Dragon Heresy – A Quick Review

+Doug Cole is running his long awaited Kickstarter for his 5e based RPG Dragon Heresy. Dragon Heresy is a Norse/Viking themed RPG. The Kickstarter is to get this starter set off the ground. It covers up to 5th level of play. As of this writing, the Kickstarter just hit the basic funding level, and is nearing double the base amount. There are three stretch goals, yet to be reached. More races, classes, and backgrounds; offset printing; and the big one – the production of the Deluxe Edition of Dragon Heresy, which is already written.

The Book of Foes

I received two PDFs of the working draft that is awaiting final edits. First I dug into The Book of Foes. This is basically the monster manual/bestiary. I really like the initial presentation that describes creatures as either obstacles or opposition. The section on How to Use This Book and Creature Behavior are great explanations that both new and experienced GMs can use to help get into the mind/motivation of creatures.

This covers the gamut from normal wildlife, monstrosities, elementals, fae, dragon kind, and undead. Every creature is described through the lenses of a northern/cold environment and a Norse flavor/mythology.  One finds an explanation for why these creatures make sense in this world.

Dragon Heresy Introductory Set

The second PDF is the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set. It goes into some of the same information as I already encountered in The Book of Foes. For example, vigor and wounds. Rather than a standard 5e system, Doug has added some complexity to make hit points more varied. Armor also negates some damage either by the nature of armor, or the ablative nature of wearing down an opponent’s armor. At a certain level of hit point loss, one begins to suffer wounds.

Doug’s last Kickstarter, The Lost Hall of Tyr, is a module in this setting. Some of the creatures and setting text are duplicated, but it just reflects the consistency of Doug’s presentation. Also his grappling rules, as presented in his first Kickstarter, Dungeon Grappling, have a place in this world. Both people and creatures/monsters have ways to grapple foes.

I reviewed his prior Kickstarters and backed both of them. I was going to pass on backing this Kickstarter, but I really like what I’ve seen in the PDFs Doug sent me. I like having the physical book to hold in my hands, so I’m going to chip in at the $50 level. Doug runs a top notch Kiskstarter and will give plenty of updates and deliver on time or early.

One of the tiers is $5 for a PDF of the combat rules for the standard three classes, wizard, cleric, and fighter for levels one and two. This lets you see his take on combat. He’s studied various martial arts, most recently re-constructed Viking fighting styles, which inform his take on grappling and combat in Dragon Heresy. If you are looking for a combined setting and rules for a Norse based RPG based on 5e, this is the one for you.

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Marmalade Dog 23 – Kalamazoo’s Local Con 2018

Marmalade Dog 23 was a lot of fun. I signed up to run two games, Metamorphosis Alpha and Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Friday afternoon I signed up to play Red Box Basic, our DM didn’t show, so +Adam Muszkiewicz volunteered to run it, since I was scheduled to run Metamorphosis Alpha that evening. Adam looked up the module on his phone and ran it for us. That’s one cool thing about OSR rules, they are simple enough you can do stuff like that.

Adam Muszkiewicz fills in as DM
Adam Muszkiewicz fills in as DM

No one signed up for my Metamorphosis Alpha game, so I joined in a DCC game ran by Joel Davidson. It was his first time running DCC and he did a great job. We had a lot of fun, and only a couple 0 levels died.

Joel Davidson Running DCC
Joel Davidson Running DCC

Saturday morning, I played in +Del Tiegeler’s AS&SH game and had a blast. We made a wrong choice and missed a clue and had a TPK, all trapped in the tomb. I walked away with some art Del drew just for the session!

Del Teigeler's AS&SH Game
Del Teigeler’s AS&SH Game

I then ran AD&D, with a scenario from my Sunday Roll20 game. It was fun seeing how a different group of players approached the scenario and made different choices. I had two first time players and they both did great! One young couple is local, so perhaps we can do some gaming at the FLGS.

