RPGs Require Art

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Inspiring art is a benchmark for a quality product in the RPG industry. Without a captivating cover the book relies on marketing and reputation to reach players. For the private publisher this requires budget. Cover-quality art is about $1000 per piece from pro-artists. It will be a gamble if the cover-art alone can net you sales to recoup those costs.

What does this say about the people we sell RPG product to?

They are visually driven. The branding of RPGs is around the imagination of the artist who illustrate the product. It also says, to me, that we gamers are far less imaginative than we believe.

Peace and giggles.

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D20 Rune Paths at RPGNOW

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Another product released; this time d20 RUNE PATHS hits the virtual shelves at RPGNow.com

D20 RUNE PATHS at RPGNow.Com

Rune Paths are quasi-dimensional trails through forests that are slightly outside of space and time. Rangers are best at accessing them but Druids can, too. Using a Rune Path can greatly speed the travel of any group and lead to a very fast traversal of the forest. The risk is losing the trail which puts the lost person in the ‘primordial’ forest which sits slightly outside of time and space. The only way back out is on a Rune Path.

It’s only $5.00 so check it out.

Rune Paths d20 cover 2b logo

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Why Mechanics & Rules Matter

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When you enter a new system there’s usually a setting attached. It doesn’t have to be provided by the publishers because it’s inherent in the way the rules allow characters to interact with their setting. If uber-powerful reincarnated gods can be mowed down by a single squad of archers when the rule descriptions say otherwise then there’s a dissonance which undermines the fundaments of the game; and that is detrimental to fun.

Of course it’ll be impossible to make perfect mechanics because of preference differences. We can see that some rulesets expect an adversarial game-table in the way they describe the game running. Others expect the GM to provide for player desires and adapt to whatever they want, implying the GM is their to provide for the players. We all come to the table to get something out of it so it is best to co-operate.

I have a little saying: “Practice the 3BCs”.

  1. Be constructive. No matter what you do try to move towards building something for your game.
  2. Be co-operative. Work with everyone else at the table. Build characters to feed of each other. Consult the GM for ways to have hooks built-in to your background, or to get place-names incorporated into your BG.
  3. Be creative. With the above provisions you can fuel the creative fires and start building an awesome campaign.

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Simple 2d6 on RPGNow.com

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Simple 2d6 is ready for exclusive retail sale on RPGNow and RPGDriveThru. It is $6.50, a very reasonable price for a full game, including rules, character sheet, table of contents, and an index.

Simple2d6_color_cover2

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Simple 2d6 is going Commercial

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In a few weeks Simple 2d6 will go commercial. It will be available on RPGNow and DriveThruRPG for a low price. Stay tuned.

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[PUBLISHED] Bounty for the Taking: Book Two

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Bounty for the Taking, a fantasy action series in the world of Khara Thel now has its second volume complete. Available on Smashwords and on Kindle for US$6.50. There will be a special coming up for Christmas season.

Book One
A mission to assassinate an orcish king, the spirit of a great demiurge wants a new body, and ogre raiders with a bounty on their heads for the taking. The three brothers Skarsayer are drawn through action and adventure towards a life-shattering revelation. A Tale of Khara Thel.
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/74740
Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/Bounty-Taking-Book…B005DERN76

Book Two
A witch-cursed earring has seized the mind of a legendary sea captain. An uprising of bandits has seen a war-chest attract freelances and mercenaries to the fief of Anatol and Cavis begins to doubt if they are truly bandits that the lords are warring against. Staifcairn tries to fulfill his pact with the shade of a demiurge and complete his search for a Professor-Regent of the college of archmages. Kragor continues deeper on his path towards greatness and darkness. Join the brothers Skarsayer, and Kragor the Conqueror, on their trials and adventures across the strongly realised magical world of Khara Thel.
Smashwords – http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/265303
Kindle – http://www.amazon.com/Bounty-Taking-Book…B00AOF5WD6

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Winter’s End: Sessions update (29-32)

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After tracking the cultists into a fortress at the end of a grotto the party blitz-assaulted their base and routed the forces. Villagers were rescued and politicking carried out. It was the magic on one of the girls who shed light on the leader of the cultists, Milel, being a mage of some sort. Milel had been feeding on the girls essence. The forces were tracked to their rallying point at Anvil Rock. A defense was prepared and battle sought that night. A mantlet assaulted from the front and scouts tried to infiltrate the rear. It was another rout. Too well-organized and supported by a pack of summoned Dire Wolves the cultists never stood a chance. Until Milel drained the girl almost to her death and summoned a huge earth elemental. It collapesd the fortress around them methodically. All escaped with minor injuries and camped in the cold night. Milel escaped and probably with what ever they were trying to dig up.

