* ROB KUNTZ, Special Guest at ARNECON 2 GAMING CONVENTION 2024, Minneapolis MN, See You There! *

Monday, January 20, 2014

Wanted: _Bottle City_ Errata

I'm collecting errata for the Black Blade reprint of Rob's Bottle City level from the original Lake Geneva Castle. 

This is what I have thus far:

- Add a description about how one-way doors are represented on the map, and how they work in the Bottle City level (this erratum already appears in the Bottle City transcript .pdf download).
- Clarify where key #12 on the map is, as it seems to be missing.  My best guess is that in the trio of round rooms in the NW map (SE of 1, S of cavern A, and N of cavern C), the NE-most room has a red 1 marked on it, and that Rob never drew the corresponding 2 to make "12" BITD, or perhaps the 2nd number faded over time, or was covered over by tape or erased or something.
- Remove duplicated paragraph on the Whelk on pages 10-11 (the text appears once without a sidebar box surrounding it on page 10, and once again within a sidebar box on page 11).
- Fix the initial text in the OGL, which identifies the book as Tower of Blood instead of Bottle City.

If you have found any errors, omissions, typos, or text that requires clarification in Bottle City, please add them to the comments in this thread, or email me directly.



Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Watch Where You Step! (Dark Druids Preview)

Illustration rough by Ian Baggley
A quick teaser/preview for the forthcoming new printing of Rob's Dark Druids module!

Ian Baggley delivered this rough (i.e., unfinished) illustration today to check over. Even though it's just a "rough," it's still pretty amazing. I threw him a curve-ball: I asked for a silhouette-style illustration (because it needs to stand out on a 2-page spread that has two other illustrations that are larger), and oh man did he deliver! It's so cool!

Ian might be best known among gamers for his copious artwork in the North Wind Adventures products, wherein he shows his amazing skill with charcoals (I believe). But the above rough shows he has skill with other media too! Dark Druids will feature at least 14 illustrations by Ian, most of which are inked from pencil sketches. (That's my layman's guess based on the end result. Apologies, Ian if I got the detail wrong there!)

Over the coming weeks, I'll show some previews from all the other involved artists. (Reminder: Rob already posted a Dark Druids art preview by Andy "ATOM" Taylor a couple weeks ago.)

Once I'm a little closer to being done with the production, I'll put some teaser info on the Chaotic Henchmen Productions site. (I don't want to put any info there until I'm more confident about ship date, price, etc.) In the mean time, here are some random factoids: 56 pages; classic-style detached cover with maps on the cover interior; outdoor section plus three dungeon levels; 71 keyed areas; an outline for continued adventures; historical commentary about how the content was used in the original campaign; a bunch of new magic items; four new monsters; a new class and cult; roughly 40 spells; roughly 50 illustrations!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Spontaneous Role Playing with my 5-year-old

... or how a kid taught his dad a few things.

But first, a quick, "hello!" My name is Guy Fullerton, and besides playing AD&D and various other rpgs, I also occasionally publish and/or help produce rpg modules & supplements. Rob kindly invited me to post here, and in a few weeks I will post a some teasers and tidbits about the upcoming reprinting of his excellent Dark Druids module. For now, though, I offer a brief anecdote on an unexpected role playing session with my young son...

As a parent, sometimes I get into odd conversations in places that might surprise a non-parent. A few days ago, while in the bathroom to keep my five-year-old son company while he sat on the potty before bed (too much information, sorry!), I happened to mention D&D. I don't recall the exact remark, but it might have been about running my lunch-time AD&D campaign earlier that day. The conversation quickly became challenging.

Me: "blah blah ... Dungeons & Dragons ... blah blah."

Son: "Dad, how do you play Dungeons & Dragons?"

Me: <pause> "Uh. It's like... Hmm."

A parental predicament! How does one explain D&D to a five year old who is supposed to go to sleep soon? I chose a simple answer, so as to keep the definition flexible, but also to avoid any monster-ish bits (bad dream fuel), and to avoid exciting conflict bits that might get him wound up before sleep.

