Game plan for 2018

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Pretty awesome fantasy art IMHO

For me, 2017 was a pretty good year for playing RPGs. I’ve gotten to play in two different campaigns online (Cthulhu & Chivalry and Call of Cthulhu). And I’ve gotten to GM many Call of Cthulhu adventures in my main 1920s Masks of Nyarlahotep campaign, but also some shorter adventures (Castles & Crusades and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay 2e).

What I haven’t managed to set aside time for is (i) managing my blogs properly and (ii) writing and publishing new adventures under the Lazy Sod Press imprint.

And that’s a bit sad I think, as I have two half-finished adventures (one short, one long) just sitting on my hard drive waiting to be completed.

As for my current Call of Cthulhu game, the plan was to run one or two chapters as “seasons”, TV-series style, and then switch to another game, but both me and the players are enjoying this game immensely, so we have just kept on going, soon moving into chapter 3 “Cairo”.

For 2018, I plan to run the Cairo chapter and then switch to another game for a while. The three games currently on my wishlist are:

  1. Delta Green (Arc Dream version) – the brand new adventure “Viscid” looks just awesome – precisely my style! I also have a homebrew game planned – an adaptation and evolution of the fan-made adventure “Longpig” for KULT, which would be cool to run but would also take some serious work to prep for.
  2. I would also like to run some fantasy game of the darker kind. Currently, I’m pondering whether to run Symbaroum or Zweihänder. To be honest, Zweihänder is more my bag rules-mechanics wise, but then Symbaroum has this wonderful setting and these awesome adventures that would lift a great deal of GM prep work off my back. And that’s worth a lot, as the coming year promises to be pretty chock full of work for me. On the other hand, I have this semi-finished adventure that I wrote for Blood & Treasure that I think would fit Zweihänder perfectly…

On the publishing side, my new concept of publishing everything for free or PWYW feels right. That way I can write and publish whatever I want and not feel constrained by considerations of “what would sell”.

Also, games like Castles & Crusades, Call of Cthulhu, Delta Green, and Zweihänder have licenses that allows publication of fan-made stuff, provided that they are offered for free. This way, I can feel free to write for whatever system I like, without economical considerations.

And that’s artistic freedom.

I’ve set a mental target to publish at least one adventure during 2018, as that’s what I think my free time will allow at this point.

Anyway, that’s some plans for the coming game year…

 

 

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Tech for tabletop roleplaying and publishing – from Apple to Windows and Android

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My old rig – MacBook Pro (15-inch w/ 5th gen 4 core i7 processor) and iPhone 6 Plus

 

During 2017, I have moved from using Apple gear only, to Windows and Android instead. Why?

Well, there are several reasons for that. On the phone front, it was time to get a new phone as my old carrier contract was nearing its end. I considered a few new phones, among them an iPhone 7 or a OnePlus 5, but then my favorite electronics market (the Swedish version of Best Buy) had a short time offer where you got a very good plan, including a brand new Samsung S8 for about 300 Euros. It was a no-brainer price-wise, really. The S8 is an awesome phone though, and I especially appreciate the format, as it’s narrower but a bit higher than most large screen phones. However, it fits neatly in a pocket so those extra shaved off millimeters really does a world of difference from “awkward to carry with you” to easy-peasy. I used to detest Android, as it felt like a bad copy of iOS and don’t start on the bad graphic design and the bazillion options everywhere, but with the latest versions of Android, the ugly duckling has become a pretty and slick mobile OS. Samsungs own TouchWiz Android iteration has also gotten a much-deserved overhaul and I must say that I prefer it over, for example, OnePlus’s OxygenOS.

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New rig – Lenovo Yoga 720 (13-inch w/ 8th gen 4 core i5 processor) and Samsung S8

On the computer side, I wanted something to replace my aging iPad Air (with 16 GB of RAM) as it never was enough to keep my gaming PDFs and stuff. And since 2010 I haven’t owned a private laptop, but used my work machine (the MBP 15-inch) as it up to now has been perfectly allowed by my employer. However, the last few years, the IT department has been issuing new rules about this and that and it ended up with me feeling that I wanted to get my private stuff (mainly photos and game stuff) off the Macbook.

