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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:22 pm 
TA & Winter's Home the only releases now, correct?

I have both and am waiting for a release date on TG et al.

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 14, 2013 1:29 pm 
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marshal kt wrote:
TA & Winter's Home the only releases now, correct?

I have both and am waiting for a release date on TG et al.

Thanks.


Yes. Those are the only releases at this time. I'll have more details on future releases after the new year.

Thanks for the interest.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:18 am 
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More info about the RPGNow hardcover is up on the blog now: http://landofphantoms.blogspot.com/2013/12/well.html.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 6:21 pm 
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A look into the 2014 crystal ball for Transylvanian Adventures over at the blog: http://landofphantoms.blogspot.com/2014/01/happy-new-years.html


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 04, 2014 8:13 pm 
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Just got my copy of TA from Lulu. I have the PDF, but wanted to fill out the collection. Book looks great. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 6:58 pm 
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SavageRobby wrote:
Just got my copy of TA from Lulu. I have the PDF, but wanted to fill out the collection. Book looks great. :)


Thanks, Robby. Let me know if you plan on trying it out in the area. I'd be happy to sit in.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 2:48 pm 
Drivethrurpg just sent out an email notice that the book is available in hardback for $34.99.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/0 ... 10&src=sub

pdf is $12.99.
Both are $34.99.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:49 pm 
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marshal kt wrote:
Drivethrurpg just sent out an email notice that the book is available in hardback for $34.99.

http://rpg.drivethrustuff.com/product/0 ... 10&src=sub

pdf is $12.99.
Both are $34.99.


Yep. I'm getting the coupons together for existing PDF owners tonight. Need to do a blog post as well.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:24 pm 
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What would you say is the difference between the Lulu POD and DriveThru POD? I know you've said you like the Lulu better, but what exactly are we talking about? Better colors on the cover? Thicker pages? Just feels more 'solid'?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 9:39 pm 
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GnomeBoy wrote:
What would you say is the difference between the Lulu POD and DriveThru POD? I know you've said you like the Lulu better, but what exactly are we talking about? Better colors on the cover? Thicker pages? Just feels more 'solid'?


I like the printing of the cover better. I like the type of ink better. And the quality of the paper as well.

The DriveThru POD is fine. It's not bad at all. But Lulu is just slightly better in quality.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:56 am 
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Thanks. That clinches my getting the Lulu version.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 5:18 pm 
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Ordered my hardcover from LuLu. The waiting will be hard.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:21 pm 
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Love the latest blog post on emergent play. The nature of the TA systems for this come out strongly in The Winter Home, and I am glad to see Scott strongly advocating the same.

I am a fan of the TA system. Even if my main campaign is DCC, I really expect to get a lot of use out of this book. Awesome work, amazing cover, great systems, fun tables. I hope to get the chance to write some material for it.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 12:12 pm 
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Will there be a softcover on drivethru?


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:54 pm 
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grald_the_hunter wrote:
Will there be a softcover on drivethru?


Nope.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 3:08 am 
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A review of TA.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 4:28 am 
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A review that boils down to: "I don't know the rules and don't like DCC. I didn't like some of the art or the conversational tone. There were some grammar errors. Some of this stuff is useful, though, even in systems I like. Thumbs down." Meh.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 5:38 am 
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Ogrepuppy wrote:


Can't please everyone. I fully disagree with two of his substantive criticisms, however.

First, that all foreigners must be Exotics. That is flatly untrue. There's even a sidebar saying as much.

Second, that TA lacks a Clergyman class. First, Clergyman is an Occupation. Second, the Polymath.

I will say that, despite him pitching what he believes to be a competing product, he found enough value in it to offer a conversion of the character traits such that they can be used alongwith his material.

Fairly negative review overall, though. Can't please everyone. I will say I've read his take on Gothic RPGing. It wasn't to my tastes either. But I didn't feel the need to bury it in a blog.

File that under "if you can't say anything nice..."


