Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Escapist reviews The Outer Presence

I was especially pleased to read this review of The Outer Presence by The Escapist.

Thanks to Marshall Lemon for taking the time to read and write about my little indie RPG system/adventure.  Also, a big high-tentacle-five to Glynn Seal of +MonkeyBlood Design for making the book look awesome!

Now all I need is for someone to post that link over at  (^^(;,;)^^)


Monday, September 28, 2015

Liberation of the Crimson Slayer

Last Saturday afternoon was yet another hilarious session of Crimson Dragon Slayer.  This time, I used Liberation of the Demon Slayer as the adventure.  TL; DR: It was just as ridiculously awesome as the previous sessions, but I find that the more I run Crimson Dragon Slayer, the crazier it gets.

We had a new character join the party - Emerald Samurai, a robot spell scoundrel into steampunk with nifty crossbow and headlight attachments.

The PCs were getting some R&R after their last adventure in the Caverns of Chaos.  They'd been taking it easy in the small town known as Clear Meadows.  Not a beach town (it's landlocked), but still peaceful... until last night when the stars fell out of the sky.

The next day they noticed a large crowd on the outskirts of town - it was Saint Irig's Day and volunteers were getting ready to delve into the local caves in search of the legendary demon slaying sword, Kalthalax, before demons overran the countryside.

As I was explaining the customs of Clear Meadows, it occurred to me that the Mayor would have some sort of magical device for transporting the sword back into the caves once the star-fall demons had been vanquished.  It seemed so simple and obvious, I wondered to myself why I hadn't come up with that solution years ago.  Having some poor bastard go back into the caves and leave it for the monsters just seems like a strange way to go about things.  Kalthalax can't be wielded by mortal hands for too long, but a GM can be inventive.  Maybe the elders of Clear Meadows have a portable stasis field they can drop the sword in?

Anyways, one of the party members is an infernal elf, so he wanted the sword.  Also, the Winter-Fest damsel would become the property of the one who successfully recovers the blade from the caves.  That was motivation enough for everyone else.

A detailed report of everything that transpired would take way too long.  So, here are some highlights...

I had kept myself from using the tables in the back of How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss because I didn't want the potential awesomeness of those to influence the worth of Crimson Dragon Slayer back when I was playtesting it (the playtesting phase sort of continued after the book was already published - that's why it got a slight update last month).  But for this session, making sure the game rocked on its own merits was unnecessary.  Crimson Dragon Slayer had already proven its worth.  Now I could open things up and pull out some of my Dragon Master tricks.

The d100 color table got used a lot, the mutant magic item table got a few rolls, as did prior PC experiences, and a few others.  Right from the get-go, I wanted there to be something especially weird and cool in that first pit trap.  Emerald Samurai eventually stole some magical pale jade wizard robes from a corpse.  The robe was telepathic and secreted a glowing ooze that was striped maroon, burgundy, turquoise, and vermilion.  We used the name generator in Crimson Dragon Slayer to come up with its moniker - Eagle Bonanza!  Cooperatively, everyone at the table decided that it should have an eagle pattern on the back.  This had become one of the strangest magic items I'd ever doled out.

Later, there were some scrolls found in an alchemist's lab.  Three of them were pages of a heavy metal ballad called "The Trials of Meat and Time".  Again, the Crimson Dragon Slayer name generator helped out.  Emerald Samurai wisely noted that meat + time = maggots.  A truth so profound that none dared deny it's prophecy!

Personally, I believe that games, adventures, campaign guides, etc. that foster a gonzo vibe allow gamers to keep upping the ante, escalating the subjective levels of extreme gonzo until a session reaches its gonzo zenith, something I'm going to call "Gonzo 111".  Gonzo 111 is that moment when the game attains that perfect plateau of zany, surreal, and awesomely ridiculous... when out-of-this-world becomes out-of-this-universe!  Once you go too far down that road, it's mondo-gonzo.  There's no coming back from that.  The current silliness quotient will poison later attempts at serious sci-fi, horror, and fantasy.

By the end, we had reached Gonzo 111.  A well-placed multi-crit from a magical trident wielded by Emerald Ice Panther caused the lich to explode so hard that the earth below him broke apart, releasing a crimson dragon that seemed more arch-devil than anything else.

Panther Asphalt used Kalthalax to drain the crimson dragon of his life-force.  The energy surge was so great that it catapulted the adventurers back onto the Clear Meadows' beach that never was.  Yes, the phenomena actually made the small town in the middle of nowhere beachfront property!

