July 30, 2010

Garhelm - Setting-Specific Rules

Here are the setting-specific rules I provided to the players.  This is kind of a hodge-podge listing and isn’t in any particular order.  I’ve added a few editorial comments about things that did or did not work well.

General Overview
  • The general feel of the setting is Nordic mixed with the works of Robert E. Howard, Fritz Lieber and H.P. Lovecraft.
  • The Norse Pantheon now rules the world of Garhelm. However, there are those who still worship the Dark Ones, the Demon and Devil Lords of the prior age. They see the Gods of Asgard as unwelcome usurpers. Although few in number, there are those who practice the ancient rites of the Elder Gods. 

Divine MagicOdin
  • Like the majority of humanity, most clerics worship the entire Norse pantheon, rather than a select deity. However, some priests do worship particular deities, with Thor, Odin  and Freya being the most common. Those few who worship the Demons and Devils still find their unholy prayers answered. As for the Elder Gods, they have all but left Garhelm. Only a few dedicated soles seek to return them to their former glory. [I used the 3rd edition Deities & Demigods for the Norse deities. If a character wanted to worship the entire pantheon, he’d just use the default cleric rules.  As needed, I would also supplement this with Necromancer Games’ free Gods & Demons document, but that really would have only come into play with evil PCs or PCs wishing to worship an Elder God.].

runeArcane Magic
  • Wizards and Sorcerers exist, but are not common and there are no large academies of magic.
  • All arcane magic is based on runes, thus all magic items have runes etched on them. In the case of potions, the containers must have these runes to retain the potion’s magic. Note: not everything with a rune etching on it is magic. [The whole “rune magic” concept was really done more for flavor than anything.]
  • All standard player races exist, but demi-humans are rare. Only two allowed per party. However, Orc is considered a playable race. As a general rule, humans and demi-humans are distrustful of one another. Demi-humans blame the humans for the Age of Pains and humans resent that the demi-humans, for the most part, have isolated themselves from the outside world.
  • Unlike on most prime material planes, the Orcs of Garhelm are not inherently evil. HalfOrcFightermini Indeed, Orcs, more than any other demi-human race, aided the humans in the battles of the Age of Pains. [I started to find it odd that half-orcs were in the Player’s Handbook, but not full-blooded orcs. On a side-note, I think Wizards of the Coast would have solved the “half-orc dilemma" a lot more eloquently by simply bringing full-blooded orcs into the Player’s Handbook and not making them inherently evil.]
  • Halflings are “Furchins” (Nordic Halflings) and are known for their fierce riding dogs. Many are masters of mounted archery. [I stole that concept from the 2nd Edition The Complete Book of Gnomes & Halflings.]
  • Dwarves and Gnomes are standard D&D fare.
  • Elves are standard D&D fare, but lean more toward sorcery than wizardry. As such, they receive no experience penalty when multi-classing in Sorcerer (however, the penalty does apply to Wizard). [Given that elves are typically portrayed as forest dwellers, the Sorcerer class seemed more appropriate to me.  I just find it odd that folks who are normally seen as being one-with-nature also loved to pour over old tomes for their arcane magic.]
  • Gnolls are the most populous evil humanoid race and are seen as a plague by all good races. They are demon and devil worshippers and were the Darks Lords foot soldiers during the Age of Pains.  [I really like me some gnolls and wanted something a bit different for the generic bad guys.]
  • All standard player classes are allowed. However, due to the harsh nature of Garhelm and the savage life that most lead, any race can multi-class with barbarian without experience point penalty. [I did this because I wanted the PCs to be a bit beefier than normal. In part because of the weapon restrictions (see below) and also because I wasn’t planning on pulling any punches.  Plus, barbarians are cool.  This rule didn’t quite work, and I later amended it.  That will likely be in the next post.]

