Category Archives: DCC

Marmalade Dog 21

Marmalade Dog 21 was Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, March 18-20, 2016, at Western University in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I had planned to attend today and play in the first slot, but I woke up with a stuffy nose and ear, and a sore throat.

We did not have an official OSR slot this year, like we did last year. I have decided that once we find out when Marmalade Dog is next year that I will step up and coordinate an OSR track. The exception is if it is the same weekend as Gary Con. Last year, the convention was in early February, so I asked if they know yet when it will be next year. The answer is that the university tells them what date they can have, or occasionally what dates they can choose from. So such a variable makes it understandable why it isn’t consistent with the month they have it. I live in southern Kalamazoo County, so am only about 20 minutes away from campus.

Normally the deadline for GM sign up to run games, and get free admission, for each day that they run a session, and a t-shirt, is December 31. I didn’t get signed up to run a game by then. In February, I looked and there were some OSR type games, but three sessions the first, fifth, and seventh, did not have any. So I signed up at the website for the first and fifth session, and was not automatically rejected. I never got an email for confirmation that I wasn’t rejected. So last weekend, I went to the website and checked, and my sign ups were on the list of scheduled games. I then hurried up and got ready.

Session 1: 3:00 pm on Friday. As with last year, no one showed up to my game. If things work out to coordinate an OSR track next year, we’ll have to drum up enough players to commit to a first session game.  I ran the same thing for Session 5 on Saturday.

Session 2: Friday was 7:30 pm – 11:30 pm. +Forest Ray ran a Swords & Wizardry Complete setting, called Muskets & Magic Users. It was S&W with muskets. We were first level adventurers hired by the town to go stop the pirates who raided their town. Non magic users got issued a musket that did 1d12, that fired once per round. Magic users got a wand of magic missile that had 5 first level spells per day and regenerated its charges overnight.

That was a fun little session, and my magic user used Charm Person to make a “friend” of one of the pirates that was on the raiding party that came into the tavern where we were. This made it easier to find the other pirates in the raiding party, secure their boat, and go out to their ship. We managed to take the ship and go clean out the pirate hideout, then go fight the dragon ship of the pirate queen. It was a fun game.

Forest always hands out goodies for his games, and we each got a bag of dice and a button with the name of his game, and the rules system. Forest came down from Lansing and got a hotel to run and play games all three days. In addition to swag, he brought 3 copies of Swords & Wizardry Complete for reference. I didn’t bring mine as I was already lugging three AD&D Player Handbooks, the OSRIC Player Handbook, and a DMG for my earlier session.

Muskets & Magic Users
Muskets & Magic Users

Charles, who played in one of my sessions of Homlett from last year, and was looking forward to my game Saturday night. He said he runs Swords & Wizardry sometimes. He actually lives in my town, but I lost his number. I put it in my cell so I can’t lose it. We also had a couple, Joseph and Priscilla, who played S&W for the first time and had a blast. They were both experienced gamers. He lives in a town about 15 miles south of me, so we are planning to get together IRL for gaming. She lives about a half hour away in the other direction. We had one other player, and I am blanking on the name. I did not think to take a picture of play at the table.

Session 3: 10:00 am on Saturday, I played DCC’s Frozen in Time as a 0-level funnel, by +Mike Carlson.  Mike came down from Lansing for the day. I played this funnel with him last year. Others had played it, but I didn’t remember most of the key details, so it was like a new adventure. I only remembered things as we encountered them. It was a good time. We had a full table with 6 players. Four of us were experienced gamers with DCC experience. The other two were a couple, Seth had RPG experience, and this was Gretchen’s first roleplaying experience. She had a good time. This couple lives about an hour away, in Benton Harbor, so they are having a challenge finding a group. +Clayton Williams from Lansing and +James DeYonke and his friend Dave, from Ann Arbor, one and two hours away, respectively.

DCC at Marmalade Dog 21
DCC at Marmalade Dog 21

Session 4: 3:00 pm, Saturday. +Forest Ray ran Da Orkz Iz Back, a White Star scenario. I meant to bring my White Star books, but didn’t think to set them out, or put in my bag before I went to bed. This was the first time I had played White Star. Mike Carlson joined in, as did Charles, Joseph, and Priscilla from the night before in Muskets and Magic Users.

