Thursday, December 18, 2014

In Case I Never Mentioned it CRAWLJAMMER #5 IS NOW AVAILABLE!

I have this here blog to talk about Crawljammer, and I somehow neglected to mention that (a) Crawljammer #5 is available, and (b) you can buy it! (Multiple ways!)

This is the most unusual of all Crawljammer issues so far because while it still has the sci-fi-meets-fantasy flavor that you have come to love, it's a more tightly focused issue with some real practical use at the gaming table but maybe not as much random nonsense as you have come to adore. But what I LOVE about this issue, is that Sean Ellis and I really crafted the core of a new pantheon of Space Gods that you can invoke by your wizards or use as a deity for your Crawljammin' clerics, and I provided a new character class -- the Ecclesiast -- that gives you the best of both of those worlds and frames it around a package of inspirational Wayne Snyder artwork. (Oh, and 12 new spells! TWELVE.)

And Matt Hildebrand killed it on the layout and cover art for this one.

And Fred Dailey killed it even harder on his drawings of Garun and Sperato, the latter of which is some kind of Platonic ideal of Ditko meets Legion of Super Heroes meets Christopher Lee, and I could not be happier with how that turned out.

So! You can buy issue #5 over on the right of this page. Or you can buy bundles of previous issues or preorder the next few. Or you can head over to RPGNow and get yourself any of the digital versions of any issue at a bit of a discount. Whatever you're into. And let me know if you need any help with all that Jammin' that's happening before, during, and after your Crawlin'.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Narcosmos: Transformative Idea Generator


In Narcosmos, ideas are infectious and transformative. They are weapons that cannot be easily controlled, but those in tune with the psychosphere may channel ideaspace for unique effects.

The table below demonstrates the unpredictable power of such ideas. To use this table, the game master should roll 1d16 three times, generating a compound idea with an adjective, noun, and effect. This idea becomes a kind of verbal hypersigil, and if spoken aloud, the effect occurs. The ideas may come randomly to the PCs in their sleep, or they may be scrawled on the walls of dreamspace or in forgotten tomes found in the sewers of distant planets. Once used, each idea may never be repeated.


Roll 1d16
You grow a hunchback, purple and throbbing, and after three days of slow growth, it bursts into 2d8 mechanical beetles that obey your commands until the end of the day. The beetles attack as first level fighters and bite for 1d4 damage each, have an AC of 7 (13) and 1 hp each. Anyone bitten by the beetles must save vs. poison or fall into a delirious narcoleptic coma for 1d4 turns.
A metal coffin appears beside you. You feel like it has always been there, but you have never noticed. It cannot be moved and only you can open it. Inside is a floating sphere of condensed time. If you hold this ball in both hands, you may transport you and your immediate companions 1d6 weeks into the past or 1d6 weeks into the future. The timesphere and the coffin disappears after that single use.
Blood drips from the sky, as if the gods are slaughtered in the heavens. This lasts for 1d12 weeks and follows you wherever you go.
You transform into a 13’ tall floating head for 1d4 turns. While in this form, you may not use melee or ranged attacks, and your AC and HP remain the same, but you may cast magic and unleash psionic blasts dealing 1d12 damage to anyone within sight unless they make a successful save vs. death.
You temporarily teleport yourself to a floating island in space where you must confront the six-legged jaguar woman who will neither attack nor defend but will ask you a single question: are you prepared? If you say yes you will be transported back with -2 to your Int and Wis and +1 to your Str and Con and a permanent hp gain of 1d6. If you say no you will be transported back with +2 to your Int and Wis and -1 to your Str and Con and the permanent ability to cast one randomly determined level 2 magic user spell, even if are not a spellcaster. If you say nothing you will remain on the floating island forever.
A syringe gun appears in your hand and you immediately know how to use it. It can fire 1d12 times before becoming inert. Each time it is fired at a target, there is a 50% chance it will unleash a torrent of mind-acid dealing 1d12 psychic damage and a 50% chance that the chemwave emission will mimic the effect of a randomly-determined level 3 illusionist spell.
You understand. As the game master any one question about the current adventure or campaign and he must answer in one truthful complete sentence.
You gain a limited form of speak with animals that allows you to psychically communicate with felines.
Each day for the next 1d8 days, you gain a cumulate -1 penalty to all attributes and all rolls. After the final day, you awaken the next morning to discover that the penalties have disappeared – you feel healthy again – but you have given birth to a humanoid fly the size of a rat. If you discard or kill this fly-baby, you will take 1d20 psychic damage. If you raise this fly-baby, it will grow to adulthood in 30 days and vanish into the psychosphere where you will only meet it again in your dreams.
Your shoulder blades transform into a flesh and bone jetpack due to heretofore unknown nanomachines. This effect is permanent, giving you a movement of fly 60’. All armor is useless to you unless it is custom made for your new form.
You permanently gain the following psychiatric disorder (roll 1d6): (1) agoraphobia, (2) delusions, (3) fetishism, (4) narcolepsy, (5) paranoia, (6) insomnia.
You gain the ability to transform into a giant floating jellyfish that can sting at a range of 15’ with its tendrils as if attacking as a level 5 fighter, dealing 1d10 damage and the victim must save vs. poison or become afflicted with an itchy rash that causes a -4 penalty to all rolls until salt water is applied to the affected area. While in jellyfish form, your armor class, hp, attributes, and abilities remain unchanged, though you are unable to communicate and unable to cast spells with material or verbal components. You have is jellyfish transformation ability for 1d4 days.
1d4 giant orange rats with attached saddles and bridles arrive via the dreamstream, ready to be ridden. The dream rats have a movement rate of 60’ and may enter the astral realm or any adjacent plane. The rats will not attack, nor can they take damage. They will disappear in 1d6 days.
Your belly grows bloated and your hair falls out. In 1d4 days, your skin begins to turn a tarnished bronze color. At that point, you permanently lose 1d6 hp and -1 Strength, but gain +1 AC, +1 Wisdom, and the ability to read the thoughts of anyone within 10’.
A warped mirror image of you appears. This mirror image duplicate looks identical to you, though his garb is all yellow, red, and purple and he speaks in an alien tongue. He will fight alongside you, as if another PC under the player’s control with stats and equipment identical to yours, for 1d8 turns before disappearing.
A tattoo of a winged mass of mouths appears on your chest, and you take 1d6 damage per day and find yourself incapable of sleep. The only way to prevent this effect is to “feed” the tattoo drops of spinal fluid. If 8 ounces of spinal fluid are fed to the tattoo, you permanently gain +1 Int and the tattoo begins to glow green but has no other lingering effects.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Narcosmos: The Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence

