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Fae-rror of the Stratosfiend

Kickstarter's Zine Quest was a pretty cool event in retrospect. It was crazy to have so much content to pick from (I could not buy them all, sadly). I had some background involvement as a co-creator (Donn Stroud launched The Lesser Key to the Celestial Legion at the same time) and watching our KS and others come to fruition was awesome.

One of the wildest things to come out of Zine Quest was Terror of the Stratosfiend, the bizarre brain child of Sean Richer. For reasons I still do not fully understand, Sean really liked Fae Hard. He gave it a shout out in during the KS and he thought his twisted, gonzo, space horror setting would be a perfect thing to mix with The Red King, Alboran's, Die Hard inspired adventure. To which I said, "Sounds like fun. Let's do a mash up."

A half year later and Sean hits up on the Twitter about ideas for his upcoming KS for issue #2 of Terror of the Stratosfiend. One thing leads to another and instead of re-skinning Fae Hard, we are t…
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The House of the Red Doors Developer Diary

So post Gen Con analysis of the House of the Red Doors begins. I am happy about many parts of the adventure. I love the story and the fact that a successful conclusion requires paying attention and solving puzzles. There's certainly times for dice rolling, but in most cases they do not revolve around combat. A player can find enough fighting to get their fill, but will their PC survive? (Spoiler it's not likely.)

I'm also happy with the overall vibe. It's untethered and not narratively linear. The parts don't have to make sense as in a "real world" dungeon. The encounters take place in an otherworld or dreamland. The inhabitants are likewise unchained from reality. This is a great freedom in the design.

The endings all have several solutions. That was a conscience design choice. Picking the right solution is the main objective. Puzzles do not have to be death traps with a single linear solution. Like your dungeons, they too can provide more avenues for su…

Convention Support of the "Third Party"

Awhile back smart guy, Jon Wilson, was wondering on MeWe how third party publishers might increase their visibility at conventions. Certainly swag, T-shirts, and Kickstarters elevate a third party's profile maybe more online than at a convention. I've noticed that cross pollination seems to bump sales up a bit. The Lesser Key of the Celestial Legion Kickstarter gave me one of the best months for Angels, Daemons and Beings Between, vol. 2: Elfland Edition since its publishing. Donn's appearance on Spellburn converted a few extra sales than normal as well. But none of these scenarios directly address elevating third party products at a convention.

I missed sailing the third party boat I set-up for myself at Gen Con this year. Joseph allowed me to run a tournament and present my awards during the Goodman Games Gen Con closing ceremony. I was more worried about stumbling in front of the packed ICC room than introducing myself to the DCC faithful. So I forgot everything and jus…

Gen Con: The House of the Red Doors Tournament

Gen Con 2019 is over and I had a great if exhausting time. I ran 12 hours of an adventure I debuted at U-Con back in November 2018. The House of the Red Doors is an unusual adventure.

First, it is a funnel. If you're not familiar with Dungeon Crawl Classics, funnels are 0 level adventures that catapult their survivors into an adventurer's life. Bad things happen to normal people. They die -- by the cartful. Hopefully each player has one character by the end and everyone levels up to their 1st level character.

Second, The House of the Red Doors is a single player funnel. The player has one character and one chance to successfully complete the adventure. Death means you have to start over. In a tournament setting, death is the end of a participant's run. I like the dynamic of two people sitting down to play an RPG. To me, it's akin to reading sci-fi/fantasy fiction where there is only a protagonist. It's intimate and the player has no one to rely on other than themsel…

The Lesser Key to the Celestial Legion

Donn Stroud had this amazing and very raw set of tables to ideate an angel or divine herald. After playing with it a few times I was convinced it was worth getting into other people's hands. I wrote up 3 heralds; one was published in Sanctum Secorum and all three appeared in Gongfarmers Almanac 2018.

Then I began to press Donn on finishing it up and letting me help edit, structure, and add some writing to his oeuvre. The rest, as they say, is history. We had a very successful kickstarter. Donn and I appeared on Hobbs & Friends of the OSR and Donn was recently on Spellburn. You can now get a physical copy from Donn by chatting with him at Psychoda Press.