This page is a placeholder for reported errata and requests for clarification or wording changes for the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set. The PDF files were pushed out May 14!

The Ground Rules

First off, the basic book from the first page to p. 173 is basically edited, laid out, and ready for art insertion. So any “please change X to Y” requests cannot break the layout. So if you’re asking for a rephrase, if it doesn’t fit, I either will change it to make it fit or I can’t do it at all.

For Foes, p. 174 through p. 292, we are in dire need of a 4-page haircut. I expect I know from where this will come; 2-3 pages likely from the editing process, and then we’ll tighten up Beasts a bit.

Yeah. About those Beasts. Luke Campbell is extremely passionate about animals and their capabilities. He wrote the section, and tried to include every bit of game-relevant detail, some of it much more so than a 5e-based game would usually provide. If you cast speak with animals and want to read the bad guys’ secret plans, you need to pick the right creature. This section goes perhaps overboard on that, but overboard is easy to cut. Suggestions welcome.

The character sheet at the end of the book is not form-fillable. It’s on my list.

But basically, if requesting/identifying an opportunity for change, I need the following in your comment:

  1. The page number and location of the issue
  2. The entire original text you want changed, with From: “blah, blah, bitty bitty blah, I’m stuffy give me a scone.”
  3. The substitute text you want to be in its place, as follows: To: “blah blah bitty blah, I’m so stuffy give me a scone.”
  4. A quick note why you want the change. “The information you have is a quote from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and was misquoted.

For some things, it might be as simple as:

p. 1234; Section on “impaling and dismemberment”

From: dismbemerment

To: dismemberment

Why: typo

Reported Issues List

p. 8; Section on Wound Maximum, third and fourth paragraphs.

The first sentence of each paragraph (“Strength Modifier.” and “Size Multiplier.” respectively) should be bolded.

p. 17; paragraph on “Aldurverk”, second and third sentences.

From: To become an adult, a dwarf must kvoldomurstrate
a skill through an aldurverk, or “age project.” Adurverks may
be crafting of weapons or armor, creating works of literature
or magic, or kvoldomurstration of martial prowess.

To: To become an adult, a dwarf must demonstrate
a skill through an aldurverk, or “age project.” Adurverks may
be crafting of weapons or armor, creating works of literature
or magic, or demonstration of martial prowess.

Why: Likely a find-and-replace error (“demon” -> “kvoldormur”).

p. 22; Under “Matriarchal Structure”, third paragraph, second sentence..

From: The mother dragonborn views her leaving home as a matter of pride, a kvoldomurstration of strength of will and maturity.

To: The mother dragonborn views her leaving home as a matter of pride, a demonstration of strength of will and maturity.

Why: Likely a find-and-replace error (“demon” -> “kvoldormur”).

p. 26; Section on “Tiefling”, first sentence

From: A tiefling he progeny of a union between a human and a fiend.

To: A tiefling is the progeny of a union between a human and a fiend.

Why: typo

p. 46 – Song of Steel

From: can bestow a d6 inspiration die per short rest

To: Can bestow half proficency (round down) to weapons or tools, bestowing skald must be present to activate

Why: right now, the wording theoretically allows every single tool and weapon and piece of ammo to be tuned in town, perhaps even by a friendly skald or skald troupe, every time. That wasn’t the point. The mechanics of this are too close to what the basic skaldic inspiration die IS, and so it needs tuning and limits. So: half proficiency as the bonus, maximum tuning that can ever be active is CHA bonus, skald must be present and spend their reaction to activate the ability. This will require a rewrite.

p. 112 – Art Page/Flyting Rules

From: Art page

To: Flyting

Why: forgot to include the flyting rules, which should fit on one page. Can move the art elsewhere!

p. 166 – Entire Map

From: white pixels included in bottom image of map

To: remove pixels

Why: image placement error

P279 under “shield proficiency”
From: “Each size of shield is a separate proficiency. Each class that is proficient with shields may choose to be proficient with up to two shield size types that are of equal or smaller size than”
To: the heaviest armor with which they are proficient.
Why: typo end of last sentence missing/incomplete.

 

TBD

A week makes a big difference, and a lot happened in the past 7 days. So here’s the progress report for the week ending May 7!

