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Chop! Paralysis and Turn to Stone

[this is Part 3 in a series of getting rid of saving throws in my new fantasy heartbreaker...though you could certainly apply these ideas to your B/X campaign. You can see my formative thoughts on this concept here and here. Part 1 can be found here; Part 2 is here]

Okay...which problematic concept to deal with first?

Guess we'll start with paralysis. As originally explained, the idea of paralysis (being unable to move or act...at least temporarily) first comes about in Chainmail with regard to the Wight fantasy creature. Here's the full entry (per my 3rd edition copy):

Calidar General Sales Are On!

At long last Calidar's hardcover book, its PDF files, and the poster maps are now available for general sales. If you missed the original Kickstarter, now is the time to jump in! 

Click here to locate the links

Asterians for Dead zone from Mantic Games

Deadzone: Asterians Faction Starter




Asterion Commander

3 Cyphers w/ Rifles

3 Cyphers w/Charge Gloves

1 Cypher w/ Fission Beamer

1 Black Talon

2 Weapons Platforms

Miniatures are supplied unpainted and assembly may be required.



Forge Father Starter

Saturday Crowdfunding Roundup - Tabletop Towns Hab Cubes, Halloween Haiku II, & Girl Scouts

Julian Hicks has a new Kickstarter project called "Tabletop Towns - Hab Cubes" which you can check out here.

Lester Smith has a new Kickstarter project titled "Halloween Haiku II and other hauntings" which you can view here.

The Delavan WI Girl Scout Troop are looking for a little help funding their year on GoFundMe here.

Saturday Crowdfunding Roundup on CreativeMountainGames.com Keeping an eye on those Kickstarter & IndieGoGo
projects plus other crowdfunding efforts.Please Like, Share, Plus, Tweet, Follow, and Comment!

Zatannurday: Saturday Evening Post Supers

Ruiz Burgos is a fantastic artist.  He recently made internet fame this past week with his versions of the Saturday Evening Post with Superheroes done in the style of Norman Rockwell.

You can find him on the web here:

Here are his covers:

Up first is Zatanna!

ZATANNA 1964 by OnlyMilo on deviantART

He talks about his Zatanna cover here: http://ruizburgos.blogspot.com/2014/09/zatanna-1964.html

WONDER WOMAN 1945 by OnlyMilo on deviantART

He also talks about his Wonder Woman here: http://ruizburgos.blogspot.com/2012/11/wonder-woman-1945
And his muse is Other Side favorite Alisa Kiss:


When I run Servants of Gaius I often use the Horror Show monster creation rules in Chapter Seven to create new threats for my players. Sometimes I just use existing monsters from the Horror Show monster chapter as well. An example of this is when I brought werewolves into my campaign in Germania. 

When we designed Horror Show, we had a sense that the monster section might be useful for our other games. At one point I was planning a Crime Network campaign that turned into a horror campaign midway through (but I didn't have the heart to make that kind of [...]

The G.H.O.S.T. Arena Manual

Michael P. Owen, the great curator of all things Car Wars, has sent me this fantastic underground supplement from the later days of the game: The G.H.O.S.T. Arena Manual. This was put together by Brian Morrison and Todd MacDermid back in 1992, with each contributing about half of the material. If you dig up your old ADQ’s from the period, you can read about these guys’ exploits from back in the day; they really shook things up by being an extremely active AADA chapter.

If you liked The Arena Book or L’Outrance supplements, then this will be right up your alley. [...]

For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes...

New Appendix N series installment for you:

RETROSPECTIVE: Nine Princes in Amber, by Roger Zelazny

Accolades continue to roll in for this series, with Board Gamers Anonymous providing the latest: “No matter what kind of blog reader you are -- Meta or Mini -- Jeffro has a great post for you. His specialty is writing 2,000-word essays on groundbreaking Sci-Fi/Fantasy novels. So he can speak authoritatively about the literary origins of our most beloved RPGs. Yet Jeffro can also zoom in on specific aspects of adventure gaming and show us how we can become better role-players.”

My jaw is literally dropping. One of [...]

The Most Influential Writer in the Entire History of the World

Another installment in the Appendix N series is here:

RETROSPECTIVE: Pirates of Venus by Edgar Rice Burroughs

It’s funny, but my son is at this point more familiar with the literature that inspired D&D than he is with the games themselves. As a consequence, he immediately notices connections that would not as quickly occur to me. Flipping through my trusty Moldvay basic the other day, he pointed out to me that this otherwise underwhelming monster was an homage to A Princess of Mars! How many kids that bought this set would have known that this creature is not only fundamentally awesome, but [...]


