Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Bookface

Tim Shorts thinks he's so clever. So very, very clever. He will RUE THE DAY he taunted Bookface!

Actually, maybe Bookface will rue the day he taunted Tim, as Tim is much more productive than Bookface. Now Tim's done a bang-up job taking his one-page dungeon Where is Margesh Blackblood? and turning it into a booklet. He's devoted two pages to each encounter area--descriptions on the left, map on the right--and added stats for Swords & Wizardry rather than keep the generic orginals. This is a nice little "capture the bandits" encounter session--just right for a one-off or a drop-in.

You can grab it and Pay What You Want at

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Interesting Concept in a Music Video

Ok, so it's Avril Lavigne. Turn down the sound. Watch the video.

So. Channeling Tank Girl. Visual references to Mad Max and Maximum Overdrive and Repo Man. Got the motion comics thing. Winnie from The Wonder Years with voice over action. References to W.A.S.P. (the saw axe) and Guns 'N Roses' "November Rain". PLUS BEARSHARK!

I would seriously play this game.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Bookface Print Your Own Booklet Time!

Millenniums & Mutations for Tunnels & Trolls, by Wizardawn. This is a post-apocalyptic ruleset to use with Tunnels & Trolls 5th or 7th edition. Think Thundaar the Barbarian or Gamma World rather than Fallout. Be sure to grab the World of Zendynn supplement (available at the same link). The supplement provides a world map, bestiary, and other extras.

Brave the Labyrinth, Issue 1
, by Pete Spahn. Read Tenkar's review, here.

The Dragon Horde, Issue 1, from New Big Dragon.

The Lost Lair of the Lizard Laird, a DELVE! zine special issue, by Johnathan Bingham.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bookface -- AEG Edition

So back on July 22, Tenkar asked if anyone knew anything about the d20 adventure booklets published by Alderac Entertainmnet Group under the Adventure Booster title. I had never heard about them. But I had a credit balance at RPGNow, so I grabbed four in PDF: Bring Him Back Alive, Castle Zadrian, The Crypt of St. Bethesda, and The Heart of Amun Khonshu.

The PDFs were crappy scans. The content was decent albeit a bit railroady (boxed text and all), but the scans made for difficult on-screen reading, two of them wouldn't open in Preview on my Mac (the default PDF viewer), and printing them to create a booklet was nearly impossible. So I popped over to Noble Knight Games and grabbed a few that were low priced and in good condition.

The modules themselves are designed to be drop-ins in a current campaign -- side treks or encounters that should take only a session to complete. Rather than bore you with my reviews, here's a link to an article by Jim Bishop from Dragon Magazine Annual 6 published in 2001. Bishop reviews most of these Adventure Boosters, plus many from Fantasty Flight Games's Instant Adventure series. I'm just glad to see that the ones I grabbed from both RPGNow and Noble Knight were, for the most part, ones that earned high marks from Bishop.

Jerimond's Orb

The Murder of the Seven Points

Against the Barrow King

The Heart of Amon Khonshu

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Bookface Mail Call!

Why look what came in the mail! The Manor #4! Great googly-moogly! And what's this?

A bonus! An excellent picture of corpse flies! That reminds me . . . it's lunchtime!

Crank up the soundtrack, because Planet Motherf***er has landed!

Many, many thanks to Zach Z. for this, who backed the Kickstarter and decided to pass on his Free RPG Day copy to me. I owe him much beer. Does that make a good baby shower gift?

From Dylan Hartwell comes Verloren! Read this review, then go buy it!

The Fungus that Came to Blackeswell, by Yves Geens (the dude who brought us the Fallout fan conversion for the Savage Worlds system). This is Module #3 in the Psychedlic Fantasies series. You can read a review over here.

Also, if you missed it, please check out yesterday's post, as I thought I was particularly clever.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Four Long Lost Beasts of Legend Newly Revealed!

(This announcement brought to you by Gunther Taxidermy, conveniently located in Walthamthorp. Gunther Taxidermy: Preserve the Adventure!)

Their existence has been whispered about for generations, to the point they were thought to be things of legend spoken of around campfires merely to spook green recruits.

