Monday, April 30, 2012

Yikes; or Balls! To the Rule of Three Article

[Nice. My Ipad hates blogger and just ate my post. I'll sum it below to give context to the comments.]

First, read this tired crap about using DCs as role-play resolution in 5e.

Then remind yourself how tavern role-play should happen and the originality, creativity, and fun that emerges from these situations. Why kill it?

People play role-playing games for that reason - to role-play.

If all I wanted to do was roll dice I'd play a board-game (or a WotC version of D&D).

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Many Deaths of Dirk the Daring

I've been thinking quite a bit about the game Dragon's Lair.

I see an Xbox game was made of it in 2002. Anybody recall that?

I also found this sweet video on youtube that is just Dirk the Daring biting it over and over again.


Thursday, April 26, 2012

Custom Dice for Barrowmaze II Indiegogo Campaign

Hi all,

I've created some unique custom dice as a perk for the Barrowmaze II Indiegogo Campaign.

The art was done by Zhu Bajie.

The die on the right is a Random Monster Die with the skeleton head in place of the number 1.

The die on the left is a Monster Initiative Die with the wraith and the word Barrowmaze in place of the number 6.

I'm throwing these in for all those who contribute at the level of Crypt Knight or higher. Please consider pledging and pass the word.

Cheers. Greg

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Monte is Out!

So Monte Cook is out at WotC. This is likely good for those of us that prefer D&D as a non-bean-counting exercise. Of course, time will tell the tale. Speaking of 5e the public playtest is set to begin on May, 24 weekend - most Canadians are out partying and celebrating the Queen's Birthday with fireworks.

New OSR blog!

Hi all, I wanted to point out a new OSR blog. Cory Hamel's The Diary of Dirk Swordman Cory is a wonderful artist and a fellow Canadian. He has done a bunch of illustrations for Barrowmaze II including a really awesome golem illo I can't wait to reveal. Please go over and take a look and follow his blog. I know the old school eye candy will be 100% worth it. Plus anything that that has an homage to Dirk, should be supported strongly :)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Barrowmaze Session Report and Notes

The most recent session report is now up, if you haven't seen it already.

It's entitled And in the Darkness...Cromwell Touches Himself which was a quote from the game session lol

We are playing again tonight.

Also, Sean at Tales from the Flaming Faggot has a great post on OSR publishing. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Launched: Barrowmaze II on Indiegogo!!!

Hi everyone,

The campaign for Barrowmaze II just went live on Indiegogo.

Please go over and check it out! Secrets of the maze revealed!

Almost there...

I'm almost done the indegogo campaign set-up.

Boy, it's a fair amount of work getting something like this moving.

If I can go live tonight (after I put my kids to bed) I will. I'm cautiously optimistic. Otherwise it would be tomorrow.

I'll update later tonight one way or the other.


Monday, April 16, 2012

T-Minus 2 Days to Indiegogo Launch

I've been busy drafting the Indiegogo campaign for Barrowmaze II.

I've taken the suggestions here to heart, and tried to incorporate them as best I can.

It's certainly nice and easy (logistically with the mail) if you live in the US. Being in Canada for this sort of thing creates all sorts of extra hassle, but these aren't insurmountable obstacles.

I've included shipping for Canada, the US, and the UK. If you are outside these countries, I'll still find a way to work out the postage.

I plan to submit it Wednesday. I don't know if the site takes time to vet the campaign or whether it just goes live. We'll see.

The campaign will run for about 50 days. If you have an interest in making Barrowmaze II happen, please be sure to spread the word.

I have some very cool surprises :)

Friday, April 13, 2012

Barrowmaze II Perks

I'm in the process of setting up a kickstart (so to speak) for Barrowmaze II on Indiegogo. I'm still working through some of the ideas. Would you rather have a 17x21 print of the map or a piece of the artwork? Keep in mind it would have to be folded and a multi-colour art print will be more expensive (potentially more than I could accomodate) but I'm willing to look into it if there's interest. I have some other ideas based on reader suggestions, such as numbered hardcovers, author inscriptions, placement of your dead pcs, and collaborative monster creation. Anything else of interest?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Barrowmaze PbP via Raven Crowking

If you are interested in PbP games, Raven Crowking has two going right now. You can check them out on his blog or via the dragonsfoot forum. He's using the DCCrpg for one of them.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Schindehette/Cook Part III: Art and Meaning in Old School D&D

In my last post on this topic, I discussed the form and structure of art within the old school community.

To paraphrase, the post talked about how old school art is meaningful rather than why it's meaningful. There's a simple reason for that: from the standpoint of cultural study the how question is, in my experience, easier to address than why. Moreover, answering how is also the first step in explanation, and thus a good place to start. The why questions tend to be slippery - they are temporal, shifting, and subject to change. Also, one doesn't want to generalize more than necessary and why questions can lead down that road (not always, but sometimes).

