For the Writing of the Thing.

I’ve got the creative thoughts rumbling for adventure writing, but I don’t seem to have the energy or what I think I should have for the organization of these creative thoughts.

I work on a Chromebook. I’ve looked into apps for writing and help with organization, but I’ve not found one that willing fits the flow of my thoughts. I tend to “write by the seat of my pants”, therefore the organization is on the same line.

Index cards? Yep, shuffle them up and throw them on the desk. This should work, right? Ugh.

I had so much fun writing “The Heist of the Royal Jewels” for the Gongfarmer’s Almanac 2018. Having some encouragement to come up with more like it, I’ve come up with another idea. But I think I have overwhelmed myself with information. I just need to settle on just one thought and create around that.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer and author. Of what, I’m not sure. I’ve had lots of encouragement to write and get published. It’s the getting started and like what I’ve written in order to submit something.

I find it fairly easy to blog, journal, and just discuss what I’d like to do. Finding ways to be coached in the process is the challenge. I had fun in 2011 writing during NaNoWriMo (Nationa Novel Writing Month) in November.  I wrote over 50,000 words in 25 days. It was a good challenge. I had fun finding that I had a story within me to write. And as I look back over the story, it has a “dungeon crawl” within it.

So, now that I have summoned these words…I hope it sparks some coaching from those of you who write and have written an adventure module or more. I also hope that these words can get me to write, at least, the first sentence to an adventure module or two.


Free RPG day Road Crew report

Yes, well… it was my first Free RPG Day to participate in. One FLGS decided not to have it and by the time I had asked them whether they were having it, I was told that they had missed the order date for getting the Free RPG Day swag. The other FLGS ordered their Free RPG Day swag, but owner and managers went to Origins and those that were left to run Free RPG Day… were like me… had not run the event before.

So, what did I learn about running Free RPG Day? Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. And that last minute “emergencies” will always come into play. Yes, I think one can be ready for last-minute emergencies. Meaning, have a backup plan. I will not go into detail, as I do not have details, at this time, to share.

With that said, I will try to give a report on what the experience was for me. As an “emergency” presented itself to me just days before Free RPG Day, I scrambled to make the time changes. Well, with the FLGS owner and managers heading out of town to Origins, this became an almost impossibility to connect with the organizer who was going out of town also. Granted, I think this was only the third year for the FLGS to host Free RPG Day. And it also happened that last year Origins was on the same weekend.

I will also say that with it being my first Free RPG Day event, I was less than wise about how to even go about planning and preparing for the event. I followed Facebook and Google+ for information from “the tribe”. It is quite helpful pre- and post- event for learning what can be done to better and make the event better in the future. Even though I run weekly games and bi-weekly games, I am no expert on running featured events. Just like when I went to GenCon 50 last year, I looked to others to help guide me with where to go and how to begin events. I had never gone to a gaming convention before. I could not have told you what it was like as a player, let alone how it was going to be as a GM (game master).

So, this past Saturday for Free RPG Day, I show up at the FLGS at the scheduled time. I was informed that I was two hours early. “????” Ok, so I hang around listening in on some of the games. There are some GMs, I gathered, will give looks to those lurking around listening. I’m not sure what these looks are to mean, but they did not feel welcoming to me, the observer. So, I move on.

Well, the time finally comes for my afternoon DCC RPG game to start …and… no players. Where were the DCC RPG players? Another judge had a game scheduled for the first time slot at noon… no one showed. For this FLGS, this is odd. Any other Saturday the DCC RPG tables are loaded. Feels to me like the Free RPG Day flopped. BUT… as I looked around, DnD 5E was going well. Pathfinder had their players. And a newer RPG, Kobolds Ate My Baby had a table loaded with players. I should know, as I was one who sat down to play it.

Later that evening, our regular DCC RPG group … at least 3 players… came to finish “The Carnival of the Damned” by David Baity.  Crawling through the “Fun House” and meeting with death. I have one player that receives chills at the sound of the “Dead” stamp. With this last game one of our 0 level halflings, Wee Biscuit with a Luck of 14 has earned his Level 1 “badge” to be the luckiest halfling in all of the Shudder Mountains.

This coming Thursday evening, the Thursday Knights will get to close the carnival as they meet the Black Jester. With the carnival moving out of the Shudder Mountains, the players are asking me to stretch a bit from DCC to MCC (Mutant Crawl Classics). At this time, Goodman Games posted that they are out of the first printing and the second printing will come in July. I do have the Free RPG Day which had both the DCC Lankmar and MCC RPG introduction modules. I plan to run the MCC RPG “Museum at the End of Time” with both FLGS groups.

