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Showing posts from 2010


Hey everybody, I will be at GenCon this weekend. If any of you are coming I hope to run into you. You can find me at rmckee78 on twitter, or on gmail for those of you who know how to get me there. You can also just comment on my blog at Tragically Trad and I'll get an notification.

My New Home

Hey everyone, I am moving to be part of another blog. From now on I will be posting at Ideology of Madness in a column named Tragically Trad . This will allow me to reach a larger audience, and will help with the fact that law school can make my posting a bit irregular since there are a bunch of columns there. I will be covering some ground again. I don't know that I will review every issue again, but I am certainly going to use the increased exposure to talk about Knockspell, Fight On!, and the retro-clones. You may have a few questions: What the heck is "Trad"? "Trad" is a somewhat insulting term that story game people use to describe traditional gaming. Get it, TRADitional? What's with the rat tails? I got this one from Luke Meyer on the Podgecast . He jokingly claims that all trad gamers have rat tails because that was the haircut of the era. I have adopted these two things to have some fun with them. This blog is going to stay here. It is possible that


I have sent in proposals to run two games at DexCon in July. I proposed running the gatehouse from Stonehell and my own mini-sandbox city. Both using Labyrinth Lord

Customer Service

The RPG Blog II pointed out that MWP pricing for the Cortex .pdf didn't make any sense. So they changed the price! My Kingmaker Pathfinder issue showed up with a broken spine, I emailed Paizo and they are sending me a new one. Good customer service does still exist.


Anarchists Socialists Libertarians Porn Stars Pro-wrestlers Lion Tamers Republican Congressmen Southern Baptist Ministers Pagans Rabbis Witches Librarians Accountants Lawyers Yale Graduates GEDs MBAs Communists Doctors Cashiers Bankers Music Critics IT Professionals Video Game Designers Public School Teachers Engineers Housewives Stay-at-home Dads Artists Garbage Men Whale Trainers American Idol Contestants Pen and Paper Game Designers RPG Bloggers I'd gladly play D&D with any of you. Yes, even after this week RPG Bloggers.

Stonehell: Advancement

I recently was asked in a comment if there was enough gold in Stonehell to support the training costs in OSRIC for gaining a level. According to the OSRIC rules it costs 1500 gp per level to gain a level in training costs. I am using the entourage system in my game so there are 4 players but each also has a dedicated henchman. I would like for there to be enough gold on the first level for all of the primary characters and main henchman to advance to level 2, even if some of the henchman don't get enough XP until later. This means there will need to be around 12,000 gp. Some notes about my calculations: 1. This includes only the first level of the dungeon even though we also are playing the above ground areas. 2. I am including only treasure. I am not including the gold gained by selling weapons and armor taken off corpses. I am assuming that most of this goes to equipment, supplies, hirelings etc. 3. I am not including obscure things like selling natural resources to an alchemist.

Bad News for Catalyst

One of the RPG darlings of the last few years is in bad shape. From by way of Fear the Boot : OK, as you may well have been able to surmise from release schedules, Catalyst Game Labs is in a bit of a financial pickle, and it is somewhat unlikely that they will retain the license to make Shadowrun products. This is not because Shadowrun hasn't been selling enough to cover expenses, but merely because a significant quantity of money is missing outright. Reliable sources put this figure at roughly $850,000. Which sounds like a lot, and it is. It is roughly 40% of Catalyst's entire sales for last year, missing over a three year period. There will of course be lawsuits, and there are already people drawing up legal documents accusing Loren Coleman of having hired people to construct an extension on his house through the company as "freelance writers" and somehow reporting an estimated $100,000 of convention sales as $6,000. Whether that is actually true or not is

Hackmaster GMG

I was going to review the Hackmaster books some time in the near future, but there is nothing I can say about the GMG that Labyrinthian didn't say here . The book is an excellent resource, it is full of great stuff no matter what version of The Game you are playing. I will probably still talk about it later, but I wanted to pass the link along.