Forest & Players White Star
Forest & Players White Star
White Star At Marmalade Dog 21
White Star At Marmalade Dog 21

This was a scenario that needed at least one Star Knight and one pilot with the rest mercenaries. I rolled up a very uncharismatic Star Knight, and we had two pilots and two mercenaries. We were hired to investigate the loss of contact with Altair 6, a relatively new colony. There was no contact with the Star Knight Monastery, the city, and the star port. We found that legendary orcs who were thought to be myth were real, and were working with a couple of Void Knights. My Star Knight couldn’t hit the Void Knight with his star sword. The rest of the party gunned down the other Void Knight and one of the pilots picked up his void knight sword and managed to stab the void knight I was fighting. In another combat, I finally managed to hit something with my star sword. I was much better when I was shooting my blaster pistol.

Da Orkz Iz Back
Da Orkz Iz Back

Session 5: 7:00 pm on Saturday. I ran a scenario based on an area of my home campaign that I wanted to flesh out – Ogre Island and the Black Crate. I will write up a separate article on this.

Sunday has two sessions, Session 6 at 11:00 am and  7 at 3:30 pm.

Session 6: Forest ran Mutant University using the Mutant Future system. I had planned to attend that before I woke up with a cold and no energy.

Session 7: did not have any what I thought were obvious OSR games. I was thinking of playing a game of Fate, which I have never played. Maybe next year.

What I learned from this experience.

  • I need to commit to this local con, since it is in my backyard. As long as it does not conflict with Gary Con or other things I want to do, I will go.
    • If it is the same weekend as Gary Con, I can still try to coordinate an OSR track, for any not going to Gary Con.  I can recruit an assistant to handle things of the actual weekend.
  • Last year, after I saw how much time it took me to get ready to run Village of Homlet, I decided it would have been just as easy to come up with my own scenario that I would know like the back of my hand.
    • This idea proved true. I used the opportunity to flesh out an area of my campaign I had been wanting to do for a long time.
  • People will drive from a couple hours away to come for Saturday. A strong OSR presence could attract a lot more people.
    • Advertising on G+ an other outlets could increase the attendance.
    • Keep the line of communication open with other players from the region.
  • If you run a 6 person game, you get one folding table that is just big enough. If you run an 8 person game you get two folding tables.
  • Swag is cool. Perhaps publishers would provide swag, or templates for GM’s to make their own swag.
    • DCC has some cool stuff with bookmarks, buttons, pens, pencils, and more.

Mark Hunt – An Interview – The Return of GangBusters

I knew +Mark Hunt from G+ and just happened to meet him at +John Reyst’s Open Gaming Store booth. I recalled seeing a post about Gangbusters, but it had not clicked that it was back. Mark has a license to the GangBusters game! I first learned of Mark with his prolific postings of items for White Star. Many know him for his DCC setting Drongo.

Mark was signing a Gangbuster’s box, and it had the look and size of what I remember from 30+ years ago. The guy asked Mark to sign it and I was really puzzled, thinking it was an original boxed set, until Mark explained that it was his game.

We talked about collaborating on some things in multiple genres/rule systems, one of them being Gang Busters! Wow! I haven’t played in 30+ years, so I guess I need to brush up on the rules….

I did a phone interview with Mark on Saturday, March 12th. Before I started asking interview questions, he mentioned that he is good for the next 3 or 4 years of putting stuff out on a regular basis.

Interview Questions

When did you get your start in RPG’s?
Summer 1979. D&D Red Box and Blue Box. One day in Jr. High, we talked about it in the  Lunch room & met up after school.

What games have you played?
Call of Cthulhu, AD&D, probably hundreds since then. Powers & Perils, Champions, you name it, I played it. I have played every year since then. I once played Champions two years straight.

What games have you ran?
I have ran pretty much just about every game. Which helped a lot with game design, you have to play games and know what is out there, if you want to make games.

I’ve been running GangBusters since 1983. I have enough stuff on hard drive to fill a dozen books without even trying.

What games do you still play or run?
GangBusters, D&D, Swords of the Empire, DCC, Basic, Swords & Sorcery, C&C, Call of Cthulhu, and boardgames, just games, our group tries to keep playing.

How many women players have you had in all of your games?
Dozens, our first group had women back in 1979, and 3 or 4 at a time all the way to the present. It’s easy.

Does you wife play?

Does it cause problems?
No, she plays computer games, some are RPG’s, just not table top.

What does she think of your endeavors?
She likes it, especially when they start cashing in. I take what I make and roll it into producing the next game.

