Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas Eve Celebrations

Even though it's -5 degrees outside, our household is well on the way to enjoying a very merry Christmas.  I'm not meeting up with my gaming pals until the 30th, so in the meantime, I thought I'd share a couple of OSR approved non-gaming reviews.

Although I'm not normally a beer drinker, at Christmas I usually make an exception.  Here's a cross-section of winter warmers.  I know the OSR is just small niche of a few thousand players, but clearly the beer marketeers are blissfully unaware of that.  Look at these bottles - they scream old school.


I didn't think much of the Green Goblin cider; I'm guessing that it's probably a 'me too' product cashing in on the olde worlde goblin pictures to sell drinks to immature 40somethings (that would be me then).  Doom Bar was my favourite, but I think it's more a drink to be enjoyed in a Cornish beer garden, a stone's throw from the brewery.  Dark Lord is a dark ruby beer which, for me, was just a bit too malty and treacly.  So that makes my top choice for  Christmas beer, Wychwood Brewery's Hobgoblin Ruby Beer.  It has a very pleasing taste pretty much slap in the middle of the other two beers.

What better way to accompany a warming flagon of beer than some traditional Christmas music.  Our house normally awakes on Christmas morning to Mario Lanza's joyful tenor, belting out timeless Carols.  For Christmas Eve, I've added a couple of albums to our server that offer new and varied takes on traditional English Carols.

First up is Annie Lennox: A Chistmas Cornucopia

Followed by Kate Rusby: Sweet Bells



Whatever you're  playing, drinking or listening to this holiday,  I hope you have a most Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Issue 5 Update

I intended to publish Issue 5 of Oubliette just in time for Christmas.  Unfortunately, the Unusually harsh early winter weather, an unexpected trip to London and several family members becoming quite ill with a nasty dose of flu, have all conspired to prevent me from completing the magazine with my usual gusto.  Rather than present an inferior issue next week, I am going to delay realeasing it until the end of January.  It will be worth the wait though as I'll have a nice surprise to announce with it.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Oubliette In Print!


Printed editions of Oubliette are now available to buy from Lulu.com.  All four issues are available individually for £2.99, or as a 140 page compilation for £7.99.  You can get 15% off your Lulu order until 15th December using the promo code STOCKING305 .


If you are in the UK then I have a small number of copies of the compilation edition to sell directly at £9.50, including P&P.  If you'd like one, send me an email and I'll send you a paypal request.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Halloween Tidy Up

Every year we throw my daughter a Halloween party and set up the conservatory as a 'spooky cave' this year we did such a good job that none of the kids (aged 3-9) wanted to go in there.  I think it might be down to the dozens of spiders hanging from webs we'd put up.

Inspired by this as we were putting everything away I bagged a few of them to go in my figure box.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Magic-User Spell Book & Spell Cards

As mentioned in the current issue, here's some pictures of a mini Spell Book that I put together using the Spell Cards and a credit card wallet.  I got the wallet from eBay, think it was this one.







Here's what it looks like inside:



Saturday, 9 October 2010

Issue 4 On Sale Now!

The fourth Issue of Oubliette is now available for download at www.rpgnow.com for just $2.00

80 jam-packed pages including: 34 Page Magazine, 13 Pages of Magic-User Spell Cards for Labyrinth Lord, and Character Sheets, Figures and Multi-Part Maps for this Issue's Adventure.

Full Contents:
  • Weapons Test - A Labyrinth Lord Adventure with Guns
  • Monster Club #6 - Zombies
  • Firearm Rules for Labyrinth Lord Part 3 - The Monsters Fight Back
  • Tales from Hell - Buckets of Legend
  • Monster Club #7 - Monster Scaling
  • A Hunting We Will Go - An Encounter for Labyrinth Lord
  • PC for PCs - Featuring G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief
  • Purist to Puerile - The Orc
  • Seven Magical Mirrors
  • Reviews
  • Free PDF Round-Up
  • Mouse Watch - A Cartoon for Grown-Ups
  • The Song of Sithakk - Part 4 of our serialized story
  • Plus loads of Bonus Material including: Magic-user Spell Cards for Labyrinth Lord and Large Scale Maps and Character Sheets for the Adventure.
 

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Issue 4 Contents



Issue 4 of Oubliette is due for release next week.

