Saturday, June 30, 2012

Barrowmaze I

As progress on BMII has moved along, the idea of revising and reformatting BMI has been growing in my mind. I'm not try trying to make extra work, but there are things I want to do like include hyphenation, tweak the gutter margin, add more art, etc. BMII will have many of these already addressed so the two books will look more uniform. Most importantly, the high-res map for BMI is almost complete (blue and b/w). I want to put put those up on rpgnow as soon as Monday. I've printed them out on 11x17 and they are super sweet. When I put the new version of BMI up I'll add some thing new to the cover to mark it as such.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Barrowmaze Session Last Night

So we played BM last night. The party found the Fount of Law last session and are intent to follow Sir Guy's instructions to find and destroy the Pit of Chaos. They headed back into BM and immediately ran into a group of Necromancers of Set. The cultists had four zombies to act as skirmishers and a Runic Golem for muscle. The battle raged and eventually the leader of the cultists fled after a Silence spell had been cast. The party continued north and east eventually coming to a room filled with supporting columns depicting female valkyrie-style warriors. They used their Wand of Secret Door Detection and found one. Two of the columns immediately animated and attacked. Sadly Sol's preferred weapon of choice -- a dagger +2 -- shattered against the hard stone of the construct. Kelg attacked with his mighty warhammer +1 and needing over 35% to keep his weapon from being destroyed rolled a 36% (no bs). Another highlight moment was Cromwell the cleric reading a runic tablet, rolling a natural 1, and then making his save versus death or die. Phew! Some close calls this session. We'll get a more thorough report on Red Box Niagara as soon as Alex is sufficiently motivated :)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rule #2: Double Tap

I did something completely different the other day. I was invited to a firing range. I have never shot firearms so it was a completely new experience. I've had family serve in the British military, so it's not completely foreign either.

If you are in the US and reading this, you might need a little background. In Canada, weapons are not as widely available and are tightly regulated. That's one of the reasons why the annual death toll by firearms is so drastically different between the two countries. Also we don't have gun ownership tied to our sense of self because we negotiated our Independence (yeah, we are hardcore like that) rather than having a revolution. So if you meet a Canadian that has a conservative view of guns and gun ownership, that's likely part of the reason why. We haven't tied it to our identity in the same way.

We started with the low calibre stuff and moved up from there. This was a seven shooter revolver (38?).

I'm not going to lie, I REALLY wanted to shoot the M1 rifle when I saw it. That's the weapon you often see in WWII movies and in video games. I wasn't very good at it. I was consistently below the target. I did seem to take naturally to the single shot rifle you see on the right and it gave me a nice grouping on the lower left black box in the picture below this one. I believe the distance was 25m (82 feet).

YeeeeeeeeeHaaaaw! I'm gonna git me some zombies with my trusty M1 peacemaker!

I had a great instructor, tried to listen closely, follow the safety rules, and really enjoyed it. I can now scratch firearms off my bucket list.

Let me leave you with Zombie Survival Rule #20:

It’s a marathon, not a sprint, unless it’s a sprint, then sprint.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Recent Barrowmaze Session

First, I apologize for the dearth of posts lately. I'm spent between preparing BMII and playing. Plus my kids are hitting a wall as the end of the school year approaches, so I need to be on top of them pretty well 24/7. Also, becuase ipads/ blogger are a pain, I can't seem to insert spaces when Imake a blog post. So, we played BM last night. In the last session the part met the ghost of Sir Guy who implored them to seek the Fount of Law. This session eneded with them finding the Fount - making Alex the player of Cromwell, the lawful cleric of St. Ygg, a happy ecclesiastic. The session actually started with fireworks as Arnd Cobblestone the Dwarven cleric henchman was killed by a crabs (that shit's everywhere), as was Alson "Don't call me Alison" the man-at-arms. The party also had a random encounter on the way back and forth to BM with two 8HD Shambling Mounds - they bravely ran away, away. Those were the highlights. We need to get Alex on those session reports (free XP anyone?).

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Barrowmaze: 600

I mentioned recently that Barrowmaze was on the verge of a milestone. I'm pleased to report that today BM sold its 600th copy either in paper or pdf on rpgnow. I'm pretty chuffed about it. I think that says a lot about our hobby and the appeal of old school gaming. Ok, back to BMII *cracks whip* :)

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reflections and other Random Thoughts

This is a bit of an ADD post, sorry. I'm kinda exhaling :)

Well, the BMII campaign came to a close on Indiegogo very early this morning.

Final tally: $12,702

Whew! It was a lot of fun, but also a lot of work. Make sure you know what you are in for if you decide to run a campaign.

It's also helpful to know your goal - mine was to make BMII bigger and better than BMI while offering cool exclusives to campaign supporters. We accomplished all that and more.

I really had to divide my time between the campaign and progress on the dungeon, so this now opens things up for me to concentrate exclusively on the dungeon design and getting the art going for the illustration booklets. Two booklets - that's not less than 24 half-page illustrations and 6 full page illustrations! That's crazy-awesome.

