Category Archives: News

April, 2014 A to Z blogging challenge update

So far, there are 13 RPG related blogs in the challenge that I have identified.

Not everyone used the tag (GA) when they signed up, so I have been checking back everyday to scan the names, and if they sound like an RPG blog, I check them out.

There aren’t enough hours in the day to keep posting on my own blog, read those I follow, and inspect hundreds of blogs to make sure they are RPG blogs or not.

If I missed you, let me know, and I will add you to my list.


100th Post! I leveled up!

This is my 100th post published on my RPG blog!

This is an exciting milestone.

I feel like a magic user who can cast a new level of spell!

I have to thank the D&D 40th Anniversary Blogging challenge for getting me back on track with my blog.

I find blogging about ideas and fleshing out concepts helps me to clarify and solidify them so that I can present them to players as a better DM.

Reading and commenting on so many other bloggers and G+ pages and Facebook RPG pages adds to the ideas.

I find that it is a banquet where there is so much to try or look at, there is no time to eat.

In other words, I am spending so much time gathering ideas and tables that I am not generating adventures and lists of pre-generated encounters. I like the idea of 3×5 cards with pre-generated encounters of whatever it is I have on my standard encounter tables, so it is ready to go. Don’t write on or destroy those cards. They can be re-used. I think one could have variations on an orc patrol. Have 6 variations of numbers, weapons, leaders and treasure. Roll 1d6 to see which one it is. Use pencil to check it off the players destroy it. For towns and cities and patrols on their frontiers, determine how much of the city guard is set aside for patrols and spec out one or more patrols. Instead of 3×5 cards, one can use a text file or spreadsheet to track the information.

My youngest is here to visit over his spring break and he, big brother, and I are wrapping up our last scenario and onto new things. I wish he was closer so we could do more. We had a lot of fun and hope to squeeze in another session before he has to go back to his mom’s.


Three times a year, The Escapist encourages gamers to read an RPG book in public; any book from any RPG, as a way of educating the public that RPGs are fun.


The weeks are “during the weeks surrounding March 4th, July 27th, and October 1st (starting on the Sunday on or before, and ending on the Saturday on or after).”

The rationale for these three dates are: “March 4th was designated as GM’s Day in 2008, and was coincidentally the same day that E. Gary Gygax, the co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons, passed away. July 27th is Gygax’s birthday, and October 1st is the birthday of Dave Arneson, the other co-creator of Dungeons & Dragons. It is also common for the American Library Association’s Banned Book Week to happen on or close to this week – and RPG books have been banned from some schools and libraries in the past due to many misunderstandings about their content and nature, which is the exact sort of thing that this event is hoping to clear up. ”

For 2014, this means March 2-8; July 27 – August 2; and September 28 – October 4.

MOTE – Kickstarter for OSS update to MapTool

I have not used MapTool. I just tried in the last week, and its Java requirement is not working with the latest version of Java. That’s a security hole, so I did not go further to make it work.

MOTE has a Kickstarter and a Home Page.

I think such tools would be very useful for online play, but I need more time to figure out how it works.

I have read that some just use Google+, and others use similar tools and Google+ for online live play.

Finding a game I can at least try it out, like a one-shot adventure would be good.

The Dungeons of Lost Coppers Cartographic Contest

Dyson’s Dodecahedron is hosting a cartography contest where you take one of his maps and finish it with your own twist.

The deadline is fast approaching:  “23:59 Eastern Standard Time of Sunday, February 23rd, 2014.”

I’m not the best at maps, but I may see what I can devise. It has the same deadline for the OSR Superstar Contest. If I focus, I know I can meet both deadlines.

Dyson has several interesting tables, and of course lots of maps. He even has a few short tutorials that explain how he does his style of maps. I tried a little doodling on graph paper to do it. I can see with practice it can be done fairly easily, but it requires scanning and then processing the image in Gimp or other graphics software. I get so sidetracked looking at all the goodies all the different RPG sites have to offer that I take lots of notes and download/use Print Friendly to add to my ideas for my own campaigns.

Cartography Contest
Cartography Contest

OSR Superstar Contest

Tenkar’s Tavern is hosting the OSR Superstar Contest.

There are three stages. If you make the cut of the first stage you move on to the second stage.

The first stage involves submitting a magic item. You can submit up to three of them. Don’t post it on the blog, it will be disqualified, it must be emailed to the specified address. The deadline is “Sunday, February 16th, at 1PM Eastern (NYC) Time.”

I have decided to participate. So far, I have two magic items sketched out in pretty good detail. You have to use the Swords and Wizardry rules, so I am having to refer back to those. I can do AD&D without a lot of thought and just for specifics. At least it will be flexible to work with any OSR like rule set.

If you make the cut with the magic items, next is a monster.

If you make it to the third round you must use an assigned dungeon map to craft an adventure using the magic item and monster.


OSR Superstar
OSR Superstar

Marmalade Dog 19 – Part II

Last night I wrote here that I found out that the local gaming convention at WMU in Kalamazoo is this weekend.

It started at 9:00 AM and due to waking up way early, I lost track of time working on something since I was up, then having a hard time figuring out where to park to avoid a ticket from campus police, I got there just before ten.

I figured there would be a line to sign up to place D&D Next, so rather than going to the sign-up sheet first, I looked around then tried to find the table. I could not find it, so I went to the sign up sheets and no one had signed up, so I signed up and went to the table, no one was there. There was no note nothing, just a long table and the chairs around it.

I went and said something to the registration staff and the DM for all the D&D Next sessions, all using the Temple of Elemental Evil, and they said he ws not there. One of them mentioned that this was one of their smaller years. The whole event fit into one ballroom/auditorium.

