Monday, July 13, 2009

[Hiatus] Every Day is Ferbieday

It is with great regret that I must announce an extended hiatus of Adventure Game News.

I began this news blog two months ago with two goals.

First, I wanted to get back into the game news gig; I love the adventure games industry, every genre of it, from roleplaying games and board game to miniatures game and trading card games. I love games in all forms for the sake of games themselves, as I believe games to be the second-best form of social interaction possible. Hunting down information, putting together news articles and reviews, reading and playing games for reviews... I could easily spend all my waking moments working on game news; back in my Krause Publications days, sometimes, I did spend every waking moment working on it! I enjoy every aspect of the game news biz... except one.

There's no longer any percentage in it, i.e., there is no money in it. At least, not in the current economy, and not under current market circumstances. Were I independently wealthy, or had a job that could pay the bills and leave me time to publish game news on the side, this would not be an issue. So when I began Adventure Game News, it was with the the idea that eventually, it would reach a point where it would actually pay for itself, or at least, supplement my income enough that I could honestly say that the time spent on supporting the site was at least equal to the time lost working on products for Adventure Games Publishing.

Unfortunately, I do not now see that happening during the current recession. In fact, I would argue that we are not in a recession, we are in fact in a depression. History has shown that games are generally recession proof, at least, since the last great recession in the early 80's. Games weathered every recession since with flying colors; since the recession of the early '80s, it was the ups and downs of the game market itself that has caused dislocations in the game market. From the TCG boom and bust to the d20 boom and glut, it was always the cycle of popular games and game fads that caused the booms and the busts. But this time... this time it is different.

Between advances in home publishing, print on demand, PDF sales, and the growing interconnectedness of gamers through blogs and social sites, the adventure game industry had already taken no few hits to its viability as an industry... essentially, the hobby had again caught up with the industry, so that hobbyists at home could produce games that, if not truly professional, at least were good enough... and especially when the price was right, i.e., usually free! This, combined with the current worldwide general economic depression, may be the death of the adventure game industry as we know it. Maybe... or maybe not. All I know is that right now, if I want to be able to continue publishing in the games market at all, I need to concentrate my efforts on either Adventure Game News or Adventure Games Publishing.

And as I still have obligations under Adventure Games Publishing, and as it is the only one of the two that has proven that it can at least make some money, it wins, for now.

So Adventure Game News is going on hiatus. It is likely to be an extended hiatus, through to the end of the current economic dislocation. Once the economy recovers, if it recovers, and if the adventure games industry recovers with it, we shall return.

I thank those of you who have sent materials for review; I will publish reviews for products sent to date here, on my personal game blog, and in Adventure Games Journal. However, please do not send further products for review unless you want them to be reviewed on my personal game blog and in the Journal, as once I finish the reviews for products currently on the review pile, I will cease all posts on Adventure Game News.

I want to thank all the readers of this news blog for their patronage in the past. Please check in here every couple months, especially once the economy has recovered, to see if we have started up again...

James Mishler
President, Adventure Games Publishing

Monday, July 6, 2009

[Product Release] 100 More Calamitous Curses

From Adventure Games Publishing:

Castles & Crusades
100 More Calamitous Curses

100 More Calamitous Curses follows the original 100 Calamitous Curses product with 100 new unusual and interesting curses the Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper can use in his campaign. These can be bestowed upon player characters through mischance and misfortune or used by player character clerics and wizards on hapless non-player enemies. While designed for use with Castles & Crusades, the curses are easily adapted to any fantasy role-playing game system.

Few of these curses are of the immediately deadly sort, save perhaps to 1st level characters; they are all designed to fall within the parameters set by the bestow curse spell, the reverse of the remove curse spell which is useable as a 3rd level clerical spell or 4th level wizard spell.

