I’m always on the lookout for better options than the usual “please amputate your leg in exchange for shipping internationally.” Gaming Ballistic is thrilled to announce that I found a good source for Hall of Judgment Print-on-Demand.

Over the last month or so, I’ve initiated a POD option for new orders of Hall of Judgment, done by the same printer that did the original copies.

The new books print on 130gsm silk-coated paper instead of 140gsm, so they’re slightly thinner, but otherwise they’re the same quality as the prior books. I believe Lulu prints on 80#/120gsm paper, and premium POD with DriveThru is on 105gsm/70# paper.

But if you got the PDF and wanted a print copy, there’s now a source that originates outside of the USA for these books, which saves big-time on shipping.

Today is the Gaming Ballistic Blog-iversary: 6 years. Six years ago today, I looked at Peter Dell’Orto’s Dungeon Fantastic for the Nth time and thought to myself: “I have something I can contribute here.”

So I started Gaming Ballistic on Blogger.

Since then, thousands of posts and millions of words (at one point, I counted both) later, I’ve started a company and published four or five books on my own, plus Technical Grappling.

In 2019, I’ve got more on the way: a minimum of three core plotlines for two different systems.

I still  haven’t really figured out how to load-level and keep my publishing on the blog leveled with my publishing and writing for books, but that’s a 2019 goal.

Speaking of those, look for the “what worked, what didn’t” navelgazing post sometime after the new year.

Until then: thanks for journeying with me this far!

The campaign to bring a high-quality print run to Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) – the first (but not the last) direct support for the Dragon Heresy RPG – is coming to an end in 45 minutes, at 9:30pm Central time.

The campaign met its funding goal of $1,300 and went on to hit 300% funding. The books that will be printed will be nice, too: 93# silk-coated matte paper, with a glossy cover.

But it still could be better.

Next Goal: $6,000 for Offset Print

It’s true, it’s a reach. We need $2000 more . . . and yet that is only 66 more people. It’s a challenge, but it’s not crazy. Sure, there’s a bit of irrational exuberance in my projections, but we still have 134 following the campaign who haven’t jumped in. Plus there are 200 folks from this very campaign that have Dragon Heresy but nothing to play it with.

So the potential is there.

That version will be amazing. 105# paper will bulk up the spine a bit. Heavy softcover with a lay-flat binding.

And the book will be able to go into distribution and sit on retail shelves next to the core book.

That last one is probably more important for me than for you. But there it is: it’s the sort of thing that makes the game more accessible, more popular, and allows me to keep developing content in advance of any crowdfunding.

So: please share our victory with your social network, and invite them on board. It really does help! And if you can make it, please pledge!

But is this really the end?

Not quite. After a few weeks to let the Kickstarter funds settle, we’ll enter the Backerkit phase, which will allow pre-orders and Add-Ons to still be obtained. Including even better versions of the viking shields a few of y’all bought the first time!

The Kickstarter portion should finish Jan 4, and Backerkit will probably run through the 20th of January. After that, we’ll look for some preliminary PDF distribution for error checking, and then we’ll hit the printer sometime in February.

The Backerkit Revenue absolutely counts for how good the final print run will be. If we hit the stretch goal of $6,000 or more during the Backerkit phase, I write the check for the offset print run. So if we pass over the line after tonight . . . we still all win and get an even better book.

Please support the Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) campaign in its final hour

If you can support it later, that’ll be fine too! Just throw in a dollar so you’re on the list for the Backerkit phase and you’ll get carried with me through the rest of the ride!

Last night was brilliant! The Lost Hall 2e First Print Stretch Goal was achieved last night!

Digital Print Run: $3,500

The printing will shift from POD to a digital print run. This will still be a softcover, perfect-bound book, but the paper and print quality is upgraded to the same 140gsm/93# Arrow Silk paper used in Hall of Judgment.

The bottom is maybe 1mm thicker than the LHoT2e will be unless the book grows a bit, which I don’t think it will.

Next Goal: $6,000 for Offset Print

It’s true, it’s a reach. We need $2400 more . . . and yet that is only 78 more people. It’s a challenge, but it’s not crazy. Sure, there’s a bit of irrational exuberance in my projections, but we still have 138 following the campaign who haven’t jumped in.

So the potential is there.

That version will be amazing. 105# paper will bulk up the spine a bit. Heavy softcover with a lay-flat binding.

And the book will be able to go into distribution and sit on retail shelves next to the core book. 

That last one is probably more important for me than for you. But there it is: it’s the sort of thing that makes the game more accessible, more popular, and allows me to keep developing content in advance of any crowdfunding.

So: please share our victory with your social network, and invite them on board. It really does help!


As a further enticement, a reminder of the add-ons available. I’m linking to my website for more information . . . but if you like what you see, please go to the Kickstarter to order them!

