29 September 2019

grodog talking Iggwilv in Greyhawk on caslTawk @ Monday night 8pm EDT

I think that this Twitch.TV/live-streaming thing may be starting to click for me, but you'll have another opportunity to judge for yourself, since carlos "casl Entertainment" lising has invited me to join him and his Patreon sponsors in their October discussion tomorrow night:

caslTawk announcement, with classic Greyhawk styling!
caslTawk announcement,
with classic Greyhawk styling!

Tune into our Twitch channel for a chat between carlos "The Rook" lising and Greyhawk scholar Allan T. Grohe Jr., who will be discussing the casl Entertainment Patreon topic for the month of October: Demons and the Witch-Queen, Iggwilv!

Monday, September 30, 2019 at 8 PM – 9 PM EDT on    www.twitch.tv/caslentertainment

I don't know exactly what Carlos and his crew of patrons will dig into for the agenda, but I'm sure it will be a fun discussion---what could possibly go wrong, when you start to mix up Iggwilv, demons, and the World of Greyhawk? ;)

Edit:  the replay can be watched on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuZ3eOSrabE&feature=youtu.be:


23 September 2019

Happy 64th Birthday to Rob Kuntz!

Happiest of birthday wishes to Robert J. Kuntz as he embarks into his 64th annum, in the best company possible---his wife Nathalie Hachet:

Rob Kuntz and Nathalie Hachet

From Rob's biography in The Strategic Review #5 (December 1975):

Strategic Review #5 (December 1975)

Robert J. Kuntz
I was born September 23rd 1955 in Lake Geneva and have lived here all my life. As a kid I played the game that everybody played on our block: “Bang! You’re Dead!”, though it did vary at times. I learned about Wargames in a peculiar way. As I sat skimming through an issue of Playboy one day when I was barely thirteen years old, I came upon a game section describing all varieties of party gifts to give to your family or friends for Christmas. I saw a “Dogfight” game listed among the buyables and immediately proceeded to the nearest dimestore with hopes high. I was disappointed when the assistant manager informed me that they did not carry the game and was about to leave when he suggested that I come over to his place and try some games he had. He named a few off; “Stalingrad”, etc., and I was on my way . . . . In my seven and one-half years of participation in the wargames field I have enjoyed boardgames, miniatures and play-by-mail types and am now employed with a company that produces games and of which my best friend is the head thereof. I intend to write many more rules sets before I pass away and I have this spectre friend of mine who can give the inside on this good “ghost-writer...” 

While a lot has changed in Rob's life since I've known him, he remains the quintessential, creative Dungeon Master, and may his dice continue to roll for many more years to come!:

Rob Kuntz DMing at GaryCon 


LordGosumba Twitch.TV DM Roundtable Replay from 22 September 2019

I should have been more proactive about posting the DM Rountable I was invited to last night on Jay "Lord Gosumba" Scott's Twitch.TV live stream, but with everything else going on I forgot to blog about it beforehand:

LordGosumba DMs Roundtable - 22 September 2019
LordGosumba DMs Roundtable -
22 September 2019

In case you're curious, on Sunday, 22 September 2019 I'll be live on Jay Scott's LordGosumba TwitchTV channel, in a DMs Roundtable discussion focusing on Greyhawk and AD&D 1st edition:

Hello Friends and Greyhawkers! On this weeks Gabbin at Lord Peak's Haven #63 - DMs Roundtable Discussion, we will have some well known names in the Greyhawk and Streaming Communities taking part!

Scheduled to participate in our 4th Roundtable Discussion, are Allan T. Grohe Jr., Carlos Lising, Anna Meyer, William Henry Dvorak, James Duffie, and Ann (Sydwe) from Knightheartgaming. We will hope to bring some experience and insight into questions you may wish to ask, and we welcome viewer input and comments!

