Tuesday, June 11, 2013

DOWNLOAD MY FREE 4E FANZINE!!! 4E FOREVER ISSUE #1 IS UP!!!



So the wait is finally over. It has been a loooong road, but I am happy to say that I followed through and finally got it done. I hope you have enjoyed the "spotlights" on contributors yesterday and over the weekend. I again want to thank the Crypt Thing Robert Waluchow, Timothy "Morpho" Reynolds, and Will "Beholder Pie" Doyle for all of their help.

When the end of 4e was announced, I felt it had a lot further to go. I was cynical for a minute, thinking about all of the stuff that I felt was still needed or that was never accomplished. I decided that instead of bitching, I would do my own thing. After all, there are tons of awesome 'zines out there for out of print games...why not start one for 4e?

So I can finally spoil the contents for you now! What is in the first issue of 4e Forever?

-The framework of a new shared world that 4e fans can build together
-The best alternate and additional rules from my blog, re-organized, edited, and compiled into one easy to use document, the 4e Forever Grimoire
-Revamped trap rules for 4e with 15 new tricks and traps
-Over 30 new high level creatures
-Two full-length adventures, including part one of a massive megadungeon adventure path
-Exciting rules for a 4e mass combat system designed by WOTC published author Will Doyle
-All the info you need to submit your own writing, artwork, and/or cartography

This magazine is and always will be free, but I will ask one thing of you, Gentle Reader. Please pass this link along to any and all 4e fans that you know. I need help to keep this going, and I will be relying on submissions. So please, send to your gamer friends, forward to your friend lists on forums, tweet it, email it...anything you can do to help spread the word would be greatly appreciated.

And so, without further ado, I hope you enjoy the mag!

DOWNLOAD 4E FOREVER ISSUE ONE

Monday, June 10, 2013

COUNTDOWN TO THE 'ZINE-CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT-WILL "BEHOLDER PIE" DOYLE

Wow, it is just one more day til I drop my 4e fanzine! Over the weekend we took a look at some of the awesome talent that contributed to the first issue. Saturday we checked out the Crypt Thing, Robert Waluchow. Yesterday, we spoke with the multi-talented Timothy "Morpho" Reynolds. Today we shine the spotlight on Will Doyle of Beholder Pie.



Will and his girlfriend Stacey operate the blog, a truly amazing mix of great 4e design and world-class artwork. Someone on a forum somewhere mentioned it to me a few years ago, and when I checked it out, I was pretty overwhelmed. "How has nobody heard of this guy?", I wondered, as his blog is really heads and tails above a lot of what you see. Well, it seems WOTC took notice as well, because in the year since I first asked Will about contributing to my zine, he has had not one, not two, but three adventures appear in Dungeon, with another possibly on the way. All of his adventures have gotten rave reviews for their creativity. I am not surprised in the least.

When I approached Will about printing one of his articles in the mag, he was total class. He let me make edits, answered questions, and he is really a super-nice guy who deserves all of the success he is getting. You will be seeing a lot more of this guy, I promise you that.

Will was nice enough to answer some questions for me:

1. How did you get into gaming?

I was first introduced to roleplaying games in 1984, when a relative gave me and my brother a boxed copy of Call of Cthulhu. I was nine, so it was way above my head, but I remember liking the pictures! Eventually one of my brother's friends ran a short campaign of Dragon Warriors, and we finally understood how it all worked - and were pretty much hooked. That led to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Paranoia, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, D&D and dozens more. Nowadays I mostly play D&D and Call of Cthulhu, with occasional forays into other systems. My girlfriend is a keen player, and we both work in video games, so there are plenty of opportunities to game!

2. Can you talk a bit about Beholder Pie? How did you get started with it?

Beholder Pie was born when my 4th Edition campaign began developing lots of housebrew content: a mass combat system, unique monsters, magic items, and artifacts. Most blogs seemed to focus on GM-advice, so I thought a "crunch-heavy" site could stand out from the crowd. I also played with a group of video game artists, who were always drawing pictures of their characters, so I had lots of original artwork available. Over the months the blog has become less crunch-based, but I still try to provide something mechanical every once in a while.

