Monday, December 16, 2013

Work and My Inspirations

Hey gang!

Wow, has it been a long time or what?  Sorry about the lack of posts, I have been rotating between being busy and a total lack of creative energy so I have been erratic in getting on here.

I have been fortunate to find a couple here in town that are also gamers and this has really gotten me going again, even through the bouts of frustration.  After a couple fun, but short sessions of Rifts we decided to shift directions to playing my homebrew!  I am excited and a little nervous about finally using it but it will be worth it in the end...

This, and some conversations with some other gamer friends has got me thinking about inspiration and games.  It is a topic that I have ran through my mind several times and would be willing to bet that many of you have as well.  As a writer I will easily admit that there are many games and books that have inspired me over the years and I am positive there will be many more to come.

Of late some of my biggest influences have come from people I have learned to look up to.  Jay Libby and Joshua Kubli, both fellow game writers, have done wonders for me and my work.  They have helped me fight through anxiety attacks that have hindered my writing and given me ideas on how to evolve.  There are others, who are not writers at all, that have helped me as well.  There is of course my family but there is also my friend Rick and my new gaming group.  It is good to have a way to get ideas out..

It's funny, I know that my personal writing has been affected by countless sources... Books, Movies, Video and Roleplaying Games... hell even the Bible to a tiny point.  The thing that I think about sometimes is where does inspiration stop and copying begin?  At first my newest version of my system was little more than a knock-off of the Palladium system but it has evolved (thankfully).

Now there are still comparisons to be made to other things.  The base mechanic is similar to the 3.x rules, my magic system is reminiscent of Palladium's, and well, there are others.  I do understand that there is nothing totally new, especially in this field.  But I like to think that I am doing at least a few things differently.

Ah well, I suppose the important thing is having fun.  I enjoy my work and think that others will as well once I post it up here.  Well, hopefully anyways lol

So, what are you all up too?

Monday, November 25, 2013

The return to M&M

Hello my friends!

I hope that everything is going great for you of late and that this upcoming day of feasting is a fun one for all.

After many moons away I have made my return to the fun little OSR offshoot of Monsters & Magic.  Don't get me wrong, I never stopped like it rather I simply got involved in other things for a while.  Those of you who have read a few of my posts understand that I am a bit erratic in my projects and train of thought so me changing gears again isn't a surprise.

I have been working on writing up more of my many ideas for M&M and will be adding more posts in this vein over the next few days.

Todays offering is another of the Deities of my Espeth setting.  This god, Barag'gi, is one of the many evil gods that interfere with the lives of all the people of Espeth.  For centuries his manipulations have left an indelible mark on the work of those practicing the arcane arts.  Whenever one delves into the mystical they must wonder if they will become the tool Barag'gi.

Barag’gi: Corrupt Lord of Knowledge

Other Titles: The Silent Word, Master of Forbidden Lore
Temple Traits: Gather knowledge at all costs, Revel in using knowledge for personal gain
Alignment: Neutral Evil
Temple Weapon: Scourge
Spheres of Activity: Artifacts, Madness, Magic, Secrets,
Power: Steal Spell: Once per day the character is able steal the spell of another person and use it themselves.  The target spell must be of a level that the character can normally cast although they do not have to be able to prepare it normally.  This can be used to steal both clerical and arcane spells.
Description: A slim, pale skinned man with shining black eyes.  In his hands is a massive silver rune covered in black runes that crawl constantly across its covers.
Holy Days: Barag’gi followers celebrate the seventeenth of each year as the day when their master betrayed Xepheles and struck out on his own.
Holy Symbols: A closed tome surrounded by black thorns
Major Centers of Worship: Trepia, the Frontier, and Pythios
Worshipers: Anyone seeking forbidden information and lost secrets hold Barag’gi sacred.  The majority of his followers do so in secret due to their position as scribes and sages for important families.

Barag’gi is known as the first follower of Xepheles and the being whose influence brought about the rise of the Demon Lords.  From the earliest moment of his discovery of Espeth, Barag’gi has sought to procure, through any means necessary, all the continents hidden secrets.  It is his followers actions that have led to the led to the inherent distrust the masses have towards the arcane.

There are countless tales attributed to this god of long-lost artifacts appearing in a followers hand only to vanish again at a vital point in their schemes.  Although most folks would avoid this aspect of his worship those that are truly faithful to Barag’gi understand that the blessings of their Lord are fickle and short-termed.  For them it is enough to receive his blessing even if it will be removed at an inopportune time.  In this vein it is all too common for the devout to supply their followers with special equipment only to demand its return at the worst possible time. 

Today Barag’gi is treated with an unusual amount of trepidation and awe.  His accumulation of lost knowledge is astounding which draws followers of the arcane to him in droves, but is mercurial nature often drives away young acolytes soon after they join his ranks.  The masses fear him for his constant scheming that inevitably causes all manner of chaos across the face of Espeth.

Friday, November 15, 2013

A Multitude of Possibilbiites

Hello all,

I hope all of you are having an excellent time in your endeavors!  I am doing quite well despite a multitude of health issues going on at the moment.  I have had the chance of late to expand some of my writing horizons as well as get in some much needed gaming time here and there.

