Tuesday, September 11, 2012

New Website & Blog Live

Finally the pieces start to come together. The new website is up (not much on the front page to look at yet) and the blog is located on the second tab at the top of the page.

So updates all around:

Working on the Sneak Peak trailer for the first season of the Classic Realms channel at YouTube. Topics to be covered will include unboxings, play throughs and D.I.Y videos aimed at players just coming into the boardgame/wargame hobby.

I have decided to spin the wargame section of the Classic Realms journal off into its own standalone entitled Counter Strike-The Wargame Journal due to the amount of research material I have accumulated and material I'm developing myself needing a play test area.

Darkness over Dunwich has been on the back burner as I waited for any announcements from GenCon but that was a quiet scene this year. Seems like all that came out of GenCon this year was Star Wars-Star Wars-Star Wars...yeah, getting a little tired of that old shoe.

Luckily GMT has been on the ball and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of my annual 'big game haul' which includes Red Winter and Labyrinth-The War on Terror this year. I had hoped for some of the P500 Combat Commander: Europe expansions would have made it but I guess that will have to wait.

So, check out the new digs:



More later...

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Updates and Changes and the OSR

I believe my willing suspension of disbelief has finally found the wall. That leaves one with two choices. Keep banging your head on the wall or climb over it.

I think I'm bloody enough. Time for plan two.

As some might have noticed the Eternal Keep has been put on hiatus. There is a lot of dead wood to clean out and a change in direction.

The OSR debate I'm certain will rage on just as the '4e is the best game EVR and all that old crap sux' will still spew from 4e fanboys.

But 4 years ago when I had to make a choice between money and fun I chose fun. Now, I have never hid the fact that I am in this for business purposes and spent 3 years developing a project which will likely never see the light of day. I will be converting some things and finishing some articles on the subject but I believe to pursue this further is just more beating my head on a brick wall.

Now, of course, everyone will be quick to remind me that there is no money in this and how it's just for fun. Well. when you call crashing PayPal servers 'no money in it' I want that kind of 'no money'.

But ultimately you are right. The industry is collapsing in on itself and the only thing left will be people who expect everyone to work for free so they can cherry pick parts from different projects for their own table.

I didn't enter this to get rich. I got involved to have some fun and make some money at something I enjoy.

This is no longer the case. I have found that I'm allowed to have my own opinion as long as it is the same as everyone else.

Well...fuck that...

For the last six months I have been finding people who actually enjoy gaming, have no restrictions on opinions and generally tend to be civil toward one another.

So, while everyone sits around arguing about whether something is dead or not, when they can't even define what 'it' is I'm going to get back on track-have some fun, make some money.

I must say, it has been a crazy ride, but enough is enough. More play time less fight time.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Ghosts of the OSR

Yes, the OSR is dead. I called that back in January when I was informed I was 'over reacting' to news that has been coming in a steady stream ever since. Remember...the guy everybody pissed on when he said 'hey, this is gonna screw everything up'...yeah...me...that guy.

First, there never WAS an OSR. A lot of people claimed it existed. One person even defined what IT was:

OSR Manifesto

"On the excellent Maximum Rock and Roleplay blog, Chad Thorson has given the OSR community a brilliant "OSR" logo.

Here is the logo cleaned up in high resolution format. As a community perhaps we could establish a manifesto that adjudicates the use of this logo.

You may freely use the OSR logo on your product given the following criteria:

The product is compatible with the original white box (or wood-grain box) edition of the worlds first and most famous fantasy RPG.

That's it.

I would go so far as to say Blue Box through 1st edition are in most ways an extension, and generally compatible with the original edition. Even 2nd and 3rd edition at least payed homage to the original. So the definition is fairly flexible.

As long as you hold to this criteria you can use this logo on your OSR product. What do you think?


(Note the true creator of the logo and not a plagiarist who shall remain unnamed.)

Wow...that's not what the OSR is to me at all...how about you?

That's when I saw the following and realized the difference.