Players from my AD&D Game
Players from my AD&D Game

Friday evening, I played my card game with play testers one and two and they really liked the changes that came from play testing at Gary Con. I had a couple things happen that had not yet happened. It was just interesting to see them happen.

I got in another play test with play tester number one on Saturday evening, and had a couple things happen that hadn’t happened. One required a ruling, the other was just interesting.

I’ve now had 17 play tests, 15 with the current rules. I’m debating about some modifications to the rules to add in a bit more variety. I’m wondering if there’s a rule of thumb for the number of play tests a new card game needs. The two play tests at Marmalade Dog are the only ones I forgot to take pictures.

We won’t know when Marmalade Dog 24 will be until the schedule for next yet is set. It is dependent on the sports schedule. If it isn’t the same weekend as Gary Con, I’ll be there running games!

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Levels For Terrain

Edward Kann posted a map of an area in his Blueholme game he started with his sons. (Check out his G+ profile, he has some serious talent for maps and adventure design.) He has mapped the contents of a 20 mile hex using graph paper for the scale of 1 square per mile. One can debate the changing of scale for accuracy between hexes and squares ad nauseum. Forget that noise. The cool thing is the map key has a section for a TERRAIN KEY with LEVELS for each type of terrain.

Edward Kann's map of the contents of a 20 mile hex at 1 mile per square.
Edward Kann’s map of the contents of a 20 mile hex at 1 mile per square.

My Plan For This.

I like this idea for levels for terrain. I’ll modify that for my own use with a keep, town, or city within so many miles. Say a keep with a 20 mile radius zone of control would negate bad/evil/monstrous encounters. (This is basically the West Marches approach.)

However, wild animals would always be a possibility. Sick or wounded animals would be more likely to attack. Males of most species in mating season would be more likely to attack. Mothers protecting young would be more likely to attack. So lack of monsters does not mean “no danger.”

The deep forest being 3rd level is cool. I’ll add a dark wood more focused on the bad things in the forest. That is, a cark wood would have an encounter table focused on the bad/evil creatures found in forests.

For my purposes, I want a variation for the farms/structures. Have a special set of tables to determine if it is a farm or other structures, their condition – ruins, burnt out/smoldering, etc. And finally if occupied by farmers or otherwise the “correct” occupants or “something else.” Something else could be a hungry monster, goblin raiding party, house or barn fire, etc.  A large animal in mating season being belligerent, whether a wild animal or the bull got loose.

This is what I love about the OSR and sharing RPG ideas for any game online. All the different people with their unique take on how they do things spark ideas for how I can use and modify their ideas for my own use.

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The Great Kingdom – Revived or Refunds?

In response to a comment on my big article about the legally troubled Great Kingdom Kickstarter. While the Kickstarter page still has the same message about a legal dispute, I found that there has been some movement in the legal front. The last online data about the case is from September 29, 2017. [Go here or use the link search as guest for Case: 505665 and Year: 2014.

I am not a lawyer, and from what I can see, it appears that the two parties were ordered to mediation to save the expense of a trial. They have had depositions and meetings to work out whatever deal they may have reached. I assume there is a settlement based on what the commenter said on my other article.

According to the comments, “. . . they had just cleared a legal hurdle and it should be released soon.” Also: “They are going to send out a survey to make sure if peoples addresses have changed (like mine has) what their new address is so they can get the kickstarter (sic) rewards shipped. This is progress.”

Since I am a backer of this Kickstarter, I also messaged them to get an official response from them. I asked if “it” is a film or refunds.

Here is their response:

NOTE: I’ll update this once I get it.

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Alliterative A to Z Vancian Style Spell Names

I had trouble going to sleep last night, so I tried a creative exercise on Twitter to get my mind of the dumb things one thinks about when they can’t sleep.

As readers of my blog may know, I get on alliteration kicks, and don’t just do a few, I take up a challenge and do A to Z.

