Showing posts from January, 2011

Awesome PIc of the Week

This piece of art was created by the fabulous artist Kerem Beyit. His art is beautifully crafted and wonderfully unique in style. What I like best about his work is that, although most of it is digital, it has a very organic feel.

Check out Kerem Beyit's website and see the rest of his art.

Saturday Sorcery - The Cave of Spirits

This weeks Saturday Sorcery idea comes form India, the land of a billion gods and kick-ass action flicks. I love India, it is hands down the best place on earth for all things strange and wonderful. I first saw this on the National Geographic Channel and it got stuck in my head. I apologize in advance to any Indian readers who actually know what I'm talking about, and am poorly relating (and embellishing) to others to use in a game.

The Cave of Spirits
The cave of spirits is a place to imprison malevolent spirits that have been exorcised by a sorcerer or priest. The front is often a temple or magical hermitage, but it's what's hidden in the back of this unassuming place that is of real interest. Down a long hallway is a sealed door that few ever enter or see. This is the door to the cave of spirits.

This door is guarded night and day, sealed physically with a very strong lock, and magically with powerful runes and wards. This is not a place that is meant to be disturbed by …

Links of DOOM - 01/28/11

You know the drill, read the links or we all get consumed by eldritch horrors and twisted nightmare demons of the abyss.

If you haven't read them yet, check out the two articles written by the new guys here at Rule of the Dice.

My First Time, by C.D. Gallant-King

Gaming Without Borders, by Joe Nelson

Stuff that I haven't had a chance to read yet but will read soon so I can help save humanity from certain doom.

Grognardia - Creation Through Play

Gothridge Manor - Editing RPG Products: Part 1

Gnome Stew - Never Make This Mistake

The Book of Worlds - Nefarious Arts

The Grumpy Celt - Cloakwork Brain Crabs

Rather Gamey - Chekhov's Can of Soup

New blog that I haven't read yet, but like based solely on its name

Cyborg Trucker's Role Playing and War Gaming Blog

The Regulars

Visit the Underdark Gazette for all your OSR news.

Chicago Wiz always has something good to say.

Zak at Playing D&D with Porn Stars is always full of weird ideas.

Visit A Paladin in Citadel, because he…

Gaming without Borders.

Hi everyone, my name's Joe, and I'll be tormenting you with inane banter acting as your host this fine day. I suck terribly at writing introductions, so let's just say that I am not an old hand at RPGs, having only found this hobby in the last year or so, meaning much of what I say will be redundant and filled with modern hipster slang such as, 'groovy', 'radical', and 'funky fresh'. Try to keep up, please.

Today, I'll talk about something that doesn't get nearly enough coverage so far as I am concerned: Gaming online.

No, not World of Warcraft. In fact, I'm not talking about any so-called MMORPG. I'm talking about playing real roleplaying games over the shiny box known as a computer. There are a couple of ways to play, each with advantages and disadvantages. None are quite as satisfying as playing face-to-face and watching the expression on your friend's face turn to one of sheer dread when his character wakes up and discovers h…

My First Time

It was the summer of 1992. Super Nintendo was still all the rage, and Final Fantasy II was my favourite game (still is, actually). A bunch of artists from Marvel comics started their own upstart comic company, Image, which featured lousy stories but very pretty pictures. Batman Returns was in the theatres, though it was actually Basic Instinct that my 12-year old self wanted to see. Of course, being 12-years old, I couldn't get in.1 I was about to go into Junior High, an awkward, pimply, unpopular kid with ugly glasses (why parents let their children wear ugly glasses, I will never know), and spent my afternoons hanging out on my friend's patio.

One day, one of my friends (I can't remember if it was Carl or Chris) pulled out these green-lined character sheets covered with arcane runes like "THAC0," "Bend bars/lift gates," "Constitution" and "Save versus Death." The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons logo was featured at the top. I …

Taking the week off - and a question

I am taking the week off and letting the new guys run the show. I have to finish my already far too delayed game and do some work on other projects. I will be back Friday to post the links of DOOM.

