October 9, 2012

Score! I won The Secret DM's contest

The Secret DM held a contest a while back and I won! Very cool. I love how he used a randomizer to pick the winner.

He was kind of enough to send the prize money to me via Paypal so I can blow it at Con on the Cob this weekend.

August 27, 2012

The Ballad of the Swiftblade

After a long hiatus, my group finally got a chance to play some C&C last Friday.  It was a blast of a session.

Our campaign is set in the Southern Reaches of the Wilderlands, with the party operating out of Sacred Rock. They decided to follow-up on an old adventure lead about an abandoned guard tower outside of town. Quite some time back, they saw a gargoyle floating around there.

A darkwing (notably, not Darkwing Duck).
There was a stable and an armory on the ground level, and the upper levels consisted of  a series of walkways (i.e., upper interior was mostly hollow). After breaking in and battling some zombie guardsmen, they were set upon by darkwings and, later, a gargoyle swooping down from the upper reaches of the tower.

It was a tremendous battle with plenty of "fantasy #@#$! Vietnam"-style play. Thanks to a critical hit dealt out by the gargoyle, the party's wood elf ranger, Ash Swiftblade, bled out at the very end.  The party's bard player posted the ballad below on the campaign's EpicWords site afterwards.

As much as I take pot-shots at bards, there is no doubt this is awesome:

The Ballad of the Swiftblade

To the forgotten tower I did journey
with Wil, Gravel, Ash, and Antonin
through its sealed doors we sought the secrets 
held in darkness within.

The air was thick with dust and must
We found arms and bones of horse
But in its draft we did find 
something much, much worse.

Bold Gravel cried, "I need no help
To vanquish this undead foe!"
But was soon beset by death
taken wing to dive from above to below.

Swift as his blade, Ash ran up,
his companion beset by undead scum
but a rushing, flapping sound from above
foretold of death to come.

Wings violet as night swarm in the dark
trimmed with fangs and claws
that will lift you up to heights so high
that the fall should give any man pause

A swarm so large it should be said
that it could even lift large Gravel
"We must pull back!" the Swiftblade said
"Lest upwards you wish to travel!"

Gravel found the quickest way down,
landing with a sickening thud
"To the armory!" the Swiftblade called
"They'll not have our blood!"

Through a hail of death taken wing
We struggled to the door
When it was slammed and leaned upon
We numbered only four

Potions were quaffed by one and all
both magics and fermented
The door was braced, but slowly gave
under attack unrelented.

As we took stock and readied to fight
to the bold and bitter death
When the scratching and clawing of our foe
eased like a sighing breath.

"This is our chance!" the Swiftblade growled
"We open this door and fight!"
All agreed and so we did,
his blade the first to cut right.

Only a few remained, the rest drawn away
A riddle quickly won
When a voice we heard, Antonio's cry out
"These beasts, they fear the sun!"

Took flight we did for the door we came in,
cutting through the winged lot
seeking the solace of the sun
and its warming rays most hot.

As we did a beast did join, 
larger than the rest
It sought our blood as its favorite sweet
Nearly putting enormous Gravel to his rest.

Wil came up to the giant half-man,
"We make our stand now and here!"
And all did turn to fire upon
the gargoyle without fear.

Know that gargoyles are not the sort to shy
with their stony bodies and hide
Though pelt it we did with arrows and blows
With our line it did collide.

"You'll not have my friends!" the Swiftblade yelled
His sword arced for a mighty blow
But the gargoyle tore with tooth and claw
to lay him bloody low.

As there he lay, his lifeblood spilling
He beckoned me to take his blade
"Take this now and run him through,
before to darkness I do fade."

I wish I could say I did such a thing,
though at least I can say that I tried.
But even as he lay bleeding he save me once more
or else I would have died.

Slick with his blood, I could not stand
And the gargoyle terrible and fierce
Expected with my rise to run me through
With its horns it meant to pierce.

With it low to the ground my companions did strike
They ran it through front and back
And there it fell, beside the Swiftblade
Its blood as Ash's name most black.

"Thank you for that," he sighed me
as he died there in the sun
But he'd done much, much greater for us
for because of him the battle was won.

So when into darkness you must tread
or through trouble you must wade
hope you have a noble friend
as brave as Ash the Swiftblade!

