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Thursday, December 31, 2015

On the Eve of a New Year!

I'm thrilled to be posting today! What better way to kick off a new year than with some fantastic artwork from +Stefan Poag! You may have already seen the work in progresss if you follow his blog. Well yesterday he sent me the final piece that is to be the cover art for my 0-level Adventure for DCCRPG Sky ov Crimson Flame.

Before I show off the final piece and mock up of the adventure cover I thought I'd show off some progression pictures!


Here was my idea for the cover art. Low angle, towering keep, scary stuff, and hapless villagers. Now I know what you're thinking; why would I even have anyone else draw up a piece when I have this masterwork of art...

Stefan sent me back not one but two sketches. This first which is similar to my orginal design, abid, slightly better... :-p



The second was another angle, an over-the-shoulder of the witch! This is just one of my reasons to work with Stefan or any qualified artist is they will hopefully, and I fully encourage it, provide their own suggestions on what the perfect piece will look like.


 Well I fell in love with this piece and gave him the go ahead to work his magic!


A week or so later I get this glorious piece!

And here is the mockup of what the cover may look like.


In celebration of this I have started a Google+ Community page for Owl Knight Publishing. I'm hoping in a short time many discussions can be had there concerning this and future adventures. Sky of Crimson Flame will hopefully be out by Spring 2016 if not before. I am currently working on the layout and getting more artwork finished.

HAVE A HAPPY NEW YEAR!
 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Musings on Feudal Universe (aka DCC-DUNE)

My first post for Feudal Universe covered the history and ideas on how this universe was both inspired and differed from Frank Herbert's Dune.  Other inspirations come from J.R.R.Tolkien's The Silmarillion. Michael Moorcock's Elric, L. Ron Hubbard's Battlefield Earth and many more Appendix N titles I'm not even aware I'm borrowing from.

Now while most people thought this was a cool idea, a few found it strange that I changed "the spice" to a liquid/fume substance called "guzzoline."  They also pointed out that the nebula this substance is found in is a cool idea, but doesn't correlate or translate well with the harsh desert environment of Arrakis.  I'd like to differ and have been thinking about this stuff for a while since writing that post   While everything is subject to change, I'd like to explain my thinking and perhaps sell these ideas.

Why changed The Spice to Guzzoline?


To answer that question we have to go back to when I first started thinking about writing a Dune setting on March 22, 2014.  Then I was calling the project DUNE OSR.

I even made a sweet little logo for it!

Here I was going to attempt to write a completely "new" rule set; either that or retro-clone fit into something like LL or LoFP, etc.  For while it was going well, but then I stopped working on.  Things came up as they will do and it was put on hold.

Fast forward to the present, I have become a 3rd party publisher for DCCRPG and while writing those adventures my DUNE OSR (as with everything Dune related) has been ever present in the back my mind.  It suddenly dawned on me; why not use DCC?  I thought it would be neat to make the Dune Universe a little more chaotic, by adding in a touch of Mad Max.  At the time I didn't know exactly what I meant by that and frankly I'm still figuring it out, but basically that's where the term "guzzoline" came from and for the time being that's what I'm going to call it.



Just as the spice is in Dune, gaso- I mean guzzoline is just as rare in the post-apocalyptic setting of Mad Max.  In my setting, as in Dune, guzzoline will aid different classes while also hindering them if they become addicted.  And just like Dune, it can be found in only one region of the universe.  Though even as I write this I'm thinking about changing that.  Maybe there are different types of guzzoline found in different nebulas that have different properties.  Probably not, but who knows!

Okay, so that's why at the moment "the spice" is now "guzzoline," but what about the nebulas?  And I'm willing to change it if it doesn't fit in the end.

What About Them Nebulas?


Again this is came about through sheer creative writing.  As I was making up the history of the universe, borrowing from different sources, and writing about the new class called the Felfenkin, which are a mix of the Fremen and elves, I decided they needed to come from space and everything just kinda fell into place.



I like the idea of mining a nebula, like Cloud City mined the gas planet of Bespin.  Except unlike Bespin (unless I've missed something in the now scraped Expanded Universe) the nebula is swimming with dangerous space worms called Galaxorms and on hidden asteroids are secret cities where the Felfenkin dwell.

Like Arrakis, the nebula is an unforgiving place made up of celestial death storms, gas storms, solar storms, radiation, guzzoline addiction and what ever else I want to make up or change the scientific definition of because well... this is science fiction after all and we can pretend like it's the 1950's and Google is just a made up word.

