Archive for May 2017

Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book

And it's finally done. I think. Going to see what people think and if there are any mistakes/clarifications/missing shit they point out, because even though we (as in, Melissa, myself, our playtesters, and a bunch of other people) have gone over it a bunch of times I'm sure there's something that got overlooked.

I'll give it a few days, and if nothing crops up I'll do a BW PDF (added for free of course), and then start working on the various print options. As usual if you buy the PDF before the print stuff becomes available, we'll send you the print-at-cost links (for every print option) so you don't have to pay anything extra (and might even pay a bit less).

In case you have no clue what Dungeons & Delvers: Black Book is, this is for the most part Dungeons & Dragons how I'd do it, which might also be in some part how you'd do it, too.

It's still roll-over-target-number d20, you still got ability scores and saving throws and armor class (mostly). If you've played D&D or something d20 this should be stupid-easy to learn, and one of the playtest campaigns uses the Age of Worms adventure path so in practice it's easy to convert stuff over (the other uses A Sundered World so that'll be a d20 thing at some point).

But of course we have changed some stuff.

For starters, the magic systems: wizards and clerics don't use the same pseudo-Vancian mechanics, wizards can recover spent magical energy sooner than clerics and have a wider array of magical abilities, but they burn through random amounts and can exhaust or even kill themselves if they aren't careful (and/or lucky). They're also squishier.

Kobolds and some other monsters like ghouls are more inline with their mythological roots. Kobolds replace halflings as a starting race choice because they can do more interesting things, but if you really want halflings just use the abilities and mechanics from your favorite edition and add them back in.

Other assorted things include: armor mitigates the damage you suffer, characters have a small hp pool that recovers with a bit of rest (short rest that takes 30 minutes), magical healing isn't essentially required to get by, and characters are a lot more flexible (and you can to a point control how complex your character gets, yeah even wizards).

There's more, and if you don't like the entire package even mostly as-is odds are you'll find something you can lift for another game.

We're very interested to hear what people like/don't like about this game, primarily the stuff you don't like and why. We're going to build on it over time, adding more classes, races, expanding the level cap, craft skills, an organic multiclassing system (that Melissa has been really digging thus far), magic items, houserules for a bunch of stuff, and so on, but we don't want to build too much only to find out people really don't like this or that.

You can see previews of it over on DriveThruRPG.

Another Note: If you purchase using the PayPal Buy Now button, we will also send you a complimentary copy through DriveThruRPG. Please allow up to 24 hours for delivery, though it usually ends up being at most eight (depends on if you buy it after we've gone to bed).

$6.99

$6.99


Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
May 30, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Fiction Fails: Bag of Books

So in Dungeon World, for a mere 10 coins you can buy a bag of books. Each bag for some reason weighs twice as much as a suit of chainmail (which also weighs as much as leather armor and provides the same amount of protection), has 5 uses, and each use gives you +1 to Spout Lore about whatever.

I guess you go to a book store, for a pittance of ten measly coins the clerk tosses in five books, and they just happen to be precisely what you need the next five times you want a +1 to your Spout Lore roll. Maybe the clerk should use his precognition for something more financially lucrative? Because, at 2 coins a book he's hemorrhaging an insane amount of money.

No mention as to whether you can continue referencing them after the fact (for something related to but maybe not exactly what you used it for previously), give them to another PC so they can take a +1 to Spout Lore about the same general topic you did, or just sell them to someone else (it's not like reading them suddenly devalues them, though they oddly aren't worth very much to begin with).

In our Dungeon World games we've used a bag of books like so: the PCs come across something, someone wants to Spout Lore to see what their character knows about it, and if a player feels like it would be especially useful to hit the 10+ mark they'd consult the bag. Otherwise, because again it's only a single +1 that one time, they'd save the book, or might not even want to attempt spouting lore at all because of a contrived miss result.

For a game that drones on and on about "the fiction", doesn't make much sense, does it?

