August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.
Day 24: Triumph
My first paid sale of an adventure outline felt like an immense triumph. To date my gross sales across everything I’ve released totals ~$30 and all of that has gone back into the hobby. I’m producing material on a budget of basically zero and then putting it together in a fairly ad-hoc manner, often on my phone. I then compile it into a single document with some basic layout, using skills that I’ve taught myself. That even a few people choose to pay for that material is immensely satisfying and helps keep me going. Long term I would love to start producing material regularly and even shadow launched a Patreon prior to the changes in the payout structure. I still don’t know what to do with it though. My current thoughts are to use it for releasing small amounts of Demon Hunters material but I don’t know if there is a market for it, especially given one of the creators of the game is already doing that.
All of the material I’ve published to date can be found on drivethruRPG or itch.io as free or Pay What You Want downloads.
The Hunters’ Guide is your essential quick reference training manual. Trying to get ideas for your character’s Aspects or Stunts? Can’t remember what the rules were for resolving a contest? What the heck IS The Warehouse anyway? And let’s not forget The Ciphers… why robots???
The Hunters’ Guide includes:
Tips for character creation, answering questions like “No, really, how the hell do I come up with Aspects?”
The Random Concept Aspect generator, for those who prefer to let the dice decide who their character will be
A deep dive on Stunt creation and making your hunters as badass as possible
More information than you require about The Brotherhood Warehouse and the Cipher program
7 pre-generated, ready to play, Demon Hunters teams!
As a high-level backer on the Kickstarter, I’ve been waiting for this product with bated breath. Why? Because I was able to submit one of those 7 pre-generated chapters for inclusion. Lambda 7, graduates of the warehouse and theoretical protectors of the city of London.
I’ll be posting a proper review of the entire Demon Hunters line once I have a physical copy of the book in my hands, in the meantime you can find both editions at the link above and should you need inspiration for your adventures then take a look at one of my adventure starters, which are available as PWYW downloads (more of which are coming soon!)
With the recent release of Demon Hunters: Slice of Life to the general public it seemed about time to push forward with my personal pledge towards the kickstarter – releasing a series of Adventure Starters inspired by each of the episodes. The first of these was for the Missionary Opposition preview episode, centred around missing pets and the evil that might lurk in an ordinary, mundane neighbourhood where petty jealousy only goes so far. For real results only the dark arts will suffice…
For my second release I took inspiration from the episode Happy Anniversary, which follows the Brotherhood’s first succubi agent dealing with the dual pressures of outliving mortal companions and dealing with the prejudices that come with being a demon amongst the hunters.
There’s a week to go in drivethruRPGs Christmas in July sale, the annual promotion to clear the virtual shelves before GenCon ushers in a wave of new shiny goodness so I wanted to quickly promote a selection of publishers that are included and worth looking at. All of these are personal picks based upon my own purchases and I did not receive any review or promotional copies.
Spy Master by CM Games
When it comes to spies and espionage there are few individuals more iconic than James Bond, sat the casino table with a martini in his hand. Utilising a system inspired by the equally iconic casino game of blackjack Spy Master works aims to emulate the genre with rapid fire mechanics where players must push their luck as they draw cards to build upon their characters specialities. The rules are designed to support play that sticks closely to the spy genre and avoids the trap of many games that try to build in eventualities for every gadget or weapon. Agent characters are just as deadly when wielding a pencil as they would be with a silenced Walther PPK, allowing for the action to spring forth from each and every scene.
Built upon the popular Black Hack OSR system the Cthulhu Hack applied the lightweight approach to the otherworldly incursions of H.P. Lovecraft to create a standalone game of investigative horror. With a focus upon simple, elegant mechanics the system is quick to learn yet provides enough depth to facilitate campaign play and the near infinity mythos of the parental material. Character creation is quick, befitting a setting where character death should be expected and campaigns may require a rotating cast of characters who interact only through the diaries and clues they may leave behind. Well worth picking up for both Lovecraft fans and those who have just begun their journey into the cosmic mythos.