Dragon Heresy Introductory Set

($38 Print; $15 PDF; $46 HC+PDF)

The core rules supporting Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition), the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set is a substantially modified variant on the Fifth Edition ruleset (SRD5.1 under the OGL). It includes more details on Torengar and Etera, the background world for Lost Hall, as well as a complete, self-contained game for Level 1-5 play. The game introduces rules for wounds vs vigor to distinguish between blood and grit, great mechanics for shields and grappling, rules for flyting, social standing, and more. If you don’t have it, this is a great time to pick it up.

Note: this is a 3.1-lb book and they’re all in the USA; international shipping of a hardcover is likely to be expensive. You can see the print quality I’m shooting for below: my 288-page Dragon Heresy book is rather thicker and better put together than the 320-page comparison volume.

Dungeon Grappling

($12 Print; $6 PDF; $15 Print+PDF)

Gaming Ballistic’s very first product, and still the best grappling rules on the market (in fairness, it’s a low bar). Finally bring grappling rules that don’t suck to the table for Fifth Edition, the Pathfinder RPG, and Swords & Wizardry.

Dungeon Grappling makes grappling fun again, especially for the GM and their monsters, by introducing the “control” damage type and working throw how to apply it for both armed and unarmed grapples. And tentacles. And nets.

Seamlessly move between armed combat and grappling . . . just like they did in the old days of Fiori, Talhoffer, and other historical fighting manuals.

The Battle Shield of Torengar ($650)

Just for fun, I will hand-build for you a mostly-authentic viking-style center-gripped shield. Made of quarter-sawn poplar wood, with a hand-carved oak handle, mild steel boss, and faced, backed, and edged with goat rawhide, it’s put together with hide glue, and tapered at the edges. Who doesn’t want their own Viking-style shield, made to historical dimensions? Make an impression at your next staff meeting.

You’ll also receive print and PDF copies of all four of my printed books.

If you pledge at this level (or buy one as an add-on), I’ll contact you and we can work out the details of size and how you want it painted. The shield will likely weigh about 4.5-7 lbs, depending on our mutually-agreed-upon specs.

This is only available in the USA, because even inside the USA, this is horrifically expensive to ship!  

A few prior samples below. They are (and the plain black one, which is the hide-covered shield painted with authentic milk-based paint with charcoal pigment) my Asfolk training shields. Each weighs 6 lbs. 

Last Words

I’m so excited to see the first important stretch goal fall. The print run is huge for Gaming Ballistic, and I hope that some of the few hundred folks either following or who’ve bought my products in the past will come on board in this last half-day of the campaign.

Until then: you’ve made me happy and proud. You guys are going to get a great book.

We enter the final 23 hours of the Lost Hall 2nd Edition Kickstarter with:

  • $219 to go until the first “high quality print” goal
  • $400 per day for the last two days as a trend
  • 136 people following this Kickstarter who have not yet pledged
  • 200 backers of Dragon Heresy with no support in their hands who also don’t have Lost Hall 1e or Hall of Judgment

So much potential . . . please come on board!

While counting your chickens is famously unwise, we just passed $3,000, having picked up roughly $500 in the last day. We’ve also got something like 140 folks who are following the Lost Hall of Tyr 2e campaign but haven’t yet pledged. It’s been a great 24 hours or so for the Kickstarter. Where does that leave us?

We’ll hit the digital print run goal at $3500, which requires about 40 PDF pledges or only 16 people to come in at the print plus PDF level.

The $3500 level will turn it into a very nice book – same quality as Hall of Judgment.

The Big Offset Print Run isn’t out of reach, though a lot would have to happen in the next 24-36 hours. But if ALL 140 folks came in and went for a print and PDF book, well, that actually gets us the hardcover.

The number of backers required for “victory” here is quite small. 250 at the current average pledge of $30 gets us the hardcover. Can’t do it without you. Spread the word, and let’s make it happen.

I got back into D&D after a long, long time with GURPS (though I did not, and will not, stop creating for that system) by joining Erik Tenkar, Peter Dell’Orto, Tim Shorts, Joe the Lawyer (I never actually got his whole name), and several others in Erik’s “B-Team.”

We played once a month, and compressed a whole lot of gaming into 2-3 hours. We used the Swords & Wizardry system, a retro-clone that showed me how much fun rules-light gaming can be, and helped me appreciate Fifth Edition a bit more when it came out.

S&W taught me to think simple, think fast, and think light. It helped me shape my grappling rules into something anyone would want to pick up, and could either “play easy” or add as much modular awesome as they could.

I got to know Matt Finch through Erik, and I believe other than the Wednesday night Tavern Chats, we started to get to know each other when he started “ambush interviewing” me for his D&D Neighborhood YouTube shows. While the first interview was me chatting with him about Dragon Heresy and related stuff, he tapped me for a few other shows like “How to write a player’s guide.” He’s a good guy, drives a good interview (maybe the legal training), and runs a good game, which I got to experience at GameHole Con in November of 2018 (this past year).

When it came time to introduce this second edition of Lost Hall, I asked him if he would be willing to contribute a Foreword, and he agreed.

Here’s the laid-out Foreword for your image perusal, followed by the text and a link to a PDF as well.

