Browsing articles in "Musings"

Wherein I say…

Nov 28, 2012
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I don’t post much anymore. Been too busy with various things such as running games and working with great people on new generators for their site. Frankly, writing blog posts with a minimal audience is pointless. I can tap out a few points on G+ and get better commentary.

While the blog will not be shuttered, there will be little life in it. I’ll keep it around to touch base with the far afield friends. I’ve already shuttered the associated twitter account. I should kill the G+ page for the site as well.

The oddball word search entries are coming to a close. Beyond that, I only intend to announce new generators / features / etc. If you desire gaming discourse, blogs are no longer relevant — especially this one. Times change and technology surges forward.

Game on.

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Free vs. Product — An Update

Nov 12, 2012
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Back in March, I released the Labyrinth Lord Treasure Book on Demand — the idea was inspired by feedback to allow people to generate random results into a transportable form. A month later, I added it on DriveThruRPG as a PDF download for free. Both continue to garner traffic, albeit much slower than during the months after the launch, but the static document on DriveThru has been downloaded slightly more than the on-demand version; 580 vs. 540.

The DTRPG variant had a bit of editing beyond what the raw system produces but frankly, that editing was very slight. Also, the overlap between the on-demand system vs. the document variant is unknown. My gut feeling suggests little overlap but I have no hard numbers to demonstrate accuracy.

The treasure document covers about 60 pages. To undertake a full-out product, I’d have to generate new cover art ($250-500), interior artwork every 2-3 pages (20-30 images). Some of it could be stock art but a third or more should probably be new art from artists. So perhaps 10 new works varying in cost from ($75-150). Call it an average of $100 for 10 images = $1000. Not to mention document layout, editing, etc that are crucial to the process. Roughly speaking, I’d have had to put $2K into the process to produce a quality publication. Perhaps a bit less or slightly more depending on my mood.

To break even, I’d have had to list the document for $2 and achieve 1000 sales or $4 for 500 sales. Either price point is cheap and I do enjoy cheap. However, I mostly wanted to test out marketing a product and try to decide if it should be a labor of love (aka hobby) or something different.

Suffice to say, I’m going to remain a pure hobbyist and not a publisher.

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Get Your BareBones Fantasy!

Nov 7, 2012

I was one of the lucky people to get to play BareBones Fantasy prior to public release. The system mechanics are simple enough for anyone to pickup within a few minutes notice but complex enough to allow for nearly any action. Every roll is a d100 or a d10 along with modifiers.

Wait, the d100 is actually a d99 because everything is from 0-99 rather than 1-100. The distinction is an important one. Low rolls are successful so having an extra 1% is important. Especially so when you roll as poorly as I do. At least I did during the early play-test. I even died.

What I really like about the system is the lack of tossing characters into the class bucket. The heritage of the class is now a Skill that any character can pick up and utilize with appropriate placement of Development Points. The idea is like multi-classing from early D&D on speed. Even without levels in a particular area, you still have the ability to perform as a thief, warrior, or scout. For extra bonuses you cherry pick where to put a level, and primary (+20) and secondary (+10) bonuses during character generation. Essentially, you can be a jack of all trades or very specialized if you prefer to do so.

The mechanics reinforce the idea of just acting. You may or may not have particular skills but that doesn’t stop you from attempting an action. The imagination can come to life when you have to solve problems. Game master’s have complete discretion on the ease of checks and the abilities involved but the players are empowered to drive the story forward without simple attribute or skill limits.

Want to go all out and attack 3 times? Go for it. Tired of being limited by spell choices? Tweak the descriptions to fit your ideal. The core concept supports anything and everything. Its up to the players to choose who they are, how their powers might appear, and react in the world around them. You can eliminate the cookie-cutter, power-planning bits at the door. BareBones is a system for playing.

BareBones is one of the systems I’m really looking forward to playing more — enough that I might start a G+ Hangout campaign.

BareBones is a $10 purchase for the PDF. Well worth the cost just for the amazing art.

I like it enough that I’m working with the creators Bill Logan and Larry Moore on some generators. Prototype NPC and Adventure Idea systems are done.

Indie+ with Byron Rempel

Oct 29, 2012
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It’s late, I have no chin….

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Caramel Apple Mead

Oct 24, 2012
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After several discussions, my simple, very naive meads went over well with Convergence group. I’d seen a recipe for Caramel Apple Mead prior to the weekend and it was lurking around in the back of my brain. I have an innate issue with mead — I do not know much about them, they are trivial to brew and they take a lot of time to age in comparison to beer.



