Thursday, 24 December 2015

My LotFP Holidays presents for myself [includes a coupon code]

No one else except myself would buy me Lamentations Of The Flame Princess presents! I got myself The Idea From Space for 4.40€ (including shipping within Finland!)

I also received a newsletter from LotFP with discounted download link for Weird New World pdf from RPGNow. Cost less than 1€ (that's $1 for US people). And naturally I am going to print a booklet of this to add to my physical collection. See my earlier post HERE for DIY booklets of Tales Of The Scarecrow and The Grinding Gear.

At LotFP store if you use coupon code YEAREND (ends 11:59pm Finnish time on December 29) you'll get -50% from the following books (I own all of them, except The Idea From Space I just bought):
  • Forgive Us
  • The God That Crawls
  • The Idea From Space
  • Isle Of The Unknown
  • The Monolith From Beyond Space And Time
  • Qelong
  • Scenic Dunnsmouth
  • Tower Of The Stargazer

"We need to make room for the new stuff that should be going to press in early 2016, so it's SALE TIME! --

-- This is also your last change to take advantage of 2015 shipping rates because of course the post office is raising them again as of January 1 (I'll be updating the store's rates on the 30th since anything ordered from then will ship in the new year)... even though fuel costs are dropping and Finland's official inflation rate is negative. Fuckers.
So fill out your collection with these discounted items, don't forget to browse through the regular-price items, and get a T-shirt, or two, and we'll all be set for next year and all the fun new stuff that will (finally) bring." 

And don't forget to check out other LotFP pdf's available at RPGNow!

...::Best weird horror stuff::...


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Pamphlet 1: Fields of Forsaken, my newest publication now live!

The story is simple. Last night I dreamed of writing a rpg supplement called Paphlet: Fields of Forsaken. First thing this morning after I woke up, I started writing it. I had to do it straight in one sit, or I'd forget it.

Here it is, extempore publication, Pamphlet 1: Fields of Forsaken.

You can get a pay-what-you-want pdf at RPGNow, or you can order a basement print copy directly from me. It costs 4€ + postage. Scroll down this post to see postages to your location and order info.

Below you see sample images of the test print I approved.



POSTAGES (in €):
  • FINLAND (1st / 2nd class): 1.60 | 1.40
  • EUROPE: 2.30 | 2.20
  • REST OF THE WORLD: 5.50 | 2.60

Simple, send me email to titled PAMFLET and I know what you are up to! Payments either Paypal or bank transfer.

I got interviewed by Limun Ropellukset

You can find the original Finnish interview here:

Google translate doesn't handle Finnish well, and translated version is missing all the pictures. Translated interview can be found here:
Longlink shortened

Sunday, 13 December 2015

[Review] Monstrous Miscellany #01

4Monstrous Miscellany #01 is (currently) James Mishler Games' newest publication. You can get it from RPGNow for under a buck!

In this pdf of 7 pages after cover page, OGL and all that you'll get four new monsters for Labyrinth Lord. Each of the monsters is exactly one page (8,5x11 inch), so they are easy to print to use. There is no illustration of any kind. But the lack of images doesn't matter, as the written descriptions are clear and evocative to give you the picture of these monsters.

The monsters are quite different and very higher fantasy with a little darker or fairy-taleish tone. You'll get a demon, a giant, a pixie, and an angelic creature. The hit dice vary a lot and cover basic to expert level characters' levels 13 being the highest.

With each monster you get basic description, organization, ecology and the usual like treasure and special powers. Descriptions are clear, if not a bit wordy.

Even though the creatures are different and doesn't seem to have a theme, I'd like to use them all in one campaign and make a theme around them. They have something similar, and that's something from what a single author does. James' own style.

$0.99 and four monsters, that's $0.25 a pop. Not bad. But is four monsters enough in a product when there are so many completed monster manuals around? I'd say yes, because even though there are dozens of great monster manuals for all these different games and systems and settings, small products like these easily highlight the monsters written in, instead of those 100+ monsters in one product. Usually I can also focus better on few monsters (which also might have more text in smaller products).

How'd I use this? Print the monsters, put them in a campaign folder, and make them fit. Easy to get new monsters for players, easy to use, easy to choose.

Even though I like weirder and more amazing or unique or grotesque or gonzo monsters, it is still refreshing to see something more fantastic in nature. That's why I liked this a lot. And hey, you can never have too many monster resources around... even if I don't use them all, I enjoy reading them! Well written and evocative and interesting monster descriptions are like short stories.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Interview: Joni Heinonen RPG youtuber and illustrator from Finland

Joni Heinonen is a gamer from Finland who also hosts Finnish Youtube video series called Ropetupa (referred as RP Lodge in the interview) and illustrates comics and various roleplaying games (including Dragon Union).