Have you ever had a woman GM?
Yes, a few. They are just like everyone else.  I’ve played all over the world so I had all the kinds of game masters that you can think of.

You played all over the world because you were in the Air Force?
Yes for six years and it included the1st Gulf War. We used to play Twilight 2000 in Germany back in the 80’s. A game where we go to war with Russia and get stranded in Europe when it happens. We used all the strategies and tactics we knew, and we had more authenticity than most people.

You seem to have an eclectic taste in genres and historical periods, do you find it hard to focus with so many different irons in the fire?

Why not?
I like to read all kinds of stuff. I know a lot about this, this and this. If there is something you need to know, read a book. My dad says, They hide things they don’t want people to know in a book. A game designer should always be reading, and learning more stuff.

You got your start, at least in my experience, of publishing ships, classes, and supplements for White Star. Was that your real start?It was actually Drongo, then Planetary Transmission and some free items for White Star.

NOTE: Drongo is a DCC compatible setting.

I know you have a Napoleonic era game in the works, and other things, what can you tell us about that?
Swords of the Empire will be ready by the beginning of next month. People can follow on the G+ page and watch development of it, and see how it has changed and evolved. I revise based on feedback from others’ comments in the community.

The latest project seems to be a runaway success – GangBusters.
Is that a game you played back in the day?
NOTE: See above, he’s been playing and GMing it since it came out in 1983.

What made you decided to go for a license to GangBusters?
It was just sitting there and I just asked if I can use it and it went from there. If I like it, there has to be others that like it. If I can sell enough and it can pay for the effort I put into it, all the better.

Is it an exclusive license, that is, are you the only one licensed to do anyting with GB?
So far, I’m the only one out there. I’m working on several things, just making stuff work. I can’t go into more detail at this time.

How hard was it to get the license to do this?
More or less I just asked Rick Krebs and he was receptive. I can’t get into any details on that either. There is stuff [other famous IP] that people can probably pick up if they put in some effort to research it. It is not impossible, is the best I can say.

What did Rick Krebs say when you asked him, was he excited?
Others had talked to him and it never went anywhere, so I showed him what I can do and he purchased it and reviewed it. When the writer likes it and says keep doing it, that’s a seal of approval.

Why the twist with the “Weird Tales & Paranormal Investigations?
Actually it existed in the original setting. In Polyhedron magazine, they had an adventure with giant bugs that took over a farm. I did not create it out of thin air, it existed in some shape or form in the original game.
The original game talked about various ideas for how to expand it. All I did was expand it. I read all the articles where they mentioned GangBusters. I am making it modular so you can use or not, or expand or not, cause at the end of the day it is still a game of cops & robbers. If you can’t find an adventure after a night of watching TV, with so many police procedurals that are on now, I can’t help you, NCIS, X-files, etc. Warehoue 13, Thin Man, etc. There is so much that fits.
Me – It’s seeing the connections.
Mark – Exactly. I increased the book size to show what you can do with it. It doesn’t have to be just gangsters. You can do journalists. The Incredible Hulk is about new reporter chasing the Hulk cross country. The players  could be a pool of reporters in an Enquirer type organization.
Me – GangBusters is set in the same time period as H.P. Lovecraft was writing.
Mark – I’m staying away from the Cthulhu mythos, there is more out there than just that.
If you want to play Call of Cthulhu play it, it’s a great game. If you want to go in different directions, play my game. Play GangBusters, there is enough out there to keep you busy

I really like the NPC card decks, what was your inspiration for those?
Old police mugshots. I make cards with mugshots, with enough stats to run. I made the first 18, then another 18, and eventually I’ll have a full deck of 52 cards. Literally take a card and you are ready to play. At Gary Con I passed out cards, and said, this is what stats mean and we were up and running in minutes. NPC’s, bad guys, players, etc. They are small and portable. Once you know the rules that’s all you need. Keep it in your wallet and you’re ready to play whenever and wherever. [See this YouTube video for a sample of the cards.]

Me – They make a great tool for a pick up or convention game for pre-gens. There was a lot of buzz from those who played in the games Mark ran.

It’s been mentioned on the G+ TSR GangBusters Community, that you plan to do a Kickstarter. I know that you have a goal to have everything ready before the Kickstarter and to keep it manageable. How much can you tell us about that?
I’m still working on it. Eventually there will be a box set, hard back book, GM screen, and modules, plus add ons will all be figured out and done. So once we hit our goal and are funded, I will order and ship. I did a test run of box sets, and people are impressed with what I have now. Some have shipped to Spain, England, all over world now. I hope a Kickstarter will help it reach a bigger area.

