Monday, February 17, 2020

Mathew Finch Interview Coming Soon

Looks like Frog God Games has been making the rounds promoting the success of their latest kickstarter and the Vanishing Tower Press has been tapped for an interview. Super excited for an opportunity to interview Mathew Finch. One, I do have some topics I would like to discuss with any OSR luminary, let alone Mr. Finch. Two, the Vanishing Tower has not conducted an industry interview ever, so it is a great moment for the press itself. And third, I give good interview. At least I have in the past. Just like gaming, I have been out of the gonzo interview business almost as long as I was lost to TTRPG's. So it should be a worth a listen for that alone. 

I would like to live stream and record at the same time, but it is to important of an opportunity to have everyone hanging on air while my horrible media tools melt down around me. So next best is a recorded interview. This provides editing opportunities, but I always found going live the most exciting. Most like a role playing game, the spontaneity and unpredictability of live takes is tonic for the manic!

Don't miss it, I will be posting it. Currently scheduled for next week, then edits, so two weeks and I will have an interview to drop? 

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Patrick Stuart's Sky-Stone-River Place

Is an obscure PDF, no longer available, containing a very entertaining dungeon filled with opportunities for climbing, swinging and yelling in a vast cavern filled with toppled templery and mosaic birds. 

My Rom'Myr Dying Earth campaign was built around this adventure module as the start location. Firstly, because I think the adventure is hella-cool. I knew I wanted to run it as soon as I skimmed the plain text doc. The other is because my OSR Homebrew setting used the Thief class as the base character class. If you don't qualify for any of the other six classes you are a thief. And with thieves having a high Climb Walls ability, the only  ability they can really exercise with some assurance of success, is a perfect match for the dungeon's interior environment. 

The campaign has moved on from the starting location, obviously, in the last year and a half, but before more daylight appears between that glorious opening and the current campaign's direction I would like to honor this original freebie with my own illustration of the water-warped temple.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

How Many USR Character Sheets Were Downloaded

... in 2019 you ask? Probably not, but I read the end of the year numbers on how many times this universal character sheet downloaded with the diligent scrutiny one would reserve for reading tea leaves. And I ask myself many questions which may never be answered.

For what purpose could 37 (that is this years count) USR Character Sheets be used for? Are they all for active games? Does the same person download them again and again?

I like to think that Scott Malthouse's minimalist rules-set Unbelievably Simple Roleplaying is getting some decent love for an obscure indie game.

Let us look at the numbers:

Customer #1612763 downloaded the sheet the most, 7 times! Dude, save it to google drive! Every other download was from a separate customer. So one must conclude 31 different people showed interest in the USR system. One customer looks to be playing a game regularly! 

22 copies of USR Sword & Sorcery were purchased this year, and Anthro USR sold a copy, 1. So fuzzy animals are not nearly as popular as iron thewed warriors.

My first commercial DnD adventure sold 20 copies here at the end of the last quarter of 2019.

10 copies of Horrors Material & Magic Malignant is pleasing to see. This means 1 out of every 3.7 customers who purchase Sword & Sorcery decide the supplement is a good buy as well.

Santapocalypse was a disappointment. I thought it was a nice pocket war game which deserved more love. Well, 2020 looks like another exciting year here at the Vanishing Tower. Podcast will be making a brief appearance for live drop from the convention floor in February. 

I'm going to put up a blog post where I get all philosophical on what a role playing game is (and it isn't the fucking rules). I get into stupid arguments on the internet, and I should get my thoughts in order at least.

Vanishing Tower's house game, Rom'Myr Dying Earth, continues down its twisting, picaresque path. A BFRPG-run game, me and the players experiment with the plastic medium of a roleplaying game every other week. The PCs are responding to a very responsive game environment, have adjusted accordingly, and are just as hungry for more adventure as they were on day one. For myself the continued yearly play reveals how gratifying a game can be when everyone at the table is invested and interesting. And then poof, it is gone. Is their any other artistic medium which is so ephemeral, yet so enthralling to the participants? The "best practices" for our games as championed by the OSR have shown their sturdy utility again and again. At its diamond core the game is nothing but responding to the fascinating and creating fascinating game moments is tough stuff.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Death in Rom'Myr