But now, Gunther Taxidermy is proud to reveal the truth about these rare creatures! Their pelts were found deep in the family vaults on Baron Walthamthorp's estate and their provenance puzzled the Baron's chief archivist.

Upon request from the Baron himself, Gunther Fishkiller has spent the past seventeen mooncycles tracking down the sources of these pelts, gathering and confirming the known lore to positively, once and for all reveal the truth about the animals from whence they came.

Gathered here in one location is the sum of our true knowledge of these fearsome creatures of the under dark.

The Snickerjack

Occasionally it happens that inexperienced dungeon robbers and others wandering beneath the east disappear completely. Guides are unable to locate them, rescue teams come back empty handed, further parties seeking adventure and riches never come across their remains, and all kinds of theories are offered to explain the disappearances.

From the limestone caverns of Northern Kirlangen came the rumor of an animal called the Snickerjack, the existence of which may shed some light upon the fate of those who fail to come back to town. According to the Brothers of the Order of the Fist (brewers of the realms-famous Miasmimosa bitter brew) who had been enlarging the natural caverns beneath their monasteries to age their ales and pilasters, the Snickerjack is a blood-thirsty, wolf-like creature of disturbing proportions. It has a wolfish head and body but deer-like legs sporting small, delicate hooves. Its unique method of attack is to station itself upon a pathway, generally at a bend in a tunnel, where it stands on its diminutive hind legs and whirls. The speed is increased until the animal is nearly invisible, and the motion produces a strange snickering sound, as if the animal is wickedly laughing, which seems to come from random directions and is impossible to pinpoint.

Any creature coming along the pathway and not recognizing the sound is almost certain to walk into the danger zone and become instantly deposited in the form of syrup or varnish in the gaping maw of the Snickerjack (Save vs. Deathray or face death by instant liquification).

The Snickerjack is understood to be a solitary creature, preferring to run away rather than fight. It will fight only in defense of its lair, especially if their whelps are present.

The Irrepressible Snoo

In the foggy regions along underground rivers and lakes there resides a creature that causes much annoyance to adventurers. This is the Irrepressible Snoo, which is so rare that only once in a great while does an unlucky adventurer stumble across one. It is believed to remain in hiding among stalagmites and flowstone, from where it sallies forth occasionally on frightful marauding expeditions. During these periods of activity the beast is always hungry and devours anything it can find that looks like food. A whole horse may be eaten at one sitting, distending the Irrepressible Snoo out of all porportions, but failing to appease its hunger or cause it the slightest discomfort.

The specimens seen are reported to have been coal black, but that may have been due to their being seen by dim torch or lantern light, as they are truly a dullish brown color (except for the ultra-rare Irrepressible Albino Snoo). In size the beast corresponds closely to a large otter or badger, for which it might be mistaken. It has prominent, sad-looking eyes and some long, whisker-like hairs on its nose but the body is smooth, tough, and shiny and bears not even a wrinkle.

The animal is a tireless traveler when looking for food, but is not swift in its movements or annoyed in the slightest degree by the presence of enemies. The latter characteristic is easily accounted for by the fact that no other animal within its range has ever found a successful method of attacking an Irrepressible Snoo or a vulnerable spot in its anatomy. Whatever strikes the beast bounds off with the same force. Its elastic hide hurls back with equal ease the swift-swung axe and most magical attacks. An arrow or spear thrown at the creature bounds back at whoever threw it, and a bolt shot against its hide is sure to strike the hunter between the eyes.

It is believed that the scarcity of the Irrepressible Snoo is due to its combustible character and the prevalence of forest fires. The animal burns like kindling and then explodes with devastating force. Frequently during and after mining operations near underground waterways, gnomes and dwarves have insisted that they heard loud reports quite unlike the sound of black powder, and detected the smell of burning ginseng in the air.

The Hmmphcoocat

A widely distributed and frightfully destructive animal is the Hmmphcoocat. It is found from Northern Kirlangen to Walthamthorp, and eastward to Lochnamsh, but past Darkwood Shire it has been reported in only a few localities. Apparently the Hmmphcoocat inhabits those parts of the under dark in which fire beetles, giant spiders, and carrion crawlers are found. These are its natural food, and the animal prowls the passageways of caverns dark and deep every day, shattering rockslides and smashing through locked doors in pursuit of its prey.