Here's an advance look at the contents:

  • Weapons Test – A Labyrinth Lord Adventure with Guns
  • Monster Club #6 – Zombies
  • Firearm Rules for Labyrinth Lord Part 3 – The Monsters Fight Back
  • Tales from Hell – Buckets of Legend
  • Monster Club #7 – Monster Scaling
  • A Hunting We Will Go – An Encounter for Labyrinth Lord
  • PC for PCs – Featuring G1 Steading of the Hill Giant Chief
  • Purist to Puerile – The Orc
  • Seven Magical Mirrors
  • Reviews
  • Free PDF Round-Up
  • Mouse Watch – A Cartoon for Grown-Ups
  • The Song of Sithakk – Part 4 of our serialized story
  • Plus loads of Bonus Material including: Magic-user Spell Cards for Labyrinth Lord and Large Scale Maps and Character Sheets for the Adventure.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Teatime at the Hill Giant Chief's












Illustration for a new article in the forthcoming issue of Oubliette.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Mouse Guard

At the outset, I just want to say how much I admire David Petersen's prolific and fastidious work. Mouse Guard, an epic tale of valour, selflessness and dedication as told through the adventures of a particular set of characters within a colony of intelligent mice, is a firm household favourite.



But what if. What if we were to pass Mouse Guard through a dark and perverted looking glass?




Welcome to Mouse Watch. Home to hedonistic, sociopaths, Hannibal and Nibs(don't EVER call him Nibbles). These horrid two, bully, mug and murder their way through life. They have no accountability and enjoy a rather suspect relationship based on psychopathic co-dependency. In Issue 4 they'll be Master-Chiefing bootcamp.

The horror. The horror.


Monday, 20 September 2010

Oublie-Art

A quick welcome to Marg(Oubliette's in-house artist) whose blog posts are now appearing under the Oubliette banner.

Roland Depper MUST die

Not content with giving me a migraine over his first Present Arms! article, where I had to look up so many guns, I took to eating the discarded, screwed-up balls of paper containing my first efforts. This time it's Monster Arms. Monster @#£$ing Arms. 'What?' you may all cry in unison,'Great fun! Flights of fantasy-right up your street!'. No. No. No. You don't understand. Depper describes these arms most eloquently. These are guns that actually should work, misfire, blow up. This means understanding how they work.

Now look here. I like kittens, puppies and pretty dresses (albeit the former two worn on Steve Buscemi's head as a hat, a la Con Air, and the latter on High Court Judges). Flintlocks, revolving barrels, pistons, air undergoing adiabatic heating to several hundred degrees-this is just out and out gender-biased cruelty.

Suffice to say: Any more extra-ordinary ventures of this sort from Mister Depper and I shall introduce him to the joys of my calligraphy pen in a most rude and unhealthy manner.

Or maybe, and actually, much more likely, I'll just occasionally rant and knuckle down to the joys of concentrated prep and creation.

Don't judge me.

Here's the line drawing of the Orc Pistol. The finished version is nestled safely in the layout of Issue 4 with it its brothers.












P.S. I'd only hurt you a little bit Roland.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Progression











Zombies: Inking, Paint shopping,

Possibly finished?

I shall look at it over the next few days and be critical.

Monday, 13 September 2010

Stonehell Session 8 21st August 2010












During the previous session, the party covered a surprising amount of ground in just a few hours play. Hungry for more, and after a short refreshment break, we headed straight back in. The mammoth haul from last time had also helped the rest of the party to escape the knife-edged existence that is first level. The line-up's now:

3rd Level Cleric
3rd Level Cleric
2nd Level Dwarf
2nd Level Magic-user
2nd Level Fighter
2nd Level Fighter

A party like this should have no problems tackling the remaining portions of Stonehell's first level. At least, that's what we thought. We decided that as this would be a fairly short session, to take us up to dinner-time, we'd revisit selected locations, rather than starting a whole new section of the dungeon. We first made our way back to the highly tempting, but dangerous looking sealed stone cover in an area where we've previously met and despatched lots of undead. We chickened out of opening it last time and, after yet more discussion and no little scheming, we lose our nerve and move on. Instead, we content ourselves with checking the surrounding area and find two groups of zombies. With a couple of 3rd level clerics on hand, they are no threat and are turned easily, allowing us to help ourselves to some valuable looking gems and a scroll.

With seemingly nothing else to find in the undead quadrant of level one, we make for the portion of the dungeon that surrounds the stairs we use to enter Stonehell. We've spent several previous sessions exploring this area, and decide to take a fresh look at a glyph we found, and also give the Wheel of Fortune another spin.

