Author Archive

November 14, 2016

The Nightmares Underneath RPG

tnu_full_coverThe Nightmares Underneath is an old school role-playing game with a strong horror theme, set in a fantasy Middle East where dungeons are invading nightmares intent on the destruction of civilization. In the Kingdoms of Dreams, all is right with the world—except for one thing. Even though the Law has triumphed over the powers of Chaos, banishing idolatry and superstition in favour of science and reason, humanity is still threatened by a dangerous, otherworldly force. The Realm of Nightmares invades the physical world, sending incursions in the form of dungeon to undermine and destroy society.

The justification for dungeoncrawling in this setting is that adventurers are raiding nightmare incursions, to find the treasure that keeps an incursion anchored to the physical world. Once the treasure is looted, the incursion is destroyed, and the adventurers profit. Individual creatures made of nightmares can be killed, but as long as the incursion exists, it will continue to spawn more. This is reflected by a countdown die, used in addition to encounter checks for wandering monsters.

Basically, I wrote this game in order to incorporate all my favourite house rules into old school D&D, in a setting where I could run any kind of dungeon I wanted to, and incorporate as many horror elements as I like to. Which is usually a lot.

The free version includes the complete text of the game, without the art. The full version of the game, including several different print options, will be available soon.

nu-1Stuff that you might find interesting:

  • Settlement rules including downtime lifestyle, inflation, social institutions you can invest money in, and communities growing to resent adventurers and their crimin’ ways, and even perhaps running them out of town.
  • Hit Points are re-rolled every day, and after resting, and injuries only occur after they run out and your attribute scores start to be reduced.
  • Nightmare curses that afflict characters after they have awful experiences in the dungeon: madness, supernatural restrictions, and even physical changes.
  • Wizards are better at spells, but almost anyone can cast any spell in the book, if they dare.

Purchasing The Nightmares Underneath

The Nightmares Underneath is available at DriveThruRPG for US$15 in pdf, $25 in softcover print and pdf, or $30 in casebound hardcover print and pdf. Both print versions are US Trade sized (6 x 9 inches) and perfect bound, with white pages.
Link to The Nightmares Underneath at DriveThruRPG.

nu-4Print versions of The Nightmares Underneath can also be purchased at Lulu, for $25 in softcover and $35 in hardcover. Both versions are trade sized (6 x 9 inches) and include cream-coloured pages instead of white pages. The Lulu hardcover version includes a black linen cover with a matte finish dustjacket and sewn binding that lies flat (or rather “faux-sewn,” as it’s glue-bound but still flexible, to mimic a sewn binding), making it probably the most attractive and useful print version of all.
Link to Lulu SOFTCOVER.
Link to Lulu DUSTJACKET HARDCOVER.

The free version of the pdf contains the full text of the game without the art.

November 3, 2016

The Nightmares Underneath Free Version

tnu_free_coverThe free version of The Nightmares Underneath is now available at DriveThruRPG.

The Nightmares Underneath is an old school role-playing game with a strong horror theme, set in a fantasy Middle East where dungeons are invading nightmares intent on the destruction of civilization. In the Kingdoms of Dreams, all is right with the world—except for one thing. Even though the Law has triumphed over the powers of Chaos, banishing idolatry and superstition in favour of science and reason, humanity is still threatened by a dangerous, otherworldly force. The Realm of Nightmares invades the physical world, sending incursions in the form of dungeon to undermine and destroy society.

The justification for dungeoncrawling in this setting is that adventurers are raiding nightmare incursions, to find the treasure that keeps an incursion anchored to the physical world. Once the treasure is looted, the incursion is destroyed, and the adventurers profit. Individual creatures made of nightmares can be killed, but as long as the incursion exists, it will continue to spawn more. This is reflected by a countdown die, used in addition to encounter checks for wandering monsters.

Basically, I wrote this game in order to incorporate all my favourite house rules into old school D&D, in a setting where I could run any kind of dungeon I wanted to, and incorporate as many horror elements as I like to. Which is usually a lot.

The free version includes the complete text of the game, without the art. The full version of the game, including several different print options, will be available soon.

Stuff that you might find interesting:

  • Settlement rules including downtime lifestyle, inflation, social institutions you can invest money in, and communities growing to resent adventurers and their crimin’ ways, and even perhaps running them out of town.
  • Hit Points are re-rolled every day, and after resting, and injuries only occur after they run out and your attribute scores start to be reduced.
  • Nightmare curses that afflict characters after they have awful experiences in the dungeon: madness, supernatural restrictions, and even physical changes.
  • Wizards are better at spells, but almost anyone can cast any spell in the book, if they dare.
October 28, 2016

Revising The Metamorphica

Since I mentioned I was doing a revised version of The Metamorphica a few days ago, people have been asking me about what additions I am making.
So here is a list of major changes:

1. The main mutation table has been tweaked slightly, with a few changes and a few additions. Nothing drastic, mostly just a series of small improvements. I’ve made small improvements to other tables in the book, but I’ll stick to the big additions for the rest of this list.