Taming the Savage Beast: Dragon Subdual

Way back in the 1980s a young boy was paging through his Mentzer Basic Set and noticed a section about subduing dragons. You could fight them with the flat of your blade, and capture them. Even sell them for money. Oh the possibilities... Historically there are two different methods for subduing a dragon, you can reduce it to 0 hp with subdual damage, or you roll against a ration of damage done over total HP. 4th Edition charts new and interesting territory on this subject. Chainmail : While dragons are in the fantasy section of Chainmail, nothing is said about subduing them OD&D : OD&D uses a ratio method where a ratio is kept of total damage done over the dragon's total HP. Each round percentile dice are rolled, if the roll is less than the ration the dragon is subdued. The rules cap the number of people attempting to subdue a dragon at 8. The characters can choose to sell the dragon for 500-1,000 gp per hit point, or they can keep it in their own service. If they sell th

A Long, Strange Trip

Two ago a former player of min passed away. He was about 30 years older than me, so he would be in his early 60s now if he had lived. One of his children recently sent be a box full of hid RPG stuff. It is full of all kinds of cool old stuff as well as a DVD with a bunch of Judges Guild .pdfs. I have no idea how legal these .pdfs are but amongst them were some fan made products, including a few by Gabor Lux. I have remarked before that Gabor Lux is very prolific in the two old school magazines and there have been several of his articles that I really enjoyed (in fact there is an adventure in FO5 that is great). I have been meaning to search around to see if he has a blog or website for a while and decided that this was the perfect time to do so. While I did not find a blog or website my search brought up this very level headed review of Carcosa . This was something else I have been meaning to pick up so I started checking out some of the posts by Geoffrey on Dragonsfoot. I found two, a

Whitebox Arrives

My Whitebox arrived today from Brave Halfling. It looks good, I have to go to class but I don't see any obvious quality issues. Let me tell you, it is chock full of stuff too. Now I need to find a way to make Akrasia's Swords and Sorcery mods from Knockspell into a booklet that I can put in there. I also want to get a copy of Carcosa, I have been reading a bunch of threads by "Geoffrey" on Dragonsfoot and I like this guy's style. I am not talking about the "mature content" stuff, I'll wait till I see that myself, I am talking about his ideas for the Holmes box set. More to come..

Expedition to Stonehell: Session 2

The second session of my OSRIC game went very well. While creating characters was a pain the first week, the game plays very well. I only went with the OSRIC rules for now with the optional shield rules and entourage system in place. I did not add in weapon speed or weapon v. AC. Combat moved fast, by my count we got in six different combat encounters. We started the session off with the characters getting off the boat from The City State of the Invincible Overlord in Magnus Aquila, the colony city. They didn't hang out in town very long because the place was a mud-ridden, depressing dump. They hired two torchbearers and a boat and headed for the dungeon. That's right, there were 4 players, each with a primary PC and a favored henchman, and two torchbearers. If you are keeping score at home that makes a party of 10 characters, and we managed to get done 6 combats in about 5 hours of playing. When they arrived at the Stonehell canyon they dove right into exploring. They decided

Fear the Con

Fear the Boot is having its annual convention on March 12-13 in St. Louis. I attended the first one and had a blast, they have expanded it since then. Sadly law school will keep me away again this year. If you are looking for an affordable con and can make it to the St. Louis area, this is a great choice. The last time I went the size of the con was great, enough people that there was alot going on but few enough that you got to meet almost everybody. You can check it out here: Fear the Con 3

So Many Doors

Over at Aeons & Augauries, JDJarvis posted a bunch of symbols of different door types . What, you aks, would I want with all those door symbols? The main thing I want with all those door symbols is to figure out how they would mechanically differentiate themselves in game. This is another one of those great blog posts that gets me thinking, it doesn't give me any answers, just a launching point for an evening of RPG related thought. This got me rereading godog's From Kuroth's Quill #01 that dealt with special doors, stairs and sublevels. And this got me excited about getting back to work on my changes to Stonehell (after loosing play time to the snowpocolypse we should be back on track next week, I hope). So what would I do to make these doors different? Pivot Hinge: Have to choose between a one handed weapon attack or your shield bonus while standing in the doorway. There is no enough room for both or for a two handed attack. Flapped Hinge: Surprise penalty while enter