When might we get wind of the Kickstarter?
Depends on when I get done with something in the background – I can’t talk about it – then preparing for the Kickstarter will start to speed up.

What is the secret to your prolific output? I ask, because it is an amazing story that just floored me. I was giving you a hard time at Gary Con to slow down because you’re making the rest of us look bad.
Last year was my last chemo – I was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma and going through treatments. I said to myself, “If this is my last year, I’m going to do what I want to do,” and I literally drove myself to do these games, even if only 5 words in a day. After a year, I had a lot. I just hacked it out piece by piece. “Never give up, never surrender,” as they say. Marks’ wife can be heard in the background: “He’s not going to do anything else. By Grapthar’s hammer….”
To the outside world it appeared like I was cranking it out fast, it seemed like a lot real fast. As they say, an overnight success is ten year’s worth of work. A lot of games that blew up were simmering in the background and no one paid attention until they got done.

You mentioned you were seeking a license to do a game with a big name, and well-know IP, but it fell through. 
Any clues to other IP’s you have your eye on? (Probably not, since you don’t want to spoil it.)
Exactly. I’m always looking for more stuff, but can’t mention them, so I don’t get scooped. If it’s not being used, why not? A Lot of stuff is just sitting quietly. It’s not hard if you do the work and ask. The worst they can say is, “No.”
Drongo for DCC is mine and I can always go and do a BX version. As long as I don’t compete with one of their [Goodman Games] products it should be OK.

Any hints about projects coming up?
Oh geeze, let me look at my hard drive. I’ve thought about one or two retroclones, but will mention those when the time is right. I don’t want it all at once, that is, I want to spread it out. Cloaked Avengers is a new class for GangBusters in the next month, like the Shadow. You can add to an existing GangBusters game with mysterious powers. I’m also working on a WWI alternate history for GangBusters.  I plan to stage so it’s not out all at once, and do one or two adventures to flesh out stuff  I already have.

Joe’s Diner was 6 or 7 pages, then 18, then 32, then I made little booklets. The PDF is automatically updated, so it’s done. The only way to get it in book form is in the boxed set.
Me – That’s a smart way to drive sales.
Mark – Exactly.

Have you seen all the talk about yesterday’s press release about the new TableTop Library site?
Yes. I’m thinking about trying to sell stuff there, it’s one more avenue for sales.

Anything else you want us to know about?
Hit me up on G+ if you see me, and help out get the word out, Swords of the Empire, GangBusters , Fantasy game – no name yet. Everything is just falling into place so fast it is ridiculous. I might have Boxed sets [of the yet to be named and released fantasy game ] at NTRPGCon.

GangBusters boxed sets and T-Shirts, and Swords of the Empire boxed sets will definitely be at North Texas RPG Con.

– – –

Mark is a really nice guy, easy to talk to, and inviting. Other aspiring game designers were asking him to look at their stuff, and he was looking forward to it. He knows game mechanics. Just wjile talking about general ideas, he had an idea for something. Being in his presence, I couldn’t help but be infected by his enthusiasm for games. If we lived in the same town, I’d find a way to play in his games.

Mark is enjoying life and riding this dream of designing games and having a blast while doing it. I expect to hear exciting things in the coming weeks.

Near Misses – Thieves

I had an idea for thieves picking pockets from an experience prior to my last game at UCON. The idea coalesced as I was in that dreamy, glad to be sleeping state before I woke up this morning. (I’m off all week; so I got to sleep in today to recover from both low quantity and quality of sleep the last few days.)

As I have mentioned in at least one other article, my Dad was a locksmith and I was drafted to help from the time I was about 13 until I went off to college. Dad gave me my own basic set of lock picks. I thought it would be fun to plop them down at a game, if I ended up running a thief.

I was getting stuff out of my bag, dice, paper, pen, pencil and other things so I wouldn’t have to keep rummaging in my bag during the game and slow things down. I was wearing many layers, including a jacket sort of like a hoody with out the hood. It has packets inside next to each outer pocket.

