Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Lovecraft eZine Interview!

Hey Everyone!

For anyone who didn't see my posts to G+ yesterday, I was interviewed by Acep Hale of the Lovecraft eZine and asked about all things Eldritch Tales! Have a look to see some art from the game and get some more information about where the game came from, and where I hope it goes! Many thanks to Acep and the Lovecraft eZine!

Find it here The Lovecraft eZine! While you're there, be sure to check out all the great thing they do - publications, v-cast, podcasts, and consider backing them on Patreon!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Beyond the Ice-Fall Play Reports!

Hi All,

The excellent Acep Hale over at The Monstrous Pig is sharing play reports of my Swords & Wizardry White Box scenario, Beyond the Ice-Fall! Follow his "murder hobbits" as they explore the wintry region of the Skallafjord and seek out the missing sea-captain, Hallstan the Wayfarer!

Beyond the Ice-Fall is a Nordic-themed adventure with good dose of pseudo-historical influence, a heaping handful of mythology, and the mighty thews of Howardian Sword & Sorcery! I'm putting the adventure on a 20% off Sale until the end of July, grab it at RPGNow!

Maps, Art, & Eldritch Tales News

Just wanted to post a quick update to inform you all about the goings-on with Eldritch Tales! I have been periodically posting brief bits of information on G+, some of which I will recap here since I know that not everyone catches those posts.

Most importantly - progress is great and is nearing completion! All art is officially complete, including my own. The only thing remaining to complete is the final map of "Lovecraft Country," which I am personally grinding out in my spare time. I hope to have it done within the next two weeks. Here is a look at a portion of the completed Arkham map:

Arkham, shewing Hangman's Hill, Downtown, and Miskatonic University

Pre-layout prep of the manuscript is done. Tom Novosel is still working on a few design bits but the work he has done has been absolutely stellar. Every new test page he sends just blows me away and I think you will all be happy with how this book will appeal to the eye. A while ago I mentioned somewhere that I had come to the decision to hire a proper layout professional, rather than doing it myself. Best choice I've made in this project.

Eldritch Tales Mummy

The Compatibility License and Logo are complete, with much-appreciated assistance from James Spahn, author of White Star, The Hero's Journey, and countless other RPG products. The license will be made available on release day and I sincerely hope to see third party material coming from the wonderful people of this community!
We have more exciting news and info in the pipe that I will be sharing soon, talk then!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Eldritch Tales: The Long Overdue Update...

Greetings Friends!
I know many of you have been wondering about the status of Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box RPG and, rest assured, I continue to plug away at this. I had almost no time to work on the game over the summer and my progress was at a snail's pace due to real life. Allow me to inform you all on the progress that has been made.

Though summer was rough for me, during that time several groups playtested the game and sent me great feedback, questions, and suggestions. I added bits here and there and clarified other areas and overall the game has come together nicely. I am still working on some writing bits, but nothing too time-consuming.

Tim Snider has completed a first editing pass (back in August) and I have made all the changes he suggested. I have decided not to do the layout myself...I feel like it would take me far too long and would result in an inferior product. That wouldn't be acceptable to me, and I'm not going to let you down that way. So, I have been in talks with Thomas Novosel who has agreed to tackle the project.

Finally, for the most exciting news... since about September I have been focusing hard on art production and I've contracted two artists to help on that front. Many of you will know Del Teigeler's work from various OSR projects including many from North Wind Adventures, including the recent second printing of Astonishing Swordsmen and Sorcerers of Hyperborea and my own Beyond the Ice-Fall. Del is a great fellow to work with and has been doing some fantastic work, visit his art blog! Here is a great piece he has finished for Eldritch Tales...

Our second artist is Kurt Komoda, a name new to the OSR, though his work can be seen in Fate Core, The Dresden Files, Torchbearer, Firefly, and other RPGs. I came across Kurt's work on DeviantArt and first contacted him more than a year ago now. I recommend that anyone reading this visit his portfolio and blog - you will see some astonishing work. Kurt approaches each new piece with an unbelievable exactitude, researching Lovecraft's stories for every clue concerning the description of whatever creature he is drawing. Below you can see his take on the Elder Things of Antarctica...

In addition to these true professionals, I am doing quite a bit of art myself - mostly spot art for equipment, vehicles, weapons, and the like, though I've done a few adversaries as well, such as the vampire below. To round out all of this art, I'll grab a few pieces of stock art as filler.