Earlier this year, Rafael Chandler shepherded #Narcosa to life -- a collaborative, psychedelic OSR megacompendium available for free. (You can download it right now, if you don't already have it.)

Now, he's rallying the G+ gaming community (and beyond) to create #Narcosmos, a collaborative, psychedelic megacompendium IN SPACE. Obviously, I can't NOT participate.

My contributions will be easily adaptable to your favorite Old School RPG, and these could be considered Crawljammer bonus features. The stuff that the Crawljammer overlords don't officially want you to see, because Crawljammer is printed in black and white, and these ideas are in mind-altering technicolor (as my first entry will demonstrate)!

So, here we go...launching Narcosmos...

The Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence
In your travels through the psychosphere, you may encounter the Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence in one of two ways: (1) it stalks you from the edges of your consciousness as you fly through the void of space or teleport to a distant world, then pounces and devours you hours later, or (2) you slowly, terrifyingly begin to realize that you have been trapped inside the creature for weeks, and it has already begun feeding off your psychic energy. In the latter case, you must escape or transform. There is no alternative.

A psychic amalgam of lost souls and desperation, the Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence appears in its primary form as a hint of light at the edges of your eyes, then when you are alone -- the first around a corner, the last in a room -- it strikes. Horrifyingly, gorgeously vibrant in its hues of pink and green and purple, throbbing with the majesty of prismatic mind-energy, the great cat-shaped creature bares its blurred teeth and lunges at the core of your being.

Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence (Animal Form): AC 2 (17); MV 50'; HD 7; #AT 3: claw/claw/bite (1d8/1d8/1d12). On a successful bite attack, save vs. death or the Tiger-Soul deals 1d6 damage to your Intelligence and Constitution and instantly transports you back to its lair -- a small black hole in the psychosphere.

Your adventuring companions may follow the trail to the beast's lair to recover your body through astral projection or planar travel or spirit walking via shamanistic means, but unless you are prepared to confront the Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence on your own, you should think twice before journeying across time and space.

The secondary, and more terrifying, aspect of the Tiger-Soul is in its abstracted form. To a visionary or a seer, its abstracted form would look like a 30' tall translucent, rainbow-hued tiger, surrounding its victim like a ghostly shell, mimicking its every move, leeching energy with every step. To the victim, and to anyone without a psychic connection to the spirit world, the creature is intangible and invisible. You only become aware of it in your dreams, after 1d4 weeks of living inside the creatures unreal aura, and when your consciousness fully accepts that you have become inextricably linked to this extradimensional creature, you cannot escape. Only a banish spell or the equivalent will send the beast away and detach your psychic umbilicus. Otherwise, you will lose 1d4 hit points per day after the moment of realization occurs...until you die, and then your departing consciousness will transform into the animal aspect of the Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence yourself, first lurking in the shadows of the psychosphere, seeking a lair in which to rest, then hunting your own prey across the reaches of spacetime, then, after 100 years, growing larger and more abstract until there is nothing left but to continue the cycle anew.

Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence (Abstract Form): AC -2 (21); MV 100'; HD 15; #AT 1: bite (1d20). The Abstract form of the Tiger-Soul is invisible and intangible, and can only be damaged by psychic energy and soul-bound weapons. A Tiger-Soul linked to a victim will drain 1d4 hit points per day and add those hit points to her own total. Only a banish spell (or its equivalent) will dissolve the connection with its victim, sending the great beast away, but a system shock check is needed or the victim will immediately die after being disconnected from the Tiger-Soul Rainbow Quintessence.

Promethean Lance Omega -- by Mark Malone

Contributor Mark Malone recently posted a "Director's Cut" version of Crawljammer #3's Promethean Lance as a G+ reply, and I asked him if I could share the revised and updated version with our readers and here it is! This one is nastier, because it has its own Crit and Fumble tables! Enjoy!

Phlogiston is an unstable, extremely volatile energy, an element of pure chaos. While it can be tapped into by Wizards and Technomancers alike, it is impossible to contain, or so it is believed. Legends tell of an ancient order of Techno-Wizards, known as The Illuminates of Prometheus, whose towers lay deep within the nine rings of Ouranos. It is said they were able to harness the phlogiston and develop powerful weapons. One such device, the Promethean Lance, was a weapon of chaotic power treasured by kings immemorial. Armies with these lances became unstoppable, entire races extinguished, kingdoms fell, planets razed, titans slain. While powerful, phlogiston proved to be too unpredictable, and the armies were eventually defeated through attrition. Few Promethean Lances have survived to this age, and the knowledge of its manufacture is lost to time.

