Sunday, 30 December 2012

Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson at Dragonmeet

Ian Livingstone and Steve Jackson talk at Dragonmeet (London 2012) about the very humble origins of Games Workshop as importers of Dungeons and Dragons, the start of Fighting Fantasy (and Sorcery!) right through to the recent Blood of the Zombies, books and apps.

I was excited to hear the mention of the Puffin School Book Club from which I got my copy of Warlock of Firetop Mountain. Usually I’m fairly down on Games Workshop’s rejection of imported RPGs and yet they appear to have been under a lot of pressure by TSR to innovate and create products to which they owned the intellectual property because TSR controlled their lifeline to the supply of D&D products. This leads to the invention of Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay (1st ed). Unfortunately GW eventually walk away from RPGs altogether.

There’s also some talk on FF documentary related Kickstarters towards the end - which I’m more than a little dubious about. Just write it and publish to Lulu … enough, already..

(This edit doesn’t cut to Russ Nicholson's art when talking about Warlock of Firetop Mountain, and the volume is very low, but I’ll forgive GMS, because there’s some real gold in this talk ;) )

Source: GMS Magazine
-Thanks to Scott Craig on Facebook for drawing my attention to this!-

Sunday, 23 December 2012

DriveThruRPG Goblin Santa Savings

Click on promotional graphic to hurtle your wallet towards a Christmas RPG bonanza of festively reduced prices ... and so on, you get the idea... :)

Friday, 21 December 2012

Cardboard Snowballs for all!

Snowball Wars
on DTRPG for $5
You have time to read about and even play games at Christmas?  I doff my cap to you, sirs.  :)

If you're not planning a Christmas themed dungeon or snowy horror game, may I draw your attention a current talk-to-of-the-town, children friendly, and just in time for evil snowmen in Doctor Who, standalone game* ...

Snowball Wars from Okum Arts Games.

It's a fast and furious battle in a winter wonderland.
Snowball Wars is a minigame complete with full rules, figures, terrain, bases, game tiles and game cards.
I haven't played this, but I have always found David Okum 's art to be superb. Just cutting out and assembling the figures may be the perfect way to keep children entertained when the weather is bad outside and the batteries have all failed on the new Christmas presents. 
*I've said "standalone" but there is a booster pack "Elf Help" also available for a dollar.

In case we don't chat before - and we probably will, but then again we might all be doing a big blog read catch-up closer to the new year, have a Merry Christmas and I hope that you've helped Santa bring everything that you and your loved ones desire -i.e. presents, toys, games ... not icky love and togetherness, etc. bah humbug!

Remember that shopping (and adventuring) is for life, not just for Christmas. ;)

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Baldur's Gate - it's a type of fetish

So, I've been playing Baldur's Gate ... on the iPad.  I have got very far, but that's BG for you.  I haven't really tried the arena fight Black Pits side game, and I've barely looked at any "enhancements".  In Baldur's Gate -Enhanced Edition- proper, you crawl inch by inch, you die, or a party member dies, you sell weapons for resurrection fees, you learn something, someone tells you to go somewhere, you die, you have a think, you go back to an earlier save, you crawl, you fight, and you may even be victorious!  You pray that in the next inn there isn't another assassin who attacks you right at the point you need to sleep, heal and regain spells, but no, someone wants you and your Chaucerian travelling crew obliterated, for a paltry 200 gold coins.

I discovered Baldur's Gate a few years later than when it came out - a friend insisted I played it.  It was already dating but it still ticked all the boxes with regards to simulating the mechanics of D&D, right down to the fact that at first level wild dogs can kill you.  When I played the game on the PC around 2000 I marvelled at how it combined managing a party, a traversable campaign world, character speech etc. with good old fashioned AD&D rules.  Except I had played AD&D 1st edition and despite what people say, there are differences with 2e plus whatever small changes Bioware had made.  Talking to NPCs can be a real drag -way too much text, laboured acting, with some humour - reminding you that across the table this would be an actual conservation - but therein lies the 30 year rub with computer RPGs, so all that left is the graphics and the system.

The graphics, in terms of the map backgrounds, have always been a pleasure to look at.  The extra zoom on the iPad is a nicely up-to-date feature.  With BG I always got the sense that I was exploring a whole world - you can literally wander anywhere -within plot limits- of course, you may also die, but hey, you choose to stray...  The character graphics will be a disappointment to new players, but there is customisation there with armour and weapons which amongst the whole party which you didn't really see in older games like Diablo and is one of the reasons that Dungeon Siege blew me away (Neverwinter series aside).  What you're left with is the story and game system.

The story is pretty slow -location triggered mainly- and since I didn't finish BG first time around and got diverted by the expansions I can't say whether or not the story arc is a selling feature - but what I can say is that many of the sub-quests and purse holding patrons connect with the background of the main plot, always reminding you  of bigger politics.  It isn't just a series of meaningless dungeon and forest locations.  However, random encounters when trudging across different areas (oh yes, you walk, no-one rides horses in old Faerun) can feel a bit "samey" - but they fit into the action more than in, say, Fighting Fantasy (I'm playing FFIII on the iPad atm and random encounters really are just a grind for XP).

The main point I wanted to make here was about the game mechanic/system.  I think that many of us who choose to play solo D&D  PC games because we are armed with, quite literally, tomes of rule knowledge, and we experience pleasure when we strategise regarding strengths and weakens based on our knowledge of weapons, spells, class abilities, and monster stats.   It's a fetish!  The love of rules, exercised as a fetish! ;)  Your character casts a spell in an allotted round and the hobgoblin fails the save - you even see the results of the die-rolls.

Manuals and reference cards.
If you already own these from
the original game, they might help.
There is even a part of me that really enjoys the fact that first level characters can barely load a crossbow without tripping over and dying in a ditch of rats.  I'm going to go as far as saying that if you don't think you like D&D (in the very specific sense, my WoW friends, I'm looking at you) then Baldur's Gate is not for you.  The controls, actions and equipment and spell choices are about as intuitive as string theory.  However, as with the PC version, the D&D player in you forgives the fact that the game drags itself along like overweight sea-lion in a desert, D&D players are a patient and cautious lot.  Unfortunately the D&D player in me is tuned to AD&D and D&D B/X, not 2nd edition AD&D - where class rules do differ.

