Friday, 22 February 2013

Dagger: Supplemental Rules for Classic Role-playing with Kids (BraveHalfling)

Tonight I'll be mostly reading ...

Dagger: Supplemental Rules for Classic Role-playing with Kids

I haven't digested enough to be sure, but what I'm reading ticks all of the boxes for my love of succinct pocket sized RPG systems, whilst still being very D&D. The fact that we're letting the kids play is secondary to me. ;)

"DAGGER is a simple, fast and fantastic tool for classic, old-school role-play gaming with Kids!"

Almost any of the older flavours of D&D (and retro-clones) can be adapted to these rules - or even just bring what you can remember from the D&D rules and use this as your only reference book at the table. DMing can be done on the fly - anything not covered in the rules can be solved with a d6 roll vs 1-6 Difficulty. Children-friendly names are given to the classes like "Knight" and "Wizard" for Fighters and Magic-Users, respectively. Naturally these names are good for all novices familiar with fairy tales.

As I look at this I'm thinking of thrusting the game upon unsuspecting adults who would never dream of playing D&D ... and so one day, when the Trivial Pursuit goes missing, I'll be there with a pack of poly dice and this print-out.
"Yeah, Granny, your dwarf kills the orc with his axe, the warm arterial spray feeds your bloodlust, it's smell summoning the memory of taking the blood-mead oath by the tombs of your fore-fathers..." Hmm, maybe I shouldn't play D&D with kids (or grannies).

Dagger: Supplemental Rules for Classic Role-playing with Kids
$1 on DTRPG

A free no-frills version can be downloaded here.

Succinct, fun and back to roleplaying basics. :)

Monday, 18 February 2013

Holmes D&D art found in crate

D&D cover art rediscovered! 
In case you haven't seen this already -on blogs and Twitter, this very famous piece of original D&D cover art was found in a crate in the Wizards of the Coast warehouse. At least we now know that not all art collected by TSR was skipped (which is part of Jeff Dee’s back story for recreating his own art from Deities & Demigods…). Being the cover for the popular Holmes D&D Basic rules means that this piece of art has a very special place in the heart of older players -that blue rulebook and/or box set being their introduction to the roleplaying hobby. 

Image sourced from @StvWinter on Twitter.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Kev's Lounge Fantasy Scenes Dungeon Hero's Hall

I'm stupendously late with this one, Kev of Kev's Lounge / Papercraft Dungeon had a sale on in January and wanted me to give my view on a couple of products, but the good news is that he always has some incredibly cheap products and special offers.  I was looking originally at Skeleton Skirmishers which is a PDF product, but apparently it's now "out of stock" - what?  Oops, limited offers... it's a brutal world!

Edit: The superb piratey skeletons can be found here: Skeleton Scallywags -for less than two gold doubloons ($1.99). Yarr!

The good news is that if you like high quality double-sided paper skeleton figures, the infernal undead are also available in the form of Blazin' Bones ($1.99USD).

There's plenty of printable dungeon scenery over at Papercraft Dungeon -some of which is actually free (we likes free!).

Hero's Hall is well worth the $5, especially considering the number of different textures (using layers) with a product limited only by your ink and perseverance with a craft knife.

I wouldn't be doing Kev any favours if I'd taken photos myself of this set -since this is definitely for intermediate papercrafters - and I can barely score a piece of card straight when it comes to 3D card scenery.  Fortunately, clear instructions are provided with a few tips and tricks which might help you with other brands of printable scenery.  If you're a klutz (like me) and often go "2D only", the flat tiles and counters alone -without inter-tile linkage -  justify the purchase of this product.  Incidentally, the linking appears both robust and economic.

The 3D doors and pillars are exquisite to behold, packed with details, and there's two types of statue -one being a simpler design for rapid dungeon building.

Products of this quality are serious challenge to publishers like Fat Dragon Games.  The Papercraft Dungeon store is still seriously independent - Kev's Lounge is presumably keeping costs low by selling directly to customers. rather than through a third-party site  (like Paizo or OBS who will take a sizeable percentage per product).

Edit 23.02.13 - Kev's Lounge now has a store page on DriveThruRPG and other OBS sites.

Browse the photos - if you're looking for a new dungeon on your gaming table Hero's Hall might be just for you.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Classic Dungeon Tiles PDFs (Arthur Braune, Skullduggery Press, Skeleton Key Games)

Promises, promises to designers and authors... I'm well overdue in running a summary of these Classic Dungeon Tiles and putting in a separate shout for the latest products by at the Papercraft Dungeon (the latter will be featured in a forthcoming post). 

In this post I'd like to draw attention to the remarkably versatile, easy to print and use Classic Dungeon Tiles by Art Braune of Skullduggery Press who publish through Skeleton Key Games.

Classic Dungeon Tiles
Base Set Volume 1
on DriveThru
Mr Braune's "Classic" tiles contrast greatly to textured or multicoloured tiles that I'm used to drooling and getting jealous over. In fact they are so sublimely simple that they are a perfect accompaniment to 1970s-80s blocky module maps. The blue lines and optional blacked-out (blued-out) surrounds look deliberately chosen to emulate the one colour maps from those old wrap around module covers. Naturally, if blue is not your thing they print just as clearly in black and white greyscale. If you choose to print the outlined tiles without backgrounds your ink consumption will be very low (unlike with many other tile sets).

Every set in the range has a huge number of tiles per pack (Base Set 1 boast 100 designs alone). Many tiles are practical variations of simple chambers and corridors (Set 1 especially). DM's should still plan carefully when printing, in case of needing multiples (as with large chambers of variable size) - to help with this each pack contains a comprehensive thumbnail list.