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:51 am 
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I've run two sessions of TA so far and just wanted to tell you how it went.

The first was near the end of November. We had character creation and it was definitely the hit of the session. Everyone loved the "mad libs" parts and people couldn't stop laughing as they read "My Story."

For the first session I didn't use the whole Investigation subsystem because we picked up kind of in the middle of something (converted preexisting characters from another system and already had an adventure in-progress) so it would've been awkward to start it most of the way through the investigative part. We also didn't have an "adventure site"/dungeon because the adventure was more story-based.

The PCs were a bit shy about spending Luck points (no one here has played DCCRPG) and had about a 50% character (0-level characters) death rate because of it. Some of the differing mechanics were confusing, like when do you want to roll low vs. high (again, an unfamiliarity with the base system), and what type of dice to use.

The surviving PCs went on to another adventure, which was last week. I had all of the players create new 0-level characters to go with the surviving 0- and 1st-level characters because the dungeon I want to use is GG's "The Portal Under the Stars" adapted for TA, so I wanted there to be 6 0-level and one 1st-level character, since TA characters are probably more survivable than DCCRPG.

It turned out they never got to the dungeon and wanted to spend the entire session investigating - this is when I started using the investigation subsystem. Character creation was a blast again and it led to some interesting character types that people would have never thought of before (we are not playing in Transylvania, but have thus far remained in America; some of the characters ended up being a South African explorer, two hillbillies from the swamps of Louisiana, both illiterate, one a scout and the other a medicine worker; and a British librarian). With one of the PCs now 1st level (a valiant) we got to see how some of the class mechanics worked. The player really wanted to get into the Socialize skill and I let him try just about anything somewhat realistic with it (including recruiting two policemen to go into the dungeon with him and having them "loan" the group a couple of pistols), but I penalized him for doing so by spending a day of investigation time for each goal he wanted to accomplish with it (he also spent a TON of Luck points on these rolls, which will come back to haunt him when they finally go to the dungeon).

One thing that was really interesting was that there was a *lot* of "failing forward" (0- and 1st-level PCs are very likely to fail investigation rolls, apparently) - carousing rolls twice resulted in the "contact will meet you later, but when you get there he is dead" result; three research rolls resulted in the "yes/no" question result (one question I answered "yes and no," which confused the hell out of them!); and one of the carousing rolls resulted in the "I'll give you the info but I need a ton more money (which they didn't have)." The latter caused two of the PCs to track down the witness later and beat him up to get information. I used the "interview" table then and they got a result indicating one lie (which they actually knew to be false) and one truth. When they realized the lie was false, they discounted the truth as well, thinking the guy totally unreliable!

I did see how there could be research paralysis if allowed to go unchecked, because the PCs wanted to keep investigating even after they discovered the adventure site. I allowed them four days and even though it was fun, it was dragging a bit, so I had the evil cult succeed in their plan, and most of the PCs were there to witness it (one was shopping that day). They have decided on the tried & true "burn down the place" plan. Unfortunately they will be burning down someplace that is full of innocents as well as not the main HQ of the cult (which they already located but were scared to go in - the adventure site).

I did find it difficult to find tables in a timely manner, and investigation and character creation took much longer than I'm used to (used to very rules-light games, and although the character sheets are somewhat bare, all the tables took quite a while), which were negatives. While I don't see the length of character creation as necessarily bad (everyone had a blast), the investigation part dragged a bit, partially because of the number of PCs (seven for only three players). I also think that it didn't go quite as smoothly as I had liked because I failed to better narrate the table results so they seemed less "organic" to the plot and more random.

As far as the class abilities, the valiant did not really use turn unholy (and probably won't, this adventure), but the luck-based ones were a big hit. It's kind of ironic that he's the lucky guy since his luck is only 10 and other characters are technically lucky (but a bit hesitant to spend luck, considering it doesn't recover).

We also used the "in-between adventures" table for the preexisting characters. One decided to attend to mundane matters while the other two partied like it's 1899. The results were interesting - two PCs lost items but gained xp and one just gained xp.

