Caravans of Blood Pass; book 2 of the Towers of Mysteries

As I continue with the post-production check list for both Revolvers & Wizardry and The Door of Infinite Portals (ebooks and POD editions), I am also now beginning book 2 of the The Tower of Mysteries entitled The Caravans of Blood Pass.

The Caravans of Blood Pass alpha cover concept.
The Caravans of Blood Pass alpha cover concept.
 
Final colored line art
Final colored line art

As is typical of my projects, a simple premise—party travels from point A to point B and is harried by several humanoid tribes—is developing into a something more far extensive. At these initial stages where I am just beginning to flesh out the skeleton of the outline, there are hints at power struggles between the humanoids that the party can take advantage of, multiple routes through the Pass that the party can use to their advantage or bad fortune, and extensive miscellaneous encounter tables. Multiple trips through the Pass and surrounding areas should provide several gaming sessions worth of challenges.

And of course, there will be more encounters involving the Tower of Mysteries itself, as continued from The Door of Infinite Portals.

At this time, I am estimating a page count of 120 pages, 9 separate but inter-related adventuring sections, numerous new creatures and new magic elements. Involvement with the Revolvers & Wizardry supplement is not planned, but, you never know may surprise me as events evolve.

Planned release date for Caravans is Summer 2017.

Good gaming,

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Revolvers & Wizardry entering “final stages”

RnW_bugProbably a little to early to make such announcements, but I am so excited about getting this project released I can’t help but jump the gun just a little. I believe I have all sections at least in outline form that I want to include, and I even have a couple groups who have promised to play test for me. I probably will not make my Christmas 2014 self-imposed deadline, but I think January 2015 is definitely doable.

Here’s a current compiling of the Table of Contents (completed sections only, more will certainly be added in the coming weeks);

Publisher’s Note
Preface
Open Game Content
Resources
Character Options for R&W
New Character Race Options
Half–Gnoll
Minotaur
Considerations for Standard OSRIC Races
Considerations for Usherwood Expansion Races
Racial Preferences
New Character Class Options
Desperado
Doctor
Gunslinger
Secondary Professions
Level Limitations for Standard OSRIC Races
Weapons and Combat
Firearms
Aiming
Firearm Damage
Using Two Firearms Simultaneously
The Kill Shot
Mishaps, Misfires and Hang Fires
Conducting a Showdown
Firearms vs. Armor
Melee Weapons & Other Devices
Boomerangs
Lassos
Dynamite
Mass Brawls
The Riot
Cowboy Riot
Monsters
Notes on Existing OSRIC Monsters
Humanoids
Other Creatures
New Creatures
Men
Cowboy
Ruined
Demi-Humans
Enanô
Elfô
Duende
Hombrecitô
Humanoids
Peludzo
Undead
Nameless Stranger
Animals
Jackrabbit, Gigantic
Lizard, Giant Poisonous
Other Creatures
Bird, Assassin
Cattle, Carnivorous
Chupacabra
Desert Raider
Gummersaurus
Hag, Frontier
Hyenawere
Prairie Lobster
Rattlesnake, Titanic
Scorpion, Monstrous
Tarantula, Titanic
Tarantula Hawk, Gargantuan
Thunderbird
Heroes & Villains of Lore
Robert LeRoy Parker (a.k.a “Butch Cassidy”)
Henry Longbaugh (a.k.a “Sundance Kid”)
George “Flat Nose” Curry
William “News” Carver
“Black” Jack Ketchum
“Laughing” Sam Carey
Clyde Barrow
Bonnie Parker
William Daniel “W.D.” Jones
John Dillinger
Lester Joseph Gillis (a.k.a George “Baby Face” Nelson)
Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd
Jesse James
Frank James
James “Wild Bill” Hickock
Wyatt Earp
John “Crooked Nose Jack” McCall
Hin-mah-too-yah-lat-kekt (a.k.a “Chief Joseph”)
K’uu-ch’ish (a.k.a “Cochise”)
Thathaka lyotake (a.k.a “Sitting Bull”)
Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (a.k.a “Black Hawk”)
“Doctor” Henry Fate
Turkan Ruggedhide (a.k.a “Long Horns”)
Magic, Machinery & Science
Magic
Flora
New Spells
Cleric
Bad Medicine
Berserk
Call Spirit Animal
Divine Favor
Enhance Attribute
Protection from Death
Druid
Battle Frenzy
Call Spirit Animal
Protection from Death
Spirit Animal
Magic User
Render Inert
Repair Technology
Weld Metal
Illusionist
Feign Technology
Magic Items

