Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Traveller, Beta the Devil You Know, DTRPG Charity and Sales, White Star, TnT Deluxe and Inked Adventures goes sci-fi self-promotion slot

Savage September is still happening at DTRPG and RPGNow which means money off adventures, rules and supplements for the Savage World system.  Correction: "System" September - it seems to be for all sorts of different rules, inc. d20 titles. Or did Savage September become System September?  I'm not so sure now...  Also there's a charity drive for Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (US).  > $25usd for $200usd value in titles RPG Bundle Here < (Edit: I took too long to type this and the link is no longer valid, d'oh)

Right, Traveller something old-school something something classic something science-fiction RPG, it's new, it's classic, it's rebooted, it's revised etc ...

Mongoose Publishing has
returned Traveller to us (again)
but it's an unfinished beta
playtest rules,
which you have to pay for.
If you're into sci-fi RPG pen and paper games and cut-price PDFs, you will not have failed to have noticed a current bestseller is the Traveller Core Rules Beta.  I enjoy reading Traveller rules for the original setting background (i.e. the Imperium cannon borne out of GDW's game of the late 70s).  For me, Marc Millers T4 Traveller, and to some extent Mongoose's earlier adaptation edition of "classic" Traveller  contextualise that setting in clear and concise terms, more so than the LBBs did.  To be fair my collection of for the original system is eclectic: a Starter Set, a bunch of LBB supplements, bits from the past, extras from Ebay, Judge's Guild guides, purchased PDFs, website wikis and a hankering to buy the complete collection from FFE.  What I'm saying is that I enjoy acquiring Traveller rules and modules, old and new, just for the love of the game and perhaps to "mine" material from all sources for the ultimate campaign using which system takes my fancy, however ...
With some many existing systems why would I want to pay for an incomplete "Beta"?  After typing the above, I realise, with irony, that maybe I'm the ideal market for Mongoose.

"Traveller Has Returned!"

No, wait, you did this before and never let it go away.

"The Beta Playtest Core Rulebook, laid out and ready to go! After many, many moons of writing and internal playtesting, this book is now ready to be seen (and commented upon!) by dedicated Traveller players. All that is missing from this PDF is a few pieces of artwork!"

I know community playtesting is a real thing, (and Oh God the secretive DnD5 playtest seemed to go on forever), but I'm still having trouble not seeing pre-release launches and community chartered kickstarters as lazy and cynical tickbox marketing, i.e. it's just how they do things now.  There's also some flaws in these approach.

Imagine, you pay for this system, a mere $20usd/£13gbp*.  Let's say you like the rules, you run a campaign, you know that you will get a reduction on the final publication (committing you to the first official print of this new edition).  But wait, there's feedback from the community as a whole, they don't like the rules you like and they are dropped some favourite content of yours from the final piece, leaving your campaign incompatible with new supplements.  But, surely, I hear you say, the final publication will not be that different, maybe they will be just a tinkering with the odd rule here and there?   Well, if that's the case, what's so very wrong with an old fashioned "errata sheet"?  Also, you must ask if Mongoose are pledging that they will support this line for as long as they have the license and won't be releasing a newer edition?

In Mongoose's defence, at least they are still selling their previous publications (I appreciate this brave new world where publishers embrace the past with pride, looking at you, Wizards').  So, is this a relaunch? Why and how is this greatly different from other systems which you can own whole volumes of at modest price?

I'm guessing that for the almost-oldies like me that this will be a curiosity purchase and maybe for new players it's a chance to start from scratch. Maybe it's a competitive response to the prolonged GDW Traveller 5 hardback kickstarter.  By the way, us non-backers of us can buy the PDF for that gem now as well ( T5 Traveller5 Core Rules Book )

Maybe I expect betas to be free and faulty, not alphas claiming to be betas.  A programmer friend had to explain the terminology to me. I guess it's snappier than "work in progress, pre-publication preview".

*I'm so broke at the moment that I'd really have to justify this to myself so I haven't bought it, even out of curiosity, yet.

White Star is finally available in print. :)

If you didn't know, White Star -White Box Science Fiction Roleplaying is an old-style of D&D intersecting with Star Wars and other space operas. Simple, fast, familiar, with blasters.

I printed the rules as an A5 booklet but it didn't turn out too well, so I’m assuming the DTRPG POD versions will be superior.
Naturally, I'm broke this week/ month, but it looks so shiny.
I still have to pay off that freighter, not to mention those bounty hunters we ran into in Milton Keynes.

