Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Adventurer's Guide to Excavation and Plunder

I've got another supplement for In Darkest Warrens coming out very soon called The Adventurer's Guide to Excavation and Plunder, which contains advanced rules for overland and sea travel, weather, traps, new classes, new monsters and more. All of that in 2 pages - what the what?!

Since IDW was released its minimalist approach to fantasy roleplaying. Here's what people are saying:

"I will be getting all products in this line" - Stuart L

"Simply awesome" Perfectly P

"The system is magnificent in its simplicity" Ulrich H

It's pay what you want, so give it a download.

Sunday, 17 July 2016

Magnificent Artefacts has arrived

Everyone loves a magic item, which is why you can now download Magnificent Artefacts for In Darkest Warrens today.

This little supplement stays true to the minimalist nature of the game, filling two pages to the brim with 33 new magical items for your game, from the Helm of Voice Alteration to a Harp of Doom.

WTF is In Darkest Warrens? I hear some of you cry from your dank lairs. Pure minimalist fantasy fun, is what it is. Go check it out and pay what you want for the pleasure.

Friday, 15 July 2016

All the good stuff

I've been a bad blogger recently, haven't I? To be fair. It's because I've been working full slog on a number of different projects that sap my extra time away. What's this guy chatting about? Let me tell you.

In Darkest Warrens

The latest launch from Trollish Delver Games is a minimalist fantasy role-playing game. Two sides of A4 for the rules minimalist. Not only do you get the rules, but you get a character sheet, adventure and bestiary all included. It's also pay what you want, so you can't go wrong. Get it here 

Romance of the Perilous Land 

This is role-playing based on British folklore. It's OSR, made with a mish mash of inspirations and is currently in playtesting. Expecting this to launch in the next couple of months.

Magnificent Artefacts 

The first sourcebook for In Darkest Warrens covering sweet ass magical treasure. Expect a release of this by Sunday 17th July.

USR stuff

USR never sleeps, but for once it's not been me putting the books out. Jay Murphy is a stalwart member of the USR community and has produced a heap of great 'hacks' and an adventure in the past month.

USR Sword and Sorcery 
Fear & Loathing USR
Western USR
Shrine of the Keepers

I'm also working on Wolves of Armageddon, a mutant apocalypse game based on USR.

So lot's happening in Trollish Delver land. Big thanks to all you supportive people out there who play my games and aid with playtesting. Maybe next year TDG will make the ENnie fan favourite publisher ballot.

Sunday, 5 June 2016

The Pulp Hack is available now, pay what you want

A mad scientist has used old schematics from Nikola Tesla and a Peruvian demon stone to create an army of Rasputin clones. A group of robots from the far reaches of the galaxy have landed on Earth to study the brains of prominent composers. A fascist group has uncovered the lost scroll of the deathweaver in the Amazon forest and plans to hold the United States to ransom. These are the deliciously insane plots that you will be dealing with when you play The Pulp Hack.

The Pulp Hack is powered by the amazing rules-lite OSR game The Black Hack, created by David Black. Instead of fantasy, The Pulp Hack plunges your players into a world of spies, private, eyes, masked heroes and mad scientists. If you want a simple ruleset for your pulp game, this is the place to be.
  • Six pulp classes: Adventurer, Masked Avenger, Jungle Master, Scientist, Mystic and Private Investigator.
  • Rules-lite pulp goodness based on the popular The Black Hack
  • Lots of enemies to punch - from fascist soldiers to cyber dragons
  • Resources: forget money, heroes have access to new resources when they level up, unlocking new goodies as you progress
  • Crits just got better - Heroic Surges offer new benefits 
  • Pay what you want!

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Nazi Captain America is a sucky stunt that won't last

No doubt you'll have seen the mainstream media fall right into the hands of Marvel's PR machine and editor Tom Brevoort after it was revealed that Steve Rogers has been a member of Hydra for the past 75 years.

The latest gimmick Marvel has spunked out to increase profits had the internet  in uproar, which isn't surprising considering Captain America is a well-loved character and a role model for many. It's a dumb story arc, but no doubt it'll be good for business. 

