Preorders open: Chthonic Codex vol I: Cryptic Creatures, Pergamino Barocco Paperback

Hey you all,

Two products are prereleased today, and are available for preorders:

First, Chthonic Codex – volume 1: Cryptic Creatures. It comes in PDF, Print + PDF and three limited editions: Boxed Set + PDF, Codex Edition and Boxed plus Codex Edition.  The fancy limited edition will be shipped next year, while the rest should be shipped within the next 2 weeks. It’s the monster manual of the Chthonic Codex setting, as well as being a stand alone monster book for Swords & Wizardry and other retroclones and Adventure Fantasy Game.

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Second, the Pergamino Barocco, paperback edition! PDF or Print and PDF! This cover might not be final, but it’s going to be reasonably close to the final version.

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And, last, here’s the new Lost Pages website. I’ll keep all my product information there.

New Releases: Kefitzah Haderech – Incunabulum of the Uncanny Gates and Portals – Adventure Fantasy Game R7

As previously mentioned quite a few times, Me and Albert wrote a book on portals and dimensional gates. It’s mostly system agnostic, so if you play Everway it will be useful too.

Now Kefitzah Hadereach – Incunabulum of the Uncanny Gates and Portals is ready.

It covers portal topics like why are portals cool?, what should I do with them? and how do I build them? and a small “Appendix N” about inspiring portal-enabled media.

It also comes with a muleload of tables to generate portals and everything related, including PORTATRON, the one-stop-system of portal generation.

KHIotUGaP (not an official acronym) also contains The Infamous d666 Quick Portal Destination Table, which does what it says on the tin. Because we wanted to have a d1000 table and have the longest OSR table as some kind of joke, but then we realized that 216 portal destinations ought to be enough for everybody.

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32 A5 pages in black and white. Available on the Lost Pages webshop in both PDF+Source and Print+PDF+Source. The print version will be shipped next week.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE.

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While you are at the shop, the new version of Adventure Fantasy Game just came out of the LaTeX compiler. This is the seventh revision of the handbook, it fixes a whole lot of problems with the first printing. 108 pages A5 in black and white, plus a colour map. Available on the Lost Pages webshop in both PDF+Source and Print+PDF+Source. The print version will be shipped next week too.

warm up your engines… new release imminent…

The new webshop is up, the new release of Adventure Fantasy Game and Kefitzah Haderech – Incunabula of the Uncanny Gates and Portals are print-ready, everything is OK for launch.

But I’ll delay it a bit more. SCRAM and all that.

I’ll be off to Berlin for five days and I don’t want to start a new platform AND a release a new product AND not being able to answer to emails.

You can have a look at the final Kefizah Haderech cover though.

For sale next week at 2.50$ for the PDF+Source and 5$ for Print+PDF+Source. 32pp A5 B/W. More informations to follow…

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RPG shelf, part 2

Follows part 1 here.

As I went to the basement I also took pictures of some boardgames, mostly because they occupy the same space.

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Next to a tentacle-rapey box of Windows NT I must have obtained through an old client, some good boardgames. The two boxed still in their (opened) wrapping are Ogre Deluxe and GEV Deluxe. I love them to bits.

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Yeah, boardgames.

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Euro and USian boardgames pacifically coexhiston the same shelf here.

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Then I noticed that a bunch of my games was mixed with related stuff, so I went for some context. Stuff on design, writing, game design and game writing. And hintbooks for games. Why are Might & MAgic Collection, Iron Heroes, Magic Item Compendium and Type 4 there? Because in their own way they are brilliantly designed for a given audience and objective. MM4 rocks, by the way. Why is Keep on the Shadowfell there? Because it’s the worst designed piece of shit I’ve ever read. Everybody at the table gave up less than halfway through because of the sheer disgust. I wish I was kidding.
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More game/design stuff, over politics and some spillover from the warfare shelf. They inform my campaign settings.

On the left, a corner of my Perl shelf, not pictured as full of books fully unrelated with gaming.

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A bunch of d20 stuff. I ran Arcana Evolved/Unearthed for years in a setting that became the Western League and a d20 Greyhawk campaign for 9 years, its end described at point 16 here. I stopped playing it because some of may players made it about playing against the game system to optimize builds rather than playing, you know, adventurers.

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I love boxed sets. Two copies of Tales of the Lance because a dude never returned mine at a convention, and then vanished.

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A bunch of Kaos and Rune (Italian RPG magazines from the ’90s), some 1st Edition handbooks, PDF printouts and a bunch of Mythus and Lejendary Adventures material.

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Non WotC d20, Martelli da guerra (Italian WHFRP, 1st edition), MERP, a bunch fo stuff you can read from the picture and, on the far right, early Das Schwarze Auge and Kata Kumbas.

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Killer, some Miguel Angel Martin comics, Dragon Magazines. I have all copies since 230 and a bunch of the old ones. At the end it got so bad I’m glad it died. Some Dungeons too.

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More Kaos, More Dragon.