I'm going to get another G+ game going shortly, maybe Thursday or Friday night, so if you think you might be interested post in the comments.

BTW BMI is on the verge of a major milestone. Expect a post on that shortly ;)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Barrowmaze II Campaign: Final Day

This is the final day for the BMII campaign on the Indiegogo site. Please spread the word.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Delvers: Trivia Contest with New Prizes!

The Delvers have revamped their Trivia Contest including all new prizes.

Check it out!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Interesting Session Last night

Last night I DMed a 5 hour session of Barrowmaze with my usual group. It was a very interesting session for several reasons. To this point, my players have avoided bricked-up crypts for fear of provoking random encounters. Fair enough. After Sol, the human fighter lost a level to a wight deep in the crypts, they decided for this session to return closer to the main entrance and take out some bricked-up walls. Actually they criss-crossed the map looking for them and made out with some good loot. So it was a unique session from that standpoint (I was rolling poorly for random monsters which didn't help). The session was also interesting because at one point the party found two runic tablets. Sol and Serge the elvish fighter/ magic-user started daring each other to read them. Serge cut right though the playground politics and went straight for the deaded "Triple-dog Dare." Sol rolled a natural 20 and had his strength increased by one. Immediately on the heels of the natural 20, Serge rolled a natural 1!!! He failed his save versus death. His flesh immediately blackened and he died! I mean you just can't make this shit up. The player of Serge then rolled up a swanky new magic-user who on the next foray was pummeled by a Grey Ooze for 14 points of damage and he died too! I sorta felt bad. Sorta. He then rolled up a halfling thief and called him Snake Plissken. On cue, everybody who met him said "Hey, I thought you'd be taller." Needless to say, it was a very entertaining session. We'll get a more detailed report up on Red Box Niagara as soon as we can.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Barrowmaze II: 5 Days Remaining

There are just 5 days remaining in the campaign.

If you haven't checked out the campaign site, there's lots of extra stuff thrown in above and beyond the hardcopy of BMII.

There are custom dice, a custom dice bag, a custom crypt generator, a custom character sheet, extra levels, digital maps, and a poster map...and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting.

Oh yeah, how about not one, but two printed ToH-style illustration booklets - one for Barrowmaze II and another for Barrowmaze I!

I haven't even started talking about the art in the book yet. I'm still awaiting word from Jim Holloway too.

So, if you were sitting on the fence there's only 5 days left.

I've really emptied my bucket. It should be pretty awesome.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

More 5e Playtest Thoughts

We played through some combat scenarios tonight and mixed the dice rolling with discussion of the 5e rules.

Here are some of our observations in no particular order.

If you are taking stock at home, we have two players in their 20s and two in their 30s:

*We don't like the HP bloat for PCs or for monsters.
*We don't like the bonus bloat either.
*We understand that bonus bloat requires HP bloat
*The laser cleric needs to go. The cleric player just stood back like Cyclops from the X-Men and blasted monsters. That wasn't fun.
*The dwarven fighter never missed.
*The frost ray of the mage player was particularly effective given the amount and volume of damage the party could deal in one round.
*We don't like the advantage/disadvantage rules. Why? It kills the sanctity of the dice. It doesn't allow the dice to play their part in the development of the game. It prioritizes the rules over the dice. We really dislike that.
*Is the gameplay fast? Yes, but that's because the bonuses are outlandish. You'd expect combat to end quickly given the bonuses and advantage/disadvantage rules.
*There needs to be a happy medium between AoO and no AoO. Unless we missed something (which is entirely possible) monsters can move unhindered right through a party to get at the spell-casters and vice versa.
*The cleric player wasn't really sold on the at-wills, but the mage player seemed to like them. They suggested getting rid of at-wills in favour of more spells that you could cast once per day.
*We felt it would be very difficult for a PC to die in this edition.

In sum, quick painful death must be a part of the game to make it meaningful. The randomness of the dice are a highlight of D&D, not something to get bracketed with rules. The combat plays fast, but that's the direct result of the buffy characters. Too buff for our taste. We like resource management, and the current playtest rules do not allow us to emphasize that aspect of the game (to the degree that we prefer). D&D is not a supers game, and this playtest felt like a supers game with first level characters.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

OSR Character Sheets

There is a little known project on Indiegogo for OSR Character Sheets. Effectively, you get a pad of character sheets for Labyrinth Lord, but they would be usable for any basic rpg. Anyway, I don't know this person. I just think it's a really neat idea. Please consider taking a look.

Barrowmaze on Google+ Last Night

Met up with Brendan S. and Greg J. on Google+ last night for a quick foray into Barrowmaze.

We actually played a little senario using the Random Crypt Generator I'm designing for inclusion in Barrowmaze II. Speaking of Barrowmaze II there's just 10 days left in the campaign :)

The opening is pretty standard fare, I'd encourage you to jump to the points of interest outlined in the description.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Interested in playing a bit of Barrowmaze tonight?

Then jump on google plus and start rolling your dice with us.