Category Archives: Reviews & Culture

Empire of Imagination – Mini Review

I finally made the time this week and read Michael Witwer’s book, Empire of Imagination, a biography of Gary Gygax. You can read about his research [here or here] on the sanitorium that was not in the original hardback, but is detailed in the paperback.

I’m a fast reader and I made it through in two evenings. It is well written and flows

The narrative style makes it a non-traditional biography, but does help take the reader into the story of Gay Gygax’s life before and after D&D. There are lots of footnotes, photographs, and a bibliography of Gygax’s works.

For a quick and entertaining overview of Gary’s involvement with D&D and TSR, this book does the job. It reads like one wrote down all the stories from Gary’s life. The care and detail in research shines through.

Some of the jumps in the presentation from one chapter to the next seemed abrupt and not well explained. However, as I think about it, that is often how our own lives are when we realize that we have entered a new chapter. Even though we were there for he whole thing, we can still wonder, “How did I get here?”

I enjoyed the style, and like good things found myself wanting more. Now I know why this book took off when it came out. If you haven’t read it, I suggest adding it to your reading list. It is also available in audio book, if you prefer that sort of thing.

D&D Documentary Number 3 – Rebuilding Trust

While at Gary Con, I attended a session titled, D&D Documentary Teaser and Q&A. Pat Kilbane is working on a D&D documentary. It is a third documentary totally unrelated to the other two documentaries now tied up in litigation*.  There is enough about this documentary to impress me, that I decided on the spot to write up a separate article to give it the focus it deserves. In short, I will do what I can to promote it.

My new friend, +Satine Phoenix, is one of the interviewees in the three clips we were shown, and she happened to join in, as she was early for Frank Mentzer’s D&D game in the same room, following this 1 hour session.

I wish I had the foresight to record this. It was a good discussion, and my notes were only on the high points. As more comes along, I will mention it here on my blog.

Satine & Pat after the presentation.
Satine & Pat after the presentation.

The three interviews in the sneak peak were with:

So far, shooting for those on the West coast has been done. Next, while at Gary Con, he is interviewing all the old guard from the beginning to get their perspective. He filmed a session by Tim Kask on the first five years of TSR. I had the honor of asking the last question.

Rather than have yet another Kickstarter for a D&D documentary, when the previous two are tied up in litigation, Pat wants to focus on building trust with the intended audience. His idea is to do small two minute pieces as part of a Patreon to create a track record of delivering smaller bits, until there is enough trust to do some form of fundraiser, such as Kickstarter.

An example of the short videos he envisions is the Gary Con Two-Minute History video, featuring Luke Gygax explaining what Gary Con is.

You can follow Pat’s efforts on the Facebook page, Dorks of Yore.

*Full disclosure, I am in for and most likely out $50 for the second documentary’s Kickstarter, The Great Kingdom. The first film that Kickstarted is Dungeons & Dragons: A Documentary, which I missed the Kickstarter altogether. You can find details of the trials and tribulations of these two films with your google-fu. I want to stay positive and show what Pat is doing. As with most of us, I think we just want any film, that is well done, to come out while the old guard is still available.

Review – Day Trippers Game Masters Guide

This is a follow up post to my review of the Day Tripper’s Core Rules.

I was invited to review the entire system after my review of the Planet Generator guide. There are two other generators for Locations and Lifeforms from the GM Guide that are available on DTRPG/RPGNow. If you have the GM Guide, you don’t need to purchase these stand alone generators. My review of the GM Guide will be much shorter than the review of the Core Rules. I’m sure many will appreciate that.

Setting The Tone:

The GM Guide begins with a discussions of surreal and surrealism, and then goes into a discussion of it in science fiction and then RPGs. This might be eye glazing fodder for some. While a good presentation of the subject, I am not entirely sure it is warranted. We know that dreams and the chao are possible slip types, so many may find it a long winded way to say “weird”.

“Appendix N” Material:

There is a long list of resources for inspiration. The selection deals with “alternate realities, multiple dimensions, subjective worlds, bizarre lifeforms, surreal space adventures, and time travel.

This list is limited to one page and helps give flavor. There are things I’ve never read, some I have heard of. Thanks for making my read/watch list longer. There aren’t enough hours in the day to read all that I want to read, or watch all that I want to watch. (I’m the only with that problem, right?)

Other movies/TV shows I thought of are “The Fly” (original or remake), “Incredible Shrinking Man/Woman”, “InnerSpace”, adn TV shows: “Seven Days”, “Land of the Giants”, “Lost In Space”, and many others. As with other RPGs, almost anything can be an inspiration, even your weird dreams.


As expected, the GM Guide fleshes out things from the Core Rules. For example, NPCs get a whole page here instead of a paragraph in the Core Rules.

There are examples of how play proceeds, and 16 pages at the end that walk through generating your own adventure using the generators and forms provided.


56 of the 120 pages are dedicated to 12 generators: Missions, Stars, Planets, Locations, Lifeforms, Societies, Drama, Character, Alternate Earth, Dream World, Multiversal Chao, and Time Travel.

Most, if not all of these generators can be used in other RPGs of any genre. As with all generators used in prepping to play, they are suggestive, and are a means to help you think of things to mix it up so each adventure is different.

You already know what I think about the planet generator.

The cool thing about these generators is how flexible they are. Many of them require two rolls, one using 1 to 3 d6’s to determine the general nature of the particular table, and another d6 for the sub-item in that category on the chart.

The parallel earth generator walks you figuring out what is different and when it happened, and how likely the characters are to figure it out, or how they might figure it out.

Page 88 has a cool flow chart to determine when to use a given generator in the course of developing a mission.


From my review of the Core Rules, there are two questions for which I was looking for answers in the GM Guide:

  1. What happens to players that fail to return in 24 hours?
    Here’s a link to a G+ thread where my review is highlighted by the game developer. He mentions that the results of exceeding 24 hours is meant to be determined by each GM. In his game it creates an alternate reality, and they are “gone” from the original. What happens if a player isn’t there that session? The party would be split up.
    Rescue missions are discussed and they involve time travel to go to where the lost people are and insert them into the time stream in this reality a moment before the rescue ship leaves. It also mentions changed time lines/new alternate universes created, etc.
  2. Are the action/combat charts in one handy section of the GM Guide
    The charts are not in one location in the GM guide. I did find on the DayTrippers website that they have a GM screen.

Free PDFs – Follow Up:

All the forms that are available for free on DTRPG/RPGNow that I mentioned in my Core Rules review are in the GM Guide. However, the players hand out is not. I would recommend it be in the PDF so that the GM has everything in one place. The Traveller conversion PDF is not in there either, but that is not critical in my mind, since it is a special case for a single game.