Ok, I’m done here in Milan. Part 3 will be about the Glasgwegian RPG shelf.

RPG shelf, part 1

Blah pictures blah meme blah RPG shelf blah blah. This is part of what I keep at my parent’s in Milan. Sorry for the crappy pictures.

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OSR stuff in big format. Fight On! issues and Kata Kumbas live there but at the moment they’re scattered around my parent’s. Binders on the right are either printouts of websites or character sheets. The wrapped book by the black box is Quest of the Ancients, an OSR gem. Moldvay was bought in that state of disrepair.

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GURPS. A handful are scattered around my room, else they would fill the space completely. On top it’s GURPS lite and some characters.

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My incomplete Greyhawk collection, novels on the left topped by the tiny AD&D reprints. Adventures on the right, including Forgotten Temple of Tharizdun. Sadly I don’t own Lost Caverns of Tsojcanth but I have Realms of Horror. I know, it doesn’t count.

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Miscellaneous A5/digest, cables, postcards, dice, junk, and more OSR stuff in small format.

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Wargames and military history. The Anabasis and Sun Tsu on top, where they ought to be.

Portals: from here to there in no time at all

Travel in the Middle Ages was full of dangers and uncertainty. On the other hand magical portals can make travel much quicker and safer.

Most of the post was written as the players I told you about before started toying with a portal in the Uplands, and I had to come up with destinations. Then I started working on it, then Albert from Underworld Kingdom/World of Ortix joined in, then we decided that maybe, just maybe, there’s enough to be written to fill a small booklet. So there you go, two of the worst procrastinators of the OSR (we are getting better though! Albert is actually finishing a lot of material nowadays and I’m, well, trust me) joined forces to bring you swag. So here you’ll see a really really brief treatment of the topic and a small excerpt of the final content.

Anyway, bridges and fords might be washed away, roads might be blocked by fallen trees or brigands[*], forcing travelers to take long detours. Portals on the other hand warp space and time, pin it on a physical aperture due to sympathetic magic principles while negating the illusion of distance between two places and allowing to step through the stabilized warp. Or something equally silly.

My formative experience with portals was made under Waterdeep in a videogame called Eye of the Beholder, which lets you trample around what might or might not be a much much smaller (and actually completely unrelated) version of of the Undermountain until you die or you slay the titular monster. So, if you see something like this:

You only need to open it with the appropriate key to make it go all crazy like this (please ignore the different stone background):

beholder portal open

And then open (again, different stone background):

beholder portal fully openThen you can have a stroll on these freaky stepping stones on the black abyss with not even a single little star and reach the other side, which can be very close or very very far away. YES, no brigands on the way, took only two hours, the slaughter of a goblin tribe and 2000gp to buy the key off a shady dude in town instead of three weeks on riding across the wilderness under the rain. I told you it would be convenient.

Anyway, there are three important concepts about portals: structure, destination and opening. The book will treat them more extensively, but you can have some small excerpts first.

Structure

The structure is how a portal appears. The portals in the pictures above look like number 1 in the table below. Roll 1d6.

  1. a wall with an ornate (gilded, carved etc.) basrelief or friese of a gate or door.
  2. a door. it looks like an ordinary door and works like a door. If properly opened it swings open on the destination.
  3. only a marked location. When opened a flight of stairs opens, leading down.
  4. a huge mouth with humongous fangs. Or maybe it’s a real mouth?
  5. a big stone/wooden/bone/crystal/metal/whatever arc.
  6. a well or pit in the ground, when opened filled with a rainbow mist.

Destination

The destination might be somewhere in your campaign 1d1000 miles away. Or 1d1000*1d1000 miles away. Or some other random place. Either decide or roll 1d10 on the table below.

  1. an hidden treasure room. Unfortunately, the magical passage closes after passing through it and probably there’s no other way to exit the room, maybe except some hidden passages or thin walls.
  2. a tower in a city made of brass, surrounded by a sea of flames.
  3. a beach of an island in the Aegean sea. There is a sheep pen close by, vineyards and olive trees. You can see a cave in the cliffside as well, with 1d6 hungry cyclops (LVL 13 giants) living inside.
  4. underwater, 100 yards away from a castle made of red coral, 3d6*10 mer-people lead by the King of the Waves (LVL 4+1d6 multiclass fighter/cleric/mage)
  5. the private quarters of a lich.
  6. the realm of a demon prince
  7. a desolate and forgotten mountain stronghold
  8. a dragon’s lair (there’s 75% chance that a dragon is present, guarding the treasure)
  9. an ancient graveyard or subterranean tomb complex
  10. a dungeon, level 1d10.