This has graced many pages in this community and comes the closest to actual depicting what OSR might stand for:

"To me the Old School Renaissance is not about playing a particular set of rules in a particular way, the dungeon crawl. It [is] about going back to the roots of our hobby and see what we could do differently. What avenues were not explored because of the commercial and personal interests of the game designers of the time."

Rob Conley - Bat In The Attic

I began to mark this as the OSS-Old School Style.

What is old school? Think for a second about this. A 21 year old persons' car breaks down and they pull off to the shoulder cursing loudly. They break out their cell phone and start crying into it.

New School

Now it's 30 years earlier. The car breaks down. You are in the middle of nowhere. You pop the hood, get your tools out of the trunk and start fixing the blown radiator hose. If you can't fix it it's a long walk.

Old School.

We live in the pre-chewed food era, when people have to be told what to buy or they are confused. Look at what brand confusion did for the 800 lb beast...4e or Essentials. Yeah, that worked out real well.

So well that they ARE MAKING ANOTHER ONE.

So what OSR was I talking about? The one that gave gaming back to the gamers. The one that acted as an umbrella to shade one from the glare of glossy page over bloated rule sets.

Swords & Wizardry
Labyrinth Lord

And many many more. The guys who had your back when the company who had control of your game turned theirs to you and ignored you.

The Publishers of systems both free and commercial that let you once again sit around a table and play a game with friends without breaking the bank buying 'collector' items or games that just weren't hitting the spot.

Think I'm the only one saying this?


NOW somebody gets it.

Who wants to buy an old 'clone' when you can get the REAL game? Right? And how long before they decide it is not in their corporate interest to continue selling the REAL game? Just as soon as the last of the competition closes up shop.

We had grown beyond the reach of the tentacled abomination that had tried to drag us down. We had our own show. Our own writers, artists, publishers and now the final bullet to the back of the head of the 'OSR' will be delivered by a digital gun, controlled by the company who started the problem in the first place.

The community is divided and deluded. They are not going to republish everything in book form. They have already said that. And they have already taken the pdf route and decided that doesn't work either, so what hoops do you have to jump through before you sit up nicely for your treat?

Good doggies...

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Heat & Gaming Madness

Ok…first off I’m posting this update in three places so if you see the title more than once or go ‘wait a minute-I just read this’ you’ll know why.

Wow, long time no post…but that doesn’t mean I haven’t worn all the markings off my keyboard…again…

First, all the projects are cooking so I’m back to 20 hour days again. It has been a wild summer so far, re-entering the wargame scene with a vengeance (and a battle cry) and sorting out all the custom content for the Arkham Horror boardgame that is floating around the interwebs…and a word of warning-back up your backups and then make a back up of that back up…seriously…this Megaupload fiasco (which is BS like most nonsense these days-invalid search warrants, whole thing gets tossed anyway, never even slowed down the pirates and the communities that use file hosting legitimately have to suffer…f*** heads…) has managed to eat up the time I had slotted for getting the first major articles for Darkness over Dunwich finished. Now I have to stop what I’m doing and get re-focused on things that make your skin crawl after sweeping through the history of wargaming (wow...lots to catch up on).

And, speaking of wargaming, GMT games recent release of Red Winter is getting high marks. I brushed it off as a minor title to start with but after further study I must say they seem to have hit the target (pun? No pun?...whatever) with this one.

I am trying to bring my A-game with these first two outings of the journals. I have plenty of material…almost too much…it’s just getting everything right that drags things down. These are not intended as one-shot publications. As I believe I have mentioned I’m trying to do (for now) 3 of each a year on an alternating schedule. That leaves plenty of time for those ‘oh s***’ moments that are inevitable.

Still exploring Kickstarter for these projects but not quite decided yet. And then there is that pesky website to finish.

Anyway, I hope your gaming is going well this hot and messed up summer and look forward to fall when maybe everyone can take a minute and relax and just enjoy the simple entertainment that gaming is at its best.

More soon…

Saturday, June 2, 2012

The End Is The Beginning

Ok...I have typed a dozen drafts of this post over the last days and I delete them or just limbo them in draft hell.