Playing Solo AD&D adventures and stuff.

I just love the old school adventures! When I was introduced to D&D, I began to research the beginnings of Dungeon and Dragons. I went looking for the first books and adventures. I came across solo adventures and was intrigued. I love the Internet and the ability to find almost anything related to Dungeon and Dragons. I find that now that I am in love with Dungeon Crawl Classics, the early 1974 and 1984 Dungeons and Dragons fuel my love for these older types of adventuring.

Image result for lion castle dnd

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Image result for Blizzard's Pass

I found “Blizzard’s Pass”, “Lathan’s Gold” and “Lion’s Castle”. I’m not in love with the modules that require invisible ink pens in order to use them. “Lathan’s Gold” and “Lion’s Castle” do not require the invisible ink and therefore I find them fun and they are very good.

I say “very good” because I find them not only fun to learn the rules, but also they provide keys to learning how to DM adventures. As the player of a solo adventure, you also get to be the DM. In “Lion’s Castle” it wasn’t until my fourth character, a second level elf, that I made it past the first encounter. I imagine, had my dice rolled better, I would not have been killed immediately.

The conversions from the AD&D Armor Class to the present d20 system is interesting. I’m still deciding if I want to memorize the conversion chart which really would not be all that difficult to do. Yet, as I think about this, why would E. Gary Gygax create a system with a mechanic like it? Why not just take the number right off the d20 and make it the AC? Too easy? And I am not going to go into the why. I am just going to thank E. Gary Gygax for his unique style and the desire to make math fun. I know some will not agree on this praise of math.

I want to praise the modern d20 system as it does lend to more role-playing and fewer numbers crunching. What overwhelms me is all the d20 system games that have come with the open d20 gaming license.

A year ago, I was just starting as a Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG judge. “Judge” is what DCC RPG calls the DM or GM in the game. I know other games call the GM a “referee”. In that year the amount of games I have judged has gone well off the charitable figure. Since last year’s GenCon 50, I have run a DCC RPG Road Crew game at a local FLGS every Thursday evening and a bi-weekly DCC RPG Road Crew game at another FLGS on Saturdays.

Our recent games have been going through “The Carnival of the Damned” by David Baity. img_20180418_1135085162150957882237585.jpgInitially written for a convention tournament, this module can be adapted as a funnel. I am not sold that it could be a one-shot. Each “attraction” in the carnival is a must to play. Be ready for PC deaths as there will be many! I have pre-gens off of Purple Sorcerer ready as the “attractions” come to an end. The PCs that survive are then able to meet up with more villagers in town also looking for their children.

I am not a good records keeper and I think that someday I will do better. Well, someday hasn’t come. I need a record keeper. I have a player or two who do take notes on the games. I am appreciative of that.

What is coming up next? Well, it is Thursday…so it is DCC RPG Road Crew night with the “Thursday Knights”. Saturday is Free RPG Day and our regular DCC RPG Road Crew game night with the “SeDoTu Crusaders”. You may see the schedule of all the northern Indiana games on Sanctum Secorum’s Event Calendar.

August 2-5, 2018 is GenCon 51 in Indianapolis, IN. I will be there and have four events on the Goodman Games DCC RPG schedule. This year is the highest number of DCC RPG games ever. Make sure you pick up the Gongfarmer’s Almanac as I have a Level 1 adventure in it called “The Heist for the Royal Jewels”. Slapstick humor and death from falling pianos. The sewer monster is also terrifying. But you will need to decide for yourself what creatures lurk below and on top.

Writing for DCC RPG fanzine and Road Crew report – The Carnival is in town.

I like trying to write. So, when the announcement was made that the Gongfarmer’s Almanac, a DCC RPG fanzine was accepting articles for the 2018 volume, I delayed until the last minute. Just what everyone else does, correct? Anyway, I submitted a level 1 adventure with the theme – Keystone cops. “The Heist of the Royal Jewels” has now been edited and is ready for layout. The artwork looks great for this project. Look for this to come out at GenCon 51 coming this August 2018.

With the submission of “The Heist of the Royal Jewels,” the response from the editor was, “Cool!”. And I was asked if I could come up with 12 more. Twelve more! That is a challenge and I’m on my way with an idea for the first of 12. I am gathering information through reruns of a cartoon I watched when I was a kid. The inventions within the storyline give great ideas for weapons. Heroes, villains, innocent dame and really dumb puns. Yes, you can get good ideas from childhood books and cartoons. Ok, so I’m talking about those from the 1970’s and 1980’s.  I find that those from my younger years are the best for creating RPG story-telling. So I have chosen to research the themes from 1907’s and 1980’s cartoons.

