#RPG – Postmortem Studios November Update

224636The image to the left presents a beautiful, pagan statue – perhaps reminiscent of those found in India. A fine illustration to flesh out any dungeon or cultural passage in a world guide.

This is stock art by industry veteran and workhorse, Brad McDevitt, available from our stock art collections for you to use in your personal or professional projects. You can find our stock art HERE.

We’ve got hundreds of pieces by him at affordable prices for your handouts or your own gaming projects.

If YOU are an artist who wants to sell your work via an established storefront, we can also help you out. Contact me privately if you’re interested. Keep an eye on this blog and my Youtube channel for information on the ZelArt Scholarship this year. We’re doing something a little different as I need a bit of a break, but want to keep things going.

Please support me via my PATREON – you get discounts for as little as $1 a month, as well as access to me for advice, suggestions, video topics and more.

This month’s discount is on 100 Dark Places, so if you like running horror games based around spooky locations, now is a good time to donate!

As a loyal follower of this blog, and because its horror season, you can also get a discount on Art of Gor,  presenting large scale images of Michael Manning’s art for the Tales of Gor roleplaying game.

NOVEMBER DISCOUNT

216179Art of Gor

The art pieces by artist Michael Manning that were created for Tales of Gor and World of Gor.

Accomplished and talented fetish Artist, Michael Manning, brings the Counter-Earth to life in these illustrations for the RPG and world guide to John Norman’s Gor. Here you can see the illustrations in their full-size glory and appreciate their detail and style.

October in Review

 

Another shitty month.

I am still sick, but slowly getting better. Having some issues with my depression medication, but nothing severe enough to risk changing for a different one. I have started going to see people from MIND and Together, which are mental health charities, to try and get me back on track properly. I have also, after ten years of on-off illness, finally applied for some financial support from the government. This felt extremely shameful, but hopefully that will wear off and the additional help will remove some of the pressure I’m under.

On top of all that, perhaps extending it, I was in a car crash, have had a radiator leak at home and had to put the car in for a service immediately following the crash. Never mind the cost, the stress when you’re already ill is intolerable!

Since the cancellation of IndieCon, we’ve been holding our own mini-con for our friends called ‘Awesomecon’. Since I have to put some game material together for that anyway, you may see some small releases later in the month for Blood! and/or Starfinder. I’ll also be running my fan-hack for Numenera, to play a Destiny RPG session.

Otherwise on the reasonably near horizon, once I’m well enough, I hope to finish the next Gor adventure (The Golden Cave – working title) and to break ground, finally, on my survival/post-apoc game series, The Green.

I am also considering starting a ‘choose your own adventure’ on my Youtube channel once a week as, of all the things I do, I’m finding making videos the easiest.

The DarkZel Scholarship will be starting this month, but in a different way as I am not well enough to stand the stress of running a full crowdfunder.

I AM AVAILABLE FOR FREELANCE WORK:

Links to my profiles on Fiverr & People Per Hour (these will be expanded as I add services):

DIRECT SERVICES:

Currently, my remaining 2017 plate is clear and free for freelancing and consultancy. I’m pretty reliable, despite my health issues, and can offer reasonably fast turnaround. I can, perhaps uniquely, provide detail and grounding to scenarios – even dungeons – to humanise them and give them a bit of depth. Give me a try, see what I can do for your games.

I am a 17+ year veteran of the tabletop game publishing world with lots of experience in freelancing and self-publishing.

I’ve worked for Wizards of the Coast, Steve Jackson Games, Nightfall, Cubicle Seven Entertainment and more. I have also written fiction and worked on social media computer games, packing a lot of meaning into short pieces of text.

As a self-publisher, I have overseen every step of the publication process from concept through to publication including writing, editing, layout and modification. I also produce Youtube material and have begun producing audiobooks. If you need some narration for a video project or an audiobook reading, I can help.

Here are some of the services I can offer, and the minimum prices offered – though anything is negotiable up or down depending on the client. I will work pseudonymously if that is a concern for you.