If the PCs have some clue as to what to expect over the course of an adventure, and think it might be useful to know more about it, I imagine the them doing some research before the adventure even kicks off to see what they can learn. More often than not they don't, so I expect them to hit the books during the adventure to find answers to any questions that crop up, again so long as they feel that the answers would be particularly interesting or important.

I figure you could reskin the Bolster move that I've never seen anyone use to make a kind of Research move, but instead of taking a long-ass time racking up a few floating +1's, the GM tells you interesting/useful things that you learned. I wouldn't require a roll, but if you wanted to make it random I guess you could roll+INT or +some rating based on how well stocked a library or archive is, with maybe another +1 or -1 added to the mix depending on how much time you spend there.

But what about individual books?

First off, unless books in your campaign are incredibly easy to mass produce (which is totally feasible, though nothing in the book suggests that that's the case), they should cost more in general. A lot more. I'm thinking a good starting point would be 100 coins for a book with some basic information on something, and 1,000 coins for a decent quality book with comprehensive information on a particular subject. If nothing else, it gives PCs something to do with all the cash they're gonna rack up over the course of a campaign.

Second, when you buy a book you have to tell the GM what you're looking for, and the GM determines if the book you are looking for is even available (because it very well might not be and you can always fall back on the Supply move). You can't just buy a "bag" of five books that will just so happen to maybe have useful information on the next five things you Spout Lore about (assuming you roll high enough on your Intelligence check, that is).

Finally, you shouldn't make an Intelligence check to see if the book contains useful information: the book's quality should determine what it can tell you.

I figure a book with basic information would cost 100+ coins (depends on what it's about) and have the slow tag (why doesn't the bag of books?). When you read it, the GM will tell you something interesting about the subject (as if you rolled a 10+ on Spout Lore).

If it's a basic bestiary--either for a specific monster or possibly monster setting--you can now Spout Lore about them if you couldn't before, but you automatically know the more infamous abilities of a monster, such as a cockatrice's petrifying bite or rust monster's ability to rust metal.

A book with comprehensive information would cost 1000+ coins. In addition to learning something interesting about it automatically, you can now Spout Lore about the subject (if you couldn't before).

A comprehensive bestiary could be about a narrow type of creature (all types of therianthropes), or a specific creature (vampires). You basically learn everything there is to know about them, including their damage, HP, special qualities, and moves. If parts of the monster can be used for things like alchemical items, magic items, rituals, and so on, it'll also mention those.

Something else I considered doing with books would be to give books something like a Quality or Knowledge tag, which would determine how many useful/interesting things you'd learn by reading from them. So, Quality 1 would be one thing, Quality 2 would be two things, etc. Obviously the higher the quality, the higher the price.

If you also want to keep things random with books, like maybe the guy who wrote the book overlooked something, some of the information could be inaccurate, or you were reading too quickly and missed something, you could also make a move that has you roll+Quality. Or, when you reference a book on a particular subject you can Spout Lore with +Quality instead of +INT.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

FrankenFourth: Elves, Dwarves, And Kobolds Oh My

Over on a much earlier, maybe even the first public alpha document for FrankenFourth (which is over a year old at this point, and there's even a link to a later one at the top of the document), one David L left the following response to a line in the Races section where I state that we're going to have "more mythologically accurate kobolds".

Here's the comment in its entirety:

The phrase "mythologically accurate" makes me highly skeptical. First off, what even counts as 'accurate' when it comes to centuries old stories passed down orally with countless variations? I mean, just looking at kobolds, are you going to use the version where they're the Germanic equivalent of brownies or of knockers? If mythological accuracy is all that's important, why pick one over the other? And of course, when it comes to how they fit into a game world, the brownie-like kobolds are tied to their house and can't leave, which greatly limits adventuring options. And if you go for the knocker-like kobolds, then they're going to start overlapping uncomfortable with dwarves (or rather, dwarfs, since we're being mythologically accurate, here).

