Friday, May 28, 2010

Dark Dungeons. Unbeatable Price!

I just wanted to post a congratulations to Blacky the Blackball for his recent publishing of the RC retro-clone Dark Dungeons. From what I've read about his endeavor, he put a ton of love into this project (as do most hobby publishers), and is passing that love onto us.

The Dark Dungeons pdf is free (get it from the Dark Dungeons site) and the 344 page paperback is a whopping $13.11 over at Lulu! An offer like this doesn't come around very often, so here is a big thank you to Blacky for producing such a killer book at an unbeatable price. Dark Dungeons may be cheap in price, but definitely not in quality.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I'm not the only guy giving away free stuff

People love to get free stuff, especially if the "stuff" is a high quality product.

Case in point: Check out John Stater's NOD magazine. Stater (from The Land of Nod blog) is offering up 92 packed pages of RPG goodies...for free!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Review for Vengeance Fulfilled

Notes From Under the Kayak reviewed A Promise of Vengeance Fulfilled here. Ah, the typos! I should know better on a couple of them, but that's what I get for relying completely on InDesign's spell checker. :P

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

New Labyrinth Lord module available! Free!

Prime Requisite Games is proud to announce the release of Classic Deep Level Dungeon Adventure DLD6: A Promise of Vengeance Fulfilled available as a FREE download!

An evil warlord, facing betrayal from his own family, swore revenge with his dying breath. Ten years later, his vengeance has come to pass with the murder of one and the promise of more death to follow. Has the warlord raised from a decade of unrest to fulfill his bloodthirsty oath? Can the characters stop him before more fall prey to his vengeance? A Promise of Vengeance Fulfilled is a dangerous dungeon crawl for character levels 5-7. For use with the Labyrinth Lord rules or other BASIC/EXPERT rpg systems.

Available now at Lulu, Scribd, and Issuu.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

R.I.P. Dio, King of D&D Metal

Ronnie James Dio passed away today from stomach cancer. His vocals will be missed.

Will blast the first Rainbow album tonight in tribute to the king of fantasy metal.

Goodbye, Dio. :(

Thursday, May 13, 2010

New module art samples

My new Labyrinth Lord module A Promise of Vengeance Fulfilled is nearly complete. I have two more interior art pieces to draw and ink as well as the cover, and a couple decisions regarding my new page layout before I can put this baby to bed.

I need to hurry with this because my vacation from my vacation is almost catching up, at which time I will resume my break from publishing for a while.

Anyway, as I'm chugging along with the new module, I though I'd post a couple samples of the interior art that I just completed.

Here we have the skeletal Keeper of the West Door and an attack by a Flame Salamander! Woo-hoo!

Art of the One-Shot Dungeon: The Adventure

I am one of those unfortunate GMs who can only manage to organize a game once a month - or every other month - due to the time restriction of real life.

Real Life. A concept that didn't fully exist until marriage, kids, house repairs, bills, and the inevitable Real Job (which either one gets because of the situations pertaining to Real Life, or the Real Job forces one into Real Life. It's really a chicken or the egg type of thing).

No matter. All one needs to know is that the beast known as Real Life can really take a chunk out of one's hobbies. I don't care if it's painting, sports, spelunking, or RPGs - Real Life will unapologetically take its unfair share.

So as a time challenged RPGer, I need to get the most bang for my gaming sessions, and that usually means one solid action-filled adventure that can be completed within one night. If we kill the momentum in the middle of a dungeon, having to pick up the pieces again one or two months later...well, that stinks. I hate that. If we had a weekly or bi-weekly gaming session, I could live with an adventure that last three or four sessions.

However, my sessions are too sporadic for such a luxury. Ain't gonna happen.

In order to prepare a one-shot dungeon, I have to understand the parameters of what can and cannot be accomplished in a single gaming session (four to eight hours in length).

1. The quintessential beginning town adventure.

In my youth, I loved starting off an adventure in a town. The inn. Ale. Rumors. Thievery. The supply shop to buy torches (and the "Magic Shop" required in every Monty Haul campaign). The town setting is a great place to Role Play before heading off to the meat of the adventure.

Not in the one-shot dungeon. The town can quickly become a time-eater. Players will get so wrapped up in local affairs, politics, thieves' guilds, and prostitutes, that they will never get to the desired destination: the last room of your dungeon.

Unfortunately, unless the adventure actually takes place in a town, you will need to either strip the city way down or scrap it all together. My modules usually begin in a generic, undefined town, mercilessly devoid of hard details as a simple jump start into the goodies: the first room of my dungeon.

2. Wandering monsters.

Also known as wondering time-eaters. Do you want to burn up enough time so the characters will never find the Lost Artifact of Whatever? Toss in teams of wandering monsters. Even one wandering monster will set your adventure off by one or two "numbered" areas within the dungeon. You will kick yourself when you have to stop the adventure a mere one room away from completion because the party had to take care of a batch of stupid giant centipedes.

