Wednesday, April 26, 2017

My Adventures as a Print-on-Demand Publisher in 2016

Looking back from February 2016 to February 2017 it was quite a year finding my way through publishing several books:

  • 5 Core Rulebooks: Warriors of the Red Planet, Guardians, Colonial Troopers, Raiders!, and Freebooters.
  • 2 Adventures: Power of Fear (Guardians) and Mechanized Men of Mars (WotRP).
  • 1 Supplement: Beasties.

That's 8 books in a year, some of them quite meaty, all of them with quite a bit of art. In addition to a Book of Drawings (soon to be an OSR edition!). I've learned quite a bit about Print on Demand, and realize I have so much more to learn. It's exciting times for individual creators.

Several more books are in the works; as you'd expect a Beasties 2, a couple of Core Rulebooks that aren't just genre books, but are original settings. A card game and a board game that I'm debating making PoD, or running Kickstarters to actually publish them. I can't wait to show you those...

The two primary outlets I use are Lulu and DriveThruRPG. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, and that's what I really want to talk about. To share what I've learned about each, having fun creating stuff for this hobby, as well as earning a little bit of change to spend on more RPG books and games of course. :)

I started out using Lulu many years ago to print little books I'd take to gaming and comic book conventions. Sometimes I'd do artist sketchbooks, but Warriors of the Red Planet was my first foray into making a full RPG. Al Krombach did a great job of writing this genre book, he obviously has a deep love and knowledge of everything Sword & Planet and Swords & Sorcery related. So it was a great introduction to hobby gaming publishing.

Lulu is easy to use and will take just about any file you can get into PDF format, or even a Word doc. If you don't want to buy any software you can just use Google Docs and output a PDF.

If Lulu has a fault they try too hard to make it easy, and end up with a lot of useless interface getting in the way of anyone who has even a little knowledge of desktop publishing.

DriveThruRPG (RPGNow)
Relatively new compared to Lulu, DTRPG has really taken over the hobby gaming space! It's got a great community that is very active in reviewing and sharing the books they like. It has a harder initial learning curve to publish on, but once you're comfortable with it this is the best place to sell your RPG's.

Some advantages are it is great for PDF sales. The PDF's are watermarked, so when they inevitably end up on file sharing pirate sites you can see where the copy came from.

However, getting print copies available for sale takes a long time. From uploading the file to getting printer approval, to getting a proof copy so you can confirm it can take at least a couple weeks up to a month or longer if your file gets rejected by the printer for any reason. Lulu, by comparison, is much more forgiving in the process and their online tools give you a pretty good idea how the cover and interior are going to look.

Another advantage of DTRPG is the bundles you can put together. Usually print + PDF combo which can represent up to half of your sales there.

This is most certainly a hobby. I'm not sure how you'd turn it into a full time business unless you somehow struck gold with a runaway hit. For the time and effort put into these you'd make more money as a barista at a coffee shop, but would you have as much fun? So it's not about the money, it's about the love of the games.

How does the quality of the print books compare? Looking carefully side by side there is very little difference between LULU and DTRPG. The text is sharp, rich dark, and unbroken. Paper quality is about the same. The covers do vary in color from batch to batch. However when you look at artwork that has any grayscale or fine shading to it you can start to tell that LULU has higher resolution to their printing with the exact same files. So I'd say LULU for print* and DTRPG for PDF is the way to go.

This review only covers a small portion of the services offered, specifically PDF and soft cover books. As Night Owl Workshop expands into hardcovers, cards, and other items I'll have more to say in the future.

*My understanding is that LULU contracts out their print jobs to various printers, so can vary from job to job. If that's true I can't tell a whole lot of difference other than color variations on the covers. While DTRPG just uses Lightning Press.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Alternate Red Box Cover

An interesting bit of Dungeons & Dragons art history just popped up. An anecdote by Frank Mentzer about the creation of the famous mass market version of the Red Box. Apparently the original composition Larry Elmore designed for it showed much more of what a D&D game is really like with a party coordinating to take on a red dragon.