About this time last year I finally bought (and had bought for me) copies of the core rulebooks for AD&D2e.  So this time around playing BG, I am armed with the knowledge!  Therefore I'm flicking through the Player's Handbook, only to find that I can't find anything yet about Monks (or is that new character one of the "enhancements"?).  Then I remember, AD&D2e was a huge tree of supplements and add-ons, naturally better organized that AD&D (with it's bolted-on Unearthed Arcana etc.).  Oops.  Oh well, at least I have the basics.  You really don't need AD&D2 to play BG, but understanding any of the early flavours of D&D can go a long way I reckon.

Edit: Oh, you fool, Billiam, Rassad the Monk is one of the new characters in the Enhanced version. At this rate you'll find that there are no Monks in AD&D 2e.

Map from
Tales of the Sword Coast
-a BG Expansion-
because you really
needed more CD-Roms
Never mention "Durlag's Tower"
to me, I get very upset.
In fact, the original BG game manual and the pamphlets in Tales of the Sword Coast give you a boiled down version of D&D, with strange extras, like by having a Lawful-Good character with high charisma, the prices in all shops become reduced, plus or minus some "party renown" points (if I remember right).

The Help  button on the iPad version brings up some context specific symbol definitions, but it still makes you work.  So tonight I'm going to be reading the BG manual and prepping myself with the old reference cards.  Maybe it would help if I visited the website as well?  Again, perhaps it's just like real D&D, when you find yourself reading-up rules between sessions. ;)

Edit: There are tutorials for each class, but I'm an impatient player... Maybe I should try playing through the tutorials...

On the iPad the stylised font text is tiny.  Bear this in mind when you're thinking about trying to run it on a lower resolution iPad.   The picture symbols for the spells and actions can be hard to make out - even if you know what they mean in advance.  Maybe this is like the old days, when learning to type INGLISH (TM) in The Hobbit computer game, finding out what all of the icons do is part of the charm?  Selecting items and walking through doors has it's own learning curve as well. There's a knack and your brain will eventually rewire itself, hopefully.

I believe that this is a nostalgia game in the sense that a majority of the customers will have played the game before, or wanted to - and so far (apart from changes in cut-scenes) it's incredibly loyal to the original game, right down to the overly clunky interface, except this time you don't have any keyboard short-cuts.  No keyboard short-cuts?  It's a tablet.  Oh crap.  The quest log seems easier to follow than on the PC - but maybe that's because I'm still in the infant stage of the campaign and my parchment rolodex isn't very full.  And now, of course, you don't have to insert different discs when you go to a new map area.  Bonus.

If you're new to Baldur's Gate, the only advice I have to give is take a careful look at the "Auto-Pause" settings - and read the text at the bottom of the screen- otherwise you quite literally won't know what hit you in combat.   Maybe, avoid robbing every shopkeeper you meet, but that's an alignment choice, I guess.

Baldur's Gate is also available on other tablets - site link

You must gather your party before venturing forth ...

Friday, 14 December 2012

Reflections upon product description

Apologies, I'm going to mention my new geomorph tiles again.  Although this time it's more of a lesson in assumptions of terminology.  I was under the impression that the word "geomorph", mainly in the inherited context of TSR's Dungeon Geomorphs, were recognisably distinct from Dungeon Tiles, Floor plans, Battlemats and so on. I am aware that many of these terms are possibly trademarked, but there are also common in the linguistic shorthand that is part of the gaming table.  But then I too have described products as "geomorphic" when I've meant that they tesselate and fit together in a modular way, so confusion abounds, but still the it is refer to the original concept of Dungeon Geomorphs, which weren't always square... or dear...

The original
Dungeon Geomorphs
- not to scale for minis?!
In the OSR community, on blogs and in select forums there is little doubt as to what geomorphs are. Although for many players, I suspect, they seem to be an exercise in tessellatory map doodling and planning, but not necessarily something used in actual play. There are very unlike the 1 inch scale battlemats and 28mm figure friendly tiles - which are the staple of the in-game tabletop.  Geomorphs are fun to draw and play about with - but do you really use them in your games?  Do you know people, perhaps old school players, who use them on the table when other gaming aids are to hand?

In relation to this, my geomorph tiles have had reviews praising the art, but there's also a consistent bemusement at the fact that they are of such small scale.  I'm getting similar feedback on forums, emails and PMs.  This worries me - don't people know what geomorphs are?  It's completely natural, that by looking at my other products to wonder why these are not "1in=5ft" compatible.  Curiously, I found drawing the tiles very liberating precisely because I wasn't concerned with breaking up large areas over several pages.  Have I created an unusable product?  Am I miss-selling my maps?  They are selling well, right at the moment, by the way.  As a result of the confusion (and requests) I've had to add a disclaimer and clarification: Inked Adventures entry: on blogger, main site.

My message to small or indie  RPG publishers is to never assume that your customers are identifying your product correctly based on your well thought out description - even if it's in the right category, cheap as chips, with more pictures than you can shake a stick at.  The customer base may be a lot broader and more diverse in interests than your expert-community-bubble.  I mean, you're probably already publishing within several layers of niche.  Yes, yes, get the description right, this seems obvious, but I'm having a bit of a reality check here.  I'd rather sell almost nothing, then to sell well and disappoint.

Similarly,  I occasionally get queries about how best to print, mount and assemble my (normal scale) Square Tiles and Modular Sections.  I thought my modular sections and square tiles were self explanatory as products - because I was refering to my own almost-ancient gaming experiences, rather than seeing what players are currently doing with tiles.

