I ran out of podcasts in the middle of an epidemic=not worth thinking about.
Sunday, January 15, 2023
I ran out of podcasts in the middle of an epidemic=not worth thinking about.
Sunday, January 1, 2023
As you can probably guess, I am really excited about Old School Essentials. It's an OGL product and they have a handy instruction page right here. So this year, I will be looking at all of my products and reworking them into OSE-type products.
Two of my works are perpetually frozen because they are too specific or too generic:The Hex Pack is too generic to rework in any meaningful way. It is what it is, a pack of colorful hex templates. It cannot change much, if at all. Unless someone asks me to change something, I won't.
By the way, this title was changed based on feedback from a single person, so by all means, mention your needs. I do like feedback.
2. My Character Sheet for AD&D is linked specifically to Unearthed Arcana. The charm is that it's a scanned image of a character sheet created in the 80s. It is immune to change.
Because they cannot change, I gave them their own little corner to the left side of the blog.
That leaves my other 4 works that I would like to revamp. These are the two rule-agnostic mini-settings, Kobold's Folly and The Compass Rose Inn. These two don't have to change so I have also given them a less prominent spot on the left. I would like to flesh them out into actual modules for OSE.Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. Ironically, it was written before I saw Old School Essentials. The professions listed in it are almost a verbatim match for the list that appears in those books. Realistically, it just needs editing down and to conform to the ability check mechanics as per those rules. Easy to say, but a rather lengthy project in execution.
The last title, The Swashbuckler Character Class bothers me. I am tempted to delete it. It is too heavily based on AD&D 1e, it is less than useful for B/X. Altering it would be like polishing a turd.
I also have a couple other ideas. First, I am going to sit down and play some games. I have OSE, Battletech with some nice figures, and a couple of others I would like to feature here. Assuming I can get in the swing of this, I should have time to produce other content.
Speaking of other content to sell, my OSE campaign will feed into a completely new project.
Currently, I am reading a series of books called: A Handbook for Travellers in Northern Italy. It comes in 3 parts, northern, central, and southern Italy. Not only is it in the public domain, but it was also written in a strange time period before Italy unified into a single country. It was published in the mid-1800s, so it was only accurate for a decade or two. The editor goes out of his way to mention the publisher indirectly and never mentions his name or the names of the writing correspondents.
This gives the whole thing a very odd but familiar vibe. Here are 3 books about a place we all know with passing familiarity, but it gives details that are not current, accurate, or even the whole story. On purpose... Probably because the publisher and editor realized the world was changing too fast to be a useful reference and didn't want to slap their names on it. They hide this with an air of humility.
It sounds like a D&D module. Theoretically, all modules exist within your homebrew campaign world with references to the goings-on of people who you don't know, but also theoretically exist in your campaign world.
I hope to use these three books as a framework to produce modules and a campaign book for my homebrew campaign. It would come in two parts, a lore book which is directly modeled on those old handbooks of Italy, and the campaign book which would reframe the lore into specific modules and setting details that DMs with find useful.
The funny bit is this stuff almost writes itself. Where the real-world handbook is cloaked in humility to sell copies, my version is written by an evil, selfish person working on heavy self-aggrandizement. As a sample, I offer the preface of this work:
PREFACE TO THE SEVENTH EDITION
═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═ ═
The length of time that has elapsed since the first publication of this (1274) Handbook has made many additions and alterations necessary. The extension of roadways, trails, and ferries in several nations of the Northern portion of the Peninsula, important changes in the distribution, and descriptions of several Routes became indispensable. Some new Routes have been added.
It has been the Editor’s endeavor to render this New Edition as a complete guidebook of the region that it professes to describe, as Drowishly possible; in doing so, I, Magarven the Great Traveller, must acknowledge my obligation to numerous kind Correspondents, Spies, and those who I have lavishly interrogated on numerous occasions, who have transmitted to me valuable, practical information for the purpose. These lesser people and contributors, second always to me as the Great Traveller, allow the author of this work to claim perfection. I must solicit from those who use THE HANDBOOK FOR TRAVELLERS IN THE NORTHERN PENINSULA, any additions, or forsooth, corrections, founded on personal experience, they may be able to transmit to me or any information generally of a practical character, useful to travellers on the Peninsula. Assuming, of course, that they are more correct than I am. Which is unlikely.
