I’m always on the lookout for good publishing resources. To date, I thought I had two choices, really, for POD, and these were what I leveraged for Dungeon Grappling.

The first was DriveThruRPG. It was my go-to for Kickstarter fulfillment, not least reason of which because they had a really nice shipping calculator for “Rest of World” type movements, and they could print in the UK which was both less expensive, and really got past the cross-border US–>everywhere else fees that make international shipping the joy that it is. They gave excellent help during my Kickstarter (Meredith was fantastic; my new rep not so much, and that would be revised to “meh” at this point) and convinced me to do print at all. Meredith took an active hand in helping me prep my files for total ink coverage, which was a problem in the first round.

The only downside there was price: my 52-page book costs $7.70 per copy through DriveThruRPG. Further investigation shows that going direct to LightningSource/Ingram Spark I could drop $1.00 to $1.50 from that, at $6.00-$6.50. Still, that means if I sell my $15 book (well, now $15, was $19 when it launched) to retail for $9, my profit margin is approaching a buck a book.

That led me to CreateSpace, whose $4.50 cost to print the same book was (and is) very attractive.

However. However however.

Dealing with CreateSpace’s upload and proofing algorithms is 100% annoying. Their tolerancing methods preclude anything looking like live text from appearing at a much farther distance from the trim lines than DriveThru. I was staring a 50 DriveThru copies of DG on my desk while CreateSpace was telling me “we can’t print that.”

I wound up having to adjust the layout myself for CS, squeezing the borders in from the edges, and making some font size changes, to make it work. As a result, and to ensure all my customers get the same book regardless of print source, I wound up re-submitting that new file back to DriveThru. Naturally it went through first time. If it works for CS, it’ll work for DriveThru has been my experience.

Then I ordered copies. My first CreateSpace proof, way back when, came by with ink flaking off all of the dark images – there were white dots all over the images from where the ink didn’t take. The second time I ordered repeats, I ordered 25, and all of them had crappy binding, and 8 of 25 the covers were mis-cut.

Then I got my first retail order! Six copies to a store in North Dakota. Those copies came in flawed as well, with black text offset from red text in a shadow-looking thing.

So basically, quality control sucked, and I have no faith in them. You get what you pay for. Continue reading “Three POD Comparisons (Lightning Source/DriveThru, CreateSpace, PubGraphics)”

Thursday is GURPSDay and September nearly past. We saw the release of another Pyramid (Monster Hunters III, Pyr 3/107), the Dungeon Fantasy RPG is arriving at folks’ homes if they’re in the USA, with pictures, gushing, and reviews proliferating.

Welcome to the second year of GURPSDay, and here’s the pull for this week.

We’re currently drawing content from 89 blogs. Only 11 more to go until we’re pulling from 100! But we’ll need your help.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay Summary Sep 15 – Sep 21, 2017”

As sometimes happens, a comment is too good to pass up and reply to in the comments section. Kallatari, who I believe knows of what he speaks, wrote in. His comments are in quote-blocks, and my responses or notes follow.

First, just wanted to say that what you’ve described is pretty much exactly how I’ve been gaming suppression fire in my games. The one exception is that I only did one attack to someone who entered the cone of fire, and not once per hex. I’ll be implementing that immediately.

That was a bit to keep things moving, keep the math to a minimum, and make each hex scary enough that it features as a deterrent in the player’s mind, since most times they’re not nearly as risk averse with their little paper men as they should be. Another way to go would simply be to figure out the transgressor’s “bullet exposure” and base RoF on that. But I really do like the per-hex method, because scary.

One thing I’ve wondered about, but never worried too much because it’s never really come up in my game, is what happens when the RoF divided by width gives an effective RoF that’s less than 1. It’s unlikely to occur when the target zone is centered on opponents at range. But, in a hypothetical situation, what if he made his cone 3 hexes wide 1 hex away (really desperate against that horde of zombies that just closed into melee range)? He’s basically covering a 180-degree cone, and the bullets that don’t hit would likely keep travelling quite a bit further away. So at 10 hexes away in this situation, the RoF is effectively a small fraction. Do we apply penalties to the effective skill of 6 (at which point, may as well declare an automatic miss). But what about the fright checks? I’ve now suppressed a 180-degree angle. Should there be a bonus based on the fraction (RoF of 1/2 = +2, RoF of 1/5 = +5?).

This seems as a good a judgement as any, and the two or three bullets per hex which norms to zero isn’t bad. I think that the usual cut-off for suppression fire is RoF 5 per hex, and since that gets a +1 for RoF in the usual rules and my alternate, using a lower RoF and having the shots be vs the minimum 5 or less wouldn’t be horrible. On the other hand . . .

Additionally, I’ve been starting to question why suppression fire is treated differently than any normal gunshots.

