The Big News: All Packages Shipped

As of right now, every domestic and international shipment has been boxed up, a label printed, and all but the last batch are physically in the mail. ALL packages will be in the mail by about 1pm today, since I’m dropping by the post office on my way to my former job site (see below).

One of the more pleasing things in boxing up all of these has been the number of you fine folks who have added Nordvorn, Hall of Judgment, and Fantastic Dungeon Grappling to your order. I really think that those of you who have all seven books will have a fantastic time exploring the world.

That being said: if you have any problems with your order, if there are any pieces missing (such as maps, or books, or anything), please let me know immediately. Fulfillment of this project was spread out over much time, and I want to ensure each and every one of you get what you paid for.

One Door Closes: Kick Down the Next One

On Monday, I received notice that my Day Job was laying me off after 19 years of employment. So that’s a big ball of uncertainty combined with the already fun times being had due to COVID-related wackiness and the terrible events underway all over the country sparked by the death of George Floyd here in my home metro area of Minneapolis. We’ve had an old college friend and her family staying with us for the last week-ish because the violence was threatening to overrun their home.

But with this chapter of my life closing – I go in to turn in my computer right after I mail the last packages – I’m going to try and give a run at being a publisher for real. Lots of projects pending (including one for The Fantasy Trip on Kickstarter right now), and more and more support for Nordlond, a full Powered by GURPS RPG tentatively titled Mission X, and more. Read about some of the pending projects here.

That means I’m going to get busy doing more and more, and hopefully, y’all will continue to help me do so. I’d love to do publishing full time, and I can’t do it without you.

Stay safe, and don’t forget: contact me immediately if you find that your order is missing anything. One of these days I’ll put up a post-mortem summary of Nordlond Sagas, though I can tell you it won’t be pretty.

I received word from the shipping company that the books should be dropped off at my house tomorrow around lunchtime. Hopefully the forecast will remain accurate (hah ha HA HAH HA!!!) and it will not rain.

Regardless, this means I can start getting the USA physical orders shipped out right away.

March 19th

I am setting out to make my way in the world apart from my father, who is warring against the Neveri Nomads in the south. It’s been a long journey up from the coast but I believe I’m on  my last ship for awhile. I’ve booked passage on a ship headed north, to Nordvorn. I am leaving the wars to the south to the old men and instead seeking glory in battle with the fae to the north. I am excited for the journey. Captain Einarsson is charging me nothing for my passage but a promise to defend the ship if it comes under attack, a proper fare for a warrior. Even better: none of the crew seems to have identified me as Sigurðsson. Perhaps I’ll be able to build a reputation in my own name.

 March 21st 

A few more warriors joined us today at Jarngardr. And now the crew knows. I suspect the Hrafnar (Georg) told them. I suspect Loki put him up to it. Thankfully the word hasn’t gotten out about mother. It helps that to hear father, or the skalds tell it, he’s seduced half the women of Nordlond, and half the women among the Aesir as well, so no one questions where one more bastard son came from.

March 23rd

We had a battle today. A longboat with 20 raiders attempted to board us. A few had bows, I recognized them to be the greatest threat to the bird-man and the elf I was going to leave behind me when I boarded the ship. So I threw my spear as the ship came alongside us. I skewered one of the bandits with the bows and then leapt aboard and drew my sword. My bold companions, Natalie, a Gullinálmur, and Chuff, a… Chuff has 3 cat heads. Anyway, my companions were of the same mind I was and we all boarded the ship. I can’t be too mad at the bird-man, one of the bandits managed to get behind me and he stabbed it in the eye. I was able to defend Chuff from one of the bandits engaging her by knocking his axe from his hand. Mostly I felt I could have done more, but Chuff and Natalie’s eagerness left me in a poor tactical position. I will have to demonstrate my leadership abilities so that we may all be more effective in the future.

 We won the day and claimed the bandit ship. I helped impress upon Captain Einarsson the importance of not cheating us out of our spoils while Georg negotiated with him. We are back underway toward Áinferill.

One more thing, a cause for some concern. When Georg was stabbing that bandit who’d gotten behind me, he mentioned something about my mother. Does he know?

This will be the last of the play reports for the first session. You can expect to see several, from different points of view, as the campaign progresses.