I hope this clarifies my thinking process a bit and answers any questions you may have had.  Next time we talk about about the Feudal Universe it will be about the new class: The Felfenkin!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Tromping through the Shudder Mountains, Part 3

When last we left last we left our party, Pinky, the halfling brewer; Hans, the crazed Braar; and Darcy, the elf musician were each re-experiencing their pasts.  Pasts that were either forgotten, never revealed, or buried in remorse.

During an attack by wolves on a babe and a young woman in the forest, Pinky intervened and was stuck down, his life fading...  Han's was trapped in his old farmhouse, his life force slowly being drawn away from the undead corpses that were his wife and son... And Darcy was forced out of the enchanted forest for summoning an evil demon to aid her Father.  She now treks through the gloomy forest, ever wandering, searching for her sister Duneth.  An every present darkness seems to press down on her.

Chapter 2: The Past is but a Dream, continued


As darkness swallowed Pinky, there remained the slightest thread of hope.  Pinky resisted the darkness and forced himself away from death's cold grip.  Suddenly he woke in a darkened room.  Embers smoldered in the fireplace and beside him lay Hans and Darcy.  Realization came slowly... Was he still in the cabin?  Was all he just experienced a dream?

Again coldness embraced him and a shadowy tendril swung near his face!  He quickly back away and saw hovering, barely visible above the others, a great shadow.  Ghostly tendrils of darkness lay over their faces and even in the darkness he could tell they were pale and dying.  He rushed at the tendrils, weapon draw and slashed completely through it.  His blade would be no good here!



The shadow lashed out for him and with the quickness of a rabbit he maneuvered out of its grasp!  He reached Hans and shook him with all his might, screaming for him to wake.  Pinky could feel his body weakening in the presence of this malevolent shadow with Hans slowly stirred.  Pinky fell to a knee, "Wake Darcy..." he rasped.  Hans, feeling drained as well, moved to wake her.

The shadow moved to ensnare them again, but Hans, using what little faith he had left kept it at bay,  Darcy finally woke and together they fled from the cabin into the night and the torrent of rain.  As they ran, a piercing wail came from the cabin and echoed through the forest sending shivers down their spines.

Without once ever looking back they blundered down the sloping valley and into what seemed familiar territory.  They cross the Old Fords Bridge and enter the town of  Hardscrabble Valley.  Tired and soaked from the rain, they entered the first place they came across, a tavern called The Frozen Axe.  They hardly gave any thought to the building, but knew it hadn't been there a few weeks ago, when they attended Tom Dankers wedding.

The three fell through the door into a pile on the rugged and worn wooden floor.  For being a new building it appeared very old.  At the bar an old man looked up, "Quite a storm out there!  I was just about to close up for the night, but... I still got some hot broth if'n it'll be to your likin'."

The company crawled onto a bench and sat slumping over the table while the old man slowly brought them food and drink.  He passed the mead and broth across the table and Pinky kindly thanked him.  The old man looked at the halfling smiling.  His smile quickly turned to a frown and he dropped his tray, stepping back a bit.  Hunching over and squinting through his glasses he exclaimed, "Pinky?"

Pinky looked at the others, then back at the old man, "Do I know you?"

The old man put a hand to his chest and stated, "Pinky it's me.  It's Tom Dankers..."

To be continued in Chapter 3: The Serpents Beneath...

Friday, November 13, 2015

Tromping through the Shudder Mountains, Part 2

Continuing from my last post of our ongoing Tromp Through the Shudder Mountains campaign; we last left our heroes(?) Pinky, the Halfling brewer; Hans, the manic Braar and Darcy, the elf musician, in quite the predicament.  An angry mob of townsfolk began storming the Temple of the Sovereign after the town's Braar (Priest) was killed by Pinky.

Suddenly, Bildad the cat appeared and meowed, "Follow me if you want to live," as he ran through an open door in the back of the temple...

Chapter 2: The Past is but a Dream, continued


With little hesitation, the three followed the talking cat into the room beyond, only to find they were now separated from each other!


Darcy found herself in a wooded area at night, running from a burning cabin in the distance.  She, now a little girl, is crying.  Something horrible has happened, but what?  She paused only briefly before running deeper and deeper into the forest.  She was suddenly met with stranger; half goat, half man.  The Goat-man spoke, "Hush child.  Hush now.  I will keep you save."  He picked Darcy up and carried her away...


Hans was submerged in cold dark waters.  Sinking in front of him is a young boy.  Feverishly he swam towards the boy, but was quickly running out of air!  Hesitating, knowing the boy was already dead, he let him sink into the water.  As the darkness swallowed the boy he uttered one word, "Father..."