This whole D&D fiasco has grown so old and I'm burned out as it is and swore I was taking a break but I always feel compelled to sit back down and get back to it.

Like this post:


Not only is the material presented as fact so wrong that I will not spend the hours it would take to shoot them all down WITH FACTS but I'm to the point of not caring anymore.

I have watched a community go from a healthy happy group of gamers of all ages into a rage war over editions and the complete ignorance of the actual demographics behind gaming and the changing market place.

There are more people playing rpgs than have played in many years, the numbers are out there. Yet all I read is how we are losing players to these other activities which have existed (for the most part) for some time now. If they were going to kill off tabletop I wouldn't be typing this.

The 'aging population' bit is also one of the major fallacies that drives me insane. Yes, young people are turning away from INDUSTRY gaming but they are tabletop gaming nonetheless.

I have read and logged over 10,000 blogs over the last 2 years on the subject of Non-Industry gaming. That would include the OSR, OSS,etc and I'm not even including the resurgence in wargaming and miniatures collecting.

Without big numbers to show off to shareholders the Industry leaders wring their hands and proclaim the end is nigh.

Thank God.

I hope they are right. I hope the Industry collapses, I hope the masses go away. I hope that we recognize once again that not all role playing games are supposed to be for children. That TRPGs are not dog food or paper towels to be turned out on an assembly line and tuned to the ultimate blandness to reach the largest target market.

I pray every night that the world just forgets about us. That D&D is finally put to rest as a commercial product and that new games rise to take its place. That D&D becomes the cornerstone in the foundation of a greater gaming period than gaming has ever known.

My hope is that people continue to be excited by learning that the key to great gaming doesn't lie in a book of rules but within us, from the primal need to be story tellers to the ability to act out plays of imagination on a stage that is as large as our dreams with players from around the world and, one day, from other worlds (can you imagine playing in a session with players on the ISS, the Moon and even Mars?).

I know...I know...

But one can still dream...

Saturday, May 26, 2012

A Good Video, Interesting Observation On MMO vs Tabletop And A Proper Attitude In Gaming

I have typed several of these posts and deleted them because I just don't see a positive outcome to any of them.

But this guy makes some good points and ultimately a proper attitude to have as a gamer (no it's not HATER based).



Sunday, May 13, 2012

Success is where AD&D went all wrong

There's been a lot of discussion over the last year about turning points in the hobby and before history is allowed to warp what little reality is left in the subject, fwiw, here is a personal story.

Giants didn't kill AD&D. The rules didn't kill AD&D.

Success is what killed AD&D.

A company suddenly rife with success and capital coupled with coming onto the mainstream grid undermined the hobby causing knee-jerk reactions to everything from PR to R&D.

Satanic Panic played a large part in this to varying degrees at the time depending on where you lived. In the south forget about being banned as a game club in school. People were burning s*** in peoples yards who played or sold the game, scaring children and parents alike with their rhetoric of 'D&D is Satanism' remarks being printed in everything down to local newspapers. The Tom Hanks film became mandatory viewing in local schools where I lived.

The PR solutions, turning the concept into a Saturday morning children's program, lowering the age range on the actual product and pitching the game as a children's toy, etc and creating self-perpetuating product lines that gobbled money like a piranha on a fat water buffalo killed AD&D.

Even though the Red Box lays claim to the best selling single game product in the hobby it was AD&D, not D&D, that topped the sales charts, brought in people by the millions and created the legacy we know today as the D&D super brand.

And Dragonlance was the arrow in the heart of the gaming beast, now barely stirring in the water as more and more entered the feeding frenzy, causing the same type of overwhelming glut that occurred during the heyday of 3.0.

Past Basic and Expert most went on to play AD&D. That is where the estimated 25 million players came from that formed the base of the industry, now seen as a profitable commodity like toilet paper or dog food.

