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).

Bookbinding course

I spent the past two saturdays learning how to bind books.

Bookbinding is well cool. Handbound journals are fantastic gifts and, well, you know better than me that can you print all the PDFs you use all the times and bind them together. My first attempt was Pelinore + AFG + Book of War + Transcription of the Lost Pages vol. 1 and, to be honest, it’s been a success. Handy, compact and, well, it’s really hard to forget an handbook if you only need to pick up one handbook.

Anyway, as some people liked the looks of my handmade books, I thought I should post some pictures here, in sparse order. I decided to bind Jack W. Shear’s Tales of the Grotesque and the Dungeonesque because it’s full of good stuff useful for the Western League, my grim fantasy campaigns and I can see using it for a long time. And I put two ribbons in it because one ribbon for handbook is never enough.

The Middle Ages were Horrible. Burgs & Bailiffs: call for submissions

The Middle Ages were horrible.

I’m not talking about lack of wifi and lattes, but about famine, disease, violence, tyranny, disease, heavy taxation, war, lack of sanitation, abysmal civil rights, disease, lack of healthcare, servitude and disease. And the cherry on top is that Feudalism, the main form of government in Europe, existed mainly to field bigger armies so kill more enemies and grab more land.

Fantasy RPGs often are sheltered from this kind of problems. Escapism often tones down grimness and replaces it with orcs. But sometimes you want to grab your setting and give it a spoonful of historical horrible mixed with gravel.

Burgs & Bailiffs turns your setting’s grimness up to 11

Then punches it in the face and steals its beer

the cover is not final

Burgs & Bailiffs is a collaborative effort aiming at bringing more grimness and suffering to your fantasy campaign world and we’re going to release it on a Creative Commons licence. If you want to collaborate with a small article (400 to 4000 words) that allows a fellow GM to “grim up” a campaign, send me a two lines proposal via email. The deadline for proposals is in a week, Wednesday 22/August/2021, while the deadline for the draft is the 24th of September 2012.


New Release: Adventure Fantasy Game

Adventure Fantasy Game is out now. Click here to buy it.

All started fourteen months ago when Sham posted three preview posts of the Bleak Beyond. After getting his permission I started to design, develop and test an SRD-based game based on his rules.

Earlier on I decided that the game was not going to be a retroclone, and to drop the SRD. The entire system is based on 5MORE, the concept that most times to succeed you need to roll a d6 and do 5 or more, applying very few modifiers, if any. The only dice used are six-siders, but tt’s still statistic compatible with most old school fantasy adventure games and retroclones, meaning you can yank gaming material  from the past 38 years of our hobby and run them with no need to change anything.

The class system is very flexible, based on a MUD developed in the nineties; it’s similar to both multiclassing for d20 (without some of its fastidious problems) and disciplines from World of Darkness. The Vancian system has been ditched, replaced with a mana-based system after a bibliographic survey, long pondering and a talk with Roger. About 100 new original spells have been written.  Clerics are gone, replaced by a more meaningful approach to worship. Two combat systems are included: the introductory one is a traditional “roll against armour”, while the advanced system features melee contests and armour reducing damage. Then, as I ran more and more playtest sessions, the game incorporated elements inspired from very bright designs such as ZZarchov’s Neoclassic Geek Revival and Delta’s Book of War.

Included in the manual there is also an 8-page hexcrawl adventure with a colour map: “The Temple Beneath the Harga Volcano”. It features mountains, glaciers, lakes, giants, cannibals, giant argonauts, squid templars and a Golden Idol of Cthulhu.

During testing no experience points were ever tracked. Players came up with really inspiring and story-driving accomplishments to complete to level up. We got rid of grind, beancounting, killing the last kobold to pass a level. Characters plotted to murder nobles, chased murderers and bandits, gathered bands of soldiers, accumulated a fortune and chased fabled tomes and golden idols of Cthulhu.

The change in attitude, from chasing experience points to chasing meaningful action, surprised and pleased us all. And I hope it will please you too.

Adventure Fantasy Game is available as PDF and Softcover+PDF. Both versions will give you free updates and the LaTeX source code to rebuild the PDF in case you want to kitbash it or change the layout. Click here to buy Adventure Fantasy Game.

Quick post: AFG Progress, Orders Open

AFG is going through its last production phases.

Here’s a little status report:

  • The transcription and playtest of the adventure “The Volcano and the Temple Beneath” is almost done.
  • Several awesome things happened during playtest sessions.
  • Volcano + cefalopods + cannibals + terrorbugs + jökulhaups = WIN
  • The book is now longer than my research thesis on both counts of words and pages. It will probably grow enough to justify perfect binding instead of staple.
  • People are reading the last draft and giving feedback. They like what they read. This is good.
  • I stopped tweaking the price lists because enough research on medieval economics and prices and baking is enough. The price list is now DONE, the Game Police will not wake me up and arrest me tonight because of inadequate price lists.

What’s left?

  • Go maniacally through the printed proof and see if there’s something even slightly off.
  • Ask another GM to playtest the adventure for me.
  • Make sure that the distributor and my FLGS will actually carry it.

Things are real now.


By the way if you want the Digital release of AFG, inclusive of the current PDF, the final PDF and LaTeX source code for the book with all the future updates for free, email me at tsojcanth+afg AT  gmail using the email linked to your Paypal account; you’ll son receive a 4.50£ Paypal invoice. The digital version also gives you a 4.50£ discount for the Print+Digital bundle (which is expected to cost you 12£+s/h), making it free if you plan to get the hardcopy version anyway.