  • There are no large nations in Garhelm; most are city-states at best, separated by great expanses of wilderness. [Now known as a “points of light” style setting. I always liked the scenes in Conan the Barbarian of the heroes running across the land to get to a city and the wonders they found once they got there.]
Godmetal [a.k.a. my “Riddle of Steel” concept rip off]Thulsa-Doom-original
  • During the Second Age, amongst the chaos, metal became a rare commodity, even more so those who are skilled in crafting it. The same holds true in the Third Age.
  • Bronze is the only metal moderately available, but is very precious. All bronze weapons and armor cost twice the listed book price. Bronze weapons suffer a –1 penalty to both attack and damage rolls. See The Arms and Equipment Guide for more rules concerning weapons and armor. [This is one of the “small tweaks” that came back to haunt me. It made things unnecessarily complex (although it seemed simple enough at the time). Perhaps “complex” isn’t the right term, but in hindsight, it’s not much fun to have the default campaign weapons give you a penalty. My initial thought was to simply give steel weapons a +1, etc. and that way they would sort of be the equivalent of a magic weapon. That is, I was going to give bonuses for steel weapon rather than penalties for non-steel weapons.  Then I cracked open the A & E Guide and decided to go by the book, figuring wiser men than I had made the rule for a reason. This was part of my learning to trust my own insight over an official rulebook.  Years later, I picked up Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia, which handled this much better than the A & E Guide.  In a little side blurb entitled “The Riddle of Steel” (I kid you not), the author suggests the following adjustments for weapons in this kind of setting: Wood, bone, or stone: –1, copper +0,  bronze +1, iron +2, steel +3.  Any masterwork or magic bonuses simply stacked with those.  If I revive Garhlem, that is how I will handle it.] 
  • Steel, called Godmetal, is considered priceless and steel items are not normally for sale. Items of steel, particularly weapons and armor, are considered great treasures and signify wealth and status.
  • Blacksmiths are held in high regard and are treated as elders in villages, towns, and cities. They are seen as priests who work the Godmetal. Finding metal, particularly steel, is considered a blessing from the gods.
  • Each character has a Reputation score, based upon the article “Fantasy Reputation” in ENWorld Player’s Journal #3.
  • A character gains a +1 Reputation bonus at each level and may earn extra bonuses to thin-lizzy-bad-reputation-album-cover-54826 Reputation for specific actions that are widely publicized. Such awards are special occasions given at the DM’s discretion, and should be noted on the character’s sheet under the Reputation section and in the List of Deeds. [The ENworld Player’s Journal article was neat and all (basically taking a d20 Modern concept and making it work in traditional D&D), but in general it was kind of a pain to track and never really amounted to much.  Perhaps it would have if the campaigns lasted longer, but in hindsight, this kind of thing is best left to role-playing rather than mechanics.]
  • Although the world of Garhelm has recovered a great deal, it is still somewhat primitive. No item above the Bronze Age category listed in The Arms and Equipment Guide is normally available. [The A & E Guide was helpful in this regard.]
  • The people of Garhelm do employ coinage, but barter is also often used.

July 29, 2010

Garhelm – The Background

I distributed this background to my players to set the tone of the campaign.  When viking_helmetcreating this back-story, I had three goals in mind: 
  1. Work in all the stuff I love (e.g., Norse mythology, Fraz-Urb’ Luu, etc.).
  2. Embed a rationale that made all of it work together.  Why is the Norse Pantheon worshipped in this world?  Why are there gods outside the Norse Pantheon? Where did the demons come from? 
  3. Ensure there is a rationale for the existence of dungeons to explore. As Jeff Rients has pointed out, default D&D is post-apocalyptic in nature. I wasn’t thinking of it in quite those terms at the time, but in hindsight, I realize it’s the same point.
The Story Garhelm
Garhelm’s history is a tale of betrayal and salvation. Most scholars divide the history of Garhelm  into Three Ages. The particulars of the First, or Elder, Age, are all but forgotten now by Man (the elves and dwarves may know much about this time, but are not forthcoming with information). It is said that the Elder Age was a time of relative peace. Man and Elf and Dwarf and Orc, Halfling and Gnome lived, worked, and fought side by side.