The biggest stuff that was on my formal to-do list:

  • Look at the skald spells and ensure they’re in the spells list.
  • Check the new spells from the added Clerical Domains and make sure they’re in there somewhere.
  • Rewrite and examine the equipment list to add a bit of Norse flavor, as well as some issues I’ve had with the armor list
  • Re-analyze the fighting styles for fighter to make sure all is consistent and no style is more or less powerful than others out of the box
  • Cut down the combat rules for the Berserker level’s reward
  • Write rules for flyting, a ritual exchange of poetic insults
  • Trim and edit the “AppendX” (misspelled purposefully, pronounced Append-X) for the new rules inclusions

The short version: all of it got done this past week. Continue reading “Dragon Heresy: Progress Report To-dos and To-done’s”

The Final Countdown

Well, we’re down to the countdown. 10 hours to go.

We’ll have to see a remarkable acceleration in pledges (or about five shield pledges) to hit the offset print run. It’s not impossible. We’re talking 6 shields, 25-30 Styðja sponsor pledges, or 50-60 Jarl pledges.

Not impossible. I will need your help, of course: share it out, pump it up, talk about it, tell folks what you like, and why you pledged. Point it out to retailers, especially.

What’s Next

The short version is that once the campaign closes, it takes Kickstarter about two weeks to charge all the cards and finalize the transactions.

As soon as that’s done, several things will happen.

Initial PDF Distribution. There is already a playable, laid-out version of the game kicking around. Likewise, I will cut down the rules to what was promised for the Berserker levels. That distribution of the initial PDF

In the meantime, Vincent and I are editing the heck out of the manuscript. Of the nine chapters (recognizing that Ch.9, Foes, is 1/3 of the book and the magic/spells section is very long as well), I’m finalizing Chapter 4.

I’ve added Skald, Social Standing, Runic Berserker, and the rest of the Clerical Domains to the characters chapter. I will be editing and adding the optional rules, including new rules for Flyting (ritual exchange of insults), as well as the optional rules for shields.

The rest, from backgrounds to Feats, will probably need to be set aside until the near-final layout is done, complete with maps, front matter, index, ToC, backer thanks page, etc. Then we’ll see where we are for page count, and hopefully we’ll be able to fit some of it. Because we both know one of those extra pages is a glossary and pronunciation guide, right?

Rest easy, though: for backgrounds especially, I’ve got an idea there.

When the funds settle, everyone at the $5 and up level will get something electronically. It may still be in need of some editing, layout shifts, or a bit more artwork, but you’ll be able to play the game. This should happen on or about May 11, depending when Kickstarter finished their thing. Might be a bit earlier, might be a bit later.

At that point, I’ll ask everyone to read and play it! And get back to me on typos, errors, layout issues, rules questions/clarifications . . . anything that doesn’t look right, bring it to my attention. There will be a dedicated blog post where I’ll collect your comments. I did this for Dungeon Grappling and it worked great.

Backerkit Phase Begins. Sometime in mid- to late-May, the Backerkit phase will begin. You’ll be able to order/select add-ons, see what shipping will look like, etc. By that time I hope to have my internal printing plans locked down, and will be able to confirm shipping, especially to my international backers. I’m aware of how painful it can be, and trying to take steps to avoid it.

PDF Finalization, Print, and Ship. Some time in June or July, I’ll close the responses, finalize the PDF, and send that out. At the same time, I’ll upload the B/W and Color 300dpi print files to DriveThruRPG as well as sending the two styles of book (assuming we don’t spike and hit $16,000) to my selected printer(s). The typical print cycle is 12 weeks, then a month for shipping. So that puts us on or a month ahead of schedule if that all works out.

Color and Black and White

Actual pages from the UK printer that will likely be doing the color print books, unless we hit the big goal at $16KThe lead candidate for a color printing is not POD from my usual suspect. It’s a company in the UK that offered a fantastic price on a 200-book print run. Right now, I’ve only got about 50 takers for color, so I’ll have extras in case you want to add them in the Backerkit phase. The B/W books will be fulfilled by POD, since the price differential between POD, digital offset, and true offset in the quantities we’re talking about for this campaign aren’t enough to matter.

Are we done with Dragon Heresy?

No.

Just no.

Northern Torengar is the site for both Citadel of Northwatch and The Hunted LandsI have at least two adventures planned. One short one that I will do my darnedest to get out Right Away that will be designed as an intro micro-setting. Several intertwined plot threads that invite sandbox play rather than a linear-style adventure thread. That one is tentatively called The Citadel of Northwatch.

