Friday, December 09, 2016

more Broodmother hype

Last I talked to James Raggi the print version of Broodmother Skyfortress was selling at a brisk pace and PDF sales have been sufficient that it's now #2 on the Hottest Titles list there, with Blood in the Chocolate at #3.  (Number one is one of those charity bundle deals where you get a bunch of stuff cheap and get to feel good about where the money goes.)  Thanks so much to everyone who has bought the book so far, including all the folks who had enough faith in me to back the project when it was just an idea I had.

If you are still on the fence about buying it, a few new reviews appeared:

Review by Bryce of

Review by Tenkar

And some fellow named Sean P. gives it 5 stars on DriveThruRPG.

While I've got your attention for the moment I'd just like to say holy crap, Ian Maclean's art, Alex Mayo's layout and Jez Gordon's maps really make my dumb ideas look great!  (Well, except for page 5.  Why did I let Raggi talk me into that?)

Anyway, if you're a fan of the ol' Gameblog here, please consider buying either the print+PDF edition or the PDF.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Broodmother updates

You can now buy my stupid adventure!

Print + PDF from the Lamentations store

I got a message from James today: his stock of books are selling fast.

PDF from DriveThru

The hard copies from LotFP will be shipped from Finland.  If you are willing to wait, copies should appear through normal distribution channels (retailers, Noble Knight, etc.) in January or February.

Kiel's adventure is available as well, here and here.

Also, here are two reviews for Broodmother: Tzi José Luiz (the Lonely GM) and Corey Ryan Walden of The Fiendish Almanack

Monday, December 05, 2016

A plurality of platinum and chromatic dragons

In my previous post I mentioned in passing that Uncle Gary's prototype alignment chart from Strategic Review #6 mentions Platinum Dragons, plural.  It also mentions the existence of more than one Chromatic Dragon.  I've not seen stats for non-unique dragons of these varieties, so I thought I'd do them up 1st edition Monster Manual style.

Chromatic Dragon
FREQUENCY: Very rare

MOVE: 6"/18"
HIT DICE: 14-16
% IN LAIR: 90%
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 1-6 plus see below
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Breath weapons, poison and magic use
ALIGNMENT: Lawful evil
SIZE: L (80' long)
     Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
     Speaking: 100%
     Magic-Use: 100%
     Sleeping: 10%

This wicked race of dragons haunt the most dismal of underground caverns, as well as residing on the first layer of the Seven Hells and adjacent planes.  Each chromatic dragon encountered will possess 2-5 heads, each of a different randomly determined color:

1.  White - bite 2-16
2.  Black - bite 3-18
3.  Green - bite 2-20
4.  Blue - bite 3-24
5.  Red -  bite 3-30
6. roll again.

Each head will possess 2 hit points for each age category of the dragon when targeted separately and each head will be capable of a single breath attack of appropriate type per day.  Additionally, chromatic dragon tails end in envenomed stingers inflicting 1-6 points of damage in a single attack and requiring a saving throw versus poison to avoid instant death.

Chromatic dragons possess 2 spells per head of increasing level.  E.g. a three-headed chromatic dragon will feature a head with 2 first level spells, a head with 2 second level spells, and a head with 2 third level spells.  Heads operate independently; a chromatic dragon can bite, breathe, and cast in the same round (providing it employs three separate heads to do so!).

Chromatic dragons interact freely with white, black, green, blue, and red dragons.

Mutants: 1 in 6 chromatic dragons encountered singly will be a mutant possessing a single head of metallic variety (dice for type).  These strange creatures are Neutral with respect to alignment and live as outcasts from all other members of dragonkind.

Platinum Dragon
FREQUENCY: Very rare

MOVE: 9"/20"
HIT DICE: 19-21
% IN LAIR: 75%
DAMAGE/ATTACK: 2-12/2-12/6-48
SPECIAL ATTACKS: Breath weapons + magic use
INTELLIGENCE: Supra genius
ALIGNMENT: Chaotic good
SIZE: L (72' long)
     Attack/Defense Modes: Nil
     Speaking: 100%
     Magic-Use: 100%
     Sleeping: 5%

This most powerful species of metallic dragon seldom resides in normal terrestrial environs, preferring lairs in such exotic locales as behind winds, on clouds, or in the hollowed-out core of small planetoids.  All platinum dragons can freely traverse the ethereal and astral planes, while those of adult age category or older are able to assume human form at will.

Platinum dragons have three different breath weapons, each of which can be employed twice a day for six daily breath attacks in total.  One such breath attack is a cone of cold, 8" long and 3" at its widest.  Another is a cloud of vapor, 6" long, 4" wide and 3" deep, that forces any who fail their save to assume gaseous form for 12 full turns.  The final breath weapon is a cone (also 8" x 3") of sonic vibration; all those in the cone who possess hit points equal to or less than the dragon must save or suffer disintegration.  All saves versus platinum dragon breath are thrown with a -3 penalty.