Setting the scene:

We started off On A Boat (knar, technically, a big ol fat cargo vessel with no on-deck buildings or fortifications) sailing down an extremely big river (half mile wide) to Aienferill. We were hired on by the knar captain (Einarsson) to protect it from being raided, there having been problems with raiding on this particular route.

Chuff was trying to fish off the deep-water side, and failed, because at least one of her heads kept trying to catch dragonflies and another liked the sparklies of the sun on the water. Natalie the boarfolk hung around with Chuff in hopes of getting a share of fish, should any be caught. Daingean the elfard is hanging out on the prow of the knarr, refusing to say he’s king of the world. Georg the ravenfolk is is playing card games with crew, and confusing everyone with an ever-changing series of “rituals” he apparently has to do before taking a seat, dealing new cards, eating, etc. Rollo the Himneskur (god-blooded) is sulking as far away from the crew as he can get because they won’t stop asking for his signature.

The captain sighted a longboat sailing upriver towards us at full sail, packed with heavily armed warriors (almost 20), and called us all together to do our dang jobs. The approaching raiders either didn’t have missile weapons or were total crap with them, I’m not sure which, but we weren’t threatened at range. We, on the other hand, are lethal at many ranges. Chuff was particularly proud of nailing one with a sling bullet before they threw out the grappling hooks and pulled up along our knar as a prelude to boarding.

As mentioned, we’re deadly at many ranges, but particularly at close range and I don’t think the raiders were expecting a “defensive” group about a quarter their size to start the fight by boarding them. There wasn’t really any room on their longboat to board them, to be fair, but we sorted that out by murdering raiders until we cleared out space, via melee and spell. Georg snuck up invisible and stabbed a raider right in the eye.

The bandits also helped us clear themselves a bit by slipping and sliding on Daingean’s grease spell, tripping over their own spears, and generally doing a Laurel and Hardy bit, but with pointy things. Chuff shatters one bandits knee, and while she tries to avenge herself on Chuff from the deck, she only manages to throw her axe away in the process. George later claimed the axe was clearly a cursed sword. She follows this up by dropping her buckler too.

Axe Bandit cries out in frustration and curses the gods
Daingeann: Oh, I would NOT have cursed the gods. Sometimes they listen.
GM: clearly weren’t listening to broken leg self disarming bandit up till now
Chuff: Oh, they might have been listening. And laughing.
Daingeann: “Make him whiff again!” “Father, haven’t you tired of this?” “Never, Loki. Never. Make him whiff again.”

Finally Chuff spots a raider who managed to set one foot on the knar and completely loses her composure. Screaming a nightmare chorus of “MY ship! Mine mine mine!” (pees on the ship, like any cat would) “MINE!” she brings her Morningstar crashing down onto the offenders skull, for a critical hit doing 40 (!) cr and splattering his head.

After this the fight winds down rapidly, although Chuff does take a solid hit from an axe in the mess, and Georg finishes everything off by grabbing a bandit from behind and slitting his throat quite dramatically.

After the dust settles there’s almost immediately a bit of conflict over who owns the longship of the unfortunate raiders.

Rollo: Their ship is mine!
Chuff: “Just the little one! The big one is MINE! I peed on it!”
Chuff has exactly zero interest in actual ownership.
Georg Svangeirsson: “Chuff, you can’t have the big one, it was already peed on by the captain here.”
Georg Svangeirsson: “The little one’s ours, though.”

Captain Einarsson, on the other hand, clearly feels he has a financial stake in it as well, like any good merchant. He points out that the raiding longboat is a piece of crap Pinto of a longboat, which might be why they were taking such risks to get another vessel. And we aren’t exactly sailors. Negotiations follow hotly, as Rollo and Georg go back and forth with Einarsson over towing the longboat to Aienferril (and lending us enough crew to keep it afloat while we do so), and settle on paying Einarsson 1/6th of whatever we sell the thing for, but he gives up any claim to the raiders equipment. Einarsson also will be helping us get the best deal possible, as of course he has a vested interest now.