What is your story? As a gamer and an illustrator?

Let me answer to the illustrator- half first: I drew the Moomin's Animated Series' Groke when I was four, into a cardboard box. So that was my first drawing I ever made. I also like to make comics, or graphic novels.
The story of Roleplaying gaming is a bit more complicated: At the turn of the millenia I was bored, so I read Pelit-magazine, where I noticed an interesting article about someone's first LARP.
Article was written by Nordic, I read all the other articles in brevious magazines. Slowly the world of RPGs opened to me, and I bought Cyberpunk 2020, and never looked back.

Joni Heinonen with his first RPG.
You are one of the few rpg youtubers in Finland. What pushes you to create videos instead of more traditional blog writing?

I first got the idea to do vlog, when I watched Lazy Game Reviews, it had a laid-back attitude which inspired me to do something similar. But I didn't want to make a channel about videogames because those are so common in YouTube.
So, I decided to make a channel dedicated to RPGs, because I knew much about the subject.
Other RPG styled videos that have inspired me have been TtheWriter's D&D Stories and Counter Monkey.

Is it hard to come up with topics for your videos, or do you have a big pile of "to-do's"?

Christmas episodes are really difficult to make, because there are very little Roleplaying games that has holiday-theme. Otherwise I have ideas for the next year at least. Subjects for videos comes to me mainly by looking at my bookshelf.

How hard is it to get feedback for your videos? What is the force that makes you continue? What is it that makes this "your thing"?

Feedback isn't that common, but when someone comments my work, I feel like the king of the world. That makes me want to continue.
I want to think RP Lodge as an channel for newbies, who are on the fence about the hobby, and as an RPG Chronicle for future generations. Maybe that is the my "thing" because it is unique, at least in Finnish language area.

Your channel is currently in Finnish. Have you got anly plans to break internationally?

I am currently planning to review the Age of Tempest as an "international" -episode. Depending on how well that goes, I may start to make English videos in addition to Finnish.
Of course Age of Tempest has to first come out.

I've noticed luring you that you're also some kind of a collector. How much you use the material that you acquire?

I have only collected for a couple of years now. Surprisingly, my collecting really started when I got a girlfriend (my wife nowadays). Other than Vampire: Requiem I have played everything that I have in my bookshelf. If I am not going to run the game, I won't buy it.
Furthemore I like to read every book I have, so I don't buy collector's items or something that I want to sell for a better price.

Do you prefer being Game Master or a player? What is your gaming style, what kinds of games do you like?

Definitely as a Gamemaster. I like to run story-based games, where players still have the power to affect to the story. I like games which have elegant rules and the possibility to do other than just hit an orc with a sword.

What is your favorite system and why? Is it something you've found later or been there from the beginning?

My previous favorite, Cyberpunk 2020 has been replaced by Pathfinder. I like in Pathfinder how much tools it gives to players and gamemasters.
I know Pathfinder at least from my second game I ever purchased: D&D 3rd edition.
D&D is apparently some kind of requirement for a roleplayer.

What tips you've got for beginner youtubers who would like to create gaming/geek videos?

Don't say and think should you do this, at least try, then hesitate.
I have to say also that the quality of audio is way more important than the quality of the video. Don't use the camera's mic if possible.
You shouldn't do what everyone else does, do what is important to you, find your own "thing". If nothing else, do reviews from obscure toys from 90's if you can't think anything.

Roolipelitupa's studio.

If someone wanted collaboration with you, get visibility in your video or get your illustration for his material, how should he proceed with you and what bribes you need?

You can contact me through my e-mail:
I have thought about making cross-overs with other Finnish 'Tubers. But for now, I am going to work alone. Best way to get your product reviewed is to send it in a physical form. PDFs are left at the bottom of the list.
At the moment, I will work for free for Finnish RPG makers, it will change if there is too much people who want to get my work, of course. But my prices aren't high, just some couple of tens.

Thank you for the interview! Your video channel is always a joy to watch. It's refreshingly cheery. What would you like to say for the readers of this article in the end of the interview?

Nerdness, favors the nerd!

Friday, 11 December 2015

Interview: Miska Fredman from Ironspine

Miska Fredman is Finnish rpg writer and publisher from Ironspine. Under his belt are games like science fiction rpg Heimot and family rpg of science and fantasy Astraterra. In works are English translation of Astraterra, post-apocalyptic Mythos game Chthonian Highways and re-imagined version of Heimot called Hyperstorm.

He has recently started Patreon focused on scifi maps.