There is this. Technically, with the rules in Tactical Shooting how any near miss can induce a fright check, they’re not. At least for fear.

If I pick a single target and fire at his hex with Suppression Fire, I attack him with a maximum effective skill of (6 + 3 =) 9, even if my skill, say, 25. Even if I miss, he needs to make a Fright Check roll to not take cover. Finally, if any bullets miss, then I get to roll to hit anyone else who enters into the line of fire until my next turn.

On the other hand, if I pick that same target and fire 15 rounds directly at him then I get to attack with my skill of 25 + 3 = 28 (minus range penalty, etc.), which means a better chance to hit. But if I miss, he doesn’t have to make any Fright Check or bother to take cover. And if any bullets miss, I don’t get to attack anyone else who crosses the line of fire before my next turn.

I think there’s a case to be made for a few things here

(a) It’s important to hit the fear check for any missed shots. You might even say that the fear-check zone extends RoF bonus more hexes to the left and right of the area being fired into

(b) ANY use of RoF 5 or more creates a suppression line. For a direct-fire attack, that line is only one yard wide – a line, actually – but you get attacked as stray fire if you’re in the line when the bullets are fired, or with suppression fire if you cross that line later.

These are basically almost two identical scenarios with widely different game effects. I’ve therefore been contemplating – but haven’t yet implement – a rule where anyone in the line of fire of any gun shot (or laser beams, or lightning bolt spells, etc.) has to make a fright roll to not take cover, and that, if a bullet hasn’t hit a specified target, than there’s a “live fire” line of attack that anyone who crosses becomes a potential target. To me, All-Out Attack (Suppression Fire) just allows you to divide your shots over a wider area, reducing your chances of hitting in exchange for possibly affecting more people with fright checks.

Or what he just said. Yeah, this is fair if you can remember it . . .

My one hesitation is that it would possibly slow combat down in order to track all the lines/arcs of fire. But since I use MapTools for my combat, I don’t think it would be that complicated.

. . . and VTTs make it really easy. In fact, in Roll20 in the game described, that’s exactly what we did. Drew the cone of fire. We still had one guy run across it, but that was OK. It also makes the Teamwork or Standard Operating Procedure perks that much more useful, as I think one or both lets you cross suppression fire zones of your own team with relative impunity.

This is a bit of a cry for help. I know a few folks – maybe one or two – who played what was called then “The Tower of Justice” or “Grappling Smackdown” with me in the IGDN booth at GenCon this year. Friday and Saturday mornings, 10am start time.

Each day was 7-8 people, some who’d signed up, some who didn’t.

As the book that will be now titled Domstollinn: Lost Hall of Tyr approaches both Kickstarter and finalization, I want to give you folks playtest credit. And a free copy.

So: email me! You have my card from the event. You can also hit me at gamingballisticllc@gmail.com, or leave a comment to this post. Let me know which game you attended, what character you played, the name you wish to be credited with, and the most memorable thing that happened to you during the game.

 

Last night in the Ceteri game, my character had the opportunity to unload an RoF 15 weapon in a narrow cone with something like five or six targets in it. It was a good chance to use the rules for suppression fire, which basically give you a 6+RoF bonus chance to hit there.

We use some generally agreed-upon rules – a combination of “this is the way we think the rules are actually meant to be applied,” common sense, and a slight tweak on the RoF bonus table.

The RoF Tweak

It’s not much. Look up the number of bullets fired on the Size and Speed/Range table, and read out the size modifier. Divide it by two, but round UP. Yes, up. That’s not the usual, but it works. Continue reading “Action Report: Suppression Fire in GURPS”

The New Season Beings

We had another time skip, though this was a brief one: 10 month. Almost a year. Mostly things that changed were personal. We’re “growing up and moving out,” by and large moved out of Myriam’s house, but still spending lots of time there. Gabe has taken up residence in an apartment on top of his martial arts studio. He’s still Average wealth; whatever money comes in goes right out to charity and helping the folks that need help from the supernatural.

Plus gear. And trying like hell to get rid of the white-hilted, blood-drinking sword. Yikes.

Dramatis Personae

Kamali Blackshear (18): Kamali is a young boy in his early teens. He is healthy and is of mixed ethnicity of Caucasian South African and native South African. He is a determined youth who believes in a justice of his own, likening himself to the knight of the round whom he has read deeply into. Just as they stood against the darkness of their age so too does Kamali seek to do the same. For his sister, for his friends, and for the world.

Tag: “A knight without a sword carrying a faith nobody believes.”

Lorenzo DeModouco (18): A handsome and charismatic musician. The loss of his parents didn’t dampen his spirits and he soldiered on after their death. He’s the cheery one always trying to make others happy and sometimes spontaneously breaks into song. Perceptive of others and their feelings, Lorenzo is the one who knows what people are thinking by the looks on their face. He’s also a boy scout and is quite comfortable in the wild.