2. The character types have been folded into the campaign types, which are now each distinct chapters.

3. A random materials table.

4. Some short tables for quickly rolling up a monster’s basic appearance, attack type, defences, and motivations (these are different from mutant hordes and oriented more towards monsters that will see combat).

5. Hyperevolved animals procedures for the post-apocalyptic setting (different from uplifted animals).

6. Some tables for mutant plant societies and motives.

7. A table of specifically post-apocalyptic mutations.

8. A long table of post-apocalyptic junk (for scavenging and equipping purposes), rather simple and not highly detailed, but hopefully of some use.

9. A few extra tables for alien social structures.

10. A motivation table for demons.

11. A very long table of demon characteristics, containing powers, visual features, motivations, and weird habits, that you can use to build random demons.

12. A summoning mishap table, because demons.

13. A new chapter devoted to creating sci-fi gadgets and magic items (see note below).

14. I looked at how much money The Metamorphica has raised from people voluntarily paying for it over the last four-and-a-half years, and decided I should spend a bunch of that on some new illustrations by Nate Marcel.

The most drastic addition of all is The Ficto-Technica, a new chapter for generating scientific-sounding devices (and general technobabble), and more magical items. These are mostly mad-libs style, connecting words together to create the name of the item, similar to what you can see in Freebooters on the Frontier (by Jason Lutes), or the Odditional Materials version of Maze Rats (by Ben Milton), and both of those were an inspiration for the magic items section. But there’s also a few standard procedures for making weapons and armour that are magic, demon-possessed, or alive. I started this section a very long time ago (and even convinced my father to draw something for it), but it never turned into a book of its own, so now it’s part of The Metamorphica.

(Odditional Materials is free over at DriveThru, by the way. Check it out if you haven’t already done so.)

The revised edition of The Metamorphica should be out in December, and possibly there might be a few more small changes or additions, but for the most part, it’s done. Unlike the original, it won’t be a free product. I expect the pdf will be 10 bucks and the softcover will be less than 20, but I’m also going to try a hardcover via Lulu that has a dustjacket and sewn binding because those are pretty good quality.

The classic edition will remain freely available forever.

August 17, 2016

Battle Between the Worlds Actual Play

The Ogre Plays Games podcast has posted part 1 of an actual play of Battle Between the Worlds. It clocks in at about 90 minutes, and includes character creation and bonds and stuff at the beginning. Part 2, yet to be released, will include the exciting conclusion to the hijinks on Mars, and a short interview with myself.

Link:
Ogres Plays Games Episode 07: Battle Between the Worlds Part One!

June 27, 2016

Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn video


Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn blog post.

June 26, 2016

A Market in the Woods video

A video showing what the printed version of MM3: A Market in the Woods looks like.

June 10, 2016

Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn

A4_SWvsM_coverpicThree years ago, my buddy Jackson Tegu asked me to write a stretch goal for his Second Skins kickstarter. Based on two of those skins, the Wyrm and the Unicorn of course, I had an idea: combine Jackson’s ideas with Adventures on Dungeon Planet and make a campaign supplement for Dungeon World. From the very beginning it was an overambitious rpg monstrosity, and then I decided to add one-shot rules. And now it’s finished.

Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn is a science fantasy supplement for Dungeon World that combines the flavours of Adventures on Dungeon Planet and the characters from Jackson Tegu’s Monsterhearts expansion, the Second Skins, into 368 full colour digest-sized pages, with well over a hundred illustrations, including fantastic art by Chiara Di Francia, George Cotronis, Iolanda Zanfardino, Jakub Rebelka, James Fenner, Jon Cairns, Nate Marcel, and Taylor Winder.

Featuring six new Dungeon World character classes…

  • Space Wurm, the most important person in the galaxy, bar none. And yet, there is more that lies outside your power than within it. Will you conquer the universe, or see it fall before your foes?
  • Moonicorn, a rebel and a revolutionary. Those who despise your integrity are out there hunting for you. Can you make your dreams a reality, or will you have to watch it all come crashing down?
  • The Lover, the third point of a romantic triangle with Space Wurm and Moonicorn. Is this what true love is, or just a fleeting dream?
  • The Mogul, a master of industry. You’re not the boss of everything, but you’re the boss of your thing.
  • The Other, a visitor from far away. Can you find a place in this new world, or will you just lose your heart again?
  • The Spy, a double agent, a saboteur, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Does anyone knows where your true allegiance lies? Do you?

…and seven fronts, with four dangers each, for the GM to create the world and their antagonists from: aliens, cybernetics, the Imperial throne, interstellar travel, religion, the secret police, and the spice. Each game has three fronts that must be defeated in order to win. Who will reach their goal first and secure the future they are fighting for, Space Wurm or Moonicorn?

Space Wurm and Moonicorn are rivals, fighting over the future of galactic civilization. Will they let the universe crumble around them while they duke it out? Will they band together against the outside forces trying to ruin everything? Which one will betray the other first, in order to secure the future they believe in?

