12 January 2017

[REVIEW] Dungeon Grappling

Dungeon Grappling (DG) is written by Douglas H. Cole and published by Gaming Ballistic LLC. Neither myself, Cameron DuBeers, nor my company Wobbly Goblin Press, are associated with either Douglas Cole or Gaming Ballistic in any way beyond backing the Dungeon Grappling Kickstarter. This review is based upon the first PDF release available to KS Backers only. Gaming Ballistic is currently accepting pre-orders [here] (link updated).

I never had the opportunity to read the 'zine article DG grew out of, so I cannot directly address any differences between the two. I will say DG includes a nice introduction to grappling and what it means to your campaign. Also a nice part of the presentation is the body of text, artwork and background art are all divided into layers. Artwork and background can be turned off, leaving the just the text for easier reading and printing. Not that the two are intrusive in any, I found the presentation of the material to be well done, but I personally like plain text for reading on the computer screen.

The actual game play mechanics are logically divided into three sections: Core Concepts, Grappling Effects, and Monstrous Grappling. Also included at the back of the book are an exhaustive Index and a summary of the rules in the form of two reference sheets. The latter will be helpful when conducting grappling in a referee's own campaign, particularly the first few times these new concepts are employed.

As advertised, Dungeon Grappling presents a system adaptable to most FRPG games, particularly those emulating pre-1983 rules sets. Rules for the different gaming systems are presented with the correct terminology and level of detail, leading me to believe Mr. Cole is either adept at all these systems or had plenty of editorial assistance writing those sections.

One aspect of the game I particularly like is the division of player-character and monster grappling. This section also includes example monsters with statistics and combat examples specific to 5E, S&W: Complete, and Pathfinder.

So, how do the rules work? For S&W they work great. I found them easy to adjudicate, adaptable to the fluidity of combat, and producing consistent results. I ran several scenarios including one on one, one versus two, and five smaller opponents versus a larger, stronger opponent. The rules handled each situation without a lot of paging through the rules or having to guess how to proceed.

Conclusion? I will be incorporating these rules into my S&W based campaign rules. Is there any better praise for a work of this type?

Summary: presentation, coherency of rules, ease of use; all get top scores. This product is highly recommended for your home campaign.

26 November 2016

Advice For Video Reviewers & Podcasters

A few brief words of advice for persons doing gaming related videos and podcasts.

Short intros, then get to the subject at hand.

Stick to the subject.

Use your natural speaking voice.

If you don't have a pleasing speaking voice, get someone to do your broadcast for you or with you.

Try to have new information in your podcast, something more than that found with a casual Google search.

If you're doing a video review? Exploit your medium by having visuals and props. If you're doing a podcast choose a location with good acoustics and a minimum of background noise.

No filler! When you reach the end of your useful information, stop talking!

19 November 2016

The Unblemished

An unofficial arm of the Church of Law. The Unblemished are soldiers and unsanctioned guardsmen in towns or cities where Law holds sway. Because of the church's annual receipt of tithes from the these troops tend to be very well armed and trained. The Unblemished will typically be armed with mace or club, fighting spear, and dagger; they are almost always clad in plate and carry shields.

Sometimes these men and women, almost always humans, operate with the blessings of The Nine and the leading members of the local clergy. Other times they operate independent of the local clergy under the command of a Cleric, who may or may not answer (or at least confer) with the local clergy.

The Unblemished always cover their faces when in uniform, communicating only in the Lawful alignment tongue. In stressful situations, any being unable to communicate in same will often be detained. The Unblemished are very often fanatical in their devotion to The Nine and will usually err on the side of dogma in pursuit of their duties. These fanatics are often rigid and unyielding in their faith, even to the point of great personal cost.

Unblemished soldiers are always found preferably in groups of nine or multiples of nine. In such a case there will be one soldier bearing the sigil of one the deities on his tabard, all of The Nine will be thus represented. In smaller communities where numbers are lacking they will resort to groups of three.

If your campaign uses paladins, this is a great source for them.

30 October 2016

Variant Humans: The Elorran

Basically, I've decided to have six human ethnicities in my new supplement, one for each physical attribute. So, what I've been working on in my spare moments is the new races. It isn't just coming up with a backstory, but coming up with a decent name for them. 

The Elorran are slender humans characterized by roman noses and strong foreheads. Their fingers and toes also tend to be very long, though they are no more dexterous than other humans. The Elorran inhabit the region closest to the Upper Serpent River and the western arm of the Frostfang Mountains. The Elorran are tinkerers, inventors, sages, and wizards. They are strategic fighters and though they  are not particularly warlike, they are implacable foes once aroused.  The Elorran have a not undeserved reputation as humorless, stoic, and overly analytical.