Damage: variable (see below)
Range:  16/32/64
Ammo:   variable (see below)

Phlogiston check: Each time the lance is discharged a phlogiston check must be made. This check follows the dice chain, with the starting power die (dP) determined by the judge when the item is discovered. The d8 version of the lance was most typical in ages past, but a few have been discovered with full power.

For attack, roll the current dP to determine the power of the blast emanating from the tip of the lance, consult the chart below. If a '1' is rolled, the lance dephlogisticates and drops a level on the dice chain. Rolling a '1' after the power die has dropped to d3, renders the lance inert. There is a 1 in 4 chance the target will catch fire. If successful, the target must make a reflex save DC 10, or spend a round putting out the flame and suffer 1d6 additional points of fire damage.

Power table (roll current power die):
Result : Damage*
7+     : 4dP
4-6    : 3dP
2-3    : 2dP
1      : 1dP and dephlogisticate (drop one level on dice chain)

* The damage column represents the number of times to roll the current power die (dP) for damage. Example: if the power die is d7 and a '3' is rolled, then 2d7 is used for damage calculation.

Overload: On a standard attack, the triggering mechanism releases a controlled amount of phlogiston into the ignition chamber that creates a blast emanating from the lance; however, the operator can override the normal safety mechanisms and release more phlogiston into the chamber to trigger a supercharged blast. It is also possible to overload it by releasing all the phlogiston at once, causing the lance to explode. Promethean knights were known to detonate their lances rather than be taken alive during failed planetary assaults. The player can choose how powerful a blast will discharge, and for every permanent dP expended in this way (the phlogiston is used up, just as a standard discharge) a +1dP will be added to the immediate attack and will trigger an automatic roll on the Critical table. If all the phlogiston is released at once, an explosion centered on the weapon will result in damage affecting an area 6dP' in diameter, and will cause an automatic roll on the Critical table.

Critical (Use current power die for crit check):
0 or less: Perfect shot. Vital organs are hit, increase power table and damage roll by +1dP.
1 : Armor burn. The target's armor is damaged by the blast, they suffer a -4AC until the armor is repaired.
2 : Unquenchable fire. The target is set ablaze (no save) and will take 2dP extra damage this round, and each successive round dropping one dP each round until the dice chain is exhausted.
3 : Knock back. The blast lands squarely on the target's torso which knocks them prone and causes them to forgo their next attack. Increase power table and damage roll by +1dP.
4 : Explosion. The blast explodes when hitting the target, and anyone within 10' take damage as well. Increase power table and damage roll by +1dP.
5 : Cone of fire. Jets of flame erupt from the end of the lance, setting everything in front of the lance ablaze. Increase power table and damage roll by +1dP. Anyone in front of the lance will need to make a reflex save DC 10 or also be caught in the flame.
6 : Plasma blast. The target is covered in super heated plasma and one of their body parts starts to melt. Determine location randomly (1d6): (1) face; (2) arms; (3) legs; (4) torso; (5) hands; (6) feet. For damage, increase power table and damage roll by +2dP.
7 : The white-hot intensity of a thousand suns. A searing hole is burned through the opponent and they must make a Fort save (DC 15 + PC level) or fall unconscious from the pain for 1d4 rounds. For damage, increase power table and damage roll by +2dP.
8+: Phlogiston disturbance!

Fumble (Use current power die for fumble check): 
0 or less: The weapon strays, wildly missing the target.
1 : The lance hums and starts emitting an odd ozone smell, but does not fire this round.
2 : The lance clicks, but doesn't fire, and the operator quickly checks to make sure it is working order. Make a reflex save DC 10 or lose next round.
3 : The sight is knocked askew, suffer a -2 penalty to next attack roll.
4 : Malfunction. Debris is caught up in the barrel of the weapon, it will require 10 minutes to clear.
5 : Dephlogisticate. The lance begins smoking and drops one level for its current dP.
6 : Backfire! The volatile element explodes affecting only the shooter. The shooter takes normal damage.
7 : External phlogiston ignition! Some phlogiston has escaped and ignites around the shooter. Roll 10' area effect damage as normal centered on the shooter.
8+: Phlogiston disturbance!

Phlogiston Disturbance:
See table 4-7 in the Core Rulebook, and substitute shooter and target for "casters", or in case the table roll is the result of explosion, anyone in 6dP' area will be affected. The only exception is entry #6 which should be substituted as follows:
6 : Eldritch energy merge. Eldritch energy interacts with the phlogiston of the lance causing a magnificent explosion centered between the shooter and target. Roll a spell check twice for Fireball using d20 + dP, and use highest result.

Sunday, November 16, 2014


Three games submitted for TotalCon 2015. Two DCC adventures and one new twist on a Marvel Superheroes "classic." I photoshopped some sweet posters for the games!

Thursday, February 19, 2015
1 PM - 5 PM TotalCon

Friday, February 20, 2015
8 AM - 12 PM TotalCon 

Sunday, February 22, 2015
8 AM - 12 PM TotalCon

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Crawljammer Character Sheet!

Hey, if you want to make your own Crawljammer characters and use them in your game, here's a PC sheet for you: CLICK HERE FOR THE PDF!

It's the one I use, and it deserves to be printed in neon green. Or pink. Or orange. Or anything but white.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Crawljammer #4 NOW AVAILABLE!