The other PCs move between them, choosing sides or not, trying to mediate and reach consensus, or feeding the flames so they can watch it all burn. But neither Space Wurm nor Moonicorn can succeed alone. In order to win, they need the support of the other PCs. What will they do to win their loyalty? What—and who—will they sacrifice in order to come out on top?

Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn moves Dungeon World away from typical adventuring parties and us-against-the-dungeon situations, in favour of more intrigue, more politics, and more interpersonal conflict between the PCs. You’ll need your laser swords to defeat the alien invaders, but you’ll need something more to win over their hearts and minds. Each of the new character classes are there to promote narratives of interpersonal drama, political intrigue, and social change. They give the players reasons to experience the shifting allegiances of competing rivals, to win each other over and then turn against each other, again and again.

It’s still Dungeon World, just with an expanded pallette, and more dimensions to explore.

DSC00161If you can’t commit to a long-term campaign, fear not! There are quick play rules for running one shot games of Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn, in the same style as Battle Between the Worlds. Quick play versions of the six Dungeon World character classes are joined by seven more classes: the Alien Queen, the Creature from the Ghoul Star, This Planet’s Messiah, the Serpent Princess, Space Ghost, the Star Vampire, and the Void Rat. Or use the characters from Battle Between the Worlds, these rules are fully compatible.

The print version is 6×9 US Trade size, for both hardcover and softcover.

The PDF is 5.5×8.5 digest size, and includes character sheets and a version of the book with black text on white pages for ease of printing.

Preview!

CLICK HERE to view a 53-page preview of the book, which includes the Table of Contents, the Space Wurm class, the introduction to the Interstellar Transport chapter and 2 of its dangers (Disease Control and Space Madness), as well as two dangers from other fronts chapters.

Purchase!

Buy it from DriveThruRPG at this link right here.
You can also buy a softcover version from Lulu, but because of their full-colour print costs, you will need a discount code to make it even close to price-competitive.

April 21, 2016

MM3: A Market in the Woods

market_cover_picThe Monthly Monsters project is back with a third monster manual for Dungeon World!

Deep inside the Spritewood, hidden from the sight of civilized eyes, there lies a secret market, where monsters meet to trade their ill-gotten gains. Under this canopy, the angry dead return to life and the living change , unwilling, into beasts. But if you can reach the market safely, a brand new world will open to you. What is it you seek? Alchemical wonders, history’s greatest mercenaries, or magic to challenge even gods themselves?

The only question left to ask is: what did you bring to trade?

A Market in the Woods includes 13 monster entries, describing a hidden marketplace, some of the inhuman beings that gather there to buy, sell, and trade, as well as a few schemes that may or may not be unrelated. Each entry is illustrated in full colour and may include different variations of the monster, random tables, adventures, dangers and their grim portents, custom moves, items, locations, plot hooks, secrets, and more.

Like MM1 and MM2, A Market in the Woods contains previously-released Monthly Monsters material that has been revised and expanded, and adds more illustrations and content.

A Market in the Woods is available in print and pdf from DriveThruRPG. The pdfs are halfletter digest size (5.5×8.5″) and 112 pages. One version has full-colour backgrounds behind the text while the other has black text on white pages. The print book is US trade size (6×9″) and 112 pages.

You can also buy the print book on its own from Lulu.

September 23, 2015

Wizard-Spawned Insanities

Wizard-Spawned Insanities is a monster manual for the Dungeon World role-playing game. The thirteen monster entries it contains are illustrated in full colour, along with a host of variations, random tables, adventures, dangers and their grim portents, custom moves, items, locations, plot hooks, secrets, and more.

This is NOT just a reprint of the Monthly Monsters material! Each monster has been revised, expanded, and given new illustrations. Every page contains full-colour background art.

WHERE TO GET IT: From DriveThruRPG, click this link

The pdf comes in two versions: one full-colour, the other printer-friendly (with B&W text pages and full-colour monster illustrations). Both are digest-sized, 110 pages, for US$15.
The print is US trade-sized, full colour, 110 pages, for US$30 and comes with the pdfs for free if you want them.

You can also buy the print version by itself (no pdf!) from Lulu at this link. The quality is almost identical, but some countries get much better shipping rates from Lulu.

June 1, 2015

Battle Between the Worlds

bbtw_lowres1Battle Between the Worlds is a set of rules for running one-shot Dungeon Planet adventures. You get new characters with truncated, personalized rules and a bunch of adventure situations to choose from. The GM still has to know how to run Dungeon World, but you can play using only this document.

The character sheets include illustrations by George Metzger, Juan Ochoa, Mike Jackson, and Nate Marcel.

Because I wrote these quick start rules primarily for the upcoming Space Wurm vs. Moonicorn (still not done!), I am releasing it as Pay What You Want.

Here is a link to the pdf on DriveThruRPG.

The print version is available from Lulu.