Golden Scroll of Justice now available

The Golden Scroll of Justice lets you bring your old-school RPG into a whole new world of wuxia/kung fu action based on Chinese mythology, history, and folklore. The book contains:

  • Two new PC races: the shanxiao (monkey-man) and gouren (dog-man)
  • Two new character classes: the wu and the fangshi, along with guidelines on how to use your existing classes in a mythic China setting
  • Hundreds of new spells
  • Rules for kung fu that fit seemlessly into the existing combat and skill system, but still allows for cool “cinematic” moves
  • New weapons and armor
  • New magic items
  • New monsters
  • And much more!

The rules are designed to be completely modular; take what you like, leave what you don’t. Want fangshi and gouren but not the kung fu system? No problem. Everything will still work fine. And it’s compatible with just about every old-school RPG out there. You can find the book here, available in softcover, hardcover, and pdf. And as always, the hard copies come with the pdf version at no additional cost.

Darker Paths 3: The Demonolater now available!

And now, just in time for the festive Halloween season, a new addition to the Darker Paths line of evil character classes, the Demonolater.

Demonolaters are priests who serve demon lords and ladies. The character class is a sub-class of cleric, but each demon lord has priests with special powers and spells, nearly 40 of which are included (with names like dark offering, invite possession, and warp reality).

This supplement also includes rules for demonic pacts and statistics for the demon lord Dagon and his minions, the dreaded carcharo demons.

You can buy the Demonolater on its own for just $4.25, or if you’ve been holding out for a collection of all three Darker Paths books (the Necromancer, the Witch, and now the Demonolater), you can get a bundle for just $9.95 (that’s 30% off the individual price!).

More Adventures Dark and Deep Video Reviews

Seems that someone really likes Adventures Dark and Deep! Keegan Reid has posted two reviews on his YouTube channel, one for the Players Manual and one for the Game Masters Toolkit, that are positively gushing. 🙂 Please do take a look, and subscribe to his channel. Lots of other interesting stuff in there as well.

I just love that years after they’re published, folks are still discovering the Adventures Dark and Deep books and getting this excited about what they see. Really, really makes it all worthwhile.

(Check’s in the mail, Keegan)

2016 Convention Calendar

Hey all!

Starting next year, we’re expanding our convention presence throughout the northeast, and will be including a greatly expanded number of select offerings from third-party publishers as well.

So far, here’s the (tentative) schedule of our appearances. Naturally, subject to change; this post will be kept updated as conventions are changed, removed, or added.

February 18-26, Morristown, NJ. Dreamation.

March 3-6, Lake Geneva, WI. GaryCon.

April 17-19, Trevose, PA. Philly Games Con.

June 29 – July 3, Morristown, NJ. Dexcon.

August 5-7, Hunt Valley, MD. Shore Leave.

November 11-13, Scranton, PA. Mepacon.

November 18-20, Cherry Hill, NJ. Philcon.

See you there!

Kickstarter announcement – Golden Scroll of Justice

And the big announcement concerning the Kickstarter for The Golden Scroll of Justice, my upcoming mythic China/Wuxia sourcebook for old-school RPGs is…

There will be no Kickstarter.

A funny thing happened when I ran the numbers while I was preparing for the Kickstarter of this book. I realized I didn’t need the money to make it happen. Sales of Adventures Dark and Deep and Castle of the Mad Archmage have been good enough that I don’t need to go to the fans beforehand to make the next book happen.

I’m a firm believer that Kickstarter should be used to help create things that could not otherwise be created. Not as a pre-order platform, not to gauge public response to a product. I pride myself that, if I don’t need to go to the Kickstarter well, I don’t go. That’s what I did with the Game Masters Toolkit, and that’s what I’m able to do with Golden Scroll of Justice.

So… the planned release date is still by the end of this year. Hmmm… that’ll be just in time for Christmas. How convenient!

Call for Artists – Quick Turnaround Needed

Let the word go forth from this time and place, that I am hereby looking for artists to work on my next project – a book which is a blend of of Mythic China (including Chinese mythology, folk religion, and the like) and classic Wuxia movies. The book will be Kickstarted, and I’m looking for folks with a hole in their schedules for the first part of Q4 of this year.

This bit is important. There will be hard deadlines that must be met in October and November. You’ll get specific assignments in mid-September. If your workload will not allow you to make those deadlines, please do not apply. If you commit to a deadline and fail to meet it, you will not be paid. If I have to do without a piece of art on a page, I will do so, rather than let the project deadline slip.

