Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Submission Solicitation Time...

So Crawl! number six is off for approval. This gives me time to work on the next issue. The next issue is going to be focused on Judges. It's going to be full of Tips, Tricks & Traps. I want some unique stuff for Judges to do behind the screen to make the game fun and challenging to their players. A short adventure or encounter would be cool. As would some traps, especially some fun unique Grimtooth's style stuff. I particularly like multi-part, initiative based traps... I'll take some new critters too. How about some tips from you experienced Judges on running games?

Send your submissions to: crawl@straycouches.com !

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pre-registration at OrcCon...

... is going on now. http://www.strategicon.net/

My games are listed and they might fill up! I'm running a game at 8PM on Friday night and 2PM on Saturday. My games will incorporate 0-level character creation. If you want to try a 1st-level character, or have played with me previously and still have your character, I'll let you play them. But you have to provide your own supplies for it. It will be a 0-level adventure and your role will also be to help the new folks with their characters. I'm still not settled on the adventure.

I will have swag.

USPS hates Canada...

...and the rest of the world.

Officially, starting today, the first round of price increases are happening. Canada gets the biggest shaft first. Shipping to Canada officially loses the neighborly discount and gets charged the same price as the rest of the world. Canadian prices are now the same as International, overseas prices. It's a huge price jump of over a dollar. The rest of the world gets bumped up too, by several cents, but I'm not going to reflect that yet. Yes, it totally sucks, it's like the USPS is following the general US international policy of, "F*** everyone else." (It's too bad those drones can't deliver mail...) I hate this because I love shipping and sharing, my zines internationally. The price increases are going to make things tough for me, I do this for fun and eat a lot of the costs, or actually a lot of the costs come out of my beer money. But fear not, I'm still committed to the paper zine. I love it. I'm addicted to zines, and I love that I'm able to be a Zinester and combine it with being a RPG gamer. I'm going to continue to make them available, but they're going to cross that threshold of cheap, which I understand. Everyone with existing subscriptions don't have to worry, your investment in my zine is my commitment to you. I'm fulfilling your subscriptions. With that thought, the price of the zine will go up starting with #6, and the subscription prices will increase at the same time.

So I'm giving everyone the opportunity to subscribe to Crawl! with 2012  prices (except for Canadians, I'm really sorry...) until #6 gets released (which is soon!) and this includes subscription extensions! Yup, extensions. But do me a favor and use the link below. It'll be clearer to me which subscriptions are extensions and which are new. So unless you want another copy of #5, please use the special links.

One final note. PDF's coming soon! This, I hope, will counter the price bumps.

Subscription extension special is now over, sorry.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Come game with me! I'll be part of the DCC RPG 2013 WORLD TOUR!

I'll be running two games at OrcCon this February. One on Friday Night then another on Saturday Afternoon (Last year I did two night games, not this year.) I'm not sure what adventures I'll be running, but I'm open for suggestions. They'll both be 0-level adventures, but I will keep it friendly for returning players to play their previously leveled characters, or any 1st level characters they provide, as long as you run it by me first! As I really want to focus on introducing the game to as many people as possible.

Game sign-ups are January 26th. So get ready for that. I will be playing a large table of 8 players (yes, eight! It's fun!) But they filled up both night at Gamex last year, if you can believe that.

If you miss out in February, I'll be back again for Gamex in May. Same kind of thing, different adventures. Put I'll make a post for that.

I'll also be participating in the Shared Events mentioned at the end of the DCC RPG 2013 World Tour page. It'll sort of be a mini-campaign or series, kind of like Organized Play, but a lot looser. It'll be good. And the places I run it might be a surprise, exclusive to my games. Be ready for that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Postage and PDFs

Between working on #6, I've been busy making my zines screen friendly PDFs. This means adding covers, bookmarks and modifying some art to make the zines view-able in tablets and computer screens. It also means shrinking the art a bit so they're smaller, and thus reducing the size of the PDF. This will all make it easier to distribute over the internet. It's been an interesting exercise, because there were a few problems, it was more complicated than I thought, but I'm pretty happy with how I solved them. Particularly covers. They should look cool, just like the printed copies. Particularly the thumbnails. Now, how to distribute them. I want to make the PDFs free to anyone that has purchased the printed copies. But I don't know the best way to do this. So far I'm thinking of announcing it here, when they're ready, and having those that want a PDF copy to email directly with some sort of proof. Which is easy for those that bought them from me directly online. But what about those that bought them conventions, or retail outlets? I'm thinking any kind of proof at this time, since there really aren't that many of them. For those that don't own print copies, or those that want to help a little indie zine producer out, and buy them, I plan to sell them on RPGnow. The only thing I'm not sure about is the pricing. Right now I'm thinking of 25% off the cover price.

Speaking of cover price, it was inevitable, but prices are going to go up. I'm not sure when, but at the end of the month USPS are raising prices significantly for things over 1 oz. (I aim for the zine to be just shy of 2 oz. Including the envelope, stamp and mailing label.) Shipping overseas, is increasing a bunch, and Mexico and Canada going to cost the same to ship as Europe. Yep, my Canadian customers are getting a price hike of over $0.50 probably closer to $0.70. But it's going to reflect on all prices across the board, including new subscriptions. I know, this really sucks. But I'm committed to releasing the analog version, they're just going to go up in price a bit.

