Friday, November 18, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (11/18/16): Big Bads Unite!

The second session of my Basic D&D game with the "neighborhood newbs" is tomorrow night. 

I'm going to publish part two of our first game session report sometime between tonight and tomorrow. Then, I throw them back into the depths of Stonehell Dungeon! Muhahahaha! 

Wish them luck, they're going to need it!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Game Session Report 10/21/16 (Part 1): Hello Dorkness My Old Friend...

...or maybe for a few hours on Friday!'s good to game with you again!

Yes, On Friday night (October 21st) we had "roleplaying with the newbs" night! Over the last few weeks my wife and I had heard through the grapevine that some folks in town were curious about D&D. My wife leaked the word that I am a veteran roleplayer, and...Boom! A game night was scheduled!

I expected people to be a bit shy and tentative about the experience. I expected some of them to be nervous about word getting out that they were playing D&D. All very normal and valid concerns for the casual gamer, given the stereotyping and ridicule of gamers that still exists in the world.

I assured them I'm a discreet game master! No need to fret, folks, your secret is safe with me!

Everyone arrived at our place, and introductions were made as needed. We had a good supply of food and drink to share. I called everyone to the kitchen table, where I had my DMing gear already set up.

There was much joking and rib-poking as the players went through the pile of pregens I provided. I made a short speech about the rules and gave them a tour of their character sheets, but I could tell they just wanted to play.

"We'll get the hang of it as we go along," they insisted. "Let's get started!" Eager, they were, indeed!

So, I set the mood and the stage: Castle Westguard, a wilderness outpost of the Great Kingdom in Southland (thanks Rob Conley, for the setting). The lord of the walled settlement, Lord Griff, needs hearty adventurers to explore the barrowlands to the northeast. Why? Because an archaeological dig seeking artifacts from ancient kingdoms has gone missing, of course!

Lord Griff needs those willing to sacrifice life and limb for the promise of treasure. "Go, find the lost archaeologists," he decreed, "and you'll be rewarded 10 gold pieces each!" The party was ready for adventure, indeed, and they set out without hesitation!

Our party of first and second level pregens (created via Wizardawn) consists of:
  • Matt, playing the wizard Magic Mike (of course).
  • Laura, playing the cleric of Leo named Noo.
(note, I made the on-the-fly decision that the gods of this world are the twelve gods of the zodiac, based on the suggestion of one of the players...)
  • Jennell, playing the female dwarf Elvira.
  • Ed, playing the fighter Donald.
  • Lesley, playing the male dwarf Tases the Archaic.
 As they marched through the barrowlands, they came upon a grizzly scene: three dead bodies of priests (of the god Libra) laying outside the excavated entrance to one of the barrows.

The party decided to investigate, and discovered one of the priests was still alive. He was badly wounded, so Noo the cleric decided to heal him. Once he recovered enough to speak, the priest introduced himself as Brother Thomas, and he thanked the party profusely before telling them that he had been part of a group of ten people sent by Lord Griff to excavate barrows. The ten were a mix of scholars, priests, and guards.

The scholars had been following an ancient text that pointed to this particular barrow as having deep significance to a long-dead civilization. They had broken open the entrance and entered the circular chamber within, the walls of which were lined with niches that contained mummified bodies wrapped in linens.

One of the scholars had walked onto an elaborate mosaic of colored stones in the center of the chamber. The floor had given way underneath the man, who had plunged a hundred feet or so to his death. The majority of the group decided to descend the shaft to recover the body and explore what was below.

Thomas and the other two Libran priests had remained on the surface. They waited for hours for the return of their fellows, and even engaged in some prayer to pass the time. It was during their prayers that they were attacked by a group of small, horrible green-skinned creatures bearing rusted swords and shields that looked as if they were made of stretched skins.

The creatures, of course, were goblins. They attacked the priests and slaughtered them...except for Thomas. Once they had finished their bloody work, the goblins disappeared back into the barrow, and presumably went back down the shaft to the depths from whence they came. And, of course, it seems none of the others on the archaeological dig team had ever come back up from below...

His story complete, Thomas then asked that one of the party escort him back to Castle Westguard. The party, as a whole, told him that wasn't going to happen, because they needed to find the rest of the archaeological team. Thomas balked at that, but before he could continue to argue, the gibbering voices of goblins once again boiled out of the dark entrance to the barrow...


Friday, October 28, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (10/28/16): Basic D&D Alignments in Action!

I love this Elmore update of that old illo of the Basic D&D alignments! 

Speaking of Basic D&D, I know I'm way overdue for a recap of the first session I ran with my RPG newbs last Friday. I hope to get that written up and posted sometime this weekend. 