August 21, 2012

The Dungeon Bastard on my DMing Style

I wasn't able to attend GenCon this year, but two of my friends, Hans and John made it, and they met the one and only Bill Cavalier - Dungeon Bastard!

They told them how, after a year of play, they are only 3rd level in my campaign.  This was his reaction.

It reads, "DAN - QUIT BEING A DICK."

Close up.

REJECTED from The Badass Dungeon Crushers Association!

August 7, 2012

Hulks & Horrors vs Stars Without Number

I'm pretty excited about the Hulks & Horrors game and hope that it funds.  One reasonable question gamers have, though, is why should I sign up for H&H when I can get Star Without Number for free?

The short answer is that H&H is really meant to take on the "dungeon crawl" theme and put into space, whereas SWN seems to take a broader approach. H&H creator John Berry addresses this here: link.  He is also fielding any questions you might have at TheRPGsite forum here: link

July 17, 2012

Dungeon Crawling IN SPACE: Hulks & Horrors

James of Grognardia fame mentioned Hulks & Horrors on Google+ yesterday.  It takes the old school dungeon crawl and tosses it into the blackness of the void.  The sales pitch sold me, so I'm in.

Just when I thought I reached my saturation point on Kickstater/IndieGoGo projects, this pops up!

The contribution levels are very reasonable, so I went it.  Give it a gander.

July 16, 2012

Castles & Crusades Monsters in Kobold Quarterly

Just a heads up to my fellow Castles & Crusades fans, 4 pretty slick monsters for C&C are in the new issue of Kobold Quarterly (#22). (The cover says 9 monsters for some reason, but there are only 4).

I don't want to give away too many details, because I'd like to surprise my players, but these beasties have a fungus and island theme going for them.

June 26, 2012

Board games that I play with my kids that don't require heavy drinking to get through.

Kill me now.
Although I have managed to get in one RPG session with my girls, by and large, we mainly play board games.  If you're like me and have had enough of Candyland and Monopoly Jr., give these a try.  These games are simple enough for younger players, but enjoyable for adults as well. In other words, I can play these with my kids without falling asleep.  At the time of this posting, my oldest daughter (Chaos) is 8 and my youngest daughter (Mayhem) is 4.

(Full Disclosure: These links include Noble Knight Games affiliate codes.)

Seven Dragons: A domino-like, color matching card game with Larry Elmore art. Link seven dragons of your color and you win. The instructions include several variations of play, including a pre-school rule set (although, after a few games of that, your kids will likely be ready for the full rule set). The advanced game includes use of cards for messing with other players.

Labyrinth: Players shift the tiles of the maze on their turn, trying to create paths to treasure designated by a deck of cards.  Simple to understand, lots of fun to play.
Castle Keep: Each player tries to construct his own keep with tiles that connect based on color or shape. Instead of building your own keep, you can also destroy part of an opponent's keep by playing a corresponding tile on it.

Forbidden Island: A bit trickier than the others, but it is a cooperative game so it is easy to help the kids. After a game or two, they'll have it down.  Players work together to swipe artifacts from the island before it sinks.  You can also scale the difficulty if it gets too easy.

Cave Troll: Each player commands a small band of adventurers trying to gain control of a dungeon. The mechanic is very simple: each room is worth a particular gold value and the person with the most pieces in the room owns the room when it is counted. (Note: I actually own the 2nd Edition which, apparently is hard to find going by the price.  Funny enough, I got it on the cheap during a Fantasy Flight holiday sale).
Tsuro: Each player plays tiles trying to keep their token on a path that keeps it on the board, while trying to steer others off.  Teaches ruthlessness. You got to love it.

Oshi: A chess/checkers kind of game in which you must push all your opponents pieces off the board.  The more tiers a piece has, the more spaces it came move and the more pieces if can push. E.g., a 3 tier piece can move 3 spaces and push up to 3 pieces. Really fun game.

Fireball Island: (Amazon link there).  You must grab the gem and get off the island first!  Use of cards to screw over the other players and boost your own play keeps this from being a simple "roll and move" game. I've had this since I was a kid.  A bit pricey nowadays.

