Friday, December 9, 2016

More Meandering Progress

So my "monster a day" challenge fizzled and failed; work is busy and family life even more so. Maybe there will be time to squeeze in during the holidays to get things completed. Here is the first preview from the upcoming manual:

Art by Jacob Blackmon, used with permission 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Gen Con 2016, Part 1

Sitting here on a break during my business trip to Malaysia, figured I would finally get around to writing about Gen Con this year. The prelude to GC was stressful as I decided the best thing I could possibly do before driving to Indy was get into a car accident. The Tucson is now in the great auto graveyard as its life force has run out. I will miss the vehicle that took me to and from Indy many times between 2009 and 2015.

With my rented Jeep Compass, the boy and I headed to Indy on Tuesday night after first stopping somewhere in middle Indiana at a Meijer to get some snacks and drinks for the week. Called ahead to the hotel to check-in since a traffic back-up could have prevented us from arriving before midnight; but we got there just after 11pm.

Wednesday we spent setting up for the auction since both of us were working as volunteers this year. The boy took well to my fellow volunteers and worked hard and spent most of the day checking sellers' items into the auction. He did quite well.

We stopped at the Crowne to get a burger and some hummus in the restaurant after finishing around 6pm at the auction. Ahead of that, I went to the GM HQ to get all the Peryton Gamer group's badges that would be handed off later that night. I had a game to run at 9pm that I was utterly unprepared for once again, an increasingly frustrating habit I have found myself in. While I was probably going to be good with what I had, not feeling 100% and the boy being a bit tired pretty much finalized the notion to not show up, which I am not all that proud of. My vow from this point on I will never cancel or miss another game that I commit to running. The Quitter's Club ends now for me. Also hooked up with Tom and the LARPers, dropping off the badges and giving Tom a key he could use to store the LARP props since most of their games were next door at the Union Station. The boy got some more reading in, 1984 for the upcoming school year.

Thursday morning - we are at the auction by 830am. We left at about 130pm along with Harper and his daughter Brooklyn to run our Circus Imperium game. 8 players showed up with Harper/Brooklyn set to play with generics. Another friend of ticketed player also showed up so Brooklyn and Harper were OK with using only space so the other dude could also play. Fun game where 7 or 8 teams of beasts were ultimately whipped and rammed to death. Brooklyn had the win in hand, but took it well when it seemed multiple people were interfering with her ability to finish the race. I gave her a prize as well since she really was a bit picked on and most any other person would be upset. 

Back to the auction after the game where we worked the rest of the night. We made it back to the hotel and stopped at the restaurant close to 11pm, past the time they normally served burgers. However, our server from the previous night hooked us up with burgers and fries that we could take back to the room along with some complimentary beverages as we waited.

Friday was pretty much the same schedule as the previous day. We had a full table with 9 of the ticketed players showing up and a group that pretty much knew each other which is always fun. They did have one extra ticket which they gave to the one standby player. Levi was also there; he had played in the game the previous day (was the first die on Thursday). This game featured one player with an awesome 'whipping' sound affect; he whipped his beasts so much that he was forced to abandon his chariot as it was about to fall apart. A lot of cab changing and fighting between the racers as well. One guy way in the lead played it too safe and one bad cornering decision led to the victory from the boy who with his father had also played in our game last year.

....oops, back to work. More to come later.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Meandering Progress

I am still plugging away at my Monster Mash. While my monster-a-day challenge was a failure, I have reached out to another artist to help get me some images that I am missing and in the process, I have rekindled another work that I had left at about 75% completion.

The sad thing about the way my creative brain works is that I can only really focus on one item when I have more than one thing to work on. On 6/4, I published the updated version of the 'Quick Start' rules that includes two additional pages dealing with Adventure Points and Languages. These changes were initially going to be released when I included in this QS project a short solo adventure.

Why Languages? I had initially went down the path of adding a short solo adventure to the Quick Start rules. As this adventure was written, I included a scene where the player's ability to understand what his adversaries were talking about in a different language could really have an affect on how the scene would play out. However, this short adventure spiraled into the realm of 'longer than short' and with the extended delay in actually getting that completed, I have separated it from the QS guide and will now be trying to get it finished as a new solo prequel to DC01. 