Examples of curses include:

#16: Curse of the Noxious Noma: The accursed one’s face begins to rot away, with all flesh from the ears forward sloughing off horribly over a number of days equal to the accursed one’s Charisma. Every other day of the rotting process he gains a penalty of -1 to any Charisma attribute or ability check or saving throw, to a maximum penalty of 1/2 his Charisma rounded up. As the lips and cheeks are very important in proper speech, the accursed one also develops a severe speech impediment. If the accursed one seeks to convey anything complex, or must cast a spell that requires a verbal component, he must make a level-based Intelligence check with a CL equal to the Charisma penalty, or he fails to convey his meaning/the spell fails. Though it is a painful process, unlike real sufferers of noma, the accursed one does not thereafter die; he lives on with his face rotted away.

#30: Curse of Piratical Preoccupation: The accursed one believes himself to be a pirate of the high seas. He speaks only using pirate speak (and now knows it and its intricacies, even if utterly unfamiliar with it before), refuses to do anything else until he is dressed as a pirate and has his equipment stored in a sea chest, seeks out a parrot to wear upon his shoulder and a jug of rum to carry at his belt, and once thusly prepared, makes with all haste to the nearest pirate haven, there to find a ship on which to serve as a pirate. Once upon a pirate ship, he will seem to be the best pirate known to history or legend, able to do feats that others only ever dream (leap from mast to mast, fight sharks bare-handed, etc.). His first goal thereafter is to work the men into frenzy to follow him as their captain, mutiny against the true captain, and then lead the pirate ship into glory, hunting the largest and best-defended prize ship known to sail the seas. Once the pirate ship is engaged in battle with the defenders of the prize, the accursed one forgets everything that happened to him from the moment he became accursed, and in addition, forgets how to swim.

#52: Curse of the Danse Macabre: All creatures the accursed one slays rise 24 hours later as skeletons and zombies; these undead never attack, even to defend themselves, for if destroyed, they simply rise again 1d10 minutes later. They reconstitute even if burned, though if disintegrated, they are destroyed permanently. They dance and pirouette, cavort and sashay, slowly but surely making their way toward the accursed one, and when they arrive at the accursed one’s location, they dance continual circle around him, calling out his name with their dead voices. If he flees, they follow, forming a long conga line of death and undeath.

#98: Curse of Rider’s Ruin: Whenever the accursed one rides a horse, donkey, camel, elephant, or similar mount, or uses such to draw a wagon, cart, or other vehicle in which he rides, upon the accursed one dismounting from the steed or disembarking the vehicle, the creature(s) must make a Physical saving throw or die on the spot.

Rules for removing curses and details for including cursed scrolls in treasure troves are also included.

Castles & Crusades: 100 More Calamitous Curses
By James Mishler
AGP00652, 15-page PDF, $3.00 MSRP

Click here to buy
100 More Calamitous Curses
on DriveThruRPG

Full Disclosure: I am the publisher and sole proprietor of Adventure Games Publishing, and the author of this work.

Friday, July 3, 2009

[Ferbieday] Happy Ferbieday!

Another week passes. Now that everyone is getting home and recovering from Origins, maybe we'll see more developments in the industry, especially on Gen Con releases.

This next week will be very light on posts, as our wedding is on Friday July 10th, and I have family and friends arriving even before then.

But never fear! Once the wedding is past, Adventure Game News shall return with a vengeance, with numerous daily news posts, reviews, retailer reports, interviews, and more!

(Oh, and I hope to post this last week's Week in Games sometime this weekend... sorry about the delay on that...)

[Retailer Report] Castle Perilous June 2009

From Castle Perilous:

Castle Perilous
Scott Thorne, PhD
207 West Main St.
Carbondale IL 62901-2919

Board Games: Axis & Allies from Wizards of the Coast; people are buying the various sets in anticipation of their going out of print when the new edition launches.

Card Games: Gloom from Atlas Games; the release of Unfortunate Expeditions has stiffed interest in the game

Collectible Miniature Games: Star Wars Miniatures from Wizards of the Coast; again, as last month, having a dedicated group twice a week to play sure helps move product.