There were less than a dozen vendors. One vendor advertising himself as a travelling game shop. I take that to mean he does from CON to CON. He had jewelry, used games, dice and trinkets. Most of the vendors appeared to be focused on Magic The Gathering. I never “got” the Magic card game. I still don’t so I skipped over those tables. There was one local used book store there and their had their rule books, and Science Fiction and Fantasy books there. The rules they had were “new rules”, probably for D&D 3.0 or 3.5, I did not look closely. I mentioned that and they said any OD&D and 1e books went straight to their eBay site.

There looked to be two tables of board games for whatever enough people wanted to play. There looked to be two tables where two games of Blood Bowl were going on, and there was room at the tables for at least two more games at each table. I played Blood Bowl when it first came out, my brother, Robert had it. That was over 20 years ago.

There were a couple groups playing miscellaneous games, Call of Cthulhu, a magic/fantasy RPG I never heard of, and maybe a couple others. The bulk of their RPG offerings were hosted by the PathFinder Society and there looked to be 6 or 7 PathFinder games. The PathFinder Society or else it was a vendor had three tables with two workers for selling rules books. I am not interested in laying out a bunch of money to GM another game system.

They had eight double tables set up for Warhammer miniature wargaming and it looked like two or three tables were setting up to play.

They had some big screen with some sort of Star Trek game that one worker said he was excited about, but nothing was happening yet.

They also had 8 immersive stations, basically boxes with doors for MechWarrior, but nothing was happening with that. There was a big screen TV to show the action once it got started.

One of the workers said that some people usually had pickup games, but I did not see anyone else who was not involved in something. I brought my Player’s Handbook and ACKS soft cover (I helped with the Kickstarter so got my name in the acknowledgement.) and my tablet with the AD&D PDFs, and the final D&D Next play test rules. so I could have ran an impromptu or played in one had there been others there.

Since the first session went until 2:00 PM, and I was not feeling into any of the other offerings, I decided to go run some errands and pop back home to drop stuff off and let the dog out. Due to my waking really early, once I got home I felt how tired I was, so I elected to take a nap. Of course, I slept until after 2:00 and the next session started at 2:30. So I planned to go to the next session, but something personal came up and put an end to that. A day that was a good one, even though it was not going the way I had hoped, took a turn due to some real life drama.

It continues tomorrow, but I put off things I planed to do today that I have been putting off too long. My computer room is a mess and it is driving me nuts, so I need to clean up so I can focus on some campaign planning and other real life things.

I had never been to a strictly gaming convention before. Obviously it was focused on playing, which is a good thing. There were no panels or guest speakers, etc. My impressions of the whole thing are pretty neutral since the one thing I wanted to experience wasn’t happening when I was there.

I did get some good out of it. I learned of some other SW Michigan conventions, one in Grand Rapids, only about an hour away, I don’t recall where the other is at the moment. On my errands I stopped by my FLGS and picked up three spare sets of dice, if I ever manage to get some players that need dice for a session. I also looked at their board and got a picture of a group that meets regularly at WMU that might give some local leads. Local colleges should have some RPG players that might let an old Grognard play. I now know where to park for next year’s Marmalade Dog and can watch for it next year. If I sign up early, I can run a game and get a t-shirt and discounted admission.

For now, I will continue the quest to find locac players for face to face play, and explore the options for online play, like Google hangouts or Roll20. Of course, more posts about those endeavors.

Marmalade Dog 19

While attempting to find players within close driving distance, I checked the area D&D Meetup and they had pictures of play at a prior Marmalade Dog gaming convention, held by the Western Michigan Gamers Guild (WMGG). I knew they had it in the first few months of the year, so I checked and No. 19 is this weekend, Fri., Sat., Sun. I have always remembered to check when it is and learn it happened a week or two before I checked.

Most conventions are on the eastern part of the state in Ann Arbor or Detroit, or in Chicago, or Indianapolis for GenCon. Detroit and Chicago are both about two hours from where I live. I always wanted to go to GenCon, but never have. Not sure I can make it happen this year. Real life gets in the way. I’m trying to not talk myself out of things that might be a once in a lifetime experience when they are things I can realistically accomplish and afford to do.

It’s within 20 miles of where I live and Saturday only is $20.

I haven’t been to a gaming convention in decades, so I may go check it out. They have Pathfinder and D&D Next for RPGs. Never played Pathfinder, I understand it is a D&d 3.5 clone. I never did 3.5. I have looked at D&D Next via the playtest downloads and have the last download. It looks to be what I can tell is D&D based on my blue Box and AD&D experience. They only have 3 sessions of D&D Next, all Temple Of Elemental Evil, which I never played, all run by same DM for 6 players.

I’m not up to learning a new game or laying out the cash for new books. They start at 9:00 AM and go until 11:30 PM. I’m not up for that long, but will go check it out. Who knows, I might meet some other Old School Grognards like me for future gaming.

I will post a follow up of my experience.

2014 One Page Dungeon Contest

The 2014 One Page Dungeon Contest (OPDC) deadline is April 30, 2014.

You can download PDF collections of all prior years’ submissions. I used one map from 2012, I think, for a Kobold warren in my game.

If I am going to be serious about this RPG blogging thing, I feel that I need to at least make a submission instead of thinking about doing it.

I have an idea that is way too generic, or could become a one page dungeon for every genre. That’s my challenge rise up from being a mere “idea man”, to actual execution of the details. How hard can it be right?

If you are interested and never heard of it or never looked into it, check it out here.