I have been doing a good job of late of keeping myself motivated and working.  Progress is always good and it has only strengthened my resolve to get my projects finished.  The work on my homebrew system/setting is moving along at a relatively steady pace.  New ides are constantly forming and there always seems to be something to add here and there.

Originally I was planning on doing several settings for this system but at the moment I am concentrating solely on a fantasy one.  Surprisingly enough I have been working on a full Game-Master 'book' of sorts for it.  I didn't think I would be including something like that but I have realized that there is a lot of info I can put into such that will aid me in fleshing out the setting and adding optional rules here and there.  Fun stuff indeed.

My Cosmology Engine project is almost done writing-wise and I have started working on some sketches for the artwork portion of the project.  The game is my homage in sense to the Palladium meta-setting Rifts although it has enough difference to be my own thing.  I imagine there are only a few more things to write down for the project then comes editing and art.  So while things are not entirely done it is creeping closer.

I am also delving into another supers-related project that I won't go into a lot of detail about until there is more hammered out behind the scenes.  This one promises to be a metric crap-load of work but is really exciting for me.  There will be more info about this coming soon!

So, on the playing tip I got to try out Fate (CORE) for the first time.  I have been interested in seeing how this game works for quite the long time.  I love narrative concepts and enjoy simple dice mechanics so this is a great combination of the two.  I have much to learn still, but for those who enjoy fast actions and create-your-own possibilities this is a natural.  The best part is that I am a player in this and I only need to have a bit of background in the game to enjoy it!  I give it a hearty thumbs up!  I am thinking about doing a full-fledged review of Fate soon, we will just have to see.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Homebrew's and Existing IP's

Hey gang!

I hope this post finds all of you in good spirits and life is treating you well!  Things here at the world headquarters for Hard Luck Ink (ie. my desk) are going well.  I have been plugging away at a number of personal projects of late and although some are slower than others there is still progress.

The main push for me at the moment is to finish the very basic 'core rules'.  My hope is that by getting a firm handle on the center of everything it will allow me to expand in a more logical manner from here on out.  The plan at the moment is to have a somewhat bare-bones starter set of mechanics to allow people to get the feel of the game.  Then, shortly after this release some small setting packets.  This has been done for a long time with existing games such as Pathfinder, the various D&D editions, and various others.

Unlike the bigger companies my plan is to go small.  Basically instead of releasing a single massive fantasy setting I will begin with one region (the frontier) and detail it.  This 'plug-in' will consist of regional species, special rules for that area (if any) and general information about what is going on in that area.  In the meantime I will also be working on some of the overall information needed elsewhere.  I feel that by trying to concentrate on one region at a time, rather than the entire book, I can get more done at once and not have to try to force myself to do everything in a hurry.

My overall plan for my system, to be named the Crusade System, is to have it be as universal as possible.  Do I mean that it will work for every single setting out there?  No, not really. What I mean is that it will be universal enough to fit all of my needs.  Thus far it seems to be working.

The first release once the core-rules are done (soon I hope) will be Crusade: Blades of Espeth; The Frontier (my fantasy setting), then I will do a primer for Crusade: Into the Darkness (my horror/monster-slaying setting)  after that there will be more for each.

I currently have copies of my base mechanics out to a couple people.  Thank you David and Nathan.  If there are any others among you who would like to help me out I would greatly appreciate it.  Just hit me up on here or via email and we can work something out!

In the interim I still have some great projects for other companies coming as well.  My world-ravaging supers-setting using the Cosmology Engine is almost done writing wise as is my Bulletproof  Blues post-apocalyptic book.  I also have a project in the works for another G-Core project.  One bit of warning those, all three of these are super-related and I am having some issues with the current state of the comic book industry and that is numbing my interest in that genre at the moment.... no worries though these WILL be finished.

Thanks as always and keep on Gaming!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Just thinking...

Hey all!

One of the things I have always tried to do with my writing is stay open to new ideas.  Over the years I have dabbled in countless different systems and those that I made myself.  What I have been wondering about is what can I do to make things easier?

Sticking to one Setting: This is a great idea but unfortunately I have concentration issues and to compound that I am constantly having new ideas for different things.

Sticking to one Genre: I have had multiple conversations with my mentors like Jay, Nathan, and Joshua about this and it is still up in the air.  I love my supers, that is a given, but I am somewhat obsessed with making a different spin on that.  Is this a bad thing?  I don't know.

I have of course narrowed it down to two genre; supers and fantasy.  I have even thought about combining the two somehow but eh... I don't know.  I have several supers ideas as is and don't want to confuse myself by creating another.

I have two sets of notes for post-apoc supers, a horror/super melange, and a dark Iron-Age setting.  I really want to finish at least two of these but sheesh is it ever taking me a long time.  I think it is good that i keep coming back to these.  It shows that I haven't stopped thinking about them but man is it frustrating at times...

So, I know I won't get many, if any, answers to this but what do you think?