Heroica: Probably the best way to relate the whole dungeon-exploration concept to kids.  Lots of fun little parts and sort of includes campaign play.  I have to admit, though, the bloom is coming off the rose on this one for me because it is more or less a roll and move game. However, there is a rule that allows a player to control the monsters... that might kick it up a notch.

The Classic Dungeon: Actually, although I used to love this game as a kid, I no longer care for it much. "I move 5 spaces.  I attack the monster. Rinse. Repeat." Still, nostalgia gets this one some points and if you are going to play a roll and move game, might as well play one with purple worms, liches, and ghouls. It will be interesting to see if Wizards of the Coast improves it all when they re-release it.

Battleground: Crossbows and Catapults: Toys R Us sold these sets dirt cheap a few Christmases back. Now they cost a fortune on eBay, etc.  This version is a revamped take on the classic, with Orcs and Knights instead of Barbarians and Vikings. I haven't tried to use the actual Battleground rules for it yet which are suppose to be pretty decent and more like a war game.  Right now, we just set 'em up and see who can knock down the most figures.

June 15, 2012

Cheap Pirate Minis at the Dollar General

I was in the local Dollar General store this morning and noticed a pack of 25 pirate figures for $1.00.  They are the same scale as your standard green army men.  Also, they are called BUCCANEER BRAWLERS, so what is not to like?

June 9, 2012

... now with Dungeoneering Kids.

I finally played an RPG with my girls! Since both of them (particularly, the oldest) are fans of Mouseguard, Redwall, etc., we played HarvestersHarvesters is Castles & Crusades re-skinned with an anthropomorphic take.

Here are some highlights:
  • We used 3d6 in order for ability generation. I did this mainly to keep it simple and fast, more so than any need to be hardcore or old school.
  • Chaos (my 8-year-old) rolled a 3 for dexterity. That' right; three 1s. Ouch. I was tempted to let her re-roll, but didn't. Tough love or being an ass? I haven't decided yet. My concern was that if I let her re-roll that, how would I explain that she couldn't re-roll, say, a to hit roll?
  • Mayhem (my 4-year-old) was on fire with 16s, 15s, etc.  I was worried how this would play out with her PC being statistically better, but it actually wasn't a problem overall. There initially was some unspoken jealousy from Chaos, but she took solace in Mayhem's low Charisma score, ha.
  • Even the highly abbreviated character creation I used wasn't all that fun for girls, who found it too long. I tried to keep it moving just giving them a quick run down of what the races, classes, etc. were like and simply let them decide what equipment they wanted.  "What kind of weapon do you want?"  "Do you want a backpack?"
  • Mayhem had a rather burly badger rogue named Stripe and Chaos had a rather clumsy, but wise, otter druid named Splash.
  • To keep things moving, I just gave Chaos an overview of the spells her druid had. 

Splash the River Otter Druid and Strip the Badger Rogue
  • Since I didn't have many animal miniatures, Chaos had the great idea to use Little Pet Shop toys. Mayhem opted for the dire badger mini, though.
  • I used the default Wheat Hollow setting and just pulled an adventure out of my arse:  rat pirates were stealing fishermen's fish and boats!
  • The duo encountered some wolf spiders on their trip south to investigate the piracy. They rolled well and didn't take a hit. Some random treasure scored them some rather juicy loot (ha, valuable  tapestries and books, which they found in the spider lair. "The spiders must have gotten them from merchants they had attacked!").
  • After a stop in the White Caps Inn for honey and hot cocoa, they tracked the three pirates to their cliff-face lair and took care of them.
  • Chaos's otter went to -2 HP in the combat, but she actually laughed when her PC dropped. Perhaps this is because I had emphasized that their characters may die and they could simply make new ones. Anyhow, -2 isn't a kill in C&C, so Splash survived. 
  • Soon into the game, I took down my GM screens because Mayhem was too curious about what I was doing and kept peaking. Ha, and as she pointed out, she can't read yet anyhow. 
  • I decided it was best to roll all the dice out in the open anyhow.  Kids are sharper than adults often realize and I didn't want any concerns of favoritism.
  • Chaos once said "Are you just making this up?" (meaning the adventure) and I tired to explain that that sort of was my job in the game.
I have 23 arrows left!
  • Chaos decided to draw a map and the events of the session on the white board table as the game went on. I hadn't thought of that and it was really cool.  It also was the only way that minis were used in anyway (i.e., I didn't use them for combat at all).
  • Getting involved in the story, Chaos started to explain what was happening around them. She decided that it must have been raining on their way to the inn, and that is why she wanted hot cocoa. That was great, so I certainly went with it. But then she decided that there were giants outside the inn.  I gently reigned that in and explained that I controlled the monsters, etc. That was kind of an odd feeling for me, because I certainly wanted the girls invested in the game.  On the other hand, I think it would have resulted in a complete lack of structure if I didn't establish that the GM/DM/CK explains the setting and they control what their characters do in it.
  • All in all, it was a blast.  Definitely will be better next time since they have PCs ready to go.  I also think short and sweet adventures are the way to go.