We begin this very intriguing conversation this Sunday, Sept. 22nd, 7:30PM EDT. See you in the Live Stream https://www.twitch.tv/lordgosumba

The replay can be watched at https://www.twitch.tv/videos/485181123 and we covered some fun and interesting (and in a few cases, somewhat unexpected!) topics, including:

  • Our favorite DMs?
  • Our favorite adventures?
  • Our favorite recurring in-game enemies?
  • Our saddest in-game moments?
  • How has DMing helped our jobs/lives?
  • Our thoughts on consent in gaming groups/sessions?
  • Who would we most want as a player at our tables and/or to play with---both historical and living?
  • How do we manage improvisation?
  • What's our favorite game other than D&D to run?
  • What do we think about Critical Role?
  • What are our plans/hopes for the future?

Jay also interviewed me on his show last month, and you can watch the replay for that at https://www.twitch.tv/videos/469154701 if you're interested:

grodog interview - 17 August 2019
grodog interview -
17 August 2019

I'm sure I'll get more used to the streaming process and format, at some point, and I welcome any feedback and suggestions on how to better leverage the medium/format.


19 September 2019

Saving Throw OSRIC fundraiser zine News and Updates - #3 on DriveThruRPG Best Sellers!

Saving Throw zine - Introduction and Table of Contents
Saving Throw - Introduction
and Table of Contents

Some news and updates on Saving Throw since its launch on Sunday:
  1. Thank you for your generous support of this project!---Saving Throw has been as high as #3 on the DriveThruRPG.com best sellers list this week, outpacing both Eclipse Phase 2nd Edition and Legend of the Five Rings
    Tuesday 17 September 2019 - Saving Throw is the #3 Best Seller!
    Tuesday 17 September 2019 -
    Saving Throw is the #3 Best Seller!

    That wouldn't have been possible without your support!

  2. Please continue to spread the word---Saving Throw isn't even a week old yet, so many old-school gamers won't be aware of it:  mention it in your gaming groups, your local game stores, and in your social media channels! 

    Your primary link should be back to the DriveThru project page at https://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/288750/Saving-Throw-fundraiser-fanzine-for-James-D-Kramer
  3. Positive reviews are starting to come in:

    Bryce "tenfootpole.org" Lynch's review is at https://tenfootpole.org/ironspike/?p=6236 and states:
    • "Jim Kramer is the guy behind Usherwood Publishing. Several of his adventures appear on my Best & Regerts list, including Arachnaphobia and most his Bone Hilt campaign series."
    • "You should go pick this up because you’re not an asshole. And, also, because the adventures are quite good. Also, there’s a lot of OTHER content in it, beyond the adventures."

    The DriveThru page now notes two five-star ratings thus far, and user Guggy Z also commented as a verified purchaser:  "What a great zine! Just skimming I think the hours of solid play to page count ratio looks immense, and I appreciate the chance to support a good cause. This stuff is going right to my table ASAP!"

  4. The print edition is getting closer to reality, per updates from Guy Fullerton:
    • 18 September:  On the bright side, the premium color hardcover masters got approved (this doesn't mean they'll look right), so I ordered a proof. Last time I ordered something, it took about a week to arrive. Fingers crossed.

      I may end up putting a variety of print options together, since drivethru makes that easy enough to do. A perfect bound book might suck format-wise, but it's cheaper to produce. I still plan on making a pair of staple-bound books available, one each with the first & last halves of the content, respectively, with the title page and OGL page in both; that's probably the cheapest option for lay-flat.
    • 15 September:  I submitted a cover & (non-final) interior to drivethru for a hardcover version. It takes a couple days for their validation process to determine whether there are any glitches. I will order a proof of the hardcover as soon as they give me the green light. I've never done a hardcover cover pdf before, so I don't know whether to expect multiple iterations. I tried to out-smart the lightning press template, which I may come to regret.
  5. Further content updates are in the works, including new artwork; update again from Guy Fullerton:
    • 18 September:  On the artwork addition front, we got several new filler illustrations by Wind the other day, and I saw an in-progress monster illustration by austinjimm that looks pretty amazing!
    • 15 September:  If you see any typos that we didn't catch, please let rredmond or me know. I want to fix glitches before we make a print version available, and will update the pdf too with fixes and additional artwork to come.

