Friday, December 21, 2012

The Friday Roundup (122112)

With all else going on today, I almost decided to let this one go. Still, I like to be consistent, so here's this week's Roundup of my daily Picks.

It should be noted that I started out doing utterly random Picks for the first three days, mostly because I was still recovering from being seriously ill with bronchitis and near-pneumonia. However, the last couple of Picks were specifically chosen, and for obvious reasons.

The Moonbugs

The Moonbugs is a role-playing game, suitable for ages 6 & up, set on a far-off planet where ‘There Be Monsters’. You play one of these monsters, and adventure across The Planet of the Moonbugs, and beyond.  The game includes lots of already-created monsters, and there are rules to make monsters of your own, with a few simple characteristics, a power and a bane.
The rules are short but surprisingly detailed, with colourful illustrations, to make them accessible to children. There are simple rules to design robots and vehicles, and there is a starter adventure too. The Planet of the Moonbugs is described, and there are easy rules to make many more planets. The system is designed for children to enjoy, but it teaches real role-playing, and is fun for adults too.
What kind of monster are you?

35 Fantasy Towns and Cities

This PDF gives you 35 different realistic short descriptions of fantasy Towns. Cities and Hamlets you might run into. Includes Burg's Name, Description and Style of Government.

(Sorry, that's all they bothered to put. Still, it looks like a really useful product.)

BARBARIAN: Battle for the Throne

Track #1 - "Destiny Awaits" - 5:13
Track #2 - "Blood for Blood" - 7:08
Bonus Track - "Battle for the Throne" Arrangement - 8:52

The Barbarian has traveled far and suffered much. His final task is now at hand. The great stronghold of the enemy lay on the horizon. It is here The Barbarian must face his greatest foe. May his strength and courage lead him to victory!

WINNER - BEST INDEPENDENT ARTIST OF 2007 (Radio Rivendell Fantasy Awards)

Dronolan's Tower produces medieval fantasy music scored for orchestra and choir, in the grand tradition of epic cinema. Often compared to John Williams and Basil Poledouris, this music has found an audience among lovers of fantasy literature, films, and role-playing games.

Deadlands Noir

New Orleans, 1935. Whoever called this “the Big Easy” sure got that one wrong. Things are tough all over. Honest work is hard to find, and even dishonest jobs are getting scarce. The one thing that’s not in short supply is trouble. From shady thugs to crooked cops to Mafia soldiers, there’s plenty of characters out there looking to give an honest Joe a hard time.

And that’s not the worst of it.

There are stories going round about things that go bump in the night. Things you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley on a darker night. And those stories aren’t just coming from rummies or saps who read that Epitaph rag.

Still, there are a few heroes left in the concrete jungle. Steely-eyed private dicks, fast-talking grifters, wild-eyed inventors, and shadowy houngans still struggle against the encroaching darkness. With enough moxie—and more than a little luck—they might just be enough to turn the tide.

Deadlands Noir is a pen-and-paper roleplaying game set in the world of Pinnacle Entertainment’s award-winning Deadlands universe. It includes new Edges, Hindrances, and powers, as well as new rules for handling detective work, the state of the Union and the CSA in the Depression-era, a complete Plot Point campaign, and of course, more monsters and ghouls than you can shake a smoking .45 automatic at.

Deadlands Noir is not a complete game. It requires the Savage Worlds core rules to play. The PDF is fully bookmarked with a hyperlinked table of contents and index. The PDF is also layered to serve as its own printer-friendly version. Full color, full-size (8.5″ x 11″ pages), 144 pages.

Shaintar: Legends Arise (Players Guide)

Sean Patrick Fannon’s vision of Epic High Fantasy comes to life for Savage Worlds in this all new iteration brought to you by Evil Beagle Games.

"The heart of any lasting and memorable roleplaying campaign is the setting. Is it vivid? Alluring? Full of mysteries, as well as straight-ahead challenges?

If the answer is “Yes” to all of these, you are in good hands.

SHAINTAR is deep in “good hands” territory.

Just paging through the Players Guide makes you want to play, and it’s genuinely hard to create a boring character using this book; everything works together to make your Hero interesting. And that’s even before you get to the four detailed Major Enemies lurking in Shaintar. Or the rules for alchemy, or the tantalizing glimpses we get of the Black Lantern and Grayson’s Grey Rangers . . .

A winner. Get this book." -- Ed Greenwood, creator of The Forgotten Realms®

What Is This?

This is, essentially, a simple relaunch of the Shaintar: Player's Guide Beta that was first released by Reality Blurs in August of 2012. We've put a new cover on it, done by the exceptionally talented Susan Knowles.