When I was first playing - floor plans for figures were either on fold-out paper or re-usable designs printed on thin card and sold in a box.  Today, most computer printers can cope with thin white card (-stock) - I'm still fairly impressed about colour printers being in the home. As a teen used to dream of unlimited access to a photocopier or a colour printer.  As a result, I'm replicating 70s/80s low cost printing, when I suggest that products should be printed straight to card and trimmed.  I'm impressed by the result.  Maybe I still find colour DTP as exotic. ;)  Also, I think of print-outs from PDFs as fairly disposable - with my designs you can overlap sections, glue them, print more.  Perhaps I underrate my Inked Adventures tiles - print them, burn them - I don't care.  After shelling out for a downloadable PDF some gamers have told me that they like to have designs printed onto foam card - or they try to recreate the heavy locking jigsaw connections from Space Hulk, Descent' or the WotC's D&D boardgames.  Thin card can overlap without creating a step - some of the 3D-wall effects imply that pieces need to overlap - this falls apart when printed to chunky foam card.   I like the fact that my tiles don't employ complicated (actual) 3D elements (apart a set based on nothing more elaborate than a cube).   I look in astonishment at the fiddly creations of pillars and paper locking systems from other publishers - some of whom seem to be using 3D modelling software and then provide step by step instructions with photos of cutting boards and advice on paper-crafting tools.  Man, these Dungeon Masters are dedicated - after all, it's probably cheaper than Hirst moulds...   Including thorough assembly instructions is both professional and responsible.  There are some utterly amazing and beautiful 3D dungeon features out there, but I prefer to just attack a glossy print out with a big pair of kitchen scissors, so sometimes instructions and eloborate support pages would seem perhaps a little patronising, or am I assuming too much again?  Is this complexity and support customers expect as standard?  Am I belittling the products (or the customers) by not celebrating a world of the multifarious materials and crafting techniques, when my art would work just as well on the back of a cereal packet with nothing more than some dotted lines.  But I digress...

I've lost points in reviews for not using "layers" in my PDFs -I totally get why layers are used- on the right product layers are powerful tools- but just explaining how to use layers practically requires a video tutorial.  Generally I prepare the work in non-Adobe open source software and set them viewable on a majority of browsers and platforms.  Layers and special macros just don't work in non-Adobe browsers.  Why should the absence of layers detract from the substance of the product?  Maybe I will start using layers at some point, but my avoidance of them so far could be deemed a "feature" of usability.

I think the lesson here is that as a publisher I am making assumptions about my products and their audience, whilst the customers are comparing my work to some very high quality products designed for fearless paper-modellers who take pride in their purchases.  I guess it's really important to get the description right, but I get really anxious when I have to say what a product is not.

Heh, I've just remembered that Dungeons & Dragons used to be described euphemistically as "a game without a board".  Maybe detractive descriptions are not so bad?

Insightful or just a bit moany?  I have no idea, I just wanted to share.
Always confused, and perhaps fretful that I could be held accountable for neglect under the trade descriptions act. ;)

Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Baldur's Gate on iPad -"My house is as clean as an elven arse"

Baldur's Gate Enhanced Edition on iPad $9.99
(x-posted from my berblings on Tumblr)

I’ve downloaded BG for iPad.

Yet again I have bought Baldur’s Gate.

Yet again I will almost certainly never finish it.

But it’s worth it ...for the acting. ;)

I have not yet left Candlekeep. Doing errands, basic shopping. I settled for a human ranger called “Fayril Baneslew” which seemed liked a good idea until I imagined Dungeon Bastard shouting it in my face as though I was a homosexual gnome with a proficiency in origami.  Baneslew will come through for me, I'm sure.

I cannot comment upon how "enhanced" it is as I haven't explored the extras.  The movies are different - a sort of well illustrated moving graphic novel in Flash (if you know what I mean - like Thief 2? my references date quickly), but so far it feels very similar to the game I hunched over night after night on the PC.  At least with the iPad I can sometimes lie down.  The text at times is tiny - Curse you retina-someting-something-HD definition! Hopefully it's soon to be released on Android as well.

At least this time around I have copies of 2nd edition AD&D (I mainly cut my teeth on AD&D 1e and bought AD&D2 more recently) so when I’m being decimated by denizens of Faerun I can look them up in the Monstrous Manual.

Racial Enemy: Gnoll.

Oh, to be able to add Gibberlings, Xvarts and Kobolds as well!

Oh God, this and Final Fantasy III on iPad…

I can barely afford to charge my iPad as it is.

Friday, 7 December 2012

December Lulu Code, Ebooks vs Print

It's nearly half way through December but there's still time to exploit a code and get yourself a little gift for Christmas. ;)

Books and eBooks from 20% off- Enter code
- Save up to $25. Expires December 31, 2012. Only valid in the US Store.

Like many other people I fascinated by wrestling match between traditional book markets, ebooks and print on demand.  If I can afford them and they are actually available on the shelf I often favour great big musty reference manuals - or even pamphlets of printed rules over reading on a screen - but the convenience of PDFs and other ebook formats is beginning to appeal. Certainly educational texts do very well on tablets - tutors can annotate the texts - they are searchable, reading lists can be downloaded in minutes.   However, when it comes to gifts, it's difficult to beat the physical artefact, and being a fan of indie published games, sometimes that would mean a print-on-demand purchase from a site like Lulu.

Recently I received an email drawing my attention to a graphic of charts and comparisons between real book use and the electronic form and how the future of libraries may be affected by the way we perceive and access texts.  Like Allison, I definitely believe that there will always be a role for physical dead tree books.

Allison Morris's graphic:

(Please Include Attribution to With This Graphic)E-books Infographic

Interesting stuff. :)

F.I.S.T. Fantasy Interactive Scenarios by Telephone

From one of the authors who brought you Fighting Fantasy, the unfortunately titled FIST telephone game (UK) from the 80s.

Does anyone remember playing this?  It appears you needed one of those hi-tech touch tone phones to play. :)

(Own scans from original flyer) 

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Don't touch my dice, kids! 

Teach your Kids to Game Week always feels slightly evangelistic to me, especially where roleplaying games are concerned. Or somehow that RPGs are a forbidden pleasure of our generation like boxes of Star Wars Lego which needs to be smuggled past our life-partners.  Indoctrinate the new generation, we say, they know nothing of games without a screen and controller, how dormant there imaginations must be!  Poor things, we're forever forcing them to read "classics" by J.R.R.Tolkien or C.S. Lewis, or failing that, just getting them to read a book is seen as educationally noble, and if that isn't working maybe they'll find comics "quaint".  Oh God, please save the children from television and computer games (bearing in mind that some children socialise with xbox live - whilst learning co-operative team skills - it's just a shame that they are shooting terrorists - no, wait, a healthy sense of evil and good is positive, especially after Lucas confused everyone with the prequels, I mean Stormtroopers are the bad guys, right?  Okay, shush Billiam, enough about the prequels, already!)  ...Let's just put my anti-pro-book face-to-face-is-supposedly-better-than-screen cynicism aside.  RPGs are fun.  It's not a conspiracy, they're just fun. :) 