Good gaming,

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Revolvers & Wizardry Update

RnW_bugAs with most Usherwood products, my ideas seed other ideas, which in turn seed yet more ideas. This simple expansion is starting(?) to take on a life of its own.

Here’s some new artwork you can expect to find in the Usherwood Weird West OSRIC expansion;

Assblaster
Assblaster
Desert Raider; humanoid variant, based on the Tuskan Raiders of Star Wars.
Desert Raider; humanoid variant, based on the Tuskan Raiders of Star Wars.
Titanic Rattlesnake; 60-ft of bad ass reptilian.
Titanic Rattlesnake; 60-ft of bad ass reptilian.
Minotaur; new PC class.
Minotaur; new PC class.
Nameless Stranger; an undead nod to Clint Eastwood's iconic character from High Plains Drifter.
Nameless Stranger; an undead nod to Clint Eastwood’s iconic character from High Plains Drifter.
Prarie Lobster; dada-chick dada-chum, based on Stephen King's lobstrocities.
Prairie Lobster; dada-chick dada-chum, based on Stephen King’s lobstrocities.

Good gaming,

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InDesign novice?

indesign2013_RPGNcoverIn my (now defunct) career as a freelance graphic designer, I had occasion to be an instructor at Everett Community College, where I taught courses in the Adobe Creative Suite applications (InDesign and Acrobat most specifically). Recently, I have had a few instructors (located variously in Australia, California, and London) request to use my course materials in their teaching curriculum. This has spurred me to update and continue developing this material for casual and new users of InDesign.

The PDF and required exercise files can be purchased at RPGNow.com for just $1.00*.

Table of Contents

Lesson 1: Interface Overview

The Quickstart screen and Creating a New Document
The Control bar
Customizing your Workspace(s)
Customizing Menus and Panels
Saving your Workspace(s)
Exercise 1: Starting a new project template

Lesson 2: Working with Text Styles

The Paragraph Styles Dialog
The Character Styles Dialog
Exercise 2: Creating and editing text styles

Lesson 3: Working with Tables

The Table Styles Dialog
The Cell Styles Dialog
Exercise 3: Creating Table and Cell styles
Other creative uses for Table Styles

Lesson 4: Working with Objects

Formatting Objects
The Object Styles Dialog
Importable Graphics
Exercise 4: Creating and editing object styles

Lesson 5: Working with Master Pages

Creating and Organizing Master Pages
Basing Master pages on other Master pages
Exercise 5: Creating and editing master pages

Lesson 6: Working with Editorial Controls

Working with the Story Editor
Working with Search and Replace Routines
Dynamic Spell Checker
Exercise 6: Creating search and replace routines

*price subject to change without notice.

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Revolvers & Wizardry update

RnW_bugWork progresses, albiet slowly, on the OSRIC Weird-West expansion that is in preparation for the Door of Infinite Portals update.

The most recently completed development milestone, is the line art for the firearms that will be featured within the expansion; a selection of pistols, rifles, and shotguns (which I have termed ‘scattershot’). Also, in the development of rules descriptions for these weapons, I have gone into some small amount of history to explain where these items originated. In this, the expansion will feature four specific historic groups of warriors; Union Knights (gunslingers), Confederate Marauders (frontiersmen), Myrlunds (doctors), and Minotaurs (as PCs).