Sorry to be such a hardass about this, but I need to get this book out in 2015 (which is a must, for tax purposes, if I collect a bunch of money via Kickstarter), so I have to get the books printed in December (again, taxes). That means I’m not waiting for art.

Art will consist mostly of quarter-page b&w line art (3.5″ width, 4.5″ height), and a couple of one-eighth page pieces (3.5″ width, 2.25″ height). There will be no full-page pieces. There will be a single 7″x7″ color cover. Obviously, this being a China-themed book, you’ll be expected to produce figures in Chinese armor and clothing, and etc. Please make sure you know the difference between Chinese and Japanese armor and clothing. No ninjas, no samurai.

Please email me at joseph@brwgames.com if you’re interested, include your rate for a the sizes of art you’re interested in doing (and link to samples of your work, if I haven’t already worked with you in the past), and please feel free to spread this out to all your artsy friends.

Secondary skills in Adventures Dark and Deep

One thing that I’m discovering as I’m writing the Mythic China/wuxia book is just how flexible and powerful the secondary skills are. As they appear in Adventures Dark and Deep, they’re an expansion of the skill system that Gygax wrote for the Castles & Crusades game (specifically for use with his Castle Zagyg project), specifying relevant attributes rather than relying on “prime attributes” (which ADD doesn’t have), and dropping the categorization in favor of specifying an x.p. cost for each skill. In ADD, if your character’s highest attribute isn’t the relevant one for that skill, it’ll cost more x.p. to pick up a skill level.

The system works in general by saying, when you earn experience points, you have the option of spending them on learning a new secondary skill, rather than earning a new experience level. Once spent, those x.p. are lost, although a character can of course re-earn them in the normal fashion.

Adventures Dark and Deep uses this system to not only give a set of generalized skills that might be useful for adventurers, but also as a means to convert specialists such as blacksmiths, sages, etc. into game mechanics which suddenly become available to player characters, if they wish to spend the x.p. Some character classes, like the savant, automatically begin the game with a secondary skill (scholarship, which is based off the old AD&D sage rules).

In practice, the skill system works sort of like the 3E system of “taking a level in another class”, except the skills are very micro-targeted, rather than giving the character all the benefits of a multi-classed character. Advancement in the secondary skill is also optional; you can spend the x.p. to gain a skill level in espionage, but nothing says you need to spend more (twice more; x.p. costs are per skill level) to get a second level.

In the new Mythic China/Wuxia rulebook, I’m taking this to a whole other level. While there are, naturally, new secondary skills that are appropriate for a Chinese-based setting, the system as a whole is the basis of the new kung fu rules.

You want to learn kung fu? You spend x.p. to learn a particular style, and you’ll get access to benefits in combat, some of which require a skill check (based on the relevant attribute), and some that just give you an automatic bonus in combat. You want to get better at a particular style, and learn new moves that open up new possibilities? Just spend the x.p. Oh, and find a teacher willing and able to instruct you in the new moves…

I think this is incredibly elegant, and really demonstrates the power of Gygax’s original system, if taken to its logical conclusion. Kung fu moves don’t “stack”, unless you spend yet more x.p. to learn Kung Fu Mastery, which allows you to combine certain types of bonuses, so the risk of someone becoming some unbeatable killing machine is somewhat mitigated by both the need of spending extra x.p., as well as the specific restrictions. But the system in general allows you to recreate many of the really cool martial arts skills that you’ve seen in the movies, if you’re willing to forego advancing in level to be able to levitate or jump backwards over an enemy to strike him from behind.

It’s like feats, but fitted into a 1st edition aesthetic. And damn, it really works well.

Working on this book has really opened my eyes to the possibilities of the secondary skill system in Adventures Dark and Deep, and I daresay its one of the several things that really makes this game stand out in the pack of retro-clones.

Rather than needing to create an entire sub-class for some specific function in a particular setting, a GM could simply create an appropriate secondary skill and decree that members of the Royal Guard in his setting need to learn it. In that instant, he has created not only a mechanical device to add distinction to the royal guards (who might be experts in the use of the one-handed halberd, or whatever), as well as providing an in-game roleplaying mechanism (you can’t learn the skill unless you can find a teacher, and you can’t become a member of the King’s Guard without it, so you better find a way to learn it from someone if that’s your character’s ultimate dream). I could see race-specific skills, too, being defining traits of sub-races and the like. It’s really a powerful system, and it really works smoothly.