Quick Note - A symbol for the Future

The conversion of Assault on the Southern Horn is nearly complete! To celebrate here is a new logo to be used for all 5e/Next adventures I may do in the future!
As for the 5e/Next version of Assault I am let with the tables for the new background to go along with the tale!

Review - One Trillion Dollars by Andreas Eschbach

Translated by Frank KeithPublished as an eBook by Bastei Entertainment
I have only ever read one other book by Andreas Eschbach and that was his incredible science fiction epic 'The Carpet Makers'. That book has a special meaning for me as it came along at a special time in my life. My son had just been born and during his first two weeks in this world I needed something to do between the regular feeding and cleaning. I had purchased The Carpet Makers many moons beforehand and now was the time to read it. While my son slept and [...]

The roots of ROLF!

NUELOW's ROLF! game began its life as a parody of RPGs. One of the first battle scenarios (which has since been lost to time) that was played using a draft of the game that was little more than three paragraphs, involved two male models beating each other up during a fashion show, and the winner then having to face off against a child model (which may or may not have been skinny little Milla Jovovich--neither L.L. Hundal nor I remember for certain if that was the case... but our Jovovich obsession does go way, WAY back).

But we both [...]

Fear Of Girls: The Party Bus Of Elemental Evil...

The Keys to the Kingdom Of Literacy: Stylish Narrative Part 6

This entry is part 6 in the series The Secrets Of Stylish Narrative So here we are on a sunny Saturday afternoon in Spring (at least in my neck of the woods, YMMV). What on earth am I doing posting something on a day like this, when I am usually Gaming (or catching up on […]

UD171: Spirit of '77

This week we talk to David and Bob from MonkeyFun Studios about their upcoming game Spirit of ’77, as well as all things 70’s (and Flash villains). Check out their Kickstarter!

Find them on both Facebook and Twitter.

UD162: Interview with Clem of Devil Pig Games

This week we talk to Clem of Devil Pig Games about the Kickstarter for Shadows over Normandie.

UD161: Reimagining Respectfully

This week the UnderDiscussion crew gets a special assignment from Hollywood…

[Please don't hate us]

1d10 Minor Treasures Of The Ancient Barbarian Kings On The Dark Corner Blog

 From among the barrows and tombs of the ancient kings are found an array of minor treasures available right over.

DCC #2: The Lost Vault of Tsathzar Rho

An adventure for 1st level Characters

Tsathzar Rho was an ambitious sorcerer of considerable power who was corrupted by his own power.
This adventure takes the players through a multi level dungeon all the way to Tsathzar Rho's ancient vault.

Arcane Schools as Common Talents

The other dayI said that wizard arcane schools would ‘pretty clearly be a cornerstone talent’. Each wizard has one and only one (barring an archetype or feat that allows more than one) and each arcane school can significantly affect a wizard’s abilities.Also, arcane schools are iconic to the wizard class (most schools to specialists, and the universal school to generalists).

I goofed.

While the initial reasoning is fairly sound,on examination the structure of the arcane schools is more appropriate to common talents, and they don’t look nearly like what I think caster tradition cornerstone talents should look like. The rules for specialization don’t particularlyfit the other decisions I’ve made.

I’ve changed my mind. They’ll be common talents instead, and represent more inherent abilities based around certain types of magic effect (protective magic, summoning, and so on), regardless of tradition or eldritch thread.

Arcane Schools in the PRD

Arcane schools really don’t offer much in the PRD, to be honest.

  • Two abilities at first level.
  • One ability at a higher level (often 8th-level, sometimes a different level).

The individual abilities might scale with level somewhat, or increase in effect at higher levels (not strictly the same thing).

Arcane Schools in Echelon

The bits I am using of the arcane schools [...]

User commentary on Technical Grappling

Writes like feedback. Even negative feedback, constructively given, is useful.

While I'm still waiting for +Erik Tenkar to review Technical Grappling (hey! where'd that bus come from?), I got a pleasant surprise when +Mitch French over at Don't Forget Your Boots spent about 1,750 words talking about his impressions of my book.