Due to ridiculous pricing, weak specs, and no touch screen, a new MacBook was ruled out directly. I decided to return to Windoze, which I left last time when XP was hot…

At first, I thought that I wanted a tablet that could function as a laptop at times and had almost decided for a Surface Pro i5. However, that machine is expensive when you add all the peripheral gear you need for it to function fully (keyboard, pen etc). Even with my 10% university teacher’s discount with Microsoft, the price is still high for what you get. I also started to think about what and how I usually use my computers and realized that I rather needed a laptop that could function as a tablet at times. After reading a lot of reviews and articles on 2-in-1s, I found the Lenovo Yoga 720 13-inch to be exactly what I wanted and after some saving up I decided to buy it, but then on Black Friday I saw that my favourite electronics chain had the Yoga 720 with the new 8th gen processors and with the Lenovo Active Pen included in the box. And the price was down 300 Euros for the Black Friday thingy. I picked up the computer at 0700 hours when they opened the store!

Since I keep most files in the cloud (I use DropBox, Google Drive, OneDrive, and Box), the move between OS’s has been very easy. Most of the software I use is available on most platforms, so very little has been problematic that way. And contrary to most Windoze-aficionados, I think that Windows 10 is great. It’s the first ever version of Windows that I truly like, tiles and all. And it has been very easy to get a grip on how it works after having been in Mac-land for so long. And with some research on the internets, I have been able to find suitable Windows apps for those few Mac-only apps that I use.

The Yoga is truly an awesome little machine. Full aluminium body (total weight 1.3 kg), great backlit keyboard, full HD touchscreen, USB-C (firewire) as well as an USB3 port, awesome Windows precision trackpad, tablet mode, ultra-fast PCIe hard drive etc etc. The only things I regret some is not getting the i7 model, mainly because it has 16GB of RAM and a 512 GB HD, but it wasn’t available at Black Friday pricing so I saved like 600 Euros by opting for the smaller model. The screen is also quite reflective (covered by Gorilla Glass) and not the brightest I’ve seen, which means that it can be hard to see on the screen when we play, depending on where we are (we usually play daytime).

I will come back with a follow-up post about doing game related stuff on the Yoga 720 next year. Above all, I’m curious about drawing dungeon and other maps on the computer. Also, all forthcoming adventures and other game stuff will be created on the Yoga. Which means that I have to abandon Adobe (which I have on my work Mac for free) and move to other software platforms for desktop publishing/layout and PDF preparation.

We’ll see how that works out 🙂

And also – don’t forget – all my game stuff (PDFs) is now free or Pay-What-You-Want over at DTRPG. If you want printed matter, there’s still a cost attached to that, naturally.

 

Lazy Sod Press | Announcement

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Buddy the Elf

Dear Gamers!

First of all I’d like to wish you all a Happy Holiday.

Over here in the cold Northlands, Christmas Eve is the big day, when we eat too much, hang out, and most important for the kids – give each other gifts. The family is still asleep, but I was awakened by the dang dog, so I have some free time with a cuppa coffee and the computer.

As it’s Christmas Eve, I have a gift for you guys:

Starting 2018, all my game stuff will be free or Pay-What-You-Want for some new items. Print items will naturally have a print cost attached to them. Free and PWYW items will be hosted by me on the blog or on DTRPG. Print items will be on Lulu.

Why?

It seems these days everyone wants to earn a few coins by publishing stuff that we would share freely a few years ago. Personally I’m pretty tired of OBS, Patreon, Dungeon Master’s Guild and whatnot, so by offering my stuff at no cost I officially step off that train and go back to the sharing concept. Also, this way no one can tell me what I can and cannot publish anymore. I’ve been thinking of this for a long time and now I’ve decided. And maybe I’ll start a new trend 😉

Punk’s Not Dead and all that.

The consequence will be that I won’t be able to pay for art anymore, so adventures will be text and maps only. Or, maybe some artists will join the free concept and contribute with a few pieces of art.

Now you know.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all gamers everywhere!

/dawnrazor

 

Their roots go deep my lord…

 

 

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New old books!

 

After a number of years searching for The Riddle of the OSR Clones, I’ve decided to scrap all that and go back to my original D&D infatuation – Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

It all began a while back when I sat down and started reading in my old DMG, and I realized that I have all I need as far as D&D goes right here.

I still have my old books from back in the day and a bunch of adventures on top of that. And new OSR style stuff can easily be ported over if I should want.

