Thursday, February 28, 2013

Some Classified Info

I've been asked a few questions that I thought I should make public. I'm expecting Classified to be available (in print and PDF) in Nov of 2013. I don't have a page count yet, but it's looking to be in the 128-144 page range. I'd like to have a support adventure ready for release at the same time, but that will depend on how much work I get done. I've just commissioned the first few pieces of art and am waiting with excitement hoping that they come back in the style I'm envisioning (and I'm hoping that the rest of the world shares my vision on the style.)

In other news, I'm sick with a headache and nausea. Nausea such that even pretzels seem a "little on the wild side" right now.

Oh well, one of the downsides of being your own boss is that when work has to get done, you get to do it even when you don't feel well. The silver lining, however, is that I'm designing villains right now, so I"m sure they'll be a little "extra villain-y" than they would have been were I feeling healthy.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Advanced Adventures #27: Bitteroot Briar now for Sale!

Advanced Adventures #27: Bitteroot Briar is now for sale at the Expeditious Retreat Press website and at!
Bitteroot Briar is an OSRIC(tm) module designed for 4-8 adventures of levels 2-4.

The small village of Ipwich has been plagued by mystery for years. Why do some people, last seen decades ago, come stumbling out of the woods looking as young as the day they disappeared, raving mad? Why does the forest itself whisper in the blowing of the trees or the babbling of a brook, beckoning to its center? Local folklore holds that the answers to these questions lie on the other side of an immense wall of thorns in the heart of the forest, the Bitterroot Briar, as do the remains of a good number of would be riddle solvers.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Classified Preview - OSIRIS!

So here's a two-page PDF preview of what I've been doing with Classified. The preview is about the "evil secret agency" I've created called OSIRIS. I've provided a brief background and a full preview of The Emperor: Lothar Tristan Eugen Wolf.

If you're interested in spy-related stuff, I think that the background of Wolf should get your motor running. I know that I was super-hyped when creating it and I think I've managed to make a very scary and believable individual.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Classified Teaser

Below is the format that I'm using to display NPCs. It hews close to the original format, but I've decided that instead of only showing the skills that an NPC has ranks in, I'm going to show all the skills (since anyone can use a skill-which then defaults to a characteristic check). This should save some GM time by not having to look up or remember what skill is influenced by what characteristic.

All in all, I'm pleased by it and am glad to be working on some NPCs.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Russian Copulation (Hot Russian Action)

Sometimes you run into something that just makes you laugh out loud. This was one of those somethings for me. Quote from Wiki:
In cryptography, Russian copulation is a method of rearranging plaintext before encryption so as to conceal stereotyped headers, salutations, introductions, endings, signatures, etc.

The technique is to break the starting plaintext message into two parts and then to invert the order of the parts. This puts all endings and beginnings (presumably the location of most boilerplate phrases) 'somewhere in the middle' of the version of the plaintext which is actually encrypted. For some messages, mostly those not in a human language (e.g., images or tabular data), the decrypted version of the plaintext will present problems when reversing the inversion. For messages in ordinary language, there is sufficient redundancy that the inversion can almost always be reversed by a human immediately on inspection.
The English phrase suggests that it originally came from an observation about Russian cryptographic practice. However, the technique is generally useful and neither was, nor is, limited to use by Russians.

I had to add the parenthesis in the title for some shits-n-giggles....

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Rules Are Done. Now Let's Get Creative!

I love making bad guys - coming up with backgrounds, shared goals, areas of conflict. Duke Lothar Wolf, Vasily Stanislavovich Orlov, Viscontessa Flavia Durand de la Penne, Anna Munro, Losang Tenzin, Oda Nagatoshi,  and Dr. Iskandar Kamari will live forever in infamy!

*provided the PCs ever discover what they're doing*

I've managed to get through all of the rules of Classified and now I'm on to the more creative parts. Smile on my face and the words keep flowing...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What's New on My Desk...

