Thursday, 9 July 2020

Isometric Tutorial #9: Evil Idol in a Niche

I've just posted my ninth isometric dungeon tutorial, this one is an evil idol in a niche.



I haven't posted one of these in a while, so you may not be aware of the rest of the series where I draw an assortment of isometric mapping features.

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As a reminder, there are only three days left to vote in the ENnies! Trilemma Compendium is up for four awards: Best Adventure, Best Layout/Design, Best Cartography, and Product of the Year. I'm sure whoever you vote for can use your support, so vote for what you love before it's too late!

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

Year Zero Bestiary Kickstarter!

There will soon be a Trilemma Bestiary for Year Zero Engine fantasy role-playing games. It goes live on Kickstarter on August 4!



The Year Zero Engine is a system reference document released under the OGL, which powers a family of role-playing games in a number of genres: post-apocalyptic, science fiction, and of course, fantasy. A number of people have asked me if we intended to support this system with a bestiary, and the answer is yes!



For some time now, Craig Atkins and friends have been busily converting the Trilemma bestiary creatures to the Year Zero engine, and we're now preparing our Kickstarter campaign.

The Kickstarter launches August 4!
Follow it on Kickstarter

One of the interesting things about Year Zero is the way many creatures are given a table of random moves: interesting things for them to do in a combat situation. Here are three of the entries from the Cave Stitcher:



Cave Stitcher by Russ Nicholson

Craig put his brain against the juicing sieve and has made custom attack tables for more than 75 creatures, and including kin and animals, there will be over 110 creatures in the bestiary. You can of course use these with the adventures from the compendium, but they work just as well to enrich your own setting.

After my compendium Kickstarter last year and putting out three books since, I've learned a bunch of dos and don'ts. This will be a by-the-book, low-risk Kickstarter with a single goal: putting usable monsters in your hands as soon as possible. We will of course have some fun stretch goals, but everything has been carefully selected to fit into a short production schedule.





Friday, 3 July 2020

2020 ENnies Award Nominations

A few days ago I learned that Trilemma Adventures Compendium Vol I has been nominated for four ENnie awards!
  • Best Adventure
  • Best Layout and Design
  • Best Cartography
  • Product of the Year
Voting is live now!  There are some very cool things listed. Some of my favorites:
  • Hit the Streets, Defend the Block, by Rich Rogers (Judges' Spotlight Award)
  • Ultraviolet Grasslands, Luka Rejec (Best Cover, Best Interior Art)
  • TTRPG Safety Toolkit, by Kienna Sunrise, Lauren Bryant-Monk (Best Free Game Product)
  • Zombie World, by Brendan G. Conway, Mark Diaz Truman (Best Game, Best Rules, Product of the Year)
There are a few others I'm less familiar with, but by people who are awesome:
  • Visigoths vs Mall Goths, Lucian Kahn (Best Writing)
  • Asians Represent featuring Daniel Kwan, Agatha Cheng (Best Podcast)
  • Electric Bastionland by Chris McDowall (Best Writing)
  • Jim Henson’s Labyrinth, the Adventure Game, by Ben Milton, Jack Caesar (Best Cartography, Best Family Game / Product)
Hats off to BFF! Best Friends Forever for a chart-topping five nominations for a single product! (Best Production Values, Product of the Year, Best Interior Art,  Best Family Game / Product, Best Layout and Design).  BFF is based on Fall of Magic, which I've never played (heard great things), and it looks really fantastic.

Free League looks like a heavyweight this year, with the Mithral-selling Alien RPG and MÖRK BORG duelling for best game, and MB looking very solid in three other categories.

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I'm sure I've missed many great things, I don't get out enough. The point is this: in every ENnie year there's a silent category, Best Marketing. I say this without cynicism, marketing is a real skill that few independent outfits bring to the table, and while round one is judged, the voting phase is essentially powered by product awareness, either the skills + grassroots kind, or the skills + money kind.

At the same time, the network effects of the ambient white guy demographic are undeniable. This is a chance to take something that should have more visibility and lift it up so it can be seen. Many such products weren't chosen by the judges, or were written by people who can't afford to gamble what is effectively a $100-200+ entry fee on a slim chance of winning.

