Monday, February 12, 2018

Highlight: Swords of Jordoba: An Old-School D&D Actual Play Series

I just finished watching Episode 6 of Swords of Jordoba.
Swords of Jordoba is an Actual Play series on YouTube. The game system being used is Swords & Wizardry which is essentially the D&D rules from 1974-1977. The GM of the series is, Matt Finch, the author of Swords & Wizardry and Co-Author of OSRIC.

It's great!

If you want to watch a current and unique (will get to this below) actual play of Old-School D&D this is the one you want to watch! This does a great job at showing how to run/play Old-School D&D. With the rise of D&D, thanks to 5th Edition and Twitch, people are getting more and more interested in the roots of D&D and seeing how the game was at it's development.

Now, this isn't a Critical Role. It isn't filmed and streamed live from a studio with a crew. The players and the GM are playing online from their homes using either Skype or Google Hangouts. But what makes this series so unique, other than the play-style one must have for Old-School D&D, is how they use miniatures and terrain. Yes, I know, those other series use miniatures and terrain BUT not like this!

Since everyone is playing from their own home and not together in a studio, the GM, Matt, puts the players AND viewers right into the middle of this game. He uses a small camera that goes through the inside of the terrain that would be eye-level to the characters. The players and viewers get this amazing first-person POV experience in this series. Unlike most other series, either in a studio or Roll20, there is always a top-down view of the table (virtual table) which allows the players and viewers to see the "GM POV" rather than the character POV. So when the Dwarf opens the door all you can see is what the character would be able to see instead of removing the fog of war or just adding on the entire room so all the players and viewers get that GM POV.

Here are some screenshots I took while watching Episode 6:


Definitely checkout this series! There are currently 7 episodes right now and it shouldn't take that long to catch up. The first episode is short and the others are between an hour to two hours in length. Go here for the YouTube Playlist of the series. If you enjoy it don't forget to subscribe and share with others! Also, they have a Patreon that you can help support the series for it to continue to go on and to increase the production value of the series!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Tome of Adventure Design - February

As part of Twelve Months of Tome of Adventure Design I have rolled up February's monster for the next One-Page Adventure. Last month I received requests to post the results of the rolls for those who have a copy of the book and want to look at the tables.

February's Monster
Physical & Special Attacks: 95. Limb attack only and two special attacks.
Special Defenses: 97. One defense and two distinctive attributes.

Limb Attack Only: 53. Talons.
Special Attack: 79; 13. Squirt liquid (Single target); Asphyxiation.
Special Attack: 60; 49. Smell (Squirted, single target); Emotion (Love or happiness).
Special Defense: 12. Chitin.
Attribute: 44. Inhabit wet areas.
Attribute: 14. Builds nests from sticks, branches, mud, bones or clay.

Now that I have the outline of this new monster I will begin to wear my creativity hat and produce a terrible drawing of what I believe this creature might be.

Remember, this monster was created by using the random tables in Matt Finch's Tome of Adventure Design.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

GM Anxiety & One-Page Adventures

I suffer from social anxiety but I want to focus on GM Anxiety.
What is GM Anxiety?
- Fear of disappointing the players/friends/family
- Fear of never being fully prepared (which I know is never truly achievable)
- Fear of having all eyes on you (being the center of attention)
- Fear of being a complete failure

Obviously, every GM wants to make sure their players are having a great time and don't want to disappoint them. There is the fear of making mistakes while GMing that can cause the players to be upset or disappointed in you. And then there is the fear of not being as good as another GM and now with things like Critical Role and other successful Twitch RPG shows the pressure seems to be on GMs even more (it feels like that anyways). With someone who already struggles with social anxiety this puts so much weight on their shoulders that often it just becomes too much and the game they had scheduled for next week has now been postponed because, to quote Jan Brady, "Something suddenly came up."
Now, if something didn't come up and the game is actually happening then the GM made their save vs fear of running a game. But now all eyes is on the GM. And I know personally that this is one of the greatest challenges to deal with when you suffer from social anxiety. And just because it something you like/love and enjoy it doesn't make it any easier. There are still people that depend on you to run this game without completely screwing it up and having them throw their dice at you while yelling, "you are the worst GM ever! I am never going to play with you ever again!" (this is only a fraction of what runs through my head as the GM)