The party gets to a room with a portcullis blocking the exit. The Wheel of Fortune is in a room on the other side of it. Unfortunately, we fail to lift it and decide to take a different route to bypass it. Big mistake! We head into a small group of caves that used to be home to some kobolds and their pet “Dragon”. Just as we are making our way through a cave with a well in it, we hear scrabbling sounds. Four giant crab spiders jump out of the well and attack.

Neither the party nor the spiders are surprised. The LL actually misses the rule that lets the spiders surprise opponents on a roll of 1-4 (I think we rolled a 3) but even though he spots this a minute later, he lets it go as we've fail to get initiative anyway. We use miniatures when we play, so the spiders go for the closest characters based on the positions of the figures. One goes for the Dwarf, another attacks the nearest fighter, and the two remaining spiders take a jump at the Cleric. All three characters are wearing plate armour, and this saves both the Dwarf and the Fighter. The Cleric, however, is AC3 rather than 2, due to his low dexterity. Two hits! Shock registers all round the table. He can take the damage but he's now got to make two saving throws or it's curtains. His save versus Poison is 10, so with a couple of rolls to make, that's just a 25% chance. A 5 and a 7. He's soon going to be an ex-Cleric.

The PCs take their turn, one of the spider gets hacked down, and the Magic-user sleeps the other three. The Cleric instantly starts to feel the effects of the venom, and the LL tells us he's only got a few turns at best. We have a desperate discussion about the options for saving him, including giving him a combo of five healing potions and all our cure light wounds spells. I can see the LL almost wants to go for it but ultimately, we all know he's dead according to the way we play the game. The party continues on to the wheel of fortune anyway – surely we deserve a break. The Dwarf gives it a spin and suffers a strange effect that leaves him feeling sluggish and slow. Then my dying Cleric spins. He gains an additional point of strength which takes him to 18. That would have made him a tank, had he lived to use it in combat. Last up, one of the Fighters spins, and just when we thought things were looking up, fate cuts us down to size. He loses a level, taking him all the way back to first level with zero experience points. We call it a day and head home. The LL is somewhat surprised that the dying Cleric didn't continue spinning the Wheel of Fortune to see what other outcomes there might be. He's got a point. I think we were still in shock at the imminent fatality and the loss of a level and by that stage just wanted out.

The treasure haul for such a short session is still impressive, with nearly 2,000gp in gems and coins. The scroll turns out to be cursed, but our leaders still seem happy to accept it.

Just before dinner I roll up a replacement character and settle on another Cleric. The dice aren't very kind and he's no match for his dead predecessor. In our game, we rule that replacement characters can join the party at the same level as the lowest level existing member. It suddenly dawns on me that, thanks to the level-drain the Fighter suffered, my new Cleric has to start at first level. Arghh!

The party will start the next session in a substantially weaker state. All except the Dwarf that is, he's the only original member of the party left, and has now made it to 3rd level and an impressive 23 hit points.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The OSR in Numbers












As a fairly new publisher to the OSR, I'm keen to gauge the size of the potential market to help plan print runs for future products. I've gathered together a small set of figures and thought these might prove useful to others. If anyone has any more figures to add please do so, provided that the publishers are happy for the information to be made public.

70    Sales required for a Hot Copper Pick badge at rpgnow.com
110  Oubliette PDF sales Issue 1
142  Underdark Gazette blog followers
150  Dark Dungeons print sales*
335  Majestic Wilderlands sales*
620  LOTFP Boxed Set print run
624  Grognardia blog followers
627  Oubliette AEC Character Sheet downloads
701  Goblinoid Games forum members
5000 Dark Dungeons free downloads*


*15th Sept figures for these added from here

As a fun comparison, here are some historic sales figures obtained from here all except for White Dwarf, which was taken from Wikipedia.

1,000  OD&D 1st print run
4,000  White Dwarf Issue 1 print run June 1977
5,000  Dragon Issue 4 print run December 1976
200,000  Sales for the most popular modules
1,000,000  D&D Boxed Set sales in 1989

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Seminal Pencillings


Okay, so it's been difficult to actually draw something that Peter, evil editor and slave driver to the artistic minion, hasn't liked. But after a decent amount of satirical begging I've been allowed to put on a spoiler. This one is going to be used in Issue 4. I've just finished the blocking and intend to ink it Friday. Basically, I like action. I like to show the moment when it all goes up the famous creek without a paddle. I also like money shots in terms of violence, menace and adventure. For those of you with a full vocabulary in porn terminology, steady. By money shot I mean a highly anticipated or satisfying end, but in a non-pornographic context.