For those who have been away for a whole, Steve Rogers has been a wrinkly old codger for a while, with Falcon taking up the mantle of Cap. Now All New All Different Marvel is here, Steve is back and apparently a fucking fascist. Good oh. 

Look, if they decide to tell a great story then fine, but this is another reason why I'm really turned off by the Big Two publishers at the moment. Valiant is able to consistently produce incredible comics without resorting to gimmicks, same with 2000ad, Image and many others. 

Thing is, ths won't last. Not at all. It's comics. Remember when Cap died. Remember when all fucking characters died? 

Monday, 23 May 2016

Why dungeons should be like the New York Stock Exchange

Wilhelm Schubert van Ehrenberg -Dungeon Interior (Wikimedia Commons)

Imagine, if you will, stepping into the trade floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Conjure the frantic voices of the stock brokers on their phones, the pacing across the floor, the bright lights and blips scrolling on the large screens that hang above the suited rabble. It's a scene of excitement, of high energy and of potential.

Now imagine that the trading floor was occupied by silent, static people who just stared into the middle distance. The screens are blank. Nobody is speaking and not a single phone is to an ear. This is what a poorly made dungeon looks like. It's soulless.

So how do you create the New York Stock Exchange dungeon?

Activity happens in spite of the players

How often have you played or read an adventure where the hobgoblins are just standing around in a non-descript room and only act until the PCs enter? It happens and I'm guilty of this shit too.

It's a very old school videogame way of level design. Walk into a room and some skeletons are just...there. Standing. There's no excitement to be had - just a room with some more monsters that need punching.

Dungeons are alive. They should be thriving hubs of activity where monsters scheme, get into trouble and actually talk to each other. As a GM you should decide what the inhabitants of the dungeon are doing when the players aren't around? Are there rival goblins who are trying a game of one-up-manship? Is an orc teaching an apprentice how to muck out the boar stables?

This is a huge help for when the players are listening against doors. You'll have a much easier time describing the sounds of a specific activity than a bunch of dudes sitting around a table staring at each other until the PCs enter. Think of all the activity that happens on the trading floor and use iy as inspiration for your dungeon.

Show, don't tell

Suppose you had no idea what the stock exchange was and you were transported right into the middle of the trading floor. Seeing the prices on the screens, the frantic buying and selling, the company names, you would soon be able to piece together a semblance of what's happening bit by bit. This process is intellectually rewarding and it's no different in a dungeon. Instead of telling the players that "a sinister rat person stands there, intending to kill you with its blade" actually show them the scene and allow them to piece it all together. "A rat person with a twisted snarl fresh blood dripping from its unsheathed blade" is much more effective in conjuring an image and allowing the players to fill in the blanks.

Build competition in your dungeon

Just like stockbrokers looks after the interest of their own clients, your inhabitants should have their own interests and goals, some of which will be at loggerheads.

Factions offer a wealth of role-playing potential for the players. A faction should have a goal of their own, which is often at odds with a rival faction. This creates a pressure cooker environment where PC intervention can set off a chain of events that effect both factions, and that's fucking fun to see.

I've already talked about how forced combat is a pile of crap and how role-playing offers a much more nuanced game. Competing tribes can really help create amazing memorable moments in your game.

A dungeon doesn't need to be rational, but it should make sense

What happens on the trading floor is a weird thing. It's its own little bubble with its own language and traditions. To someone seeing it for the first time, everything would seem quote alien. But within that world everything makes sense.

This applies to your dungeon. I call it Internal Dungeon Logic. It's nothing new but it's worth bearing in mind. A dungeon can live in its own little bubble where up is down and doors flirt with you. It's important to make sure that this weirdness has its own internal logic, that the rules you set out in your dungeon don't contradict each other. This way, the players will start to put together a picture with of how the place works, giving smart players informed decisions and the ability to play around with the environment.

A living dungeon is one with soul. It's a playground for the players, a pressure cooker of ideas. Having activity in your dungeon, or city or wherever, will help the players feel like they're part of something bigger than themselves and where they can influence and be influenced. It's the New York Stock Exchange, but with fewer evil NPCs.