The main thing I want to focus on is never fully being prepared and how One-Page Adventures comes into play. I love reading game modules and campaign books. I have a lot of them on PDF and I often read through them and say to myself, "I am so going to run this module!" And then I sit down and go into preparation mode by taking down notes, writing out stuff and so on. But I also have this NEED to know EVERYTHING before I can run the module. Even those classic 32 page modules. I must know it all before I can run it. And of course that never happens. And the thought of running something like I6 Ravenloft fills me up with so much anxiety that it crushes me. Looking at dungeon maps, "Oh there are 83 locations. How am I supposed to know all of this before we play!?" And I know I'm not going to know it all. No one really does. But it is that NEED to know it all that drives me away from running modules.
Which is why I came up with the idea of my One-Page Adventures. I often get asked (or complaints) about why there are no maps included with my OPAs. But this is because it makes GMing so much easier for me this way. If I just have a page with the main goal of the adventure, stat blocks and some features that can be found throughout the adventure then this gets rid of a lot of the anxiety I have when it comes to being the GM. I can make up the "map" on the fly much easier than looking at a map and referring back and forth to the map and the text. Now room 23 can be whatever I feel like room 23 will be at the time of the adventurers entering the room. I could make it feel more natural or if I'm just stuck I can look at the list of features and use one I haven't used yet. Another benefit of not having a map is that if the adventurers are in a room with three doors I only need to know what's behind the door that they choose and if they never go back to see what's beyond those doors that's fine because nothing important that they would have needed would be there. I can control the flow of the game without the map and module. If I know that the adventurers need to find Barael's Blade in order for them to slay the Spider Priest I can allow them to find that when I feel it is necessary for the story.

I've thought about taking some of the classic modules that I have and put them in my OPA format for my own personal use. What's the main goal of the module? Are there any key (or cool) items that are needed? Take note of any key stat blocks and cool features already in the module. Would running I6 Ravenloft in this format take away from running it how it was originally written? Isn't the goal of I6 Ravenloft to kill Strahd? Would my players even notice that I didn't run it by the book (that is if they never read or played it before)? They probably wouldn't even care as long as they got to do what was advertised, "storm the castle and kill the vampire."

Would you be interested in a classic module in my One-Page Adventure format?

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Chasm of Crasmere for Tunnels & Trolls

January's One-Page Adventure, The Chasm of Crasmere, is now available for Tunnels & Trolls!
The format is a bit, meh, but I'm still trying to get the "right" InDesign template created for T&T One-Page Adventures. It would also help if I was using something that wasn't still running Windows XP.

The village of Crasmere has been under attack by a hive of Giant Insects after an earthquake tore a chasm through the village. The adventurers must venture down the chasm to put an end to these attacks! Though, little do they know something far more dangerous awaits at the bottom of the chasm...

DOWNLOAD HERE (Direct Link)

The featured monster, Daughter of Ogrin, was created through the random tables in Matt Finch's Tome of Adventure Design. The interesting thing with using that book is that it is designed to be used with the more D&D like RPGs (mainly Swords & Wizardry). But with the simplicity of Tunnels & Trolls it was fairly easy to adapt the creation to fit the flavor of Tunnels & Trolls.

Enjoy!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

RPG and Music Pairing: Slashers & Victims Light and Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats

Music is often an inspiration for a lot of GMs and players at the gaming table. Whether it is a character idea, adventure plot, npc, item, monster or whatever. Even my first One-Page Adventure, The Tower of Skulls, was inspired by music.