I, Magarven the Great Traveller, the Editor Extrodinare of this work think that it is proper and just to leave out the name of the author who penned the first edition of The HANDBOOK FOR TRAVELLERS IN THE NORTHERN PENINSULA. That lesser person has had nothing to do with the six subsequent editions, except as regards those portions which were appropriated and rewritten, to an exceptional standard, through the hard work of myself and perhaps the few minor and lesser contributors who I have righteously selected as better correspondents than the original hack.
I warn the reader that any mistakes or misinterpretations of this guidebook must be attributed to the scribes or a failure of the reader’s intellect. As mentioned before, this is My greatest work, a simple and humble Perfection.
Porto di Nazza, Juno, 1361
2023, I hope will be a very good year. While I doubt I will be able to meet every goal I've listed, having them spelled out will help me attain a couple of them.
Sunday, March 13, 2022
For my next three/four reviews, I will be going down a fantasy run. I finally obtained a copy of Sanctuary from the 1980s. This book is a collection of three different books of short stories which take place in the Thieves' World setting. This book is very different from the 2003 novel of the same name. This will be three different reviews of each book, Thieves' World, Tales from the Vulgar Unicorn, and Shadows of Sanctuary.This series of books was created by Robert Lynn Asprin as a shared universe. The authors of the stories used the same city as the settling and created their characters to exist there. It was a simple and ingenious idea that has been used for many other books.
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
These do not include continuing series posts which shall continue as per normal. So far, those are reviews, spring model posts and a summer gaming updates.
General cleanup on the blog will continue pace, which is something I try to hit once a week. I will be updating the photos of figurines to be compliant with my planned updates. This will allow me to play with my camera for item 5.
1. Rerelease Swashbuckler Character Class as "Character Pack for OSR and AD&D"
A. Write new character classes.
i. Write 3 Kobold character classes.
a. Classic kobold class as per monster stats.
b. Folklore kolold class as per legends.
c. The kobolds of Minawan tribe character class in my campaign.
ii. Adapt 3 new classes for this pack.
a. The Hoodlum/Gangbanger class.
b. The Monomach class.
c. The Unicorn/Pegasus class.
iii. Create 2 new classes based on military fiction.
a. The 70's Era Veteran class.
b. The Space Marine class.
B. Provide files in four types.
iii. 8.5x11 folding book style.
iv. 5x7 booklet style, requiring cutting on the purchaser's part.
2. Remaster Kobold's Folly on Drivethru.
A. Create a map suitable for printing, poster size.
B. Ensure this map is suitable for VTT online games.
C. Add the aforementioned mention Kobold character classes.
D. Write an adventure for this book.
3. Remaster Compass Rose Inn mini-settling on Drivethru.
A. Create a map suitable for printing, poster size.
B. Ensure this map is suitable for VTT online games.
C. Write an adventure for this book.
4. Record new podcast based on HuckSawyer's feedback.
A. Avoiding the TPK.
B. Why TPK's happen.
C. Avoid dicing your way through TPK's.
5. Put FridayNightDeathSlots.com into production
A. Record videos.
B. Edit video.
C. Record audio voice over.
D. Launch Pilot.
E. Collect data on viewer's opinions.
6. Update 716exchange.com blog
A. Coming phone changes in the Western New York area for national suicide prevention hotline launch. (Deemed critical. complete.)
B. More reviews of Western New York products, companies and events.
7. Update unpwned.com blog with tutorial on flash drives.
B. Drive formats for a variety of OSes.
D. Common flash drive ripoff schemes and how to address.
Saturday, March 27, 2021
Here is what I have been up to the past few days. I'm working a lot, so I don't have that much time.