In addition to including the free PDFs there is an Adventure Sketch Sheet to hold the bare facts about an adventure.

What I Like:

All the awesome generators! These generators do a great job of giving ideas, and would be helpful for developing one’s own generators, perhaps with more options.

There are 6 sample missions, examples of NPCs, a walk through of building a mission, all designed to help the GM prepare for game play, or figure it out on the fly.

The sandbox style of play is promoted by suggesting preparing outlines of missions, since the idea is that characters and other NPC’s are in the business of doing missions. Also developing NPC’s ahead of time for use as needed. The nice thing about he majority of NPC’s is that they have stats of 1, so you don’t need to write down all their stats, just the ones that are not one.

In addition to the generators, there are drama templates that guide the GM in preparing the mission/adventure. These templates include what kind of locations, gear, and NPC’s are needed to help you cover all the bases. This would be a handy tool for those new to running games. My only caution is to avoid a railroad, just as these rules do.

The advice in the GM Guide is if the players don’t notice your clues or pick up on them, it is a sign that you are doing it wrong. That is, you need to describe them better, give them an idea of why they should notice them, etc.

What I’d Like to See:

The only thing I can think to add, is that all RPG’s should have a section to clarify what types of dice they require. In the Core Rules 1 or more d6’s are mentioned. However, on page 35 of the GM Guide for node type determination, it mentions the possibility of using 2d4. I am OK with that, but this is the only place in both manuals that I am aware of that mentions anything besides using d6’s. As with most players of RPG’s I have dice to cover almost any situation, and even dice for which I don’t have the particular RPG they go with, but have them anyway. Since it is only in the GM Guide, it won’t impact players, but a heads up before then for this one-time suggestion for a scenario to use d4’s would be helpful.


I’d buy this just for the generators. $12 for 12 generators is a good price if you are looking for that sort of thing.

I could run this game. I would want to play a game as a player first, or watch it played (see YouTube Video below). I’ll watch these videos later.

The mechanics are interesting and simple. There’s no guess work or fumbling with the manuals to see if you hit/succeeded. Until you get the hang of it, you might want the suggested results when something more than straight up success or failure happens. You’ll need the Core Rules handy for that.

The GM Guide is$12 on DTRGP/RPGNow.

There is also a GM Bundle that includes the GM Guide and the Core Rules for $25.98 (save $5 from purchasing individually) at DTRPG/RPGNow.

So far, there are two modules for DayTrippers available on DTRPG/RPGNow. I have not read them, so don’t know specifics. One of them is refenced in the GM Guide to illustrate the use of the Runsheet.

DayTrippers has its own website with other PDFs and forums.

I found two YouTube videos on topic. One is an interview with Tod Foley at Legends of Tabletop, and the other is actual play GMed by Tod Foley. I plan to watch them later.



Review – Day Trippers Core Rules

I did a review of the Day Trippers Planet Generator back in May. The author contacted me to review the Core Rules and Game Masters Guide.

I was interested to see what Day Trippers was, and why the name. Before I could get the time to read what I had downloaded, I saw that others had posted their own reviews of Day Trippers, so I made sure to avoid reading them until I had a chance to see it for myself. I read and reviewed the Core Rules before this review. This should help me understand how the players see the game, verses the “inside information” in the GM Guide.

I was concerned about how long it would take me to get through the books, but the Core Rules is only 44 pages. I got through half of it in one sitting. The other half I finished in another sitting.

I went in-depth in this review, far different from how I would review a movie. This should give you an understanding/feel of the game and creating characters and resolving actions.

The layout is clean and it is easy to read on my tablet. It has good art, and no typos or grammar errors that I noticed. The Table of Contents is hyperlinked. The index is not hyperlinked. This is not an issue, I am not aware of any index that is hyperlinked. The Table of Contents does not include the character sheet and ship sheet on the last two pages of the PDF. The rules are Creative Commons 3.0 UNPORTED LICENSE (CC BY 3.0). THEY ARE OWNED BY EVERYONE AND NO ONE. HTTP://CREATIVECOMMONS.ORG/LICENSES/BY/3.0/

It starts with a story to set the history and tone. It’s the campaign world setting. It was interesting and let me in on the origin of this concept in the mind of the game creator. As with any “default” campaign setting, it is up to the user to use it or not. In short, crazy super genius invents method to travel between dimensions. Once he proves it, other individuals, corporations, and governments get involved. There are locations that others find and keep a secret to use to their own advantage, in addition to well-know places, and places as yet undiscovered.

The premise behind the game is slipping between dimensions, different realities, planets, etc. It reminds me of the times older episodes of Dr. Who (AKA Tom Baker) moved sideways to other realities in the TARDIS rather than through normal time and space. I also was reminded of the TV show Sliders, although I think I only ever caught one episode of that show. It also reminds me a bit of the TV show 7 Days where they could only travel back in time seven days.

What I find hilarious in the backstory for how such travel was discovered, the acronym for the first device in my mind is TRAP, although it is referred to as TRA Pod in the text.  I then imagined Admiral Akbar, “It’s a TRAP!” I often come up with weird acronyms others didn’t intend.

There are terms used in the rules, Slip Space for the space/stuff traversed between starting point and destination, and Slip Pods for the devices that carry people through Slip Space.

There are five variations on slip travel, called Slips: Cartesian, Temporal, Para Terran, Subjective, Compound

  • Travel across the universe in this home reality. That is travel to other planets. (Cartesian)
  • Alternate Earths/Parallel Universes (Para Terran)
  • Time Travel, but limited to the time line of Earth 1. (Temporal)
  • Dream Worlds (Subjective)
  • The Multiversal Chao (Compound Slips – Which is a combination of two or more other kinds of slips.)

One Slips into one of 6 Nodes: Known Planets, Unknown Planets, Time Travels, Alternate Earths, Dream Worlds, and The Multiversal Chao. Dreams reminds me of the movie Inception, or places where stories are real. There is more than one story I am aware of about the characters and places in fiction are real. With all of these possibilities, there is no shortage of potential adventures. One can do any genre with these rules: science fiction, steam punk, western, spy, gangsters, fantasy, suspense, horror, sword & planet, etc.

The origin of the title of the game, Day Trippers, is that one is limited to 24 hours for the maximum length of time one can stay in their destination. If one does not return in that time, they cease to exist in the originating point. My question is, if they stay in this dimension/universe/timeline, that would mean they cease to exist, but does that mean they are trapped in different dimensions/realities if they fail to return? This is not clear to me in the Core Rules. As I read it, I would rule they are trapped in that other dimension. I will look to see if this is clarified in the GM Guide.

Character generation is a point buy. Each character begins with 100 CP (Character Points) to spend building characters. An interesting concept is that these CP can be saved and used during play for Progressive Character Building. CP are used to generate the stats for players, buy skill levels, and purchase equipment, just like using money.

