Saturday, September 06, 2014

GenCon haul

Let's see what's inside the bag. It came with badge but I picked it up the second day because I didn't knew about it. Thank (the Metal) God(s)! A backpack is not enough...

I split the haul into art, books and miscellaneous categories. Please don't pay attention to the tablecloth. I thought the 25" x 36" combat mat I got from Crystal Caste would be big enough.


  • The Complete Elmore Artbook.
  • A print of the 1983 AD&D Dungeon Master Guide cover.
  • A print of the DCC RPG Limited Edition cover.
  • A print "showing the corruption involved in the pursuit of magic over a lifetime" as Doug Kovacs says about it on his website.
  • A map drawn by Doug on my mighty wallet. I need to write and adventure for this one!
  • Original art of the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad zine issue #2 back cover by Wayne Snyder. 

  • Goodman Games GenCon 2014 Program Guide.
  • +Harley Stroh's Peril on the Purple Planet. I didn't participated on its Kickstarter, but after playing with Harley in The Seven Pits of Sezrekan tournament, how could I not have it?
  • DCC RPG rules. This was my pledge for the DCC World Tour 2014 Kickstarter and had it mailed to Adam Muszkiewicz address.
  • +Joseph Bloch's Castle of the Mad Archmage. I'm a sucker for megadungeons and also had this  one mailed to Adam's.
  • Judges Guild Heroes and Villains, an adventure for DragonQuest RPG.  I was with Adam at the Goodman Games booth when Bob Bledsaw, Jr. handed each of us a copy of this one.
  • Issues #1 and #2 of the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad zine
  • Wayne Snyder's Dark Ruins II. I'm missing Dark Ruins I!
  • +Tim Callahan's Demon Drums, a 12-page DCC compatible adventure. 
  • These old modules in real good conditions and I couldn't let the opportunity pass: WG6 Isle of the Ape, I7 Baltron's Beacon and T1 The Village of Hommlet.

  • Wayne Syder's GenCon badge.
  • Pathfinder's pin and goblin mask.
  • My GenCon badge.
  • Grimtooth’s Ultimate Traps Collection/Judges Guild Collector’s Edition sticker.
  • Dice bag.
  • Purple d30, red and green d20 from Crystal Caste.
  • Escape from Catastrophe Island stuff: three 0-level character sheets, game flyer, ghost rules, two game cards and four pins.
  • DCC RPG dice bag and Shana’s Weird Dice
  • DCC, sword, wizard and d11 pins. 
  • The Seven Pits of Sezrekan tournament yellow character sheets and Hugh/Skull cards.
  • Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits character sheet, name tag and Chessex dice.
  • DCC swag! Character sheets, notes,bookmarks, pencils, stickers and tattoos.
  • The Seven Pits of Sezrekan flyer, Sezrekan  pin and OSR pin.
  • Crawljammer game character sheet.
* All the small pins were made by Kathryn Muszkiewicz.

Friday, September 05, 2014

The long postponed GenCon post

More than two weeks have passed from GenCon now, and I'm just finding the time to write about this awesome experience. Catching up with family and work prevented me from doing it, but I also feared that the moment I started writing about it, would be the moment the spell would end. But, guess what? It didn´t. The magic's still there and always will be. Forever.

The people

I believe that going to GenCon it's something a role player should do at least once in a lifetime. It's like a pilgrimage to the source. Never thought I would do such a thing, until I met the +Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad guys and became part of the group. After some of them came back from GenCon 2013, they encouraged me to be there next year. And so I did and met my friends +Adam Muszkiewicz and his wonderful wife +Kathryn Muszkiewicz+Edgar Johnson+Wayne Snyder+James MacGeorge and +Doug Kovacs.

Yes, they're more than gaming buddies, they're my friends. Because for almost 3 years, every week, they were on the big screen in the living room. We played weekly every Thursday, we talked about gaming, about life, they met my wife and saw my son grow up (he's 3 and a half years old by now). The little man wouldn't go to bed without saying hi to the guys on the Google+ Hangout. :)

The Metal Gods family
I had the chance to meet some wonderful people too (forgive me if I miss someone): +Diogo Nogueira (fellow Brazilian gamer and blogger with whom we shared many games), +Tim Callahan (fellow laser wizard fish co-conspirator in the Escape from Catastrophe Island game, who kindly gave me a copy of Demon Drums and ran an awesome Crawljammer game), +James DeYonke (thanks a lot for those tickets for Q1 - Queen of the Demonweb Pits!), +Nathan Panke (you know you punched that dude, haha!), +Steven Bean (nice talking to you man), +Bob Brinkman+Jen Brinkman+Rick Hull (can't believe you asked me to sign your DCC chair), +Donn Stroud+James Smith+Marc Bruner+Robert Leopold+Jim Wampler, +Alex Mayo+Jürgen Mayer+David Baity, +Michael Bolam, +Aaron Koelman, +Roy Snyder+Mark Donkers+Nathan Bethell and, last but not least, the guys from the DCC crew who kindly autographed my DCC rules and Dungeon Alphabet: +Joseph Goodman+Michael Curtis+Harley Stroh (awesome deaths at the Seven Pits of Sezrekan tournament!) and +Dieter Zimmerman