3. I know you have had some stuff published by WOTC recently. Anything else on the horizon you want to share with us?

Over the last year I've written four Dungeon adventures for Wizards of the Coast. The first two - "Tears of the Crocodile God" and "Glitterdust" have already been published, and there are two more in the pipes. I can't talk much about them until they're been announced, except to say they were a real blast to write and playtest! Two of the adventures I've written have been based on concepts they've asked me to develop (rather than ideas I pitched to them), which in some ways I prefer - it's more of a challenge, as it puts you out of your adventure-writing comfort zones!
 
 
I am not going to spoil what Will contributed to my zine. All I will say is that it is a game changer, plain and simple. You do NOT want to miss it. Thank you SO MUCH for your help Will!
 
You can pretty much click at random on Will's blog and find something awesome, but I think I will leave you with a link to some of his recent ultra-creative stuff, "The Drowned Kingdoms". This is a killer new campaign setting, a world completely flooded...kind of like Waterworld without the urine drinking and cigarettes. Here are the posts about it, scroll down to start at the beginning.
 
One of the awesome locales of the Drowned Kingdoms, Fathomdeep



 

Sunday, June 9, 2013

COUNTDOWN TO THE 'ZINE-CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT-TIM "MORPHO" REYNOLDS

Today I continue to shine the spotlight on contributors to my upcoming free 4e fanzine. Don't forget, it comes out this Tuesday, June 11th! Yesterday, we took a look at cartographer extraordinaire, Crypt Thing Robert Waluchow. Today we spotlight Timothy "Morph" Reynolds!

I first met Timothy Reynolds about three years ago, gaming online. We played (and still play) on the RPGTO; this is the virtual table that Wizards developed but discontinued. It is still going strong, but that is another story.

Tim aka "Morpho" aka "MorphoPractix" aka "SarialMorphoPractix" is the consummate gamer-the exact person you want playing at your table. Courteous, friendly, creative...anyone that has played with him remembers what a cool person he is to game with. I am lucky enough to have played dozens of sessions with him. Everyone likes Morpho.

Slowly but surely we got to know each other a little bit, and I began hearing more about his real life. "Morph", as I prefer to call him, alluded to the fact that he is a stage actor. Didn't surprise me at all, as he is a great roleplayer. I started hearing more about his parts in productions; he mentioned "Penny Dreadfuls" and "Varney the Vampire" one session, and I felt hip to know that I knew what the hell he was talking about. Anyways, I had let people know that I was working on a 4e fanzine, and Morph ended up emailing me about it. It turns out that he is a Renaissance man, and that drawing and painting are also among his many talents. Again, not really surprised. Turns out Tim is many things: an actor, playwright, poet, designer, and a visual artist. He is also my place to crash next time I am in Brooklyn, NY (half-kidding).

I am not a fan of modern RPG art. I love the classic stuff: Sutherland, Trampier, Otus...I don't like anything that feels overwrought or tortured. I want to feel an artist's character. I don't know if that makes much sense, but you can probably still appreciate how awesome it was when Morph sent me these images that he drew for a storyboard/treatment of a friend's upcoming outer-space sci-fi film. This is exactly the kind of art that I wanted to see in an RPG. It is visceral, fluid, and most importantly, it has character.

Slime on the foot? That's a BAD THING in outer space.


Space jealousy? That's even WORSE.
Uh, yeah, but space cutting is worst of all...


How awesome it is to have an artist with that kind of talent contributing to my little fanzine. Thank you so much Morph!


I asked Morpho a few questions in a vain attempt to unravel the enigma. Here are his responses:



1. How did you get into gaming?

I first began with Basic D&D in 1977, moving quickly onto AD&D.

2. I know you are a creative guy, you act in the theatre, you paint, etc. How do these tie-in to your gaming?

RPGs tend to attract actors and artistic types.  I always have drawn during game sessions - characters, combats that were happening, etc.  It has always fueled the game for myself and for my fellow players, as I tend to do character portraits for my companions and the DM.

