Friday, March 30, 2012

Sitting Out the April A to Z Challenge

The title of the post says it all.  I'm just beat and creatively dead at the moment.

Friday, March 23, 2012

More Digging Around on WOTC's Website

So I've been digging around (again) on Wizard's website and I came across this little gem:

Barrel, Crate, and Sack Generator

If you download the zip archive and unzip it to a directory, you get a lot of little toys to play with.

Unzipping the file will create a directory with the name "BCS." Open the file "index.htm" inside (note: it looks terrible in Safari. Use Firefox or Chrome, and make sure your pop-up blocker is disabled.) Okay, you can go to town generating barrels, sacks, and crates of stuff. Neat enough. But wait! There's more!

Notice the calculator button? Click it. Coolnesss! A calculator window pops up!

Notice the little "Dice Roller" button. Click it. Coolness! A little dice roller pops up on the page. Oh, what is this "more dice" button on the dice roller? Whoa! It takes you to a full version of the dice roller I blogged about way back when.

But that's not all.

Go back to that directory on your hard drive, and you'll notice a whole bunch of subdirectories:

Okay, what are all these?

  1. calc is the pop-up calculator.
  2. dice is the dice roller.
  3. dmt is a Deck of Many Things generator! There are two generators in here: the "dmt.htm" files opens a straight-up DoMT generator; the "vdmt.htm" opens one for a Variant DoMT
  4. fist is a Virtual Fist of Emirikol generator. I had no idea what this is and had to Google it to find this zipped PDF explanation. The die itself was a limited production run, but you can make a papercraft one.
  5. images should be self-explanatory. Don't muck with this directory.
  6. odice is an Olidammara's Dice roller. Another 3e thing. Here are the rules for how it works.
  7. wonder is a Rod of Wonder effect generator.

Now, each of these generators is available as a separate download, but somebody goofed way back when and with a single download you can now have a lot of offline generators at your fingertips.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Digital Narratives Midterm Exam -- Extra Credit Portion

You are a dwarven warrior with slight psionic abilities. You have broken out of the depths of a dungeon and are now stumbling through the collapsing sewers beneath the evil lich’s keep. You have no armor—you are dressed in rags, your head is bare, and your feet are unshod. You are carrying a flaming torch in one hand and in your other hand is a rusty battleaxe you wrested away from a guard during your escape. As you turn a corner, floating towards you in the dim light is this:

What do you do? Write out how the encounter could play out in the comments below. Keep it to as much as the comment box will hold. Make me laugh to get all the bonus points.

(And yes, this is really from the midterm exam I gave this afternoon)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Collected Fan Campaign Settings

EDIT on August 29, 2012:

I'll be removing the files this weekend. I've had them up for a while, so if there's anything you want to grab, get it before Friday, August 31.

A couple posts back I asked about free fan-created gazetteers and campaign primers.

Since then, I've scoured the web and my hard drive and collected a whole lot of files worth posting in one place. I've included a few free players guides from game publishers in this collection, too.

I did not pay any attention to system here--there are a lot of d20 and 4E material mixed, as well as fan-created material for existing D&D campaign worlds.

All in all, there is around 500MB of material.

You can peruse it here.

I'm only going to keep this public for a week or so, and then the link will expire so that I can clear out the space in my free Dropbox account. Of course, if you join Dropbox via this referral link, you can increase my storage space so I don't have to take this offline. . .

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Force is with the Internet Archive Wayback Machine!

Here's another Wayback Machine link for you, this time for WOTC Star Wars RPGs. I can't verify which are original/revised d20 and which are SAGA, so download and sort them out yourselves!*/*

Look What I Dug Up

From the mid-90s, I bring you The Ultimate Bag O'Beans, a community project from the 2e era which was compiled from one of the old D&D fan listservs (at least, that's what I can dig up about it). The link is to a zip file containing the original netbook in ASCII and two PDFs I created, one using a 10-point monospaced font and the other using an 11-point monospaced font. I didn't fancy it up at all, although I am sorely tempted to import it into Word and make it more screen & print friendly. Still, I figure with the ASCII file, you can format it to your heart's content.

And from 2008, I bring you The Bag of Beads, a community project from the old Goblinoid Games forums (old thread linked here). Major props to the dude who uses the screen name "kipper" at Goblinoid Games' new forums for getting this file to me.

You can find the new Goblionid Games forum here, where discussions about Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, Rotworld, Starships & Spacemen, and the other fine games in the Goblinoid Games line can be found.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Friday, March 9, 2012

Free Gazetteers?

So, other than the list of Mystara stuff I've already posted, what free setting gazeteers are out there?

I don't care about rule system--just what created worlds are out there.

There's Zak's list, of course. But what else is legally and freely available in terms of fan-made or indie-produced world/campaign/city/etc. settings?

I got a list started, but I'm too lazy to sort through my link list and download folder right now, so let's just see if we can get a list started.

List 'em in the comments, please.


Let's stick to stuff in PDF or other easy to download and print formats--stuff that's downloadable for offline use. There is obviously too much on blogs to even begin to list.

EDIT #2:

My Google-Fu was weak. I didn't even think of using the word "homebrew" in my searches. So, here is a link to get me started:

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Problems Brewing With New Paypal Policy

UPDATE: Paypal changed their policies.

Hmmm. Seeing as how a lot of OSR stuff is "adult" in nature, you all might be interested in all this:

"Under pressure from credit card providers, Paypal has put in place a policy that it would no longer process payments for ebooks that contained themes of rape, incest, beastiality and underage sexual content."

What does that mean for us? Think Carcosa. Think Vornheim. Think Lamentations of the Flame Princess. Think of any self-publisher writing a module or zine that features an adventure involving, say, an orc raping a captive. Or a witch and warlock who happen to be brother and sister and have to participate in a summoning ritual by getting it on. Okay, gross example, but . . . essentially any fictional (that's MADE UP) written account of such things is at risk of not being processed for payment. That, my friend, is censorship of the marketplace.