I understand that a lot of those vocal on the subject started with the Red Box and still connect with it to this day. But I also notice the ages of those who talk about it were 9, 10, 11 years old. You came at it from the perspective of the children that I mentioned earlier who had become part of the hobby in the early '80s. The age group who never seem represented are the young adults who started as teenagers with AD&D and were responsible for fueling the hobby with their own money from crappy jobs and later the same ones who would start companies and open stores and pay dearly for decisions made by major figures in the hobby at the time.

If you scrape at the paint a little too much you find the truth beneath the surface. Remember, truth is not fact but truth can lead one to the facts. And the white wash has been almost complete about that time period from 1977-1983.

Look at the marketing strategy at WotC even today. First a mock 'Red Box', then the reprint of the core AD&D books. Not the Original edition, nor B/X nor BECMI (or even Holmes which would be a great one shot money maker) but the hardest, largest core product to reproduce from the time period. Only one group know the true sales numbers from the brand and they have been slowly acting on those numbers.

Now, this is not to say that these other editions wouldn't see a reprint at some point, but marketing is based on numbers and AD&D was the 800lb gorilla of its time and even today remains the center of fiery discussions from both ends. Original edition players saw it as rules bloat and new school gamers see it as a jumbled mess that they use to point out everything that was wrong with gaming of the period and the thought of not only the reprints but bringing back parts of that system in 5e makes them want to puke.

I honestly don't see what WotC hopes to achieve with this FrankenGame approach. They have managed to alienate the very players they hoped to get back while turning current players against them. It is truly a no-win situation no matter what they do and I keep waiting for someone to stand up and say 'April Fools!' and then lay out the real strategy for bringing D&D back to the spotlight.

But I'm afraid this is a nightmare that we can't wake up from and soon another bloody mess will be pushed onto the stage with cattle prods to dance for people who throw things at it.

If you going to build off nostalgia then do so and show respect for that history. If you are going to build new then leave the past behind, rename the product and move on. Otherwise we get to watch the whole cycle repeat itself like a gaming version of the film Groundhog's Day.

EDIT: Sorry for the typo mess. It's been a bit hectic.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thoughts On Carcosa

Just had to share this because I think this sums up D&D as my group played it back in the early 80's

"Carcosa is Thundarr the Barbarian reimagined by Lovecraft, Moorcock, and R.E. Howard, drawn by the 1970s staff of Heavy Metal, and put to motion by Ralph Bakshi."

-Gaming All Over The Place: Carcosa: Initial Thoughts


At least all the source quotes are right :)

Thursday, May 3, 2012

S*** On My Mind

Or what is left of it...

First, glad to see that 'people who Goggle might actually listen to' have started bitchin' about being forced into G+.

Second, I have solved the dilemma of the new D&D and am now ready to unveil the master plan where Pinky and I will...oh...wrong...anyway...

Say Hello To:


Complete with 4 exciting new classes:

Stoopid Guy
Hot Chick

The entire game must be made up on the spot. If someone doesn't finally say 'Are you just pulling this out of your ass or what' then you are doing it wrong.

All weapons do 1 point of damage except crossbows and you have to ricochet the bolt off a wall to do 3 points of damage.

All spells require a success roll of a natural 20 to work or they fail and a roll is made on the fail chart for the bad result, like getting turned into a chicken.

At least part of the rules must be in a foreign language that no one speaks so as to give it a true 'old skool' feel and something for fanboys to argue over on forums.

Monsters Will Include:

Tree Stump-Special Attack: Stumble

Bumble Bees-Special Attack: Stings like a mutha

Drunken Dwarf-Special Attack: Urine

Broken Beer Bottle:See Drunken Dwarf

And last but not least, Abominable Joesky, the Barbarian (watch out for that loin cloth-Save vs Death if you get within smelling range)

That's about my 15% for now, but we will be play testing this at the Shady Hills Rest Home at some point so stay tuned for exciting updates to the One Game!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Things I Be Mad Hatin'-Part 1


Here was my 'feedback' to Google upon attempting to create a post on their new Blogger interface which I will kindly call ASS:

This interface is awful. Now I understand why so many people have been complaining.