I haven't given them any assets yet, or increased money from in-between adventures. I'll do that next time, whenever that is.

Overall, I like the system a lot. I think it requires a bit of skill to run, though, because it definitely runs differently than any other game (I've never done DCCRPG), with all the various tables and randomly determined events that need to be inserted into the plot seamlessly. I know I can probably just ignore that and go with the plot I already have determined (more or less - I did a lot of winging, which was good), but I like to challenge myself to work all this stuff in in a believable way.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:41 am 
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grald_the_hunter wrote:
I've run two sessions of TA so far and just wanted to tell you how it went.


Thanks for the excellent write up, grald. It's ambitious to try an investigative phase with so many characters. Typically, I only use it with a 1:1 player-to-character ratio. That's probably more manageable.

You're doing it absolutely right, however. I know it may not feel that way. But I always approach the table results as something to "work in, if possible" and adjust accordingly. You're correct in that it probably takes a bit more GM skill than I'm attributing to it. But it's always been a blast when I get it going.

Character creation could take a while if you're doing Mad Libs for all the 0-Levels. It's fun, so I understand why a group would want to do that. In general, it takes my group 15 minutes to create a 0-Level character and about 5-10 minutes to level up a character. Extra copies of those tables (either printed from the PDF or extra softcovers or such) could help the character creation process.

I totally get the "looking up a table" moment. I'm acclimated to that do to DCC. But there are often moments during IBA or Investigation where I have to take a moment, look up the result, and think about how that corresponds to what's happening with the game.

As for Socialize, I usually use it as written -- as a way to improve an NPC's "Reaction" to the PCs -- and let the characters roleplay out any conversations that they want to use to convince an NPC to a specific course of action. It's interesting and absolutely expected that Socialize would be used as more of a Bluff/Diplomacy skill with some groups. If it works for what you want to do, keep the dice rolling.

I often speak up about how different TA is from other RPGs. I mean, when it comes to the "adventure site", it's very much a traditional RPG. But IBA and Investigation add a new (if optional) approach that is fairly novel. I can't say that I use IBA or Investigation every time, all the time. But it's usually memorable when I do.

Thanks again. I hope you had fun with TA and it becomes a regular at the gaming table.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:47 am 
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grald_the_hunter wrote:
I haven't given them any assets yet, or increased money from in-between adventures. I'll do that next time, whenever that is.


Assets and relationships are tied mostly to the IBA events. If you didn't want to use them, it's possible to wing it such that other items or NPCs in the characters' sphere of influence are threatened or endangered.

I've had to do as much in convention games, demos, and pick-up games where the players were playing characters they'd just met and the assets/relationships stuff wasn't viable. All of that exists to help the GM and players answer "What's next?" and hopefully answer that question in such a way that the group will want to continue play.

If your group doesn't have issues with figuring out what they want to do next in the game, it's probably a-ok to give those a broad-brush treatment or ignore them altogether.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 2:28 pm 
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Regarding the future publishing model referenced on the blog, I'd like to vote for the magic system. There are references to 0-level rituals and quickcast spells in the existing classes, and I'd like to be able to answer questions about them if my players ask when they're choosing a class. They will be choosing a class next session (we're doing it in two weeks, two dungeon crawls, after one of which the survivors will be 1st level). We have a few 0-level rituals in the TA book, but nothing more about 0-level rituals, and not much about quickcast spells at all. What's a poor Polymath to do?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:13 pm 
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grald_the_hunter wrote:
Regarding the future publishing model referenced on the blog, I'd like to vote for the magic system. There are references to 0-level rituals and quickcast spells in the existing classes, and I'd like to be able to answer questions about them if my players ask when they're choosing a class. They will be choosing a class next session (we're doing it in two weeks, two dungeon crawls, after one of which the survivors will be 1st level). We have a few 0-level rituals in the TA book, but nothing more about 0-level rituals, and not much about quickcast spells at all. What's a poor Polymath to do?