The original sketch is up for sale if you want to jump into the bidding war. Link below.

Frank Mentzer said:
Initial cover concepts were similar to the previous edition, portraying a group of adventurers with a dragon. That was almost used, but it bothered Gary. After the color images were ready to be finalized in oils, after a lot of plans were made, Gary changed course. He asked Larry to focus the action on just one fighter and one dragon...


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Beastie of the Week: Colonel Redcap the Battle Gnome

Colonel Redcap
Battle Gnome

HD 6 hp
AC 6[13]
Atk 1 armored fist (1d4)
Move 9
Save 12
CL/XP 1/30; battle tactics, strategic planning, invisibility & mirror image
S 9, D 14, C 13, I 15, W 17, Ch 12 (18 to other gnomes)

During the great Gnome-Goblin war of 576 many gnomes took on the mantle of battle hardened soldiers. Even though war is against their generally peaceful and family-loving culture.

One legendary gnome soldier was Finnigus O'Maliggan, or Colonel Redcap as he came to be known. Colonel Redcap was a grisly war veteran who rose to the ranks of commander of a legion of gnome soldiers. He was instrumental in the victory over the goblins at the crucial battle of green river valley which many consider to be the turning point of the war in the gnome's favor. Colonel Redcap has a number of unusual special abilities that make him a valuable ally and dangerous foe.

Invisibility & Mirror image: Colonel Redcap can simultaneously cast invisibility and mirror image so that his invisible real self can move to a safe location, while his mirror image dashes off in a different direction to deceive opponents. Oddly, fellow gnomes can still see the 'invisible' colonel.

Battle tactics: any gnomes within sight of Colonel Redcap will have +1 to all attacks and Save rolls.

Strategic planning: if given time before an operation Colonel Redcap can endow his co-conspirators with +1AC and +1 to Save rolls for 1d4 hours after the planning session.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

This Bot Generates a Fantasy World Every Hour

Uncharted Atlas is a bot that continually generates new fantasy worlds and posts them on their Twitter feed. These look like the kinds of maps you would see on the end papers of a cheap fantasy novel. Even the inking style looks like fantasy maps from the 1970's.


Tramp Tuesday

I haven't done a Dave Trampier Tuesday in a while, well I stumbled across this image while looking up some Star Frontiers reference and was surprised to find this full color cover by Trampier!

This Saturday is Dave's 63rd birthday. It's been just over 3 years since his passing. He's still my favorite artist from that era of TSR.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Beastie of the Week: Bugbear, Battlerager

Bugbear, Battlerager
HD 5+1
AC 16
Atk 1 bite (2d4) or weapon (1d8+1)
Move 9
Save 12
CL/XP 5/120
Special: Surprise opponents, 50% chance, battlerage
Battlerager bugbears appear very similar to normal bugbears: large, hairy, goblin-like and stand 7-8ft in height. Despite their size they almost always getting the chance to surprise even alert opponents with a roll of 1-3 on a d6 (50%).

If wounded in combat they will go into a rage and gain +2 to hit and will become resistance to any spells like charm or sleep gaining +3 on any Save rolls. This rage does take its toll and the creature will collapse and fall into a near comatose state for 2-5 hours after combat.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Raiders! Print Edition and Combo Package Available on DriveThruRPG

The proof copies of Raiders! along with Freebooters arrived yesterday. The book looks good and has been approved for public sale.

The combination package of Print + PDF at a $5 discount is also available.

I've been thinking quite a bit about the difference in process between Lulu and DriveThruRPG. You can certainly get your print books up and available faster on Lulu, but if you don't proof it first you run a high risk, though you can preview the cover online which helps. DriveThruRPG reduces that risk since they require you get a proof first, but it seems like they're turnaround is a bit slower.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Freebooters Available in Print Edition and Combo Package on DriveThruRPG

Received proof copies of Freebooters today and everything looks in order. A little drift on the spine text, but that is normal for these little print on demand books, text still lands fully on the spine.