Today, I burned a bunch of time reading blogs, 3 Toadstools mostly. This week on 3 Toadstools he revisit's a favorite of mine, Isle of Dread. 3 Toadstools came up with this great tool for campaign building, where you select 10 monsters and run with them. He has a list of categories here. It's a great read and simplifies worldbuilding.
Anyway, I am getting ready to return to my Peninsula of Plenty campaign, but modifying it to be a hex crawl. You probably noticed I have thinking about hexcrawls a lot. I have Filling in the Blanks scheduled for my next review, but haven't done it because I've been reading and rereading it for ideas for this new campaign style. I have to get both of these done as Into the Wild will be out next month.
What I have had time for is sketching. I like to do paper plans for new ideas in Inkscape. I am also tinkering with a new display format for images. Ideally, all images will be the same size so the page doesn't jump. This will be the case with my photos of models, but harder to do with drawings. It's a start.
Tuesday, January 19, 2021
It's kind of funny, but I started this podcast with a mistake. I was thinking about podcasting and was shopping for microphones and trying out new software. Someplace in that process, COVID hit and the only way I could get art supplies was online. I placed an order with Amazon without noticing that I place a microphone into the cart instead of my wishlist.
I could of sent it back, oooooor I could make something with it. That mike has served me well over the past year, far more than just a podcast.
I used it for my zoom classes, both the classes I taught and the classes I took in school. I also scored a new job using that set up. The mic is hardly used for the podcast at all but it's been a life saver.
Rather than spamming it up with multiple posts, I've been drawing again with some new markers. I'm trying to get the hang of really simple sketches. I'm having probables balancing line weight with proportions.
|The ill-proportioned horse.|
|A better try.|
Monday, May 11, 2020
Anyway, Star Wars has become a large part of Disney World and while I can't quite wrap my head around Disney and Star Wars living under the same roof, I do love it.
In 2016, Star Wars was plastered all over Hollywood Studios. My son Nathan and I picked up some little metal toys. I selected new X-Wing while Nathan went with the New Order's TIE. I keep mine on my desk while he has his on his dresser. My wife won't let me keep mine in the bedroom...
Anyway, I can't wait to get back there, except I can wait for this pandemic to cool down. It's a weird feeling. One of my favorite things to do in Disney is to take in the little museum like setups they do to absorb the crowds. It works and usually it's a relief to get out of the heat. They had a whole area in Hollywood Studios for Star Wars.
I loved it!
I would be remiss if I didn't plug our most excellent travel planner, Jaime Nowicki. Her services are free and she does more than Disney packages. You can also follow her on Facebook.
Sunday, December 15, 2019
What do I need the camera for? Two semesters ago, I had to put together a video for a class project. I decided to cover the Battle of Rorke's Drift using minis I had on hand. Being me, I couldn't just do a PowerPoint, it was stop motion all the way.
|Proof of concept video|
At the end of the day, I found that my lesson plans were wildly out of spec for 6 student with autism, so I brought in the NPC Players to help me out. The NPC Players are my children, Nathan, Catherine and Paul. I asked them to read the script which were based of social studies lesson plans I presented in my classroom. Since my children couldn't come into my classroom due to various privacy and safety concerns, I had to work backwards and sideways to create script based of adapted lesson plans for 10 year olds. Every evening for weeks, the NPC Players and I tried to make the script come to life in stop motion form.
I got an A on this assignment, but I honestly don't believe my professor had a good handle on how much I achieved. One teacher, one teaching assistant, 2 classroom aides (sometimes different people), 6 10 year old students, who happen have autism remotely working with 3 typical middle and high school students, all working together to produce an understandably scripted video and associated adapted lesson plans to meet my professor's college class standards. It was quite an achievement.
At the end of the day, it was a bridge to far. The audio we worked so hard to produce bombed big time. But I would totally do it again. I think my students and children gave a great grasp of the historical event.
One last task has remained undone since the end of the project. The clean up. 9 kids and 4+ adults made a hash of my models. A mess that remains to this day.
Over the Christmas break, I plan on reorganizing my models and post images of them here.
Here are some examples images of random figures from the jumbled hash.