There are ten classes: Amateur Explorer, Gonzo Writer, Grad Student, Politican/Nobility, Special Forces, Celebrity/Entertainer, Government Agent, Scientist, Soldier, Tourist.

There are six stats (ability) scores: Brains, Charm, Grace, Health, Might, Psyche.

The interesting thing about ability scores is that they all start with one and then CP can be used to bump them up to a maximum of six. The number one through six represents the number of d6’s to roll for each challenge/impediment one faces in the game. To bump a score from 1 to 2 only costs 5 CP, but adding more increases the cost. To bump the score of a starting stat to 5 costs 100 CP and 6 costs 200 CP.

CP is equal to one unit of currency, called a Mega, which equals one million dollars. One can go into debt to build and equip a starting character. The debt has to be paid at one mega a month. Experience Points, XP, can be used to improve one’s character or pay off debt. The equivalence of each CP/Mega/XP makes it easy to figure out and track.

The Total Character Value (TCV) is the sum of CP and XP spent to develop your character. This would be analogous to level in other games. Similarly, Potential is the sum of unspent CP and XP.

There is a list of skills that have a note of one or two stats that apply to their use. Some skills assume the presence of a kit, for example a doctor has a bag, a technician has a tool kit, etc. New skills can be added with GM agreement, and must specify one or two applicable stats for their use. Skills also go from 1-6.

Classes can also be used to boost stats and skills before adventuring begins. Stats and skills get boosted by one and debt is increased.

Crew is the name for NPCs, they have 1 in all stats and cost one Mega or CP for a year of service. Additional stats, skills, and gear can be purchased for them as with characters. “[T]hey are assumed to have an unglamorous but serviceable place to live.” This same assumption is made for characters.

Rank applies to those from military, political, or secret careers, also from 1-6. My only issue with the rank, is for military, it used army/air force/marine ranks for levels 1-5, and level 6 is admiral, a navy rank. An admiral of the same number of stars is equivalent rank to a general of the same number of stars, so I would change level 5 to colonel and make level 6 general. If you want navy ranks list them. Keep in mind that a navy captain is equal to an army colonel.

Retired rank translates to last rank-1 for resolving actions.

Fame is a stat that indicates how well known a character is and there are benefits from the level of fame from 1-6. One has to make an effort to maintain their level of fame, either by spending megas or doing something to stay in the public eye. It boosts charm rolls.

Debts can be to legitimate sources like banks, or loan sharks. The difference is in how they handle late payments. Such as, legal action vs. broken legs. Not paying debts on time can lower one’s fame.

Life Shaping is done via events that shape the life of a character. These events can be presented before or during play, or even between sessions. LifeShapers can be used to deal with problems, with a reasonable explanation. There are twelve slots available for LifeShapers, so one can only add so many.

Gear ranges from 0-6, with 0 being standard items that add no bonus to actions. Gear with levels 1-6 are increasingly more expensive and add plusses to rolls.

There is a list of sample characters provided that can be used to get players started, or be used for one shot adventures, etc.

Action resolution begins with difficulty levels from 1-10, 1 being a no-brainer to a 10 being insane. Any difficulty of 7 or higher is impossible without leveled skills and/or gear, since the max stat is 6. You roll the number of dice equal to the appropriate skill and keep the highest. This just improves your odds of rolling a 6.

After the roll is determined, the appropriate/applicable skill, gear, rank, and fame are added.

Actions can be unopposed or opposed. Unopposed is more direct. With an opposed action the “defender” also rolls.

There are five possibilities for all results:

  • Miss by more than 1       No, AND (something negative happens)
  • Miss by 1                               NO, BUT (something positive happens)
  • Hit Exactly                            YES, BUT (something negative happens)
  • Exceed by 1                          YES (Nailed it precisely)
  • Exceed by more than 1  YES, AND (something positive happens)

This makes it easy to determine the “flavor” of successes and failures. For example, taking out the guard in one strike, but he makes a noise that alerts other guard(s).

Combat works similarly to actions, but level of armor and weapons play into it.

Other players can help the character performing an action, such as opening doors. The helper makes a roll, but helping could be not helping. How many movies, TV shows, or real life situations have you seen where someone says, “Please stop helping!”?

Damage reduces stats by one, and since they are in alphabetical order, you work your way down the list. If there is multiple damage in one action, take one from the first stat, one from the next and so on. When a stat hits 0 you are stunned, when 3 stats hit 0, you are dead.

There are no luck points to burn to avoid a bad situation. It is all up to the player(s) using their wits to make their current mix of stats, skills, and gear work to their advantage. Being able to come up with a plausible reason why a certain stat or skill applies in a given situation is key.

Healing is likewise simple, if only one stat is down a single point, three days of rest. More than that takes longer rest, involves hospitals, doctors, spending Megas, and possible devices found in one’s travels. Healing heals one point in each stat in alphabetical order.

An exception to healing is damage to the Psyche, which requires therapy and/or medication and can take months or years. It requires a level 5 difficulty roll to heal psyche after each month of rest. This is an interesting idea for the horror/Cthulhu type genre where one can regain sanity.

Vehicle actions are resolved similarly to other actions and combat. The appropriate stat,  skill and their levels, plus the level of the vehicle are added to the roll.

The vehicle combat table has the same five levels as other actions, but the results are specific to vehicles, like one hit on a vehicle and a critical strike, or vehicle escapes.

Vector Slipping is the action of using a Slip Ship to Slip into one of the 6 nodes. The action roll for this again has 5 possible outcomes. One knows by the result of the roll how well it succeeded or failed, and possible complications, but the details require looking at the chart. (I hope to find pages of all these charts in one place in the GM guide.)

The stuff between here and there is deadly, not only does it require a Slip Ship, but it also requires a Survival Suit. Both must remain intact to protect the user from the catastrophic and get you back to your origination point.

There is a discussion of the use and consequences of damage to the survival suit.

There is an explanation of the construction of a slip ship, from carrying capacity in crew, to core ship components, to amenities and even weapons. Each piece has a level, higher being more expensive. There is a list of sample ships and their cost to give you an idea. Ships can be owned by a player, in massive debt, a group, or a benefactor/sponsor.

There are six types of missions, seven if a mission mixes two or more types: Exploration, Emergency/Rescue, Sightseeing, Surveying/Fact-Finding, Acquisition/Trade, Politics/Diplomacy.

There is an explanation of how to build a mission and quantify it.

The rules end with a brief discussion and charts for conversion to and from four other systems: PbtA (Powered by the Apocalypse) – [I had to google for that acronym.), d20, 1-20, and 1-100. This makes it easy to port other systems, such as clones like White Box, or specifically White Star to use this game.

