Well, poop.

Hey Mad Minions,

You might be wondering, “HEY! Where is the Mad Overlord Garycon 11 report?! I shaved my head and joined a cult in the basement of the worlds last Blockbusters waiting in anticipation!”

Well, I had my Mad Computer (like a Bat Computer, but only… madder) stolen.  So all the things I was planning on doing on my evil trip went into the sanitary landfill.  Writing. New video. All kaput.

THEN!

On top of that, while I was running around doing Mad Overlord things (buying components for my genetic experiments, taking measurements for a doomsday device, playing D&D) I had a heck of a time trying to get Amazon to send me a new one.

Do not get me wrong, Amazon is great for books and small things, but I had nothing but trouble with this computer.  They kept saying the bank would not allow the transaction. Which is complete garbage since they funded my operations when the amateurs at the organization S.P.E.C.T.R.E. mysteriously disappeared and I absorbed them into my own institution.

But I digress.

Calling my bank, they said they would gladly okay the transaction if it showed, but it wasn’t showing… so the problem was definitely on Amazon’s end.  Back I go calling them again… and they told me the same thing… bank’s fault. Rinse and repeat a few times. Now we are at the time of Garycon XI and I am scheduled to fly back as soon as the Con is over and STILL no computer!

At this time my normally calm and happy Mad Overlord nature (no matter what my minions say) reached its end. I told them that if they do not like money I will take my business elsewhere… they kept stating that it was the banks problem… not theirs.

Driving back from GaryCon, I stopped at BestBuy and ordered the exact same computer… paid the SAME PRICE as Amazon… and LO AND BEHOLD!!!! The bank accepted it. I guess that proves who was right doesn’t it Amazon?

I am using my new laptop to write this, so I guess the only thing I have left to say is,

“And you don’t stop, sure shot
Goin’ out to the parking lot
And you get in your car and you drive real far
And you drive all night and then you see a light
And it comes right down and lands on the ground
And out comes a man from Mars
And you try to run but he’s got a gun
And he shoots you dead and he eats your head
And then you’re in the man from Mars
You go out at night, eatin’ cars
You eat Cadillacs, Lincolns too
Mercury’s and Subaru’s
And you don’t stop, you keep on eatin’ cars.
Then, when there’s no more cars
You go out at night and eat up bars where the people meet
Face to face, dance cheek to cheek
One to one, man to man
Dance toe too toe
Don’t move to slow, ’cause the man from Mars
Is through with cars, he’s eatin’ bars
Yeah, wall to wall, door to door, hall to hall
He’s gonna eat ’em all.
Rapture, be pure
Take a tour, through the sewer
Don’t strain your brain, paint a train
You’ll be singin’ in the rain
I said don’t stop, to punk rock
Well now you see what you wanna be
Just have your party on TV.
‘Cause the man from Mars won’t eat up bars when the TV’s on
And now he’s gone back up to space
Where he won’t have a hassle with the human race
And you hip-hop, and you don’t stop
Just blast off, sure shot
‘Cause the man from Mars stopped eatin’ cars and eatin’ bars
And now he only eats guitars! YOW!”
Pics and more important details of the trip are coming soon.
Stay Mad.
Be Good.

In 48 hours I will be making my annual trip back home to stock up on Mad Overlord supplies (death rays, dangerously experimental chemicals, shoes) but I will also be attending Gary Con once again!

While attending, it is prudent to remind everyone of the difference between old school gaming and dumba$$ gaming (yeah, I said it.) In factt, I wont even tell you, like any good Mad Overlord, I get others to do the heavy lifting while I concoct my evil plans.

The folks at, “wmusswtwbf” https://wmusswtwbf.wordpress.com/ put together something  that says it perfectly… so I am just going to share it here….

 

First – YOU MUST BE SELF MOTIVATING.  In October of 1972, Rob Kuntz introduced me to what would become OD&D by saying “Gary’s got this neat new game called Greyhawk.  You’re a bunch of guys exploring an old abandoned wizard’s castle full of monsters and treasure and stuff.”

That’s it.  No quests to rescue the princess, no magical doohickey to throw into the Zazu Pitts of Fordor, no mysterious strangers meeting you in an inn.  We were in a game to explore, and we did.  We explored a lot of the dungeon.  Then we wondered “What’s over on the other side of those hills,” and we started doing outdoor adventures.

