Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lazy Sunday Photo Dump

Thursday, December 15, 2011

More on Ardion

First and foremost Ardion is being created for my personal enjoyment and that of my minions. I want it to have an "Old School" feel  and still take off on personal tangents free of rules or regulations. To be honest Old School means rules- alot of them. It may have to do with the founders of RPG's coming from the world of war gaming where each inch of movement is measured with a with a ruler and every sack of potatoes is given an encumbrance value. If you want to play the game the way Gary and the boys wrote it you are going to have lots of rules that you may not like or may not make sense to you- you can't play a Goblin ranger, Your priest cant use a sword, your magic-user cant wear armor.

I'm willing to go with a lot of the rules, I happen to like rules, unless they get in the way of how I want to do things.  Therefore on Ardion - Goblins can be PC's, Dwarves have started using Gunpowder, Orcs arent dumb brutes (they're smart brutes),  and there are flying ships (and the Halflings have them).

Thats all I have in my brain for now. the rest is a blank canvas to be filled as I get inspired or at my minions request (this campaign is for them after all). If they want to go to a jungle, I'll make a jungle, if they want to hunt mummies in a desert so be it.

Yesterday I posted the start of my campaign map. Several people commented on it and wanted to know a bit about the program. It's called Hexographer.  It's enjoyed a bit of popularity for its ease of use. I'm enjoying it and still finding out how to do things with it. I believe you can play around with it for free to find out if it bops yer bippy. they have an alternate tile pack but its a bit pricey for my cheapass.

In a perfect world the Hexographer guys and the Castles and Crusades guys would team up and create an ultimate online rpg software tool.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The lands of Ardion- A work in progress

The Castles & Crusades campaign that I have been running for the Minions is in full swing. With the help of Hexographer I've begun work on the campaign map. Pictured above is my progress so far.  I've decided to take a tip from "The Princess Bride" and give my nations currency names.

The boys are currently in the southern half of the kingdom of Sestertius, right outside of a small Halfling village known as NewBriar.  The nearest city to them is the port city of Barnacus "City in peril!"- old school dice slingers may remember the name from  Dragon #80.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John Carter - Oh my Lord...

The Mars books by Edgar Rice Burroughs were an early favorite of mine.  I suppose it had to wait until now to be made with all the grandness that it deserves.  You MUST read the books, at least the first book to truly appreciate what Pixar and Disney are making. There are those who are making ignorant comparisons to Avatar. Fools. A Princess of Mars established an entire genre of fiction and reigns supreme in it.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Dicey Tales on sale with free PDF copy!

In the spirit of making a quick buck we have decided to make a special offer on issue #1 of Dicey Tales. From today through midnight (PST) on Monday all print copies of Dicey Tales are $2.00 off and come with a free PDF Copy. So now is a great opportunity to order a book that has been personally hailed by my mom as "A really nice looking book".

You can order right there on the sidebar.

Happy buy the book.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Gaming with the Minions...

Our First session of Castles and Crusades started today. Two of my Minions participated. One of them played a human Paladin named Joshua and the other played a Gnome Rogue known as “Little Peter”-(don’t ask). They travel with a Halfling Mercenary swordsman named Kupo (who had a class that day) and an NPC Cleric named Helga.  Helga is a standard NPC that I sue in almost all my games where a combat medic role is needed. She is usually a no-nonsense Cleric of St. Cuthbert who has no tolerance for evil, undead, or laziness. In this campaign however, I decided to forgo the entire pantheon of god’s and simply take a cue from the works of the late David Gemmell- I use “The Source” to represent the forces of good and “The Darkness” to represent the forces of evil. So in this campaign Helga is a Source Priestess, though still a foe of shirkers and cowards.  

I’ve decided to run them through the introductory module “Shadows of the Halfling Hall”.
To make a long story short- Helga and Joshua have been asked by the local Abbott to travel to the Halfling shire of Newbriar to investigate reports of the town leaders all disappearing after attending a party at a local well-to-do Halfling’s estate.