Really, that's about it. No new edits, no change to the content. The main reason this has been done is to reflect that Reality Blurs is no longer the publisher for Shaintar; that is the domain now of my own publishing effort. Evil Beagle Games. Sean Preston and the RB crew are incredible folks, and they went all out on my behalf for quite a while. I will always be grateful to them for their efforts. They have some serious hits on their hands right now, not the least of which is the fantastic tremulus that is taking the game world by storm ever since their amazing Kickstarter.

With the advent of that wonderful surprise, as well as my finally deciding to strike out on my own as a publisher, we very amicably decided it was time for me to bring Shaintar back under my direct control.

So here is the first step in that process. Relaunching this Player's Guide under the Evil Beagle Games banner. There is much, much more to come, however; by now, you've likely heard or read announcements about Evil Beagle's partnership with Savage Mojo for production; the impending release of the full Shaintar: Legends Arise book; the planned Kickstarted for Shaintar: Legends Unleashed and a slew of other products for the entire line; and so very much more.

For now, enjoy this with our compliments – free, of course – and stay tuned for more.

That's it for this week, and Happy Apocalyptic Shopping, or whatever you're up to this weekend.


The Evil Beagle Post-Apocalypse Revelation!

So excited, I'm not even dressed!

And away we go!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

So Close... So Close...

Look! An awesome picture by my talented friend, Susan Knowles!

"What is it?"
It's the cover for the impending re-release of the Shaintar: Legends Arise Player's Guide.

"Huh? What? Er..."

Yeah, just trust me. Very, very soon this is all going to make a lot more sense.

In the meantime, let me introduce you to the cast depicted: 

Flying in is Jenessa, the aevakar archer/scout who works for the Grayson's Grey Rangers garrison posted in the city of Silverport in the northern Wildlands of Shaintar. She is played by my daughter, the one we lovingly call "Spawn" for public safety reasons for now.

She is flying in to report to the Paladin of Light, Cybelle (played by Lee Ballew) and Brian, the local librarian and a talented adept (played by Carinn Seabolt). Lounging lazily in the foreground (seriously hoping no one actually needs him anytime soon, except to share some tasty fish) is Ssessrei, the dregordian warrior and sometimes dockworker (played by Brandon Shiffler).

Instead of "heroes fighting in action poses," we thought it would be fun to give a more "day in the life of heroes" kind of image.

Oh, and even thought I still... can't.... quite... announce exactly what's going on, anyone wandering around the Evil Beagle Games site may be able to figure out some things right off. 


Monday, December 17, 2012


What felt like a relapse was just the bronchitis kicking me so hard in my remain testicle that I started seeing stars every time I coughed. Apparently I've been willy-nilly inviting pneumonia to take up residence in my lungs and elsewhere. It didn't quite get in (at least, we don't think it did, my doctor and me), but as one friend put it, "they've pulled out all the chemical stops" on this one.

So here comes the prednisone, the albuterol, and the Z-Pac, and back to bed I go.

Extra blargh!


Friday, December 14, 2012

The Friday Roundup (121512)

Although the tragedy of today (tragedies, really; some bastard in China stabbed 22 kids on the same day) almost made me forego this, I've decided the worst thing we can do is let fear and sadness keep us away from Life. So I am going to just push on and do my regular Friday Roundup.

I hugged my daughter a lot, I've sent all the positive energy I can out into the world, and this is one more thing I can do to keep my mind off the horror...

Umbrage of the Automaton (Über RPG: Steampunk scenario)

Umbrage of the Automaton and Professor Hawkstein's Steampunk Scavenger Hunt is the FIRST self-contained adventure scenario for beginning characters based on the award-winning Über RPG: Steampunk ruleset.

Join the hunt for fame and fortune by overcoming challenges created by the enigmatic Professor Hawkstein. Can you solve the ultimate mystery?

For 3+ Players.

Itras By (English)

Start a journey away from reality as you perceive it with your everyday senses. The means are elements from surrealism; an art movement from the 20’s which tries to portray the life of the subconscious. The method is roleplaying, a game where a group of people together create and partake in a story. The end is to free the thoughts from their usual patterns. The intention is to liberate impulsiveness and creative power, maybe even rendering everyone a slight bit wiser.

Itras By is a game turned into living fiction, where all participants are co-creators.


The FOLD FLAT terrain system allows you to create fully modular 28mm scale terrain layouts for your RPG or wargame. This set, BORDERLAND KEEP: Deluxe Edition, gives you everything you need to create your own keep design in a downloadable PDF format, and once you have the set you can print and build as many pieces as you like and never run out or need to purchase more. Additionally, our layer options allow you to customize your keep with options such as gargoyles, soldier statues, stains, ivy and more. This new PDF terrain set features our exclusive Fold-Flat designs, allowing you to fold the majority of your pieces flat for easy storage.  

