5% Of Sale Benefits Gamers & Grognards

Thursday, July 27, 2017

The Midderlands and Why You Should Jump On This Kickstarter


Hey folks! I'm writing today to share with you a Kickstarter that I want to see fund. I'm talking about "The Midderlands" campaign from +MonkeyBlood Design (Glynn Seal). Glynn recently gave me a preview copy of the book and let me tell you, this thing hits a lot of the right spots for me, which I will talk about shortly. First, let me share some blurbs directly from the KS.
"The Midderlands is an old-school game setting with bestiary for use with old-school role-playing games. It is based on Swords & Wizardry Complete, but could easily be used with other old-school systems and even non-OSR systems such as D&D or Pathfinder.
 
It is a green-hued, dark-fantasy, late-middle ages, early-renaissance view through grime-smeared spectacles. The setting itself is based on an area in the middle of England near where I live called The Midlands. Many of the locations are loosely based on reality, but others are pure fantasy from an addled mind.
 
The setting part of the book contains something I call "game-juice". Not heavy of history and monotonous detail, but enough to get the game-juices flowing and let the game master twist and tweak as they need to in order to fit their campaign."



Now for some of the setting fluff:

"Situated in the middle of Havenland is an area known by the ancestors as the Middle Havenlands. They don’t use that name much any more, preferring to talk lazily, and skip letters.
In strange accents, often misheard and little understood by those outside of the central region - they call it “The Midderlands”, and themselves “Midfolk” or “Midderlanders”.
There are many peculiar folk that call these Midderlands home. Generally mistrusting of outsiders, they suspiciously eye strangers, close doors, bar windows and scurry in opposite directions. Maybe the area has had a troubled history and that is why the folk behave the way they do.
All that aside, there are good folk too. These folk just want to subsist peacefully and not have interference or “goings on” in their lives. Nothing is ever that simple.
As well as the people of the area, there are the places. The towns and hamlets, the woods and hills, the lakes and the rivers. Amongst all these places are stranger locales too; circles of stones, strange towers, castles and burial grounds.
Everywhere, the Midderlands is tainted by a green-hued menace that rises from the deep and affects nature and order, sometimes subtly and sometimes catastrophically. It rises from the mysterious subterranean realm known as Middergloom. Often described as hell bathed in green fire and flames. Green-tinged slime, noxious vapours, and miasmas creep upwards, amongst them viridian-coloured demons, lime-green tentacles and other malachite horrors claw their way to the surface to wreak havoc. The Lords of the land are always working to keep things at bay. The realm of Middergloom is deliberately nebulous and mysterious, and left for you to develop as needed to suit your campaign.
The vileness that lurks below taints the skies above the land too, known as The Drab. The atmosphere is a hint of green rather than blue. The colour can shift between turquoise and sickly yellow-green in a short space of time. When night comes and the Drab clears, the midfolk can see the constellations surrounded by wispy green nebulae, strange wandering stars and comets, and a single many-cratered moon.
There are many things to keep the inquisitive minds of treasure seekers amused. There are also many things to keep the treasures where they are.
Things stir in this viridian-hued landscape. Evil eyes blink and watch. Teeth and claws scratch and sharpen. Gaping maws slobber and drool.
All is not content in the Midderlands."
 
So, if you're still with me, it's time for the list of things I like about this, and why you should be backing this.
 