Here is the new cover:

Like the previous adventure, this will include a solo adventure as well as the GM version of the same scenarios. I will also include the QS guide,

So for Meandering Monsters - still working away and getting some new artwork and for Darkshade Chronicles, another chapter in the Baru-Kesh saga.

On the Stay Alive! front, I have committed to running my adventure "Plan 11 from Outer Space" on Wednesday night at Gen Con. I have created a page to support this with background information: Plan 11.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Gen Con 2016 - Circus Imperium Prize Support

This year for our Circus Imperium games, we will have some prizes to hand out. Since being bold can either lead to victory or an early death, we are awarding prizes for both the first victim and the winner of the race.

Included in the prize box currently:
  • Circus Imperium Miniatures (Chariot, Beasts, Driver, and Weapons Sprue from Iron Wind Metals) for those enterprising hobbyists that want to paint their very own chariot team.
    •  (2 copies)

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Monster A Day Challenge

The common theme to most of my creative publishing efforts is that life gets in the way. Work, family, house, more work; they all steal time that could be channeled into writing and layouts for my Darkshade projects. Not to say that I do not use some of the available time for other worthwhile pursuits like family, video games, more family, and television (and more television).

Among the multitude of items that I have in the works, the one I feel I need to get out next is the More Meandering Monsters that have alluded to in previous posts. I have created a list of 60 common monsters for this 'manual'. Some I have already published in previous Darkshade or Peryton (Elder Tunnels) publications, but most are brand new presentations of creatures envisioned for Tunnels & Trolls.

So my challenge is this: Of the 60 monsters, I currently have 5 totally completed. Another 10 or so are just about done; I only need to add some flavor text or make some balancing tweaks to their statistics. The artwork is all accounted for, so at this point it is all on the writing, unless I decide to add some more as I go.

A monster a day for the next 55 days, my target publication date is May 23. We shall see how I do.

Here is a preview of the first few monsters on my list:

Artwork by Jacob E. Blackmon, used with permission

Saturday, February 27, 2016


There is no denying it; I was just not ready, prepared, or motivated for BASH Con this year. Sure, I had some plans that I should have had plenty of time to wrap up and even do a bit of play testing for, but those fell victim to old Mr. Procrastination. 

Thursday night plans to play in Tom's Wobble game were thrown a bit off by my inability to get there due to family obligations, so Tom and Randy were left hanging out in a hotel by themselves. I am sure Tom will remind me of this for many moons, but was just not meant to be. Work schedules, orchestra concerts, and other unmentionable realities will sometimes interfere with otherwise well laid plans, or is it lain?

The boy and I arrived to the con on Friday early enough to hit registration with no line and get to the room where we had our 'special set-up' all weekend for the Circus Imperium game. No one showed for the 6pm game, so we hung out with Randy, Tom, and Paul until Robin and Beckett showed up for Beckett's Crawlspace game, Gimme Shelter.

On Saturday, we can turned up for the Circus player at 10am showed up so we played a quick 3 player game. One of Irelynn's friend Riley was there with her little brother and dad, so while he played in a Marvel Superheroes RPG, we played 2 more games with them. The first game, Riley made the circuit 3 times with only a few nicks to her driver and the damage from one side swipe from her brother. Liam was trampled by Riley, left bleeding in the sand only to be finished off by the lil brother when his chariot's beasts died from too much whipping and mashing. The 3rd game was won by Liam.

After dinner with the gang, we were going to play in Tom's game, but he had plenty of players show up so Liam, Randy, Robin, and me all jumped in Beckett's evening game of Dungeon Crawl Classics. I had to briefly jet home to help deal with our escape artist canine, but returned to walk into a crazy town filled with maggot infested zombies where Liam's character had his arm lobbed off and he proceeded to complain and walk around with his arm in his sleeve amid Randy's relentless quips about what he could no longer do with only one hand.

No one was signed up for our Sunday game so we decided to not worry about setting it up. Tom and Randy had headed back south already and Robin hung out with Beckett. See Robin and Tom's summaries using the links. I promise next year I will be back with some RPGs...probably.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Loot Levels in Meandering Monsters

One thing I am quite happy to see in Deluxe Tunnels & Trolls is the addition of modifiers related to the size of the target in missile combat. This I think is a huge step in the right direction and I have now added a size statistic for every monster in my newest and future volumes where I list monster stats.

