It’s here! It’s Here!

It’s here! It’s Here! Well, it was actually here *Saturday*, but seeing as I was too busy to get the mail until late in the day on *Sunday*…and then again too busy to do anything meaningful about it until today (man, how time flies), it is still “freshly here” for me.

I generally read mine in my “other office”. I consider it the best seat in the house. And when I’m seated there, well, that’s one of the prime times that I’m not staring at a computer screen AND have some time, energy, etc. to read stuff. At least until my two-year-old comes knocking at the door wondering if he can see, but I digress.

crus_vol15_bigFor those of you who are out of the know, I am speaking of the fabulous table-top gaming magazine known as “The Crusader”. Now monthly and up to 36-pages per issue, The Crusader is published by Troll Lord Games and focuses on their flagship product(s): Castles & Crusades with its illustrious SIEGE Engine. It supplements and reinforces one of the greatest strengths of C&C and the SE, their ability to accepting tweaking. They stand up to all sorts of rules hacks without breaking.

The early issues added several different options on how to make multi-classing work. They’ve gone on to include all sorts of flavorful weapons and armor. The musings of the late Gary Gygax on the origins of the game were included serially. And the magazine has gotten even better under veteran James Ward’s watch.

All and all I’m very pleased. I encourage you to have a seat and give it a read.

~AoB

Mash-up RPG

warrior1OK, its time to build the PBP I mentioned here. I plan on doing two of these actually. The second, HAGIS: The Mythos Files, will essentially be The X-files meets Call of Cthulhu. I’ll table it for a bit since its a bit more complicated…plus my wife will be involved. She’s not a gamer as of yet, but has expressed an interest in such a game…in fact, I’m not sure if we’ll do that one as a PBP…It might need to be live. The first will be HAGIS: Atlantean Adventures (Aega Mythea?) and will be  set in the Atlantean world (High Swords & Sorcery a la Bard Games Atlantean Trilogy…with my own spin of course).

OK, Here’s the mix:

The Atlantean Trilogy (Bard Games’ The Arcanum, The Lexicon, and The Bestiary…the last two of those were also published as a combined volume called Atlantis: The Lost World). This will serve as the core setting. It is essentially our own Earth or proto-Earth before the Oceans drank Atlantis. It contains all the real-world cultures all mashed up anachronistically. This is my favorite setting of all time.

FUDGE/FATE – I like the aspects provision or Fate (kind of like the Spiritual Attributes of TRoS). We will be making free and frequent use of  metagame elements. In fact, I plan on the players having much more information than their characters do. It will be expected that player and character knowledge will be kept in different buckets…I’m going to think about how much interchange between these two will be permitted/encouraged. I also am looking at the 5by4 Magic system on Steffan O’Sullivan’s page….or maybe the Magical Medly system…hmm, need to think on this.

Castles & Crusades – I really love this game. I’m still not crazy about the Vanican Fire’n’Forget style magic, but its really not that hard to write that out. The point here is that I’m going to be using class-like structures, call them archetypes, whatever. Pretty much pick a class from any source D&D, C&C, The Arcanum, etc. and I’ll adapt it to our Mashup.

the HAGIS TriDie system – as previously discussed, roll three d20’s and use the median result (unless we have some meta-game funk going on and then either the hi or lo result is used….).

True20 – I’m looking at their positive/negative tags and their magic system.

No Kung-Fu is better than swords crap.  So monks and martial artists are pretty much out for this dance.

As I look at this, I realize that my Mash is a mess. That’s OK though; it was only intended as a brainstorming session. I will work on tightening this up and throwing some of it out….I only need *one* magic system for this. I can always try another one later.

~AoB

Dungeon Building

I’ve taken to reading Chgowiz’s Old Guy Blog. He is very involved with the Microlite20 minimalist d20 game. Recently, he posted this link to this Dungeon Building Game/Tool. I’ve downloaded it and will be trying it out. I’m not much of a dungeon crawl guy, but every now and then…Hey, the kids might dig this too.

~AoB

D&D 4E SRD Release Details….They’re Charging for it at first.

4E Logo It is pretty much common knowledge that D&D 4E is coming out this year. The question in all the small-press d20/OGL people had in mind was, “When will we get the new SRD?” Well, WotC has answered that…It seems like a bit of a kick in the teeth to me. Anyway, it is being discussed both on the WotC boards and EN World.

For convenience, I’ve also included it below.