TAG: “He’s a Jukebox Hero. He’s got stars in his eyes. A Jukebox Hero – he’ll make sure you survive.”

Amos M. Humiston (19) – This boy is far from where he started out at the orphanage. His comfortable existence already gone and instead has gotten used to his new life. Not like his brothers, his talents lay more in mental pursuits and has already started towards getting a double Masters degree at a local college aiming for his goal of becoming a research librarian. Following in his family’s footsteps almost unknowingly, he exhibits certain talents towards more occult pursuits such as druidism and alchemy, mixing up herbal supplements and elixers for the team. And while he’s still somewhat still slipping along behind the group, he has become a lot more outgoing with the rest of the Orphans and have started making friends with folks outside his adopted brothers. Always showing concern for them and trying to make sure they know everything that they need to when it comes to the dangers they face.

Tag: “True alchemists do not change lead into gold; they change the world into words.”

Gabriel MacAlister (18) – Built like the natural athlete he is, he has grown taller, stronger, and more solidly good-looking. A quiet and hard-working lad, always ready to lend a hand with any work, which he will do without complaint or obligating the other person to respond. He is an expert martial arts teacher, and has been following in the footsteps of a carpenter for some time now. Emphatically not a pushover or weak personality, but also not one to purposefully show off. Has been in many horrible places and seen many horrible things; he’s a bit of a compulsive planner as a result, as well as always feeling that most folks don’t really know how lucky they are. He lost a leg fighting zombies; he got an artificial replacement and kept on fighting the good fight.

Tag: “To serve others is the highest calling; to protect the meek the noblest endeavor, and our works are judged by the effort that went into them”

Timothy I Mitchell (19): Timothy possess an honest if forgettable face. He tends towards comfortable, though inexpensive clothing and durable running shoes, rounding off his typical attire is a deep pocketed jacket and a backpack slung over one shoulder. Timothy appears to be a poster-boy for bad kids, often finding himself in trouble with any and all forms of authority. A victim of neglect, driven to never become a victim again he often acts seemingly on impulse, taking any dare or challenge in his stride. Timothy doesn’t have friends, not in any real sense. Too few of the people who enter his orbit can deal with him in anything more than bite sized pieces, a fact which only further frustrates the young teenager.

Tag: “Darkness is within all of us, it’s how you use that darkness that matters”

Sword Research

 

We’re at a shop on May 1, at about 5am. We’ve all met there because we’re trying to identify what sword it is that I actually have. after some money, research, etc. our contact has come up with something. We meet an antique shop called Things of the Past; even the outer store is antique. In the basement, there’s a “weird stuff” section that sells spellbooks, arcane paraphenelia, and other not-normal things.

Timothy looks about, and sees many obvious cameras and several hidden ones. He keeps his head deep in his hoodie. Amos is sort of in charge here, as the guy with ridiculous skills in this department. “Come in, boys, come in,” says Roger Friendly (yes, really), and we do. We head into the basement, and is all we smell is ridiculously good, rich coffee.

As wee move through the basement, we see photos of Gabe’s sword and post-it notes. Kamali sees some rare occult books, and is directed to the restricted section: “Don’t go in there alone. I wouldn’t.” And that’s from the proprietor. There are symbols on the floor and ceiling: probably wards.

Kamali, Timothy, and Lorenzo heave open the bar to the door, and are immediately greeted by the slowly turning head of . . . naturally a cursed doll. They engage it in conversation, and Mr Friendly says “please do not disturb the cursed objects. Please don’t go in there. Someone’s going to get possessed and I don’t have a shop-vac filter big enough for all that pea soup.”

“Have you tried sawdust instead?”

“Not helping.”

The ancient doll keeps its eyes on Kamali. We decide that the doll is racist, and move on.

Back to the table; there’s a perfect illustration of the red hilted sword. The language is Scots Gaelic; it’s more or less gibberish to me because it’s not been translated properly. It may even be middle english. He slide it over to Amos; he decides it’s old Irish, and he recognizes it because it’s in the exact same language that the old book that we picked up from the biker gang is written in.

There’s a verse, it’s not exactly rhyming, but not exactly not, either.

Three for the Kings and Queens of Summer,
Three for the Kings and Queens of Winter,
And three for the High King’s life to preserve,
The first with a blade of black and a hilt of snowy-white,
Only for a worthy man will it burn bright,
{The next two couplets are unreadable]
The fourth with a blade of starry night and a hilt of black,
Only by the clever will it protect from any attack,
The fifth with a blade of iron and a hilt of red,
Only by the loveless will the thirsty blade leave blood unshed,
[There are four more lines, but they’re smudged]
[the sixth line contains the phrase “blade of glass”
[“once dead” on the seventh line]

We’re not sure which of the swords mine is in terms of summer, winter, or high king . . . but he says that the legend is that Weyland the smith was ordered to create nine blades to help protect their own. They were some of his finest works, but something happened. Not all of the blades were true in spirit, even if they were magnificent in nature. There is a curse: whomever claims the blade is sealed to it until death. Continue reading “Ceteri Campaign – S1E1: Vampires and Vengeance”

A mailing list is a key part of any company’s outreach strategy. In short, it’s the first line of defense against stagnation and starvation. It’s the folks that have come to you, and either expressed interest in, or outright purchased your stuff.