Miniature Games: Warhammer 40,000 from Games Workshop; the Lucky 13 campaign is creating interest among players.

Roleplaying Games: Shadowrun from Catalyst Game Labs; the announcement of the revised edition has gotten people looking at the currently-available products.

Trading Card Games: Magic: The Gathering from Wizards of the Coast; what can I say? Day in and day out, it sell steadily.

Wargames: Strategy & Tactics magazine; we picked up a good sized collection of these and have been moving them out slowly.

Other Game-Related Products: Chessex dice in boxes sell a little better than dice in bags.

Comic Books: Batman and Robin #1 from DC Comics; there is some interest in this but not as much as I had figured.

Did you participate in Free RPG Day, and if so, how did it go in your store? Yes, but it went slower than last year. Despite more in-store promotion and signing, we only had about six people specifically come in for the event. Everyone else, we pointed it out to them as they came in.

What cool events are coming up in your store in the next month? We have a Legend of the Five Rings Celestial tournament on July 5th. We are running the Magic 2010 pre-release on July 11th and 12th and a 40K ’Ard Boyz tournament on the 12th. There are also two Apocalypse Lucky 13 tournaments, one on the 18th for those that can make it on Saturday and another on the 22nd for our regular Wednesday crowd.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

[Product Release] Monstrous Menaces #3

From Adventure Games Publishing:

Castles & Crusades
Monstrous Menaces #3
Akhlat, Oogloog, and Woodwose

Adventure Games Publishing presents the third in a series of new monsters for the Castles & Crusades Castle Keeper to populate his dungeons and wilderness. Each installment of the Monstrous Menaces series presents three new monsters for a mere dollar, eminently affordable in today’s economy.

The third installment, Monstrous Menaces #3: Akhlat, Oogloog, and Woodwose, presents the Castle Keeper with a 4 HD Aberration, a 5 HD Ooze, and a 7 to 9 HD Monstrous Humanoid. Each entry includes complete listings for the monster’s description, organization, ecology, treasure, range, and special abilities.

An akhlat is a chimerical creature, possessing the head of a man, the feathered body and wings of a vulture, the legs and feet of a monkey, the arms and claws of a tiger, and the tail of an ass. The human head is overly large for the body, and bald; its eyes are black and beady like those of a vulture, its nose is large and long and blackened with warts, and its mouth is filled with tiger-like teeth and the forked tongue of a serpent. Its flesh is as hard as bronze, its teeth and claws like steel, and its breath is noxious like swamp-gas.

Oogloog are giant alien amoeba-like beings with a cruel, inhuman intellect. On a humanoid scale, their Intelligence would be placed in the High to Genius categories; however, their form of sentience is significantly different from that of other organisms.

Oogloog naturally take the form of a giant amoeba-like structure, essentially a bag of slimy acid filled with small globules of foreign materials (i.e. food). They have great control over their shape, however, and can take on the form of a bipedal humanoid, complete with head, two arms, hands, fingers, two legs, feet, and toes. Some possess a most cruel sense of humor, and enjoy preserving various body parts of victims, such as eyes and teeth, and using those to affect possession of such body parts (though having “eyes” and “teeth” in this way provides them no extra abilities to see or bite).

Also known as almas, bigfoot, sasquatch, wild men, yeren, or yeti, woodwoses are seven to nine foot tall humanoids covered with thick brown, brownish-red, black, or white fur. The hair covers it everywhere except on the palms of its hands and feet, which are thick and calloused. They look mostly human, with an apish cast to face and build, and with very apish teeth but very human eyes. Woodwoses never wear clothing or jewelry.

Some exhibit elvish blood or human blood, others orcish, ogre, or even hill giant blood, or even a mix of two or three other blood lines; woodwoses are able to breed with all five races, though one in eight of such crossbreeds are sterile, and one in eight of those with other blood go insane upon reaching puberty.