So the print edition is now publicly available, and the combination package of Print + PDF at a $5 discount is also available.

Comparing the quality to the Lulu prints they look identical, other than a slight variation on the color of the cover - again typical of POD, this might be even closer to the LBB cover color they are intended to emulate. Interior printing is sharp, and the black toner ink is rich and unbroken.

Beastie of the Week: Wererat Captain

Wererat Captain
HD 4
AC 14
Atk 1 bite (1d4), 1 weapon (1d6)
Move 12
Save 13
CL/XP 5/120
Special: Lycanthropy, control rats, surprise.

Like all wererats, captains can control rats, and are extremely stealthy (surprising opponents on 1-4 on a d6). In addition they have the ability to summon 1d4 wererats to do their bidding that will arrive in 2-5 rounds (1d4+1).

Wererat captains tend to hold high official places in city governments in their human form. This prestige gives them access to wealth and power. Their aims are to further the coming glory of the rat kingdom which will surely rule the world someday. Their policies, such as city ordinances banning cats, can be a giveaway to their true self.

Here is the original inked drawing:

Friday, March 31, 2017

New Favorite OSR Blog

Old School FRP pretty much just posts art from the early 80's and 70's related to fantasy roleplaying games. Also along with interesting trivia and bits of comparative images to source the inspiration for some of the art.

In particular I like this post about David C. Sutherland III's Iron Golem illustration from the original Monster Manual and how it resembles the statue from Ray Harryhausen's animation from Jason and the Argonauts, 1963.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Monster Manual Unwrapped

Here is a scan of the original Monster Manual fully unwrapped. I never noticed the giant spider in the tree before until I saw this. I've been searching for a higher resolution version of this image, but this was the best I could locate.

And a scan of the printed cover.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

D&D is more fun to play than to watch

Even Vin Diesel, one of the coolest guys on the planet, can't make a D&D session uncool. I still enjoyed this, but was keenly aware of how completely nerdy I must look playing the game.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Beastie: Watery Death

I've been so busy finalizing Raiders! and Freebooters as well as promoting those books that I've missed making a Beastie of the Week post for a while. Wait no longer! Here is a horrific monster to befuddle heroes who would dare enter the dark damp realms this creature awaits them in.

Watery Death
Enchanted Trap
HD 4
AC 18
Atk ML 1d6 +1d4 per round
Save 13
Move 0
CL/XP 6/400
Special: entangle, paralyze

Stagnant water left in the dark too long in the presence of evil and black magic can become enchanted and give birth to a watery death.

This tentacled aquatic horror lurks just under the stagnant pool. It has scales that shimmer and look like pieces of gold which it uses to lure adventurers to it.

When players see the dark, oily, eerily still water they can make an attempt to detect the horrors that lurk underneath, but it is extremely hard to see; only a 1 in 10 chance. If they fail to detect the watery death the beast will have the initiative and catch the characters by surprise. And those who fail to detect the watery death must make a save at -2 or they will notice what appear to be gold coins under the water and will be lured to move into the water and attempt to collect the coins. Once they are within striking distance the watery death lashes out with its paralyzing tentacles and entraps the victim. On a hit the target must Save or be paralyzed for 1-4 rounds. While paralyzed they are helpless as they are pulled under the murky water where they will drown in 2-8 rounds if they do not break free and get air. Breaking free from entanglement requires a save vs. strength.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Raiders! Organizations - Rules that almost made it in

There were quite a few rules ideas I dabbled with that didn't quite make it into Raiders! through play testing, final writing, and editing. At one point I wanted to have each character beholden to a larger organization, like how our favorite archeologist taught at a University which helped to fund his adventures. At some point I realized it took too much autonomy from the players and also was covered well enough in the backgrounds section for the kind of game play that Raiders! encourages.