This set includes: 
• 6" wall 
• 4" wall 
• Large tower 
• Small tower 
• Gate House 
• Stable 
• Large Interior Building 
• Small Interior Building 
• Stairs 
• Ruined wall 
• Ground tiles 
• Portcullis
• Wooden gate doors
• Ballistas
• 1" grid, 1.5" grid & gridless options

The GM's Real-World Reference

The best stories, settings, and NPCs are often inspired by the real world. This book will take you from endless wastes to soaring palaces, through thrilling events and heart-stopping disasters, and introduce you to figures both treacherous and heroic. 

Need a military commander? Have a look at some of history's most colorful generals, like Lamachus, Tomyris, or Götz von Berlichingen. Need a barren wasteland? Don't send your PCs out into the deserts of Generica again! Model their destination on the spiny thickets of Madagascar, the Pripet Marshes, or the Ténéré. Need something unusual happening on the borders of the kingdom? Rather than another rebellion or mysterious cult, why not have it be the exploits of the Captain of Köpenick, the rise of Lysenkoism, or explorers searching for Prester John?

This is not a history book. It's a reference for GMs. We know that nitty-gritty details won't translate into your game. What GMs need is story. Striking, attention-grabbing story that will make your players sit up and say, "Wow! Where do you get these ideas?" 

The book itself is huge: 221 pages on 160 topics. There are subjects from all over the world and from all periods of history. Each topic contains all the information you need to run it at your table, and none of the information you don't. Plus, each one ends with tips on how to use the subject. The document is easy to navigate, with a terrific index to help you find exactly the topic you need for your game.

Second City Boxed Set

Twenty-five years ago, Rokugan fought a terrible battle against an invading gaijin army known as the Destroyers. Although the noble samurai of the Emerald Empire were victorious, the conflict was devastating beyond all others, and the lands of the Great Clans were left in ruins by the fighting. To spare her people the threat of further war, war which would surely lead to the death of an Empire, the Divine Empress sued for peace with the forces of darkness, and then dispatched her vassals to claim the empty lands left behind in the wake of the Destroyers.

A generation later, the untimely death of a prominent magistrate in Rokugan suddenly elevates a group of simple samurai to a position of authority, but the magistrate’s unfinished business sends them to the Second City to see it to completion. There, influential samurai from the Empire have almost limitless potential, but the distractions from duty are numerous.

In the Second City, will honor prove stronger than steel?

This digital version of the original boxed set for the Legend of the Five Rings Role-Playing Game, 4th Edition includes the following:

  • A complete sourcebook on the Second City, and information on the Colonies beyond its border.
  • A sourcebook detailing the various individuals, groups, and agendas that comprise the Governor’s court of the Second City
  • A complete campaign that brings characters from a position as minor deputies in the Emerald Empire to major players within the Colonies, and perhaps back again.
  • A full map of the Second City, plus the original poster-sized map broken out into A4-sized panels, for home printing
  • Yogo Tanaka's journal
  • Ide Arahime's pillow book
So that's it.

Hug your family this weekend. A lot.

And, you know, maybe play some games with them.

Life is precious. All too precious...


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Shaintar News-ish Teasery

It is Wednesday, so I shall be bloggy today, even though I am still recovering from what has turned out to be a very nasty cold.

So let me use the Barking of the Beagle to tease out some plans regarding Shaintar, so that those who actually bother to read this (either on my Facebook page on on my blog) will get some advance notice about some really cool stuff. Note that I will have to be somewhat vague about some details; some specific coordination is required among specific entities before more specifics can be specified.

Yeah, sorry about that. Blame the cold medicines.

First off, both core books are written and edited. They are not vaporware, I promise. All that remains is the various elements of production required to do a book of quality - art, layout, graphic design. As well, they need to be produced in a fashion that will make them ready for the Digital Print Program that DriveThruRPG offers, so that they are immediately available as print products.

At this point, I can assure you that Shaintar: Legends Arise (the book that covers game play for both players and GMs from Novice to Veteran ranks as per Savage Worlds) is already undergoing that process as I type this. My plan is for you to have it in your hands shortly after the holidays.

I have a very interesting plan where Shaintar: Legends Unleashed (which covers Heroic and Legendary play) is concerned, as well as the *many* Guide Books, Faction Books, and Adventure Books that are planned and, in many cases, already written as well.

What's the plan, you ask?

Well, let's just say it's a rather kicky way to start up something pretty huge, and huge is what I will be going for by the time all is said and done.

If you've been paying attention to the new Shaintar Community on G+, you got another interesting hint that may help tie a few things together as well. Just sayin'.

Those of you who love and support Shaintar are precious to me, and your patience is incredibly appreciated. It seemed a good time to reward that with some assurances that plans are engaged and things really are happening. 2013 promises to be a great year for Shaintar.

Game on!


Bring Dice & Chips: Tell Me About Your PC

Click on the image to see the full-sized version.