The last session was a continuation of coming to grips with the denizens of the Pale Knight's Palace. They had indeed returned to the Aticorn with the 8 threads from the vampire lord’s cloak, and the creature of Faerie did release the party from the peculiar geas laid upon them. But they had left the young Violet behind in the nightmarish palace. None of the warriors could look each other in the eye if they left their potential meal-ticket lost and uncashed. So instead of pushing on to the realative safety of Le Freniae, the party turned around and marched back to the ruined structure which just last night held an alien conclave and was racked by terrible explosions. The daylight did little to relieve the gloom saturating the steep, forest hollow. Once inside they wasted little time plowing to the room of dragon eggs and the broken throne room. The 3 eggs which were left behind last night appear now to be gone. The throne room was appropriately barren, but the unbelievable events which overtook the group last in this room left behind signs of the awful reality which had transpired. 
Clues wrapped in a dropped communique hinted at deep conspiracy on now a cosmic scale. But nothing yet seen prepared them for the colossal marble snake coiled in the center of it’s room of rampage. Not a hallucinatory dream after all. Stone it was made and still it breathed and slumbered. Above the beast, as if suspended like an acrobat, the silvery beauty, the alien and powerful Aladonia floated like a billowing cloud over the rubble. Her advisory, the grotesque talking hair-skin thing, was no where in sight. An unoccupied alchemy lab provided insight on the child-snatching which they were bearing witness to. Their bowels turned to water as a closing, suffocating trap threatened a TPK and still no sign of the lovely Violet. Questions dogged their every step; what with the stealing of children? What was the significance of multiple dimensions filled with strange beings? And how was all this going to pay? 

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Original Design Metal Gamer Tees I Made

I've been wanting to do this for some time. I imagine it has already been done, is being done. This is an easy phrase to stumble over when thinking what would make a good t-shirt? What this tee has that no one else does is a piece of my original scribble art found in my new OSR compatible module I recently released to loud acclaim (see review link right). 

So that is why you need to get this DIY indie shwag! These will be available for the next twenty-five days, so no dawdling.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Looking Forward to Ghengiscon

It is not completely solid, but all indications are I will be attending Ghengiscon this February in Denver. Over Valentine’s Day no less. Most likely the only convention I go to all year (lets hope not). The price to be paid for this running on Valentine's Day I imagine a few grumps and grumbles in the cabin.

The two games I offered have been accepted so I will be running FGU’s Space Opera on Friday and Saturday run my current OSR release, an adventure module for PCs 2-4.
Space Opera needs prep while AA03 not really. For the OSR adventure I hope participants bring their own characters. Put some real money in the game. No one is going to do that though. Players are cautious, paranoid lot. I have been twisting up layout machine to make an original, comprehensible character sheet for SO and is working out well. Unless you are willing to draw one up,like James V. West, I find software creation to be clunky and hard to fine tune. Fortunately sci-fi character sheets lend themselves to structured layouts, clean text and picture frames. 

Character sheets and monster stats! The adventure takes place in a hostile jungle so a variety of critters to encounter should be drawn up into its own monster section. Like an appendix or “New Monster” section you can find in traditional modules. Having a few pages with all the monsters to be encountered in the adventure, with stats, is a must for me when writing dungeons. Detailing and tricking out the flying ATV which will be used in the adventure. In a one-shot adventure players don’t have much to hang their hat on, so useful items and gear begin to define their capabilities. Having depth to the information about the rig will help the players come up with ways to use it and escape danger!

Traversing the canopy below by flying is hazardous, there are large raptors which are attracted to anything they can see in the sky. Having your Air Raft break down deep in the jungle is when you need to call for a lift, and fast. Once I have something worth playing at when the PCs arrive at the “Forbidden City” the rest of the content will be much easier to write.

I’m not sure what kind of presence RPG’s have at Ghengiscon, but I know Savage Worlds is played more than any other thing, followed next by 5e? I think.
There are some luminaries of the OSR-o-Sphere living on the front range so there is always the chance I see someone I’m a fan of. Toughest thing about the con is the drive over the continental divide. It is always a crap shoot. There is no guarantee you  will get where you are going once your on I-70 in the high country.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Silver Best Seller is USR Sword & Sorcery it is!

I don't know how long it has held this position but USR SWORD & SORCERY is a Silver Best Seller on DriveThruRPG. Not bad for an obscure ameture publication. I think I even saw a few months back a pirated copy available online. So it is that big time as well :)

Anyways, really proud of this little game with big ambitions. Deluxe is moving along at the heart-breaker hobbiest pace. The AA03 module is still waiting on an acceptable proof to release the hard and soft cover editions with color covers. A whole back-log of shit really. Fear & Loathing in Fat City needs to get off the outline board and yellow-lined sheets of paper and squished into my laptop. That's another thing, the longer you work on a project the more certain you get your laptop is going to crash.

The total numbers include free copies, many of them mine. I believe how that works. Just volumes of copies downloaded. The actual paid for downloads of USRSS numbers is 188, just shy of 200. Total downloads is over eleven-hundred, so free copies boost your rankings kind of unfairly. Either way, this slim publication will be yanked as soon as Deluxe comes out, so who knows how long you have for an "original" edition?

Oh yeah, my other early on project, Classic Modules Today, at DMs Guild continues to be as stand-out success for the Vanishing Tower. CMT B2 Keep on the Borderlands has gone PLATiNUM thank you very much. This goes to show you the value of a sellable brand. My stuff combined barely hits five hundred units moved while the licensed products, the Classic Modules Today, are in the thousands for downloads. Most of the other conversion guides have hit Silver or at least Copper as well. Once again, Vanishing Tower's most successful venture so far.

Santapocalypse has moved a whopping 4 units in legit sales, but hey, you do it for love of the game! Cio for now from the old VTP.