If you're curious though, here was the initial write up for Organizations. Not much detail here and it would need a lot more fleshing out to be a real game system. Still, I think it has some intriguing potentials and in the right gaming group could work out well.


Each character may choose one organization that sponsors their adventurous activities. This organization will provide funding, support, and information that may help during the adventure. But they must also abide by the demands and restrictions of that organization. A player who chooses no allegiance is a free agent, but will not benefit, or may even be hindered, by these organizations when their activities conflict with the agency's goals.

  • A Secret Society, consult with the GM
  • A Museum
  • A University
  • A Government

Raiders! of the Lost Artifacts available now at DriveThru RPG and Lulu

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Star Trek: Red Shirts

The new Star Trek television series was in the news, and I'm mildly curious. I may have gotten Star Trekked out like a lot of people did when Star Trek Enterprise was on the air. However, it made me think of my pitch for a new Star Trek series that I think would be really fresh and work with a modern audience.

The show is centered around the peons working in the engineering section of a Federation starship making the impossible demands of the captain and the head of engineering possible. Imagine a tone like the IT crowd or Office Space. You have your incompetent boss who grovels to the head of engineering and always agrees to his ridiculous repair time estimates. The rest of the cast is filled out with a jokester, a nerd, a hottie, and so on. Casting is critical to get that right mix of chemistry, which is true of any show. The idea is to hit that right tone of humor and seriousness, not to totally make fun of Star Trek, but to have fun with it.

Every episode a couple of them get called on an away mission with the captain. They don't return.

This may seem like a joke post, but I'm not even joking. I think it'd be great.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Remember Fractured Dimensions?

I was following the blog of Fractured Dimensions for some time, then they stopped posting. I stumbled across their page today and see that they have made several new minis - fantastic looking old-school minis.

Has anyone purchased any of these? If so, how are they in person? The photos look pretty good.

2 Lulu codes are currently active!

Got a great tip that 2 Lulu codes are currently active! A great time to pick up the new Raiders and Freebooters RPGs. :)

MARMAIL - Free shipping
SAVENOW30 - 30% off all print books

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Warriors of the Red Planet BUNDLE

I've put together my first Bundle package on DriveThruRPG.

Includes Warriors of the Red Planet RPG, and the Sword & Planet style adventure: Mechanized Men of Mars. Both PDF and print editions. Original retail price was: $31.97, the bundle is only $23.53

It's a great deal at 21% off the original prices!

Also, when I eventually get around to putting up some Character Sheets and other GM resources the bundle will be updated, and you'll get those PDF extras for no additional charge.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Freebooters and Raiders! PDFs arrrr available on DriveThruRPG

The PDF version of Freebooters and Raiders! are available now on DriveThruRPG. The Print + PDF combos are still in the works as the printer has to approve the print versions of each file.

Drawings Inspired by Old-School DND

Now that Freebooters and Raiders! are in the bag, what's next for Night Owl Workshop?

A project idea I mentioned last year a "sketchbook" filled with drawings with original edition stats that could be used as a reference book at the gaming table is in the works. Here is a preview of the cover:

It took me a while to figure out the right format for it, then when I was at Emerald City Comic Con I was looking at the Book of Drawings I recently made and it struck me exactly how the project should look and feel. It is going to be an eclectic menagerie of stuff that will be useful for a variety of gaming styles and campaigns. The closest analogy is probably the OSR fanzines like Wormskin or Knockspell, but even more varied with some sci-fi and sword & planet action in there. At any rate, I am deep into writing the descriptions and working out the stats for weird creatures, martian princesses, pirates, space ships, and the undead!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Common Ground: A Frontier Fantasy Story

Deadlands is one of my favorite RPG's of all time. I haven't gotten to play it as much as I like, but I have enjoyed reading the books. The wild west is far enough in the past now that it is mythologized, and the idea of introducing fantasy tropes, like magic, monsters, and undead, kind of works. One of the project ideas I'd been batting around in my head was a fantasy frontier western setting, sort of Tolkienizing the old west with fantasy races, creatures, and magic. It was tentatively called Lords of the West, with despotic warlords controlling regions, and various factions vying for precious resources.