And speaking of Lawful, Neutral, and Chaotic, I attempted to explain alignment to the newbs, but by they they'd already had their fill of my teaching them the mechanics. They just wanted to game! 

Trust me, much hilarity did ensue, and a bloody good time was had by all!

Happy gaming, all!

Friday, October 21, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (10/21/16): GAME DAY!!!

Woohoo! Tonight, I'm running my first roleplaying session with adults since...I don't know when! There are some cool folks in my neighborhood who are "gamer-curious," and it got around that I play D&D. The rest is history! As far as I know, none of them have played D&D before, so I get to introduce them to it!

I'm running a session tonight using Moldvay's Basic! Generated a bunch of characters with one of the many handy-dandy websites out there, so the players have about 15 characters to choose from for the game.

I'm using the Points of Light setting by Robert Conley. And the module is (drumroll please!) B1: In Search of the Unknown! Of course! Why not, right?

Expect a full report of the session soon! Happy gaming, all!

Friday, October 14, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (10/14/16): Nice Geas!

"Hey," she said as he placed the irresistible compulsion upon her. "You got a nice geas right there!"

Big things are happening on the home front, folks! More details in the coming days, but here's a hint: I'm about to live up to the title and intent of my blog! 

Have a great weekend, happy gaming, and stay tuned!

Friday, October 7, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (10/7/16): Warriors of the Night

I come back to the old dusty roleplaying blog after a month or so, and what do I see? My blog link widgets are gone! Anyone else experiencing this right now?

Great job, Blogger!

Anyway, a quick google and I find out that the crack Blogger engineers are working on doing...something to the widgets. But have no fear, they say, all the blog link widgets will return, with all blog links intact.

Yeah, well, believing is seeing in this case, for sure.

PLEASE, Blogger, give me my links back!

Oh, and happy October everyone! Best damned month every created!

Friday, September 2, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (9/2/16): Runes of Autumn

Ah, Autumn. The most wonderful time of the year! As soon as the first of the 'Ber months hits, I'm ready for Fall! I don't care what you say about equinoxes or the continuing heat. It's Autumn, baby!

The lovely Elmore illo above gives me good vibes and great expectations for the coming cooler days, when the smells of dead leaves and wood smoke float on chill breezes!

Friday, August 5, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (8/5/16): Which Way to ComicCon?

"Hey lady, we're lost. You know how to get to ComicCon? We're trying to win best cosplay."

"No, but I know a great recipe for hossenfeffer. What's cosplay?"

Friday, July 29, 2016

End-of-Week MacDougall (7/29/16): A Different Larry

I was surfing around ye olde cyberspace this morning, looking for another Elmore piece to share, as per usual. But I stumbled upon the work of a different Larry: Larry MacDougall! You can check him out on Tumblr. His work seems familiar. Wondering what publications I've seen it in before...anyone have a clue to send my way?

Mr. MacDougall's work is reminiscent of John Howe in a way...perhaps because it the images seem dream-like, with a softness to them that's hard to describe. I also see shades of Charles Vess...but that's just me coming from my own biases. 

Ultimately, the art reminds me of what you might encounter in the Beyond the Wall RPG, as it depicts more mystical and whimsical settings and characters. What do you think? 

Have a great weekend, and happy gaming!

Friday, July 22, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (7/22/16): White Dragon Lady

It's HOT under the "heat dome" covering much of the U.S. right now! I would love to have a white dragon in my employ, to use as a portable air conditioning unit. Stay cool, folks!

Friday, July 8, 2016

End-of-Week In Memoriam (7/8/16): RIP Steven Russell

Steven Russell, the man behind Rite Publishing, passed away this week in a car accident.

A GoFundMe has been set up to support his family.

My deepest sympathies to Steven's family. He did an incredible job honoring the legacy of Amber DRPG and Erick Wujcik, another role-playing icon who was taken from us too soon.

Steven was kind enough to let me help edit portions of the Lords of Gossamer and Shadow core book and the Long Walk supplement. I'm honored to have done my small part in helping support Steven's vision for the future of diceless roleplaying.

May you rest in peace Steven, knowing that you brought joy and excitement to fellow gamers. May your adventures continue forever in worlds beyond this mortal realm.

Friday, July 1, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (7/1/16): Sparkler!

To all my fellow gamers in the good old US of A, may you and yours have a safe and happy 4th of July! FREEEEEDOOOOOOOM!

Friday, June 24, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (6/24/16): Ah, Welcome to Summer!

Summertime...the bees are buzzing, the faeries are...scantily clad...

Wait, I guess they're always scantily clad...especially if Maestro Elmore is rendering them!

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The Year Without a Free RPG Day

Well, there was a Free RPG Day today, but just not for me. 