Second, and much more importantly, as a fantasy game... I mean, do you intend on reverting elves back to their Nordic origin of "this may just be another name for 'dwarf', but it may be something else entirely, we can't tell"? Elves that stood more than a meter high did not exist before Tolkien*. To draw this line at halflings is incredibly arbitrary, particularly given the way the rest of this seems to be intending to evoke classic, old school D&D in terms of flavour. If you want to make a game that's more faithful to mythology that's great, and I would love such a thing, but it would be wholly distinct from the Tolkienesque high fantasy that is iconic to D&D, and you'd be far better off decoupling your system from its legacy (at least overtly, basically every system today can trace itself back to D&D one way or another, so don't worry about ripping off the mechanics).

*The description in myth is vague at best for dwarf/elf height, simply indicating that they were shorter than typical Norsemen to some unspecified degree. However, this is the general consensus in artwork up until Tolkien, and really, up until D&D.

Before I go about responding to it, I want to say that I got on the kobolds-instead-of-halflings train back when we worked on A Sundered World, but I forget exactly how it got started. Best I can recall, I think while looking up information on kobolds I realized that they're waaay more interesting than halflings, and can even look like halflings to boot.

Of course that wasn't the first time Melissa and I mined real world mythologies for ideas. I'd been doing that since those Wandering Monster articles during 5th Edition Dungeons & Dragons development, during which I quickly realized just how much more awesome the source creature was than whatever the D&D team was coming up with.

For example, take the ghoul: the mythological ghoul is a type of jinni that can assume the form of an animal and take the form of the last person it ate, while the D&D ghoul is basically a humanoid undead creature that can paralyze everyone but elves. Former sounds way cooler, so that's the one we ran with.

With that out of the way, let's get back to that comment.

The phrase "mythologically accurate" makes me highly skeptical. First off, what even counts as 'accurate' when it comes to centuries old stories passed down orally with countless variations?

For the past three editions of Dungeons & Dragons, kobolds have been little draconian people with dragon's blood that typically serve or worship dragons. I recall Pathfinder actually linking their scale color and appearances to specific dragons, and I'd be surprised if no one else has done that, too. They're also good at digging and setting traps.

So, I'd say our kobolds are more mythologically accurate, which succeeds at our stated goal.

I mean, just looking at kobolds, are you going to use the version where they're the Germanic equivalent of brownies or of knockers? If mythological accuracy is all that's important, why pick one over the other?

As described in the alpha document, we're using three types. Players can pick whichever type they like the most, and there will be a talent in the Red Book (which is the full core game that will come out after the Black Book) that lets you choose a second and even third spirit type if you want to do that.

I never said mythological accuracy is all that's important, so I don't know why you're saying it now.

And of course, when it comes to how they fit into a game world, the brownie-like kobolds are tied to their house and can't leave, which greatly limits adventuring options.

Hearth kobolds (the closest thing to kobolds that live in homes) aren't tied to a house, obviously because no one would choose a race that is restricted to a house in a game where you're supposed to go on adventures. We gave hearth kobolds the ability to conjure flames in their hands, which in the full game will lead into you being able to fully transform into fire if you want to take it that far.

Remember: more mythologically accurate. We are ignoring certain things. Maybe. The mythology behind lots of things gets muddy and sometimes contradicts itself.

And if you go for the knocker-like kobolds, then they're going to start overlapping uncomfortable with dwarves (or rather, dwarfs, since we're being mythologically accurate, here).

Actually they won't: just compare the dwarf and kobold entries (specifically compare dwarves with mine kobolds). If you're just looking at mechanics, dwarves are really fucking tough, and I'm considering giving them another racial trait that makes them learn weaponsmithing and armorer skills twice as fast as other races.