You can find The Cthulhu Hack and its supplements on DrivethruRPG
RPG stock art by James Shields
JEShields should be a familiar name to anybody following my Demon Hunters or Project Cassandra posts as the majority of the artwork I have used in them has been sourced from him. Why do I keep going back to his art? First and foremost because of the consistent high quality and clear style that is available across a range of genres. Second because of the price, both stock art and direct commissions are extremely well priced. Finally because every interaction I have had with James has been positive and professional, both through his patreon and when commissioning artwork directly.
Using miniatures at your game table can turn quickly become either expensive or restrictive as you either expand your collection to allow for the adventure your players seek or limit yourself to what you have at hand. Trash mob mini’s provides a way out with their themed collections of printable mini’s. For only a couple of pounds per pack you get multiple mini’s (most packs have 6) with front and back artwork plus bases. Simply print onto thick paper and cut out to build your encounter. Need a mob of goblins? Then print out multiple sheets and quickly expand your forces. With clear artwork in a fun, cartoony style Trash Mob Mini’s make a perfect addition to any fantasy RPG combat.
Missionary Opposition is an Adventure Starter for Dead Gentlemen’s Demon Hunters: A Comedy of Terrors. It was inspired by the first episode of Demon Hunters: Slice of Life and is the first in a series that I’ll be releasing for the game. Going forward each will be based upon an episode of the series and will provide adventure inspiration in a condensed 3-4 page format. In the vein of Dungeon World’s adventure starters these are not fully fledged adventures but serve as building blocks. Within each you will find:
The Briefing – The background to the mission, an opening teaser and the core Mission Sinistra to guide your planning.
Locations – Important locales with suggested aspects, intel, threats and events. How they link together is left for the group to determine during play.
DMCs – The individuals and monsters central to the events detailed in the briefing. The aim is to detail the primary antagonist, a supernatural threat or mob and a normal who has been unwittingly caught up in events.
As always please do share, repost and reblog to spread the word that this is out there.
Double post before I fall even more behind and because two days is the most dramatically appropriate number of posts to catch-up on.
20th) What is the best source for out-of-print RPGs?
For me it’s a mix of eBay and drivethruRPG depending on whether I want to own physical books or not. I’ve drifted over to the not camp for games I’m just interested in if only because of the space saving or because it’s splat book 21 of a given system and really I only need it to reference a single page.
In terms of the single best out of print purchase I’ve had it was from an Oxfam bookshop. Somebody had obviously been clearing out their shelves and had donated a massive pile of WEG Star Wars d6 books. I ended up buying almost all of them, spent close to £100 on them which is probably the single biggest book purchase I’ve ever made.
21st) Which RPG does the most with the least words?
A difficult question but I think that I’m going to go with Hell 4 Leather. The rules fit on a double sided fold out (around A3 size) but manage to be both evocative and detailed enough to outline the entire story arc. The game is designed for single story play but because of the way scenes are described it has tremendous replay value.
After much faff a new working version of TowerFall is now live on DriveThruRPG! Suffice to say this took far longer than I wanted it to but I can say that it was certainly a learning experience. First lesson is one that I’ve tried to drill into my students many times, always double check everything.
The second is that PDF format compliance is apparently rather difficult to get right. In order to identify the issue I turned to a free trial of Acrobat Pro as this seems to be the standard for the creation of PDF printers files (the X-1 and X-3 formats). I’d been working on the assumption that something in Scribus was failing to meet the standard and thus causing the conversion error on DriveThruRPG. Imagine my surprise then when all my original files pass the preflight checks in Acrobat and are reported as meeting the standard. Better yet, if I open them in Acrobat then export them again they suddenly work with the DriveThruRPG system.
Brain clonk. Yep. Both pass the preflight checker, only one works.
My guess at this point is that there’s some sort of subtle error with the Scribus formatting, possibly associated with font embedding based on some further research. I’ll bring it to the attention of the Scribus forums to see if it’s a known issue and if there’s any work around. If there isn’t that leaves me with a quandary, namely that I can’t justify the cost of a regular subscription to Acrobat Pro let alone the full creative cloud software that includes InDesign.
In the long term I’m sure I’ll work out something, the completion of Project Cassandra is still a way off while my Demon Hunters adventures are slowly coming together. I’m hoping to participate in GameChef 2016 if the themes manage to grab me, the ingredients for that go live this evening.