Foreword to Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition)

by Matt Finch

Some longish time ago, I was talking with Doug Cole via Google Hangout. As the conversation went on, it started to dawn on me that he was sitting in the middle of what looked like a small armory of blades, axes, and shields—all of them made of wood. So after a while, of course, I had to ask about this clutter of weaponry piled up all around him. Now, anyone who knows Doug already knows that “enthusiastic” only vaguely succeeds in capturing the essence of Doug. Seconds later, I was looking through my computer screen at a sword-wielding, shieldbearing warrior in fighting stance, delivering an energetic lecture on the proper way to use a Viking-type shield. As the lecture evolved into methods of using the sword in concert with the shield, I started to realize why there’s no furniture anywhere near his computer. Or, at least, what happened to it if there once was. As I’ve said, “enthusiastic” doesn’t quite capture it.

Doug manages to infuse his writing with the same effervescent energy, making for a wild ride through his game world and the adventures to be found in it. Since I’m no expert on Vikings or Norse mythology I can’t speak to how much of Doug’s exploration into the wyrd, wild world of Viking adventure is based on history and how much of it is just a sheer, fantastic Norseplosion of adventure. It doesn’t really matter, of course —this book is a mix of pure mystery and adrenaline for RPG gaming, and that’s what counts in the long run.

One is always tempted to write a long foreword to a good book, sprinkling spoilers here and there in an effort to tell the reader how to enjoy what they’re about to encounter in it. But I don’t think that’s the purpose of a foreword. A foreword is for setting the mood: giving the reader that last deep breath before the plunge into strange worlds and vivid imagery. I can assure you, even though the world of Norse adventuring might seem familiar on the surface, what lies beneath that surface is strange and mythic indeed. And so, consider that last, deep breath to have now been drawn—it’s time to turn the page and let yourself go a-Viking in the rich sea of ideas you’ll find beyond!


The Lost Hall of Tyr Kickstarter has funded and is striving to achieve its “high quality printing” stretch goals. It won’t take much, but I need your help.

Funded. Closing in on Stretch Goals

This is where it happens – the last two days of the Kickstarter are where it takes off and assumes its final form.

We’ve got the new maps. We’ve got a new cover (and I hope to be able to show you an improved version before the campaign ends!) and a lot more gameable material than the first edition. Now it’s time to make the physical product awesome.

If you’re a Dragon Heresy fan: This is your chance to support a fantastic adventure in Dragon Heresy’s native setting. The $3500 stretch goal is still a fine book: heavy paper (about 85# paper, a tetch heavier than what Lulu prints on) and quality printing, but I know we can do more. If we hit the $6,000 stretch goal, that will allow me to get adventure support alongside the hardback book into stores, so you can see them, point to them, and pick them up and play. It will also print on 105# paper and have a lay-flat binding, even in softcover.

This is the time: For everyone on this list, who has been interested in Gaming Ballistic material, I’d ask that you share out the Kickstarter link and make folks aware of it. This will be my fifth (of five) funded projects. Each was on time or early, and a high-quality affair. Help me do more by spreading the word if you can’t pledge, and pledging if you can.

Lost Hall 2e: The Final Hours

Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) is a mini-setting and adventure for the Dragon Heresy Roleplaying game. Dragon Heresy is a self-contained complete game in one volume, and the Introductory Set covers Level 1-5.

Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) contains

  • A non-linear adventure for 4-7 characters of Level 1-5
  • A detailed workup of the Viking-inspired town of Isfjall, suitable as either a home port for an extended campaign or a jumping off point for the adventure
  • Rules for overland journeys in the wild north, several adventuring locations, and of course the quest to rediscover the Lost Hall itself
  • A bestiary containing all the key creatures from the adventure, including the Dragon Heresy unique stats pre-calculated (Threat DC, Hit DC, wound and control thresholds, wounds, and vigor)

Lost Hall of Tyr is 112 pages long, in full color. The Kickstarter is to enhance the quality of the original combat/location maps, and fund a high-quality print run. 

Lost Hall of Tyr (2nd Edition) on Kickstarter


I was recently (like 30 minutes ago) interviewed on the Tenkar’s Tavern Designers and Makers podcast.

He asks me five critical questions (including such weighty matters as “Race as Class” and “what do you think of Save or Die – the die roll, not the podcast?”

I always love talking about gaming, so give a listen, and share it with friends! I talk Dragon Heresy, Swords and Wizardry and the OSR, and of course, Lost Hall of Tyr.

E218 – Designers & Makers – I Interview Douglas Cole (Gaming Ballistic) by Tavern Chat

I just wanted to make it clear, as I got a note that alarmed me about the Kickstarter:

This product is the 2nd Edition of the Lost Hall of Tyr adventure.

It is NOT for 2nd Edition D&D, which I believe I have played either once or twice, ever.

The native system is Dragon Heresy, which is based off of a tweaked version of Fifth Edition, that is: the System Reference Dictionary v5.1, under the Open Gaming License.