"Oh cool... So you're STILL working on this?" -- A guy at GenCon

"If I see Drah-koo-lah, I will. kick. him. in. the eye!!!" -- My 4 (almost 5) year old daughter. She GETS it!

"Meatpie Forever!" -- A playtester at GenCon 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Tales from the Tomb: Crunch De-Fanged

This week I was on a podcast with the guys from Spellburn. It should be out soon. There was a lot of focus around the new character classes and the rule enhancements in Transylvanian Adventures. Moreover, there were some comments directed at the "crunchiness" of Transylvanian Adventures. Something that surprised me because, frankly, it hadn't translated to play.

And here's why I think that is...

First, the rule enhancements introduce "crunch" of two varieties: situational and optional. Situational crunch covers rules like Ruin, firearms damage, Fear, and damage recovery. These only rear their heads every now and then. Ruin enters play 3 or so times a session when a character is dropped to 0 hit points. Fear, once -- maybe twice or not at all -- at the Judge's discretion. Optional crunch represents rules like the different approach to Luck spends and the bonuses and penalties around the "Mad Libs" section. This is crunch that a group can buy into if they want.

Judges have the same latitude to cut corners, adjust rules, ignore rules, and overall tailor gameplay for their group. Just because a rule is in a book doesn't mean it has to be used. Especially those with "optional" in their title.

Second, things are different in Transylvanian Adventures. And some things are new. That can be hard to grok at first. And I think it gives the impression of an illusory learning curve. Most people -- without having read the book -- figure out Ruin the first or second time they roll it. The alternate Luck spends take a little bit more effort to remember. But after a session or two, I've found that they tend to make sense. Especially for seasoned DCC RPG vets. And, at the end of the day, the Transylvanian Adventures character classes are just that -- level-based character classes. Had the Exotic been named the Monk, the Polymath named the Cleric, the Half-Breed named the Elf, the Valiant named the Bard, the Scoundrel named the Thief, and the Reaver named the Dwarf, I think Transylvanian Adventures would seem less foreign. But, really, that's all that it is. And the analogues between the genre-based classes in Transylvanian Adventures and the role-based classes of other OSR games become fairly clear after a minimal time investment.

In my experience running and playing both extensively, I've found no real difference in crunch between DCC RPG and Transylvanian Adventures. Before running convention games, Michael Curtis and Harley Stroh give a short tutorial on DCC RPG. It runs about 10 minutes or so. Before running a game of Transylvanian Adventures, I give the same sort of talk, covering the same ground with the additional Transylvanian Adventures bits added in.

It still takes about 10 minutes.

Things may have some unfamiliar names. And a couple of rules are turned on their ears. But when the dice are done clattering, Transylvanian Adventures is still very much DCC RPG.



Saturday, November 23, 2013

What's the hold up?

Sorry it's taking so long to get the print-on-demand books together. Here's the whys and wherefores...

I'm getting some edits in. I'm taking care of a few of the issues that have been raised over the past month or so. The PDF should be updated around the same time as the POD is made available.

I misunderstood how Lulu handled discounts, coupons, etc. I know I've gotten coupons in the past for specific titles or authors. But, apparently, I can't offer them as a new publisher for some reason. I'm currently in the process of getting POD set up through DriveThruRPG/RPGNow so that those who have the PDF can receive a discount on the hardcover as promised. Canadian folks can contact me directly if they don't want to pay across-the-border shipping costs.

We'll work something out.

The extended kerfluffle at Lulu dovetailed nicely into the need for me to clean up a couple of items. If it wasn't clear, there will be a hardcover version available at Lulu and RPGNow for $34.99. The hardcover will come with a free PDF through RPGNow. Lulu will also have a softcover version for $19.99. That's a deal right there.

Thanks for your patience.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Busy night

Proof copy of the hardcover and softcover just came in today. Looks good so far...


Doug's art looks amazing, by the way. And yes, that wall in the background is really that color green.

Not sure what's going on with the character sheet but...

I've gotten more than a few heads up regarding the non-printability of the character sheet in the PDF. I'm still unable to track down why the character sheet in the big book doesn't want to play nice yet the same character sheet in The Winter Home looks fine. Score one for Adobe.

I've put together a PDF Character Sheet that I'm hoping will do for now until I can track down the reason for this rascally situation.

Sorry for the craziness. I promised there wouldn't be any Sanity Checks...