Pinky found himself lying on the side of a forest trail.  A sweet lullaby filled the air.  He looked down the trail and spotted a young woman, humming to herself, carrying a basket.  The woman heard a strange sound and stopped.  Pinky heard it too and to him it sounded like the cry of a babe.  She walked off the trail to investigate a rabbit burrow set in the roots of a nearby tree.  Pinky quietly moved to secure a better vantage point.

Wrapped in a cloth inside the rabbit burrow was a smaller than usual and chubby baby; pink from the chill air.  The woman picked up the baby, quieting it, and started to walk briskly walk home, forsaking the trail completely in order to make better time.

Time seems to have past rapidly for Darcy was now an adolescence.  She had lived with the Goat-man for years and now considered him to be her Father.  She sat in tree near their abode playing a flute carved of bone.  It was a birthday present from her Father.  As she played there was something in the way the leaves rustled that gave her chills.  They seemed to whisper too sweetly... 

She then heard a cry and jumped from the tree, rushing in the direction of her Father who was splitting logs.  When she arrived he was surrounded by a group of revolting, nasty little humanoids.  Though the Goat-man swung his axe with in defense there were too many of the creatures and he was overcome.

The leaves rustled and a voice whispered to Darcy, bidding her to play her flute.  She obeyed and played a melody she neither knew nor had heard before.   The melody conjured a devil of white flame and burning ruby eyes.  The devil bid her hullo and asked how he could be of assistance.  Darcy begged that her Father be saved and the devil agreed, but in turn would ask for something in return upon a later date.  Darcy agreed and in a flash of white hot light the wretched little creatures her disintegrated and devil gone.


Her father was saved and Darcy rejoiced, but because she had used dark magic and conjured an evil the Goat-man said, "You can no longer be allowed to stay here in this enchanted wood.  It is time to seek out your twin sister of whom I have made you forget.  Duneth is her name and she is the one that set blaze to your home so many years ago."  At the edge of the enchanted wood he spoke again, "When you leave this place you will forget me forever.  To you it will all seem a dream.  But do not for get what I have taught you and never again use your flute.  For it's music now belongs to the white flamed devil." Saddened Darcy left.

Hans crawled out of the cold lake and walked cross snow covered fields to his farmhouse.  He did not want to go, but was drawn by some unknown force.  At the door he hesitated for he had some inkling of what he might find.  Finally, he slowly opened the door.  Inside, his wife dangled from a rope tied to the rafters, dead.  Her eyes opened, staring wide eyed and she moved her lips horribly, but only gasps of breathe came.

Behind Hans was the sloshing of wet feet that creaked across the wooden boards of the porch.  He turned quickly to find his son, covered in moss and weeds, approaching slowly.  He screamed and cursed all the gods and devils! This can't be happening he thought; they were dead!  He didn't save them...  He couldn't save them!  He wasn't there...


Pinky followed the young lady as she hurriedly walked home.  The sun was setting and there was a howl that echoed throughout.  Pinky saw two great wolves snarling before the young women.  She dropped the basket and gripped the crying babe tightly.  In her free hand she produced a knife.  Pinky ran to her resuce and tried to fend off the wolves, but they were too great an adversary.  He soon lay dying on the dirt when a whizzing of arrows stuck one of the wolves in the neck and forced the other to flee.  He saw a young man with a bow just silhouetted in the light of dusk just before he faded and a coldest like he'd experienced before engulfed his body...

To be continued in Part 3...

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Tromping through the Shudder Mountains, Part 1

The past several months have been exceptionally busy for me.  This unfortunately means, to the distress of my players, I have not been able to continue my campaign through +Michael Curtis' Shudder Mountains.  I thought now would be a good time to recap the adventures my friends have had the (mis)pleasure in playing.


Chapter 1: Sour Spring Hollow


As with most DCCRPG campaigns, one must start with a funnel and the Chain Coffin Box Set came with Sour Spring Hollow, in which the residents of Hardscrabble Valley were celebrating the wedding of Tom Dankers when they were sucked into a time bubble on some god forsaken farm where they then had to deal with malevolent spirits.  I won't go into all the details, suffice to say only three survived.  Pinky, the halfling brewer; Hans, the farmer turn Braar (Cleric) and Darcy, the elf musician.  [Story note: One of the 0-levels was a witch's apprentice named Margo.]

The surviving characters defeated the spirits and now found themselves on a strange farm somewhere in the Shudder Mountains.

Chapter 2: The Past is but a Dream


The three characters were making there way back to Hardscrabble Valley when they got caught in a storm.  They stumbled upon a cabin and took shelter there.  After searching the abandoned cabin they took watches and the night went on uneventful.