A: Post Apoc supers where the world is being torn apart by the intrusion of different realities

B: A supers world tryign to survive in the face of an alien invasion

C: A dark Iron Age setting where life is cheap and the need for true heroes is on the rise

Hopefully some of you can take the time and toss me an answer or two.  I love the input of others and value your thoughts!

Thanks as always and keep on Gaming!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Espeth Update

Hey fellow gamers!

It has been a while since I have posted anything concerning my fantasy world of Espeth.  Of late I have been working on several other projects which has left me scant time for my fantasy escapades.  That changed a few days ago when I began a more concerted effort to expand both the Espeth setting as well as the home-brew system I am writing.

I have decided to make some rather drastic changes to the original setting to make it more dynamic.  The way it stands now it is rather bland so I am hoping to shake that up some.  The first place I am working on is the region known as the Frontier... You may remember its description from an earlier post but here is the beginning (only a few paragraphs mind you) of the new Frontier.

I hope you enjoy it and if you have any input by all means, let me know!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Man-Made Mythology RPG Review

Hello all.

Here we go with a new review of a new super-hero RPG...

Man-Made Mythology: A Comic Book RPG is the first offering from Critical Strike Publishing.  Designed off the venerable 3.x engine this game was made to allow the group to combine the flexibility of the OGL with the over-the-top action of the super-hero genre.  Although this idea is not entirely new it is something that this company approaches in a different manner than their colleagues.

The book begins off simply enough with the almost mandatory description of the hobby, a lexicon, and the methods for determining the characters starting Attributes.  It is in Chapter 2 that the company begins to illustrate their take on the comic-book world.  Chapter 2 begins with the racial descriptions and modifiers inherent to each of the four core races of Man-Made Mythology.

The first race presented is, of course, Humans.  After that we come to Reptiods, an alien lizard species that came to Earth millennia ago.  After that come the Synthetics which are mankind’s success at creating artificial life and finally there is the matriarchal race of warrior-women the Valkyries.  There isn’t anything especially noteworthy about the starting racial choices but they fill their roles well and give the Players several options to choose from without over-doing it.

Chapter 3 begins with detailing the procedure to generate the characters Alter-Ego.  Each Alter-Ego lists any sort of requirements that must be fulfilled as well as the Skills, Bonus Feats, and any Resource modifiers that come with that choice.  The options here range from the bookish Academic, to Emergency Services characters, to Soldiers.  The nice thing is that the choices also include things such as a Rural upbringing to flesh out the section.

In Chapter 4 the games Classes are presented.  There are 10 Classes available in the core-rules and these include enough options to make a variety of iconic characters.  This chapter also begins with the Advancement guidelines and the rules for multi-classing.  The individual Classes are presented in the familiar format found in most 3.x games so one who is familiar with them will have no problem understanding them. 

The same holds true for the next two chapters which go into detail about the games Skills and Feats.  Although there are some new ideas presented here there is nothing truly unique to those familiar with the genre or overall 3.x games.  There are some new feats presented, but these are mostly variations of existing ones that amplify the characters power usage and help further define their abilities.

It isn’t until Chapter 12 after the mandatory rules on equipment, combat, magic usage and the like that the games super-powers, known as Mythic Abilities, are explained.  There are 50 powers fleshed out in Man-Made Mythology and each comes with 10-levels of modifiers to that power.  The first mythic ability is Body Armor and while it provides basic protection it can also increase other attributes, mitigate critical hits, and provide damage reduction to the Character as they advance it.  In my opinion there could have been many more powers given here and although the ones that do exist are detailed nicely I just like my supers games to have a-lot of options when it comes to powers.

All in all I give Man-Made Mythology a 3 out of 5 rating.  Is it anything entirely new and spectacular?  No, but I feel it does a better job of emulating the genre than most of its predecessors using the 3.x engine.  I am interested in seeing what other offerings the company provides as time passes as I feel there is are a lot of options available for expansion.  Man-Made Mythology could become a very well rounded game but only time will tell.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Busy Busy

Hey gang!

As the title of this post says things have been busy around here.  Between Real Life issues and a couple of outside projects I am working on things have been crazy.  That is OK though, in many ways being busy is a good thing.  It gives me less time to get frustrated with all my personal projects.

What outside projects you ask?  The first is a full-blown review of the super/comic-book game 'Man-Made Mythology" while the second is doing a beta read-through for another companies game.  Neither of these are paying gigs mind you, but they keep me in the loop and allows me to expand my horizons a bit.  As soon as I am done with the review for Man-Made I will be posting it on here for all to read.

Art wise I have finally started to draw again.  It is going slow of course but hey...progress is always good right?  I have art to do for an upcoming MADS project, concept art for a friends RPG, and of course work for my own projects.  Oh the excitement.

On the personal writing front I have finished the writing work for my next G-Core project I just have to finish the art.  My new Invulnerable project is progressing along very well now and I am excited to see where it goes.

In the next couple of days I plan to do a review of the fantasy game Legend.  I will post that as soon as I can.  It is one system that I enjoy although it is truly a dangerous and bloody game.  It is not at all like the system I am writing and that may be a good thing.

Thanks as always for reading and Keep on Gaming!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Super Tuesday 8

And here we go!

