Thursday, October 20, 2022

Throwback Post - Products on DriveThru


Yesterday, I shared a throwback post about a cool product on DriveThruRPG called The Basic Witch: The Pumpkin Spice Tradition. I really love this particular add-on for B/X or OSR. I've reviewed a ton of books and this one is a favorite. 

It sort of makes me jealous, as I already have my own products on DriveThruRPG. Here they are, in no particular order: 


Swashbuckler Character
Class for D&D and AD&D


Swashbucklers for D&D and AD&D
Zero to Hero:
Uncommon Heroes

Zero to Hero
Zero to Hero
Character Sheet
for AD&D

Character Sheet
Character Sheet for AD&D



Kobold’s Folly
Mini Setting

Kobold’s Folly
Kobold’s Folly
Compass Rose
Inn Mini Setting

Compass Rose Inn
Compass Rose Inn
The Hex Pack
The Hex Pack
The Hex Pack


Of the six, I feel that only two don't need an update. The Character Sheet is a scan from one of my first AD&D campaigns, it's not getting any better so I can leave it be. The Hex Pack is exactly as labeled. It's a pack of hexes. The booklets are laid out for A4 or 8"x11". Again, they can't be improved. 

The remaining 4 titles need improvement. I feel like Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners needs an update specifically for OSE. This book details how to make NPC's with specific abilities or give a regular PC a set of professional skills for that side hustle no one wants. 

These characters are much weaker than traditional PC, they max out at 6 hit points if they are lucky. But if you need armor or buckets or rowers, these are the characters and the book you need. Each profession is limited to level 5. Many classes are based on historical descriptions, so you get a touch of reality with your fantasy characters. Zero to Hero also covers some unusual circumstances such as tools as weapons, improvised weapons and shields, plus it offers a system that prioritizes healing. It's a great world-building title if only I made it more harmonious with the OSR. 

The Swashbuckler character class needs to be completely reworked. It should be OSR compatible but fails. It is too heavily based on AD&D. That needs to change. I am working on a collection of character classes that will form the basis of all changes to this title. Once complete, I will have a seventh title called "The Monomachos" or "he who fights alone". Of course, I will keep the price of the updated Swashbuckler exactly where it is - free or PWYW. 

"The Monomachos" will be a new book that includes The Swashbuckler class and will be good for all types of campaigns, AD&D, B/X, and OSE. Character types will include Archer, Gladiator, Swashbuckler, Handgunner, and perhaps a couple of others. I am uncertain of the price point as I have only started pricing out artwork. 

The last two are mini-maps of specific places that I have used in various campaigns. I would like to use them as the basis of plug-in modules for your campaigns. The Compass Rose Inn is a tavern, inn, and hunting lodge with an attached temple populated with a crazy collection of characters. There are stories to be made and shared here. The Kobold's Folly details the coming of a tribe of almost civilized Kobolds on the frontier of any convenient town or city. They are needly and pesty, but excellent hobellers and shady fences for those who need to unload illicit goods.  

I meant for this to brief reflective post, so let me end this here.                             

Monday, October 17, 2022

Ships by Studio Bergstrom

I need to lay off the credit card. In just a few weeks or less, my OSE set will arrive. I can't wait... but I have some games that I can't play and review due to a lack of minis. Yes, I'm playing the "not enough minis, even though I have a ton of unpainted minis" card. 

I decided to try out Studio Bergstrom. They have a series of ships called "Galactic Patrol" that are not specific to any TV or movie I have seen. Honestly, I haven't seen them all even though I've tried. The 11 ships I selected set me back $55.00 before shipping, which makes the math nice. $5.00 each on average. 

With these first 11 ships, I want to practice painting. I figure I could come up with a nice paint scheme and vary the scheme by changing the base or detail colors. These 11 will be my base squad with one set of colors and the next order of 11 can have slight changes to create either a different squadron or an opposing fleet. 

(It occurs to me that I should buy a nice camera to take pictures of my models. Maybe if I stop buying models.)

Now, I didn't pick the largest ships available, I selected what I thought looked good for a matching squadron.  