After the credits and a one page index, is a one page character sheet, and a one page ship sheet.

This gives players and GM the bare bones to play this game.

I have left out that this is a story style game. I don’t have experience running or playing story style games, so I can’t comment on that other than this impression. It reminds me of what I have read about Fate, and observed in people playing Fate. I can see the appeal of the collaborative effort of building a story together. To me this type of game play being fun would depend on the right mix of people and how narrowly or broadly they adhered to the role playing aspect of it. If the point is to get together and have fun with the rules as a guiding framework, I could have fun. If the point is to adhere to strict interpretations of the rules and strictly stay in character during game play, I might not have fun. I think this is true of any RPG.

In short, with the right mix of people, I might enjoy story style games.

Speaking specifically about Day Trippers, I see many interesting things, like the point buy character generation. One could have a super genius that isn’t much good for the charm or physical, a tough brute short on brains, a beauty/charmer, or an average person. By eliminating rolls for stats, one has flexibility to play the kind of character they want. I think this would appeal to those who feel that scores are more important than how one plays and has fun with it.

One does not have to play the game as a strict story game. I’m all for use the rules you want.

I think there are some interesting ideas here. Personally, I don’t think I’ll find a group that will play this game, but I definitely see some interesting ideas, that like many games, I can use for my own creations in the various genres of RPG that I play and run.

The rules are $5 at DriveThru/RPGNow, so it is inexpensive if you want to have a look for yourself. There are also free PDFs of things that are not in the Core Rules, in addition to the character sheet and ship sheet at the back of the Core Rules.

  • DayTrippers Mission RunSheet – A one page PDF for developing a mission or adventure. Not form fillable.
  • DayTrippers Player Handout – This is a very helpful one page summary to explain to the player how the game works. It is not part of the Core Rules.
  • DayTrippers Lifeform Sheet – This one page PDF has fields to describe various life forms and they use the same six stats as characters. The life form could be anything from a “monster”, or animal, to a sentient being. Not form fillable.
  • DayTrippers Planet Sheet – This one page PDF holds the information on a planet and two locations, and has a world map on the bottom of the page. It is not form fillabe.
  • DayTrippers PC Tracking Sheet – This one page PDF allows a GM to track 4 characters. It is not form fillable.
  • Converting from Traveller – This one page PDF goes into depth about converting characters to DayTrippers from Traveller. This is more involved than the bit in the Core Rules.

Lords of Waterdeep

+Jared Randall, his wife Karen, and their five kids hosted a housewarming/tabletop game party at their new house Saturday.

It was a fun time!

I played a board game I had heard of but not seen or played before, Lords of Waterdeep. Waterdeep being one of the cities in Forgotten Realms.

It looks complex for all the various cards and pieces, but is fairly simple once you understand. I do not recall the man’s name and his son who showed Jared’s oldest daughter and I how to play. But he said that by the third turn you will understand it. He was right.

There are enough options to it that a beginning player can do well against seasoned players. Yet there is enough complexity and depth that one could play a lot of games and not grow bored. Shuffling of decks and drawing random cards that define how to focus your play make each game unique.

Both the quick play and full rules are available in PDF from WotC. WotC has a quick start video and also links to Wil Wheaton’s Table Top episode where they played the game.

At the end of eight turns, a final tally is made and the person with the high score wins.

It says for ages 12+. I think some younger players that get it could do well at this game.

There are a couple of expansions for it, but I can’t see running out of options unless you played this game all the time.

I liked it and had fun. If I thought I would play it even a few times a year, I would get it. It is fairly fast to play. With four players, my guess is that it took an hour, but I wasn’t timing it, and did not check start and stop times.

It is not an introduction to RPG’s as there is no role playing and no characters. There is no way for players to operate outside the rules as written, since it is  within the realm of a “standard” board game.

$49.99 suggested retail price seems a bit steep, but it is not as simple or straightforward as the old standbys, like Monopoly or Scrabble, that you can get at the major chain store for $9.99. If you play it often, it can soon seem like a bargain. With a cost like that, I can understand if you want to see it played, or better yet play it yourself, before buying. There’s nothing worse than getting a board game, getting it home, and it being either too complex, or too simple, or something that you wouldn’t get had you only known.

I don’t have a lot of board games, and don’t play them often. Most are designed for two or more people, so when you live alone, they gather dust on the shelf. Are there any single/solo player board games?

If your family likes board games, they might want to give this one a try. I can see a marathon weekend series being an option, if I were still in high school, with no responsibilities.

Side note: There were a couple of kids,none of them Jared’s, there who did not know how to shuffle cards. It makes total sense why this is: computers and solitaire. Not many kids play card games anymore, unless they are in a household that plays them. I was younger than these kids when I was halfway competent at card shuffling. My suggestions for teaching them were not accepted. Oh, well, kids these days…. I wonder how long until the skill of shuffling cards is lost to all but the dealers at casinos.


READ AN RPG BOOK IN PUBLIC WEEK – 2015 – July 26th – August 1st, 2015

Just a little reminder that next week starting this Sunday, July 26th through August 1st, is the second of the three annual weeks for Read an RPG Book in Public Week.

This year, I have not managed to read an RPG book in public during an official week, but I have read part of the 5th Edition Player’s Handbook while in my hammock, between two big trees in my front yard. If the weather cooperates, I should be able to manage to actually meet this challenge.


Fate/Fudge Dice

I had to run up to the big name hardware store just over a week ago to get some stuff for a home project. On my way, I had to pass my FLGS. I decided to stop in and picked up some new dice.

I really do mean to stop buying new dice, but Fate/Fudge dice are basically the only RPG related dice I did not have. [Just wait, someone will point out some other type of die I haven’t heard of….] They are easy enough to emulate with d6’s, but losing the need to think about what two numbers are what result, +/-/0, is a plus.

I’ve been watching Red Dice Diaries’s  Fate series on YouTube, where he explains various features of Fate, and it intrigues me. It removes the need for leveling and training, and your character already knows some cool stuff. I have a free PDF of the rules, but have yet to make time to read them.

I don’t know if I will ever play Fate. I know that Roll20 supports Fate dice, so it has a certain amount of popularity.

Fate dice can also be used in other RPG’s when you need to quickly generate three choices. For example, if you are chasing a goblin in a dungeon to stop him from alerting the other goblins. If there is an intersection, does the goblin go straight, or pick right or left?

Rather than a random encounter that appears out of nowhere, the DM could have a monster or group of goblins that are in room X in the dungeon when the characters arrive. Use the Fate dice to determine which way they go if and when they leave that room. It might be a bit more work for the DM, but it adds an interesting variation. There will only be an encounter with this monster or group, if the players are close enough to attract the attention of same.