One of the players in KN’s just-started Nordlond campaign –  Forumite, Discordian and infrequent guest poster Kalzazz – wanted to play a character from “Totally Not England.” As it turns out, such a place exists. It is called Brionnu, just south of Nordlond, along the eastern coast. There’s another realm/raiding target called Arnulf as well. “Totally Not England” is strongly Celtic in nature. It’s organized in what are best called Parrishes, with a local priest or druid (lots of druids) communing with nature and the gods, and acting as chief and first citizen. The parrishes are not terribly large, which means raiding one won’t get you in trouble with an entire country…just maybe a few thousand folks.

Hey, Vikings gotta Viking.

In any case here’s the first session, which I reported in A Pair of Wizards, as told from his point of view.

We were starting level, we were on a boat, then we fought bandits and crushed them.

Starting on a boat was a nice touch reminding me of Shining Force CD, and bandits of course are the popular starting foes of untold Fire Emblem games (Fire Emblem Gaiden even gives you Bandits on a Boat!).  I was really hopeful we would get to fight Dire Conches though like in Shining Force, some author needs to make those happen.

The fight . . . well.  It was definitely a low level GURPS fight.  Natalie started off auspiciously with a good axe throw, then not so well with a shield rush, so she didn’t get to use her cool boarfolk power.  She fortunately did not actually fall off the boat (though I would have felt that pretty appropriate!).  

I had promised to get hurt so healing could happen, and I was successful on that end.

The topic of contention is to sell the boat or keep it, with the delta about 3.5k either way, so that isn’t enough for any cool magic items I have no strong feelings on the matter.

I did start Natalie with a katana (sorry, a Brionese Sicklesword, the whole D&D idea of druids can use scimitars since are sickle shaped, well, Brionu is Celtic so Druid Land so I’m sure they like katanas!) because reach 2 cutting seems fabulous and they may be hard to get later.   So no quick release backpack or armor.   Getting armor and probably hobnails are in my future.

I’m probably going to spend the 3 CP I just got on Lifting ST, so my armor doesn’t send me careening wildly into the depths of encumbrance.   Encumbrance is very very real even for ST 19 barbarians.

I usually think of low level to high level characters in terms of low level characters are those whose biggest challenge is overcoming their own incompetence that gradually morph into being challenged by the coolness of the opposition.   We really weren’t challenged this session, but it still felt pretty low level.  I haven’t played a barbarian before but I think it is a pretty slow burn template unlike knights, swashes or wizards who can really roll from the get go, so I am hoping this campaign goes long enough to be being burning brightly.   The fact we had 30 seconds before the enemy arrived and the enemy did not simply die in a hail of ranged attacks in 5 of those 30 seconds also felt pretty low end, only Chuff (with a sling) and the Elfard Wizard (whose name I dare not try to spell, whats up with Elf Wizards with challenging names?  Seep in DFW has a Special Character in her name!) had the only ranged attacks that actually had ammo.   

The burning question now is in the realm of the Encumbrance and Liquidity constrained, is it better to get overall wimpy armor, or better to have less wimpy armor but more gaps in coverage?

And on the less wimpy but gaps in coverage plan, what do you armor?   Torso (or even front torso) since it is easiest to hit, or hands, feet and skull since weakest points?

An enemy All Out Attack next to me, and of course, my instinct was ‘Telegraphic to the Skull!’, but no Telegraphic in DFRPG.  That is huge.   That really was my crowning moment of feeling like a low level no account starting character scrub . . . . when an Enemy All Out Attack and it had zero input on my action next round, because not enough skill to target the skull, and neck at 11 or less . . . . so I just threw the same generic body blow I would have anyway.

This brought up the other burning question – what option makes the biggest change?  Telegraphic, Committed/Defensive, Evaluate?  (thats a trick question, I am sure it is not Evaluate).   Telegraphic is the Universal Response to All Out Attacks when it exists . . . without it they may be more worth doing, at least against the skill constrained.   What option changes the game the most?  I would be interested to see that discusssed.

Who knows!  Looking forward to next session!  And I really liked the cool map and boats.

Special thanks to Bruno for being general awesome and the reason I wanted to play DFRPG to begin with (and making a fabulous character art for me), Zul for running this (and the super awesome DOA that preceded it), and DHC to creating Nordlond.