I rolled for corruption and got the horns!
Still can't believe I met my all time favourite D&D artist +Larry Elmore. I grew up with his black & white art from the Basic Set and then the Dragonlance artwork. So there I was, getting The Complete Elmore art book dedicated and autographed. When I told him where I came from and asked for a photograph with him, he invited me into the booth. "You came a long way, so let's do it properly. Come around!", he said.

Another of my favourite artists, Jeff Easley from whom I got an autographed print of the 1983 Dungeon Master's Guide cover.

Legends like +Tim Kask, who we found with Diogo at the Exhibitors Hall,...

...and +Frank Mentzer, who sat next to our table at the Circle City Bar & Grill. He was kind enough to interrupt his breakfast with Tim Kask, to talk and take some photographs. "Drop by my Facebook page and say hi!", he said.

Meeting +Erik Mona was fun. On the first day when the gates of the Exhibition Hall opened, the Pathfinder booth was the first one I saw. Several people in blue shirts were giving away pins and goblin masks which I took. "That guy who gave me the goblin mask looks like Erik Mona.", I told Diogo. "Who?", he said. I went back and told the guy, "Hey, you look just like Erik Mona." and he replied with a smile "I am Erik Mona!". He autographed my goblin mask, and we talked a bit about Greyhawk, and the old Dungeon and Dragon magazines.

The last day at the DCC booth, I met Bob Bledsaw, Jr. from Judges Guild, who kindly gave me an issue of a DragonQuest adventure. It's s good to see old JG material reprinted by Goodman Games.

Thank you all for a wonderful time!

The games

I think I've got a gaming OD. But that's the idea rigth? :)

Since the games I have signed up for got cancelled before GenCon, I only got generic tickets. I spent almost all of them in Harley Stroh's Seven Pits of Sezrekan tournament. The most number of encounters I managed to survive was three, always dying horribly every time.

Once we were in complete darkness walking single file on a 3 ft. wide ledge and chased by some beast-men. Leading the way I managed to secure a rope and everyone climbed down safely, but one of the last guys slipped and fell... on top of me. In the other two, the life of my characters was sucked by the use of a magic item: once a magic spear wiped the whole table and the other a magic crown killed some of us.

Harley's the man.
Every day after GenCon at 8pm in the Embassy Suites, there was DougCon in which we played Escape from Catastrophe Island, a DCC game simultaneously ran by Doug Kovacs, Adam Muszkiewicz, and Wayne Snyder. I think also James McGeorge and Marc Bruner ran the game a couple of times too. You started with a 0-level and if it survived at the end of the night, it leveled up for the next day.

Getting ready to rock & role!
The best part was to die and roll in the Wheel of Doom. You also became a ghost and could possess other creatures or help/harass the other characters.

Doug Kovac's Wheel of Doom
On Saturday morning I got the chance to play old 1st. edition classic module Q1 - Queen of the Demonweb Pits along with other nine players. We went through the portal into a maze of interweaving passages in which we fought giant spiders, until we found a door that led to a series of trapped rooms, that led to a huge room full of zombies with three priestesses of Llolth atop three pyramids and two male magic users. The DM, Richard Meeks, said that in all the years he's been running this module at conventions, he never got the chance to run this battle. We wiped the zombies, but the priestesses and magic users gave us a hell of a hard time and finally, after 4 hours of battling the drow, we realized there was no chance we could win. A lot of fun though!

The final battle.
Later that afternoon before DougCon, Tim Callahan set up Crawljammer game: Lizards crashed on a planet. Fought their way through robots and monster bugs. Found an artifact and released its power. It was a blast!

All in all it was a great experience being for the first time in the USA and in my first GenCon. I hope I can be back some day, this time with the whole family, maybe to another GenCon or maybe GaryCon or even North Texas RPG Con.