Well that just sucks, Marg.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

More Imagine Issue 1

I've been flipping through the first issue of Imagine and have to say, mostly for nostalgic reasons, I'm really enjoying it.  It's got a lot of editorial features which in 1983 I probably wouldn't have even read, but now they give the reader a fascinating insight into the hobby.  

The opening editorial from Don Turnbull welcomes the readers to the magazine and talks a little about the state of the hobby.  It also reassures readers that whilst Imagine will have a lot of D&D it will also cover a wide range of other games.  Reading it convinces me that he genuinely wants to produce a great games magazine rather than a house publication for TSR.

















Above Turnbull's piece is a message from Gary Gygax which I have to say I find a little obsequious.  Some of the langauge is archaically overblown eg, "Gentle Reader" and "Kindly Editor".  Reading between the lines though I think Gygax was sending a clear message to show that it's really his magazine and the UK staff shouldn't forget it.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Stonehell Session 7 21st August 2010

Following on from the unfortunate death of my Thief in the last session, the party, now numbering six, head back to the dungeon. The line-up is now as follows:

3rd Level Cleric
2nd Level Cleric
2nd Level Dwarf
1st Level Magic-user
1st Level Fighter
1st Level Fighter


We set out to the dungeon and upon arrival, quickly head down the stairs to the first level. We follow a tried and tested 'safe' route which so far has got us in with no problems. Once inside again, we make our way back the section of the first level where we've previously encountered loads of undead. We stick to main passageways, but we're unable to avoid bumping into three giant toads. The party are fresh and ready for action though, and we make light work of them.


Once we reach the edge of our map, we begin exploring the rest of the area. We have half a dozen or so encounters with undead, and our two clerics are able to turn enough of them to make the combat manageable. Our treasure haul swells: 6,000sp from one room, nearly 3,000gp in jewelery from another. Then we disturb a solitary ghoul and fail in turning it. The fighters get stuck in but by the time we've downed him, three of us are paralyzed and everyone except the Magic-user has taken hits. We lick our wounds and make for one of the rooms we've previously rested in. There is some disturbance outside the room while the wounded sleep, but we've spiked and braced the door, and whatever is on the other side eventually moves on.


Once rested and restored, we continue our explorations and run into a crab spider. Poisonous creatures terrify our party. Thankfully the beastie fails in his attempt to bite the Dwarf and is promptly slept by the Magic-user. We then proceed to turn some zombies and open a door to find at least half a dozen stirges flapping about. We close the door on that one, not wanting to risk it without a sleep spell to fall back on. We back-track taking a small detour around the area and find a chamber with a stone bridge which spans a 10' wide chasm. We don't trust it, but after some discussion, we lose patience and start to cross it one at a time. Once the first of us is across, he throws a rope for the rest to hold as they cross. The bridge collapses as the Magic-user is making his way over, but luckily he manages to scramble to the safety with the rope. Tough luck Mr. Curtis, you're not getting us this time!


Next, we have our first encounter with other humans in Stonehell. We open a door and surprise an Evil-looking Cleric of Thusar Gillscar accompanied by seven Acolytes. The Dwarf and one of the Fighters cut down an Acolyte, and stand ready to take the rest of them. Our third level Cleric casts hold person on the Evil Cleric, who makes his saving throw and retaliates with a cause light wounds, but fails to touch the Fighter. The remaining seven opponents are downed in as many rounds by the Dwarf and Fighter, along with a few crossbow shots over the Dwarf's head.


Throughout this part of the dungeon, we've come across stone slabs that cover small rooms, many home to undead, and some containing loot. We now come to what seems to be the last of them, but it is a little different from the rest. The edges appear to be stuffed with rags, dirt and other debris, perhaps in attempt to make it air-tight. There follows a lengthy discussion about whether to open it. We're pretty sure there's something nasty inside but we also think there'll be treasure. Eventually, we cover the rags in oil and, from a distance, light them up. They burn for a while but the seal holds . There's no way the slab's coming off with some force, and that means one of us would end up standing face-to-face with whatever's in there. Reluctantly, we decide to leave it and head for home.