Adventuring in Nordlond

We had the inaugural session of Kyle’s campaign, which he’s calling the Nordlond Sagas. Not Kickstarter related entirely, but not unrelated either. All the PCs wound up taking a racial package out of Norðlondr Folk. So we have no pure humans. We have an Elfàrd Wizard (me), a Himneskur (god-blooded) knight-ish character built with Five Easy Pieces , a boar-folk barbarian from the neighboring realm Brionnu (Celtic influence), a Raven-folk priest/rogue/face character, also from Five Easy Pieces, and a triger barbarian.

Note: Five Easy Pieces is from Pyramid #3/113, and gets a lot of use with this crowd.

My wizard (whose name is Daingeannruadh, and goes by Daingean…isn’t that much better?) is an exercise in me getting to know the magic system better. I tend to like fighty characters, but as an author, I need to be more aware of how magic works. And today was a great example of that.

We started on a ship bound for The Citadel at Norðvörn. That’s N-o-r-ALT240-v-ALT246-r-n for those curious. This is precisely how I started my own one-shot session for the playtest game of Citadel back in FnordCon 1, and for the same reason. We were on a gigantic knarr – a 115′ long cargo vessel, and we were attacked by a 45′ long longship filled with a captain and 15 attackers. I believe the final tally was the chieftain, 8 bandits armed with axes, 3 bowmen, and 4 spearmen. All were based on the bandit “template” from Hall of Judgment, I believe.

Short version: we wiped the floor with them. That’s not unsurprising. Some details, though:

  • We saw the other ship coming. That gave us about 30 seconds to prepare. Which means that our Raven-folk had a few spells to throw first, and so did the wizard. My spell list is a bit eclectic, but I led off with Grease, which wound up neutralizing quite a few folks in the prow of the ship. Lots of failed DX rolls and slipperiness, and those NPCs are on the steep end of the bell curve. A -2 to DX and -1 to defend goes a long way, and extra movement cost plus more penaties for unfavorable terrain when your friend goes down in front of you is a good way to start.
  • The three meaty folks (two barbarians and a knight) took the fight immediately to the other ship, which suffered from narrow confines (maybe 2-3 yards across at the widest, mostly 2), and pinned most of the raiders to their own ship. This prevented a lot of flanking and kept the number of bad guys who could take flank and rear shots to a minimum.
  • We got peppered with arrows to no avail, but the bowmen didn’t really figure in the fight much.
  • After building it up for a turn, I dumped a bolt of explosive lightning into the rear of the ship. It deep fried the primary target – who I believe was already down – rolling 9 burn damage, which left 3 in the second ring, and 1 in the third. There was a friendly in that ring, but his DR 1 bounced the zap. The rest – maybe four or five targets, had to check for stun, and I think two not-the-chieftain guys went down to physical stun. That’s basically “out of the fight” for many.
  • After that, I charged up a deathtouch and attempted to get close enough to use it. I wound up using it, but rolling crap for damage.

We cleared the ship, and claimed it as spoils of war. The captain of our own boat took slight exception to that and wanted (and got) a cut. We let the raven-folk with high Wealth deal with that; always let the face do face things.

Lessons learned as a wizard?

  • The battlefield prep spells are a good use of time.
  • I have a lot of stuff in my grimoire that isn’t combat related, which is fine, but once the fight is on, I have to be careful
  • Power Items are not Power Stones. They can only be recharged in town, and do not represent a free energy reserve. So my order of operations needed to be ER and FP first, power item last. The GM let me ret-con this.
  • I wound up burning through a total of 11 FP on the three spells. Technically I burned 14 FP: 2 for a 2d deathtouch, 6 each for 2-hex grease, 6 for 3d-3 explosive lightning, but 3 back because of skill level. That burned through my ER and all of my FP before I drop below 1/3 of FP to leave me reeling. That was efficient.
  • It also means that in combat, I get 1-3 key spells with which to shape the fight, and then I’m done.
  • I forgot to take shortsword to use my Wizard’s Baton, which lets me attack with things like Shocking Grasp and Deathtouch at Reach 1 instead of Reach C. My original plan was to use a spear and buckler, but I’m not really strong enough to do that, and you can’t use a spear as a Wizard’d Staff. So a bit of “oops” character sheet tweaking is needed
  • Before the game I made a grimoire of all the spells I know, by simply copying the stuff from spells into a word file, and printing that out. It saved TONS of time . . . but even better would have been to excise some of the rules. Area effect. Cost reduction due to high skill. And explosive damage. Huge time-savers to have that to hand. And this is why PDF also adds value beyond print.