Monstrous Menaces #3: Akhlat, Oogloog, and Woodwose
By James Mishler
AGP06003, 9-page PDF, $1.00 MSRP

Click here to buy
Monstrous Menaces #3
now on DriveThruRPG

Full Disclosure: I am the publisher and sole proprietor of Adventure Games Publishing, and the author of this work.

[Product Release] Knights of the Dinner Table #152

From Kenzer & Company:

Knights of the Dinner Table is a multiple award-winning magazine featuring the gaming industry’s most popular comic strip, as well as being a full-fledged gaming magazine featuring d20, HackMaster and other articles for gamers, from a gamer’s perspective. Not only do thousands of gamers read KoDT and share it with their friends, they re-read it cover to cover and then re-read it again. Don't miss this hilarious and hysterical slice of (fantasy) life, and wonderful celebration of the gaming culture!

KoDT #152: Warp Factor 5

The Strips
The Crit Hits the Fan: a Hard Eight Enterprises strip featuring: Weird Pete, Squirrely, Tuley, and Pete Skipowsky.
New Blood: a Knights strip featuring: B.A., Bob, Dave, Sara, and Brian.
Bringing in Waco: a Hard Eight Enterprises strip featuring: JoJo and Waco.
Aren't You Going to Say It?: a Knights strip featuring: B.A., Bob, Dave, Sara, and Brian.
The Night Caller: a Hard Eight Enterprises strip featuring: Waco, JoJo, and Gary Jackson.
The Wager: a Knights strip featuring: Patty, Earl, Nitro, B.A., Squirrely, and Weird Pete.
One-Two Punches

Feature Articles
A Walk Thru HackMaster Basic {HackMaster Basic} by Kenzer and Company
The Art of WaRPGs {systemless} by Jeff Phillips

GameMaster's Workshop
Deadly Trappings: Tuck's Tormenting Tunnel {fantasy; systemless} by Heather Woodhurst
Casting Call: Challie Nain {HackMaster Basic} by Barbara Blackburn
All Things Magic: The Ramming Helm of the Ram {HackMaster 4th edition} by Brian M. Sammons
Bait and Tackle: Generic Adventure Hooks and Encounters for the GM to run with {fantasy; systemless}
Rustlers of the Night: Agaricus Fairy {HackMaster 4th edition} by James Butler
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Larson Bayz, Reaker, and Nalagari {HackMaster Basic} by Barbara Blackburn
Rustlers of the Night: War Dog, Gargoyle, Hill Giant {HackMaster Basic} by Kenzer and Company

Regular Columns
Tales from the Table: Actual tales from our readers
Web Scryer: Get Back to Basics surfed by Kenneth Newquist
Geek Fu Action Grip: Baby's First Frag observed by Mur Lafferty
Gaming the Movies: X-Men by Jim Davenport

Lost Game Safari: Ghostbusters International scouted by Chris Gunn
Lookin' at Comics: Cars, Chicks, and Thrills scrutinized by Tony DiGerolamo
The Quotable Gamer: A Castle for All Seasons explained by William Morgal
The “Indy” Game Scene: Slasher Flick explored by Ashok Desai
Disks of Wondrous Power: Would You Believe...? played by Rick Moscatello
Board Squawk: Caylus Magna Carta boarded by Nick Medinger
Off the Shelf: League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore read by Paul Westermeyer
Brian's Picks: Curriculum of Conspiracy, Epic RPG Manual, Murder of Crows

Cries from the Attic: Editorial of a madman
Table Talk: Our Readers Talk Back
Behind the Curtain
Game Vine
Weird Pete's Bulletin Board
Back Room at the Games Pit
Parting Shots

Other Toons
Math and Maimings by the Brothers Grimm
Unnamed cartoons by Chris Avellone, Jolly R. Blackburn, and Indy Bill

80 pages, $4.99, B&W

Click here to go to the
Kenzer & Company
store on DriveThruRPG

[Product Release] The Secret of Ronan Skerry

From Brave Halfling Publishing:

Castles & Crusades
The Secret of Ronan Skerry

by Michael Davis

An adventure for 4-6 players of levels 1-3

The town of Port Vogey is in distress. For several weeks, no ships have come into port, and no one knows why. Now the new moon has passed and the lighthouse keepers, the monks of the Sea Goddess, have missed their monthly trip into Vogey for supplies. The town council are not sure whether this is due to mishap or foul play, but you have heard they are looking for some eager adventurers to investigate.