Judging by my friends on Facebook, and blogger dads, there's a very real sense of parents wanting to share the archaic, yet timeless, love of board-gaming and roleplaying with their youngest, and actually that's just dandy.   I was thinking this afternoon whether or not guided imagination / conversation-based play for very young players really need dice, cards or character sheets?  I mean let's face it, toys, maps, figures, art, general visual stimuli, should almost be compulsory - but rule systems?  But then I realised that I'd missed what is a major opportunity here for the benefits of exploring a structured universe and logical learning. No, really, it's about fun...! If a ten year old wants to learn chess, I wouldn't throw out all of the rules and put the chess pieces on a un-checkered board.  Metaphorically speaking chess is war (WAAAR!!!) - but it's a structured simulation (boriiing) - the pleasure of the victory is from applying abstract knowledge -even remembering the rules is part of beating the puzzle for learners.  Hit Points, Wounds, Stamina, Endurance are an excellent way of representing (and abstracting) how far the player should imagine themselves as being from the threat of the near-miss/fall/fail/death situation and this inspires thrill (well, dur, Billiam).  

Let's say your kid's Superman character has a whopping 100 (one-huuuuun-dred) HP and normal punches only hurt him for 1 HP and bullets cause 4 damage (let's say puny humans have 2-6 hps) ... and he regenerates damage (or shock or whatever) every round.  There doesn't seem much point rolling the dice and writing down the numbers, but, no wait, kryptonite multiplies everything by 20.  A K-bullet from Lex Luthor's Astro-gun can cause 80 points of damage.  Blam! Wowzers, must get out of the way and now!  Suddenly there's a parameter or limit - the world gets gravity.  Those numbers, those dice, they do stuff. 

Maybe your system is just a success or fail on a six-sided die - so when your players find +1 magic swords, those swords become almost solid because maths and dice are the gravity and physics of the magic "if".  But hey, if you roleplay, you already know this, what might be just as important is the fact that learning new rules can be a skill in itself. 

I have a terrible attention span (Look, Goober Fish!).  Lord knows how I ever learnt any game rules.  In fact, thinking back, my own family rarely played boardgames, especially those which had little pamphlets where you looked up rules.  My entrance into gaming was through Fighting Fantasy gamebooks, the Hawk the Slayer movie etc.  So my approach as a DM to D&D Basic and Tunnels & Trolls was all about how I could make those rules fit the narrative.  If I'd been a player-character more I probably would have been a lot sharper on which spells and skills are more effective in different situations.  

Like it or not, I am coming to accept that I'll always be a sort of B-movie fantasist over being a metagaming strategist (with rules "edge").  How you like your games and why you play with a certain system will always have a profound effect on those first games, no matter what the age of the player. 

I'm often drawn to rule systems which are classed as "introductory" or being for younger players.  I like something which appears complete rules-wise and yet is simple enough to convey in one game sitting.  I think I favour story-telling, but in the "old school" sense.  The story just happens - the rules of world are set - magic zaps, swords hurt, but after that your character can talk to anyone in the town before visiting the dungeon and at least be nudged towards a main quest.  You discover your flaws, maybe there's a backstory, but it's flexible.  By which, I don't mean an open sandbox hex-crawl -ye god's- I like to have very solid buildings and dungeons to roll about in - and following this line of thinking, I'm guessing that it's better to set scene in a way that your young players have to instantly react: Trolls! Run away? Cast spell? Talk?  Scream? Hide? 

I think what I'm getting at is that if I was to play games with youngsters or even just novices, I'd definitely need game structure - at least a map to retain focus.  There has to be a very simple, consistent task resolution system - but nothing too patronising, and maybe it emulate the system that the kids know you like - i.e. if they see you play D&D, at least use a d20 in your scaled down version of the game, let them play with the funny shaped dice.  Lord knows how I'd play a game like Wrath of Ashardalon with 6 year olds, but then I could always adapt the Lego Heroica rules...  The trick with kids and roleplaying games is defining how they should be different from children just freeform playing.  I see roleplaying as more passive-"reactive" than free-form play - the player-characters push creatively against the challenges set by the Dungeon Master.  Perhaps presenting a game as a story or film may at least explain why the players have to stay in the same one role throughout.  Again, this all depends upon the type of game - if there's a board and figures - moving the Barbarian figure is a pretty good way of reminding the player to talk like a Barbarian if your game has situations where characters get to talk.  And, hey, if the player wants to trade with the orcs, let them talk and trade.

I'm guessing that learning from an actual rulebook for older kids must have positive effects in terms of it being fun "text-book" and being comfortable with reference books has to be a really useful life-skill.  Just using an index must seem really strange to the Google-Wikipedia generation.

Okay, enough of this unfocussed babble.  On an end note I was really bowled-over to have my attention brought to this and other pictures (from here) on Rab's Geekly Digest.  The author is working on a fair few projects, I am delighted to say that this home-rules game with his children is using my Inked Adventures dungeon sections.

Excellent. :)

So, whoever your playing this week, no matter what age, I hope it's filled with imagination and cool looking props (toys?).

Monday, 3 December 2012

Hand Drawn Geomorph Tiles by Inked Adventures are out!

Cross-posting, self-promoting and other obsequious acts, force me to announce that the following product is now available...

Inked Adventures Hand Drawn Geomorph Tiles

Available now at DriveThruRPG and RPGNow $5.50 (reduced from $7.50)

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Delving Deeper OD&D-clone bundle (Immersive Ink)

Now for something that really is a proper Original Dungeons & Dragons clone:
Delving Deeper (free download bundle)

Quickly, flipping through these I must say that I'm almost enjoying this as much as when I was reading S&W Whitebox.  If you have a broad minded approach to all things (early) D&D then this will be right up your cobbled street.  Also, it may be as close as some of us get the playing the earliest editions of D&D.  

Dungeon Raiders (Brent P. Newhall's Musaeum)

Dungeon Raiders!

Free, retro-ish, sort of OD&D-like, uses funny poly dice, lovely little pick-up-and-play RPG.

There's class based combat hit rolls, but to my surprise, there's no armour.  D&D without armour?!  Heresy!

Still it's a really nice pamphlet of rules -classes, spells, some monsters.  Perfect for when away from home without any rules and maybe good to play with kids, or with drunk old schoolers.

