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

I know I said progress reports on Monday, but the last 24 hours were amazing. The preliminary PDF files are basically done.

The Basic Combat Rules for the Berserker pledge level are finished. I laid them out instead of just a word file. They’re 51 pages long.

The full PDF is now in a playable, sort-of-complete state. I believe I’ve got everything that’s going to be in the book in the book. All the text (all edited but Foes), tables, art holes and some art, placeholders for the Index and ToC, the AppendX, and a character sheet.

It comes in at 292 pages for now, and my goal will be to get it down to 288, which is a bit more than I was shooting for, but it shouldn’t change much.

I was not expecting to be this far along by today, so I was able to turn a draft over to Christopher for indexing to begin.

This doesn’t really bring me “ahead” of schedule, but it does keep me solidly on schedule.

Regardless, my plan was to have a playable if unfinished (meaning “fit and finish,” not “still writing rules” PDF ready for you guys to start reading and using the day the KS funds settle. I expect to receive notice of that on Monday (it should have been tomorrow, but I suspect ‘first business day’ will do), and then 1-3 business days (probably 3) to hit the bank. When that happens, I’ll send out the files and push the button on the surveys.

Pre-orders are also open. If you missed the Kickstarter, you can still order the books through Backerkit!

There’s actually more news coming: Dragon Heresy is getting its own website. But I’ll cover that when it’s farther along!

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”

I’ll send one of these out weekly on Monday. This will keep people informed but not become spam. So welcome to the first Monday Progress Update. Eventually this will include progress on other products as well.

Location Surveys for Shipping

We’ve got just shy of half the folks who have answered the location survey, which isn’t bad at all. The purpose of this three-question survey is to figure out the best way to get your books to you.

International shipping is a hot mess, and always has been. In all probability I’m going to be printing in the UK, Latvia, Korea, or China . . . all of which offer low/lower-cost shipping to “rest of world.”

My intent is to use the surveys to ask these vendors to hold back a box or two of books from the print run. Then either ship them themselves direct to you guys or to send them to a third party who will individually mail them out for me. That should save quite a bit of money on that.

So: please fill out the survey! There are only three questions; it should take you less than five minutes. Continue reading “Dragon Heresy: Monday Progress Update”

Well FRACK ME!! We DID IT!

I’m going to put this one right at the feet of one guy. A fellow MN native put in for two more shields. That tossed it over the edge for a full color offset print run with nine minutes left.

So now, EVERYONE GETS COLOR. I will work with my printers to find an offset print run that is the best book I can make.

I honestly didn’t think this would happen earlier today . . . so I thank you deeply for your trust and your funds.

Wow.

Thanks . . . and we got the print run. Awesome.

THANK YOU! I am amazed and awed

When we did almost $5,000 in the first two days, I was hopeful.

When the velocity slowed down, and for a bit it really looked like we’d have fewer backers than Lost Hall of Tyr, I was distressed.

But NOTHING prepared me for the last two days. And really nothing prepared me for the last two hours.

But we did it. Offset print is yours. Color books are yours. Jarls and above get color. Probably something like 125-140gsm silk matte paper (83-95#), sewn binding. 3.0mm boards. Did I mention SEWN FREAKING BINDING!?!

Basically, I’m going to ship you a book that looks like Symbaroum. I always wanted to do that, and thanks you you fine folks, now I can.

I’m giddy.

Now I will drink wine (Apothic Inferno), and had I realized this last two hours would have been so exciting, I’d have bought mead to be thematic.

I will be structuring my plans over the next few days, and getting backerkit ready. A big part of that is pre-orders, and that’s where we’ll deal with shipping.

For now . . . thank you so much for taking this ride with me. I cannot wait to get the book into your hands, and now I know it will indeed be the best possible book I can put together.

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

Dragon Heresy: The Last 48 Hours

As always, the last 48 hours of a Kickstarter are crucial. One can frequently match the first two days’ funding totals in the last two days, and for Dragon Heresy, if we did that, we’d be seriously flirting with the big stretch goal at $16,000 for an offset run with sewn binding.

We are currently sitting at roughly $11,000, with the initial funding goal having been $3,500.

But let’s back up a bit.

What is Dragon Heresy?

Dragon Heresy is a stand-alone Fantasy RPG based on a grittier take on the Fifth Edition game engine. It uses a two-level target hit roll, and differentiated between skill and endurance (“vigor”), injury (“wounds”), and retains Fifth Edition’s excellent use of Conditions, including Exhaustion. You do NOT need other Fifth Edition books to play the game; character generation, combat, social standing, flyting, grappling, wilderness and survival, and monsters are all in the book.