The other is a much more ambitious setting called The Hunted Lands. There’s a cool nordic name for it too: Veiddarlond. That one contains eight different micro-settings within the broader location, and should be a great way to get from level 1 through level 5 . . . or even higher.

And I do have ideas for what “higher levels” would look like, but of course that depends on how this campaign finishes, and if Dragon Heresy looks like it has legs.

After that, I’ve got a few other projects in the works, including Hall of Judgment (a Powered-by-GURPS Dungeon Fantasy RPG conversion of Lost Hall of Tyr), and hopefully the sci-fi game Venture Beyond, by David Pulver.

But for now: share! Tell folks why you backed the project and why they should to. Make me a liar by forcing me to rework my plans and go offset.

I double-dog dare you.

Thanks for the ride so far, but it’s not over yet.

Douglas Cole
Chief Everything Officer
Gaming Ballistic, LLC

As of this morning, 60 of 196 eligible voters have filled out the additional content voting form. Thank you!

Currently, here’s the tally:

  • Several Alternate Combat Rules (2000 words) in the lead with 184 points
  • Skald Class (2000 words) with 140 points
  • All Cleric Domains (3,000 words) with 109 points
  • Berserker Path of Primal Runes (650 words) with 107 points
  • Feats (3700 words) with 99 points
  • Four Additional Backgrounds (2,700 words) with 96 points
  • Shield Size and Type (1,100 words) with 94 points

The next point totals below that are 73 points and it drops rapidly from there.

The above list has more than the 10,000 allotted words I can probably fit, but I wanted to show you the tally.

Commentary

Big shields and small shields and magic shields and . . . The feats are fun, but also the most potentially issue-filled part of any rules addition. They have to be carefully considered and balanced, which is fine. I’ve got a calculator for combat feats that can help things.

The backgrounds, in my limited experience, are a bit like starting equipment. Soon forgotten after play starts. Other folks’ experience may vary, of course, and since this game focuses on Level 1-5 play, the characters aren’t that far from their backgrounds in the game.

The additional shield rules are fun, and a key component of the game. They enable having bucklers to tower shields, metal reinforcement, and discuss what happens with a magical shield. They are, however, more fiddle. That being said, thus far “more fiddle” is winning the contents, so there’s that.

Additional Rules

I honestly didn’t expect this one to hit the top (at least thus far), but here are the additional rules topics:

  • Stacked Advantage/Disadvantage: Rolling 3d20 or more when conditions apply
  • Facing and Flanking: Rules for what constitutes each. Has illustrations which make this more bulky in terms of page count.
  • Weapon Heft: What happens when you try and parry a greataxe with a dagger
  • Lethality Switches: Disallowing frantic defense and more realistic healing rates
  • DEX and STR in Combat: DEX for attack rolls, STR for damage. STR bonuses for strong bows fits here too

Winding Down

So that’s where we stand! If projections continue, we’ll finish the Kickstarter around $13,000, which is pretty cool. Not “guaranteed offset print run” cool, but pretty cool nonetheless.

As always, a bit of social media boosting helps, and in particular, it would not take many Favorite Local Game Stores to make retail orders to make that print run happen. That’s a win for everyone.

I’m still looking at improving the quality of the books. I should be getting quotes in mid-week, but these things are unpredictable.

More news as events warrant.

Stretch Goal Approaching Rapidly

As of right now, we are only $160 from passing the “Additional Content” Dragon Heresy Introductory Set Kickstarter stretch goal at $10,000, and the odds that we will pass that goal given a full week left seem good.

With that in mind, here are the options that will fill up the survey for “what do you want included?”

Notes

  • I have room for about 9,900 additional words, give or take
  • ALL the backgrounds together are about 9,400 words
  • There is no way to include ALL of the new classes
  • The new spellcasting classes will come with additional spells (of course) that are NOT included in wordcount.
  • The Warlock in particular will be particularly ugly; if this is a top choice other things may go by the wayside
  • The example of the Runic Barbarian has already appeared in an update/blog post
  • Most of the additional rules content falls into the category of highly optional rules. They’ll go into a section called “AppendX” as in “X-perimental”
  • The skald is a nordic bard; the trevinur is a nordic druid. Sorta.
  • The ranger is NOT a spellcaster or a shape-changer. There are scouts and skirmishers. If you want magic-using rangers you’ll want multi-classing

So, that’s it. The survey will ask that you give me your favorite 8,000-10,000 words to include. I’ll see what I can do to automate it a bit.