Dungeon Raiders free PDF download on DTRPG:

(Art by Jaydot Sloane - )

Inked Adventures geomorphs preview map

Re-blog'd/cross-posted from here (own art)

Mock-up map test for the forthcoming Inked Adventures Geomorph Tiles Pack PDF


For enthusiasts and folks in the UK with disposable income before Christmas (who are you guys?)  Dragonmeet 2012 is now in session!  

Happy December 1st - start opening those advent doors!  Watch this space for new Lulu codes and something about teaching kids to game ... 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Black Friday Cyber Thanksgiving and all that

Black Friday?  That's something to do with commemorating stock market crashes, right?  Is it to do with that fellow in dark make-up that hangs around with Sinterclaus?   Not be confused with Ash Wednesday - when we all have to take up smoking.

I live on an island where these absurdities occur later ... around Boxing Day or New Year's or on Bank Holidays (imagine people in suits with calculators and party hats).  Naturally, I forget that Thanksgiving for the Americans is almost like Christmas for us, except that they need Christmas as well. But no-one talks about Christmas because its really "Happy Holidays" for everyone - but maybe that's because no-one can spell Hannuka (sp?).  Of course, I'm happy to let them have their Tea Parties and fireworks in July (many fireworks keep going off here at the moment because of Diwalli the Festival of Light in the middle of Winter - although it's just as likely that these chinese explosives are cheap after Bonfire Night).  In the UK we have pumpkins and turkeys now.  Turkey replaced the goose at  Christmas - a long tradition of eating "big birds" continues (cue Sesame St and Romney gag). Geese are greasy to eat apparently, goose fat is used by swimmers crossing the English Channel, but we have the Channel Tunnel now.  I'm a vegetarian so I eat strange stuff like Quorn meat substitutes - when in fact I want to be a Viking Henry VIII tearing away at a massive drumstick or leg of beast.  I have yet to find a tofu equivalent. Mother always disapproved of my historical re-enactment table manners.

I'm not sure what I was going to say apart from giving thanks for mazes and Quorn. Okay, the Quorn is just me, but mazes, dungeons and monster filled tunnels need to be celebrated.  Remember that gaming and shopping is not just for Christmas/Thanksgiving/Diwalli/Eid/Holidays - it's for the whole year!  And remember that where religion has failed that Capitalism still provides!

Paizo Black Friday Sale

Drunken Goblin Sales on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG
OBS related:
Noble Knight Games are running some tiny reductions for Autumn, hmm, not exactly sales-crazy though.

It might take a while to find the RPGs in this lot, but hey, watches, kettles and random books are also fun: Sale deals on Amazon co uk today-Black Friday at Amazon US

Take a look at your favourite brand's home sites - because they're all suckers for sales at this time of year. ;)

Forget the relatives and loved ones, treat yourself. :D

How many days left 'til Easter...?

Sunday, 18 November 2012

DQ2, Dungeons A Solo Adventure, Judges Guild sale

My copy of Destiny Quest 2 The Heart of Fire arrived! Although I'm not sure that I'm ready to take on the shear vastness of solo adventuring in this super dense large paperback with colour area maps.
Destiny Quest 2

Thinner, but also brimming with solo gaming vastness is Shane (QUERP/Chronicles of Arax) Garvey's matrix-based (or card - you choose) questing game: Dungeons - A Solo Adventure.  This is a refreshing, minimal props, old school simplified one person play RPG packed with replayability and simple enough rules for customisation/house ruling.  This is the stuff of power cuts and rainy days in - so print a copy off and put it on the shelf in preparation for such an event.  It's also a game which might be ideal to give to a child to keep them absorbed for a few hours, without taking over a whole dining table.  Much like with Fightng Fantasy Gamebooks, or text based computer games or boardgames like MB HeroQuest there is a succinctity here (I.e. straightforward quests, recognisable enemies like orcs etc.) which has a charm that is unfettered by complex plots of Tolkienesque language. I'd add a load of extra illustrations but at $2 this is really great stuff and feeds the imagination.

Totally random ... just saw this on Facebook, Judges Guild (a forge of many 70s and early 80s accessories) have dropped some of their prices to $3 and below for Christmas.  At those prices I'd be tempted to dismiss EBay and it's smelly second hand originals for a while. ;)

Select products have been reduced: Judges Guild on RPGNow.

Sunday, 11 November 2012 20% off in November 2012 and DWD Star Frontiers

Quick, quick, we've burnt Guy Fawkes - time to get on with the rest of November!

Here's a magic code for you to whisper to the robot cashier over at


Books & eBooks from 20% off- Enter code NOVBOOKS12 - Save up to $25

The code blerb says "US site only" - which is confusing because as a British customer I've just had no trouble getting a reduction in my shopping cart. Valid until 30th Nov.

Whilst checking this code out, I saw this in the top ten sellers in the Games section:

"Star Frontiers - a classic science fiction role-playing game from the 80's that should have persisted today. Here it is for your gaming pleasure!""

I've been aware of some harmless free downloads online at for some time, but this seems like a very bold move.  I'm hoping that DWD have full rights to the game mechanics and art.  Naturally, I'm assuming here that the text is different (at least the downloads I've seen in the past were like that)  I recommend having a browse about the web before you buy this, also if you're really interested in procuring a piece of TSR RPG history, have a look on Ebay or other second-hand stores - the intact box set is lots of fun to delve through.

Some thoughts regarding the original Star Frontiers:

After discovering that the Space Opera RPG was way more like Traveller than I had first assumed. apart from 15mm figure games like Laserburn, Star Frontiers is still looking like one of the earliest games to embrace a more cinematic approach to sci-fi, i.e. Star Wars or BattleStar Galactica, where everyone is packing a sidearm with city maps, hover car chases, outdoor location maps, and kill-first-ask-questions-later creatures that wouldn't be far out of place in Gamma World.  It's interesting that the Star Frontiers writers only included starship combat in the following set, Knight Hawks.  Compare this to the Traveller starter rules (first 4 books) which cover the very basics of character generation, combat, space combat, skills, world gen, vehicles, interstellar trade, but did so with the broadest brush strokes (refined and expanded in later booklets).  If you wanted, Traveller could be very "sandbox" in play.  Star Frontiers was very much played specific to a dramatically set scene: -alien terrorists walk into the bar / you've crashed - survive / you're being chased by something big and vicious / out of control city monorail - now deal with it!  In fact the similarities between the original Star Frontiers set and Gang Busters are notable - there's press-out character and vehicle counters, city floor-plan, location driven adventures (you are here - place counter on map) - although Star Frontiers does have an exploratory hex-crawl in it's introductory module -which was not uncommon in some Traveller adventures as well.