Kobolds right now don't have much of a mechanical focus. The Charisma bonus will make them ideal for bards and sorcerers and the like, but for now they're the go-to race for social skills. The game doesn't assume certain numbers at certain points, so they're still good enough to get by at anything. Considering changing it so that your spirit type gives you a different stat bonus (so mine kobolds might get +1 Constitution instead of Charisma).

Again: more mythologically accurate..

Second, and much more importantly, as a fantasy game... I mean, do you intend on reverting elves back to their Nordic origin of "this may just be another name for 'dwarf', but it may be something else entirely, we can't tell"?

Check the elf entry to see what we did.

Elves that stood more than a meter high did not exist before Tolkien*.

When researching elves for A Sundered World, I came across stuff that mentioned elves being short, human-sized, and even taller than humans. One book stated that Tolkien's elves were actually pretty close to one particular elven mythology, and I'm inclined to agree. I also read stuff that described elves as being akin to gods or spirits of the dead.

So, I simply ran with elves being as tall or taller than humans. Seems to fit one mythology, and there are plenty of small things to choose from if I want to add another small player race.

To draw this line at halflings is incredibly arbitrary, particularly given the way the rest of this seems to be intending to evoke classic, old school D&D in terms of flavour.

Again, near as I can tell D&D elves were pretty close to an elven mythology, but I didn't "draw the line" at halflings.

First, our kobolds are a much more interesting race choice than a small, stealthy and maybe lucky human (and if you really want to use halflings it would be very easy to add them to the mix). Second, we've given a similar treatment to (for starters) chimeras, angels, ghouls, rakshasas, and gorgons (or what D&D typically calls a Medusa).

Mimics and doppelgangers are getting reworked, there's not going to be 20+ elven subraces to choose from, we've changed tieflings into cambions and tied them to sins, and instead of aasimar we've got ishim (and tied them to a Domain or virtue).

Basically, we're looking at the mythological source or equivalent or whatever you want to call it for a monster (when it exists), and if we think it's cooler we're doing that, and if we also like the D&D version we can do something different with it if we think it's cool enough to stand on its own.

As mentioned above, we're going with the mythological ghoul, and not bothering at all with the D&D incarnation. I like the look and ideas behind the current D&D  kobold (plus I've got a shitload of kobold minis I want to use), so we're going to keep the appearance, call them something else, and maybe change up their abilities.

If you want to make a game that's more faithful to mythology that's great, and I would love such a thing, but it would be wholly distinct from the Tolkienesque high fantasy that is iconic to D&D, and you'd be far better off decoupling your system from its legacy (at least overtly, basically every system today can trace itself back to D&D one way or another, so don't worry about ripping off the mechanics).

Being faithful to a specific mythology for it's own sake isn't really the point: we're going with what we feel makes more sense or is more interesting, rather than sticking with D&D because nostalgia or ease.

As mentioned above (a few times), Tolkien elves aren't that far off from one interpretation, and I don't really mind them like that, so we're just going to leave them alone. Mostly. They can still get access to minor magical powers at 1st-level (couldn't find any specifics so just went with a free wizard talent).

But, you're forgetting or ignoring other aspects of D&D, like pseudo-Vancian magic that gets incorrectly labeled as Vancian by people that have apparently never read The Dying Earth, the paladin, paladin mount, swanway, and other things from Three Hearts, Three Lions, and other things from various works from Appendix N roster. It's not all Tolkien.

That said, there's a bunch of stuff in this game that makes it distinct from D&D, while at the same time still giving you that D&D feel: just read through the Google Doc (specifically the much more recent one).

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
May 26, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Another Dungeon World Character Sheet You Can Use

A week or so ago, someone asked if they could lift the classes from A Sundered Worldput them on the new Dungeon World character sheet, and distribute them. I told them sure, so long as it was just for personal reasons.

Not just because it would be silly to let someone else sell or even hand out a bunch of classes for free (I mean, we even released a race and class only PDF if that's all you're interested in) but because for some reason you aren't allowed to use the new Dungeon World character sheet for commercial reasons (and maybe even non-commercial stuff you share online).