Then I saw Ryan Pancoast was developing a much more interesting version of the idea. He's written and illustrated a book that looks fantastic called Common Ground: A Frontier Fantasy Story. I've backed it on Kickstarter, and if it looks cool to you, you should to.

Raiders! Available for online sales

At last, got the edits completed, exported the files and got them all loaded up on Lulu! This is the most ambitious Original Edition RPG yet, absolutely packed with information. Yet, still light and easy to play.

You can join the Raiders! community and tell us what you think and how your adventures are going.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

700-year-old Knight's Templar Giant Cave Found

It's like an adventure straight out of Raiders!
The cave, beneath a farmer's field in Shropshire, was used by the medieval religious order that fought in the Crusades
What kind of hidden treasures might be found there? Deadly traps? Some mighty holy artifact best left alone?

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Freebooters is now available!

Edits are completed, all the layout is done, and the book is now available on Lulu. It will be about another week or so before I get it on DriveThruRPG, but I'm working on it (that's when the PDF will be available too).

Friday, February 24, 2017

Raiders and Freebooters update

Busy week here at the workshop. The edits are completed on Freebooters, just need to have another set of eyeballs double check before I export the PDF and it will be done.

The edit list for Raiders is basically completed, I still need to go through and implement them on the document. It's all been fairly minor stuff like indents and English instead of American spelling on a few things. The HD was left off the Occultist class. Couple of tabs missing on the equipment list. You know, all the little things that seem to never end once you're "done".

I wanted to have them both out this week, but it was way too busy around here. Even had the kids off to their grandparents for the week and I'm still behind on work.

I'll leave you with this classic encounter from Raiders, the Femme Fatale! And an illustration for her that didn't quite make it into the book (another smaller one was used):

Femme Fatale
HD: 1
AC: 6 [14]
Atk: by weapon; often dagger or revolver (1d4 + poison)
Luck: 14
Move: 120’
CL/XP: 1/100
Special: Irresistible, poison vial, communication with the enemy

Dangerous women who rely on their personal charms and alluring beauty to lead male adventurers astray who must make a Luck roll vs. wisdom to not be seduced. Includes exotic foreigners such as the stereotypical Chinese “dragon lady.”  Achingly beautiful but “too good to be true,” the Femme Fatale is often armed with a hidden vial of knockout poison to slip into a drink, or a concealed radio to summon up the people they are secretly working for...

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Dundracon 2017

All setup and ready to go. Looking forward to the reactions to the new games!

Thursday, February 16, 2017


This is sad news to hear. I was always impressed with the creativity and vision of Loren Wiseman in his Traveller RPG.
Hobby game pioneer Loren Wiseman has passed away, according to a post by Munchkin Line Editor Andrew Hackard on the Steve Jackson Games forum.  Wiseman was a longtime game designer who co-founded one of the earliest hobby game companies, Game Designers’ Workshop, in 1973.  He was the co-creator of Traveller, which launched in 1977 and is still being published today.

Mongoose Publishing has printed a new edition of Traveller. Go roll up a character in honor of Loren, hopefully your character doesn't die during the creation process.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Dungeons and Dragons and Science!

What do asteroid 2017 BQ6 and a mollusk named Gastrocopta sharae have in common? If you answered Dungeons & Dragons you might be right!

Gastrocopta sharae is named after Shar, the goddess of darkness, caverns and secrets in Dungeons & Dragons.

And asteroid 2017 BQ6? Well, it kinda sorta looks like a die you'd use playing D&D.