Looking at my Twitter time stamps, I did this in 20 minutes, due to slow typing on my phone. Challenge yourself to make a list in 26 minutes or less.

The cool thing about these types of spell names, they suggest more than one meaning, so you can have the came spell name for two different spells. One the true spell, and the other a mis-attributed spell, or perhaps the creator made two spells with the same name.

Thus, there are two mental exercises for the creation and description of such a list.

Alliterative spell names a la “Dying Earth” by Jack Vance.

  • Aurbon’s aggressive agony.
  • Balquar’s bubbling bruise.
  • Celeara’s cunning catastrophe.
  • Dolomar’s delightful destruction.
  • Edmund’s egregious ennervation.
  • Forlana’s felicitous falacy.
  • Grintok’s gruelling grounding.
  • Hakovar’s horrendous hallucination.
  • Inigo’s indigo interval.
  • Joanna’s jovial juxtaposition.
  • Kling’s kitten kerfuffle.
  • Lorelai’s larcenous lamentation.
  • Morwen’s marvellous mastication.
  • Norbert’s noteworthy nod.
  • Orwilla’s ordinal outcry.
  • Prilmak’s putrecent pugilism.
  • Quilvia’s questing query.
  • Rilma’s rising refuge.
  • Selene’s silent sobriquet.
  • Talon’s taking torment.
  • Ulvar’s undulating utterance.
  • Virgil’s vitreous veracity.
  • Wilmore’s wriggling wilderness.
  • Xenon’s xenophobic xenomorph.
  • Yalla’s yielding yell.
  • Zandar’s zippered zephyr.

Are there other alliterative lists you’d like to see me make? I can’t make any promises about Q, X, and Z. Hard C and K make it interesting too.

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Child’s Play – Monster Creation

My granddaughter turned three in mid-January. Last week she started a new game with me of “Talking About Animals.” She says, “Let’s talk about animals.” I ask what kind of animal she wants to talk about. She says things like kangaroo, horse, hippopotamus. I tell her something factual, and to her. interesting and amazing about that animal.

Today, she wanted to talk about animals. Unusually, she started off with cats that were blue, so I mentioned Persian cats that are sort of blue. Then she decided to talk about dogs. When I asked what kind, she said blue again, and I told her a bit about blue healers.  Next she said, “Monsters!” When I asked what kind, she said green. When I asked what they ate, she said, “Ceilings!” I went with it and talked about being able to see the sky and the clouds and the sun now, and then the stars and moon tonight. I asked where they lived, and she said in her shoe.

It was so cute and perfect I started up the web cam, made a test to make sure it had sound. We made a perfect one take on three monsters, green, black, and blue. Unfortunately, when I moved the microphone closer, I bumped the mute button, and a flawless take is a silent movie….

In the first take, she came up with the black and blue monsters,  their diet, and lairs on her own on the spot. She looked around to see what was around my desk for the new ones. She chose colors based on what she saw. My computer is black, and I have baby wipes because she wants to play when she has sticky fingers or a runny nose. I’ve managed to avoid the worst of what she’s brought home from daycare.

This simple exercise shows how easy it is to come up with ideas for monsters. One can extrapolate the look around your desk, bookshelves, kitchen, garage, etc. to come up with ideas for items, treasure, locations, NPCs, and more. Also, as a DM/GM it is OK to change your mind about something. For monsters, just make a variant that look alike/similar.  Don’t be afraid to GM. You just create starting conditions for your players and as they interact with it, you modify the environment to present new challenges and opportunities to the players. While it may seem artificial and awkward at first, as with anything, it gets better with time.

So below is the second take, not near as good, but lots of fun. Below that, I will have simplified stats for her monsters. Feel free to use her creations with attribution – Nikola Hamilton.

MONSTER STATS

Green Monsters

Lair: Shoes & Computers
Size: Tiny
Diet: Ceilings
Number Appearing: Blockbusters! (That’s a lot!)