In response to that we released a very barebones character sheet awhile back, to give people that didn't like the "official" Dungeon World sheet something they could use for commercial projects, but after that email exchange I decided to whip up another sheet.

This one not only has more visual flair, it also comes with a zip file filled with a variety of images so you can better choose a sheet that matches your preference. There's also images with just the linework and text: the background is transparent, making it easier to modify in something like Photoshop and do whatever you want with it.

The whole package is Pay What You Want, and if you use it in a commercial product we only ask that you credit us (but you can't just take it and re-sell it as-is).

To give you an idea of what's in there, here's the front of one of the versions:


And here's the back (again of one version):


Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
May 18, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

FrankenFourth: Age of Worms, Episode 603

Cast
  • Humal (level 10 wrathful cambion wizard)
  • Corzale (level 10 dwarf war cleric)
  • Sumia (level 10 elf rogue/ranger)

Summary
Not wanting to invade the now departed Earl of Coalchester's privacy, the party chose one of the two remaining doors at random.

It opened into a large chamber that was sparsely illuminated by four spherical lanterns. Another spherical structure hung from the center of the room, but rather than emit light it disgorged a black fluid onto a dark, glassy expanse of floor that seemed to simply absorb it.

Humal and Sumia checked for magic: the four lanterns radiated conjuration, which was expected due to the light. The central sphere also radiated conjuration, but its purpose was unclear. The mysterious, fluid-gobbling section of the floor didn't radiate anything at all, which was both surprising and more than a bit disconcerting.

Fortunately it was also at the lowest point of the room: a short flight of stairs led up to a raised platform that surrounded it, allowing them access to another pair of doors without having to go anywhere near it.

They again chose a door at random. This one opened into a much smaller chamber that contained an urn and some baskets filled with various trinkets and oddities: a few stone tablets written in what Humal assumed was a dialect of the Wind Dukes, some platinum jewelry, a silken gown with hundreds of gems sewn into it, and a wand featuring a predictably avian theme.

The urn radiated an intense aura of necromantic energies, which Humal deduced to be some sort of life-sapping trap, while the wand radiated evocation magic, but before they could examine anything more closely the presumed "floor" surged towards them, revealing it to in fact be a well-trained, impossibly vast black pudding.

Sumia loosed a few arrows, a she was wont to do, while Humal used a simple abjuration trick to fling the trapped urn at the ooze. Green lightning crackled about as it shuddered briefly: he desperately hoped that this hurt it, but he had no idea as to how badly. More than familiar with black pudding, Corzale warned everyone that its body was highly acidic as she conjured a wall of trees, leaving a small gap that Sumia and Humal could strike through.

She knew that the pudding would also be able to flow through the opening (and it would soon melt through the trees anyway), but they still impeded its progress. The party also backed into the smaller room, using the stone doors for cover since that was the one thing they knew it couldn't dissolve. It managed to get in a few strikes against Corzale before they finally destroyed it; while her flesh was severely burned, her armor was still functional.

Looting the remaining contents of the room, the silken gown literally vanished into thin air, leaving the pearls and sapphires behind, the platinum jewelry was merely obscenely valuable (moreso if they could find someone to purchase the entire lot), and the wand both enhanced its wielder's magic missiles, and granted them temporary flight after a generous investment of mana.

The other door led to a ramp that in turn led to a balcony, which dispelled any doubts as to where they were. From here they could see much of the tomb's exterior, suspended in an endless blue sky illuminated by sunlight that radiated from everywhere and nowhere.

A long bridge connected the balcony to another structure, several hundred feet away. It seemed stable enough, and though they weren't sure what would happen should they fall (nothing else was falling, or even moving), no one was particularly interested in figuring it out.