Today I am going to post a write-up for one of my characters for my upcoming Invulnerable project.  The statistics need to be fixed (thanks Joshua) but the basics are there and enough to allow someone to understand what type of person he is.  Currently I have cut down on my projects in order to concentrate on one at a time so that I can finish each one more quickly.  The first to be finished is my Invulnerable project (yet to be named).  Next will be my next G-Core book entitled Rally Cry: After the Fall.  Somewhere in there I will find time to work on my own fantasy system/setting.

Without further ado, here is Capitol

David Detweller has carried the mantle of Capitol since the 1950’s, making him one of the oldest extraordinaries still operating to this day.  David was granted his formidable powers by exposure to strange radiation given off by a tiny fragment of a meteor.  His father had instilled within him a deep sense of patriotism and honor and David quickly donned a star-spangled costume in order to protect others.

It was shortly after the formation of Freedom 5 that David was the victim of an ancient spell that bound his life-force to that of the undead terrorist Adam Lazarus.  Lazarus cursed David by making it impossible for him to age thereby forcing him to suffer the pain of watching all those he cared for wither and die from the ravages of time. 

Secret Identity: David James Detweller, government agent and team leader of Freedom 5
Awesomeness Level: 5

Origin: Freak Accident 3, Cursed 2
Motivations: Justice, Law

Physical Attributes    Mental Attributes
AGI:     5                      INS:     5
STR:     7                      PER:     6
TGH:    7                      WIL:    7

Absorb Energy                         3 (18)
Absorb Impact                         3 (18
Improved Absorb Energy          3 (18)
Growth                                     1 (5)
·         Larger 
Hyper-Strength                        3 (21) (+24 enhancements)
·         Crushing Blow
·         Powerhouse
·         Straight to the Moon
·         Super Leaping
·         Thunderclap
Hyper-Toughness                     3 (1+2) (14) (+14 enhancements)
(All from Cursed)
·         Immortality
·         Regeneration
·         Unstoppable

Basic Talents
Athletics                      2
Close Combat                3
Dodge                           3
Education                     1
Intimidation                 4
Metahuman Lore           4
Notice                          2
Self-Control                 3

Advanced Talents
Authority                     6
Courageous                   4

Achilles Heal (Sliver, Cold Iron)
Despairing                    2
Distant                         3
Regretful                     3
Oathbound                   3

Init                  10

Physical Resources

LIF                   12
VIG                  31

Mental Resources
DET                  18
REP                  10

CDEF                16
RDEF                13
MDEF               22

Sex: Male
Preference: Heterosexual
Height: 6’1”
Weight: 200 lbs.
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Brown
Hair Style: Military style flat-top
Skin Tone: Caucasian

Costume/Clothes: David’s costume bears a stars-and-stripes motif designed to inspire others while reminding them of what they are fighting for.  In those rare occasions when David is not in uniform he wears military fatigues or other comfortable but sturdy clothing.

Personality: David has spent decades battling evil in all its forms and this constant struggle is beginning to weigh on him heavily.  He has become quiet and withdrawn although he still leads the current incarnation of Freedom 5 with dignity.  David worries that he will never see the defeat of Adam Lazarus and will suffer from forced immortality forever.

Goals: To protect the United States and democracy across the world.  David also seeks to locate and somehow slay Adam Lazarus, thereby ending his own immortality.

Obstacles: David is quickly becoming a man out of touch with the times.  His constant battles plus his naturally introverted nature have combined to create an isolated man who doesn’t understand much of what is happening around him.  When outside of battle David spends his time trying to fathom the actions of other extraordinaries.  He has trouble comprehending the sorry nature that the world is spiraling to and fervently hopes to help change the world for the better before his mission is complete.

Central Contradiction: Despite his heroic nature and constant defense of the “American Dream” David is severely out of touch with that ideal.  While he has spent his life protecting others he has done little to experience what it means to be an American.  He has never spent a day on a vacation, rarely slept anywhere other than in a barracks, and has never been in love.

Monday, September 30, 2013

System Basics

Hey gang,

For the last few days I have been working somewhat diligently on my home-brew RPG system.  As I have mentioned several times before is is a frustrating, but enjoyable process.  My goal here today is to post a bit about the basic mechanics and go from there in further posts.

The most basic mechanic of the system is to use a single d20 to determine success or failure.  Whenever the d20 is rolled any sort of pluses or minuses are applied to the result and if the total meets or exceeds the Target Number then the check succeeds.  Things that can modify the d20 roll include attribute modifiers, range, darkness, and a myriad of other things.

There are 5 Primary Attributes; Body, Reflex, Intellect, Intuition, and Presence.  These make up the core of the characters abilities.  There are also a number of Secondary Attributes that determine the more minute things about the character.  Health, Defense (melee, ranged, mental), Initiative, and Power Points are all secondary attributes.

In order to perform a skill check the Player rolls 1d20 and adds their relevant Skill Rank plus their related Attribute Rank.  The basics of this are neither new, nor ground breaking but they are what I like so that gives them some weight, at least to me.

