Adventure Fantasy Game – Second Printing is OUT

And it’s better, with a bit more content, and much much better editing and a redesigned cover.


Also, cheaper!

The softcover is 14.99$ (down about 30%), 108 A5 pages, new matte cover, printed on specially chosen natural white paper (which means that it’s off-white but easier on the eyes). And the PDF and source are included, of course.

The PDF is 5.99$ (down about 15%) and, well, comes with the source. At the moment the source is a bit over the place but if you are really in a rush to compile some badly written and hacky LaTex, write me.

You can download the free preview covering character creation and the 5MORE task resolution system.

If you bought AFG before, printed or PDF, I have news for you:

  • you should have received an email with the eight revision of the PDF, AFG-R8. If you haven’t, email me at tsojcanth where the google mail service is. I’m working on some kind of software to allow customers to download updated releases as they come out but, heh, testing.
  • you can buy a copy at a discounted rate (9$). This option is also available if wou want to buy two copies of the handbook.

Hardcovers are not available yet. Why?

  1. My printer does not do hardcovers.
  2. Printing AFG on PoD is not doable because the adventure colour map requires the whole handbook to be printed in colour and, therefore, to cost a kidney. I might release a hardcover version sans colour map. Also Lulu does not do print+pdf bundles and that is supremely annoying.
  3. I might release handbound versions with gilding and sleevedust but I’m being really really wary of offering them because binding books is actually hard work. Asking nicely does not hurt, but if it happens it’s going to be expensive.

Burgs & Bailiffs: Cities/Warfare Too! Call for Articles!

Hey hey,

The first Burgs & Bailiffs was a good attempt. People liked it, you can buy it on Lulu for very  very cheap and was downloaded by a fair amount of fine nobles, burgers and villeins.

Since the Grimdark Crew can’t stop churning out new and exciting material to enhance the historical verisimilitude of the toils, pain and suffering of your PCs. And therefore your grimacing and fun.

The possible (broad) themes for the second issue are Cities and is Warfare. Feel free to write on any medieval topic though, as long as it’s related to RPGs. Here are the mockups.

Image  BNB2-warfare

Yes, the one on the right is a period comic depicting king Harold dying like a chump.

So, if you want to collaborate write an idea for an article either in the comments or at tsojcanth AT googlemail dawt com. The very rough deadline for article ideas is March 25th and for the first draft is April 22nd. And we are super-easy with deadlines, so if you feel pressured but still want to contribute drop me a line and we’ll arrange something.

Oh, the first issue got a new cover!


Adventure Fantasy Game: SOLD OUT! and another AFG-R7 illustration

Adventure Fantasy Game is sold out. Gone. I thought it would take me a couple of years to sell the first print run, but it took six months. I might have one or two copies in a pristine state kicking about, but I’m not sure.

If you are interested in a copy email me and I’ll let you know If I can find one. Obviously the PDF is still available, and it’s possible to preorder the new release from the website.

The good news is that AFG-R7 (AFG seventh revision) needs only a little bit of layout TLC before shipping. R7 will be laid out on a handier A5 instead of A4, with new illustrations made by Chris Stanley, the illustrator of the upcoming Chthonic Codex. Like the one below, gracing the new MOSTROTRON pages.


The page count is now at 108 pages instead of 64, due to the smaller page size and the much improved layout.  Except for corrections content is going to be essentially the same, with a few additions like the Way of the Arts, improved Starting Equipment tables and potentially more. Potentially because I don’t want AFG to become a Big Game: I’d rather keep it sleek and relegate additional content to this blog and other books.

As per use, comments on Google Plus.

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.


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.


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.


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.

Burgs & Bailiffs: more submissions please!

Want more grimness in your fantasy setting?




Burgs and Bailiffs is a collaborative project aiming to give you, discerning DM, free material to bring some Middle Ages grittiness and despair to your campaign world. B&B will not be a boring history journal, but will instead contain small articles on specific topics and how to integrate them with your campaign.

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday the 22nd of August, while a first draft is the 24th of September 2012. We can be flexible with deadlines, but not too much.

This is the current list of proposals:

  • Pestilence, Putrescence and Pustules
  • Realistic Medieval Archery
  • The Importance of Being Earnest: intricacies and ambiguities of medieval feudalism
  • On Agriculture: Toiling the Land for Fun and Famine
  • To Feed an Army

If you want to contribute send me an email ( ) specifying:

  1. the title of the article
  2. a two line summary of the content
  3. expected length (a very rough estimate)

If you want to write on a topic already covered, don’t let this stop you. There’s no limit to the number of articles on diseases we’ll print. 🙂

Moving, Flu, Editing, Layout and Proof

I went through all the titular experiences in the past 10 days or so. On top the new flat doesn’t have an internet connection, so my Internet presence is minimal.

The AFG proof is being printed right now. The softcover will be printed on A4, 100gsm paper and perfect-bound. I expected to have it staple bound but the new printer prefers perfect binding for 60 pages and up.

Another very welcome bit of news is that “The Temple Beneath the Harga Volcano”, the sandbox-adventure at the back of the manual, will sport a colour map in an otherwise black and white book. The local printer shop is awesome.

In the meantime my local AFG group swelled up to 8 people. While I think big groups are awesome, some of my players want more of my attention, so from this week I’ll start running two weekly games. One in my flat and the other, every Saturday night, at Spellbound Games, just off Victoria road, Glasgow. The latter is a drop-in, everybody-is-welcome game, and is great fun.

By the way, this Saturday is Free RPG Day. I’ll be at Spellbound Games from 2PM running AFG until I drop dead from caffeine overdose or the Cthulhu Idol is recovered from beneath the Harga Volcano. Drop by and join us! 🙂

Forbidden Castle – Stephan Poag Cover Art for Adventure Fantasy Game

Stephan Poag is my favourite OSR illustrator. I contacted him, asked if he’d like to draw a cover for AFG, details were supplied, then he quickly produced an early sketch, feedback was exchanged and acted on.

Then, delivery of what can be only described as “100% faithful to actual game content”:

There’s something about purchasing original art for your game that makes it more real: probably the fact that your pet-project starts to have a material cost, I’m not sure. Working with Stephan has been a pleasure and I hope to do more of the same in the future.

Oh, I almost forgot: AFG will be available soon in two formats: digital and print+digital bundle.

The Digital format will be 4.50£ and will give you early access not only to the PDF of the final version and the early versions, but also to the LaTeX source files in case you want to annotate or modify it. Yes, you get the source files. And on top a 4.50£ discount on the Print+Digital version, so when you decide to upgrade you will pay only the difference.

The Print+Digital bundle details are yet to be perfectly finalized, but will set you off 12£ + s/h for a softcover version of the final release of AFG, an A4 64-pages staple-bound book with colour cover and b/w interiors.

In both cases you get to have an early view of the game, test it and give feedback. I’ve been at the same time writing and playtesting AFG for more than a year now, but I can always use more feedback. You deserve not less than the best. 🙂