However, Man impatient and rash, grew restless with this calm. Seeking power and might that their own gods would not grant, many men turned to other, more sinister forces. The Book of Delbal-La states that it was Fraz-Urb’ Luu, the Deceiver, who first answered their call. He was soon followed by more Demons and Devils, quick to grant power to would-be followers. The old gods (now known as the Elder Gods), turned from those who turned from them and left Garhelm. But the foolish Men, rash and overconfident, realized too late the price of their power. And thus came the Second Age, the Age of Pains. The very sun was blotted out by the evil of the Dark Lords. Fiends and Undead walked openly, raping the land of its vitality and life. The Giants, whom had long lain dormant, awoke and ravaged the land. Great nations were brought to ruin as weak-minded kings and hell-bent priests led armies into pointless battles. Friend turned against friend and the hearts of most turned as black as the sky. The other races realized too late the evil that Men had brought to the world. They forsake Men, withdrawing to great holds and protected enclaves within the mountains, forests, and hills.

Yet, not all Men had been corrupted, not all had forgotten that there were other powers besides the Lords of the Hells and the Dukes of the Abyss. The Seven Travelers sought aid and aid they found. Mystics spoke of strong gods, hungry for battle and they set out on a quest for these deities. Who these Travelers were has been lost. Some say the band was composed of brave Men seeking to correct the mistakes of their race; others claim the band consisted of representatives of all the races. Whatever the case, they set out on a quest to find those whom would rescue their dying world. After years of searching, they at last reached Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge and crossed over into Asgard and besieged the deities they found there to save Garhelm. The gods answered the call.

Led by Thor, the forces of Asgard made war against the Dark Ones. Valhalla emptied its warriors eager for battle and carnage. Slowly but surely, Men awoke from their nightmare and turned against the Dark Ones. Battle upon battle was fought, entire nations laid to waste, for the New Gods sought to wipe Garhelm clean and saw little need to spare the world of old. Seeing that there was now hope, many of the other races joined in the fight, reviving old alliances and forging new ones. The might of Asgard could not be quelled and the Dark Ones fled, many abandoning Garhelm, seeking to find lower hanging fruit from other realms. However, some could not be driven out entirely. These were driven underground and under the sea, locked in wards and sealed off from humanity. Thus ended the Age of Pains.

Hundreds of years of later, the Third Age is at hand. The sun shines again and Garhelm grows. Yet even while the sun shines, so too do shadows grow.

July 28, 2010

Garhelm - My Homebrew Campaign Setting

My next few posts will detail a campaign setting I created a few years back for D&D 3.5.  I viking_helmetnamed the world “Garhelm.”  Why?  Because it sounded cool.  (To this day, I’m waiting for someone to tell me that it means “small scrotum” or something in a foreign dialect.)  I designed the kind of game world in which I would want to play.  It unabashedly borrows from several cliché sources, such as Howard’s Conan stories, the Conan the Barbarian movie, Norse mythology, Lovecraft, classic D&D demons, and more. I also designed the world so I could fit just about every Necromancer Games module I owned into it.

   I ran two short-lived campaigns in Garhlem, both of which ended for various reasons.  One was a face-to-face game that involved players from different states.  We didn’t meet often, so we had only about three sessions.  The other campaign was played online via ScreenMonkey.  This was before the days of Skype, so everything was chat-based.  Suffice it to say, it was very slow.  So, both of those campaigns had logistic obstacles, but, in both cases, lethality was the final campaign ender.   It’s frustrating enough when your PC dies, but even more so when you seldom get to play and/or the play format (i.e., online) is sort of inherently frustrating to begin with.
I learned a couple things from these campaigns:
  • Be upfront about the death rate in the campaign. If there is going to be a high body count, let your players know from the start.  Then they can pass on the campaign from the get-go and irritation can be spared by one and all.  I made sure to do this with my Rappan Athuk campaign.
  • Seemingly small mechanic adjustments added for campaign flavor can come back to haunt you.
I no longer use this setting, opting instead for the game world sparsely alluded to in Bard’s  Gate and the Rappan Athuk module.  I would like to revive Garhelm one of these days (with a few tweaks), but who knows if that will happen.deathdealerII

July 27, 2010

Gaming Deal - Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Animated Series for $10.00

Just thought I'd share... Amazon.com has Dungeons & Dragons: The Complete Animated Series for $10.00: link

I could not resist and splurged.