Wednesday, December 11, 2019
|Newest Map, throne room created with Inkwell Ideas Worldographer|
|1st map of all three floors and surrounding orchard.|
Thursday, November 14, 2019
Never ever do I ever - Horses, Drownings, and First Aid
Miniature Treasures - The Moldy Unicorn
A walk down memory lane... thru a Motte and Bailey Castle
Practical Tactical - Which Edition of D&D is Best?
Macaulay - Great Books, Lousy Pictures
Now, what do I wish was on that list?
At five, I'd like to see the A walk down memory lane... thru a Motte and Bailey Castle. My dad has built many iterations of this castle and it is my favorite.
Number 4, Update for Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners! I have to plug my own stuff, right?
Number 3 is my review of Module Review - BSOLO Ghost of Lion Castle.
Number two is another review post called Book Review - A Brief Study of TSR Book Design. This is great, free book by Kevin Crawford. If you want to do retro-games that look like old TSR products, you need this book.
Unconventional, but I would put Miniature Treasures - The Moldy Unicorn at number one.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments.
Wednesday, November 13, 2019
I continue to add people to my blog roll. I just started reading WELCOME TO THE HOME OF SOME GUY ON THE INTERNET by Robert Aronson. Again, MeWe doesn't disappoint when it comes to highlighting great talent, however I keep the blog roll going because I fear a G+ like collapse. All it takes is a good link on MeWe to your blog, a request in the comments below (with link) or a friend request on MeWe to get that link added here. It's easy.
Robert's blog might be the longest title on my blog roll. One of my favorite points about his blog was the source of the URL, which is kind of like my character Reg. On another point, it is also another good opportunity to mention Red Dice Diaries like I did in my post about Reg.
Three more plugs and I am done with this post. First, to prevent a second G+ like collapse, go follow these two aforementioned mentioned blogs. I gotta be honest, I hit the Red Dice Diaries blog to access the podcast more often than I read it. I love hearing John Alan Large's ideas and those of his guests and callers.
Next, go over to Campaign Wiki and register your blog. If you have a blog, go ahead and do what John Alan Large did and add some info about you. Starting with a name or handle, so people can find you, hear from you and praise you.
And for the final plug, you can pick up all of my products at DriveThruRPG. Each one is PWYW so feel free to give it a try before dropping some change in the tip jar.
Thursday, October 31, 2019
I figure this task is on par with writing 50,000 words. And I think it is something I need to do anyway.
As I work on that, I will also wordsmith all of my publications and add more artwork to each.
It's a reasonable endeavor, at least more reasonable than kicking out a novel.
Saturday, August 3, 2019
|How does he know he lost anything? |
His tent looks like his room.
I am bone tired.
Let me give you the updates for the past couple of weeks.
In the middle of July, I put the 52 Weeks of Magic of series on hiatus. That will be back at the end of August. I have also decommissioned three other blogs and imported their data to These Old Games. I am still in the process of vetting data from that process, some posts will be completely deleted while others will be adapted for here.
To this end, should now see some new tabs above: Short Stories and Hardware. "Short Stories" is exactly as labeled, some fictional and some from real life. "Hardware" is comprised of a series of links to computer support issues that I have run across while maintaining old hardware, usually for this site.
On July 15th, I launched The Compass Rose Minisetting title on DriveThruRPG. On July 28th, I launched a similar title called Kobold's Folly. Based on the feedback I have received, I separated the maps from the books, causing me to relaunch Compass Rose to match the style of Kobold's Folly. These are ruleset agnostic titles and are merely maps and descriptions for quick plug and play into your campaign. Sort of like a travel guide for DMs.
Zero to Hero and the Character Sheet continue to do well on Drive Thru. Thank you for downloading them.
The final update was to the Tek Tab, with new data for July being added.
Upcoming changes to website are based off of my experience from this round of updates. Right now, the Gemstone IV tab, Maps tab and Pregenerated characters are all static pages. It is more logical to break them down by subject and recreate them as individual post. The tab feature can pull up a chronological list of posts by subject. This makes far more sense, as my web stats do not include static pages.