To be fair, I do put wandering monster tables in my modules, but I do this for a couple of reasons. 1. Tradition. Can't help it. I rarely use it, but I can't help it. 2. There are folks out there who game frequently, like every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and can afford to eat up some time. I hate them. God bless 'em.

3. A map with tons of areas.

Thankfully, I hate creating maps. Hate it. So, for me, the smaller the map I have to create, the better. A small map with some carefully placed encounters will help to ensure a quick adventure. Also, keep in mind that if you really want to write a one-shot adventure, stay the hell away from labyrinths. Holy crap. I learned my lesson when I test-played the Labyrinth Tomb of the Minotaur Lord (available now in Knockspell #3). It ended up lasting two full sessions and the players actually missed a few numbered areas. Boo.

Plus, watching a player try to carefully map out the twisting passages of a labyrinth is the ultimate exercise in tedious time-wasting. Avoid!

4. The use of intricate puzzles.

Puzzles are great fun. The can add flavor and challenge when well-placed in a dungeon. They can also make players sit around for precious minutes, scratching their chins, while wandering aloud what they should do to solve your ingenious time-eater.

This one is always tough for me because I love to place puzzles throughout my dungeons, so the trick for me is to make the puzzle a bit obvious, but in a way that keeps the characters moving. I don't know how to explain this except that the players will know how to solve the puzzle, and the answer to the puzzle can be found somewhere further into the dungeon, so they must keep moving to other areas until they eventually stumble upon it.

This keeps the adventure moving though other important areas. They make progress until they find the key to the puzzle, and then they can backtrack (which is not too wasteful considering I eighty-sixed the wondering monsters).

5. Fast ending.

While I have no problem saying, "Good job! This one's done!" after the characters took care of the dungeon's final encounter, some players need a bit more closure to the adventure. To accomplish a quick ending, establish what will happen at the beginning of the adventure as to what events will follow after conquering the Temple of Fill-In-The-Blank.

Something along the line of a set reward to be given to the characters after bringing back proof to the citizens of whatever evil that plagued the temple is now destroyed. That way, after the characters sweep through the dungeon, you can have them "instantly" return to town (again, since the trip will be devoid of any wandering encounters), do a quick role-play session with the town officials, and close the book on that adventure.

These are just a few pointers I use. One-shot adventures for the busy adult can be fun (or it can suck, but we busy fellers sometimes have to take what we can get), at least to be able to game, even if it is once every other month.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Progress on new Labyrinth Lord module

The rewrites for A Promise of Vengeance Fulfilled are nearly complete. For this module, I have an all-new layout that I've been wanting to try. This layout allows for more art (and bigger art, too), and offers an easier read than my previous releases. Some people might not like the look, but I believe most will be impressed.

Since I mentioned that there will be more art, let me tell ya that I am stepping the quality of illustrations up on this one. I'll admit that the art in my first couple of releases were done with a bit of silliness, sketchiness, and cartooniness that I remember loving in old-school publications.

Well, that's all still there, just better refined. :P

I have an idea for the cover (thanks to my test-player Jason for suggesting a twist on my original idea), that if I can actually pull it off, it will be killer. If I don't pull it off, none of you will know. I'll simply state, "That's exactly what I meant to do," and then go sulk and cry in the corner.

Still, I could release this module with a blank cover and it won't kill the fact that this adventure rocks and I'm excited to get it into your hands. As usual, the PDF will be made available for free. No need to thank me, just pay it forward by killing as many characters as possible with this module. :)

Take care.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Please tweak for publication, Lawrence! Please!

We played a marathon of Labyrinth Lord last night that lasted until 2:30am. Yes, we were all tired, but everyone had a great time. The entire party survived (!) and I was finally able to give my new set of GameScience opaque dice a whirl.

This was an unusual gaming experience since the thief had to strip naked due to his encounter with the ever-acidic gray ooze. Luckily we had Bracers of Armor AC 2 for him, and with modesty cast aside, he adventured in the buff…for the most part (“where do you sheath your dagger?”).

I feel like I was off my mark as a GM during this session because I missed the little traps, puzzles, and curses that added a lot of flavor to the adventure. It wasn’t until the characters would “conquer” the area and move on when I would realize that I had forgotten to utilize half of the goodies I had placed in there as a fun and deadly challenge. Boo. This happened more than a couple times. Usually, I put stern reminders about important items to uncover, but this time I did not -- it won’t happen again any time soon.

This session was very helpful for my rewrites. I’ll have it play-tested again after I do some tweaking, and I’m hoping to publish it soon after. However, I said the same thing about Beyond the Midway Post and The Dead Heir of Kressik Keep, and both of those are STILL awaiting final tweaks.

I’m sure many of you know what it’s like when it either feels like your beating a dead horse, polishing a turd, or to say, “screw it! I’m moving on.”

I try not to do that, especially since there is SO MUCH prep work to go into these dungeons, I want to see it through to publication. Hopefully this latest module will hit the finish line.