Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Secrets #2: Down to the Wire

On Saturday I'm headed out for two weeks.  I'm bringing a computer, but internet will be spotty (campsites, y'know).
Here's what I think I'm looking at:

  • Cardstocks pages are laid out. That means I can take my diminishing pile of cardstock to the printer and get the covers done, hopefully tomorrow. UPDATE: Yup, did 'em.
  • Stickers are almost all written. UPDATE: Printed two sheets of 10, so that'll get me through the backorders.
  • I've got one race left that needs a big writeup, and then I need to go through and check all the entries, but then I'm good to print. I'm doing that at home, and I'm stocked up on paper and ink, I'll just need time. I really prefer a full bleed print for the space, but that means I can't print duplex - I have to print one side x number of times, flip the pile over, and print the other side x number of times. Rinse and repeat, then assemble and staple. So the big factor is time. It's doable, but it's tight. I can pack and do this at the same time, though.
  • Envelopes for everyone who's preordered are already addressed. I do need to go through and grab emails, though.
  • Best case scenario, print and pdf will go out Friday night and Saturday morning.
  • Middle scenario, PDFs go out Friday but I assemble along the way and stuff gets mailed between here and Chicago. Frankly, this appeals to me just because I can drop them off at different towns and you can all get random postmarks.
  • Worst case scenario, I will take the covers and envelopes and stapler with me, and complete the printing when I get to Chicago around the 1st or 2nd. PDFs, which don't require printing, will go out sooner. The allure here is if I wait a few days to print, I get errata feedback in time to make a difference.
We're driving out to Chicago and back, stopping at a bunch of places along the way and seeing the heartland of America (you laugh, but I've got a masters in landscape architecture, I'm from New England, and I'm fascinated by how communities evolve - driving through middle America is AMAZING to me). I'm taking the computer and a few slim books, but I'm really going to try and work in my notebooks and do some actual longhand writing for a change. It's been quite a few years. I'm hoping to work on the OSR Superstar adventure, but that might end up being a casualty of timing.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Secrets #2: Strange Races update and previews

Basically, I'm not satisfied with my write-ups, so I'm going through and tweaking/revising/expanding or editing them. Artwork is also a drain on my time, although I think I'm about done there.

Here's the illustration for the bast.

And here's the revised & expanded writeup for the crabmen.

Crabmen (Armamen)
Crabmen, or armamen, are bipedal, humanoid crabs the size of ogres. They have an insect-like head, a thick exoskeleton, a large pair of pincers arms, and a smaller set of humanoid arms below those. Most armamen are reddish-brown or brown, but occasionally a crabman is born with a much more vibrantly colored carapace of blue, white, yellow, or purple. These chromatically endowed crabmen are smarter and wiser than their brethren, and can become spellcasters. They speak their own language of hisses and clicks, and adventuring armamen can speak the local tongue as well. Crabmen mature quickly but slowly.

Crabmen are somewhat stolid and conservative in their worldview. Uncertainly, indecision, and change make them uncomfortable – a happy day, to a crabman, is one just like the day before. They keep to themselves and are slow to trust strangers. Most crabmen avoid conflict if possible, but defend their territory vigorously.

Armamen live in small communities along coastal waters or large rivers. They are primarily scavengers and scour the shoreline daily for food. Their communities are led by the elders with the advice of the spellcasting crabmen. They worship a few simple gods that manifest as monstrous sea creatures. The pantheon is led by a monstrous lobster god; its foe is a titanic kraken. An oracular mollusk is the guardian of magical secrets; for this reason armamen magic-users etch their spells onto pearls, which they carry in small pouches.

Racial Abilities & Classes
Crabmen cannot wield weapons or wear armor (their pincers are too crude; their arms too weak), but they can attack twice in a round with their pincers, inflicting 1d6 points of damage with each attack, and have a natural AC of 3 [16]. They also begin play with an extra Hit Die (1d6). Crabmen can swim at a speed of 9 and breath water or air at will.
Crabmen can become Fighters (4th level). Crabmen with an Intelligence of 16 or higher can become Magic-Users (3rd level); those with a Wisdom of 16 or higher can become Druids (3rd level). A crabman with Intelligence and Wisdom scores of 16 can become a Druid/Magic-User; if both scores are 18 the crabman can advance to 5th level in both classes.