For their first seven age categories platinum dragons gain access to 2 magic-user spells and one cleric spells of the commensurate level (e.g. a sub-adult would possess knowledge of 9 spells in total: 2 first level M-U spells, 2 second level M-U spells, 2 third level M-U spells, and a single cleric spell of levels 1-3).  Ancient platinum dragons can cast no additional spells per day, but may select their magic-user spells from any in the Players Handbook.

Platinum dragons enjoy friendly relations with gold dragons but remain aloof from the affairs of lesser metallic dragons.  While in human form they enjoy traffic with members of human and demi-human kind, providing their true nature is not revealed.

Saturday, December 03, 2016

Do the alignment shuffle

"The Meaning of Law and Chaos in Dungeons & Dragons And Their Relationships to Good and Evil" first appeared in issue #6 of The Strategic Review, the predecessor to Dragon magazine, but I first encountered it in the first Best of Dragon.

This essay is part of Uncle Gary's efforts to formulate alignment as a key component to his unique cosmic vision for the game.  Personally, I'm not that into the Gygaxian system of Outer Planes.  And I've never taken alignment that seriously in my games as anything other than 1) a simple system for knowing whether the PCs can trust an NPC or monster and 2) a way of indicating which side someone would fight on when Ragnarok happens. 

But I find this chart from "The Meaning of Law and Chaos" to be a fascinating artifact from a transitional stage in Gygax's theory.  You can see Gygax moving from the intermediary five-fold system to his final nine-fold alignment plan right here in this chart.  But that's not what I find interesting today.  

What's intriguing here is the monsters that are in the wrong places.  With Good at the top of the chart, Evil at the bottom, Law to the left and Chaos to the right, some monsters appear in a different spot than one would expect from the alignment listed in their entry in the original Monster Manual.  To make it more obvious how the nine-fold system maps onto this diagram, I've added red lines subdividing it into 9 boxes.  

Under this scheme, the upper left box is Lawful Good and the bottom right box is Chaotic Evil.  Here's a comprehensive list of monsters whose position on this chart is at variance with the official listing in the MM.

Some Silver Dragons might be Neutral Good instead of Lawful Good
Some Hobbits/halflings might be Lawful Neutral instead of Lawful Good
Pegasi are Neutral Good instead of CG
Gnomes are definitely Neutral Good instead of "neutral to lawful good"
Bronze Dragons are Neutral Good instead of LG
Platinum Dragons (plural!) are Chaotic Good instead of LG
Sprites are Chaotic Good instead of N(G)
Rocs are Neutral Good instead of Neutral (smart enough to have a non-neutral alignment?)
Ents (treants) are Lawful Neutral instead of CG
Unicorns are also Lawful Neutral instead of CG
Dwarves are Lawful Neutral instead of LG
Mummies are Lawful Neutral not LE
Ogre Magi are Lawful Neutral not LE
Kobolds can be Lawful Neutral not LE
Werewolves are Lawful Neutral not Chaotic Evil (!)
Liches are Lawful Neutral or True Neutral (!!)
Centaurs are all True Neutral rather than neutral to chaotic good
Djinni are Chaotic Neutral or True Neutral, rather than Chaotic Good
White Dragons are Neutral rather than Chaotic Evil 
Assassins are True Neutral to Neutral Evil, rather than any evil alignment
Copper Dragons are Chaotic Neutral rather than CG
Hippogriffs are Chaotic Neutral rather than True Neutral
Brass Dragons are Chaotic Neutral rather than CG with N tendecies
Weretigers are Chaotic Neutral rather than N
Wyverns are Chaotic Neutral rather than neutral (evil)
Efreeti are Chaotic Neutral rather than neutral with LE tendencies
Gnolls are Lawful Evil rather than CE
Minotaurs are Lawful Evil rather than CE
Vampires are Lawful Evil rather than CE
Black Dragons are Neutral Evil rather than CE
Ogres are Neutral Evil rather than CE
Wererats are Neutral Evil rather than LE
Beholders are Neutral Evil rather than LE
Orcs are Chaotic Evil rather than LE
Green Dragons are Chaotic Evil rather than LE
Blue Dragons are Chaotic Evil rather than LE
Giants (no subtypes specified) are all over the map.  They can be any Good, True Neutral, or Chaotic Evil.