The Sheriff took the villagers back to their homes. The allies (Lorco, the vampire hunter, Dalldra, the axe-woman, and Artan the wizard) continued to accompany the party. They had split ways and were beyond the borders of Vrim. Milel’s forces were tracked for two days when it became apparent they were headed towards the Keep of Kentos. That was one of the locations the Vampire Queen Marcelline could have been. It was only another day and everyone was convinced it was no coincidence: Milel was her servant.

One night they were awoken by Lorco calling out, “Be gone in the name of the Rose.”
He had turned some form of undead creature. Perhaps a wraith or a shade.
Later it came back and Felghanis rebuked it – gaining command. It was cemented now that the queen had sent this as a scout – this Allip. With agreement Fel’ pushed it away and Lorco destroyed it.

The next day they were within sight of the keep. Spells and familiars scouted the fortification. It was stout with an outer curtain wall and inner bailey where the donjon sat proudly. At least 40 lesser undead guarded the walls and manned the gatehouse. It didn’t inspire confidence. They had to act soon. Kalista was able to make out their shelter from the walls with her Arcane Eye spell. That meant anyone else could see it as well.
As they prepared the buzzing they had not noticed caught their attention as it rose to a thrumming drone. Lorco whipped open the shutters.
“Swarm!” He yelled, and loosed a fireball.
Slamming the shutters closed he looked pale and scared. “Locusts… a mountain of them.”
They fell upon the secure shelter like some kind of dark wave and the party shuffled closer together, touching shoulders, looking nervously at the roof.
“They can’t eat stone. We need more protection,” Don’ said. “That spell, the one that shapes stone.”
The roof was under assault. A multitude of nibbling mandibles were working their way through the old seasoned timber. Kalista shaped the stone floor up into a dome with fine holes for air. It was only a few minutes before the roof collapsed and the locusts filled the shelter with their angry insect noise. The cold was too much for them and before long they were silent. Goran was sent out by Fel’ to find out what happened. The locusts were all frozen in great swathes of icy chitin.
Dalldra freed them with a few swings of her axe and the gathered their supplies.
“We have to act now.”
They advanced through the strong wind driven snow. As the ground turned rougher and more steep they stopped to prepare their forces. Kalista cast speak with animals and as she was preparing a summons something fell from the sky exploding in rain of burning oil and potsherds.
“Catapult!” It was Lorco who yelled.
They broke and ran for their lives. The girl, Nullia had fallen and it was Don’ who bound her wounds and hoisted her over his shoulder.
Chests heaving and throats raw from the icy air they gathered in a gully’s steepest point between two hard rocky outcrops. The rest of the plan was put into action and Nullia was left behind.
The dire bats were enhanced and the flew out into the snowy gusts.
As the closed on the wall, a mere 200 feet away, large arrows streaked into their flight. The first bat fell, and then the second, but the others were fast enough to respond to Kalista and catch the falling allies.
On to the walls they assaulted the watch tower. Inside they fought skeletons and Felghanis seized control of their animus. Then they stormed the gatehouse. Dalldra’s axe splitting the door in one massive strike. Here they found a Rot Reaver, running for its hide, and skeletons poured down from above – only to be struck to dust by Lorco’s turning.
The keep’s walls were breached and the gatehouse taken, but the donjon remained to be stormed.

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Bounty for the Taking: Book 2, Cover

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Here’s the cover for the second book in the Bounty for the Taking series.

Bounty2_COVER_02

You can probably guess how number 3 will look.

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Bounty for the Taking: Book 2 – draft complete

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KW Jackson has finished the draft for the second book of Bounty for the Taking. In this book the brothers continue their journey to reclaim their estate of Veldon after the great revelation at the end of the first.

Cavis heads back to Kliom Nagar to find out what is lacking in his ability to fight well. Atriaxe and Staifcairn plan to head to Ferris to find out the legal status of Veldon and how they might then go about reclaiming their family lands. Adventures and complications ensue.

Keep an eye out for this sequel to a bone-crunching good action fantasy story.

Expected released: December 1st, 2012.

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Kiltayre: Session 26

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With their scouting done for Lord Tovran the party gathered their things that morning to meet Don’s obligations to the Fey. Sheriff Daeus was to go with them and they were told that Lady Sipran, Varnia not Murelle, would be joining them as well.

They waited at the edge of Vrim for Varnia. A courier had told them that is where the lady would meet them. And she did, albeit a little puffed, but excited.

