Delays & A Shift of Focus

Hail & Peace!

Due to sickness, doctor appointments, overtime, and a concert, I’ve had little spare time the past few weeks to get much of anything else done.

With all this time away from working on items, my mind has been running around with several ideas. With all of that, I’m putting Gavins on the back burner to focus on world creation and system decisions.

As far as systems, I’ve discussed retro-clones in the past. I discussed them with a friend of mine recently, and I came up with this:

Retro-clones exist for two reasons.

1: To publish adventures using rules under the OGL.

2: Rewriting the rules with tweaks like Paizo did with D&D3.5 for Pathfinder. (No, Jason Bulmahn, you did not design Pathfinder. Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, and Skip Williams did. You tweaked their D&D 3e / SRD design into Pathfinder. If you had designed it, Pathfinder products wouldn’t need the OGL in the back of them.)

With that in mind, I’m likely to do some tweaks for Abish while using one of them for the core of the rules.

WORLD CREATION DIARY PART 4: Races of Abish

Humans: like pretty much every RPG Setting, humans will be the majority. Their languages and skill sets will vary depending on their homelands and backgrounds.

Dwarves, Elves, Halflings, and Gnomes: all will be present, but sub-races will be replaced with backgrounds. Dwarves’ abilities will vary by their clan. Instead of ‘hill dwarves’ or ‘mountain dwarves’, there will be <clan name 1> dwarves and <clan name 2> dwarves. Elves will be named form their forest (or other) homelands, Halflings by their shires, and gnomes by their clans/homelands. Some abilities will be the same across the board for each race, but some will vary by background.

Half-breeds will have commonalities of their physical & mental statures, but skills will depend which society they are raised in.

Half-Orcs will exist; but unlike some RPGs, their births won’t come from humans (or any other races) offering up marriages to form peace treaties. While I can understand the political correctness of that in today’s real-world society, orcs don’t exist in our modern real world and don’t look for peace or offer love. They’re savages and uncivilized. Even our past wasn’t always politically correct, especially the medieval era that most fantasy RPGs emulate to some degree. All half-orcs are conceived by violent means. Even full orcs within their tribes are done in such a manner. Orcs (and most of the evil humanoids) don’t form relationships. Females are for breeding and other chores the males don’t want to do. Most half-orcs born outside of orc society are killed at birth. A small percentage of them resemble the mother’s race enough to be spared such a fate. Even then, the mother likely wouldn’t want to keep the child due to its heritage.

Most of the evil humanoids will be like this to some degree.

That’s it for this week!

 

I’ll touch base again next Friday!

Peace out…

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Move along… nothing to see today

Hail & Peace!

Unfortunately, nothing has been accomplished since Monday. Two of the past three days were spent at doctor appointments and a day at the ER. A few follow up appointments are required, but all is well.

I’ve had some things bouncing around in my head but nothing more.

I’ll touch base again next Friday! Hopefully, I’ll have more to say.

Peace out…

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Retro-clones

Hail & Peace!

It’s only Monday, but I’ve got some thoughts to get down.

Tonight is the first session of an AD&D 1e campaign where I’m actually a player instead of a DM/GM. It’s been about ten years since I’ve been a player in a face-to-face campaign and even longer for a good first edition campaign, 1988 or so I think. First edition was left behind when second edition was released. Also, AD&D 2e has been calling to me. These along with some of my publishing goals have retro-clones on my mind.

I mentioned systems to support in my January 4th blog, New Beginnings II, and that various editions of D&D comprised most of that list. Although a final decision hasn’t been made, I plan to support a few different editions. As a third-party publisher, this would have to be done through the retro-clones and the OGL; or I could write a retro-clone myself. That’s more than I want to chew now, so here’s a potential list of retro-clones I’m considering using to support these editions.

  • D&D (0e) White Box: Swords & Wizardry or White Box Edition.
  • D&D (B/X, BECMI, RC): B/X Essential or Labyrinth Lord.
  • AD&D (1st edition): Advanced Labyrinth Lord or OSRIC.
  • AD&D (2nd edition): For Gold & Glory.
  • D&D (3rd edition): PathFinder SRD.
  • D&D (5th edition): D&D 5e SRD.