May 22, 2012

Castles & Crusades Players Handbook Kickstarter

The Trolls are gearing up to release the 5th printing of the Castles & Crusades Players Handbook (Note: 5th printing, not edition), and have kicked off the process with a Kickstarter project.

No rules, but errata will be added.  The big deal for this printing is that it will be full color, a first for the Trolls.

Give it a look. The Trolls just added some great bonus rewards:

BONUS REWARD #1: When we reach $3500.00 all the PRINT versions of the Players Handbook will be autographed by Steve and Davis Chenault.

BONUS REWARD #2: When we reach $4000.00 we'll add an EXTRA Players Handbook to everyone who has pledged $40.00 or more. This will be unsigned, allowing your autographed copy to avoid the game table abuse! [Steve Chenault has said this printing will retail at $30, so that means that since this benchmark has already been hit, you get two of the new PHs for $40.00. Not too shabby].

BONUS REWARD #3: When we reach $5000.00 everyone who pledged $40.00 and $75.00 will be able to add one adventure module of your choice to your package! Everyone who pledges $125.00 and 150.00 and more will be able add 2 adventures to their package. Everyone who pledges $175.00 and above can add three adventure modules to their package.

Bonus Reward #4: When we reach $6000.00 the project is fully funded. At that point everyone who pledged over $125.00 will receive an exclusive signed, numbered full color print of the new Cover on matte board. Signatures will include The Brothers Chenault, Peter Bradley and the rarely seen Mr. Mac Golden.

April 30, 2012

Gnomish Healing Brandy

I just introduced Gnomish Healing Brandy into my C&C Wilderlands campaign.  By the book, potions of cure light wounds (a.k.a. potions of healing) go for 300 gp a pop.  That is a bit pricey for low-level PCs, but I like how C&C keeps magic a bit rare and didn't want to mess with that.  Gnomish Healing Brandy was my answer; a good dose of healing for a reasonable cost, but with some side-effects.  It should be suitable for any D&D-style game.
Gnomish Healing Brandy

Gnomish Healing Brandy: An amber liquor that smells richly of honey and blackberries. It tastes overly sweet, but it is light and easy going down the hatch. The brandy is usually bottled in a drinking gourd. The recipe is a closely guarded secret.

Cost: 50 gp
(Note: price may vary by availability and how willing the gnome brewer is to sell to non-humans)

Effect: Heals 1d6 HP, but the character must make a constitution save (CL 0) or suffer -1 to hit and -1 to AC for 1d4 rounds due to the extreme buzz. A flask contains one dose and multiple doses can be taken (1 per round).  However, a save must be made for each dose and the effects are cumulative. For example, a character that took two doses would make a save for each dose and, if both saves failed, the character would suffer -2 to hit and -2 to AC. The GM may rule that failed saves result in other ill effects (e.g., troubling casting spells, penalties to dexterity or charisma checks, etc.)

The character must be conscious or, at the least, at 0 HP to take a dose.

April 16, 2012

Steve the Yuan-ti Party Hound now has some friends....

Meet Harry "the Hard-rockin'" Hydra and Medusa "the Gin-drinking" Gorgon...
Harry, Steve, and Medusa having a few laughs.

April 12, 2012

Resources for Converting D&D to Castles & Crusades

Convert or else!
I've noticed that people come across my blog a lot while searching for help for converting Dungeons & Dragons to Castles & Crusades. Here are a few great resources for converting D&D to C&C (whether it's Basic, 1e, 2e, 3e, or 3.5). I haven't seen much about converting 4e, unfortunately.