The second thing I am adding for my monsters is a 'Loot Level', similar to the common "Treasure Type" identifier in that other game. I am still working out all the is what I have so far. Still a work in progress and I do plan on throwing together some tables.

I. Apathetic: the monster does not pay any attention to the belongings of anything it slays. The items will not even be ingested; more than likely left behind where the body has been left. If found in its lair, items will be found on a body or prior remains that had been dragged back to the location.

II. Ingester: the monster will consume items that it either did not see or did not care enough to pick around. When encountered or defeated, the treasure very well may be in the stomach or located in nearby piles of stool.

III. Utilitarian: the monster will keep items it can use and discard or leave behind anything it cannot use. If it is using a weapon and it finds a better one, it will leave the old one behind in favor of the new one. Some items could be used for different purposes in the monster's lair (a helmet for digging, a spear for supporting a structure).

IV. Collector: the monster puts value on certain things over others. For example, it may have a good amount of gems or coins because it likes shiny things, but little or nothing in regards to weapons or clothing. These items would more often than not appear in the monster's lair and it would try to take these items if ever forced to leave.

V:  Packrat: the monster keeps anything and everything that it can find and will protect and defend it. 

VI. Hoarder: the monster will have what could be a vast amount of items and will not only protect and defend it, but may well employ guards and set-up defenses to do so.

Loot Levels may be augmented by a multiplier. Where a giant may be a Level VI: Hoarder, a dragon may be Level IV (x3). Still need to figure out how to display this. I do not even know right now if I like using roman numerals. 

Opinions and feedback very much appreciated...

Coming Soon!!! Art by James Shields, used with permission

Monday, January 18, 2016

What I am running at Bash Con 2016 (Feb 19-21)

What we are running at BashCon 2016

Circus Imperium, Jupiter Time Trials I, Fri @ 6:00 PM
Circus Imperium, Jupiter Time Trials II, Sat @ 10:00 AM
Circus Imperium, Jupiter Time Trials III, Sat @ 3:00 PM
Circus Imperium, Jupiter Time Trials IV, Sun @ 10:00 AM

The year is 6831 and it's Saturday night at the races. On any decent planet in TOG Space, the sport is Anti-Grav Chariot Races - with a twist. Ladies and Gentlemen, be prepared to whip your beasts! Some vocabulary for you to review: Drivers (Human Delecitius), Chariots (Boxius Luncheous), Beasts (Carnivorous Amazingus), and Wrecks (Endus Inevitabolus).

Stay Alive!: Monstrous Edition, Plan 11 From Outer Space, Sat @ 8:00 PM

The previous 10 have failed. What nefarious and inept plan will the intergalactic yet conquering-challenged aliens have next in their efforts to 'save' the Earth from itself? A chapter in the Jupiter Moon chronicles.

Stay Alive!: Spaced, First Spaceship to Ganymede, Sun @ 10:00 AM

When an alien artifact discovered on Earth is found to have come from one of Jupiter's moons, an international team of astronauts embarks to investigate its origins. A chapter in the Jupiter Moon chronicles.

Art by James Shields - used with permission,

Friday, January 15, 2016

Since all the cool kids are doing it...

What I am running at Gen Con 2016...well, what we are running now since we have been forced into some changes due to the tragic loss in the Housing and the boy will now be volunteering with the auction and have less time for running games...

Circus Imperium, Darkshade Circuit I, Thu @ 2:00 PM
Circus Imperium, Darkshade Circuit II, Fri @ 2:00 PM

The year is 6831 and it's Saturday night at the races. On any decent planet in TOG Space, the sport is Anti-Grav Chariot Races - with a twist. Ladies and Gentlemen, be prepared to whip your beasts! Some vocabulary for you to review: Drivers (Human Delecitius), Chariots (Boxius Luncheous), Beasts (Carnivorous Amazingus), and Wrecks (Endus Inevitabolus). Prizes awarded to the victor and the first victim.