I put my picks in my pocket, or so I thought. I felt both sides of my hand feel fabric, so I thought it was in my pocket. I had just placed something else in that pocket and realized that I was about to drop it between my jacket and shirt instead of my pocket, so I corrected. I then checked and my picks weren’t there, so just as I was getting ready to bend down to get them, +Laura Rose Williams says, “Here, Larry, you dropped this,” as she hands it to me.

This morning in my dreamlike pre-wake state, this idea hit me, and I can just see a thief picking someone’s pockets and rolling 1 or 2 under what they need. So from now on, I will rule that a thief doing this, gets what they were after, or at least something, and they “pocket” it. Some kind soul will see them drop it and come up and give it to them in full view of all around. The “FUN!” will then ensue.

I did not play a thief as planned, +Laura Rose Williams wanted me to play a wizard along with her, which I did. So I got out my picks after the game to share what I was prepared to use as a prop.

Michicon Follow Up

Last Saturday I went to Michicon. It starts on Friday, but I was not able to get the day off. Note to self – Alert social secretary to be more on the ball next time. Oh, wait, that’s me….

I had heard of Michicon last year, but this is the first year I attended.

It was held at Oakland University on the NW side of the Detroit metro area. I had a late start and there was road construction that made it a challenge to get there, but I finally made it about 2:30 or so.

I found +Roy Snyder with his booth and spent money on a few items. I got a second pristine Tramp cover AD&D Player’s Handbook, and another Player’s Handbook with the Wizard cover for the table. I went ahead and got Legends and Lore. I realize it is the same content as the Dieties & Demigods – without Cthulhu & Melnibone, but I didn’t have one. I already had the PDF of Legends & Lore.


I also picked up Oriental Adventures. That is one that I keep thinking I have, but don’t. I lost my original with the water leak incident. I have it in PDF. I now have all of my original AD&D manuals from back in the 1980’s re-built. I know I said that before when I wrote about getting two Chulhu/Melnibone mythos Dieties & Demigods on the same day.


I have items I added to my PDF collection of manuals that I did not have back in the day. I have a hard copy of all the ones I have in PDF, except Manual of the Planes. I don’t need it, but want it for “completeness.” While I have Greyhawk Adventures in PDF and hard cover, I am not interested in the book for Forgotten Realms or others they may have.

Now the only D&D item I don’t have from my original collection is the Greyhawk Gazeteer. I was glad to get it in PDF, but I miss those gorgeous maps. Maybe someday.

I also got a GM screen for Metamorphosis Alpha, I finally gave it a through reading and I like what I see. One less excuse to not run a game.

CAM00900 CAM00901

The con was not well marked. The center where it was held was having remodeling and there was no food available on site. There were only vending machines for drinks. I chatted with Roy and bought stuff from him and got directions from Roy to the registration table. It turns out I came in the back entrance. It wrapped around and I came up the stairs that led to the game room, I just went in the door closest to the stairs – on the left. No outside signs and no inside signs. It is $10 for the day. Not a bad amount.

The big open room had maybe a half dozen vendors along two walls. The tables were numbered on the sign up sheet, but there were no numbers on the tables. Thankfully, I was there to play DCC, and +Jared Randal was running an open game 0 level funnel next to Roy’s tables. I dropped in and played all the way until the con closed. Jared ran a great game. The module was Sailors of the Starless Sea. I only lost one of my original five 0-levels. I ended with a full compliment of five, since we divvied up the characters of players who could not play the whole time. I had not played that one before. We used a d200 table of “special” items that each character got, and we had a blast using them in creative ways.

Finally, I won a door prize, a still sealed dice game of Walking Dead. I don’t play a lot of board games, so if I can’t sell it I plan to keep it sealed and see what I can get out of it in a few years.



Free RPG Day 2015

Free RPG Day, 2015 in Kalamazoo, Michigan at Fanfare Sports & Entertainment.

We had three co-GM’s: +Doug Kovacs one of the artists for DCC and other Goodman Games products; +Adam Muszkiewicz  of +Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad &  +Drink Spin Run – An RPG Talk Show Podcast, one observer – Adam’s wife Katie (She didn’t to play today. It was something about being in the last trimester of pregnancy and the inside of her ribs being used for kickboxing practice.), and +Roy Snyder and 6 players. {See here for Roy’s write up.]

I was expecting more players. the only other game as part of Free RPG Day was D&D Attack Wing. they had one demo game going when I got there. I wasn’t paying too close of attention. I am not sure if they did one or two other demos. Their last demo closed out the store with us.