Me: "You imagine yourself in a situation, and then decide what to do."

Son: <slightly furrowed brow, suggesting he sort of understood, but wasn't totally sure>

Me: "It's kind of like this: Imagine you are in a boat, in the very middle of a really big swimming pool, like the one at the athletic club*. It's getting close to dinner time, and you feel very hungry. Nobody else is around. What do you do?"

(*where he has started taking swimming lessons)

Son: "Eat some food!"

Gah! Not the best DM skills on my part there. I didn't describe the situation sufficiently, so:

Me: "Oh no! There's no food in the boat with you! What do you do now?"

Son: <pauses to think> "I wait."

Initially that answer surprised me, but in retrospect it makes sense. He's not much of a swimmer yet, so I wouldn't expect him to try getting into the water. And he's still pretty dependent on my wife and I when it comes to getting food. Admittedly the situation didn't give him any tools, so I decided to supply a potential, though indirect, tool...

Me: "You wait for a little while, and are even hungrier. Hey—here comes your big brother! He doesn't see you though, because he is walking across the pool deck to go somewhere else. What do you do?"

Son: "I wait."

My eyes opened wide with surprise. But that's okay; now he can observe a consequence...

Me: "Your brother passes by without noticing you, and he's now getting pretty far away." <pause>

Son: <silently waiting for me to talk more>

Me: "Your brother is out of sight now. You're still very hungry, and it must be around dinner time—you'd normally be eating right now. What do you do?"

Son: "I wait."

I gave my son a sideways look of suspicion. Maybe he's treating this more like a bedtime story. On the other hand, maybe he's just being silly. On the other-other hand, it's close to bedtime, and he's not at his best when he's tired.

Since my wife and I are generally the suppliers of his basic necessities, I tried to spur action by bringing one of us into the imaginative environment...

Me: "You wait more, and you are *really* hungry now. Oh look! Here comes mommy! She's walking near the edge of the pool. It looks like she is headed to the same place your brother went. But she doesn't see you in the boat, either. What do you do?"

Son: "I wait."

Here, I sorta wanted to shake my head in defeat, but again: Possible mitigating circumstances. I decided to wrap things up quickly and get on with bedtime...

Me: "Mommy walks on past, without noticing you in the boat. She goes out of sight, just like your brother did. Okay, kiddo—time to get down from the potty and wash hands and stuff."

So we did all the bedtime stuff, and he went to sleep.

On first reflection I felt like the experience (experiment?) was a failure. I thought of a dozen ways I could have framed a situation that was less puzzle-ish. And certainly I'll use some of those ideas next time we play this kind of game.

But later I realized it was actually a very rewarding experience. Obviously my son get to observe some consequences of action ... or inaction, as the case may be. More importantly, though, I saw how he might react in a situation of separation. I learned a little bit more about his (overly?) patient temperament. It reminded me that we haven't talked about how to get help when you're alone, or when you're not sure what to do.

For me as a parent, that's powerful stuff.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Garycon 6 Schedule + Other

I will be running Lost City of the Elders at Garycon VI in March:  Thu/Fri/Saturday

I am also scheduled to give a seminar on Open Form in RPGs.

Due to my personal commitment to writing two non-fiction books, which are proceeding tremendously well, I have decided to open this blog to various authors of note, who may or may not find the time to post items of interest here:

Timeshadows (Kyrinn Eis) who is the creator of World of Urutsk and maintains a high Google+ profile in gaming and discussion circles.  She is a personal friend and a designer of merit on many levels.

Allan Grohe:  Advanced studier and compiler of Greyhawk lore, game designer and partner at Black Blade Publishing. We share a lot of e-mails and phone conversations, so getting him to find the time to post something here might in fact be limited to my upcoming works through BB, but we can hope otherwise.

Guy Fullerton:  Guy's a real thinker and delver into the form. He is also the chief honcho at Chaotic Henchmen.  His insightful article on my Lost City of the Elder's adventure he partook in at Garycon5 was a really good piece.  I hope he finds some time from his busy schedule with family, Apple, Inc., and CHP to post something here.