If you are generating a random dungeon, city street map, or paths in a forest, this can help you decide which direction to continue generating first.

Very simple reaction rolls, positive, negative, or meh, no need for a chart. Roll one die if it should be a 33.333% chance of a given result, or roll more dice and determine possible variations on just how positive a positive reaction is. For example, roll the standard four Fate dice and get four pluses, and that’s an overwhelming positive reaction. Roll four blanks and it is the grandfather of all meh.

Using a single Fate die with another die roll can get more out of that roll. 1d6 could now be 0-7, if you use the + as adding one and the – as subtracting one, and the blank as zero. This gives two more options to any die. With the d6 example, there are 8 possibilities, 0-7, so a d6 can emulate a d8. With a d10, one can emulate either a d12 or a d30. With d% you can get 102 options, or use the Fate die as a modifier for 1-100, or add 100, or add 200.

The trinary options of yes, no, and maybe make an interesting option. How many syllables in an NPC’s name? How many minutes, hours, days, weeks, months until an NPC show up?

As with any other single die, you can come up with all kinds of uses, as many have come up with d8, d12, d20, and d30 tables, or all the dice tables, or dice drop generators.

I like the challenge of trying to figure out ways I could use various dice, and seeing the ideas of others. Whether or not I actually use the idea in a game, just having the exercise helps me to think of possibilities I might not have considered otherwise.


Review – Rob Kuntz’s Dark Druids

Rob Kuntz’s Dark Druids was on sale a few weeks back. It arrived at the end of April. Since my submission to the 2015 One Page Dungeon Contest involved druids – The Dire Druids of Delver’s Deep, I waited until after I completed my submission to read this module. My planned postings got sidetracked, since I jumped on board the White Star bandwagon.

This module clearly states on the cover below the illustration: “For use with 1st Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons(R)”. Unlike others, it is not afraid to say this and also acknowledges that the name of the game is a registered trademark. It is one of three modules currently available from Chaotic Henchmen Productions.

The blurb from the back cover explains what this module is all about: “Dark Druids includes complete descriptions and maps for an outdoor area and a three-level adventure site, and is easily adaptable to most campaign settings. It also includes an outline for further adventuring, a selection of new monsters, spells, and magic items, plus Robert J. Kuntz’s historical context and commentary on this module’s relationship to his campaigns of the 1970’s”

This module is designed for levels 8-12, so it is not a low power adventure. It has the general look and feel of a module from back in the day. The cover can serve as a screen and includes the 1st and  3rd level of the dungeon. The 2nd level is on the last page of the module. This 56 page module has more maps for the outdoors area and illustrations to compliment the text.

After a forward and author preface, there is a section on Using the Module that discusses party composition and challenges, preparations before play, and how to read and interpret the module text. There is a player introduction, which is a lot of text to read. Lastly there is a half page of rewards and additional party resources.

After a page for the GM introduction, there are just over three and a half pages with the outdoor map, starting text, and key to the outdoor map.

The dungeon’s three levels are detailed on pages 9 through 35.

There are seven appendices, A through F.

A – Deals with further adventuring against the drak druids.

B – Is an article about a Dark God.

C – Discusses changes in this version of the module from the 2006 version published by Creations Unlimited.

D – Lists the 16 new magic items in this module.

E – Details four new monsters.

F – Describes the dark druid variant class.

The module was well sealed in cardboard and bubble wrap and sealed with scotch tape in a clear plastic magazine sleeve.

I like the look and feel of this. The maps are well done and easy to read. The text itself is laid out well and easy to read. However, the “Read-aloud text” is in italics. For some rooms this text is the first part of that room’s description, but for others it is later. Thankfully, while not like some italics fonts that I sometimes have trouble distinguishing from the normal font, there is nothing else to set it apart. When actually running this, it would be very easy to miss a key detail. If I were to run this module as written, I would have to use different colored highlighters and ink to note the important parts. I find this to be more of a concern as my eyes age.

When not in a live game situation and no pressure, it is definitely easy to read. There is a lot of information here, it is dense.

It is something that would require a lot of streamlining to run in a con setting. In a con setting it is bigger than can be handled in the average 3 or 4 hour session. There is enough in here, that it would take one massive marathon session to complete the entire module in one go. I can see this easily taking many sessions depending on the focus of the players, and the decisions and rolls they make.

One can easily place this on a list of possibilities, when players get to that level, and fit it into the campaign. AD&D is not that much different from OD&D and modern clones, that this could easily be used in nearly any OSR game. There is a lot in here, that it will take more than a casual reading to catch all that is in here. This could easily be part of a behind the scenes activity that builds up to this module, or it could be a new stand-alone threat. Because this is so dense, I have not managed to read the whole thing carefully, but I like what I see.

This is an interesting concept and ties in with my articles on druids.

Clips & Magazines

Some recent blog postings about White Star and various other RPG’s have used the term clip, where I believe they mean magazine. I find such misuse of terminology annoying, so I suppose the following counts as a rant. I will conclude with the appropriate Joesky Tax.

Clip – A device that holds several rounds together to aid in loading the internal box magazine. The clip for an M1 Garand is an en bloc clip and is inserted into the box magazine with the attached ammunition, and the clip is ejected when the last round is fired. The clip for a Mosin Nagant is a stripper clip that holds 5 rounds and aligns the ammunition to speed loading it into the box magazine. For the Mosin Nagant, without a clip one can load the 5 round magazine one round at a time. Some revolvers use moon clips.

Speedloader – These are generally thought of in reference to pistols, but stripper clips and moon clips fall into this category.

Magazine – A device that holds ammunition. Magazines may be part of the firearm and are loaded using a clip or single rounds. Other magazines, like for the M16, AR-15, AK-47, 1911, Glock pistols, etc. have a detachable magazine that first is loaded with the ammunition and then the magazine is inserted into the magazine well/receiver. For pistols this is most commonly in the grip, although some like the Broomhandle Mauser, the gun used as the base for Han Solo’s blaster, have a magazine in front of the trigger, like some rifles.

The first pistol magazines, such as for the 1911 are single stack magazines that hold one bullet on top of another.

More recent pistols can accommodate a double stack magazine where the rounds are “staggered” on top of each other, such as in Glocks. This allows for more rounds at a time. Often up to 18 rounds in standard magazines. Magazines of up to 30 or more rounds are made for pistols, but stick far below the end of the grip. For most rifles a 30 round magazine is standard.

Gun Safety: No discussion of firearms should be held without mention of the rules of firearm safety.

There are rules for safety that keep everyone safe in the presence of a gun.