1. The genre. It is NOT genre fantasy/D&D. This is not going to be just "another Forgotten Realms or Middle-Earth." Not that there is anything wrong with that, but genre D&D tends to saturate retro clones. LotFP WFRP and DCC are different in the way they set themselves apart with their implied settings. This could help S&W do the same. Not being genre D&D, even if you don't use this completely as written, there will be many things to rip out of it that you won't find in any other sourcebook. The feel of this setting is very much a Weird Fiction meets D&D meets Dark Fairy Tale meets Hammer Horror. It's a good mashup.
2. The systems. This is made for my favorite system, but fits well with my other favorite system. It's not secret that I love Swords & Wizardry, and this is written for that system! I like that, it draws attention to Swords & Wizardry. That, of course, makes it easy to use with any version of D&D, but especially other OSR games. The other system that I mention is Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Role Playing. The feel and tone of The Midderlands makes this a good product if you want to run LotFP about 100 years earlier than the implied setting that +James Raggi has set up. It takes place in a fictional England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth (Elspeth in the book.) The feel and tone fit the feel and tone of the earliest LotFP products such as Death Frost Doom, People of Pembrooktonshire, No Dignity in Death and Tower of the Star Gazer. Other LotFP titles can easily work here as well, but the tone of these four in particular would work with in The Midderlands. So, if your a Swords & Wizardry fan, or an LotFP fan, this should be up your alley.
3. The setting portion is ideal, in my eyes. See, I don't have the time, as a single father, to devote to fully fleshing out a homebrew world anymore. I also don't have the time or desire to fully use a campaign as detailed as "Forgotten Realms," for example. Products that are bogged down with too much history and canon are not up my alley. Hell, I prefer modules that are a little more bare than "boxed texty." I want a setting that lays things out in a short and concise manor but gives me tons of room. Something with basic info for at the table inspiration that can easily be used in play. Judges Guild's Wilderlands comes to mind. The Midderlands hits that nail square on the head. Each location, including towns and cities give two to four paragraphs to give the referee a good dose of atmosphere and inspiration to run with, without bogging them down with minutia and canon that won't make a lick of difference at the table. If you're like me, and this is your thing, this product is definitely for you. Here are some sample pages to show you the level of detail to expect:

 
So, if any of these things are your thing, back The Midderlands. At the time of this post, the campaign is just under $4000 away from funding! Help make this a reality.


Note, purchasing through affiliate links to OBS, etc. help the blog out. Gamers & Grognards receives 5% of every sale made through links on this blog.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Campaign At Dragonmead.

Well, after a successful week last week, I have decided to return to The Loaded Die's Board Game Night at Dragonmead in Warren, Michigan this Thursday night, July 20th. Last week we played a game of Swords & Wizardry that involved 1st level characters taking out a vampire without and real combat, a mausoleum crawl and and oracular chicken named "Jeff." You know you want to play this.

I will be running Swords & Wizardry again! Those who came last week will be able to use their characters again. This game will become an ongoing campaign in which players can drop in and out as they are able. I intend to run it twice a month at this point. So, if you like Swords & Wizardy, or good RPGs of any stripe and are in the area, come on by and roll up a character! I will be at Dragonmead not later than 7:00 PM.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Come Play Swords & Wizardry At Dragonmead Microbrewery!

So, on the local gaming scene here in Metro-Detroit, a local FLGS The Loaded Die has partnered with some local breweries to get some game nights running around town. One of these is in my own backyard (so to speak) and the microbrewery I have frequented the most. Dragonmead of Warren Michigan. I've always wanted there to be gaming at Dragonmead, as it is a somewhat historically and fantasy themed brewery.
 
I have spoken with Rob Otlowski, who runs the Dragonmead Game Night for The Loaded Die, and he has green lighted me to run some OSR games there. I can't personally make it every week, so I will be running once or twice a month.
 
The plan is to begin a Swords & Wizardry campaign that players can drop in and out of as they are available. This ongoing game will take place once a month. If I am available a second week in a month, I will run a one off, possibly on a different system. So, if you are in the area, and want to get your OSR on, come down to Dragon mead Thursday night 7/13/2017. I intend to begin by 7:30 and run until 10:30 or so. In addition, these fine folks have many board games going on!
 
 
 
 

Monday, July 10, 2017

U-Con 2017 Event/GM Registration is Open! Get Your OSR On!

It's that time of year again, folks! U-Com Event Registration is open! As the OSR event coordinator I am looking for Referees, Judges and Dungeon Masters to come run old school games! U-Con will be held November 17-19, 2017 at the Marriott Ann Arbor Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest.
 
 
 
What qualifies as an OSR event this year?
 
Official D&D:
All TSR Era D&D qualifies,
OD&D
AD&D
B/X
BECMI
AD&D 2nd Edition
Rules Cyclopedia
 
Other TSR Era Stuff:
Gamma World (TSR editions)
Boot Hill
Metamorphosis Alpha
Star Frontiers
Gangbusters
Top Secret
Alternity etc.
 