Here's what I recommend:
  1. Read the list of nominees
  2. Vote for what you love, what you think should be more widely seen
  3. Then, go and pick three awesome things that weren't nominated (and perhaps weren't even submitted) and post about them somewhere.
I'll start!

My Highlights:
Your turn!

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Dungeon World Bestiary

The Trilemma Bestiary for Dungeon World is now complete, and live on DTRPG! The PDF option is available now, and a softcover option will be available as soon as my proof copy arrives.


Like the 5e and B/X bestiaries, this contains 112 creatures and scores of illustrations. This book makes it even easier to use the compendium adventures in your Dungeon World game, but it's meant to also stand on its own.

It's packed of illustrated, interesting creatures, which vary and complexity from an incidental challenge in the underworld (like the Cave Drake), to a whole community-threatening mini arc, like the Dream Eater:

I'm doing a happy dance over here because this marks the final stretch goal for the compendium Kickstarter. As of now, the Trilemma Adventures Compendium Kickstarter is 100% complete.

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Dungeon World has attracted some flak recently via the rather appalling actions of one of its authors, Adam Koebel, during an actual play livestream.

Johnstone and I have talked it over, and for the next six months I'll be donating the proceeds from sales of this compendium to the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which defends and protects the human rights of Black transgender and gender non-conforming people.

At the time of writing, trans rights are under assault in the United States (as in many places), and racial discrimination compounds the problem significantly for Black transgender people.

Saturday, 6 June 2020

B/X Bestiary on DriveThruRPG

The Trilemma Compendium Bestiary for Basic/Export is now live on DriveThruRPG. (This is why I was fussing over treasure types, in case that wasn't obvious!)



Many thanks to Johnstone Metzger for his hard work in doing all these conversions, and for all the backers who made this thing possible in the first place.



There are 112 creatures in total, including crawling ghosts, catalyzing alien Nuss, void gulls, cursed spider-bears, and of course dire pelicans!


Check it out on DriveThruRPG. There's a pay-the-difference bundle options, so if you've picked up the compendium PDF already, you can get the bestiary at a significant discount.

Sunday, 31 May 2020

Throwback: Weird on the Waves

As you have probably heard, Kiel Chenier has recently released Weird on the Waves, his sourcebook for old school naval adventures. This project started out small, but has grown into a 224-page tome!

Now it includes tons of material for ships, naval combat, a playable mermaid class, a bestiary of aquatic and piratical fiends, and a whole campaign setting for the Caribbean of 1666.



A couple of years ago while 'Weird' was still taking shape, Kiel and I collaborated on a two-page adventure, the Hounds of Low Tide, which is perfect fodder for Weird on the Waves!



Download the adventure and check out Weird on the Waves!

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

B/X Loot vs. Danger

Continuing my investigations into B/X monster treasure, I wanted to understand how dangerous it is to get xp from different types of creatures. There are some well-known outliers - Dwarves have the high-density type G (which is unique to them), kobolds guard a pile of slag, and dragons have the chart-topping hoard "H". But where are goblins, ogres, minotaurs? Read on!

As a simple proxy for how tough a lair is to raid is, I used the creature's xp value, multiplied by the average number appearing in lair. For its lair gp value, I used the average treasure value of its treasure type.


With these numbers in hand, I have a fairly simple way to scatter the monsters across a graph of 'loot' vs. 'danger'.

Scatter plot of B/X monster lair danger vs. loot 
The graph mostly speaks for itself, but there are a few interesting critters.

One, kobolds are the absolute worst. They have substantially less treasure than normal rats! Kobolds carry type P, but this add insult to injury as you now have to go through their pockets to round out the miserable haul.

Moving up the left side of the cluster takes us on a tour of the easiest pickings - giant rats, halflings, carcass crawlers, bandits, dwarfs, troglodytes.

The right hand side of the cluster holds the creatures that make you work for slim pickings. Stirges, thouls, gargoyles, bugbears, ogres, and minotaurs. The minotaur is the toughest non-dragon creature on the graph, but it only has the same treasure as giant rats. That'll teach you to go looting in a prison!

Perhaps worst of all is the basilisk. If this chart is anything to go by, a nest of basilisks will leave you stone dead and dead broke.

Dragons are interesting because they all have type H. Red dragons are substantially tougher than black or (especially) white dragons, but they all have the same hoards.