Go science!


New Books Just in Time for Dundracon

I've been attending Dundracon for close to 20 years now. Many of those as a dealer. There was a time I did a lot of RPG character portraits, but there is only so much you can take of "my character has a small scar under his left arm pit from the time he fought the night stalker. Also make sure he has the star emblem of the fire goddess on his front and the sigil of the brotherhood of chromatic darkness on his back."

Wait, you want me to draw his front and back in one drawing? That's not possible. How are we going to see the scar under his plate mail armor? And what in the seven heavens is chromatic darkness??

"But that's what I'm paying you to do, he has to show the emblem and the sigil, that's my character, it means everything to me..."

Sorry, got off on a tangent there.

I have a ton of fun at that convention, though I've drifted more towards boardgames over the past few years, I do try to hop into the occasional D&D game or some other classic RPG I enjoy.

I announced the completion of Raiders of the Lost Artifacts and Freebooters, well copies just arrived! And they do look pretty great, probably the best ones yet. However, just a few typos that I need to fix before releasing them to the public. I was hoping to have these for sale at Dundracon, but with these typos...I know all books have typos and minor erros, however this is a little beyond the threshold. I guess I could include an errata sheet.

At any rate, I'm going to fix the typos, upload new PDFs then make them available for general sale. I still have a lot of show prep for this weekend, I'll aim for sooner but they will be available next week.

The Book of Drawings came out really good. The blacks are deep & rich, no breaking up of the lines on the pen & ink work. This one is good to go.

Hmm, drawings of pirates, I wonder why I'd be drawing buccaneers, cutthroats, and scalawags? Is that Anne Bonny and Mary Read? I wonder.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dr. Strange Edition or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 4th Edition

I wasn't a huge fan of 4th edition D&D. The game didn't feel right. To me it was a betrayal of decades of D&D history. I was at Gen Con the year it was released. After playing a game and being asked what I thought of it I didn't know how to respond. All I kept thinking was what the fuck was that?? (pardon my French).

The only thing I can liken it to, in terms of the history of D&D, is Swords & Spells. A game which was not received well at all by the gaming public, and was quietly left to wither away. Today you can easily pick up copies of it on eBay for under $30 (you'll see it often listed for much more but don't be fooled). When you do get a copy in your hands you'll see it is usually in a pristine unplayed state. Maybe some minor shelf wear.

Because nobody played it.

What's wrong with Swords & Spells? Compare the simplicity of Chainmail, where a unit has just a few traits like movement speed and combat ability, this makes mass combat, or skirmish level combat fairly easy and quick to resolve. Now imagine you took Chainmail and added on the detail of an RPG character to each unit. Resolving even skirmish level combat could take hours and would be quite tedious.

That's a lot what 4th edition is like.

It's not an RPG, it's a skirmish combat game with layers of special abilities, maneuvers and all kinds of detailed tactical level combat options. If this had been marketed as a skirmish combat game with a box full of minis then it would have made more sense. A successor to the D&D crown it was not. However, it did find an audience as witnessed by the success of the Penny Arcade podcasts of live play.

Setting aside my personal feelings for it, I can see that it is a tight and well designed game. This video gave me some insights and made me think a bit differently about 4th edition. I'm still not a fan, but there are some good ideas in here.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Mad Max: Fury Road Car Porn

Fury Road was a tour de force of heavy metal post apocalyptic car porn, and I loved every minute of it.

A movie like that deserves a great RPG! There have been many post-apocalyptic RPG's, my favorite has always been 2nd edition Gamma World, but I did briefly get into Car Wars. While I liked it the tone was a little too silly, and the rules unnecessarily complicated, so my interest in it waned quickly. I've often thought of designing a new Mad Max style RPG using the OSR style like Swords & Wizardry. But it would take some heavy modification and a lot of play testing. The star of the show would really have to be car-to-car battles and the ability to modify and upgrade your vehicles. I'd want to capture that dramatic, cinematic action like in Mad Max somehow.