Duke Omote's Advanced Castles & Crusades Page - This page has all kind of rules expansions that incorporate rules from various D&D editions into C&C.  For example, Omote has rules for Skills and Talents (a.k.a. Feats) that might make converting PCs easier. If you are looking to convert older D&D to C&C, he has rules for Racial Classes and more.

The Crusader's Companion -  Peter J. Schroeder compiled a ton of great gamer-created C&C rules into this impressive tome and it is just awesome. It includes a lot of d20 SRD monsters, items, spells, etc. that aren't in the C&C core rules. Also, the Castle Keepering chapter has a Conversion section that provides tables and charts to help you convert D&D materials from other editions into C&C.

The Castle Keepers Guide - While it doesn't deal with conversion specifically, it does include rules for Skills and Advantages (aka Feats) that might make converting 3.0 or 3.5 D&D to C&C easier.

March 30, 2012

March 23, 2012

Noble Knight Games Sale at Deniath.com Today

Just another reminder, the Deniath.com sale for Noble Knight Games starts at noon Eastern Time today. If you want an invite, email me at thebitterfrost a.t. gmail d.o.t. com

UPDATE: The deal is now live. It's a Groupon-type thing. Pay $10 for a gift certificate worth $20.00 towards used gaming purchases. "'Used Games'” are defined as any item that does NOT have a condition grade of SW (Shrink-wrapped), MINT, or New"

Frost Giant Friday - "Jotun" by Jeff Fairbourn

"Jotun" by Jeff Fairbourn

March 22, 2012

Noble Knight Games Sale at Deniath

Deniath.com is having a Noble Knight Games promotion this Friday (3/23/12).

Deniath is an invitation only site, but I have invitations if anyone wants one. If you want one, email me at thebitterfrost a.t. gmail d.o.t. com.

Not sure what the NKG sale is about. Maybe gift certificates?

March 12, 2012

Another Pseudo-Miniature: The Leviathan!

My wife picked this up for me at Tuesday Morning (a thrift chain around these parts) for 99 cents.

Behold, the Leviathan!

It even came with its own stat sheet!

I have to admit, I find it kind of funny that this guy is from the "Tales of Glory: Spirit Warriors" line-up.

Here are shots to show the scale:
On guard!

So, eaten any heroes lately?

March 9, 2012

Cheap Pseudo-Minis at Michael's

I saw these in the "$1 and Up" aisle at Michael's craft store. Apparently these dragons are part of the THE ALIEN FORCE!

UPDATE: I saw these the "5 Below" discount chain as well, but they were for $5.00 (rather pricey for this stuff). Michael's had them for $2.00.

March 8, 2012

Having Awesome Players is Awesome

Dave "the Knave " White set up our whole group with this awesome shirt last session (Dave has a thing for t-shirts: Too Many T-Shirts):
The "% Liar" bit is a double joke.  Here is the story, per Monte Cook:
The original D&D booklets had a typo. In the monster entries, instead of saying "%Lair" (for the percentage chance that the creature would be found in its lair), it said "%Liar." The Arduin books embraced that concept (I'm guessing without knowing it was a typo): In those books, that game stat reflected the percentage chance that, if you talked to it, the creature would lie -- apparently at any given time. It was a rule to handle the roleplaying of the creature. And along with the expected "%Liar: 45%," the Arduin books even had monster entries that said, "%Liar: too stupid." So the monster was too stupid to lie.

(Dragon columnist Ray Winninger has a hilarious story from back then. His group, who also believed that the stat determined how often a creature would lie, applied this rule to the elf henchman with the party. The PCs would ask the henchman if he had enough food, or whether he needed healing after the last battle, and the DM would roll to see if he told them the truth. You can just imagine the poor, starving, beat-up henchman, when asked if he needed any help, feeling this odd compunction to lie... shaking his head "no" with a look of profound regret and helplessness on his face.) 


February 29, 2012

20 Questions

My way or the highway, bitch.
Time for another questionnaire.... this time I'm answering "Brendan's 20 Quick Questions: Rules" questionnaire.

1. Ability scores generation method?
Roll 3 sets of ability scores in order using the "4d6 drop the lowest" method and pick the set you prefer.  I do this as sort of a half-way point between my "I'm old school, use those rolls in order, punk!" and "I hope your characters can survive the shit I'm throwing at them" mentalities.