This one is the biggest -- and dare I say? -- BEST issue of Crawljammer yet. Clocking in at 36 pages, issue #4 has a full-length DCC adventure spanning the moons of Pluto and the perils of Club Starshard and the depths of Hellscape, along with a few other features that would totally make the issue worth checking out.

See that guy on the cover? That's a Riftrunner as drawn by Crawljammer graphic-design-guy Matt Hildebrand. And the Riftrunner is like a dimension-hopping, elemental-powered spellcaster with the offensive might of the phlogiston fist. That new character class is in this issue. For you.

And Sean Ellis comes in again this issue to show us what Crawljammin' elves are like. And how they live on a floating volcanic island in space. And are not to be messed with.

Plus, there's some other stuff as well, like a short piece that lays the metaphysical foundation for the upcoming Space Gods issues to follow later this year. And cool drawings! Lots of 'em.

Yeah, it's Crawljammer #4, and it's now for sale! Buy it in print over on the right of this blog. Buy it in PDF over at RPGNow.

I hope you love it as much as I do!

Monday, September 1, 2014

#RPGaDAYGenCon2014 the Mash-Up Superpost

I never joined in on the post-per-day on RPG stuff kicked off by David F. Chapman, but I played along at home. In my head. I also never wrote a recap post about the amazing slice of amazingness that was Gen Con 2014. So, in true Crawljammer spirit, I have decided that the only correct and just way to continue is to mash both things into one post. It's called the magic of the creative mind, folks, so hold off on battling your laser cobras with your halberd cannon and learn a little bit about life at Gen Con:

First Game Played [at GenCon]
Escape from Catastrophe Island at the Embassy Suites, coordinated by the genius Doug Kovacs and the co-geniuses Wayne Snyder and Adam Muszkiewicz. Adam was the judge in my section of the bar. My character, a slave master of dubious morality, never even made it to the island, what with the fire eel biting and the acid blood rain falling. It was breathtakingly beautiful.

First Game Gamemastered [at GenCon]
Since I finally made up my mind to go to Gen Con exactly 4 days before it was scheduled to begin, I didn't have a whole lot of time for planning or registering for games or...anything, really. But I called upon the powers of Google Plus and announced that I would be running a Crawljammer game on Saturday afternoon at the Embassy Suites bar. And players showed up. Eight of them! And they were fantastic, and we had the best time! And they didn't even die! (Though one of them lost a hand, which was nice.)

First RPG Purchased [at GenCon]
The first RPG books I bought were the new releases from Goodman Games, including their first two 5E adventures. But the first system purchased? I think it was Trail of Cthulhu. That's not new, I know. I wish my answer here were much cooler, like...I found some guy selling a bootleg Thundarr/Adventure Time/Land of the Lost RPG out of his trunk. Pretend that happened. Or MAKE that happen for next year.

Most Recent RPG Purchase [around the time of GenCon]
I guess that copy of the 5E Player's Handbook that was waiting for me when I got home from GenCon. Does that count? Ugh, another lame answer. Okay, come on people! That Thundarr/Adventure Time/Land of the Lost game is not going to happen by itself!

Most Old-School RPG [Purchased at GenCon]
I had a copy of Boot Hill in my hand and passed on it, only to swing by that booth later to find it long gone. I did pick up some Judges Guild Journals. The one that is all just wandering monster tables is pretty crazy and useful, if you like rolling d1000000s. (Which I do.) But, I also bought that proto-modern masterpiece that is Road Hogs, for the TMNT game by Palladium. That is my kind of sauce.

Favorite RPG You Never Got to Play [at GenCon]
D6 Star Wars. Or Gamma World. Or Marvel Super Heroes. All of the above. They should be one game anyway. But I did not play in that game. (I did run Crawljammer, though, which can't escape their influence.)

Most Intellectual RPG Owned [at GenCon]
This question doesn't make any sense -- who wrote these things and applied them to Gen Con experiences anyway? What a dumb idea! Plus, the answer is obviously Road Hogs, as usual.

So, instead, I'll mention that the most intellectual conversation I had was with Dr. Edgar Johnson. He of the Metal Gods. And dropping RPG science on your head. And one of the co-conspirators of the Purple Planet. I don't remember the conversation exactly, but it involved Catastrophe Island and a thong and slave revolt and flying laser fish and it was deep, man. It changed us all.

Favorite Character [at GenCon]
Favorite character? What am I, a child? Oh, Bo Duke is my favorite Duke boy! Come on! Grow up!

(Sniff. My favorite character was Sir Rey of Light, who survived several encounters in the Seven Pits of Sezrekan. I weep for his soul.)

Favorite Die / Dice Set [at GenCon]
Hugh and Shanna both have weird dice in tubes. I love them both. I cannot even pretend otherwise.

Favorite tie in Novel / Game Fiction [at GenCon]
The Chronicles of Catastrophe Island have yet to be written, but when they are, they will be written in the acid blood of the sky and they will be inscribed directly on your brain and you, too, will weep for the soul of Sir Rey of Light who lost the psychic duel of the laser fish wizards on that fateful Thursday eve.

Weirdest RPG Owned [at GenCon]
Another poorly worded question, gods of the Googlesphere! So I mock thee and shout, "Metal Gods of Ur-Hadad #2!" and brace myself of the kickassapocalypse.

Old RPG You Still Play / Read [at GenCon]
What does this even mean? D&D, obviously. It is carved into the faces of all who attend. Except for everyone playing RPGs in the Wizards of the Coast hall-of-seriousness. They had the intensity of purpose that can only be found on players who must win at all costs.

Most Memorable Character Death [at GenCon]

No, I am not "over" it. I don't even know who you are anymore.