The Hmmphcoocat accomplishes its destructive work in a simple but effective manner: it merely stares at the object blocking its path with a sneer of contempt on its face. Striking squarely at the obstruction with its hard face, the Hmpmphcocat passes right on, leaving doors broken and shattered as though struck by lightning or snapped off by a troll. Appalling destruction has been wrought by this animal in the City-States of the Cave Gnomes, where its work is often ascribed to rockworms.

The Marlafix

The Marlafix will ask you for a smoke. DO NOT SHARE YOUR PIPEWEED WITH A MARLAFIX! Refusing to do so will cause the Marlafix to shrug nonchalantly and slink away into the shadows.

If you do share your pipeweed, you will wake up the next morning with the Marlafix in your bed, and it will shortly announce it loves you and is moving in with you, and will shortly thereafter steal your heart, your good silver, and your most recent romantic interest, leaving you destitute yet happy in a wistful way until you see the Marlafix at a local tavern drinking it up and making snide comments about your performance in the sack, at which point you will blow your cool, hook up with some bar scum in a short-sighted attempt to make the Marlafix jealous, contract 2d4 strains of various Dungeon Funk and spend six moons seeking various cures to your ailments, at which point thereafter you will receive a lovely handwritten note from the Marlafix inquiring about your well-being and asking you to join it for lunch, which you will be compelled to attend and find to be very satisfying (especially the paleberry tarts)--and during the third course, the Marlafix will apologize for its past behavior and ask your forgiveness (which, of course, you will be compelled to grant) and then it will cackle wickedly and run out on the check, leaving you with a hefty tab it ran up before your luncheon date. At least, this is what Yalek Aieleek of Darkwood Shire reports.

All images snatched from here.

Descriptions manipulated and blatantly plagiarized from descriptions of beasts found in Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods by William T. Cox (Judd & Detweiler, 1910), which is now in the public domain.

Bookface Bookstore Finds

So here are some books I've picked up recently.

First up is this 3E Fast Play from the d20 System Dice package that was sold by WoTC back in 2000. This is the "Free Game" which wasn't really free because these dice:

were waaaaay overpriced ($6.95) and came in a big-ass box:

That's right. Seven dice and a sixteen page booklet were the only things in that box. For $7. I paid less, of course.

The PDF of this Fast Play is still available on the WotC website. Still, it's nice to have a print version.

The Practical Guide to Monsters. This was published by a WotC imprint, Moonstone Books, and is aimed at the middle-grade reader (6 to 9 year olds). It's got descriptions of D&D monsters and acts as a gentle introduction to the monsters of fantasy games. What's great is that it is all description, no stats. Here, for example is a shot of the Manticore entry:

As you can see, it is brief, focuses on description, and lacks stats. Also, there are plenty of maps of monster lairs and such for many monster types, and the art is pretty damn good--better than the usual stuff WotC churned out for 4e. Alas, it references Krynn a lot (I usually abhor Dragonlance . . .) and is part of the series of "Practical Guides to . . ." that WotC churned out for kids in 2006–2008. Which brings me to . .

The Practical Guide to Dragons. This evidently the kids bestseller list at the New York Time. There were a couple of spinoffs, including a series of middle-grade fantasy novels. It references Krynn extensively, so if you can't stand Dragonlance, you might hate this (I just grin and bear it). That said, it's a gorgeous book, lavishly illustrated, and worth finding used just for the illos alone. The book covers the anatomy and habitat of most dragons featured in the D&D, and provides lots of material to mine for atmosphere, including lair sketches and the like. I'll leave this section with a shot of the entry on Black Dragons:

Finally, I managed to find a second edition of the Dictionary of Imaginary Places. Jeff had mentioned this awhile back, so maybe it sounds familiar to you. I already had the first edition, and this second edition adds a number of entries and maps. Most of the entries concern fantasy lands from classic and English literature; new to this version is extensive coverage of the geography of the Harry Potter universe, most likely because of its popularity. Of course, Middle-Earth is covered in detail by several entries, too, and Earthsea pops up, too, but there is still no entry for Amber, Lankhmar, or any of the lands from the Conan mythos (although there are a few cursory nods to the Lovecraftian mythos--there's a great city map of Arkham).