  • New writing (raw text): $0.03c/word (minimum)
  • Proofreading/Light Editing/Commentary: $0.01c/word (second and third deeper passes are possible).
  • ePublishing/RPG Publishing consultation. Skype/Hangout/Call: $20/hour.
  • Consultation on your game project: $20/hour.
  • Layout (InDesign): $11 an hour.
  • Stock Art Shopfront: Postmortem Studios have a huge stock art catalogue from multiple artists and we’d love to add you to that storefront. If you’re an artist who wants to sell your stock art but doesn’t want to deal with the accounts and uploads etc with your own storefront (which would be my first recommendation), then I can do that for you for 50% (I round up your payouts). Even if you don’t want to do this through me I recommend doing it anyway for all artists and can consult on best practice if you need advice.
  • Voice Work: If you find my dulcet tones to your liking, I’m available for voice over work and narration, recording audiobooks and more. Rates negotiable, starting at $11 per hour.
  • Promotion/Interview: Free. If you have a product you want to pimp out or would like to just talk game design and culture, you’re welcome to talk to me and appear on my Youtube channel.
  • Book Trailers/Videos/Adverts.
  • Paid Gamesmastering over streams/skype.

RECENT PRODUCTS

The Turian Gambit:  Long ago something precious was hidden amongst the wagon people to keep it safe. Now it seems something else – a key to the Game of Worlds – may be hidden amongst the savage and vicious people of the Plains of Turia. This booklet contains an adventure, heavy on tribalism, diplomacy, and ingratiation, as well as additional rules for chases and pursuits – as well as the games of the Wagon People.

Inside Gamergate: This book exists to record, for posterity, the events of Gamergate from the perspective of someone within Gamergate. There is a real danger that, what with the media bias against Gamergate, that the other side – the right side – will not get recorded. In the future, anyone looking back is likely to encounter an entirely one-sided version of events from people who have been acting very shadily.

The Game of Worlds (Gor): The Game of Worlds A ‘side quest’ from the line of Tales of Gor adventures, The Game of Worlds is an excellent way to bring Earth-based characters to Gor and set them off on their adventures as an introduction. It starts on Earth and takes them to Gor, in the wake of being caught up in the intrigues on their own world, from there they can return – or stay – to live a life of adventure on a more colourful planet. This booklet also contains non-canonical speculation, rules and ideas for Earth-based campaigns and characters, as well as the interplanetary cold war as it plays out on that world.

Art of Gor: The Art of Gor contains the pieces by artist Michael Manning that were created for Tales of Gor and World of Gor. Accomplished and talented fetish Artist, Michael Manning, brings the Counter-Earth to life in these illustrations for the RPG and world guide to John Norman’s Gor. Here you can see the illustrations in their full-size glory and appreciate their detail and style.

The Silver Cult (Gor): The Silver Cult thrusts the characters into a conspiracy that threatens to overturn the natural order of Gor and the city of Tharna. Will they side with the revolutionaries who seek to usurp the power of that city, or help crush the rebellion? This supplement also contains rules for slave-breaking and torture, and for encouraging better roleplay through mechanics.

Print products are available at Lulu.com and The Game Crafter.

Social Media & Contact

I’m always open to contact, discussion, ideas and more. If you have questions, queries, suggestions or feedback – good or bad – please do get in touch.

Due to continuing issues with Youtube censorship and demonetisation, I now also have a channel on Vidme, please subscribe to me there. At 100 subs I can monetise my channel there as well, and it is less paranoid and sensitive as a host. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t subscribe on Youtube, rather, sub to both – to be on the safe side.

I have a number of old books and stock available for sale. £5 for small format books, £10 for large format books + shipping (UK only).