I’m not planning to do all of these, but I’ve not eliminated any of them. D&D (4th edition) isn’t on the list for a few reasons. I have absolutely no experience with it, and I’m not sure how many even play it these days making the effort not worthwhile.

There’s also an entire line of retro-clones called Microlite. I’ll have to take some time to compare these to the others. I’ll report more on this as decisions are made.

I’m considering two other systems that I have familiarity: HackMaster and Castles & Crusades. C&C is sort of a retro-clone itself as a 1e/3e hybrid. It uses the OGL and has added to it considerably.

HackMaster (the new version, not the 1e/2e retro-clone) was redesigned from the ground up using A&D as something of a minor template. There’s no licensing or SRD/OGL with this, so I’ll have to talk with Kenzer & Co. about doing this.

Again, none of these are set in stone but are only ideas I’m considering.

I mentioned a few side projects Friday. The proofreading/editing job has been completed and turned in. I’ll be doing another pass on it prior to release. The other is a written adventure for a new company/RPG system & setting. I had a video chat with the project lead yesterday. The end of the month deadline for the first draft has been pushed back, so I’ve agreed to take this on. He and I will be collaborating on the writing, and I’m hoping to start writing on it this week.

WORLD CREATION DIARY PART 3: Religion

My wife and I watched part of Thor: Ragnarök this weekend, and it got me thinking about the world pantheon(s) for the Lands of Abish. How involved are the gods? How many are there? Do they live on the planet like the Greek gods from Mount Olympus? Are they actual gods or just another powerful race like Marvel’s take on the Asgardians living elsewhere in ‘space’ or even one of the moons like Mystara’s Immortals? Is there one pantheon to rule them all like Kenzer & Co.’s Kingdoms of Kalamar setting, or does each race have its own pantheon like most other settings? These are all questions I’ll need to answer early in the project.

I’ve considered a trinity of gods or ‘forces’ with servants like powerful Angels, Demons, and Devils receiving actual worship with priests receiving their powers accordingly. These three would be Light (good), Darkness (evil), and Nature (neutral). The servants would each serve certain aspects such as mercy, disease, hunting, etc.

Along with this goes the cosmology of the heavens. I think the wheel of planes from the days of AD&D aren’t for me or this setting, so I will have to come up with something else. I’ll research some real-world mythological cosmologies and find something I like to salvage for ideas.

That’s it for this today. I’ll touch base again on Friday!

Peace out…

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A Slow Week

Hail & Peace!

This will be short as things have been slow going this week, but I want to stay in the habit of posting weekly. I’ve added a few things to the list for a future date, but I’ve done little else (see Diary below).

My breakfast meeting with a few for discussing the mega-dungeon was postponed due to the weather.  We’ve yet to reschedule.

Unrelated to GeoCentric Designs, I have a few other offerings. One is a short proofreading/editing project for a futuristic/space RPG. I can probably get through this one in an evening and have decided to take it on.

The second is to write an adventure for a yet unpublished RPG & setting. I’ve got everything thing I need except time. I’ll be talking with the project leader via video chat on this within the next few days to see if the first draft deadline can be pushed back a few weeks.

WORLD CREATION DIARY PART 2:

As stated earlier, not much has been done.

I worked a bit on the calendar by naming the days of the week. I’m going to use 8 months of 28 days and 4 months of 35 days. Every 4th month would have 5 weeks with the equinox/solstice falling in the middle of the 3rd of 5 weeks. I have yet to determine the month names, but they would fall as follows:

  • Month 1 (4 weeks), Month 2 (5 weeks with Spring Equinox on the 18th), Month 3 (4 weeks)
  • Month 4 (4 weeks), Month 5 (5 weeks with Summer Solstice on the 18th), Month 6 (4 weeks)
  • Month 7 (4 weeks), Month 8 (5 weeks with Autumn Equinox on the 18th), Month 9 (4 weeks)
  • Month 10 (4 weeks), Month 11 (5 weeks with Winter Solstice on the 18th), Month 12 (4 weeks)

I’ve started an excel file for equipment as well. I’ll be looking through several RPG books to compile a comprehensive list.