  • Every gun is always loaded. (If someone hands you a gun, even if they swear they emptied it, you check it.)
  • Point the muzzle (the danger end of the barrel) in a safe direction. (Context will determine this. Usually down is safest.)
  • Don’t point your gun at anything you don’t intend to destroy.
  • Don’t put your finger on the trigger until you have acquired the target and are ready to shoot. That is, keep your booger hook off the bang button! (In the movies and TV when you see someone running around with their hand on the trigger, they are doing it wrong. I wish a show or movie would have the idiots doing that shoot the people on their side in the back when they are doing that.)
  • Know your target and what is beyond it. (This applies to all uses of firearms, including hunting and self-defense. Don’t shoot into a crowd of people. Make sure you can shoot and only the intended target will be hit. This is where cop shows get it right when the cop doesn’t shoot at the escaping criminal. Idiots that shoot into the air on New Year’s Eve are a menace. You are legally responsible for every round that leaves your firearm until it stops.)
  • Everyone is a range safety officer (RSO). (If you see poor gun safety shout it out.)
  • Use firearms that are within your training and capabilities. (For example, a 90 pound old lady probably shouldn’t make a Desert Eagle .50 her primary choice for a first firearm, unless she can truly handle it. This also includes idiots giving novice shooters a powerful gun and filming them getting hurt by the recoil. That is not responsible.)
  • If you are not in possession of your firearm, unload it and store it in a secure location. (Don’t rely on hiding it from your children or others. If you were ever a curious child, what kinds of things did you find in your house that your parents thought they had hidden?)
  • If you have a firearm and children (even if you only have children and no firearms), teach them gun safety. If they find a gun out in the open, train them to go tell an adult. When they are old enough, teach them safe handling of firearms.
  • If you drop a firearm, don’t try to catch it, a lot of people have shot themselves attempting to catch a falling firearm.

Safety Check vs. Danger Check

A safety check is where the current holder of a firearm looks for an empty chamber to verify that a firearm is unloaded. This is done in preparation for storage, cleaning, or before passing to another.

A danger check is where the current holder of a firearm verifies that a gun is fully loaded and there is a round in the chamber. This is done prior to use when it needs to be ready to fire, such as for target shooting, hunting, or self defense.

Assault Weapon – There are two types of assault weapons.

  1. An item used to assault another person. Most frequently, these include, hands, feet, rocks, sticks, baseball bats, hammers, screwdrivers, knives, etc. Basically these are every day items or body parts for which we need no papers from the government to purchase, possess or use. More people are killed in the U.S.A. with these items than with rifles or shotguns.
  2. Military Terminology – An assault rifle is capable of select fire.
    • A semi-automatic firearm is not an assault rifle, because a semi-auto only does one shot per pull of the trigger. For example, an AR-15 is a semi-auto rifle and looks like an M16, but the appearance does not make it one, contrary to the mis-reporting by many in the popular media.

NOTE: The letters AR in AR-15, mean Armalite, and NOT Assault Rifle.

Field Stripping – The processes of taking a firearm partially apart to be able to clean or service it. Most firearms are not intended to take apart beyond this point by other than a gunsmith. All the movies of whatever era that show boot camp and taking apart a rifle and reassembling it show field stripping. For example, a man from the U.S. who served in WWII or Korea, would be able to field strip an M1 Garand if you asked him to do it, because of how often they repeated the process in training and in the field. Similarly, most veterans of Vietnam to the present would be able to field strip an M16 or AR-15.

Racking the Slide/Pulling the Charging handle.

TV and movies are dangerous when it comes to showing this. I would love to see a TV show or movie show a live round ejected when someone racks the slide on a pistol or pumps a shotgun.

People don’t realize that it is possible to carry many firearms at magazine capacity plus one. That is, the magazine is full and there is another round “in the pipe”.

For example, with a 1911 semi-automatic pistol, the standard magazine is 7 or 8 rounds, or less, depending on the model. One can load the magazine, put it in the firearm, rack the slide, release the magazine, top off the magazine, and put it back in the gun. Thus carrying a fully loaded magazine, plus one round ready to go. The same is true of many rifles and shotguns.

Early revolvers, up until perhaps the 20th century, did not have drop safeties and were usually carried with an empty chamber under the hammer to avoid accidental discharge. Thus a 6 shot revolver was only loaded with 5 rounds for daily carry. So all those cowboy movies where the cowboys, gunslingers, and lawmen had six shooters fully loaded, or seemed to have endless ammunition, since they were not always shown reloading.

A gun never goes off by “accident”. 99.9% of “accidental discharges” are actually negligent discharges. Follow the rules of gun safety, and you will never have a gun in your possession fire other than when you intend it to. The 0.1% would be older firearms without a drop safety that are dropped, or damaged or improperly maintained firearms.

Finally, my last pet peeve. In the age of science and reason, why do some believe, or act like they believe, that a tool is evil, and capable of imposing its will on people? This isn’t D&D with a cursed sword of innocent slaying that has an ego forcing a make believe character to do things, this is real life. I have never once had a firearm talk to me or tell me to do things. I have never once seen a firearm break out of a locked case, break into the ammunition, load itself, and go on a rampage, or force anyone to go on a rampage.

Nearly any kitchen utensil or tool in the toolbox or tool shed can be used to injure or kill. Similarly, a big stick, like a baseball bat, cricket bat, hockey stick, or tree branch can be a weapon. Also rocks of sufficient mass can be used to bash in someone’s head. If objects had the power to force people to do things, we would be living in a fantasy world. If you believe objects make you do things, you need to see a professional. {Snarky thought: If you don’t like this article, my computer made me write it.]

If playing games, whether table top RPG’s, MMO’s, or video games, that talk about the use of firearms are so evil, then why are you playing and reading and writing about games that talk about using swords, daggers, spears, etc. for killing people? That is evil and disgusting and makes you a bad person, controlled by the devil. [Sarcasm alert, in case you couldn’t tell.] SMH. It reminds me of the “Satanic Panic” of the 80’s.

Movie stars make millions in movies that glorify violence with guns, but then speak out about how bad guns are. Why is it OK for you to make millions playing make believe on screen with guns, but guns are bad? Oddly enough, many of those who do this, also own guns. For some reason, many of the rich and famous don’t think that the rules they advocate should apply to them. Hypocrisy much?

Joesky Tax Payment

Random NPC’s with Random Firearms

Genre d6

  1. Western
  2. Horror
  3. Cops & Robbers
  4. Fantasy
  5. Science Fiction
  6. Sword & Planet

Technology d6

Older technology could be collector’s items or replicas. For example, in the present day, there is muzzle loading season where only muzzle loading firearms may be used. Some are of the flintlock variety, and there are modern muzzle loaders that use a solid charge of smokeless powder that is inserted before the bullet. A cap is used for ignition.