It was interesting to see the three GM’s trade off and take turns with different parts of the adventure, each working their own particular twist into it.

Play was scheduled to start at 1:00. We played until about 3:30 PM for a food break, and had a few different groups we broke into to go to different places. After we got back from eating, we resumed play until finishing right before 8:00 PM.

We had some cool freebies. Afterwards, Adam and his wife, Katie, Doug, Roy, and I went to Louie’s Trophy House and Grill. Several taxidermied animals, either heads hanging on the wall or free standing full body animals. We went until a bit after 1:00 AM. They have $1 off local drafts on Saturdays, which was cool. We had a Garbage Pizza which is really good. My son has been there, which didn’t surprise me. He is a beer snob. We may go there sometime.

I was good to see Adam again and play with him as a GM, and meet his wife, Katie. I enjoyed meeting Doug, playing in his game, and getting to know him. He had an interesting idea for DCC, called “Fleeting Luck”, that he said they used at NTRPG Con. The GM would award luck for various things, but if it was fleeting, any time someone rolled a natural 20 or healed, the GM collected all the fleeting luck. Bad puns and jokes earned fleeting luck. I earned 2 and lost each of them in the same round because my initiative was after both most of the other players and the monsters we faced. One player rolled a LOT of 20’s, so I don’t think anyone got to use their fleeting luck. Their might have been one, maybe two, I don’t recall.

The GM’s setting up and smiling, that’s a good thing, right?
Our lovely product model Roy, showing off the mysterious Super Prize and the Other Super Prize.
Fleeting Luck token.
Other side of a fleeting luck token. They could be converted to +1 luck and the GM couldn’t take it back. One player managed this.
If you’ve ever seen Adam run a game, you know he had to use his hands, a lot!
Roy and Doug smiling at what Adam is setting us up for…. (Is that enough prepositions at the end to negate that rule?)
Things just got serious, you can’t see Adam’s hands.
I got one of these posters, which Doug and Adam signed.
Some of us took a beer cozy.
I got this poster for being the first of the first levels to die. We had a choice between 1 first level and three 0 level characters. Doug was kind enough to sign both sides!
Here is the other side of mt signed poster.
Of course, I also got my Free RPG Day Screen! Doug also graciously signed it!


Our server was kind enough to take a picture of us. My bald head shows up well, but I failed my illumination check to help light up the others.

Free RPG Day 2015 – Preview

Tomorrow is Free RPG Day, and I will be in attendance at my FLGS, Fanfare Sports & Entertainment. [This is their new website.]

From the official announcement by +Roy Snyder.

Along with the immortalized +Doug Kovacs; +Adam Muszkiewicz  of +Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad &  +Drink Spin Run – An RPG Talk Show Podcast we bring that special blend of original 1974 gaming to Kalamazoo… “Yes! There Really Is a Kalamazoo!” home of Marmalade Dog – Over 20 years of con gaming at Western Michigan University.

I met Adam at Marmalade Dog 20, I had read his blog, and we both gushed about how much we liked Delving Deeper. I played in two sessions of Adam’s Kickassistan, which was my introduction to DCC. I had a blast. I also interacted with Roy Snyder as a player in those sessions, and am now in Roy’s semi-irregular DCC game.

I am looking forward to more DCC!

Sunday’s post will be a write-up of what we did for the day.

Here’s an image of the cool poster for the event! See the official announcement mentioned above, for a link to the PDF.

Free RPG Day 2015 - Kalamazoo
Free RPG Day 2015 – Kalamazoo

DCC Dice Arrived – Unpacking & Review

I ordered some DCC dice from the Goodman Games website several weeks ago, and they finally arrived this past Wednesday. Just in time to use in +Roy Snyder’s DCC game this afternoon. (Yes, I mentioned I had a lot of dice and was slowing down buying more. Jut remember, you can’t have too many dice. I know plenty of people that have way more dice than I do. I don’t have a problem! – See no denial here.)

What's In The Box?
What’s In The Box?


DCC Dice Arrive
DCC Dice Arrive


All The Dice
All The Dice

My dice came and I was not happy about the d7, until I saw this post on the DCC RPG Community which clarifies that this is normal, that the numbers are always on top and not on a face of a die. This is because of the shape of the d7, more than one side of the die is up, so the numbers are on the edges that join the two sides. Now I get it. Don’t judge a die by how the numbers are printed on it. 😉

The d7 is just fine.
The d7 is just fine.

