Unknown Art Preview 3: MORE MONSTERS + Blargle

I've had a nasty habit of writing 3/4ths of a blog post lately, but then not posting them. So here's the money shots of all that unposted writing, without the arguments behind them:

  • G1/2/3/D1/2/3 is as much of a story-loaded railroad as I3/4/5
  • Death on the Reik is perhaps the awesomest adventure ever
  • The answer to "Is there room for another...?" is always yes, as long as it's good enough
  • Guns may change the flavor of your setting but they won't change the actual play of your old school game one bit
  • My publishing philosophy moves further along the "pay your people, make everything awesome, if it costs it costs"
  • Ropecon story from Mentzer: Gygax wrote Keep on the Borderlands so he could get the "included in the basic sets that are selling by the hundreds of thousands" royalties instead of continuing to let Mike Carr get that loot with In Search of the Unknown
  • It's weird to be worried about how well I did at GenCon...

And, as advertised, here are some more monster pics from Isle of the Unknown. Concepts by Geoffrey McKinney, artwork by Amos Orion Sterns.







Friday, August 5, 2011

Isle of the Unknown Art Preview 2: MONSTERS!

There will be over 100 new and unique monsters in Geoffrey McKinney's Isle of the Unknown.

All of them are being illustrated by Amos Orion Sterns, all of them in brilliant full color!

Three examples:




It's my understanding that the line work has been completed for all of them, and there are still 40 or so left to be colored.

I've seen the cover art (by Cynthia Sheppard) and map (by Jason Rainville) drafts and I hope to show you those soon.

I'd apologize for the delays, but since we're not sitting here with our thumbs up our asses I'll instead apologize for being optimistic when originally announcing the release dates (I was originally planning on Grindhouse to be out in December of last year, to let you know how unrealistic my expectations are).

We'll get this out when every possible bit of awesomeness has been squeezed into it, not a moment before, and hopefully not too long after.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

LotFP Call for Submissions (Revised!)

Lamentations of the Flame Princess is looking for submissions for its series of fantasy/horror adventure modules for the Weird Fantasy Role-Playing game. Each module will be published as a 32-page, A5-sized book, which averages out to 15,000-20,000 words in length plus maps.

Your first contact with LotFP should be an outline of your proposed adventure. This outline should include:

  • The title of the work
  • A brief synopsis no more than two paragraphs in length
  • A list of the adventure's intended subsections with a brief description of each each subsection which should be no more than one or two lines in length.

Keep in mind that if LotFP is interested in working with you, your submission will undergo a developmental process before it is published. Part of this process involves both editing and, if necessary, making changes to your submission.

Playtesting should be done by you before submitting the final draft. If you do not play your creations you have no business expecting anyone else to do so.

While the core of the system used in the Weird Fantasy Role-Playing game is very familiar and traditional, these adventures are very different in feel and style to that found in scenarios published for other fantasy RPGs!

When writing for Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, your submission should take into account the following elements:

  • Present the adventure as if it takes place during the Early Modern period, roughly between the years 1500 C.E. And 1650 C.E of our own history. You do not need to be a student of geography or history to write a LotFP adventure, but when it comes to cities and nations and cultures, your adventure must be real-world in feel. You are still free to completely invent local areas and should remember that for Weird Fantasy Role-Playing adventures feeling historically accurate is just as good as being accurate.
  • Demi-humans, if used at all, must never be portrayed as being involved with or living within human society. Other humanoid creatures normally standard to other fantasy RPGs should not be used at all.
  • Every monster in the adventure (other than real-life animals) should be an individual and unique creation. They should be used sparingly.
  • Magic items must also be rare and unique, and never part of normal society. Magical items encountered should present the Player Characters complications with the potential for ill rather than as their expected reward or treasure, or as a form of guaranteed power-up. Only if you are charitable should a magical item grant the PCs a positive benefit.
  • NPCs with class and levels should be rare.
  • “Extreme” or “edgy” or “offensive” content is absolutely not required for a LotFP submission, and if used at all it should make sense in the greater context of the adventure.

Be creative, be weird. Only submissions which impress and amaze will be accepted.

All submitted work should be your own original work that you own all rights to, and the work should not have been previously published elsewhere in English.

Your full submission should use the following formatting:

  • .rtf file format
  • Times New Roman 12 point font
  • There should be full line breaks between headers and the following text, and full line breaks between paragraphs with no indentation.
  • All spell names should be capitalized and italicized
  • Saving Throw categories should be capitalized
  • Monetary listings should be without period (5sp and not 5 s.p., for example)
  • NPC and monster statistics should have their own paragraph rather than be into the text.
  • Maps should be submitted in rough form (they will be professionally redone later)

Compensation will be handled in one of two ways, chosen by you:

  • 0,02€ per word (final draft, after editing), paid upon publication. LotFP owns the work outright after payment is made.
  • 35% of profits made from the work, paid every quarter. No money will be paid up front and LotFP will be simply licensing the work and publication rights from you. Both the work and publication rights will revert back to you when the print run is sold out or after five years, whichever comes first.

Full contracts noting the specifics will be sent to you in either case; these two points are merely summaries.

If you have a longer-form project in mind (or even a full game), different arrangements can be made. Get in touch!