Other fun bits? The Hrafnarfolk with the rogue specialty liked to backstab, and he used Wait to hold off “until the end of my turn” and then AoA, followed immediately by a return to his own turn where he could act normally. That’s a Kromm-approved bit of “how to backstab” and it comes with potential drawbacks. A Wait is always risky, as the situation can change. Anyone who can respond right then to the AoA can strike during a turn where he has no defenses. So if a nearby foe is also Waiting, or can respond with an attack that requires a defense roll or Quick Contest . . . Hrafnar gets tagged. Otherwise, he stabbed at least one person in the eye, and another in the neck.

The triger claimed the other ship as their own by peeing on it. I broke into a bit of Tom Petty: “and we’re pee . . . pee brawling!” But having a three-headed tiger person claim the ship via combat urination was inspired.

One of the bad guys crit-failed at least once, maybe twice, with their weapon. That left me pondering if one could have a weapon that was cursed that emerged in play. Like an Unlucky Weapon instead of a Named Weapon, though both of those things are not canon for the DFRPG. Daingean said he didn’t care that he wasn’t a bard, he was telling stories about the cursed sword.

“It was an axe.”

“Who’s telling the story here?”

“I’m just saying, it was an axe.”

“And it was cursed!”

“He dropped it.”

“It was cursed to be dropped!”

“He’d just had his leg pulped by Chuff.”

“That’s pretty cursed!”

“…okay, that I’ll grant.”

One last thing. Chuff, the triger-folk barbarian, hit one of the bandits on the head (DR 2, also DR 2 for the skull) for 20 points of damage . . . and rolled a double-damage crit. So doubled to 40, down to 36, ×4 for skull . . . 144 points of injury to the skull, which is a full 12× the starting HP of that target. That’s dead no saving throw dead.

All in all, a good starting session. Fights with many fighters last a long time, and it was tough to keep several communications channels going at once. MapTool worked flawlessly. Kyle brought some really good maps.

We also had a good chat about the ship itself as spoils of war. The thing was a 45′ longship (15m) in terrible condition. Even so, some googling gave an estimate of 28,000 to 40,000 hours of labor to make a 30m ship (The Sea Stallion) using traditional methods. That puts the cost of such a ship pretty far up there, and scaling down to a 15m vessel is probably on the order of “how much square footage reduction for the hull?” Half the size is about one-quarter the surface area. Fewer trees, fewer fittings, etc. Even so, new it’s probably 7-10,000 hours of labor. We looked in Low-Tech companion and decided that the prices there seemed well-enough underpinned; my initial estimates of cost were based on extrapolating from D&D books, and probably wound up high by an order of magnitude.

Even so: the ship would have likely been worth a whole lot, new. It’s portable (if also poorly maintained) loot. And apparently there’s a story behind it, which we’ll find out in due course. Maybe next session when we pull inti Ainferill.

Another Wizard’s Tale

Over at Don’t Forget Your Boots, they’re also playing in Nordlond. The latest recap features two things of note.

The first is the first-ever use of the Nordalf Warrens that I’ve seen. Those are murder-holes, and while stuffed with treasure, they’re a rough go because while nordalfs (think goblins, small ones) are tiny, there’s always lots of them. And they can use their fae veil and ways in and out of the Svartalfheim fae realm to pop up all over a party with no warning unless there’s another fae-derived person present, like a half-elf or elf.

The other, though, was that the party involved killed the high alfar / Winterfae who was the source of all of this. They did it in a few rounds, and didn’t suffer much for it.

That’s all good, and puts to rest a real pest.

But this particular Faerie, Elunad, isn’t really a fighty-combatant. She also has the entire Mind Control college at Skill-30; her lowest spell colleges are at Skill-22.

And I think the “only” thing she did was throw down a Darkness spell. My NPC notes give her some totally cheating abilities, like two power items rather than one, and something like 175 Fatigue Points on tap if she’s well-rested. And she’s unencumbered with DR 10.

