Friday, August 14, 2020

Adventure: The Mind Mills

 Wizardry is a lonely profession.

Its no wonder that when, after a long exchange of letters, when a charming and gifted young diviner invites a few reputable magic-users to visit him for long chats, cheerful fellowship games, and fine brandy. No magical lore will be given or asked.

This is how Kobol the Visionary lures his victims. The chats are pleasant, the fellowship cheerful, and the brandy spiked with a powerful toxin. Once the poison takes hold, it drags the joyous mind of the mage off to the Astral Plane, where hypnosis and ESP lets Kobol turn them into vessels to scour the planes... and die in the name of his quest for eldritch lore.

But he has recently taken the wrong victim, and the PCs are hot on his trail... but can they survive his defenses?

The Mind Mills is lovecraftian a five room dungeon designed for 2-4 players levelled 3-5 in any OSR compatible role-playing game.

  • Made using OSRIC and the Dungeons and Dragons Rules Cyclopaedia.
  • Makes no references to material that cannot be found in a B/X based system.
  • Includes both ascending and descending AC.
  • Includes d20-style attack bonuses and ThAC0.
  • Designed to lead into my adventure Into the Wizard's Hookah.
  • Potential recurring villain.
  • Includes four unique magic items.
  • And an original monster.
  • Designed to be printed as a pamphlet on A4 paper.

Now available as Pay-what-you-want on DrivethruRPG!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

How I Build My Pamphlet OSR Adventures

 Over the last month, I have put out a trio of pamphlet adventures as a way to test the waters in publishing on DrivethruRPG. I wanted to quickly go over my process for other who might want to do the same.

Into the Wizard's Hookah

Love Nest of the Barbarix

The Mind Mills

Plan It Out

The first step is to have at least a rough idea of what I want to create. This is why I use my weird emoji-laden notation system. Any way of sketching it out will do, however. In this case, we have to keep things compact. Using the Five Room Dungeon format is probably your best bet, given the constraints of two pages divided into three collumns.


Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Resource Spotlight: How to Make Cool TTRPG Pamphlets

Cover Panel, "How to Make Cool
 TTRPG Pamphlets "
CC-BY Lantern's Faun Press

How to Make Cool TTRPG Pamphlets is a free pamphlet by Guilherme Gontijo available on itch.io. Guilherme himself is a wizard at graphic design and layout and a notable part of the amazing indie RPG culture we are seeing out of Brazil right now.. He is the reason Pacts and Blades is so pretty.

The pamphlet is short, but contains a lot of hints on spacing, placing images, compressing your ideas. It also contains links to a downloadable template by Bruno Prosaiko usable with Word or Google Docs that serves as a starting point for writing a pamphlet.

It also has addresses to several curated collections of public domain art that can be added to your work.

This was the jumping-off point for me into creating my short 5-Room Dungeons: Into the Wizard's HookahLove-Nest of the Barbarix, and the upcoming The Mind Mills.

"The Mind Mills" is built using almost entirely tools and resources
from How to Make Cool TTRPG Pamphlets. Coming soon!


Saturday, August 8, 2020

Game Review: Cha'alt Fuscia Malaise

 Game Review: Cha'alt: Fuscia Malaise

"Cha'alt: Fuscia Malaise " cover art by
Monstark, ©2020 Kort'thalis Publishing
 
Author:
 Venger As'nas Satanis
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
Marketplace: DrivethruRPG
System: Crimson Dragon Slayer d20 Revised

Note: I recieved a complimentary copy of Cha'alt: Fuscia Malaise from Venger Satanis in return for an unbiased review. It is also my fourth review of a Kort'thalis product.

Cha'alt: Fuscia Malaise is the second in a planned Trilogy of books in the Gonzo science fantasy setting Cha'alt.  It is such a shortly after the events in the original Cha'alt, and things are getting even more lethal as an alien Mega-corporation, Elysium, has taken over the spice fracking operations on the planet, and stealing the planet's dwindling moisture as well. The Sk'bah desert is becoming progressively more lethal as the ecosystem collapses.

