Just a quick note.

There are really four or five things left to do before the read-review-read-review-read-review cycle starts.

1. Finish pre-gen characters. This is very nearly done. I’m awaiting one more, the backer knows what direction to take, and I expect to have this in hand shortly. The rest of the chapter is done, though the team continues to review the characters for catching little things.

2. Finish the monster write-ups. There are but three left to do.

3. Revise some of the wilderness travel rules. The older ones, based on Fifth Edition, don’t hold up in a Powered by GURPS environment (so to speak). I know what I have to do here, so it should be fast. I also want to add pack animals and some true winter gear in there somewhere – maybe in the Things to Buy and Sell chapter, but it might have to go in The Journey due to layout reasons: I am absolutely going to hit a very, very full 128 pages.

4. I have to put some treasure somewhere; I know where. I’ll work out what.

5. The last two maps have to be inserted. I saw a preview of one of them today, and your GM will kill you all. Oh, sorry. It will be a fun and rewarding delve. Really.

6. I have to write up a Norðlond glossary and pronunciation guide. Cause to not do that would be mean.

7. Backer list and credits.

I’m pretty sure that’s it. I have an appointment to speak tomorrow to my fulfillment guy, and the final bids are in on printing, confirming my plans to print in the UK. I’ve got an idea for shipping options I want to bounce off of him that might be a real “best of both worlds” option. We’ll see if it’s viable or crazy-talk.

I also will be very quickly now setting up the Backerkit surveys and items and stuff, but I really can’t get that done until I lock down approximate shipping cost. I hope to have that done by the end of the week, though, and then let the survey responses go until July 31. Then I’ll lock down and distribute on Aug 1.

We are all down here in Arizona, so the stuff that we’re giving each other within the family stayed at home. We’ll do that tomorrow.

For now, I received

  • 11 sets of polyhedral dice
  • Lifting straps to transfer deadlift weight from my grip to my wrists
  • A gift certificate to amazon for woodworking tools
  • Inline skates so I can stop renting the horrid stuff at the skating rink
  • An improvised weapon that might also be a charcoal grill scraper
  • A digital caliper so I can get good dimensions on my shield edges
  • A desk ornament.

We shall see what tomorrow brings! Truth be told, I still need to shop for my wife…

After returning home from the wildlands of Boston, I immediately tore into my packages and inspected the proof copy of Lost Hall of Tyr.

Well. Well, well, well. This is, dare I say it, a damn fine looking book.

The Schedule Still Holds

So: the official countdown clock continues. On December 4, 2017 I will close the Errata phase of the project, make changes as needed, and start the process of uploading and ordering print copies. I expect folks will start getting their international copies 2-8 weeks after I place the orders, which I expect to do before December 8.

Domestic (the US) orders will oddly enough take longer, because I will print and take delivery of about 150 copies of this thing personally, then pack and ship things myself, in order to ensure things stay on budget. But even so, they’ll arrive faster, so I would say that the same file upload and order date holds (December 8), and then I’d expect 2-3 weeks to print and ship to me, a week to pack ’em up, and another 1-3 weeks to arrive, depending on where you live. So 4-7 weeks for domestic orders to arrive.

The only remaining piece of business is for me to contact my high-level backers, and those two folks will generate some characters and we’ll get those illustrated. As noted, they’ll also get a preliminary layout copy of a few chapters of my big Dragon Heresy RPG project . . . which they may use as inspiration or not, as they choose, for their characters.

Surprise Digital File

In a day or so I’ll upload a few more image files. Dan Roy of Bogie Maps provided me with to-scale grids for the various versions of the map. Two files per grid type, one sized to the 8.5×11″ versions of the map, and the other for his full-size JPGs. These will let you play using the most common scales by layering the image with the grid of choice and printing them together. You can also use the grid as a temporary aid to make the internal grid in a VTT scale properly with whatever map you with to use. Import both images on different layers, match the VTT scale to the grid map scale, then delete the import aid. Whatever works for you.

The grids scales are 5′ squares, 5′ hexes, and 3′ hexes (in case you want to take a swing at running this in the Dungeon Fantasy RPG, Powered by GURPS)

Pictures of the Proof

Front Cover
Front Cover


Back Cover
Back Cover


Dark Images look good
Dark Images look good


So does the book's "iconic" image
So does the book’s “iconic” image


Full page maps
Full page maps

I hope y’all have been waiting for this day as I have. But I have locked down those who responded to the survey (all but 17 of y’all) and distributed files to those folks. I will next examine those that have not filled out their survey . . . and if it looks like things are in order for the transfer from Kickstarter and that each of these folks will get what they asked for during the campaign proper, I will release those as well.