In play there are counters for numbering areas, recording damage, up/down markers for stairs - again emulating the tradition map styles of early gaming but at a scale for 25,28,30mm figures.

Nearly all of the tiles are handily sized for printing with wide margins.  Each tile is typically 5x5 1in/5ft squares - but if you are truly an old school player the scale of the grid with it's abstract details should be flexible - i.e. you could state that the scale is 10ft per square perhaps. To DnD4e players some of the rooms may appear quite small - but small rooms on a large table make for a much more interesting dungeon to explore - in fact tactically in may make for interesting play indeed. The exits from each tile are consistently placed in the middle of the edge (the third square along).   Tiles from the different sets work perfectly with one another and are totally interchangeable.

Classic Dungeon Tiles
Base Set Volume 2
on DriveThru

Classic Dungeon Tiles
Lesser Temples of
Greygax and Arnemoor

on DriveThru
Whilst looking at the simple designs I was suddenly aware of a fusion of very old and relatively recent tabletop practices. Looking through photos of games mid-play in blogs and photoblogs, it's very apparent that some DMs who use wipe-able battlemats take pleasure in embellishing hand drawn areas and adding small details in different colours, or even cross-hatching impassable rock (cross-hatching on a battlemat!?). This reminded me of my own early gaming experiences, when floor plans weren't to hand, we often drew on graphpaper during the game (as many still do today) -adding that extra magical moment of a world being created from nothing and improvisation.  At least that's how it used to feel... This type of tile is perfect for those DMs. In preparation or during a game a DM can draw on extra chests or room contents - whilst the tiles themselves allow for a prepped "reveal" of the basic architecture as the map is laid out. Should the Dungeon Master wish, the tiles are perfect for customisation and personalisation with pencil or pen - unlike colour-detail tiles.  Naturally I'd be adding 3D walls in pencil and scribbling elven sigils on the flagstones. There could be plenty of mileage in customising tiles like these. If laminated they can be re-used just like a an easy-wipe battlemat - but to be honest, the printing of these tiles costs so little in terms of ink that replacement tiles could be printed in a snip.

Another advantage of any square tile system is that they lend themselves very well to random exploration - with of course a little rotation and some common sense when fitting the cards together. With some encounters written on index cards and maybe the odd random contents or events matrix - you'll soon have built a DM-less or solo-play dungeon system.

Example map layout using tiles from
Classic Dungeon Tiles Perilous Passages
(tba - link to follow)
One of the recent additions to this range is very original, Perilous Passages (I have a preview copy - link to follow).  It's round geometry prompts the imagination to dream up strange hive-like dungeon level or root systems, the laboratory-warrens of mad drow mages etc. The grid is still clearly defined - whether or not your rules system or your combat tactics can cope with winding passages is something only you will be sure of. The Perilous Passages tiles are abstract enough to be used in almost any setting.

Example layout using tiles from
Classic Dungeon Tiles
Unusual Rooms and
Summoning Chambers

(tba - link to follow)
This abstract universality is true of many of all of tile sets - 1930s sewers, spacecraft - change the meaning of statue symbols to bio-terminals - doors to fleshy portals and you enter into a whole new dimension of application.

I was surprised at how such simple designs could be inspiring - but simplicity and projecting imagination onto the props was very much what the tabletop hobby should be about.

To summarise the Classic Dungeon Tiles are practical, versatile,customisable, and, at times, ideally suited to recreating an older style of map - but in my opinion they are more than that: they really can become anything you make them into.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


WotC have released  
as well as Basic?  

Now you can relive 80s D&D in PDF form. ;) Or, continue playing it, because you never really stopped, apart from that time when AD&D seemed like a good idea because of the extra classes, but eventually you went back to Basic, because it was your first love which you’ll never really get over but you still daren’t admit this, even in the geekiest of company … but you can now look up rules and ogle superb b/w lineart on your laptop/tablet/phone/*insert-random-almost-useful-portable-digital-device*

Edit: The PDF also contains the Gateway to Adventure Catalogue c1980 - basically an illustrated list of some of TSR's D&D accessories and boardgames - a fascinating glimpse into how these games were described at the time.

February money off codes for Lulu and Paizo

219335_Consider a Fresh Title on Lulu
February already?


Time for a money-off-coupony-voucher code!

When shopping for RPG rulebooks and accessories at - be sure to use the following handy code at checkout:

Don't say I never give you nuffink! ;)

Also, if you're dropping by the Paizo store remember to take advantage of that post-Kickstarter goodwill:
 "...enter the code 
ksthanks during checkout between February 1 and February 28, and receive 10% off of one entire order..."  (see post)

Other news: 
Almost accidentally, I still haven't seen The Hobbit (1/3) movie, but Lego Gollum is awesome. I'm unimpressed that Lucas has postponed the much hyped 3D Star Wars in favour of Episode Vee-Aye-Aye. Fickle Bantha-Foodoo!  Got hacked on Twitter, like half a million other folks. Pfft. But, hey, how are you?  What? You don't want small talk? You just want to know about RPG games...? 

By the way, if you haven't seen it yet, I've been reblogging lots of random fantasy-gaming-related visual goodness on my Adventures & Shopping Tumblr feed. Check it out - I cannot promise actual content but the view from Tumblr can be pretty at times.

Laters! Bb. 

Oh, and don't forget Valentines Day...!

I tried not to mention it, I really did,  but it would be awful if a significant other was forgotten due to online shopping for Pathfinder deals ...