They also have the entire revamped He-Man and the Masters of the Universe for $11.00: link
I passed on that.  I might have gone for it if it was the original, though.

July 26, 2010

A Day Trip to Origins 2010: Part 6 – Miscellaneous and Final Comments

  • Origins offers free child care (with purchase of at least a full day ticket).  They had a whole room full of board games, a cardboard castle, and piles of LEGOS for the kiddos.  They also had volunteers that would teach and play any of the games with the kids while their parents were out and about.  I forget the age requirements, but I think Mayhem (nearly 3 years old) might be a bit young for it yet.  Chaos (a sagacious 6 years old) would be fine.  Expecting them to stay there the whole day would be a bit much, but I certainly could see them logging enough time me to get in a gaming event or two. 
  • I saw the famous Lou Zocchi school some smart ass kids on dice.  Three young boys (early teens) were at his booth and picked up a d100 and were quite impressed until they saw that it cost $10.  In that oh-so-annoying-know-it-all-teenage-tone, one boy said to his friends, “I know a cheaper version. It’s called percentile dice.”  They all snickered.  The boys hadn’t even seemed to notice Lou sitting there.  They soon took notice as he went onto provide a lengthy reason for the cost, describing how the d100 was made, etc. (it sounded something akin to this: link).  He actually was friendly, but it was funny to see those boys' reactions.  They said nothing, but their faces said “Oh shit, we’ve  riled a beast.”  (On a side note, I found it odd that Game Science Dice had its own booth separate from this guy.)
  • If I ever go to a large convention again, such as Origins or GenCon, I think I will reserve a whole day for the Exhibit Hall.  I had a great time and was able to really enjoy the hall without worrying about missing an event.  If you only have time for one day at a con, you might consider getting a cheap “entry only” day pass and just camping out in the Exhibit Hall.  It sort of felt like spending the day at a shopping mall, except it was awesome.
  • Origins is too damn close for me to not be going to it each year.  I’m looking forward to next year.

July 22, 2010

Pathfinder, Zombies, and a Chance to Win some Pathfinder Tomes

Troll in the Corner is having a contest to support its Aruneus campaign setting project.  Check it out here and enter: link  What is Aruneus?  Sounds like it's Pathfinder meets Dawn of the Dead... in other words, it sounds very cool.

(Yes, part of the reason I made this post was to score an extra chance at winning the contest, but it really does sound like a great product.  Check it out).

July 15, 2010

A Day Trip to Origins 2010: Part 5 – The Art of Echo Chernik

I took a quick tour of the art exhibit and was quite taken with the art of Echo Chernik.  I’m a fan of Alphonse Mucha, so it's no surprise I like her work.  Here is a sampling taken from her Web site: link

I have no idea what the “Pie Cthulhu” one is about, but I like it.








July 14, 2010

A Day Trip to Origins 2010: Part 4 – Demoing WEGS 101: Old Skool and Elfball

I demoed two morewegs-cover games at Origins 2010.  Next up was WEGS (Wickedly Errant Game System) 101: Old Skool by GameWick Games.  I was intrigued by the flyer they had set out near registration (I’m a sucker for Old School marketing), so I made a point of trying it.  Per their web site, “WEGS is the action-packed, dice-rolling, casino-crazed, sword-n-sorcery system that you and your dice have been waiting for!” 