If you're interested in following the updates and breaking news for the project, you can do so via two threads on the Knights & Knaves Alehouse:

Thank you again for supporting this project, and please continue to share Saving Throw to amplify its visibility---the more gamers who are aware of Saving Throw, the more support it will bring to Jim and his family! 


15 September 2019

Saving Throw - new OSRIC zine to support Usherwood Publishing's Jim Kramer

Saving Throw is a new zine dedicated to OSRIC and AD&D 1st edition gaming, and it's being produced to support James D. Kramer of Usherwood Adventures, who is battling through his third round of brain cancer treatments.  

Saving Throw cover art by Alex Zisch
Saving Throw cover art by Alex Zisch

I've known and worked with Jim for more than a decade now, and he has been an integral member of the old-school gaming communities that spawned the OSR:  his work to layout OSRIC is reflected in the standard version available on Lulu, the high-end Black Blade/Usherwood hardcover OSRIC edition, as well as his highly-usable OSRIC Pocket SRD digest-sized softcover book, also available in a layflat spiral-bound edition.  And it doesn't stop there!---Jim has built  .epub and .mobi versions of OSRIC, laid out the six issues of Knockspell Magazine, written and published the Bone-Hilt Sword Campaign, and created several stand-alone adventures and supplements, too.  

Jim's contributions to OSRIC and old-school gaming in general are quite extensive, so a group of folks at the Knights & Knaves Alehouse gathered together to help support him and his family.  Here's the product announcement from Guy Fullerton of Chaotic Henchmen Productions, who coordinated this project: 

Saving Throw — a fundraiser fanzine to help James D. Kramer

You may know Jim Kramer from his Usherwood Publishing modules & supplements, or his work helping produce works like OSRIC and Knockspell. You probably didn’t know Jim had multiple brain surgeries to remove tumors, and the battle has gotten much harder. To help Jim and his family during this difficult time, a group of his friends, collaborators, and first edition enthusiasts banded together to make this fundraiser fanzine, where all royalties go directly to Jim and his family.

This 60+ page issue of
Saving Throw contains:
  • Introduction by Ron Redmond
  • Island Tables - random generation/inspiration tool by EOTB
  • Sorcerer’s Stone - dungeon level by Keith Sloan
  • Trolls of the Simpolo Swamps - leech-mated trollish variations by Joseph Browning
  • Perladon Manor - adventure module by Gabor Lux
  • By The Runes - fiction by Dan Rasaiah
  • Magic Item Intrinsic Material Values - variant magic item value rules by Guy Fullerton
  • Goblin Garbug Cavalry - new monster by Andrew Hamilton
  • The Tiled Labyrinth - mini-dungeon by Guy Fullerton
  • Lotus Blossoms - magical and special properties of these exotic flora by Keith Sloan
  • Burly the Baker - ready-to-use NPC and cantrips by Gary Francisco
  • Darkworld Troll - new monster by Bryan Fazekas
  • Offig’s Tomb - treasure map by EOTB
  • Lizard Man Lair - outdoor module and new monsters by EOTB
  • Mephitic Geysers of the Intaglio Rift - treasure map by Allan T. Grohe Jr. (“grodog")
  • The Mere Beneath - dungeon level by Guy Fullerton, Allan T. Grohe Jr. (“grodog"), and Henry A. Grohe
  • Sarendra’s Crew & Kelurrin’s Crew - ready-to-use NPC parties by Allan T. Grohe Jr. (“grodog")
  • Rescue from the Sanctuary of the Leopard Goddess - dungeon module by Matthew Riedel
  • Featuring illustrations by Jimm Johnson, James D. Kramer, Wind Lothamer, Gabor Lux, Denis McCarthy, Peter Szmer (soon), Del Teigeler, and Alex Zisch

For the lucky price of $13, you get two treasure maps, three referee tools, five new spells, six modules, at least nine new monsters, twelve ready-to-use NPCs, and more. Plus the knowledge that your purchase helps a family during a difficult time.