We make it home with over 4,000gp in treasure and a couple of healing potions. As part of our campaign setting, we use a mechanism where we only get XP for treasure that we donate to the community we live in. We hand in most of the gold, and along with all the kills/turns, get enough XP for three of the party to level up. A really rewarding session. Realizing that we've only been playing for about three hours we decide to have another session after a short break. I'll write that one up in a few days.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Mappage


Two maps done, 3D sketch of the over-view map and I'm about to sketch the group pic. I'm high on tea, and chocolate bananas from Serbia. The cover art was finished several days ago( phew-finally made the decision-a different direction of course-but keeping the other art for future Issues). Had to ink it in on the computer, which was rather labour intensive. It's definitely a change in style, so, hurrah. Here's a pic I did earlier for the Oubliette adventure.

Sterling.

Imagine Magazine

Imagine Magazine was published monthly in the UK between April 1983 and October 1985.  It was essentially a UK equivalent to Dragon.  The image below is of the launch issue's front cover,  and is actually a very washed out reproduction of an Elric poster by British artist Rodney Matthews.

I bought the last dozen or so issues as they were published, and I've recently manged to pick up the rest, well apart from the illusive second issue that is.  I did a quick search on the web and couldn't see any PDFs of them, legal or otherwise, which seems a shame as they published some great material.  Once I've finished reading issue 1, I'll post up a review of it.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Fear of the Dark

Last night, the family spent some of the evening sitting out in the garden.  As the light started to fade, we lit some torches and lanterns and continued to enjoy the evening until just after dark, when it got too cold.  Before we came in, I did a last 'patrol' of the garden with my four year old daughter.  We know an owl lives in the garden and we're pretty sure there are some foxes, but we didn't find them on this occasion.

What struck me, was how little light the largest lantern gave us.  I was reminded of my group's last Stonehell game, where the only light source is a single lantern on a pole.  In reality, a group of explorers would carry a massive amount of light into such an environment.  I scribbled some notes last year on light in dungeons and plan to use them in an future article.  In short, I think light is one of the most important considerations for a party venturing underground.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Weretiger Spotted in British Zoo


Saw this picture in the paper this morning and instantly thought Weretiger.  It's actually a Siberian tiger which, according to the notes in the paper, is the largest species of tiger, weighing up to 670 pounds and measuring 11 feet from nose to tail.  Sadly, it also mentions that there are thought to be as few as 450 of them still living in the wild, mainly in eastern Russia's birch forests.  When they can't get adventurers they are partial to eating bears!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Issue 4 Update

After a couple of months off, I've now started putting together Issue 4 which should be out mid to late September. As usual I'll post a contents list one week before publication.

My future plan for Oubliette is to publish it Bi-monthly or Quarterly to allow a bit of time between issues to work on some new projects.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

The Marg is BAAAAAAAAACK

It's been an invigorating Summer to say the least. I'm very glad to be back, preparing now for Oubliette Issue 4. As usual, I am screaming things like "WHAT? I CAN'T DRAW THAT!" whilst composing the picture in my head, discarding and recomposing to my satisfaction.

My table is awash with pencillings, some completely unnecessary. One is of an Enchantress. Technically, she's correctly drawn, but there's something massively disturbing about her. What is wrong with me? Why must kink work its way into things drawn with an intent so pure?

I may have to work her into Issue 5.

I will have to wait until Peter says "Definitely not! NO. Nonononononononononono. Really, No!" to post a drawing, so stand by, he tends to say that a lot on the way to the finished article.

Anyway, must get back to it. So glad to be back.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

More on Miniatures

I think summer must be the best time to shop for miniatures on ebay.  Judging by the prices some lots go for, there's just no real demand.  I've added several hundred to my collection, at an average cost of about 20p a figure (about 10% of the retail price).  What's more, many of them are painted to a reasonable standard.



I've found that the best value can be had from buying up large Warhammer collections (their Lord of the Rings range seems to be very much out of fashion at the moment).  Although, now I probably have too many of certain types, in addition to my original, unpainted collection.  However, it feels prudent to hold off selling the extras until September, when schools and colleges start back, as I'm pretty sure the demand for miniatures will pick up by then.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Stonehell Session 6 10th July 2010

I've been meaning to write up some notes for the two campaigns I play in, but, until now, producing Oubliette magazine has taken precedence. The first few games were mostly about blowing out the cobwebs for a group that hadn't played together for 15 years. Now, we're at the stage where we're having such a blast, it seems a good idea to keep a record for future reference and hysteria.