I've got a nice haul from GenCon (books, modules, dices, pins, t-shirts, etc) but that's material for another post.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

New DCC monster: The Suarez

The Suarez (Type I Demon)

Init +2
Atk bite +5 melee (1d4+3) or kick stone +3 missile fire (1d4) 
AC 13
HD 2d8
MV 30’ or run 50’
Act 1d20
SP Drain blood, fast healing, half-damage from slam attacks, demon traits
SV Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +0

The Suarez is humanoid vampiric demon that roams its native southern grasslands, but can be found elsewhere in the world. Often sought by wealthy tycoons to form their elite guard provided they can paid enough gold. They can change colours between sky blue and white using their chameleon-like ability. 

Though not very bright, they are witty, resourceful and tricky in combat, which they fight to death. While extremely dexterous, resilient to slam damage and quickly recover from wounds, their prime time last a few years. 

Roll 1d7 to know the type encountered (1-2 juvenile, 3-6 adult, 7 senior) and modify their traits accordingly.

EDIT: Every time the bite attack is used the demon makes a Luck check (DC 10). If missed roll for corruption, but if a natural 1 is rolled in the Luck check, the demon is banished to its native Plane of existence.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Shadowblade: A new class for the Adventurer, Conqueror, King System

Prime Requisite: DEX and INT 
Requirements: None 
Hit Dice: 1d6 
Maximum Level: 14 

The Shadowblade can be seen as a Thief that wants more than to dabble into the arcane arts, or as a Mage that wants to improve its limited combat training. 

At first level, Shadowblades hit an unarmored foe (AC 0) with an attack throw of 10+. Shadowblades advance in attack throws and saving throws as thieves, by two points every four levels of experience. They may fight with any missile weapons and any one-handed melee weapons, and may wield a weapon in each hand if desired. They cannot wear armor heavier than leather, and cannot use shields.

Shadowblades have the same thieving skills as a Thief of the same level. 

In addition, they may perform feats of acrobatics. In lieu of moving during a round, the Shadowblade may attempt a proficiency throw of 20+ to tumble behind an opponent in melee. The proficiency throw required for the tumble is reduced by 1 per level of experience the character possesses. If successful, the Shadowblade is now behind his opponent. The opponent loses the benefit of his shield, if any, and the Shadowblade can backstab his opponent (gaining +4 to his attack throw and bonus damage based on his level). Shadowblades also gain a +2 bonus to saving throws where agility would help avoid the situation, such as tilting floors and pit traps. 

Shadowblades cast spells as Mages of one-half their level, using the same spell list and the same rules for learning and casting spells. Unlike Mages, Shadowblades can also cast spells while wearing armor. They can use any magical items available to Mages or Thieves. 

When a Shadowblade reaches 5th level (Thaumaturge-Rogue), he may begin to research spells, scribe magical scrolls, and brew potions. 

When they reach 9th level (Shadowblade), Shadowblades may construct a hideout. When a Shadowblade builds a hideout, he will gain 2d6 1st level Shadowblades as apprentices, come to learn under a master. If hired, they must be paid standard rates for ruffians. These Shadowblades will serve the character with some loyalty, though at least one will be an infiltrator working for the Shadowblade’s local rivals, sent to keep an eye on the character. Additional rules for hideouts are detailed in the Campaign chapter. 

A Shadowblade also has the ability to backstab. He must catch an opponent unaware of his presence, either by surprise or by moving silently and/or hiding in shadows to sneak up on his opponent. When backstabbing, the Shadowblade will receive an attack bonus of +4 and, if successful, deal additional damage for every four levels he has attained. A Shadowblade at 1st through 4th levels does double the normal damage, at 5th-8th levels does triple the normal damage, at 9th-12th levels does quadruple the normal damage, and at 13th level or higher does quintuple the normal damage. 

Shadowblades have the following range of skills, which improve as the Shadowblade gains levels according to the progression on the Thief Skills table. 

When a Shadowblade attempts to make use of one of his skills, the character or Judge will make a proficiency throw of 1d20. (Usually the Judge will make rolls for these abilities, because a Shadowblade is not always aware when he has failed.) After applying any relevant modifiers (e.g. due to the complexity of a lock), the result is compared to the target value listed on the Thief Skills table below for the appropriate skill. A result that is greater than or equal to the value listed for the proficiency throw that corresponds to the Shadowblade’s level is a success. A roll of 20 is always a success, and a roll of 1 is always a failure. 

Opening Locks: With the aid of thieves’ tools, a Shadowblade may pick mechanical locks. He may only try to pick a particular lock once, and if he fails, he may not try the same lock again until he reaches a higher experience level. The Judge may apply bonuses or penalties to the roll, depending on the complexity of the lock. 