[-- Random thoughts end --]

I seem to have a terrible cold - possibly caught off some late night geomorph designing ...

Happy Shopping!

And remember, if you can't afford it: do what I do, buy it for yourself then thrust it upon a loved one to give you for Christmas (demanding the full retail price, of course). ;)

Friday, 9 November 2012

National Game Design Month and Movember

I clearly don't read enough posts closely.  Whenever I see the phrase "imitative" or "project" in relation to game design I usually assume that it's just another kickstarter (probably with zombies in) and move on, but National Game Design Month is more about the creative art of game writing.  And boy, if ever there was an industry where every other participant was also a creator-writer, it's the RPG tabletop games community! Cthulhu bless us all. We are masters of our entertainment!  We can create and destroy our own worlds, forge new dice systems, create card decks and so forth.

I like the idea of that "friendly nudge" to help finish those dream projects. 

It's also Movember.  So feel free to grow a moustache to raise awareness of men's health and prostate cancer.  (My partner has forbidden me from growing a moustache)

Design a game or grow a moustache?   You decide.
Doing both might be perilous. 

I plan to take naps in most of my free time in November.  We all do our little bit. ;)

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Hurricane Sandy Relief - Roleplayers Chronicle RPGs for charity bundle

Hurricane Sandy Relief - Roleplayers Chronicle RPGs for charity bundle

This $20 bundle contains all sorts of RPGs and accessories with the proceeds on the purchase price going to the American Red Cross to provide relief aid to victims of Hurricane Sandy.  Over 40 products at the last count - over $400 in total RRP! As charity packs go, this is astonstishingly good value (and a sign of magnanimous indie publisher generosity)  If I remember right, it's good idea to donate now but download everything at a later - just to be nice to your web servers. ;)  At least that's what I'll be doing.

RC news entry

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

80s RPG covers abstracted


Can you guess which games they are?  
I'm have a little fun with my new iPad using the Photobooth app - this naturally coincides with my posting puzzle pictures of RPG covers on the Roleplayers Chronicle Facebook Page - so post your answers there.  
At some stage the staff at RC will be adding up correct answer posts and maybe even distributing prizes...!  Whether or not you take part, it's still fun to look at 70's-80's RPG cover art in an abstract way. :) 
I'm also posting the occasional kaleidoscopic picture on my Instagram account "Billiambabble" (Webstagram link)  
Other random visual rebloggery: Adventures and Shopping on Tumblr.
Thanks for browsing! 

Monday, 29 October 2012

Happy Halloween

I seem to have been a bit distracted of late, as per usual.  I've been watching Reaper, dabbling in under-cartography, becoming addicted to Instagram (but why? I'm a Deviant Art survivor, I'm better than this, surely...? Nope.)  But it's Halloween!  That time of year where we can cross-dress before all perverts are thrown out on All Saints Day - or is that just me?   Dig out those plastic skulls, play a tabletop game by candlelight and try not to eat all of the trick or treat chocolate, in case someone firebombs your house. Around here, due to Diwali and Bonfire Night coming up, the kids are generally armed with dodgy fireworks.  Ah, kids, eh?

Apparently there's some pumpkin surprises lurking on the OneBookShelf sites, plus the odd Halloween themed sale.  I can't find any special Lulu codes tonight apart from October's OCTBOOKS12 (see earlier entry) but I guess 20% off doesn't need painting in glow in the dark green.

Hey look, I've tacked up some banners, and I'll flash the lights a few times, what more fun can we have? :)

And remember, that when adopting an undead companion, they aren't just for Halloween, they're for life!  No, wait... I mean the rest of the year... undead ... for life!  Hmm, there's definitely a joke in there.  If only I could resurrect it...

Monday, 22 October 2012

Deviant Database -for Mutant Future (Tim Snyder TSAW)

<--- This arrived today.  The Deviant Database!

Edit: Links -
Deviant Database on RPGDriveThru
Deviant Database print book on
(alternative link)

I did not see the sorry mutant who had left it in the plastic toy box which I leave out at Rad-Ridge on barter day.  The thing had taken the scale-fruit remains and left the valuable cabling, no accounting for taste.   My claws clumsily fumbled with the package ...

Thank you Mr Tim Snyder of The Savage Afterworld.  Tonight's dreams will be both creepy and exotic.

The Deviant Database is a supplementary "Monster Manual" for the GammaWorld-like  Mutant Future - the main rulebook of which I'm still waiting to arrive for from Lulu - I've gone for the hardback btw.

It seems to be common knowledge that Mutant Future is compatible with Goblinoid's other games, such as Labyrinth Lord (which is a D&D/retro-clone), so the one use of the Deviant Database is that in can be used to spice up any old-style D&D campaign - especially, those with a surreal or other-wordly twist - such as Sword and Planet setting games, Spelljammer aliens, planar adventures - scenarios where the classically mythological can be set aside for the truly strange or aberrant.  Examples include: skunkapes, creatures with laser vision, Cheetapedes, and many of B-movie anti-Darwinistic hybrids.  One whichstands out is the, quite literally, insane Mechanibal - robot predators who harvest and graft parts  to themselves of other robots (and other technology).  I imagine that these robots could be hundreds of years old, perhaps in continuous "pain" and in hatred of their "meatbag" creators.  Perhaps there's an opportunity for a being like this to appear in steampunk games (consider the "Warforged" of Eberron - but the failed Frankensteinian experiments sealed up in vaults) .  And that's just one creature.

I've owned a copy of Gamma World for many years, but it was an edition I'm not fond of - with colour-coded charts and missing rules of really basic stuff, like vehicles and equipment price lists (fundamental things!) Also the exploratory introduction modules seemed a bit too abstract -not enough context.  More recently I've really enjoyed reading through The Mutant Epoch - for which the character generation and dice mechanics are sublime, but it uses it's own system - so I'm really looking to dipping into Mutant Future, just because I'm hoping that I'll be in familiar territory game mechanic wise. (By the way the system in TME is good, it's just sometimes the old brain can only cope with Basic D&D) My other, also surreal, foray into mutated futures is the facsimile of the original Metamorphosis Alpha by Jim Ward - truly wonderful from a historical perspective, but can also be appreciated as a really straight forward (nearly-pick-up-and-play) rule-set.