The version of the first edition I have is an over-sized coffee table book, but I like this second edition better because it is easier to photocopy pages. Still, either edition makes for a great resource. In fact, you'll be even better off getting both versions because they dropped some entries from the first to add the new stuff.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Bob the Cat?

So this is Bob the Cat:

Bob is kind of a big deal. Seems this James Bowen dude is a musician who was struggling to makes ends meet and whose life turned around when he started taking care of the cat. The book is supposed to be a feel-good memoir, evidently. Here's an excerpt.

Before this book was published in the U.S. last month, I had never heard of that cat or the book about him.

And here's what's weird. Back in March, I created a minion for Petty Gods named, you guessed it, Bob the Cat.

Here's the opening line of that write-up:
Bob the Cat is a two-legged bald cat that rides on the shoulders of Ywehbobbobhewy, Lord of Waters, etc., etc., when His Lordship manifests as a one-eyed, lute-playing hunchbacked midget during the Dark Moon Festival and other high holy days.

Look at the book cover again:

The cat is riding on that dude's shoulders! Bowen is a busker who plays the guitar!

Maybe I was tapping into some Amber-ish shadow world for my inspiration.

I guess this makes James Bowen a manifestation of Ywehbobbobhewy, Lord of Waters, King of Mirrors, Patriarch of the Most Profound, eh? He does look kinda shifty.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Petty Classifieds

MINIONS WANTED! God of Abject Poverty needs lackeys for entry-level field positions managing ruination portfolios. Must like body vermin and travel by foot. Apply at the Sign of the Crooked Foot in Lochnamsh next full moon. Serious inquiries only. No elves.

PUNY MAN! Bow before the Goddess of Wonderous Strength and be the master of your muscle! You are called to a special meeting of the Muscle Cult at the next nexus of the twin moons of Joon at Temple Square in Portown. Only the first ten applicants who fail the feats of strength will be admitted. No dwarves; farmboys need not apply unless partially crippled.

LOST: Small, ruby, triple-headed goat statue inscribed with the name “EMKILM” on base. Last seen behind the bar at the Sign of the Wrinkled Tit. If found, please return to Faroo the Magnanimous in Harnthorp for special reward. Note: DO NOT attempt to milk the statue!

RUM MAIT WANTTED! Slorg need rum mait. Nice layer. Tastful decorated with skuls. Must not be orc. Cum to bridge. Look under. Aks for Slorg. Show  add or I will eet you.

FOR RENT: Small hovel on outskirts of town. Tends to wander if left unattended. Special discounts for old crones and/or witches. Inquire at Yaga Babba’s Bakery Shoppe.

SOULS FOR SALE! CLEARANCE PRICED!  Demon lord has been demoted and must clear all inventory! Thousands of contracts reduced below cost! My loss is your gain! Come on down to Lecherous Larry the Lemure Demon's Soul Emporium NOW! No lawyers or wholesalers will be admitted.

WANTED: Small, jewel encrusted bronze statue of a demon laughing in its sleep. Will pay 1,000gp for same. I'll know it when I see it. Bring it to Yalek Aieleek, Master of Sleep, at Zabit's Magic Shop in Darkwood Shire.

You: Handsome halfling rogue with velvet touch. Me: The drunk bar maid at the Wrinkled Tit with dishwater hair and a small mole under her left eye. Lost: My trust, my heart, my crystal pendant. If I see you again, you turd on an owlbear’s ball sack, this wench will wrench your furry little toes clean off.

Skeleton keys for sale. Must provide own skeleton. W.S. Largish & Sons, Locksmiths.

ADVENTURERS WANTED! Cowardly villagers seek foolhardy and short-sighted rogues to sacrifice life and limb for paltry reward and bragging rights in an attempt to kill black dragon disrupting local sheep-based economy.  Interested parties must provide own weapons and mounts. Interested applicants please inquire with Old Man Slathery at Goatshire's blacksmith shop.

Sisyphut's Miscellaneous Labor Services. No task unreasonable or too dangerous. Trained and untrained laborers ready to work at reasonable rates. Special orders our specialty. Just whistle and we'll work!