This gallery of the cars made for Fury Road is a visual feast. You can really enjoy all the details that went into the designs.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Thomas Denmark's Book of Drawings

I made a new art book in preparation for convention season. It will be first available at Dundracon and Emerald City Comic Con, and at the other shows I go to.

It is chock full of drawings, 60 pages worth! That's sixty pages of fantasy, science fiction, and imaginative pen & ink drawings. This book is filled with wizards, warriors, dragons, femme fatales, pirates, orcs, goblins, mummies, undead, spaceships, space stations, dinosaurs, witches, princesses, fighting men, monsters, tharks, banths, manticores, weirdos, dungeons, centaurs, paladins, stirges, and a whole lot more.

Or you can get it now online!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Announcing Freebooters

Now that Raiders! is in the can, I'm looking forward to my next OSR project.


There have been a lot of Pirate RPG's over the years, I don't know if there is a definitive one within the OSR (more informed individuals than I can let me know). But I wanted to do something that was pretty historically accurate. No supernatural nonsense or anything like that, just straight up pirates seeking fortune and glory in the New World.

Ok, there is a teeny bit of supernatural in one of the optional appendices, a Voodoo character class called the Bokor, but she's done with a great deal of taste and respect for the genre and history of the region.

Here is an overview of what Freebooters will be about:
  • Character classes: Sea Rover, Musketeer, and Striker (& optional Bokor)
  • Ship-to-ship combat
  • Grappling rules
  • Lots of background detailing the rich history and adventure opportunities in the area
  • And a whole lot more

Raiders! is Off to Print

I loaded up the files and hit submit and ordered a proof copy at 11:58pm last night. Usually takes about a week and a half to get the proof. If all looks good I'll open it up for sale on DriveThruRPG with the excellent print/PDF combo deal.

Here is the Table of Contents:
The final character class choices are: Mercenary, Treasure Hunter, and Scientist. With the Occultist as an optional class. The other character classes that didn't make the cut may turn into a separate supplement as they still need refinement (and art). But the ones we've chosen align nicely with the spirit of the Original RPG + Greyhawk.

I didn't set out to make a 124 page book! Also, the font size is smaller than previous books. It is quite packed with information. This one was by far the hardest to make. I'm a bit anxious to see how it will be received.

Also, I recently lowered the prices of two adventures:
Guardians: Power of Fear
WotRP: Mechanized Men of Mars

They are a terrific deal if you're looking for some adventures to run and want to try out these systems.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

A new director to attempt to adapt Dune to film

Many directors have aspired to get Dune to the theater. No one has yet succeeded. Oh, I know there have been some called Dune, but they were less than successful attempts. Denis Villeneuve director of Arrival is now signed up to try his hand at a Dune adaptation.

The only Villeneuve film I've seen is Arrival, apparently his other works are excellent. While I liked it I thought the hype was greater than the film. The story was quite cliche' to anyone who has ever read a sci-fi novel. However, what made the film good was the cinematography (by the immensely talented Bradford Young, who btw will be filming the Han Solo movie), and the outstanding directing by Villeneuve. Also the lead actress Amy Adams brought her A game as she always does.

Acting in all of the complex parts will be key to the success of a Dune film. The characters in the book are much more dimensional and multi-layered than in your typical science fiction story. All of the machinations, plots, intrigue, and tragedy that simmers together into a complex stew against the sweeping backdrop of an interstellar empire is a tall order to pack into a 2, or even 3, hour film.

My ideal would be an epic 5 movie series. I'd combine Dune Messiah and Children of Dune into a single film. While I love all the books (Dune Messiah took a long time to grow on me, it's still my least fave) God Emperor of Dune is the movie I really want to see.

The spice must flow.