Black Monsters

Lair: Grandpa’s jacket
Size: Tiny
Diet: Grass (not so much as to prevent grandpa from mowing the lawn.)

Blue Monsters

Lair: Cellphones
Size: Tiny
Diet: Used baby wipes

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My Awesome Gary Con X!

I had a packed Gary Con schedule compared to the prior two years. This was the first time I ran games. I ran 3 four hour games, and played in 4 games. Three were four hours and one 5+hours. Next year, I think I will run three games, but I won’t pack my schedule. I need more sleep.

THURSDAY

Gangbusters – Stop The Flow
Two Kolchaks

Two of the three games I ran were Thursday. I started with Gang Busters. I had 8 pre-gens using the templates from +Mark Hunt’s version of Gangbusters. I proofread his current state of the rules from the fall, so I used his version with my edits. The pre-gens made character creation fast. Mark was going to play in my game, as I told him that I would run so he could play. Unfortunately, his dad went in the hospital and he couldn’t make it. I had no reception with my chrome book in the part of the hotel they  had us. Mark had hoped to do a Google Hangout for a Q&A after the game.

I never saw so many players botch a roll and then make the luck roll I gave them. At least, make the luck roll when it counted. Most lucks were under 30. I had 3 or 4 players in a row make their luck roll. The players were all law enforcement. One played a state trooper and played it so well, the others asked if he was a real officer, and he laughed as he was not in law enforcement. The characters found the source of the secret shipments of alcohol. I can’t give it away, or I can’t run that scenario. No characters died, but a couple got shot up really bad. One caught himself on fire, and another kept falling in the water. It was awesome how they played smart and rolled well, and foiled the bad guys. They got done an hour early.

Stars Without Number

In the afternoon, I ran Stars Without Number. I used the revised edition rules for the Kickstarter that delivered in January. I had never played it, so running was the first time I played it. I built 8 pre-gens. The first pre-gen took a long time as I was figuring out all the bits to do it, even with the spread on character generation. I did that to help me grasp all the pieces. I then used the quick character generation and did most of the rest in the time it took to do the first. The character sheet is a form-fillable PDF, so I have those NPCs for future use.

7 people signed up. It was fun to finally play in a game with +Forrest Aguire. All of the players made a lot of awesome rolls for skill checks. My usual poor rolls for the NPCs made things really easy for them. They also made smart decisions, and had a plan of action that was direct and simple and their good rolls compensated for how daring it was. Skilled players making smart choices, they also finished about 45 minutes early. One guy who made the most great rolls on skill checks saw me the next day and said that he didn’t make any rolls at his next game.

FRIDAY

Against the Dwarfs
Against the Dwarfs

I had three games Friday. The first was AD&D in the morning. It was Against the Dwarfs by Bryan Skowera. This was the third of a series mirroring the Against the Giants modules. I played in the second one last year and had a blast. We made some poor tactical decisions early in the session and managed to luck into a plan that let us beat the bad guy.  I was able to play the Kobold cleric that I played last year, which was a lot of fun.

Friday afternoon, I played DCC with Brendan LaSalle. It was a hilarious scenario. We sang the songs of Electric Potato.

DCC with Brendan LaSalle
DCC with Brendan LaSalle

 

Lego Dice Tower by the Daughter of one of the players Friday night.
Lego Dice Tower by the Daughter of one of the players Friday night.

Friday night I was supposed to play in +Joseph Bloch’s game in his  AD&D Castle of the Mad Archmage setting. Unfortunately, Joe never showed. One of the people at the table found out he had told the con staff, but they never told us. I saw him the next day and totally understand why he did. For the con, I bought a rolling catalog case with a telescoping handle, so I could carry all of my stuff around the con and just pull it. I ended the con with no back or shoulder pain. It is a wise investment I will use at every con. Because I that, I had my Gamma World 1e book and my scenario that I would run the next day, so I offered to run it for the table. Two left for other things, and someone else joined in when they were walking by. It was a lot of fun for those who hadn’t played since back in the day, and those who had never played. It is very similar to Metamorphosis Alpha, so I kept asking what Radiation Resistance they had, instead of Constitution. They had fun, and I would end up playing other things with two of them later.