This is the first of a series called: RPG and Music Pairing.
And we are kicking it off with a fresh slice of Slashers & Victims Light with a pint of Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.

Slashers & Victims Light is a 1970s/80s slasher horror movie hack of Swords & Wizardry Light. Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats is a Psychedelic "Psycho Rock/Crime Wave" band. This is probably the best pairing you will find for a slasher/horror RPG! Now, to be specific here I want to highlight the album, The Night Creeper* by Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats. When you get your gaming group together you will want to get your copy of The Night Creeper out and Patrick Bateman'splain why this album incorporates everything about Slashers & Victims Light. Before you begin, press play, and then discuss the rules of the game and begin character creation.
Track 1: Waiting for Blood "There's a man who's just been waiting here all night long as he watches you he's smiling there all alone. He needs something better but he knows you're on your own."
Track 2: Murder Nights "I don't want to know your name, I'll cut your throat all the same."
Track 6: Melody Lane "I saw her dance when she first hit the scene. Creep joint romancing with amphetamines but tramps like me stay in shadows unseen. I want her."
Track 7: The Night Creeper "Lock up your windows and bolt up your doors. Heed all the warnings he's coming for more. Innocent eyes are not what they seem. Strangers are dangerous, they'll hide all your screams."
Track 8: Inside "Am I evil? You know I am. Will I deceive you? You know I can."

So do yourself a favor and pick up your copy of Slashers & Victims Light and The Night Creeper by Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats.

*The above Amazon link is an affiliate link.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Chasm of Crasmere

January's One-Page Adventure is here!

The Chasm of Crasmere (RPGNow)
Direct Link (Google Drive)

The village of Crasmere has been under attack by a hive of Giant Insects after an earthquake tore a chasm through the village. The adventurers must venture down the chasm to put an end to these attacks! Though, little do they know something far more dangerous awaits at the bottom of the chasm...

This OPA is designed to be used with Swords & Wizardry Continual Light. Also, as a reference you would need a copy of Tome of Horrors Light, Volume 1 (Free!).

Crasmere? That's right! The adventurers are back in the village of Crasmere! If you're not familiar with Crasmere it is the setting for the OPA, The Siege of Crasmere. Crasmere is to be used as a starting hub for your Swords & Wizardry Light and Continual Light adventures. Also, you can run this adventure without needing to run The Siege of Crasmere.

As part of the Twelve Months of Tome of Adventure Design I created the featured monster, Daughter of Ogrin, using Method 2 in the Book 2 - Monsters chapter. Sadly, I can't find my actual dice results for this monster. I wrote them down on paper and then just typed out the results. I do know that it came up with two attacks, Head (bite-fangs), Body (enfolds and suffocates) and two special attacks. Though, with the Body attack I combined that with one of the special attacks. And the other special attack came up with Squirt Liquid - single target (immobilize). And for the Special Defense the result was Transform self to energy form (fire, lava, heat). Next month I will remember to have all the results for those that have the book.

Notice: This One-Page Adventure is actually a 2-page PDF. The reason for that is I am trying to get more "professional" with these things. The second page has the OGL on the bottom half of the page and the top half is graphing paper for GMs to use.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Twelve Months of Tome of Adventure Design

For 2018 I am going to be utilizing Matt Finch's Tome of Adventure Design for my One-Page Adventures.

During the holiday season I received two physical copies of this book and so I gave one to my daughter for her to use. So after she received her copy I was able to sit down and look through my copy of this book. And I love it! I'm a huge fan of random tables and anything that adds randomness to a game that no one is expecting (including the GM). And this book is just full of tables and tables and tables and tables and etc. There's a lot of tables!
This massive book is divided up into four mini books.
Book 1 - Principles and Starting Points (Locations/Missions/Villain's Plans/etc.)
Book 2 - Monsters (Monsters...duh)
Book 3 - Dungeon Design (Maps/Tricks/Traps/etc.)
Book 4 - Non-Dungeon Adventure Design (Wilderness/Cities/Planar/etc.)