Opening

To open a portal you need a key. As Planescape and myths teach us, keys can be whatever. It’s usually somehow related to the circumstances of the portal-building. Roll on all the following tables first, then join the dots and feel free to ignore those that don’t fit your game:

the key is… (roll 1d6)

  1. a physical object, touching the portal. 2-in-6 of needing a specific object, for example the sword of the High King. Examples: roll 1d6:
    1. a key
    2. a jewel
    3. a stone
    4. a weapon
    5. water
    6. a stone
  2. something physical, but with metaphysical connections, touching the portal. Examples: roll 1d6:
    1. blood of a sorcerer
    2. blood, sweat and tears of the builder
    3. dragon breath (bottled is fine too)
    4. ectoplasm
    5. mana tar
    6. holy water
  3. an emotion or feeling, truly felt within close distance. Examples: roll 1d6:
    1. anger
    2. lust
    3. hunger
    4. despair
    5. terror
    6. pining
  4. a specific time. Examples: roll 1d6:
    1. twilight
    2. a specific time of the day
    3. when the stars are right (a specific moment of the year, like an equinox, solstice or 4:30AM 12 days before the last day of autumn)
    4. some astronomical alignment or opposition
    5. an eclipse
    6. 1d100 hours/days/weeks/months/years after it opened last time, reroll every time
  5. a sacrifice, right under the portal. Examples: roll 1d6:
    1. a burnt offering of food
    2. an animal slain, blood sprayed on the portal
    3. a weapon blade must be broken
    4. a gem must be shattered
    5. fasting for 1d6 days
    6. mutilation of a small but significant body appendage, roll a d6:
      1. ear
      2. eye
      3. nose
      4. tongue
      5. a finger
      6. any will do, like hair, a wart or nails
  6. an action must be carried out in front of the portal. Roll 1d6:
    1. a specific magic glyph must be traced on the portal
    2. 1d6+1 people must have a specific kind of steamy hot kinky ritual sex around the portal
    3. a specific magical/mystical ritual must be celebrated in front of the portal to open it
    4. the password must be (1d4)
      1. shouted
      2. spoken
      3. sung
      4. traced on the portal
    5. a prayer must be (1d3)
      1. sung
      2. spoken
      3. silently recited
    6. a spell must be cast. Roll 1d6:
      1. a unique spell designed specifically to open this portal
      2. Knock or equivalent
      3. an elemental-based spell cast on the portal, element depending on the “related to” result
      4. any demonic/necromancy spell
      5. any clerical or theurgic spell
      6. any spell but it must be cast directly on portal (like trying to heal it)
  7. an event, happening somewhere relatively close to the portal (a few hundred miles, or in the same part of the continent). Roll 1d6:
    1. the death of the king of the land or something equally pretentious
    2. a cockatrice hatches from a cock’s egg
    3. the last copy of a spell is burnt
    4. the first lightning from a nearby summer storm
    5. a star falls
    6. famine strikes the land
  8. two keys are needed to open the portal, either both keys at the same end or one at each end. Roll twice on this table. Reroll results if for some reason make the portal impossible to open. If rolled more than once, keep on adding keys.
  9. This portal can be used with different keys (2d6). 2-in-6 chance of different keys leading to different locations.
  10. Some part of the portal that is currently missing. It may be a part of the sculpture, a missing gem in the portal’s decoration or something similar. If you want to be fancy and love in-jokes, the key is the keystone of the arch (or equivalent) which at the moment is collapsed on the ground.

and it’s related to… (roll 1d6)

  1. one of the two sides, 50% chance each.  2-in-6: the link is one way only toward the relevant side. 2-in-6: the key can instead open d6-in-6 portals to the same side as well, but always one-way only and always toward the same end. Example: a wooden ring made from the tree that stood where one of the portals stands.
  2. both ends. Example: the portals’ architraves are made from the same stone block, the key is a small leather pouch containing the stone powder created when the architraves were sawn off.
  3. something else. Possibly something off-world that the PC will find, like magnetic cards. Whatever.
  4. well, there are two keys, each one-way only. Roll twice.
  5. and more. nothing specific, actually anything like that will do.

Progress and Dragoncon-related surprises

I haven’t blogged in a while.

I’ve been busy playing a lot of Elder Dragon Highlander and putting RPG books together. The Chthonic Codex continues its development and should be out sometimes soon, really and Burgs & Bailiffs is inching toward completion as I wait for the last feedback. Progress on Adventure Sailing Game slowed down as Carlo (the main designer) is getting through a very busy period, but since we’ll spend some time together in January there might be an explosion of activity there. or at least some progress. Corsica, written with Richard Guy, is proceeding albeit very slowly. I must admit I have too much on my plate, but most of the above are close to completion so, as they get done, speed on the other projects will go up.

At least in theory.

This week I’ll be in London for work and then Dragonmeet, where I’ll play in Roger the GS‘s game using Gnaro, my gnome of the garden variety. We’ll also show off something a bit special there, a little surprise. I’m a bit scared but everything should go smooth. Pictures will be posted.

And there, just beyond the horizon, there is Secret Project Lantern. If Lantern starts the next couple of years is going to be terrible but exciting.

One last bit: I’m almost out of copies of Adventure Fantasy Game (details here). I still have a few to sell (clicky clicky here to buy one) and it comes on bundle with the PDF. The PDF is also available separately (clicky clicky).