Was it that?  Well, it was a decent system but, honestly, I’m having trouble remembering its inner workings.  I remember that it only involved d6s and d10s and used various cards to keep track of player abilities. For example, I played a wizard, so all my spells were on individual cards.  I think that the cards were an extra player aid (they were selling a special starter pack at the con which had the rulebook and the cards together).  The game had some interesting mechanics, such as allowing me to pay spell points to keep various spells in play while casting new spells (which also required the use of more spell points).  Every time I cast a spell I had to roll under a certain percentage for it to go off and I could spend spell points to increase my chances of success.  But the game just didn’t grab me.  There is nothing wrong with WEGS, but nothing made me want to pick it up. 

Perhaps it’s more me than this game.  I’ve played D&D so much that it’s hard for me to get excited about another fantasy RPG.  If I want a fantasy RPG, I turn to D&D.  Sure, I like Castles & Crusades, but that is an unabashed derivative of D&D.  I have a newfound love of Savage Worlds and one can surely play it as a fantasy RPG (and it has several fantasy supplements), but I can’t imagine myself doing so. Savage Worlds appeals to me because it isn’t inherently a fantasy game.  For what it’s worth, I’d be more likely to sign up for a game of WEGS than HackMaster Basic as it certainly plays quicker.

On a side note, regardless of the game system, the term “old school” (or “old skool,” as the case may be), has been beaten to death.  What qualifies something as old school?  Does it have to be a derivative of a classic RPG, be it D&D, Gamma World, Traveler, etc., as the OSR blogs seem to indicate?  Or is it simply a style of play? I’m guessing WEGS is claiming “old school” credentials based on its hack ‘n’ slash play style.  I do not have anything against the OSR blogs (far from it, I read a ton of them) or WEGS, but I guess my point is the term has started to lose meaning in the RPG world.

cat_2058I demoed Elfball by Impact Miniatures last.  I had passed by this booth a couple times and finally figured I’d give it a go.  Obviously, it looked like a Blood Bowl knock-off (see also Battleball, which apparently is going for nearly $50, whereas it was going for $10-we-can’t-give-it-away” pricing at Toys R Us a few years back).  I’ve never played Blood Bowl, but its look and concept have always appealed to me so, thinking this was something akin to it, I gave it a whirl.

So, let me get this off my chest right out of the gate: I hate the name. I like me some elves in my D&D and, sure, their graceful badasses, but, come on, elf football?  I liked the name worse after playing because it’s a misnomer.  There are several different types of teams made up of all kinds of fantasy creatures (which serve as the basis to differentiate team stats), so it's not an elf exclusive game.

Ok, so while I don’t like the name, I did enjoy the game.  It’s really more of rugby game than American football (although I must confess little knowledge of rugby).  The rules explicitly prohibit long bombs (there is an imaginary force field in the center of the field to prevent this) and, the small size of the board forces immediate player contact.  I’d say the game felt like Necromunda football.  It wasn’t overly complex, but each move (e.g., tackle, shove, etc.) involved a die roll on a particular table for that move, with the roll adjusted by various factors (e.g., bonuses for hitting from the rear, etc.).  Elfball1The demo guy knew his stuff though, so this was pretty painless.

The Momentum tracker was the most interesting mechanic.  During your turn, you can chain together several moves and the more successes you receive, the more your Momentum increases.  Once you have enough Momentum, you can spend these points to perform special maneuvers. For example, the demo guy would repeatedly shove my player, gathering momentum, then execute some special move at the end to cap it off.  I really liked this mechanic because it simulated the momentum you experience with just about any sport (whether playing it or watching it). Sure, it’s intangible, but few would argue that it doesn’t exist. 

The game played a bit slow (and I was a bit antsy, so I didn’t even play a full game), so I can see why the first to score wins (although apparently it’s typical to play 2 out of 3, etc.)  It was fun though, so if you’re into this type of board game, it’s worth checking out (not to mention you can check out the rules for free here: link)

July 10, 2010

Robert E. Howard's Solomon Kane Poems

If you're a Solomon Kane fan, give these audio files a listen: link.  I liked them so much, I burned them to a CD to listen to in the car.