One last item is, it has recently come to my attention that I will be going to Disney in November.
Thank you for being so patience with all of these updates and changes as I get everything in order to present more content to all of you. I couldn't and wouldn't do it without you.
Saturday, July 20, 2019
|Typical view when your |
ribs are screwed up
I spent a few days laying on my back trying to decide what to do that day. My choices were sort of limited to sitting, laying down or standing. I had no patience for drawing or painting owing to the profound lack of sleep. Standing is Darien Lake's wave pool was soothing but nerve-racking because there was a serious danger of drowning when the waves started up.
I decided to write a book. The first thing that popped into my head was something for D&D. I had some old character sheets lying around from a decades old campaign. In that campaign, I had 3 players write "chemist" under non-weapon proficiency. Three different bids to get their characters TNT or at least gun powder.
Yeah, no. That did not fly.
Then I realized that I actually had a bunch of great ideas for non-weapon proficiencies. In the previous semester at school, I found a great book called Everyday Life in Early America which seemed to mirror my thought process. People have skill sets. A weapon proficiency is the ability to use a weapon, a specific item, with a specific set of skills. A profession is more than a singular skill but less applicable to adventuring.
D&D and AD&D does not call these extra abilities skills, they are called "non-professional skills" meaning that they have nothing to do with the character's current class. But they aren't really quantified.
I quantified those abilities in Zero to Hero: Uncommon Commoners. I built a list of 50+ different professions from history, broke them into three categories and then defined what each could do.
One of my pet peeves from D&D is the lack of a "shared world" from outset of a game. I had people looking at characters' sheets and declaring that their ranger couldn't swim, but had a recipe for dynamite. Yeah, BS. What do you mean a ranger can't swim? That isn't a skill I want you rolling against. If I'm gonna kill you, it won't be with a bunch of die rolls to see how long you can tread water.
By allowing someone to select from this long list of professions, characters gained depth. And a smidgen of hit points and a whole set of ancillary skills which were had some semblance of the reason assigned to them. It stands to reason that a trapper can set a trap, a farmer knows a bit about cobbling junk together to get stuff done and cook can identify plants and build a proper fire.
The ability to make a rutabaga pie isn't going to buff your character, but it could make for interesting role play. On other hand, some tools are killing machines. But there is a reason why they aren't used as weapons. It's very hard to do carpentry or woodcutting after someone has killed a person in plate armor with your axes.
Some of these skills are immediately pertinent to characters. If my cleric was a chef, why don't I use knives in combat? Because that is something you choose to forego, it doesn't mean you can't throw knives at a bulls-eye. Can my wizard use a small hammer (1d4) because he is a former mason? Sure, but he has to give up one other weapon.
These professions add to each character, without overly unbalancing a game.
Well, this is much more than I meant to post, but this is why what is happening on the back end of my site. If I mean to keep producing products, there has to be some data tracking to see what other think, which I will put into some of my future works.
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Monday, July 15, 2019
A few months ago, I purchased Inkwell Idea's Worldographer which is an excellent way to visualize your campaign ideas. This weekend, I released a new title called The Compass Rose Minisetting. This product introduces the Compass Rose Inn in visual form and brings to life long time NPCs from my home campaign. It is listed at PWYW with a suggested price of $1.99. It has been selling briskly since it's Sunday evening release.
This mapset is rules agnostic, there are zero references to rulesets. It can be plugged into any campaign setting or ruleset.
In August, a companion to this piece will be released. It will feature characters for D&D and AD&D, will contain more history, magic items and obviously, more maps. It will be offered at a $4.99 price point as a separate product.
In order to launch this product on time, I have placed 52 Weeks of Magic on a 3 week hiatus. Some of the magic items that would have appeared here will be included with this updated version of The Compass Rose Inn.
Additionally, These Old Games will be reworked during this time to incorporate posts from my 3 other blogs as they are being decommissioned at the end of this year. I simply cannot write, work, attend school, have a family and continue to update 4 different blogs.
I hope you enjoy these new features, as much I do producing them.