That’s it for this week. I’ll touch base again next Friday!

Peace out…

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First update

Hail & Peace!

It’s a week later, and here’s what’s going on:

I’ve spent at least 30 minutes almost every day doing something related to this venture. Some days were spent looking over and modifying (see below) my plans. I was able to spend some time writing Monday. I’ve got about 750 words down for the background/intro to BD1: The Village of Gavins.

The ten-part adventure path has been altered to eight parts. Nothing is being removed. I’m rolling two of the installments into the previous one. Two of them just seemed better suited as one product. The other because I decided one wouldn’t really be large enough for a stand-alone item.

A five-part mega-dungeon has been added to the long-term list. This will be something of a homage to Ruins of Greyhawk, Undermountain, and Rappan Athuk. I’ll be recruiting some help when this gets past the initial planning stage. I’m meeting with a few potential helpers tomorrow to pitch the idea to them.

This isn’t the only homage planned. The Slaver series, the Desert of Desolation series, and a few others are favorites of mine that I’ve enjoyed for years. I’ll give a nod to them sometime in the future.

WORLD CREATION DIARY PART 1:

The Lands of Abish haven’t gotten much attention thus far. I do have a few items planned to include a religions book, a book of races, and an equipment guide (I’ve started an excel file for this). I’m planning to get away from the gold piece standard that most RPGs have as it seems unrealistic. Silver will be the standard for most common, middle-class folk with copper being more plentiful in the hands of the peasants. Most peasants will rarely hold more than a dozen gold coins in their hands during their lifetime. Barter will also be a major part of a peasant’s life.

The first release will be a systemless primer (Book 0). This will contain a planet overview with basic notes on eight sections: 0°-90° / 90°-180° east and west in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Most of this will likely never be developed beyond continent maps with names of geographical topography, kingdoms, and a few major cities.

Other than these maps, a brief description, and a timeline, seven areas may be opened for third party or freelance development. That’s assuming any success with this project.

I’m considering taking the lazy route for the world map by using Earth but rotating it and using another location as the north pole. I’ll keep mountains, rivers, and lakes; but forests, plains, and desert areas will be changed. This isn’t completely decided; but if I decide to do this, the north pole will likely be the approximate center of the real-world Bay of Bengal southeast of India.

Gavins is in the southern hemisphere about 40°S, 25°E. This allows me to use my local climate for the area. This quadrant of the southern hemisphere will be the focus of the setting books. It seems most settings I’ve read are set north of the equator, so I’ve decided to focus south.

I’ve been scouring my PDF library this past week as well. I’m compiling a list of files to help with this endeavor. I didn’t realize just how much I have, so it’s taking some time to go through.

A few things I’ve yet to investigate are layout, editing, and artwork. I’ve never done any sort of layout, so that may be outsourced while I learn some ins and out of it. I’ll likely self-edit, but I’d like to get another set of eyes to look at things and then give it a final pass myself. I’m not an artist, so all of that will need to be outsourced.

Another is the PDF, PoD, print decision. PDF is standard these days, so that will be the initial release for everything. PoD will likely come once I’m comfortable with everything; but actual print jobs will depend on the success or lack thereof, so that’s down the road.

Box sets? Yes? No? Some like them, some don’t.

That’s it for this week. I’ll touch base again next Friday!

Peace out…

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New Beginnings II / My Final(?) Attempt to Self-Publish

Hail & Peace

It’s been over two years since I’ve made a post here, so here we go again…

I’ve begun an outline of a product line that currently includes a campaign setting and a ten-part adventure path.

The items in the adventure path all have working titles and basic notes. The first, ‘BD1: The Village of Gavins’, opens the series in a small farming community with a handful of minor adventures not related to the main story arc with one final one leading into it and the follow-up adventure.