A D&D Dragon Quest Game boxed set (TSR) thudded heavily onto my door mat last week.  This is a flashback to the missing years.  I didn't play D&D much in the early 1990s, I was playing mostly in the middle of the 80s. In the 90's AD&D went to 2nd edition and for the newbie players TSR brought out several introductory box sets.  Also Game Workshop (my Mecca, my dealer) by then had stopped importing RPGs.   Naturally, I've collected more games since, but one box missing from my collection was D&D Dragon Quest (not to be confused with DragonBall-Z or SPI's DragonQuest RPG). Any how, long story short, a chat in a facebook group led to me buying this shrink-wrapped gem for a song.  If you are fond of the B/X style game or want to introduce people to AD&D or AD&D2e this game is very accessible. Also it's a "complete" game system, much like boxed games such as Hero Quest, with some simplified and unlimited experience rules.  If you choose to keep playing with just this set using your own campaigns, you can.  I feel this is important to mention, since so many of the gateway boxes after BECMI (from TSR and Wizards') were deliberated hobbled to encourage purchase of the main products.  I think I had seen this set in the past and had ignored it, possibly confusing it with Dragon Strike which has that VHS tape and employs photos for PCs instead of art.  I will always will art over oily barbarian photos any day.  This is another reason to perhaps seek out D&D Dragon Quest, because it is an archive of TSR colour art, pulled together from cover and filler art from the different editions and iconic Dragonlance images.
Entry on BoardGameGeek  Review on Lost and the Damned nabble forum

The following item has but been long awaited but is now bookmarked on my shopping list:

Tunnels & Trolls Deluxe Edition is finally available as a PDF (outside of the Kickstarter) on DriveThruRPG. Currently it is $20 USD.  Like many I'm a fan of the 5th edition (plus WIZ/POW house rules), and slowly 7.5 has grown on me.  The nice thing about T&T at it's heart the same authors have kept to similar rules across the editions, but what they have done is expanded aspects and provided a wealth of background and campaign information. Curiously, it was the lack of "world" which made 5 appeal to me, which meant I could fully own the campaigns with my own creations, right down to the monsters, because of the easy to use monster rating system.  Being T&T, the bestiaries only ever resemble the Monster Manual in part and even the seasoned D&D player might not know what to expect from a T&T manticore with regards to how it's special attacks are implemented.  There's usually enough eccentricity in T&T to make a player think twice about where they actually are and what they are actually doing.  Being slightly reserved and rather serious about my tabletop fantasies I sometimes agree that some of the humour throughout the rules isn't necessary for the fun, and it's a mistake to dismiss T&T as silly and puerile, or just for solo games, in the same way that it is wrong to dismiss old D&D as TPK dungeon crawling.  In the right hands, compared with other systems, T&T has always been very powerful and fast moving imagination vehicle.  I am in no doubt that this will still be the case in T&T Deluxe.

T&T Deluxe, Flying Buffalo.
This is it! The new and improved, Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls. T&T is the second ever fantasy role playing game, and the easiest to use. This book contains everything you need to play the game solo (with the many solo adventures) or with a group of friends. Includes a lot of extra material and descriptions of the worlds played in by the designer and his friends back in the late 1970’s. 
The first 166 pages are the core rules, followed by the Elaborations section which has optional rules and systems you can pick and choose from to add to your T&T games. There is also a 16 page full color section which includes color maps of Trollworld, Khazan, Khosht and Knor along with other paintings and maps. There is a 50 page Trollworld section that includes descriptions of locations on every major continent and three cities, plus a detailed Trollworld timeline. The book also includes a solo adventure that gives you the chance to bring dead characters back to life and a GM adventure on the continent of Zorr, plus a detailed weapons glossary and much much more - over 380 pages of material. 
Note that this version of the rules does not yet have the internal links, BUT once we have that done, you will be able to download an updated copy of the PDF for no extra charge.

Inked Adventures - recent publications...

Rugged Explorer ATV
Having tried to justify this blog by typing about a selection of games which I can barely afford by different publishers, what now follows is shameless self-promotion in order for me to raise funds for this terrible affliction that many of us suffer from, the need to game and failing that, the need to procure and collect games.

As some of you may well know I draw maps and plans for Inked Adventures.  Okay, I sort of am Inked Adventures, but I like the idea of Inked Adventures as a sort of faceless megacorporation hell-bent of world domination, ... one hand drawn product at a time!

Hinged Dungeon Doors
My business plans usually reflect this.

My accountant said that I can't have the second helicopter, not until I sell at least three more pre-print copies Compact & Worn Starship Deck Plan 6x6 Tiles.

He says that I shouldn't be giving away the ATV for free and that no-one wants easy-to-assemble Hinged Dungeon Doors on their gaming table

Lord knows, he says, how many Map&Dice Playing Cards I need to fence, to pay for the marble lining in my office jacuzzi.  I swear that at this level of poverty the caviar will spoil!

From the Inked Adventures site, click for more photos and descriptions
Compact & Worn Starship Deck Plan 6×6 Tiles

Inked Adventures main site:
Store of DriveThruRPG:

Thanks for reading. :)
- Billiam B. Terran Date 20150923.2140

Tuesday, 18 August 2015


It's HPLovecraft's Birthday Week again over at the DriveThru and RPGNow sites.  Some many genres and tropes facing the grim realities of Deep, Dark, Ancient and Tentacled Ones.