Our characters were entirely self-directing.  Yours will need to be as well.

Second – YOU ARE A TEAM.  The game is not all about how wonderful your character is.  You are part of a team and fulfill your role in that team.  These roles, in this world and in these rules, are derived from the traditional composition of medieval armies; heavy troops hold the line, light troops flank, and missile troops fire from a safe vantage because if they get meleed they’re dead.  The magic users have heavy firepower and can easily dispose of a threat much faster than the fighters can; but if the fighters don’t protect the magic users, the magic users are going to be useless.  Similarly, the magic users represent too valuable a resource to allow to go to waste for the fighters.

It’s not all about you, singular; it’s about you, plural.

Third – GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER!  This game is run in a very simulation-heavy way.  For instance, if the players get into an argument and start shouting, it means that the player characters are standing deep in some monster-filled dungeon screaming at the top of their lungs, drawing wandering monsters by the dozen.  Have a leader.  FOLLOW that leader.  If you’re the leader, LEAD.  Make decisions.  When the players discuss things, do so quietly in short, high content sentences.  The game is a game of exploration to find treasure; to explore, you have to MOVE.

We have only a few hours to play; make the most of it.

Fourth – COMBAT IS DANGEROUS.  You’ll have to fight, but like any army, make the conditions as favorable as you can.  If your attitude to combat is “We’re the player characters!  CHARGE!” you’d better bring plenty of paper, because you’ll be rolling up a lot of new characters.  In real life, flanking wins battles, it’s not just a “nice little sweetie.”  OD&D doesn’t have explicit flanking rules, so I made my own.  I’m not going to go into great detail, but I am going to say that, just like real life, flanking wins battles.  And flanking does not have to be the modern lame-ass “two figures opposite each other” bullshit.  If you hit an enemy in the flank, it’s flanked.  And hitting them in the back is far more powerful than flanking.

Of course, the same applies to you.  Do be careful, won’t you?

Likewise, close order is your friend.  Three humans fill up a ten foot corridor.  Fewer than that, and the monsters can get past you to the soft, chewy, unarmored magic users behind you.  Also, spears can strike from the second rank.  Isn’t that lovely?

Fifth – THIS IS MY WORLD.  I am the absolute unquestioned demiurge of this imaginary world.  It works exactly and precisely the way I say it does, and nobody else has any say in this at all.  This is important because my vision of my world forms the basis for all rulings I make.  And there will be far, far more rulings than rules in this game.  I can be reasoned with on the basis of logic, historical precedent, or common sense, but “appeal to the rules” will get you nowhere.

Sixth – DESCRIPTION, NOT DICE ROLLS.  You don’t roll “observation” to look around, you tell me what you’re doing and how.  This subject is covered very well in Matt Finch’s “Quick Primer for Old School Gaming.”  You should definitely read this, and you can find it for free at https://froggodgames.com/frogs/product/a-quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming-pdf/

Read it.  You’ll be glad you did.

 

There is not much I can add to that article besides:

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

Two updates in two days! Plus, Finally Pics from Gary Con…

I have a loooong back list of things I need to post. More stuff from Hendl’s Landing, Maps of the City at the End of the World….   I am a bad Mad Overlord… BUT, I finally am posting my pics from Gary Con!

That and another update on the Castle of Blackwoor Moor D&D Adventure.

So what are all these pictures? Pictures of some of the groups I ran. They were all wonderful people, but some of them had a mild disagreement…. In a future post, I should talk about what happens when players do not see eye to eye at a gaming convention and how I handled it.

Hanging out at Frank’s place. No matter what you think of people like Frank, but for me… He and Jim Ward remind me of my dad. Very down to earth and no nonsense kind of guys. Not very politically correct either.  I hope I remain friends with them for years to come. Oh, and he has a copy of my book on his bookshelf as you can see in the next picture.
The pretzel sticks and Root Beer in Wisconsin is TOP NOTCH… if any one tells you different, they were lying to you.
My Character in Jim Ward’s game. I was killed by a giant scorpion. But I had a fun time, but my introvertness was kicking in and I just got tired being around people so much. In hind sight, I was glad I died. Ha!

Enjoy.  I hope to update more soon… I am talking to a few people to do the editing for the D&D module. Once I learn more, promise to let all of you folks know.