Four of the ten titles (including BD1) will detail villages with local adventures that don’t deal directly with the main arc but allow the PCs to gain much needed experience for later events.

These and other adventures will take place in ‘The Lands of Abish’ setting. Some details of Abish will appear in titles released before a world book is written.

I’m still deciding which system(s) to support. Various editions of D&D and some of their derivatives comprise most of the list of possibilities.

In the next post, I’ll give an update on any progress and anything new that comes to mind.

Peace Out…

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GeoCentric Review #1: A Forgotten Evil

GeoCentric Review #1: A Forgotten Evil

Publisher: Mischief, Inc
Author: Alex Karaczun
Game System: AD&D1e / OSRIC
PDF Page Count: 40 (2 cover pages, title page, preface/table of contents page, 2 map pages, 28 adventure pages, 5 pages of pre-generated characters, and a DM Notes page)
Price: $9.99 at RPGNow ($0.25 / page)
Link: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/183885/A1-A-Forgotten-Evil?hot60=1&src=hgrs

‘A Forgotten Evil’ is the first in the ‘Ancient Evil’ series by Mischief, Inc. It is for a group of 6-8 characters of 1st-3rd level.

In this, a group of goblins has released a half-demon that has been in stasis for centuries in an old tower and placed him in a dungeon for their worship. Hoping to lure help to release him, he has commanded the goblins to begin raiding surrounding towns.

The text opens with some background of the Twelve Kingdoms and about the war from the time the half-demon was imprisoned and moves into the present with the actions of the goblins in the area.

The format of the encounter descriptions is reminiscent of the early AD&D1e days as are the maps. One of my favorite things about this adventure is all the rooms/areas are there for reasons. There isn’t anything there ‘just because’. The only possible exception is the final room in the dungeon (a story twist I didn’t expect!), but it’s explained within the room’s text.

Another interesting note is that all magical weapons and armor/shields found are given names and short backgrounds to add more flavor to them. Also, coins are given regional names such as ‘silver wyrmlings’ and ‘silver regents’ depending their kingdom of origin.

Overall, I like this adventure. It isn’t overly long and can be completed in a few sessions. If you’re using another setting, it would be easy to replace the names and drop it into any area with hills and mountains.
Also, reworking this to fit almost any system would require very little work. Depending on the system, you might have to substitute a more appropriate creature in a few spots; but the work to do so would still be minimal.
The adaptability to settings and system make this more valuable to those outside the target audience.

On the grammatical side, ‘grammar patriots’ such as myself will find typos, spelling and punctuation errors, and grammar syntax errors to be at a minimum. The editor for this project did a fine job.

If you like the old-style AD&D1e adventures, you should get this. It’s great for kicking off a campaign.
It give the GM what he needs without bogging him down with things he just doesn’t need.

On a scale of 1-5, I’ll give this a score of 4.

Also, sold separately is an illustration book weighing in at 8 pages (a cover page with an illustration included plus seven more page sized illustraitons,) for $4.99 makes a nice companion for the adventure.
Link: http://www.rpgnow.com/product/183886/A1-A-Forgotten-Evil-Illustration-Book?manufacturers_id=5493

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New Beginnings

New Beginnings…

It’s been close to 18 months since I’ve posted anything to this blog page. It’s time for a new beginning!

Much has happened since the previous post: personally and professionally, good and bad. I’ll skip the bad and focus on the good here.

Personal:
I have two more grandchildren! My eldest daughter gave birth to twins on June 3rd this year. We will be making the trek to Oklahoma in less than two weeks to finally meet them and visit the rest of my descendants.

Professional:
I’ve had two more short adventures published by Kenzer & Company this year: ‘The Forgotten Monastery’ and ‘Vidar’s Final Trek’. Both were written for HackMaster but are easily converted to almost any other game system.
And I’ve entered the world of RPG Editing with my first project being ‘Mazes & Perils, Deluxe Edition’ published by Moebius Adventures. I’ve already done another project for the M&P line that will be released later this week and have started another for release in the near future.