Best Convention Purchase [at GenCon]
DeathFear is pretty handsome. The DCC RPG t-shirt looks great and makes me feel like a hero. Battle of Five Armies is a giant game. Jurgen Mayer's Shinobi Clans is super-fun. But Road Hogs is forever.

Favorite Convention Game [at GenCon]
They were all great! I had zero bad experiences in a game at Gen Con. And I didn't sign up for any in advance. Take that, thoughtful-planners of your existence! The lords of chaos are powerful.

Game You Wish You Owned [at GenCon]
I don't know if you know this, but I am the PUBLISHER of Moon Dice Games and Crawljammer. If I wanted a game, I would just buy it with all of my profits. (Unless that game costs more than $10. In that case, I would need a loan.)

I wish I owned all of the Call of Cthulhu and Age of Cthulhu books. I really do.

Funniest Game You've Played [at GenCon]
The great Sarah Richardson ran a Dungeon World game on Saturday night that I really wanted to get into. But it was Games on Demand, and the games demanded that I not get a seat. So I was "stuck" with Lowell Francis's  Fate game, which I couldn't believe, because I would consider myself a Lowell Francis fan (I have read his comics, his blog, and listened to his podcast...a lot), and I knew he would be running a great game. It was. But what I didn't expect was how funny it would be. The other players were great, but Lowell undermined D&D tropes the whole way and role-played some fantastically amusing NPCs. It was brilliant. I ended up missing the finale of Catastrophe Island because of it, and, yet, I'm okay with that. Lowell's game was that much fun.

Favorite Game System [at GenCon]
Dungeon Crawl Classics. It is the BEST. You know that.

Favorite Published Adventure [at GenCon]
Peril on the Purple Planet. I may be adding more stuff to that world, but Harley Stroh is the master of the Purple Planet and that adventure will likely become the foundation of my after-school group's campaign for the whole next year.

Game You'll Still Play in 20 Years' Time [at GenCon]
If I go to Gen Con when I'm in my 60s, and I hope I do, I will spend 90% of my time sitting on those chairs in the auction room and spending my space credits bidding on mint condition copies of After the Bomb and Mutants Down Under. But the game I hope to be playing is Dungeon Crawl Classics. Or maybe "Dungeon Crawl Classics, the 20th Anniversary Annual."

Favorite Licensed Game [at GenCon]
Marvel Super Heroes was my favorite licensed game that I saw played at the convention. I was happening right behind the Cthulhu Invictus game I was in. Here's the thing I noticed: by my scientifically-inclined data-gathering methods, I know that 85% of all Marvel Super Heroes games bring DC heroes into the mix for some super-Crisis of double-corporate catastrophe. Folks just want to play Batman and Booster Gold vs. Doctor Doom, I guess. But the truth is that all Marvel/DC comic book crossovers in the history of the medium have been either terrible or boring or both. Except for one: SPIDER-BOY TEAM-UP.

SPIDER-BOY TEAM-UP is one of the best single issues of the past 20 years. I am not joking. Read it. Make a game out of that, America! Or Europe! Or Venus!

Best Secondhand RPG Purchase [at GenCon]
Road. Hogs.

Coolest Looking RPG Product [at GenCon]
Anything involving the work of Doug Kovacs. I almost bought a huge lot of forgotten Dreamblade miniatures just because he designed some of them (I was outbid by another like-minded connoisseur). Just look at the Goodman Games releases NOT painted or drawn by Doug Kovacs and then compare them to the things Doug has worked on. One set looks nice and fine. The other set looks like it will haunt your dreams and nightmares with joyous psychedelic tendrils from the gods beyond.

Most Complicated RPG Owned [at GenCon]
I ain't got time for that, Palladium.

Favourite RPG no one else wants to play... [at GenCon]
I didn't ask, but if I cracked open my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game book, I suspect folks would have been excited to play. Then, after 2 hours of making characters and selecting skills and reminding ourselves how this system is supposed to work, we all would have wandered off to stare at Golem Arcana and pretend it looked like fun.

Coolest Character Sheet [at GenCon]
The fatalities from the Seven Pits of Sezrekan. Yellow. Stamped. Brutal. In our hearts forever.

Game You'd Most Like to See A New / Improved Version Of...[at GenCon]
Top Secret S.I. -- I don't even want a new, improved version, really. I just remember how much I want to play it. Maybe at Gen Con 2015!

Road Hogs needs an unofficial Crawljammer conversion. Will Palladium sue if I release "Biker Boars from Dimension Gamma"?

Scariest RPG Played [at GenCon]
Catastrope Island, powered by DCC (sort of). I didn't know if we would be bombarded by acid blood rain or fried by laser wizard fish or trapped in a tunnel with revolting slaves or joining a centaur rugby match or betrayed by our closest friends. Catastrophe Island, like Herman Melville's Moby Dick, is a microcosm of the human experience. Only, sometimes, these fish wear hats.

Most Memorable Encounter [at GenCon]
I liked harassing a monster menagerie owner in Lowell's game, but man those laser wizard fish from Catastrope Island? Those will live on in literary history like the Bhagavad Gita's Gilgamesh.

Rarest RPG Owned [at GenCon]
I am now the owner of the cover sketch and cover painting for this sucker: BLADES AGAINST DEATH.

I have the only copies of those things in existence. Pretty rare. Rarer than that woodgrain box you're hoarding in your temperature controlled basement. Weirdly, not as rare as players who enjoy actually playing the Palladium TMNT system.