They specify "ebook" in the above quotation, but what makes anytone think Paypal will stop there? If Paypal can identify which ebooks contain such material, then surely the company can extend such a refusal to process to other material and products that some Paypal desk jockey deems unacceptable or immoral.

I don't know about you, but I don't want a payment processor dictating what I can and cannot pay for with my money. Paypal, unfortunately, has a near monopoly on online micro-payments, and so this truly affects all of us in the OSR. So unless we decide to switch back to the pre-21st century system of "send me a check and I'll send you the product" this is a bit of a problem (and honestly, who wants to go back to that method besides postal service employees?)

Of course, some folks are protesting this:

National Coalition Against Censorship, American Booksellers Federation for Free Expression, Protest Paypal Ban

Sign the protest petition!:

Stop Paypal Censorship!

And, just in case, does anyone know of another online micro-payment processor that competes with Paypal?


"PayPal is trying to implement the requirements of credit card companies, banks and credit unions. This is where it's all originating. These same requirements will eventually rain down upon every other payment processor. PayPal is trying to maintain their relationships with the credit card companies and banks, just as we want to maintain our relationship with PayPal. People who argue PayPal is the evil villain and we should drop them are missing the bigger picture. Should we give up on accepting credit cards forever? The answer is no. This goes beyond PayPal . . .


. . . What can you do to move things forward? First, direct your attention where it matters most. Contact your credit card company or congressperson and tell them you want financial services companies out of the business of censoring what writers and readers are free to imagine with fiction. Blog about it. Tweet about it. Contact your favorite blogger and encourage them to raise awareness. Start petitions and tell financial institutions you want their censors out of your head. Contact the media. The media, with your urging, has the power to shine a bright light on the dangerous slipperly slope of censorship by financial institutions.

If the media (both traditional and social) calls on credit card companies and banks to honestly answer these simple questions, then they'll either be compelled to acknowledge the absurdity of their policies or they'll be compelled to rewrite their policies. This troublesome tide can shift if financial institutions are forced to answer why they're prohibiting legal fiction."

So it's not just Paypal: it's Visa, Mastercard, Discover, Amex, banks, and credit unions.

Do you want your credit card company or financial institution to tell you how you can spend your money? Me neither. So I think a few phone calls are in my future this week.

Monday, March 5, 2012

You Know What I'd Like to See?

I'd like to see a compendium of all the Mystaran Gazetteers:

GAZ1 Grand Duchy of Karameikos
GAZ2 Emirates of Ylaruam
GAZ3 Principalities of Glantri
GAZ4 Kingdom of Ierendi
GAZ5 Elves of Alfheim
GAZ6 Dwarves of Rockhome
GAZ7 Northern Reaches
GAZ8 Five Shires
GAZ9 Minrothad Guilds
GAZ10 Orcs of Thar
GAZ11 Republic of Darokin
GAZ12 Golden Khan of Ethengar
GAZ13 Shadow Elves
GAZ14 Atruaghin Clans
Dawn of the Emperors: Thyatis and Alphatia

All of these in one big volume, one right after the other, including the maps from inside the covers, would suit me fine.

Anyone know if something like this exists? Anyone? Huh? What?


Not exactly what I was looking for, but take a look at these:

Mystara: The Known World (alt link)

Mystaran Adversary Compendium I

Codex Immortalis

The Mystaran Armoury

History of Dragonkind

Newbie's Guide to Mystara

Orc's Head Peninsula/Savage Coast PDFs

Big Ass List of Fan Gazetteers

Big Ass List of Italian Mystara Fan Material

EDIT #2:

Souragne Gazetteer

Zherisian Gazetteer

Nocturnal Sea Gazetteer

Mystara 2300 BC

Vaults of Pandius: The Known World

EDIT #3:

A Karameikos Companion

Mystara Campaign Book

Tales of the Norwold

The Grand History of Eberron

Friday, March 2, 2012

Check Out These Sweet Paper Minis!

Looking for some cool paper minis? Then this link just might have you covered.

I was purusing Bhrotiz's Toybox, a great blog with lots of resources for Flashing Blades, Savage Worlds, and Mercenaries, Spies, and Private Eyes, when I stumbled upon this link to some of his older paper minis.

If you click on the pictures, you can download around thirty ZIP archives containing some sweet jpgs to use as minis.

And if you rummage through his blog, you'll stumble across some other great resources, too.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

On the Usefulness of Wizards

(click to embiggen)

This is a comic that appeared in April 2011 in the student newspaper at the college where I teach. You can check out the artist's website here. This comic appears in issue 5 of her collected work, which you can download on her site.

Two More Print Fanzines Announced!

There's gotta be something in the water! The OSR is exploding with announcements for print zines. The two newest are Crawl! and The Manor.

With these two additions to the list I previously posted, are we starting to see the death of the gift economy and a rebirth of the fan economy? Does the free PDF fanzine still have a place? Is this explosion of zines more evidence of our nostalgia for the gaming days of years gone past? Is it evidence of our renewed love for the game? I have more questions to ponder, but I think I'll stop there.

I'm not complaining about the renewed interest of pay & post paper zines, of course--I see these publications as a net win for the hobby. Folks who put in the time and effort to create a physical product that arrives in the mail need to be compensated for the material and postage costs, at the very least. And man, for a few bucks an issue, you get a lot of stuff to drop into your game--all for literally less than the cost of a sugary dessert "coffee" beverage at Starbucks.

So, I'm cutting back on coffee for a month and ordering up subscriptions to a year's worth of gaming goodness. Who's with me!?