Soon, I’ll be putting myself ‘on the market’ as a freelance RPG Editor. I’ll have my rates here on my blog site by the end of July and plan to pass out business cards at GenCon.

If you know of anyone needing some RPG editing work, let them know GeoCentric Designs will be available on September 1st, 2016.

Happy 4th, Everyone!

Kenzer & Company: http://www.kenzerco.com/
Moebius Adventures: http://www.moebiusadventures.com/

‘The Forgotten Monastery’:
http://www.kenzerco.com/product_info.php?cPath=25_94_99&products_id=1245

‘Vidar’s Final Trek’:
http://www.kenzerco.com/product_info.php?cPath=25_94_99&products_id=1246

‘Mazes & Perils: Deluxe Edition’:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product/181899/Mazes–Perils-Deluxe-Edition

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It’s cold!!!

WINTER IS IN FULL FORCE HERE!

Are you enjoying it as much as I’m not? The cold, the snow, it can all go away now. One day of it is a day too much for my liking. February is more than half gone, and Valentine’s Day is past for the year. The wife & I saw Tesla a few weeks ago and got to hang out with the band for a bit. It was pretty cool. If you have me on FaceBook, you can see pictures from the show.
But I didn’t start this blog to share things like this with everyone. FaceBook does a sufficient job of that.

Let’s chat gaming. 🙂

The only writing progress I’ve had is doing a revision on a short adventure slated for publication in a month or two. After having a 3-4 hour chat with one of the KenzerCo staff a few weeks ago, I decided it needed some work. (More about the chat in a bit.) So, I modified some things, gave it a good reading, and sent it back in. Hopefully, it will be well received by the readers.

On January 30th, I drove up to Waukegan; and a my friend (Steve) and I visited Jolly & Barb Blackburn. We spent the evening just chilling out and discussing various topics including RPGs and HackMaster. Techniques for Hirst molds were discussed and almost anything you can think of for table top gaming from dice to miniatures to tequila to old systems to Maple Crown Royal to old business associates… You get the picture. I missed my normal bed time by several hours.
Saturday was HackMaster day. It was on! A few other Kenzer & Co people (Brian Jelke & Steve Johansson) arrived for a fun session of gaming. My new digital battle board (see below) made it’s debut at the gaming table that day. We had plenty of laughs and even discovered a rule that needed errata. At the end of the day, we had no deaths; but a few were close.

The main reason I made the trip was to get my TV-modified-into-a-digital-battle-board by my friend, Steve. The cover is completely removable and has a white board on the inside and a chessex battle mat on the outside. Using MapTool with the Fog of War feature, I can have a map on my laptop and reveal parts of it to the players as they explore with their miniatures. I still have things to learn about it, but I’m looking forward to that. I’m hoping to be ready to start using it by GaryCon at the end of March.

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After the game, I drove into the city and met Steve J at his place. As noted earlier, we had a long chat about HackMaster, adventure design, freelancing, and gaming in general. He gave me many things to think about.

The next morning I left Chicago with the snow coming in. Luckily, I was just ahead of the blizzard as it came down. I saw several vehicles in the ditches during my 4-1/2 – 5 hour drive home, but I made it safely in mid-afternoon.

In March, I’ll discuss what I’ve got going on with GaryCon and anything that comes up by then!

Hail & Peace!

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HAPPY NEW YEAR!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Another year has come and gone. 2014 has had its ups and down.

One of the highlights is two more grandchildren were born about three weeks apart last spring. 🙂 Each of my three daughters has had a child now.

On a lower note, 2014 passed without a single blog entry. I’ve decided to change that by setting a goal of posting a minimum of one blog / month in 2015. We’ll see how that goes.

Speaking of setting goals, I accomplished a short-term goal I had set at the beginning of 2014: I was published in the RPG industry. TWICE!