Now, I go to the report for the latest DCC RPG Road Crew 2018 games. I run at two FLGSs and both groups are enjoying the carnival that has come to their towns. During the day the carnival is lively, happy and filled with prizes and memories. By night the carnival lures the adventurers’ children with all you can eat candy and games. The adventurers are determined to find their children and bring them back home. To do this they need to help the Black Jester find happiness again.  img_20180418_1135085162150957882237585.jpg

In both groups, they have found some prizes and some evil clowns. The PCs have played games for prizes and have also gotten attacked by rides that have come alive to deter their progress through the evil carnival. Many PCs have died and more villagers join the hunt for the children as the PCs leave one attraction to enter another one.

They have ridden through a tunnel of love, slid down a clown’s tongue and played for prizes in an arcade. One PC has been turned into a chicken which is still the PC and able to talk but must talk with occasional clucking between her words. A few of the important items have been found. The pink mist continues to tingle their skin and smell sweet. Carnival music is eerily heard in the distance throughout the carnival and sometimes lures the PCs into tents or onto attractions.

It appears that both groups are stuck in this eerie carnival for some time yet. So stay tuned for more (mis)adventures by the Thursday Nights @ Better Word Books, Goshen, IN and the SeDoTu Crusaders @ Secret Door Games in the Tutu Parlor, Elkhart, IN.

Beyond the Silver ScreamTomorrow, May 26 from 12-3pm I will be running “Beyond the Silver Scream” by Forrest Aguirre at Secret Door Games in Elkhart, IN. The game shop periodically has “Sword and Sorcery Day”. This event is only $5. You get to play all day and have pizza. The focus on games centers around role-playing games of all kinds.

Later in the day, Marlene will run “The Woeful Tale of Sour Spring HChainedCoffinollow” by Michael Curtis. Her game runs from 7-10pm. Both DCC RPG events are 0-level funnels and fun for all players from beginners to “expert”.

The town’s carnival. It’s creepy. And other things.

“The Carnival of the Damned” by David Baity continues as the Road Crew 2018 event for both Better World Books, Goshen, IN for The Thursday Knights every Thursday evening at 6pm. And for The SeDoTu Crusaders at Secret Door Games, Elkhart, IN in The Tutu Parlor, who meet every Saturday at 6:30pm. Image result for carnival of the damned

Villagers are searching for their children who have vanished in the night. The players have anywhere from two Level 1 PCs to four 0-level PCs. The pink tingling sweet mist lures them from attraction to attraction. With deaths of villagers in some of the attractions, so far, those PCs exiting the attractions meat up with other villagers from there town who are also searching for their children. So, there are always more 0-level PCs for players to play as the children are searched for and hopefully returned to their town.

Related image As I run an open Road Crew DCC RPG table at both Better World Books and Secret Door Games, players are “here and there”.  Last Thursday, three players came for the carnival. Two who had not yet played DCC RPG and a regular. My hope is that the new players will come for some more fun.

This evening, the group will again be attending the carnival. Hoping to maybe ride the “Tunnel of Love” or maybe “The Bone Roller Coaster”. Or maybe play some of the carnival games to win some prizes. Ah, prizes.

From “The Carnival of the Damned” the plan is for the group to wander the Shudder Mountains deeper in “The Chained Coffin” boxed set by Michael Curtis. I am looking forward to getting back into reading and preparing the adventures from this boxed set. Image result for chained coffin boxed set

Our other judge, Marlene runs games on Saturdays where I am not able to be the judge. She and the group are having a blast traversing the “Perils on the Purple Planet” boxed set.Image result for perils of the purple planet I have played as a Cleric in a few of these sessions. My cleric’s name is Ollie Flagon once a Wainwright in his peasant days. He had with him a cart for the dead. This was turned to kindle in the last session. If able, Ollie might be able to craft another wagon during some time in the mountains.

My library of DCC RPG resources has a multiplication spell cast upon it. Wow, I started looking for a module and realized that I have a few piles to organize. I have to say that it all started with friends who gifted me DCC RPG modules for my birthday last September. I think they were the ones who put the multiplication spell on my library. Then with .pdf modules in three-ring binders, I am trying to get organized. Well, if there is a trick to organize and ever-growing DCC RPG library, I could you some insight. Have you put your library in an Excel file or Sheets file? What is your favorite way of categorizing your DCC RPG resources?

I am also trying to put a list together of what to read. With the desire to read Appendix N books, I have got a lot to do. I also listen to DCC RPG podcasts. Sanctum Secorum, Spellburn, and Appendix N. Another podcast getting my time is Glowburn as it talks about MCC RPG (Mutant Crawl Classics).