As such, 225 people should have received their digital files, or at least an email saying that they’re ready for download. Some of the files are very large, as one would expect from such graphically intensive work.

So, the countdown begins. Please read, inspect, and ask questions, and post your comments in this blog post.

Yes, this one, please!

In any case, read it, play it, let me know what you find. If there are errata (and there always are), please post them to the blog thread, and Todd and I will see what we can do.

Note that an erratum is something like a typo or grammar error. Things that are preferences or suggestions can only be entertained if they don’t break layout, and will be given a somewhat gimlet eye even then: the purpose is to finish the work, after all!

Thank you so much for coming along with me on this journey. I appreciate your faith, trust, and pixie dust.

Douglas Cole

Gaming Ballistic, LLC

Dungeon Grappling is the DriveThruRPG Deal of the day today. This means it’s 70% off – on sale for $2.85 in the PDF format.

These are the best grappling rules that DnD-flavored games have seen to date. Bold statement? Yeah, but don’t take my word for it: Read the reviews.

And at $2.85, what are you waiting for?

Grappling in one form or another, from fighting using active shield manipulation to a lion strangling a foe in its jaws to a giant ape holding a victim over its head, should be part of nearly every fight. Getting dogpiled by kobolds is a time-honored tradition. But mostly, the rules have gotten in the way of the fiction. Until now.

Resolve grappling with the same basic mechanical flavor as the rest of the game: roll to hit against a target number; if successful, roll damage. That damage can accumulate to restrict and impair the foe, or even traded for injury.

I ran the Dungeon Grappling rules at GenCon for 15 folks who had never used them before, including a few skeptics and a few folks who were eager to try out grappling rules that finally didn’t suck. Two game sessions, and the most common feedback was the rules made grappling both worthwhile and fun.

Try ’em out – and then in a week or so, you can sign up to try that same adventure yourselves . . . but more on that later!

CreateSpace is inexpensive but has been extremely uneven in quality. Extremely.

DriveThruRPG (via Lightning Source) has been very reliable and consistent in quality, but is more expensive than I’d prefer.

I’m looking for other short-run printers that might do the job. The minimum offset quantity I can usually find is 500 copies, but rumors have scattered about of lower-minimum-number available.

I’m probably looking for a US-based printer, but I’m OK with nearly anything, and something with both US and UK (for example) outlets has real advantages.

In any case, help wanted!

I was at GenCon’s 50th Anniversary this past week, and I had the honor of observing the first of Gaming Ballistic’s Dungeon Grappling demo games, and playing in the second. Here are my thoughts, for those that are considering its use:


It’s not as scary as you probably think.


I have 20+ years experience with D&D in general, maybe five or so with Pathfinder, and a month or two with 5e. I have always felt like grappling, in general, has gotten less attention than it deserved in pretty much any system, including all editions of D&D, and have had characters/moments in-game where I’ve found myself grappling (with the rules and/or the enemy) and found them a bit awkward. At the point of the convention, I had not read the Dungeon Grappling book (and still haven’t as of this writing—but I will), though I am quite familiar with its spiritual-ancestor, GURPS Martial Arts – Technical Grappling, so I did have a basic understanding of how it works beforehand.


In my brief exposure to the Dungeon Grappling system, I found it to actually be very easy to understand and smoothly integrated. It uses the normal attack-damage mechanics. “Control” is just damage of a different sort, the accumulation of which inflicts one of a handful of “grappled” conditions. Those conditions are well-defined and sensible, using established mechanics. A character can “attack” to add more to his own control, reduce his enemy’s control, aid allies’ grapples—it’s very intuitive. It works the same against larger or smaller opponents. The book has all the right cheat-sheets in easy-to-find places. I know the book does delve into more detailed grappling situations—and I generally like the more crunchy stuff—but really, the little bit that I observed is all you need to make grappling in D&D a bit more interesting, and it’s simple enough that I couldn’t give anyone a good reason to not use it.

And, I’m told Dungeon Grappling addresses that burning question I’ve always had in D&D and never found and answer for: how far can you throw a halfling? 😛

Note from Gaming Ballistic: Pretty darn far if you’re an Ancient Red Dragon

My 2¢.

This is a guest post by Discordian and Forumite Kalzazz, who answered my challenge around high point total characters in GURPS, but doesn’t have a blog of his own.

—Gaming Ballistic

Possible?  The same way as any campaign, you get a group of people willing to give it a whirl!  Given the incredible diversity of RPGs, there is bound to be a market for them.