The first was in mid-June and published by Moebius Adventures. It was my first paid freelance project: One Spot #3: Dolothar’s Shrine.
It can be found here:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product/131161/One-Spot-3-Dolothars-Shrine?term=dolothar%5C%27s

Kenzer & Company released a HackMaster adventure I had submitted for a contest in 2013. It didn’t place in the contest, but they still felt is was good enough for publication. Legacy of the Elm King was released as a PDF at the beginning of GenCon. K&Co printed 15-20 copies to have on hand at their booth as well. I was happy to see it sell out there.
You can find it on pdf here:
http://www.kenzerco.com/product_info.php?cPath=25_94_99&products_id=1146

I have two more products awaiting publication and a few in the beginning stages that I’ll be working on the next several months.

The process for the two already published items were completely different, so I’m going to use this first blog of 2015 to talk about those a bit.

Legacy of the Elm King was, as I said, a contest entry in 2013. There wasn’t much to that. I made this one to be a simple dungeon crawl for my regular HackMaster group. When the contest was announced, I scanned my maps and wrote the adventure based on the contest guidelines. I had to change the background a bit to fit those guidelines, but the meat of the product was as I ran it for my group.
I sent it in and eagerly awaited. The top two entries were to appear in Knights of the Dinner Table #199 & #200. Alas, it was not picked. I was a bit bummed, but it was the first time I’d ever actually written something for publication. I let it go and went on with my gaming life as usual.
At GaryCon in 2014, I was talking with one of the staff from K&Co. He told me the background was being reworked, and it would be released later in the year! W00T!
And I heard nothing more about it.
In June, I received an email with the subject line “SURPRISE” from him. He had attached the adventure ready for release but wanted me to proofread it and give feedback. SWEET! I scoured through it that night and sent my notes back the following morning.
And I heard nothing more about it.
Late July/early August, I sent him an email asking about it and was told it was debuting at GenCon. SWEET! My first adventure was to be a GenCon release! I was stoked. When GenCon arrived, I saw it sitting there in the rack at the K&Co booth.
So that product was a simple process of writing it and proofreading the modified product. There wasn’t any communication about making changes or adjusting this or that. Wrote it. Sent it. Proofread it. They released it.

One Spot #3: Dolothar’s Shrine was a different experience altogether.
I started talking with Brian Fitzpatrick (the man behind Moebius) 7 or 8 years ago. We talked several times about writing and such. Back around this time last year, we did a video chat do discuss my doing a freelance project for him. He left it pretty open as long as they fit within one of his current product lines and asked me to send him an idea when I got one.
Mid-February, I sent him the initial idea for ‘Geo’s Shrine for the Unwell’. As I didn’t have any ideas for a good name, yet, I gave it that as a placeholder. He liked it and set me loose.
The first draft , map included, was finished up and sent off in early March. He replied a few days later with several questions whose answers seemed obvious to me as I had written it. I’ll admit I was a bit irked at first; but as I read through it all again, it hit me that I was mentally filling in items. The critiques and questions were there to make me think more on it to make a better product. People that buy it won’t know the answers that I mentally fill in, so I set about adding more text and clarifying some things.
I worked on the revision and sent it off to him in early April. At this time, it had been renamed ‘Shrine of Dolothar’. Over the course of April, we made some tweaks to the text and map. About 20 or so emails were sent back in forth during this process. He kept asking for more details on the NPCs and added some text and tables of his own to it. By the end of the month, we had the writing and map parts ready to go. And I received payment. My first paid freelance job was finished on my end.
Early May saw the title changed to ‘One Spot #3: Dolothar’s Shrine’ which it would remain. Nothing else happened on my end during May as Brian awaited the artwork.
Finally, I got an email on Friday, June 13th (yes, Friday the 13th!) that is was complete and would go live on Tuesday, June 17th! Once Tuesday rolled around, I advertised its release all over Facebook. I’m not sure how much it helped, though. As of the end of 2014, Brian told me that 25 copies have been sold.

You can read a 4-star review of it on RPGNow here:
http://www.rpgnow.com/product_reviews_info.php?&reviews_id=112993&products_id=131161

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Kenzer & Company: http://www.kenzerco.com/

Moebius Adventures: http://blog2.moebiusadventures.com/

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