So what this means for my One-Page Adventures is that I will use this book each month to help with creating my One-Page Adventures for 2018.
I played around with Book 2 - Monsters some and here is an example of a monster that was created using Method 1.
I believe there was a total of 7 tables I had to roll on. And I will now use a random name generator to give this monster a name.

Name: Bomul
Type: Fey - Mist Form
Bomul dwells within the abandoned mines of Ghunzle. Given that she is in mist form she could expand throughout the entire mines if she chooses. She has a powerful Giant Bat (Greater), Nil, as her companion. She can summon and command a mist that isn't part of her mist form. She can cause a creature to have a protective adoration for an object that's in their hand. Also, she can summon a swarm of bats at her command. Upon her death the mist form dissipates and what remains is a female creature that no eye has ever seen.
Items: Bat Ring of Swarming - Wearing this ring allows the owner to summon and command a swarm of bats (if not in a cave-like structure then it can only be used at night).
Rirthrar's Necklace - Whenever anyone puts this necklace around their neck the spirit of Rirthrar will attempt to possess the creature. If successful the creature will lose it's natural form and turn into a mist form creature.

I was able to create the idea of Bomul just through the random tables that took not even five minutes to roll on. It gave me a skeletal structure that I was able to flesh out (as I wrote this blog post). So this is just an example of what kind of monster you could get from using the tables in the Tome of Adventure Design.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Spotlight: Deven Rue Cartography & Illustrations

For the first post of 2018 I would like to put the Spotlight on Deven Rue Cartography & Illustrations.
I'm sure some of you are familiar with these beautifully hand-drawn maps by Deven Rue. If not, well then you are in for a real treat!

Did I mention that the maps are hand-drawn? Just look at that! Amazing isn't it?
Here is a recent video, FOUND HERE, of a hand-drawn map of Tal'Dorei, the campaign setting for Critical Role.

The reason for this Spotlight is obvious; the artwork is gorgeous. And I would like to see more of Deven Rue's work being used in OSR products. And I know there are some OSR publishers out there that would definitely be interested in this quality of work!

There are also illustrations other than maps such as Tavern Signs that you can also get commission work for.

Where can you find Deven Rue?
Facebook Twitter Patreon Twitch

I highly encourage you to look more into Deven Rue's artwork and consider becoming a Patron, a membership or even commission work! Also, there is merchandise.



Saturday, December 30, 2017

End of Year Report 2017

The end of 2017 is upon us. I started this blog back in April for Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day. The post was some custom classes I made to be used for Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox. And in that month I wrote my first One-Page Adventure, The Tower of Skulls. Since then I've had a total of 50 blog posts. There were more One-Page Adventures, Reviews, Shout-outs and other subjects. For the longest time my most view blog post was the one about my daughter being the Dungeon Master. Though, since then my One-Page Adventures have been getting more popular each month and my latest One-Page Adventure, Beyond the Demon's Web, currently has the highest amount of views.

I've also created a Patreon this year and added some of my One-Page Adventures to RPGNow. I only have four of my products up on RPGNow but with a total of 400+ downloads. For 2018 I hope to increase my blog views and downloads by at least threefold.

This just in! (Seriously, I just checked while writing this post)
If you find it difficult to find my blog or difficult to remember the crazy name you can find it on Old School Gamer Radio!! It is under Blogs - OSR Adventures & Short Stories. And speaking of short stories; a miniseries coming in 2018, The First Orc.

Here's to 2018 and to the OSR Community. And a huge thank you to, well, you! Thank you all for the support this year! I'm glad to be a part of the OSR Community.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Tunnels & Trolls: Beyond the Demon's Web

December's Tunnels & Trolls One-Page Adventure: Beyond the Demon's Web

CLICK FOR DOWNLOAD

A werespider and a demon join forces to take control of the mortal plane and their first plan of attack is a small farming village. Will you venture beyond the demon's web and stop them before it's too late!?