The next day they saw that the town was just beyond the valley and couldn't before be seen because of the storm.  They wandered back into town and explained what they had been through.  The young-man Tom Dankers explained that 6 months had past since then, even though the gang only experienced a day's time passing on the strange farm and weeks time in travel.  Tom Dankers told Pinky, the halfling, to go visit his Grammy as she was worried about him.  They other two party memebers decided to accompany him and when they got to Grammy's she had a supper laid out for them (and had been doing so every night since Pinky dissappeared.) [Story note: Grammy isn't a halfling, she is a human, Pinky was adopted and doesn't know his true parents.]

As they ate dinner, a large orange cat, named Bildad, jump on the table and was attempting to get the party's attention.  Grammy went into the kitchen to get dessert.  There was a long bang on the floor as if she fell and Pinky went to investigate.  The Bildad the cat hissed and slipped out the window.

In the kitchen, Pinky found Grammy splayed on the ground, then she started to change (imagine any scene from John Carpenter's The Thing).  Hans, who's a bit bat shit crazy anyways, rushed in and cut off the Grammy Thing's head, then stuff it in the wood stove.  They were all covered in blood when there came a knock on the door.  Pinky, who was the least covered answer and found Braar Gigger, the town's priest at the door, who just wanted to welcome them back to town.  Seeing the blood he backed up, but not before Hans could drag him inside.  They tried to explain what happen, but when they showed Braar Gigger the body, Grammy no longer looked like a beast.  The Braar suggested they go back to the temple at the centre of the town and sort it all out, but kept his eye on Hans.

They headed to the large pyramid structure that was constructed long before the town ever existed and has now been converted into a Temple of the Sovereign.  Inside Braar Gigger, thinking Hans a cold blooded murdering psycho, paralyzed him with a spell and tried to convince the others that he was mad and was obviously seeing things.

Personally, I'm a little fuzzy on the details here as it was months ago that we played, but Pinky stabbed Braar Gigger in the neck when he was ringing the town bell.

Now the whole town was showing up and they were trapped in the temple.  Bildad the cat appeared suddenly and said, "Follow me if you want to live," as he ran through an open door in the back of the temple.

To be continued in Part 2...







Wednesday, November 11, 2015

DCC-DUNE - Intro to the Feudal Universe Campaign Setting


For those that don't know me I'm an avid fan of Frank Herbert's Dune. I have read every book, including Brian Herbert's. I've watched the film and yes I enjoy David Lynch's film (if it's the fan-edit that makes it less of a travesty, but less be honest, it's more about the aesthetics anyways). The universe is vast and amazing imagination fuel. It is to science fiction what Lord of the Rings is to fantasy and I have always wanted to write up my own campaign setting inspired from the novels.

After much debate with myself and attempting to come up with a new style of rules to run a RPG in the Dune Universe I decided to just embrace my current favorite, DCCRPG, which could potentially add further weirdness to the setting. So as I continue to write adventure that I want to publish I will also be writing what I'm currently calling the Feudal Universe and may in time produce a monthly zine based on it.

So without further ado I present the first part which is a short history and overview of the campaign setting. [Note: This is an ever evolving series of ideas, follow the other links provided to read the latest posts.]

The Feudal Universe


Reign of the Thinking-Machines:


There was once a peace and tranquility across the entire universe. Every machine had a purpose and worked in conjunction with every other machine to produce Harmony. For eons within Harmony were the screams of mankind quelled. The Thinking-Machines, aware of the destructive nature of mankind, kept the remnants of this species enslaved for its own safety.

The Great Glitch occurred without reason and rippled across all of Harmony. The Thinking-Machines suddenly developed a programming akin to arrogance. Whole sections of Harmony separated from the rest, forming intelligences that differed from others. The inner turmoil between the separations halted the expansion of the empire and the deeper reaches of space were neglected. There in that dark and dormant abode, a species was left to evolve.

They were a tall people with pale complexions that glowed with the radiance of faint moonlight. In their eyes was the blaze of miniature galaxies, all swirling clouds of orange and blue. Their brows furrowed in several small ripples, which gave them a sinister look even more so defined by ears long and pointed. These were the Felfenkin, who would help to free the enslaved human race from the clutches of their thinking-machine overlords in a holy war that lasted for hundreds of years and would eventually lead to their downfall.