SATURDAY

Gamma World
Gamma World

Saturday morning I ran Gamma World and all 8 showed up and I squeezed in two others, for ten total. I only had 8 pre-gens, so we had them quickly roll up characters for the two. I am glad I did that, they all had fun and it worked out to be a jam-packed and fun scenario. I used the additional secret papers with some background for the 8 pregens. I did not use those the night before as a secret, but told those players what the secrets were. Several of the players latched onto the information on their info paper. All I asked was that they not reveal it right away, which worked out great.

Player of the Character Tree made a sketch.
Player of the Character Tree made a sketch.

In less than 30 minutes they went to the weird hermit on the edge of town to get help with something. He figured out their issue was a dead battery, but he had no way to charge it. Then the gorilla with an electric shock attack like an electric eel said, “I’ll charge it!” I said, “That’s a great idea! How much damage does it do?” “Uh, 4d4.” “Great, roll 4d4!” I picked up 8d6 and rolled those once he gave me his total. “OK, the hermit falls over dead and you all take 15 points of damage!” I started laughing because the hermit had information for them. I was already short on sleep, which makes me either cranky or slap happy. I was so tickled, I laughed so hard I had tears. I’ve never had my players bring me to tears before. They eventually got on the right track and found what they were looking for and we ran out the clock on the session. They all had an excellent time.

The GM in Tears from Laughing at what the players just did.
The GM in Tears from Laughing at what the players just did.

After a long break in the afternoon, I had AD&D with +Michael Shorten. I should have taken a nap, but I play tested my card game. I ran out of steam and had to back out early. One of the players in the cancelled AD&D game who played in my Gamma World scenario the night before is an architect and offered to be out mapper. he did a rough sketch map, and you could tell he is used to working from verbal descriptions and his map was clear and easy to follow. He mapped at a scale we could place our minis. That was a really cool thing. He also lives in Grand Rapids, so we’ll probably game together occasionally.

AD&D with Michael Shorten – AKA Chgowiz
Full scale mapping by a real life architect.

SUNDAY

Sunday morning, it was up bright an early to finally get to play Top Secret with Merle Rasmussen. It was the new Top Secret from the Kickstarter. It will finally ship from the US and European TSR warehouses this week or next. I liked how he randomized the map by each player building one section. It was serendipitous how my map worked to make an easy ending to a nearly out of control scenario, and we managed to get done early. I really like the simplicity of how the map works and how it randomizes the scenario.

That was a good thing, as I met Tom Wham going one way as I came down stairs, and he was not in a rush,  so I finally got my copy of Awful Green Things from Outer Space signed. I forgot to bring it to Gary Con 8, last year at Gary Con 9, it was always raining and since I wasn’t in the venue’s hotel, I didn’t want it getting wet. I also had him sign my Gamma World 1e, which he edited.

Top Secret: New World Order with Merle Rasmussen.
Player built map. Gets players involved and randomizes the scenario.

PLAYTESTING

First Gary Con X play test of the card game with the roommates. Dave Weeks & RJ Thompson of Gamers & Grognards.

I had a long break and ran several play tests of my card game. I had a total of 12 play tests at Gary Con X with 31 play testers from Wednesday through Sunday. Some played more than once. My game was a big hit with all who played it, and one person asked the name of it, and that was enough to hook them to want to play it. Nearly all asked, “So when’s the Kickstarter?” without prompting. My response was either, “yeah, so when IS the Kickstarter?” or “Ummm, when I announce it?” It was awesome to have the rough edges worked out on the third play test, and very little changed after that. It is a much smoother and faster playing game than what I wrote about in the first two play tests before Gary Con here.