So, we are still left with the question: why does the early art of D&D resonate so strongly within our community? Conversly, why do we have such strong feelings against the hero-worship in 3.5 and 4e? Is our over-riding motivation simply nostalgia as some might suggest?

I think the first step to answering this question is to look at the context.

For those who started in the 1970s, and even for people like me that began playing in the early 1980s, we experienced the creation of a brand new paradigm: the first fantasy role-playing game.

Although we may not have recognized it at the time, the experience was profound. This is called a first play experience. We have all experienced the sensation at one point or another - it's that feeling of liminality. The feeling of standing on the threshold between the imaginary "game" world and the "physical" world (this is a false dichotomy but that's for a different post).

The profound nature of this experience was backdropped with a unique aesthetic - module covers and hardback books that depicted the fever-dreams of Erol Otus, the scruffy adventurers of Jim Holloway, and the sheer brilliance of Dave Trampier. There were no viable alternatives in terms of RPGs in my neighbourhood, so we voraciously played TSR D&D and those AD&D Monster Manual images burned into our subconscious. They left an indelible mark on generations of D&D gamers. We can all point ot examples. The recent one that comes to mind is the episode of Community that highlighted AD&D instead of the currently-supported 4e.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions of the OSR is that, because we base the look of our games on previous editions, we are inherently backwards-looking. We know it's quite the opposite. The early art of D&D allows us to both look backwards in a form of homage (as a cultural historian I believe that's just wise advice in any venture), but I'd argue the old school community is inherently forward-looking. With an acknowledgement of the past (and thanks to the OGL) we can exert our own agency and chart a course for our individual games and the collective hobby.

So people ask, is it just a nostalgia trip?

Those who want to dismiss the OSR will say yes and move on, but clearly the answer is no.

Nostalgia was a part of my decision to return to old school gaming, but it was only a small part. I can't deny that I had great time playing previous editions. Most importantly, though, I believe the game I'm playing now is better. I believe the game I'm playing now connects mechanically, aesthetically, and culturally to the game Gygax intended - I want to play and write classic medieval fantasy. That isn't important for some, but it is important for me.

The best advice I can give to Schindehette and his visual team (as well as the design team), is the same advice I gave last time - do not reject your inheritance. The history, look, style, and mechanics, as well as the ease of prep and play. We certainly won't.

Because, if given the option to vote (with my wallet) between, in Monte Cook's words, the "simple-yet-wahoo style of old school Basic D&D and the carefully balanced elegance of 4th Edition" it's a pretty easy choice for this simple wahoo.

Cairn of the Skeleton King pdf?

Does anybody know if the Kuntz, Cairn of the Skeleton King pdf is still available?

I can't seem to find it.

Friday, April 6, 2012


I too received the DCCRPG pdf this morning and am interested in giving it a good once over. I really enjoyed reading the 3.5 Dungeon Crawl Classics, and I liked their design and aesthetic overall. I like Joe Goodman as well. Having said that, there are two things, at first glance, I would quibble with. The art is a double-edged sword. It is magnificent one one hand, but the sheer volume I find a bit too much. Also, I'm not huge on the perspective and approach taken in the OSR paragraph in one of the appendices. This should have been edited out IMO. These are more cosmetic than substantive issues. I don't think I'll get a chance to play it, as I want to play TSR D&D, but I look forward to giving it a good read and watching it expand and grow over time (which I'm confident it will).

Crowdsourcing Barrowmaze II

Sorry that my posting has slowed recently. All my extra time has been spent on Barrowmaze II. I've been working closely with artists and keying rooms. It's all very exciting. I've also been exploring alternative funding models. The success of James' Dwimmermount and other rpg projects at Kickstarter, and Raggi's project at Indiegogo, has me thinkIng this is the best way to go. I could afford extras that I simply couldn't include otherwise. So, I'd like to ask your opinion of crowdsourcing. Do you support projects at Kickstarter or Indiegogo (rpg or otherwise)? Also, if Barrowmaze II was crowsourced would you support it? What sort of perks would you like to see at the various funding levels? Also, have a great Easter!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Barrowmaze: OSRcon and Gencon

I'm attending both OSRcon in Toronto August 10-11 and Gencon the following week. Stinks that they are both so close together, but that's my Charlie Brown luck. Anyway, I'll be running one Barrowmaze session each. So if you are attending and want to play be sure to signup.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Barrowmaze Session 17 (March 30)

Looting tombs ain't easy, as the PCs found out this session. Rather than the sword, the PCs used the chisel early and often. You can read about it here.