The setting is strongly Norse-inspired, which influences the cultures that are playable, but also the mechanics, since the vikings’ use of lightweight, buckler-gripped shields as very nearly the primary weapon heavily influenced the combat rules options.

Finally, it integrates one of the best grappling mechanics written for such games, making grappling interchangeable with striking on a blow-by-blow basis. One new player played a dragonborn berserker whose primary weapon was a net with no slowdown in play, full use of the rules, and outstandingly fun outcomes.

Tell Me More

No problem. I’ve done a lot of that – here are some additional resources for those who wish to check out the project

Podcasts and Video

Reviews

There have been two reviews of the pre-release copy of the game (it’s fully written).

  • Follow Me and Die! took a look and liked what he saw
  • Moe Tousignant is in the middle of a truly comprehensive review, and allowed me to host his first two sections on my blog
  • James Spahn (White Star and other games) took a look at a pre-release copy and liked what he saw.

The Kickstarter: What You Get

There are only a few pledge levels

  • At $5 you get a stripped down version of the combat rules in sort-of edited PDF format, with minimal layout and no art. It’s for taking the combat rules for a test drive
  • At $20 you get a full-color, hyperlinked, layered PDF
  • At $50 you get a Black and White POD hardback and the PDF
  • At the $100 sponsorship level, the hardback is upgraded to color
  • At $500, you get everything from the $100 level and I will hand-make for  you an authentic viking shield if you live within the USA. It will be fit to you up to 35.5” diameter, with hide-glued planks, Painted striðskjold battle shield with linen stitching and custom paint job1oz hide edging, linen stitching, and a hand-carved oak handle. This is basically “buy the shield and get the game for free.”

What Can You Do?

Obviously, the best thing for me is for you to head over and pledge. It’s a great game, with a great layout, and even if I do say so myself, the initial book block (the interior pages without the binding) from the most likely vendor unless we hit the big offset print goal are simply superb.

If you are interested in the game but can’t pledge, I’d ask that you share it on social media so that others that might be interested might see. Like Fifth Edition rules but want more grit? You’ll like what you see here. Like Norse mythology and vikings? You’re a prime candidate to love the game.

48 hours to go. Please check it out, and pledge if you can!

 

When I started to get quotes for printing, especially in color, I didn’t really know what I was looking to receive. But I just got a trial “book block” back from the vendor that is likely to be the printer for the Dragon Heresy Kickstarter unless we hit the $16,000 offset goal and it’s amazing.

The Specs

The book is what is referred to as digital offset, which is a bit more than Print-on-Demand, but much more suitable to low volume runs. They recommended a heavier paper than I was asking for due to the coloring, and so I said “sure.”

Then they offered to print me up a trial interior.

The paper is 140gsm silk, which is basically 95# weight.

Check out how impressive the block is at 254 pages:

Book Block Thickness
Book Block Thickness
Compared to Dracula Dossier
Compared to Dracula Dossier

(Note Dracula Dossier is sewn binding, so it’s a better book than what can be done with the above block.)

Interior Images

Following are some indifferent-quality photographs with my camera phone of the interior print quality.

First, the edge, where the chapter markers (currently not spread out) clearly bleed through and will provide a great way to find pages. We may wind up changing colors too, for a better visual reference.

Now a few images of the interior.

So the color print seems well in hand, and is a great “thank you” to all that have pledged at the “sponsor” level (Styðja). In truth, you have a backer to thank, since he suggested upgrading the sponsor level to the color print!

But this book will likely wind up about 1″ thick including the covers. I cannot wait to get final layout and content sorting done!

Moe Tousignant has a rep for thorough and detailed reviews. We’ve been in each others’ gaming orbits for a while, as he discussed below. When his dance card came up empty after reviewing James Spahn’s White Start, I teased him about reviewing Dragon Heresy.

He accepted.

He’s working through the preliminary-but-playable PDF file I’ve been working with, screen-shotting, and from which the edited manuscript will emerge, eventually. He notes the fix I made to moving Alignment where it’s supposed to be under Character Background somehow didn’t “take.” A few other things need fixing as well. This is why you need an editor.

Even so, he’s posted two long examinations so far, and will continue through the book. It’s readable, it’s thorough and fair. And he’s given me permission to re-host it.

So here we go, from Moe Tousignant’s RPGaMonth Group in Google+:

My history with Dragon Heresy and first look.