Plus, plus… more youtube videos are coming.. but I need to find someone who can perform a duet with me… and some one who wants to help me burn things.  Don’t ask, it will make sense once they are complete.

Stay Mad.

Be Good.

 

Wow.

I have been getting a LOT of great feedback from my the table top game (and book) Castle of Blackwood Moors.  Included are a few screen shots of some of the great feedback people have sent (part of Jon’s post I put in the last update).

This is cooler than I ever hoped, that people would like something that I have created. I just hope I do not become an arrogant jerk-face. I leave it up to you folks to harass me often so I do not too ‘big for my britches’. Sheesh, I sound like my mom when I say that.

I do like the fact Jon did give me some criticism by stating the one encounter was not set up well for group play.

Let me unpack that.

In the gamebook, there is an area where if you do not bring a certain object, it is an auto death scenario. Happens all the time in gamebooks. BUT the group he was in did EXCEPTIONALLY well and got the furthest of the three groups I ran in the four hour allotted time.  Honestly, I did not think anyone would get as far as they did… but as the old saying goes, never underestimate your players. I had the Outer Bailey all plotted out for group play, but did not do any of the Inner Bailey since I did not think anyone would get there. Needless to say, when the second group got there… well, I had to run the adventure right out of the book, including the deadly encounter.

Not making excuses or anything, just letting you know what happened. I like it when people cut things apart, makes me a better writer/designer.

Anyway, so without giving any spoilers, that is what happened.

Thanks again Jon and Mike for your review and running out and buying copies of my book!
Please continue to give me feedback, compliments, criticisms, venomous hatred; I can take it.

And I haven’t said it in a while, but thank YOU for stopping by. I hope this blog is entertaining and puts a smile on your face with all the crazy stuff I do here.

Fall out. Fall out with all the leaders and gangs. Fall out. Fall out with all the leaders and gangs.

The first post POST Gary Con 9!

So much has happened the past few days I totally nerded out (as you will see) and I got to run some adventures based on my book Castle of Blackwood Moors. It was a big hit and everyone really enjoyed it. This is a quote from one of the actual people who played in the game on the second day:

“As for how you ran your game, I’d be happy to play at your table again!  While I had good experiences at all my Garycon events, I wouldn’t go back to everyone’s table.”

This means a lot. A lot of times if you design something, you do not really get a lot of feedback. So it means SO MUCH to hear people actually say they like what you did and how you did it. (Thanks Jon! I would like to add I did not kidnap any of his loved ones or threaten to hide his tv remote or anything like that to get him to say nice things).

We will get back to the game in a little bit. Now to switch gears as we come to the first batch of pictures. If you know me, and I know I do, you will know I LOVE the Post Apocolyptical genre. The Mad Max series is my favorite movie series (even Fury Road even though Max is in it for only about 15 minutes, and Beyond Thunderdome ), Brave New World is my favorite book (and the great tv movie with Lenord Nemoy as Mustapha Mond. Canticle for Leibowitz. Love it, love it, love it.

Needless to say, the Fallout series is one of my most favorite video game series ever (I wish it would go a bit darker, but that is another topic for another day). So when I saw these three people in costume at GaryCon I just HAD to get a picture with them, and they happily obliged which is only the start of the awesomeness. After the picture was taken they asked me if I ever played Fallout and even they were amazed at what a nerd I am. So the one woman had a G.E.C.K. on her belt, she opened it up and gave me a small pouch. When I dumped it out in my hand… it was full of Nuka Cola Caps!!!  She said they were mine for being a fan and I was stunned. Remember a few posts ago when I said table top gamers are really a lot nicer and friendlier than some other kinds of gamers? These three really backed up this ideal in my mind. I never got their names, but if they ever read this blog, you three really made my day that day.

Okay. On to the next thing! In the last post, I mentioned Frankenparty! it was a great time and I met friends old and new.This year Frank had a kind of scavenger hunt, where you looked around his house to find clues and those who got all the items won a set of original dice from the original Mentzer Dungeons and Dragons box set!!! I tried my best but I got one wrong. One of the questions was about a type of rock, and I guessed Rose Quartz but it was really amethyst.  Needless to say I was pretty mad at myself (I get down on my self pretty hard when I do not know things like that), but I still had a great time as you will attest to the pictures below.