3. Any projects or plans for the future with your painting? 

I will always do artwork and I am contemplating a tarot deck series of paintings.



The tarot thing sounds amazing. Morpho is a true talent, with an incredible knack for interpreting text and conveying it in an image. Everything I gave him was like a sentence or less, and he did incredible things with it. You will see for yourself soon enough. I do not want to publish his email, but if you want to contact him let me know and I will pass on the information. I can see him doing a lot of OSR work, as his artwork is perfectly suited for it. I will certainly be hitting him up for issue #2.

The Tuesday release is creeping closer! In the meantime, you can check out this awesome sneak peek at an original Morph image from the 'zine. I asked him for "zombies". No detail or anything. Look at how awesome this is! (Note the dude in the bottom left...super-creepy!)



"Zombies" by Timothy Reynolds



Saturday, June 8, 2013

COUNTDOWN TO THE 'ZINE-CONTRIBUTOR SPOTLIGHT-"CRYPT THING" R. WALUCHOW

As I countdown to the release of my free 4e fanzine this coming Tuesday, I wanted to shine the spotlight on some people that helped make this first issue everything it could be. Today we take a look at the Crypt Thing, Robert Waluchow.

I first became aware of Robert's blog ( http://cryptthing.blogspot.com/ ) by way of 4thcore. I really appreciate the 4thcore movement, as it incorporates a lot of my own philosophy into its design. I like challenging combat and old-school adventures, and 4thcore delivers both. I started checking out other 4thcore affiliated sites and came across Rob's. I had an instant appreciation for his blog; unlike many sites, it is primarily focused on cartography. I really liked his style; it feels like a mix of hand-drawing and technology, an interesting balance. 

One of Rob's awesome creations


Over time, Rob started sharing some of his artwork as well. I love the style. Check out the Vrock Seer below!

Vrock Seer, Crypt Thing style


As I started work on my magazine, I took the chance of approaching Rob about him helping with the mag's cartography. I thought, "What do I have to lose?". The worst he could tell me is no, but if he helped, I knew I would have a real up-and-coming talent in the world of D&D cartography helping me. Thank the gods that he said yes. Over the last year+, Rob has shown amazing patience with me, making edits, and taking on a LOT more work than I originally gave him. I am eternally grateful to him for his help. I can't imagine what it would be like if he hadn't helped me. I wholeheartedly recommend designers out there hiring Rob to help with your work. He is a pro and a great guy.

I decided to ask all of the contributors a few questions to help shine the light on how they got into the hobby and about their work. Here is my Q&A with Rob:

Q: How did you get into gaming?

A: I got into role playing games in the mid 90’s playing AD&D 2nd Edition. Unlike many other role players, I didn’t have anybody to shepherd me into the hobby. I had a vague general impression of Dungeons & Dragons, but had never been exposed to it. The catalyst for my entry into the hobby came (appropriately enough) from mapping. One day while I was daydreaming during class, I spied a fellow class mate drawing. My interest perked, I leaned in to see what he was drawing and saw a map of a sprawling fantasy kingdom. He was fleshing out a homebrew setting for use in Dungeons & Dragons. I marveled at the audacious free-form creativity employed for use in a game. The idea of creating a unique world whole-cloth and having a group of people interact with it and experience it was too alluring for me to ignore. I rushed out, picked up the core rulebooks, and began blundering my way through learning the ropes of running a Dungeons & Dragons campaign. I’ve never looked back since.

Q: Can you tell us about Crypt Thing?

A: Crypt Thing is a blog I started up a couple of years ago in order to share the maps I create for my home games with a wider audience. There is a myriad of blogs out there that deal with Dungeons & Dragons and role playing games in general, but I found that most of them discuss game theory or offer advice on running games. Precious few offered concrete tangible tools that Dungeon Masters could use and drop right into their games. So I decided to create a venue to showcase my maps and offer them up unlabelled so that readers culd take them and use them in their own games however they saw fit.