Walter Withcroft, Ph.D, M.U.F.C, R.O.T.C., Br.OF (ret.), will repair and recharge your magic items for minimal cost. No guarantee of normal function after upgrades or recharges. Also have small number of special items for sale, including lover’s knots, bracelets of clasping, wands of mendacity, pendants of stag’s endurance, and rings of hope. Hours: one hour after sun-up till mid-day, every day, unless sign on door says otherwise. Stall located behind Yaga Babba's Bakery, next to cobbler shop. Discrete transactions available at extra cost.

DELIVERY MAN NEEDED. The Brothers of the Order of the Fist in Northern Kirlangen, brewers of the realms-famous Miasmimosa bittersweet brew,  have immediate need for a delivery driver. Must be able to lift a half-cask unaided and be amenable to being the subject of multiple spell protections. Apply in person to Brother Bendover, Prior of Kirlangen Abbey.

100GP REWARD! Clear crystal pendant in shape of stag’s head. If found, return to Bethda Tillminder at the Sign of the Wrinkled Tit.

DUNGEONEERS! Have your latest forays beneath the earth left you feeling you've lost your mirth? Has crawling through the underdark taken away your divine spark? Perhaps a case of raging doom has left you confined to your room, or maybe your gut is in  a fit because of  a case of the lucky shits?  Whether it's tenebrites, ghosts of fleas, fly mites, undead lice, or just scraped knees, HARPOOL'S APOTHECARY HAS THE CURE!  Our trained apothecaries are supervised by a fully royal-licensed alchemist of the sixth degree. No ailment too small or to large. Conveniently located in Market Square next to Yaga Babba's Bakery.

THARWICK'S FEED & LIVESTOCK MULE TRAIN SPECIAL! Why buy when you can rent? We have mules available for as low as 5gp per day. Rent five mules, get a sixth for free!  Carts and mule drivers available at extra cost. Come on down to Tharwick's: it's your move, so trust us to haul it right.


Dwarves needed for dangerous mission to retrieve lost birthright. Must be stout of heart, sober of mind, and fast with fists. Ability to speak Northlander helpful, but not required. Come to the Shady Dragon Tavern and ask for Walker.

OFFICIAL NOTICE: Be it herewith known that Raffles Kuntfingers of the Shire of Darkwood has been found guilty of theft from the royal treasury and is to be executed  at dawn on the second day after this notice is circulated.  He is to be drawn and quartered in  the public square. The convicted’s personal belongings were sold at auction under sealed bid to the highest bidder, as per royal custom. All citizens of title of the kingdom are invited to attend the execution. Refreshments will be follow the spectacle courtesy of Baron Walthamthorp.

Alchemist in need of rare and hard-to-find ingredients seeks to hire intrepid explorers to secure such. Inquire at front gate of Stonefist Keep. Show ad for admittance.

GUNTHER TAXIDERMY, located in Walthamthorp, will stuff and mount your trophy in true-to-life fashion. Gunther Fishkiller has 30 years experience in helping customers relive the hunt through tasteful taxidermy. In his years in service to Baron Walthamthorp, Gunther learned to hunt the big ones and mount them! Drop by our showroom to see our handiwork and discuss how we can help you furnish your home, guild, or keep and help you keep your memories alive. Gunther Taxidermy: Preserve The Adventure!

Curses removed. Reasonable prices. Come to stall 7 on market days. Ask for Renata.

Escorts provided for single knights in need of companionship to court-required social engagements. Our girls are fully trained in small talk, friendly gestures, and royal social graces. Special services available for paladins. Jaleen's Social Circle is here to serve. Two blocks off Market Square on Guilds Way. Ask for Lefpth. 

REPENT, REPENT! YWEHBOBBOBHEWY, LORD OF WATERS, KING OF MIRRORS, PATRIARCH OF THE MOST PROFOUND DEMANDS YOU REPENT! Run this ad three times and your prayers will be answered. For details, send 1 cp to Ywehbobbobhewy, Lord of Waters, King of Mirrors, Patriarch of the Most Profound, c/o Bob Dacat, Temple Felinis, Whiskeryshire.

FOUND: Stag Head Pendant. Has curious properties only true owner would know. Inquire at Harpool's Apothecary. Ask for Kenwise. Be prepared to bargain.