Finding and Removing Traps: Through careful inspection and probing, a Shadowblade may find hidden traps and then attempt to disable or discharge the trap harmlessly. A Shadowblade may only try to find or remove a trap once in any given area. The Judge may apply bonuses or penalties to the roll, depending on the complexity of the trap. If the Shadowblade fails, he may not try again until he reaches a higher experience level. Note that these are separate skills, for a Shadowblade must find a trap before he can remove it. 

Picking Pockets: This skill is the bread and butter of non-adventuring thieves for it is a quick source of income – though not without peril. A throw that is less than half the target value means that the intended target notices the thieving attempt. The Judge will then make a reaction roll with a -3 penalty to determine the intended victim’s reaction. 

Moving Silently: Shadowblades may move with total silence. When successful, even keen eared guards will not hear the movements of a Shadowblade. However, the Shadowblade always thinks he is successful in this skill, and will not know otherwise unless and until others react to his presence. Shadowblades may move silently at ½ their standard combat movement rate without penalty. If they move greater than ½ speed, they take a -5 penalty to the proficiency throw. If they run, they take a -10 penalty. 

Climbing Walls: Shadowblades are adept at scaling sheer surfaces, including walls or steep cliffs. They require a proficiency throw for each 100' they intend to climb. If the roll fails, they fall a distance equal to half the attempted distance, plus the distance covered by any previous throws, taking 1d6 points of damage per 10 feet. Shadowblades climb at ¼ their standard combat movement rate. 

Hiding in Shadows: A Shadowblade may attempt to skulk unseen in the cover of darkness. A Shadowblade will always think he is successful in this skill, and will not know otherwise until others react to his presence. A Shadowblade will remain hidden so long as he stays motionless. If he moves, he must make a new proficiency throw to hide. 

Hearing Noises: Shadowblades can attempt to listen for noises in a cave or hallway and at a door or other locations. The Shadowblade must be quiet and in a quiet environment. 

Level Petrif. & Paralysis Poison & Death Blast & Breath Staffs & Wands Spells Atk. Thr.
1-2 12+ 13+ 16+ 14+ 14+ 10+
3-4 11+ 12+ 15+ 13+ 13+ 9+
5-6 10+ 11+ 14+ 12+ 12+ 8+
7-8 9+ 10+ 13+ 11+ 11+ 7+
9-10 8+ 9+ 12+ 10+ 10+ 6+
11-12 7+ 8+ 11+ 9+ 9+ 5+
13-14 6+ 7+ 10+ 8+ 8+ 4+

Shadowblade Level & Spell Progression 

Experience Title Level HD Acrobatics 1 2 3 4
0 Arcanist-Footpad 1 1d6 20+ - - - -
2775 Seer-Hood 2 2d6 19+ 1 - - -
5550 Theurgist-Robber 3 3d6 18+ 2 - - -
11100 Magician-Burglar 4 4d6 17+ 2 - - -
22200 Thaumaturge-Rogue 5 5d6 16+ 2 1 - -
45000 Enchanter-Scoundrel 6 6d6 15+ 2 1 - -
90000 Sorcerer-Pilferer 7 7d6 14+ 2 2 - -
180000 Mage-Thief 8 8d6 13+ 2 2 - -
330000 Shadowblade 9 9d6 12+ 2 2 1 -
480000 Shadowblade 10th level 10 9d6+2* 11+ 2 2 1 -
630000 Shadowblade 11th level 11 9d6+4* 10+ 2 2 2 -
1110000 Shadowblade 12th level 12 9d6+6* 9+ 2 2 2 1
1260000 Shadowblade 13th level 13 9d6+8* 8+ 2 2 2 1
1410000 Shadowblade 14th level 14 9d6+10* 7+ 2 2 2 2

*Hit point modifiers from constitution are ignored 


General Proficiency List: Adventuring, Alchemy, Animal Husbandry, Animal Training, Art, Bargaining, Caving, Collegiate Wizardry, Craft, Diplomacy, Disguise, Endurance, Engineering, Gambling, Healing, Intimidation, Knowledge, Labor, Language, Leadership, Lip Reading, Manual of Arms, Mapping, Military Strategy, Mimicry, Naturalism, Navigation, Performance, Profession, Riding, Seafaring, Seduction, Siege Engineering, Signaling, Survival, Theology, Tracking, Trapping. 

Shadowblade Proficiency List: Alertness, Battle Magic, Bribery, Combat Trickery (disarm, incapacitate), Elven Bloodline, Familiar, Fighting Style, Lockpicking, Loremastery, Mystic Aura, Precise Shooting, Prestidigitation, Quiet Magic, Sensing Power, Skulking, Swashbuckling, Trap Finding, Weapon Finesse.

Proficiencies Gained per Level (C=class prof., G=general prof.)