  • He likes enough of the concepts that he can't use 'em all. That's cool; I don't use 'em all either.
  • He finds the basic conceit of the book, that Control Points express how well someone is grappled, both mechanically and narratively compelling.
  • He likes how Trained ST gives the highly skilled "light fighter" a much-needed boost. If he wants to double down, he should apply Trained ST to striking, too!
  • The rules for armed grappling are usefully simplified by making them not a special case of other rules
  • He likes the concept of spending CP to improve certain things, and wonders if they could be more broadly applied. Yes. Yes they can. I didn't do it in the manuscript because we didn't have that many test-fights going on in the actual playtest, and some of that sort of stuff needs thorough in-play experience.

Read the entire thing. Then, of course, go buy the book!

Note: When I wrote the thing, and when sales figures were easily available on e23, my hope was that about half the people who purchased the digital version of GURPS Martial Arts would buy my book, which would put my target at 400-500 copies sold. I'm within [...]

Vacation Getaway

I disappeared from here for a bit to spend a week in St. Augustine, Florida. Amidst surf and sun and playing on the beach, we took in the Castillo de San Marcos and the Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Museum (the 1st one of the now 80-strong chain) - both [...]

I'm Not a Kickstarter Expert, But I Play One on the Internet - 5 Rules Inquiring Minds Need to Know

I'm averaging 2 to 3 inquiries to look at pre-release Kickstarters per week at this point, and this doesn't include the heads up I get from my readers to point out some of the winners (and losers) that are out there.

It can be a bit overwhelming at times, and there are ones that I'd like to highlight here at The Tavern, but I've fallen a bit behind. Trust me, I'm working on it, but my days of five, four or even three posts a day seem to be far behind me.

In any case, to help me maintain what little sanity I currently retain, I'm going to throw a few helpful guidelines out there to my readers and others that send me [...]

Con on the Cob All Set

They didn't kick me out last year so I'm going back to Con on the Cob.  In fact, I'm going there for all four days.  From Thursday the 16th thru Sunday the 19th.  I really enjoyed myself last year.  This year the Monday night group is going to be there in force.  +Rob Conley will be there, he's going to run three games.  +Daniel McEntee will be there probably playing a short character who runs ahead of the party.  +Chris C. is hoping that I don't get sick again.  It wasn't a pretty picture.  By Saturday night I could [...]

Extra Lives -- Ep. 4: Hurt Me Plenty

Humble Bundles, Final Fantasy IX, Brutal Doom, Half-Life, Warcraft and more this week. Plus we discuss Mircosoft’s purchase of Mojang and for the millionth time, yes, I know SURGE is back.   Theme Music: “RetroFuture Dirty” by Kevin MacLeod Additional Music: “At Doom’s Gate” from the “Brutal Doom” Original Soundtrack

Savage September Sale

Drive Thru RPG is running a massive sale on everything Savage Worlds. Check out their Savage September Sale to grab some great discounts. And hurry, there isn’t much time left.  

Bolt Action: D-Day Firefight Starter Set

Bolt Action: D-Day Firefight Starter Set



Bolt Action: D-Day Firefight is Warlord's new starter set for Bolt Action. It is designed to help both new and experienced gamers get the best start possible into collecting and playing Bolt Action.


The box contains:

-A handy A5 Bolt Action softback rulebook with US and German army lists

-Introduction booklet

-20x US Infantry

-10x German Infantry

-German Halftrack

-Ruined Farmhouse

-8x Order Dice

-10x 6-sided dice


Players will find everything they need to start playing apart from glue and paint! Miniatures are supplied unpainted and assembly may be required.

Conquest of Speros from Grey Fox Games

Conquest of Speros



Speros. A rich and beautiful land, embroiled in a 20 year war: a dispute for territory and control of its valuable resources. Four competing races work to exercise their dominance over the landscape and to control the export of iron, crystal, and gold reserves to different parts of the kingdom. Can you conquer the landscape in order to defeat your enemies?


Conquest of Speros is a quick-playing game of area control and resource domination. You play as one of four competing races working to establish their dominance over the landscape and control of the powerful Ancient Artifacts buried long [...]

Bolt Action: Tank War

Bolt Action: Tank War



Tank War, the new supplement for Bolt Action, gives players the option to expand their games to a whole new level -- armored warfare. Recreate such great engagements as the battle of Kursk with the scenarios, army options and special rules found in this book. Whether you want to add more armor to your existing armies or build an entirely armored force, Tank War has you covered.


Author: Warlord Games

Illustrator: Peter Dennis

Gun Blog Variety Podcast #5

In which I haz a bukkit.