2. How are death and dying handled?
Standard C&C rules:
    At –1 to –6 hit points, the character or monster is unconscious and
    grievously wounded. They require bed rest to recover, unless magically
    healed. A character so wounded must rest 24 hours before the process
    of healing begins, unless magically healed. With magical healing, the
    character’s hit points can only be returned to 0, after which healing
    proceeds normally.

    At –7 to –9 hit points, the character or monster is mortally wounded and
    loses one hit point per round after reaching -7 hit points. Aid administered
    to the wounds stops the hit point loss. This takes at least one full round,
    during which no hit point is lost. After 24 hours have passed, the normal
    healing process as described for -1 to -6 hit points begins.

    At –10 hit points death occurs immediately. Only resurrection,
    reincarnation or bribes to the Castle Keeper can remedy death.

3. What about raising the dead?
I go by the book on this as well (you lose 1 point of Constitution). I try to make it accessible and allow it if the party can afford the cost. I've learned that being too hardcore about raising the dead is more trouble than its worth.

4. How are replacement PCs handled?
Plot Convenience Playhouse style: "Oh look, a new adventurer wanders into the dungeon/tavern/campsite/sewer/brothel/Chuck E. Cheese and wants to join your party."

5. Initiative: individual, group, or something else?
PCs get individual rolls while the monsters get one (i.e., individual for the players, group for the monsters).

6. Are there critical hits and fumbles? How do they work?
Yes. We use Paizo's Critical Hit Deck and Critical Fumble Deck (we convert the 3.X rules to C&C on the fly).

7. Do I get any benefits for wearing a helmet?
Only when something happens to a PC's head specifically (e.g., called shot to the melon, a trap targets the head, etc.).

8. Can I hurt my friends if I fire into melee or do something similarly silly?
Oh yes.  You get the penalty for firing into melee and if you miss, there is a percentage chance of tagging a relevant party member.

9. Will we need to run from some encounters, or will we be able to kill everything?
You will need to run.

10. Level-draining monsters: yes or no?

11. Are there going to be cases where a failed save results in PC death?

12. How strictly are encumbrance & resources tracked?
Not very strictly at all. Just don't be ridiculous and I reserve the right to enforce penalties if you are.

13. What's required when my PC gains a level? Training? Do I get new spells automatically? Can it happen in the middle of an adventure, or do I have to wait for down time?
No training. Whenever the group has a break from action, you can level up. You do get new spells automatically. All this can happen in the middle of an adventure.

14. What do I get experience for?
  • Monsters slain or overcome
  • Treasure gained
  • Magic items gained
  • Smart and/or entertaining game play (I reward this and ask the players to nominate people for rewards, even themselves).
15. How are traps located? Description, dice rolling, or some combination?
By dice rolls usually, but players get bonuses (or penalties) to those rolls if they describe how exactly they are looking. It is almost always is to the players' benefit to role-play the trap finding.

16. Are retainers encouraged and how does morale work?
Maybe not directly encourage, but certainly not discouraged. Morale for retainers, NPCs, and monsters is based mostly on DM judgement. 

17. How do I identify magic items?
With the identify spell, trial and error (sipping potions, playing with magic items, etc.)

18. Can I buy magic items? Oh, come on: how about just potions? 
Minor items, potions, etc. I was more open to this with 3.5, but I think I'll be bit more stringent with C&C.

19. Can I create magic items? When and how? 
Sure, although it hasn't come up in my current campaign yet.  I plan on just going by the book.

20. What about splitting the party?
Sure, but I wouldn't recommend it.

February 22, 2012

Okay, My Turn: Zak S's GM Questionnaire

I am very late to the party on Zak's questionnaire, but better late than never, I suppose.

1. If you had to pick a single invention in a game you were most proud of what would it be?

The Survival Trophy thing I do with my group (link).  In short, the player whose PC has latest the longest gets to hold the Survival Trophy.  When the campaign ends, the player currently with the trophy gets to keep it. Perhaps not the most original thing overall, but it reinforces, "Hey, folks, this is a game," softens the blow of a lethal campaign, and gives the players something to boast about (rightfully so).  A wrote about a fun exchange here: link

2. When was the last time you GMed?

January 6, 2012.  Resulted in a TPK.

3. When was the last time you played?

Labyrinth Lord (run by Tim from Darves Hill), November 13th, at GASPCon 12.  I usually only get to be a player at conventions.

4. Give us a one-sentence pitch for an adventure you haven't run but would like to.

The characters are servants of Odin and have been tasked to travel to different worlds and planes to retrieve missing artifacts. The characters maybe from any time, setting, genre, etc. Mutants, vikings, rogues, soldiers, post-apoc warriors, etc.

5. What do you do while you wait for players to do things?

Grab another beer, hurrying them along, read my notes, tell dick and fart jokes.

6. What, if anything, do you eat while you play?

Beer, liquor, cookies, cake, chips, and whatever else my players have brought.

7. Do you find GMing physically exhausting?

No, I feel wired. Takes me an hour or so to wind down.

8. What was the last interesting (to you, anyway) thing you remember a PC you were running doing?

In a Mutant Future game at GASPCON 12 (run by Mike From Gutter Cult), after completing the mission for the mayor of a small town, my mutated human took over his brain (i.e., my character became the mayor). It went from the mayor saying, "You guys better skedaddle!" to "Bring me the blue-skinned woman!"

9. Do your players take your serious setting and make it unserious? Vice versa? Neither?

Yeah, they do, but so do I. We don't take it too seriously and I have a knack for setting myself up for this kind of thing....

10. What do you do with goblins?

They are poison-using, conniving, slavers who like like this:


 Wield swords like these (for 2d4 damage):

And use daggers like these (for 1d4+1 damage):


11. What was the last non-RPG thing you saw that you converted into game material (background, setting, trap, etc.)?

I can't think of anything recent, but here are a few non-RPGs things I converted in the past:

I stole the Oracle scene from "The Eaters of the Dead" (aka "The 13th Warrior") as a way to assemble a party (see this clip: link).  I also used the night attack scene as a way to take that campaign into Planescape (see link; instead of savages attacking the heroes, it was demons).

Back in high school, I had dwarves with pump-action crossbows based on an episode of the old Filmation "Ghostbusters" show:  link

12. What's the funniest table moment you can remember right now?

The ensuing jokes that followed the party finding a giant obelisk with a pulsing red-tip.

13. What was the last game book you looked at--aside from things you referenced in a game--why were you looking at it?
"Crypts & Things," a newly released Swords & Wizardry variant. I was looking at it to check out the rules and to look for ideas to steal for my Wilderlands Castles & Crusades campaign.

14. Who's your idea of the perfect RPG illustrator?

Apart from the usual classic guys, I really like the work of: Brian "Glad" Thomas. 

Brian "Glad" Thomas Art 2 - Roper

My buddy, Dave "The Knave" White:

Brian Masse:

Peter Bradley:

15. Does your game ever make your players genuinely afraid?

In the horror sense? No.  In the "Oh shit, my character is going to bite it if I miss this roll" sense? Yes.

16. What was the best time you ever had running an adventure you didn't write? (If ever)

I would have to say the years spent running the mega-dungeon, Rappan Athuk Reloaded.  Just so many good times in that campaign.

17. What would be the ideal physical set up to run a game in?

A huge table with a big, dry erase battle mat covering the surface.  Ready access to beer and chips.  In other words, my basement.  All that is missing is a big book shelves for game books and a cork-board wall for displaying maps and art.

18. If you had to think of the two most disparate games or game products that you like what would they be?

"Carnage 3:16 Amongst the Stars" and "Harvesters" (anthropomorphic Castles & Crusades)

19. If you had to think of the most disparate influences overall on your game, what would they be?

Kids cartoons and real-world history.

20. As a GM, what kind of player do you want at your table?

A player that shows up prepared and doesn't take the game too seriously.

21. What's a real life experience you've translated into game terms?

I spent some time in Central Europe (Poland mostly, but I traveled around too) and I've used some real-world architecture, and customs in campaigns.

22. Is there an RPG product that you wish existed but doesn't?

A re-print of the Rules Cyclopedia so I could afford a copy.

23. Is there anyone you know who you talk about RPGs with who doesn't play? How do those conversations go?

My wife. They usually go fairly well as she's dabbled with D&D and has at least some clue about what I'm talking about.
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