Iron Tyrants Website

Iron Tyrants is a mech mini game by David (I may accidently also call him Adam from time to time) and Luke at the Podgecast. I was lucky to get a chance to play it at Gen Con last year and now their website is up as launch draws closer. First, David and Luke are great guys. I went to Gen Con with them last year and Luke was one of the people I roomed with. The guys a roomed with were a fun multiplier for the whole event. If the quality of the person making the game matters to you, they check that box. Second, I think that podcasts, and especially shows like The Podgecast and Fear the Boot, are one of the best things the RPG world has going right now (the old school revolution and Fantasy Flight Games being the others). This is a game being made with that same "do it yourself" spirit that makes podcasting and the OSR so important. Third, it was a fun game 6 months ago. I imagine that as playtesting has progressed it has only gotten better. It moves fast and the overdrive mecha

Rogue Trader: Session 1

Last weekend I was fortunate to be a player in an excellent Rogue Trader game. I played the Seneschal on a ship owned by a crazy, spoiled Rogue Trader with a Napolean Complex. It was my job to translate his vague instructions into commands that could actually be used to run the ship. We also had a dead world warrior and a navigator along. Our first mission was to recover a city building artifact to pay off the Rogue Trader's charter. We set off to meet our contact to get the co-ordinates. We met him deep in the bowels of the space stations machinery. As he was passing off the data some kind of mechanical bird swooped down to steal the crystal. We made quick work of the bird and its psycher owner. While our fearless leader was standing on the cooling body of our foe making odd proclomations we tracked the psycher back to another Rogue Trader named Garren Fel, who was trying to jump our claim on the city building McGuffin. As we prepped the ship for the journey the navigator approach

Expedition to Stonehell: Session 1

Two weeks ago we had our first OSRIC game session. The players created characters to take on Stonehell dungoen. Since we are using David Bowman's Entourage system from Fight On! #2 I had each player create two PCs one of which will be their main character and the other will be their Loyal Henchman. I pretty much want to leave the world open for the players to create as much as possible so I was happy to see them start filling in the racial details as we made characters (female dwarves have beards!). It has been a long time since I had a group make up 1st Edition Characters and I forgot what a pain it was. Character creation requires a total of 8 die rolls (6 stats, hit points, starting gold) for most characters, but it still takes almost as long as 3.5 until people get familiar with the system. The problem is the race/class combos and the non-universal stat bonuses. Not only do the stat bonuses vary from stat to stat, they also vary from class to class! AAAAARRRGGG! This problem wa

Busy Week

It has been a busy week or so around here. I am in crunch time to get a legal brief written and I am putting the finishing touches on the start of my OSRIC campaign. Good stuff is on the way though. Two weeks ago I played in a Pathfinder game and I will be sitting in on another session this Saturday. There will be recaps of those two games going up soon. After the Pathfinder game, at 6 PM, I finally kick off my OSRIC game. Stonhell awaits! I also confirmed that I will be staying with the Podgecast boys at GenCon this year. I had a blast last year and cannot wait to do it all again.

Adventure Names: Songs

I would love to see what an adventure with any of these names would be like (in easy to use d100 form) 1. Last Train to London 2. In the Hall of the Mountain King 3. Welcome to My Nightmare 4. Heart of Glass 5. The Bringer of Old Age 6. Jungleland 7. Darkness on the Edge of Town (Hey, I am from NJ) 8. The Man Who Sold the World 9. Child in Time 10.Spanish Caravan 11.Soldiers of the Wastelands 12.Burn Down the Mission 13.The Ecstasy of Gold 14. Gabriel's Oboe 15.Wanderers from Ys 16.Castles Made of Sand 17.Vanishing World 18.Walking the Path of Legend 19.The Ancient City Surfaces 20.Collapse of the Ark Napishtim 21.Scenes From a Night's Dream 22.Duke's Travels 23.Land of Confusion 24.Firth of Fith 25.In the Cage 26.Los Endos 27.Watcher of the Skies 28.Dance on a Volcano 29.Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea 30.Dark Horse 31.Rocket Queen 32.The Lonely Bull 33.2 Minutes to Midnight 34.Can I Play With Madness 35.The Evil That Men Do 36.Duel of the Fates 37.Electric Eye 38.