Firearms to be featured within the Revolvers & Wizardry Weird-West Expansion for OSRIC
Firearms to be featured within the Revolvers & Wizardry Weird-West Expansion for OSRIC

Other recent additions to the R&W expansion;

  • New weapons; bull whip, boomerang, Bowie knife, slingshot, military saber, bayonet
  • New combat options; one-shot kill, showdown, using two firearms simultaneously, firearms versus undead
  • New creatures; assassin bird, carnivorous cattle, desert raider (inspired by the sand people in Star Wars™), gummersaurus (a three-stage creature inspired by the Tremors movies and TV series), frontier hag, hyenawere, nameless stranger (undead creature inspired by Clint Eastwood’s High Plains Drifter character), prairie lobster (inspired by the lobstrocities from Stephen King’s Dark Tower books), titanic rattlesnake, titanic tarantula, gargantuan tarantula hawk
  • New magic; grasses to provide healing, summoning, poisoning, ESP, and hallucinogenic spell-like effects (still in-progress)

Good gaming,

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OSRIC ebook RC1 (release candidate) ready for testing

OSRIC 2 ebook cover
OSRIC 2 ebook cover

eBook is complete! Having combed through the thing one last time this morning, I have posted the RC1 (release candidate) on the Usherwood blog. At this point, I need as many people as possible, on as many different devices as possible, to go through and bash the content for anything and everything. I think I caught all the issues, but that’s the thing; I *think* I caught everything.

Here’s a (partial?) list of what I was specifically looking for in my last pass;

  • A numerical indicator is not separated from its unit of measure by a line/paragraph/page break. For instance “100 gp” or “90 ft” always appears on the same line, no matter what line length you are viewing it at.
  • All quotes and apostrophes use typographer’s (curly) quote marks, not vertical “hash” marks.
  • All in-text references are hyperlinked.
  • The longer measurement (height vs. width) of all images is 400 pixels.
  • Hyphenations in tables that indicate a null value are set as em dashes.
  • Spell names and magic items referenced in the narrative are italicized.
  • It should always be “to hit”…not ‘to hit’ or to-hit or “to-hit” or any other permutation when discussing an attacking roll specifically.
  • A multiplication symbol is used when indicating multiple quantities of something. We (I) had a mixture of multi symbols and “x’s” occurring throughout the narrative and treasure notations.
  • If a paragraph starts with NB:, it should be formatted as footnote (small) text with a bold lead-in. If a paragraph starts with Note:, it should be formatted as a normal paragraph with a bold lead-in.
  • When a spell is reversible, the word “(Reversible)” is smaller and roman appearing next to the spell name in its description.
  • When used by itself, “HD” appears all caps. When preceded by a number, it is lowercase (i.e., 2+1 hd). The same rule applies when denoting hit points.

“Features” you might notice;

  • Some (but not all) top-level heads are forced to the top of a new page. This usually has to do with where I broke the XHTML files in order that the content will load faster.
  • All tables should be set to 100% of the column width. A few tables have content that will span more than your viewable window.
  • Hyphenation may appear within headings, and other awkward situations. I cannot figure out how to control hyphenation zones, or how to turn it off in an ebook CSS. If you know how, please enlighten me; hyphens in headings really piss me off. (I know the rules for controlling this in CSS for web pages, but it doesn’t seem to carry through into ebook formats. But, maybe it’s a just a quirk of ebooks we have to live with for right now.)

Given all this, as far as I can tell, I am ready to release this upon the World! But, I want to make sure it really is as 100% as I think it is. So, have a look at the  epub and/or the mobi which you can download from the Usherwood Adventures website, and let me know anything you may find.*

If you alert me to performance issues (slow loading, missing/non-displayed content, over-lapping content, whatever) make sure to let me know what device you are looking at it on. I have been testing the file on Adobe Digital Editions 2 on Mac, iBook on an iPad 2, Kindle Viewer on Mac, and Kindle Previewer on Mac.

I would like to give credit to all ebook testers on the Contributors page. So anyone who has provided feedback from the Alpha version on will see their name under the listing “ebook Testers.”

* I may choose to let some things go.

Good gaming,

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