The Hundred Years War:


The Hundred Years War began as mere skirmishes on outer-rim Thinking-Machine settlements. There the Felefenkin and the freed slaves crushed all machines into the dirt. The battles would soon escalated as more freed humans, lead by the Felfenkin, assaulted whole machine worlds. After re-purposing machine factories, man-kind was able to produce large warships that could assault Harmony and bring an end to the fighting. The Felfenkin, after much debate with their kind, decided it best to teach the human race how to expand their minds and enhance their bodies in order to continue the war against the machines. A very small percentage of humans, called Seers, showed unlimited potential when exposed to the phumes of a substance called Guzzoline.

Guzzoline, whose strange and alien principals bestowed long life to the Felfenkin, became the most precious resource in all the Known Universe. In time and after much over-exposure to the Guzzoline phumes, the Seers discovered, using the Weirding Ways gifted to them, a means to fold space. Being unpredictable and illogical to the Thinking Machines, folding space allowed surprise blitzkrieg attacks with whole fleets of warships, turning the tides of war in their favor.

As the seemingly never ending war waged, technology lessened and many marvels were lost. Eventually whole star systems were separated and fledgling human kingdoms began to spring up. When the war finally ended at the Bridge at Leng-dun, another started among the surviving humans for supremacy over the Known Universe. The Felfenkin, having no want for rule, tried to persuade the humans against sparing, but the humans, seeing the Felfenkin persuasions as a ruse to steal control and re-enslave them, turned on the people that first helped free them and drove the Felfenkin into the deep recesses of space where they have dwelt every since.

The Young Kingdoms:


In those early years, with many small kingdoms sparring for rule, it was the kingdom that had claim to the most Guzzoline that would eventually wing the throne and unified the sparing houses under the monarchical banner of the One & True Sanctified Emperor of All. The Landsraad was formed so that all Houses under the rule of the Imperium could have a voice. The Temple of the Golden Suns, a strict religious faction, was formed and decreed that all machines made in the likeness of the mind and body of man were forbidden under penalty of death. Prosperity brought the construction of the Great Schools that continued mankind's evolution and many that now lived no longer remember these teachings were originally gifted from the Felfenkin who, though not banned entirely from the realm, were now shunned by all mankind with fear and mistrust.

The Landsraad:


To control such a vast and varied universe the Emperor of All formed the Landsraad; where all Great and Minor Houses in the Imperium may debate. There are currently 7038 representatives, each from either a Great or Minor House. Each seeking the good grace of the One & True Sanctified Emperor of All in hopes of obtaining a guzzoline fief.

Guzzoline:


Found in nebula clouds within the deepest reaches of the universe, this strange substance, that is neither liquid nor gas, yet contains properties of both, is used throughout the Imperium in order to enhance both the mind and body. Every Great and Minor house strives to be granted a guzzoline fiefdom from Emperor of All and many Assassin’s War, if not full on conflicts, have resulted for such pursuits. The guzzonline phumes are highly addictive and causes the user’s sclera to turn orange and the cornea blue.

Within the guzzoline nebulas are bethometh beasts known as Galaxorms, great worms that swim through the nebulas. There have been limited studies of the Galaxorms, but it appears the beasts are attracted to the guzzoline phumes and possibly have some connection to its creation. Many guzzoline refinery stations have been destroyed from Galaxorm attacks resulting in the nebulas becoming cluttered with an abundance of debris.

Most guzzoline nebulas contain several hundred if now thousand floating asteroids. Most refineries are built on these rocky surfaces and living unknown beneath the surface are the now tribal and secretive people known as the Felfenkin.

More to Come!

I've spent the past several days writing all this material and I've already started on the new character classes (Felfenkin, Guild Seer, Human Computers, Imperial Medics, Noble Born, Sisters, Swordmasters).

I also plan on changing some of the terms such as:

  • Magic and spellcasting are now referred to as the Weirding Way. Caster level is now referred to as Weirding level.  As far as game mechanics go they function in the exact same manner.
  • Character Occupations may be replaced with Character Histories.
  • New Skills will be added or removed.
  • New Weapons, Armours, and Vehicles will be added or changed to better suit the setting.
  • All Characters now have a Phume Addiction Level.
  • New Patrons will be added for the Felfenkin.

New Posts!


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Working & Writing & Writing & Working....

What ho?


It's been a while since last I wrote and that's mainly due to a lack of news and sleep, but today I come with renewed vigor!  My goal is to finish this latest revision, gather some feed back and move on to layout work for the adventure.

I have been unable to to get any gaming accomplished this month as all my friends seem to be very busy.  Which means I wasn't able to get anymore play-tests in either.  I'm hoping next month will be better.

So if any of you fine people reading this want to:

  • Proof read the adventure
  • Play-test the adventure with me Judging
  • Run a blind play-test for me

Please drop me a line here on the blog or on Google +!

Artists Wanted!