Favorite RPG of all time [at GenCon]
Ah, we all know this is a trick question. The best thing about Gen Con is the PEOPLE. Not the ones stepping on you or talking way too loudly about L5R on the shuttle bus. Those people should stay home and comment on YouTube videos. But everyone else is wonderful! Particularly the friends you make (or meet in person for the first time). Those are the best!

So, let me end this ridiculous post with some sincerity: If I hung out with you for even a minute at Gen Con 2014, I consider you a friend. You were fun to talk to and I enjoyed playing with you or near you or in your general vicinity. I really didn't have a bad moment at Gen Con when you were around. I hope we meet up again next year! In the meantime, come out to the east cost and join us at some conventions out here. It's just Michael Curtis and I out this way, holding the chaos at bay. Come help us set it free.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Demon Drums Limited Edition Now FOR SALE!

Hi! For Gen Con this year, I published a 12-page complete adventure compatible with DCC and other old-school role-playing games. It's called DEMON DRUMS and I think it turned out really well.

I distributed a bunch as an exclusive give-away at Gen Con, but I still have about 20 copies of the signed and numbered edition left AND when I came back from Gen Con, my printer called to say that they accidentally printed another 100 copies of the adventure. I bought those copies rather than have the printer throw them away, and since a bunch of folks have emailed me asking how they could buy a copy of DEMON DRUMS, well, now's your chance! This is the last time DEMON DRUMS will be available in print through Moon Dice Games.

The first 20 people who order a copy will receive the DEMON DRUMS signed and numbered edition. Everyone after that will receive the special surplus edition (limited to 100 copies), signed by me. Place your order below (select the International option if you are outside the U.S.) and then you can run what has been called, by some players*, "the best game they've ever played!"

*these players had never played a role-playing game before.

Order and enjoy!!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Demon Drums: 100 Print Copies for Gen Con

This is NOT an issue of Crawljammer. It's a new 12-page complete adventure compatible with DCC (and Crawljammer, of course).

100 signed and numbered copies of this will be printed for me to give to Crawljammer fans at Gen Con. If you see me, ask for a copy, and if I have any left, I will give you one FOR FREE (until I run out).

For those folks who can't make it to Gen Con, I will be offering it for sale as a PDF after Gen Con via RPGNow! But, seriously, just come to Gen Con and hang out. You know you want to!

EDIT: And I could not have pulled this together in time without the heroic efforts of Matt Hildebrand and Fred Dailey! They made my words look good! And Chris Burnham let me use his drawing for the cover, like a champ!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Inspirational Image: Gene Day's "Master of Kung-Fu"

This beauty is from 1982's "Master of Kung-Fu" #111, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Gene Day.

I drew a minicomic a couple of years ago called "I Will Spit Upon Your Blood" that is a sideways remake of one of the Razor Fist issues of this Shang-Chi comic. I really like everything about this series, whether it's drawn by Paul Gulacy, Gene Day, or Mike Zeck. If you ever see me, and hand me any random issue of this comic, I will be your friend for life because I will know you care about the important things.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Peril on the Purple Planet! An Official (Unofficial) Crawljammer Crossover!

Hey folks! You may have seen this already, but if you haven't prepare to open up your mind so it can be totally blown away by this: Harley Stroh's "Peril on the Purple Planet" is on Kickstarter, and it's already funded, and you should contribute to get yourself a copy for more reasons than I can count, but I will give you a few:

  1. It's a weird outer space hexcrawl with alien landscapes and monstrosities and crazy tech.
  2. It's written by Harley Stroh.
  3. It's a boxed set (if you get the $50 version)
  4. It comes with a campaign guide written by Daniel Bishop, Edgar Johnson, Terry Olson,
  5. That's right, it's an unofficial tie-in to Crawljammer, what with me doing some of the writing and the swords-and-planets thing and all that stuff.
  6. Yeah!
  7. How could you NOT buy it?
  8. I mean, it's the Purple Planet! And, you will be in complete Peril! Irresistible!
  9. Plus, the more money it makes, the more stretch goals we get, and that means more stuff for your dollar.
  10. Who doesn't like stuff? Particularly stuff in space! With aliens and monsters and swords!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New Crawljammer! New Old School Role-Playing! Updates!

I didn't officially post about this yet, but as the sidebar indicates, CRAWLJAMMER #3 IS NOW AVAILABLE! It's the best issue yet, and here are three reasons why:

  1. New artist Christian Mojallali rocked the cover with his depiction of a psychic knight in heated battle with a moon octopus.
  2. Sean Ellis comes in with some advanced psionic rules for your DCC game, and Sarah Richardson draws the best illustration of a psychic battle since those New Mutants issues Bill Sienkiewicz drew when you were a kid.
  3. The epic Promethean Lance makes its debut, thanks to the mind of Mark Malone, and it's the kind of magic item/weapon/device that will make judges squirm and players cry with joy and frustration.
Plus I write a bunch of stuff in this issue, as usual, like specs on the psychic knight character class, the secret history of the Perilous League, the final adventure beneath the surface of Mars in which the players chase down the weird duo of Queldoz and the Shapeshifter, and more!

Yeah, I'm proud of this one! (This PDF is also available at RPGNow!)

I will be running three Crawljammer games over 4th of July weekend in Morristown, New Jersey as part of the Oswarp Old School RPG convention, which is part of the big ol' production known as Dexcon 17. Details on the convention -- including the entire list of programming -- can be found HERE!