Through a light snow they crossed the hills to the Lutemakers’ Wood. Hours passed as they chatted about the Fey and what each knew of them. Iron shaped without fire was one thing they all seemed to know but it was Varnia who stated that they were tied to the land through the old trees, but the most potent thing that would upset the Fey was the horn of a Unicorn fashioned into a weapon.

It was nearly dark when the reached the stone circle. Three figures appeared as dusk took hold.

“The worlds met in this time, it is said.”

They beckoned Don forward and he went. Felghanis was quick to follow, as did the rest of them. The goat seemed oblivious and munched at something under the fine snow.

“You have our offering?” Asked the Fey in silver scale armor.

“Yes, I see her now,” said the one in dark mail.

“The price must be paid,” added the figure in clothes that looked like leaves and bark.

“The goat is yours,” Don’ offered the animal.

“We accept her,” said the fey in dark mail, nodding towards Varnia.

“The huntress is appropriate.” She donned in plants confirmed.

“What we offer is the goat. Do you accept the goat as the offering?” Felghanis was getting angry yet he seemed to contain himself well.

“Enough!” yelled the figure in dark mail. “It is the huntress that we take.”

“Come to us,” called the one in leaves and bark, the Seelie.

Varnia was struck by forces of enchantment and began moving towards them. Chaos quickly ensued.

Entangle was cast and Don’ tried to tackle Varnia out of the circle but she had good training and was strong. She shrugged him off and he fell flat on the ground.

The Fey were unaffected by the Entangle and moved freely. The one in silver scale armor seemed to frown and separated from the others.

“Help us cousin, she resists,” Called the Unseelie in dark mail.

“No. The pact is broken. You have contravened it!”

With a snap the circle was empty. Only the party stood about. The Fey were gone.

Confused the left the goat in the circle at Don’s insistence. He wanted to make sure he had done everything to hold up his end of the pact. His power relied on it.

At the top of the hill Kalista glanced back. The sheriff was unhooking his cloak from a snag. The were all clear of the ring.

It was well dark by the time they made it out of the woods. Kalista called into being a Secure Shelter and they took their rest in it. The Daeus and Varnia were ready and willing to ride back in the dark. They both had commitments in Vrim. The sound of their horses’ hooves pounding off left the party’s ears quickly.

Uneasily the settled in the small hut of stone and clay but it was warm and the had good food. Soon they slept soundly.

It was just before dawn when they were awoken with a sharp snapping sensation. Some massive amount of mana was just poured into a spell. It was like a roaring storm of power that stank of time, ice and bitterness coming from the East.

In his mind’s eye Felghanis pin-pointed the location compared to the maps he had been studying a long time. It was the Iron Teeth Mountains.

“Oh no…” he despaired.

“Tell me it’s not,” Kalista was hopeful.

“I think it must be,” Don’ added.

“We failed. The ritual has been cast,” Kalista said, down-trodden but angry, too.

“The tear! It is there. Alabrahni told us it was there.”

“In the crypt of a Frost Titan. What do you think might be in there?” Don’ said cynically.

“What we need to break this curse,” Felghanis spat back.

Don’ conceded that well and nodded.

Aenir woke up, “What’s gong on?”

Of course, thought Kalista, they did not feel a thing. They have no sensitivity to the mana.

Kellor awoke too and the filled the Dwarves in on what had happened.

“It’s decided then.” It was Aenir who spoke. “We head to the mountains for this tear.”

They all nodded sombrely.

“Doesn’t seem to have made the weather any worse, yet.” Don peeked outside to the dim light of pre-dawn and saw it much as it was when they stopped here. “I want to see if the Fey have accepted the offering.”

Before they even reached the circle it was obvious something was wrong in the woods. Old trees that were vigorous just yesterday seemed to be dying.

“What has happened here?” Aenir asked.

“The Fey… they are gone.” Don was bewildered and Kalista’s face echoed his sentiments.

In the circle, with a small heaping of snow gathered about it, the kid lay dead. Its ribs pierced by a heavy dart of black horn.

“This is unicorn horn,” Don said pulling the dart free.

They tracked the area but it was only their own footprints from yesterday that they found.

It was the last rise that the dart probably came from.

“Daeus,” said Kalista. “He was last over the rise.”

“But why? And how did they get a dart made from a unicorn horn?” Felghanis asked, truly puzzled.

“Who knows? But we know that Lord Tovran knew about the gate to Stonecrest.”

Don’ kept the foul dart and they all left. More questions on their minds.

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