Other Early Era RPGs/Supplements:
Arduin
Early Chaosium products (RuneQuest 2nd Edition, Elfquest, Sandy Petersen era Call of Cthulhu etc)
RuneQuest (yes I know I mentioned it before)
Tunnels & Trolls (all editions)
Dragonquest (all editions)
Traveller (early editions)
Chivalry & Sorcery
Pacesetter System Games (Chill, Time Master, Crypt World etc.)
Middle Earth Role Playing (I.C.E.)
Rolemaster
Spacemaster
The Complete Warlock
Rapier & Dagger
Cyborg Commando (Did he really just say Cyborg Commando AGAIN?)
WEG D6 Star Wars
WEG D6 Ghostbusters
The Fantasy Trip
007
Pre 2000s Palladium Games (TMNT, Palladium RPG, early RIFTS etc)
 
If I missed your favorite, contact me and make sure, but it will likely be fine to run.
 
Retro-Clones:
Swords & Wizardry
OSRIC
Cryptworld
Labyrinth Lord
Mutant Future
Dark Dungeons
Delving Deeper
Blueholme
For Gold & Glory
Spellcraft & Swordplay etc.
 
Near Clones:
Dungeon Crawl Classics
Mutant Crawl Classics
Adventurer Conqueror King
Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea
Castles & Crusades
White Star
The Hero's Journey
The Black Hack
Adventures Dark & Deep
Lamentations of the Flame Princess: Weird Fantasy Roleplaying Game etc.
 
As always, this list is hardly exhaustive regarding all of the great Old School RPGs in the world. If you have one you want to run and it isn't here, just let me know. Let's make this thing huge. I want to give your favorite Old School game a place to live and breathe.  When you register and OSR game, be sure to note that it is an OSR game in the comment so that we get it registered properly.
 
Now, here is the official announcement from our website regarding requirements, what you get as a GM, where to submit events etc:
 

Gamemasters

Gamemasters are crucial to the success of U-Con. The games and events you bring are why people show up.  Gamemasters are the creative force behind U-Con. We appreciate your willingness to contribute your time, and we wish to make your convention experience enjoyable!
This page provides information for individual and small-group gamemasters. Other places to look for information include:

Event Submission

Online Submission

To join us as a gamemaster, we need to know a few things about you and the games you want to run. We have an online event submission form which takes a few minutes to fill out. If you have multiple events, you may follow the prompts to add them before you complete your submission. Children 12 and under please have a parent or guardian fill out the form.  We ask for:
  • Your name and contact information
  • Description of the event(s)
  • Scheduling preferences, including how much time to reserve for your event(s)
We ask each gamemaster to run at least 6 hours of events in order to receive a gamemaster badge, though we make exceptions for those who organize larger events such as LARPs.
update-note-arvin61r58-64pxGamemasters who go above and beyond by running a total of 16 hours of games can earn a Play Games All Weekend Ribbon.  This ribbon grants access to events all weekend long as if you had generics.  Free ribbons will be included in the preregistration materials of those who qualify. Here is the link for registering for a gamemaster badge.
You can use our contact form to request a status update regarding your event(s) or a copy of your schedule at any time. Please also send your event corrections by the contact form. In case of errors or an incomplete submission, we will contact you. If we can’t reach you, we might not be able to accept your event, so it is important you provide us a valid email address. We will do our best to accommodate your requests regarding the schedule. Gamemasters who are running in many slots can provide us a schedule.
We will accept events before the final deadline as long as we have space. Event submission deadlines are listed on the home page of our web site.
Convention related materials can be picked up on site (as described below). We do not mail anything in advance. The gamemaster is responsible for other materials necessary to run the event (e.g. a board game or rpg characters). Any exceptions to this rule of thumb should be mentioned in your event description (e.g. “please bring 4th level characters”).
 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Go Fund Me and Auction To Help For Fantasy/OSR Artist Mona Dowie

OSR Artist, Mona Dowie is in need of some help. For those who don't know Mona is a fantasy artist and wife of OSR Blogger +William Dowie (Ramblings of a Great Kahn.) William's blog was once prolific, hosting OSR contests regularly, on of which produced +Richard LeBlanc's excellent Valley of Five Fires*. You have likely viewed Mona's art, possibly without realizing it. Here is a link to here DeviantArt page.