(I'll probably add some more product links to this post at a later time.)

You should leave now.  Take this plastic spear.
Good luck out there.
The Bad-Zone gets quieter just before morning...

Deviant Database on RPGDriveThru
Deviant Database print book on
(alternative link)

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Faith & Demons Anglo Saxon Nation Guide (MTE)

Less of a review and more of a straight forward plug for the nice guys at MTE.

Welcome to the first FAITH & DEMONS: THE RISING NATION GUIDE, a series of mini-sourcebooks detailing the different nations during the Dark Ages. Each Nation Guide depicts historical information alongside that of mythology, folklore, speculation, and fiction for the purpose of providing additional content for your adventures and campaigns. This first Nation Guide details the Anglo-Saxon nation located in modern day Britain.
Faith & Demons Nation Guide: Anglo-Saxon includes:
  • A deeper look at the Anglo-Saxon pagan religion.
  • A Gazetteer detailing the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.
  • Alternate history adventure hooks.
  • A 600-year timeline of historical events.
  • New Hindrances and Edges.
  • 6 new creatures from Anglo-Saxon folklore.
FAITH & DEMONS: THE RISING is a Dark Ages, gothic fantasy plot point setting for Savage Worlds where united lords have brought the world’s warriors together to prevent the armies of chaos from enslaving their people.
Faith & Demons Nation Guide: Anglo-Saxon is not a stand-alone game and requires the Savage Worlds core rulebook. Although designed to be used in conjunction with the Faith & Demons: The Rising core setting guide, the source material can be with used any Savage Worlds product.

Faith & Demons Nation Guide: Anglo-Saxon for the Savage Worlds system is available as a 28 page PDF to download from DTRPG and RPGNow for a mere $1.95

It would be impolite not to buy a copy at that cost. ;)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Tomb of Horrors 4e DnD - an almost random purchase

Since I've started posting on Instagram, Tumblr and playing about on an iPad with a camera you may find that from time to time I might be posting oddly filtered - perhaps pretentiously angled, high contrast photographs of RPGs ...

The story behind this one is that it was an almost random purchase from a newly relocated local comic store - who had a tiny number of RPG books.  I say "almost random" because it's hard to be truly random when the shelf selection is about 6 books (two of the thinner DnD3 books "Complete..." warrior/cleric/adventurer etc, an Etherscope settings guide, Vampire the Masquerade, a Dark Heresy campaign guide and the above purchase).  Again, I find it difficult to defend the cause of the "bricks n mortar" shops locally, and yet I still feel obliged to vote with my wallet, in the hope that they might renew or expand their stock of RPGs.  Despite my being afraid of collecting Magic et al CCGs, I may have to start buying some packs just so that I get to play someone locally at something other the WH40K - because that's what appears to happen in this comic shop - they have "gaming nights", but it's mainly collectable card games from what I can tell ....

Although I doubt I’ll ever play this version of the PC-mashing Tomb of Horrors using 4e rules, it’ll be fun to compare it to the original AD&D module. The art is very colourful and fine. The question is... do I unfold and tear out the perforated colour battlemat on the inside of the back cover...?

Some of the text makes me giggle:  "Held within an extradimensional space of pure necrotic essence, this fortress served as the site of Acererak’s planned divine apotheosis -a process by which the mastery of undeath would grant him god-like power." p42

As you do. 

Your Dungeons As You Like Them -Vos Donjons Comme Vous Le Voulez - EC / Old School Dungeons

Vos Donjons Comme Vous Le Voulez
downloadable printable plans on DTRPG
Eric Chaussin of Old School Dungeons (my earlier post on EC's work) has managed to woo me again with another 1980's style release.    

Vos Donjons Comme Vous Le Voulez "Your dungeons -as you like them" is an 11 page dungeon accessory pack which seems deceptively small considering its many applications. I thought at first that the pages 1-5 were A4/letter size battlemats, but no, EC is going back to the early days of trim-to-fit floor plans - much easier when you're not using walls - basically the "black spaces" between the cut-out shapes become the walls - as is the way of the old Dungeon Floorplans and some modern irregular tiles.  Included as well as these flagstone designs are stairs, doorways, beds, a table and chest (the furniture is 3D).  Eric has had considerable experience in drawing fantasy heroes, so it comes as no surprise that he also includes 11 flat-foldable back-to-back minis on simple circular bases.

Thumbnails of the pages in the Vos Donjons... PDF
I've included a screenshot thumbnail of the pages here because I believe his description doesn't do the product full justice (hopefully he'll be fine with this!).

The price may seem a little high ($10.40 as I type), but if you're a fan of MB HeroQuest game boards, Warhammer Quest and DungeonBowl then you will appreciate where Eric Chaussin is coming from with his one-size fits all "Old School Dungeons".  The graphic work is bold and slick, also it looks relatively easy to assemble.  This is a perfect basic starter pack for use with a straightforward dungeon setting.

(If you're having trouble with the above links to the product try clicking here)

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

2E Adventure Tiles Labyrinth Core Set -Skeleton Key Games

Oops.  In my last post I completely forgot to include this excellent tiles product.

I really like the art and ingenuity of Skeleton Key's 2E Adventure Tiles Labyrinth Core Set.  You get a whopping 73 small square tiles.  There are two main types of exit - and a mixture of curved walls with straights.  The light grey browns will give you a maze reminiscent of dusty classical settings or from the films like Labyrinth or Barbarella, whilst still fitting within grey castle environments.

As with many geomorphic designs, some referees may not like the fact that players can see beyond the walls to an inaccessible part of a tile, but I'm sure that a creative DM can find an explanation to allow for this meta-game awareness - perhaps just a sense that there's a hollow chamber or corridor beyond the wall - all the party need to do is go around the next corner to get there... - which is pretty much what mazes are about.  Certainly, the visual impact and compressed nature of the tiles mean that a maze will feel less laborourious than elongated zig zagging corridors.  It might be a bit of a struggle to run 4E D&D encounters in such small areas, but many other FRP rules should be okay.

Good looking, professional and inventive.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Maps and tiles by Pworks CSP TornWorld and LZW

This is going to be a quick little round up of some products on my desktop, although I have to warn you that when it comes to downloads my focus is mainly on downloadable floor plans and maps.  All of the picture links point to products on DriveThru and they all almost certainly available on and Wargame Vault.