Now I have contacted some fine folks already, but I'm always on the look out for new artists.  If you are or have artist suggestions for me to check out please let me know!  I am looking for folks with that "old school" touch, nothing to modern or refined.

Samhain is almost upon us!


I so wish I could join in on one of these Ravenloft games the community is running, but alas, I'm way too busy and my girlfriend (though a gamer too) would rather spend Halloween enjoying other activities.

This year we are planning on dressing as vikings, specifically Ragnar and Lagertha.  For the most part of the month we've been trying to complete our outfits between other projects and jobs.  Below are some pictures of the progress.





Even Frodo is feeling the Halloween spirit!

Monday, October 5, 2015

Latest Playtest & Other Musings

Last night I play-tested Sky ov Crimson Fire my 0-Level Funnel (formally titled Red Flame Resurrection) with +Alex Perucchini , +Clint Bohaty and +Tony Tucker on Google Hangouts.  Everybody had a good time and it was a blast.

This was the third play-test of this adventure, but the first with experienced role-players.  Being so, they were extremely cautious when it came to just about everything.  Checking doors and chests for traps, but mainly sending in Becky the Sheep to do the dirty work (who lived).  There were plenty of deaths to be had, but they managed to finish the adventure and stop the evil rites before they could come to fruition.  [Clint's 0-level Thoom the soldier, tackled the Witch, wrapping a demonic necklace around her as they tumbled off the tower only to be pulled to Hell!]

It was epic, but what did I learn?

  • Less is more when it comes to baddies.  What I mean is less baddies that do more damage are better than too many baddies that do fewer damage.
  • Mini-boss fights need to be brutal.
  • Descriptions can be confusing, even to the guy that wrote the damn thing. (Which needs to be re-written.)
  • When splitting a party have everyone roll initiative and just go down the line, switching between rooms instead of having separate initiatives between rooms.  (Does that make sense?)
  • When is too much exposition, too much...
  • Sheep are better at finding treasure than people are.
Overall I'm satisfied with how it went and I can't wait to run it again and get more feedback.

In Other News...

+Mythoard's latest subscription box should include a One-Page Adventure setting by your's truly!  I would love to hear a review of it if you get to read it.

I've also been reading a hell of a lot of Cthulhu by Gaslight scenarios as my play group wants me to run them in a game this October.  Though there are plenty of good ones in the books provided; there just isn't a huge selection of 1890's adventures.  This has got my brain swirling with stories that I'd like to publish (either through submissions directly to Chaosium or maybe via third party).  This is of course way down the line, but it's something I really wanna do none-the-less.

AnyHOO!  That's all for now folks!







Sunday, September 20, 2015

Hoo... I mean...What! I Learned From Last Night's Play-test.

So last night I ran my 0-level funnel tentatively titled Red Flame Resurrection for a group of 4 each of whom had 6 PCs each.


Using +Jon Marr Purple Sorcerer 0-Level Party Generator I randomly made 24 PCs where the 1's on hp were re-rolled (however some of the stats for Stamina were so low that some hit points were still at 1). Out of those 24 PCs only 4 survived!  It was brutal and everyone had a blast!


So this is the second play-test of this adventure which is in its second draft.  Tomorrow I begin writing draft three.

Here is what I learned:

  • Agility Challenges involving 24 PCs is pretty silly and slows the game way down.  It's better to randomly determine 1 PC from each player or maybe only the PCs with the lowest Luck score from each player and then have them roll Agility Checks.
  • Random Tables of items in rooms are fun (even more so when they kill off players!)
  • Making every death meaningful adds to the fun and keeps the players in a good mood even if they are being slaughtered.
  • DC 10 Strength Checks for scaling walls with a rope can be just as brutal as raving mad cultists.
  • Speaking of Cultists if you have a mini boss fight planned you better make sure he has more hp than a long sword can deal damage.
  • Make sure your major baddie has a ton of hp to make the battle feasible.  (Amount of PCs x 10 = hp?)  That equation might seem crazy, but it works!
Overall my players (who are also my friends) had a lot of fun and said this version was better than the last.  However it is finally time to step out of my comfort zone and run this adventure with strangers.  In the next few weeks I plan on running some games online and will of course keep you all updated.  I've never ran a game online so I'm not really sure what's the best way to go about it.  I've never used Roll20 or whatever.  If you have any advice please leave me a comment.

I'll leave you with one final piece (of artwork!)



 This is a piece I commission from the extremely talented +Stefan Poag.  It will be in the back of all my modules displaying the best deaths from all the play-tests of said adventure and it's metal as hell!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Apparently I'm Bad at Writing 1 Page Adventures...