But Charm-30, Mass Daze-30, Mass Sleep-30, or Terror-30? Compartmentalized Mind 1 so she can fight AND cast each turn. And Great Haste so she gets two maneuvers per turn?

This is a problem, and it’s my problem. I don’t think I gave enough ‘do this first’ advice to prospective GMs for using a foe that powerful. Elunad should virtually drown her foes in magic, likely two to four times per turn. Doing so from under cover of Darkness? Sure. But she could also do a pretty good Invisibility, a powerful Windstorm, or with so many FP on tap, throw a hell of an explosive fireball if she wanted to. At Skill-30, her energy costs are reduced by 4 anyway, I believe.

But ultimately, for foes like Elunad and Ynfalchiawn from Citadel at Nordvorn . . . I need to provide some go-to advice for GMs who might not have the entire spellbook memorized or lots of time to prepare an epic fight. Pyramid #3/61 (“Way of the Warrior”) has an article by me on “Takedown Sequences,” which are basically well-drilled self-defense moves. If I’m going to put in a villain who relies on specialty magic with huge amounts of energy reserve to play with, the GM needs more help than “start with Great Haste.”

So also, lesson learned.

Game on!

 

I got to talk with Che Webster for the third time about a month ago. We talked about adventure design and a few other topics of interest.

As always, Che is a delight. The interview started at 6am my time, so he helped me focus. Some. That was important.

604 Adventures With Douglas Cole

While we’re all sitting at home, Gaming Ballistic has not been idle. Lots going on in the background, some of which I can talk about, some I can’ or it’s not yet time.

Confirmed and Upcoming Projects

In the immediate future, I’ve got three things on my horizon, though some of them may break into smaller bits.

More Perilous Journeys (2020)

The first thing up, and sooner rather than later, is the next installment of projects for The Fantasy Trip from Gaming Ballistic. It features more works by the same author group as last time, and features five more books.

Two are solos by David Pulver. I should be getting the first draft of one of them Any Day Now, and he’ll turn to the other immediately thereafter.

Three are the continuation and conclusion of the Jok Sevantes adventures by Christopher R. Rice and J. Edward Tremlett. I have read and reviewed all three of their submissions. One is in editing with me, the other two went back for revision to the authors with extensive feedback. That is a very normal part of the writing process, and I definitely think that if we can pull off the shared vision of agency, action, and freedom of choice that the revised books promise, they’ll be really fun to play.

One thing I’m going to do a little differently for this project is to have the “books” part of the project run differently than the “stuff” part. So counters and cards that appeared in the Four Perilous Journeys project are still on the docket, but staggered so that the “books” and “stuff” supply chains don’t cross. I think, overall, this will make the projects go more smoothly.

I also have a thought in mind for that “stuff” project, and I’ll bring that up later.

Norðlond Bestiary (2020)

With the bestiary, called the Norðlondr Ovinabokin (Nordlond Enemies Book), I hope to provide a resource for the Dungeon Fantasy RPG that allows folks running games set in Norðlond to just play. Coming up with good adversaries can be very time consuming, and being able to just pick from a list is really handy. That Other Game has had the Monster Manual since I was eight years old – it was published in 1977 – and having that for inspiration and reference was quite handy.

Most readers of the blog know that originally, “The Book of Foes” was written for my stand-alone RPG Dragon Heresy, and has incorporated many of the creatures found in the SRD, eliminated others, and plussed up the sections on regular flora and fauna. Perhaps a third, maybe fewer, of the monsters appeared in the bestiary section of the Dragon Heresy book. But every word of fluff text was new, or modified, to fit the setting.

So there’s a LOT done already, and the biggest job is monster stats. As envisioned, this will be a mighty tome. Lots of critters, lots of stats, lots of art. It’s going to be a big lift and I hope that folks help me by backing the project heavily!

Mission X (2021)

If you were at virtual FnordCon 2 and attended the GURPS panel discussion, you may have heard the wonderful news (for me, anyway!) that SJG has agreed to allow me to create a stand-alone RPG using the GURPS core. It is technically a “Powered by GURPS” product much like the Dungeon Fantasy RPG.