Maybe it's because my favorite FLGS (All Things Fun) closed its West Berlin, NJ location. I have to admit to feeling a bit of nostalgic despair at the thought of looking for a new game store to celebrate the day. There are a few within easy travelling distance, but my heart just wasn't in it. 

I also didn't want to remind myself that I'm not actually gaming right now. Got a lot of irons in the fire these days, but regular roleplaying isn't one of them. I've been tinkering with the idea of running some good old Basic D&D and a dungeon crawl using...well, one of the many resources I have on hand, namely Stonehell Dungeon. 

Meh, just wallowing in self pity due to lack of gaming and general disconnection from the roleplaying blogosphere. 

So, time to stop wallowing! I'm thinking that I've invested a lot of cash in Goodman Games and Dungeon Crawl Classics, so instead of running Stonehell with Basic D&D or Labyrinth Lord, I should be brushing up on DCC instead and using those rules.

Speaking of DCC, I'm a bit disheartened by the long wait for the new rule book for the 4th printing Kickstarter but I'm sure it will be worth the wait. Here's what I'm getting:

Nice and unholy, eh? 

So, hope springs eternal for the future of my personal gaming situation! 

Speaking of Goodman Games taking my money, I hear tell there's a little something called "Mutant Crawl Classics" that's about to hit Kickstarter! Obviously, it's going to be their version of Gamma World, just like Goblinoid Games came out with Mutant Future a few years ago.

Yeah, I keep telling myself I won't get in on this Kickstarter, but you never know what might happen. It's a crazy old world! 

Aaaand speaking of post-apocalyptic futures, I've been entranced by previews for a PS4 game called Horizon Zero Dawn (kind of a daft name, sounds like they randomly chose three words out of a dictionary). Here's the trailer for the game:

I don't have (and don't plan to get) a PS4 anytime soon, but OF COURSE my sick and fevered brain immediately started to think I could mimic the setting of the game using Mutant Future. I'm a wackjob and a glutton for punishment. 

Anyway, that's all for now. Have a great Father's Day tomorrow, all you male Dad gamers out there!

Friday, May 13, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (5/13/16): Skins!

Okay, what the holy hell is up with this right here?!

I think this is the weirdest Elmore illo ever! And kinda gross. Ew.
If you know of something weirder, please let me know!

Friday, May 6, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (5/6/2016): The WTF Train

I'd file this one solidly under "WTF?"

Friday, April 8, 2016

Friday, April 1, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore No More!

"Fee fie foe fum! I smell a general unfamiliarity with the basic human form!"

I'm done with Larry Elmore.

I can't take it anymore. All the cheesecake he puts out? Intolerable.

From now on, I'm dedicating my end-of-week art posts to all the other D&D artists except Elmore. That said, I'm going to be going in chronological order by version. So, this week I'm starting with original D&D. 

As the weeks progress, I'll be posting every piece of art from every edition. Not sure how long this will take me, but here goes nothing! Hope you enjoy the ride!

Friday, March 25, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (3/25/16) - Son of the Black Sword Cover

I love this cover illo by Larry!

I had seen a new fantasy novel called Son of the Black Sword in the local library, but had mostly ignored it for a while. I have to admit that I'm something of a fantasy snob. 

The title put me off, and my : "Son of the Black Sword? Bah, sounds like Bane of the Black Sword, the Elric novel. Ripoff! Another fantasy novel with an evil sword? Come on!"

But if I'm a snob, I'm also a curious one. I had to at least look at the book, to confirm my disdain had merit!

Lo and behold, I flipped open the cover of the hardback, and right inside I discovered Larry Elmore's art staring back at me! I had to at least try to read the damn book!

I've read  the first chapter or so, and it's not bad so far. I also found it funny that the author's first name is also Larry (Correia)! Larry and Larry working together!

The setting seems to be somewhat Asian-flavored, especially due to the fact that the protagonist was wearing lamellar armor (however, Elmore's illo makes it look more like steel, I have to say) and there's a rigid caste system in place that includes untouchables).

And because I'm a roleplaying maniac, I was reminded of the setting from Scarlet Heroes.

Anyway, let's see if the book can hold my interest as deeply as the cover captivated me!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Friday, February 26, 2016

End-of-Week Elmore (2/26/16)

The guy (creature?) in this illo looks like a "literal hangman." I mean, look: he's got what appears to be a yolk across his shoulders, from which dangle two nooses. 

He's like a portable gallows. I guess that's a good idea for the busy executioner, which I'm assuming is the profession of the lady who is holding the big lug's leash.

