Friday, May 27, 2011

Sorry about the late (and 100% Content Free!) post this week. You see, I'm getting married tomorrow. So you can imagine how this last week has been for me. I love you guys, I really do. I just love her more.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It Lifts And Separates!

Not that kind of support. I'm here to talk about support in RPGs. You know, sourcebooks, setting books, and other material that adds on to what you get in the main rulebook of an RPG. In fact, some gamers won't even consider a game until it's got a few supplements out.

Publishers love supplements too. Because they are another chance to make money from the same customers. They also represent another chance to catch new customers by highlighting something really cool about your game that you were forced to skim over in the core book.

Which means I am very glad to announce that there is finally a supplement for AiO. It's the Adventures in Oz Characters Pack (Lulu/Paizo/RPGNow/DriveThruRPG). 15 characters from the Oz stories ready to play in your AiO campaign. You may have seen some of these on the blog already but there are also characters that I have statted especially for this product. And all characters have received special treatment, getting put on their own full page deluxe character sheet complete with an illustration of the character., including some that were commissioned specifically for this project from Oz artist S.P. Maldonado.

I'll be watching this supplement's sales with interest. For starters, sales of Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road have been rather lackluster. 131 copies between print and PDF over the past year. Maybe it's just that my shoestring promotional budget is actually thin enough to count as fishing line and I haven't been able to get out as much to promote the game.

When I contributed AiO to the DriveThruRPG Pakistan Relief Bundle, around 2500 people downloaded the game. I got two (positive) reviews out of that and did experience an uptick in print sales at that time. But what if I had had a nice little app-priced bit of bonus material out then? And now that I do, are they still interested?

Also, I've started a poll off to the side there. I want to know who reads this blog and where they get their RPGs (my RPG at least.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Confessions of an Oz/Gaming Snob

NOTE: This is the post that Blogger ate last week. They didn't get around to reposting it, so I am.

Just about any fandom has its share of snobs and elitists. This becomes especially problematic when the elitist attitudes drive off the n00bs, or even the more casual fans.

On the gaming side, this manifests as a sort of stigma against D&D. We deride its hack and slash focus and the excessive lengths some players will go through to "win" at RPGs. While we acknowledge that D&D is one of the most common introductions to RPGs, we wait for those players to branch out and start playing "real" RPGs.

I actually found myself harboring this attitude. When I met Kevin Andrew Murphy at DunDraCon, I discovered that he had been working for Paizo Publishing (home of the Pathfinder RPG, a successor to 3rd edition D&D) and made some comment about how I had "grown up" out of D&D some time ago (no offense).

He then proceeded to explain to me that D&D isn't just a stepping stone, but should in fact be viewed as a lingua franca, a common experience that unites all gamers. Even if D&D wasn't your first game, you've likely played it at some point in your gaming career.

So I try to keep an open mind on this, especially since I am playing in one D&D game and have recently launched an exploration of The Castle of the Mad Archmage using OSRIC. It can be hard at times, though.

When I first saw this video, I was initially unimpressed. The tune was catchy and the visuals were good, but the lyrics were all about hack& slash play (including the oft-repeated line "hackin' them all up"). While I try to avoid telling people that they're doing it wrong, the lack of context was bothersome to me. They seemed to be fighting monsters for the sole reason that the Dungeon Master put them there to be killed. We don't see what this fighting accomplished or why they were fighting in the first place.

On the Oz side, we have The Movie. The 1939 MGM musical with Judy Garland. It's been broadcast on TV regularly through the years and has sustained several DVD releases. But, like D&D, it's got that reputation as the "Lowest Common Denominator" of the fandom. We keep waiting for people to eventually pick up the books that made Oz into a delightful and rich fairyland.

I have no problem with this. It was a good movie and I enjoy it myself (Though it has been a while since I've seen it). But I will say that a rich fairyland will make for more interesting gaming. That said, you certainly don't need to restrict your adventures in Oz to L. Frank Baum's work. If you want to adventure in Movie-verse Oz or Wicked Oz, go right ahead. But you will have to put some of the meat on those bones yourself. Thankfully, AiO gives you the tools to do just that.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, L. Frank Baum!

For those who don't know, today is the 155th birthday of L. Frank Baum, the creator of Oz. And Oz fans everywhere are celebrating.

Jane Albright of the International Wizard of Oz Club, is putting together a video composed of contributed photos of Oz fans doing Ozzy things today. Here's my contribution, a photo of my with my book, Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road. I also decided to highlight my geek side by wearing a nerdy t-shirt and posing in front of my D&D shelf. If you want to contribute a photo of you doing something Ozzy today (like playing AiO), you can email it to

Also, I contributed a voice to Jared Davis' latest Royal Podcast of Oz, as the Wizard in the Little Wizard Story "Tik-Tok and the Nome King."

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cast An Ozzy Spell: Out of Oogaboo

This is a fun one, because it touches on the interesting space between spells and magic items. The Travel power is generally limited to magic items, but this was clearly a one-time effect. Another reason one-shot items like this are useful is that manufacturing them doesn't require a roll. So if your Brains skill isn't what you need it to be to achieve a certain magical effect, maybe you should look into making it a single use item.

It's easy to imagine that characters like Dr. Pipt are on the low end of the Brains spectrum for Sorcerers and so rely on items rather than spells in order to avoid the risk of failure.

Power: Travel (3)
Scope: City/Race (2)
Ritual: No Ritual (0)
Item: Single Use (-3)
Effect Power: 2

This is the spell Glinda used on Queen Ann Soforth and the Army of Oogaboo to transport them out of Oz into the unknown lands beyond the Deadly Desert, kicking off the story of Tik-Tok of Oz.

Those of you following along with your book at home, you'll notice that I didn't include a Ritual modifier to drop the Effect Power down to 1. While this would have been more efficient choice, I felt that a magical effect of this magnitude should have a more significant cost. 2 Oz Points/exotic ingredients sounds about right.

Baum Proliferation Sale!

In celebration of L. Frank Baum's birthday on May 15, I'm offering a 15% discount on Adventures in Oz: Fantasy Roleplaying Beyond the Yellow Brick Road. Pick it up at in print or PDF, RPGNow, (print, PDF and bundle) and DriveThruRPG (print, PDF and bundle) through the links over on the right. (Use these links when ordering from RPGNow or DriveThruRPG, or else you won't get the discount.)
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