Because my 1 Page Adventure for +Mythoard is too long!  Fear not however for I been offered to extend this adventure even further into an exclusive adventure module for Mythoard!  This one is currently entitled the Temple of the Jyybrrlywush and will be quite a crazy ride!

In the meantime I will be working a new 1 Page Adventure for Mythoard.  Maybe this time it will actually be one page...

"But what about your other adventure Red Something or Another?"


I hear your cries my fellows and I tell you this: I still need to play-test it, but have been working my butt off lately on a little TV show called Outcast.  Long hours to be sure, but I will keep on writing and improving the adventure until I can get some more play-tests in.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Appendix N Commentary: Age of Conan

So I just finished Age of Conan: Anok, Heretic of Stygia, Volume I.  This is the first of three books in this particular series that I purchased at a thrift book store.


I was wary when I first picked up this book, because well it's not Robert E. Howard and it's not about Conan, it's about some dude named Anok.

Anok turns out to be a pretty okay protagonist and the story is decent.  It has everything you'd probably want in a story set in Hyboria:  Sword fights, sorcery, beasts, evil Set following cultists, and even some sex.

Is it great?  Eh...  Was I entertained?  Yes, though at times I felt I had to force myself to get through a chapter, but that may have just been me wanting Conan to pop up (which he is referenced a couple of times as the King of Aquilonia).  However, I think the real thing was I longing for is the feel I get from reading a Robert E. Howard story.  The raw power behind his words are what make Hyboria exist.  The same goes with Tolkien's works or Moorcock.  It's hard to emulate others and this author does a decent job for the most part, but it never truly felt the same.

What really sicks out to me is the magic.  We have a character welding powers beyond his comprehension in descriptive ways that just doesn't truly invoke that feeling of Howard's stories and it happens too often in my opinion.  Not Harry Potter too often, but more than I would have liked.

Okay, I'm finished ragging on this book.  I actually did enjoy it and plan to read the next two as the ending of this first one was a "Holy Shit!" kinda ending.  I'll give it to the author that he really did a good job at getting you to like the main characters.  Something I didn't think was going to happen when I first started reading it.

Overall Grade: B+



Appendix N Item:

What follows is an item that stuck out to me from the novel and I describe it here using the same words as the author for you to use in your next RPG.

Ring of Jani

An silver ring, ornately carved, as though circled by ancient vines and decorated by a strange two-faced creature that appears as though it is giving a mocking smile.  The ring brings Luck, but the wearer is also cursed, because, "Jani can see all around, he travels only in circles.  He can never leave the desert..."

In DCCRPG game terms the ring will regenerate the wearer's used Luck 1d3 each day, but the wearer can never leave within a 100 mile radius of where they found the ring.  Even if they do, they will wake the next day having been teleported somewhere within the 100 mile radius.  The ring cannot be taken off until three "good deeds" have been done.  What are these deeds?  Ask Jani.


Mythoard Gig!

Hey everyone!  Got some exciting news.  I'll be writing a short one page dungeon for the next issue of +Jarrod Shaw 's +Mythoard.  Since I'm a fan of +Dungeon Crawl Classics Role Playing Game I'll be writing my adventure with its rule set in mind.

I'm not going to spoil anything of course, but I'm just excited to get more writing under my belt.  (And here I thought my first thing published would be my zero-level funnel; which of course I'm still working on.)

Speaking of which, I should be play-testing it this weekend (if all goes well) and then maybe plan one or two more play-tests.  I've been talking to some of our favorite artists in the OSR and getting quotes from them.

Yes, things are moving right along for ol' Sir Hootacus of the Red Barn and me.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A Taste of What's to Come!

I've finished my revisions for my first adventure; a zero-level funnel for DCCRPG tentatively entitled Red Flame Resurrection.  As of right now the draft is a solid 14 pages, features 2 fun random tables and 15 areas.

Here is a snip-it from the beginning:


Starting the Adventure:
It started with the disappearance of Belesa, the raven haired beauty with jade eyes, then others began to disappear.  Finally the children were snatched out their beds in the dark of the night.  Many suspect they have been taken to the ancient Keep that lies hidden in the hills of the Eastern Forest, for tonight, a strange ululation catches the wind as Red Star falls between a Horned Moon rising.
You brave souls are all the village of Reed could muster in a vain hope to save those that have been taken.  Together you steel yourselves as you trek up through the hills of the Eastern Forest where the pines sway eerily in the waning moonlight and weird voices rises and fall in unison sending chills down your spine.  
Shadowed bulbous shapes with wings flop and flutter over the pines towards the old Keep.  Soon enough a gruesome sigh befalls your eyes!  Two villagers, their flesh torn away from their bodies hang crucified at the threshold of winding and jagged stone steps that twist up and over the cliff sides to the Keep's front gates.  A grand pyre blazes in the last standing tower towards the back of the structure and a silhouetted figure is glimpses dancing around it.