I’m finally caught up. It’s the fourth month of the year and I’m starting on my fourth RPG book for #RPGaMonth. If I can finish this one by the end of April then I will actually be on schedule!

For those just joining in, I’m reading this book as part of #RPGaMonth, where the goal is to read one RPG a month for the entire year. The main drive is to get those books that have been sitting on your shelf/hard drive unread and unused for far too long off that shelf/drive and get them read or, even better get them read and run.

My history with Dragon Heresy and it’s designer, Doug Cole

That goal of getting stuff off my shelf/drive? Well, that doesn’t apply here. Dragon Heresy is new to me, as of yesterday. Actually right now it’s kind of new to everyone. Well, really, it’s not new to anyone yet as it’s not actually out, or finished.

Dragon Heresy is a new fantasy RPG written by +Douglas Cole aka Gaming Ballistic. It’s up on Kickstarter right now (there will be a link at the end of this if you want to check it out).

So why am I writing about a game that’s not even finished yet? Well, it seems I must be doing something right with these reviews as Doug really liked my White Star Review and contacted me and asked if I would consider reading a pre-production copy of his new game next.

Now I’ve known Doug for as long as I’ve been on social media. From what I remember we first “met” in the Old School Gamers group on Facebook. Over time I’ve also grown to know him as That Thursday GURPSday guy, and now he’s becoming that Dragon Heresy guy (and with that, the Viking shield making guy).

I’ve always enjoyed my interactions with Doug so agreed to give Dragon Heresy a read. So take this as my full disclosure. While I don’t know Doug personally, as in, in real life (we’ve never met), I do know and respect him through our online interactions. Also, he did send me a pre-production copy of this game. Will that affect my thoughts on the game itself, I don’t think so, but it is something to consider when reading my thoughts on Dragon Heresy.

What I know going in

Due to the fact Doug was on pretty much every RPG podcast ever created in the last few weeks, I’ve heard quite a bit about Dragon Heresy. I know it uses Dungeons & Dragons 5e as it’s base. I know it’s more crunchy than D&D 5e. I know it’s about Vikings but still keeps all the magic and fantasy and I know that you don’t need to own D&D 5e to use it. It’s a standalone game. That’s pretty much it.

What is going to make this review interesting is that I have not read Dungeons & Dragons 5e. Yes, you read that right. I don’t play nor have I read the worlds most popular roleplaying game. For shame. Now I did do the whole D&D Next playtest, back when it was just the Caves of Chaos and Fighters still did damage on a miss. I’ve also got a ton of XP with D&D 4th Edition, 3.5 edition, and AD&D 2nd Edition. So it’s not like Fantasy D20 games are new to me. But I thought it worth noting that I haven’t played/read 5e so in some cases I’m not going to know if a rule in Dragon Heresy is new or something straight from the D&D 5e core rules.

First Look

Obviously, Dragon Heresy isn’t done yet and that needs to be taken into consideration for the entirety of this review. I’m dealing with PDF files here and not physical books.

That said, I was very impressed by how far along the game is. There’s art. It’s laid out. It’s full color. It looks like a complete RPG. Which I have to admit is awesome to see for a Kickstarter. When I received files from Monte Cook for playtesting they were just word documents. I really wasn’t expecting to see something this polished.

The book (you still call it a book when dealing with PDF’s right?) looks beautiful. It’s two-column justified text that looks to flow well. Most charts are in line as is most of the art (with a few bigger images squeezing one column or the other). I’m not sure if more art is coming but there are some sections where it’s a bit sparse, I found one section where it’s 12 pages between pieces of art. The art that is there is solid and appears to feature multiple artists (one of the pages I don’t have are the credits).

As expected from a book based on D&D, it looks like a large portion of the book is dedicated to spells and monsters. It’s also worth noting this is a one book system. No separate campaign book or monster manual. It does look like there’s still art coming for the Monsters as I didn’t notice any during my flip through the book.

First Impressions

My first thought as I scrolled quickly through the Dragon Heresy PDF was: man this looks like a complete game. As I got near the end I noticed there was still some layout to be done and art missing but overall it looks done, at least as far as the rules are concerned.

I haven’t actually read any rules or anything more than some random headings so I can’t speak about any of that yet, but I can say this is going to be a great looking game once it releases.

Now we just need to see how the rules look… next time.

Part 2 Covering: Introduction, Core Mechanics, Creature Characteristics, Ability Scores, Generating Characters, Character Races, Character Classes, Character Background, Beyond 1st Level and Equipment Continue reading “Moe Tousignant Reviews Dragon Heresy (preview edition)”

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.