My question is:

What do you think is better, or at least more interesting. A level progression for spells (standard D&D model), or a system based on a difficulty (you can choose any spell, but when you cast it, you must roll over the difficulty number for it to work)? And of course let me know if you have any unique ideas yourself, I would be glad to stea... I mean borrow it and give you full credit.

Please Welcome The New Guys

At the beginning of the new year I posted that I was looking for additional writers to join me here at Rule of the Dice. This is partially because I want to expand the blog and have some different contributors post cool articles. But it's mainly because I'm a lazy and don't want to have to write or work very hard (and I also need time to practice my cage fighting). Luckily some real great chaps volunteered their services as henchmen. Now I'll just sit back while they do all the work and I reap the benefits of being an RPG blog tycoon... it's a thing, it's a real thing.

Please give a very warm welcome to...
The New Guys
C.D. Gallant-King

C.D. Gallant-King has been playing and GMing role-playing games for 20 years, but he would still describe his skills as “fair to moderate.”  He has been a game designer even longer, his first game created in honour of the 1988 Calgary Olympic Games, which featured players racing across the country with torches.  There was also…

Saturday Sorcery - Shadows to Lead

This spell idea came from my friend James. We were out on one of our hikes in the woods ruminating over various fantasy and sci-fi related geekiness, when we started on the topic of magic. This was the coolest idea that came out of our long meandering conversation.

I am going to try and write it up in fairly generic terms, with an old school D&D slant

Shadows to lead

Casting Time: 1 round
Range: Max 500'
Duration: 3 Turns + 1/ 3 levels of the caster
Save: Spells or Will or whatever is applicable.
Components: The material component for this spell is lead shavings covered in black ink.

Description: When cast this spell makes the victims shadow the weight of a giant mass of lead weighing 600lbs + 50lbs per level of the caster. If the victim can actually carry/lift this type of weight the spell acts only as a slow spell. But if the vitim cannot bear the weight they are pulled down to the ground and held there under great duress. The victim must make a strength check (or equivalent) eve…

Links of DOOM - 01/21/11

Read the Links of DOOM, or we're all DOOMED, DOOMED I tell you.

The Links of DOOM

Who doesn't like Modrons.

Some extra-dimensional monsters to spice up your game.

Henchmen cards for your OD&D game.

Dungeons & Dragons is like a crazy ex I keep going back to.

And the winner of the Newbie Blog Award is: Rather Gamey.

A free map making blog that I just found, but I'm sure everyone else already knows about.

Another cool map idea.

Yet another cool map.

Some ruminations on the fall of Dungeons & Dragons.

Check out an adventure for every monster.

The blog with the best name ever

Unfrozen caveman dice-chucker.

The Regulars

Visit the Underdark Gazette for all your OSR news.

Chicago Wiz always has something good to say.

Zak at Playing D&D with Porn Stars is always full of weird ideas.

Visit A Paladin in Citadel, because he's awesome.


Visit my wife's adorable blog My adorable small town life.

Check out the art at J.H. Schmitz Art.

Visit Viking Dad, for a dos…

Awesome Pic of the Week

This weeks awesome picture comes from one of the masters of Tolkien art Ted Nasmith. Not only is Ted's work awesome and some of the best in the business, he is also a very nice guy and lives here in Ontario. He is best known for his years of work on the Tolkien art calendars. My brother in-law has been lucky enough to visit Ted Nasmith at his studio and has seen some of his originals. Hmmm... I should see if I can arrange some type of interview.

This is one of my all time favourites...

Check out all of his work at Ted

The Four Gunmen

This is a write-up I did a while back for a steampunk/old west styled campaign that I ran. It's the story (much-abridged) of the four most powerful gunsmiths in the world. They have an absolute monopoly on firearms and no interest in sharing. They are also bitter enemies, and share a dark secret.

The Four Gunmen...

There are four gunsmiths that maintain an almost absolute monopoly in the Republic. Their weapons are at the vanguard of technology, and their names are respected if not outright feared by almost everyone.

The first and most famous of the smiths is Jericho Key. The Key family were for many generations the chief weapons engineers of the empire, and when the empire went into decline they became a private business. Jericho was born during the height of his families power, and he learned his trade directly from his father Anders.