It’s probably criminal that I haven’t set one up by now . . . a crime against good business.

But I’m rectifying that.

  • There’s now a sign-up bar at the top of the page. If you’re interested in getting emails on current and future products, progress on projects, or generally wanting to be informed as to (say) when a Kickstarter of mine will launch, please sign up.
  • If you’ve purchased something from me before, I’m going to proactively add you to the list . . . and then immediately remove you upon request, of course.

You can probably look for an email from me maybe every two to four weeks, and no more. I don’t want to spam you, and it’ll be a bit before enough happens in every given week to merit such a thing.

But please: if you’re interested in Gaming Ballistic as a company that sells products, rather than just a nifty blog, sign up!

I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Paladin (6th Level)

Ability Scores:
Strength-15
Dexterity-15
Constitution-14
Intelligence-15
Wisdom-14
Charisma-14

Alignment:
Neutral Good A neutral good character does the best that a good person can do. He is devoted to helping others. He works with kings and magistrates but does not feel beholden to them. Neutral good is the best alignment you can be because it means doing what is good without bias for or against order. However, neutral good can be a dangerous alignment when it advances mediocrity by limiting the actions of the truly capable.

Race:
Elves are known for their poetry, song, and magical arts, but when danger threatens they show great skill with weapons and strategy. Elves can live to be over 700 years old and, by human standards, are slow to make friends and enemies, and even slower to forget them. Elves are slim and stand 4.5 to 5.5 feet tall. They have no facial or body hair, prefer comfortable clothes, and possess unearthly grace. Many others races find them hauntingly beautiful.

Class:
Paladins take their adventures seriously, and even a mundane mission is, in the heart of the paladin, a personal test an opportunity to demonstrate bravery, to learn tactics, and to find ways to do good. Divine power protects these warriors of virtue, warding off harm, protecting from disease, healing, and guarding against fear. The paladin can also direct this power to help others, healing wounds or curing diseases, and also use it to destroy evil. Experienced paladins can smite evil foes and turn away undead. A paladin’s Wisdom score should be high, as this determines the maximum spell level that they can cast. Many of the paladin’s special abilities also benefit from a high Charisma score.

Find out What Kind of Dungeons and Dragons Character Would You Be?, courtesy of Easydamus (e-mail)

Detailed Results

Detailed Results:

Alignment:
Lawful Good —– XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (20)
Neutral Good —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (29)
Chaotic Good —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (18)
Lawful Neutral — XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (16)
True Neutral —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (25)
Chaotic Neutral – XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Lawful Evil —– XXXXXX (6)
Neutral Evil —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (15)
Chaotic Evil —- XXXX (4)

Law & Chaos:
Law —– XXXXX (5)
Neutral – XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Chaos — XXX (3)

Good & Evil:
Good —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (15)
Neutral – XXXXXXXXXXX (11)
Evil —- X (1)

Race:
Human —- XXXXXXXXXXXXX (13)
Dwarf —- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Elf —— XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Gnome —- XXXXXXXX (8)
Halfling – XXXXXX (6)
Half-Elf – XXXXXXXX (8)
Half-Orc – XXXX (4)

Class:
Barbarian – XXXX (4)
Bard —— XXXXXXXX (8)
Cleric —- XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Druid —– XXXXXX (6)
Fighter — XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Monk —— XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Paladin — XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX (16)
Ranger —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)
Rogue —– XXXX (4)
Sorcerer — XXXXXXXXXX (10)
Wizard —- XXXXXXXXXXXXXX (14)

Thursday is GURPSDay and September is upon us.

Welcome to the second year of GURPSDay, and here’s the pull for this week.

We’re currently drawing content from 89 blogs. Only 11 more to go until we’re pulling from 100! But we’ll need your help.

How? Two action items: post more, recruit more. It’s really that simple. More posters is more posts, and more interest in GURPS.

Below you can find the blog activity for the last week. There’s a whole lotta awesome GURPS going on. Read all the posts.

Not every blog posts about GURPS every week, but some are ridiculously prolific! The list is randomized, so different bloggers will be highlighted at the top of the post each week.

As always, if you’re interested in having your blog consolidated here, navigate over to The Instructions Page and drop me a line. Take special note of the RSS Settings Fix if you’re on WordPress.
Continue reading “GURPSDay Summary Sep 8 – Sep 14, 2017”