Additionally here are a few other pieces that you may recognize.
Larina


Nox
Syla


If you think you've seen any of these three before, you likely have. Larina is from +Timothy Brannan' recently released The Green Witch for Swords & Wizardry*. Both Nox and Syla appear in the Old School Community project Petty Gods*.
Now onto the bad news. Mona has been in a battle with cancer since 2014. You might notice that this is around the time that William's blog began to fall off. William has created a Go Fund Me campaign to attempt to help out with the medical bills they have accrued. From the Go Fund Me page:
"My wife Mona has had cancer for years. Her cancer made her too sick to work by the Spring of 2014. Her cancer was first diagnosed in the fall of 2014 as uterine cancer. In early 2015 she finally got surgery to remove the cancer, which consisted of a full hysterectomy. She was in the hospital for weeks following some complications from surgery, which required her to be on dialysis for a few weeks. Radiation followed for the next few months. We went about a year after that thinking she was cancer free, recovering from her treatment. We moved to her hometown of Waverly, NY, since we had lost our house in Mexico, NY anyway, and it was about time we lived near her family and friends. She was not cancer free though. The cancer metastacized first to her lungs, which gave her a diagnosis of stage 4 lung cancer, a few months later it metastacized to her brain, which we discovered because of the seizures it caused when it bled into her brain."
This is a cause that needs our attention. At the time of this posting the campaign has run for 11 DAY AND ONLY RAISED $415.00 OF A NEEDED $3000.00! You can also get updates on her condition here. PLEASE make a donation. This is a cause near to my heart as I lost my uncle to cancer just last September. Please help out. As an added kicker, I will personally auction off  a hardcover copy of Petty Gods, signed by myself, and any other authors willing in the comments below over the next week and donate everything raised to the cause. If you want to bid on the signed book, a link will be available here. You will need to join the Goblin Emporium to bid. Bidding will end on Friday July 7th at 7 P.M. EST.
You can donate directly to the cause at the Go Fund Me Page. 
If you were a contributor to Petty Gods and want to add your signature, we can pass this book around the states and get as many of our signatures as possible. If you want to be involved in the book signing for Mona contact me at luxfaust@gmail.com.
Also, everyone share this post around! Get the word out!


*Purchases made through affiliate links help to fund the blog and future projects from Gamers & Grognards Studios.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Simple Cantrip Rules For Swords & Wizardry and OD&D

Cantrip is an archaic word originally meant to define a trick performed by witchery. Later it was used to mean a malicious trick or a sham. In recent years (at least since the publication of the AD&D version of "Unearthed Arcana") it has come into usage in fantasy role playing to mean a bit of minor magic. This is typically in the form of 0 level spells in D&D and it's simulacra. I like the idea of a magic user having access to spells that are useful little utilitarian spells that do not have major effects. That said, I don't believe that these effects should be individual spells themselves. I like the idea that a Vancian mage could memorize a spell and siphon off some of it's power without releasing the spell. This does not work with divinely granted magic like that of a cleric or druid.
 
How are we going to make this work? Well, this takes bargaining between the referee and the player. A mage can attempt to cause a minor magical effect based upon the effect of any spell currently memorized (or known spells not expended in the case of my sorcerer class.) For example, a mage with fireball written may want to light a pipe from his finger. A witch being bothered by a would be suitor may want to make him drowsy, heading off to bed, without expending the full effect of the spell and making him not off there and then. Likewise a sorceress with telekinesis may want to cause a bell that she can see ring, or wind chimes sound, without using the full effect of her spell. Minor effects like this might be allowed without question (possibly allowing a saving throw for the chap that is getting drowsy.)
 