I'm running one Friday afternoon, one Saturday morning, and one Saturday afternoon. Check them out. Join in and play. Michael Curtis will be there, and he has threatened to join in on the Saturday morning action, no doubt to foil my wicked plans and do whatever it takes to ensure his PC survives the perils of Pluto and the Space Pirates from Beyond the Grave.

See you then! And, oh yeah, order your Crawljammer copies so I can actually afford to go to this thing!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Free RPG Day Event at Fantasy Realms: The One Who Watches from Below!

Hey! I'll be running a Crawljammer hack of Jobe Bittman's "The One Who Watches from Below" for Free RPG Day at Fantasy Realms in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. That's June 21st. Be there!

Here's the game info I submitted for the event, ripped straight from the DCC adventure description:

You've landed on Saturn with one mission: Retrieve the Cosmic Staff of Themossphere from beneath the shifting caverns! The only thing in your way is a pesky, slumbering elder god with a penchant for consuming entire worlds. Oh, and an endless army of vat-grown hybrid monstrosities. And a veritable tidal wave of disembodied eyes with awesome powers. A few giant acid worms. And a curse with the power to rip the still-living eyes from your skull. Do you have the mettle to stare down a god or will your eyes forever adorn the vault of The One Who Watches From Below?

A Dungeon Crawl Classics adventure by Jobe Bittman modified for use with Crawljammer. No previous experience needed! Pre-generated Level 1 characters will be provided. For 6-8 players.

6:00 PM - 10:00 PM on June 21st. 
Game Master: Tim Callahan.

Hope to see you there!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Inspirational Image: Allen Gustav Anderson

This cover from "Planet Stories," March 1952, almost perfectly captures what I imagine when I think about a high level Psychic Knight floating in on an enchanted flame to lead an assault on the robot overlords of Saturn. You could pretty much take any issue of "Planet Stories" and get a dozen ideas for Crawljammer adventures and character classes and magic items and other awesome stuff.

Spoiler warning: I plan to steal a BUNCH of ideas from "Planet Stories." It's fertile ground. It's the perfect kind of space fantasy. And those covers -- this one's by Allen Gustav Anderson -- are gorgeous.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Crawljammer #2 ERRATA

Okay, so Crawljammer #2 slipped out the door with a couple of typos and ONE MAJOR OMISSION. Oh man, I don't know how we missed it, but the Technomancer Level Progression Table somehow disappeared in the final version we printed. So, here's the full errata for issue #2. All subscribers and folks who purchased this first printing of the issue will receive an updated PDF with these corrections and a printable one-sheet errata page later this week.

Errata! Thom Hall's name is actually "Thom Hall"! Not "Tom Hall."

Errata! Page 7 refers to "Table 1-1" in the Magic paragraph, but that should read "Table 2-3."

Big Errata! Table 2-2 is missing from Page 9! It should look like this (only it will be more nicely formatted in the PDF):

Errata! In the "Hail Bob's" section, there are two asterisks -- one in the instructions for each table -- and you can ignore those asterisks. They used to refer to a reroll that would be necessary if a "0" was rolled, but we added the "0" level for each table, so no reroll is needed. Just ignore them. Or think of them as side-effects of the drinks that are served at Hail Bob's!

Sorry about those errors and omissions. Here at Crawljammer HQ, we vow to unleash all of our proofreading minions the next time. ALL of them.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Crawljammer #2 Printed and Ready! (Plus, a NEW LOOK for Issue #1!)

CRAWLJAMMER #2 is now on sale! Copies have been shipped to subscribers this morning, and if you haven't yet subscribed, now's your chance!

We've also redesigned the look of the first issue to match the new logo and layout of issue #2. Crawljammer #1 now comes in Phlogiston Flux Fuschia and Crawljammer #2 has been printed with Neptunian Nuclear Green covers. Basically, this was what Crawljammer was always supposed to look like, but I didn't know it until now.

Coming up in issue #3 we have a new Psychic Knight character class, advanced rules for DCC psionics, and an exploration beneath the surface of Mars in "The Phaseship of the Starmongers." But give me a chance to catch my breath after getting issue #2 out on time! I mean, issue #3 isn't even due until June, and you're already clamoring for it? Me too!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Inspirational Image: Keith Giffen's Pulsar Stargrave

This Keith Giffen "Legion of Substitute-Heroes Special" is one of my favorite things in the history of American comic books. The eye-blasting colors! The absurd humor. Pulsar Stargrave!

Stargrave is a Jim Shooter creation from the disco era. He's Brainiac, still alive in the future. Maybe. He's a man of mystery. And bell-bottoms.

In the world of Crawljammer, imagine an ancient android held in suspended animation for 1000 years, resurrected as a villain in the world of the PCs. He'd be awesome. Particularly if he had a giant astral sign medallion around his neck. For the ladies.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Crawljammer #2 Table of Contents!

This is what issue #2 is looking like. We start off with STRANGE SPACE ENCOUNTERS so you can roll up some random encounters for your space travels. Including new monsters like the Moon Octopus and the Cactus Men of Alpha Centauri.

Then we slide into my favorite (so far) new character class: THE TECHNOMANCER. This class give you a chance to play a high-tech wizard who can create hyper-gadgets and use that magical helmet of his to cast super-spells.

Speaking of super-spells, how about some NEW SPELLS FOR CRAWLJAMMER? We've got some. Three new ones, in fact, suitable for wizards and elves of all shapes and alignments but particularly useful for the good ol' technomancer you've just rolled up!

Then special guest writer Thom Hall, Metal Militia Mastermind, comes at us with HAIL BOB'S: THE COLDEST DRINKS IN THE PHLOGISTON FLUX. You like random tables where you might roll up a lethal cocktail or a troublemaking vagabond on the run from a space pimp? Here you go!