Continue reading “Dragon Heresy: List of Additional Content Possibilities”

Access is one of the more jealously guarded privileges in hierarchical systems, and social standing reinforced status, but also kept the big dogs ideally focused on the issues they need to be concerned with. Details of policy and realm health, maurauding fae raids, and magical curses. The important stuff.

The rules below are a revision of a new insertion to the Dragon Heresy set, and seemed like a good idea when in my recent streaming play the 1st-level characters seemed bound and determined to head off to see the hajarl or a merchant prince personally. I deflected it in play by having a lower-rank NPC, who happened to be related to the merchant prince, take the call instead. Why pick up dice if you don’t have to?

But some sort of guideline for whether or not an influential person will take the PCs request seemed wise.

Plus: if you’re wondering, this is basically an equivalent of “you get XP for gold.” The wealthier and more successful you are, the more ships, fortresses, and troops you commend, the nicer your armor, weapons, and clothing, the more you look the part of the mighty hero. It’s also a good way to look at how a sheltered offspring of a powerful noble might be a 1st-level or lower character, but still be worthy of dealing with seriously: good Persuasion due to charisma and practice, plus tremendous status and resources. Suddenly not all lords have to be 15th level fighters or mages (though many will be)!

The rules here aren’t final. I may flip it around a bit and instead make the Social Standing a passive check, and recast this as a 2d10 or 3d6 roll for a “reaction” with relative standing as a modifier (so it’s a single, player-facing roll instead of a contest). A passive score will also allow a quick comparison: “no, you’re more than 20 lower than Lord Robert; the best way to get the hajarl’s ear is to approach Lady Alina, the newly-appointed jarl of one of his vassal towns; she’s a jarl, but of lower standing and might treat more equally with you, and SHE can bring your petition before Robert.”

None of the concepts below should replace good roleplay, but they will help guide things. I may yet flatten things out a bit; pretty much anyone could step in front of the Thing/Althing to speak, and the kind of disparity in social standing was a continental thing more than a viking thing. But the core is there, and this basic concept is easily portable into other games: apparently this works out fairly well using ACKS’ native level tables as well.

So there we go. Here’s the Dragon Heresy version of “XP for gold.”

As the Kickstarter winds down, today I’m going to write rules for “flyting,” a ritual poetic contest of insults. That will complete the “alternate rules work” that I want to do to provide options for conflict and conflict resolution that don’t involve pointed sticks. Between flyting and grappling and access restrictions found below, there are plenty of ways to challenge the party without relying n always breaking out weapons.

From here, I will get busy with writing “Identify Fiend or Foe” advice for my monsters, and ensuring that some of the “I’ll do this later” parts of the ms are finally complete.  Continue reading “Dragon Heresy Rules Excerpt: Social Standing”

Greetings, fellow Torengur! We’re entering the third weekend of the Dragon Heresy Introductory Set Kickstarter, and things look pretty good.

Another Skjald-hirð Joins the Battle!

We had a great day yesterday, driven largely by another stalwart joining the ranks of the Skjald-hirð. He’s asked for a sweet, sweet paint job on his shield, too. Dark blue background, with a gold torc, one boar-head, one deer-head, holding the Ingwaz rune between them. All of these symbolize Freyr, who is Yngwi Lifegiver in Dragon Heresy.

This is a personal shield project I just finished, and except the boss (which I used because I had it; it’s too heavy and too large by far), is a good example of what the shields will look like. The heads here are dragon heads. I can do boars, ravens, dragons, bears, stags, and wolves.

The dragon-torc of house Iyiling
The dragon-torc of house Iyiling

The ansuz-rune is the rune of the Asfolk martial arts school at which I’m learning viking-style fighting. You can see the school and me throwing an axe here in the designer’s notes video.

Progress

In the background things are moving in terms of production. I got the first edits from Vince in the mail yesterday, looked them over, and found them worthy. He’s tightening up my language and poking at holes in the thought process.

The entire pre-production team: layout, editing, and indexing, is now being brought in on the communications so we can parallel process the assembly and finalization of the book.