100 Conspiracies
Abney Park’s Airship Pirates
Adventurer’s Vault 4e
Agents of SWING: Agent Casefile
Ant Assault (Cardgame)
Black Rock Bandits (4e adventure & Map)
Bloodlust RPG (French)
CTD: Isle of the Mighty
Cthentacle (Hardcopy)
d20 Mecha
Dark Conspiracy: Darktek
Dark Conspiracy: New Orleans
Darktown RPG
Desecration (Pathfinder adventure & map)
DK System (French)
DM’s Guide 2 (4e)
Dog Town RPG
Exalted: Return to the Tomb of Five Corners
Legend of the Five Rings LRP Rules
Mantel D’Acier (French)
MET: Antagonists
MET: Book of the Damned
MET: Dark Epics
MET: Journal No 4
MET: Laws of the East
MET: Laws of the Hunt
MET: Laws of the Hunt Player’s Guide
MET: Laws of the Wild Changing Breeds 1
MET: Laws of the Wild Second Edition
MET: Oblivion (Obilvion)
MET: The Long Night
MET: The Masquerade Second Edition
MET: The Shining Host
Monster Manual 2 4e
MTA: Akashic Brotherhood
MTA: Akashic Brotherhood 1st Edition
MTA: Blood Treachery
MTA: Book of Shadows
MTA: Cult of Ecstacy
MTA: Dreamspeakers
MTA: Initiates of the Art
MTA: Masters of the Art
MTA: NWO
MTA: Progenitors
MTA: Sons of Ether
MTA: The Book of Chantries
MTA: The Loom of Fate
MTA: Verbena
MTA: Void Engineers
Ninjas & Superspies RPG
Palladium The Mechanoids (Rifts Sourcebook 2)
Player’s Handbook 2 4e
The Sting (Pathfinder adventure & map)
Traveller New Era: Fire Fusion & Steel
V:TM 2nd Edition
Victoriana 1st Edition
VTM: Blood Bond
VTM: Blood Magic, Secrets of Thaumaturgy
VTM: Children of the Inquisition
VTM: Children of the Night
VTM: Clanbook Malkavian
VTM: Clanbook Tremere
VTM: Elysium
VTM: Ghouls, Fatal Addiction
VTM: Guide to the Sabbat*
VTM: Midnight Siege
VTM: Storyteller’s Handbook to the Sabbat
VTM: Storyteller’s Handbook
VTM: Storyteller’s Screen 2nd Edition
VTM: The Anarch Cookbook
VTM: The Hunters Hunted
VTM: The Player’s Guide to the Sabbat
VTM: The Succubus Club
VTM: Time of Thin Blood
WOD: Blood-Dimmed Tide
WOD: Combat
WOD: Outcasts
WTA: Anansi
WTA: Axis Mundi – The Book of Spirits
WTA: Corax
WTA: Mokole
WTO: The Risen
WTO: The Sea of Shadows

Comics

2000AD
315-351
353-383 (two 383’s)
385-734 (two 393’s)
736-989
991-1199

Megazine
Volume 3
1-11
13-15
19-23
25
27-38
72

LUMENERA: Destiny Roleplaying Using Numenera

lumenera

Despite something of a lukewarm reception from many, I’ve really been enjoying Destiny and it seemed, to me, to be a perfect translation into a Tabletop RPG for a deeper experience. Numenera seemed the most obvious fit, given that it already slotted neatly into three classes and the degree of player agency that it provides.

Here’s a rough, raw, document version for now.

This is purely a fan thing, but if you feel like supporting me in producing game material personally and professional you can support me on Patreon or support my current professional project, a Gor RPG and world/art book.

DestinyFinal

REVIEW: Numenara

numenera_coverNumenera is a new(ish) roleplaying game by Monte Cook, funded by Kickstarter and associated with the ‘Torment’ computer game sequel. It’s a Sci-Fantasy game with an ‘anything goes’ aesthetic but it’s also a game with some bizarrely contradictory themes and design decisions.

This is another big-ass brick of a game book, 400 pages of full-colour goodness packed to the gills with ‘stuff’.

Numenera is set in ‘the ninth world’, a time and place a billion years into the future, where civilisation upon civilisation has come and gone – each leaving a technological legacy behind that is no longer distinguishable from magic. It’s a world of technomagic and mutations, constant oddities and endless, lost mysteries. It’s wide open and, somehow, comes across as feeling more fantasy than science fiction, but with a flexibility to the setting that makes it feel more acceptable to go overboard than many fantasy settings.