As there are just two players, we're running 2-4 characters each. So far, all the games have been ventures into Stonehell, using the Inheritance campaign setting (as featured in the first two issues of Oubliette). This setting allows different games away from the megadungeon now and then, at our LL's discretion. Inheritance is a post-apocalyptic world that makes a superb setting for Stonehell. The player characters live in a community known simply as 'Home'. It is essentially a hill fort whose inhabitants have fought and worked hard to establish it. 'Home' relies on trading with the dwarves for salt, weapons, armour, and other metal goods. To help fund this trade, teams are sent out to search ruins and dungeons for treasure. The characters are the team that drew the shortest straw and have been sent to explore Stonehell.

In the five sessions preceding this one, our party has covered around half of Stonehell's first level. Most sessions have seen the death of one member of the party (we play strict dead at zero HP). However, in all but one of the sessions, the party have returned home with a very good treasure haul.

So on to Session 6. The party are summoned by the Leader of the community, who gives them a briefing for their next mission: “Get back down that dungeon and don't come back without a load of treasure!”

The characters head out on the two day trip to the dungeon.

2nd Level Cleric
2nd Level Cleric
2nd Level Dwarf
2nd Level Thief
1st Level Magic-user
1st Level Fighter
1st Level Fighter


The party makes it back to the section of the dungeon they reached on the last visit. Our LL informs us that this area of the level is called The Quiet Halls. We've mostly encountered undead here, so we're anticipating more of the same. The encounters are relentless, and even with two clerics to turn undead away, we have to stop twice to recover from the fights. One confrontation presents us with 28HD of undead all at the same time. Thankfully, we turn just enough of them to balance the fight up a little. By the end of the game we've added substantially to our map of the level, and have chalked up the following kills/turns: 3 Ghouls, 25 Zombies and 18 Skeletons (we think some of the kills were probably the same ones we turned before resting).

We suffer one fatality, but not from the combat. Michael Curtis has put far more dangerous things than monsters into Stonehell to catch us out. In fact, most party fatalities so far have been at the hands of pits and traps. We have learned to be ever more cautious especially when we come across an 'interesting' new feature. The penultimate room we explore has a giant set of weighing scales in it. As usual our LL describes it, and smirks, giving nothing away. We spend a few minutes looking but not touching. Eventually, we decide it's too obvious and there is no way we're going to risk it, so we carry on to the next room. In this room there is a dais in the centre with a large stone chest on it. The room also has bursts of purple flames shooting from the floor in apparently random locations. We stick a pole into one of the flames and it comes out very cold – best not touch the flames we think. The chest proves too tempting for the thief so he makes a jump for the dais and takes a look at the lock. He rolls for traps but doesn't find any and then rolls to pick the lock. While all this is going on he is also managing to avoid the flames that spring up every round. Success! The lock clicks open. However, the trap he failed to spot goes off, and the poison gas kills him stone dead seconds later. This is pretty much the first real success the thief has had using his abilities and the pain is even more hard-felt as he was one of the original characters who started the campaign.

The party mourn the thief for a few minutes, then reluctantly, retreat for a second time to rest and heal, as none of them have enough remaining hit points to risk getting caught in the flames. They return fully healed only to find a group Zombies feasting on the thief's remains. The Zombies are turned and the party then considers how to get a look at the contents of the chest. First up for a run over to the dais is the Dwarf who opens the chest to find hundreds of gold pieces and some jewellery. He tosses the jewellery across to the others and takes a scoop of gold using his helmet. He makes it back, but gets caught by one of the flames. Next up is one of the clerics who also scoops up a pile gold. He's not so lucky though and gets caught by the flames twice leaving him on just 1 hit point by the time he's clear of them. One of the fighters takes a final scoop at the gold leaving just a few coins left in the corners.

The party then stand in the entrance looking at the thief's body, and recall that he was carrying some gold. Unfortunately, he was also carrying the party's only grappling hook. There follows a lengthy and somewhat futile discussion with the LL about possible tactics for getting the thief's corpse and/or backpack out of the room without risking the flames. The 10' pole is just a little too short to reach him and none of our arrows are barbed, so we can't shoot one with a rope tied to it into him. Ultimately, we conclude that the only way to get his stuff is to risk the flames once again. The Dwarf makes the dash and cuts the straps to his backpack and runs back with it. In Stonehell there is no dignity in death and the thief's body is left for Zombies to munch on as supper when they return. We head for home.

Shame about the thief. He was only 200XP off 3rd level. Still, at least the LL gave us the XP for the 167gp we got from his pack. The party return home with over 1,000gp in loot and a useful +1 hammer. One of the clerics levels up, and we put in an order with the dwarves for some platemail for one of the fighters.