So this is a good time for me to start making PDFs available. I want to get every back issue ready to go on sale once number 6 is released. In addition to the PDF editions, I'm creating some free or cheap supplements to go with certain issues. I just finished the first one, which is the complete Van den Danderclanden patron in one package (pdf). It'll be in two formats, Booklet--which is web/screen friendly and perfect to read on your tablet devices and Letter--which is print friendly on standard paper. These will be a handier copy of the patron, instead of thumbing through two separate issues of the zine. It'll be free to anyone that owns or buys #1 or #3!

I'll let you all know when it's available. (See sample of the Letter formatted edition!)

Let me know what you think!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Quick Crawl!#6 update and my ideas for Demi-Humans

I'm still waiting on a few things for Crawl! number 6, the Classic Character Classes issue, sorry. But it's coming! That's all I really got for that, but I'm already beginning work on number 7, the Judges Issue, so hopefully that won't take as long as number 6 to come out.

So, I've been thinking about expanding the demi-human classes a bit. By adding another class option to each demi-human, me thinks, will help solve a problem I've been having in my gaming group. First the lack of Clerics and Thieves. Ironically the first issue of Crawl included tips to omit those classes, and they've been put to good use. But it's been inconsistent because sometimes the Thief's player shows up, sometimes not. Sometimes the Cleric's player shows up, sometimes not. It's kind of frustrating to one week have players burn stamina for hit-points, etc. But the Wizard and Warriors are never short because even if the Wizard is missing, the Elf is there, and even if the Warrior is on some cruise to Alaska, the Dwarf is there to pick up the slack. The Halfling, on the other hand has been missing for over a year and no one has missed him (sorry the character, not the player. The player is totally missed!) When we play-tested a high-level adventure a while back, the Halfling was considerably weaker than everyone else. He needed to be buffed up a bit. This is what I've been thinking:

First, the creation of a Dwarven Priest. This would be part Warrior, part Cleric. The standard Dwarf would become the Dwarven Fighter. I like Fighter because it'd be an homage to the Iconic AD&D Race & Class, and not confuse it with the standard Human Warrior. The specifics aren't settled yet, but Iron Tavern has already taken a stab at it here: http://irontavern.com/2013/01/04/dwarven-cleric-for-dcc-rpg/ and it's excellent. We plan to tweet it a bit more, and after some play-testing it should be solid. It looks really good as it is now. This would create another Cleric class that is much needed. To make the class special than the "standard" Dwarf [Fighter] I'd give the new class an alignment restriction, I was thinking Lawful only or maybe also allow Neutral.

Next, the addition of another Elven class. I'm not totally sure how to do this, but I'm thinking of *my* favorite class combo from the AD&D days, the Elven Fighter/Magic-user/Thief. This may be pure nostalgia, but I like making this class available. I just don't know what it would be called. I was thinking of calling the class a Dark Elf. This would be a sort of an Assassin Elf, and for those that want to play a Drow, I think it would be very suitable. It would also solve my Thief problem. I was also thinking of calling it an Elven Rogue. I like how that sounds, and it is a bit more flexible than the Dark Elf. I'd also give this class an alignment restriction of Chaotic and Neutral. The standard Elf will become an Elven Swordmage (or Arrowmage for the Bow & Arrow types) otherwise unchanged.

And finally the Halfling. The Halfling, in my opinion, needs to be buffed up a bit. Not a complete overhaul, but some added abilities. I'm thinking of two new Halfling classes to replace the standard Halfing. The first would be the Halfling Burglar, in homage to the original halfling, Bilbo Baggins. "If I say that he is a Burglar, a Burglar he is. or will be when the time comes."--Gandalf the Grey. He would have full access to thief skills in addition to standard Halfling abilities. A pretty simple fix, and takes care of my thief problem. The addition of a fighting Halfling of some sort. I'm not sure what direction to go here, first I'm thinking a barbarian-sh type ala Dark Sun's cannibal halflings. I'm thinking of calling them a Wild Halfling or "Wildling". But I was also thinking of a noble halfling, kind of a knight in the vein of the Halfling gods Arvoreen and Yondalla, both are gods of Protection, the former known as The Defender. So I was thinking of a Halfling Protector, and I like the ring of it. The Halfling Protector would be dedicated to Law, and appropriated restricted to it.

And a quick word on alignment restrictions. I think alignment restrictions are the best way to create a type of prerequisite for these new classes. I know some will be pretty opposed to alignment restrictions, but tons of people were opposed to random occupations to begin with. I really like random characters, and I subscribed to AD&D's use of ability score prerequisites, level limits and alignment restrictions as a campaign tool to "limit" certain classes. I think alignment restrictions of these new classes, and only these classes would be a fair compromise. Of course they can be optional for your own game, but I write for my personal game so I'll be pretty strict with them in mine.

Let me know what you think!