Class 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Shadowblade C+G C G C G C G

You can get the PDF in the Downloads page.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Saints & Sinners

My friend +Gerardo Tasistro launched today his latest project on DriveThruRPG:

Saints & Sinners is a modern combat roleplaying game set between WWII and the Vietnam war. It's a light d6 game meant to leverage the player's decisions and GM ruling to create a fast paced adventure. The GM screen fits on a two sided piece of paper and includes all tables and modifiers needed to run the game. The quick start guide is four pages long and allows the players to jump into the game after rolling 6 stats and selecting basic equipment and skills.

Highlights of the game include:
  • Fear and suppression as a key element in combat. Rate of fire, visibility and psychological reactions play an important role in the game. Spotting, attacking and relocating become key strategies as a player. 
  • Chained hand to hand combat that links the attack and defence of opponents in a way that allows for the use of martial arts style and stance(offensive, defensive and neutral) to gain advantage when defending or attacking.
  • Skills are easy to understand, describe and use. The team rules allow for character cooperation by pooling their skills to achieve greater chance of success when failure is not an option.
The game uses a novel 4d6 system requiring only d6 to play and is cantered around a task roll system that uses human readable terms such as hard, difficult, skilled or expert. It is detailed around combat given the nature of the game, but it can be easily extended by the players and GM to apply it for other tasks such as piloting, intelligence gathering, etc.

This is a rough-cut edition with extensive play test going on. Keep an open eye for updates and new releases of the rules. Your feedback is always welcome please follow the game and join our play tests and demonstrations in the Weapons Free community on G+.

Get your copy now (it's PWYW!), read it, play it, join the upcoming play tests. Let us know what you think.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

On magic items

I totally dig this idea +Edgar Johnson came up with in his post The Shadow that Magic Casts.

Basically what (I think) he's saying is that wizards carry with them mundane items that, with time and after successive spells being cast, become magically imbued with the wizard's essence. Then, the can wizard use them as decoys so that the Ones Who Dwell Between couldn't get to him. But you better go and read the whole article yourself.

I can see everyone with wizards in their campaigns start building up these unique magical items. So, how would this work in your DCC game? The way I see it, the player will need to keep track of what items are being getting affected. Every time the wizard casts a spell, make a roll on his equipment list to randomly determine the affected item. 
  • If the casting was a success, make a mark on the rolled item.
  • If the casting was a critical success make 1d3 marks.
  • If the casting was a failure and the item has been previously affected, erase a mark.
  • If the casting was a failure and the item hasn't been previously affected, leave it alone.
  • If the casting was a critical failure and the item has been previously affected, erase all the item's marks.
  • If the casting was a critical failure and the item hasn't been previously affected, the item is then rendered useless for further enchanting. 
Maybe in case of a critical failure the wizard could spellburn to prevent the outcome. 

The DM would need to set how many marks are needed for the item to reach the status of magical. For example, to be  powerful enough as to be detected by the Detect Magic spell.

And now, a couple of questions: What situations attract the attention of the Ones Who Dwell Between? How this is affected by the number number of magic items the party has?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Another playtest

A while ago, I had the honor to be part of the playtest of the Blood for the Serpent King by +Edgar Johnson, which appeared as an add-on of DCC's Bride of the Black Manse by +Harley Stroh

Last night we ended playtesting another of Edgar's adventures (code name: Planet X). It started back in late January and we did about 10 sessions, in which almost all the guys from the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad campaign (+Adam Muszkiewicz, +Wayne Snyder, +James MacGeorge, +Phil Spitzer+Doug Kovacs  and +Jason Hobbs) were present at one time or another (we miss you +Bear Wojtek).

We hope the adventure sees the light in the near future. Stay tuned!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The road to GenCon 2014

After many years of wanting to go to a gaming convention, finally this year I'm going to make it to GenCon. Some of the guys from the Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad crew went last year and encouraged me about going. I talked about it with my wife and, after doing the math and seeing we could afford it, she gave me the green light. So far the roadmap is on schedule:
  • Buy plane tickets? Done.
  • Buy 4-day badge? Done.
  • Renew passport? Done.
  • Get a non-immigrant visa? Process initiated.
Indianapolis here we go!

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

RPG Blogger Level 5 and going...

According to this post I'm an Thinker! Whatever that means... :-)

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad Zine Issue #1 Now Available!

Congratulation to my fellows +Adam Muszkiewicz, +Edgar Johnson and +Wayne Snyder for making this real. I hope this is the first of many more.

Also remember that, as Adam said in his blog, "half of the proceeds from the sale of the pdf [soon available from the usual sites] will go to support StandUp For Kids, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that works to fight teenage homelessness".

Well done guys!