Tentatively titled “Mission X,” though it may change by the time it launches, it will be a modern-day action-oriented game featuring a party of trained operatives heading off into the great beyond to obtain technology and intelligence from a hostile universe. If you read my writeups and notes from my Alien Menace campaign (short-lived due to the arrival of my second daughter), you can see that it grabbed concepts and missions from diverse sources, but featured modern weapons, gear, and tactics plus a “kill aliens and take their stuff” theme to help it feel like “the Dungeon Fantasy RPG in space.”

Mission X is going to be more than that, though. I’m envisioning a setup that allows a GM to run modern day Special Ops or SWAT missions, super-spies, and other genres that involve guns. Lots of guns.

My vision for the series is evolving, but I want a faster “on-ramp” for new players, but I also want folks to look and see my imprint on the game, as I finally get some real ballistics in the Gaming Ballistic product portfolio!

Stay tuned. I have to get through quite a bit before I really turn my mind to this, and until I have my own outline for what needs doing, announcing titles or contents of books is premature. Even so: there are several worked-example books already to give the overall ‘what does this need to look like?’ feel. The Dungeon Fantasy RPG obviously; the Dungeon Fantasy GURPS series, Action (the gift that keeps on giving; read my reviews here), Monster Hunters, and After the End all provide a structure that I would be remiss to ignore.

But there are also things I’ve written for Pyramid that are very on point, and other things written by Sean that are even more so. My mandate to borrow is pretty wide, but not all-inclusive. I can’t hardly wait to get started on it, but first things’ first.

Other Projects (2020 and 2021)

There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes, too. While the three items above represent the BIG projects already announced, there are others in the works.

  • I’m chatting with my authors about at least one Nordlond project. All are short-ish, featuring about two dozen pages, providing drop-in flavor to the setting, but exportable outside of it with little work. Some stuff. Some people. Not tied to a particular location or adventure, but rather ready-to-use help in running free-form campaigns. Or inspiring new adventures.
  • I’d also like to port Nordvorn, Forest’s End, and the Dragons of Rosgarth to Dragon Heresy. They’re pre-written and filled with art already, so expanding the ability of folks to play the Dragon Heresy game – with its blend of 5e and GURPS concepts – is handy.
  • There’s another big project still in the discussion and development phase; so much so I can’t discuss it at all. Next year maybe.
  • Venture Beyond is under discussion again with David. We both want to do it and it’s a matter of time and priority. It’s a full-on RPG, and not based on any existing system! Nothing firm as to timing, but it was well advanced when it was back-burnered.

Alternate Crowdfunding Platform

I intend in late 2020 to explore other crowdfunding options more tailored to the RPG space. Some of the post-mortem from 2019 showed that while Gaming Ballistic is capable of producing many volume projects at once (Four/Five Perilous Journeys and Nordlond Sagas), tying them all together in a bundle is complicated and doesn’t allow the kind of delivery flexibility that my backers deserve.

So I’m going to look at Game On Tabletop for at least one project, as the platform combines the crowdfunding capabilities of a Kickstarter with an integrated pledge manager and add-on capability, as well as phased approaches to handling shipping. I want to start small, so I get a feel for the platform on my end, as well as ensuring that the slide over to a new spot that’s not Kickstarter or IndieGoGo doesn’t put too much at risk.

 

I thought I’d try something new: an “unboxing” video for the new adventure books. Overall, I’m quite pleased with how they turned out!

 

That means I now have all four of the Nordlond Sagas physical products in hand. They should be arriving in the UK for shipping Real Soon Now, but overseas transport probably means another 4-6 weeks for the US.

Now there are seven Dungeon Fantasy RPG products by Gaming Ballistic . . . with still more planned.

With the world currently pressing the “pause” button, many conventions have been cancelled, Steve Jackson Games’ FnordCon being one of them.

Originally scheduled April 3-5, it has been re-imagined as a Virtual Convention, to be held on Discord.

The schedule is firming up, and I’m sure SJG will have more to say about it in the coming days.

Virtual FnordCon

April 17-19 on Discord

Gaming Ballistic will be there! I’ll be on a few panels (TFT and GURPS), and my understanding is that there will also be some sort of dealers’ room, with a dedicated channel for dealers, pinned links, and plenty of opportunity to interact with the creators.

In any case, put it on your calendars…and drop on by when the time is right!