Inspiration




When Peter asked me to draw Barbarians for the PDF heroes, it had just so happened that I'd watched an episode of "Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends" in which he had investigated muscle worship. The show had ended with a look at muscle women and the men who felt that women body-builders were the epitome of feminine beauty. This picture of Sevar, a barbarian female, is spectacularly un-detailed, but that's because it was to be shrunk in size to make a pdf counter. Her shape, however, is based on what was burned into my brain by extreme close-up photography of womanly brawn.

Inspiration is everywhere, but it can prove confusing if you allow it to overload you, as I invariably do. I need to get me some new filters on reality.

I'm currently sketching up an Oubliette Cover for Issue 4, but now have to split my head between three ideas. I hate it when this happens. I feel like the word Impasse has suddenly taken on human form and is beating me over the head with my ruler. See, now that I've described that, I've just done a black and white cartoon in my head of Impasse assaulting me. I don't think Peter would accept that as a cover, so it's pointless drawing it.

Or is it?

Friday, 25 June 2010

Euphoria


Oubliette Issue 3 is out. Hurrah. I'm already doodling(-steady) ideas for Issue 4, and as the magazine is taking a wee summer holiday, I reckon I'll have loads of prelim material to play with before Peter is cracking the whip for art submissions.

Issue 3 On Sale Now!

The third Issue of Oubliette is now available for download at www.rpgnow.com for just $2.00

This month's theme is The Barbarian. We have full rules for running barbarian characters and a 12 page adventure for you to try them out on.  We've also added a new cartoon strip and beefed up our existing two cartoons to full page versions.  

In addition there's Part Two of our Firearm Rules for Labyrinth Lord and all the usual reviews, fiction and great old school illustrations.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

So why is Oubliette in Black and White when you clearly love your Mad Colours Marg?


Oubliette is black and white because it means people can print it on their home printers very easily without eating through loads of coloured cartridges. Every issue, I'm trying to up the level of my artwork, and so far, and especially with Oubliette Issue 3 coming out, there is a very clear progression. I'm aiming for Caravaggio, but have rather a way to go. Happily, I should be Damien Hirst-ing it large in another Issue's time.

Don't ask me what that means. It's about 1.30am now and with an early morning tomorrow, I'm kicking myself for not going to bed earlier.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Halfling Proof Fence




The second picture I did, started off as the cover to Issue 1, but once the name Oubliette had been been chosen as the magazine's name, other images came to mind. This became the lead picture for the now infamous Halfling Proof Fence adventure.

Don't kill 'im, let's see if we can knock 'im out!




Having rolled about on the floor laughing at tales of derring-do, of Peter and his brave mates getting horrifically mutilated whilst trying to knock out a Hill Giant, I was inspired to draw this. Soon after, Oubliette was born. Now I'm not saying my picture was some kind of psychological sperm, but sometimes seeing things in 2D can clarify things.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Issue 3 Contents



Issue 3 of Oubliette is due for release next week.

Here's an advance look at the contents:

  • The Barbarian - A new character class for Labyrinth Lord
  • The Sacred Heart - 12 page Labyrinth Lord adventure
  • Monster Club #5 - An encounter to light up your day
  • Legend of the Sneaker - Cartoon antics with the true sneaker 
  • Firearm Rules for Labyrinth Lord Part 2 - Misfires, monster morale & grenades
  • Tales from Hell - The megadungeon's kobolds face a new challenge 
  • Reviews 
  • Mouse Watch - The mice of Fauxhaven are up to no good again
  • The Song of Sithakk - Our serialized story 

Monday, 14 June 2010

A Problem in Miniature

Since returning to gaming last year, I've spent some time tracking down my collection of miniature figures.  Altogether I've managed to locate about 300 25mm scale lead figures, mostly bought in the 80's and early 90's.  Unfortunately, only about 20% of them are painted, and whilst I like using them in games, I don't have the time to really do them justice.  So I've come to the decision that I'm going to sell a portion of my collection and use the proceeds to acquire some alternatives.

Here's a few of my painted figures

















And here's some of the unpainted ones
















As most of the unpainted figures are long out of production they have already started selling for between £3 and £10 each on ebay.  Which means for every unpainted figure I sell I can buy 2-4 plastic, ready-painted D&D miniatures like these:















Whilst they don't look great up close they're fine on the tabletop and certainly beat the appearance of the bare metal ones.  I may still try some speed painting techniques on a few of my old figures but I think I've come to realize that although collecting figures and painting them is fun, it's just not for me anymore. 