The d10 and the d00 are not the same size. Every other “full set” of dice I have ever purchased, i.e. d4, d6, d8, d10 -with a matching dDecade, d12, and d20, the percentile dice were the same size. From comments on the DCC RPG Community on G+, evidently a lot of people had size mismatched d%. Perhaps they have so many different dice that they just grab what they need and don’t stick to rolling a matched pair of dice. Until the last few months when I added a huge bag of WizDice, and bought a few more standard sets of dice, I only had 5 sets of dice, plus a ton of d6’s from WalMart.

Until I bought the DCC Dice, every d10/dDecade (d%) in the same set were the same size, so even if I mixed up all of them, they would all be the same size, or nearly so. I should have known before I opened the package that DCC would be different in how they made their dice. Impact Miniatures, the manufacturer, indicated that this size difference is intentional to make them as easy as possible to use.

Why are they a different size?
Why are they a different size?

The d5 is weird looking, but it seems to roll correctly.


The d4 is a pyramid with the points shaved off and the numbers are where the points would be, and the large faces are smooth. The thing I like about this d4, is the way the points are “missing” you can easily get a hold of it to pick it up. Some of my other d4’s are tough to pick up because you can’t easily get a grip on them. I usually have to slide them off the edge of the table.


Like the rest of DCC, the dice are meant to challenge your expectations of dice.

The dice in my Blue Box Homes Basic D&D challenged me that dice could have more than six sides, but kept me on the path that the numbers have to be on a face and not an edge.



2015 A to Z Challenge Reflections.

I planned to write a follow up on my A to Z experience this year, and a survey that arrive just before midnight alerted me to a Reflections Post, that needed to be done by May 8th. I am doing catch up on articles and clearing a backlog of things to review, on this rainy, thunderstorm laden weekend.

This was the second year that I participated in the A to Z Blogging Challenge to write a post every day, except Sundays, in April. As with last year, 26 blog posts is not difficult for me. I had most of them done and scheduled before April. Also, like last year, I only had time to keep up with the blogs in the (GA) category. This year, I read most of the posts.

For me, the hardest part of the challenge is a theme that I feel good about. This year, I wrote about different aspects of planning a city, whether it is a living city or an abandoned/lost city. Once I had a topic, I came up with 26 topics. I then scheduled each topic for the appropriate day and wrote on the topics that interested me.

I had most of my topics written with at least a few paragraphs or notes of things to be sure to mention. I dug in and wrote several posts in a marathon session, so that I only had to let them sit to do cleanup before they posted. A few topics seemed a bit harder to write, and I got a bit repetitive when some topics had overlap.

I did not come up with as many tables and generators as I had hoped. I did get some ideas for building them. Once those ideas have sat for awhile, I will gather them and see about making a more coherent PDF to share.

My goal of a system to randomly generate parts of a city did not materialize. I think because of the all the dice table in Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad #1, that +Adam Muszkiewicz showed me. It touched on most of what I was after. I don’t really need all the details I think I do, I just WANT them.

Since I scheduled each post, I had no problem posting on the correct day.

I am currently on the fence as to whether or not I will participate next year. I like that I used it to help me clarify and flesh out ideas for my own use. If I participate again, I will have to use it to do something helpful to my own needs and desires as a GM; whether it be a module, series of new creatures, a collection of maps, or NPC’s, it will have to be something that serves a dual purpose.

This year, there were twelve blogs with the (GA) tag for games. Of those, one was geared towards game books and not directly RPG related, that I could tell. Perhaps it was just not my thing.

Nemo’s Lounge gave up doing custom NPCs with a drawing after 16 posts. Both the drawings and NPC’s were great!

Wampus Country was doing a town a day and got up to E when it stopped. He had some interesting ideas, that I enjoyed while it lasted.


Others missed a beat here and there, but most of us managed all 26 postings for the month.

Tower of the Archmage had a great series of vignettes of a party of adventurers. He often included a map. He hiked the Appalachian trail and was gone for the whole challenge, so he wrote and scheduled all of his postings before he left. This series would make a neat short story and/or a module/dungeon.

Tim Brannon at The Other Side did vampires, as he promised he would last year, after doing witches. Who knew there were so many vampires in different cultures. He began with A for Aswang, which I not too long before learned about from watching Grimm. When White Star came out, he even did an A to Z special with a Space Vampire, modeled on the one from the 80’s Buck Rogers TV Show.