~AoB

D&D 4th Edition System Reference Document and OGL Designer’s Kit

Wizards of the Coast has developed a new, two-phased release structure for the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition System Reference Document (SRD) and Open Gaming License (OGL).

Phase One

The first phase of the 4th Edition developer materials release will be marked by the January 2008 availability of the OGL Designer’s Kit. This kit is designed for independent publishers looking to obtain early access to 4th Edition rules in order to develop compatible products to release just after the 4th Edition launch. These publishers will pay a one-time fee of $5,000.00 USD for access to the OGL Designer’s Kit, which includes first looks at the 4th Edition rulebooks, the SRD, final galleys and more.

The OGL Designer’s kit includes:

  • Pre-publication versions of the 4th Edition rulebooks:
  • 4th Edition Player’s Handbook
  • 4th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide
  • 4th Edition Monster Manual
    • Pre-publication version of the System Reference Document (SRD)
    • Open Gaming License (OGL)
    • License Guide
    • FAQ
    • Registration Card
    • Updated documents as the rules are finessed and finalized
    • Final galleys including typeset text and artwork
    • Advanced copies of the finished core rulebooks

    Developers purchasing the OGL Designer’s Kit will receive updated pre-publication versions of the 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons core rules through the time of launch. They will also receive the right to publish OGL products on August 1, 2008, five months earlier than the general public.

    Parties interested in the OGL Designer’s Kit must possess a business license and execute a Non-Disclosure Agreement prior to contract communications.

    Phase Two

    Wizards of the Coast will release the second phase of the developer materials on June 6th, 2008 with the free, public availability of the Dungeons & Dragons 4th Edition SRD and OGL. The SRD will be live immediately upon release. The OGL will go-live on January 1, 2009.

    For further information contact linae.foster@wizards.com.

    FAQ

    Q: Why are you charging for the OGL Designer’s Kit?
    A: We want to encourage publishers who are serious about the business of OGL publishing to create compelling, quality products to complement the hard work we’ve put into creating 4th Edition material.

    In that spirit, the OGL Designer’s Kit helps to establish a minimum bar for early entry into the OGL publishing world. We feel that publishers and developers with a proven track record of creating quality products will be able to cover the cost of the OGL Designer’s Kit and continue to create new material for 4th Edition.

    Q: What about new publishers that can’t afford to pay for the kit? Won’t they be left out?
    A: All of the material included in the OGL Designer’s Kit will be available for free starting on June 6, 2008. Parties who find the cost prohibitive can begin developing their products at that time.

    Q: Can anyone purchase an OGL Designer’s Kit?
    A: Interested parties are required to possess a business license. Wizards of the Coast reserves the right to limit participation in this program as appropriate to the business.

    Q: When can I start publishing OGL products?
    A: Purchasers of the OGL Designer’s Kit can begin publishing their OGL products on August 1, 2008. Other publishers may begin publishing their OGL products on January 01, 2009.

    Q: Why do I have to pay to publish an OGL product for 4th Edition?
    A: You don’t. Starting in June, the core rulebooks will be available on shelves everywhere, and you can use those books to craft your OGL product for sale on January 01, 2009.

    Q. What about the d20 license? Will that still exist in 4th Edition?
    A: We are making the OGL stronger by better defining it. We’re rolling certain elements that used to be in the d20 license into the OGL, things like community standards and other tangible elements of the d20 license.

    ~AoB

    Wormy, anyone…anyone, Wormy?

    Wormy PanelWow, while perusing the Troll Lord Games Forums, I noted a link to some guy’s site who has digitized all the the old Wormy comics from the OLD (’77 – ’88) Dragon Magazines. It looks to be the artist “Tramp”, aka Dave Trampier.

    I was already feeling a bit nostalgic about Old-school gaming looking through Castles & Crusades stuff (and other Old-school D&D Emulators)….now, doubly so. Wormy was a part of my youth and reminds me how I used to relish each Dragon Magazine (and later Dungeon Magazine) once upon a time….

    We, being just kids with very limited funds couldn’t subscribe; we bought each copy that we could afford very judiciously at our local bookstore/gamestore. Later, as an adult with a job, I was able to subscribe. This was just around when D&D 3E was hitting the news….it wasn’t quite the same. Maybe it was the absence of Wormy (at least in part. Anyway, thanks for the memories, Dave!

    I’m also a bit sad again as I remember when I let me Dragon subscription lapse…..and then how they eventually ceased print publication (though it is still available as an e-zine)….unrelated coincidence? I think not. Apparently, they couldn’t go on without me….

    ~AoB