Some of the implications here are rather minor.  Making orcs chaotic evil doesn't change much, for instance.  But a few items above are pretty darn interesting, particular in the LN and CN sections.  Unicorns and treants as Lawful Neutrals certainly cast the fairy woods in a different light.  Perhaps LN mummies, ogre mages, werewolves, and kobolds are misunderstood by common folk.  Meanwhile gnolls, minotaurs, and vampires punch the clock at Lawful Evil, Incorporated.  And neutral assassins suggest that paid murder can just be a regular job.  Neutral Liches!

The lesson I take aware here is that a simple alignment change can lead one to reconsider the place a creature has in your campaign world.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Thursday, December 01, 2016

the Broodmother cover, a better look

(Click to embiggen.)

And here's the official ad copy written by James Raggi (which I must admit I signed off on):
Since the invention of the adventure module, there have only been five adventures that were rated the most awesome, the most epic. Broodmother Sky Fortress leaves them all behind. It’s got these creatures that are half shark. Half elephant. All badass. They fly around in this cloud fortress, wrecking everything in the campaign until the players step up to stop them. It’s all terribly exciting! And all brought to you by none other than the world-famous Arch-Mage of Old-School, Jeff Rients! 
As an added bonus, we’ve included a Greatest Hits of the ol’ Arch-Mage’s essays and game tools to build your campaign into the unstoppable juggernaut you’ve always wanted it to be. Your game won’t suck anymore! 
Broodmother SkyFortress: Buying any other adventure is just throwing your money away

I like how preposterous that last line becomes given that LotFP is releasing another great product simultaneously.

“Wouldst Thou Like To DIE Deliciously?” 
The year is 1617, and the only thing on the minds of every noblewoman and aristocrat in Europe is CHOCOLATE. The act of eating this modest confection brings so much PLEASURE, it has become more prized than tea, spices, even liquor ... and it all comes from one place: LUCIA DE CASTILLO’s factory in northern Friesland. 
This one businesswoman has Europe by the balls, and some will pay handsomely for the secret to her success. But Lucia’s factory isn’t what it seems to be. The horrors and cruelties that exist within its walls defy IMAGINATION ITSELF. Nobody ever goes in ... and nobody ever comes out! 
BLOOD IN THE CHOCOLATE is a psycho-sexual romp that pits characters not just against their enemies, but against their own twisting, melting, inflating, or poisoned bodies. 
This adventure comes from the imagination of Kiel Chenier (Dungeons & Donuts, The Hell House Beckons), brought to life by the lurid illustrations of Jason Bradley Thompson (Mangaka: The Fast & Furious Game of Drawing Comics, Dreamland). 
An adventure suitable for low-level characters for use with Lamentations of the Flame Princess Weird Fantasy Role-Playing and other traditional role-playing games.
 I'll update all y'all again once I have a link to a product page.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Broodmother is a real thing.

Hey all!  I must pause in my preparations to teach the youth of America a second day on how awesome Beowulf is in order to provide a brief update.

Photo: Gangsta.

I haven't opened them up and checked them yet, but unless I make a frothy, raving rant in 15 minutes assume they will be at Dragonmeet on Saturday and then go on sale on the webstore on Tuesday.

Broodmother backers will get a PDF tomorrow.

This menacing figure is none other than game designer and publisher James Raggi, of Lamentations of the Flame Princess infamy.  In his hand he holds some sort of flintlocky pistol (is it a prop? a toy? an actual firearm?  I don't really know) and 2 books.

One of those books is Blood in the Chocolate, an adventure by cool guy Kiel Chenier that, as I understand it, is all about Willy Wonka taking a break from murdering children to spend time murdering your PCs instead.  Good, clean, wholesome fun.  Everyone reading this post should buy one.

The other book is nothing less than an actual copy of Broodmother Skyfortress, the adventure I wrote quite a while back now.  A few copies will be on sale this weekend at Dragonmeet, a convention in London.  Copies for all the wonderful people who put up money before I even wrote the thing will start shipping shortly thereafter.

I want to thank everyone who pledged, for both their initial faith in me and their patience.  And to everyone who emailed me over the years to ask when this darn thing was coming out, I thank you for accepting my vague promises.  I am so super-pleased that you will be getting your long awaited book soon.  It honestly fills me with joy to know you'll soon be holding your own copies.  And I hope you all like it.

By the by, the original design spec in the IndieGogo campaign called for a 32 page adventure.  The adventure actually runs longer than that and there's a bunch of bonus content in the back.  The last version of the PDF I saw ran 162 pages, or more than 5 times the content you were promised.  I hope that serves as a little apology/bonus for the absurd amount of production delays.

Also, if you haven't read Beowulf, you should totally get a hold of a good translation.  It's one of the wellsprings of modern Western heroic literature.  I teach R. M. Liuzza's more scholarly edition, but there are lots of other good ones.  The Seamus Heaney version is easy to find and quite popular.  A new edition of Tolkien's translation came out not too long ago as well.