The primary difference between the senior key and his son was that Jericho was a progressive and his father a traditionalist. Anders believed that if…

New Commenting System

I just added a new commenting system, it's called DISQUS, and it kicks ass. To put it plainly the default Blogger comments, well, kind of suck and I want something that's easy to use and encourages people to comment and talk with one another.
The new system has all the features I want, and is very easy to use. Don't forget to add your website address (it is optional) when you comment so I can stalk... I mean check out your blog.
Let me know if you have any problems with the new system.

Lazy Wednesday Video Post

I am still working on a review for the Temple of Elemental evil and should have it up sometime soon. In the meantime check out Metagame, a great little web series about tabletop role playing.

"Blending animation and live action, Metagame is inspired partly by real players and real game sessions. Let’s face it, if you played any form of table tops rpgs, you’ve met at least one of the characters from Metagame before. Admit it."

 Sit back and enjoy...

Chemically Altered Magic

"I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S. ThompsonIn an old campaign world I created (the one associated with these twomaps) magic was practically non-existent.  The only people who had access to any type of magical powers were despotic theocrats who worshipped an alien and malevolent god. They used their powers to control and corrupt people, and generally acted like a bunch of bad guy douche-bags.

But all of this was foreseen by the ancient keepers of the occult traditions. These seers knew that one day their secrets would be needed, but they also understood that their was need of subtlety in their transmission. They decided that rather than perishable forms, such as books and scrolls, they would hide their secrets in nature. So they hid all of their knowledge in an unassuming little plant called Yarapay, there to abide until such time as those who have eyes to see should uncover these ancient my…

New Reviews of Old D&D Modules

I recently came into a rather large collection of old gaming materials. I'm really not much of a collector, but I couldn't pass up this deal -- it was free. So I have a tonne of old D&D modules, and not much to do with them. In my twenty-five odd years of gaming I have only played two modules, The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh and Egg of the Phoenix - and I have never actually DM'ed one. Lack of a FLGS and funds in my youth contributed to a general disinterest in modules. But now that I got them, I want to see what all the fuss is about.

I figure I'll give these a read and see if I can find anything I might like to review. I have never read any of these products, and apart from little tidbits I've seen on other blogs really have no idea what they're all about.  I figure what the hell it might be fun. An old guy reviews old modules that he never read or played in his youth - and now with great wisdom and brilliant insight cynically tears them apart ruining wh…

Another Old Map of Awesome

Seeing that everyone seemed to like the last old map I posted, I figured I'd post another one. This map is actually part of the same world as the previous map. This is the southern part of the world and the other map is the northern part. There is a little evolution in place naming, (not everything is stolen directly from what I was reading at the time) but most of the place names are still pretty cheesy.

This map was created exactly the same way as the other map (hand drawn and painted with watercolours), and made at roughly the same time.

I have unfortunately lost most of my notes about this world. What I do remember is that there were psychedelic drugs that granted magical powers and spaceships flown by the evil priests of an alien god. I still love both of those ideas.

I have several maps that I've created over the years, I'll add some more to the site over time.

Saturday Sorcery

The following two magic items are inspired by supposed real world magic items. I came across descriptions of them in a book called Supernatural England by Eric Maple. It is filled with a metric tonne of macabre weirdness from England's sorted past. A really fun read if you can find a copy.

I have written the descriptions in generic terms so that you can figure out the mechanics for whatever your game of choice is.

Let the sorcery begin...

Wizard Post
A wizard post is made from the wood of a sacred tree, etched with runes of warding and blessed under the light of a full moon. The post is then placed, most typically, between the users house and barn.

The wizard post protects roughly a 1 mile radius, preventing any curse like spell from being used in that area. It also prevents any otherworldly beings (demon etc...) or undead from entering the radius, although regular monsters can still get through.

These items are often highly personalized and are a type of hedge magic used by co…

Links of DOOM

Only you can prevent our cataclysmic destruction by the forces of eldritch horror from the unknowable outer darkness by visiting all of the links of DOOM...

Awesome blogs that deserve to get far more publicity than they do...

Visit A Paladin in Citadel. Why? Because he's a fellow Canadian and a really nice dude.

I really like this post from Christian at destination unknown: Cookbooks Would Make Better Modules. Food + RPG's = Awesome.