The setting has evolved in several ways. Aside from the spice fracking operations being taken over by Elysium, they have converted a huge amount of their labour force to addicts using a drug called fuchsia malaise, which leaves them perpetually bouncing between jonesing and strung out... perfect for slave labour. Meanwhile, magic has gone wild, and a nightmarish Lovecraftian thing has begun roaming the skies, de-populating whole settlements.  And the zoth that sustains life on the planet is neatly gone...

...all in all, Venger Satanis has stepped up the already impressive complexity and challenge in Cha'alt to a whole new level. If your players are looking for a game where they feel like they are winning against impossible odds, Cha'alt: Fuscia Malaise is an excellent choice. The setting is gritty, lethal, and bizarre all at once.

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

The Temptress got an Upgrade

I had the rare fortune of being reviewed and recommended by Bryce Lynch over at tenfootpole.org. Specifically, he was looking at The Face of the Temptress.

He liked my innovative approach to possession and cursed items in "Temptress." And that was a good feeling.

On the other hand, he felt my approach to realizing my idea was "weak." He had three complaints.
  • He found that my rules were scattered and disorganized; they required too much page flipping.
  • I didn't provide guidance besides a comment in my Afterword about changing the theme.
  • He felt that Bassanta and her gifts were an uninteresting choice of villain and gifts. They, in his estimation amounted to a theme of "pretty girl."
As you may have gathered from my reviews, nothing makes me more impressed than a writer who takes criticism in stride and uses it to make their game better. So now its my turn. 

If I am going to talk the talk, I had better damn well be ready to walk the walk.

So I took two days to rework Temptress to try to address the criticisms.

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Game Review: Cha'alt

Game Review Cha'alt

"Cha'alt" cover art by Monstark,
©2019 Kort'thalis
Author
: Venger As'nas Satanis
Publisher : Kort'thalis Publishing
Marketplace: DrivethruRPG
System: Crimson Dragon Slayer d20
Note : This is the third in a set of four rapid-fire reviews of Kort'thalis books, as I went on a binge.

Cha'alt is a campaign setting book by Venger Satanis that details a dying post-apocalyptic world in the same universe as The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putresence and Alpha Blue. And like those titles, Cha'alt has a humorous, satirical tone more densely-packed with geeky pop culture references than the average episode of The Simpsons.

And like the rest of Venger Satanis' "Gonzo", Heavy Metal inspired creations, it is often designed to appeal to the reader's inner twelve-year-old boy, from the edgy sexuality to the over-the-top violence.  A sense of humour is required. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Game Review: Isles of the Purple-Haunted Putresence

Game Review: Islands of the Purple-Haunted Putresence 

Cover to "Islands of the Purple-Haunted
Putresence"
© 2014 Kort'thalis
Author
: Venger As'nas Satanis
Publisher: Kort'thalis Publishing
Marketplace: Amazon, DrivethruRPG
Engine: OSR with VSd6
Note: This is the second of four Kort'thalis products I will be reviewing in rapid succession, as I went on a bit of a shopping spree.

The Islands of Purple-Haunted Putresence is part RPG, part setting book, and part hex-crawl adventure and all 'Metal. Written by Venger Satanis of Kort'thalis Publishing, it spans a colossal 108 pages of dense, weird, wild material.

Exploring "Purple" is like wandering across the pages of Heavy Metal Magazine in its heydey: campy, strange, violent, sexy in a sleazy kind of way, and open to almost any off-beat pulpy experiment.  In fact, references to "Heavy Metal" are pretty fast and furious in its pages. You can even find the Loc-Nar from the Heavy Metal movie circa. 1981 at one point or trade in Zuleks.

Purple is the most straightforwardly OSR-Compatible of the books I have read by Venger Satanis.  It uses stripped-down stat blocks for an older edition of Dungeons and Dragons using ascending Armour Classes and Attack Bonuses. It could easily be run with OSRIC, Labyrinth Lord, OSE, Lamentations of the Flame Princess or any other Retroclone of your choice with little to no modification.