Thank you!

Note: We plan to make a print version available soon. When it becomes available, will send DriveThru coupon codes to everyone who purchased the .pdf so they can get a print version at a discount.

Note #2: We are still in the process of gathering artwork for some of the articles, so don't be surprised by any of the blank spots. We will notify everybody when we update the .pdf with new art, and you can download the latest version from your library.

Here's a preview of one of the earlier drafts for my "Mephitic Geysers of the Intaglio Rift" treasure map:

Treasure map to the Mephitic Geysers of the Intaglio Rift by Allan Grohe
Treasure map to the
Mephitic Geysers of the Intaglio Rift
by Allan Grohe

Please consider purchasing a copy of Saving Throw to support Jim and his family!

10 September 2019

grodog in Greyhawk---a Summer Raining Multitudes!

It's been a busier summer than usual this year, in part because I've got lots of Greyhawk going on, which is a wonderful "problem" to have =)

Here's what's been cooking:

  • I'm continuing to play in Bill "TheDungeonDelver" Silvey's ongoing Greyhawk AD&D campaign, which is heavily-focused at present on the exploration of his version of Castle Greyhawk!  Let me tell you that it's a treat to explore Bill's Greyhawk and its Castle, not knowing a thing about it =)

    Here's where we are, after spending most of this year clearing out the upper ruins of Bill's version of Castle Greyhawk:

    Bill Silvey's Castle Greyhawk - PC map by Allan Grohe
    Bill Silvey's Castle Greyhawk - Ruins Level
    Player map by Allan Grohe

    Bill Silvey's Castle Greyhawk - Ruins Level Player map by Allan Grohe
    Bill Silvey's Castle Greyhawk - Ruins Level
    Player map by Allan Grohe

    We just began to explore down the central well last week, and will likely pick that up again this week.

    I began playing in Bill's game since July last year, and have enjoyed it immensely!  Thus far we've remained in the vicinity of Greyhawk City and the Gnarley Forest---not counting a demi-planar/extra-planar holiday adventure at Christmastide.  My high elf, Svert, is now a 5/5 Fighter/Magic-User, about to level up to 6th MU (but I've hit my level limit in Fighter unless I'm able to permanently gain two or more points of Strength, alas...).

  • My 11-year-old son Henry has been running an on-and-off again AD&D campaign for some school friends, his older brother Ethan, my wife Heather, and me (although both Ethan and Heather have largely stopped playing D&D in general save for special occasions here and there).  Set in his Underground Mansion dungeon, situated on an island in the Nyr Dyv.  While Henry's game is nominally set in Greyhawk, he doesn't know much about the setting itself, which is fine because he crafts a great mega-dungeon.  This is what we've explored of the first level to date, before moving into the second level over the summer:

    Henry's Underground Mansion - Level 1
    Player Map by Allan Grohe

  • Henry, not quite having enough AD&D in his life already (!!!, to quote Andy Markham), began to craft a new mega-dungeon earlier this summer as the primary forus of his game for just me and him to play in.  (Which is pretty darn sweet, isn't it?).  We've played once thus far over Labor Day weekend, and I'm looking forward to getting back in there to see what else I can find:

    Henry's Dada Mega-Dungeon - Level 1  Player Map by Allan Grohe
    Henry's Dada Mega-Dungeon - Level 1
    Player Map by Allan Grohe

  • And, since I'm clearly not having sufficient fun in the World of Greyhawk already (!!!), I am in the process of starting up one or perhaps two groups of new players in The Flanaess locally here in Wichita.
I've also been continuing to work on some of my levels of my version of Castle Greyhawk for publication next year, and have made good progress on The Iounic Caverns, The Heretical Temple of Wee Jas, Diamonds in the Rough, and The First Landings Level.

More to come on that front as things continue to develop!