After crossing the bridge, they realized that the uppermost part of the structure was damaged, with chunks of stone simply floating above it, frozen in mid-destruction. The interior wasn't particularly impressive: the walls were covered in faded frescoes, but this time there were three doors to choose from. One was flanked by a large, bulky statue of an armored warrior and a pile of rubble. None of it radiated magic, hopefully ruling out the banal animated statue trap.

Random door selection led to yet another small chamber. This one contained a small shrine, with a suit of chainmail draped over a stone slab. Magic detection revealed that it would protect its wearer from lightning. Satisfied with her albeit mundane plate armor, Corzale took it anyway so that Humal could transfer the enchantment later. When she removed the armor, she saw a square depression in the stone slab, suggestion that something there had been removed.

Saving the rubble-and-statue door for last, they took the door directly across the chamber. It opened to a winding stone bridge, the middle of which was surrounded by a ring of slowly flowing water, studded with small patches of floating earth, all overgrown with grass and trees.

When they passed through the center of the ring, a water elemental shot out of it at Sumia. Corzale knocked it out of the air with her hammer, but it exploded into a torrent of water that bowled over Sumia and flung Humal into and through the ring, though he managed to catch himself on one of the tiny islands drifting about its exterior. Staggering to his feet, Humal was surprised to see that he had no trouble standing despite being perpendicular to everyone else.

The elemental again burst from the ring, colliding with and surrounding Sumia. Trapped inside its body, it began slamming itself into the bridge in an attempt to harm her. Unable to free herself, Sumia smashed open a flask of alchemist's fire she had been carrying: the ensuing explosion hurt them both (the elemental more than her), but it also blasted her free of its body.

Humal hopped across a few islands, relieved that he didn't go flying off, and conjured an illusionary force to attack the creature: fortunately it was intelligent enough to be affected by his magic. While it was momentarily stunned, Corzale commanded a tangle of thick roots to grow and crush the creature, drawing from the trees on the surrounding islands, but it was able to slip around and up them, again retreating into the ring to hide.

Humal scanned the water for any sign of its presence, but it managed to sneak up on him and knock him out with a single blow. Before it could finish the job, the sluggish flow of the water brought the island both it and Humal were standing on into Sumia's sight, and she destroyed it with a few well-placed arrows. Using the root bridge, Corzale was able to make it to Humal and revive him, and they returned to the stone bridge before they withered away.

Design Notes
If you've read/played A Gathering of Winds and remember it, you've probably realized that I've changed up this particular section quite a bit (the previous area was tweaked, just not nearly as much).

Here's a map from the original adventure:


Here's how I've changed it up (without spoiling anything to the players):


First time I've done the isometric thing, which I think makes it easier to explain the water-ring-with-islands, though looking at it now I think it'd be cooler to have the bridge twist about so that the building is on its side (instead of everything being level).

The big building is area 9, the small room in the lower-right hand side is room 10, the bridge with the water-ring represents area 11, and the building it connects to is area 12. I haven't drawn the rest of the area because I don't want to spoil what's in store.

Suffice to say I've got enough going on from this post and some other stuff I thought of, that I'm now working on this whole wind dungeon thing as its own adventure. Probably won't bother with the whole adventure path, but might link a few adventures or dungeons together to do a kind of campaign arc deal.

We'll see what time and attention span allows.

Another thing I want to mention is the wand. Never really liked D&D and wands-with-charges. The wand in the original adventures was a wand of eagle's splendor, which basically means you can use it to gain +4 Charisma for awhile, until it runs out of charges and becomes a useless stick.

Underwhelming, so I changed the wand to do the following, and you can assume other wands in FrankenFourth would do similar things:

  • It's a +1 wand, so you get +1 to attack and damage, and your save DCs go up by 1. Obviously very useful to all wizards.
  • Your Magic Missile range is doubled. Since all wizards get Magic Missile (make ranged Intelligence attack to deal force damage), this is also useful to all wizards.
  • You can spend 3d4 Mana to gain a fly Speed for 1 minute per wizard level. Basically gives you access to what the Fly talent would do, you just gotta have the wand on hand. Again, useful, though for a lower level wizard it's pretty risky (or at least liable to drain all of your Mana in one go).