I wanted to ask him few quick questions, and here they are, answered!

How did you start writing games? Who are your greatest influences?

I think I was 13 or so when I got my hands on Megatraveller. I bought it from my friend and it was all in English, but the little I understood at that time got me so excited about the game that I decided to read it with English-Finnish dictionary on one hand and Megatraveller on the other hand. I think it was during that process when I thought for the first time that one day, I want to write a roleplaying game. Back then I thought I would have to move to US to do that, but fortunately things have changed quite much since then :)

Its really hard for me to name certain designers as my influences, but I can name a few games. Megatraveller was my first scifi RPG I played and it influenced me a lot. Later I happened to try Mage from White Wolf and that really hit the sweet spot for me. I still think the skill and ability ratings as dots and dots as dice is one of the biggest innovations for the RPG "interface" design. Since then I have played a lot of different games, but there has not been any great revelations after the Storyteller system. But dont get me wrong, I think there are some really game changing new systems out there, but I'm kind of a visual person myself, and that's probably why I find the Storyteller system so pleasing for my taste.

You are extremely talented, creative and productive mapper and I don't understand how I just recently found out about that skill of yours. How long have you been mapping, and have your maps been published anywhere before your Patreon?

Thanks. My Finnish genes have difficulty to accept such compliments :) But to be honest, the inspiration I had for drawing maps was a bit of a surprise for me too. I have always liked drawing maps, but over the course of last ten or so years, my map drawing retarded to drawing a few quick scribbles on a paper while playing or just before that. I remember seeing some of +Dyson Logos' maps a year or two back and I really liked some of his more complex maps.

When making a map, I might start with a simple idea of the place or theme, but as I start drawing a story starts to take shape in my mind. I try to think of possible interesting scenarios that might take place on the map. I consider a map successful if they inspire others to come up with adventure ideas, and you can play the map from different starting points and with different objectives.

I have made some maps for a few of my games. For example Astraterra has a few maps published, including the world map, for Heimot I designed a fringe world port colony, called Port Dallas (it was controlled by the Bluewing family ;) ). Also, I did 30-something maps for the firstever #mapvember. These maps are available in my blog "Adventures Beyond Space-Time" for personal or commercial use under Creative Commons license.

How do you see Finnish rpg industry at the moment?

It's small. It's very small. But like Finns in general, it has a lot of sisu (guts or grit) ;) I mean you really can't do RPGs in Finnish for a living, but there are still new publications made at least yearly for the past few years now. And there are games translated in English or coming in English. I have myself a couple of projects going on, as you already mentioned in the introduction. Astraterra is "just" a translation project, but Hyperstorm is a bit more ambitious project. It's adventurous, but slightly gritty space opera with lost human colonies ruined by a devastating AI civil war, strange creatures lurking in the shadows and mysterious alien ruins of a long lost culture. We are talking about "dungeon crawling in space", even though the game is not an OSR game. It has a bit more modern rules, but a d20 roller will still feel instantly familiar with the system. It uses the same Ironcore rules as Chthonian Highways. It's still under development and we do not have any solid deadlines yet. One thing I'm quite sure about, there will be example maps of my design in the game :D

Who are your inspirations, what games or supplements have influenced you the most?

This is not an easy question to answer. Over the years I have played or gamemastered quite a few different game systems and settings. World of Darkness (the old one) games and Trinity are games I did spend a lot of time playing. But there are many other systems I have also enjoyed or regarded as well designed. Recently I have found Numenera, Fate, Apocalypse World, FFG's Star Wars and Mutant Year Zero quite interesting.

What do you think of OSR, and the DIY part of it?

The whole OSR phenomenon is quite intriguing; red box D&D was the game I started with and it's interesting to see that it still has its charm. I must admit that I have not played the new OSR games, but I got LotFP in my hands some time ago and its on my reading list. And I just yesterday ordered Dungeon Crawl Classic. I have found White Star also interesting - especially because it has Star Knights as a class, and my first RPG hack (scifi redbox D&D with percentile skills) from early 90's was called "Star Knights", and for nostalgia reasons Astraterra had Star Knights as a class too ;D

But I really like the DIY attitude surrounding the OSR community. I can relate to that very well, Star Knights was hand-written on blue covered note books and I used to photocopy self-made equipment supplements for Megatraveller at our local game store. And one of my more recent games, Kärpänen, where you play a party of different kinds of flies on an epic journey through a house, was done with a DIY attitude. I must say that things have changed quite a lot since the 90's, for example. Nowadays it's quite easy to do an RPG or a supplement yourself and distribute it through a POD or pdf store for example.

What would you like to say to my blog readers?

