Archive for the ‘ Product Development ’ Category

A Is for The Avalon

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Glittering mirror balls spin off countless spots of light above the changing, colorful glow of the dance floor. Disco drums thump out an infectious beat, the bass contrasting sharply with the falsetto croon. Full of laughing and talking and dancing, the night life at the Avalon stays in high gear.

The club’s security, high visible in their plate armor polished to a mirror sheen, keep sharp eyes peeled for trouble. The Lady du Lac tolerates no disruptions to the good times. Her boogie knights stand ready to intervene to enforce the Lady’s wishes.

The crowd parts and then knits itself back together as Arthur and Lance pass through. Gwen positively shines on Arthur’s arm. She takes the breath away and replaces it with admiration. Up the winding, silver stairs the trio climb, heading toward the VIP room.

Another meeting of the Boogie Knights of the Round Table begins soon. Recent unrest in the Land of Funk requires immediate attention. The Peace among Genres must be maintained.

Leaning against the bar, Morgana’s spy watches Arthur with keen eyes. The spy sees Lance smile at something Gwen just said.

Are those hints of love and guilt I detect? the spy wonders.

April 1st, 2015  in Product Development 1 Comment »

Dinner & Gaming & Playtesting

I decided to start hosting Dinner & Gaming nights again, doing so once a month. I like to game. I like to cook. (I even considered going to a culinary arts school until I figured out I have anosmia.) So, I fixed taco salad, got a couple bottles of sangria, and broke out the Swords & Wizardry, In Search of the Unknown, and a couple copies of my WIP Optional Skill Resolution Rules.

With only two players in attendance, I was flexible with class and race combinations. Alex made up Brother Zaphod, an Elf Cleric/Magic-User who had been raised by weasels in the woods. I imagine them to have been giant weasels. Christopher made up Weeble Kneecracker, a Halfling Fighter/Thief who is also a skilled chef and a pariah from polite Halfling society. This stalwart pair of rookie heroes hired two men-at-arms and a torchbearer: Maximilio, Baldrick, and Leofrick.

The party traveled north into the hilly woodlands between the frontier village and the realm of the hated barbarians. After some traveling and searching, they found the entrance to Quasqueton. Weeble picked the lock on the door, and the group moved into the hallway beyond. They were startled by magical mouths that pronounced a grim warning.

Weeble crept forward, searching for traps. He determined there were none, but his intense concentration led to him being surprised by a pair of ghouls. Weeble was clawed and paralyzed.

The hirelings and Brother Zaphod battled the ghouls, killing them. Brother Zaphod suffered a moderate injury in the process.

Skill checks using my OSR2 system were made to convince the hirelings to work for free in exchange for spiritual betterment, to open the locked door, to search for traps, and to determine the weaknesses of ghouls. Based on this brief session of actual gaming, I think the system works pretty well, although I did leave out one detail regarding the characters’ starting skills, which I’ll have to amend next time we play S&W.

July 24th, 2014  in Product Development, RPG No Comments »

Aquatic Depths & Denizens Gets Some Art

As I’ve mentioned, I’m taking advantage of my summer vacation to get some much-delayed writing done. One of those project is Aquatic Depths & Denizens, which focuses on adventuring underwater for Swords & Wizardry. You can download the playtest version of the PDF at the link in the previous sentence.

As I was working on the PDF, I just knew I had to have a group picture showing the five new races standing next to each other, just like the 1E Player’s Handbook had (and which I’ve displayed to the right). Unfortunately, a picture that included a Merman, a Naiad, a Triton, a Bahar, and an Aquatic Elf wasn’t the sort of the thing I’d be able to find laying around in the public domain. This meant hiring an artist, which is something that my tiny budget doesn’t let me do a lot of. So, I mulled.

While mulling, I read through MurderHobos from Brent P. Newhall’s Musaeum. (Mini-review: MurderHobos is exactly what it says it is, namely “a simple OSR game that hews closely to d20 mechanics. The stats are silly, but they do make a playable game.”) I noticed the interior art had a certain, rugged Old School fantasy gaming vibe to it, so I checked the artist.

Turns out the artist is a fellow named Peter Seckler, who just happens to be one of the many people I’ve never met with whom I am friends on Facebook. A few messages later a deal was made, and a few days later I had the picture I needed:


From left to right: Aquatic Elf, Triton, Bahar, Merman, Naiad.

What’s Happening Lately?

Since the beginning of July, I’ve completed three PDFs and put playtest drafts out there for the public.

Aquatic Depths & Denizens focuses on adventuring underwater for Swords & Wizardry. It includes rules for swimming, drowning, fighting and spellcasting under the waves, five player character aquatic races, an assortment of aquatic spells, and a plethora of marine monsters. Download your copy and playtest today.

Optional Skill Resolution Rules presents a flexible system for resolving skill checks usable with Swords & Wizardry (and likely compatible with other OSR games). With OSR2, the Referee and players define a character’s skills based on race, background, and class. No skill lists restrain those choices. Do you want your Magic-User to be a ladies’ man? There’s a skill for that. Do you want your Paladin to have studied Forbidden Cults? There’s a skill for that. Download the playtest version of these rules today and see if they work for your game.

Here’s the playtest version of Astounding Archetypes: Bloodhand Gang. Presented in this Pathfinder-compatible PDF are five archetypes: dragon warrior, jotunkin, telekinetic monk, warp thief, and yo-yo magus (my personal favorite). I originally featured these archetypes on my website. I’ve tweaked all five a bit here and there, trying to clear up unclear rules, streamline class features, et cetera. I’ve also put together one villain for each archetype.

Of course, helpful folks who playtest the PDF and/or provide feedback receive credit in the final PDF. They also receive a free copy of the final PDF, providing I have an e-mail address. To further sweeten the incentives, playtesters/feedbackers may also select any single PDF from my on-line catalog to receive for free (again providing I have an e-mail address). My email address is mark at spesmagna dot com.

A Good Week So Far

Whew!

I’ve not been this productive with Spes Magna Games in a while, and I’m determined to make more of my week off for Thanksgiving. So far this week, aside from blogposts, I’ve managed to get:

1. Metro Gnomes on-line for sale.
2. The Quid Novi? Collection on-line for sale.
3. Rantz’s Fair Multitude on-line for sale.
4. The Amphitheater of the Continuum on-line for free download.

Next up? Well, I’m going to try and finish Astounding Archetypes: Bloodhand Gang. This PDF will be a return to Pathfinder material for Spes Magna Games. It features five new archetypes, one each for barbarian, fighter, magus, monk, and rogue, plus five villainous NPCs, one for each archetype.

I’d like to have Astounding Archetypes: Bloodhand Gang on-line for sale before Monday, 2 December, but there’re no guarantees. As the number of hours of vacation left to me dwindle, those things I’ve been putting off (such as getting grades into the gradebook and lesson plans) start to become more urgent. Also, I’m running 3:16 Carnage Amongst the Stars this coming Friday, and I really should finish up the scenario before people show up expecting to play.

Still, this has been a good week for Spes Magna Games. Huzzah!