Arriving in the small shire, Joshua and Helga (accompanied by their comrade Little Peter) make their way to the local Pub and meet with the interim Sherriff. Who fills them in about the missing Halflings, the party they attended, and the loss of the patrol that was sent to look for the partygoers the day after the party.
Our three heroes decide to make their way to the estate and investigate. They arrive at noon and find the estate in shambles, with a very definite aura of evil emanating from the darkened doorway.  With their Halfling guides safely down the road providing morale support, our heroes descend into the manor.

The grand main hall resembles a slaughter house of the damned. Corpses and body parts are strewn about the place along with broken and upended furnishings, rotting food and an overpowering stench of death and decay. It must have been some party.

As our heroes continued further into the great hall the bodies of the Halflings begin to reanimate and gather to attack the intruders. Helga summons the power of the source and turns a good number of the zombies, but not all.  Joshua whirls his great sword in a silver arc and wades into a group of Halfling undead. Little Peter unloads his hand crossbow and imbeds a quarrel right in the eye socket of a zombie (The first natural “20” of the campaign). The battle lasts several rounds and though its close, our heroes are victorious. Little Peter was grievously wounded and was drug out of the manor by Helga as Joshua dispatched the last of the zombie welcoming committee.

Our heroes decide to return to the village, heal up and await the arrival of their sword-brother Kupo, Before delving further into the horrors of the Halfling Hall.

Now all of this was with the new Castles and Crusades (C&C) system I wrote about a few days ago.  Well, I'm here to report that so far C&C gets two great big thumbs up!  The character creation rules are a breeze and combat was fun and exciting. Now,  I'm running this for my guys who are 11 and 12 years old so the roleplaying is slow and halting but it will get better as they get older and more comfortable with the system.  But I am having  a great time reliving that feeling of low level character death coming with every new dice roll and the elation when a solid hit is scored. 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

C&C? We'll see...

The minions and I have a regular Dicey Tales game going on every weekend. The episodes feature the adventures of Dr. Arachnid and The Skull, two intrepid crime fighters that roam the fog-shrouded streets of 1930's San Francisco in search of evil doers to thwart. 
Now as much fun as that is, I still have the hankering to do a bit of old fashioned "dungeon crawling". So in celebration of "Teach Your Kids To Game Week" I've decided to restart our fantasy campaign for a few adventures.  We had a regular Pathfinder game going for a bit but I noticed that it ran a bit slow. I'm thinking that the Pathfinder system may be a bit much for my lads at the moment, hell it's a bit much for me most times. When I switched them over to Dicey Tales the sessions seemed to glide on rails as opposed to our Pathfinder games. I would normally just switch to Legends of Steel for a fantasy fix, but my minions want to play Gnomes and Elves, which we all know is pure blasphemy in Legends of Steel.  So I did a little research and  turned to Castles and Crusades

Now personally I'm an old 2nd Edition fan (at last count I think there are at least 3 or 4 dozen of us left world-wide) but I want my boys to have at least one foot in modern gaming and still get a little Gygaxian influence in their game. I'm hoping that C&C has the right mix of what I'm looking for. First I bought a PDF of the Players Handbook (PHB) and then I tried to go budget and get a copy of their "Little PHB", thinking that it would be like the Savage Worlds Explorers Edition-wrong answer- the print on that damn thing is so tiny, it gave me a headache. I finally ponied up the money and picked up the  PHB in hard back-that was more like it.  I'm going though it now and so far I think I made a good choice. It has much that is reminiscent of 1st & 2nd Edition AD&D but with enough common sense changes to make me smile- and it has Monks!
The truth will be in the playing though so I'll let you all know if C&C makes the grade here at the Lair.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Danger 5

Hats off to Chris for this nugget of pure pop pulp gold:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Enterprise...I get it.

Thanks to Netflix I started watching Enterprise. Enterprise was the most recent in the TV franchise and from what I understand one of the less popular of the franchise. Personally I've been a casual fan of the franchise, I grew up with a daily dose of the original series throughout my elementary and Jr. High years so I am more versed in that area of the timeline. I know enough about the other shows to keep myself involved in a conversation, but that's about it. 

Sitting down and watching this series in it's entirety I think I have come to an understanding as to why they have such a loyal fan base. When you look at the shows depicting the future you see repressive regimes controlling mankind, evil sentient computers hunting us to extinction, or a post-apocalyptic zombie filled wasteland.   The Star Trek universe offers hope and a less pessimistic future for mankind. It's not a perfect future- there are still wars and plagues and repression, but we've also conquered many of the demons that haunt us today. 