Secrets & Lore
  • Crabmen (like so many other races) were servants of the Aten Empire, used as longshoremen and fishermen and housed in a great ghetto in A’aten. Many crabmen have continued in those professions in the Feathered Realm, but others have spread out into the islet-studded estuaries around A’aten. Many of these small islands hold ruins abandoned by the aten for one reason or another.
  • Once in a great while, a confluence of tides and tainted water instills a temporary madness in the armamen, giving them an insatiable and almost uncontrollable hunger for violence and slaughter. It has been so long since the last confluence that only a few elderly sages even know of the armamen weakness. The aten had an antidote, but the secret of its manufacture was lost when they were driven from power.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Map: The Delphinian Crypts

Got bored late last night; gave mapping a whirl. Could use a few extras, but overall I'm very pleased with it

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Secrets 2 Cover

The details kill me. I hate spending 45 minutes online trying to find a non-watermarked version of an illustration that's out of copyright, and failing. Jessie M. King has some really nice work, but there aren't many people doing high quality scans of it.

Anyways, there are buttons and links to buy stuff and get stuff over in the sidebar there ----->, and here's the cover for Secrets #2. I was hoping to print the covers today, but I realized I can't do that until I finalize the layout so I can attribute the artists on the proper pages.  

Sunday, June 8, 2014

$5 Sale and Secrets #2 Updates

I just got back from a weekend. The sale was amazingly successful, and I'm still too tired to make a new button, but I'm pulling the Paypal widget until I redo it tomorrow. Sale is over; you guys are wicked awesome!

Between the trip this weekend (an attempt at the Guiness Book of World Records record for longest contra-dance line in Rutland Vermont, which did not succeed but was still a wonderful party) and my hot water heater ceasing to work*, I'm not quite done Secrets #2. It won't be much of a delay, and it'll go out as soon as it's done.

If you bought the combo offering of Secrets #1 and #2 over the weekend, copies of #1 (both print and pdf) will go out tomorrow. Thanks for your patience!

*We then found out it's 27 years old, which is pretty good for an appliance with an average lifespan of 10-13 years. We've decided to replace it, but the logistics of our basement are making it very difficult to install anything noticeably more efficient, so we're talking to a variety of companies about a variety of options. In the meantime, my wife and daughter shower at the YMCA, and I pretend I enjoy cold water**.

**I work very close to home and don't go into town much whereas my wife and daughter are at the YMCA daily.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Race: Tieflings! (And still got the $5 sale on)

$5 sale for Secrets #1 or Secrets #2 pre-order is still going on for a little while longer. Go down a post to read the details; go to the sidebar to order!
UPDATE: I'm too damned tired to make new Paypal buttons, so the sale lives for another day.

I thought it'd be interesting to expand things like tieflings and aasimar to all races, not just humans. OSR rules normally limit nonhuman races through level and class restrictions, but that wasn't going to work here. Rather than impose an XP cap or penalty, I opted to take away the bonus XP from high attributes.  I still have to look at how it interacts with some other Strange Races races, but I think it works.

Here's a draft version of the tiefling.

Tieflings are related to the creatures of Chaos. Some tieflings are born to Chaotic bloodlines hidden in other societies; other tieflings are the result of curses, being favored by a creature of Chaos (often for no discernable reason), or because the tiefling was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s hard to tell with Chaos.

Racial Abilities
Tieflings have all the abilities of their normal race, but must have a starting Dexterity attribute of 13 or higher, and their Maximum Number of Special Hirelings (Charisma Table) is reduced by one. Tieflings can see in the dark (darkvision) with a range of 60 feet. They can cast darkness 15’ radius once per day, and have a +2 bonus to saving throws versus fire attacks. Tieflings advance as members of their normal race, but never gain bonus XP for high attributes, including Charisma.

Monday, June 2, 2014

5 Years! 5 dollars! And STRANGE RACES pre-order!

UPDATE 6/8/2014: I'm just got back from a weekend trip, and I'm again too tired to make new buttons...but long enough is long enough, so I'm just pulling the widget down for now. Sale is over. :(  It was WICKED successful, however, and I'm very pleased with it. Thank you everyone!

I'll keep this short and sweet.
  1. May 30th, 2009 was my first post on this blog, so this is the 5th anniversary of this blog, give or take a few days. 
  2. I made Round Two of the OSR Superstar contest. I didn't expect it, so that's pretty awesome.
  3. Secrets #2: Strange Races will be done this week.
  4. My long-arm stapler arrived: I can finally assemble the last copies of Secrets #1 I have around.
SO...I feel pretty good. And when I feel pretty good, I do things I might regret later on. But not much.

Which can now pre-order Secrets #2: Strange Races. PDF copies will go out as soon as things are finalized; print copies will go out middle or end of next week, when I have a chance to get the cover printed.

$5 SALE?
Secrets #1 (print & pdf version) is on sale for $5 instead of $6 for 24 hours. I've got envelopes, issues, and stamps, people. 
Pre-orders of Secrets #2 (print & pdf version) are $5 instead of $6 for 24 hours. Takin' names!
And there's a button to let you order Secrets #1 and Secrets #2 for $10. Because CONVENIENCE.