At this point, I’m kinda burned out on D&D-ish games and I currently run Call of Cthulhu. After that, I plan to run some Symbaroum. After that, I reckon it’s time for some true old school AD&D, warts, high Gygaxian, and all! However, I plan to start some good old world building right now! Back in the day, I didn’t have money to buy setting stuff so I put my meager wealth on rulebooks and a few adventures, which I placed in my homebrew world along with homebrew adventures. For the new world, I will start small and then expand as we go. Back then I had this world map that I tried to fill with content, which turned out to be a killer job.

 

RQ first map

The first part of my old world, heavily influenced by the RQ2 maps by William Church. This world eventually grew much bigger and as a side note I used the same setting for b/x, AD&D and RuneQuest 2.

 

Even if we began with Moldway/Cook b/x, AD&D is the game I ran the longest during those early formative years and one that I remember fondly. I worked extra selling newspapers on the weekends to afford the PH and DMG and I got the MM from my grandparents one Christmas in Gothenburg. As the books came out I got them all and over time we added UA, OA and the Survival Guides as well. And I think that all those complicated extra rules were the beginning of the end for me. The game had gotten very complicated with all those extra rule mechanics and when AD&D 2nd edition was announced I redirected my interest towards RuneQuest 3 and other games instead.

 

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Reading my brand new MM, somewhere in the 80’s…

To commemorate this historic return to AD&D after 28 years (sic!), this week I treated myself with the limited edition AD&D Premium Reprints, which arrived yesterday. These are among the last new copies in Sweden and I even had to order the Monster Manual from Germany as it is sold out over here (I believe it will arrive next week). The reprints are of awesome quality and I honestly can’t understand the critique that some people have directed towards the illustration quality – I think the illos are perfectly fine. Much crisper than the old books and fully functional in all their old-school ugliness/coolness. And definitely cheaper than the D&D 5e books. I also got myself a battered REF1 GM screen for a very reasonable price. Never had one of those as I used a home made one back in the day.

Drawing of the adventuring party by one of my players (Johan Emanuelson), just before we stopped playing AD&D. From left to right: Emir – Fighter (w/ an unhealthy interest in pretty rocks); Sven – Fighter (badass); Daag – Assassin; Jean d’Arc – Paladin (of course); Zeb – Ranger (stinky and dirty); Casmir – Thief (sneaky and always ready to betray the other PCs. After getting caught red-handed stealing from the party, he was placed in a dinghy far out at sea and haven’t been heard from since).

I plan to run the game as written, using stuff like to-hit modifications vs. differents AC:s and segments – things we didn’t use back in the day. After reading the books with adult eyes, I see that we let a lot of b/x-isms flow over to our AD&D games. The only thing I will add is some kind of simple task resolution system, preferably based on attributes.

I also like the fact that nothing new will be added to the game – no new splatbooks or whatever. This means that I can concentrate on what I have and build my own stuff from that. As for future publications from the Lazy Sod, I might switch focus from Blood & Treasure to OSRIC instead. Haven’t decided on that yet.


Final note: For those who might have noticed that my online presence has diminished greatly compared to before, I am still here. However, an increased workload and other personal issues have eaten up a lot of my spare time. I still run (and occasionally play) games. I still write gaming stuff. It’s only that I don’t post that much or publish stuff anymore. And besides the personal stuff, my interest in sharing and discussing online has petered out in direct relation to the increasingly combative, opinionated and aggressive online climate and I simply don’t have the time or the interest to argue over non-game related issues with strangers online. I have enough of struggles in real life, and I don’t need it in my escapist feed as well. It’s as simple as that.

 

 

 

Beyond darkness…

My new Kult blog, for those that might be interested…

Ultra Tenebris

About a year back, Helmgast announced that a new edition of Kult was in the works and launched a kickstarter for the new game. By coincidence, the new edition of Delta Green was kickstarted almost simultaneously. These two are among my absolute favorite RPGs, all categories, and I had a really hard time choosing which one to support. It ended up being Delta Green, mainly because I really like the d100/BRP system and because the new edition of Kult was to be based on Apocalypse World, which really isn’t my cup of tea.

However, the advent of a new Kult edition did reignite my interest in Kult and for a while I had this idea that I was going to write a Kult hack for Delta Green, but it turned out to be extremely tedious, so recently I decided to run some good ole’ Kult goodness using the original rules. Over the…

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