You can listen to the podcast here, and the show notes may be found here.

Zine-O-Morph is live!

Check out the first issue of Zine-O-Morph at RPGNow!

Thank you to all who encouraged me, and those who helped make it happen.

Back to work at full speed

I’m back from Arizona and back up to working at full speed again. It’s good to be working with a reasonable amount of screen real estate. Progress is continuing on arbitrary walls. Today I managed to implement a stubbed solution for stitching together walls that are not at 90 degrees. Given that the wall pieces are of a fixed size---once they are moved off the grid---they don’t line up and will have gaps between the sections. The fix this, the end points of a line representing a section of wall are snapped to a grid and the wall sections are [...]

Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director's Cut now out!

Press release Shadowrun: Dragonfall Director's Cut now out! By JHARDY | Published: SEPTEMBER 19, 2014

It's a fine day to playShadowrun! But then, I always think that. Today's an especially good day, though, because you can get theShadowrun: Dragonfall Director's Cut. What's that, you ask? Well, it's a standalone version of an expansion to Harebrained Schemes'critically acclaimedShadowrun Returnscomputer game that was even more critically acclaimed than the original. How critically acclaimed? Well, people said things like this:



You can read the full article at Catalys Game Labs.

red the paladin ! captured ! :D

a pic of red the paladin , the oc of my friend pumpmonger on deviant arthttp://pumpmonger.deviantart.com/

red the paladin captured !

Filed under: concept art, fan art, fantasy Tagged: character, class, fantasy, paladin, red, selkirk

Brainstorm Podcast #2 is Live - Let's Talk about Balance in the Game

Join +Vincent Florio , +Glen Hallstrom and myself in the 2nd episode of the Brainstorm Podcast, where we talk about balance in the game - encounters, classes - all of the good stuff.

We had a lot of fun doing this episode and it shows :)

SHTFriday: Making Your Own Faraday Cage

More like SHTFaraday, am I right?


Frightful Fridays! Delay Devil (no monster until Monday)

This week ended up being interesting and left me no time to work on a new monster for today (or even my fallback, tomorrow). However, I will have a monster out on Monday. Thanks for your patience and understanding.

In the meantime, I'll allow this bunny to sum up my feelings about this week.


Posted with Blogsy


DuBois Area Fantasy Photoshoot is a group of people from DuBois and surrounding areas who gather together for costumed photoshoots and lots of fun!

Designing a Boffer LARP System (Part 10)

I met my wife Leah through LARP, but over the past few years she has become less able to engage the more physical aspects of the hobby. She broke her back quite some time ago, and now one of her vertebrae is degrading at an alarming rate (it lost 1/3 of it's structure over the course of a year), this means she is in constant pain and runs the risk of paralysis if she does anything too strenuous. Despite this, she wants to engage at some level in a new LARP. I joined a Boffer LARP group last year, and [...]

Review: Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual (5E)

Today was the early release date for the new Monster Manual for the 5th edition of Dungeons & Dragons, available at Wizards Play Network stores. I picked one up, because I don't mind paying full price for an early copy ($49.95 MSRP, $29.97 at Amazon, available in a couple of weeks).

Physically, it's a nice looking book, 352 pages (compare with 316 pages for the Player's Handbook). It's got the same glossy cover and half-glossy back (which is a little annoying because every time I pick it up I have to check to make sure I haven't grabbed a [...]

Mapping PRD Class Abilities to Echelon Talents

Progress on theEchelon Reference Series continues, and is becoming coherent enough that I can start to see how pieces may fit together in Echelon. Looking over the class features, there are many options and often several ways to model them.

Talents by Likely Type

I’ll group the class feature bythe type of talent they are likely to end up as.

Common Talents

Common talents are readily available. The don’t have prerequisites but may interact quite happily with cornerstone talents (suchas theattack bonus from a martial tradition stacking with a combat style’s training bonus). In PRD terms many class features, even fairly iconic ones, might be common talentsifmore than one class has the feature or a feature may be taken more than once.

Other abilities might also be common talents, butthis post focuses mostly on class abilities.

  • Animal Companion is probably a common talent, likely one per companion (which scales by level; a Legendary Animal Companion should be a truly frightful thing, not just a brown bear + a bunch of Hit Dice). A character with a mob of similar companions probably has a ‘packmaster’ capstone talent.
  • Domains are likely to be common talents. In PRD, each provides access to nine spells (one per level) and two abilities [...]