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

A Sundered World Sandbox Campaign: Episode 101

Cast
  • Dusk (level 1 druid)
  • Elfi (level 1 mine kobold cleric)
  • Mister Tock (level 1 kytheran chronomancer)

Summary
Encrusted with mostly-dried, exploding-diseased-crow-filth, once they arrived in Kaivahl Elfi understandably wanted to hit up the inn and take a bath. Tock didn't need to eat or sleep, but went with her anyway so he could find a secluded corner and read the message they were carrying without anyone noticing.

Inside they ran into Dusk, another member of the Guild. He wasn't currently on a job, but he was looking for work, and given his particular area of expertise would be handy to have around the next time diseased exploding animals showed up. Or just animals in general.

While Dusk and Elfi talked shop, Tock slipped away to read the letter. Apparently someone was attempting to use chronomancy to rapidly age something called "people's brew", but the magic was reacting strangely with the containers, so they were going to try a smoking process involving cambions to some degree that they hoped would keep the wood alive.

Intriguing and risky, though Tock wasn't sure how he could act on this information without making it known that he'd read the letter in the first place. Ah, well, maybe it would come in handy later: with a quick twist of time he restored the letter to its previous state, just as if he'd never opened it.

During Elfi's conversation with Dusk, the innkeeper overheard her mention of a dead man, who after a few questions was revealed to have been a spice trader named Dougan. Initially distraught that Elfi and Tock left his corpse on the road, she offered to pay them if they retrieved his remains and the salt he was supposed to have been carrying. They agreed, but not wanting to have too many jobs on the docket Tock first delivered the letter before they left.

The ambient astral radiance had faded by the time they found the corpse. Unfortunately a trio of boggarts got to it first. Busy stripping it of everything Elfi and Tock left behind, the party was able to get in an opening salvo of magic, divine light, and crushing vines before the boggarts could react: as expected the only survivor attempted to flee, revealing that, like the crows, they were mysteriously afflicted by...something.

At least instead of strange growths and eyes peering out from snaking tongues, their spines were merely twisted about, and they didn't explode when killed. This deformity made it difficult for the boggart to move or fight back, and once it was slain the party searched Dougan's corpse to find that the salt was missing. After confirming that they in fact hadn't already taken it from the corpse the first time they found it, they checked the boggarts.

The boggarts had apparently barely gotten Dougan's shoes off by the time they showed up, which left a variety of unpleasant possibilities: had Dougan simply neglected to bring the salt? Had it been dropped on the way to the forest? Had it been dropped while the boggarts dragged his corpse off the road? Had someone else shown up and looted him before the boggarts?

After an extensive and presumably fruitless search of the surrounding area, Dusk found signs that a small astral craft had landed in the forest. Given its size and speed it probably wasn't going far, but they had no idea where it was going or if whoever was piloting it had taken the salt. They unceremoniously dragged the corpse back to Kaivahl, and informed the innkeeper as to what they'd discovered.

She paid them, albeit less since they hadn't returnd with the salt. Elfi and Dusk booked their own rooms, while Tock wandered about the village, keeping an eye out for any skiffs passing by or landing. The next day they'd do some more investigation, but sooner or later they'd need to return to the Guild and confirm the mission's completion.

Design Notes
Game went a lot smoother this time, in that we didn't have to redo or change anything after getting our asses kicked. Gotta whip up a bunch of druid talents for Dusk, as his player wants to focus pretty much exclusively on the skin-changing aspect.

Currently it works a lot like The Druid from Dungeon World: you declare that you want to change shape, some of your stats get bumped up and down, and then you get to pick another benefit like a damage bonus for natural weapons, an AC/DR bonus from having a thick hide, or swimming or flight.