Friday, January 27, 2017

How to Write Adventure Modules That Don't Suck

How to Write Adventure Modules That Don't Suck is another terrific book by Goodman Games. I got to do the layout work and maps on this guide for adventure writers and really enjoyed reading it and seeing it come together.

It's also filled with hilarious cartoons reminiscent of Dragonmirth from the old Dragon magazines and the classics by Tom Wham in the original AD&D Dungeon Master's Guide.

The byline:
Advice on how you can write great adventures - from the company that has published more than 200 top-notch adventures!

Back the Kickstarter here:

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Beastie of the Week: Imprisoned Fiend

Imprisoned Fiend
HD 4
AC 18
Atk ML 1d4
Save 13
Move 12
CL/XP 6/400
Special: night vision

An imprisoned fiend appears as a very attractive female or male. They will hide out in dungeons, in locked rooms behind bars and will pretend to be a prisoner. They will plead to be set free, promising anything they think their potential savior may want like wealth, powerful magic, sex, or prestige.

Once freed they will be enthusiastically grateful, promising to provide the reward as soon as they are able. When possible they will be kind and helpful, though never going too far out of their way to aid. The fiend also will never attack except in self defense. They will never actively do anything untoward, negative, or that harms the party they are with. But...

An imprisoned fiend emits an aura that gives +1 to all saves, +1 to hit, and +1 armor class to opponents of the party they have attached to within a 50' radius.

When killed the imprisoned fiend bursts in a shower of sulphuric dust and a mocking hollow laughter fills the air. Everyone within hearing range must save or take 1d4 points of damage and start bleeding from the ears, losing all hearing for 2d12 hours.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Raiders Preview: Agrippa’s Book of Occult Philosophy

It's been too long since I posted an update on Raiders!

The character classes are fairly nailed down now, the rest of the book is written and edited. Now it is just doing as many drawings and placing as much art as possible before the deadline. What deadline? Well, I'd like to have these books in time for Dundracon, and to make sure they arrive in time I'll order a batch from Lulu by February 9. So I'll be uploading the files February 8 for the Lulu Print-on-Demand (POD) version. PDF's will only be available on DriveThruRPG.

It takes a week or so to get a sample book back from DriveThruRPG before they'll allow me to approve the book for sale. So the POD + PDF discount combo will likely be available around February 15th. This seems to be the preferred deal to order if sales of this book are consistent with previous books I've done.

I'll continue to do the previews of Raiders until then. Here is another one, the classic ancient tome trope, another relic of great power that belongs in a museum, not in the hands of a madman...

Agrippa’s Book of Occult Philosophy: Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa (1486-1535) is the most influential writer of Renaissance esoterica, and indeed all of Western occultism. The Book of Occult Philosophy (De Occulta Philosophia libri) is Agrippa’s study of occult philosophy, acknowledged as a significant contribution to the Renaissance philosophical discussion concerning the powers of ritual magic and its relationship with religion. The book was printed in 1531 in Paris, Cologne, and Antwerp. It was an ambitious attempt to rejuvenate the art of magic which had degenerated during the medieval ages. He did this by assembling an intellectual and theoretical foundation from his extensive collection of sources. Agrippa started with a “systematic exposition of Ficinian spiritual magic and Trithemian demonic magic and treatised in practical magic” (I. P. Couliano in Hidden Truths 1987, p. 114). Other major sources used by Agrippa include Liber de mirabilibus mundi of pseudo-Albertus Magnus, Giovanni Pico’s Oratio de Dignitate Hominis and Apologia, Johannes Reuchlin’s De Verbo Mirifico, Pliny’s Historia Naturalis, as well as Picatrix and the Hermetic and Neoplatonic texts. The resulting text circulated widely in manuscript form.

Unknown to most was that the original hand written book contains true occult power, filled with spells, incantations, and alchemical recipes. The original has long been lost, but recent clues have arisen that might reveal its actual location. The volume was published in three books (and it might make for a more interesting adventure to have the players collect three originals).