Work on my Invulnerable project is somewhat stalled at the moment.  Nothing bad has happened I am just going through one of my bouts of self-doubt as to what direction to go with the overall setting.  I know, I know, get it together.  I would but I am a bundle of over-thinking and questions :D  In the meantime I am still working on the basic Rally Cry setting and going from there.

Artwork is progressing although as slow as normal, but you all know that is nothing new right?  

Later this week I will be posting some of the classes and skills for my system along with more information about a couple of my other ideas that I have.

Thanks as always and keep on Gaming! 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fatigue is tiring me out...

Hey all,

So as you can see from the title of this post, and the fact that I have been absent for a while I am still battling my fatigue.  But enough of that, let me get to the gaming goodness.

This post, which may ramble as usual, is based off of a question I have been asking myself for a while now.

When does inspiration go to far?

The reason I am asking this is that while I work on my own homebrew RPG system I have noticed that I am taking a number of cues from my favorite system.  I know that by itself that isn't a problem, but I worry that I may be going to far and instead of using it for inspiration I am trying to emulate it too much.  There are many things I like and dislike about my inspiration and I hope that I am making something my own out of it.

That all being said there are a metric butt-ton of emulators out there for various RPG's.  Look at the plethora of OSR products and the slew of OGL games.  I guess my self doubt is a bit pointless, but the question is still there.  Any thoughts you all may have would be greatly appreciated.

On a related note writing is progressing well on my Invulnerable project.  After many internal debates I have settled things and the initial setting book is done writing wise.  The NPC's need to be finished, then of course artwork and layout but hopefully that sort of stuff won't take to long.  I have decided to release my projects on the Pay What You Want model.  This way I can get my thoughts out there for the masses (hah) and if someone enjoys it enough to pay for it then great, if not, well so be it.

Artwork continues on a number of projects which is good, it keeps me busy.

Ok, I am off to work on more system related goodness.  I am planning to post the basics of the system here on this blog this weekend at the latest.

As always thanks for your time and keep on Gaming!!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Super Tuesday 7

Hey gang!

Here we are again.  Another somewhat exciting delve into my mind and what I consider fun.  I had planned to review this nifty little supers/heaven/hell game I found, but I will be damned if I can find it on either of my computers.  It is kind of odd how that happens to me.  Of course it may have to do with the fact that I have several gigs of supers-related stuff on my computer... Ah well, maybe next time.

Capes or Realism.  Which is better?  I know that with the BIG 2 (Marvel and DC) that there is a huge difference.  DC is more colorful and 'Heroic', full of good deeds, evil-doers and daring do (well before the New 52 at least) while Marvel has been becoming increasingly darker.  I have a soft spot for both types but since my formative reading years took place during the Iron Age that is decidedly my favorite type.

So dark comics are my fave.  Sure, but I still enjoy a good DC story now and then.  Blackest Night was really good, so was the Superman event Our Worlds at War.  I don't know, maybe I am just to much of a pessimist to really enjoy a lot of DC stuff, but I hope to change that.  It also doesn't help that the only local store I shop at barely carries any DC TPB but has a ton of Marvel things.

It may seem odd coming from me, but I think comics, especially my own ideas, are TOO dark.  Sure, there is room for heroics and daring-do, but the world will barely notice.  I mean in one of my idea I wiped out over 1/3 of the world with a plague and then had the big bad of the campaign wipe out most of the East Coast.  Grim to say the least.

And where do fun and exciting characters stand in such darkness.  I like Spider Mans attitude (well Peter Parker not the Doc-Ock crap).  It is good to have a happy-go-lucky quipster in the mix to help keep things light.  I enjoyed him as an Avenger more than solo though for some reason...

In my opinion there needs to be more 'fun' characters running around.  There needs to be more light to offset at least some of the darkness to make it feel as if there is at least a chance the good-guys can really win.  Ah well, I am rambling... This is the kind of thing I could go on about for hours.

And what about women in comics?  I mean why are there so many leather-wearing, whip/rope carrying, bondage-type ladies running around?  Sure, I understand that comics are by, and aimed, mostly at men, but sheesh can it get much worse?  Then again I think my dislike of this has to do with my general attitude towards costumes of late.  I think it has to do with the settings I am working on, where the supers don't wear them.  Sometimes it's better to fly-low and stay under the radar.  A bright red cape with a glowing symbol on it doesn't say stealth to me.

Oi... what was I talking about??

Keep on gaming my friends!!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Fantasy Thursday 2

Hello all!

I have been working on some more notes for my slow-to-be-realized fantasy setting and in the course of it I have discovered that I really enjoy some of the more common yet under-utilized critters.  I seem to take these 'weak' creatures and supplement them into something more.

One example of this is the Gnoll.  In most games they are an afterthought, a creature that is used at low levels and then forgotten as characters whip on by.  In the Espeth setting the gnolls are more than just cannon-fodder for young adventurers to decimate out-of-hand.  Although they are not sufficient enough to be considered a 'player-race' they are potent enough to hand characters their heads if they aren't careful.