  1. Muzzle loaders – Muskets & pistols from matchlocks and wheel locks to flintlocks, and the pinnacle with caps and paper cartridges. See the Puckle Gun for interesting technology of the early 1700’s.
  2. Revolvers – From cap and ball paper cartridges to brass or even steel cartridges. Rim fire and center fire. Except for .22 cal. most modern firearms use center fire ammunition.
    • There were some rifles that used a cylinder like early revolvers.
  3. Repeating Rifles – Like the Henry’s and Winchesters of the Civil War and wild west, to bolt action rifles.
  4. Semi-Automatic – Pistols such as the broomhandle mauser, Luger, 1911, Glocks, etc. Rifles such as the M1 Garand up to the AR-15 and others. When the last round of a semi-automatic is expended the action/slide/bolt is locked back indicating the magazine is empty.
    • Glocks and clones are hammerless and use a striker. The pull of the trigger does all the work of operating the striker to activate the firing pin.
  5. Automatic Weapons – From light and heavy machine guns that require a crew, and may be water or air cooled. Examples of these are the Vickers machine gun and the M2 .50 caliber. Submachine guns, like the Thompson, the M3 greasegun, the BAR, etc. There are fully automatic pistols, but their light weight makes them very difficult to use effectively without regular training. Note: For many machine guns, such as the M2 .50, one can depress the trigger for a single shot or hold it down for bursts or continuous fire.
  6. Select Fire Weapons – Capable of semi-automatic or full automatic fire, such as the Sturmgewehr, M16 and AK-47. Some may have multiple settings for semi-auto, 3 round bursts, or full auto.

NOTE:  Single Action vs. Double Action – This is true of revolvers and semi-automatic pistols.

  • Single Action requires cocking the hammer before the trigger will cause the hammer to strike.
  • Double action can cock the hammer and fire the pistol in one pull of the trigger.
  • There are some pistols that can operate in both single action and double action. For example, the Beretta M9, and clones can have the trigger manually cocked for the first shot, or be used double action on the first shot.

Individual or Gang/Group

  • 1-3 – Individual
  • 3-6 – Gang

Gang Size d6 (If only one member, perhaps they are a surviving member.)

  1. Small – 1d6 members
  2. Medium – 1d10 members
  3. Large – 1d30 members
  4. Extra Large – 1d100
  5. Huge – d6 * d100
  6. Enormous – d30 * 100

Number of firearms per person. 1d6

  • Both the weight and size of firearms will limit how many can reasonably be carried. For example, you might determine that an NPC has a .50 cal M2 machine gun. While these can be carried by an individual, and slings exist for firing from the hip; they are not practical to just carry around. They would be kept at home, a safe house, or in a vehicle. (I recall a video showing Bob Hope with some troops, perhaps in Vietnam. The troops set him up with a .50 cal with a sling and he shot it. My Google fu is not finding that clip.)
  • In the age of muzzle loaders, a brace (pair of pistols) or more, would be carried since re-loading was so slow. Multiple firearms with this technology will be more pistols than muskets or rifles, since only one long gun could effectively be used at one time. Pepperboxes and early derringers were also muzzle loaders.
  • With technology allowing smaller firearms such as pistols, both revolvers and semi-automatics, more such items could be carried without much hindrance.
  • Often if two guns are carried, the second, smaller gun is a backup gun. For example, police in both TV, movies, and real life, carry their main firearm in the holster on their duty belt, and a smaller backup gun in an ankle holster.

Carry Methods (open or concealed)

  • “Mexican Carry” – This term arose during the Mexican Revolution when firearms were regulated. Those carrying pistols would tie a string to the pistol and stick it in their waste band. This allowed for ease of ditching a pistol and not having a holster to give you away.
    This is NOT a safe way to carry. It is easy to shoot yourself in your junk.
    Similarly is carrying a gun in the back of your waste band. If you get knocked down and land on the firearm, it can damage your tailbone, causing great pain. It can also cause nerve damage that leads to temporary incapacitation due to pain or numbness, or even paralysis of the legs.
  • Pocket carry – Unless you have a special pocket holster to cover the trigger, this is also a dangerous way to carry. If anything can snag the trigger, you can end up shooting yourself.
  • Gun Belt – This is the common western style item with a belt with a holster and built in bandoleer of ammunition. This and other types of holsters are hard to conceal without a long coat or jacket.
  • Holsters – Modern holsters can be inside the waste band or outside the waste band. They can be in a shoulder holster rig. Holsters have also been made for the ankle.
    Holsters have options for comfort in concealment.
    Some have features to aid in retention, such as a loop over the hammer on a cowboy rig, or a snap or a Velcro strip over the back of the handle or hammer, to one or more mechanisms to help the bearer maintain control of the firearm until ready for use.
  • Cross draw holsters allow for drawing from a holster on the opposite side or the body. For example, a right handed person would wear a cross draw holster on their left side. This is the normal configuration for a shoulder holster.
    • Cowboy movies where gunslingers have their guns facing the wrong way and draw with the hand on that side must use an awkward twisting motion that causes the barrel to cross the body and increases the risk of self injury. It is also likely for the barrel to snag in clothing, etc. Or you have to raise the pistol completely our of the holster and turn it around so that you can avoid pointing it at yourself before aiming at your target.
  • In the hand.

Pistol Calibers

There is a long list of calibers and variations. This is just a quick list going from memory. Wikipedia is a generally good source for quick information, if you want other details, such as different firearms that use such things. If you get into this level of detail, you probably aren’t sticking to White Box/White Star as written.

NOTE: Modern firearms indicate on the side what ammunition they use. Using the wrong ammunition can lead to damage from just jamming, to catastrophic failure causing injury or death.

I would suggest that for pistol calibers the damage be 1d6 and rifle calibers, i.e. not pistol calibers used in carbines, be 2d6.

.22 – short, long, magnum

.32 – ACP (Army Colt Pistol) and others?

.38 – S&W (Smith & Wesson) and other (many modern .38 revolvers can also handle .44 mag.)

.380 – ACP

.40 – S&W

.44 – long colt, S&W, magnum

.45 – long colt (think cowboys) & ACP (1911 Semi-auto)

.50 – Desert Eagle, for example. Revolvers in this caliber only have a five shot capacity.

9 mm- Luger/Parabellum (9×19), and  Makarov (9×17), others? The bullet is the same size as the .380, but the case is a different size and has a different size load.

10 mm – Meant to be the metric “big” pistol caliber, approximately .40 caliber.

Rifle Calibers

.22 – short, long, magnum (same as used for pistols)

.44 and .45 long colt were used in both lever action rifles like Winchesters and pistols. This interchangeable ammunition made the combination of the Winchester and a Colt .45 so common.