What I like about Enterprise is watching humanity stumble into space. The crew on Enterprise don't have it all figured out. they brazenly walk in to situations waving hello when they should be scanning for life forms and sending out armed recon teams to gather intelligence. They involve themselves in situations that alter the cultural evolution of an entire species, merely because they are too ignorant to know better.  There is no "Prime Directive" to guide them, the Prime Directive is created because of their actions.

I'm sure there are reasons that the hardcore fans can give me to explain why Enterprise didnt make it. But I'm enjoying it. I even like the controversial theme. If you listen to the lyrics and watch the video it is kind of moving, yes its a little Rod Stewart meets Bryan Adams, but its not terrible.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Netflix online works for me

I've been hearing all over the media how people are upset with Netflix for their current business practices. One of their biggest complaints is that their streaming video service doesn't offer a wide selection of the hottest and newest movies.  I can see their point - I love watching a new movie as much as the next guy, but I also make a few bucks writing material for role playing games set in the pulp genres. so Netflix's library of classic, hard to find, and downright quirky movies is like mana from heaven to me.  I hope that Netflix becomes more responsive to the wishes of their customer base-many of which have shown them years of proven loyalty. But I also hope that in doing so, Netflix doesn't purge its catalog of their less in-vogue offerings. Where the hell else am I supposed to get a hold of a copy of   "Bamboo Gods and Iron Men" on short notice?

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Life at the Lair -Update

Sorry for the long sabbatical, but things have been rather up and down over here. On the up-side, She Who Must Be Obeyed, the minions, and I have been looking for a new Lair and think we have found the perfect one for our current needs. It was however, a long and tedious process. I'm hopeful that all will go as planned and I can finally have my long desired library room!

On the Evil DM Productions front. Dicey Tales #1 has been available in print and is selling. I wish it was selling faster, but I really haven't put a great deal of effort into promotion, so I figure much of the blame is mine.

Dicey tales #2 is ready to go. We just need an open spot on Jason's schedule for cover art and layout to finish it up.

I have been discussing the next Barbarians of Lemuria project with Simon and he seemed enthused about it (so much so he even offered some of his own work that was sitting "in development").

The working title of the project is "Sulan" and is basically the BoL engine powering an Oriental/Asian flavored setting similar to that found with shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender, Kung-Fu Panda,  and  Jet Li and Jackie Chan's Kung-Fu fantasy film Forbidden Kingdom. 
In Sulan I'm working on a world combining elements of Chinese, Punjabi, Arabic, and Southeast Asian Myth and culture. Careers have been added and Boons have been re-worked to add Wuxia flavored Martial arts. I've also been working on Chi Powers-similar to the psychic Powers found in Dicey Tales #1.

As is said Sulan is in the early stages of development and play-testing, so it  may not see completion until the first part of 2012.  

Here are a few sample paragraphs from an early rough draft:

Barraku are “handlers of the dead” in Sulanese society. A character with this career is a professional involved in the business of funeral rites. These tasks often entail the embalming and burial or cremation of the dead, as well as the planning and arrangement of the actual funeral ceremony. It might even involve making the casket to put the body in, but unless the Barraku is a skilled carpenter, these boxes can be very basic. Because they deal with death, they are also trained in the tanning of animal hides, taxidermy and they are even called upon to execute convicted criminals. Barraku also have extensive knowledge of the Undead and the ways of destroying or dismissing them. Barraku do not tend to favor any particular attribute over the others although Appeal is the attribute that would be least required in the performance of their work.

Elemental Sorcerer
These Sorcerers specialize in one of the four core elements; Wind, Flame, Earth, or Water.  Some practitioners learn traditionally from a Master but many learn the basics of their craft at schools. Elemental Sorcerers follow the same rules from the magic section of the BoL Legendary Edition in regards to spell power, cost, and magnitude.  Each element has an associated school the students in these schools learn not only the skills to summon and shape the elements but also specific martial arts fighting style which they use for inner discipline and self-defense.