Another big thing for me is that I submitted an article to be included in the Gong Farmer’s Almanac 2018 to be available at GenCon 51 in August. My article is a Keystone Cops level 1 adventure. Image result for 1900 police box black and white“The Heist of the Royal Jewels” takes place in Anglend where it is reported in “The News” that the royal jewels are to be moved to the Crown Bank of Hertlepoole. The royal constables are the guards and caretakers of the royal jewels as they are taken from Lundin.  The bobbies of Hertlpoole are to be assisting the safe arrival of the royal jewels to the bank. This is where the adventure begins. Players may play as the bobbies or as townsfolk. Several locations have been suggested with a few NPCs thrown in. You, as the judge may add slimy creepy creatures in the sewers below or traps to locations to possibly through off the PCs from the trail of the royal jewels. How you get to the ending is up to you.



Writing and submitting for an RPG fanzine

So, I put myself out there with an actual article submission to an RPG fanzine. When I read that The Gong Farmer’s Almanac wanted article submissions for the 2018 edition, I thought how fun it would be to write something for it. 

The Gong Farmer’s Almanac is a free fanzine for Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG and it is published with monetary donations from the DCC RPG community. The year after Dungeon Crawl Classics RPG was published, The Gong Farmer’s Almanac fanzine was created. In the link above you get a glimpse at the first volume and issue in a blog by Daniel Bishop. Mr. Bishop writes prolifically about DCC RPG and is an author of several adventures for DCC RPG.

Image result for nanowrimoAs for me, I’ve been interested in writing since the mid-80’s but have not really done anything except in 2011 when I took on the challenge of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which occurs in November. I was able to write 50,000 words in 25 days. I wrote, “by the seat of my pants”. And I was delighted to see that I could come up with a story for what I have discovered has become a genre called “cozy mysteries”. Attempts at editing the novelette gave gone by the wayside.

Yesterday was the deadline for article submission to The Gong Farmer’s Almanac. My submission was, again, something written: “by the seat of my pants”. A Keystone Cop Image result for keystone copsthemed jewel heist. I wrote stats for the NPCs and gave some locations to be explored. Police boxes. A clock tower. A bank vault. A police paddy wagon. And a few weapons used by the illustrious bobbies and constables.

For the record, it is my first time offering up something for publication. Am glad that it will be in a free fanzine. And I can see some slimy creatures and gonzo stuff happening in this Level 1 adventure. The Gong Farmer’s Almanac is printed and distributed at GenCon. So for those of you interested in what kind of writer I am, you will just need to wait until August. *wink* *wink*

Road Crew with the SeDoTu Crusaders

Secret Door Games in Elkhart, IN is where our Saturday Road Crew DCC RPG game happens. Due to the overwhelming popularity causing more players at the DCC table, we play in the Tutu Parlor. In previous posts, you can see the pink and lavender walls and the tutus on the walls. We don’t mind as it is a place where we do not have to compete with other games and the noise that they bring. img_20180416_1910568989750868335197511.jpg

Last Saturday, April 21, “Carnival of the Damned” by David Baity came to the town of our peasant adventurers. While back in their village in the Shudder Mountains from their latest adventure to “Gnole House” by Michael Curtis, the carnival comes to town. Happiness by day, their children enjoy cotton candy, games, rides, and prizes. By night, the villagers discover that the carnival has taken all their children. The villagers are woken by the screaming and horror of all the children nowhere in sight. They discover a trail of wax paper candy wrappers leading to the carnival.

Our SeDuTu Crusaders adventured to the entrance where they were engulfed in a pink mist sickly sweet swirling around them and leading them into the night’s carnival of events. This module is set up as a tournament or a 0-level funnel. I am running this module as a combined 0-level and level 1 adventure. It is running well at both Better World Books in Goshen, IN and here at Secret Door Games.

Five players came to the table at Secret Door Games. I enjoy that new players are coming to the table.  With five players, we had 14 0-level PCs and six level 1 PCs. One player lost all of his 0-level PCs. No problem, the “Tilt-A-Whirl” provided him with a couple more villagers to join the adventuring group looking for the children.

img_20180418_1135085162150957882237585.jpgCreepy? Yes. This module is creepy. There are lots of ways to encounter clowns and creatures who do not want the PCs to find the children. And there are ways the PCs can find prizes and clues to find the children. The creepy pink mist, sickly sweet, swirls the PCs to the next attraction. Unlike the Thursday Knights at Better World Books, the SeDoTu Crusaders had better saving rolls for some attractions, but not better dice rolls when it came to creature attacks.

If you are having fun, you are doing it right. And I wish I could remember who said that to me.