First of all, I would like to say that I admire your enthusiasm for roleplaying games and more specifically for OSR games. The DIY attitude that you radiate is amazing. So, what would I say to your blog readers is Thaumiel Nerub is one of those few people that I have come across in my life, who are hard-working and really honest about their passion. This is the invisible and intangible energy that has driven our hobby to the point where it is now. I know that Thaumiel has a webstore and a Patreon project as well,  the least that you can do besides offering your likes and shares on social media, is to order some of his products or support his Patreon. Otherwise, keep on looting and may the dice ever be in your favor!

Wait, before you go, who is Ragnar?

Oh, that guy. I don't know him personally, but I've heard that he's a swordmaster and a 3rd level fighter. Also, he must be really into roleplaying. According to him the only true purpose in life is to crawl in the dungeons, roll a natural twenty and crit the hell out of the critters. I've heard of rumors that he's making an OSR fantasy roleplaying game of his own called "Legend of the Heartbreaker".

Seriously: Ragnar is a character I came up for one of my Loot Crate unboxing videos, but since then Ragnar has made reoccurring appearances in various empowering RPG geek themed memes  and Finnish RPG cons and geek events. Don't hate him if he doesn't understand all the intricacies of Fate or Dungeon World. His Intelligence and Wisdom are not his strong stats ;)

Thursday, 10 December 2015

DIY LotFP Booklets: Tales Of The Scarecrow & The Grinding Gear | WITH INSTRUCTIONS FOR BOOKLET PRINTING

I didn't own Tales Of The Scarecrow or The Grinding Gear in print, but had purchased the pdfs. I wanted to get them where they belong, on my shelf with other LotFP products. So printing time it is!

Tools I Used

  • PDF24 (free) software for easily arrange pdf pages.
  • Usually I use 100g paper for the pages, but this time I was cheap and used normal 80g copy paper.
  • A4 photo paper for Tales cover.
  • 160g high quality paper for The Grinding cover.
  • Canon MG3550 printer.
  • Long-neck stapler I got cheap from eBay.
Basics For Booklet Printing
  • Go through the pdf and see how covers are arranged. Should the cover insides be empty, or are the covers designed so both sides are printed?
  • Where is the back cover? Second page in pdf file, or the last page of the pdf? Is there back cover at all?
  • BONUS STEP: If there is no real back cover and you don't want the back of the file be empty, create one! See the pdf file dimensions, GIMP/Photoshop/Word/Libreoffice a cover. Slip it in the file using PDF24.
  • Now that you've figured out the cover layout and order, print the pages. If covers are pages 1 and 32, print pages 2 and 31. If covers are Two first pages, start printing from third page to the end etc.
  • I have duplex printer with booklet option, so I only need to hit "PRINT" and it spits the booklet out - only thing I need to do is fold, nothing else! To figure out how to print booklets with your printer without automatic options, Google it. There are plenty of answers around, I bet!
  • Next, print covers! My printer gets jammed if I try to duplex print heavier paper, so I need to print covers a bit differently. I choose MULTIPLE PAGES. That way it prints two pages on one sheet, that's front and back cover! In the preview you see the order of the pages. The front cover should be on the right side, in my printer I choose VERTICAL (paper orientation) REVERSED (first page (cover) before the second (back cover)). If there are inner covers feed the paper back in when front covers are printed (your printer instructions should tell you which way the paper goes in to print the back of the sheet). PAGE ORDER SHOULD NOT BE REVERSED ANYMORE.
  • Now that you have pages and cover sheet printed, fold them. Don't try to fold the whole pile at once. You'll get best results the less sheets you fold at a time. I usually fold 2-4 pages. There are tools built for folding, but I use something hard and round-ish I can find. Try out what you find the best thing for you to get sharp edges.
  • Long-neck stapler is great, it can reach the fold! If you don't own one, use normal stapler. Just staple on something thicker than the staples and soft. I have used styrofoam pad. Just staple, turn it around (be careful removing the staple from the styrofoam so it doesn't get out of the booklet also) and push the staple heads inwards with a butter knife or something similar.
  • If you want to, you might use carpet knife or something super sharp to trim the pages even.
  • DONE!
The Grinding Gear

Tales was simple. I tweaked The Grinding Gear a bit. I replaced the maps with additional maps, because they were more printer friendly in color. I also added the cheat sheet in the end of the pdf, so it's included in the booklet.

Pictures Of Booklet Prints

Super glossy photo paper cover.

100g paper. When I printed this ages ago I was running low on ink. That's where the weird red tone came.
But I really, really like it! Gives character!
160g premium paper cover.

Normal 80g copy paper. Despite that images look really, really good.