5e Musings: Ability Checks & Effort

I've been re-reading Numenera recently, preparing myself to run it at an upcoming convention. While looking through the book, I found myself really thinking about one specific mechanic: effort.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Numenera, I'll elaborate. Each character possesses three stats (Speed, Intellect, & Might) with a pool of points associated with it. Players can choose to apply effort when making a stat check, expending a point from the appropriate pool to reduce the difficulty of the check.

I really like this mechanic. Its relatively simple and represents the growing fatigue of a character rather [...]

My Little Pony

The wonderful and magical friendship of these six beautiful little ponies is the epic limit of goodness to me. The way the show can capture my interest a busy 30 something mom buzzing around with a million things on my mind and things to do but when I see My little pony on TV I just sit down with my kids and soon get hooked on the story. These cute little ponies are lovable and addictively entertaining. Now I know that everyone has their own taste and I don’t often talk about my cartoon obsession with other adults but as I have noticed at conventions and Facebook groups there is grown adult people totally in love with the ponies too. Guy pony fans call themselves ‘Bronies’!! Okay so now I feel totally okay with divulgingmy clearly obsessive behavior on this subject. I may be the person that gets obsessed with things from time to time but this one is holding strong.


Why do we cling to TV shows and characters in the first place? Well for me it’s all about the love Just like how we choose our favorite colour it just hits you. There is one colour that beyond all others can invoke a feeling of pure joy. I compare this to how we choose our favorite shows, games and characters. Personally I see my journey very clearly. I loved baby blue and the Power puff girls when I was 14 years old. I think the Power Puff’s were my first cartoon Obsession. I loved Inspector Gadget and My pet Monster but The Power Puff girls was the first poster I just had to have on my wall. In a way I think My little Pony is an evolution of that first cartoon infatuation. Anything that has a similar look [...]

Neoclassical Geek Revival now available as P.O.D

For those of you looking for a physical copy but who weren't sure about one of the magnificent hard covers,  you can now sate your plebeian palette with a P.o.D offering from RPGNow of satisfactory quality.

I Advance the Master Plan (by a Few Inches)

Today marked my fifth Adventure Games middle school enrichment class and, bearing in mind that I'm one of the few humans on the planet fortunate enough to be getting paid to teach kids to play games in public school, I'm moving forward in small, deliberate steps.

As badly as I want to, rather than toss the kids right at "5th Edition", Pathfinder, or some other similarly complex system, right now I'm building a low, solid base of activity by teaching the kids to play Risk ...

Understand me here, we aren't just learning the rules of [...]

Cleric Domains as Common Talents

Yesterday I described how I might convert sorcerer bloodlines to cornerstone talents. Cleric domains are a defining feature of the cleric class, but are not such a fundamental element of a character’s makeup: a cleric has more than one while a sorcerer has only a single bloodline, other classes that use domains, and each domain offers somewhat less to the character than a sorcerer bloodline. As such, they are better suited to be common talents.

Cleric Domains in PRD

Cleric domains offer several things to clerics.

  • Domain spells (one per spell level; a cleric gets an extra spell slot per spell level that can only have a domain spell prepared in it, but this is not a function of the domain itself).
  • Two domain powers (one at first level, one at a higher level — usually 6th or 8th, but sometimes a different level).
  • Some domains add a skill as a class skill, such as the Animal domain granting Knowledge (nature) as a class skill

This is rather less to work with than a sorcerer bloodline, but it is after all a common talent.

Cleric Domains in Echelon

Clearly domains do not offer nearly enough to be comparable to cornerstone talents. Each one is something a cleric [...]

The Castles & Crusades Black Box

I love getting mail. Really, who doesn't? I particularly love getting mail when it contains some cool gaming stuff like this little boxed set from the fine people at Troll Lord Games. I saw this box while I was at Gen Con, but I was more focused on other releases from the company (as well as talking about their then-upcoming Amazing AdventuresKickstarter with them) to give this a look. I wish

Crafting Series -- Mounts

I picked one of these up at Party City a few weeks back and never really did anything with it.

This past weekend I got a bit creative with some craft paint, some cardboard and some paper towels to make some mounts for my D6 Fantasy game. Horses for the humans and elves, and a wolf (made from the dog model in the pack) for some goblin and halfling NPCs.

Some horses and a dog mount for my D6 Fantasy game.

Gategully Episode 12

Episdode 12!


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