Not only that, look at the first picture! That is the original drawing Larry Elmore made for the Basic D&D box set! As you can see, they cut some of it out and changed it a little into the picture beneath it.

Also, if you look close at that picture of the books. You can see The Castle of Blackwood Moors on Frank’s shelf! How great is that! For a newb writer like me, its pretty great. I also gave a copy to Jim Ward this year since I took a lot his writing advice over the years, and both Frank and Jim were huge influences on me, and they are both wonderful people. Very no-nonsense , direct people who also both have a lot of experience dealing with social misfits like myself, so I always enjoy speaking with them.

Finally, in the picture of me sitting at that desk… This desk is now at Frank’s house (and I had pictures of this last year if you ever seen them), but this was Gary Gygax’s original desk. The one he sat and created Dungeons and Dragons at. Very cool. The only uncool thing is look at how fat I have got since I have been living in the USA. Bad me.

Okay! the next, NEXT thing. Here is me running my first game at Gary Con. The people were great and everyone said they had a great time, thank goodness. There is even a picture of one page of the notes the gent who sat at the far left took (His handwriting is so much nicer than mine!). There was a second page, but the picture I took turned out really poorly. I think I must have sold thirty books over those few days.It is always great to see what players do when you run a table top RPG and it made me feel alive in ways I cannot even begin to describe. Running table top RPG’s is really my calling in life I guess since nothing makes me happier. The only down side to running games like this is once all the other people came in at 10 (if you recall I started at 8), the game rooms were packed SO tight everyone had to scream at the top of their lungs to be heard and I was going hoarse by the end of the game. Mr. Luke Gygax sir, if you read this, please, please, please spread the rooms out a bit more next year… or if you can request a smaller room or something. If I could get a smaller quieter, room, I would run 3 or 4 games a day for each of the 4 days.

Welp, that is GaryCon 9, 2017 Fun friends. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. In a few days, I will get back to the regularly scheduled thoughts on game design, rpgs, and blow the dust off of Hendl’s Landing finally.

Do not forget to keep perusing your passion. I know everyone says that. It has almost become kind of a cliche, but if you can touch your dreams, what truly makes you happy in life… I promise it makes the bad days so much more worthwhile.

EDIT: I should start a contest, who ever is the first person to guess which song is used in the title, wins… something. Not sure yet.

It’s a Frankenparty. Who could ask for more. Everybody’s comin’, leave your body at the door. Leave your body and soul at the door .

Another ANOTHER short post as I am getting ready to leave to Frankenparty!  What is Frankenparty you ask? Well true believers, Frankenparty is a house party held by none other than Frank Mentzer, the gent who created the Red Box Dungeons and Dragons set…  No not the 4th edition one… that was just a terrible attempt to cash in on the coolness that is the original Red Box. I digress. Where was i? Oh yeah! It is a party at Frank’s house. His ever awesome wife feeds us, we play games, we talk about Dungeons and Dragons, we play a ton of board games (Frank I am coming for you! You kicked my butt last year at that balancing game so this year I will have my revenge!!! MUHAHAHAHAHAHA! Just kidding you will probably kick my ass again), and generally have a great time.

One of the things I really like about table top gaming and the gamers that play it… is we are a very pleasant bunch. Think about the nature of some games…. so in games like League of legends, call of Duty etc.sure you have your team mates, but it is an us against them attitude while playing against faceless opponents. Now take board games, where there is an essence to win, but the people are sitting around face to face with you, and unless you have problems, I am willing to bet you are all laughing and joking even as someone places a road across your land in Settlers of Catan (I hate that guy. Just kidding He owes me five bucks so he is my best friend in the world). On top of that, look at Role Playing games. Everyone strives toward a common goal, sure its usually to beat down everything you come across and strip them bare so you can sell all of it, but it is still a ‘together’ activity. This is why I prefer solo video games (when I am anti-social), and role playing games to all others. I like that dynamic of ‘all of us use our strengths for a common goal’ style of game play.

The point of my ramble is this: Everyone I have met at 8 years of Garycon have been truly remarkable. Sure there are a few people that wont shut up about their favorite edition, or they will tell you about cool stuff their Half elf, half demon, half llama, half halfling, half half eaten sandwich, half vampire, half bike rack, half half and half did in a campaign six years ago but that’s okay. We are nerds, and social skills are never our strong suit. But we are some of the most passionate people you will ever meet (and I mean that. The word passionate gets tossed about a lot these days by mainstream folks and unless you are practically autistic like I am, you know these people have NO IDEA what they are talking about).