The gnolls control a massive area of northern Espeth known as the Frontier.  The Frontier has, of late, became a hotbed of activity.  Prospectors from Golardin are flooding into the region in search of all kinds of riches.  The influx of so many outsiders has enraged the gnoll tribes and sent them to war with them.  In essence gnolls can be compared to the Indians of the American West with the exception that they are massive, powerful, and possess ancient magics never before seen.  All in all they aren't someone to be trifled with.

To make matters worse the two nations that border the Frontier, Golardin and Cymea (name changed from Trepia) are preparing to go to war with each other and the largest battles are bound to take place across the region.  Understandably all of this has the gnolls in an uproar and seeking ways to defend themselves.  They have already made alliances with two 'young' demon-lords (a benefit of their unknown magics) and have captured and trained several dragon-kin to aid them.

Something else to keep in mind is that the gnolls of Espeth are not stupid, far from it really.  Gnolls are highly territorial, possesses keen intellects, and are master strategists.  The main reason they are not more of a power in the north is due to their inherently warlike nature.  Basically if they aren't at war with an outsider they take their aggression out on others.

Sure, Players will come to understand the gnolls powerful position in the Frontier and hopefully come to respect them.  I am a type of Game Master that like to keep players guessing and I think that is a good thing.

Thanks as always and Keep on Gaming!!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Super Tuesday 6

Hey gang!

Here we are again, another installment of my rants about super-hero gaming.  First off I would like to address supers and my writing projects.  I have been given two new opportunities.  For the first I am working on a small setting book for the game Bulletproof Blues while the second is a larger project being done as an expansion for the engine that powers the Invulnerable game.

While both systems are, at their root, based in comic-books I am taking a different approach to them.  For the Bulletproof Blues project I am using a post-apocalyptic world where the heroes are on the ropes after losing a war.  I have mentioned this one before.  It is coming along well, the difference from a typical world is that the world is shattered, heroes no longer wear costumes, and the survivors are just as dangerous as the invaders.  It has been a lot of fun.  So far all of the artwork for the invaders is done in pencil and a few are inked.  It will take a good amount of time to finish it, but it will be worth it.

The second project, using the Cosmology Engine from Invulnerable has gone through several changes.  It started as a basic supers-setting, then a Rifts homage, now it is a space-opera type of thing with lots of species, lots of backgrounds, and eventually rules for ships, planets, and all other types of goodies.  Like I said, this one is going to take a long time, but man, i cannot wait till it is ready for presentation.

Yet another G-core project has reared its head.  This one will be easy, just a few characters for GM's to use.  This will more fully flesh out the Rally Cry setting as well as providing people with easy access to the game.  More fun stuff.

I guess the jist of it all is that the supers genre can really be used for pretty much anything.  Isn't a spell caster from a fantasy game just emulating the powers of a comic-book character and so on?  Of course the same could be said in reverse, that comic-book gaming is just an offshoot of the fantasy games.  The answer though really doesn't matter does it?  I enjoy both genres, and well, several others, but I don't know if I would say I am more in favor of one over another.

I know, I know, I am constantly going on about supers related things, but it is just the easiest thing for me to write about.  That is the key isn't it?  I mean, finding a happy place where you are working on what you like and can do anything?  It is a great and cathardic thing to which I devote way to much time most days... not that I can always get something worthwhile out.  But that is just part of the process isn't it?

Thanks as always my friends, and Keep rolling those dice!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The yasith

My fantasy setting has many races available for Players to choose from.  The first one that I am presenting to you is the Yasith.  The yasith are a race of traders, diplomats, and con-men.  Known throughout the realm as intellectual yet conniving people the yasith have earned these monikers over the centuries.

The yasith are the founders of the massive trade organization known as the Mercantile.  It is said that the Mercantile has its hand in nearly every transaction that takes place across the land.  While this is just a fantasy most people know about the Mercantile regardless of how far out in the sticks they are.

This is not the 'official' write up for them, and the picture below will be getting colors added to it soon (ish).

I hope you like it and Keep on Gaming!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Creativity....'aint it great?

So I have been sitting here today waffling back and forth between random ideas and set-in-stone projects.  Well, as set in stone as any of my projects ever are.  After wasting most of the day not accomplishing anything I got a bit of work done on my home-brew system.  It wasn't much mind you, but it was something and that is always what matters.  On the plus side I did get some really nice (in my opinion) pencils done for one of my PC races.

Home-brews are a tricky beast.  If it is going well it is a great feeling but I also believe that there can be nothing as frustrating.  I have way to many self-doubts and do too much comparing to other things to ever work on it for a prolonged period of time.  Fortunately I have several friends/mentors behind me that help keep me going on all my projects.

I know many of you have worked on your own systems/settings/writing and some of you have had the chance to put stuff out there for others to see.  It is a big deal, even if it doesn't seem like it.  I have put out three small PDF's as well as set some stuff on my blog, and each time I get butterflies.  I am very hard on myself and never consider anything done right so it is hard to get stuff out.

I was talking with a friend yesterday, discussing a bit when to consider a project done.  I am trying hard to cut down on the overall massive amount of writing I do for some of my projects.  I mean the original rally Cry was over 150 pages and that didn't include any sort of character write-ups or rules of any kind.  So I guess brevity, being the soul of whit, may be a good thing for me.