I'm very happy that my latest purchase, Spy Book: The Encyclopedia of Espionage, has finally found its new home. Packed with over 2000 different spy-related entries, I've already mined one or two interesting ideas for Classified from that endless source of inspiration called Real-Life.

I'm a happy camper!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

WotC Reprinting OD&D

It looks like WotC are reprinting the OD&D white box set. It'll include all 7 booklets (so it has the supplements as well as the original 3 booklets) and each booklet will have new cover art.

I'm very pleased with this. There are a lot of people who've never really had the chance to see these booklets and more that have never had the chance to own them because they're rather expensive.

Good news, all around, methinks.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Bad Luck and Trouble...

Sometimes I have to let the rat bastard GM in me out to play...

Bad Luck: The characters have some bad luck in one of their endeavors that sends their operation pear shaped: their observation post is compromised, a law enforcement officer recognizes one of the more-unsavory PCs, a barking dog blows the whistle on a night reconnoiter, a piece of important equipment catastrophically fails. The GM should consider how best to screw the characters with a bit of bad luck in a common and believable manner.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Formula Folio

Find Familiar
For the ink required to scribe an arcane find familiar scroll

1 oz. of giant squid sepia
1 oz. of giant octopus ink
100 gp worth of incense herbs, and fat

In a fire of cedar wood, pour all ingredients into a brass container. Heat until fat completely melts. Stir with a glass rod widdershins 20 times. Remove from heat, strain through a fine silk cloth and decant ink into a silver vial. Makes enough ink for 1 scroll. Any special quill is suitable.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

On Tradecraft

Like most people, I have only a passing knowledge of spy/covert tradecraft gleaned from countless examples via TV and movies. Knowing that these examples are probably terribly theatrical and not at all realistic, I've started reading up on actual tradecraft so that I'll have a better idea of what to think about when working on Classified adventures. So far I'm about halfway done with one book and I've got another in the mail working it's way towards me right now.

I have to say that there have been several good points that would *not* have crossed my mind when designing scenarios or enemies and I'm enjoying that nice, visceral, thrill one gets when something that's very simple, but very cool, is going to make it into a published product and it's going to make a "Awe, that was cool!" moment in a game.

And hell, I can count this time as work! Sometimes I have the best job in the world.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Group Hit Points

I've been rolling this idea around in the back of my head for a while now, so I thought I should share. I'm thinking that instead of having individual hit points, a party of adventurers would share in a hit point pool, with each individual adding to the pool in varying amounts based upon their perceived combat survivability (ie. fighter types would add more, wizard types less).

When injured by enemies, the damage would come from the pool total. With a the following complications

1. Once 50% of pool total is reached, any additional damage triggers a saving throw situation to avoid having the damage applied to a randomly-determined individual, as opposed to the group. If an individual is hit, that damage is removed from their maximum hit points *but not* removed from the hit point pool. In this manner, once the pool gets low, it becomes more likely that individuals start taking "real" damage.

2. Once the pool total is emptied, all additional damage is applied to a randomly determined individual.

I've been thinking this may be a pretty good way to simulate a less granular version of combat or to simulate a type of combat that I think would go pretty well with a super hero theme.

This is just the germ of an idea and far from fleshed out, but I thought I'd share.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Why My Stuff Is Open Game Content

I am thankful for the OGL and OGC and I show my thanks through my actions. My publications that use the OGL are open because without previous open content there wouldn't be any "my publications."