A series of great posts From The Players Side of the Screen about Rules, Plot and Metagame: Part I,Part II, Part III

Alexis at The Tao of D&D is kind of cranky and opinionated, luckily he is also insightful and very smart. His Same Universe Wiki might be one of the best ideas floating around RPG blogger land.

Check out my friend James art at J.H. Schmitz Art.

Get yourself a super cool nerd shirt at A Rust Monster Ate My Sword.

James at The Underdark Gazette gives us all the news floating around the old school blogging community. He also has an …

Systematic Oppression - Or how I learned to stop worrying and Love the dice

While working on the final draft of my game I came to the realization that making a full fledged, workable role playing system is really f--king hard. I have new found respect for anyone who takes it upon themselves to do something this stupid. Pretty much all of my original ideas about where I wanted to go with the game were chucked out the window about three minutes after I stated them. I would liken the entire process to some type of torture, but having never been tortured the closest reference I have is being stuck in a really long line at WalMart behind the guy with bad B.O and screaming kids - and just when you think the line is going to move, it doesn't.

Now don't get me wrong, there is satisfaction to be found in creating a game. It's just that it is far, far, far more work than fun. But nothing good ever comes about without an ample supply of hard labour, and an even bigger supply of blind rage that you have to do all that hard labour.

So here's a quick breakd…

Awesome Pic of the Week

The picture below was created by my close friend James H. Schmitz.  He is a very talented artist, a regular player in my campaign and all around awesome kind of guy.

James specializes in horror, sci-fi and fantasy art, and is available for commissions.

Check out the rest of the art at:  J.H. Schmitz Art.

Old Map of Awesome

So yesterday I was digging around my RPG stuff. I don't have a lot of books or anything, I mainly have an extensive collection of things I've created over the years. Most of what I've written looks like the scrawling of a madman and only makes any coherent sense to me, and the vast majority of my maps and dungeons have unfortunately been lost or destroyed. But then I found this...

I had thought that this map was lost for sure. I made it when I was around seventeen or so, and It's the first real campaign world I ever created. The names are mainly rip-off's from the Forgotten Realms or pseudo-Tolkien in nature, but it was my first real attempt to create a game world of my own. The map itself is hand drawn in ink and coloured in watercolours.

My friend James and I played off and on in this world for nearly three years and many of the seeds for my later ideas were first planted here. It's always nice to find something that reminds you why you started gaming in the f…

Introducing New Players to the Game

Since July I have been working very hard at designing a role playing game to go with my campaign world. Don't worry I have no intentions of becoming a serious game designer and only using this blog as marketing tool for my pet projects. I just really want to create a game that's all. But the process of creation has raised a lot of interesting questions for me. 
One of the things I've realized is that a lot of newcomers don't know what they are expected to do in a game. Frankly this is something I've never given much thought seeing that most of my players and myself  have been playing for so long that it's just old hat to us. So I started writing out some ideas so new players could get an idea of how to play a game. This, of course is just my opinion but maybe some other people could get some ideas from it. I might also add that these tidbits are most definitely of an old school leaning.

The role of the Player The moving force for any role playing campaign is the …

I'm Gonna Retro-Clone you

I was going to write a post about retro-clones and the OSR, but the Wizard from Chicago wrote a much better one, with more tact style and awesome... bastard.

Check it out:

Where's our EPT? Where's our Blackmoor?

I am looking for additional writers for the blog. If you're interested please read the following post:

looking for additional writers

Looking for Additional Writers

Are you interested in the extremely exciting (reasonably fun) world (small niche) of RPG writing. Do you like making huge amounts of money, with the possibility of more money. If so, you should probably become a stock broker and not be an RPG blog writer. But if you like the totally cool nerdiness of dungeons & dragons and other table top RPG games and you also like writing words in sentences you should join the team here at rule of the dice.

If you've made it this far you're probably interested in knowing what I'm looking for in a writer. Not much really. If you're interested in writing about RPG's that's good enough for me. I started this blog for fun and really don't have any expectations beyond having fun with it. I'm looking for additional writers because, while I spend a great amount of my time writing, I don't spend enough time writing here on this blog.

While I don't really have any concrete expectations for the blog, I do have some a…