This 32-page digest-sized module includes four new monsters, four maps (two are 3-d and one is a wilderness/area map), three original pieces of art and a monster reference sheet.

This module is available in Print, including a PDF of the module, for $6.99 (plus $1 shipping to the United States, $2 shipping to Canada, and $3 shipping to World-Wide)

The PDF-only version of this module is available for $5.00 on the Brave Halfling Publishing site.

[Product Release] Buried Tales Anthology

From 12 to Midnight:

Buried Tales of Pinebox, Texas
Welcome to Pinebox, a sleepy little East Texas town with more than its share of trouble. Whether it's the snake cultists running the local bar or vengeful spirits haunting the high school boys locker room, there always seems to be some sort of trouble brewing just below the surface. Join us for a dozen tales of horror from these haunting voices in fiction.
Editor: Matt M. McElroy

Lovable Creatures, by Jason Blair - Alby and Angie have seen some weird things during the graveyard shift at Speedy Pete's gas 'n beer. Things just got weirder.

The One That Got Away, by Preston P. DuBose - A fishing trip on Lake Greystone takes a turn for the strange when best friends Clay and Pete find a body in the water. Things get even more interesting when the body turns out to still be alive!

Mother, by Trey Gorden - Art has never had what you'd call a successful life. In fact, you could call it downright cursed. But all of that could finally change after he sees a news story that offers a tantalizing hint about his mother's death. All he has to do is live long enough to see it through.

The Evil Within, by Derek Gunn - What could cause bodies to appear dessicated practically overnight? A rookie Sheriff's deputy refuses to turn a blind eye to Pinebox's unusual qualities when he teams up with the county's unofficial coroner to solve a series of murders.

Stigmatized Property, by Jess Hartley - Real Estate Agent Suzanne Witcomb has slowly watched her business fall apart after the death of her husband. Her exotic, handsome, and--most importantly--wealthy new client may just be her ticket for getting out of Pinebox.

Guitar Zero, by Shane Lacy Hensley - ETU student and hot-shot programmer Cal Griffis can't resist the challenge of learning the contents of dead friend's private hard drive. What kind of research project could have led to his death? Unfortunately for Cal, this is one challenge he wishes he had never accepted.

Blood-Born, by Charles Rice - A hospital visit turns violent for a recovering Leukemia patient. If Jack can't control the presence growing inside him, it threatens to consume him just as it has done his predecessors.

Pie, by Monica Valentinelli - One villain is pitted against another in this cat-and-mouse tale of murder, mistaken identity... and pie!

Off Radio, by David Wellington - Deputy Clark is faced with tough decisions when an ETU student's decapitation brings up a painful secret.

The Witch of Linda Lane, by Ed Wetterman - How far will a pair of kids go to right wrongs and put a stop to an evil crone living in their neighborhood? Is it far enough?

Last Exit to Pinebox, by J.D. Wiker - Road-weary travelers stop at an all-night diner on Christmas Eve in Pinebox, hoping for coffee and directions. Unfortunately, leaving isn't as easy.

The Hanging Tree, by Filamena Young - Pinebox seems like a great place for a young lawyer, one just like Louis Rainer, to make his mark as a public defender. However, it's hard to defend your clients when they offer full confessions when coming face to face with Judge Howard Lindsey. What makes them so terrified? Should Rainer feel the same?

Click here to buy
Buried Tales
at DriveThruRPG