Reductions of scenarios and accessories for many things Cthulhu / Cthuloid.  
(affiliate link)

Sanity is for the naive! 

Sunday, 2 August 2015

ENnies results 2015 (?!)

The ENnies as announced at GenCon Indy 2015 ...

One day I'm sure I'll eventually play Lamentations of the Flame Princess.  I never quite understand how Chaosium keep winning awards for rehashes when there are so many other publishers and quality games out there, I understand people voting for Paizo and WotC, but in the shops and in the online stores Chaosium are almost invisible.  Maybe my avoidance of kickstarters and love of small publishers means that I'm so far off the map and out of whatever loop that I literally have no idea what's in favour.  Aren't these the same games as last year? (I'm being rhetorical) I love the Achtung Cthullhu concept as much as the next man, new titles, I guess.  Oh well, as long as we can still buy shiny new dice I guess I'm happy.  Go Q-workshop!  (Not being sarcastic here, I genuinely love buying beautiful dice and have a nice set of steampunk Q-workshop polys)

Best electronic book? The WotC's D&D Basic? Definitely deserved being nominated as the best or important free book, maybe not winning, but as electronic texts go for looks and broswability it's far from the best over all.  In fact unless it's seriously improved and acquired illustrations, it's very far from the best.  Again, the PDF /electronic texts market has been totally sold short. 

Best accessory, a DM's screen? (Smacks head) So much for innovation.  

Oh well. 

Best Adventure
Silver: A Red & Pleasant Land (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Gold: Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium)

Best Aid/Accessory
Silver: Black Green Call of Cthulhu 7th Edition RPG Dice Set (Q-Workshop)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Screen (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Cover Art
Silver: Achtung! Cthulhu: Terrors of the Secret War (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
Gold: Rise of Tiamat (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Interior Art
Silver: The Strange (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Blog
Silver: Gnome Stew
Gold: ConTessa Tabletop Gaming by Women for Everyone

Best Cartography
Silver: The Guide to Glorantha (Moon Design Publications)
Gold: Ninth World Guidebook (Monte Cook Games, LLC)

Best Electronic Book
Silver: Ken Writes About Stuff Volume 2 (Pelgrane Press)
Gold: Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Family Game
Silver: Atomic Robo The Roleplaying Game (Evil Hat Productions)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Free Product
Silver: 13th Age The Archmages Orrery (Pelgrane Press)
Gold: Basic Rules for Dungeons & Dragons (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Game
Silver: The Strange (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Miniatures Product
Silver: Pathfinder Pawns Inner Sea Pawn Box (Paizo Inc.)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Icons of the Realms Elemental Evil Boosters (WizKids)

Best Monster/Adversary
Silver: Achtung! Cthulhu: Terrors of the Secret War (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Podcast
Silver: Miskatonic University Podcast
Gold: Ken and Robin Talk About Stuff

Best Production Values
Silver: Horror on the Orient Express (Chaosium)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set (Wizards of the Coast)

Best RPG Related Product
Silver: Temple of Elemental Evil (WizKids)
Gold: Designers & Dragons: A History of the Roleplaying Game Industry (Evil Hat Productions)

Best Rules
Silver: MUTANT Year Zero The Roleplaying Game (Modiphius Entertainment Ltd)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Setting

Silver: The Strange (Monte Cook Games, LLC)
Gold: A Red & Pleasant Land (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)

Best Software
Silver: HeroLab (Lone Wolf Development)
Gold: Roll20 (Roll 20)

Best Supplement
Silver: Pathfinder RPG: Pathfinder Unchained (Paizo Inc.)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide (Wizards of the Coast)

Best Website
Silver: Tabletop Audio
Gold: The Escapist 

Best Writing
Silver: D&D Player’s Handbook by Jeremy Crawford, James Wyatt, Robert J. Schwalb, Bruce R. Cordell (Wizards of the Coast)
Gold: A Red & Pleasant Land by Zak S (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)

Fan’s Choice for Best Publisher
Silver: Paizo Inc
Gold: Wizards of the Coast.

Product Of The Year
Silver: A Red & Pleasant Land (Lamentations of the Flame Princess)
Gold: Dungeons & Dragons Players Handbook (Wizards of the Coast)

Friday, 31 July 2015

Transmissions coming in from a convention somewhere

I know most us aren't actually at GenCon2015, but you are following all the feeds, right?  Being a bit of an old-schooler actual news about games is washing over me somewhat, but I'm really enjoying how many people are willing to deliver the experience of actually being there by photographing display stands, stalls and cosplayers.  Just a quick browse of any network with Gencon tags is like snorkelling in a geeky Wonderland.  

Loving it, guys!  Here's to all the one-the-spot reporters and sharers. :)

GenCon Indianapolis 2015 image feeds (using just the "GenCon" tag)
Warning: may contain cosplay.

I would embed these but I fear my blog would break.