You'll find the following at that site:
  • The One Black Stain
  • The Return of Sir Richard Grenville
  • Solomon Kane's Homecoming

July 8, 2010

A Day Trip to Origins 2010: Part 3 – Demoing HackMaster Basic and Savage Worlds

I made good use of my day pass and played quite a few games in the Exhibit Hall.  The first  game I tried was HackMaster Basic by Kenzer and Company.  I’m a sucker for Dwarven Forge setups, and their demo caught my attention right a way (ha, well that and it was right by the door). 

HackMaster Basic made quite a stir with classic gaming fans when it hit the shelves and I was eager to try it.  First off, I quickly learned that James over at Grognardia was right in that there is little “basic” about it. I’ve since learned that it’s called “Basic” because a more complete “Advanced” version is forthcoming. 
Despite the classic look and obvious homage to classic D&D, it’s definitely its own game.  For example, combat is counted off in seconds, not rounds.  That is, player turns happen by the second rather than by the round.  This is kind of cool because it can resolve certain questions rather easily.  For example, how far can I climb in a second? The GM and the player should be able to agree on that pretty easily.  “Sure, you can get on the table, but not climb that wall.”

So your initiative roll indicates at which second you start. The GM counts up and you act when the count gets to your roll result.  The interesting spin thereafter is that you can act any second after that. So if you start at the 5th second, you can act on the 6th second, the 7th and so on, even if that second is someone else’s turn. If I recall correctly, ties are resolved by some kind of initiative score.  I can’t recall exactly.  Weapon speed determines how quickly you can attack again and you can’t necessarily attack on each turn.  For example, if your initiative is 7 and your weapon speed is 5, you can first attack on the 7th second, but can’t attack again with that weapon until 5 seconds later (i.e., the 12th turn). 

There were other intricacies too, such as how one’s shield comes into play, etc.  In general, it was a very detailed system and it seemed to involve a lot of book-keeping.  It was a neat system, but easily as complex as D&D 3.5.  The combat rules made a lot sense, but seemed to aim at being so realistic that they would result in a very slow game. Kenzer has free quick-start rules, so you can decide for yourself (although they seem more about character creation than actual play).  I have come to believe that less is more (hence the appeal of Castles & Crusades), so I can’t imagine playing this game regularly, or buying the rule book for that matter. I certainly would be up for giving it another whirl at a convention again, though.  

Next up was Savage Worlds by Pinnacle Entertainment Group.  I’ve been curious about this game for a while. Their booth was in the dead center of the hall and had two very spiffy demo tables.  I saddled up to one and asked if I could play.

The guy running the demo did a great job (I wish I could remember his name) and I was quickly knee-deep in a Savage Worlds: Deadlands scenario, my gunslinger rushing up a cliff face to save his lady love from evil cultists.

I skimmed the free Test Drive rules a year or so ago, so I had a basic understanding of the system.  Instead of attribute scores, characters assign a die to each attribute (from a d4 to the d12), with the larger the die, the better score.  You have to love that the forlorn d12 gets its due and is sort of the “18” of the game.   Combat and task resolution are straight forward: you roll the appropriate skill, which is based on an attribute die, and if you beat the target number, you succeed. Typically a 4 or better is a success (naturally, various modifiers apply). 

What makes the game mechanic fun is that major players in the game, that is player characters and heavy duty NPCs, are “Wild Cards” and therefore get to roll an extra d6 for just about any roll (except damage, I think).  The player can pick the better of the two dice (they don’t add up).  Also, there is an “exploding die” mechanic, so if you roll the highest number on a die, you get to keep rolling it, adding the rolls together. If you beat a target number by 4, you get a “raise,” and extra cool stuff can occur (depending on the purpose of the die roll). 