And we wrap up the issue with my biggest Crawljammer adventure yet, as the PCs explore RED PLANET RENDEZVOUS: THE ARCADIAN, a two-level ship filled with the most dangerous cutthroats and evil lizardmen you're likely to find this side of the galaxy.

Yes, CRAWLJAMMER #2 is coming. More details about the where and when in the weeks ahead!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Space Prisons in Space

I wouldn't say the Guy Pearce rescue-the-president's-daughter-from-a-space-prison film Lockout was on my mind as I was putting the finishing touches on the first complete draft of Crawjammer #2, but it wasn't NOT on my mind. It was sort of on my mind. Or floating around somewhere near my mind. Maybe in space. Hijacked by Irish space thugs.

All of this is to say that (a) I love movies involving Guy Pearce shooting and punching stuff, (b) I love the idea of space prisons, (c) Crawljammer #2 may or may not feature a space prison of sorts, (d) I AM PRETTY MUCH DONE WITH CRAWLJAMMER #2!

I will keep you posted. Because I know you can't wait much longer to add the Technomancer character class to your DCC games.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Inspirational Image: Basil Wolverton's Spacehawk

In my dreamworld version of Crawljammer, Basil Wolverton provides the illustrations for every issue. Okay, maybe I'd let David Trampier and Erol Otus in too, but Wolverton would set the tone for the space madness that goes on beyond the stars.

I wrote a piece about the Fantagraphics collection of his "Spacehawk" series a while back at Comic Book Resources, and that book remains one of the most ridiculously insane and wonderful books ever published by Gary Groth and friends, and considering that Fantagraphics has released some amazing books over the years, that's no small accomplishment. Wolverton's spongy, elastic crosshatched spacemen and his Willy Wonka nightmare landscapes are what I picture most often when I picture strange, unsettled alien planets.

You should read whatever you can find of Wolverton's work. Particularly the pre-war Spacehawk installments, when things were silly and weird and uniquely Wolvertonian.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Five TotalCon Fun Facts! The Post-TotalCon 2014 Wrap-Up!

Playtesting Crawljammer on Sunday afternoon.
Most sensible folks had already  packed up and gone home.
Okay, Team Crawljammer returned home mere hours ago after a four day explosion of gaming activity at TotalCon.

What did we learn?

1. My daughter learned that Michael Curtis is a pretty great writer-of-adventures and runner-of-games. After playing in one of his sessions in which she was transported and transformed (the Michael Curtis way), she later said to me, "no offense, but that was the best game I've ever played in." None taken! Michael Curtis is good and his DCC adventures are one of the things that has hooked me into the system!

2. My son learned that playing a Druid is terrible. Like almost every time. Which is why there will never be a Druid class in my Crawljammer games. Unless it's like a crazy Plutonian Druid who can harvest bones and decaying metal for use in his rituals. Okay, maybe then.

3. We all played a bunch of DCC (via Crawljammer and that previously-mentioned Michael Curtis concoction) and a bunch of Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea (via my "Blade of Karnus" game and a session run by the great Jeff Talanian). I think those are my two favorite RPG systems because while they certainly share many similarities -- strong roots in D&D and the OGL -- they complement each other nicely. DCC can be really bombastic and insane and dynamic while AS&SH is most often brooding and violent and terrifying. Laser swords are not out of place in either, but they have different tonalities. I love playing both, but I love playing BOTH, you know?

4. I learned that Tim Kask is lying when he says, "I will assume your character is better at his role than you are, so you don't have to tell me every little thing he does when he's in a room." Because later he will say, "you didn't look before walking in the room and so you get whacked for 2d10 damage by this thing that hit you because you didn't say you looked." So...look. He only had to hand-wave magical berries to cure me from my death twice. Before the inevitable total party kill.

5. My two Crawljammer playtest adventures -- Red Planet Rendezvous and the Space Pirates from Beyond the Grave -- both need a little tweaking, but they played well, and in both cases the party was able to complete the objective (ahem, sort of, ahem, that 8d20 Scorching Ray vaporizing the MacGuffin on Mars, ahem) and have a fun time doing so. I need to tighten up a few of the transitions between the episodic encounter locations in Space Pirates, and I need to add a bit more weirdness to the first half of Red Planet, but they are in pretty good shape after a good kicking of the tires this weekend. Look for those adventures in upcoming issues of Crawljammer!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

CRAWLJAMMER Hits the Road: TotalCon!

The cheap red futon is staying home, luckily.
I will be at TotalCon in Mansfield, MA this week, playing in a bunch of games and running a few, including two CRAWLJAMMER games, using my fancy Judge's Screen that I jacked up with Erol Otus and David Trampier artwork.

In all my sage-like wisdom, what do I, master of the Crawljammin', slide into the Judge's side of this screen? Nothing! It will actually have my random encounters and some maps for an Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea game I'm running on Friday. I can't condense DCC into anything that I'd find useful on the back side of the screen. I'll just use it in my Crawljammer games to hide the awesome new maps I drew (for inclusion in future issues of the zine, of course), and to make secret notes about which player characters are most likely to fall into the tenacious maw of some Martian beastie!

So, if you're at TotalCon, I will see you there! I believe there are still slots left in my Thursday game (3:00 PM) entitled RED PLANET RENDEZVOUS. See if you can join us!

If you're not at TotalCon, you should go next year. So we can hang out and talk about Edmond Hamilton comics and Captain Future novels or eat hamburgers or all of the above.