Paul reads my blog. We played in Laura Rose Williams DCC game at the Contessa Track at UCon in November. He play tested my game.
2nd Gary Con X play test. Paul, Clay Williams, and Laura Rose Williams (AKA “Meat Dwarf”). It was nice to get a woman’s perspective on my game. She liked it!
Clay is a bit of an artist and sketched some trucker he saw somewhere.
It looks like a police artist sketch of a serial killer. I think Clay was getting ready to run a horror game….

I have lots of offers to help with various aspects of card design, art, card production, etc. One person told me he had an idea that might not require Kickstarter. Two recognizable companies said they could help me with one or more aspects related to Kickstarter/fulfillment.

Nate of WASD20
The Initiative Coffee Co.
Ruty Rutenberg took a lot of notes about my game.
Jayson Elliot of the new TSR and Peter of Mythwits.

I find the whole thing hilarious as I don’t play many card games anymore since I don’t have a regular group that plays card games. I have a catchy title, an interesting premise, and rules that make it quick to catch on. I was saying, “I’m not a card game guy.” but not that I have a card game I realized that I am so I started saying, “I am a card game guy.”

I finally played the game today with my oldest son, and he gave me more suggestions about where to take it once it hits critical mass. He also is really good at card tricks, and made a joke with two of the cards and made it look like he turned it into another card. Now THAT will be in an announcement/Kickstarter video.

There is nothing to announce yet, as I have someone doing some sort of statistical analysis, and he had some other ideas, so I am waiting on that. One cool thing a play tester said, “I like the simplicity of the game with simple rules to learn in 5 min. at a noisy bar at Gary Con.” Sunday, I was really tired, and I was making lots of mistakes in play. the rules are so simple that players can correct an exhausted creator of the game on his errors. Out of 15 games that have been played, I have played them all and managed to win 5 of them. I am usually spending so much time helping run the game that I am mostly reliant on getting good cards. However, it is so cool that people like my game and want to play it, that I’m OK with never winning a game. I’m usually very competitive in such games, but I find I’m much more relaxed about my own game. It is because I’ve already won the grand prize of the multiverse by making a game that works and people want to play. “I made a thing and people think it’s fun and want to play it!”

IF I do a Kickstarter, I will be very careful, and stretch goals will only be card game related, like better paper, better finish, etc. I will have all the work done on typing up the rules, lining up card printers, etc. I know it will be a success as one established RPG You Tuber played it and said he’d mention it when it was time for the announcement of something. I’m not mentioning the name of the game, or anything specific until I work out a few more things. I think I also need to consult a lawyer, among other things. Patreon is in my future. I know have all kinds of ideas for card games, along with my ideas for RPG supplements, and YouTube videos. I now have a new focus to make game stuff that I never really had before. That too, will not be overnight.

All I’ve managed to do today is type up my play test notes, write a big thank you to all the EXCLUSIVE Gary Con X play testers on social media, and watch a little TV so my brain can decompress. I also managed to crank out this article, as I know work will be crazy tomorrow.

If you plan to go to Marmalade Dog, March to , 2018, I will be there running one session of Metamorphosis Alpha, and one of AD&D, and I will have my prototype card game. Be one of the EXCLUSIVE Marmalade Dog play testers and get mentioned in the credits as a play tester.

IRCA

IRCA – Larry Hamilton (me), Nate Vanderzee, and Zachary Ruhnke (he went to high school with Alex Gygax) Bill Allen and the Initiative Coffee Co. crew were not around when the rest of us were. It was great to meet face to face.

WASD20

Nate Vanderzee of WASD20 was hoping to interview Satine Phoenix. I helped introduce them and watched him do a great interview. Satine is so fun. She teased us with her excitement of something big she can’t talk about. Man, am I curious.  Nate lives in Grand Rapids, so maybe we can get a chance to game together. It was really cool that he played my game and liked it!