Once art is completed and I have finalized the text, layout will begin and should take up to 3 months. The finished book will have approximately 70 pieces of original art and come in around 200 pages.

That's all for now, best to all in the new year!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Swords & Wizardry Appreciation Day 2017!

Swords &Wizardry Appreciation Day has arrived and festivities abound! Visit Gamers and Grognards to see the full list of blog posts, freebies, sales, podcasts and other S&W support!

S&W is a great game, and has had some amazing growth over the past year. Charlie Mason's White Box: Fantastic Medieval Adventure Game has taken the WhiteBox torch and run with it. It has quickly become one of my favorite games and is the game that I chose to introduce my stepson and his cohort of friends to the game. Meanwhile, Erik Tenkar has slimmed the game down to its bare bones with Swords & Wizardry Light, which puts the game into your pocket. Probably most notably, Swords & Wizardry Complete has received a fully updated (and gorgeous) third printing. 

I've been focusing my attention on WhiteBox. Its robust but malleable nature has allowed third parties to create some slick compatible works - White Star (now PWYW!), WWII: Operation White Box, and White Lies all spring to mind. My own S&W derivative, Eldritch Tales: Lovecraftian White Box Role-playing, was announced last year and has garnered some much-appreciated support. It is currently in playtesting. I want to tweak some of the additional rules, but the majority is written and playable. My next steps will be editing, art and layout. I am still hopeful for a 2017 release!

I missed S&W Appreciation Day last year, but resolved to do something this time around. First, my White Box adventure, Beyond the Ice-Fall, is on sale at 40% off on DriveThruRPG from April 22nd thru the 24th. I've also offered a free pdf copy to be given away on the Drink, Spin, Run live broadcast, airing on April 22nd, at 9:00 PM EST.

Second, a few days ago I released a product called Dungeon Connections but I'm only now officially announcing it. The pack consists of two small dungeon maps with some room descriptions and with at least two exits/entrances. However, they are entirely system-neutral with no stats or plot; nor are they stocked with treasure or monsters. Why? The idea came from my own games in which I sometimes run pre-published adventures and link them together with small dungeon locales. I use the unfinished "expansion tunnels" to lead to other large dungeons, by way of a "dungeon connection." I've created a few maps and think they'll be useful to any referee looking for a quick dungeon to stock with monsters and treasure to suit their party level and campaign. If they prove useful, I'll likely put a few more packs together. Dungeon Connections will also be on sale this weekend at 40% off the list price!

That's all for now, enjoy S&W Appreciation Day!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Magic and Spellcasting in Eldritch Tales

By the 1920s the nineteenth-century fascination with the occult was dying. Most people believed that the mystics, magicians and mediums were frauds of the lowest variety, and in most cases that belief was well founded. However, in Mythos Earth, certain rare sorcerers have learned to harness the eldritch power of the cosmos, while also taking on the inherent risks of such tampering.

Spells might be found in Mythos tomes, on the hieroglyph-carved walls of Egyptian tombs, or buried deep in mystic traditions. Spells have been drawn from traditional Swords & Wizardry lists, as well as those spells provided in Realms of Crawling Chaos, by Daniel Proctor and Michael Curtis. I've provided some spells below to help you understand the following mechanics.

The Beast, early twentieth century sorcerer
Learning Spells: Learning a spell requires an Intelligence Feat (refer back to here for information on  Attribute Feats) and each spell, depending on the difficulty/level, may invoke a penalty to the feat to "Learn Spell." Failing an attempt to learn a new spell incurs an Insanity increase. However, the character gains a Mythos Lore point, regardless of success or failure. [Mythos Lore is a simple measure of the character's Mythos knowledge and understanding; a score over 10 grants bonuses to certain rolls.]

Casting Spells: Once a spell is learned it may be cast at any time - no spells per day or memorization. Some spells have specific requirements and the referee is free to demand the use of components, though these are generally not stated. In order to cast the spell, the character must perform a special Attribute Feat, called a Spell Check. Depending on the nature of the spell, the Spell Check might test Intelligence, Wisdom, or Charisma, and most spells impose a penalty to the check. Failing the Spell Check incurs the penalty (if any) listed under Failure.