·       Wind School- Crane style
·       Flame School – Tiger Style
·       Earth School - Stone Rhino Style
·       Water School -Water Snake style

The five different types of magic found in the lands of Sulan are Elemental Sorcery, Celestial Magic, Shamanistic Magic, Witchcraft, and Wizardry. While magic is not an everyday occurrence in the lands of Sulan, those who practice magical arts are not as shunned or reviled as they are in less civilized places. Much honor is bestowed upon practitioners of magic who use their skill for the benefit of mankind.

City-State of Quai

Between the southern jungles kingdoms and the borders of Great Sulan lies the powerful  city-state of Quai.  Quai’s well manned castles and fortresses control the passes through the mountains and therefore the flow of trade for the entire region. The Raja of Quai leads an army of hardened warriors, Bound Earth Elementals, and a fierce contingent of War elephants. Though officially a tributary state to Sulan, past efforts to conquer this mountain state have always failed.  With the current treaty, honor is maintained, face is saved and trade flows to the benefit of all.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The first print run of Dicey Tales #1 has arrived!

It's finally here!
Dicey Tales Issue #1 is in print!  We just got our first order in from the printer and they look awesome!
And it's being sold directly through Evil DM Productions with FREE domestic shipping.

Check out the button on the side!

$12.00 flat! No shipping charges for all orders in the United States.  I wish I could offer free shipping World-wide but it just wasn't possible.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

I found my Core Rules Discs!

The reason for this re-post is because I was cleaning out a long forgotten section of the Lair the other day and ran across this little gem.  Not sure if it would work I took it over to the PC and booted it up. It worked! No friggen way! Core Rules works with Windows 7!
I quickly summoned all the minions over and regaled them with all the mysteries that are "Core Rules" (plus the Expansion pack, of course).
Hearing the creak of the chest and the soft crunch of the book opening, brought back some great memories of gaming in with my old group when I lived in Hawaii.  

(and despite some of the recent posts on RPGNet, these guys are Gamer's and they all look to be in pretty good shape...well the one on the far left could drop 4D6 Lbs.)

Good times, good times...

I still belonged to the Core Rules Yahoo Group but I haven't participated in years. Now I have something to talk about.  In fact the Minions and I were discussing resurrecting "Family Game Night", and I see no reason why we cant start a honest to goodness 2nd edition Grand Campaign- Lord knows I have enough material. And they are all of age. We have dabbled with several systems (linked adventures and such) and done a lot of character rolling. But we haven't played a true Old School campaign. 

My oldest boy is in college and is a casual Gamer and my two younger ones are just entering Middle School- so I figure the time is now before full-time jobs and pretty girls start crimping in on hanging out with the Old Man.

Any way here is that post from a few years back on Core Rules:

Back in the 90’s at the tail end of the 2nd edition of D&D, TSR came out with some software that combined all of the core books (fully indexed) with HTML versions, a character generator (that allows you to maintain the character and add equipment and proficiencies as the character progresses), a dice roller, and two different map making programs. The character generator allows the user to customize character races, classes, magic items, spells and equipment. The software also allows the user to “link” map locations to monster encounters and a treasure data base. They also had an "Expansion pack" which refined many of the features from the core rules program AND added all the books from the "Complete book of..." series.

TSR supposedly had big plans to make a version for the then new 3.0 game. That never really came to pass. There was a character generator but it didn’t compare to the core rules software in the least, there was no map program, dice roller, or indexed books.

I was just thinking about all the software advances that have been made since then, and I wonder why there has never been a product released to challenge the Core rules set? I’m not a software developer by any means but you have to think that there have been enough advances in software that someone could take their RPG system and make a kick ass package for their games. Wouldn’t a GURPS core rules set just rock?

Or a FUDGE/FATE core rules? There are several other products that do a bit of this and a bit of that, but I have yet to see one that combines all the features that were in the Core rules and the expansion.

I’m one of “those guys” that still loves and plays 2nd ed and I treasure my copies of this software, it has bugs and you need to do a few work arounds from time to time but all in all it’s a very cool tool.

You can still find copies out there but now days the core rules software can go for as high as $200.00 bucks on Ebay. For those of you lucky enough to own a copy, you can find find plenty of patches, custom items and support at the core rules and beyond yahoo group.

Here is a map I made using one of the core rules mapping programs: