Category Archives: Just my two cents

Special Super- Duper Must Have Cover! Coming soon…

I have mixed feelings about the D&D Core Rules Gift Set announced by Wizards of the Coast. True, a gift set with the core books and a screen could be useful for a new player, and if this bundle was offered upon the release of D&D 5th edition I would have certainly brought it, but the price for the three books and the GM screen is the same as buying them individually, plus $5 for the cardboard box! The special covers are a nice touch, and since they are only available via retailers, it drives business to FLGS which can certainly use the exposure and traffic. If your books are work out and could use a refresh, one of the angles they take on the product page, it would certainly be worth checking out the special covers.

Yet I feel it is too soon to replace my books. Mine are in a backpack in my car, have certainly seen plenty of use, but they are fine. I also spent money on buying this content in D&D Beyond. Content I preferred to pay for legally rather than download the pirated PDFs. And true, there is greater functionality when the content is used with all the features on the platform, but my point is I’ve already paid for this content twice.

Continue reading Special Super- Duper Must Have Cover! Coming soon…

Adventure Writing is a funny old thing!

I have the opportunity to write some adventures for an official publication.

What the publishers are after are standalone scenarios of about 8 to 10 pages in length but statted for three different systems. The periodical that they are intended to appear in typically features five such adventures in each issue.

Writing the adventures is not going to be a problem at all. To be honest I could probably write their entire issue in a month on my own. The real interest is the statting for different rules.

All three games are very closely related, all from the same stable and work in the same way. The difference is in character creation as far as I can see as actual play works along very similar mechanics.

This is also the first time I have written for somebody else’s money. I write gaming material to sell almost daily. I write a monthly fanzine which I sell on RPGNow and Amazon, on my Rolemaster blog we publish a weekly adventure hook which we sell as a pdf, also on RPGNow. When I am not writing any of those I write for my own game systems.

Michael has published a wide range of games, dungeons and supplements under the Stargazer Games label, all of which are free. I think my most popular supplement is my set of solo rules for 7th Sea. These are just a variation of the Fudge Solo engine that I shared here. My favourite creation is my role playing game 3Deep. I tend not to write for free. Not because I am a mercenary but because I feel that if I don’t value my own work why should anyone else?

I also like to play about and experiment with things. By putting a monetary value on things you can use that as one measure of relative success. I am not saying that things that earn more are more successful but one thing we have learned is that supplements with witty, amusing or even slightly silly titles, even if they have detailed descriptions are a lot less popular than very traditional titles. Even of you reduce the prices. Fantasy GMs like Spiders and Undead they do not like sesame street references (do not use the Counting Count as your vampire reference!).

If you remember my wild west posts I said I would write them up into a game. That is still ongoing but I also came across an article on running a successful kickstarter. So as an experiment, when things are in good enough shape, I will launch a kickstarter. I just want to see how it works.

That brings me back to commercial writing. When I am not working on anything else I am still writing that wild west game.

So now I have this chance to write adventures for someone else’s game. I like to think that this is a little step up in my online reputation, a little bit of recognition. In the past year or so that I have been writing here for Stargazer’s World I have read and tried a lot of games and despite the fact that I know what I like I think I have been fairly open minded.

I am about to go on holiday for a few weeks. I am off to Iceland, the land of fire, ice and vikings. So I have packed my notebook and I hope to come back with a clutch of great adventures from which I can choose which to submit. This will be the first time I have worked with a professional editor so it will be interesting to see what sort of feedback I get! I will let you know how I get on.

Dark Fantasy

These days having to wait for things feels so old fashioned! I have grown used to pdf rulebooks and if I want something I can have it right now.

For years now I have been using a tablet PC for virtually all my rules look ups at the gaming table that my ‘books’ are normally selected pages printed off and filed. The actual pages are selected on a session by session basis so I have the minimum amount of dead tree at the table.

One reason for this is that I tend not to play my face to face game at home, I have to take myself and all my gaming stuff half way across the UK and I try and use public transport as much as possible as well. I do have a car but public transport is environmentally more sustainable than everyone running around in their own cars. Anyway, that is a bit of a digression!

So I am conditioned into wanting my PDFs on demand which is bad enough but I will also confess to wanting a free pdf quick start or at least a ‘lite’ version so I can try before I buy.

The Deryni Adventure Game is only available as a physical print book and it is not on RPGNow/Drivethru. That absolutely threw me! Wanting to get my hands on this game lead me to email greyghostgames directly asking if there was a pdf available and the awesome Ann Dupuis has actually put a copy of the printed book in the post for me. I will be reviewing this game properly when  have had a real chance to look at the book and hopefully actually play it.

In the mean time I am still looking for my instant gratification fix. My first impression of Princess Bride was a little dismissive but I have taken another look at the quickstart pdf and although the game isn’t what I am looking for ‘off the peg’ there is more good stuff here than I gave it fair credit for at first glance.

Having read the Bride QS and not being able to get my hands instantly on Deryni I needed something else to satisfy my fudge craving. So I started to have a detailed read of the Fudge engine. That is a free PDF and I have had it knocking around on my hard drive ever since I first looked at the Ghost Ops QS booklet. There were terms used in the QS that were not clearly explained so I went back to the source to understand how the thing actually worked.

So now my brain is ticking along thinking I have the Ghost Ops booklet as a model for how I want a fudge game to look and feel. There are really good bits in the Bride QS. So if I took bits from here and bits from there and filled in the missing bits from the original fudge rules how hard would it be to create the game I am looking for?

Despite a promise to myself not to start any more projects until I have finished more of my ongoing stuff I found myself with a two page Word document of which Attributes and Skills I think I need.

I finally reined myself in and I have saved that document for future reference. The good thing is that now I want to work on that darf fantasy game I spent this evening completing and editing  pass of one chapter of a game I am working on and started writing up the creature stats for the bestiary for that game. There is still loads to do and it is mostly the difficult bit of actually writing the full text rather than the fun bit of creating mechanics. I hope this burst of energy is sustained and I can really crack on with this project with my plans for a dark fantasy fudge game as the carrot to get things done.

If you are into fudge look out for some future posts about fantasy fudge as these are definitely in the pipeline!