Disclaimer: At no point before the signing of a contract is LotFP obligated to publish your adventure or pay you for it. Submitting a work and getting developmental feedback is in no way a guarantee of payment or publication. At the same time, LotFP has no rights to your work until a contract is signed and you can pull your project from LotFP at any time before that.

Submissions, questions, and comments can be sent to lotfp@lotfp.com

Details on Weird Fantasy Role-Playing, including a free PDF of the rules (in art-free format) can be found here.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

HUGE Webstore Update

The LotFP Webstore is finally back up!

Here is what is currently in stock... Keep in mind I only have 1 of some of these items so you might want to check things you're interested in sooner than later...

(note: I apologize to my French customers, but too many packages sent there have been lost. French orders will now be charged a flat 6,15€ for shipping, and I will send the buyer a tracking number once the order has shipped)

(as always when so much is updated at once, if you see something odd while ordering, let me know right away!)

Lamentations of the Flame Princess
LotFP Weird Fantasy Role-Playing Grindhouse Edition
Vornheim: The Complete City Kit
Grinding Gear
Hammers of the God
Tower of the Stargazer (9 left!)
Weird New World (12 left!)

Die Cast Games
Insidious

Expeditious Retreat Press
Advanced Adventures #1 - #17
Magical Society: Silk Road
Malevolent and Benign
Sorcery & Super Science!

Faster Monkey Games
Lesserton & Mor
Realm of the Technomancer
Re-Energizers
Skull Mountain
Wheel of Evil

Frog God Games
Fane of the Fallen
Hollow Mountain
Jungle Ruins of Madaro-Shanti
Splinters of Faith #1 - 5, 7, 8
Strange Bedfellows
Swords & Wizardry Complete Rulebook
Ursined Sealed and Delivered
Valley of the Hawks
Vengeance of the Long Serpent
Winter Wood

Goodman Games
Dungeon Alphabet
GM Gems
PC Pearls
Points of Light
Points of Light 2
Random Esoteric Creature Generator

Henchmen Abuse
Anomalous Subsurface Environment

North Wind Adventures
Charnel Crypt of the Sightless Serpent

Pacesetter Games & Simulations
Circle of Fire
Death on Signal Island
Eruptor's Vengeance
Screaming Temple
Thing in the Valley

Planet Thirteen Games
How to Host a Dungeon
Purple Worm Graveyard

Rogue Games
Shadow Sword and Spell Basic
Shadow Sword and Spell Expert
Under Pashuvanam's Lush

Running Beagle Games
B/X Companion

Aural Adventure Generator


1. Zombie Creeping Flesh
2. Steel Teeth (The Metal Jaw)
3. Zombie Kommand
4. Atomizer
5. Fortified Zone
6. Racists!
7. Scientists?
8. Hell Trucker
9. Nuke the Skeets
10. Skellington Crew
11. Bullet Belt

1. Zombie Blood Nightmare
2. Evil Voices
3. Final Fight
4. Time Crime
5. Global Warning
6. OCP
7. Hammer Slammer
8. Sentenced to Thrash
9. Zombi Brew
10. Hell Trucker
11. Return of the Technodrome
12. Thrashoholic
13. In the Court of General Zod
14. Space Invaders
15. Bullet Belt

1. Slam Anthem
2. New Eliminators of Atlantis B.C.
3. Three Witches
4. Last Ninjas Unite
5. Escape from Scarecrow Mountain
6. Mussolini Mosh
7. We Respect You
8. Apocalypse 1997
9. Return to Blood Castle
10. Polterghost
11. Skeletron
12. Mummy Invasion

Carter Holmes Desperately Wishes to Die...

...and if he can not convince the PCs to kill him outright, he will further tempt them. He will point out that eating parts of his brain will imbue some of his magical knowledge in the devourer.

Ten brain bits may be picked from Holmes' head before he expires. If a piece of brain is consumed, roll on the following table to determine what knowledge is gained from it...

Sorry, I'm on the jazz hard for adventures now, and I've got time to work, and I thought I should feed little (brain) bits of what I'm working on. That bit is from the Monolith From Beyond Space and Time.

And for the adventure that will need dancing rolls, it has been suggested to me that high Charisma and low Wisdom are both useful in dancing. What do you think?

It's a shame it's taken this long for follow-ups to the Grindhouse Edition to come out, but forcing things out before their time is no good.

The Weirdest is yet to come.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Quick Update

Ropecon went well. In sales terms that means I paid for con expenses + importing all that stuff. Hanging out with Mentzer and also Erik Mona and Jeff Richards for a bit was interesting and enlightening.

The webstore is just about ready to reopen, I'm just waiting on a couple PDFs to be sent to me so I can set those bundles up.

Work continues on upcoming releases... the art is almost finished for Isle, Carcosa's next layout iteration is in the works, Monolith is chugging along and after I that finished I've locked in the followup, the concept of which will guarantee that I burn in hell.

Its title at this point looks to be "The Dancing Queen in Yellow." Chew on that one.

I still hope to get 5 things out by the end of the year, but at this rate I should be happy with 4 and satisfied with 3. LotFP is not a shovelware publisher, apparently.