Ignorance is bliss. I will push further into the mead brewing process without worry. If a few people like what I produce, it cannot be all bad. Rather, I use those people as reinforcement and expect them to spit crap out when it turns out badly.

Fall and Winter are brewing seasons at my house. I do not worry about minute differences in fermentation temperatures. I just shift one room to be at the appropriate temperature for a few weeks. Or the whole house if I have multiple brews fermenting in tandem. The spring and summer are much more difficult seasons — I don’t use AC, a freezer, refrigerator, etc. I just pause brewing due to inappropriate temperature differentials.

The mead recipe is based off the one found on I do not plan to change the overall structure of the recipe. I may tweak it a bit, I may not. I am going to go full bore and actually brew a five gallon batch. My mind keeps saying that is far too much mead. My heart says it has great reviews, just do it.

Once I am committed to the recipe, I will add it in.

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Drinking Quest Play Report

Oct 3, 2012

Kick back, grab an ale and let me tell a tale of Drinking Quest 1 and 2. If you have not heard of Drinking Quest, it is a card based drinking game modeled after role playing systems. The system is easy to learn, easy to play, and features four quests per deck. Not to mention its hard to write a review after playing. I could have accomplished it but there would have been a) belching, b) emoticons, and c) words no spell checker could fix. All of the above might still apply.

Randall chose to open Convergence with Drinking Quest. After flight delays, random traffic nonsense, late shopping and finally some food, I busted out DQ1. I handed the full rules to Randall and the quick start card to Rob. After nods, we started into the game.

The first quest of DQ1 was our learning round. We double checked the rules. Also, the game reminded us that we are no longer in our 20’s. The game is a lot of fun; has crazy moments, and delivers far beyond what a four decade old body needs in drinks. Perhaps special attention should have been placed on the moderation elements stated in the rules.

Drinking Quest defines what a card system should be in a beer & pretzels environment. Its fun, light, and contains laugh your ass off moments as you or your friends get your ass kicked by a random card.

After 4 days of gaming, I have no hope of accurate quotes from the players but there are select moments that must be paraphrased.

Randall: [Somewhere after Quests 1 & 2 were complete] “Tell the creators there need to be more cards per quest.”
He may no longer hold that opinion after we completed four of four quests in DQ1 and 3 of 4 in DQ2.

Wheels: “I wish we would have had this 20 years ago.” “Do I have to drink again?”
Rob: “A fun system. Damn, is Wheeler drinking again?”
Mark: “Chug. Chug. Chug.”
Wheels: “I spend XP to make Randi drink…”

We could have saved the new quests in Drinking Quest 2 for another night. We did not. Instead, we rolled directly into DQ2 from DQ1.

Rob: “Wait, these stats don’t match the cards.”
Mark: “Huh, that’s odd, oh wait, here’s a DQ2 character sheet.”

Honestly, I was expecting the same stats and character information to flow from one deck to another. It doesn’t but it also didn’t matter. We jotted down the new characters and moved into Quest 1 of DQ2. At that point, I no longer heard requests for more cards per quests. I may have been distracted — I was drinking profusely due to many deaths.

Rob: “I have this defense thing figured out. It’s important.”
Wheels: “Drink biotch (directed at Randall during one of the many failed combats”.
Mark: “Chug. Chug. Chug.”

Enter the Snow Weasel.

The snow weasel was our favorite card. Rob drew it when well ahead of us in the game. Not only did it bite his leg on the draw, it mauled him in combat.

Rob: “Aww shit…”
Group: “*cackling*, *laughing*
Randi: “We aren’t getting through quest 4.”

Overall, Drinking Quest is a whole lot of fun. The system mechanics are very deadly which results in drinking. Not unexpected but I underestimated the number of failures that would occur. Some can be knocked off as poor dice rolls but everyone was drinking most of the time. The entire group gave a thumbs up for the game the night of play, the day after, and it was a point of discussion every day of the weekend. It may be more suitable to folks just entering drinking age and who enjoy power-drinking games but if you moderate (yeah right) any beer and pretzels group will enjoy it. Just have munchies available.

Get Drinking Quest.

At Play, I be missing.

DQ2 Quests Readied.

Break Time!

Last Word: Chug Chug Chug!

RATS! I’m sold.

Sep 25, 2012
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I’ve been following RATS! mostly due to the author, Uri Kurlianchik, being an irreverent personality I identify with. The artwork produced for the game thus far is absolutely amazing. So cool, it was the major point that sold me on moving up the contributor chain from a mere Friend of Rat to a larger perk level.

I’m happy to add this system to several I (will) own but may never run. Good people producing interesting stuff is a sufficient reason to back them.

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