All of this adds up to a damn fun mechanic.  I guess that is what sets it apart.  The Savage Worlds’ dice mechanic is simply fun.  There is something about the wild die, the raises and the exploding dice that gives Savage Worlds an extra oomph that makes you eager to see what you roll.

I enjoyed the demo so much that I bought the Savage Worlds: Explorer Edition book (hell, it is only $10).  I’ve been giving it a good read-through. In some ways, Savage Worlds feels a bit like a d20 game without the d20.  For a game that is known for being simple, it has just as many modifiers and such as d20.  I was particularly surprised that the rulebook repeatedly emphasizes that miniatures and a battle-mat should be used.  That being said, there are no attacks of opportunities and nothing really seems to slow down combat to the extreme that d20 mechanics can. 

Savage Worlds has garnered a strong following and I can see why. [Christina Stiles is working on “savaging” her SpirosBlaak d20 setting into a Savage World one.]  I would love to run a campaign that would really put this RPG through its paces.  Since it’s a universal system, I would love to run some kind of time traveling campaign in which the each PC is from whatever time period the players wish and then run them through scenarios in the past, present, and future.  Anyhow, I highly recommend it. 

July 6, 2010

A Day Trip to Origins 2010: Part 1 – Meetin’ folks

On my way back from Chicago, my family stopped in Ohio for a bit of R & R at Lake Erie. I’d had been kicking around the idea of hitting Origins since it wasn’t all that far away from where we were staying. (Well, it was a 2 1/2 hour drive, but that seemed reasonable for game-starved me. Yes, yes, I had a good gaming fix at Games Plus in Chicago, but I didn’t actually play anything there.)  So I woke up early on Saturday, packed a couple bologna sandwiches and headed out.

I arrived at the convention just prior to the Exhibit Hall opening.  I debated getting a full-fledged day badge, which would have been $30 plus whatever event tickets I bought. The Pathfinder events were tempting, but, in the end, I opted to go on the cheap and spent $5 for a day pass (which provided access to the Exhibit Hall and open gaming).  Besides, I figured I could get my fix in the Exhibit Hall and I wanted to keep my schedule open so I could meet up with some folks. 

First off, I met the Tabletop Adventures crew.  A couple years back, Vicki Potter (TTA editor) posted an open call for a proofreader on ENWorld and I responded. I helped proofread and edit the second printing of Against the Darkness, their Vatican horror RPG (a cool mix of action and The Exorcist-style horror).  Check it out if you get a chance. It was nice to finally meet the TTA team in person, as we had communicated solely via email for the proofreading project.  I myself picked up a copy of The Mother of All Treasure Tables, which they were kind enough to sign. This book is a true gem and I highly recommend it. It fits in well with the TTA motto of providing “help for the harried GM.”

I also meet up with some folks from the Troll Lord Games forums, namely Christina Stiles and Duke Omote (a.k.a. Derrick).  Christina is the author of the excellent SpirosBlaak setting book and was kind enough to provide Omote and I with signed copies. SpirosBlaak is a great setting: 160 pages of lycanthrope and black powder madness. I originally came across it during one of Green Ronin’s sales and picked it up on a whim. It turned out to be my favorite item from that purchase and is definitely on my “to do” list of campaign settings.  She also has written several adventures for The Crusader magazine and other goodies.  Check out her stuff at Misfit Studios.

The three of us swapped gaming stories, chatted about C&C and Savage Worlds (Christina is a big fan and I’m coming around).  It was great to actually meet these folks in person.  Omote and I share a common passion for Rappan Athuk and we swapped war stories. Omote’s group actually finished it and hearing that was a shot in the arm. Time to kick my own campaign into high gear.

We talked a lot about other conventions and I hope to meet up with Christina and Omote, and hopefully more of the TLG forum crew, at Con on the Cob in the fall.

I know I’m a bit late to the game here on Origins, but I have more posts to come, including a general photo dump and a review of the few games I demoed.
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