Getting ready to interview Satine Phoenix

Getting ready to interview Satine PhoenixYou can see the interview here.

 

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Play Testing Commences

Today was an awesome day of gaming!

I usually either play or run on Roll20 noon to 4. The GM for today had to call off due to illness.

I wasn’t worried. I had an offer to play test my new card game idea at the FLGS, Fanfare. A new game I wrote about a couple weeks ago. I just got the play test deck I ordered yesterday.

It is a game that I thought would work for 2-6 players. I two person game is obviously different with the card flow, etc. It took about 90 minutes with figuring out a couple workarounds for things that were unclear in the initial rules.

I ended up with valuable feedback, and a real basis to evaluate my game idea. It amazed me that the game played almost exactly the way I imagined it. I can see the play of this game in my mind’s eye. I very rarely have such clarity with an idea, and even more rarely manage to execute it in the real world. Talk about happy. Thanks to Joel, Playtester #1!

Running Metamorphosis Alpha

MA-Red Shirt Metamorphosis At One Well Brewery
MA-Red Shirt Metamorphosis At One Well Brewery

Since my chance to play on Roll20 got cancelled, my first play tester’s friends were free after 5:00 PM, so I went to a game friendly brewpub, One Well Brewing. I ran my Metamorphosis Alpha [Affiliate Link] scenario, Red Shirt Metamorphosis, that I have ran online a couple times, and at UCon a couple years ago. I’ll next run it at Marmalade Dog at the end of March. Four players new to Metamorphosis Alpha [Affiliate Link] and several new to old style play or seeking old school simplicity.

They were not used to player knowledge and common sense questions being the way to approach the situation. I gave them “hot stove moments” where they had missed obvious questions to ask. There were too used to GMs spoon feeding them everything. Once they realized the initial conditions I set was not 100% of the available environment, they got into it. They “beat” the scenario by achieving the goal of a four hour convention setting in 3 hours. They had more gear in spite of having worse rolls to set the initial conditions of the scenario. We exchanged contact information and will work on setting up a game.

Play Test Number 2

Play Test #2
Play Test #2

After the game, I mentioned my card game and they were eager to try it. So I had 4 players, and Joel, play tester number 1, was one of them. With me, we had 5 players. This made the game take about 45 minutes and we did a lot of talking and figuring out a few of the situations that arose to either adjudicate, or consider a rules revision.

Once again, I did not win, but I didn’t care. People were playing my game! Not only that, they liked it! Each of them said if this was a Kickstarter, they would back it! I suspected it was good enough for Kickstarter. By that I mean, a solid idea that can have the rough edges worked out through more play testing. If I do my job right and iron out all the details, a Kickstarter to fund art should easily fund, and could do better than I expect.

More valuable feedback was given. The two best, or my favorite comments:

From Jake from the second play test game, when I asked what he liked the best about it. “Playability – You can pick it up and be playing quickly.”

Joel, the most experienced player next to me, after two games said, “The light learning curve.”

Jake was really excited, and knows a lot of student artists who might be interested in doing art for the cards. I’m glad to consider new artists, if their art style is what I’m looking for. If my efforts can get them exposure and regular work, even better.

I’m bringing my play test deck to Gary Con, and if you’re around when I’m not running or playing, we can definitely play. I’ll be there sometime Wednesday, which reminds me I need to figure out travel plans with my roommate for the weekend. We have yet to set a time to leave.

This is so cool!

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One Bookshelf Affiliate Sales Totals for 2017

I decided to take a look and see what my annual sales through my OBS (DriveThruRPG, RPGNow, & DMsGuild) links generated.

In total, I earned $37.10 for 120 individual products. Six products had multiple sales. The big seller was five Hex Kit Volume 1: Fantasyland Tileset, [Affiliate Link] for use with Hex Kit [Affiliate Link]; and two sales each for the remaining 5 products. 114 products had a single sale.