Overall work has been relatively slow for the last couple weeks and it is due to the fact that I let myself get off schedule.  It may sound silly but if I don't have a plan I never get anything done.  To that end I am setting up a new one that will be implemented on Monday.  Said schedule will include days for each of my three 'main' projects (home-brew, Bulletproof Blues, and Invulnerable) as well as a day for doing artwork.  That still leaves a couple of days to do whatever I want, which I am sure will include more G-Core lol.  Saturdays of course will be dedicated to actually getting to Roleplay!!  (yay me)

As I turn back to my drawing to try to finish this one today I want to take a moment to thank Joshua, Nathan, and Jay for keeping me going.  I am a frustrating person I know, but I do appreciate all your words of advice.

On a related note once I finish the pencils for my PC race I will post it on here for all of you to enjoy (or laugh at...whatever)  I really want to work more on my artwork since I will be doing most, if not all, of my own art for my upcoming projects.

Thanks as always.  You guys are great!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Fantasy Thursday 1

Yay, I am finally getting back on track post wise!

So I have been working out some ideas for my personal system here and there while I do my other projects.  While work is kind of slow, it is still progressing which makes me happy.  There is, as always, the question of what setting to use.  I had been working on a lee-than-'normal' setting involving a mass of floating islands and the like where portals to other dimensions dumped creatures and stuff in randomly.  the problem with that is it is a bit vague and hard for many to grasp.  Plus there is the fact that I just wanted to include way to much stuff that wouldn't make sense.

So I am back to working on Espeth as my primary fantasy setting.  Is this a bad thing?  Heavens no.  I mean, I have so much stuff written up for it that changing the system is a minor thing really.  The important thing is fleshing out the setting over bogging it down with unnecessary details.

And that brings us to the topic of this post... Dragons.  Dragons are, at least to me, one of the most over-used creatures in fantasy today.  I think they are an excellent foil for a group, but throwing them around willy-nilly degrades their threat, mystique, and cool-factor in a setting.  Look at some of the 'official' D&D books of late.  You can run into a young dragon with a group around 4th level?!?  That just seems wrong to me.

I feel dragons should be massive, impressive, and a major threat to anything that comes near them, but they should also be rare.  Granted, there are exceptions where lots of dragons make sense, like the Dragonlance world, but these are the exception not the rule.  I may be crazy but that's just my thinking.

In my world's a group may never run into a dragon although they may run into their kin/offspring depending on the campaign.  I think it is a great idea to have them as a foil, but they should be played right.  A dragon to me will have long-term plans, great goals that can only be accomplished over time.  This is due to their far-sight and long lives.  I mean, if your going to live for ages why hurry?

Of course I am also of the mindset that says that dragons 'alignment' shouldn't be entirely dictated by their color.  I mean why can't a silver dragon be selfish and conniving?  Why must all white dragons be brutish and stupid?  They live hundreds, if not thousands, of years and that surely has to have an impact on their personalities.

Ah well, just a rant from a random writer I guess.  I know that every GM and Player has their own vision of their world and that is a great thing.  There is nothing wrong with being different and playing things your own way!

Keep on Gaming!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Super Tuesday 5 (a day late)

Hello All

Have you ever stopped to think about what makes a good super-hero game/comic book?  Is it the powers?  The flashy characters?  The over-the-top story-lines?  I think it is safe to say that it is a combination of all of them for most folks.  The thing that has been bothering me lately is the general feel of comics.  Don't get me wrong, I love them, but they also frustrate me at times.

I guess at heart I am still and Iron Age fan.  I like the darker stories and the fact that death was an option (well sometimes).  I find that I have tired some of the typical stories, the recurring villains, and returning dead.  I mean this isn't always a zombie story.  For pete's sake just look at Jean Gray.  She has a revolving door policy with the afterlife that makes me sick.

Ah well, what are you going to do right?  I know that it is this love of the Iron age that greatly flavors the settings I write.  I love heroism and noble characters, but I want there to be consequences for their actions beyond a recurring villain and a slap on the wrist.

In the setting I am doing for Bulletproof Blues there has been a massive invasion of the planet but in this case the heroes lost.  The Earth is in shambles and mankind is reeling.  That all being said we are fighting back and there is a chance that the world can be saved if the story-line goes that way.  Basically it is a matter of whether the GM wants to save it or send it down the tubes :D

Things are proceeding well on my Bulletproof Blues setting and I thought that today I would present one of the characters that will be presented in the book.


Alien ambassador and strategist

Quotation: “If you can be calm for just one moment I am sure we can resolve this peacefully.”
Real Name: Unpronounceable               Origin: Alien
Identity: Public                                   Archetype: The Mirror

Team Affiliation: The Resistance
Base of Operations: The ruins of Chicago
Range of Operations: Local

Gender: N/A                Height: 2’ (sphere)       Hair: None
Age: Unknown              Weight: 4 lbs.             Eyes: None

Anya-tek is a glowing sphere of plasma-like energy.  While calm ‘she’ appears as a gently shimmering orb of white but when agitated the glow becomes deep red and jagged in nature.