Friday, February 19, 2016

End-of-Week Hodgson (2/19/16)

Having just picked up the Lone Wolf Adventure Game, I've become a bit enamored of Jon Hodgson's work. He's worked with Cubicle 7 on Lone Wolf as well as The One Ring game. He also provided illos for the very cool edition of Dragon Warriors produced by Mongoose a few years back.

I find his work to be wonderfully evocative and sometime bordering on the ethereal. The pieces below are some favorites of mine:

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Of Gaming, Raging, and the Dying Light

Did you ever watch professional wrestling, especially the old WWF?

Do you remember those matches were the "good" wrestler (aka the Face) would be nearly defeated, on his knees, being beaten down by the "bad guy" (aka the Heel)?

Do you remember how the Face would suddenly get a burst of defiance that made him seemingly invulnerable, shrugging off the blows of an unbelieving Heel? How the good guy would rise to his feet again, eyes wide with righteous fury as he shook his head at the now-ineffectual attacks of his enemy?

I want to be the Face. Only instead of wrestling, my arena is roleplaying.

I'm being eaten alive, folks. From the inside out. Sound dramatic? Perhaps. I AM indeed a dramatic person, and I'm not ashamed of it. What is life if not spiced with a dramatic flair, I ask you?

The Curse of the Collector

Over the last few months, I've become increasingly worried about myself. I've taken to staring at my RPG and board game collection longingly. I never wanted to become one of those sad ex-gamers who just collects games but never plays them...but I fear I AM becoming one after all.

You see, I'm still collecting RPGs. I just invested in two more games in the last week or so. One of them is the latest incarnation of the Lone Wolf Adventure Game box set (just the words "box set" make me incredibly happy and tingly with sweeter words exist for an old-school gamer than box set, IMHO...) The other game is the new edition of Warriors of the Red Planet.

What made me buy these latest games? When it comes to Lone Wolf (which I just featured in my first-ever unboxing video), the justifications leaped through my mind: "It's very rules light, you could get a game up and running in no time! Come on, man, let's play SOMETHING already! Let's play with your kids, with your old friends, with SOMEBODY! Call that FLGS a few towns over and tell them you want to use their space and get some new players! Gimme a fix, man!"

Yes, a fix. I'm in withdrawal. The simpler the game, the more likely I could fit some sessions into my schedule! I love everything I've seen of Warriors of the Red Planet, but seriously I don't think I could handle even the relative simplicity of those rules (which I would say are no more complicated than Basic/Expert D&D).  Lone Wolf seems my most likely path!

Farewell to All Things Fun in West Berlin

I've also been depressed by the fact that my beloved All Things Fun game store in West Berlin, New Jersey has closed its doors. There are so few of those incredible FLGS havens in my neck of the woods, the closing of one is a huge blow to the gaming community here. 

During the several years I was gaming there with friends on Wednesday nights, a grand time was had by all! I hadn't played an RPG for years, and ATF was the perfect place to return to the hobby and meet new gamers. It's also the place where I got to game with some of my favorite game creators, the Troll Lords!

Fare thee well, All Things Fun! I salute you!

The Gamer Shall Rise Again!

But forget all the hand-wringing, the gnashing of teeth, and the lamentations you just read! I'm determined to rage against the dying of the gaming light! As the roleplaying gods are my witness, I'll never go gameless again! 

It's time to rally like the Ultimate Warrior! 

It's time to kick ass like Ragnar Lothbrok (did I mention a new season of Vikings starts tonight)! 

It's time to fight on! To roll on! TO GAME ON!

Thanks for indulging me. If you're feeling something similar to what I'm experiencing, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Unboxing: Lone Wolf Adventure Game

This is my first-ever unboxing/review video posted on this here blog (okay, I'm not exactly doing a full-on, in-depth review here but this is still a first for me)! 

I welcome your comments, please be gentle! Seriously, I'm a bit of an amateur so feedback, hints, and tips are welcome. I hope you like the video, please comment and let me know what you think! Also, let me know your thoughts about the game itself.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Friday, January 29, 2016

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Coming Soon: New Edition of Warriors of the Red Planet RPG

The new year just started and I get to share some really cool news: the Warriors of the Red Planet RPG is getting a new edition

I picked up the beta when it became available about a year-and-a-half ago (sheesh, where does the friggin' time go, eh?) and was impressed with it, so much so that I connected with some folks (including the creators) on Google Plus. I didn't actually do much in the way of playtesting, but I did read through it and engaged in some house rule conversations with the other Marsophiles on Google Plus.

So...I guess you would call the upcoming version the first, official "full" edition? Whatever you call it, I have full confidence that Messrs. Krombach (of Beyond the Black Gate fame) and Denmark (He of the Many Blogs) will deliver an incredible game! Check it out, and get your a$$ to Mars!