Elorran average 3"-6" taller than human norm, with light colored hair. Hair color is usually light brown, blonde, and so blonde as to be almost white. Eyes tend toward blue or grey. Elorran roll 3d6+1 for INT and 3d6-1 for STR, and add +1 to saving throws versus mind influencing spells. Elorran society is lax when it comes to matters of spirituality, so they produce few clerics, but some of the finest mages the world has known have come from the Elorrans. The Archmage turned Sage "Ahmechs the Wise" is Elorran.

29 October 2016

Variant Human Race: Heptamoni

The Heptamoni (singular: Heptamon) dwell mainly in the northern reaches. They prefer loose-fitting clothing made of unbleached woven cloth, leather stained in light colors, or furs. They average 3"-6" shorter than typical humans, are hirsute and heavy browed, as well as heavily muscled in their frames. Hair and eyes trend toward dark brown. A Heptamon will typically have a one-syllable first name, the name they go by in everyday life, with a rarely used last name consisting of their mother's first name name followed by -childe; or -childemon in the case of a multiple birth. Multiple births are 10% more common among these humans. Their society is matriarchal and worship of Iskela is foremost among their beliefs.

Heptamoni prefer weapons that take advantage of their strength, such as bashing or two-handed bladed weapons. Clerics are revered among the Heptamoni, indigenous magic-users are rare and all MUs are treated with a mixture of respect, contempt, and fear.

The Heptamoni get +1 to all saving throws versus cold-based attacks or magic, roll 3d6+1 for Strength, and 3d6-1 for Dexterity.

01 October 2016

What I'm Working On

So, Wobbly Goblin Press (WGP) is basically a one-man operation, though nothing is truly one-person. We all use editors, proof-readers, artists, layout person, etc. Still, I'm the driving force behind WGP so things move slowly, then leap ahead in a fit of manic creation, then stop completely for trips to England or Asia or even Denver CO (who knows where next year, it depends upon which way the wind blows).

So, all the verbiage is in place to dispel any hopes the following announcement will bring. It's not a big flashy [COMING SOON!!!] and the product won't be a leather bound, gilt-edged paper mega-production. It's just another hobby publisher putting out a product.

I'm writing a campaign. I'm trying to go full smash with history, geography, new bestiary, (some) custom spells and magic items, you get the idea. The idea is to pick the book up and have something that both uses your favorite set of pre-1983 rules set or rules clone but is without a doubt not Greyhawk, Blackmoor, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, or any other major published work.

Work will be slow. It may be a long time, probably years, before it sees the light of day. But I'm telling you, gentle reader, all this because I'll be posting bits and bobs of it here on this 'blog as I work and I wanted you to know the overarching theme behind a seemingly randomly series of post topics.

A few years back I wrote an alternate psionic system for use with Matt's excellent Swords & Wizardry rules. Unfortunately, the finished product was lost during a move and never published. I finally found a much earlier draft of the rules and I'm working to recreate what I wrote. These will be included in the final campaign book. I'll also release them here.

The final work will be free for download as a PDF or available at cost as a print product. Anything I publish here will be freely usable, may be freely printed, and can be distributed ad lib, though I would appreciate an attribution by name (Cameron DuBeers or Cameron S. DuBeers) on the frontispiece or wherever you attribute other sources in your work. Consider anything I post here, unless otherwise qualified in the text of that particular post, as Creative Commons 4.0:

seal

28 September 2016

Let Them Eat Cake!

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Eggs
  • Butter or Oil
  • Water
  • Baking Soda 
  • Baking Powder

Cake. All cakes and lots of other baked goods have these same ingredients but not all cakes taste alike.

You do not have to be hungry to eat cake, you will rarely say but I had cake yesterday and I just don't feel like eating some cake today. It's cake!

Use a lot of butter and you get pound cake. Whip the eggs and you get sponge cake. Add cocoa and get chocolate cake. Eschew the use of flour and get cheese cake. Use yeast and get coffee cake. Change the ratio of ingredients slightly and cook it on a griddle to get pancakes. Change it again and bake it in the oven on a cookie sheet and get biscuits. Then there's bread, crackers, scones, cookies, pie crust, pastries, ad infinitum ... 

It's the same with D&D and most other RPG's, okay? Same ingredients, so as you're mixing them up you may think you're fixing the same old thing. You're not. That batter may look like every other batch of batter you've ever seen, but it's your special touch and a handful of nuts, or cinnamon, or fresh slices of apples, or vanilla extract, that make it something different.

Don't let the fact your campaign isn't completely world-changing in scope and depth stifle your creativity. Create a campaign in your own vision.