.45 ACP – The same ammunition as used in the 1911, and some models of other pistols have been used in some carbines, such as one by HiPoint, and submachine guns such as the Thompson, AKA Tommy gun. Also the M3 grease gun uses this caliber.

9mm Luger – This caliber is used by some carbines, and the Sten submachine gun.

.50 Cal – The ammunition for the Barret rifle and the M2 machine gun is a few inches long and can pierce concrete blocks.

.30 caliber ammunition of various cartridge sizes was the common rifle caliber of the world’s armies from the late 1800’s until after WW II.It is a common hunting caliber. Several

Muzzle loaders had calibers all over the map, from .30 caliber, to .40, .50,.54, .60, and even .75. Most muzzle loaders were smooth bore and their accuracy was limited to about 100 yards. Rifled muskets, until about the time of the American Civil War, tended to take longer to load, but had much greater accuracy. The use of the Minie Ball with rifled muzzle loaders further increased range and accuracy.

Some rifle calibers have be used for pistols. These pistols tend to be more like a derringer in construction, with at most one or two shots.

Side note: During WWII, the Germans had all kinds of captured ammunition and weapons from all the countries they invaded. Because many countries used different calibers, or variations on calibers, than the Germans, there were massive stockpiles of ammunition that they could not use in other than captured weapons.

The experience of the allies in WWII for supplying troops led to thinking about standardization. The formation of NATO led to standardizing on common rifle and pistol calibers, and even arming with the same model of rifles. Similar standardization happened with the Warsaw pact nations, 9 mm Luger/Parabellum or 9 mm Makarov for pistols; and with the flourishing of the AK-47, the 7.62×39 mm round.

The AK-47 is well known for how easy it is to make and how resistant to dirt it is. The M-16 is more complex to make, and is sensitive to dirt/debris. The AK-47 can go a long time without cleaning, the M-16 requires proper and regular maintenance.

Review – April Mythoard

I had a package in the mail on Friday, May 8th. I had forgotten that I ordered the April Mythoard. However, I had a feeling that there was something that should be coming in.

April 2015 Mythoard
April 2015 Mythoard

I had not planned to get it, but when I saw that it contained the latest edition of Oubliette #9, I was curious. I had read other positive comments about it, and knew that I would get some other cool goodies along with it, so I took the plunge.

Squarehex Products
Squarehex Products

Along with Oubliette #9 are several other goodies from Squarehex. There is a book mark with large squares on one side and the other side contains large squares with dungeon map symbols. There are two business card sized items. One is blank on one side, and the other side had hexes with outdoor map symbols. The other small card has dungeon map symbols that are black and the other side has the same symbols in gray with labels to explain them. I am not sure if the purpose of these symbols is to give you an example of what such symbols “should” or might look like, or if you are supposed to put them under your hex paper to help you draw a very neat map.

There is a folded piece of graph paper the same size as the Oubliette issue with the grid on the outside. The inside of the graph paper has the OGL license. I wonder if it it the innermost page of the zine, and did not get stapled. Finally, there is a small pad of 7 mm hex paper. The pad it not as wide as a business card, and it is about as tall as two business cards top to bottom. It is so small that it is for a very small area and it well suited to a micro map.

I expected the Oubliette zine to be a full page folded over, instead it is about a half page folded over. The introduction indicates that this is not the usual size. It is a slick card stock cover with click heavy weight interior pages. It is 20 pages counting the back cover, which is a table for generating hit points of creatures from 1/2 HD to 2 HD using a roll of one or more d20’s. Six pages are a mini adventure, two pages with four new spells. two pages on a variation on familiars, four new magic boots, a new monster, and second mini adventure of three pages. While not every idea will be used by everyone, there is a lot in these few pages.

Awful Good Games has a booklet that is zine sized, i.e. half a page folded over. It is a module of 31 pages. It has a slick card stock cover and slick heavy paper for the pages. The text is black over light grey. It is legible as long as the slick paper does not have any glare. Older eyes with bifocals can have trouble with this. If you avoid glare on the page, unless your eyes are worse than mine, you will be able to read it.

Lichfield - by Awful Good Games
Lichfield – by Awful Good Games

Next is a mini setting, a half page top to bottom ready for a standard three ring binder on slick card stock. It is black ink on a lightly colored background. It looks great, and as long as there is no glare, it too is easy to read. It continues adding to the Mythoard setting. I like that they keep adding things to the existing setting. If you want to use this setting in whole or in part, it is easy to do with this. I was glad to see that past month’s offerings are available. I would like to have the complete series of materials, if I can.

Tower of the Everflame
Tower of the Everflame

Next is a Pathfinder compatible supplement from AAW Games. It is For Rent, Lease or Conquest. It is a module about obtaining a home base for the party. It is a 42 page adventure. It is in a slick cover and the pages give one the visual impression of newsprint, but are slick and heavier than newsprint. The print is black ink on a multi-colored background. Most of each page has a light background, and thankfully the slick pages are not shiny. However, lighting and the angle the page is held can make words over darker ink harder to read for older eyes with bifocals. In addition, the layout has the text on some pages running into the border decoration. I think the intent is to look cool, but since it is hard for me to make out the text in some areas, and not every page is crowded, I think it is a layout issue. When the young eyes of the layout people read this stuff in 20 or 30 years, they will curse their younger selves. It is worst in sections of the page where the background color transitions from lighter to darker. Some letters disappear. In the corners of some pages is a leaf motif that goes light, dark, light and the odd color transition takes more concentration to read. I find that prolonged reading of this starts the feelings of a headache. It reminds me of the original PDF of D&D 5 where it had a colored background and was very hard to read. It seems like the intent is to go after the younger crowd at the expense of the older crowd.

For Rent, Lease or Conquest
For Rent, Lease or Conquest

The premise of the module is buying/occupying a building for home base and the villain is the realtor. I do not find that entertaining. As a homeowner who got screwed in the housing collapse, it is too much like papers and paychecks. That plus the difficulty in reading it, I don’t know if there are any useful nuggets in here.

Finally, there are two Dragon’s Quest adventures from Judge’s Guild: Starsilver Trek, and Heroes and Villains. They are in clear sealed plastic. If this is the original plastic and still sealed, do I want to open them? While these were from Bad Mike’s Books and Games, are they worth more sealed? There are definitely from back in the day and the art is of the sort that did not draw me in back then. Some of the JG stuff is really good and I wish I had delved into it back then.

Starsilver Trek
Starsilver Trek
Heroes and Villains
Heroes and Villains

So there is a lot of stuff in here. Some of it is for younger/better eyes than mine. As with “grab bags” one cannot expect everything to hit the sweet spot.

I found some things to interest me, and some ideas for later.