Mark Craddock of Cross Plains reviewed his favorite things about D&D.

Keith Davies of In My Campaign built several mythologies/pantheons and had a system to help him build them.

Sea of Stars had a series of NPC;s.

Spes Magna Games did a series on the “Boogie Knights Of the Round Table”. I have not seen the movie, Boogie Nights, but I got the reference. What if King Arthur and his knights where in the age of disco? He kept it going until the last few days, but did all 26 posts.

Another Caffeinated Day did a series of NPC’s,

The Dwarven Stronghold did NPC’s and magic items.

If you need NPC’s, items, maps, images, vampires, or city planning suggestions, there is a lot of good stuff collected in these posts, check them out.

Clean up of New Purple Game Science Dice

I tried using my camera for better pictures to show the burrs on my new Game Science dice, but it is a cheap camera and better suited to taking pictures of people and larger objects.

The burrs turned “white” and did not come off in big pieces, so what I ended up with were flecks that barely showed up. I did not have a dark background to place them against.

Below shows the transition in brief.

I have had this X-Acto knife for a couple of years, but only now took it out of the package.

I had to buy silver Sharpies. This was not a fine point, so ink was both in the groove of each number and on the face of the die. As soon as I filled in the number, I used a napkin to rub the face and only the ink inside the numbers was left.

I have about five reams of paper that is printed on one side, from moving to working at home. I use it for taking notes when I am on the phone or when working on a data issue for a client. I folded over about ten sheets of paper and slowly shaved off the burrs. The burr on the d24 was huge. A large piece of it broke off and I heard it bounce off something, so I don’t know where it went. NOTE: An old catalog or phone book or magazine also works well for a surface for using an X-acto knife.

I like the final results, and it makes these dice usable. Without coloring them in, I had to pick them up to attempt to read them. Certain rolls, you don’t want to pick up without others verifying. Older eyes make reading un-inked dice quite the challenge. I used to be able to do the fine work, like inking these dice with my glasses on, but now I have to take them off to see clearly such close up work. Let that inform your purchases and products going forward.

Silver Sharpie
Silver Sharpie
Inked Dice
Inked Dice


Who Knew? – Dice Sets Arrive

Last week I ordered two sets of Who Knew? dice by Koplow Games, the black with white numbers [Aff link] and the red with white numbers [Aff link]. This is in time to game in the next session of +Roy Snyder’s DCC game.

I also ordered a d12 Body Parts die, officially known as a d12 28mm Critical Hits Location Body Hit Dice [Aff link]. Each right/left body part is not quite on the opposite side of the dice from each other, i.e. Right Arm/Left Arm. The locations are Right Arm, Left Arm, Head, Stomach, Left Leg, Right Leg, Right Hand, Left Hand, Chest, Full Body, Left Foot, and Right Foot. One can easily use a table with a d12, but this dice is the table! I don’t do critical hits in my game, but I am sure I can find a use for it. Some ideas: What part of a statue is the trigger for a trap, or to open a door, or release a treasure? What part is stung by a giant insect? What body part touched the mold/fungus/slime/acid/poison/undead? What body part has the king’s birthmark? I am sure there is probably some place that prints custom dice. One could easily get a set of dice printed with parts of a table for a roll all the dice table without needing a separate table.

The Koplow dice seem rounded, much like Chessex dice. The d30’s rolled like crazy, but not quite as bad as a d20 from back in 1978 that is so chipped it’s almost a sphere. Yes, I’m a Game Science fan.

The Koplow d3, d5 and d7 are actually doulbe the number of sides, just repeating after 1-3, 1-5 and 1-7. The d6’s are numbered 1-3 twice, the d5’s are actually d10’s numbered 1-5 twice, and the d7’s are really d14’s numbered 1-7 twice. There is no d14. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the d7 and d14 are the only dice that can’t be simulated with a combination of other standard RPG dice. So roll a control die with the d7 if you need a d14. I must have mis-read when I ordered, I thought there was a d14 in the package.

I like the black with white numbers. I would use the red ones on my mom’s birthday, since red was her favorite color. I already wear red on her birthday.

I read a review on another dice set a few days after I ordered this shipment from Amazon, so I have another package of dice coming in a few days, so look for a few words and pictures.

Every gamer likes dice pron, right?

Koplow Packages
Koplow Packages
Koplow Sets
Koplow Sets
d12 Body Parts
d12 Body Parts