That being said, there are things yet to do, by me, from a writing perspective.

  • I’ve got a neat idea for a way to differentiate between combat prowess and reputation and status. Think of it as an alternate take on “gold for XP” from the old-school days.
  • I am determined to write and add a small section on flyting – a poetic ritual exchange of insults common in viking lore and culture that provides another avenue to victory other than murder-hoboism. Between fisticuffs, weapons, grappling, and flyting, there are many options for dispute and challenge resolution in Dragon Heresy, which is outstanding.
  • Finally, I’m going through the monster section and adding “Identify Fiend or Foe” blocks, where the GM will be provided suggestions for tactically useful elements that can be known about monsters and other foes based on background and skill level.

All of this will be worked into the book, and much of it is already budgeted in terms of space and layout, so that won’t change the basic 256-page book size.

Stretch Goals

As of me typing this, the campaign is just shy of $700 off the $10,000 “more content” stretch goal. If we pass it, I’ll send out a survey to backers with some options of what I can include, which will push the size of the book upward a bit.

Once the ship is completed, what fine adventures we will have!I’m not quite ready to formally re-arrange my published stretch goals yet . . . but some quotes came in from printers that were very compelling. Very.

This has led me to look at options for standard and deluxe printing for the Jarl and Styðja tiers that may take a few more days to lock down.

I’ll tell you this, though: the numbers $12,000 and $16,000 are very significant. There’s another point at about $14,500 that’s significant to me as a publisher but not so much to y’all as backers.

I’m iterating with a few different folks on super-cool things to add for your pledge to the $100 tier. Faux-leather covers, or custom slip-cover, or just a deluxe printing with a dust jacket are all being considered. No decisions yet, and being that it’s bearing down hard on quitting time in the EU (all of the super-aggressive bids are from either the UK or Latvia) on a Friday, I might not be able to confirm much before early next week.

But I’m looking for ways to make both the Jarl and Styðja levels even more appealing. Skjald-hirð backers will get anything the Styðja level gets, of course!

The Final Countdown

This it is, and we’re into single digits. Now it’s in the hands of the Norns.

We’re tracking to around $14,000 if things keep on as they’ve been and we hit an uptick the last few days, which is typical. I still hope we can see enough acceleration to hit that offset print goal – I won’t lie to you: I dream of holding that book as specified in my hands!

For now, have a great weekend, and may all your raids be profitable!

Sean Punch, also known as Dr. Kromm, works for Steve Jackson Games. He joins Geek Gab’s Game Night (during the day!) along with me (Douglas Cole) to talk about Dungeon Fantasy RPG and Cole’s new adventure for the setting, Hall of Judgment!

I was on a lot of podcasts this week. All different. Our discussion with Eric F on “martial arts in old-school games” was a different type of discussion than the “get deep into the mechanical weeds” with Chris S. Matt and David were both very interested in specifics on shields, while the second part of my discussion with Derek was about getting into, and staying into, the game design space.

A friend of mine told me that he was impressed I managed to cover substantially the same general territory with enough differences to make each podcast worth listening to without being repetitive.

Of course, that has a lot to do with my hosts . . .

Podcast Palooza

Each of these is pretty worth listening to, even if I say so myself.

First, I was on The Established Facts with Derek Knutsen-Frey, whom I’ve gotten to know through the IGDN. We had a long chat divided in two parts: a bunch on Dragon Heresy, and then 45 minutes on game publishing as a business.

The always-awesome James Introcaso hosted me for a while on Table Top Babble, and we mostly talked about Dragon Heresy

Chris Sniezak and I got deep into the depths of the game mechanics

Jason Hobbs had me and Eric Farmer on at the same time, and our take was more broad. Can you do “martial arts” in Old-School systems? What does that even mean?

Matt Finch and I had a great chat, and he was absolutely enthusiastic about the materials, construction, and use of period weaponry, and egged me on effectively.

Finally, I was on with Nerdarchy Dave for a live discussion and chat, and I had a great time talking with him and taking questions

Derek Knutsen-Frey and I chatted a lot about Dragon Heresy in a prior interview. It was a great chat. We also spent another hour (ish) talking about the business of game design. Even if I do say so myself, it’s a very good discussion.

EPISODE 171 – DOUGLAS COLE DRAGON HERESY PART 2

Other links:

RPG Development Costs

Economizing on RPG Development Costs