I am still in the process of finding that "just right" format for One-Page Adventures for Tunnels & Trolls. Anytime I read other adventures or look at how other GMs write their material there isn't a "universal" format. So for the sake of simplicity this is the format I am going to go with (modifying here and there later I'm sure):
Monster Name
Monster Rating: xxx Dice: xxx Armor: xxx
Speed: xxx Size: xxx
Special: xxx
Description (but not always used for basic/universal monsters)

Speed
N: Normal (about the same speed as a human)
S: Slow (slower than a human)
F: Fast (faster than a human)

Size
N: Normal (about the same size as a human)
S: Small (smaller than a human)
L: Large (larger than a human)

For the specifics of the size and speed of the monster I will leave up to the GM since I'm sure each group has their own way of handling size and speed.

Special
Now, for this I read this style from someone over on the Facebook Group for Tunnels & Trolls. It seemed simple and straight forward.
If the monster rolls enough Spite (6's) then the monster can choose to use their special ability by spending the required amount of Spite (6's). Who the victim of the special ability is I'm sure the GM has their own way of determining this.

To those who are new to my One-Page Adventures the one thing you will notice is that there is not a map (and never will be). The reason for this is that each gaming group is different. Some can spend 8+ hours gaming in one session while others will be lucky to just get in 2 hours. And I feel that maps (though important and needed) can put a strain on some groups. Which is why I don't add maps so the GM can design/modify the adventure that works best for their group.

Enjoy and I hope to bring you a new One-Page Adventure for T&T sometime in January!

JB Publishing

As you can tell by the new design of the blog I have some changes coming for 2018.
My goal is to create a more professional product for you. The main focus will still be for the Swords & Wizardry system (thus other games powered by Swords & Wizardry) since this is my preferred system in my house. I have recently gotten into Tunnels & Trolls and have converted some of my One-Page Adventures for it and I plan to continue to do more for T&T. Also, on the agenda is to continue work on the Campaign Setting that I promised (don't worry I didn't forget). The goal for the Campaign Setting is to be as system neutral as I can be with it. With the work on the Campaign Setting will be lore through Short Stories (as short as 1,000 words to much more).

I've recently received some feedback from some on /OSR/ that they would like to have a direct link to my downloads rather than having to go through RPGNow (even if the products are free). I will also include a direct download link including the link to RPGNow for those that want the product without having to go through RPGNow.

So here's to the future of JB Publishing!

Friday, December 15, 2017

Beyond the Demon's Web

December's One-Page Adventure is here!

Beyond the Demon's Web (RPGNow)
Direct Link

This OPA was designed to be used with Swords & Wizardry Continual Light. Also, as a reference you would need a copy of Tome of Horrors Light, Volume I (Free!).
This is a spider filled adventure with a demon and a werespider joining forces to take over the mortal plane. Will you, adventurer, dare to go beyond the demon's web to stop this duo before it's too late!?

I am now getting back in the groove of things so expect a new OPA sometime in January.
Also, this OPA and future OPAs will be converted over to Tunnels & Trolls as a bonus!

Don't forget I also have a Patreon. Sadly, I have neglected it some but I am getting back to "serious mode" so check that out if you want. Though, I know there is currently some craziness going on with Patreon at the moment.

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Monster: Flesh Mound

A flesh mound is a pile of “living” flesh. They are typically made of human flesh and are created by demonic beings. The size of a flesh mound can vary from that of a dog to a large bear. A flesh mound will continue to grow as it continues to eat and absorb the flesh of humanoids. A flesh mound can attack and grab its victims with flesh tentacles. The larger the flesh mound the more tentacles it has.



I have created two versions for this monster: Tunnels & Trolls and Swords & Wizardry.

Enjoy!
(And I'm sorry for my artistic skills)