Throughout the session, Ronnie Von Blitzkrieg serenaded us with epic-level riffs and solos.  His many costume-changes inspiring the subterranean denizens to take notice of his gnarly style.  Oh yeah, he also broke the spirit of a giant demon wasp from the outer void to such an extent that it became his mount.

So much laughter.  I don't know if I've ever laughed as hard or as long than when I'm running Crimson Dragon Slayer.  I've read reports of similar experiences, so I don't think it's just me or my gaming group.  Nevertheless, next month I intend to try Crimson Dragon Slayer out with local gamers I've never played with before (or once many years ago).  Should be enlightening.


p.s.  I've had a great first week of my latest Kickstarter campaign for Alpha Blue.  Back it if you want something unexpectedly weird, gonzo, perverse, and awesome!  Also, custom d6 that will be perfect for your next Crimson Dragon Slayer game (with leather dice pouch).

Friday, September 18, 2015

Big Sale

This weekend I'm having an unprecedented sale on my DTRPG and RPGNow PDFs.  Everything is 50% off.

So, this is your chance.  If you've been hemming and hawing, wavering, wondering, and wishing you could taste the goods before doubling down on Venger Satanis... well, now's the time.

Have at it, hoss!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

One Page Zine

I got bit by the bug.  The zine bug.  Even though I've been self-publishing respectable looking PDFs and softcover books for a few years, there's just something about the chaotic, messy, personal, garage band, DIY, no frills, raw creative spirit of a zine.  Many years ago, I had my own - but it wasn't RPG related and I didn't have the internet to help me do anything other than put free copies around town.

Anyways, reading about all the zines - especially one pagers - on the blogs of +Erik Tenkar and +Matthew Schmeer got me all excited.  So, I created one.  Now, what to do with it?  I sent a bunch over to +Mythoard earlier today.  But how to go about disseminating the rest?

Here's what I propose...

1.  Zine for zine exchange.  If you want to trade zines, just let me know.  I'd be happy to send one your way if you want to send one mine.

2.  Yearly subscription.  Sending me a dollar here and there seems like too much to keep track of for too little.  How about $10 for 6 bi-monthly zines?  Here's the schedule I had in mind:  October, December, February, April, June, August, (repeat).  

3.  You do a service for me.  Maybe you leave the severed head of a beloved racing horse in someone's bed and I slip you a few pages when no one's looking.  Badda bing badda boom, capiche?  

Email me and let's do some business:

Oops, before I forget... what can you expect to see in these one-page zines of mine?  The same weird as Hell, science-fantasy gonzo junk you'll find in most of my books, I suppose.  Some of it awesome, some of it useful or downright silly, nonsensical, and occasionally dumb (but funny, I hope).

The first three is a planned trilogy called "The Scarlet Sorcerer's Sanctuary".  No matter how hard I try, I can't seem to reach escape velocity from all these fucking colors, man!  It's like I'm trapped in a Dario Argento film or something.  


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Kort'thalis Critique

I've had the good fortune to receive some reviews of my books over the years.  Below are a few of the lastest...

This one is for The Outer Presence.  That one is for Crimson Dragon Slayer (now with character sheet, crystalline racial HD, typos fixed, and 10% more crimson).

I'll also link to another review.  It's for How to Game Master like a Fucking Boss.  Not the most glowing endorsement, but I appreciate the analysis and think it'll help the book find its audience and vice-versa.  So, why not balance it with a few words from a gamer in Switzerland?

Hey, keep 'em coming, guys!


Monday, September 7, 2015

Own your OSR

This is going to be the briefest of briefs tonight.  Got back from a family vacation last night and I see a lot has gone on in a week.

Specifically, I'm talking about the whole "Tournament of Rapists" / One Book Shelf fiasco.  By now, you're probably marginally aware.  I won't go into detail, but censorship may happen because the internet is full of idiots, assholes, and pearl-clutching cretins.

Back to my vacation - pickings were slim (I forgot to buy horror magazines before the trip).  So, I read the paper in the airport while my flight was delayed because of inclement weather.  Something about Prince, Jay Z, and some music platform streaming whatever called Tidal.  I have nothing to do with any of that, save for the fact that many artists are creating their own resources, their own outlets, their own avenue of revenue.

Yep, there's money to be had, folks.  30% royalty isn't all that shitty since I didn't have to chip in for the infrastructure and I don't have to handle processing, etc., etc.  But let's face it, 10 - 15% would be a hell of a lot sweeter.  Hey, there's talk of the OSR (and other RPG authors) banding together.  Why not join forces to increase profit - even if this whole books-being-cyber-burned thing is just a boogeyman?

For those interested, here's the link.  Don't be a slave...