Category Archives: News, Rants & Reviews

Barbaric! Resources

Let’s face it. Barbaric! from Stellagamma Publishing is becoming a favorite of my folks including myself. But being a new game, there aren’t many resources for it, yet, and most stuff is written for the d20 based games. Never fear. I did a little thinking and digging and here you go.

On the blog side, Eric over at Swords & Stitchery and Mark over at Cross Planes have done fine job of brewing up some monsters for Barbaric! and Cepheus Atom. There may be more out there but these two just happen to be in my Internet sphere. Yes, I have to get off my butt and do some posts. Trust me. I’m working on it.

The most obvious resource is to pick up Sword of Cepheus. It’s basically the daddy of Barbaric! Sword of Cepheus uses the full blown Cepheus Engine rules so it’s more complex in many fashions. The monster stat blocks are more involved but can be easily converted. There’s a more detailed equipment list plus a bunch of new or expanded random tables to make a Barbaric! game more interesting. All that is ready with little or no conversion. Just recently released is Scandinavian Legends with more monsters and spells! I haven’t had too much of a chance to go over this one yet nor have I had a chance to even look at Of Realms Unbound. And how can we forget Quantum Sorcery if you want an even lighter game than Barbaric!

Now on to a few books that I think every GM should have any way. There’s Tome of Adventure Design. Sure it says Pathfinder and Swords & Wizardry on the cover but the majority of the tables are system neutral. Now, this is a pretty hefty book and it’s not really designed to used at the table but for GM prep and inspiration. Along those same lines is The Dungeon Alphabet. I’ll admit that this I had totally forgotten about. This is another great mostly system neutral resource.

I’m also cheap and there’s a couple of free PDF’s from Northwind Adventures for Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea. Namely, the Drunken Debauchery random table and the Adventure Generator. These too are system neutral. Oh there’s more stuff on their resources page.

I know there’s more out there but I just wanted to pick out my “top” picks for stuff that I would turn to.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships, Really?

I keep hearing this and as 5E gains in popularity, I keep hearing it more. At first, I did buy into it but I’m starting to wonder about that.

I get the idea. 5E D&D does well and by default so does the rest of the RPG market. It brings more people into the hobby. More things are sold. But I think that it does get to the point the the rising tide can start to swallow up the smaller ships. Let’s look at a few things.

It brings more people into the hobby is the big one. But how many people come into the hobby via 5E stray from the 5E fold. And how many stay for any long period of time? I can only offer opinion on these two points based on my own observations. There’s a hard core sector that won’t stray from 5E. They don’t look outside that box. And I’ve seen lots of folks who I thought weren’t gamers, get into 5E for a while but not stay that long and just move on. I don’t think many of them will be still be playing their “old” game decades later. I think some are just playing it because it’s popular right now.

It’s mainstream now. So many times, I see this as more of a curse than a blessing. Sure you can get D&D stuff at big box stores and even on Amazon and usually at a lower price than available at your friendly local mom and pop gaming store. So much for supporting local businesses. Along with that, there’s plenty of folks who want to pop in start a shit storm then walk way because they have actual interest in the hobby. And then there’s the higher profile articles about RPG’s from “news” sources that don’t cover table top gaming. Any one who’s been around a while notices that a lot of those articles are very poorly researched and do nothing for other RPG’s and often puts them into a less than stellar light.

Celebrity endorsements! Ugh. There is no gentle way to put this. If you’re playing just because some celebrity is playing then you aren’t going to be looking around for more games. I put these folks in the same bucket as the “playing because it’s popular” crowd.

Corporations kill creativity. Let’s just say that corporate D&D will do for RPG’s what McDonald’s did for hamburgers. And don’t forget the lawyers and accountants. Lawsuits and bean counting aren’t the most creative of environments.

Hello, small publishers. Congratulations. You’re even more insignificant. There’s a steep hill to climb for small publishers. That hill gets steeper as bigger companies dominate the space. Just ask all those local bookstores when Amazon started selling books.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Yes, I’ve heard “so goes D&D, so goes the hobby”. That’s bad but it’s an unfortunate reality. Paizo did pull of Pathfinder when many fans disliked 4th Edition. But as WOTC’s influence grows, it makes it even more difficult for another Paizo to come along.

Having one company has so much influence over the market, tone, and community doesn’t lend itself to a long term healthy community. As I said, it kills creativity when the dollars and conversation are centered just one publishers/game. It makes competition even more difficult for mom and pop games stores and small publishers.

What do do? Well, keep the home fires burning and keep the grass roots growing. Support the local games stores. Support the odd ball small publishers. Have fun and talk about it.

Happy Birthday Roger Corman

Happy Birthday to Roger Corman. The man who gave us so many cheesy B Movies. Yes, many of those movies were horrific but I’ll be honest they did play as much a part of my youth as the “classics”. Especially, when it comes to gaming. Whether it be horror, sci-fi, or fantasy, Roger gave us something.

But since I’ve been on a Sword & Sorcery kick, then why not a little homage to some of those movies from the days of VHS. Especially, the preeminent character: Deathstalker.

And we can’t forget his other movies. I think he kept Boris Vallejo busy just with his movie posters.

And as an award for making it this far, it’s time for a flash sale! So today only! The PDF of Forgotten Tales of Sword & Sorcery is half off!

Runequest+Call of Cthulhu

Yes, these are my old, original books.

In a lot ways, I got extremes when it comes to gaming. Sometimes I want high fantasy but I lean towards Sword & Sorcery type games. And sometimes I want them cinematic and fun but then other times, I want bloody and darn right dangerous and just a bit nasty.

This gets filed under “Another campaign that I really want to run”. The concept mechanics-wise is pretty simple. For general character skills, stats, and equipment, pull that from Runequest. Hey, you want monsters and magic, that’s from Call of Cthulhu. Yeah, this is borderline Carcosa.

Truth be told, I might lean more towards using the very old (and simple) Basic Roleplaying+Magic World with a little influence from Delta Green. I just find the overall character generation to be easier and quicker. And with a campaign idea like this, you are going to need it.

Now, I bet you thought that I forgot Stormbringer. Nope. Another source for monsters and just maybe a little magic. But things are still going to be deadly and insane. And maybe just a little fun.

Any way, this is another bout of dreaming about what I want to when things get back to some sense of normal.