Occasionally a player may want to make a cantrip a little more powerful. If this is allowed it should only be allowed once prior to expending the spell, and be possible to fail at. For an example, let's look at the fellow who lit his pipe with a fireball based cantrip. He may want to use that fireball for other things. He may want it to deal damage with it, to a lesser extent, than normal. Perhaps he is in close quarters and wants to reduce it to a 1d6 "firebolt" cantrip focusing on one enemy? Or maybe he and his companions are in a cold region and cannot light a fire. In this instance, perhaps he wants to use it to generate heat? These things are more game affecting than using the cantrip to light a fire or pipe. The referee can, of course, just rule that these sorts of things are not possible. Alternatively this could be allowed, but making an attribute check based upon the caster's prime requisite. My Power attribute could be substituted, if it were being used. If the check were successful, the effect could go off. Note that as stated before, more powerful cantrips should be of limited use. If the check fails, however, a saving throw should be made at a penalty of the spell's level. If the save passes, the effect does not occur. If the save is failed, the spell is expended for the day as if it were cast normally.
 
Let me know what you think. I've been playing around with this for a while.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Picks From the OSR Extravaganza Sale

Seeing as I am a strong supporter of Swords & Wizardry in both it's "official" and third party formats, I thought I would drop a post to highlight some of the awesome products on sale during the OSR Extravaganza Sale! There is some good stuff, and some at a far deeper discount than the standard 15% that the sale is offering! So, what are my S&W picks?

First of all, let me highlight a couple of larger deals happening.



+James Spahn of Barrel Rider Games has the vast majority of his catalog marked at 20% off or better. That means that you can have a plethora of White Box and White Star goodness at a deep discount! Did I mention he just release issue #1 of Star Sword Magazine, the official magazine of White Star? You can see everything James has to offer right here!
 
  

The OTHER Spahn, that is to say +Pete Spahn, also has a really great deal in the White Box family of games right now. It's a great deal, if you have yet to pick up WWII: Operation White Box. If your itching for some World War II or Weird War II action, this is where you want to be. In this bundle, you Get OWB in hardcover, premium color along with a copy in softcover for table use, the pdf and three modules to kick off your campaign! About $65 of product for only $44.99. You can grab this deal here.






 Now let's take a look as some new classes for your S&W Game. These are pretty cool.


+Mark Chance, of Spes Magna Games, gives us The Magus, which I have been a fan of since it's release! It's a neat little class with some simple astrology rules to add into your campaign. It's well worth the look for only $0.84! You can nab it up right here.












Next up, +Timothy Brannan gives us his latest foray into the world of witchcraft. The Warlock  ports over the class from 3.X - 5E into S&W with Tim's special brand of witchcraft. With notes on using the class with Tim's other Witches, there is a real value here. The real value here is for those who want this in physical form, which is currently about 33% off. If you're looking for new spells or want to bring the Tiefling into your S&W Complete campaign, this is the book for you.






Next up is a full campaign setting, complete with some alternate rules.


Sherwood: The Legend of Robin Hood is a fantastic supplement/campaign setting. I backed this when it was a Kickstarter. I can tell you, it is well researched from a historical perspective, and that alone makes it worth the price of the book. You get a campaign setting, new classes, and some new options for your fighters. The historical data helps for setting the scene, even if you don't intend to use the book as written. The book contains information on running both a historical OR high fantasy version of the Robin Hood myth. Complete with historically based classes. This is a Swords & Wizardry book worth having!



Onward to Adventure!

The first adventure I would like to highlight is brought to us by Genius Loci Games. Pyramid of the Lost King is a low level campaign more than it is an adventure module! With a town, a plot and several dungeon/encounter regions, this could take months of regular play to get through. With professional looking layout and editing and terrific content, this is a steal at $8.50 for the pdf or $15.00 in softcover!








Ursined, Sealed and Delivered is a favorite of mine that I have both played and run. It's a great old school module that goes beyond just being a dungeon crawl. Published by the Frogs themselves and written by none other than veteran Dennis Sustare (creator of the OD&D Druid class!) and with a cover by Jennell Jaquays, this is an already an old school classic. In recent years it has become one of my all time favorite adventures along side the likes of Palace of the Vampire Queen and Dark Tower.






There you have it. Some of my top S&W picks from the massive sale that is soon to end! Remember, purchasing from my links helps Gamers & Grognards with a 5% commission from your sale.