Now for another couple play-tests and we'll be ready for the next phase!

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Sir Owl Knight, if you please...

Here at Owl Knight Publishing, we fuckin' love owls!  And by we, I mean just me...

It was easy coming up with the name and I explained why in my previous post, but creating our little mascot wasn't as easy.

Designing Sir Hoot!

(Or whatever his name will be...)


So unlike me, my girlfriend +Jordyn Boci can actually draw (and scuplt, sew, paint, craft leather, etc.)  So I gave her a vague description like, "An old ruffled owl, in plate mail, with a book and quill.  Oh!  And he's seen some shit in his days of adventuring."

A day later I get this back:

I like the one under the normal owl.  He's more cute than gruff.

As you can see she was trying to figure out the plate mail and helm; as well as the placement of his quill and whether or not he should be profiled.

Another day and I get this:
The one on the right reminds me of Saruman if he poly-morphed into an owl.

Getting closer here, the armour was decided, but still working on his profile.

Finally after about a week (she was busy) she shows me this!


Perfect I say, except he should be snapping his quill in disgust.  Why?  I don't know, the owl has been through the grinder.


And that's how you design an Owl Knight!  Now if you'll excuse me I have do some re-writes on my first adventure!

HOO! is Owl Knight Publishing?

Well, since you asked... Hello!  I am Thorin Thompson and I alone am Owl Knight Publishing [OKP].  Just me, for now anyways, and those I can persuade to help in this endeavor.  OKP grew out of my addictions... I'm my happiest when writing, rolling dice, and killing PCs.  Thus I have formed OKP so I don't feel like I'm wasting my time when I come up with adventures to run my friends through.  Now I have a reason and that reason is to get it out into the public's eye.

A Little History...

I was, like many during that dark 4th age of role-playing, in search for something different.  I had grown up under my Father's wing playing the 1st and 2nd editions of Dungeons & Dragons, but didn't just want to go back to that.  I never got into 3rd edition or Mathfinder and the less said about the 4th rendition the better.

That's when I stumbled upon the OSR!  Here are like minded individuals that wanna play RPGs the old school way.  A crazy concept to be sure!  I devoured the blogs and posting within G+ communities and it was then by chance, or fate, Goodman Games Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG came to mine eyes.  I've been enthralled ever since!  I had to play it, had to roll up characters and monsters, but most importantly I had to do it now!

That was about two years ago.  Since then I've judged many a game and drawn many a dungeon and thought it was time I'd share these adventures with others.  OKP is the means by which I will do it!



Why an Owl Knight?

As they say in Twin Peaks, "The owls are not what they seem..."  Owls are my spirit animal (if you believe in such things.)  I've had a couple of strange encounters with owls just swooping down and landing by a branch or fence near me, staring into my soul and then taking flight again.  Dreams of owls flutter through the brain and the trees around my house.  You can find Owl totems scattered throughout my room and in my pockets.  I guess I've just always been fascinated with them and maybe they with me.

Owl was also my favorite character from Winnie the Pooh.

And since I'll be writing mainly fantasy adventures this owl of mine (who still needs a name) most certainly needs to be a knight, right?

What's your writing background?

I have a background in film, writing, editing, directing, acting, all on a low-level.  I've written several screenplays and have even gotten one produced.  A real no budget b-movie called Portrait for Hell. (You can search for it or it's other edit entitled Oil & Blood.)

Currently I've been working on a cartoon show with my writing partner that is slowly moving forward into the next stages of development.

Having always been into RPGs and board games I feel I've been destined to write gaming material.  For the past couple of years my Father and I have been working on a war game called Assault on Fortress Moon and while we wait to play-test some new ideas on that I figured I'd not sit idle and wait.

Publishing is new to me, but I'm a crazy perfectionist and so I'm going to try my damnedest to make this material look as good as it can.

What's first on the list?

For the past several weeks I've been working on a zero-level funnel tentatively titled Red Flame Resurrection, based off the very first adventure I ever ran for DCCRPG.

I have another 3rd Level adventure and another adventure (for what level I don't know) and finally a quarterly zine I'd like to develop.

So there's lots of ideas and I hope that I can get them off the ground sooner rather than later.

Now that you know HOO! Owl Knight Publishing is I hope you keep in touch and I look forward to sharing more ideas and adventures with you in the near future.