My greatest joy as a Dungeon Master stems from when the players discover a new location: that moment when I drop a lavish new map down on the table. Their eyes light up as they pour over the map and begin to explore the nooks and crannies of the creation. It is my hope that I can help others foster this experience in their own games.

Q: Can you tell us about your ties to Fourthcore?

A: My tie to fourthcore is chiefly one of rabid fanboyism. I love the incredible works of SVD Press and Dungeon Oracle. The way these designers have eschewed the appeal of a wide audience to fearlessly bend the game and create adventures the way they want to play has been eye-opening and inspiring.



I've been playing Dungeons & Dragons for 17 years, and Revenge of the Iron Lich remains my favourite adventure I've ever run.



I'm also quite active with FourthcoreTeam Deathmatch. Created by C Steven Ross, (author of such great blogs as DMG 42 and Triumph and Despair) FTDM is an amazing pulse-pounding team-based death match that utilizes the 4e ruleset. In addition to playing it every chance I get (lookout Gencon 2013!), I've designed two of the maps, E4M1: Court of the Storm Lord, and E4M1: Vault of the Spider Queen.

Also on the fourthcore horizon, I'm currently working on the illustration and cartography of a new fourthcore module by Anthony Franchini, called "Pit of the Void Locust". Privy to the design process, I've been able to look under the hood of this one. If you are fan of fourthcore, you're going to love this module; it's evocative, deadly, and ludicrously difficult.



Q: You mentioned on your blog that you were working on an adventure; any progress on this?

A: Sadly, my ambitions always seem to outpace my reality. Between professional and personal obligations, I have found precious little time to work on it. As I'm sure you are aware, there is a mountain of work involved in taking an idea from a form that you yourself can run at the table and turning it into something you can share with a wider audience. I'm committed to seeing it through, but I have no set timeline for doing so.



Still, I've got some work coming down the pipe, including Pit of the Void Locust, more maps and a tutorial on how I draw and colour my settlement maps.


Thanks again Rob, for everything.

I am proud to leave you today with a juicy sneak peek of Rob's work in the magazine. (Why yes, that IS the first level of a 4e megadungeon!!!)

Told you he was a bad-ass!

Friday, June 7, 2013

COUNTDOWN TO THE RELEASE OF MY FREE 4E FANZINE!!!


If you have been wondering "Where's Froth?" lately, please forgive my absence, but I finally decided to buckle down and finish my free 4e fanzine! I didn't want to post again until it was done. I first mentioned it over a year ago, and it feels great to finally be able to get it out there.

Why did it take so long? Well, I GROSSLY underestimated the amount of work it would be for one thing. Secondly, the thing just kept growing. I thought it would be a little 30 page deal (and it might be in the future, lol), but it grew to over 150 pages. Between working full time, raising a kid, and running multiple campaigns, it was just a lot of work. I am not like some other writers that can just turn it on and off. At a lot of points, I just didn't feel like writing or didn't feel creative. Getting the last little bits done was the hardest. I also struggled a bit with the layout; it is a little on the crude side, but I did my best. I am proud of myself for following through.

Now that its done, I can't just post up a link right now. That would be too easy. No, I want to celebrate this sucker. As a result, I am setting the release for this Tuesday, June 11th. Over the weekend and on Monday I will be featuring a series of blogs spotlighting contributors to the first issue. I think you will all enjoy it. I don't want to spoil who helped just yet, but rest assured that they are all bad-asses.

I had several goals in setting out to create the mag. For one thing, I wanted to help keep 4e alive by giving fans an outlet that they could use to create and share their own material. I wanted to support high-level play exclusively. I also wanted to continue the work I have done on my blog, bringing old-school, classic edition design elements into 4e. 

So what is in the zine? Well, without spoiling too much, I can tell you that there are two full adventures, over thirty new high-level monsters, over fifteen new tricks and traps, tons of alternate rules for 4e, and a bunch of other stuff that I don't want to spoil just yet.

So, check out the blog over the weekend and be sure to download the mag next Tuesday!