Brawn               -
Agility              6
Reason              4
Perception        5
Willpower         5
Prowess            4
Accuracy          4
            Endurance        5
            Plot Points        1

Flight               4
Force Field       4
Invisibility       5
Mind Blast        5
·         Explosive Damage
Telekinesis       6
Telepathy         5

·         Combat
·         Manipulation
·         Social
·         Stealth

Master Plan
Perfect Recall

                        Base Move     Double Move   All-Out Move
Run                   60                    120                   360
Swim                N/A
Jump                N/A    
Fly                   1,600 ft.           3,200 ft.          2 miles

Anya-tek is a rigid, logical thinker who values honesty above all else.  Anya expects others to act with tact and compassion whenever possible, but does not extend those ideals to the Collective.  Anya prefers to be alone in order to think more clearly and generates his attack plans with cold efficiency. 

·         Protection: Anya-tek is driven by the desire to protect the people of Earth

·         Enemy: The Collective despises the work of the armet and will target them whenever possible.
·         Outsider: Anya-tek appearance makes most people very uneasy


Anya-tek was one of the most ardent members of the Union leadership to voice the need to protect the Earth.  Anya had been the leader of the observation team tasked to the study of the planet and felt a deep loyalty to humanity and its wide variety of personalities.  If not for Anya-tek’s efforts the planet may have not received the intense level of attention that it gained from the Union.   Even in the days before the evacuation Anya-tek had decided to stay and help defend the planet.  Anya-tek understands that the battle with the Collective may be futile but will continue to fight until the end if need be.  Despite the fact that Anya would prefer to negotiate with enemies ‘she’ knows that this one cannot be reasoned with and that open war is the only way to deal with them. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Random Musings

Hey everyone!

How are everyone's dice rolling?  Well I hope.  Personally I haven't gotten any true RPG goodness in for a while now.  I was playing over Skype for a bit but that hasn't happened for a couple of weeks.  That game is where I am play-testing my own system/setting so it is nobodies fault by my own that it hasn't happened.  It's all good though.  Despite the lack of actual playtime I have been getting work done on two different projects that are progressing slowly but surely.

The first project is a post-apocalyptic setting that I am doing for the game Bulletproof Blues.  It revolves around the world after a massive alien attack and is my idea of a "Days of Future Past" kind of thing.  The writing is almost done for it and surprisingly I already have a few pieces of art started for it.

The other writing project is my homage to the dimension hopping Rifts game.  It is going to be a darker, deadlier setting than my Bulletproof Blues project and definitely larger but I am really digging working on it.  This one is going to take a long time to get done, even for me, but it will be worth it.

On the art tip I am getting some work done for yet a different game.  Yeah, I know I spread myself thin at times but it's good for me to have a lot of options.  The work for this project is going slow simply because the writer has said there is no hurry at the moment.

I am excited for the middle of this month.  I am going to get some face-to-face gaming in.  It is a Pathfinder game with a GM I know and like.  His campaign should be killer just from the few notes he has shared

ACK, I just realized today was Tuesday and not Monday!  Stupid holidays!!  But not to be deterred I will make my normal Super Tuesday post tomorrow then Fantasy Thursday as prescribed earlier.

As always thanks for reading and Keep on Gaming!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Fantasy Thursday (well Friday)

Hey Gang,

Well as usual real life has been interfering with my writing.  I won't bore you all with the details other than to say my writing laptop is out of commission for the time being.  No big deal though, I was able to get everything transferred to this computer.

This post is going to be a bit of a ramble about fantasy gaming in general.  One of the topics that came up on one of my many G+ gaming groups was the topic of D&D and its notoriety versus other games.  The reason that everyone knows about D&D is twofold really, it has been around longer than anything, and it's parent company has the money to crank out the goods.  Paizo is the same way.

Is this a bad thing?  Of course not.  To me anything that keeps the hobby going is a good thing.  I just wish that some of the other, smaller games, could get more of the spotlight from 'mainstream' gamers (that's a bit of an oxymoron I know).  Ah well, that is just my opinion really.

Strangely enough my first gaming experience was not a fantasy one, but a supers one.  Shortly after that I was introduced to D&D and enjoyed it immensely.  I am clearly a massive fan of supers, but it is so much easier for others to visualize and grasp something in the fantasy vein than anything else.  Look at the plethora of books, movies, and television shows that expand the fantasy genre daily.  Sure, comic-book related media is growing in popularity but can it ever dethrone fantasy as the number one type of RPG?  Nah, not a chance.

I have played more fantasy games than anything else, and as you know I am currently working here-and-there on two different fantasy settings.  One is a more 'typical' setting with dragons, knights, and darring-do, while the other is more...well off the wall.  Both are fun but I don't know if either are really all that ground breaking.  Again, is that a bad thing?  Nope.

I think the most important thing, regardless of who is doing it, is the act of being creative.  It is the imagination that drives the hobby and the thinking process will always be more important to me than something like say a video game.  I may be crazy but that's just me.

Keep on Gaming!!