Of the five products that had two sales, three are familiar: Dungeon Grappling [Affiliate Link], Players Handbook (1e) [Affiliate Link], and White Box Omnibus. [Affiliate Link] The other two, I have never heard of.  The Downtown Dataheist [Affiliate Link] and Cross-Class Subterfuge [Affiliate Link].  I don’t know those last two, so I can’t recommend them.

$37.10 isn’t bad. If I hadn’t spent most of it buying other products, I could use it for a few years of my domain name, or about a third of my annual web hosting fees.

I have no illusions of getting rich or quitting my day job, but it would be nice to beak even on my efforts at blogging my thoughts and reviews. If you like what I do, please consider buying your OBS gaming materials through my affiliate links.

I’m also a Game Science affiliate. Please consider your next dice purchase through my site.

The Amazon Affiliate program is tough to get a sale. I have links to things at Amazon, but not so much on my blog. I have added an Amazon Affiliate badge to the main page of my blog. I include links to the D&D 5e books, and the equipment I use for YouTube videos.

I’m debating starting a Patreon. I told myself that I wouldn’t even consider it until I reached 100 YouTube subscribers. That’s a milestone I reached in early January. Do you value my stuff enough to pay for it? I’ve been infrequent in posting lately, but with a Patreon, I would have at least one blog post a month, and one YouTube video a month. I would structure it for a flat monthly fee, if I did it.

I’m curious what you all think of that. My habit is to deny that I’m any good, and am not worth it. However, I don’t see the value of my efforts the way others might. If you think what I do via my blog or YouTube channel has enough to merit a Patreon, please tell me in the comments.

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Card Game Idea Strikes

Last year at Gary Con IX, I had an idea for a couple of card games. I’m not a big card game player, mostly because I don’t have a regular in-person gaming group. I have some rough outlines for those, but I need to polish them a lot so they are coherent and explainable to another person. Towards the end of this post, I mentioned I had a card game idea.

Creative lightning strikes come unexpected and this happened to me last night. A much simpler variation of one of the ideas from the last Gary Con came to me. It was one of those, clear and almost fully formed ideas.

I hurriedly typed up the basics that came to mind. This morning, I was filled with the ideas to round out the game, and typed out most of the rest of the rules. I think it’s a playable game, and there are some twists and turns in it so it will be different each time.

My level of excitement and inspiration may not translate to others, but I think I can polish what I have for clarity, and mock up a deck in time to take it to Gary Con X. There are so many creative gamers there, and the low-key atmosphere is a great place to hone game ideas. If my game has merit, it will be evident from how others receive it. A good elevator pitch will help.

I ordered 500 blank playing cards from Amazon [Affiliate Link ]last year, and started trying to mock up my original idea, but it bogged down. Scribbling out the card faces and leaving the backs blank will work for a rough play test, but it would be cool to have a mockup with a printed back and public domain art to take with me. I am very torn right now.

I REALLY want to work on this NOW, but I still have game prep to go for some of my games I’m running at Gary Con. This sort of thing happens to me all the time. I am in the groove with something, and some new idea/thing comes to my attention, and I have to be all about that new thing. I may not be overly ambitious/optimistic about this, and I might actually be able to do a decent job for a professionally printed play test deck in time to have it for Gary Con. The voice saying, “Do Eeet!” is very loud at the moment. It’s almost as loud as it was last night. I’d hoped typing this up to share my excitement, while I alternated with tweaking my rough rules, would dampen that desire. I’m sure it would cost a lot to rush a print job, but part of me doesn’t care.

If I totally suck at manipulating art to make a single card image, that would greatly reduce my enthusiasm. I’m going to have to try to make some cards, and if I’m lousy at it, then I can set this aside. However, I know there are tools that make it fairly easy (I’ve done a lot of research.), and I printed a deck I bought online that I had to manipulate to work with the printer I chose. So I may have something worthy of a rough deck that looks decent by this evening.

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Ramblings of an Old Gamer