Pwork Paper Wargame  Master Dungeon Set on DTRPG
Pwork's (Paper Wargames) Fantasy Tiles Master Dungeon Set appears to be a fantasy offshoot of their Space Hulk inspired sci-fi sets.  I'm guessing that this would explain why the squares are 3cm wide which is friendly to larger Warhammer bases.  There's not a great deal of margin space on the pages, but as a result very little paper or card will be wasted.  I rather like the stand-up doors but I haven't tried to construct them since the instructions in my copy are in Italian only and there's no self-explanatory tabs in the designs. The dungeon pieces would make a very satisfying blocky set of basic floor plans especially if glued to corrugated card or foam card.  I'll be honest, the larger scale puts me off these a little, but the art is good and all of the parts and props are generic enough for simple dungeons ran in many systems.  This is a fairly good value product for 24 pages, with repeatable designs at $7.  Certainly worth considering if your figures seem a little crowded on that 1-inch scale battlemat.

CSP  Into the Wilderness: Map 0 on DTRPGInto the Wilderness Map 0 is free PDF and JPG file of yet more excellent art from CSP - who have received far too much praise for their dungeon work from me already. ;)  The PDF is for printing whereas the jpg is for moving around in your chosen VTT software, hi-tech game table or tablet.  It's always nice to have the option. Download this, you have nothing to lose.  If you like the style his other forest maps are modestly priced.

Torn World Presents: Hand-Drawn Cities: Volume I on DTRPGIf you're on Facebook, you may like to be dazzled by the maps-in-progress posted by artist Alyssa Faden who hand draws and digitally composes maps for Torn World publishing.  As you may know, dear reader, I am always intrigued by real pen and ink (usually so I can steal ideas, ahem, I mean learn techniques...).  Volumes 1 and 2 of Torn World's Hand-Drawn Cities are for the more discerning map appreciator.  These two black and white products nestle amongst the other gorgeous colour maps and accessories provided by Torn World, but for me these are the bright treasures.  Everywhere you look in these sprawling cities there are details, and yet they are plain enough to make those cities your own.  As is the fashion these days, the PDF comes with graphics files (.png and jpg) which can be imported into other packages (perhaps you would like to give to different districts your own shades your reference?)   All of Alyssa Faden's cities appear to have grown organically, developing in sections - the awkward geometries imply social history and civil expansion.  Every block of buildings is depicted, so that the streets are very detailed.  However, the details do create a flaw when using the graphics files... Basically, these maps will make you want to zoom right into street level, which results in mild blur and pixelation. Again, I have to stress that this is because the overhead detail is so amazing that you just have to see how far it goes!  The good news is that all of the files in these packs are small enough in size to be usable in many applications and platforms without any sluggish scrolling.  Bonus. 

LZW Exterior & Interior Wall Set #1 on DTRPG
Lastly, and almost randomly, I've been spying this product but I know that I'd never have the patience to assemble everything contained, but LZW are providing customers with a respectable alternative to Fat Dragon's packs.  LZW seem to be doing some fairly clever things with PDF layers by allowing the customer to choose different feature details.  So make sure you have the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader before looking an LZW product.  I reckon that this is one of those deceptive packs, i.e. the cover displays a mere handful of walls and pillars, when you are in fact buying a complete modular building system for dungeon interiors and small stone buildings.  Seriously inventive stuff.


All of the images link to the original product pages on DTRPG (well, most of the time they do).

Adventures & Shopping will take no responsibility for fun, awe or paper-cuts incurred by players when assembling or using any of these accessories in actual games.

20% off Books and eBooks at Lulu in October

Wow.  I'm really rubbish at this.  When I started this blog I wanted it to be bristling and busting with money off coupons.  I would at least be posting LULU's monthly deals - at the very start of the month.  So here we go... half way through October... nearly Halloween and all that, two paydays until Christmas and so forth...

Books & eBooks from 20% off- Enter code
- Save up to $25

That's like a whole fifth off!  Huzzah!  No, really, I get impressed by these things.
The code seemed to work for me earlier (in the UK) so I don't think it's limited to US customers only.

Most RPG and solo game stuff can usually be found in the Games section on Lulu.
(One day I'll give in to my id and buy myself a copy of old school GamaWorld styled Mutant Future.)

Remember, the world economy needs your money!


Monday, 8 October 2012

Dungeon! board game unboxed

Wizards' new (yet old and familiar) Dungeon! board game
Just in time for Christmas. ;)
I've quickly been skimming through Wired/Geek Dad's unboxing of the new Dungeon! board game and I'm glad to say that it appears that Wizards' have been fairly loyal to the spirit of the original - including victory by xp/gold-maths:
 To win the game, heroes must collect treasure totaling a certain value. Clerics and rogues only need 10,000 gold pieces of value, while the stronger fighter who can delve deeper into the dungeon and win greater treasure needs 20,000 and the all-powerful wizard needs 30,000.
Family games where the board is travelled by counters usually don't have such abstract goals, so it would be interesting to hear thoughts from a modern playtest by non-roleplayers.  For roleplayers, however, this game is a delight because it provides a glimpse what the original D&D might have looked and played like in completely boiled down form (and I mean really boiled down).  A contemporary to Dungeon! was the modular tile game Sorcerer's Cave - the rules to which I find are very strange but resemble D&D as some sort of Hobbit/Fairy Tale explained through a maths teacher's dream, but I digress....  Compared to that, Dungeon! is a much closer cousin to early D&D.  There were plenty other quest games on the market, but the next more most fondly by my own friends remembered after Dungeon! is Talisman (which was much later).  A couple of years ago I was disappointed by a review of the Warlock of Firetop Mountain board game which stated that it was a straight copy of Dungeon! which I strongly refute - apart from room encounters and a d6 combat system the comparison barely stands.  However the simplicity of the Fighting Fantasy system and the tiny cards would owe a lot to the fantasy board games of the 70s -including Dungeon!

Last year I was very chuffed with myself for finding a Dungeon! set from 1981 and only the other night I had the honour of reblogging these monster cards on Tumblr (1, 2)

It's reassuring to see that this game looks very similar to the original and isn't just a new game smuggled under a nostalgia-brand.

Anyhow, stop reading this and ascend those dark stairs to GeekDad's unboxing of the Dungeon! board game.