Cool, grald. Thanks for the feedback. This is exactly the kind of input I was hoping the publishing model would allow.

The very first offering is a bit of book 3 (The Transylvanian Grimoire). It's a Sword & Sorcery setting hack. The plan, at this time, is to have it published in the next copy of D.A.M.N. It will be exclusive to the magazine until Book 3 comes out.

Items covered in it, beyond basic S&S type stuff, include:

  • Using the DCC RPG Wizard in Transylvanian Adventures
  • Using DCC RPG Magic in Transylvanian Adventures (including converting Polymaths to full-on spellcasters)
  • Converting firearms to lasers for a Thundarr-style campaign
  • Far more info on cross-classing/multi-classing
  • A new Hobbies table for S&S campaigns

It's already completed and has been submitted to D.A.M.N. If they don't want to move forward on it, for some reason, it will be made available as PDF download.

The next thing I was planning on writing was the Monsters. But you'd rather have the spells?

Six and one-half to me. Spells should properly be broken up into Rituals, Quickcast spells, Potions and... some surprises maybe.

As for what to do before that's completed...

Quickcast spells are "regular" D&D spells. For example, Magic Missile would be a Quickcast spell.

Polymaths around these parts start with the three Rituals in the book and then acquire other rituals over time, like "Speak With Dead" in DCC. They also use Patron Bond and Invoke Patron to learn those regular DCC spells -- like Magic Missile and such.

Without being a Theorist (not out yet), the only way to "quickcast" (as in cast something that isn't a ritual) is to contact a patron or buy up some upgrades.

Anything in DCC that isn't cast in one round is rightly a Ritual.

Hopefully that's enough to start with. The magic in TA is going to be moderately different than DCC. But we've had some fun with regular DCC spells.

The S&S setting hack gives more info on using DCC magic in TA. Here's hoping that's out soon.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:48 pm 
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smathis wrote:
The very first offering is a bit of book 3 (The Transylvanian Grimoire). It's a Sword & Sorcery setting hack.


Sounds pretty good to me. I have another campaign that I could use that in . . .

smathis wrote:
The next thing I was planning on writing was the Monsters. But you'd rather have the spells?


Argh, a tough choice, but yeah. I've been using monsters from other OSR stuff (and AD&D 2e) with slight tweaks, and it's been working out OK.

I am really curious to see the TA versions of Gothic classics like vampires, werewolves, abominations, and in particular named adversaries like Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula, and Imhotep. We got a tease of vampires in The Winter Home and while I haven't run it yet, they seemed significantly different enough from the way they've been presented in D&D and even the Ravenloft variants that I'm interested.

smathis wrote:
As for what to do before that's completed...


As we say around these parts, "good enough for government work!"


Last edited by grald_the_hunter on Tue Jan 28, 2014 8:02 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 28, 2014 3:59 pm 
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grald_the_hunter wrote:
Argh, a tough choice, but yeah. I've been using monsters from other OSR stuff (and AD&D 2e) with slight tweaks, and it's been working out OK.

I am really curious to see the TA versions of Gothic classics like vampires, werewolves, abominations, and in particular named adversaries like Dr. Frankenstein, Dracula, and Imhotep. We got a tease of vampires in The Winter Home and while I haven't run it yet, they seemed significantly different enough from the way they've been presented in D&D and even the Ravenloft variants that I'm interested.


The reason I decided to do the S&S hack first was to show how TA can be used in different genres, give examples of how to hybridize the classes, and offer something in relation to spellcasting for the time being.

My original plan was to circle back to the monsters and setting. The reason for that was so third-parties could write adventures for TA. The biggest hold up for most of them is, as you note, not knowing the differences between monsters in TA and in other OSR resources. The setting (when I say setting I'm talking about the hexmap and setting info) would also help people who are interested in creating adventures.

I'm happy to set those aside and work on magic, though, if that's what readers want.


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