My openness may one day bite me on the butt, but that's a risk I feel I should take.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Un-Seriousness

Feeling ill today and have the suspicion that it may be one of those few days illnessess. *sigh* But here's a funny picture to help brighten your Sunday.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Tome of Tomes

The Demonomicon of Obering
Author: Pennirth Obering
Race: Elf
Dimensions: 14x12x1.5
Weight: 25 lbs.
Materials: Leather-bound, brassboard, vellum, adamantine clasps and lock
Rarity: Very rare
Fields of Study: Supernatural & unusual
Special Knowledge Categories: Planes (outer)
Value: 2,500 gp

The first book penned by Obering, this massive tome contains an incredible amount of scholarship regard the summoning and binding of demons. Hidden throughout the work are the real names of at least ten greater demons. It is this work that brought Obering his power and knowledge, but it was stolen from him decades ago. Where it currently lies is unknown.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Bugs Up My Butt

So I'm working on Classified and I'm on the surveillance section dealing with bugs. I first spend quite a bit of time outlining the various types of bugs that are used when I realize that a "Build-A-Bug" sub-system would be *vastly* more useful than trying to list all the various real types of available bugs.

So I've decided to scrap a little realism in exchange for a much more robust system. I think it was the right choice, even though it means I've added quite a bit of additional work for myself.

Oh well, it's better to be better.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Classified over the 80 page mark!

Just wanted to announce that Classified has hit 80+ pages! I'm just tidying up the equipment section (Chapter 10) and still have several more chapters to go, so were I to estimate a final page count, I think I'd go with 128 or so right now.

I'm pretty pleased and am enjoying the work (even if I grumble about it a bit...)

Formula Folio

Floating Disc
For the ink required to scribe an arcane floating disc scroll

1 oz. of giant squid sepia
A pinch of sawdust
A drop of mercury

In a glass container resting upon a floating disc, mix all ingredients. Decant into an iron flask. Wait until the floating disc expires and the flask falls to the ground. Makes enough ink for 2 scrolls. Any special quill is suitable.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Advanced Adventures #29: The Doom of Red Rauthim Cover

Lookie what's coming in April....
The Doom of Red Rauthim is an OSRIC(tm) module designed for 4-8 adventures of levels 7-9.

Red Rauthim, adventurer and ruler of the city Erastavim, decided to right a wrong from his past. Nearly twenty years ago, Red and his adventuring party learned of the location of a great fire giant temple. Ever one to see a golden opportunity, Red thought it a great chance to slay some of the most wicked creatures to walk the world’s face and relieve them of their treasure. In these days Red was brash and hotheaded. He led his party straight into the temple killing anything that got in their path. However, they met their match when the head shaman, Thjazi-Loki, one of the most cunning and evil giant there ever was, roared and charged into battle with the adventurers. Red’s outmatched party soon turned to flee. Heroically the party’s priest, Father Ferrio, drew the giant’s attention as his friends hurled out of the temple. The last thing Red saw was Ferrio being cut in half by the giant’s great broad sword. For the last twenty years, Red Rauthim has felt guilty that his friend gave his life so that Red may live. Feeling his age upon him, Red left his city 6 months ago to personally kill Thjazi-Loki out of respect for his fallen friend.

But Red has not returned although divinations ken he is still alive. You and your party have been hired to find and return him to his city, even if that means bearding a fire giant temple!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Some music

Working and thinking of distant places I've been and yet to be...

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Power of Creative Dreams

I get a lot of ideas/inspiration from dreams as well as music. Last night had a dream in which a new magic item presented itself to me.

The Horned Headpiece of Darak-Bek
This ornimental headpiece features two ram's horns. Once per day, if the wearer touches the tip of the right horn with the index finger of his left hand, he can teleport without error. Once per week, if the wearer touches the tip of the left horn with the index finger of his right hand, he can word of recall. The headpiece provides no armor. Experience Point Value: 4,000 G.P. Value: 24,000

Friday, February 1, 2013

January's dead, long live February!

1/12th of 2013 is out of the way and we're starting on the next 12th. This month, if things go as planned, I should have Advanced Adventures #27: Bitterroot Briar published and available (although it may be at the very end of the month). Hopefully we'll have an Advanced Adventure out every month for the first half of the year. I'm still looking for manuscripts for both Advanced Adventures as well as our Pathfinder 1-on-1 Adventures!

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