If you are really trying to run off all of your user base you are on the right track.

I give this a 0/10 and if I'm going to be forced to learn a new interface I will just go get a website and start coding my own pages again.

If this is about making all users into Google+ users I would like to be told so at this point. I have no interest in G+. If I wanted to be on a social network I would be on Facebook with 850 million other users. Blogging IS my social network.

I am now reverting back to the old interface. I hope you will continue to offer it as an option.

Contact them and register a complaint about the endless interface changes. Things suck bad enough already but I swear I am not going to try to sort out that PUKE just to make a post.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More Of This Please - In God We Trust

(From The Website - http://www.quietearth.us/articles/2012/04/Environmental-collapse-and-exploding-heads-IN-GOD-WE-TRUST-trailer )

"In God We Trust" serves as a demonstration piece designed to attract the attention of Film Studios and potential investors utilising a "Look what we have created with no resources, imagine what we could do with a reasonable budget" approach.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ok, I can't even post anymore

Hey all...apologies for not keeping this place lit up but with so much going on right now (please get here soon Mr. power supply...puhleeeeez) it's been a rough start to the year.

My biggest problem with posting is that I can't seem to type anything that isn't going to start a fight. I'm sick of the whole environment surrounding RPGs right now. The blogs really reflect the powered down nature of what is going on and it has gotten to the point where I'm reading less and less blog posts. I'm not saying there hasn't been some excellent postings over the last three months but it certainly isn't what it was this time a year ago.

It's like the life has been sucked out of the whole scene. Between departures of heavy weights, Google + and 800lb (vaporware) guerrillas it just seems kind of vacant.

I remember last year it being almost overwhelming the amount of material coming out. Now...well...kinda quiet...

So here is hoping all are well in their endeavors wherever they may be and that the fire soon returns to this corner of the world we call home...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Using Available Resources To Build A Game

I was reading a series of posts before all hell broke loose with my computers recently that postulated gaming with only certain resources. The AD&D Unearthed Arcana / Fiend Folio I thought was one of the better ideas I had run across lately and got me to thinking about what other 'mash ups' for want of a better word were possible with all the material out there.

So I pose this little mental gaming challenge:

Using only freely available material (OGC, Public Domain, etc) what items would you combine from any source to create a game.

(Extra points for how outrageous the combos are-Ninjas fighting Dinosaurs...high marks!)

Frankengame-It's not just for the big boys anymore :)

Post your weirdest in the comments! :)

(Here's the link about the unholy fusion I mention above: http://the-city-of-iron.blogspot.com/2012/03/fiend-folio-monsters-deities-unearthed.html)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Two Opposing Forces In D&D And Their Origins

Reading The Hickman Revolution and the Frustrated Novelist over at Monsters and Manuals got me to thinking about that dark time in the 80's when it was like someone had just switched off the light.

Speaking from being there when the double punch was delivered-Dragonlance and the Satanic Panic - it literally wiped me out...as a player, DM and shop owner.

Those who joined the hobby around that time are the direct ancestors to the modern gamer.

Folks get mad at me for saying so but it seems to be the best descriptions of both camps:

Old Schoolers bought things as inspiration, to be ripped apart and used piecemeal with individual additions and ideas.

New Schoolers are like baby birds who have to have their food chewed for them and deposited in their beaks. I suggested once to a 4e fan, mad about some rule that WotC had recently released in a book, and said 'why don't you just change the rule or not use it'...the response...'If I wanted to write my own f****** rules I wouldn't have bought the book'...and that's a quote.

Thank God I never looked for the 'perfect' game...I would have missed a lot of great gaming.

It is said that the early modules for D&D are the bane of gaming history because these items usually meant for tournament play were looked upon as the only proper way to play D&D...with TPK and Killer DMs around every corner.

But I say it was Dragonlance, the pre-generated characters riding the railroad, that brought us to where we are today, the end of the industry and the birth of the OSR.

Every subject that separates players today goes back to these fundamentally opposed philosophies.

The 'homebrewer' vs. the 'RAW'.