The system itself is pretty simple, a d20 against a set difficulty  (so wild success and failure is fairly likely rather than average results), non-random weapon damage and a whole bunch of modifying effects, skills and special capabilities that somewhat complicate the basic rules, but not overly much.

Characters are defined by their broad class (Glaive/Nano/Jack – which amounts to fighter/mage/rogue) and by a trio of descriptors, with some amount of additional customisation. For example, you might be a ‘Charming Jack who Controls Gravity’ and that combination will give you a good grounding for RP and baseline of statistics. Characters advance through ‘tiers’, which is something between freeform character advancement and levels with total XP spent accumulating to take you up to the next tier. It’s the best (or worst) of both worlds, depending on your preference.

Two innovations are presented in these rules. The idea of effort, and leaving all the rolls up to the players.

The Games Master leaves the players to roll their attacks and their defences and it’s the result of these rolls that determines what happens, rather than the more conventional back-and forth. This has its advantages, but it does require a lot of trust and also means that the creatures are relatively simplistic and the players have to be aware of their statistics. If you like to keep things hidden or hit people with a surprise, this won’t work so well for that.

Effort is an expendable resource you can use to make things easier and, as a rules innovation, it’s one that it seems odd we haven’t had before. It plays a roll similar to fate or hero points in other systems but rather than representing ephemeral luck, it represents stamina, willpower, grit and determination – the ability to focus and concentrate on a task. Spending effort lowers difficulties, making it easier for you to accomplish things. This works very well and is definitely an idea I’ll be stealing for my own games.

Alongside this light, modern system there’s a lot of call-backs to old-school play as well, particularly in the form of random tables for just about everything under the sun. There’s definitely an old-style aesthetic and style to the game, but more of the Conan influence than a direct D&D/Tunnels and Trolls inspiration. Planetary Romances and books like the Majipoor series or the Dying Earth, so a different meaning of ‘old school’ than that which those of the OSR might mean.

Presentation-wise, Numenera is clean, crisp and clear but the illustrations are sometimes a little small and fiddly on the page and could have done with being expanded. Especially since they’re so important to establishing the look and feel of the game – such as there is a unifying look and feel.

What we have, then, is a wide-open setting full of boundless sci-fantasy and magitech possibilities, with a light and flexible system (though it could do with a few more codified options for character types) and a host of bizarre looking inspirational art. That, along with some other material in some other chapters on equipment, monsters etc would take you to a book of about 200 pages. The rest is taken up with some sample adventures (personally I don’t think this is a good use of real estate in a main book unless it’s really bare bones) and a whole bunch of setting material.

Including so much defined setting material in companionship to these rules and this broad a level of game possibility seems an odd choice. To tie down the sheer potentiality to specific people, places, things, encounters seems to somehow lessen the raw sense of potentiality and awesomeness you get from the material up to that point. Of course, you can ignore all of that and come up with your own stuff but when writing a review you really have to review what’s there as a whole.

All things considered Numenera is an interesting game with some interesting approaches to rules and character creation/definition, but it is also a game of contradictions. Unalloyed new-school rules married up to old school aesthetics and random tables. A wide-open game world of infinite possibilities that is then bound and chained down to a specific setting. I would have preferred, I think, a slimmer volume of rules, concepts, ideas and examples – without the setting. There is a setting book coming out separately and it may have been better to leave that part of it to that, rather than having so much in the main book. I’d have kept it more optional.

Style: 4 (only inconsistency lets it down).
Substance: 3 (the extra substance that’s included is to the detriment of the book overall, but there’s no denying that it’s there).
Overall: 3.5
Final Word: This game is wide open for some enjoyable weird-ass games and the system is probably a good one for introducing slightly older n00bs to role-playing but it feels overindulgent and could have done with being stripped back and leaner – at least for the core book.

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