Penalties imposed by difficult spells can be offset by having a high Mythos Lore, situational modifiers granted by the referee, the Occultist Occupation (if used), and perhaps other sources. Spellcasting is difficult and is not for every character. A character with average Attributes might feel confident enough to cast a spell after years spent studying Mythos Tomes (and thus gaining Mythos Lore). Attempts to abuse spellcasting will surely lead to the sanitarium.... or worse.

Consider the spells listed below. Minnesota Phipps has INT 15, WIS 12, CHR 10, and Mythos Lore 11 (a +1 bonus). His Intelligence Feat success is 4-6, while the other two Attributes are 5-6. When learning these spells, Phipps makes an Intelligence Feat, applies the Learn Spell penalty, as well as his Mythos Lore bonus [He attempts to learn Banish and rolls a "5" on a d6; the penalty and bonus combine to make the result a "4" - a success due to his above average Intelligence.]

However, Phipps attempts to cast Banish while his allies are confronting a Cosmic Spawn of Cthulhu... he hopefully has a lot of allies, because Banish will take 5 rounds to cast. He rolls a 1d6 which comes up "5" and applies his Mythos Lore bonus to make it a "6." Since he is now attempting to impose his will on cosmic forces, Phipps is testing Wisdom and the spell imposes -2 penalty to the Spell Check. That makes his result a "4" - a failure due to his average Wisdom. As it recognizes magical efforts targeting it, the Cthulhu Spawn turns his attention towards Phipps...

So, the formulas are:
Learn Spell: 1d6 Intelligence Feat + Mythos Lore - Learn Spell  Penalty.
Spell Check: 1d6 Int/Wis/Chr Feat  + Mythos Lore +/- Situational Modifiers - Spell Check  Penalty

Spell Level:            5
Learn Spell:          -2
Casting Time:       5 rounds
Spell Check:           Wisdom -2
Range:                   240 feet
Duration:               Permanent
Failure:    The banishment fails and the attempt draws the target’s attention.

This ritual only affects transdimensional beings, such as Yog Sothoth, the Hounds of Tindalos, and Cthulhu Spawn, and creatures that have been summoned by sorcery. After 2 rounds of casting a clap of thunder resounds in multiple dimensions, forcing the target back to its place of origin. The targeted creature is allowed to make a Saving Throw to resist the banishment, if it so chooses, but suffers a -2 penalty.

Summon Night-gaunt
Spell Level:           4
Learn Spell:            -1
Casting Time:       30 minutes
Spell Check:         Charisma +0
Range:                    Nil
Duration:         One night
Failure:          A night-gaunt arrives, but is completely uncontrolled. It will attempt to capture the caster and bear him into the Dreamlands.

By means of this ritual, which must be cast under the night sky, the caster summons a night-gaunt from the Outer Dark. The night-gaunt will arrive in 1d6 rounds and will do the caster’s bidding for the duration of the spell. However, it will not act in a selfless manner and will not throw its life away.
Water Breathing
Spell Level:           2
Learn Spell:          +0
Casting Time:      1 round
Spell Check:          Intelligence +0
Range:                 Touch
Duration:             2 hours
Failure:           The spell fails.

Upon completion of this spell, the recipient grows obvious gills in his or her neck allowing the person to breathe underwater until the spell’s duration expires.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Beyond the Ice-Fall Released!

Beyond the Ice-Fall  is a low-level adventure written for use with Swords & Wizardry WhiteBox and similar OSR games! Set in a northern land of viking warriors, the adventure is for a party of 4‐8 characters of levels 1‐3. It can be easily adapted to any campaign!

In the village of Askibakken, the winter has been harsh and an unnatural blizzard has gripped the area. The village chieftain has called upon young warriors to search for a missing supply ship, but this endeavor leads the adventurers into a mysterious adventure. Will the party discover what lies Beyond the Ice-Fall?

Beyond the Ice-Fall is inspired by Algernon Blackwood’s The Glamour of the Snow and Robert E. Howard’s The Frost Giant’s Daughter.

Features cover art and an interior piece by Del Teigeler! Writing, cartography and additional art completed by Joseph Salvador. Included in this 28-page product are a mini-setting, a dungeon crawl, two maps, new monsters, new magic items, new spells, and a viking name list!

Get it at DriveThruRPG! It will be on sale 20% off until March 24!