Fight On! Issue 4

I got way behind on these reviews so the next few will just be quick thoughts so I can get caught up to the present. I love the Arudin Trilogy picture on page 8. I don't know exactly what Arudin is, I gather it is pretty wild and gonzo, but you had me at "busty elf decapitates lizardman." I like Hook-Hand Jack, he is my kind of creepy NPC. The "House of the Axe" by Calithena is a pretty cool adventure. I really like how the ghost is handled and the apartment level. If I use it, I will probably just use the house parts though. Personally, I think all the dungeon crawling in the basement levels will lessen the haunted house feel. They are well done though. I am probably going to use "Random Rooms" by Michael Curtis to flesh out my sub-level for Stonehell. I have some stuff I want to work in fairly early. I'd like to stick with the whole random/megadungeon spirit where I can. "Home Remedies for Common Dungeon Ailments", "Carousing Misha

Blogging Habits

Tim at Gothridge Manor wrote about his blogging habits , how he goes about commenting, reading etc. I use Google Reader. According to Reader I subscribe to 106 blogs, all of them are RPG or video game related. Most of them are pen and paper RPG blogs. I rarely comment on blogs. I don't really know what to say most of the time. When I do comment I use Cocomment to track responses to the comments. I find this tool to be very helpful. I don't have to remember what blogs I commented on to follow the conversation. I only found out about it a few weeks ago, perhaps I will comment more now that I have a way to track it. I am a creature of habit when it comes to blog reading. Every day I scroll to 1Up's Retronauts Blog , Grognardia , and West Karana first to see if there are new posts. Then I bounce around to see what else catches my eye until I have read the all the posts. I usually read all the posts for the day. There are some exceptions, I usually skim monster, spell, and magic

Sustainable RPGing: A Letter to the OSR

As I gathered my resources for my OSRIC game I couldn't help but notice something. There are only two books, both out of print, by a major publisher. The City State book is by Sword and Sorcery, I am pretty sure they are White Wolf. The Gygax Names book is by Troll Lord and I am not even sure they qualify as a major publisher. The setting is coming from Goodman Games, some of their stuff is available in B&N so I guess they could be major. But, Points of Light II is written by Rob Conley so it keeps its small community cred as far as I am concerned. Everything else is self published in some fashion. Written by people whose blogs I read. I get a lot of use out of the Names book, so it was hardly purchased for this campaign. The City State book has been sitting on my shelf for years, I just saw a chance to use it (maybe, if needed). So every single dollar, minus printing costs, spent on this game went right back into the gaming community. Those dollars stayed in gaming. They didn&

Gaming with Kids: Sir Kevin and the Leprechaun

Sir Kevin decided to follow the unicorn as it fled the goblin hut. He quickly lost sight of it in the forest though. It wasn't long before he realized that he was lost and it was getting dark. He decided to rest on a log while he got his bearings. Once he sat down he started feeling very sleepy. He managed to jerk himself awake and find a strange little man dressed in green nearby. "Who are you?" "I am a leprechaun, and I want to make a deal with you." "What is the deal?" "I will tell you where to find my pot of gold, if you will dig it up for me. You can have all the gold in it, I just need the pot." "Why can't you dig it up?" "An evil witch put a curse on me." "We should kill the witch." "I am afraid she is long gone. I have had this curse for 100 years." "That is horrible. I will help you get your pot back." "Very good. Just follow this path to the bridge, cross the river, and dig

OSRIC Campaign Resources

With my OSRIC campaign starting in just a little more than two weeks, it is time to nail down what will be in from day 1. Rule Set: OSRIC. I think that for the group I will be playing with this is the best rule set. They have all played 3.x and have come to expect a certain level of complexity. This will let me keep that while being much easier for me to run. It also gives me a lot more room to mod the game than 3.x does, I can tailor it to this group. XP for gold and exploration will be the primary advancement mechanisms. The Group: Looks like I will have 4 players. I have, to some extent, played with all of them before (maybe not 1). One member is part of my original gaming group and we go back to middle school and Mentzer. His wife will also be playing with us, she played in at least one of my 3.5 Monster Feature games (I think the one with the Kraken). I played with the other male player in a Shadowrun game last year and I think his wife also played in it. It is possible I met her