1 Europa Cruiser
1 Scandinavia Destroyer
1 Indochine Cruiser
2 Africaino Destroyer
2 Oceana Destroyer  
3 Nipponese Corvette
1 Mongolian Cluster Frigate

Oceana Destroyer
Now that I have them, I was surprised, perhaps shocked, at the level of detail on these models. My poor photo skills do not do them justice. What had started as a lark to get back into painting brought a smile to my face when I realized that these models might be moderate to difficult to paint. At least for someone like me who has degraded skills. They aren't starter models, they are amazing ships. 

Many of the ships come in two parts, top and bottom hulls with additional turrets and details. 

The largest 4 ships came with silicone bases. These ingenious little things allow you to ram a pin through the base to mount the ship. I'm not sure if the pin's pointy end should pass through the base to the bottom of the ship or the other way around. Either seems like a fine idea. 

I should have taken a better picture of the whole group of ships. Anyway, I will take more pictures as I get some paint on them. And they will feature in some of my upcoming reviews. 



Friday, October 14, 2022

Perfect Pairings, Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days

This post comes courtesy of a long-time reader and benefactor, Blackrazor who gifted me a great many books and treasures.  

You can find Alastair Reynolds at www.alastairreynolds.com and approachingpavonis.blogspot.com



Alistair Reynolds' Revelation Space is an excellent series of books however, Reynolds manages to zig-zag triumphant epics and eldrich horror in a way that does not make the reader envy the characters. There are too many Faustian endings. It is not the sort of series that makes excellent roleplaying, the players would feel cheated or screwed. 

Except for one game... called Golgotha. It was made for the Revelation Space. Specifically, it pairs with a pair of short stories called Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days. Sure, it's a hack but sometimes hacks make the most sense. 

In my last post, I wrote a great deal about the TV show The Rain. Enough to make the reader interested in watching it. This time, I would like to tell you about Golgotha more than Revelation Space because it appears to me that Golgotha is Revelation Space in RPG form. 


Golgotha is a hacked OSR game, where players generate their characters by special rules. Basically, if one stat is over a specific amount, the next stat must be 7. Once the 7 is assigned, you go back to random generation. It's good that the rules allow you to increase stats because sometimes the player will have some stinkers to start. That's pretty good. At least, better than D&D 3.x where everyone is racing to 18. 

This is a heavily modded OSR D&D-style game. Black Hack in particular. Rather than using tables, each stat is used as a target number for tasks and usually low rolls are better. The lack of tables makes this edition of ORS D&D very rules-light. Damage is based on class, abilities also on class. Oddly, characters have no Con bonus for hit points. This seems to be a scaling issue, where gobs of hit points would be detrimental to gameplay. 

At every other level, you get a talent that improves your character in specific Golgotha-themed tasks. And what an amazing list of tasks it has. Your goal as a character is to obtain materials for trade with an alien species for more power... or quirks. Rather than being trapped in the typical grind for experience, the completion of a task leads to more power. Not only do characters become more experienced and powerful, but they also get special powers based on what they collect for their alien overlords. Participation is equal to specialization because those other random skills make a character unique. It's D&D in Space plussed with fewer rules. That is a unique twist. 

Before I go, let me tell you a bit about the premise of Diamond Dogs which will totally explain why it's a great fit for Golgotha. In the 25th century, Roland and Richard discover something they call Blood Spire, clearly an alien artifact. Roland builds a team to crack the secrets of the Spire: a hacker, a gene-spliced and mind-altered mathematician, and a surgeon/body-modder, plus Richard. 

Each level of the Blood Spire has a specific mystery to be solved. Sometimes it is a difficult mental problem, other times it's a physical challenge. Failure results in ever-increasing peril. Level 1, get pricked in the finger. Level 10? Into the meat grinder, with no saving throw. Level 50, oh... you get the picture. 

It soon becomes obvious that there are several dark forces at work. Roland may be fixated on problem-solving in general or perhaps bewitched into delving deeper into the Spire. The hacker and the body-modder have their own goals. Richard and the mathematician have some history between them. What should be a linear story develops twists and curveballs. And the end has the biggest kicker. 
 
Go ahead and check out Diamond Dogs, Turquoise Days : Tales from the Revelation Space Universe on AbeBooks. And don't forget to order Golgotha from Drivethru RPG. 

If you have a Netflix account, you can watch "Love, Death & Robots" for two adaptions of Reynolds stories called “Beyond the Aquila Rift” and “Zima Blue”. Not for children.