More seriously, GURPS markets itself as the be all, end all of RPGs, and as such it takes a fair shot at supporting a wide range of power levels.  For instance, the Monster Hunters series considers 400pts as base weight.

As a personal preference, I consider 300pts to be firmly stuck in the middleweight category . . . which is my usual favorite play range back from my pre GURPS days of DnD 3.0 and such when I usually gravitated around level 10 as preference.   Middleweight characters can have some cool tricks, and can do some cool stuff, and if they use the tried and true PC dogpile tactic they can take on some credible foes, but they aren’t so scary they can’t be dogpiled in turn by oodles of riff raffs.   To me, low weight characters can be much less fun, as you have a harder time coming up with challenges weaker than they are, so it closes off half your options as a DM.  Unless you are specifically aiming for fun such as ‘Watch the party get eaten by housecats!’  (which CAN be fun, my low weight campaign was specifically designed around such, and was definitely fun).   High point characters?  Much the same.  Its harder to properly throw heavier weight stuff at them (this is less a complaint in GURPS, in GURPS it is always easier to throw heavier weight stuff, because my lazy DM tendencies are thwarted by my lack of a stack of various monster books with easily marked CR ratings).

Another note is that in its desire to cover everything, some cool options simply do not become available on lower point totals.   Even realisticish ones.   Consider say a knight, who wants to ride into battle astride a fine charger, kitted out nicely with arms and armor, and with his manor to go home to.  He needs Status (he is a knight), Wealth (lots of Wealth, remember only 20% by default can be used for adventuring gear for a settled person), and say he wants to be a strong, healthy guy who is a good fighter and a good administrator of his manor.   And he isn’t a dysfunctional screwball.
Or not so realistically, with low points you will never get to play around much with neat advantages like Altered Time Rate or Extreme Regeneration, and to me, playing around with the tools in the toolkit can be part of the fun.

How it works with big numbers?   Four things to start.

  1. Enjoy the big numbers! You want a Wizard with 18 Int?  Sure, Wizards with 18 Int are definitely cool in a 3-18 scale system, so enjoy Mr. Wizard being able to make knowledge checks by default, and on the skills he has studied doing even better.    The player probably wants Mr. Wizard to be good at that sort of thing.   Same Agile Acrobats and such, its fun to be good at things.
  1. Penalties are everywhere. You don’t even need to go looking for them.   Even basic things such as trying to shoot an ork with a bow can accumulate penalties like nobodies business.  And thats before you deal with the ork may just go ahead and dodge you that knave, so maybe pile on some deceptive? Non combat skills are the same way, consider for instance Kung Fu.   Being sneaky enough to walk on rice paper, or strong and willful enough to heft a giant burning cauldron that scars you? It is cool when PC weight characters can pull off such stunts that riff raffs can’t.
  1. Excess skill is fun, and where the thinking can happen! I love fighters with high skill, and why do I love it?  Because it is fun to play with.   I can ponder between deceptive attacks, rapid strikes, called shots oh my.   Low skill fighters?  How boring, I just swing away and hope for the best, because I don’t have much skill to allocate between coolness points.
  1. The DM can muster bigger numbers. The DM is the DM, so it really isn’t much a problem.   Delving into Kal’s Lazy DM Cheatbook, a simple way is to just give badguys races or such.   Sure, your PC weight swordsman might carve human riff raff into kibble, but how does he fair against vampire riff raffs?

Anyway, having run GURPS from 62pt characters, 300pt, and well above 300pt, I can assure that to me, GURPS doesn’t break any more at higher point levels than it does at lower ones.   GURPS has its hair pulling foibles, but they are fairly well point weight independent.

One thing I specifically want to point out is that just because a character is higher point weight does not mean they necessarily need to feel like a level 20 deity.   For instance, consider the Int 18 Wizard.   Groovy.  In AD&D if the dice gods are with you, then you can be a level 1 wizard with 18 Int!  In GURPS, you can be an IQ 18 Wizard to, who fortune smiled upon but is not yet a hardened adventurer (and with starting wealth being what it is, unless you pony up the CP for a lot of it, you won’t be kitted out like a hardened adventurer either).   You can be a greener than green starting adventurer with 18 IQ, no one is stopping you.

That same 18 IQ can also be on a 1000 year old middling replacement level lich if you like.  Or have 21 ST on a level 1 half dragon, it is all good.
But basically, my points boil down to.

  1. As a DM and player, I like cool stuff.
  2. Being given points to play with expands the realm of cool stuff.

and most importantly . . .

  1. It really doesn’t matter, if you can get interested people to give it a whirl, a cool DM and players can make it work!