Additional talents will let you change into bigger and smaller forms, choose more bonuses, and increase what they give you. So, for example, if you choose to have +1 AC/DR, you'd instead have +2 AC/DR. That or you'd get +1 AC/DR automatically, and can choose the option to bump it up yet again.

Only thing I gotta figure out is what to do with Favor, because if you don't have to choose a Favor-spender then you basically have a portion of the class going to waste. Just gotta find something that uses it and makes sense for all druids to have by default.

Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).

Week Long Birthday Sale!

My birthday is coming up this Saturday, and while Melissa and I do giveaways on our birthdays and some holidays I figured I'd mark everything down in our store by 13% until then!

I'll keep it going until next Sunday, whenever I wake up and remember to change everything back.
May 07, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

Awful Good Art Retrospective

One of the first things I published was Something Stirs in the Blackscale Brakes, an adventure for Dungeon World. Looking over other Dungeon World adventures (and other content), I saw little to nothing in the way of production quality, but I figured I'd at least do something for a cover and call it good.

I'd owned a big-ass Intuos Wacom tablet for years but barely touched it (thought it'd get used for my Multimedia course but nope). I wasn't used to drawing while looking somewhere else completely, and despite trying to go with what I'd considered to be a simple Mignola-ish-look this was the result:


The next thing we did was The Vancomancer. I tried getting a bit more ambitious, but, well...


This was followed by The Skeleton, 10+ Treasures, and The Ghoul:


While I was working on 10+ Treasures, Melissa worked on The Mummy because hey we did a skeleton of all things so why not? She got a taste for class creation, releasing The Pirate and The Witch a few months later.


Looking back I still like the cover for The Witch, and I think The Pirate is fine, but the first cover for The Mummy was utter shit. At the time I was still learning the style and how to use the Wacom tablet, once way later I'd eventually replace it with a newer version...


...which was something we'd also do for The Vancomancer and 10+ Treasures (but in color since Melissa was coloring things by this point):


Melissa coloring my covers was a big, awesome change for us. It ramped up our production quality without adding to my workload (though we only had one tablet at the time).

I think the first thing she colored was The Cultist: compare the following cover to the the newer 10+ Treasures and Vancomancer covers above, and you can really see how she's improved.


For a more gradual transition, let's take a look at The Oni...


...The Golem...


...10+ Treasures: Sunken Treasures...


...The Cleric...


...The Rogue...



...and 10+ Treasures: Dwarven Vault.


Not Dungeon World related, but I'm really pleased with how the covers for Dungeons & Delvers and FrankenFourth turned out:


Ultimately I'm glad that Melissa and I toughed it out, and kept drawing our own shit. It's resulted in a consistent style that people recognize and love. We've gotten a lot better and faster: which is why instead of sticking with the usual amount of art we just started adding more to further improve production quality (also I reaaally hate blank spaces and blank pages).

We've bundled up most of our art into art packs, to help other indie creators give their work a consistent feel without spending a shitload of money. Of course we also do commissions if you want us to draw something specific. Here's some art we did for Tranzar's Redoubt (I think this was before Melissa was coloring stuff):


A cover I did for Tenet's Tales (there is a color version of this but I couldn't find it):


Another Tenet's Tales cover:


And a cover for Mort Tanis, something for A Sundered World that someone else is doing:


Announcements
If you're curious about FrankenFourth and/or Dungeons & Delvers, you can find public alpha documents here and here respectively.

Dwarven Vault is our sixth 10+ Treasures volume. If you're interested in thirty dwarven magic items (including an eye that lets you shoot lasers) and nearly a dozen new bits of dungeon gear, check it out!

Just released our second adventure for A Sundered World, The Golden Spiral. If a snail-themed dungeon crawl is your oddly-specific thing, check it out!

By fan demand, we've mashed all of our 10+ Treasure volumes into one big magic item book, making it cheaper and more convenient to buy in print (which you can now do).
May 06, 2017
Posted by David Guyll

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