Friday, 11 June 2010

Coming Soon to Your Local Games Store (1994)

Until yesterday I had several van-loads of belongings in storage, mainly due to a house move.  Now I've emptied the unit, I've uncovered several boxes of old gaming materials.  Mostly magazines, but a few other interesting bits and pieces, and hundreds of old miniatures.  

On the top of the first box was a "Special Collector's" Issue 200 of Dragon magazine.  I had a flip through it and was stunned with what I found halfway through.  At the centre of this milestone, and at 170 pages, supersized issue what treat did TSR have for its loyal followers?  A 15 page advertorial and a detachable 28" x 18" full colour AD&D product release schedule for 1994.

It features 100+ products spread across the various campaign settings.  For me it's a perfect example of where marketing went wrong in gaming.  Imagine how great it would have been if they'd included a pull-out game supplement with a fold-out map.  As I go through my gaming boxes I'll add more items that catch my eye.  I'll also include some of the gaming purchases I'd rather forget.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

You've Got 10 Rounds 'til the Rope Burns Through...

Click!
.
.
Click!
.
.
Click!

In the first issue of Oubliette I reviewed Faster Monkey Games' Turntracker which I thought was a good product, if a little pricey for what it is.  Last week, for a similar cost, I picked this little device from eBay.  I'm using it as a round counter and have to say it works really well.  Stashed behind a DM's screen, you can just click it every time initiative is rolled.  I guarantee that it has the potential to infuriate players and can really help build tension.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Readers' Wives May - Gobella

We're busy working on Oubliette 3 which will be packed with loads more old school goodness.  I'll put up a full contents list next week.  

I've been thinking about some more things to add to the blog.  I play in two campaigns so I'd quite like to run some session reports on those.  I'm also going to try and include some posts on miniatures and some other gaming items.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

NEW Updated MK2 AEC Character Sheets

I've just put up a 2 new character sheet packs (one US English and one UK English) as free downloads on RPGNOW.com They're essentially the same as the last ones but now have slots to mark off ammunition for missile weapons. included are 2 optional reverse sheets that allow loads of extra character information to be recorded. And as a little extra the pack comes with 12 character sketches in full colour that can be printed on to the sheets.

US Character Sheet Pack 

UK Character Sheet Pack 

Friday, 7 May 2010

Issue 2 On Sale Now!

The second issue of Oubliette is now available for download at rpgnow.com for just $2.00

We've packed in loads more artwork, rules and even a new cartoon strip.  Once again there are 2 sheets of full-colour printable cardstock figures, and this time, there are also 12 pre-generated character sheets to accompany the adventure.

 

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Issue 2 Contents


Issue 2 of Oubliette is due for realease at the end of next week.

Here's an advance look at the contents:

  • Tales from Hell - A new cartoon strip 
  • Monster Club #3 - Skeletons
  • Hornet Hill - 9 page Labyrinth Lord Adventure
  • Monster Club #4 - Creeping Statue
  • Inheritance Part III - Character Classes
  • Firearm Rules for Labyrinth Lord
  • Good Shop / Bad Shop
  • Reviews
  • Mouse Watch - Cartoon strip
  • The Song of Sithakk - Our serialized story

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Readers' Wives April

A new, openly sexist feature, for the blog to fill the void, whilst I'm busy working on the layout of the next issue.
I'll put up a contents list for issue 2 next week.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Free to Download Advanced Character Sheets

I've put 2 sets of character sheets up on rpgnow as free downloads.  Each set contains 3 blank character sheets designed for use with the Advanced Edition Companion rules for Labyrinth Lord.  There are 2 versions of this product UK English and US English.  The only difference between them is the spelling of the word ARMOUR/ARMOR.  

Each set includes a standard character sheet, a version for spellcasters and a version for thieves.  I created them as the adventure in the next issue of Oubliette will come with optional pregen characters.  I was aiming for an old school home-made look - sort of PDF version - of what I might have done by hand 30 years ago on graph paper but better.

I'm happy for these to be shared, copied and hosted as FREE downloads.

Here are the links to them:

UK English Character Sheets 

US English Character Sheets

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Halfling Proof Fence Game Images



As mentioned in the magazine, here's some images of the large-scale map and counters that I used for play-testing Halfling Proof Fence (the adventure in the first issue).