I am still rambling. I guess my point is that table top gamers are really the nicest people I know and I am thankful Frank invites me into his home every year ( I sure as heck would not invite me into my home, I am kind of weird).

Last but not least, lets take a look at the pre-generated characters I made for the Castle of Blackwood Moors adventure I will be running. Even though I am using a modified basic D&D character sheet, the mechanics and abilities are all of my own design. For example, if you look at the Helm and Shields, they have a +______HP next to each of them. This shows that unlike most versions of D&D Helms and Shields do not raise your Armor Class, they give you additional hit points. The first amounts of damage you take till be from these items, and when they are depleted, they will break, ruined forever.  I wanted to set up a mechanic were equipment is valued, and non permanent. In by the book D&D, a shield lasts forever and players do not give it an ounce of thought until they find a magical one. Now my players judge how many hp their shield has left, should they replace it? In a world where there is little magical healing, they need to constantly think about this for survival. A simple change, but it greatly altered the way my players think.

Oops. I am rambling again, this time about game mechanics. I will shut my pie hole and on with the character sheets!!!

Needless to say, please do not steal my game mechanics, or I will tie you to a chair and make you watch the Star Wars Holiday special 5 times in a row.

Hope you like the character ideas, and I hope even more that you will head down to Lake Geneva this week and roll some dice with some great people!

If you don’t think you know any great people, I encourage you to keep looking. They are out there, I promise.

Sometimes you kick, Sometimes you get kicked, Sometimes you kick, Sometimes you get Kickstarted.

Happy Mondays!

Hope everyone had wondiferous weekend.
Gary Con is this weekend. Make sure you come and see me in the Evergreen room 1 on Thursday and the Evergreen room 3 on Friday and Saturday at 8am each day. Yeah I am an early bird, that is when I do my best stuff.

I will post pictures of the event here so if you cannot make the event, stop back here and you can gaze upon the oodles of people having fun. Or maybe they will be lynching me… so who knows..

Anyway, as I continue to write the second book… its getting to the point where I need to plan out the promotional video for the Kickstarter campaign. For those of you who have not seen the original kickstarter video (shame on you! I wont be your friend for at least 5 seconds……………………………………………………………………………………….Okay. I am your friend again. Wasn’t that painful?) you can check out the video here:

Still a better love story than Twilight. *ahem* Sorry. Anyway, the video was a lot of fun to make and I would really like to do something else fun and zany like that for the second book. On a side note: Sheesh was I a pork rind in that video. I think I lost about 30 lbs since that was made.

I’d like to try and get some of the old school people from TSR to help me out, but I do not want to wear out my welcome with anyone. I am a well mannered Mad Overlord.

But that is it for today, another short post while I make some pre-generated characters for the upcoming con.

Roll some dice in honor of Gary, he really gave us the power to unlock worlds of imagination.

If you do not have any dice, just ask me. I have plenty.
Later kids!

EDIT: Since I was in SF for almost a month looking for work, I missed the launch of Reid San Filippo’s Kickstarter… goes along with today’s theme thank goodness. Funny how things work out sometimes.

BROKEN MOON

Wait? Who is this David Konkol guy that will be writing some things for this project? I don’t know him myself, but I heard he was built upside down -i.e. his feet smell and his nose runs.

If you would like to back the project, head on over to:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/276689953/the-umerican-survival-guide

Looks like a great project! Go Reid go!

 

Come visit me at Gary Con! I promise not to kill your character (crosses fingers behind my back).

Happy Mondays everyone! While you are getting ready to start your week, I wanted to mention that I will be running an adventure based upon “Castle of Blackwood Moors” at Gary Con (www.garycon.com). I will be using a simple system… close to Basic D&D but different enough that I probably should not say it is Basic D&D. You get the picture.

Anyway.

Come on down and see me, I will try to have prizes at least for those who are brave enough to wake up that early.

 

gary-con

Even if you do not sign up for my game *Sad face*, you should still get to Gary Con all the same… a lot of great old school gaming happens here and the people have been exceptional. I recommend it.

Two thumbs up and a foot.