Monday, December 10, 2012

I Is Sick



Too sick to blog, so here's a picture of my goofy muttling, Riah.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Return of the Friday Roundup (120712)

Since at least a few folks indicated that they do like this feature, I am getting back to it. So once again, here's a Roundup of all the Picks of the Day for this week from DriveThruRPG -

On Monday, I featured the Second Annual Teach Your Kids to Game Week, started by DriveThruRPG last year and coming back swinging in 2012. This has garnered a great deal of attention, and I am particularly proud of having been part of the team that started it. This year, I helped design and develop FirstFable, a free product published directly by OneBookShelf, Inc. to support the cause of bringing more kids into our wonderful hobby.

Conspiracy Rules!

Conspiracy Rules is the first book of Dark Conspiracy III, an update to the original and in many ways ground-breaking urban horror RPG of the 1990s. This update brings the rules into alignment with Traveller: The New Era and Twilight 2000, version 2.2. The second book in the series, Conspiracy Lives, updates the setting.

Featuring internal fiction by Jason L. Blair and Matt Forbeck with original artwork by David Lee Ingersoll, Bradley K. McDevitt, and an original artist from the first edition, Earl Geier, this rules set contains:

  • Modified Chargen
  • Management of Contacts
  • Clarified rules for automatic gunfire and initiative
  • Updated weapons

Look for the setting book Conspiracy Lives coming soon.

Mermaid Adventures RPG

Dive into adventure and fun! Mermaid Adventures is a game that lets you and your friends become mermaids, forming friendships, fighting sea monsters and solving strange undersea mysteries. Great for families and players of all ages!


  • 8 different kinds of merfolk
  • Complete and simple rules designed for kids
  • Colorful, eye-catching illustrations 
  • 5 Sample Adventures to get you going

Monte Cook on Game Design: Recorded Seminar

Veteran roleplaying game designer Monte Cook discusses various game design topics, answers questions, and provides insights into tabletop rpg design.

This product is a recording of a live online seminar held using Adobe Connect software. You will be provided with a link to the recording upon your purchase of this product.


The Quests of the Fairie Queen are board games intended as an introduction to role playing for children. It is suggested that an adult take the role of game master, to help the players learn and play the game.

There you go, friends! It's a great time to be a gamer, especially with game-interested kids!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Peace on Earth (Or At Least the Table)

It really has been the season...

I've reached out to two people who were friends, and then were not for a time. The whys and wherefores are not really important. Bad communication, poor choices, and harsh judgment all played a part on all sides.

Regardless, one-too-many renditions of Lennon's “So This is Christmas” hit me in the heart like a shotgun blast, and I determined to reach out and re-connect. They have both welcomed this, and I feel magnificently better for it. Such gifts cannot be wrapped with a bow, yet they are shiny and wonderful nonetheless.

There has been drama on the home front, with deeply hurt feelings and overwhelming anger rampant. Then, with hard conversations and even harder self-reflection, peace was achieved.

We are a passionate lot, we gamers. We dream big, we feel big, and we often react in big ways. Pain runs deepest when its caused by those we love dearest, and gaming groups do tend to form bonds of love that create families-of-choice. When we fight, the fires flare, words are used as weapons, and doors often get slammed.

This is the season to open those doors, offer your hand and your heart, and get back to rolling dice together.

Life is too short; that's one of the essential messages of which this time of year is meant to remind us. Heed that message and find ways to heal hurts and regain lost friendships.

Thus endeth the message.

Game on.


Bring Dice & Chips: The Gathering

Click on the image to see the full-sized version

With my return to creating new Bring Dice & Chips strips for the DriveThruRPG Newsletter, I thought folks might enjoy starting the journey with the original strips here on the Barking Blog. This is the very first strip I ever created, using the rather nifty Stripgenerator tool.

So from now on, each Wednesday, I'll be posting the comics I did for DriveThruRPG (and, occasionally, some of the ones I did for DriveThruComics as well).

Because of the formatting of this blog, you will want to click on the micro-image of the comic so you can see (and be able to read) the full-sized version.



Monday, December 3, 2012

The Gift of Gaming

So I helped start a movement last year.

It's become something of a big deal, and I admit that I am really proud to be a part of it.

Last year, as part of the DriveThruRPG team, I helped put the thing together and promoted it. This year, my last duty as part of that same awesome team was to oversee the development of FirstFable, a game designed by Matthew McFarland and published by DriveThruRPG directly as a free product for all those wishing to bring the magic of RPGs to the young ones in their life.

So I would like to take this time to seriously encourage all of you who have kids, or know kids, or know folks who want to enjoy gaming with kids to grab this excellent book. While you're at it, check out all of the other amazing products that are targeted at this new, very special audience.

Not only can you give the gift of gaming to kids, but you can give us all the gift of seeing our hobby grow and thrive in the years to come as our kids start joining us at the table.